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Planning and Economic Development

Focus Macomb


April 2022

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Meet the Business Development Team




Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read our brand-new Touching Base quarterly newsletter, developed by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Each quarter, the newsletter will highlight the efforts of our business development staff through recent success stories, current opportunities for businesses, information about our Fueling the Talent Pipeline initiative and upcoming events.

"Macomb County's Business Development Team"
Macomb County's Business Development Team



Recent Successes

Youngblood Winery


Youngblood Winery, a family owned winery in Ray Township, is the recipient of a $55,000 expansion grant from the state of Michigan, obtained with the help of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED).

Dave and Jess Youngblood applied for the grant through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which partners with Macomb County to visit the vast agriculture and food manufacturing businesses. The Youngbloods were approved for the grant to expand their production facility. The expansion will allow them to process more grapes, since the output in grape yield is much higher now that their plants are maturing into their productive years. The new facility will be part production, part private event space for things like graduation parties and weddings.

"Jack Johns has been guiding our business towards success from day one. He continues to be just a phone call away and the support he's given us through the Macomb County Planning and Economic Department is unmatched,” Jess Youngblood said. Whether it was connecting our business to the Department of Roads for freeway signage approval, Public Works and the Health Department for a wastewater permit for our new production facility or encouraging us to apply for the COVID-19 relief grants offered to businesses in our community, Jack has always pointed us in the right direction and kept us up to date.”

When working with our Business Development team, your business will be connected with service providers, grants and programs that can help your business grow. The Youngbloods are growing their businesses by using the resources available to all food manufacturing businesses in Macomb County.  If your business can benefit from grant funding, networking events, workforce needs and training, reach out to one of the only counties in Michigan to have a designated food and agriculture specialist on its Business Development team.

Your food and agriculture resource at MCPED is Jack Johns.  He can be reached at 586-469-6293 or  Visit for additional information about the department.

To learn more about the MDARD grant that the Youngbloods applied for, visit





Dick Huvaere's Richmond Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram


Dick Huvaere’s Richmond Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is nearing completion of a $16 million, 89,000 square-foot expansion of its original building, a new showroom floor and a state-of-the-art service department after receiving a tax abatement with the help of MCPED.

Additionally, a new parts department, service write-up area and car wash will be added.

In Spring 2021, the auto dealership reached out to MCPED for assistance with their expansion plans. MCPED suggested Hurvaere’s apply for a Commercial Rehabilitation Tax  Abatement (PA 210). The commercial rehabilitation certificate would abate the property taxes generated by the new investment. On behalf of Huvaere, the MCPED team approached the city of Richmond about the establishment of a commercial rehabilitation district. MCPED attended city council meetings with the dealership, and, after the district was established, prepared all of the documentation required to request the abatement.

Richmond voted in favor of Dick Huvaere’s receiving the tax abatement for a period of five years.The expansion will result in the creation of 30 jobs and will help move the dealership into the electric vehicle market.

One of your automotive resources at MCPED is Todd Seibert. He can be reached at 586-469-6298 or Visit for additional information about the department. 





Our own Jack Johns - A 2022 North America's Top 50 Economic Developer




Jack Johns, a project manager for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, has been named a Top 50 Economic Developer in North America for 2022 by Consultant Connect.

Each year, Consultant Connect asks its site selector community and economic development partners to nominate individuals they feel are top-notch and worthy of the Top 50 title. Consultant Connect is an economic development organization that bridges the gap between leading economic developers and location consultants, creating a platform for invaluable feedback and lasting business relationships.

We are extremely proud of Jack for this prestigious achievement. It is great recognition of the time, effort and attention he shows each of his business customers in the county. He continually goes above and beyond to assist each company grow and prosper. 

Jack exemplifies what the Macomb County Economic Development team does, and this recognition shows what we do every day is noticed by our peers. Congratulations again Jack, and keep up the good work.




Current Opportunities

Free technology assessments

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) is offering free Technology Opportunity Assessments to help your business prepare for a more advanced future. 

The Center uses a personalized, hands-on approach to enable your company to identify technologies that will provide maximum improvements and return on investment for any Industry 4.0 decision making.

The two-hour assessment includes answering 40 quantitative and qualitative questions. Drawing from data and information provided by your company, the Center assigns rankings to each response according to how strong your current practices are for each category.

To find out more about scheduling a Technology Opportunity Assessment, contact MCPED at 586-469-5285.




Grants for aspiring women entrepreneurs

The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation is offering grants to aspiring women entrepreurs who exemplify the same passion, ambition and vision that Loizon did.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available.

Olga Loizon is the founder of Olga’s Kitchen, who started her restaurant in Michigan in 1970, when very few women owned their own businesses. 

Today, Olga’s Kitchen is owned by Team Schostak Family Restaurants and boasts more than 25 locations.

Team Schostak and Olga’s Kitchen founded “Olga, A Life Wrapped in Love Foundation,” which is offering grants in perpetuity. The mission is to provide assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs, with a special focus on disadvantaged female entrepreneurs with Olga’s same passion who would otherwise be unable to obtain the education or resources necessary to start a business or otherwise become self supporting.

Interested entrepreneurs must meet the following criteria:

  • Live in the United States
  • Identify as a woman
  • The business must be located in Michigan
  • Be able to write a personal statement demonstrating financial need
  • Must provide a formal business plan

All applicants will be required to complete an application on Olga’s website. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Following submission, the foundation team will review each application for eligibility. All who apply will be notified as to whether or not they will receive a grant. 




Michigan Child Care Stabilization Grants

Michigan’s Child Care Stabilization Grants are now available for eligible licensed child care centers, family homes and group homes through the Michigan Department of Education.

The funds were made available through a $700 million budget item passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last fall. The grant is intended to support operational expenses and COVID-19 response. The funding is a non-competitive grant for child care providers to help stabilize operations and support the health and safety of children and staff. Every eligible child care provider that submits a complete application will receive a grant award. Funding is not awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Grant funds can be spent on personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments, insurance, facility maintenance and improvements, personal protective equipment and COVID-related supplies, training and professional development related to health and safety practices, goods and services needed to resume providing care, mental health supports for children and early educators and reimbursement costs associated with the current public health emergency.

The Spring 2022 application is available through May 26. To be eligible to apply for the Spring Grant, caregivers must submit a Fall 2021 Child Care Stabilization Grant Operations Report prior to applying.

For assistance in preparing your application, call the Great Start to Quality Resource Center at 877-614-7328. Or call the Child Development and Care Call Center at 866-990-3227.




Still seeking Job Shadow opportunities for 11th graders

Could you welcome an 11th grader to your workplace who is interested in working in your industry? Job Shadowing provides an opportunity for students to gain a better understanding of what it might be like to work in an industry of their choosing. Sign up here to propose a job shadowing opportunity today.




Coming Soon

Romeo Project Showcase

The Academies at Romeo High School have extended an invitation to visit their Capstone Research Project Gallery Walk Showcase May 10-12, from 7:45 a.m.-9:45 a.m. in the Romeo High School main commons.

This is not a job or career fair, but rather a chance for seniors to showcase their learning and passions. And visitors are encouraged to engage with and meet a wide range of students. Different seniors will be available each morning.

Romeo High School students commit to one of three academies: Health, Human and Public Services; Design, Engineering and Manufacturing; or Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

To demonstrate the culmination of skills and knowledge gained through their academic careers, the seniors participate in the long-term, multi-faceted Capstone Research Project. For this project, students chose a social problem, issue(s) within a future profession or another approved topic to explore. Over the course of the project, students conducted research, maintained a reading log, wrote a research essay and created a presentation that demonstrates what they’ve learned. The Gallery Walk is the final phase of the Capstone project.

No reservations are required, and projects are presented in an open-house format. 

Romeo High School is located at 62300 Jewell Road in Washington Township.




Macomb Talent Showcase

The Macomb Talent Showcase will take place Thursday, May 19 at the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

The MISD is located at 44001 Garfield Road in Clinton Township.

The event will showcase high school seniors interested in advanced manufacturing and skilled trades. In addition, several career and technical education instructors will be on hand to showcase their programs and create classroom to industry partnerships.

Students will each have a table to showcase their work/projects as well as a resume available for employer review. 

To register, go to For more information, contact Shannon Williams at




Upcoming Events


Wed. & Thurs., April 20-21

MDEX 2022

National Defense Industrial Association



Tues., April 26

Macomb Next Industry 4.0 Workshop

Macomb County Planning & Economic Development





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