Landing the F-35

Macomb County is going all out in its efforts to become the home of the F-35.

What is the F-35? It’s a new fifth-generation fighter jet, capable of both air defense and ground attacks. It’s able to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions with ease, and according to the mif35.org website, its futuristic technology is “designed to defeat today’s most advanced threat systems […] as well as those expected to emerge in the decades to come.”

Needless to say, the F-35 is a bit of a celebrity in the aircraft world.

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Across the nation, five locations were chosen as finalists in the competition to house the F-35: Montgomery, AL; Boise, ID; Jacksonville, FL; Madison, WI; and Harrison Township, MI. Selfridge Air National Guard Base is the last of the five bases that will be evaluated before the winning locations are determined.

Many factors indicate that they’ve saved the best for last.

faMacomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, alongside the Michigan Defense Center and the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, commissioned a comparative analysis of the five competing locations. Research shows that of the five finalists, the metro Detroit area has the necessary workforce, infrastructure, and experience to handle the F-35 mission most successfully.

To read more on why Selfridge ANGB is the ideal location for the F-35, visit mif35.org. The winning locations are expected to be announced in mid-autumn this year.

Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.

 

Letters of support fly in for the F-35

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s something abuzz in Macomb County! Selfridge Air National Guard Base is one of the top five national finalists competing to house a new type of fighter jet: the F-35.

s 1And the movement to bring home the F-35 is now picking up speed, thanks to several letters of support written by leaders from around the county.

Robert J. Cannon, Clinton Township supervisor, writes, “Our community understands and appreciates the true impact that Selfridge has had on our region, our state, and our nation.” Cannon goes on to explain that Selfridge was home to the country’s first successful military relations committee, which made Mount Clemens into “a model for other military towns to follow.”

s 2Selfridge has a rich history, and it only makes sense that its history should be taken into account here. As noted by Kathleen Lomako, president of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, Selfridge was “one of the first military airfields in the nation.” During the Second World War, the base was “able to produce new bombers at the rate of one every hour, something no one thought possible at the time.” Our area has a proud tradition of being part of our nation’s air-based defense system, and, as Lomako writes, many believe that tradition “should be extended into the next century” with the housing of the F-35.

Besides its historical significance, Selfridge also offers plenty of logistical advantages, including a new jet fuel storage and delivery system. The base is also home to all five branches of the military—a unique asset compared to other bases. Additionally, as stated by Cannon, Selfridge has “over 3,000 full-time civilian and military personnel” ready to support and defend the base.

s 3Lomako adds that there are plenty of non-military factors that make Selfridge an ideal location for the F-35 as well. Selfridge is “located in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the country,” which means its employees will have access to an efficient airport and to other employment opportunities after their military careers have ended. They will also be in close proximity to a “full spectrum of educational, commercial, and recreational services, which is desirable for any personnel stationed at the base.”

To read all the letters of support from county leaders that have been published so far, click here. And to learn more about why Selfridge is a perfect fit for the F-35, visit www.mif35.org.

Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.

Macomb County represents at Paris Air Show

paris-airshow-logoThe International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget has been the aviation and space industry’s largest dedicated show, with over 2,100 international exhibitors, 139,000 trade visitors, 1.4 million square feet of exhibition area sold and 150 aircraft flying displays. This event occurs in Paris every two years and brings the entire industry together with over 2,300 international companies.

The Paris Air Show gives the Macomb County Planning & Economic Development team the chance to meet with F-35 suppliers, receive the most up-to-date information in aviation, and the opportunity to network with companies outside of Michigan and, more importantly, tell our story! Getting ready for a show this large requires a great deal of prep work. Working with my dedicated teammates, I am ready to take on a week full of networking and interfacing with major international companies, F-35 suppliers and aviation specialists.

f-35Speaking of the F-35, two landed safely in France last week to debut at the Paris Air Show. Depending on the weather, the F-35 will fly during the trade show, and I will be sure to take videos to share with all of you on our social media page. The F-35 demonstrations in Paris will be the first opportunity for international audiences to see its true capabilities, including acrobatic and high G-force maneuvers. These moves are often comparable to what audiences see during performances of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.

As many of you are also aware, Selfridge Air National Guard Base is in the running (along with four other states) to be one of two Air National Guard beddown locations for the F-35A Lighting II aircraft. It’s important for Macomb County to take part in the Paris Air Show and meet with Lockheed Martin suppliers to discuss the importance of why Macomb County, and more specifically, why Selfridge ANGB is the perfect and most logical choice to bring the F-35 aircraft.

My goal for the trip is to meet with F-35 suppliers, especially those outside of Michigan, and to tell the story of “why” Macomb County. With a large veteran population, over $2 billion in defense contracts annually and a competitive workforce, it should be a no-brainer that these suppliers will want to tap into and be a part of this monumental opportunity for Michigan and the county.

Janelle Arbuckle.pngJanelle Arbuckle is an economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

STEM education fuels Macomb County’s defense industry

“Macomb County is the defense capital. We build things to protect those who protect us.”

These are the words that Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel uses to tout the strength of the defense industry here in Macomb County. With first-class Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security installations and a robust advanced manufacturing industrial base, Macomb County has all the components necessary to be a global leader in national security.

Vital to the success of Macomb County’s defense industry is top tier STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent. Scientific advancement and engineering prowess are what have kept and will continue to keep the U.S. Armed Forces at the forefront of conventional and unconventional military capabilities. In order to stay at the forefront, and to keep our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen safe, as well as “to provide for the common defense” as stated in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, STEM talent is of great importance.

selfridge_1With future prospects for security in mind, Selfridge Air National Guard Base hosted the second of a three-part event spanning St. Clair, Macomb and Wayne counties on May 19 called Inspiring the Next Generation. This event was designed to showcase potential career options in the defense industry for local high school STEM students.

Students had the opportunity to work with robotics controls, experience a flight simulator from Eastern Michigan University’s College of Aviation, solder wires on an F-35 Lightning II model and hear from representatives from General Dynamics Land Systems, Women in Aviation and the Misty Blues All Women Skydiving Team on what it means to work in the defense industry and aviation.

Over 500 STEM students from Anchor Bay School District, Chippewa Valley School District, Warren Woods Public Schools, Center Line Public Schools and Utica Community Schools participated in the event.

Rochon, Daniel IMG_0069Dan Rochon works for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development as an associate planner in economic development services.

Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program offers tools for sales success

The University of Michigan’s Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program (DMAP) recognizes the importance of Macomb County’s Defense Corridor to our national security and works as a strategic partner with local firms. We have developed a Sales, Leads and Markets (SLAM) training seminar to address the challenges government contractors face when developing strategies to diversify into private sector markets.

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This free seminar offers techniques and strategies to develop leads and long-term customer relationships. If you are uncertain if you are targeting the right markets or if your lead management process is producing results, then SLAM training is for you! We already have a great response and expect a well-attended event where defense contractors and other firms will have good networking opportunities.

SLAM training will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at the Velocity Collaboration Center located at 6633 18 Mile Rd. in Sterling Heights. There is no cost to attend. Please register at defensemap.org/events. Nondefense firms are welcome as space permits.

DMAP is a Department of Defense-funded program that provides resilience and diversification assistance for the defense supply chain via advisory plans and co-funded projects up to $100,000 for companies experiencing or anticipating adverse impacts of defense downsizing.  DMAP has assessed over 150 firms and conducted projects ranging from lean manufacturing to succession planning. Learn more about DMAP and the SLAM event at www.defensemap.org, or contact me at pamweiss@umich.edu or 734-998-6521.

Pam Weiss is the project intermediate manager for DMAP.

SLAM training

 

Website launched to ramp up support for F-35 aircraft at Selfridge

As part of Macomb County’s campaign to secure a squadron of the F-35 Lightening II at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum and County Executive Mark A. Hackel announced the launch of a new website, mif35.org.

selfridge_1The Department of Defense is currently reviewing five potential locations for the fighter aircraft and will choose two final sites. A site survey will be conducted at Selfridge in July, and a final decision by the secretary of the Air Force is expected this summer or fall.

The county is partnering with the base, the Selfridge Community Council, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce and other community partners to promote Selfridge as the ideal location for the F-35 and to highlight the economic benefits of landing the new aircraft at the base.

The website, designed by Mount Clemens-based Hunch Free, is one of the tools being used to engage the local community and inform them about the importance of bringing the F-35 to Selfridge. In addition to featuring detailed information and supplemental videos, the website also opens a channel of communication with the public, allowing users to show their support, sign up to receive updates and submit any questions they may have about the F-35 potentially coming to Selfridge.

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According to Slocum, Selfridge has fantastic airmen and is a wonderful facility that can easily handle the F-35 aircraft. He emphasized that if the F-35 comes to Harrison Township, it will secure the future of the base for decades to come.

“This is the base that deserves the F-35,” said Hackel.

In addition to strategic location, other features will also be taken into consideration as the Department of Defense makes its decision, such as education and job opportunities as well as housing costs and more. Hackel said he will be a forceful advocate to get the F-35, and if accomplished, he has no doubt any additional employees this transition may bring will feel comfortable making Macomb their home.

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

Glitz and Camo at the 2016 North American International Auto Show

 

In the coming days, thousands of members of the media, industry and car enthusiasts will converge on Detroit to check out the shiny new vehicles, glitzy displays and cutting edge prototypes we’ve come to expect at this annual extravaganza.

But, there’s even more to see at this year’s Auto Show. Head down the main escalator to the Garden Level for an eye-opening learning experience and find out why the U.S. Army has called southeast Michigan home for 75 years.

U.S. Army TACOM LCMC (Tank Automotive Command) and TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center) located at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI will exhibit some of the many vehicles and systems that serve the men and women who serve our nation.

Army TARDEC, responsible for the research and development of fuel technologies and the other integral technology solutions for the Army and their other DoD affiliates, partners with Michigan’s stellar universities and state of the art technology firms to develop the vehicles and systems used by our soldiers around the world. In return, TARDEC offers talent, experience and one-of-a-kind testing facilities to the military, defense industry and domestic automotive companies and suppliers.

Dr. Paul Rogers, Director of U.S. Army TARDEC says, “We bring the best of the automotive industry to the warfighter with some of the most talented engineers and scientists in the industry who have a passion for their work as well as the success of the U.S. Army mission to which they contribute.”

The Army is able to leverage the auto suppliers, logistical expertise and cutting edge technology development available in this region to field the most technologically advanced military vehicles in the world.

The cars we drive everyday share DNA with military vehicles. On board computers, drive systems and fuel technologies developed and produced in Michigan power both. Working with Michigan’s auto suppliers and companies benefits auto buyers, the military and the American Taxpayer.

So, after you’re finished kicking the tires on those glitzy new cars upstairs, head downstairs to see the camo and learn about the military missions that depend on the vehicles and technologies that come together, here in Michigan.

Time:                     January 11 – January 24

Location:              NAIAS Cobo Hall, Garden Level, right of Atrium stage.

Details:                 U.S Army Vehicles and systems Exhibit

Creative Design displays

System Experts to answer questions

About the Author: Vicki Selva is the Executive Consultant at the Michigan Defense Center, MEDC