Bolstered by loyal workforce, Möllertech celebrates 20 year anniversary in Shelby Township

Automotive suppliers from around the world choose to put down roots in the Motor City region because of our collective history, talented workforce and depth of knowledge and insights in manufacturing. Möllertech is no different. The German injection molding moeller_logo_Moeller_Techcompany was attracted to the area for those exact reasons and opened its Shelby Township facility in 1998, bringing more than 250 years of experience with it. A family-owned organization, Möllertech has plants all over the world and three in the United States that specialize in vehicle interiors. At the 110,000-square-foot Michigan facility, parts are made for General Motors and BMW by 75 individuals – an employee count that will likely increase due to new projects on the horizon. But this month, the focus at Möllertech has been the celebration of its 20 year anniversary here in Macomb County; a milestone recently recognized with an open house and BBQ.

I visited Möllertech during their anniversary festivities and was greeted with a jovial atmosphere generated by employees and their families enjoying food trucks, games and activities. There was even a dunk tank for those feeling adventurous. After indulging in a few slices of wood-fired pizza, I was led on an informative tour by a Möllertech supply chain manager, Chuck Gietzen.

The first thing I noticed while walking the floor was the plant’s impeccable organization and cleanliness, which of course, is intentional. Möllertech adheres to Kaizen, a Japanese management concept focused on continuous improvement through visual order and standardization. For management, following Kaizen also means building a culture where all employees are actively engaged in suggesting and implementing efficiencies. By doing this, the company ensures a creative atmosphere that prioritizes problem solving and producing the best product possible. A new Cadillac parked just outside the plant demonstrated the outputs of this work. With all four doors open, my tour guide could point out the various parts that the company produced for the car. Back panels, A pillars, B pillars, console side covers – anything plastic is something they likely touched.

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Seeing the product in person and the machines that made it certainly drove home the scale of this supplier. But perhaps the most impressive part of my tour was passing by the Möllertech seniority wall, a display near the entrance to the plant that features the photos and names of workers who have been with the company for years – sometimes 10, sometimes 15. I discussed this trend at length with Gietzen, a 19.5 year veteran of the organization. He was its second employee. And he’s not alone in employment longevity. That seniority wall has a number of names installed. So clearly there’s something about the company that resonates with these individuals, making it easy to stay in the job for a long period of time. From my tour and in learning about Möllertech, I presume that it’s because of two reasons.

First, there’s a culture of respect. According to Gietzen, the management treats employees like family. Which requires more than just hosting employee events and parties – Möllertech listens to its workers and consistently invests in on-the-job training. Management is also very engaged with the day-to-day activities, visiting the plant, walking the floor and monitoring operations. Steve Jordan, Möllertech’s North American president and CEO, is at the Shelby facility at least every six weeks. This type of involvement shows a deep commitment to the employees and to the work they do.

Second, the innovative techniques employed by Möllertech allows them to attract new clients and jobs. For instance, on the factory tour, I saw an outlined space that will soon hold machinery and staff assigned to work on parts for the Maybach, a popular luxury vehicle. Projects like this one are exciting for employees because they allow them to develop new skills and talents. With new work coming in regularly, the choice to stay on at Möllertech would be easy.

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At the conclusion of my tour, I shook hands with Gietzen and thanked him for his time. I then made a pit stop at the edible cookie dough food truck before heading back to the office, reflecting on a great day at a great company.

If this type of work environment is something you’re interested in, stay tuned to the Möllertech website. That aforementioned Maybach work means that the company will need close to 50 new employees at the Shelby facility. And if you’re able to get a foot in the door now, perhaps you’ll be up on that seniority wall for the plant’s next big anniversary.

**Möllertech is a client of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED).  The business development group assists companies in many facets of expanding and growing a company including:

  • Support with accessing state and local incentives and financing options
  • Assistance with workforce recruitment, training and retention programs
  • Identifying available sites for expanding or relocating a business
  • Access to business counseling services
  • Market research and marketing
  • Workshops and networking opportunities

The economic development specialists for MCPED are focused on growing, retaining and attracting businesses to Macomb County. To learn what resources are available for your business, visit macombbusiness.com or email info@macombbusiness.com.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

The remarkable power of Macomb County’s economic growth

Spanning across terms of presidents, governors and a transition to an executive form of government, Macomb County’s economy continues to shine, adding new jobs and higher wages for nine straight years.

Macomb County’s population is currently 871,375. For perspective, this is bigger than 5 U.S. states and larger than major U.S. cities like Seattle, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston and Miami. What some may describe as “just a suburb of Detroit” is actually an economic powerhouse.

Having an economy as large as Macomb’s and growing it consistently and strongly over a long period of time requires careful planning from the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Our region’s success is due in part to our team’s ability to help existing companies grow, attract companies from outside our region and create an environment that is favorable for starting a business.

How we measure progress

When we say that Macomb County’s economy is strong and that there has been nine straight years of growth, what does that actually mean? Well, there are several key barometers that can measure economic health. One indicator – if you weren’t working before and are now, that is progress. Another – if you were working before, but make more money now, that is also progress. There are other signs too – for instance, how easy is it to find a job?

To talk about the growth in the county requires starting from the lowest point in the recession. By the numbers, the county’s economy officially bottomed out in June of 2009, when our unemployment was a staggering 18.3 percent. Nearly one out of five people could not find a job and there were 78,498 people unemployed. To put that another way, the county had a labor force that was 429,356 strong, but only 350,858 people were employed. For those who had jobs, wages were falling and the inflation rate was negative. The two largest employers in the largest industry in the county were in bankruptcy (General Motors & Chrysler), and a national financial crisis was wreaking havoc across all of the other industries. The future was bleak.

Looking at today’s numbers: unemployment in Macomb County for May of 2018 is at 3.5 percent. There are 424,851 people working and only 15,272 people are unemployed. These numbers represent a growth of 73,993 new jobs. For scale, that amounts to a new job for every single person at a sold out Comerica Park, Little Ceasars Arena, Jimmy John’s Field and Freedom Hill. Combined. In only nine years.

Wages in the county are rising as well. In 2009, the average weekly take-home wage across all private sector professions was $853. In 2017 (2018 data is not out yet!) average wages have grown a very robust 22 percent to $1,045 per week.

Since the peak of the recession in 2009, the county has experienced nine straight years of job growth. Nearly 75,000 more people are working, and while that number looks great on paper, it also means 75,000 more families and households can sleep better at night worrying less about making mortgage payments and putting food on the table.

This growth in wages and in the number of new jobs is having an extremely profound impact on the spending power in the county. Total countywide wages in 2009 were $10,325,458,011 ($10.3 billion!).  In 2017, that number grew more than 50 percent to a total of $15,915,245,824 ($15.9 billion!). This is fantastic news for those of us looking to spend money and for those of us in the business of selling goods and services.

While 2009 may seem like a distant past – the fact that we emerged is an accomplishment to be celebrated.

A deeper dive into key industries

Economic development may be a voodoo pseudo-science to some, but in Macomb County data drives the decision making. Looking at the economy through the data already mentioned and through deeper metrics like location quotients, we can identify nine targeted industries as the driving industries in the county.

These industries are selected on their power to not only spur growth in their sectors, but to also drive growth across industry borders. They represent some of the highest wages and earnings potential in the county. They also represent the future for our workforce. For instance:

  • The number of jobs in the IT and Cybersecurity fields within the county has more than doubled since 2010.
  • Since 2009, Macomb County has nearly doubled its number of Professional Services workers, growing from 12,000 to 23,000. This is triple the state average and more than six times the nation’s rate of growth!
  • Manufacturing jobs continue to be the foundation of the county’s economy and are some of the most lucrative career opportunities available.
  • Because of our manufacturing superiority and strategic location near a major international border in the Midwest, logistics and warehousing – the industry of storing and moving goods – is also a major economic sector within the county.

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Right now, there are more than 20,000 unique jobs available in the county. Anyone looking for work can connect with these jobs by going to the Michigan Talent Bank. They may also seek career counseling or assistance by reaching out to a local Michigan Works! office.

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For the full details, check out the reports on each of these industries on the county’s website.

Why this matters

The perks of becoming employed after a period of unemployment, or getting a raise, are obvious. However, even if your job or salary have not changed, you are benefiting from this stronger Macomb County economy. The community benefits gained by a healthy economy are massive. Tangible effects include:

  • Reduction in poverty. With fewer people unemployed and wages rising, there are fewer people living in poverty. Less people in poverty is obviously a good thing. Whether you’re feeling the direct impact (as a person formerly of poverty that no longer lives in poverty) or enjoying the social impacts of lower poverty – lower crime, less blight, fewer foreclosures – the benefits to the community are very real.
  • Improved public services. As more of us earn wages, and as our collective average wages grow, state and local governments are seeing their bottom lines improve. For instance, Macomb County’s economic growth is leading to higher tax revenues. This allows the government to provide better services that lead to a higher quality of life – such as improving parks and offering more services in the community. It also helps the government invest in our economy – with funding for schools and roads. (BONUS perk: As government fiscal health continues to rebound, issuing bonds to pay for these services becomes even cheaper, allowing for even more to get done!)

Looking Ahead

Macomb County is on solid ground. Looking ahead to the future, regardless of where you shop for groceries (a term coined by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Director John Paul Rea on finding sources of economic data) the future is bright. Macomb County can, at least for the foreseeable future, expect continued job and wage growth.

The county is also undertaking a massive effort to make sure that it is ready for jobs of the future. Current estimates say that that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. And of course, these jobs will need candidates with advanced skill sets. Macomb County is prepping hard for this. With facilities such as Macomb Community College and its M-TEC program, Wayne State’s Advanced Technology Education Center and Romeo’s Ford Next Generation Learning facility, and with groups like MADCAT preparing folks for cyber careers, and with events such as Manufacturing Day  – the future in the county is extremely bright.

How this can benefit you

Are you a company in Macomb County? Now is a great time to reach out to our department. We have a team of experts that can offer free and confidential services to connect your company with the resources you need to grow. Our team can help incentivize growth in your physical space, connect you with hiring resources and access to workforce development and provide business development solutions. Our toolbox is sharp and honed by the dozens of service partners we work closely with to make sure your business has what it needs.

Are you someone looking for a job or to advance in your career? Companies in Macomb County right now are competing hard to find you. We can pair you with the job opportunities that are on the market right now or help connect you with the training to take your career to the next level. If you have been on the fence about taking the next step – now is absolutely the right time to do so.

Nick 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 the department at info@macombbusiness.com or 586-469-5285.

Macomb Community College’s entrepreneurship courses offer business owners a path to success

There are many resources available for entrepreneurs here in Macomb County. From consultants to courses, business owners have access to a wide variety of assistance that will help them succeed. Recently, Macomb Community College announced several non-credit classes and workshops aimed at this demographic. Seven continuing education courses, which are sponsored in cooperation with the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Macomb Community College, were created for the new entrepreneur and those who want to stay in business. They contain the skill development critical to the success of any business and provide information on topics ranging from marketing to financing.

We sat down with Don Morandini, former director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, to discuss several of the classes that he will be teaching.  He shared some background on who should enroll in these courses and why they are relevant.

Q: Who should attend this course and what will they learn? 

A: Current business owners and new business owners.  Students will learn about:

  • Your industry and customers
  • Where your customers are
  • What could make a business successful

Q: What do you find is the number one issue most entrepreneurs encounter while starting up a business? 

A: The number one issue is understanding who customers are and what they want.  Entrepreneurs need to think like their customer.

Q: How does this course work to address that? 

A: Students put a plan together and do the research in constructing that plan by:

  • Knowing the customer and who their potential customers are
  • Considering the customer by how much they might pay and location
  • Considering how customers want to buy, either online or in-store

Q: Why are continuing education courses (like this one) important for business owners? 

A: The entrepreneurship continuing education courses offer value for the dollar and continuous growth because learning about entrepreneurship helps you understand your competition and stay relevant.

Q: Do you have any anecdotes that you could share from previous courses you have taught? Any success stories that demonstrate why entrepreneurs should attend?

A: An existing entrepreneur doing residential cleaning expanded their business by offering commercial cleaning.  Also, a retiree opened up a clothing retail business, which has been up and running for over 5 years now.

Individuals interested in these courses can sign up over both fall and winter semesters. The program is not offered in the spring/summer. For information or to enroll, contact the program coordinator at 586-498-4121 or continuinged@macomb.edu.


Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Macomb County woman becomes publishing powerhouse

Rebecca J. Ensign Photo 1How does a book get to the number one spot on Amazon’s best sellers list? Some might say its luck, but local publisher, Rebecca Ensign, knows better. In 1999, she helped James Talmadge Stevens clinch that top position with “Making the Best of Basics.” Through careful planning and strategic promotions, they achieved something not many individuals do. Now she’s willing to share the secret to that success through her new venture, a Warren-based content strategy and marketing services provider called Ensignia. The company, which Ensign started in 2014, focuses on the creation, development, preparation, formatting, packaging and dissemination of various types of content for all mediums and purposes. For instance, Ensign will write copy for new websites or craft scripts for corporate videos. Essentially, she’ll give businesses the boost they need by applying her expert communications skills. A craft she’s honed through her many years in the field.

A natural talent

When Ensign graduated college with a degree in political science and philosophy, her father questioned what she would do to make money. But Ensign knew her passion was writing and she pursued that as a freelancer. At 21, she got her first paid job writing for Michael Moore at The Flint Voice, an underground, alternative newspaper. She drafted press releases and announcements, cutting her teeth in the profession with an individual who would one day become a major voice in national media.

Eventually, Ensign needed a change of scenery and she tapped into Ann Arbor. It was here that she met a publishing headhunter who identified her “natural talent” for his industry. He changed her professional trajectory and got her job offers from some of the east coast’s most prominent publishing houses. Ensign was most intrigued by a Boston-based startup that specialized in college textbooks and after accepting a position there, she found herself immersed in the world of manuscripts and writers. A few weeks in, she discovered an innate ability to see what books would work and what wouldn’t. She was also adept at forming strong relationships with her authors, a key component for ensuring a positive publishing experience. These characteristics helped Ensign rise through the ranks at her company and she became its east coast manager at age 27. But after several years with this title, she started thinking about pursuing something on her own.

A leap of faith

Ensign made that life-changing decision after reading two proposed textbooks by two university professors. She had a gut-feeling that the books would do well outside of traditional collegiate circulation, so she convinced the authors to publish their work with GLP logo for Home page July 2018a new, independent firm that she was going to start. With just $200 dollars in her pocket, she left her impressive job and steady paycheck to open Gold Leaf Press back home in a downtown Mount Clemens basement office. It was a leap of faith with some uncertainty involved, but Ensign had been entrusted with getting her clients’ books off the ground so she had to get right to work finding a printing partner and developing a strategic cadence for production. Her plan – only print as many books as you need. Then, after you sell those, print more. It was a simple strategy, but it paid off. Both authors’ books found success with Ensign’s new company, with one even making its way to Pope John Paul II and the storied Vatican library.  Eventually word began to spread about “the girl in the basement” and in matter of months she had a sizable client list that included corporations and Detroit News columnist Pete Waldmeir. But no matter how many books were on her plate, she took the time to work closely with each individual writer, getting to know them on a personal level. Because for Ensign, chemistry with an author is an essential part of the publishing process.

Hitting the big time
Ensign got her big break five years later when one of her client’s books clinched the number one spot on the Amazon best sellers list. But as previously mentioned, there was a bit more to the story than just luck. According to Ensign, it’s all about market timing and she knew that if she found the right opportunity at the right moment, she could hit it big. In 1997, that came in the form of a congressional hearing broadcast on CSPAN. The Y2K phenomenon was approaching and government leaders were planning for a massive disaster brought on by the potential malfunction of computers around the world. These types of discussions certainly irked the public and many began stockpiling supplies for what was called the end of the world. Ensign saw through the panic and sensed an opportunity. She found an expert in family preparedness and secured the rights to collaboratively publish his book “Making the Best of Basics.” In January 1999, at the height of millennium madness, the book hit number one on Amazon. So as you can see, this was no coincidence. It was all by Ensign’s design.

Sterlingfest 2018 RE-AJIn the years following this success, Ensign kept busy publishing more than 150 books. Business was good, however, the industry was starting to become chaotic. A break was in order, so in 2014, she stepped back from Gold Leaf Press. During this period, she dove into studying new trends and technology in communications. And when she was ready, she hit the reset button and formed her current content strategy and marketing venture, Ensignia. The company houses Gold Leaf Press, so Ensign is still publishing. But now she’s offering clients additional services, with content creation at the core. Also key to her business – working closely with every individual that becomes a client. She wants them to have a great experience publishing a book, crafting a blog or editing a manuscript. Of course, this all makes sense. Building these types of relationships was the cornerstone of Ensign’s career in Boston and at Gold Leaf Press. By continuing these efforts, she will no doubt experience a similar level of success.

A special opportunity
Those moved by Ensign’s story and interested in her secret to success will be thrilled to learn of a special opportunity hosted by the communications expert. On Friday, October 5, Ensign will hold a free seminar called “The Secrets & Strategies of the Best-Sellers and Top Google Search Rankers.” Alongside co-host Russ Cuthrell of Spyder Byte Media, she will teach attendees how to get the most out of websites, social media, digital marketing, advertising and PR efforts. Notably, for aspiring and published authors, the seminar includes two very interesting bonus features:

  • Bonus Feature #1: The 5 Critical Elements every #1 Amazon Best-seller Must Have
  • Bonus Feature #2: From Idea to Manuscript and Manuscript to Published Book

Space for the seminar is limited, so Ensign is asking for advanced registration here. My recommendation – don’t wait to reserve a seat at the event. There aren’t many publishers and communications experts out there willing to share their secrets for free. So sign up now and perhaps one day, you can be an Amazon best seller too.

For more information on Rebecca Ensign, Ensignia and Gold Leaf Press, visit https://www.goldleafpress.com/.

**Ensignia is a client of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Working with MCPED, they have access to services like assistance with marketing, financial analysis and planning, strategic planning, management and operations. To learn how our services can help your business to grow, visit http://www.MacombBusiness.com or call 586-469-5285. You can also reach Jack Johns at jack.johns@macombgov.org.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Free workshop aims to help startup businesses

There are countless resources in Michigan aimed at helping small businesses and startup organizations. Why? Well, for starters, these types of organizations employ over 1.8 million individuals. That’s more than 49 percent of the state’s private workforce. To keep the economy healthy and growing, it is essential that support services are provided for this sector.

ou macombThis is why the Macomb-OU Incubator at the Velocity Center is hosting “Starting Up,” a workshop that is free and open to the public. The course, held Tuesday, August 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., is suitable for:

  • Individuals who have a high-tech startup
  • Individuals who have an early-stage, growth-based business
  • Individuals who have an innovative idea that they’d like to bring to market

During the workshop, attendees will explore Michigan’s “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” which is designed to help innovators start and/or grow tech-based businesses. They will also hear from John Eaton, the Macomb-OU Incubator client strategist. He will review the wide range of resources the state of Michigan offers – including business incubators, university technology acceleration and commercialization, SmartZones and various support services and funding programs. The end goal of the course – to identify what’s right for every individual’s business.

Those interested in attending can register here: https://hgioxpcxda.formstack.com/forms/starting_up_082118. Make sure to reserve a spot soon. These classes tend to fill up quickly.

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Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

What you should know before you start your small business

pexels-photo-908295Small business is booming in Michigan. According to a 2018 SBA state report, there are more than 870,000 of these establishments employing over 1.8 million individuals. However, getting a small business off the ground can be difficult, and every year there are closures alongside openings. That’s why investing in business education from the start is important. And Michigan’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is here to assist all entrepreneurs and innovators in this effort. For instance, on Thursday, August 16 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, they will host a free workshop for individuals who are at the beginning stages of opening a business. The class will be held at the office of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (1 S. Main, 7th Floor, Mt. Clemens) and will provide attendees with important information on:

  • Assessing readiness for entrepreneurship
  • Steps for starting a business
  • Writing a business plan
  • Tools to determine startup costs and operating expenses
  • Local resources and recommendations

To register for the workshop, click here. If you’re unable to attend on August 16, there are several additional dates offered, including:

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The SBDC also offers online webinars on a variety of topics. The following are currently open for registration:

Writing a Business Plan
Wednesday, August 1; 11am-Noon
Register Here

Marketing Your Business
Wednesday, August 8; 11-Noon
Register Here

Small Business, Big Threat – An Introduction to Cyber Security
Tuesday, August 14; 11-Noon
Register Here

Business Legal Issues
Wednesday August 15; 11am-Noon
Register Here

Financial Management
Wednesday, August 22; 11am-Noon
Register Here

Starting a Business
Wednesday, August 29; 11am-Noon
Register Here

So as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to start your business education. Just attend a few workshops and you’ll be well on your way to getting your organization off the ground.

For more information on Macomb County Planning and Economic Development click here. For details on the Michigan SBDC, click here or call Wendy Richardson at 313-672-1101.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Register now for a new financial workshop from the Michigan SBDC

sbdcNinety-five percent of the businesses in Macomb County are defined as a small business, one that employs fewer than 50 people. Because of this, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) works closely with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to offer owners and entrepreneurs assistance with marketing, financial analysis and planning, strategic planning, management and operations. We act as their partner, helping them succeed.

One recent joint activity between MCPED and the SBDC is the development of “Know Your Numbers,” a workshop aimed at helping business owners and key staff better understand and use their financial statements. The course, which is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, will be held Thursday, July 26 from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the MCPED office (1 S. Main Street, Mount Clemens). The ideal participant will have two to three years of financial history and should be pursuing financing or having challenges with cash flow. During the workshop, they will learn how to:

  • Use a balance sheet and income statements in managing a business
  • Use break even analysis to improve decision-making
  • Find the source of cash flow problems
  • Increase a company’s cash flow
  • Strengthen a relationship with a banker and/or lender

Interested individuals can register for the event here. The cost is $25/person and includes a workbook – however, the course is offered at no cost to Fifth Third Bank customers and veterans by calling 734-487-0355.

For more information on MCPED click here and for details on the Michigan SBDC, click here.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.