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Office of County Executive
Mark A. Hackel

Executive Focus Newsletter Winter 2014

Mark's Message
OneMacomb builds a more welcoming community in 2014
Traffic Operations Center makes worldwide debut in 2014
COMTEC a flood of activity in 2014
Award-winning Medical Reserve Corps supports Macomb County Health Department
Department of Roads has busy 2014
Roads: The basics of government
Macomb County to recognize outstanding businesses

Mark's Message

By Mark A. Hackel, Macomb County Executive 

Last week we held our fourth annual Macomb County State of the County Address at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. With over 1,200 attendees (at capacity!), it was our most successful State of the County yet. Our afterglow party, Taste of Macomb, had 32 participating restaurants, also a record number.

The speech this year focused on Macomb County’s last four years with the executive form of government and how, since the charter was adopted, Macomb County has become more efficient, economical and ethical. We had to identify what we stood for, build an agenda, create a sense of pride, and, finally, we needed a call to action. Our self-made brand, Make Macomb Your Home, has evolved into a distinctive identity creating a new energy in Macomb County.

During these four years, Macomb County has become more diverse. We have added more than 23,000 new residents. That’s 16 people each day, on average, making Macomb their home. Through countywide initiatives like OneMacomb, we are leading the way by celebrating cultural diversity and inclusion.

Diversity isn’t just related to our residents, but also to our economy. Our economy is no longer linked to a single entity, but to a diverse network of industries that are transforming Macomb. Since 2009, Macomb has experienced a 39 percent job growth in manufacturing. Manufacturing in Macomb adds more than $10 billion to our economy, and our county exports more than $41 billion worth of products annually. This past year, 139 Macomb County companies fulfilled nearly two billion dollars in Department of Defense contracts. Local businesses such as Sturdy Grinding Company, Oakley Industries, Paslin Company and Yanfeng Automotive are also making large investments. Food and agricultural businesses are also flourishing in Macomb: Bosco’s Pizza Co., Achatz Handmade Pie Co., Safie Specialty Foods Co., Ethel's Edibles, Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Westview Orchards, Garden Fresh Gourmet, have had great success.

Fiscal integrity has become a mainstay of Macomb County government. We have produced four consecutive years of balanced budgets. We eliminated $60 million in budget shortfalls and added $26 million to our fund balance. We possess a Macomb government philosophy that emphasizes four things: empowerment, collaboration, fiscal integrity and the value of the region.

2015 holds a lot of excitement. The city of Utica will become home to Macomb County’s first multi-use community sports and entertainment complex. Our Blue Economy will continue to flourish – many marina operators report more Canadian and Ohio boats filling their guest wells. I am also proud to announce that next year, the finals for the Bassmaster Elite series will be held on Lake St. Clair. Obviously, next year we have a lot to look forward to.

Have a great holiday season everyone! See you in 2015!

OneMacomb builds a more welcoming community in 2014

By Pam Lavers, Assistant Macomb County Executive

OneMacomb is proud of our contributions this year in building a more welcoming community. OneMacomb was created to promote multiculturalism and inclusion efforts, strengthen our economy and look at best practices in how we deliver county services.

Macomb County’s demographics are dramatically changing. There are now 100 different languages spoken in our schools. We have initiated diversity training for our 2,400 employees to strengthen our commitment to provide tools to conduct business with people from different cultures. Diversity training is an investment in our employees as well as an investment in the future growth of our community.

We also created a Welcoming Center located inside the Macomb County Administration building, called the Bobby Hill Welcoming Center. Early next year we will complete the next phase, remodeling the space to provide exciting plans for content, programs and utilization.

OneMacomb hosted its first public meeting to expand from strictly a government effort to a community effort. Dozens of ideas for community projects were generated, and we’re looking forward to implementing many in the New Year. We partnered with the largest school district in the county, Utica Community Schools, and other agencies to provide a job fair for 500 English–language-learner adult students.

Recently, OneMacomb provided a citizen workshop partnering with the Detroit New Americans Campaign to help green card holders with the citizenship application process. OneMacomb also recently partnered with Public Sector Consultants to add questions on immigration attitudes to their statewide poll.

We also look forward to the Macomb Business Awards early next year where a new category called “Model of OneMacomb” will be added to the awards program on Feb. 10.

What we have learned….

Since the establishment of OneMacomb, executive committee members have reached out to numerous organizations such as ethnic chambers, law enforcement, school districts, welcoming communities, local municipalities and cultural groups to share our goals and find commonality in our mission. What we found is overwhelming support and confirmation that Macomb County residents are ready to move beyond old barriers which have kept us apart and build the “beloved community,” Dr. King often referenced. Whether we are standing at attention and brought to tears at a naturalization ceremony or listening to a sobering journey shared by a refugee, we manage to arrive at the same conclusion: It is our humanity – pursuit of happiness, health and wellbeing that unites us.

Please visit our website at to learn how you can get involved.

Traffic Operations Center makes worldwide debut in 2014

By John Abraham, Macomb County Department of Roads

The Traffic Operations Center within COMTEC had a very busy 2014 setting up standard operating procedures and working with our partners at the Emergency Operations Center. We also welcomed the third partner – the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office dispatch onto the COMTEC operations floor.

A special highlight this year was our participation in the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) World Congress in downtown Detroit. Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) Traffic Operations Center (TOC) shone brightly at a mockup of our center at Cobo Hall. We also held tours to our own Communications and Technology (COMTEC) Center. The world was watching! During the week of World Congress, MCDR hosted 71 professionals from 17 countries representing all six inhabited continents in five total tours of COMTEC. This effort required the teamwork of our entire staff, working in multiple locations and serving in various ways. For photos of the tours, visit our Flickr site at

This year, utilization of the COMTEC control room increased for planned and unplanned event monitoring and traffic management in real time. Prior to World Congress, members of the MCDR TOC staff also provided support during the semi-annual Selfridge Air Base and National Guard Airshow. Operations engineers prepared a detailed traffic plan for the event and operations technicians provided live traffic monitoring during the weekend via streaming video from various traffic cameras. After World Congress, MCDR and TOC staff also assisted real-time traffic management and monitoring for the Christmas tree lighting for the Mall at Partridge Creek. Additionally, TOC staff were able to reroute traffic to reduce congestion around road closures during the flood emergency in August.

MCDR engineers and ITS technicians collaborated with the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Southeast Michigan Transportation Operations Center (SEMTOC) staff to complete 24 new timing plans and infrastructure upgrades for the forthcoming operation of the state’s first Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) system in Macomb County along I-696. This project allows interstate traffic to be redirected to surface, arterial roads in the event of unplanned traffic events. MCDR Operations also now communicate with SEMTOC staff and local media partners daily regarding traffic conditions via a social media chat room. Additionally, MCDR operations technicians monitor Google heat maps showing average travel speeds along arterial routes and incident postings on the COMTEC video wall – which Sheriff’s dispatch have found beneficial for the most efficient routing of officers.

COMTEC a flood of activity in 2014

By Vicki Wolber, Macomb County Emergency Management

It is hard to believe that it has almost been a year since the grand opening of COMTEC was held on Dec. 20, 2013.  While 2013 was the year for seeing our physical dreams take life, in 2014 we have been able to play out our actual department operations and see our visions become reality.

By the end of January 2014, three of the four planned departments for COMTEC were fully moved in and operational:  Emergency Management, Information Technology and the Road Department’s Traffic Operations Center.  In August of 2014, the last, but certainly not least, partner department moved into COMTEC:  Sheriff’s Dispatch.  Due to the criticality of the E 9-1-1 dispatch function, it was necessary to wait for the relocation of this office until the entire primary and redundant communication systems were in place.

Over the course of the past year, COMTEC has proved its worth and lived up to its expectations.  The center has provided over 50 tours of the facility educating our public and private partners on the critical services that we provide to the community.  We are a center for community meetings, business ventures and even played host to over 100 local, national and international visitors who attended the 2014 ITS World Congress held in the city of Detroit.

COMTEC has played an active role in real-life emergencies including the August 2014 flood event for which a Presidential Disaster Declaration was declared for the county.  County personnel and COMTEC resources played a vital role in this emergency by being able to monitor flood water conditions, close roads and host a hotline for flood victims to call for information.  Personnel at COMTEC were also able to play a role to a bank robbery that occurred in Clinton Township and an assault in Mount Clemens.  These three incidents are real-life examples where the personnel, technology and equipment provided at COMTEC have made a positive difference in our community by providing real-time information that is quickly and easily shared amongst different agencies, resulting in better and faster service and the appropriation of the right resources at the right time.

Our state-of-the-art center continues to amaze employees and visitors alike.  It is expected that 2015 will bring more advances to our center and a greater interest in our services as we continue to provide exceptional benefits to our community, provide strong leadership and strive to be the best.

Award-winning Medical Reserve Corps supports Macomb County Health Department

By Steve Gold, Macomb County Health Department

In 2014, the Macomb County Health Department Medical Reserve Corps (MCHD MRC) was recognized by the National Association of Counties for a Best in Category Achievement Award, continuing its distinction as an exemplary citizen volunteer team.

After September 11, each of the nation’s more than 3,000 local health departments – mostly county health departments – found itself with new responsibilities in the sphere of Emergency Preparedness. Although local public health had experience with mass vaccination clinics in the form of large-scale seasonal flu clinics, and were accustomed to providing information and guidance when flooding and other potential contamination events occurred, most public health professionals at the county level gave little thought or attention to bioterrorism.

The federal government began sending a stream of funds to state health departments to assure readiness at both the state and county levels to cope with a broad range of health-related emergencies.  Each local health department was required to name an emergency preparedness coordinator and begin purchasing supplies and equipment, developing protocols and procedures, training staff, and coordinating with private and nonprofit sector agencies such as businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. The goal was to be ready for just about any sort of health-related emergency that required a response outside the four walls of a hospital. Another aspect of these efforts, one which was not mandatory but optional, was the creation of a Medical Reserve Corps at the Health Department. At the national level, the Medical Reserve Corps is “a network of local groups of volunteers committed to improving the health, safety, and resiliency of their communities.”

The MCHD MRC is a volunteer team that supports the health department during emergency and non-emergency events. The team is comprised of volunteers from both medical and non-medical backgrounds, and its members are trained to support the health department in its mission to “improve, promote, and protect the personal and environmental health of our residents and our communities.” The MCHD MRC currently has approximately 200 volunteers who have not only taken classroom training in the Incident Command System (among other things), but have also participated in exercises, drills and non-emergency events during the past three years.  Forecasting a need for volunteers during a public health emergency, the Macomb County Health Department created the team in order to fulfill staffing needs (for example, in the event of the need to operate around the clock). Volunteers are trained to be familiar in emergency processes specific to the health department and will be leaders alongside health department staff during a public health emergency.

The MCHD MRC was registered with the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (see in January of 2011 to address staffing concerns. The mission of the MCHD MRC is to “strengthen the community by recruiting non-medical and medical volunteers and training them to be ready and able to provide organized assistance to the Macomb County Health Department and surrounding communities in the event of a county-wide public health emergency, large-scale disaster, terrorist event, or disease outbreak.”

The program currently has 89 medically licensed volunteers and 105 non-medically trained volunteers. Through grant funding, Macomb County provides for the salary of the MCHD MRC coordinator and the basic office supplies and equipment necessary for the maintenance of the volunteer organization. The MCHD MRC collaborates with the Macomb County Office of Emergency Management, the Macomb Intermediate School District, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, Health Occupation Students of America, the Macomb Homeless Coalition, and Citizen Corps teams from across the state of Michigan. The national Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps provides guidance for the establishment of the MCHD MRC, and provides continuous support through their ListServ and other resources.

The ultimate objective of the MCHD MRC is to train enough volunteers to fully support the health department during a public health emergency. To keep volunteers engaged throughout the year, however, volunteers participate in non-emergency events. They have worked with Health Occupations Students of America to educate students about emergency preparedness, public health, and health occupations.  In January of 2014, volunteers assisted the Macomb Homeless Coalition with its annual Point in Time Count: a middle-of-the-night count of unsheltered homeless persons. Volunteers have been part of numerous exercises and drills hosted by Emergency Management, local hospital, Macomb County Health Department, and other volunteer agencies. For example, MCHD MRC volunteers were supplied with fake injuries, bandages, casts, etc., and acted in the role of victims for a full-scale SWAT Active Shooter exercise, supporting first responders by adding a realistic element to the training. Training includes but is not limited to the Incident Command System, first aid, CPR/AED, Blood Borne Pathogens, Risk Communication, Red Cross Psychology of Disaster, and Red Cross Psychological First Aid training.

The MCHD MRC team is currently planning for a Drive-Through Point of Dispensing exercise that will serve both as an exercise for members and as an educational resource for community participants. The team is also planning a Youth Emergency Preparedness Outreach Initiative: a jurisdiction-oriented, 40-minute long, interactive emergency preparedness presentation that they will present in fifth grade classrooms throughout the county. Surveys will be used to collect data that will measure the effectiveness of the presentations and the impact on community preparedness.

While supporting all traditional public health functions, the MCHD MRC team is social-media savvy. Going beyond creation of a website ( to serve both as a homepage for the public and as a portal for volunteers, the MCHD MRC has a Facebook page filled with information about emergency preparedness, public health and Macomb County. “Events” are also created on Facebook to further the health department’s reach into the community ( The MCHD MRC also connects with county residents and with partners from across the country using a Twitter account (

The MCHD MRC is truly an award-winning enterprise: A Capacity Building Award is provided annually to MRC units from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). The grant allows the program to purchase materials necessary for volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition.   In the past, this grant has purchased brochures, vests, backpacks, certificates, training materials, and conference fees. Over the past three years, more than $12,000 have been received from NACCHO for these purposes.

In addition, the MCHD MRC received a Challenge Award from NACCHO for 2014.  This Challenge Award will support the Youth Emergency Preparedness Outreach Initiative by providing $20,000 in funding to create and execute the program.

The national organization – the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps – recognized the MCHD MRC as the 12th most active unit in the country (out of 987 units) for the October 2012 to September 2013 year.

In December 2013, the MCHD MRC earned the 2013 Michigan Citizen Corps Team of the Year award, selected for that honor from the state’s more than 400 active teams.

Over the 35 months that the MCHD MRC has been active, its members have volunteered 6,974 hours, participating in three full-scale Point of Dispensing exercises and spending more than 200 hours working with the homeless population. Twenty-six volunteers are trained to open and run a shelter during an emergency.  Non-medical volunteers worked at 15 outreach flu vaccination clinics, many of which specifically targeted the elderly or homeless (vulnerable populations in Macomb County).

The MCHD MRC enhances the level of citizen participation in government programs by providing opportunities for citizens to volunteer with the health department and support the health department’s response during a public health emergency. The volunteers serve as health department ambassadors in Macomb County by educating businesses, families, and youth about emergency preparedness and public health. The program promotes intergovernmental cooperation in addressing shared problems by connecting to the national Medical Reserve Corps and Citizen Corps programs.

The MCHD MRC not only provides a creative approach to address public health emergency staffing problems, but it also serves a function outside of a public health emergency.  The number of recruits, national recognition and awards, and number of volunteer hours prove that the MCHD MRC has had a significant impact on Macomb County. Though the MCHD MRC is connected to the national Medical Reserve Corps network, the materials, procedures, and activities of the MCHD MRC are unique to Macomb County. Of the three health departments which comprise the Region 2 North Emergency Preparedness region, only Macomb County has a Medical Reserve Corps program.

Interested in joining the MCHD MRC? Contact Andrew Cox, MCHD Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, at or (586) 466-4135

Department of Roads has busy 2014

By Bob Hoepfner, Macomb County Department of Roads 

Road Projects: The Macomb County Department of Roads has completed an aggressive construction program in 2014 at a cost of over $43 million that included the following major road projects:

25 Mile reconstruction from Mound to Van Dyke

25 Mile resurfacing from Van Dyke to Schoenherr

24 Mile paving from Romeo Plank to Foss

Hayes Road widening from 21 Mile to 23 Mile

Metropolitan Parkway concrete repairs from the Clinton River Spillway to Gratiot

Mound Road northbound concrete repairs from 18 Mile to Hall Road

Mound Road paving from 28 Mile to 29 Mile

Mound Road concrete repairs for northbound lanes from 11 Mile to 14 Mile

Van Dyke widening from 25 Mile to 26 Mile

Pavement preservation project countywide at a cost of over $3 million

Bridge replacements at Hagen over Deer Creek, 33 Mile over Cemetery Creek, 33 Mile over Highbank Creek, Wolcott Road over Clinton River and Bordman over Coon Creek

Limestone applications to 12 miles of gravel roads in the northern six townships

Bike Paths: The Department of Roads has completed a hike/bike path in the city of Mount Clemens this year with the path building along Wellington Crescent, through Shadyside Park and MacArthur Park. The completion of the path through Riverbanks Park in the Shelby/Utica area is scheduled to begin in spring 2015. A pathway along North River Road from Bridgeview to MacRay’s in Harrison Township is now in the design phase with construction scheduled for 2015 as well.

Traffic Operations Center (TOC): The Department of Roads’ TOC has been open for one year now and is fully operational. Click here to read a separate story on the TOC.

Dashboards: In an effort to be 100 percent transparent, the Department of Roads now has all financial information on our website, including the 2014/2015 budget, details expenditures and a complete wage scale.

Complete Streets: The Department of Roads will incorporate complete streets concepts into all road and bridge construction projects whenever possible and cost effective. Complete streets are designed to allow road access to all people, no matter what their method of transportation. We will accommodate non-motorized users and meet all American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Roads: The basics of government

By Melissa Roy, Assistant Macomb County Executive

Let’s get funding for our roads! The one thing your legislator needs to hear before they take their final vote of 2014 is the overwhelming need to fix our roads. Michigan has the lowest per capita roads spending in the Great Lakes and it shows. The current legislature has been in office for two years and our roads have been in bad shape for …. well since anyone can remember. Take action! You can send an email in a matter of seconds through this link, or you can tweet about it using #justfixtheroads or you can show full dedication and sign the petition. Any way you express yourself will have an impact. Macomb County and our local communities have put our hard-earned resources into our infrastructure. We need the state to stand up and do their part.

Macomb County to recognize outstanding businesses

By Maria Zardis, Macomb County Planning & Economic Development

The third annual Macomb Business Awards breakfast event returns on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The celebration offers opportunities for companies of all sizes to be recognized for their efforts to succeed and grow. Nominations will be accepted until Dec. 10 in the following categories:

Champion of Workforce Development – utilizing innovative practices for hiring, training and retaining employees.

Corporate Citizen – meaningful community engagement through service and financial support.

Diversification Leader – success in generating new revenue through new industries and/or markets.

Efficiency Expert – success in increasing cash flow through process and/or energy efficiencies.

Startup Business of the Year – in operation for four years or less with more than two employees.

Model of OneMacomb – outstanding achievement in cultivating an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued.

“There are many businesses in Macomb County that are taking extra steps to ensure their continued viability and success,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “This program helps us to recognize them while sharing their best practices as an example for others.”

All nominated companies will be recognized at the event.

More information about the program and a nomination form is available at