- Message from Vicky Rowinski
- Recent Successes
- Department Happenings
- Fueling the Talent Pipeline
- Current Opportunities
- What's next?
- Macomb Business in the news, Blogs about business
- Subscriptions, Connect with us
Message from Vicky Rowinski
Cheers to 2023! We are ringing in the new year with positive news to share regarding our economic development team.
Our greatest resource is our people, and we are happy to announce that Jack Johns has been promoted to program director. Jack follows in the footsteps of Jim Ahee, who retired in late 2022.
Jack brings to the job a lifetime of passion for Macomb County. In his new role, Jack will be overseeing our economic development action plan.
There are many exciting projects on the horizon for economic development, and we look forward to rolling them out.
First, anticipate a major overhaul to our Macomb Business website this year. We have listened to the experts, and we are redesigning our website with you, the end-user, in mind.
Secondly, we have partnered with the Velocity Center in Sterling Heights to roll out the Macomb Next Industry 4.0 Workshop Series. Each of these workshops will hyperfocus on the nine pillars of Industry 4.0.
Our first workshop, Macomb Next: Cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), will take place Feb. 16, beginning at 8 a.m. It will concentrate on how manufacturing execution software (MES) has digitized the industrial process by seamlessly transforming raw materials into finished products. You can learn more about the rest of our workshop series, and how to sign up for the first one, later in this newsletter.
Lastly, we will be revisiting our economic development strategic plan. There are great industry shifts happening in and around us. As we focus on how these will dynamically change our core targeted industries, it will be critical that we approach our strategy from the "outside-in" and hear from many of you who lead our industries.
More to come, but we are excited to engage you in the weeks and months to come.
Director – Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
L&L Products expands its operations in Romeo
L&L Products, an award-winning company that serves the aerospace and automotive industries, among others, will be making a $27 million, 140,000 square-foot expansion to its facility in Romeo.
The 64-year-old company is a technology driven, family owned business that creates solutions for various applications requiring static sealing, better acoustics, reduced vibration, structural reinforcement and composite components. L&L Products also serves the industrial, commercial vehicle and rail industries and has customers located around the world.
L&L opted to expand its Romeo facility instead of looking elsewhere after receiving a $450,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant. In addition, L&L received a 50% Alternative State Essential Services exemption valued at more than $532,600, and a Public Act 198 tax abatement.
Macomb County’s Planning and Economic Development team provided assistance to L&L from start to finish, including preparation of the PA 198 abatement application, support at village council meetings, guidance throughout the process and connection to valued partners to assist with hiring and training like Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and Macomb Community College.
The expansion will help L&L Products remain competitive and support continued growth in the automotive sector. The expansion and installation of new machinery is expected to take two years to complete.
“L&L Products has made Macomb its home since 1961,” Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said. “The planned expansion in Romeo will ensure that L&L remains a major economic driver in the north end of the county. They have been a model citizen partner helping support our community in so many ways. We want to thank the entire team at L&L, and look forward to continuing our partnerships.”
“The timing for this news couldn’t be better for the village of Romeo,” added Village of Romeo President Meagan Poznanski. “L&L Products’ decision to expand its business here not only provides employment opportunities for our community, but maintains its business’ contribution to the growth and stability of Romeo’s industrial corridor. On behalf of the village, I would like to thank L&L for their continued representation that Romeo is a great place for businesses to develop and prosper.”
In addition to previous honors for its award-winning products, in 2022 L&L Products was named winner of the Detroit Free Press Michigan Top Workplaces Award. It also joined BASF, and Flex-N-Gate to win the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Innovation Award for their composite seatback design on the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
L&L Products also has office and/or production facilities in South Carolina, Brazil and Mexico, as well as China, Australia, India, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia.
Is your business looking to expand or move into Macomb County? Call our Economic Development team at 586-469-5285.
Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber announces expansion plans into Shelby Township
Ohio-based thermal and acoustical solutions provider Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber has announced its expansion plans into Macomb County, which will include a $12.1 million investment and the creation of 75 new jobs.
“This attraction project is another win for our region and for the entire state,” Macomb County Planning and Economic (MCPED) Director Vicky Rowinski said. “It will create jobs and add to our already dynamic automotive supplier network. I know that our skilled and talented workforce played a role in this company's decision to locate in Macomb County, and I'm thrilled to see new investment in our community.”
Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber is a Tier 1 and 2 supplier of exterior acoustic and thermal products, serving major light vehicle and heavy truck manufacturers across the globe. Prior to this expansion, the company did not have a presence in Michigan.
The project is supported by a $375,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber chose Michigan for the project over competing sites Ohio and Canada because of its proximity to potential future contracts.
The company is acquiring Shelby Township-based G&G Industries and its assets, including the facility G&G is operating within. That includes the retention of 62 jobs. In addition, Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber is planning an expansion at the existing facility, where it will also produce fiberglass and exterior acoustic components to meet increasing demand.
The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) was brought in to assist in making sure Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber had access to all of the resources available for a successful transition. MCPED also helped Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber with its tax abatement application. And the company will also be acquiring and training talent through Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and Macomb Community College.
The company is determining the final size of its expansion and plans to break ground in 2023.
If your company is looking to expand into Macomb County, call our Economic Development team at 586-469-5285.
Mayco expands its operations in Macomb County
Mayco International, a Tier 1 auto interior supplier, is expanding its operations in Macomb County by opening a new facility in Shelby Township.
Mayco, with its U.S. headquarters based in Sterling Heights, signed a 12-year lease agreement in Shelby Township this spring to meet the demands of one of its largest customers. The $91 million expansion is expected to create 300-400 jobs over the next three years. Mayco began moving into the building in June 2022 and expects to begin full production by February 2023.
With the help of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED), along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Mayco spent much of 2022 taking advantage of state and local incentives to assist with the expansion.
In September, MCPED worked with Mayco and Shelby Township to apply for an industrial facility tax abatement, which was approved in October. MCPED is continuing to coordinate meetings and stay connected to make sure all of Mayco’s needs will be met by its full production deadline, including their workforce needs.
Is your company considering expansion in Macomb County? Be sure to contact MCPED at 586-469-5285, email email@example.com or reach out to one of our Economic Development representatives.
Niagara Bottling breaks ground in Shelby Township
An all-hands-on-deck approach by Macomb County and its regional partners helped land a new, $120 million project in Shelby Township that will bring with it 60 highly skilled, full-time jobs.
After an extensive search process, Niagara Bottling, based in Diamond Bar, Calif., chose Shelby Township to build a 500,000 square-foot facility and expand its operations into the Midwest.
The $120 million investment includes not only the new facility but machinery and equipment that will be installed on the property.
Niagara Bottling is already a global brand, but by building a manufacturing and distribution facility in Macomb County, the company will position itself for an opportunity to grow its brand even more. The new facility would be logistically situated near two international border crossings and within 500 miles of half of the population of the United States and Canada.
"This project is a great example of what can be possible with collaboration among multiple government and economic development agencies," said Vicky Rowinski, director, Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. "Niagara Bottling is a great addition to Macomb County and I am pleased to welcome them to our community."
The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) discovered through the Detroit Regional Partnership in spring 2021 that the company was searching for an expansion site and offered six sites through its prime properties database.
MCPED coordinated communication with three local communities that were being considered for Niagara’s new home and answered numerous questions for the bottling company, including water and sewer capabilities as well as other infrastructure needs.
While a site was considered, Macomb County worked with the Michigan Economic Development Center (MEDC), to apply for an incentive known as the business development program. The program incentivizes companies who are looking at sites outside of the state to invest in Michigan. Niagara was offered an incentive package worth up to $785,866 to invest in Michigan.
In addition, MCPED reached out to its local workforce development partner Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, which offered an incentives package to assist in recruiting new staff. Moreover, Macomb Community College provided incentives that could assist Niagara Bottling with training its new staff.
Before construction could begin, MCPED facilitated meetings with the Macomb County Public Works Commission, the Great Lakes Water Authority, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission. The meetings determined Niagara Bottling had an environmentally friendly approach to their production process.
Niagara Bottling broke ground in July 2022, and throughout the course of the construction process, the Planning & Economic Development department has stepped in to help facilitate assistance.
First, there was a meeting with Niagara and the Shelby Township planning department to discuss permits. Next, MCPED facilitated a meeting with Niagara Bottling and the Macomb County Department of Roads to discuss upgrading and widening the private drive the facility would be located on. There was also a meeting between Niagara Bottling and the roads department to discuss a traffic light going in where the private drive meets the main road. In order for Niagara Bottling to open its facility and begin production, a traffic signal was required. When it was determined installation of a traffic signal might take up to a year, there was concern the installation would halt Niagara’s timeline to open in early 2023. The Department of Roads was able to offer a temporary solution by offering to install a temporary traffic signal until the permanent traffic signal could be installed. As a result, Niagara was able to stay on its timeline for a February 2023 opening.
The investment will create positive impacts on the local region. The project site needed to be remediated due to its previous use as a precast concrete manufacturer. Once completed the new facility will be fully automated and surrounded by new landscaping. The new, highly skilled jobs will pay well over the minimum wage requirements and above the ALICE threshold. Niagara is also well known for providing full time workers with full benefit packages, the opportunity to take professional development courses, and an atmosphere of promoting from within. As a result, Niagara is very attractive to the local workforce. Niagara Bottling’s impact could be even wider based on the employment multiplier which is 1.67 for every job created.
“Niagara Bottling has established strong business and community relationships throughout our numerous plant locations, and we look forward to continued growth and success at our new facility in Shelby Township,” said Brian Hess, executive vice president at Niagara Bottling. “We appreciate the Detroit region’s strong legacy of manufacturing, and its highly attractive combination of location, infrastructure, logistics, and workforce. Niagara looks forward to having a positive and lasting impact in the Detroit region, while maintaining our company’s leadership in the areas of manufacturing, innovation, supply chain and overall environmental stewardship.”
The acquisition of Niagara Bottling came to fruition thanks to the hard work of multiple organizations, including the Detroit Regional Partnership, MCPED, the Macomb County Department of Roads, and Shelby Township. Attracting a business to Macomb County with a reputation of being a good corporate citizen that provides competitive, high-paying wages in a growing industry is not just a win for the local economy but for the region as well.
Magna expands into Macomb County
Magna, a mobility technology company and automotive supplier with its U.S. headquarters in Michigan, is investing $96.1 million in a Shelby Township project that will create 159 jobs.
Magna has been awarded a new powertrain business from an existing customer to manufacture internal components for electric vehicles. The company plans to lease an existing facility in the township. Magna chose the Shelby Township site over competing sites and will be supported by a $1.3 million Michigan Business Development Program grant.
The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved a five-year, 50% Alternative State Essential Services exemption valued at $369,837 in support of the Macomb County project.
Macomb County’s Economic Development team provided assistance to the MEDC throughout the process, including connecting Magna with employee hiring and training assistance via trusted partners MI Works! and Macomb Community College.
Is your business looking to expand or move into Macomb County? Call our Economic Development team at 586-469-5285.
Macomb County to offer workshop series aimed at helping manufacturers grow and remain competitive
Events to focus on Industry 4.0 trends and opportunities
The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is pleased to announce a yearlong series of workshops for manufacturers interested in learning how new technologies are transforming the industry. Offered through the Macomb Next initiative, in partnership with Velocity, attendees will learn about Industry 4.0 and why it is important for businesses to keep up to date with smart manufacturing, or risk being left behind. The first event will be held Thursday, Feb. 16 at Velocity in Sterling Heights.
“Industry 4.0 is more than an industry buzzword. It’s transforming our businesses and the way we live, work and play,” MCPED Director Vicky Rowinski said. “In my role, I am able to see this transformation happening in real time as I tour through some of the most innovative and state-of-the-art facilities in Macomb County. These workshops will help manufacturers in the County keep pace.”
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is the ongoing automation of manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. I4.0 helps manage and optimize all aspects of the manufacturing processes and supply chain. It provides access to real-time data and insights necessary to make smarter, faster decisions, which can ultimately boost the efficiency and profitability of an entire operation.
The nine pillars of I4.0 include:
- Additive manufacturing (3D Printing)
- Advanced robotics and automation
- Advanced simulation
- Big data and analytics
- Cloud computing
- Internet of Things
- Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)
- System integration
MCPED’s five workshops, sprinkled throughout 2023, will address these pillars and how interconnectivity, automation and real-time data can be implemented into a facility. A panel of industry experts and peer adopters will discuss these topics, as well as returns on investment and how workers play a role in these changes. Vendors will also be in attendance to answer questions and show new available technologies.
“Velocity is really excited to partner with the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development team on this important event series for our business community,” said April Boyle, senior advisor for entrepreneurship and innovation, Velocity. “Bringing together the best content, connections and easy to implement tools and resources to help our business thrive and grow is our goal.”
The first workshop of the series will take place Thursday, Feb. 16 from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. and will examine cloud computing and the Internet of Things. It will feature keynote speaker George Singos, the Industry 4.0 business leader advisor for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and a panel discussion featuring Heidi Devroy (Prosper Tech), John Babi (L&L Products) and Mike Rumel (Fisher Dynamics), who will discuss their experiences as they implemented these technologies.
“These events are for manufacturers of all sizes,” said Rowinski. “Those involved in making key operational decisions are encouraged to join us for breakfast followed by an opportunity to listen, ask questions and network.”
There is no cost to attend but seating is limited. Visit macombnext.com.to register.
Other Industry 4.0 workshop in the series include:
- April 13 – System integration, big data and analytics
- June 15 – Virtual reality/augmented reality
- Aug. 17 – Additive manufacturing (3D printing), advanced robotics and automation
- Oct. 19 – Cybersecurity
Learn more about the workshops and other Macomb Next initiatives at macombnext.com.
MCPED completes another successful year
It was another great year for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED).
Several major investments were made in the county in 2022, not only by new businesses who decided to make Macomb their home, but also by established companies who chose to expand their existing facilities in the community. That included $586 million in new investments and the creation of 1,827 new jobs.
Macomb County maintained a labor force of 440,000 residents for 2022 and an unemployment rate of only 3.2%.
Our Economic Development team met with 213 businesses to retain them in Macomb County. In total, the team was able to meet with businesses in 20 of the 27 municipalities that make up Macomb County. In addition, the team provided support services for more than 100 businesses that considered a move here.
The Economic Development team works hard every day to attract and retain good jobs and to create an environment that invites economic investment. Having a strong and diverse industry landscape is essential to growing and maintaining a strong economy. Having more and better paying jobs improves the quality of life and standard of living for its residents and makes Macomb a great place to live, work and play.
The Economic Development team voted on its top five accomplishments for 2022. Here is their list:
No. 1: Industry 4.0
Businesses continued to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution by earning Industry 4.0 grants from Macomb County thanks to funding provided from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In May 2022, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development received a second I.40 grant funding through the state, making a total of $3 million available. The I4.0 grants support small businesses by sharing in the cost of purchasing hardware or software that apply to smart technologies and prevent those companies from falling behind. The grant program provides 50% reimbursement for qualifying 14.0 technology costs up to $25,000. Technologies eligible for the program include: additive manufacturing and advanced materials; artificial intelligence; big data; cloud computing; cybersecurity; Internet of Things (IoT); modeling, simulation, visualization and immersion; robotics/automation; and connected worker platforms and wearables.
Visit MacombNext.com for additional information about upcoming events and other opportunities.
No. 2: Mayco International
Click here to read the success story.
No. 3: Niagara Bottling
Click here to read the success story.
No. 4: Artisan Bread Co. LLC/Bosco’s Pizza Company/Tyson foods
The Tyson Food Co., which owns the Artisan Bread Co. in Warren, expanded its facility by 38,000 square feet to take on additional lines of USDA-regulated ready to cook products.
The company added co-extrusion and lamination equipment that greatly expands the types of products that can be produced. The new line expands the ability to make more products. The expansion includes more than $30 million in real property and $26 million in machinery, for $56 million total investment.
Tyson had other locations it was considering throughout the country. By staying in Macomb County, Tyson will retain 125 employees and hire an additional 78 people.
MCPED and its partners utilized the available programs on hand to keep
the business in Warren. Training incentives for incumbent and new workers was offered along with a tax abatement and other incentives. This helped encourage Tyson foods to land the project in Warren instead of the other locations discussed across the country.
No. 5: Relaunch of the ILZ
The International Landing Zone is back in business after a slow period during the height of the pandemic.
The ILZ allows international companies to establish a presence in southeast Michigan with a variety of benefits and is surrounded by potential customers and suppliers.
Located in the Velocity Center in Sterling Heights, the ILZ is next door to global automotive manufacturers like Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis. Defense and aerospace industries such as General Dynamics and BAE Systems.
The goal of the ILZ is to provide a soft landing space and benefits to help companies that are new to the area establish roots that will assure a long stay in the region.
Some of the benefits include:
- Modern office space at no cost for six months.
- Access to business acceleration programs.
- Consultation with legal and accounting firms.
- One-on-one consulting by Macomb County economic development specialists.
- Proximity to existing and potential customers and suppliers - such as Army Ground Vehicle Service Center, TACOM, and 10 Defense PRIME contractors as well as hundreds of suppliers.
- Access to educational institutions, mentors and industry experts.
- Introduction to Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
- Access to Pure Michigan Business matchmaking events, connecting purchasers with suppliers.
The Economic Development team is always available to help your business grow, develop relationships with our partners or help you discover and obtain incentives and grants. Feel free to reach out to our ED team or visit our Macomb County Business website.
End of year sales and labor data both positive for the county in 2022
Labor and sales data indicate 2022 was a good year for Macomb County businesses compared to the previous year.
Here are some of the largest economic indicators as of December 2022, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. Source: Lightcast Economic Modeling.
- County Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $46.8 billion, up from $41.2 billion in 2021.
- County employment (total regional employment within the county. Includes employees who live in the county and those who commute to the county) was 358,937, up from 336,476 in 2021.
- County unemployment rate at 3.2%, down from 4% in 2021.
- County labor participation rate at 62.22%, up from 61.94% in 2021.
- County exports of $72.7 billion, up from $70.8 billion in 2021.
Available industrial, office and retail space in Macomb County was a mixed bag in 2022.
Macomb County had an industrial vacancy rate of 2.8% in 2022, compared to 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021. There is 134 million square feet of industrial space in the county, with an additional 1.3 million built in the last 12 months. The price to lease industrial space increased to $8.43 per square foot, compared to $7.85 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Macomb County had 19.2 million square feet of office space in 2022 and a vacancy rate of 7.6%, the same as it was in the fourth quarter of 2021. The cost to lease office space in 2022 was $18.5 per square foot, up slightly from $18.16 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Retail space numbers were relatively stable as well. The county had 55.4 million square feet of retail space in 2022. The vacancy rate sat at 5.4%, exactly where it was in the fourth quarter of 2021. The price to lease retail space was $17.23 per square foot in 2022, up from $16.57 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Jack Johns promoted to MCPED program director
Longtime Economic Developer Jack Johns has been chosen as the new program director for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED).
Johns, 51, replaces James Ahee, who retired in September.
Johns has worked for MCPED for nearly 10 years, starting as a senior economic developer and working his way up to project manager. Jack has worked with nearly 1,000 local businesses across various industries. Many in the food and agriculture industry know him as a specialist in that field.
Johns has an extensive background in workforce development and bringing jobs to Macomb County.
Johns joined Macomb County after a successful career at Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works! He started as an employment supervisor in Port Huron before taking on another employment supervisor role for more than 11 years in Clinton Township and Mount Clemens.
In 2022, Johns was named one of the top 50 economic developers in North America for 2022 by Consultant Connect. He was the only economic developer chosen from Michigan.
A resident of the county, he’s passionate about bringing new businesses here and making sure they’re successful. He knows the key to doing his job well is to work hard and provide support behind the scenes so that someone else can shine.
“To be a really good economic developer, you have to want someone else to be successful,” Johns said. “You need to know it’s not about you.”
Having a keen understanding that a small business owner has his or her entire livelihood tied up in that business is important for an economic developer as well, Johns said. That knowledge helps an economic developer provide meaningful services and programs in a timely manner to sustain the business and keep it growing.
Being told “no” on an attraction project doesn’t stop Johns from trying harder and changing his approach to bringing the next new business to Macomb County. He works hard to bring new tax bases to local communities, fill empty buildings and bring new jobs to the area.
“I’m proud to live and work in Macomb County,” Johns said.
Johns has a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Oakland University and master’s degree in human resource administration from Central Michigan University.
To contact Jack, call 586-469-6293.
Fueling the Talent Pipeline
Robotics competition to be hosted at Macomb Community College
The FIRST in Michigan high school district robotics competition comes to the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center on March 31-April. This competition will determine who moves on to the state championship April 5-6 at Saginaw Valley University.
The competition showcases high school students’ ability to design, build and program large-scale robots to compete in fierce three-on-three competitions.
In 2018, Michigan had 508 robotics teams, the most of any state in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic closed down many teams in Macomb County and across the state. They are looking to get up and running again, but they need support in terms of mentorship, materials and money in order to resume competition.
Macomb County still has several teams working to compete in the district competition with the hopes of making it to the state championships. But they and others in the county still need help. On March 31, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development will hold a VIP Robotics Tour for businesses interested in getting involved or just to learn more about the county’s teams. Participating businesses will also learn about MARZ (Macomb Automation & Robotics Zone) a non-profit organization that supports these teams by offering workshops and a place to practice.
Free technology assessments
Are you interested in preparing your business for the next industrial revolution - I4.0? We can assist your business with planning for the digital transformation.
The technology assessment includes answering 40 quantitative and qualitative questions. Drawing from data and information provided by your company, our partner ranks each response according to how strong your current practices are for each category. Reach out and we can set up a meeting to discuss your business's future.
The assessments are free, and spots are still available for your company’s assessment. Contact Economic Development Senior Todd Seibert at firstname.lastname@example.org, or linkedin.com/in/todd-seibert-b2576511a/
Look for us at these upcoming events where we will be working to improve our services to Macomb County:
- MDEX 2023, April 19-20 at the Sports and Expo Center
Macomb Business in the news
Macomb workshops aimed at helping manufacturers remain competitive, grow
Sterling Heights business incubator and coworking space Velocity celebrates its reinvention
Blogs about business
Industry 4.0 workshops begin in February
Velocity Center makes its identity and goal crystal clear
Looking for more information on the county? Subscribe to Focus Macomb.
Interested in the news that matters most to Macomb County residents and businesses? Subscribe to BizClips.
Connect with us
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on LinkedIn
Read our blogs