Jacobs delivers final economic forecast, projects growth

After 34 years of delivering the Macomb Economic Forecast, Macomb Community College President Jim Jacobs, Ph.D., delivered his final forecast presentation last week. The event was presented by the Chamber Alliance of Macomb County, and Wayne State University was the premier sponsor, as they have been for the past 10 years.

The overall message was that while Macomb County is still recovering from the recession, it is well positioned to continue its path of progress.

The county is seeing remarkable automotive investments, many of which are in areas of the automotive industry that will continue to see growth, such as research and development for autonomous vehicles. Manufacturing also continues to be an important part of what Macomb County does. Jacobs marveled how over the span of his career, this industry has transformed from bending steel to software.

Macomb’s defense industry is also robust, not only including major assets such as TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, TARDEC and Selfridge Air National Guard Base, but also the private sector which is winning significant contracts. Another industry growing in importance is cybersecurity, as is evidenced by yet another cybersecurity lab opening in the county next week at the Wayne State Advanced Technology Education Center in Warren.

The county continues to attract population growth, in particular new immigrants. As such, Jacobs said the county needs to position itself as welcoming. He also predicts a new suburban ecosystem that emphasizes the importance of recreation, education, health care and the environment.

Jacobs said regional transit would make the county more attractive and is essential to economic growth. He cited the success of Jimmy John’s Field as valuable family entertainment that also spills over to other local businesses. Greening projects like the Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership are also making Macomb more attractive.

Jacobs called for more organizations like Advancing Macomb and Leadership Macomb, which he credited for getting citizens involved in the community and not simply looking to elected officials to lead the way.

The county also has challenges to overcome. These include providing residents more opportunities for growth, continuing to diversify the economic base and expanding civic infrastructure to complement and support the private sector.

According to Jacobs, the continued growth of Macomb County will depend on how well we protect and grow our defense assets, how we handle infrastructure issues and adapt to new needs such as broadband and autonomous sensors on roadways, and how we overcome disparity throughout the county.

At the conclusion of the event, Jacobs received a standing ovation. The chambers thanked him and revealed that he has agreed to play a role in future economic forecasts after he steps down as president of Macomb Community College later this year.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for 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.

Macomb-OU INCubator’s Capital Raise Meetups: Let Mac-OU INC show you the money!

The Macomb-Oakland University INCubator (Mac-OU INC) recognizes that one of the largest needs of entrepreneurs is capital, so we created Capital Raise Meetup seminars to steer these small-business owners in the right direction. After three consecutive years, Mac-OU INC’s Capital Raise Meetups are still in high demand.

Mike Brennan, Mac-OU INC’s capital strategist, covers the various capital sources in Michigan and discusses how to properly position a company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.

Brennan is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in both growth and startup organizations. He has founded five companies, raised $12 million privately for one and cumulatively employed more than 200 people in Michigan.

An example of these funding sources includes the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), which is available solely through the state of Michigan’s SmartZones. Mac-OU INC is the top SmartZone, out of 18 total, for garnering the most BAF dollars to assist client companies.

In total, $579,004 in BAF dollars has been awarded to client companies through Mac-OU INC. These BAF awards are distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center through Mac-OU INC to the various accelerator service providers.

Free Capital Raise Meetup sessions are set from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1. After his group presentations, Brennan is available to further assist participating companies in determining individual needs.

Mac-OU INC supports economic development in Southeast Michigan by accelerating high-tech businesses, cultivating academic innovation and encouraging research and development. To help small businesses grow, the incubator creates customized success strategies for startup and emerging companies in the niche industries of defense, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and technology.

The incubator is located in the Velocity building at 6633 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights. Those interested in attending the lectures are asked to register in advance by contacting me, Joan Carleton, at (586) 884-9324 or macINC@oakland.edu. For more information, visit the incubator website at oakland.edu/macombouinc.

Joan Carleton is the marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator.

 

Macomb-OU INCubator’s Capital Raise Meetups: Let Mac-OU INC show you the money!

The Macomb-Oakland University INCubator (Mac-OU INC) recognizes that one of the largest needs of entrepreneurs is capital, so we created Capital Raise Meetup seminars to steer these small-business owners in the right direction. After three consecutive years, Mac-OU INC’s Capital Raise Meetups are still in high demand.

Mike Brennan, Mac-OU INC’s capital strategist, covers the various capital sources in Michigan and discusses how to properly position a company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.

Brennan is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with 26 years of experience in both growth and startup organizations. He has founded five companies, raised $12 million privately for one and cumulatively employed more than 200 people in Michigan.

An example of these funding sources includes the Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), which is available solely through the state of Michigan’s SmartZones. Mac-OU INC is the top SmartZone, out of 18 total, for garnering the most BAF dollars to assist client companies.

In total, $579,004 in BAF dollars has been awarded to client companies through Mac-OU INC. These BAF awards are distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center through Mac-OU INC to the various accelerator service providers.

Free Capital Raise Meetup sessions are set from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1. After his group presentations, Brennan is available to further assist participating companies in determining individual needs.

Mac-OU INC supports economic development in Southeast Michigan by accelerating high-tech businesses, cultivating academic innovation and encouraging research and development. To help small businesses grow, the incubator creates customized success strategies for startup and emerging companies in the niche industries of defense, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and technology.

The incubator is located in the Velocity building at 6633 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights. Those interested in attending the lectures are asked to register in advance by contacting me, Joan Carleton, at (586) 884-9324 or macINC@oakland.edu. For more information, visit the incubator website at oakland.edu/macombouinc.

Joan Carleton is the marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator.

 

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 MacombBusiness.com 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.

Plenty to celebrate: Macomb County driving auto industry success

NAIASind.JPGMore than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries will come to Metro Detroit and attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year, exposing our automakers and suppliers at the NAIAS to greater global visibility.

Macomb County has established itself as a premier location for the resurgence of the U.S. automotive industry. Last year, the county ranked third in the nation for manufacturing job growth. As the NAIAS is set to take place this month at the freshly renovated Cobo Convention Center, there is reason to celebrate.

Since 2010, through 109 separate investments greater than $1 million, the auto industry has invested more than $5.3 billion in Macomb County. These investments and commitments made in Macomb County are paying dividends for the automakers. U.S. new-car sales continued showing growth December resulting in automakers reporting their highest annual sales ever, speeding past the previous record that was set before the recession began back in 2000.

These refinements in facilities and operations have led to substantial gains in new car sales. This past year, U.S. automakers reported their highest annual sales ever, speeding past previous records that were set back in 2000. Industry analysts estimate 17.5 million vehicles were sold in 2015, surpassing the 2000 record of 17.4 million. General Motors sold 3,082,366 vehicles, for a 5 percent gain. Fiat Chrysler posted a 12.6 percent annual gain to 2,200,834, pushing their sales gain streak to 69 straight months. Ford Motor Co. also reported their best December and sold 2,603,062 vehicles in 2015.

The “Big Three” (Ford, GM, Chrysler) employ more than 35,000 individuals within Macomb County, operating 10 facilities totaling more than 25 million square feet. Overall, in Macomb County the automotive industry is made up of nearly 500 companies that employ more than 44,000 individuals.

Not only are volumes increasing, but so are car prices. According to Kelley Blue Book, estimates for the average transaction climbed $297 (0.9%) from 2014 values to $34,428.

It’s not just the “Big Three” that are on display. Many of Macomb County’s automotive companies are celebrating the event. Axalta Coating Systems of Mount Clemens, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is the presenting sponsor of the NAIAS Charity Preview, which is consistently the largest single-night fundraiser in the United States.

At the 2015 show, 55 vehicles made their worldwide debut, bringing the total to 1,467 premieres since the show began back in 1984. As show attendance continues to grow and U.S. auto sales are expected to break their all-time annual record, the 2016 event is expected to be a massive celebration of the automotive industry.

If you have never been, this is a great year to check it out. Even the Detroit Tigers will be on hand to marvel at our region’s innovation!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & 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.

Chinese delegation tours Macomb County

 

Jack 1On Monday, Nov. 30, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development had the pleasure of showcasing Macomb County’s assets to a visiting Chinese delegation from Hai’an County in the Jiangsu Province.

I specialize in working with businesses from Asia that are interested in investing in Macomb County as well as with local businesses trying to get their products into Asia. Through our department’s partnership with the Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA), I was able to arrange a tour for Mr. Zhang Yinglai, the party secretary of the CPC Qutang Town Committee in Hai’an; Mr. Guo Hengjun, the chairman of Hai’an Qutang Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. Mao Shihong, the director of the Hai’an Qutang Business Development Department.

The first stop of the tour was at the Michigan Technical Education Center at Macomb Community College. The delegation was able to see students training for skilled manufacturing jobs, ensuring Macomb County will continue to have a very skilled workforce.

Our next stop was the Macomb-OU INCubator at the Velocity Center. They learned about how small businesses can rent space at a very reasonable rate until they grow enough to move out and into their own facility. The incubator provides all the services small businesses need, including assistance with business plans and financing. The delegation had time to talk to one of the businesses there to see if there was a way to work together in the future.

Jack 2The last stop was at COMTEC, which really impressed the Hai’an delegation. They were very interested in how all of the services were housed under one roof because they are in the process of building a facility in Hai’an to bring multiple departments together, just like how Macomb County did.

The day ended with a very nice dinner reception where I had the opportunity to speak to more than 65 business professionals, DCBA sponsors and guests about the business-friendly environment Macomb County offers. Oakland County Deputy Executive Matthew Gibb and Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority CEO Tom Watkins were also in attendance and addressed the delegation before Mr. Zhang gave a keynote presentation detailing the Hai’an investment environment.

Our department reaches out to foreign businesses to bring investment to Macomb County. We can also help local manufactures sell their products in Asia. There are many global opportunities available in Macomb County.

Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.