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Planning and Economic Development

Focus Macomb


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Message from Mark





Hello and welcome to the first edition of Focus Macomb for the fall season. It’s certainly a busy time of year for the County – and for our residents too, with students returning to school and the anticipation of upcoming holidays. On our end, we’ve had a number of community and industry events, the launch of new programming and several important announcements, which you can read all about in this newsletter. But in short, I’m proud of our team for everything they’re doing to make Macomb a great place to call home. 

For instance, several weeks ago we broke ground on a new Macomb County Marine Sheriff Division Headquarters on Lake St. Clair. Our Marine Division has been operating out of an older facility, and it was time to upgrade so we can accommodate new technologies, tools and other resources necessary to protect and serve the users of our local waterways. You can watch the groundbreaking here and read more about the project here.

I was also accompanied by representatives from several departments at the annual Breakfast of Nations, an event hosted by the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by OneMacomb, an initiative to facilitate or support collaborative community-based activities that celebrate cultural diversity and inclusion in Macomb County. The breakfast highlights different cultures and gives attendees the opportunity to share their stories and perspectives. It’s always a fantastic event and I appreciate the Chamber and their partners for organizing an incredible morning. 

Finally, I would like to congratulate the winners of the 2022 Macomb Business Awards. Our Planning and Economic Development Department does a fantastic job with this event each year. Additionally, I was proud to join this team in representing our region at the Detroit Auto Show. From meeting with executives to sharing our industry expertise, they showcased our community as a premier place to do business. Visit to learn more and to find out why they can be your business partner too.

In closing, I’d like to highlight the upcoming Senior Fun Fest hosted by our Office of Senior Services on Thursday, October 20. It’s always a great time with lots to see and do, so mark your calendars. And of course, if you’re looking to ‘Fall in Love with Macomb’ this season, check out We’re your number one resource for autumn activities – apple orchards, pumpkin patches, wineries and breweries, it’s a one-stop-shop for all your fall needs. 

So take care, stay safe and have a great start to the season,




Winners of the 10th annual Macomb Business Awards announced


Business leaders from across the region attended the 10th annual Macomb Business Awards, presented by Consumers Energy, today at the historic Emerald Theatre in downtown Mount Clemens. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel joined Vicky Rowinski, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, to recognize award winners.

“It’s an incredible honor to recognize Macomb County businesses every year at the Business Awards,” said Hackel. “I’d like to first congratulate our winners. They are all outstanding examples of what it takes to succeed in today’s ever-evolving business environment. I’d also like to note that we had more than 130 nominees this year, and it was an extremely competitive group. So while we could only announce six winners, I believe that all of our nominees are deserving of recognition and I’d like to congratulate them as well." 

Winners of the 2022 awards include:

  • Hidden Gem: Flash Steelworks
    Flash Steelworks is a research and development firm specializing in maximum strength, high performance metal for lightweighting in the Automotive and Defense industries. Starting in 2003, Flash began testing combinations of rapid heating and quenching of commercially available steel. The resulting product is "stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum and able to stop speeding bullets" at record setting velocities. As tested by the U.S. Army, defense primes, auto OEMs and others, Flash® Steel is the world's highest performing "Truly Weldable®" armor plate. Flash Steelworks has two Macomb County locations that employ a total of eight. While research is conducted in Washington Twp, the Shelby Twp facility is constructing two Flash® Armor production lines funded by Congress and the U.S. Army via a Phase III SBIR. Upon completion, in 12 to 15 months, Flash will produce the world's highest performing armor in Macomb County.
  • Hometown Hero: Healthmark Industries
    Since its inception in 1969, Healthmark Industries has operated under three generations of the Basile family. Its family-oriented beginnings resonate across its culture, as leadership takes care of employees as if they are family. Healthmark has four locations in Fraser and almost 300 team members. The company makes intelligent solutions for infection control and its overall goal is to make surgery safer for everyone. Its values are family, fun, authenticity, gratitude and creativity. Another value is community service, which sees Healthmark and its employees donate time and money to a variety of organizations every year.
  • Manufacturer of the Year: RAVE Computer
    RAVE has proudly manufactured innovative, purpose-built computer solutions in the Sterling Heights Innovation District of Macomb County for 34 years. In 2019, with a vision to empower people to overcome challenges through innovation, RAVE Computer increased R&D efforts to support emerging technology in the immersive VR/MR space. The company partnered with Varjo and HTC, leaders in the HMD space, created a RenderBEAST bundle, (a portable plug and play immersive starter kit) and began showing the possibilities of immersive technology to both commercial and federal markets. Its RenderBEAST XR Zone opened this year and provides a dedicated space for on-site client demonstrations in the areas of immersive technology, photogrammetry and, coming soon, digital twinning. In 2021, RAVE became a woman-owned business and posted the best year in the company’s history.
  • Small But Mighty Award: Anton Art Center
    With only five employees, the Anton Art Center maintains a strong basis of programming in arts, education, community and economic development. Annual direct spending totals $500,000 and it is estimated by Americans for the Arts to have a total economic impact in Mount Clemens and Macomb County of about $1 million each year. Annually, through hundreds of classes, more than two dozen art exhibits, dozens of off-site artmaking programs and multiple large-scale public art projects, the center engages Macomb County residents and continues to expand its impact to the benefit of all. Notably, the Anton Art Center’s historic facility in downtown Mount Clemens recently received a National Register designation, a crowning achievement for this hidden gem.
  • Trailblazer of Future Talent: RCO Engineering
    RCO Engineering offers manufacturing services for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. As the organization is heavily reliant on skilled labor, the HR department maintains relationships with Macomb Community College Career Services. The company has also hosts undecided career path students for tours of facilities. Further, there are employees who sit on college program Advisory Boards, providing industry insights to the instructors and curriculum. High schools have also toured the grounds through Manufacturing Day and job shadowing opportunities. RCO sponsors First Robotics teams and donates to industry awareness events like Women in Defense (WID) scholarship fundraisers to encourage high school and university students to pursue STEAM careers. As all our manufacturing businesses can attest to, finding good talent has been increasingly challenging so promoting its paid apprenticeship programs at the college, high school and on-site job fairs have been a priority with success.
  • Workforce Champion: AGS Automotive Systems
    AGS Automotive Systems has experienced tremendous growth across the company’s U.S. Operations. Consequently, there is a considerable need to recruit and retain employees in a competitive and challenging job market. The company has responded by implementing several initiatives that have resulted in a turnover rate of less than 5 percent for hourly employees. Those include: A competitive wage structure; an early hire program that resulted in a 70 percent retention rate of 130 employees over the past 18 months; a commitment to employees, with over 45 internal promotions made across the company’s U.S. operations in the past three years; formal, internal leadership training; employee engagement activities to cultivate a fun work environment; a diverse workforce with nearly 55 percent of the company’s hourly workforce represented by the local Middle Eastern community; and a continued dedication to diversify labor by tapping into the Bengali population, and more recently Afghan refugees.
  • Economic Development Partner of the Year: Macomb County MSU Extension
  • Beacon of Economic Development: Gene Lovell, Chairman, First State Bank; James Ahee, retiring Program Director for Economic Development, MCPED

WDIV Local 4’s Nick Monacelli served as emcee of the Macomb Business Awards while Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for GM, provided a keynote address.

The 10th annual event was presented by Consumers Energy. Additional sponsors include Clark Construction Company, RAVE Computer, DTE Energy, First State Bank, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Attendant Care Companies, Macomb County Chamber, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, Dominion Technologies Group, Macomb Community College, Macomb Intermediate School District, Comcast, RCO Engineering, and UHY LLP.

For more information, visit


An update from Emergency Management regarding the GLWA water main break in August


Easy access to safe drinking water is something almost all of us take for granted. When that easy access is interrupted, it takes an entire community coming together to make sure that access, although not as easy, is still there.

Early in the morning of August 13, 2022, a 120” water main operated by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) ruptured in the middle of a field in Burtchville Township in St. Clair County. This pipeline, the largest in the GLWA system, transports water from a GLWA treatment plant after it’s been drawn from Lake Huron, and is the main supplier of drinking water for 23 communities at the northern end of GLWA’s service area.

Not long after the main broke, those 23 communities were placed under a boil water advisory, as GLWA could not guarantee that the pressure in their water systems would remain above the minimum threshold to ensure that bacteria would not contaminate the water. While the water was safe to use for sanitation purposes, it was not safe to cook with or drink.

County government, led by our Emergency Management Office with significant assistance from the Department of Roads, the Health Department and the Office of Senior Services, immediately set to work to make sure the approximately 300,000 Macomb County residents in the boil water advisory area had access to some safe water. Working with the local communities impacted, the State of Michigan, and local distributors, our Emergency Management team arranged for shipments of bottled water to be brought into Macomb County and sent to the local communities, who would distribute the water to residents from community distribution centers.

By Sunday, August 14, adjustments made to the water system by GLWA improved pressure in the system and left only four communities in Macomb under the boil water advisory: Bruce, Shelby and Washington Townships as well as an industrial park in Romeo. That same day, the first shipments of water arrived in Macomb County, and a County distribution center was established at a Department of Roads site to allow for the impacted communities to pick up pallets of bottled water by the truckload.

For the next six days, approximately 100 pallets of water per day were delivered by various sources, and approximately 75 pallets per day were transferred to the impacted communities, who picked them up using trucks and trailers. Crews from the Department of Roads worked diligently to unload the water shipments and to load up shipments to the locals, staff from Emergency Management oversaw the logistics and inventory operations, and the local communities handled the on the ground distribution. 

In order to accomodate homebound seniors that would otherwise not be able pick up water from distribution sites, the Macomb County Office of Senior Services partnered with Emergency Management to arrange for volunteers to deliver cases of water to all registered Meals on Wheels participants in the three impacted communities. Due to the efforts of the team at Senior Services and their volunteers, 120 homebound individuals received a delivery of water directly to their door.

On Saturday, August 20, the boil water advisory was lifted for all remaining communities. The repair to the pipeline is ongoing, with an estimated date of October 5 for resumption of normal water service. Emergency Management is maintaining a reserve of bottled water in the event that there are problems as the system comes back on line that require the reimplementation of a boil water advisory for any part of the GLWA service area.

Despite the response operation to the main break being set up in just a day, it was a success - 354 pallets of water were delivered to residents in the impacted communities over the course of six days, and 120 vulnerable seniors were taken care of. This incident is one more example of how Macomb County comes together in times of need to make sure that our friends and neighbors are safe.


Home weatherization support available through Macomb Community Action


With cooler evenings and shorter days, it’s almost time to turn on the furnace and prepare our homes for the winter weather ahead. For individuals who might need assistance in this area, Macomb Community Action provides weatherization support. The Weatherization Assistance Program performs the installation of energy efficient items to conserve energy in Macomb County homes. Weatherization improvements reduce energy use and can save an average of 30 percent on heat/utility bills. A home energy audit determines which items will be installed.

Energy saving services may include:

  • Wall insulation
  • Attic insulation and ventilation
  • Floor/foundation insulation
  • Air leakage reduction
  • Furnace repair or replacement
  • Other energy saving measures

Services are free to those who qualify - which means there are eligibility guidelines for the program. Interested families and individuals must meet the following: 

  • They must meet current Federal Income Guidelines. Income includes gross income of everyone residing in the home at the time of application
  • Recipients of FIP or SSI who have received benefits during any of the past twelve months are automatically income eligible
  • Applicants must be residents of Macomb County
  • Weatherization crews cannot work on any home that is for sale

To apply for weatherization assistance, call (586) 469-6329.



Town hall events scheduled for veterans who may now receive health care and benefits through federal PACT Act


Officials with Macomb County Veterans Services will host several town hall events to assist local veterans and their survivors with new benefits available through the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. The legislation, which was signed into law in August, makes more than 900,000 veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances eligible for VA health care and benefits.

“These are benefits our veterans earned and deserve,” said County Executive Mark Hackel. “But since the PACT Act is so new, we’re hosting these town halls to educate and assist people through the claims process one-on-one. It can be a complex system, but Macomb County Veterans Services is here to help. Because these brave individuals put their lives on the line to protect our country, and here in Macomb, we will never forget that.”

Town halls will be held:

  • September 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post 4, 401 North Groesbeck, Mt Clemens, MI 48043
  • October 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the AMVETS New Baltimore, 51285 County Line Rd, New Baltimore, MI 48047
  • October 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the VFW Post 4659, 8311 Wilson Dr, Shelby Township, MI 48316   
  • October 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the VFW Post 6756, 25500 Sherwood Ave Warren, MI 48091

Veterans, their families and survivors of veterans from the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraqi War, those stationed at Camp Lejuene NC and/or any veteran exposed to toxic waste or burns pits should attend. The town halls include a presentation, refreshments and the opportunity to work one-on-one with a veterans service officer, who can start and process disability claims. Those looking to start a claim must bring their DD214. 

“The PACT Act will make a difference in the lives of millions of veterans and the survivors and families of those who have unfortunately already left us,” said Laura Rios, Chief Veterans Services Officer, Macomb County Veterans Services. “It delivers on the promise we made to our warfighters.”

The PACT Act:

  • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires the VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps improve research, staff education and treatment related to toxic exposures
  • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures

These new presumptive conditions for toxic exposure will make health care and benefit processes less burdensome for veterans. 

According to the VA: “To get a VA disability rating, your disability must connect to your military service. For many health conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your condition. But for some conditions, we automatically assume (or “presume”) that your service caused your condition….We consider a condition presumptive when it's established by law or regulation. If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.”

Individuals in need of PACT Act assistance are asked to attend the town hall events or contact Macomb County Veterans Services at 586-469-5315.

Additional information for local veterans is available at and more detail on the PACT Act is available at


Macomb County awards $40,000 in placemaking grants to local communities


Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) recently announced the recipients of its Placemaking Mini Grant opportunity, a program that funds projects in traditional downtown communities and other established DDA jurisdictions. The grant will assist local initiatives that activate public placemaking, or places where people gather and spend time, and that support the sustainability and greening of infrastructure and stormwater systems.

Three local communities were awarded funds: Eastpointe, Mount Clemens and St. Clair Shores.

“We are so proud to award this first-ever Placemaking Mini Grant,” said Amanda Minaudo, program director for MCPED. “We know that beautiful spaces with well designed infrastructure can be a major asset for municipalities, as they attract residents, businesses and additional investment. But ultimately, our goal is to help create community and fund projects with vision and purpose. Our grant awardees demonstrate just that.” 

Eastpointe - Eastpointe Children’s Garden: The City of Eastpointe requested funding to refurbish the city’s Children’s Garden, a unique outdoor, public space adjacent to the Memorial Library. Installed over a decade ago, the garden is the anchor for a new market space. The city plans to purchase and install several permanent fixtures in the garden to enhance the work currently being completed in the planting areas, including a metal and glass arbor to showcase the entrance to the Garden from the marketplace, a new metal bench and ADA-compliant picnic table set, three-dimensional art pieces for the opposing blank wall and a permanent vertical garden to buffer the Children’s Garden space from an adjacent business parking lot. The goal is to also transform the garden into a butterfly and hummingbird attraction and create areas for professional photographs; something that is completely missing in Eastpointe.

Mount Clemens - Mount Clemens Streetscape Lighting Beautification Project: The City of Mount Clemens requested funding to extend and complete the lighting of essential high foot traffic areas of its historic and traditional downtown. The project will provide lighting enhancements that will take place in Macomb Place from Pine Street to SB Gratiot. It will also include the south side of Cherry Street Mall, N. Walnut from Cass to New Street and building lights that will highlight the Macomb Place alley mural.This streetscape beautification project will create a sense of beauty as well as security and safety for visitors and businesses located in the footprint of the proposed project area.

St. Clair Shores -  SCS Downtown Greening and Identity Initiative: The SCS Downtown Development Authority requested funding for a multi-faceted project that, when complete, will both beautify the area and create an identity within the newly formed district. Primarily, the project will add green infrastructure along Greater Mack at the intersection of Doremus. Project activities include removing an area of impermeable surface and an area of existing landscape to be replaced with two bio retention cells. The bioretention cells will be implemented in two phases but will eventually result in a 54 percent reduction, or 8,597 gallons, of storm water runoff in the project area. The project will be located in a highly visible and popular area which hosts a number of public events drawing thousands of residents from around the region. Additionally, as part of the project, identity banners will be designed and hung within the district. 

To be considered for a grant, projects had to be located in Macomb County’s traditional downtowns and other established DDA jurisdictions. Eligible projects had to also have a minimum total development cost of $10,000, where the recipient would commit to a 50 percent match for the project. This match could be in the form of in-kind work, crowdfunding, funding from community partners or allocated dollars from the community/DDA. The maximum award for these grant funds was $20,000 per community. 

Learn more about Macomb County Planning and Economic Development at



Save the Date(s)


Senior Fun Fest

October 20, 2022
9 a.m. - Noon
Lorenzo Cultural Center
At Macomb Community College



Macomb in the News

Macomb County officials expanding plan for spending ARP dollars

Pony expands the reach of Macomb County Sheriff Mounted Division


Macomb Business Blog

Accelerating towards next generation mobility in Macomb County