In This Issue....
Executive Message: The "New" Macomb County
2013 Blue Economy Events
New Vision for Macomb County Animal Shelter
Collaboration a Success in Macomb County
"Home in Macomb Business Retention Program" Nets Big Results in 2012
Two named to represent Macomb County on Regional Transit Authority Board
Make Macomb Your Home Launches New Blog
Four Companies Honored at First-Ever Macomb Business Awards
Department of Roads Construction Season Schedule
The "New" Macomb County
By: Mark Hackel, County Executive
Macomb Community College recently released a study called "The New Macomb County". The focus was on the latest census results and the changing demographics of Macomb County. The message is we're becoming a destination community for many cultures and ethnicities. Our highly attractive quality of life has made Macomb the fastest growing county in Michigan. We're adding more new residents per day than any other county in the state. With our population growing, these are exciting times for Macomb County and we have the opportunity to define our future. As we welcome our new neighbors, we are also embracing new opportunities that are coming to everyone in our county. We've created new programs and initiatives that will progress Macomb into prosperity. These efforts are paying dividends. Along with our population, our economy is also growing and diversifying. Since voters implemented the new executive form of government, more than 10,000 new jobs have been added in our county, driving our unemployment down from 12.5 percent to 9.9. This is great news for our local families and communities. The buzz created by the Make Macomb Your Home campaign is putting Macomb in a spotlight like never before. Our Blue Economy Initiative is creating new opportunities to utilize our great water resources within Macomb County. Local municipalities are partnering with us to better deliver services and the business community has been enthusiastic about investing in our home. Together we are all working to build a brighter future to Macomb. I'm proud of the direction we're heading and also the direction we've come from. As the arsenal of innovation we're renowned for our auto and manufacturing roots. While our economy is evolving demand for what we design and build here in Macomb is growing. Sales and profits are up for our local manufacturers, and quality has never been higher. One of the highlights of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the announcement of the Car and Truck of the Year awards. This year, both went to vehicles with Macomb County roots. The Cadillac ATS, designed here in Warren, was voted Car of the Year and the Dodge Ram 1500 built here in the county won Truck of the Year. Welcome to the "new Macomb County". We are growing. We are innovating. These are exciting times to be here.
2013 Blue Economy Events
By: Gerard Santoro, Program Manager Blue Economy Initiative
Building on the momentum of a highly successful 2012, we will be bringing back a great line-up of Blue Economy events and adding some exciting new ones. Last year, the inaugural Sprint and Splash had over 160 participants and the turnout to AquaPalooza exceeded expectations. These events and others represented a great opportunity for people to recreate and relax on Lake St. Clair. Here are a number of events to look forward to in 2013:
Nautical Nibble Fest:
Restaurants in St. Clair Shores and the surrounding communities will participate in the Nautical Nibble at Blossom Heath. This event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra. (Thursday, May 2nd www.nauticalmile.org )
18th Annual Nautical Coast Clean-Up:
This 100% volunteer event has gathered over 576 tons of debris from the Lake St. Clair shoreline. Once again, they are encouraging everyone to join their efforts to clean the beaches and shoreline of Lake St. Clair. This year's clean-up sites include Veteran's Memorial Park beach, Blossom Heath Park beach, the Champine Park shoreline and the Chapaton Retention Basin shoreline in St. Clair Shores. (Sunday, May 19th www.nauticalmile.org)
National Marina Day, Celebrate the Lake and DNR Free Fishing Weekend:
Co-sponsored by MacRay Harbor, MacRay Harbor Yacht Club, Clinton River Watershed Council and the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, this third annual celebration is for all ages. Informative presentations will be given in the exhibit tents at MacRay which are open to the public. The Michigan DNR is also sponsoring Free Fishing days on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. (www.TourLakeStClair.org , www.michigan.gov/dnr , www.macray.com)
Sprint and Splash at Lake St. Clair:
The Second Annual Sprint and Splash at Lake St. Clair will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, Michigan. Just like last year, the event will offer three options for participation:
- Duathlon: 5K Run and 2 Mile Kayak (please note this race can be done as an individual or as a two-person relay team)
- Family-friendly 5K Fun Run & Walk
- Stand Up Paddleboarding Competition: 2 Mile Recreational Race or 6 Mile WPA Sanctioned Race
Participants can register online at www.SprintandSplash.com. Those who register before April 1st will receive an early registration discount. The event benefits three non-profit organizations: the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, the Clinton River Watershed Council and Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy. For more information visit www.SprintandSplash.com.
Bay-Rama Fish Fly Festival:
This is New Baltimore's biggest annual event that draws crowds from all over the region. The Fish-fly festival (appropriately named because the month of June in town brings tons of fish flies) is a huge happening with rides, beer tents, games and fireworks. The festival runs from Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 23. Visit www.cityofnewbaltimore.com for more information.
This is an annual four-day festival along the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores. Events include: Car Cruise & Bike Night (Thursday, July 18), Casino Night, which benefits Wigs 4 Kids (Friday, July 19), Dinghy Poker Run hosted by the Nautical Yacht Club (Saturday, July 20), and a Sunrise Service at Jefferson Beach Gazebo on Sunday, July 21. Visit www.nauticalmile.org for more details.
Sea Ray's AquaPalooza returns to the shores of MacRay Harbor for the largest boat gathering of the summer. Boaters and non-boaters alike are invited to participate in this family-friendly event. Games, entertainment, food and more will be present for all to enjoy. (Saturday, July 27 – Sunday, July 28)
Bass Masters Elite Championship Series at Lake St. Clair Metropark:
he 2013 Elite season wraps up at the metropark with the Lake St. Clair Championship. The tournament runs from Thursday, August 22 to Sunday, August 25. Visit www.TourLakeStClair.org for more information.
New Vision for Macomb County Animal Shelter
By: Jeff Randazzo, Macomb County Animal Shelter Care and Control Manager
Macomb County residents are passionate about their love of animals. As Macomb County's new Animal Care and Control Manager for the Animal Shelter, my role is to ensure that the county provides the best possible care to our animals and to make the adoption process as seamless as possible. The Macomb County Animal Shelter is focusing on new ways to approach the care and safety of animals in the county by engaging those passionate about animal welfare. A priority of mine since joining the animal shelter has been to develop a strategic direction centered on three main areas: improving the physical and emotional health of animals, improving our community relations and improving our pathway protocols. The most important step we are taking is to provide the highest quality care to animals in the shelter. This involves making some adjustments to our processes. We're working to become more efficient with our intake process, make improvements to our cleaning protocols, and even taking basic steps such as separating the cats from the dogs. We are also working hard to improve our community relations. Our staff will receive increased training in both animal behavior and customer service. We're going to implement a staff and officer dress code so it will be obvious to the public that they are working with an animal control officer.We're also looking to partner with scout troops and schools to provide meaningful opportunities for community service while benefitting our animals.
Improving our pathway protocols is also a key focus area. We want to make returns to owners a smoother process. We will utilize technology and promote license compliance to better unite animals with their proper owners. Leveraging social media and other communication methods will help us to improve the adoption process by creating better matches and increasing exposure for our animals in need of a good home. Some 30 animal rights and rescue groups attended the announcement of the Pets Make Macomb Their Home event, and their input will be a valuable asset in helping us continue to improve. Executive Hackel has also made the treatment of animals a part of his agenda as well. This collaboration will help ensure that animals as well as people are always welcome and safe in Macomb County.
Collaboration a Success in Macomb County
By: Pamela Lavers, Assistant County Executive
Collaboration in Macomb County with our 27 communities is not a new concept, but recognition and celebration for it is. For the second year, County Executive Mark Hackel has honored 11 local communities for working together to provide services in a more efficient and economical way. The communities that were recognized spanned the entire geography of the county. The City of Center Line was recognized for cross-training public works employees as firefighters to help with fire response. In the northern end of the County, Armada and other townships participate with the Macomb Agricultural Purchase of Development Rights Committee in a cooperative effort between the local communities that allows landowners the ability to preserve their property as farmland. Collaboration takes on many forms and Macomb County prides itself on sharing resources to help strengthen connections between local governmental agencies, schools, families and businesses. Other great examples of collaborative efforts in which the County participates include our new strategic county emergency operations command center, Macomb Area Communities for Regional Opportunities (MACRO) a taskforce of Macomb's largest communities joining forces to implement service sharing, and our Planning & Economic Development Department contracting services to local communities. Macomb County's culture provides an environment to offer a lending hand, a willingness to welcome opportunities and supports an openness to listen to ideas. Whether it is local government partnering with local government, local government with county government, interagency collaboration, or public-private partnerships, Macomb County is available to discuss and assist with opportunities, ideas and suggestions that you may have. Again, congratulations to the communities recognized this year, those communities that have collaborated in the past and those planning to in the future.
"Home in Macomb Business Retention Program"nets big results in 2012
By: Stephen Cassin, Director Planning & Economic Development
Experienced business owners recognize the importance of maintaining ongoing communications with their customer base. In Macomb County, almost 85% of new jobs are created by companies already making Macomb County their home. With this in mind, the department launched the "Home in Macomb Business Retention Program"last January. The program offers targeted services to help existing Macomb County companies achieve their goals for growth. The department now has dedicated staff working exclusively to assist existing Macomb County companies. Our target is "second-stage"manufacturing firms with nine or more employees, more than a million dollars in revenue and a desire to grow. The department offers access to a wide range of business development services including incentives and alternative financing; employee recruitment and training programs; market research; site selection assistance when considering expansion opportunities; and general business consulting services. In 2012, department clients invested more than $164 million in new equipment and facilities resulting in the retention of 3,450 jobs and the creation of 1,260 new ones. Highlights include:
- AGS Automotive, a Canadian-based supplier that specializes in engineering, metal stamping, plating, painting and bumper system design and assembly, expanded its square footage in Sterling Heights. They expanded their presence in Macomb County by acquiring and renovating a 350,000 square foot facility. The company was able to access local and state incentives, along with employee recruitment and training services.
- Tax incentives available through Michigan's Tool & Die Recovery Zone enabled Baker Aerospace of Macomb Township to invest more than $10 million in an expansion that will create up to 170 jobs.
- Fori Automation is a global designer and supplier of the machinery that makes advanced manufacturing possible. Several years ago, it turned its attention to expanding its customer base to include defense, aerospace, agriculture and recreational vehicles. They were able to access employee recruitment, employee training, tax incentive, expedited permitting and utility services. Success in tapping these resources resulted in an expansion of its world headquarters in Shelby Township.
To see the full report, click 2012 Economic Impact Report. Our team of business development specialists can connect you to available programs and services to help your company achieve its growth goals. We want you to continue to make your Home in Macomb! Get in touch -- we can grow together.
Two named to represent Macomb County on Regional Transit Authority Board
By: Melissa Roy, Assistant County Executive
Southeast Michigan's new Regional Transit Authority will make public transportation in our region more efficient and reliable and serve as both a way to unite our communities and spur economic development. Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw Counties must each appoint two members to the board to govern the new system. Macomb County has chosen as its board members Julie Gatti, President-Elect of the Macomb County Bar Association and Roy Rose, President and CEO of Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc. to represent the county on the Regional Transit Authority Board. Their representation on this board is important to ensure the structure of the new system will enhance the mobility of Macomb county and the region. Perhaps even bigger than the face value of a new transit system, however, is the value of leveraged regional assets and the county's stake in those assets. There are approximately 4.5 million people in the six-county Detroit region, which is estimated to have a $200 billion economic output. This makes our region one of the top in the U.S. In Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties alone, however, there are over 130 communities. If we manage our assets at the community level, it greatly diminishes the resources, magnitude and impact these assets can have. Top notch and value-priced big-ticket items such as convention centers, water systems, utility systems, educational systems, cultural amenities and transportation make regions attractive and thriving. The last few years have proven that these assets need proper financial and management guidance. By changing the management to a regional structure, these assets and amenities not only have greater leverage, but are also more accountable to all of the communities that they serve. This is a great opportunity to transform our current transit service to something that will attract new residents, move workers to jobs and provide a jolt to our economy. Thank you , Julie and Roy, for your commitment to make this possible.
Additionally, Executive Hackel will name a community advisory group to garner feedback from constituents. For more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Macomb Your Home Launches New Blog
By: Nick Posavetz, Department of Planning & Economic Development
The Make Macomb Your Home initiative has been a success in raising the profile of Macomb County. Through the use of targeted billboards, television commercials, movie theater previews, social media and a content rich website a large audience both inside and outside of Macomb County has been exposed to the positive features that make Macomb a great place to live, work and play. The new Make Macomb Your Home Blog is the latest addition to the MMYH toolbox. The goal of the blog is to create an opportunity for the Make Macomb Your Home experience to become more interactive and personal. Providing the MMYH audience with a voice to tell their story about what MMYH means to them adds tremendous value to the initiative. The strength of the MMYH message has always been that the content is genuine. By distributing content directly from those who experience it firsthand adds even more credibility. In addition, visitors will now hear directly from sources highlighting businesses, events, individuals, organizations. By providing fresh content, we expect to not only grow the MMYH brand to new audiences but to better retain and engage our existing audience. The new blog joins other great ways to express your support. Anyone can help build the image and brand of Macomb County by doing things such as sharing the MMYH website, www.MakeMacombYourHome.com, with your contacts or becoming a fan and joining the conversation on MMYH social media. You can check out the new blog by visiting the MMYH webpage. If you're interested in telling your story, you can do so here. Or you can share the link with friends who have a story to tell.
Planning & Economic Development Department hosts first-ever Macomb Business Awards
By: Maria Zardis, Business Outreach & Communications
Nearly 300 people gathered on February 12 to celebrate the first-ever Macomb Business Awards. Launched late last year as part of the new "Home in Macomb Business Retention Program,"the awards program was designed as a way to celebrate the nearly 18,000 businesses that employ more than 280,000 people in Macomb. Offered in just four categories, the awards program featured an online application process. In all, 49 nominations were received and then reviewed by a panel of judges that included Department Executive Director Stephen N. Cassin, Macomb Community College President Dr. Jim Jacobs, Executive Editor for Crain's Detroit Business Cindy Goodaker and First State Bank President Gene Lovell. A recipient in each category was named during the awards breakfast and received an impressive crystal award:
- "Energy Efficiency Expert"went to General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights. Recently awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, their Sterling Heights facility has been converted to so that 100% of its annual electrical load comes from renewable sources. Other efforts to reduce energy included improvements to HVAC systems and motion-sensor LED lighting. Their efforts have resulting in a documented savings of more than $1,100,000 (and counting!)
- "Champion of Workforce Development"was presented to IBEW-NECA Electrical Industry Training Center. With more than 4,500 members throughout southeastern Michigan, the center provides a foundation of training for the trade through apprenticeship programs. In addition, they offer a variety of sector-specific continuing education programs enabling members to diversify their skills base while serving changing market needs throughout the region.
- Omega Plastics of Clinton Township was named "Corporate Citizen"for their efforts to engage employees in serving the greater good. With a dedicated associate to oversee special projects, they are strong supporters of the Hope Center, donate backpacks and schools supplies for children throughout the area, offer space in their building to a faith-based counseling agency and frequently collect food and other needed items for those less fortunate.
- "Diversification Leader"was awarded to Fori Automation of Shelby Township, a developer and builder of advanced manufacturing machinery for the automotive industry for nearly 30 years. With successful operations in locations throughout the globe, the company engaged a strategic plan to expand the types of industries it serves. As a result, they recently dedicated a new 19,000 square foot building to serve their growing customers in aerospace, agriculture and recreational vehicles.
Also named the "Economic Development Partner of the Year"was Macomb Community College.Citing a partnership that goes back nearly 25 years, the college was recognized for its longstanding collaborative efforts to identify and develop training programs to meet the needs of today's employers. Macomb's entrepreneurial training programs have also been instrumental in helping new businesses begin with a strong foundation. "The Macomb Business Awards program was a great way to celebrate the many businesses that have made Macomb their home,"said Department Director Stephen N. Cassin. "I hope learning more about the unique ways that each nominated company worked to increase their bottom line while supporting our community at large was an inspiration for everyone who attended."The breakfast event was held at the Best Western Sterling Inn Banquet and Conference Center. Huel Perkins, Anchor for WJBK Fox 2 served as master of ceremonies. Mario Impemba, voice of the Detroit Tigers for Fox Sports Detroit, delivered a rousing keynote address related to the value of building an effective team. Thanks to the support of many sponsors, 100 percent of the direct expenses for the program were covered. Were you there? Please be a part of making next year's event even better by completing a quick survey.
Department of Roads Construction Season
By: Bob Hoepfner, Director of Roads
The Macomb County Department of Roads has another productive construction season planned for 2013, with two large-scale projects already underway. Once completed, these infrastructure improvements provide welcome relief to motorists and enhance the appeal of Macomb County as a whole. Some of the larger projects scheduled this year include:
- Auburn Road will be closed to through traffic (local residential/business traffic only) between Dequindre and Ryan for reconstruction. The project kicked off February 4 and is expected to run through July.
- Work on the 23 Mile Road bridge replacement over the Clinton River began last month with the closure of 23 Mile Road just west of the bridge to North Avenue. This project is expected to run through August. Suggested detour routes for both of these projects are posted on the Roads Department website.
- In addition to the 23 Mile Road bridge replacement, three areas in Macomb Township will also have gravel roads paved.
- Hayes Road widening from just north of 21 Mile to north 23 Mile Road. Construction is expected to begin in June and will last through September.
- Van Dyke widening will also continue northward from 25 Mile to 26 Mile in Shelby Township this spring, as well as the widening of Van Dyke from 26 Mile to West Road in Washington Township this summer.
- Motorists traveling through the City of Warren will see improvements to 10 Mile from Hayes to Groesbeck and 12 Mile from Hoover to Schoenherr being completed this summer as well.
Bike path construction will also continue this year with a concrete bike path along Wellington Crescent through Shadyside Park on the Clinton River in Mt. Clemens and Clinton Township. An asphalt bike path from Auburn Road in Utica will also be constructed following the edge of the Clinton River northward to connect up to the Riverbends Park path in Shelby Township. The full list of all construction projects is also available at the Road Department website by clicking here.