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Office of County Executive
Mark A. Hackel

Executive Focus Newsletter Spring 2016

Mark's Message
Hit a home run with sponsorship opportunities available at new Jimmy John’s Field
Business is booming – an insider’s assessment of the 4th Annual Macomb Business Awards
Macomb Community Services Agency changes its name to Macomb Community Action
Sprint and Splash seeks business support
2016 Walk for Warmth a great success

Mark’s Message

By Mark A. Hackel, Macomb County Executive

Since my newsletter at the end of last year, we have added two new members to our Macomb County family who I know will contribute greatly to our mission of ensuring Macomb County is a place individuals seek out to live in and visit.

In December, my office welcomed a new deputy county executive, Kathy Bartz. A Macomb County resident, Kathy has, for the past eight years, acted as vice president of sales, marketing and communications at Presbyterian Villages of Michigan. There, she was responsible for managing the sales, marketing, occupancy and revenue development in 26 communities and collaborative properties with $68.5 million in revenue. Kathy has a tremendous amount of talent and a background that I’m positive will serve our Macomb County residents well.

Additionally, in February, we welcomed a new treasurer to Macomb County who will be filling in due to the unfortunate passing of our longtime Treasurer Ted Wahby. Derek Miller is a former assistant Macomb County prosecutor who most recently had been serving in the Michigan House of Representatives. Derek, who is from Warren, was appointed by a three-member panel of county officials on Jan. 29 and sworn in on Feb. 1 by Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano. I do believe Derek’s background will help him guide one of our key Macomb County departments with great success.

As always, Macomb County also made a great showing at the North American International Auto Show in January. From attending this year, it has become clear to me that Macomb County has well established itself as a premier location for the resurgence of the U.S. automotive industry. For example, since 2010 the auto industry has invested more than $5.3 billion in Macomb County, through 109 separate investments greater than $1 million. Currently, the “Big Three” employ more than 35,000 individuals here, operating 10 facilities within the county totaling more than 25 million square feet.

Looking forward, the best part about this current season is the anticipation of all the great events coming up. Freedom Hill is beginning its spring/summer schedule, the county will be hosting events like Sprint and Splash and the new Jimmy John’s Field will be opening Memorial Day weekend. There’s a lot to look forward to in Macomb County!

Hit a home run with sponsorship opportunities available at new Jimmy John’s Field

By Dana Schmitt, chief operating officer, United Shore Professional Baseball League

Opening Day at Jimmy John’s Field on May 30 

One of the most exciting new developments to come to Macomb County in recent years will be when the United Shore Professional Baseball League debuts the brand new Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica right off of M-59 this Memorial Day, May 30. Jimmy John’s Field will be Macomb County’s new crown jewel and will feature a high level of independent professional baseball played by the first three teams in the United Shore Professional Baseball League – the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers. The teams will play a full 75-game schedule at Jimmy John’s Field, with most games played on prime dates, typically Thursday to Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day – the very finest months of weather in Michigan.

State-of-the-art ballpark

Everyone joining the fun at Jimmy John’s Field will experience one of the most technologically advanced and well-appointed ballparks of its size. Jimmy John’s Field will have a total capacity of 4,500 fans per game, with approximately 2,000 box seats between first and third base; seven Founder’s Level Suites; five Premium Dugout Suites; 12 Private Patio Cabana Suites; 18 On Field Diamond Tables; three summer picnic, group and birthday areas; and a grass berm seating area. The ballpark also will feature a state-of-the-art scoreboard, concert quality sound system and high end VIP Club.

Premium business environment

The ballpark will be a top-notch family entertainment venue and will be the perfect environment for corporate entertainment. Everyone will want to bring their kids to Jimmy John’s Field, which will make it much easier for area businesses to get their top clients and customers to join them for an evening of socializing in a fun and relaxed environment. Jimmy John’s Field will be the premier venue for business entertainment in Macomb County.

Opportunities to join the fun at Jimmy John’s Field

If you are interested in joining the fun at Jimmy John’s Field, please call the United Shore Professional Baseball League at (248) 601-2400 to learn more about: 

  • sponsorship/advertising signage opportunities.
  • suites and season tickets.
  • company picnics and group outings.
  • special ticket offers, including a special introductory offer for Macomb County residents and employers featuring four box seats, four hot dogs and four soft drinks priced at just $58 for select games in June.

Business is booming – an insider’s assessment of the 4th Annual Macomb Business Awards

By John Paul Rea, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development

Each February, seemingly on the coldest and snowiest day of the year, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development hosts the Macomb Business Awards. Why our department chooses to host a major countywide event showcasing the incredible capabilities and accomplishments of our business community on what has historically been one of the worst weather weeks of the year has never been explained to me. However, the fascinating thing to note is that even in the face of these meteorological barriers, this event keeps growing in interest and acclaim. 

This year, 400 business and community leaders gathered for the 4th Annual Macomb Business Awards at Fern Hill Golf Club. The 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 County Executive Mark A. Hackel was joined on stage by Master of Ceremonies Huel Perkins and keynote speakers Kim Yost, CEO for Art Van Furniture who offered the 68-Day Challenge, and Lisa Gordon of Workforce Intelligence Network who offered information about MI Bright Future, a networking tool designed to connect employers with the future workforce. 

The incredible collection of individuals present is a testament to the strength and prosperity of Macomb County’s business climate. Major corporations, startups, health care agencies, advanced manufacturing operations, educational partners, financial institutions, governmental leaders, nonprofits and industry trailblazers were all present that morning. This vast spectrum of dedicated partners reinforced that Macomb County has evolved into a preferred destination to do business.

This year, the following businesses were recognized:

  • Champion of Workforce Development: Tweddle Group, Clinton Township – As a global leader in information solutions, Tweddle is focused on creating innovative communications to best address the information needs of the automotive industry. Through processes that seamlessly integrate information development, management and delivery, the company produces high-quality, value-driven print, mobile and interactive communications for vehicle owners and automotive sales and service personnel. Tweddle provides classes to train managers to make good hiring decisions. New employees go through a robust onboarding process, including a tour, department overviews and tiered-job training. Tweddle University is an in-house program aimed at professional and personal development. Their strong social media presence highlights many diverse employee-driven committee events.


  • Corporate Citizen: Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Clinton Township – Henry Ford Macomb is a 451-licensed bed health care organization, offering acute and tertiary care at the Clinton Township hospital, behavioral health services at the Mount Clemens hospital and comprehensive outpatient care at six health centers. The hospital developed the innovative prevention program Faith Community Nursing; partnered with Macomb County schools through their School Health Network to facilitate a culture of wellness, especially in underserved populations; donated funds and professional resources to Operation Rx to eliminate prescription drug abuse and overdose; and sponsored many health promotion, wellness and disease prevention organizations including CARE House, Macomb County Food Bank and local senior centers.


  • Diversification Leader: Blake Farms, Armada – Blake Farms has undergone many changes over the years due to the forward thinking of the Blake family. They have expanded to three locations and have land leases on other orchards to use their fruit for their products. Blake’s has grown a seasonal business into a year-round operation, diversifying products to provide stability during years of difficult weather conditions. They meet the changing demand of their customers through offering new products, such as hard cider. Blake Farms has added a winery, applied for special land use for outdoor events and offers many family and nighttime attractions including a haunted hayride.


  • Efficiency Expert: Pioneer Metal Finishing, Warren – Pioneer offers a wide array of metal finishing services including anodizing and elecroless nickel; paint and powder coating; and chromate, tin zinc and precious metal plating. Their location on Stephens was looking to reduce their environmental footprint and utility usage. To accomplish this, the plant invested significant capital to upgrade their older regenerative thermal oxidizer unit. The new unit destructs 98 percent of emissions, reduces natural gas usage and allows for internally-conducted cleanings and control monitoring. Under the leadership team at the Industrial Highway location, productivity has increased 19 percent over the past year and profitability has increased almost 200 percent.


  • Model of One Macomb: St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital (SJMOH), Warren – As a member of St. John Providence and Ascension, SJMOH is part of the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system. In response to a booming Middle Eastern population in Macomb County, SJMOH created several programs to better serve Arab Chaldean patients. An Arab Chaldean patient navigator provides continuum care management and serves as a bilingual public health outreach specialist for Iraqi immigrants. SJMOH introduced Middle Eastern food, Arabic television channels in patient rooms and Arabic signage throughout the hospital. They provide mental health services geared toward recent immigrants and established a prenatal education and breastfeeding support group for Arab Chaldean mothers.
  • Startup Business to Watch: Bakes & Kropp, Mount Clemens – Bakes & Kropp is a cabinetry company that designs and manufactures luxury kitchens, baths and closets for some of the country’s most valuable real estate. Experiencing considerable demand along the East Coast, they look to grow the firm into a globally-recognized brand. Headquartered in Macomb County, they have access to a rich history of skilled trades. Their production team provides consistent quality and quick lead times to give them a competitive advantage. Thriving sales have allowed for top market wages, improved insurance offerings and quarterly profit sharing bonuses. In less than 21 months, they have hired 12 new employees and tripled production space.


In addition to the above mentioned awards, the Department of Planning and Economic Development also recognized the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as the Economic Development Partner of the Year for their longstanding support of Macomb County’s economic development initiatives. The department also handed out the Beacon of Economic Development, a recognition reserved only for special circumstances, to Stephen N. Cassin, recently retired director of the department. Cassin was credited for developing the county’s first-ever economic development strategy and a string of successful projects including the formation of the Macomb-Oakland University Business Incubator, branding of Michigan’s defense assets and a ballpark for a developing semi-professional, independent baseball league currently under construction in Utica.

For more information on the county’s evolving economic development initiatives, industry trends, workforce development data and company profiles, please visit

Macomb Community Services Agency changes its name to Macomb Community Action

By Kevin Sadaj, public relations manager for Macomb Community Action

After many years operating as Macomb County Community Services Agency, also known as MCCSA, the organization that provides vital services and assistance in Macomb County has officially changed its name to Macomb Community Action (MCA).

For 50 years, the agency has served as Macomb County’s designated Community Action Agency. The name change signifies a return to the core purpose of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act and highlights an important connection to the nationwide work of Community Action.

After completing a comprehensive strategic plan in 2015, the name and mission were changed to better align the agency with its future, which is “persistent action to diminish poverty and promote independence.”

The agency employs nearly 300 staff in more than 55 satellite locations throughout Macomb County. As a part of Macomb County government, MCA offers a number of services like Head Start, Meals on Wheels, transportation assistance, home weatherization, utility and rent assistance, plus the Macomb Food Program, among many others. 

 “Our goal is to reduce the cyclical effects of poverty and engage community partners to address the increase in poverty among children and seniors,” said MCA Director Rhonda Powell.

Last year, the agency helped almost 4,000 families with their utilities as well as rent and mortgage assistance. The Food Program helps over 250,000 individuals annually with their food needs. Head Start provided comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to approximately 850 low-income children and their families, and Meals on Wheels served nearly half a million meals to seniors.

Macomb Community Action has a busy 2016 calendar planned, which included the 26th Annual Walk for Warmth event in February (which just raised $25,000 for those who are unable to afford to heat their homes in the winter) as well as Senior Fun Fest in May and the completion of the county’s second Family Resource Center in Mount Clemens.

For more information about MCA events and programs, visit the website and watch for updates at

Sprint and Splash seeks business support

By Amanda Minuado, senior planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development

Even though it may seem like a while until we can flip our calendars to June, the reality is, the month will be here before we know it. And so will the 5th Annual Sprint and Splash and your chance to help support this exciting, family-friendly event with some sponsorship or vendor opportunities.

Sprint & Splash_0.jpg

In addition to being a great way to kickoff 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 a presence at the event with a 10-foot by 10-foot booth space. You can sell merchandise or give away promotional items, as well as have your organization’s logo on the Sprint and Splash website and race T-shirts. Can’t be at the event? Sprint and Splash offers several levels of sponsorship. For more information, visit

Sprint and Splash begins with a 6-mile World Paddleboard Association sanctioned stand-up paddleboard (SUP) race. Following the SUP race is the Duathlon, which combines a 5K run and a 2-mile paddle (kayak or SUP). 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 for more information or to register online. The early registration discount ends on Monday, April 6!

2016 Walk for Warmth a great success

By Kevin Sadaj, public relations manager for Macomb Community Action

The 26th annual Walk for Warmth was held on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Macomb Mall. Three hundred participants and 65 volunteers, along with special guests, filled the mall to show their support for this worthy event and helped raise $25,000!

Walk for Warmth was established 26 years ago to make sure families in Macomb County do not suffer through cold Michigan winters without heat. The generous support of participants and volunteers makes that possible!

“Together we are changing the lives of those who benefit from your support. For every family that can stay in their home and share a meal tonight because they were able to buy food and medicine instead of heat, we light the pathway to independence and freedom from poverty. That is the foundation for strong communities,” said Rhonda Powell, director of Macomb Community Action.

Jim Johnson from WOMC was our master of ceremonies. He was joined on stage by Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor; Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham; State reps. Henry Yanez, Marilyn Lane and Anthony Forlini; Mary Selva and Shannon Fabbri of Genisys Credit Union; Rhonda Powell of Macomb Community Action; D.V. Rao, vice president of Financial Planning and Investor Relations at Consumers Energy; Kelly Lovati of McLaren Macomb; Greg Jakub of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Terry Hamilton of St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital; Kathy Bartz of the Macomb County Executive Office; and Amanda York of Rep. Sander Levin’s office.

Thanks to Silver Sponsors: Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, McLaren Macomb, Genisys Credit Union, Continental Services, St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital and Consumers Energy. Consumers Energy provided the audio support and our radio promotion with WOMC.

Thanks also to Bronze Sponsors: American 1 Credit Union, Christian Financial Credit Union and in-kind donors Biggby Coffee, Red Robin, Zale’s, The Social Connection, Visionworks, Kar’s Nuts and Kroger.