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Planning and Economic Development

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Message from Mark


I am thrilled to welcome you to the Focus Macomb newsletter, a new quarterly communication from the Office of the County Executive and the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Here you’ll find the most up-to-date and important information regarding our county and the good things happening here. From business investment to community building, there are plenty of positive updates to share. Take a look at some of the stories below and you’ll see what I mean. For instance, in this issue, we share recent news from the groundbreaking on the state’s newest veterans home in Chesterfield Township. We also provide an update on activities we are pursuing with local schools – work that will ultimately help to fuel our talent pipeline. There’s even a recap of the special events held as part of our yearlong bicentennial celebration. So dive in and let us know what you think. We’re excited to launch this new communication and hope that you find it timely and interesting. 

In closing, I would like to ask you all to save the evening of Wednesday, December 5 for my annual State of the County address and the ever-popular Taste of Macomb afterglow. Registration is now open through this link.  I hope you can attend to celebrate our accomplishments together.

Thank you and welcome to Focus Macomb!



Inspiring Macomb’s new collar worker


We’ve all heard the terms blue-collar job or white-collar job, but what about a new-collar job? This new classification of worker describes individuals that combine advanced education with technical skills in roles that are between a professional career and a skilled trade. Current roles they fill are in areas like cybersecurity, data science and artificial intelligence, while other roles aren’t clearly defined as they are still in the process of being created. In fact, it is estimated that 65 percent of today’s kindergartners will have job titles that do not exist today. All told, a big shift is coming and our young people need to be ready to leave high school career and college ready.

To prepare our region and fuel the talent pipeline, Macomb County is engaging directly with businesses and the next generation of our workforce. We work one-on-one with area employers to connect them to resources and learn about their talent needs. We also collaborate with partners to develop and support initiatives that expose students to career possibilities and point them to educational pathways that lead to meaningful employment. This work includes:

  • Romeo Community Schools being publically designated as the first Ford Next Generation Learning community in the state of Michigan at the beginning of September. The ceremony, which featured Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) as the convening organization, saw Romeo recognized as part of an international network of more than 40 communities which are supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund. As the convening organization, MCPED is responsible for connecting the school with business partners that will help the educators transform their high school into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s competitive global economy.

  • Our countywide celebration of Manufacturing Day, which is put on by MCPED and the Macomb Intermediate School District.  This event provides an opportunity for high school students to visit area advanced manufacturing facilities to see the industry in action and meet people who make things. Since 2014, more than 10,000 students have participated. And this year’s event, held on October 5, was estimated to be the biggest yet, with 70 companies providing 82 tours for 2,400 students.

  • The MiCareerQuest Southeast event, which sees Michigan Works! offices from across the region hosting a career exploration event for 10,000 students at the Novi Suburban Showplace on November 28. This event provides hands-on activities in four quadrants: construction, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health sciences.

  • The Careers in Manufacturing Auto STEAM evening, an event that will follow the long-running Auto STEAM Days at Macomb Community College. Hosted by the college and in collaboration with MCPED, Careers in Manufacturing will be held on Thursday, December 6 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the South Campus - Sports and Expo Center. The free event, which is geared towards individuals in grades 6 through 12, will give attendees the opportunity to learn about job skills that are in high demand, hear from recent grads who found good-paying careers, meet local businesses and learn who employers are hiring.

Those are just a few examples of the many programs and partnerships Macomb County is pursuing to fuel our talent pipeline and prepare the next generation workforce for new collar work. Through these efforts, we hope to ensure economic stability in our region for many years to come. But ultimately, our goal is to give our young people the tools they need to succeed and connect their passion with opportunity.



OneMacomb launches countywide art map, seeks public support to build out resource


Cities and townships throughout Macomb County are making big investments in public art. So much so you could say our region is experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

For instance, in Mount Clemens, the Anton Art Center has a map of all of the city’s paintings, sculptures and statues. Then there’s Sterling Heights, which also has an arts map and recently adopted a budget that includes funding for adding more public pieces to its already great collection. Other cities focused on art include Eastpointe, which created a new Arts and Cultural Commission in their community. And of course, Macomb Township has a program that brings new public art to the township on a regular basis.

“The list goes on and on,” said Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers. “There has been a real movement in Macomb County to highlight art.”

An area of focus for Lavers is elevating culture and art through the OneMacomb initiative. This focus sparked the creation of the county’s newest digital resource, a map of all public art located throughout its 27 communities. The map is a comprehensive tool for all residents and visitors that allows them to search for and find local sculptures, paintings or murals. So, if you’re a parent looking to fill an afternoon with a cultural activity for the kids, you can pull up the map on your phone and hit the road to some of Macomb’s public artwork. Or perhaps you have family visiting the area and you want to show them the sights – you can visit the map on your tablet and plan a personalized tour to local pieces. Our county is lucky to have world-class art right here in our backyard. We should celebrate that by getting out and experiencing it all in person! This new digital map allows us to do just that.

The map also gives the public an opportunity to get involved in a unique crowdsourcing effort. After its launch, OneMacomb officials asked for support in building out the digital resource. Currently the map features about 100 pieces of art, but the help of local residents and visitors is needed to ensure all works are represented. So, is there a mural you love? An incredible sculpture that others should experience? Help the county track that art by sharing your favorite Macomb County pieces through this link!

To read more about the new public art map, visit C&G Newspapers and WDET.




Take the survey: shape the future of our parks


Survey gives public a voice in new Macomb County Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Macomb County residents have access to a wide-variety of parks, activities and natural resources. Whether you enjoy kayaking, boating, fishing, biking, hiking, running, swimming or simply getting outdoors with your family, there’s truly something for everyone.

But while there are currently many options available, there could more. More trails, more water access, more open spaces – simply put, more opportunities for recreation. Which is why Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is working to build a new master plan for its 27 communities. The plan will establish a vision for the next five years of parks and natural resources in the county and guide future development of open spaces. All told, it’s a big initiative - one that will have a lasting impact on every individual in Macomb County.

Because of this, MCPED is seeking public input for the plan. The department wants to know which parks, services and facilities you currently use, what you like about them, what you don’t like about them and of course, what is still needed. I’m sure you all have thoughts and ideas that you could share. So click the link to our survey here and make your voice heard! All it takes is a few minutes.

Several weeks from now, the anonymous data from the survey will be collected and analyzed and MCPED will proceed with developing its new plan. The document will include a series of broad and comprehensive recommendations around creating places for residents and the workforce, spurring economic development, remaining engaged in environmental stewardship, managing grants and capital projects and expanding partnership opportunities. It will surely have a positive impact on Macomb County and all involved look forward to how it will improve our existing parks and create new opportunities.




Macomb County’s bicentennial: A yearlong celebration of history, culture and people


As Macomb County’s bicentennial year winds down, it is important to reflect on the many activities that countless volunteers and leaders undertook to help the region celebrate this milestone. These events ranged from fun and festive to poignant and thought-provoking. But no matter their focus, they were all special and certainly memorable.

It all started back in January, when the bicentennial celebration kicked off with a birthday party attended by more than 200 government officials, historians and county enthusiasts. Over cake and surrounded by birthday cards prepared by local school children, these individuals heard about Macomb’s history, a new bicentennial website and plans for the upcoming year.

Perhaps most intriguing – the announcement of a 200-mile torch relay. Starting on June 21 and ending on June 22, the relay would be similar to the opening of the Olympics and would represent the strong spirit of our community, showcasing its pride and resilience. And when the event arrived, it was spectacular. More than 200 residents and community leaders volunteered to run and carry one-of-a-kind torches. Over the course of 40 hours, these individuals traversed all 27 county communities, Lake St. Clair and Stony Creek Metropark, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Macomb Community College. Everything went off without a hitch. The torch was beautiful, the runners were proud and the community was excited.


Several other occasions, communications and events helped mark the year as well. The Macomb Daily, Macomb Now Magazine and C&G Newspapers launched several articles detailing county history. There was also a special coining ceremony at the Macomb County Administration Building for “Loyalty Day,” a national holiday that recognizes the heritage of America’s freedom. The event honored the guardians that defend and protect our nation, with county leaders awarding these individuals specially-designed bicentennial coins. Then, to kick-off the summer season, a bicentennial float was entered into the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade. Walking alongside the entry were volunteers that passed out candy and proudly wore Macomb County t-shirts. These individuals participated in the same manner later on in the year during the Romeo Peach Festival Parade. They will conclude their efforts at the end of November during the annual Macomb County Santa Parade in Mount Clemens.

A final bicentennial activity will be announced shortly. It will close out the celebration and create a lasting tribute to Macomb’s 200th year, so stay tuned!

Of course, none of this would be possible without the bicentennial sponsors, including:

  • Legacy Leader Sponsor: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

  • Heirloom Champion Sponsors: Beaumont, DTE Energy, Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, Macomb Community College, The Macomb Daily, Macomb Now Magazine, McLaren Macomb

  • Heritage Partner Sponsors: AEW, Comcast, Green For Life Environmental, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Michigan Lottery, Nickel & Saph, Inc., Plante Moran, St. John Providence

  • History Hero Sponsors: Consumers Energy, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hansons Running Shop, Metro Technology Services

On behalf of the entire county, thank you for your generous support!



State officials host groundbreaking for state-of-the-art veterans home in Chesterfield Township


On October 29, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency joined with several state and local officials to break ground on the new Southeast Michigan Veterans Home in Chesterfield Township. The state-of-the-art facility will be located at Sebille Manor, 103 acres of land that formerly held a military housing complex for the Army Garrison at Selfridge.

“Today marks another major step forward in our efforts to ensure that Michigan is honoring and taking care of our veterans and providing the best long-term care and services they’ve earned and deserve,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “It’s also a shining example of what can be accomplished through bipartisan collaboration across communities and all levels of government. That commitment to cooperation is what made this new home possible.”

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency convened a work group in 2016 to study how the state can move the operation of veterans homes toward sustainability and improve long-term care. The work group recommended the construction of seven new veterans homes over the next 10 years across Michigan. Their first recommendation was to build a home in the southeastern tri-county area of the state.

The next step involved communication and collaboration with the Macomb County Office of the Executive and the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED). Following a request for information from the state, MCPED provided available real estate in Macomb County, site plans, site information, real estate marketing material and demographic information. Ultimately, the state chose to pursue MCPED’s recommendation of the Sebille Manor site and it was purchased from the U.S. Department of Defense for $820,000.

The Michigan Veterans Facility Board of Directors then reviewed national best practices for state veterans home design and operation – choosing a small house concept for the Sebille Manor site. Current plans have each home housing 128 members who will reside in four smaller houses that provide each member with their own room and bathroom, common spaces that include a space to gather and a small kitchen. The four small houses will connect to a community center with clinical and therapeutic operations, amenities like a barbershop and beauty parlor and a large space for full membership and community gatherings.

Construction on the new home will begin in Spring 2019. An expected completion date is scheduled for Fall 2021.

For site drawings and more information, please visit



Shout out: SAPA Placencia SL puts down roots in Shelby Township

SAPA Placencia SL, a defense contractor based in Spain, recently moved its U.S. subsidiary SAPA Transmission out of Macomb County's International Landing Zone to establish a new North American headquarters in Shelby Township. SAPA is building a $40 million, 110,000-square-foot operations center that is strategically positioned near Macomb County's defense corridor and the company’s largest U.S. customers. This business attraction success story is expected to create 223 new jobs.

Macomb County Planning and Economic Development staff worked with company officials to secure a performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund for $2.7 million as well as a 50 percent tax abatement on the new investment, a total incentive package worth more than $5.3 million.

The International Landing Zone is a collaborative effort of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development with partners Mac-OU INC and the Michigan Defense Center. Strategically located in Michigan’s defense corridor, it provides space and support for global companies with proven technologies in the defense and homeland security industries to establish an office and explore the feasibility of expanding their operations in the United States.

To learn more about Macomb County's International Landing Zone click here.



Accolades: Mark Hackel receives Patrick Henry Award


The National Guard Association of the United States recently gave Executive Mark A. Hackel the Patrick Henry Award, the civilian counterpart to the NGAUS Distinguished Service Medal. Hackel was one of 15 recipients across the country to receive the award in 2018. He was nominated by Brigadier General John D. Slocum in recognition of his service to Selfridge Air National Guard Base.




Accolades: Wendy Richardson is named best SBDC Counselor of the Year


Wendy Richardson, an SBDC business consultant based out of Macomb County’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, was recognized as the SBDC Business Consultant of the Year by Michigan SBDC Interim State Director Ed Garner and U.S. SBDC District Director Constance Payne Logan.





Event Calendar

Saturday, Nov. 17: Mount Clemens Santa Parade

Registration is now open!

Wednesday, Dec. 5: State of the County with Executive Mark A. Hackel

Click here for more events near you.

Business Calendar

Thursday, Nov. 8: FT Future of the Car Summit USA Detroit

Monday, Nov. 12: Placemaking and Public Engagement-Crossroads for a Successful Community Clinton Township

Mondays and Wednesdays, Nov. 26-Dec. 3: Marketing Strategies That Work at MCC Clinton Township

To find more business events in Macomb County, visit Macomb County’s Planning and Economic Development calendar here.

Call to Action

Reminder – today is Election Day. Did you vote yet? Visit the Michigan Election and Voter Information page of the Secretary of State website for polling locations, sample ballots and election results.

Coming Soon

The annual Macomb Business Awards have moved! The breakfast will now be held in April 2019 and will feature several new categories for recognizing our outstanding businesses. Stay tuned for more details.  

Shop Local

It’s time to start your holiday shopping – why not shop local! Click here to learn about the #ShopLocalMacombcampaign and to find out how you can win one of several $500 gift cards!