Macomb County welcomed a team of representatives from Lockheed Martin for an invitation-only matchmaking event last week.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
The event was spearheaded by our department in collaboration with the Macomb County Chamber, Macomb Community College, Macomb Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Pure Michigan Business Connect.
By all accounts, the day was a success for Lockheed Martin as well as the 50 companies that were selected to participate. Behind the scenes, many months of preparation were involved.
The first, and most important, accomplishment was to convince Lockheed Martin that suppliers throughout our region were capable and eager to fulfill contracts with them.
The growing strength of Macomb County’s aerospace industry and its linkage to the supply chain helped to seal the deal.
Encouraged by the strong interest shown by the company, the planning team helped to develop an online vetting process for interested companies. Initially, more than 300 companies completed the online form. Of that, 120 met the basic qualifications and underwent a second vetting process. In the end, 50 highly capable companies from across the state were selected to attend.
The event was held at Macomb Community College’s University Center in Clinton Township and opened with remarks from Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel; Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of Selfridge Air National Guard Base; and Dr. Jim Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College.
Officials from Lockheed Martin offered overviews of each division and procurement needs. After lunch, one-on-one networking sessions between companies and procurement specialists were held. The event ended with a networking reception.
As the aerospace industry continues to evolve and grow, we anticipate programs, such as the Lockheed F-35 program, will have a stronger linkage to our supply chain here in Macomb County. Preparing our businesses and workforce for the next generation aircraft is our business, and these matchmakers will keep them on their radar for future needs.
Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.