Meet the 2017 MBA Efficiency Expert & Model of OneMacomb Nominees

Out of 52 total nominees, six companies will go home with an award at the Macomb Business Awards Feb. 14. The annual event honors companies who are defining and implementing best practices in Macomb County. The Efficiency Expert award will go to the company that best exemplifies the ability to increase cash flow through process and/or energy efficiency. The Model of OneMacomb award will be given to the business who has gone above and beyond to cultivate an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued. Buy your tickets by Feb. 8 to see who will go home the winners!

 

Efficiency Expert nominees:

 

ATCO Industries, Inc. (Sterling Heights)

Founded 36 years ago, ATCO is a leader in the quality control and warehousing segments of the automotive industry. They have grown to include additional services such as supplier development, logistics, manufacturing and technical services. Tremendous growth in the U.S. and Mexico has resulted in new jobs in Macomb County and two new buildings at their corporate campus in Sterling Heights. Rather than rely on minimum standards, ATCO has led the industry in innovation and technology. At great expense, the company has developed and patented a tablet-based technology to capture quality control data and report it to their customers in real time.

atcoindustries.com

 

JEM Tech Group (Clinton Township)

JEM is dedicated to helping customers with information technology products and services to transform their mission-critical environments into energy-efficient areas. They provide corporations with efficiency studies to assess their baseline energy consumption, determine problem areas and provide recommendations. Improvements may include reorganizing room layouts, equipment upgrades or airflow management devices. JEM also provides hardware and software that analyzes power consumption down to each outlet. Knowing the amount of power servers the customer is using can help determine what equipment can be better utilized or consolidated. JEM can help companies eliminate 30 percent in energy costs, resulting in significant savings.

jemtechgroup.com

 

Model of OneMacomb nominees:

AGS Automotive Systems (Sterling Heights)

AGS specializes in value-added engineering, metal stamping, plating, painting and bumper system design and assembly for the automotive industry. After expanding in Sterling Heights, they needed to fill their rapidly growing workforce needs. AGS partnered with a local temporary staffing agency to employ Iraqi refugees who had settled in the area. Through teamwork, cooperation and developing an understanding of their employees’ needs and perspectives, the company was able to overcome the challenges of bringing together different cultures and languages in a fast-paced environment. AGS provides opportunities for growth and development, and the new employees have become outstanding leaders on the shop floor and in the business.

agsautomotive.com

 

Arts Academy in the Woods High School (Fraser)

Arts Academy in the Woods is a free public high school where students can major in the fine and performing arts while also fulfilling their academic requirements. They promote racial, cultural and gender diversity, and this is reflected in the makeup of their student body. Since their founding, hundreds of students who were uncomfortable fitting in at other schools have felt welcomed and accepted in this school community. Arts Academy in the Woods begins each school year with a three-day diversity training for new students which is led by current students. Here, students develop a cultural awareness and respect that will benefit them for a lifetime.

artsacad.net

 

McLaren Macomb (Mount Clemens)

A 288-bed acute care hospital, McLaren Macomb is one of Macomb County’s top employers. They provide a full range of services including cancer and cardiovascular care. Their diversity and inclusion efforts extend to employees, patients and their families and focus on engagement, recruiting and training. Accomplishments include reviewing and increasing HR outreach practices for hiring to key diverse professional groups, increasing career fair participation with organizations that target various ethnic groups and identifying diversity training modules for employees. McLaren Macomb has updated their translation services to a more robust system that has 57 languages in video and more than 210 languages available in audio.

mclaren.org/macomb

 

Play-Place for Autistic Children (Sterling Heights)

Play-Place is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inclusion, acceptance and support. They offer recreation, education, therapy, life skills, social development, respite relief, resource management and vocational training. Their goal is to become the world’s premier destination for autism relief. Play-Place provides many development and employment training opportunities for young adults affected by autism and special needs challenges through their WorkPlus program, vocational program and partnering with organizations like Warren Consolidated Schools and Lutz School to provide job coaches, resume building and interviewing experience. They also conduct bimonthly Parent Resource Nights where local experts provide workshops on a variety of topics.

autisticplayplace.org

 

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

Woman-owned businesses find success in Macomb County

Working for the Department of Planning & Economic Development has introduced me to a diverse array of interesting businesses. It just so happens, many of them are owned or co-owned by women. Since March is Women’s History Month (we all knew that, right?), I’ll share my insight into just some of the many woman-owned businesses that contribute to Macomb County’s economy. Click on the links to learn more about the mothers, sisters and daughters running these amazing businesses.

safieNot long after I first started working here, I began dabbling with writing press releases, which is how I became aware of Safie Specialty Foods Company Inc. in Chesterfield Township. They pickle and package locally-grown vegetables like asparagus, beets and, of course, pickles. I have always advocated shopping small and buying local, but it hadn’t occurred to me that Macomb County products were being carried by major retailers. I quickly sought out the brand at Meijer, and if a jar of pickles can be considered luxurious, then these certainly are – with sliced green pickles contrasted by a colorful blend of whole spices and arranged by hand in elegant glass jars.

Through work, I also began to write blogs for Make Macomb Your Home and Macomb Business. This has allowed me to interview hard-working entrepreneurs, learn how they got started and share my love of their products and services with Macomb County readers. Plaza Mexico in Eastpointe is a tiny little restaurant serving the best Mexican food in the area. Pilar’s Tamales in Warren offers must-try Salvadoran fare made with all-natural, free-range and organic ingredients from local farms. The father of the Detroit square pizza, Gus Guerra, passed the family business down to his children who are still serving up outstanding pizza and cold beer at Cloverleaf in Eastpointe.

New to Macomb County is Minha’s Coffee Haus in Mount Clemens, serving fair trade, organic, kosher coffee in compostable cups. The Twisted Pretzel makes dangerously delicious bark, caramel clusters and gourmet pretzels available at Viviano Flower Shop branches in Chesterfield Township, Shelby Township and St. Clair Shores. Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens is a well-established confectionary producing a wide variety of delicious, freshly-made chocolates and toffee.

Choices Natur Kosmetik in Shelby Township hand-makes natural, customizable bath care products like lotion, soap and scrubs. Mount Clemens-based Paperback Writer Books sells a wide selection of gently-used books, and you can listen to some good tunes while you peruse. Iron Ivy in Eastpointe is packed with vintage items and artwork made by local artists.

More recently, I learned about several woman-owned businesses when I wrote the company descriptions for the 2016 Macomb Business Awards program and attended the event. Nominees included Roseville-based Gotta Have Products which manufactures and internationally distributes promotional products such as vinyl decals and hat clips that hold writing implements. Also based in Roseville, I.F. Metalworks is a growing company that supplies both industrial tools and ornamental metalwork. Clinton Township-based JEM Tech Group helps businesses evaluate energy usage and proposes energy-saving solutions. Recently relocated to Mount Clemens, Relevar Home Care helps families to make informed decisions about long-term care options and to find solutions. Ruma Organics in Macomb Township is a natural personal care business that began with a mom making organic deodorant cream for her family.

MC Biz Awards.png

There are hundreds of woman-owned businesses in Macomb County, and the economic development specialists on our staff work with many of them on a regular basis, offering resources to help them thrive and see success in Macomb County – which is good news for consumers like you and me!

If you are a Macomb County business and would like to know more about the services our department offers, contact us at (586) 469-5285 or visit our website at MacombBusiness.com.

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

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.

Top Five Reasons to Nominate Your Business for a Macomb County Business Award

By: Maria Zardis, Program Manager Communications & Outreach

MBA 2016 - carousel 980x410

Only one nominee in each category will take home an impressive crystal award, but every nominated company is a winner! With just two short weeks until nominations close, now seems an appropriate time to talk about the top five reasons to nominate your company (or organization) for a Macomb County Business Award:

  1. Your company has achieved success in building a strong workforce; tapping new sources of revenue; achieving efficiency; giving back to the community; getting started; or creating a diverse and welcoming workplace.
  2. Nominating your company is a great way to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of your employees to implement a successful solution.
  3. The process is online and simple: provide background information along with a 300‐word summary about the company and why it fits the selected category.
  4. Being nominated offers exposure – all nominees are featured on our website and a description of each will appear in the event’s program book.
  5. Nearly 400 people attended last year’s program to network, hear from interesting speakers and see the awards presented. Every nominated company will receive two complimentary tickets for the Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 breakfast event.

Nominations will be accepted until 11:50 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.  Please visit http://www.MacombBusiness.com/bizawards to learn more!

Maria Zardis is the program manager for outreach and communications. Contact her at maria.zardis@macombgov.org to learn more about the Macomb Business Awards and for sponsorship opportunities

Ethel’s Edibles: An example of opportunities for new businesses in Macomb County

Update: Since winning the Macomb County Startup Business of the Year award in 2014, St. Clair Shores-based Ethel’s Edibles has proven to be a company to watch! This maker of gluten-free baked goods has rapidly expanded with successes that include increasing revenue by over 100 percent, doubling production space, adding more full-time positions, boosting employment base by 30 percent and partnering with both Whole Foods Midwest for distribution in 8 states and Warren-based Lipari Foods for distribution in 12 states.

“It’s been an exciting 18 months and we are working on accomplishing more,” said CEO and Founder Jill Bommarito.

Continue reading to find out how this enterprising company got its start.

Originally published March 4, 2014

By: Jill Bommarito, President & CEO of Ethel’s Edibles

Ethel’s Edibles, a gluten-free baking company, was born out of the idea that crazy good food should be available to all. Celiac disease has been in our family for over 30 years, so I was familiar with the choices and obstacles for the gluten intolerant. Our idea is to get our fresh baked goods to the customers where they shop, as quickly and conveniently as possible.

Ethel’s Edibles President & CEO Jill Bommarito displays the goods in the Kitchen. Visit their website to find out how you can get some!

Never having designed a commercial kitchen, let alone worked in a commercial kitchen prior to the church, presented challenges. I was very dependent upon the city, county and Michigan Department of Agriculture, who oversees the licensing of bakeries, for their input and guidance. Every single contact at the city and government levels from St. Clair Shores, Macomb County and the Department of Agriculture, was more than willing to help in any way they could. There was not a single stumbling block for us, and for that, we are extremely grateful. We made the move the first week of December 2012, and it felt like home immediately.

Shortly after our move, the Macomb Department of Planning and Economic Developmentreached out to us to see how they could help. Jack Johns from their team toured our facility, then sat down and spent time going over programs, grants, and collaborative relationships that may benefit our effort. This was a whole new territory for me. Jack’s assistance and accessibility have made all the difference. We’ve applied for and received grants to add equipment that lead to increases in efficiency and production capabilities. We received coaching in hiring and training. We’re meeting with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) to increase our lean manufacturing practices. We are getting assistance with hiring interns. Our new knowledge of Michigan Works will aid us with adding human capital. Every day presents a new opportunity.

We are looking forward to the growth opportunities for Ethel’s Edibles that lie ahead. With the collaborative efforts of Macomb County, along with the state of Michigan and City of St. Clair Shores, we feel our potential is boundless. Jack helped open doors for us. This will enable us to forge ahead this year, expand into a larger production facility and share our goodness nationwide.

About the author: Jill is President and CEO of Ethel’s Edibles, a business she founded in 2011. The idea came from Jill’s love for sharing great food, which everyone deserves to have.  She has two grown children and enjoys camping and traveling with her husband and children.  Ethel’s Edibles was chosen by a panel of judges as the Start-up Business of the Year at the 2014 Macomb Business Awards banquet.