Romeo-Washington Chamber shoots for the stars, honors John Paul Rea

When it comes to celebrating one’s hometown, perhaps nobody does it better than Romeo.

Between Tillson Street trick-or-treating, the Michigan Lavender Festival, and of course the Michigan Peach Festival, Romeo residents have a lot to be proud of. There’s even more to celebrate, though: The town also has a fantastic array of cuisine, art, and music made by locals.

That’s what Night Under the Stars is all about.

For the 6th year in a row, the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Night Under the Stars celebration. The event features local music, art, food, and wine, as well as a keynote speaker known as a “hometown success story.”

This year that honor goes to none other than John Paul Rea, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

“We were really excited to choose John Paul. He was class president back when he graduated Romeo High School in 2001, and he’s had so much success since then, while staying local at the same time,” said chamber Executive Director Kelley Stephens. “He’s got an interesting story.”

In his keynote address, Rea will discuss his journey from Romeo to where he is now.

“We’ve had keynote speakers from all different fields—arts, literature, film, sports—but we’ve never had someone from the political sphere until this year,” Stephens said.

Around 140-180 people attend the event every year—so get your tickets soon.

“This is one of my favorite events that we do,” added Stephens. “The money that we raise funds scholarships for graduating high school seniors, so it’s a way to celebrate the community while giving back.”

Night Under the Stars takes place from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the Historic Douglas House. Tickets are $25 per person or $40 per couple. To reserve your tickets, call (586) 752-4436 or visit www.rwchamber.com.

jp

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

Corporate Citizens compete to take home Macomb Business award

 

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s 5th Annual Macomb Business Awards is quickly approaching! The awards breakfast will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township.

Nominations in six award categories have been collected and reviewed by a panel of judges. Last week, we let out a sneak peek at the amazing companies vying for Champion of Workforce Development.

Competing for the Corporate Citizen award are 14 Macomb County companies who excel at engaging the local community through service and financial support. Be sure to purchase your ticket to see who will take home the award.

Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc. (Shelby Township)

AEW is a leading design firm that provides civil engineering, architecture, geographic information systems, consulting and surveying services to municipal, institutional and private clients. They are committed to the enduring strength of our communities through innovation, value and engineering excellence. In 2016, AEW supported more than 65 community events, charitable foundations, food pantries and service clubs. They are also dues-paying members of more than 30 professional organizations, chambers of commerce and service organizations. AEW’s team of employees and managers hold food pantry drives, support Selfridge Air National Guard Base families at Christmas and donate hundreds of hours annually to performing community service.

aewinc.com

 

Bay Rama Inc.  (New Baltimore)

The Bay Rama Committee was formed in 1964. They have approximately 75 board and committee members and more than 100 active volunteers. Their purpose is to better the Anchor Bay community and make an economic impact. Their main fundraiser is the annual Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival, and they also sponsor the New Baltimore Christmas Tree Lighting in December. Bay Rama supports many local groups including New Baltimore Recreation, MacDonald Library, New Baltimore Lions and more. They have awarded more than $80,000 in scholarships to Anchor Bay graduates and donated more than $2 million to Walter and Mary Burke Park and Festival Park.

bay-rama.com

 

Binson’s Medical Equipment and Supplies (Center Line)

Binson’s is a family owned and operated full-service home medical equipment, medical supply and orthopedic company. Their customer base includes individuals, hospitals, doctor offices, nursing homes, health plans and other providers. They are committed to helping defeat the diseases that impact the families they serve on a daily basis. Throughout the years, they have raised and donated funds to many charities including the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Muscular Dystrophy Association. They also played a big role in supporting the MDA Summer Camp and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure by donating the medical supplies and wheelchairs needed for attendees to participate at these events.

binsons.com

 

Brose Jefferson (Warren)

Brose Jefferson is a manufacturing location of the Brose Group, the fifth largest family-owned automotive supplier. It manufactures door modules and latch mini-modules for several major OEMs such as Ford and Chrysler. Brose partners with Macomb Community College to identify displaced workers with an interest in mechatronics and has donated funds to assist students working toward a mechatronic certificate. They have also donated to the Macomb Community College Foundation to provide meals and bus tickets to students with financial needs. Brose meets with students to educate them about careers in manufacturing through events at the Michigan Technical Education Center and Macomb County’s Manufacturing Day.

brose.com

 

CJ Barrymore’s Entertainment (Clinton Township)

There is a variety of family entertainment to be found at CJ Barrymore’s including bumper cars, laser tag, dining options, arcade, racecar tracks, rock wall, bumper boats and the new rollercoaster. Wanting everyone to have fun, CJ Barrymore’s proudly hosts free parties for the terminally ill and sponsors the annual Children’s Hospital Cancer Survivor Day. They are a proud member of the Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families and have provided a Leadership Scholarship to Chippewa Valley High School for the past 30 years. They also purchase products and utilize vendors from local companies, ensuring that the money they spend benefits the community.

cjbarrymores.com

 

Godlan, Inc. (Clinton Township)

Godlan is a leading professional manufacturing services company that implements integrated technology solutions, helping manufacturers streamline operations, communicate better, innovate faster, sell more and ensure the health of their business. Godlan has been in business since 1984 and has two locations with more than 50 employees. They are dedicated to charitable giving and to fostering a culture of giving throughout the organization. For the past five years, Godlan provided each employee with a donation to the charity of their choice. Through this program, approximately $500,000 has been contributed to charities, including the Macomb Charitable Foundation.

godlan.com

 

Jefferson Yacht Club (St. Clair Shores)

Founded in 1957, the Jefferson Yacht Club is a private club that provides dining for their members and their guests as well as an in-ground pool, tiki bar and outdoor pavilion. Located in the center of the Nautical Mile, the Jefferson Yacht Club supports community events such as AquaFreeze, Restaurant Week and the Memorial Parade. Through events like their annual Turkey Bowling Night, they contribute monetary donations and frozen turkeys to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, collect food for the Macomb Food Bank and contribute toward the St. Clair Shores Cops for Kids program. They support many charities and provide their facility for fundraising efforts.

jeffersonyachtclub.com

 

Kevin Koresky Attorney at Law (St. Clair Shores)

Kevin Koresky has been a respected attorney at law for more than two decades. With a newly-launched website, it is easy for clients to see they have the right to be properly represented. Koresky takes each case personally; you will never be just a case number with him. This can be seen through the way he takes the time to answer small questions to reassure a client, the way he fights for an innocent client and how he treats a simple will with the utmost respect. He has a passion for helping people and makes sure his cases are handled properly, respectfully and timely.

koreskylaw.com

 

Key Safety Systems (Sterling Heights)

With corporate headquarters in Sterling Heights, KSS has been offering top automotive safety equipment for nearly 40 years. They make airbags, seat belts and other safety technologies. KSS was interested in becoming more involved in local community activities, so they became a repeat supporter of the Sterling Heights Initiative for Neighborhood Excellence (SHINE) program. SHINE relies heavily on volunteers to assist homeowners with fairly substantial tasks to clean up or renovate their property.

keysafetyinc.com

 

Michigan First Credit Union (Eastpointe)

Founded in 1926 as the Detroit Teachers Credit Union, the Michigan First Credit Union was renamed in 2001 to reflect the diversity of their growing membership. In 2015, they opened their state-of-the-art Gratiot Financial Store in Eastpointe, reviving a main intersection in the community. Each year, time, resources and thousands of dollars are donated to the local community through scholarship programs, student branches, free educational seminars and hosting blood drives and shred days. In the last year, Michigan First Credit Union has participated in, sponsored or donated to Gleaners Food Bank, the Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe, Hope Center Macomb, Cruisin’ Gratiot and more.

michiganfirst.com

 

Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation (Warren)

Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation was formed to inspire youth to do the most good, stay in school, graduate college and become future leaders, hopefully in Michigan. Since 1991, more than 1,500 college scholarships have been awarded to deserving students to continue their education. Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation works with a dozen colleges and universities to talk to kids about opportunities available to them. They also host workshops on anti-bullying, fighting crime, healthy eating and entrepreneurship. Metro Detroit Youth Day is their major event which has grown to include more than 35,000 youths, 360 organizations, 240 corporate sponsors and 1,700 volunteers.

metrodetroityouthday.org

 

Motown Soup (Utica)

“Good for you, good for the community,” is Motown Soup’s slogan. Begun 12 years ago, the business is 100 percent volunteer led, and all profits are given back to the community. During an average week, up to 100 volunteers produce soup and baked goods mixes which they label, package and sell. Profits from 2015 were given to Macomb County nonprofits such as MCREST, Hope Center, Lighthouse Outreach, Habitat Macomb and Samaritan House. Motown Soup not only helps through their outreach, but they also touch the lives of their volunteers who are mostly retired – giving them new meaning in life as they help the soup project.

motownsoup.com

 

My Deal Graphics (St. Clair Shores)

Founded in St. Clair Shores 20 years ago, My Deal Graphics offers the highest quality products at the lowest costs. A locally-owned small business, My Deal Graphics works with many of the sports teams, school districts and businesses in Macomb County. Owner Steve Salerno has worked hard to build relationships with these organizations and to provide them with the needed apparel for their businesses or teams. Salerno’s employees are creative and innovative in their approach to helping businesses. As My Deal Graphics has grown, they have given back to the community through donations at local events and to the local sports teams.
mydealgraphics.com

 

Relevar Home Care (Mount Clemens)

Relevar is a private home care company with a corporate office in Mount Clemens and caregivers spanning several counties. Relevar improves and enhances the day-to-day lives of its clients on a daily basis by providing trustworthy, compassionate and professional care. Last year, they were recognized by the Mount Clemens Beautification Committee due to the pride they put into their building’s yard and landscape. Relevar constantly keeps a recruiter on staff, promoting local employment. They also partner with Lutz School for Work Experience where they provide real-life work experiences and training to students with special needs, promoting the transition from school to community life.

relevar.com

 

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

Information drives decision making and highlights successes

 

Strong intel is a must-have for good decision making. In Macomb County, technology plays a key role in filling that need. The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is utilizing some pretty powerful tools to make sure our clients and the public have the best, most accurate and up-to-date information available when making decisions. This includes taking advantage of the latest trends and data available in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

GIS has probably impacted your life, without you ever knowing it. GIS impacts the roads you drive on, the local parks you visit, the quaint downtowns you spend your weekends at and much more. GIS can create smart and efficient locations through leveraging and analyzing data to encourage sound and stable decision making throughout multiple departments and within local government. Macomb County is not only a smart county through advocating the power of GIS, but it is on the front end of promoting and sharing this cutting-edge technology.

gisThe utilization of GIS in Macomb County is happening from every stage of the workflow throughout the county. One way is through the collaboration of numerous departments and the GIS team to advance data quality and data management, for example, ensuring and improving address data for the Emergency Management Department. Another way is by providing open and free data to the public on Macomb County’s GIS Portal. A creative way Macomb County is encouraging GIS is through developing custom interactive web maps, web apps and story maps that make it easier than ever for citizens to engage with spatial data and to learn more about a variety of subjects in Macomb County.

The following are recent projects that have been improved through the power of GIS:

The Macomb Orchard Trail story map, which highlights all of the trail’s assets, nearby attractions and any other additional information a trail-goer might need. The Local Shops web app features 1,600 unique businesses in Macomb County, embracing the shop local and shop small initiative. Another project is the Economic Investments web app which focuses on investments in Macomb County. This web app allows the user to analyze, manipulate and visualize the data in a variety of ways through the interactive counter, summary list and graph widgets. There are more interactive web maps, apps and story maps coming soon!

For now, check out Macomb County’s GIS Portal to explore other featured web maps, open data and to learn more about GIS!

worley-jessicaJessica Worley is a GIS technician for the Planning and Mapping Serices Group of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Spotlight on big investments at annual State of the County Address

2016 was a major year for business investment in Macomb County. Last night at the sixth annual State of the County, the continued and remarkable economic rebound in Macomb County was a central theme for County Executive Mark Hackel during his address.

Macomb County is in the midst of seven straight years of job growth. The number of people working in Macomb County has swelled by roughly 55,000 to more than 410,000, which is the most in 15 years and near our historic high watermark.

These job gains have been fueled by Macomb County’s standing as a world-class advanced manufacturing hub. Since 2010, the mobility industry has directly invested more than $6 billion in Macomb County. This year alone in Macomb County, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles committed $1.4 billion to the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant; General Motors located their autonomous vehicle development team at the GM Tech Center; and Ford has tripled its autonomous vehicle fleet and is currently testing its Ford Fusion hybrids in Bruce Township at the Michigan Proving Grounds. Macomb County government has done its part and stepped up, expanding our intelligent transportation infrastructure at COMTEC. These investments have made Macomb County better positioned, more than any other county in the nation in fact, to deploy connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

The same kind of transformation is happening in our other key targeted industries of defense, information technology, aerospace and agriculture.

In defense, our military installations and network of more than 600 prime defense contractors continue to push the limits of innovation. This past year, Macomb County companies were awarded more than $1.4 billion in defense contacts. TARDEC teamed up with General Motors to develop the hydrogen-powered Chevy Colorado Z-H-2. This futuristic military-concept vehicle was created right here in Macomb County and went from contract to concept in less than a year. TACOM continues to be an integral piece of our Army’s command.

Our information technology (IT) and cybersecurity sectors are undergoing massive expansions. Macomb County is now home to nearly 400 IT firms, which employ approximately 9,000 individuals. Over the past five years, the county has experienced a 116 percent increase in our IT employment which, when compared to a national average of less than 12 percent, shows our tremendous progress. Macomb is also leading the way in cybersecurity with the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range opening. We continue to look for ways to deepen our workforce talent pool and have been bringing industry experts together with MADCAT to continue to find innovative ways to prepare for future needs.

Macomb County is also making impressive gains in aerospace. The world’s largest aerospace companies are now doing business within our borders. Names like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter and NASA are working with an ever growing number of prime suppliers. Contract after contract, they are flocking to Macomb County because of our advanced precision tooling and adaptable workforce.

Even agriculture and food processing are being transformed. Lipari Foods just announced a new $36 million state-of-the-art food processing facility in Warren, which will incorporate some of the most advanced food processing capabilities in the state. Century-old orchards such as Blake’s, Miller’s Big Red and Westview are also making big investments, transforming themselves in to wineries and family entertainment centers. Several craft brewers are making Macomb their home, including the $1.3 million investment at Kuhnhenn’s Brewery in Clinton Township.

Our business investments are also greatly improving our quality of life. This past year saw the opening of the much anticipated Jimmy John’s Field and the start of play for the United Shore Professional Baseball League. The ballpark’s first season was a huge success: Most of the games were sellouts, attendance averaged 3,100 over the 75 game schedule, and eight players were picked up by major league organizations. The league has announced expansion plans to add a fourth team next year.

All of these developments are telling us the same story – Macomb County is a preferred destination for transformational economic investment.

This all contributed to what was a successful 2016 for our department. I’m very proud of the dedicated staff that make up our team of professionals who were able to help these businesses grow and thrive in Macomb County this year. Our staff was responsible for the following investments within the county this year:

2016-econ-impact

I am very proud Executive Hackel recognized our department for our efforts in a significant way in front of such a large and influential audience. If you’re a business thinking about starting, locating or growing in Macomb County, we want to help you. Please contact our department, and together we can help you be the focus for next year’s event!

rea-john-paulJohn Paul Rea, AICP, is the director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

MFG matters in Macomb County!

girl-with-giveawaysManufacturing is one of Macomb County’s most important industries. Overall, more than 1,600 companies throughout the county have an annual economic impact of $13.4 billion. These firms employ almost a fifth of our workforce. And, the average salary in the industry is nearly $75,000 annually.

To keep these important jobs here, we must have a steady stream of skilled workforce in place to fill new positions as they open.
To help inspire the next generation to consider careers in the industry, the Department of Planning & Economic Development will co-host “Exploring Careers in Manufacturing & Technology” with Macomb Community College from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Sports & Expo Center in Warren.

careersinmanufacturingexpo_flyer_bestThis is a free event for students of all ages. It will feature hands-on activities, an opportunity to meet others who have found success in the industry and a chance to interact with leading employers. Complimentary concessions and a chance to win a personal 3D printer valued at $1,000 will round out the evening.

Please consider gathering up some of your favorite young people and attend this wonderful event. Click here for more details and a link to register.

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.

Macomb County continues to add jobs – breaks 15 year record

The most recent jobs update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Macomb County gained 767 jobs last month and 15,803 total so far in 2016.

Under the new executive form of government, since Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel took office in January 2011, Macomb County has gained 54,905 jobs. In January 2015, the county started off with 383,739 jobs. August figures for 2016 show 410,639 Macomb County residents are employed. This is the highest number of people employed in Macomb County in more than 15 years, dating back to March 2001 when 412,364 people were employed.

“Seven straight years of continued job growth is a clear sign that Macomb County is able to compete in a globally competitive market,” said Executive Hackel. “Our manufacturers are designing and creating the products that will revolutionize the future of mobility.”

The updated job numbers continue the streak of seven continuous years of job growth in Macomb County. More jobs have been added every year since the height of the recession in 2009, when 350,776 people in the county were working. The county peaked in job numbers in May 1999, when 437,251 were employed. At that time, unemployment was at a mere 2.7 percent.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

IT jobs growing in Macomb County

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through technology, Macomb County is on the cutting edge of the information technology (IT) and cybersecurity industries.

There are currently 367 companies that make up Macomb County’s network of IT and cybersecurity businesses. Collectively, they employ more than 8,000 workers (and growing!). These companies are utilizing sophisticated software systems and the latest in technology to revolutionize security.

IT1At the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range, Macomb County companies have access to the resources they need to secure their connected products. Certification classes in more than 20 different cybersecurity disciplines equip our workforce with the knowledge needed to excel in this growing industry.

The county is also home to MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team), an organization devoted to supporting the region’s cyber ecosystem. Through collaborative partnerships, MADCAT focuses on driving technology innovation forward.

Jobs are available and growing across all fields of IT and cybersecurity. Here is a snapshot of some of the fastest growing in June of this year.

IT2

The business development team of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is here to help.  Our job is to be knowledgeable about and connected to a wide assortment of programs available to help businesses succeed.

Our services are free, confidential and easily accessed.  Simply get in touch, and we will arrange for your team to meet with our seasoned professionals. We will listen to your goals to grow your business, discuss current and anticipated barriers and discuss options for getting you on your way.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.