Macomb County: Equipped and ready for next generation mobility

Macomb County is made up of 27 cities, townships and villages. Connecting those communities are 1,700 miles of road and 740 traffic signals. The county’s residents, more than 864,000 individuals, rely on this transportation network to get to work, school, stores and ultimately, to their homes. That’s a lot of usage, and it often results in back-ups, accidents and fatalities. How do you solve these issues? Our county might have the answer.

Smart and connected roads
We have smart phones, smart homes and smart cars – why not smart roads? Here in Macomb County, that’s no longer a question; it’s a reality. The Macomb County Department of Roads is leading the country in creating a smart infrastructure network that can communicate with vehicles, bikes, buses and pedestrians; improving the overall mobility experience. The county was recently able to showcase this technology at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) annual meeting hosted in Detroit. Along with our partners at MDOT and SMART, county leaders demonstrated how transit signal priority that uses dedicated short range communication can expedite a bus route by extending green lights. This is one of the many pilot programs being explored in Macomb County, and while it sounds simple, it has taken years of planning and development to get to this stage.

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Vicky Rad tests real time collision prevention systems in Macomb County with DERQ, a Dubai-based company with a mission to eliminate road accidents and save lives by using AI and technology

How did we get here?
It all started with COMTEC, the Macomb County Communications and Technology Center. Completed in 2013, this 25,000-square-foot facility houses traffic communications, 911 emergency dispatch and information technology services for the entire county. Through a system of 230 cameras, the center provides 24/7 situational awareness to residents, businesses and first responders. In addition to providing this essential service, the network also allows the county to build a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication system. And with car connectivity on the rise (by 2020, more than 75 percent of vehicles shipped will be connected), this system is increasingly relevant.

In a recent interview, John Abraham, director of traffic and operations at the Macomb County Department of Roads, described why this is important:

“In one scenario, if a connected car gets into a crash, an alert comes to the center immediately and sends information that the airbag was deployed, and the extent of the damage. The emergency dispatch center gets the information also, and we can deploy the right resources to the crash using the GPS location of the accident,” he said.

Ultimately, Macomb County would like to increase safety on area roads and decrease the number of car accidents. With the V2I system and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications now available through some auto manufacturers, this goal is within reach.

How it works
driving
An integral part of this connectivity and vehicle communications are roadside units (RSU), boxes that gather and broadcast information at an intersection. In addition to signaling back to COMTEC so traffic signals can be prioritized for emergency vehicles or during periods of heavy road usage, the RSU can link with connected vehicles and alert them to changing lights or other hazards.  Eventually, RSUs will be able to give speed guidance or alert a driver that a lane is closing due to construction. And in the future, RSUs and connected vehicles could provide COMTEC with information about vacant parking spots and even communicate with other modes of transportation, like buses, pedestrians and bicycles, all using the same technology.

Macomb County currently has five RSUs completely operational, and will install 20 to 25 additional units this summer. Federal grants will provide the funding to have 301 RSUs installed by early 2019, and the goal is to have all 740 traffic signals in the county connected within three years. This makes Macomb a leader in smart and connected roadways. Only a few dozen locations across the U.S. have installed connected technology and Macomb is among the handful that also have an operational RSU. That’s certainly impressive; but of course it makes sense that the Motor City region would be a trailblazer in this effort. We make the cars, therefore we lead the way in next generation mobility.

 

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

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Governor Snyder recognizes MADCAT efforts to build a talent pipeline for cybersecurity

Governor Rick Snyder attended a stakeholder meeting of the Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) held during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Industry Preview Days at Cobo Center. Focused on MADCAT’s Cybersecurity Career Pathway Project, the purpose of the meeting was to gather information from industry leaders about the growing need for cybersecurity experts so that educational counterparts can build curriculum based on industry need.

Governor Snyder, a self-proclaimed “nerd,” commended the group for their efforts. “Our ability to take the lead in cybersecurity is dependent on public and private partners coming together to make it seamless and easy for people who want to enter the field to get relevant training.” Watch the governor’s remarks.

Other speakers included:

  • County Executive Mark A. Hackel who spoke about exponential growth in the industry based on data gathered by the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development
  • Andrew Smart, Chief Technical Officer for the American Center for Mobility announced that they will be adding a cybersecurity competent to the center.
  • Kevin Baltes, Director & CISP for Product Cybersecurity at General Motors discussed critical needs for the automotive industry
  • Major General Michael Stone, Assistant Adjutant General Installations for the Michigan Army National Guard and Jeff Jaczkowski, Associate Director for US Army TARDEC talked about critical needs for the defense industry

Elaina Farnsworth, CEO for Mobile Comply and lead consultant for the MADCAT Cyber Pathway Initiative, lead an interactive discussion to gather ideas about engaging industry and academia in creating seamless pathways to education and to market this career opportunity to students.

“As the industry emerges, new challenges will be presented to current and future workers,” said Farnsworth. “The future is unclear for tomorrow’s workers given the vast number of interrelationships between rapidly evolving technology, new market entrants and the divergent standards and regulatory efforts being promulgated around the world. As these transitions occur, more value will accrue to those who are educated and understand the evolving industry.”

Michigan’s future success will rely on investment in and commitment to collaboratively creating a clear pathway for our cyber workforce. The State of Michigan has supported the development of cyber infrastructure through a coordinated, interagency approach. To learn more about the resources available to you and your organization go to www.madcat.org

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2018 Auto Show is perhaps the best ever

Every year, the North American International Auto Show feels like a new experience. It’s no easy task to build on the 2017 show that was one of the biggest and best, but the 2018 NAIAS does just that!

Whether you are in the market for a new car, enjoy seeing the latest in technology and mobility, or enjoy a day full of activities and things to do, there is something for everybody at this year’s show. It is packed full of interactive displays. Ford lets you star in your own movie alongside the Bullitt Mustang, with green screen action sequences. Cadillac will film you in your own episode of Carpool Karaoke if you’re brave enough to sing in front of others!

For those thinking about buying a new car, the NAIAS is your chance to see and touch all models from every major automaker all in one convenient location. In fact, the show each year has a positive effect on local dealership sales. It’s not just getting people into cars, during media and industry preview days journalists from more than 50 countries all over the world come to Detroit. They stay at our hotels, eat at our restaurants and enjoy our bars and local entertainment. The annual economic impact (if you’re curious about such a thing) is estimated to be about $450 million. It’s Detroit’s time to shine.

For our economic development team, the NAIAS recognizes the accomplishments of our county’s largest industry. Macomb County’s connection to the show is tremendous. More than 34,000 local workers earn a living through the industry in Macomb County. Home to major facilities of GM, Ford and Chrysler, the county has seen more than $9.9 billion in auto investment since 2010. With many of these upgrades going into high tech research and development facilities and with the amount of technology in cars increasing, we are not only designing new cars, we are revolutionizing the way we experience mobility.

Our team here at Planning & Economic Development had a chance to tour the NAIAS during media and industry preview days. It was a great opportunity to continue to build connections that will ensure the vitality of the auto industry in Macomb County for years to come. It was also a great chance to see the great lineup of new cars and trucks hitting the roads! Here are some of our staff favorites:

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County Executive Mark A. Hackel checks out the all-new Ram 1500 – which will be assembled in Macomb County!
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Planning & Economic Development Director John Paul Rea enjoying life in a Cadillac.
Jim
Economic Development Program Manager Jim Ahee finds a BMW that fits like a glove.
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Economic Development Project Coordinator Jack Johns says the Lexus’s front seat “feels like I’m being cradled in my mother’s arms!”
Matt
Graphic Artist Matt Pierscinski is thinking about having this Audi make its home in Macomb – in his garage.

You can view the entire gallery on our Macomb Business Facebook page as well as our Make Macomb Your Home page!

Tips and tricks for the 2018 Auto Show:

Are you convinced and ready to go? Here is the info you’ll need:

Dates and Times
Early access for handicapped individuals 8 a.m. each day
Enter at the Hall C Entrance only
Saturday, Jan. 20 – Saturday, Jan. 27
9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.)

Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018
9 a.m. – 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.)

Ticket Pricing
– Adults: $14 per person
– Seniors: $7 (65 and older)
– Children: $7 (7-12 years old; 6 and under free with a parent or guardian)

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 what resources are available for your business, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

 

 

MADCAT event kicks off NAIAS

As all eyes turn to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show, an elite group met to focus on bringing awareness to the growing need for a skilled cyber workforce. Yesterday, stakeholders for the Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) convened at Cobo Hall to discuss the automotive and defense industries aligning for the future cyber generation.

Vicky and gov.Gov. Rick Snyder, a longtime advocate for STEM education, addressed the group. Other notable presenters included Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Elaina Farnsworth. The robust professional lineup highlighted that the only viable option is taking an open, collaborative and inclusive approach to preparing for tomorrow today.

Farnsworth, a recognized thought-leader in the space, emphasized that “companies must invest in an educational strategy for both the organization and the workers within it. They must commit to aligning company goals and resources with the proper team members to support that vision.”

Experts estimate over 2 million new jobs will be created within the industry in the next five years. To meet this demand, professionals will need the proper education, training and credentialing within the intelligent transportation space. Many times, companies will need to recruit from within and retrain their existing workers with new and relevant skills.

hackelThe meeting on Thursday was part of an ongoing Cyber Pathways Project launched by MADCAT in 2017. Through a grassroots effort, leaders from the government, education, nonprofit and private sectors formed MADCAT in 2014 to address the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches to our region’s primary industries. MADCAT’s aim is to establish Macomb County as a cybersecurity center of excellence and to attract businesses and institutions that support the development, growth and retention of the talent pool.

For more information or to get involved with the project, visit madcat.org.

Roseville High School students learn valuable workforce skills

In honor of Career and Technical Education Month, County Executive Mark A. Hackel, Department of Planning & Economic Development Director John Paul Rea and other department staff toured the Auto Tech Department at Roseville High School. This impressive and growing program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It teaches students the technical skills needed to pass state certifications which will enable them to get jobs in the automotive industry.

miranda working on daytona.jpgOne of the cars the kids are working on is a 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe which will be displayed at Autorama this weekend and compete against cars from other schools. Judges will evaluate elements such as cleanliness, safety, if the vehicle is complete (no missing bolts) and attention to detail.

The vehicle originally arrived as a kit car – which means lots of boxes with many pieces that don’t necessarily fit together perfectly, and this is how junior Miranda Rumfelt prefers it.

“I like to figure out how to do it rather than have it ready to go,” said Rumfelt.

Just last week, she painted the shell of the Daytona. And by paint, I mean she mixed the paint and applied the primer, sealer, base coat and clear coat. And after the painting is done, it isn’t finished. The vehicle still needs wet sanding, the buffing wheel, wax and touchups.

mark-miranda-clay-modelRumfelt is just one of the growing number of girls participating in Roseville’s Auto Tech program. In addition to class, she also attends DRIVE at the high school Thursday evenings. This program isn’t limited to students, and here, Rumfelt has learned even more specialized skills, such as tape drawing and clay modeling, for which she has won awards from the Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society.

With a goal of leading her own design team at Chrysler or General Motors one day, Rumfelt plans to take summer classes at Lawrence Tech, is aggressively seeking internships and is looking ahead to college, potentially at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

working.jpgIn the meanwhile, some of her classmates are passing their certifications and already lining up great jobs right out of high school. Auto Tech Department Head Paul Tregembo Jr. said the school has found great partnerships with several local businesses, including Roy O’Brien, and welcome more. If you have a business interested in getting involved with the Roseville Auto Tech Department, contact Tregembo at DriveOneDetroit@gmail.com.

To learn more about Roseville High School’s automotive programs, visit rcs.misd.net/roseville-high-school.html or DriveOne.net, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/DriveOneDetroit or follow on Twitter @DriveOnDetroit.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Impact of Macomb County suppliers on display at NAIAS

With $7.37 billion worth of automotive investment in the last six years, Macomb County has established itself as the ideal place for businesses to thrive. Major automotive suppliers have chosen to locate their businesses here, invest in state-of-the-art facilities and employ thousands of workers. Their innovative technologies and products are leading the industry and are on display at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

Axalta Coating Systems in Mount Clemens is a global supplier of liquid and powder coatings. They develop, manufacture and sell brilliant automotive basecoat colors and topcoats as well as corrosion protection electrocoats. They serve customers ranging from small businesses to global OEMs. In 2014 and 2015, Axalta received General Motors’ Supplier of the Year award for going above and beyond GM’s requirements, providing customers with the most innovative technologies and the industry’s best quality.

DSC_1616.JPGAs market leaders, this is the third year Axalta has chosen the automotive color of the year. After analyzing global preferences, Axalta determined the 2017 color of the year to be gallant gray – a sleek alternative to standard silver containing shades of both blue and green. Axalta invited students from Roseville High School to paint pedal cars in gallant gray which will be given away throughout the year.

“These students are getting great experience learning how to work with aftermarket paint and prepare these vehicles for a paint job,” Axalta Marketing Manager John Wray told the Detroit Free Press last week.

Gallant gray will also make an appearance at the Charity Preview, of which Axalta is the presenting sponsor for the second year in a row. The ribbon cutting will feature a gallant gray ribbon and gray accents will be incorporated into the entire event. The Charity Preview will be held this Friday at Cobo Center. Last year, this lavish event raised more than $5.2 million for children’s charities, and there is no reason to doubt this year won’t be even more generous.

Magna is another impressive supplier with a presence at the auto show. Magna Seating is a foam seating production facility in Shelby Township employing 150 people. They are innovators and leaders in the development and manufacturing of high-quality seating systems, mechanism and hardware solutions, specialty mechanism solutions, seat structures and foam and trim products for the global automotive industry.

In 2015, Magna Seating won a Macomb Business Award for energy efficiency. The company has invested in LED lighting, e-waste recycling and a variable-speed drive air compressor to make their processes and 60,000-square-foot facility as efficient as possible.

The technologies and products suppliers like Axalta and Magna are designing and manufacturing have a global impact that reaches far beyond Macomb County’s borders. Yesterday, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel got a close look at the innovation happening at these companies, and you can too by attending the NAIAS.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Truck of the Year finalist has Macomb County ties

The North American International Auto Show kicks off next week, and some of the highly-anticipated reveals will include the winners of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards. While Car and Truck of the Year awards have been given out for more than 20 years, Utility Vehicle of the Year is a new award added this year due to the increased demand for SUVs.

2017-NAIAS-website-carousel-newest.jpgMacomb County has had a direct connection to several of the past award winners. In 2014, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray designed at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren won Car of the Year. In 2013, the Cadillac ATS also designed at the Tech Center won, and that same year, the Ram 1500 built at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Warren Truck Assembly Plant won Truck of the Year. This year, the Ford F-Series Super Duty is the contender with Macomb County ties.

The 2017 Super Duty features a new fully-boxed frame made from over 95 percent high-strength steel, conventional and gooseneck towing, and seven cameras for enhanced visibility. This full-size pickup truck incorporates military-grade aluminum alloy, resulting in a vehicle that is 350 pounds lighter. According to Ford’s website, “no other gas-powered full-size pickup delivers as much torque for jobs calling for rugged pulling power.”

And the engine that is capable of such impressive torque is made right here in Macomb County at the Ford Romeo Engine Plant. Romeo Engine opened in 1973 and is one of several Ford facilities located throughout Macomb County. The plant is more than 2 million square feet and employs 527 people.

ford-f-series_super_duty-2017-1280-0eThe North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards honor innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. The winners are determined by a group 60 professional automotive journalists who serve as judges. The process of selecting finalists began last June and included three rounds of voting. Winners will be announced Monday, Jan. 9.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.