Executive Focus Newsletter
Selfridge offers ways to get involved in centennial birthday
Spring 2017 Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale has begun
Annual Sprint & Splash event helps to enhance Macomb County’s recreational assets
Macomb Business Awards winners announced
The New Year has been busy for me right out of the gate. Currently, I am really working to promote the fact that Selfridge Air National Guard Base is being considered as a site for the F-35 Lightning II, the military's new 5th Generation fighter. In an effort to encourage this decision, just a few weeks ago, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Macomb County officials, along with a group of dedicated community partners, announced the launch of MIF35.org, a website designed to highlight all the benefits Selfridge and the community would realize if the base is able to secure the arrival of the F-35.
Over the next six months, the county will be working hand in hand with the state of Michigan, the Michigan Defense Center, our congressional delegation, local legislators and defense partners in, and around, southeast Michigan to showcase Selfridge. I hope you will join in this effort.
Also, since my last newsletter in December, I attended the 2017 North American International Auto Show. In case you didn’t know, right now, automotive investment is at an all-time high in Macomb County.
- Since 2010, the auto industry has invested $7.4 billion in Macomb County including 123 separate investments above $1 million.
- The “Detroit Three” account for $4.8 billion of that total, which includes significant commitment to developing technologies for connected cars and also testing autonomous vehicles in both private facilities and public streets.
- Combined, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company and General Motors employ more than 35,000 people and operate 10 facilities in the county, covering more than 25 million square feet.
- In addition, there are more than 1,600 manufacturers in Macomb County employing more than 69,000 individuals.
You may have also seen another new face around in our Department of Roads office. In October, I appointed Bryan Santo as the new director of the department, but he officially started in his new post on Jan. 1, 2017. Santo took the place of Roads Director Bob Hoepfner, who retired on Dec. 31, 2016 after 43 years of service to Macomb County.
As director of the Department of Roads, Santo will manage the department’s 236 employees and a budget of over $119 million. He will also be responsible for overseeing the design and construction of multi-million dollar rehabilitation and capacity reconstruction road projects and keep in direct contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation and local municipalities to coordinate construction projects. The Department of Roads maintains more than 1,700 miles of roadway with over 900 traffic signals and 60,000 signs.
Since 1994, Santo has worked as a project engineer for the Department of Roads. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. I know Santo will do an excellent job as director of our Roads Department because he has the background to get the job done.
I’d also like to take a moment to welcome all of the new officials that were elected in November. They officially began their new jobs on Jan. 3 this year.
Candice S. Miller, Public Works Commissioner
Lawrence Rocca, Treasurer
Karen A. Spranger, Clerk/Register of Deeds
Board of Commissioners
Elizabeth Ann Lucido
Joseph V. Romano
Judge of Circuit Court – 16th Circuit
Michael E. Servitto
Looking forward, I invite all of you to consider participating in two upcoming events. One is McLaren Macomb’s Let’s Move Festival of Races on April 29. The purpose of the event is to promote healthy living, especially to our youth. I will be participating, and I urge you to do so as well. I will also be at our upcoming Hotcakes for Hunger event the morning of May 7 flipping pancakes with other local celebrities to help raise money and encourage food donations for the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. I hope to see you there! All donations from this event will ultimately go to our Macomb County Food Program, which provides food to local hungry people.
By Dr. Keith Defever
President, Selfridge Base Community Council
One of the region’s largest events of 2017 is going to be Selfridge Air National Guard Base’s Open House & Air Show Aug. 19-20. Even more exciting about this bi-annual event is that Selfridge is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Attendance is expected to approach 300,000 spectators, especially in light of the fact that the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are slated to perform.
As you can imagine, putting on such an event requires many contributors to make it a success. Selfridge has a variety of ways you, or your business, can get involved in the Centennial Open House & Air Show, from renting a chalet to providing content for our event brochure.
In addition, there are also other events set up throughout the year to celebrate the base’s centennial celebration. Titled "Inspiring the Next Generation – STEM," these events will be hosted in Wayne, Macomb and St. Clair counties and fit well with our charter of community focus on education. The Inspiring the Next Generation – STEM events include Women in Aviation in St. Clair April 28, Michigan Defense Opportunities in Macomb May 19 and Tuskegee Airmen Heritage in Wayne County May 26. These events are expected to engage approximately 900 local high school students.
For more information on how to get engaged in the Centennial Open House & Air Show, visit TeamSelfridge.com.
Centennial promotional videos on the Selfridge YouTube page can be found at the links below:
As part of the Green Macomb initiative, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is working with the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District to bring a new Spring Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale to Macomb County’s residents and business owners.
Historically, the spring sale has been geared toward rural and agricultural communities, selling smaller trees in larger quantities. Through the efforts of Green Macomb and the Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District, this year’s sale provides an opportunity to buy smaller quantities of slightly larger tree stock for those in more urban and suburban areas of the county. For business owners, this is an inexpensive way to install new landscaping.
Planting trees provides many benefits including increased property values, cleaner air and water, lower energy bills, more attractive neighborhoods and healthier communities. This sale’s plant selection is specifically tailored to provide these benefits and increase local community tree canopy.
The public has the opportunity to purchase young bare-root trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, native pollinator wildflower seeds, fruits and vegetables at very low prices. To place an order, download the order form at Green.MacombGov.org and mail the completed form with payment to the St. Clair Conservation District office by Thursday, April 6.
Orders will be available for pickup at Freedom Hill County Park during Macomb County’s Arbor Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 28 or from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Orders will be filled on a first-come first-served basis as supplies may be limited. Remaining unsold stock will also be available for purchase on-site. Michigan State University Extension and Sanilac/St. Clair Conservation District representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide planting guidance and tree care advice.
Visit Green.MacombGov.org for more details about the sale and forthcoming information about Macomb County’s Arbor Day celebration at Freedom Hill County Park April 28.
By Amanda Minaudo, senior planner for Macomb County Planning & Economic Development Department
We are well into the month of March. Spring will be here before we know it, and so will the 6th Annual Sprint and Splash Festival Races! Held on Saturday, June 17, the event is a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and experience Macomb County’s beautiful natural assets.
In addition to being a great way to kick off summer through a variety of competitive events, plus music, food, craft beer and a multitude of vendors, Sprint and Splash also serves the unique purpose of acting as a fundraiser for organizations that promote and celebrate Lake St. Clair. Truly the heart of the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair is one of the largest freshwater fisheries in North America and also one of the busiest recreational waterways in the Midwest. By sponsoring this event, you are supporting organizations that are working to improve the regional economy by increasing tourism to Lake St. Clair and its coastal communities while also striving to protect and restore Lake St. Clair, the Clinton River and the surrounding natural areas.
If you would like to support these organizations as well as advertise your business, this event will offer great promotional opportunities, as we are expecting over 1,000 participants and spectators. Consider being a part of the Beach Village which allows sponsors to have presence at the event with a 10-by-10-foot booth space. You can sell paraphernalia or give away promotional items, as well as have your organization’s logo on the website and race T-shirts. Can’t be at the event? Sprint and Splash offers several levels of sponsorship. For more information, visit www.SprintandSplash.com.
Sprint and Splash begins with a duathlon, which combines a 5K run and a 2-mile paddle (kayak or stand-up paddleboard). Sprint and Splash also offers a 5K Fun Run and Walk (for those who want to stay dry) and a 2-mile recreational SUP race. The Sprint and Splash Beach Village is open throughout the day, giving participants and spectators the option to visit local vendors before or after their race.
All of these aspects of the event allow local businesses the opportunity to really get involved at many levels. If you want to participate in the event, visit www.SprintandSplash.com for more information or to register online. The early registration discount ends on Sunday, April 16!
By Maria Zardis, Macomb County Planning & Economic Development Department
Business leaders from across the region attended the 5th Annual Macomb Business Awards Feb. 14 at Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel joined Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development Director John Paul Rea to recognize the following award winners:
- Champion of Workforce Development: R&E Automated Systems, Macomb Township
R&E specializes in all areas of turnkey automation including concept, design, prototyping, controls design and engineering, robotics and PLC programming, laser welding, joining, roller hemming and more. R&E has a dedicated, state-certified training center which provides training to young professionals looking to get into the industry, existing professionals looking to expand their knowledge and on-site training for its own employees. R&E has grown from 30 employees to more than 400 in the span of 10 years and continues to grow. The company recruits at local colleges and is very involved with local high schools and middle schools, helping them to grow their STEM programs.
- Corporate Citizen: Binson's Medical Equipment and Supplies, Center Line
Binson’s is a family-owned-and-operated, full-service home medical equipment, medical supply and orthopedic company. Their customer base includes individuals, hospitals, doctor offices, nursing homes, health plans and other providers. They are committed to helping defeat the diseases that impact the families they serve on a daily basis. Throughout the years, they have raised and donated funds to many charities including the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Muscular Dystrophy Association. They also played a big role in supporting the MDA Summer Camp and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure by donating the medical supplies and wheelchairs needed for attendees to participate at these events.
- Diversification Leader: Baker Industries, Macomb Township
Still privately owned by the Baker family, Baker Industries has been in business for 24 years as a tier one and tier two supplier for automotive and aerospace industries. They began as a duplicating company and have evolved over the years to become a premier tooling and machining shop. With the goal of encompassing all the capabilities that their customers could wish for in a supplier, today Baker has expanded to include machining, fabrication, injection molding, tooling, 3-D printing, project management and quality assurance. With the addition of a 3-D printer, they have entered new markets including medical, agriculture, appliances, energy and defense.
- Efficiency Expert: JEM Tech Group, Clinton Township
JEM is dedicated to helping customers with information technology products and services to transform their mission-critical environments into energy-efficient areas. They provide corporations with efficiency studies to assess their baseline energy consumption, determine problem areas and provide recommendations. Improvements may include reorganizing room layouts, equipment upgrades or airflow management devices. JEM also provides hardware and software that analyzes power consumption down to each outlet. Knowing the amount of power servers the customer is using can help determine what equipment can be better utilized or consolidated. JEM can help companies eliminate 30 percent in energy costs, resulting in significant savings.
- Model of OneMacomb: Arts Academy in the Woods High School, Fraser
Arts Academy in the Woods is a free public high school where students can major in the fine and performing arts while also fulfilling their academic requirements. They promote racial, cultural and gender diversity, and this is reflected in the makeup of their student body. Since their founding, hundreds of students who were uncomfortable fitting in at other schools have felt welcomed and accepted in this school community. Arts Academy in the Woods begins each school year with a three-day diversity training for new students which is led by current students. Here, students develop a cultural awareness and respect that will benefit them for a lifetime.
- Startup Business to Watch: United Shore Professional Baseball League, Utica
USPBL is the first professional independent baseball league in Southeast Michigan. The league’s inaugural season in 2016 featured three teams: Utica Unicorns, Eastside Diamond Hoppers and Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers. USPBL attracted more than 225,000 fans during its first season at Jimmy John’s Field. Starting the league was a Herculean task that included working with city and county officials, securing corporate sponsors, constructing a state-of-the-art stadium, designing team logos and uniforms, hiring more than 400 employees, marketing and launching a baseball finishing school. USPBL has significant plans for growth in the future including a fourth team next season and additional stadiums in the future.
In addition to the above-mentioned awards, Rea also recognized Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! as the Economic Development Partner of the Year. The Beacon of Economic Development award was presented to Dr. Jim Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College.
Fox 2 Detroit’s Huel Perkins and Charlie Langton served as co-emcees. Keynote speaker Richard Sheridan, founder, CEO and chief storyteller for Menlo Innovations, spoke about joy, creativity and human energy in the workplace. Digital First Media Publisher Jeannie Parent presented how to leverage the local media through successful partnerships. This event was sponsored by Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, along with support from Advancing Macomb, Automation Alley and First State Bank.
Macomb’s Memories: The Story of Willis Miller
For Your Benefit
Share Your Carrot
Calendar of Events
March for Babies
Click for a pdf version of Macomb Matters.
You may have heard that Selfridge Air National Guard Base is being considered as a site for the F-35 Lightning II, the military's new 5th Generation fighter. In an effort to encourage this decision, just yesterday, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Macomb County officials, along with a group of dedicated community partners, announced the launch of MIF35.org, a website designed to highlight all the benefits Selfridge and the community would realize if the base is able to secure the arrival of the F-35.
Over the next six months, the county will be working hand in hand with the state of Michigan, the Michigan Defense Center, our congressional delegation, local legislators and defense partners in, and around, southeast Michigan to showcase Selfridge. We hope you will join in this effort.
Additionally, last Tuesday, Feb. 14, Macomb County hosted two events we should be proud of. The first was our fifth annual Macomb Business Awards, put together by our Planning and Economic Development Department.
Business leaders (nearly 400!) from across the region attended the breakfast event, held at Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. Every year, the event seems to grow and gain notoriety; several local media attended and wrote positive stories.
The Macomb Business Awards recognized some of Macomb County’s top-performing businesses, including the 52 organizations nominated for one of six awards. The county’s Economic Development Partner of the Year was also honored at the event. The Macomb Business Awards offer recognition to companies who are achieving success in building a strong workforce, tapping new markets to increase revenue, implementing efficiency controls, cultivating a workplace welcoming to all, or giving back to the community. Read our press release on the event to see the list of winners.
Meanwhile, in the lobby of the Administration Building, Healthstyles hosted a Go Red Heart Healthy event. From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., there was a variety of activities to encourage county employees to live heart-healthy lifestyles. There was a healthy breakfast, plus lunch and snacks available, and several speakers throughout the day. Representatives from county insurance companies were there to answer questions, plus there were giveaways and other freebies. February is the month the American Heart Association launches its Go Red for Women initiative. The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. I am happy that Healthstyles ensures our employees have a way to connect with the correct and most up-to-date health information.
You may recall that we posted a survey in the last Macomb Matters. We got great feedback from many of you and, based on your suggestions, we have decided to add a new section. It was brought to our attention that county employees are often asked by neighbors or family members for help in identifying which department or program they should contact about a particular issue. Many said they know what their department does, but, sometimes, aren’t quite sure what others are responsible for. The goal of this new section, Department Highlight, hopes to remedy that by explaining the particulars of the many departments that help run this county run and provide much-needed services to our residents. If you have a program or department you’d like to see highlighted in Macomb Matters, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah Cormier, Macomb County Executive Office
We have decided to add a new feature to Macomb Matters which will highlight a different program or department in Macomb County. The goal of this section is to help educate employees on what various sectors within county government do.
This month, we will be focusing on the Weatherization Assistance Program, which falls under the Community Development Department of Macomb Community Action. It seems most appropriate to write about this topic while it's winter, when many of its services are most relevant. Email email@example.com if there is a department you'd like to see featured!
Macomb Community Action is a huge department in and of itself – 290 employees. It is divided into two main divisions: Community Development and Office of Senior Services. Community Development focuses on serving and empowering low-income individuals and families in Macomb County. Under Community Development, there are six programs: Community and Emergency Services, Weatherization Assistance, Home Rehabilitation, the Food Program, Head Start and Financial Empowerment.
In Charge: Steve Schuster has been with the Weatherization Assistance Program since 1998. He became the program manager in 2014. Prior to his promotion, Steve was a shift supervisor. The Weatherization Assistance Program just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.
Location: VerKuilen Building, suite #10
21885 Dunham Road
Number of employees: Currently, there are seven employees in the Weatherization Program.
Description of program/department: Weatherization provides low-income families with an opportunity to have their home become more energy efficient through federal grant funds. Services include wall insulation, air leakage reduction and furnace repair/replacement. Services are free to those who qualify.
Goal of the program: The goal of the Weatherization Program is to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households. By increasing the energy efficiency of the residence, occupants realize lower utility costs along with a more comfortable home.
Triumphs: The Weatherization Program was a recipient of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The program increased staff and production to levels that were five times that of previous years. During the three-year span of ARRA funding, the Weatherization Program weatherized more than 2,000 Macomb County homes.
Additional info: How to learn more, such as additional services or eligibility requirements: Call (586) 469-6329 or visit http://mca.macombgov.org/MCA-CommunityDevelopment-Preservation.
By Sarah Cormier, Macomb County Executive Office
Every office – hopefully – has that one person they know they can count on to keep things running smoothly, to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed.
In the county’s Community Corrections department, that person would be Mania Majewski.
“Mania really is the glue that holds our department together,” said Barbara Caskey, director of Community Corrections."
As Majewski describes it, she is the computer maintenance operator for the department. Community Corrections’ goal is to relieve prison and jail overcrowding through court-approved sentencing alternatives. For example, non-violent offenders may be placed into community sanctions, rather than in jail or prison, to allow for corrections space for more serious offenders. Some of the rehabilitative and monitoring options provided through Community Corrections include substance abuse inpatient and outpatient treatment, monitoring services, substance use testing, community service work, cognitive programming and pre-trial release supervision.
As computer maintenance operator, Majewski is technically responsible for running background checks on potential users of the Community Corrections system to make sure they are eligible - as in, considered nonviolent - to be placed in any of the above-mentioned programs. She also assists with providing computer software support.
Majewski estimates Community Corrections oversees the logistics of the 300-400 people a month who are utilizing the programs.
“Everyone here works together really well,” said Mania. “This makes it easy when we have a group like that.”
Caskey said Majewski does much more than her job description states.
“From supply and IT issues to communication with the courts and jail office, we are so fortunate to have her,” said Caskey. “She continues to identify ways to make our office more efficient and explore what can be done rather than what's always been done. On top of this, Mania is the kind of person you want to spend your work days with, making Community Corrections a better place for everyone.”
Majewski, who has worked for Community Corrections for nearly four years, has similar respect for Caskey.
“We have a great boss that keeps it all together and keeps us informed and that helps,” she said.
Majewski, who is an avid boater, has an associate’s degree in business management, with a minor in criminal justice. She said she enjoys the unique aspect of criminal justice Community Corrections allows for, which is assisting individuals instead of punishing them.
“We actually are helping people, helping them to change their lives,” she said.
By Cynthia S. Donahue, Facilities and Operations
Willis Miller was thought to be the first African-American to live in Mount Clemens. He and his wife were also the first mixed-race couple to reside in the city. Little is known of his early years other than he was born in Tennessee around 1848, worked as a coachman in the south and a waiter at a St. Louis hotel while making his way north after the Civil War.
On Dec. 12, 1880, he was married at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Lafayette in Detroit to Jennie, a Scottish lassie from Ottawa, Canada. Marriage records state that her last name was McKenzie, while cemetery records list her maiden name as MacDonald. The couple were married by the Rev. Dolphin Pernanders Roberts, another interesting African-American, who received a degree from the Quaker’s (Protestant group) Spiceland University, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the National Medical College and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University.
Michigan’s interracial marriage laws did not allow the marriage of different races until 1883; that may be why the couple’s “return of marriage,” or marriage documents, list Willis’s race as “C,” with Jennie’s race merely showing a ditto mark below his. Their marriage being interracial is proven by census records listing Jennie as “white”; her death certificate reads the same. Additionally, their only son, Willie, was recorded as being mulatto in both census records and his death certificate.
Willis lived in Mount Clemens for 50 years, and worked first at the Avery Hotel as a waiter, and then at the Park Hotel as a bath attendant for many, many years. His obituary describes him as a devout man of virtue, and a man of many charitable kindnesses to both indigent “white folks” and those of his own race.
Willis is pictured above on the far left with the Mount Clemens Base Ball Club in 1917 in Gaylord, Michigan. The team was started by Harry Stevens who moved to Mount Clemens to manage the semi-pro championship team that played after the close of the big league season. The team included many Detroit Tigers as well as locals such as Romeo’s Frank Bowerman who played for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Doves.
Willis and Jennie’s only son Willie was born in Mount Clemens in 1881 and worked as a musician in the hotels; he died of tuberculosis at the age of 31 in Pontiac in 1912. Jennie died in 1922 from hemophilia, and Willis died May 28, 1930, from heart disease. The family is buried together in Clinton Grove Cemetery on Cass Avenue.
Willis left a sizable estate for the time - $9,300, which included stock in the Macomb Theater, and two homes; one at 144 Front Street (later called Broadway) and one at 164 North Walnut in Mount Clemens. Sylvie Sierens, his housekeeper, was the special administrator and sole inheritor of his estate; she was a Belgium immigrant who lived on Crocker, and the widow of Alfons Sierens. Sylvie paid Gustave Schalm, a local paperhanger and painter, $240.62 to paint the exterior of both houses and paper the kitchen and bathroom of the Front Street residence. By 1932, she had moved into the Millers’ old residence with her son Johnny on Front Street, then into the North Walnut home in 1935.
Willis Miller saw many changes in his life; he lived thru both the Civil War, the American-Indian wars, the Spanish-American War and World War I. He witnessed the birth of electricity, the telephone and the automobile. Little is known about his life; he is mentioned in local library transcripts for running a taxi service in the 1920s, and being the only African-American working at the hotels in the early days. He led a simple yet productive life, and left his mark on those who knew him. Enroot to Michigan, he traveled through many communities before he decided to make Macomb his home.
By Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations
Are you ready for retirement? Macomb County offers employees the opportunity to participate in our 457 Plan. A 457 Plan is a type of non-qualified, tax-advantaged, deferred-compensation retirement plan that is available for governmental and certain non-governmental employers in the United States. The employer provides the plan and the employee defers compensation on a pre-tax basis. Our 457 Plan is managed by Vanguard.
Vanguard offers the following answers to the question – why should I join?
• It's easy. Money is deducted from your paycheck automatically.
• You get tax breaks. That means that you could pay less in taxes today.
• You'll save more money.
To enroll today, or at any time, visit the Human Resources & Labor Relations website at http://insidemacomb.macombgov.org/hr, click Voluntary Benefits & access the 457 Deferred Compensation Link to complete the Vanguard enrollment form.
It is important to note that the completed enrollment form must be faxed or mailed to Vanguard in order to begin payroll deductions.
Did you know that you can earn extra CARROT Reward Points just for sharing the app with your friends and co-workers? Using the “Refer & Earn” option allows you to be rewarded for sharing CARROT (you can find “Refer & Earn” by tapping on the CARROT menu button).
Once you do that, you'll be given the opportunity to share a direct link to the CARROT Wellness app via text, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Each time one of your friends uses your link to install the app for the first time, you’ll receive 1,000 reward points – and your friend will get 1,000 points, too! There's no limit to the number of points you can receive for referring CARROT, so start sharing today!
By Macomb County Animal Control
The Animal Control Department would like to remind our fellow county workers that February is National Pet Dental Health Month. This entire month we are collecting donations to raise money for dental procedures for homeless pets while hoping to raise awareness about pet dental health. Bad breath and tooth decay can be signs of serious health conditions and should be addressed with your vet during regular checkups.