Perks of participating in Macomb Business Awards

DSC_0003The Macomb Business Awards is the perfect opportunity to network, exhibit your company’s expertise, and if you’re lucky, you may even get some national publicity. This was the case for Bakes and Kropp after winning an award in 2016.

Bakes and Kropp is a custom cabinetry company that designs and manufactures luxury kitchens, vanities, libraries and closets. Their high-end cabinetry is built in a 30,000-square-foot production facility in Mount Clemens and sold at three showrooms in the New York area as well as through a dealer in Plymouth, Michigan.

According to cofounder Paul Kropp, one of the benefits of being located in Macomb County is the area’s talented workforce and solid work ethic. Traditionally an area dominated by automotive manufacturing, Kropp says he sees the excitement employees have to work on something different. Also because of the auto industry, Macomb County also has no shortage of experienced metalworkers for Bakes and Kropp to reach out to when they have chrome plating or metal fabrication needs, enabling them to create truly unique wooden and metallic products.

At the end of 2015, Bakes and Kropp was nominated for the Macomb Business Awards in the category of Startup Business to Watch. As a growing business that had been operating for less than four years and had more than two full-time employees, they fit the qualifications for the category. The awards ceremony was held in February 2016.

Kropp said at the time, he wasn’t sure if his company would win because of the other great competing businesses, but when their name was called, he was thrilled.

“I enjoyed the whole process,” said Kropp. “The ceremony was well done, and it was a huge morale booster for the company.”

After receiving the award, the Bakes and Kropp was mentioned in several local newspaper articles and also listed on our website, MacombBusiness.com. Because of the nation’s interest in Macomb County during the presidential campaign, NBC was looking for a venue here to host a roundtable for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. They discovered Bakes and Kropp on our website and chose them to be the host site, and an employee even participated in the roundtable. Kropp said it was exciting to meet a celebrity and receive exposure on a national level.

While there is no guarantee your company will be mentioned in national news, you can count on a delicious breakfast, an inspirational guest speaker and the chance to take home an award. Time is running out to be a part of this year’s Macomb Business Awards. Today is the deadline for nominations. Simply go to our website to nominate your company.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in business outreach and communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

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Macomb County ready to incentivize your business growth

Summit Plastic Molding breaks ground in Bruce Township

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It was a sunny November day, the best you could hope for, when Summit Plastic Molding held an outdoor groundbreaking ceremony in front of the crowd in attendance and the local media. The buzz was for a brand-new facility that would employ 80 people in Bruce Township. It was a day of celebration. For the company. For Bruce Township. And for the employees that will be able to provide for their families. It was a celebration that is the culmination of an effective partnership between the business and the team at the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

One of the most important business decisions a company will make is choosing where to locate. Our team of professionals here at the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development have the resources to guide a company through all steps of the process including incentivizing a company’s growth.

These services helped Summit Plastic Molding secure a 12-year tax abatement on their new facility, a 22.41-acre parcel on 33 Mile Road, east of Van Dyke. The overall investment, including new equipment, is expected to be close to $10 million with two additional industrial buildings planned for the future. To secure the abatement, our team assisted with the following:

  • Identified which local and state-level resources were appropriate for the development and fit the criteria of the project and industry.
  • Established an Industrial Development District with the local community for the development site which is a requirement to apply for an abatement.
  • Completed the necessary paperwork required to request an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption (a tax abatement).
  • Presented with the company to the township board at their local meeting to secure required local approval for the abatement request.

As a result of these services, Summit Plastic Molding’s new 64,200-square-foot building will serve as the company’s new headquarters and manufacturing facility. The building will be a state-of-the-art facility that provides efficiencies in energy, logistics and automation.

The services our economic development team provided Summit Plastic Molding to aid their growth can be utilized to help your business grow as well. Summit Plastic Molding joins a growing list of companies that we have successfully been able to help incentivize growth for in Macomb this year. Others include Amazon, Cabela’s and Grupo Antolin Michigan Inc. You can see who and where we’ve helped on  our interactive GIS map!

If you’re a company thinking about growing or locating in Macomb, reach out to us. We can connect you to resources and programs that can support all aspects of your expansion. We look forward to celebrating your groundbreaking as well!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is an economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development and is focused on growing, retaining and attracting businesses to Macomb County. To learn about what resources are available for your business, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Attention Local Businesses! We want to help you reach shoppers this holiday season.

mapIn an effort to support independently owned and operated retailers this holiday season, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is partnering with the Sterling Heights Regional and Macomb County chambers to launch the #ShopLocalMacomb campaign.

As part of the promotion an interactive Shop Local Macomb map was created which features more than 1,600 locally owned stores. The map is searchable by type of merchandise sold or location. If we have missed you, please let us know planning@macombgov.org .

Visit makemacombyourhome.com/shoplocal to submit your store information, photo and holiday specials and we will share it in our #ShopLocalMacomb gallery.

Shoppers will have a chance to enter a contest to win one of five $500 gift cards, donated by First State Bank. Shoppers can snap a photo of them shopping local and post it online between November 24 and December 3. Winners will be randomly selected during a live Facebook drawing at noon on Monday, December 4.

Help promote Shop Local Macomb by downloading a flyer to hang in your window or door and sharing it on social media using #ShopLocalMacomb

More details about the campaign can be found at www.MakeMacombYourHome.com

Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Macomb County meets Montreal at ITS

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It was only four years ago when I travelled to my first Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress, hosted in Tokyo, Japan. Back then, futurists talked about a world where cars would be driverless and the movement of people and freight will be transformed.

Fast forward to last week, at the ITS World Congress in Montreal, and the concepts of yesterday are disrupting the way we as cities, counties, states and countries use connected technology and big data to change the transportation industry. We are in a unique place in time, at the crosshair where the physical systems (roads, infrastructure, signals and automobiles) are meeting the digital world – and it’s evolving at a rapid pace.

Each year, the ITS World Congress rotates between the European, Asian and North American markets and is a massive gathering for the exchange of ideas and innovation that moves the world. The dominance of mobility technology was prevalent on the showroom floor and on the stage. The message was clear: Michigan is a global leader. Our governor, Rick Snyder, joined the delegation representing Michigan and the leadership at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) under a partnership that is branded “Planet M, where big ideas in mobility are born.”

As an economic developer, I see how these concepts in connected technologies are changing the face of Macomb County. Our workforce is evolving, trying to keep pace with the rapid demand of a talent pipeline not yet matured. A traffic engineer will now need skills in software, hardware and cyber physical systems to grow in this industry.

During the conference, I had the opportunity to meet more than 30 students from the US and Canada and talk about next-generation mobility careers in cybersecurity. Organized by Mobile Comply, an ITS training company based in Sterling Heights, the conference allowed these students to travel to Montreal to immerse themselves in cybersecurity scenarios that deploy connected technology. They learned about our initiative, the Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Assurance Team (MADCAT) and how to engage our industry partners in these new careers. The pathway for these students has been set into motion.

This year, John Abraham from our ITS team within the Macomb County Department of Roads joined me in Montreal. His vision to make Macomb County a “Connected County” is happening. Today, we have more than 150 miles of connected roadways ready for the early adopters and innovators to bring their technologies to our major thoroughfares and into our vehicles. Centered by our traffic operations center, COMTEC, we have a unique infrastructure in place with more than 220 roadside units ready to test in a live environment. As we met with industry game changers like Hitachi, Siemens and Microsoft, it was clear there are greater opportunities to partner with these technology giants.

In June 2018, ITS America will host its annual conference in Detroit, showcasing our best. Macomb County is ready.

 

One Guy Making a Pizza Pie – With a Little Help

The one thing I have no interest in doing is cooking. There is nothing around the house I’m afraid to tackle, but I just really dislike cooking. When I want to eat, I just want to eat and not be in the kitchen for an hour. Some people enjoy it and even invite friends over to show them how they mastered their barbecue. Whatever! I find it beyond painful and prefer to specialize in eating. That is why this next part is so surprising.

I met a couple of firefighters during a business meeting who were talking about their plans to take over the world with a great new seasoning packet that you add to tomato paste for pizza and add to tomatoes for pasta sauce. Again, I don’t cook so I looked at them and said, “Really? Just add this to the tomatoes, and I will look like someone who knows what he is doing in the kitchen?”

On a side note, my father was a volunteer firefighter for 15 years for Macomb Township so I thought these two guys were probably trustworthy.

I went to the store and got an already-made pizza crust, some already-cut cheese and some tomato paste and mixed in their Just Add Tomatoes special seasoning packet. I put it all together like I have seen it done a million times at many of my favorite pizza locations. I put it in the oven for the amount of time it said on the back of the crust directions, and BAM! It was ready for consumption.

My wife walked in and almost passed out for I was making the best-looking pizza in the land. Let me tell you, I was pretty proud of this masterpiece, and yes, it was really easy to do. It tasted really good, and I may even make some spaghetti sauce in the future because of how easy Just Add Tomatoes seasoning packet was to use. The best part was my wife was very happy to see that I tried my hand at cooking and did not burn down the kitchen.

If you would like to learn more about Just Add Tomatoes, please go to their website at www.justaddtomatoespizzasauce.com.

 

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Jack Johns is a Project Coordinator within the economic development services group. He specializes in serving the food and agricultural industry as well as automation, robotics, connected vehicles, energy and retail businesses.

Lincoln High School unveils enhanced CAD/CAM program

Our department was privileged to join with county officials, district personal, former students and business leaders at the Lincoln High School Center for Career and Technology in Warren. The gathering was to celebrate new machinery which will enable students to prepare for high-demand careers in manufacturing.

Press Event 087A DMG MORI 5-axis CNC machine, valued at $250,000, was given to Van Dyke Public Schools on a two-year, no cost lease from DMG MORI. Based in Japan with locations across the globe, DMG MORI is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of CNC machines.  The gift will enable students to hone their computer aided drafting (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) skills through the school’s career technical education program.

Dr. Masahiko Mori, president of DMG MORI, flew in from Japan to be part of the celebration.  It was obvious from his remarks that he and his company are happy to support educational programs that produced trained and ready individuals to run their machines.

Rick Hecker, President and CEO of Eifel Mold & Engineering of Fraser, chairs the school’s business advisory committee for CAD/CAM. He is credited with securing the donation. When he shared the good news with committee members, others stepped forward to make sure that the equipment would be installed and serviced at no cost to the district:

  • Metro Air Compressor of Roseville offered the necessary air compressor and installed it.
  • Powertran Transformers of Ferndale offered a transformer
  • Autodesk, a software developer from California, will provide 75 Powermill licenses for use by students and instructors
  • Spectron Electric of Fraser finalized installation with materials provided by Grant Industries, also of Fraser

Press Event 073During the event, the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) presented a check for $10,000 from the American Mold Manufacturing Advancement Fund (AMMA Fund) to cover additional expenses.

The best part of the evening was near the end of formal presentation when Lincoln graduates of the program were invited to make remarks. Many of them are currently employed in the industry and were proud to share their success story with the crowd of more than 50 people.

Each of them credited their instructors, Mr. Fred Cook and Mr. Mike Zainea for inspiring them to be the best they can be.

Miller’s Big Red now offers Union Joints for weekend visitors

mbr_logo3Here is another reason to Fall in Love with Macomb and our orchards.

Every weekend this fall, Big Red will feature a “pop-up” restaurant called “Union Joints.” Union Joints features favorite menu items from Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage, Fenton Firehall and Union General.  And yes, the mouth-watering and award-winning Union mac-n-cheese and other favorites are available on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or until they sell out. Reservations are not required. Order your selections at the counter and then enjoy it at the picnic tables or picnic-style on the grass.

Big Red has new owners and has undergone several significant building projects.  The new owners have been careful to maintain all the best of 50 years of tradition while appealing to a modern generation yearning to experience a little piece of the country, savory tastes, and an afternoon knee-deep in a pumpkin patch.

A trip to Big Red is not complete without a stop in the farm’s Marketplace. Brimming with farm fresh produce, made-from-scratch baked goods, gourmet condiments and other exceptional local products. While you’re here, experience the aroma, sights and sounds of cider making and the taste of homemade donuts and caramel apples. Enjoy a picnic, visit the petting farm, take a hayride, get lost in a corn maze, climb a straw mountain and even pick your own apples.

Big Red also won best Cider in Michigan in 2016!

Miller’s Big Red is located at 4900 32 Mile Road in Washington, Michigan. Check them out on facebook or at millersbigred.com

Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.