The AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the largest U.S. Army-based conference. It draws in both national and international firms who are interested in growing their defense market. For Macomb County, this conference is ripe with decision makers and potential business attraction prospects.
Recently, staff from the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, including Director Stephen Cassin, Project Coordinator James Ahee and myself, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the conference. Also in attendance was Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin and representatives from the Michigan Defense Center, Detroit Regional Chamber and Butzel Long.
We visited all the international pavilions at the event. Countries like Turkey, Israel, Germany, Korea, UK, Canada and Australia were represented. We informed them about Macomb County’s defense assets such as TACOM LCMC, TARDEC and Selfridge Air National Guard Base and about major prime contractors in the region.
While speaking with these international companies, we also extended an invite to attend our Arsenal of Innovation Reception to hear from Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, commanding general of TACOM LCMC, and Brig. Gen. Michael Stone from the Michigan National Guard. This year, we invited BAE Systems’ vice president and general manager of combat vehicles to speak on why they are located in the Defense Corridor.
Approximately 175 guests attended this reception sponsored by the Michigan Defense Center, Butzel Long and our department. This is our fourth year hosting a reception at the AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition, and we are seeing the benefits.
As a result of our participation in the conference, an Australian company reached out to us for a tour of our International Landing Zone (ILZ). They heard about the ILZ through a contact at BAE Systems who was in attendance at our Arsenal of Innovation Reception. Also, the government of Australia is looking to come to Michigan in the springtime with a delegation of Australian companies. Furthermore, we are working to schedule an Israeli defense delegation visit. These visits are excellent opportunities for our department to show international companies why they should locate their business in Macomb County.
Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.