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Aug. 5: Regional Effort Attracts Chinese Manufacturer, $26.9 Million Investment to Detroit

Regional Effort Attracts Chinese Manufacturer, $26.9 Million Investment to Detroit

As result of a collaborative regional economic development effort, YFS Automotive Systems Inc. will open its second U.S. manufacturing facility in Detroit, investing $26.9 million in its expansion and creating 160 new jobs. With the announcement, the Tier-1 automotive supplier becomes the first Chinese-owned manufacturer to locate in Detroit, choosing the city over competing sites in Ohio.

The Chamber served a critical role in attracting YFS to Detroit identifying potential sites for the new facility and meeting with the company during a trade mission to China with Gov. Rick Snyder. Additionally, the Chamber worked to ensure that key partners were engaged in the deal, which comes less than four months after the Chamber and 11 economic development organizations representing Southeast Michigan signed a protocol agreement to continue to collaborate on business attraction efforts designed to bring increased national and foreign investment to the region.

“Strong collaboration between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation/City of Detroit proved to be vital in attracting a global manufacturer like YFS,” stated MEDC CEO Steve Arwood.

The project reaffirms Michigan’s competitive business climate and the region’s position as a global hub for automotive and advanced manufacturing. To learn more about YFS and its decision to locate in Detroit, click here.

EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan Will Hurt Great Lakes Manufacturing

In response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan unveiled this week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition are working with members of Congress to reform the proposed regulations to protect Michigan businesses and grow the economy.

The plan, which calls for the reduction of carbon pollution by 32 percent in the next 15 years, negatively impacts Great Lakes manufacturers who rely on affordable, reliable, continuous energy. If adopted, the overly burdensome regulations will handcuff one of the industry’s primary energy sources and shift job-killing consequences such as higher costs and increased regulations to the manufacturers on whom so many livelihoods rely while having little impact on the plan’s stated goal of reducing global carbon emissions.

The Chamber and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition recognize the value of pragmatic policy that drives development while protecting the nation’s natural resources and environment. However, the nation needs a coherent, comprehensive energy policy that sensibly addresses the generation and distribution of cleaner electric power. The EPA’s proposed rules, drafted independently of a coherent energy strategy, threaten efforts aimed toward a more prosperous economy that can drive a cleaner environment.

“The Coalition will examine the important details of this plan and confer on its next steps. Combined with the electric distribution grid, this remains an issue and big challenge for manufacturing in the Great Lakes region,” said Ed Wolking, executive director of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition.

Click here to read a op/ed column in The Detroit News from Wolking and Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Chamber, addressing the Clean Power Plan.

Lumina Award to Help Chamber Increase Educational Attainment in Region

Last week, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) announced the Detroit Regional Chamber as one of five chambers of commerce receiving the 2015-16 Lumina Award for Education Attainment, which will bolster its talent retention and education efforts throughout Southeast Michigan.

The Lumina Education Attainment Award is a one-time $40,000 stimulus award to support the established efforts of chambers of commerce to grow the number of individuals in their communities with post-secondary degrees and other high quality credentials. Recipients were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants for having demonstrated momentum in setting education attainment agendas and establishing innovative postsecondary attainment goals and strategies.

Active in promoting education attainment for decades, the Chamber continues to convene key public and private sector partners throughout the region and administers the Detroit Scholarship Fund, the largest scholarship in the city of Detroit. Building off its work with CEOs for Cities’ Talent Dividend initiative, the Chamber recently adopted the Lumina Foundation’s goal of increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

“Education attainment drives economic vitality,” said Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent for the Chamber. “This is about helping more kids gain access to and succeed in college, and retaining them once they have graduated or completed training. Meeting these type of goals will have a dramatic economic impact in Southeast Michigan.”

Other recipients included: Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Spokane Incorporated, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and St. Louis Regional Chamber.

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “Cities that include business leaders in their work to set and then meet community-wide postsecondary attainment goals will be poised for success as America continues to shift toward a knowledge economy.”

Remembering John Lobbia: A Gracious, Thoughtful Leader

The Detroit Regional Chamber and community lost a long-time leader and friend when John Lobbia passed away last week. The former president, CEO and chairman of Detroit Edison served as Chamber Board chair for the fiscal year1993-1994 and contributed greatly to the direction of the organization and region for decades.

“I really liked John a lot and appreciated him, he was a really good man,” said former Chamber president and CEO Dick Blouse, recalling Lobbia’s thoughtful leadership. “A lot of people lead from the back, but John was a leader and a doer. His out-front type leadership distinguished him and contributed to his tremendous impact on this community and the organization.”

According to Blouse, Lobbia was a strong supporter of the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership program and played a pivotal role in refining the Chamber’s Board structure to ensure that board membership transitioned efficiently, reflecting his commitment and passion for the organization and its work.

“I clearly remember Mr. Lobbia’s support for the staff and gracious demeanor as he thoughtfully considered the opinions of everyone in our organization,” said Sarah Hubbard, former senior vice president of government relations at the Chamber. “He took the role of chairman of the board seriously and made it a priority in his very busy schedule. He truly served as a role model for others in the business community.”

In addition to his work with the Chamber and at Detroit Edison, Lobbia held several leadership positions in the community and served on the boards of many other civic and industry organizations.

“He was a modest guy and I don’t think he ever heard the word ‘ego’” said former Chamber President and CEO Frank Smith. “John and a couple of other key people kept the business community focused so that their strengths and efforts were coordinated. He made things happen so you’d get the most bang for your buck when the corporate community invested in something.”

To read a full obituary in the Detroit Free Press, click here.