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For Mitch Thomas, it was the chance to join one of the nation’s largest employer associations and the opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren that lured the longtime educator back to the Quad Cities. The new regional division executive director of MRA — The Management Association has been at work, along with staff, since late last year assisting clients in Iowa and Western Illinois out of MRA’s office at King Plaza Crown Center on Moline’s Avenue of the Cities. “Our members and area organizations will significantly benefit from Mitch’s leadership,” Susan Fronk, MRA’s president and CEO, said in a news release last month about Mr. Thomas’ hiring. “A true leader of leaders, Mitch’s enthusiasm to grow and develop the workforce in this region will be an asset for all.” The association, whose tagline is “Where HR means business,” is a total human resource (HR) service provider that serves 4,000 organizations and covers more than a million employees. The nonprofit employer association was founded in 1901 by 23 business leaders who were convinced of the advantages of a united approach to solving business challenges and improving employer-employee relations. The Moline office has a staff of eight, and the support of more than 200 MRA professionals throughout a four-state region. It provides a variety of membership services with high demand for its HR Hotline, in-person and online training, recruitment and retention, reference and background investigations, and HR Business Partner services, Mr. Thomas said. The alliance serves organizations “with less than 25 employees up to 1,000+ employees and everywhere in between,” he told the QCBJ. And providing the services necessary for its members to achieve success is Mr. Thomas’ biggest reward. “As a team we love hearing our members say, ‘I don’t know what I would do without MRA,’” he said. But members aren’t the only ones who can benefit from MRA’s support. “Our biggest challenge is letting the business community know we are here to help — both members and non-members,” he added.