Department seeks Manufacturing Day hosts and sponsors

MFG Day 2016 AOne of the goals of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is to strengthen the county’s workforce by exposing the next generation to a wide range of in-demand career opportunities. Our efforts continue to grow and are demonstrated through a variety of different programs, one of which is Manufacturing Day.

National Manufacturing Day is an initiative that gives manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to show the public how advanced the industry has become. Our department first participated in 2013 when Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel led the media on a tour of local plants that culminated with a roundtable discussion with area manufacturers.

It was at this event that we learned that one of the greatest concerns of manufacturers is the need for talent. We also learned that there was a concern about the number of young people who were exposed to the industry and the interesting and well-paying careers that it offers.

MFG Day 2016 BHearing this, department staff collaborated with the Macomb Intermediate School District to get students from every high school on buses and into local plants to see the industry in action. Since 2014, more than 5,500 students have participated.

Plans are underway for the next Manufacturing Day which will be held Friday, Oct. 6. The department seeks area manufacturers who are willing to host tours for students and sponsors to help cover event expenses. To learn more, visit

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089Maria Zardis is the program manager of the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

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.


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 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, or contact me at or 734-998-6521.

Pam Weiss is the project intermediate manager for DMAP.

SLAM training


Business and recreational opportunities on display at the Detroit Boat Show

As a recent transplant to Southeast Michigan, I never fully appreciated the number of marinas, boats, businesses, and recreational opportunities along Lake St. Clair in Macomb County. This past September, I attended the Boating and Outdoor Festival at the Lake St. Clair Metropark and gained a real appreciation for the region’s boating culture.

The boating industry is huge in Michigan. According to the Michigan Boating Industries Association, Michigan is the third largest marine market in the country, following Florida and Texas. Boasting an economic impact of $762.4 million in new boats, motors, trailers, and accessories in 2014, Michigan continues to outpace the national average.

UntitledI am pretty sure the sales reps at the Boating and Outdoor Festival didn’t anticipate a windfall kind of day when they saw me checking out the state-of-the-art fishing and powerboats, cabin cruisers, and personal watercraft, but I did have to talk myself down a few times while looking at the latest kayaks and smaller sailing craft.

After attending the festival, I am really excited to see what the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Center has to offer, including all of the different exhibitors showcasing the latest navigation and communication equipment, docking systems, boats, apparel, and other opportunities such as charter trips and fishing on Lake St. Clair. I think my daughter will really enjoy some of the great activities planned, especially meeting a mermaid and watching the alligator wrangling!

This show will be a welcomed taste of summer on a February day. And I am sure with all the boats, fun, and water, there is bound to be a great tiki bar!

Geurink, Brent IMG_0018Brent Geurink is an associate planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Land and Water Resources Group.

Macomb County anticipates the Detroit Boat Show

I am excited to attend the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Center this year as it is the best way to THINK SPRING! The Detroit Boat Show is among the biggest and best that you’ll find anywhere, and it is representative of the huge recreational boating community we have here in Southeast Michigan and Macomb County.

The Detroit Boat Show is more than huge yachts, fishing boats or nifty new watercraft, it also has hundreds of vendors that show off their wares and give out prizes. My sister and her family came along with me and my family last year, and we made a whole late afternoon and evening of it! I recommend parking near Greektown, take the People Mover over to Cobo and see the whole floor (if possible), then hit PizzaPapalis on the way out.

Last year, they had water-skiers who did tricks right inside a long, flat pool inside Cobo Center. The kids weren’t the only ones who got in the human-sized bubbles on another pool, I had to try it too! Kid Rock also had his vintage-like wood boat on display at the WCSX radio booth display; it was definitely worth seeing the craftsmanship that went into that retro boat.

I’m looking forward to the many different types of boats that will be on display and also am interested in the personal watercraft section this year, as that could provide lots of great family time this summer if we can find a great deal. Every year, the boat show changes quite a bit and never seems like the same show.

While you are there, make sure you stop at the Lake St. Clair Tourism booth and get your new edition of the “Top 99 Destinations Around Lake St. Clair Map.”  It is also very neat to see what other venues have been added to the map!

See you there!


Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sundays – Mondays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Santoro, Gerry IMG_0004

Gerry Santoro is the program manager for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Land and Water Resources Group.

What awaits at the Macomb Business Awards

MBA 2016 Purchase Tickets - carousel 980x410.jpgWith only a few days left to purchase tickets, anticipation is building for the Macomb Business Awards. Fifty-one Macomb County businesses have been nominated in six categories, and on Tuesday, Feb. 9, we will find out the winners.

In its fourth year, the Macomb Business Awards continues to evolve and offer something new. This year, it will be held at the Fern Hill Golf Club. This facility features a beautiful banquet hall to accommodate wedding receptions and social events, Floodz Sports Bar, a 12-lane bowling alley and a pleasant 18-hole golf course. They also offer a full menu, so the attendees can look forward to a delicious breakfast spread.

The event will be emceed by Fox 2 Detroit’s Huel Perkins. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel will present the awards. This year’s keynote will be delivered by Kim Yost, CEO of Art Van Furniture. Headquartered in Warren, Art Van Furniture is the Midwest’s largest furniture retailer – which is a big deal! Art Van Furniture is involved in the community in many ways and often participates in philanthropic activities. During his address, Yost will discuss the 68 Day Challenge, an inspirational philosophy meant to spur individuals and businesses to achieve their goals.

Guests can also look forward to the many new businesses nominated this year. Although only a few will receive awards, all 51 will be featured in the program book. Despite being in competition with each other to receive an award, this is actually a great opportunity for businesses to network with one another and share best practices.

This year, there are many unique nominations spanning diverse industry sectors. For example, Bruce Township-based Custom Biogenic Systems, Inc. manufactures products for cryogenic freezing. Warren-based College Park Industries, Inc. is a prosthetics manufacturer whose product line includes a high-impact foot worn by Paralympic athletes. Roseville-based I.F. Metalworks supplies products ranging from industrial tools to architectural and ornamental metalwork. Shelby Township-based Motorcity Malt House is a micro-malter that provides malted barley and other grains to Michigan microbrewers and craft distillers.

These are just some of the very interesting companies thriving in Macomb County. Visit to view the rest of the nominees, and buy your ticket to the Macomb Business Awards to learn more about all of these outstanding companies.

This event is sponsored by Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Advancing Macomb, Automation Alley, First State Bank and many other supporters.

Gerds- Katlyn IMG_0004 LOW_RESCaitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.