IAMC Spring Forum: Taking a Closer Look at Industrial Real Estate Trends

Last month, the Detroit Regional Chamber, in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), represented our 11-county region at the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) spring forum, “Industrial Real Estate in the 21st Century” in Tampa (pictured). IAMC is the leading association of industrial asset management and corporate real estate executives and site selection consultants in the United States.

The Chamber spent April 8-12 meeting with site selection consultants and real estate professionals to promote Michigan’s manufacturing and talent assets.

“What’s enticing to a lot of these site selectors working with clients in the manufacturing and automotive industries is our high concentration of engineering talent,” said Brian Bilger, senior business development representative for the Chamber. “Additionally we’re seeing a lot more positive word-of-mouth marketing about Detroit’s revitalization. Everyone is curious about the momentum surrounding self-driving cars taking place in Michigan.”

Both the opening of the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti next year and the state’s passage of the SAVE (Safe Autonomous Vehicles) Act give Michigan a leg up in the competition for talent and global investment, Bilger said.

“Attending events like IAMC are critical to putting Detroit and Michigan at the top of the list for site selectors,” he said. “Michigan has a lot of competition from Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania but when it comes down to it, the brainpower is here. The amount of engineering and IT students we have is a major advantage.”

The forum also helped shed insight on key issues and trends voiced by industrial real estate developers, such as a growing trend of big box store closures.

“What’s the impact on the community when these stores close? From an adaptive reuse perspective, do these empty buildings meet the needs of companies looking to expand? What types of incentives are available? These are all questions we have to get ahead of when site selectors come to us with a proposed project,” Bilger said.

Bilger said following the forum, the Chamber has remained in contact with site selectors representing companies from Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey and South Carolina that are exploring options in Michigan. Several are planning visits to Mcity in Ann Arbor and participating in the state’s familiarization tour in September, designed to build interest in Michigan’s manufacturing and industrial real estate market.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita S. Harris at mharris@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

German Automotive Supplier Mahle Gets Up-Close Look at Michigan’s Automotive and Mobility Leadership

Showcasing Michigan as a major global automotive and mobility epicenter, MICHauto, in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), led a one-day tour of the region in March for 12 executives from Mahle, a leading global auto components supplier.

The tour highlighted the region’s research and development facilities, OEMs, advanced manufacturers, leading suppliers, education institutions and next-generation mobility testing assets.

“Working closely through the Michigan Mobility Initiative, this was the first opportunity to really leverage the Planet M campaign to tell the state’s automotive and mobility leadership story to a visiting group of executives,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto.

“It was an opportunity for us to establish the perspective and potentially change perceptions that not only is Michigan an automotive capital because of its vast resources, testing sites and development work, but also it is a leader in connected and automated vehicle innovation,” he added.

The tour included welcome remarks by Gov. Rick Snyder and a tour of the University of Michigan Battery Labs, Toyota North America Technical Center, MCity, Lear Innovation Center in Detroit, TechStars Mobility and Shinola.

The tour was preceded by a presentation by John Maddox, CEO of the American Center for Mobility, and Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president of the MEDC’s Automotive Office, who spoke on Michigan’s e-mobility economy.

Following the tour, attendees enjoyed networking during a strolling reception at the Detroit Regional Chamber, featuring remarks by Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility for the city of Detroit, and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

View photos from the tour here.

Mobility initiative aims to match state auto business, Silicon Valley

Crain’s Detroit Business 

By Dustin Walsh 

January 8, 2017

The state’s Planet M mobility initiative is aiming to play matchmaker between companies in Michigan and Silicon Valley.

Planet M, a branding partnership between the state and local economic development firms, businesses and colleges, plans to identify and solve the manufacturing, testing and customer gaps faced by Silicon Valley’s tech industry players focused on transportation and mobility.

Mass production, particularly of automobiles and automobile technology, has proven difficult for California companies. Apple Inc. pulled out of making its own car, and Tesla Inc. has repeatedly missed its delivery targets for its lower-cost Model 3. California needs Michigan’s expertise, but at the dawn of a new age of mobility and technology, the auto industry can also benefit from the fast-paced nature and vitality of Silicon Valley’s technology stronghold.

“This was dreamt up by talking to industry, here in Detroit and in California,” said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of trade and procurement programs at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The plan is his brainchild.

“We want to get Michigan companies involved in the valley and get those startups and tech companies there access to the end clients here,” Pawl said. “If we can connect them to Ford or Delphi or whomever, that means they’re more likely to invest and create jobs in Michigan.”

The MEDC and its partners will spend $250,000 in 2017 on sponsorships, creating “Shark Tank”-style events where California startups pitch Michigan’s auto players and, ultimately, set up a state economic development office in Silicon Valley. Additional funds will be spent on marketing the concept, Pawl said.

The state plans to become a sponsor of Santa Clara, Calif.-based processor maker Nvidia Corp.’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Calif., in May. Planet M would be marketed and state economic agencies would be present, once a deal is reached, Pawl said. The conference attracts global scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs focused on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and driverless cars.

The goal of the initiative is to create or be involved in 12 events between Silicon Valley and Michigan.

Pawl said too often Michigan’s auto industry is used as the commercialization piece of the supply chain, losing out on the profitable aspects of innovation.

“We’ve spent years touting that we’re the auto capital, that we have 375 (research and development) centers,” Pawl said. “But what happens too often is a raw idea comes from, say, Japan, then to Silicon Valley for early-stage development, then to testing in Tennessee, then to Farmington Hills for validation. We’re the last stop on the innovation chain. We need to be stop number two. We need to be the innovation center.”

Farmington Hills-based Flextronics Automotive USA Inc., a subsidiary of Singapore technology conglomerate Flex Ltd., is already in discussions with the MEDC to get involved with the initiative. Flex is involved in 12 businesses, including a $2 billion automotive unit dedicated to autonomous, connected and electrification vehicle technology. Its U.S. headquarters is located in Silicon Valley. Flextronics employs 600 in Michigan and its customers include Ford, General Motors Co., Tata Technologies Inc., FCA US LLC, etc.

Chris Obey, president of Flextronics Automotive, speaking from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, said Flextronics is often overlooked in the automotive conversation because its U.S. headquarters is in Silicon Valley, where automakers look more to Delphi Automotive plc and Robert Bosch LLC that have more established relationships.

“We’re trying to get recognized as a tier-one supplier in the auto sector, so being on top of a contact initiative like this is important,” Obey said. “We’re looking to continue to invest in the Detroit area, so we want to help bring our knowledge base in Silicon Valley to Detroit as it becomes a larger and larger tech zone and an autonomous vehicle center.”

Flex, and Flextronics, is the sort of multifaceted business Detroit wants to attract. Flex’s business lines include manufacturing of 80 percent of the world’s wearable devices, including all of the activity trackers for San Francisco-based Fitbit Inc. It supplies customers in the connected home, energy, server, storage and mobile fields.

“Speed is currency and the world is moving faster and faster, and we’re hoping to show Michigan’s auto sector how important it is to innovate at high speed,” Obey said. “We’re working with several local companies on autonomous projects, and we’re going to focus more of that work in Michigan. This initiative should help others to do more of the same.”

Glenn Stevens, executive director of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MichAuto, an automotive advocacy group that works closely with the MEDC, said the auto companies are now technology companies, so aligning with the world’s greatest idea generators is important.

“A lot of these entrepreneurs have this perception that the traditional auto companies move slow,” Stevens said. “That’s just not true. With programs like this, we’re able to change this perception and show them how automotive is a real target market.”

Tim Yerdon, director of marketing and communications for Van Buren Township-based Visteon Corp. and chairman of MichAuto’s talent and retention committee, said getting products to market is now the auto industry’s greatest challenge.

“It’s all about how quickly we can get these new (automotive) functions to market,” Yerdon said. “Anything the state can do to expedite that is another feather in our cap and to the state and industry.”

Stevens said the Silicon Valley plan is the first in what he hopes will be a full expansion of the state’s economic prowess across the country.

“There’s real opportunity with the Valley, but not limited to just there,” Stevens said. “There’s opportunity in Austin or Boston or other parts of the world. It’s not just about accelerating something that’s happening today, but connecting those with these ideas all over the world with the consumers (Michigan auto companies) of that technology.”

View the original article here: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170108/NEWS/170109880/mobility-initiative-aims-to-match-state-auto-business-silicon-valley?X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

Michigan Cements Mobility Leadership with American Center for Mobility Groundbreaking

One of the 2016 “To-Do” list items from the Mackinac Policy Conference is to support the establishment of the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run. A special event, held on Monday, Nov. 21, makes achieving that goal, well on its way.

Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, John Maddox, president and CEO, American Center for Mobility, and Steve Arwood, CEO, MEDC, as well as some of the state’s top automotive technology leaders were on hand to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the $80-million project in Ypsilanti Township.

“This is a significant day for Michigan,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We put the world on wheels and now we are leading the world in bringing autonomous vehicles to the world.”

As one of the founding partners of the Michigan Mobility Initiative, MICHauto worked tirelessly to keep the Center’s opening a focus for the state.

Stevens, who sits on the Center’s Land Services Board, has been instrumental in helping establish the legal and financial operating parameters for the testing site.

The Center, located on 335 acres at the existing Willow Run site, is designed to test new and emerging technologies and will play an integral role in positioning Michigan to lead in the race for the connected and autonomous vehicle development.

The Center will be available for use by private industry, government, academia, among others and will serve as a technology hub, allowing companies to lease office space, garages and other amenities.

Construction is scheduled to begin next spring with the Center being open for business by December 2017.

More information on the American Center for Mobility can be found at www.acmwillowrun.org. To learn more about the future of mobility and its importance to Michigan’s ongoing economic resurgence, visit www.planetm.com.

Cleveland Site Selectors: Data Center Legislation Driving Investor Interest in Southeast Michigan

Through its effort to educate national site selectors about the Detroit region’s world-class manufacturing assets and talent, the Detroit Regional Chamber, together with its public partners, took its message on the road to meet with site selectors in Cleveland in September.

The trip, held in conjunction with Ann Arbor SPARK, DTE Energy, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), builds on the Chamber’s goal of promoting the region in secondary markets across the country. In addition to information gathering, the team also met with 21 site consultants from seven firms representing clients in industrial and manufacturing industries that are considering expanding into the Michigan market.

“We’re seeing a big need for areas that accommodate everything from skilled trades to food manufacturing. That’s right in our wheelhouse,” said Brian Bilger, senior representative for business development at the Chamber.

One of the biggest interests, however, is in Michigan’s tax-reform legislation that gives data centers an exemption on sales and use taxes. The legislation’s passage in 2015 was a key collaborative effort between the Chamber, The Right Place, and the MEDC.

“That legislation takes out all the uncertainty for site selectors working with data center clients and puts Michigan at top of mind for prospective investors,” Bilger said.

Economic development collaboration, led by the Chamber, remains a hallmark for the 11-county region, said Justin Sprague, director of business development for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.

“The Flint & Genesee Chamber was pleased to join the Detroit Regional Chamber and other local economic development partners representing the Detroit region in Cleveland. Through this partnership, we were able to … develop valuable relationships that can help drive economic growth throughout Flint and Genesee County. We look forward to participating in many more missions in the near future in collaboration with the Chamber,” Sprague said.

Bilger said the Chamber and its partners are following up with four companies considering Southeast Michigan.

“The good news is that we’re seeing more awareness about Detroit’s economic comeback and questions on what’s going on in that space,” Bilger said.

In the coming months, the Chamber team is evaluating a site selector trip to Greenville, S.C.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.

Economic Developers Find Collaborative Solutions for Regional Investment at MEDA Conference

This past August, 160 economic developers from across the state came together to discuss key issues impacting business development at the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) annual conference in Detroit. The conference was chaired by Maureen Krauss, senior advisor of economic development for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Discussions revolved around aging infrastructure, repurposing real estate, the auto industry, and community development.

It’s at the conference where relationships among economic developers are often built and cultivated.

“When you can get a wide range of people with diverse projects and communities in one room sharing what works and what doesn’t work for potential investors looking to expand in Michigan, that knowledge is invaluable. Everyone wins,” Krauss said.

The Conference also offered the opportunity to showcase Detroit and the auto industry’s comeback, with tours of the city and keynote speeches by Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Economic Growth Corp. President Rodrick Miller.

“Whether you are from Troy or Marquette or Holland, inevitably you are asked about what’s happening in Detroit from investors and site selectors,” Krauss said.

As a regional convener, the conference is only one part of the Chamber’s collaborative work with developers, private and public partners, and government leaders. With the competition for talent, jobs and investment showing no signs of slowing, Krauss said the Chamber is often called upon to be the “go to” source for everything from labor statistics and graduation rates to available office and retail space. A large component of that collaboration also takes place at the local, state and federal level when key legislation impacts business development.

An example of this, Krauss said, was a recent advocacy effort between the Chamber, Grand Rapids-based The Right Place and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) that eventually led to the passage of a series of bills in the state Legislature that exempt data centers from sales and use taxes. The legislation helped pave the way for more high-tech job creation. Most notably, it was a key catalyst for Switch, a Las Vegas-based company, that announced plans to expand its operations in Michigan, adding $5 billion in investment and 1,000 new jobs.

“You are always impactful when you act with one voice,” Krauss said, adding that the Chamber is currently working with partners to address proposed changes governing state tax increment financing (TIF) regulations and brownfields across the state.

Another positive example is the collaboration with the MEDC and Gov. Rick Snyder on investment missions overseas. Krauss said the Chamber often serves as a lead partner due to the depth of knowledge and diversity of opportunity in Southeast Michigan. Last year alone, the Chamber and its partners helped attract over $80 million and over 500 jobs to the region. Notable projects included YFS Automotive Systems investment of $26.9 million in Wayne County.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.

Macomb, Oakland County Tour Highlights Auto and Manufacturing Assets to National Site Selectors

Working with key public partners, the Detroit Regional Chamber recently co-hosted five national site selectors for a firsthand look at the automotive and advanced manufacturing assets of Macomb and Oakland counties. The two-day tour was part of the Chamber’s ongoing effort to build relationships with site selectors and inform them of the region’s assets as they assist global companies in deciding where to locate.

Hosted in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development and Oakland County Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs, the group toured the recently opened research and technical campus of Durr Systems in Southfield. The company, which manufactures and supplies robots for automotive and industrial paint and sealing, invested $40 million in a 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, where they now employ over 480 people.

During the tour, site selectors spoke with Bruno Welsch, president and CEO of Durr Systems, about the company’s decision to stay in Oakland County making a long-term commitment to the region. In addition, the site selectors met with representatives from other automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies that recently expanded in Macomb and Oakland counties including: Baker Aerospace and Machining Inc., Paslin, P3 North America and Valiant International Inc.

“Hosting prominent, well-respected site selectors like this is a key activity in showcasing what the Detroit region has to offer to global businesses,” said Justin Robinson, the Chamber’s vice president of business attraction. “The more site selectors are aware of this area’s skilled technical workforce and density of advanced manufacturing strengths, the greater ability they have to make the case for investment.”

Brian Bilger, senior business development representative for the Chamber, said collaborative efforts like the tour offer potential investors a more holistic narrative of what’s happening across Southeast Michigan.

“Our local partners are the ones who know what’s going on at the ground level in their communities and who can help drill down that information — whether it be labor and talent, or the number of college graduates with a certain type of degree or certification,” he said.

The No. 1 priority for site selectors? Labor.

“Where it once was all about location, location, location, we’re seeing a shift in the conversation … ‘Where do you find the workers with the proper skill sets?’ and ‘How do you retain your talent?’ It’s a huge issue,” Bilger said, adding that perception, particularly in manufacturing, also plays a role.

“(Manufacturing) looks different today more than it did even five or 10 years ago. You are not just putting the widget in the machine and pushing a button,” Bilger added. “Manufacturers need the advanced skill set of programmers, designers, and IT professionals.”

Throughout the coming year, the Chamber will host similar visits in coordination with its local economic development partners to help national and international businesses explore, locate and invest in the united 11-county Detroit region.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.

Clayton & McKervey Proud to Support the American Center for Mobility

Clayton & McKervey is pleased to announce it will provide financial and accounting consulting to the newly funded American Center for Mobility, working in collaboration with the board of directors and the Michigan Economic Development Fund (MEDC).

Located at the Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, the center will help accelerate advanced mobility vehicle development safety while bringing economic opportunity to southeast Michigan and the United States. The MEDC previously announced approval of a $2,999,900 million performance-based grant and $100 equity investment in funds to support the American Center for Mobility, from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF). On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the MEDC announced that “the MSF approved a $17 million investment for the finalization of the acquisition of the land at Willow Run, operations and to facilitate the design and construction of phase one of a state-of-the-art global center for research, development and testing for automated vehicles.”

“We are honored to be working with the state of Michigan to help advance the future of our economy through next-generation vehicles,” said Clayton & McKervey Principal – Assurance Julie Killian. “Clayton & McKervey is excited to share our knowledge with the leaders of this visionary work.”

The American Center for Mobility is a joint initiative among the State of Michigan – including the Michigan Department of Transportation and MEDC, the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK.

Clayton & McKervey is a metro Detroit-based accounting and business advisory firm helping internationally-minded, growth-driven companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm was established in 1953, and services clients throughout the globe. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.

Global Automotive Forum Offers Insight Into Future of Mobility Industry in China

As part of a strategic effort to learn more about Chinese automotive market trends and strengthen existing industry relationships, the Detroit Regional Chamber traveled to Chongqing, China in June to participate in the 2016 Global Automotive Forum. The three-day trip provided an opportunity to share the current state of the auto industry in Michigan with leading Chinese industry executives, as well as explore developments in electric vehicle manufacturing and the connected and autonomous vehicle landscape in China.

The trip builds on the Chamber’s longstanding relationship with the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and was conducted in partnership with the Michigan Automotive Industry Office and Michigan-China Innovation Center.

While abroad, Justin Robinson, the Chamber’s vice president of Business Attraction, attended several events around the show and participated in a panel discussion on doing business with the Michigan automotive industry attended by representatives from Chinese suppliers. Kevin Kerrigan, senior adviser for automotive initiatives at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), also led a panel discussion on connected and autonomous vehicle development and electric vehicle development for over 600 attendees.

Robinson said a key takeaway from the trip was the stark difference between the two countries on a next-generation mobility strategy and current progress by our respective domestic suppliers in this space.

“While the U.S. has made a pretty full pivot into connected and autonomous technology, China’s priority still seems to be focused on new energy/electric vehicle development,” he said. “We are roughly a couple years further along in the connected mobility discussion with the exception of a very small number of leading Chinese automotive and technology firms.”

That’s where Michigan’s numerous research and development and vehicle testing assets, such as the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, will benefit the state and country in the long-term, Robinson said.

“How can Chinese companies keep up with the technology demands of both new energy and connected and autonomous vehicle markets? Most of the Chinese OEMs and suppliers don’t have the dollars to invest in that type of research and development. It will be interesting to see how that plays out,” Robinson said.

Other key takeaways:

  • Chongqing is China’s largest manufacturing base. The city has an annual auto capacity production of 4 million vehicles with Chang’an and Ford Motor Co. making up a large percentage of this capacity.
  • Chinese brands held over 30 percent share of the Chinese passenger auto market in 2015.
  • Chinese industry execs know that the country must transform its smart mobility strategy as the industry continues to rapidly develop due to disruptive technologies. The challenge is that China’s domestic auto industry lags behind the world’s auto powers in terms of development levels, professional expertise and other related criteria.

In addition to the Automotive Forum, the Chamber and MEDC traveled to Chengdu, China in support of Michigan’s sister state, Sichuan Province. While there, the team met with Sichuan government leaders and a small number of Chinese OEM and Tier 1 suppliers with a focus on electric and autonomous technology.

As a follow up, the Chamber assisted with the hosting of the Executive Vice Governor of Sichuan to the Detroit region at the end of June featuring 80 delegates from government, industry, education and tourism. The visit was anchored by a reception hosted by Gov. Rick Snyder, and a tour of the city hosted by the Chamber featuring delegation representatives and Sichuan Executive Vice Gov. Wang Ning.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.

Michigan Coalition receives $5.97 million Department of Defense Grant

DETROIT, Mich. – The Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment awarded a $5.97 million grant to support an Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative in Southeast Michigan.

The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative clears the path to the discovery and growth of emerging markets and industries by providing immediate and sustained assistance to firms and workers in a 13-county region in Southeast Michigan affected by reduced Department of Defense procurement. The coalition coordinates assistance to organizations that promote research, industrial development, and talent development relevant to the defense industry.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided a cash match along with in-kind funding from the Michigan Defense Center—an operation of the MEDC—to obtain these funds. Macomb County Economic Development and the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) for Southeast Michigan also provided matching funds. A special thank you is also extended to Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, and Congressman Sander Levin for providing letters of support for the initiative.

Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Investment Board (M/SCWB) working on behalf of Macomb County Government, will administer the grant with management assistance from the Workforce Intelligence Network.

The grant funding will be used on a variety of projects to identify and diversify Michigan’s defense portfolio, expand educational and workforce training for emerging markets, and provide opportunities for Michigan companies engaged in the defense economy.

The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative will support resiliency and capacity in:

· Autonomous transportation and connected mobility (particularly the electronics, sensors, and componentry sector)

· Lightweight materials manufacturing sector

· Information technology with a focus on increasing security of automated transportation systems and products

“The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative is committed to identifying new opportunities for Michigan businesses and workers that play a critical role in our country’s defense,” said Senator Stabenow. “Thanks to the work of the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board and Workforce Intelligence Network, this project will help strengthen the connections between defense, advanced manufacturing, and cutting-edge research that is truly unique here in Southeast Michigan.”

“Southeast Michigan has been an important defense asset for generations, and the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative will help ensure that this crucial sector of our economy can continue to grow,” said Senator Gary Peters. “I’m honored to help announce this funding that will help promote the development of new technologies and create job opportunities in areas from cybersecurity to autonomous vehicles and smart mobility that will ensure our state and our country continue to benefit from the experience and knowledge that Southeast Michigan’s companies offer.”

“This funding will assist the MEDC and our partners in providing tools and training to offset some of the contraction in the federal defense budget that has affected our companies and workers in Michigan,” says Sean Carlson, VP MEDC, Michigan Defense Center. “These projects will help us identify the vast logistics and acquisition network in Michigan that serves the defense industry as well as grow opportunities for our companies to expand into new and emerging markets.”

“This award highlights the unrivaled set of circumstances we have here in Southeastern Michigan,” said Congressman Sandy Levin. “Our skilled workforce, strong manufacturing base, and longtime collaboration with the auto and defense industries at TACOM and TARDEC all make our region especially competitive for private-public partnerships that can lead to cost savings and new jobs.”

Currently, thousands of Michigan companies, supporting over 52,000 Michigan jobs, bring billions of federal defense dollars to Michigan’s economy. Michigan is home to the U.S. Army’s Detroit Arsenal, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM), Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Army Acquisition Center (AAC), numerous Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) operations as well as Michigan National Guard bases and installations throughout Michigan with active, reserve and National Guard units.

Advance Michigan Partnership
The Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative is an investment of Advance Michigan, an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designation extended by the White House in partnership with 16 federal-government departments. The Advance Michigan area includes the urban centers of Detroit, Flint and Lansing and the counties of Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. Designated communities are eligible to compete for federal funding from the participating departments, looking to support the growth of manufacturing jobs and related prosperity.

Projects supported by the OEA grant include:

· Establishment of a “Defense Contractor Transition Center” for displaced defense workers

· Formation of a regional Connected Life Collaborative and a strategy and implementation plan for a Connected Life Lab (internet of things) aimed at entrepreneurship and commercialization around connected products

· Development of 2-3 new cyber range facilities and Merit Secure Sandbox testing centers in the region

· Pilot of a university-based Detroit Regional Cyber Training Center

· Regional connectivity plan including asset map and strengths assessment, along with a strategy and action plan to move an overall connected economic development strategy forward

· Launch of 1-3 related demonstrations of autonomous and connected project technologies, with targeted firms receiving technical assistance and commercialization support for their concepts

· Various initiatives to support capacity of the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative, including a regional defense supply chain map; participation in a national network of 13,500 members with commercialization interest and expertise, along with a regional technology transfer/innovation plan; enhancement of the state’s bid targeting system (BTS) to better connect suppliers to business opportunities; economic impact analysis of the Michigan defense industry; defense skills-gap analysis; and action plans and staffing support for the Michigan Automated Systems Collaborative and Opportunity Detroit Tech.