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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Featured Article - Fall 2015

Macomb County excels in MEDC secret site selection exercise

Macomb County opted to participate in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) mock site selection project conducted by the out-of-state, third party site selector Silverlode Consulting of Ohio. The project was intended to assess the quality of responses to site selection requests for information (RFI) through the MEDC who works with clients in confidentiality in hopes of landing a company within the respondents’ community and touts Michigan’s advantage for industry. Macomb willingly embraced the opportunity to grade itself in the spirit of self-evaluation and continual improvement and has focused great efforts on improving protocol and increasing marketing efforts to illustrate the strengths and assets within Macomb County communities.

On June 30, Macomb responded to the MEDC RFI called Project Cyclone, which sought shovel-ready sites in the range of 20 to 50 acres to allow construction of a 100,000-square-foot facility in a location that was adequately served with utilities.  Several states in the Midwest and Southeast were being considered for this project.

On July 16, Macomb was notified of a request to meet the MEDC and Silverlode on-site.  Michael Connors, program manager for Economic Development, coordinated the site visit with the site listing broker from CBRE and invited local officials from the community, which included the building official, engineer and assessor, to discuss the permitting and approval process.

Project Cyclone received 15 Michigan community responses to the RFI, and three communities were selected for a more in-depth analysis of the site.  Macomb County, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership and Saginaw Future, Inc. were the three communities whose responses caught the site selector’s attention and were selected for the mock exercise, although the communities were not aware it was part of the evaluation.  The site consultant developed an Economic Development Readiness Matrix (EDRM) to evaluate and analyze the RFI process that included the following 11 categories: site, website, utilities, transportation, taxes, incentives, presentation, labor force, education, industry and quality of life.  The chart below highlights Macomb’s scorecard for both overall grading and individual responses.

Macomb County scored much higher than the previous year’s MEDC secret siting exercise, and we attribute that to an outstanding team of professionals who take great pride in building on the successes and feedback from exercises that identify areas for improvement.  Macomb has already embraced the constructive feedback and has proactively made changes to our processes to enhance how we engage community partners and serve the region in business development scenarios.

Lastly, these findings were presented to a statewide audience at the annual Michigan Economic Developers Association meeting on August 21.  Macomb County continues its quest to raise its profile as an economic engine for southeast Michigan and willingly embraces change to rise to the occasion.