Buzz from the island: Advancing mobility and growing defense

The 2016 Detroit Regional Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off with positive excitement on the island. This year, the conference focused on the three pillars of entrepreneurship, urban education and investing in the future. Macomb County arrived to Mackinac poised to promote our connectivity to both the automotive and defense industries and growing the cybersecurity ecosystem.

During day two, the common themes and dialogue included how we advance our automotive technologies and stay ahead as a state. One step in this direction was the big unveiling of “Planet M” which represents Michigan’s mobility ecosystem. The synergy behind branding Planet M brought together many key players from government, research institutions, academia and industry with the common goal of helping us all grow our talent and advance our technologies.

signing at MPC.jpgDay three introduced a defense panel discussing the state’s Protect and Grow initiative. The strategic plan introduced 17 different recommendations in seeking opportunities for us to grow our defense presence in Michigan, currently a $9 billion industry. One of those key areas was continuing our efforts in growing the cybersecurity ecosystem, including building a pipeline in the workforce. A strong defense contingency joined Macomb County up at Mackinac and included leadership from the Michigan National Guard, U.S. Army TACOM and U.S. Army TARDEC, along with our partners at the state and the Michigan Defense Center.

This four-day event brought together great dialogue, some new introductions and even old friends. Macomb County continues to have a strong role as a partner in bringing our state and region to the forefront as a leader in all things connected.

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Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

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