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U.S.-Japan Council President is keynote speaker for Women's Leadership Conference

The president of the U.S.-Japan Council is the featured speaker at the U.S.-Japan Women’s Leadership Conference set for September 26.

Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the Washington D.C.-based organization, headlines the program which focuses on women who hold leadership positions. It is sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council and hosted by the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

“We are honored to host Irene Hirano Inouye for this important leadership event and excited about our partnership with the U.S.-Japan Council,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This is a singular opportunity to hear from Mrs. Inouye and others in leadership positions and learn first-hand how they advanced in their professions.”

The conference will be held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. There is no charge to attend but advance registration is required at AdvantageOakland.EventBrite.com. A light lunch is included. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The U.S.-Japan Council is a non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and governments on both sides of the Pacific. Japan-based companies have significant investment in Oakland County, owning more than a quarter of the nearly 1,100 international firms in the county.

Inouye, who founded the council in 2008, also administers the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the government of Japan that invests in young Japanese and Americans through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs. She is former president and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a position she held for 20 years.

Inouye is the widow of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero. He represented Hawaii in Congress for more than 50 years and was the first Japanese-American elected to serve in both the House and the Senate. He died in 2012 at age 88.

The conference includes panel discussions that highlight women in leadership positions in Oakland County government and the paths Japanese American women have taken to become leaders.

The Oakland County government panel includes:
  • Irene Spanos, director of economic development and community affairs
  • Jordie Kramer, director of human resources
  • Kathy Forzley, director of health and human services

The Japanese American panel includes:
  • Yuki Sakai, deputy Counsel General of Japan, Detroit
  • Izumi Suzuki, president of Suzuki, Myers & Associates, Novi
  • Motoko Tabuse, professor, Eastern Michigan University
  • Yuka Sato, former world champion figure skater and U.S. Women’s Figure Skating coach

Both panel discussions will be moderated by Laurie Van Pelt, director of management and budget for Oakland County.

Other sessions include:
  • A presentation from Mary Kamidoi, treasurer of the Detroit Chapter of the Japanese American
  • Citizens League, entitled “What Doesn’t Break You Makes You Stronger”
  • A leadership training workshop led by Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini entitled, “You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello: The Art of Communicating”

P3M chosen for pioneering connected-vehicle infrastructure project

Oakland County, Mich. and the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) have selected P3 Mobility (P3M) of Toronto through an open bid to launch a first-of-its-kind pilot program to test connected vehicle infrastructure and determine whether an innovative business model to monetize that infrastructure is viable. The business model will involve a public-private partnership. They made the announcement in conjunction with the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS America) of America annual meeting in Detroit.

“The pilot program has the potential to revolutionize transportation not just in Oakland County but for the world by seeing whether we can monetize connected mobility infrastructure,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “On an engineering and business level, this is our moon shot.”

In Patterson’s 2014 State of the County speech, he announced the formation of the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force whose job is to tap industry experts to develop a business model for implementing connected vehicle infrastructure throughout the county. P3M will help the task force take the next step on developing and testing a leading-edge business model.

“This is no small task. After all, Oakland County has 5,600 miles of roads and 1,600 intersections with traffic signals,” RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz said. “We in Oakland County, however, are visionary. We don’t view the magnitude of the task as an obstacle but a challenge to which to put our best and brightest minds to solve.”

P3 Mobility will install wireless smart intersection technology at 10-12 intersections and research the user experience to better understand the optimal pricing of various road services and their projected income potential. The exact location, dates of installation, and cost of the project will be determined.

“We are delighted to have been selected for this groundbreaking project in Oakland County,” P3M CEO Erin Milligan. “During the pilot, we will engage Oakland County residents at every level which will include conducting extensive market research to learn what they think about and want for future connected mobility in their community.”

RCOC is no stranger to connected-vehicle technology – including connected-vehicle infrastructure - and has a global reputation for its leadership in the field. It was the first local agency in the United States to introduce a connected-vehicle project in 1992 when it launched its FAST-TRAC adaptive traffic signal system. Since then, it has been a key player in numerous connected-vehicle technology tests and deployments, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan Department of Transportation, all the major auto manufacturers, many tier 1 auto suppliers and many of the leading connected-vehicle companies from around the world.

“The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute published an article a few weeks ago that says implementing connected vehicle technology and infrastructure could prevent up to 8.1 million car crashes and 44,000 deaths,” Patterson said. “Taking another step closer to countywide connected vehicle infrastructure is another step closer to preventing automobile deaths and injuries.”

For more information go to OakGov.com/AdvantageOakland, select “Programs” and click on “Connected Vehicle”; RCOCWeb.org, and P3Mobility.com.

About P3 Mobility

P3M provides a software platform which enables secure and authenticated subscriptions to various smart road services. The "P3" in their name stands for public-private-partnership as they believe that intelligent road infrastructure can be built and funded through such a model. P3M has identified and formed partnerships with leading companies in the Connected Autonomous Vehicle, market research and consulting sectors to bring Oakland County a consortium of world-class expertise. The list of International and North American partner companies which provided support in their RFP response included: Marsh, WSP, Integral Blue, E-Scrypt, Miovision, Savari, Paxgrid CDN, IMG Rebel, Head Research, Giants and Gentlemen, Mobile Comply, Future Help Design, Veterans Life USA, Axcess Internet, Lease Web, Invest Stratford, and Stonebridge. P3M aims to engage the diverse expertise of its partner firms to demonstrate a level of success in the pilot phase which will pave the way for a full-scale roll-out in Oakland County, the State of Michigan and throughout North America.

Foreign investment is focus as economic development teams head to Washington D.C. and Germany

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as they head to the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and Germany in search of new businesses.


Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development, leads a team that is attending SelectUSA, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States beginning Tuesday. While Spanos and her team are in Washington, business development representative Charlene Page will be in Germany at Global Connect Stuttgart 2018 and later in Frankfort, selling auto suppliers and others on the benefits of landing in Oakland County.


“Oakland County has made a name for itself globally as a preferred business destination,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We’ve had direct foreign investment of more than $56 million from our relationship with SelectUSA and we’re working on 25 more leads. These are companies headquartered outside the United States and so far, this year, we’ve attracted nearly $47 million of foreign investment from eight countries, bringing more than 900 jobs. We truly have an international business community.”


Oakland County continues to be among the top destinations in the United States for foreign direct investment. More than $1.2 billion of foreign direct investment has been made in the county in the past four years, including $305 million in 2017. The hope is that more international firms will soon be coming, joining the 1,100 international firms from 39 countries having business locations here.


Spanos has 16 meetings scheduled with automakers; aerospace, medical device and robotics companies who have expressed an interest in meeting with Oakland County. The companies are from France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan and Switzerland.


SelectUSA attracts more than 2,000 attendees from economic development organizations as well as domestic and international firms from 42 countries, service providers, media and senior administration and government officials, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross as well as other cabinet members.

President Barack Obama attended the summit in 2015 and 2016. President Donald Trump may attend this year, Spanos said.


More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oakland County is focusing on automotive, aerospace, information technology, medical devices and industrial machining/robotics. The Summit is described as the highest profile event in the country dedicated to promoting foreign investment in the U.S.


Spanos is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, which offers counsel to the secretary on ways to make the country more attractive for foreign direct investment.


In 2015, Spanos was appointed to the Foreign Direct Investment Frontlines Coalition – an economic development steering committee created by the Washington, D.C.-based Organization for International Investment.


Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About two foreign firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2017.


On June 27, Patterson will be hosting a delegation from the Torino (Italy) Chamber of Commerce.


OU Anthropology professor deploys drone to combat hunger in Africa

Oakland University professor Jon Carroll, Ph.D., is part of a pioneering team of scholars harnessing the latest advances in science and technology to promote sustainable agriculture in Africa. 
 
Carroll recently traveled to Liwonde, Malawi to work on a research project helping farmers boost crop production in the face of mounting threats posed by climate change. The project, called “Precision Agriculture for Smallholder Systems in Africa,” is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, and Kansas State University’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.
 
Carroll worked extensively with the Center for Global Change while in graduate school at Michigan State and was asked to join the project because of his expertise in using unmanned aerial vehicles for various research endeavors. These include archaeological excavations in Israel and a historical survey of Chateau de Balleroy, a 17th-century castle in Normandy, France.
 
“They knew of the work I had been doing in different parts of the world, and they thought that drone capability would be a great asset to the project,” said Carroll, a Registered Professional Archaeologist, FAA-licensed drone pilot and assistant professor in OU’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice.

So, how can a drone be used to counter the ill effects of climate change on crops in Africa and elsewhere? It starts with high-precision aerial photography that drones can provide to help researchers assess crop health.
 
As Carroll explained, “What we are doing is bringing highly detailed aerial imagery together with weather station data to understand what’s going on with these farm fields. This approach is widely available in the U.S., but in Africa they simply don’t have access to these technologies.”
 
The drone captures images with special cameras that allow researchers to quantify how much water and chlorophyll is in the plants. It also allows for 3-D measurements of plants in different parts of the field. Based on this data, researchers can recommend potential solutions to low crop yields.
 
“The answer could be water or fertilizer, or it may be that they are growing the wrong types of crops for that soil,” Carroll said.

Researchers are also working to develop models that can better predict seasonal and environmental patterns, which have been disrupted by climate change.

According to USAID, recurring droughts have ravaged Malawi’s agriculture sector, threatening the livelihoods of Malawi’s smallholder farmers, who constitute 80 percent of the country's population. In addition, 38 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line and 47 percent of children have stunted growth.

“It’s a big problem, potentially disastrous.” Carroll said. “We went down there in February because that’s their growing season, and it didn’t rain once while we were there.”
 
Carroll’s research team worked in conjunction with other research groups, which included government officials and scholars from Malawi and other places. Aside from the influx of visitors, the appearance of a flying object was a source of fascination for children and families in the community.

“This is an area where people are just not used to seeing this type of technology, so any time that I flew the drone, we always had a crowd,” he recalled. “Entire families would come out to see what was going on, and I would make it a point to try to explain to the people what we were doing and answer their questions, either in English or through an interpreter.”
 
Carroll called his time in Malawi “one of the most profound” research experiences of his life.
 
“I’ve worked in different parts of the world, usually on archaeological questions, and most of the people that I study have been gone for hundreds or thousands of years,” he explained. “This was a very different kind of project because I was surrounded by the people who were going to be affected by this research.”
 
Carroll lauded the College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice for their support of his work and for helping put Oakland at the forefront of drone-driven, global research efforts.
 
“This is one capability we have that many other institutions in the region don’t,” he said. “Oakland is leading the way in using drone technology in different parts of the world, and for different purposes. None more urgent than helping those whose survival depends on achieving sustainable food production.”

Lori Blaker, CEO of TTi Global in Bloomfield Township, awarded 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award

Excerpt: 

Norway-based Business for Peace, an international foundation aiming to support, inspire, and recognize global business leaders, has announced Lori Blaker as one of three recipients of the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace award. Blaker is president and CEO of TTi Global, a staffing, recruiting, and consulting firm in Bloomfield Township that operates on five continents and has more than 2,000 employees.

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10 members of 2018 JA Leadership Delegation to Japan announced

Excerpt: 

Laurie Van Pelt of Waterford, Mich., and director of management and budget for Oakland County, will be one of 10 Japanese American leaders from across the U.S. chosen as part of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, nonprofit and cultural sectors. 

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Multinational automotive company invests $22.3M in Oakland County facilities, creates 105 jobs

The North American subsidiary of India-based Mahindra, Mahindra Automotive North America Manufacturing, is expanding in both the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills. The company has invested $22.3 million in facilities in each city, creating a total of 105 jobs.

In Pontiac, Mahindra will lease and transform a former General Motors facility into a warehousing and parts distribution center.

In Auburn Hills, the company has announced that its pre-existing facility will be upgraded to become its North American automotive headquarters. The facility will also include an engineering center. Three of its off-road utility vehicles and prototypes will be manufactured there.

As a result of its investment, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has awarded Mahindra an $850,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. According to MEDC officials, Michigan beat out Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas in competing for the jobs and investment.

"When an international company with a reach like Mahindra chooses Michigan for the third time in four years, that is a statement about our state’s business attractiveness, talented workforce, and leadership in automotive manufacturing," Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, said in a statement. "We’re pleased to support this global powerhouse as it further expands in Michigan and brings high-paying jobs to Michigan residents."

The 105 new jobs created by the development brings its Michigan employment numbers to 250. What's more, officials from Mahindra say the company plans on creating an additional 400 jobs and $600M in investment through 2020.

This is the first new OEM operation in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years, according to a release from Mahindra.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Oakland Early College hosts the Galileo-Saudi Arabia Leadership Project

Saudi Arabian counselors, principals and supervisors spent a full day immersed in Oakland Early College's (OEC) educational processes as part of the Galileo-Saudi Arabia Leadership Project at Oakland University. It is just one of the stops on their research and educational journey to rebuild Saudi Arabia's educational system.

A recognized leader for its partnership between higher education and high school, OEC staff and leadership showcased their non-traditional, hybrid model where students graduate with a dual high school diploma and Associates degree.

The November 1 visit included staff and student presentations, tours of campus and a lunch panel featuring OEC staff and students. The visiting group was eager to know more about the accreditation process, the benefits of a high school on a college campus and why students decided on OEC.

"I moved to the US from Saudi my senior year of high school. I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know what I want to be in 10 years. I don't even know what I'm going to eat for lunch today. I chose OEC because it gave me an opportunity to first have more time to get involved in the American system unlike a normal high school and be able to explore more creative programs like communications," said student, Rahaf Azzam.

When asked about student support, OEC instructor Kyle Heffelbower shared, "The OCC campus is actually really good with their academic supports for early college students. They have high school tutors through National Honor Society and the College provides tutoring resources. The academic skills center can help a lot of students with math and writing webinars. These are all good things that the College provides for college-level classes that our students can access because they are, in fact, college students."

OEC Head of School Jennifer Newman shared, "If I can leave you with one thought concerning early colleges, it is this: Slowly easing your high school students into the world of college, by gradually increasing their college workload over their high school career, will make them stronger students and much more likely to be successful when they enter the university world."

Hosted through Oakland University's Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership, the Saudi group will spend the next six months living and learning in Oakland County as part of the international program. The program is dedicated to improving the learning of all students, elevating the education profession, enhancing the leadership skills of teachers, and fulfilling the vital role of public education in achieving a civil, prosperous and democratic society.

About OCC - With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve.  More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

County Executive's Emerging Sectors business attraction program tops $4 billion total investment

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the Emerging Sectors® business attraction and retention strategy he created in 2004 to diversify the county’s economy has surpassed $4 billion of total investment.

The strategy had four successes in June totaling $367 million of new investment, resulting in more than 1,700 new and retained jobs. When combined with figures since inception in 2004, the program has 450 business successes resulting in total investment of $4.3 billion; 44,562 new jobs and 29,920 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country. Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $915,000 every day for 13 years.

“The Emerging Sectors program has been an incredible success,” Patterson said. “It has changed the face of Oakland County’s economy.”

The milestone was reached 13 years after Patterson introduced the program to diversify Oakland County’s economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targets international companies that show an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as a possible business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, medical technology, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

“I wanted to wean us off our reliance on automotive, for which we paid such a heavy price during the Great Recession,” Patterson said. “I tried to balance my expectation with some realism about our likely success but I had no idea we would move so quickly.”

The most successful sectors have been health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1.1 billion of total investment, and IT/communications (Tech 248), at $801 million.

The companies that put Emerging Sectors over the top in June, including country of origin if not U.S.-based, business sector and location of Oakland County facility, are:
  • Elektrobit: Germany, advanced electronics, Farmington Hills
  • Autoliv Electronics America: Sweden, advanced electronics, Southfield
  • Williams International: aerospace, Pontiac
  • Cynerge Consulting: communications/information technology, Pontiac
Oakland County aggressively seeks international investment, with about 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries having business locations here. The county attracted $371 million of foreign direct investment in 2016 – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of nearly $900 million for the year. Through June, 18 international companies from seven countries announced new investment totaling $162 million and more than 4,700 new and retained jobs.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb accompanied Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on a trade mission to Europe last month in an effort to attract companies to Oakland County. At the same time, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos was in Washington D.C. at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The event attracted company representatives from more than 40 countries interested in establishing operations in the U.S.

Patterson lauded Gibb, Spanos and their team for attracting the new investment.

“Since coming together as a team less than five years ago, Matt and Irene have grown investment in the program by nearly $3 billion – a feat unmatched in the state,” Patterson said.

The success of the Emerging Sectors program has increased as it has matured. In 2008, Patterson hosted a celebration at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to honor the first 70 Emerging Sector companies whose total investment surpassed $1 billion. With the Great Recession at its peak, it took until 2013 for the program to reach $2 billion in total investment. More than 500 representatives from Emerging Sector companies and other guests were invited to a “What Goes into $2 Billion?” celebration on the arena floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The program reached $3 billion in 2015, which was marked by a celebration at Pentastar Aviation in an airport hangar at Oakland County International Airport. All of the celebrations were privately funded by sponsors.

Patterson said he would hold out until the program reaches $5 billion for the next celebration.

“This came on us too quickly,” he said.

Deals signed and relationships built by Michigan business leaders during Europe trade mission

Excerpt

Some of the state’s top economic development minds have returned from a trade mission to Europe with a positive forecast for statewide foreign investment.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Deputy Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb, Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly, Trevor Pawl, Michigan Economic Development Corporation vice president of international trade and Michigan aerospace and manufacturing company executives all visited the International Paris Air Show last week.

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Foreign investment is focus as economic development leaders head to D.C. and Paris

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as teams head to the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and the Paris Air Show this weekend.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb is leaving for Europe Saturday to attend the Paris Air Show, the largest air show in the world, to meet with mobility and aerospace companies in hopes of convincing them to expand into Oakland County. While Gibb is in Europe, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos will attend the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States. It begins Sunday.

“International investment is vital to our continued growth,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Oakland County is a preferred destination for international investment. The international diversity of our business community – nearly 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries – is one few states, let alone countries, can match.”

Gibb is part of a delegation that includes Gov. Rick Snyder and a group from Oakland County-based Automation Alley, one of Michigan’s largest technical and manufacturing business associations. Gibb also plan to meet with auto-related companies in Germany and Italy before returning home June 24.

SelectUSA attracts more than 2,000 attendees from economic development organizations as well as domestic and international firms from 42 countries, service providers, media and senior administration and government officials are expected to attend, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, General Motors chairman, CEO Mary Barra and Mani Iyer, president of Mahindra USA, a global tier one auto supplier with locations in Auburn Hills and Troy, where its North American technical center is based.

Spanos is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, which offers counsel to the secretary on ways to make the country more attractive for foreign direct investment. Spanos met with Ross in May.

In 2015, Spanos was appointed to the Foreign Direct Investment Frontlines Coalition – an economic development steering committee created by the Washington, D.C.-based Organization for International Investment.

President Barack Obama attended the summit in 2015 and 2016. President Donald Trump may attend this year, Spanos said.
More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oakland County is focusing on automotive, aerospace, information technology, medical devices and industrial machining/robotics. Spanos and Mark Adams, a senior business development representative, have 20 meetings scheduled with companies from a host of countries including the Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The county will share the Michigan Economic Development Corp. booth.

Spanos said she has already contacted two of the companies – one each from India and Taiwan – and both have altered their travel plans to include a visit to Oakland County after the summit.

“They are so interested in learning more about Oakland County,” Spanos said. “We’ve had five successes in the past two years from SelectUSA and we’re still working on leads we got from those two years.”

Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About four international firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2016. Foreign direct investment in the county in 2016 (investment from a company headquartered outside the U.S.) increased for the third consecutive year; totaling $371 million – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of more than $898 million.

Through the first five months of 2017, 16 international companies from six countries either located or expanded in Oakland County, investing about $140 million and creating or retaining more than 3,900 jobs, Spanos said. The countries of origin are China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Switzerland.
 

International companies boost Oakland County economy for third straight year

More than $1 million a day of new international investment fueled Oakland County businesses in 2016 as foreign direct investment increased for the third consecutive year, totaling $371 million, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Wednesday.

Foreign direct investment – investment from a company that is headquartered outside the United States – accounted for 46 percent of the county’s total private business investment of $810 million in 2016. The county has realized foreign investment in the past three years of $899 million. Coupled with 2014-15 totals of $1.5 billion for overall business expansion, attraction and retention investment, the county has had $2.3 billion of new development in three years – a hefty figure that even surprised Patterson.

“I knew it was going to be good; it’s well beyond good,” Patterson said. “Look at the countries where the investment originated. It’s encouraging to see 11 successes from China. We’re finally getting into that lucrative market.”

The countries of origin for the 2016 international business successes include 14 from Germany; 11 from China; five from Japan; two each from Canada, France, Italy and Spain; and one each from Australia, India, Ireland, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The new investment created nearly 6,400 new and retained jobs. Oakland County has more than 1,050 global firms from 39 countries.

Significant international investment in 2016 came from Ireland-based Par Sterile Products; Germany-based auto suppliers BorgWarner and Jenoptik Automotive North America; Daifuku Webb Holding Co. of Japan; Switzerland-based Autoneum North American; TREMEC of Mexico and Martinrea International Inc. of Canada. The total investment from those companies was $222 million, resulting in 2,683 new and retained jobs.

“This is a sector of our economy that doesn’t get a lot of attention but this is a significant source of jobs and tax revenue,” Patterson said. “Oakland County gets more investment than many states and rest assured we’re going to press forward with this program.”

The $810 million in 2016 is investment in which the county’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs played a role in landing. Patterson estimated the actual economic impact is millions of dollars more because of other sizeable investment in which the county did not play a role. 

Business development trips which tout the advantages of locating in Oakland County are planned to Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland in 2017. The county will send a delegation to Washington D.C. in June for the Select USA Summit to meet with international companies interested in expanding into the United States. The county attended the 2015 Select USA Summit and attracted two international companies to Oakland County as a result and is working on three additional leads from 2016, said Irene Spanos, economic development director for the county.

The centerpiece of the county’s business attraction effort is the Emerging Sectors® business development strategy, which was created in 2004 to diversify Oakland County’s economy – an economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targets international companies that are interested in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that view Oakland County as the right business location.

Targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The county’s Business Development Team works closely with Emerging Sector companies, providing assistance in such areas as site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. Team activity focuses on Emerging Sectors companies as well as more traditional businesses such as automotive. Of the 47 international successes in 2016, 24 were either new to Oakland County or have expanded within the county. 

Since inception, Emerging Sectors has had 424 business successes resulting in total investment of about $3.8 billion; 40,558 new jobs and 25, 518 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country. 

The most successful sectors in total investment are health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1.1 billion, IT/communications (Tech 248), at $668 million; alternative energy about $631 million and advanced electronics at $625 million.
 

Walled Lake high marching band headed to London in '18

Excerpt

Marching band members at Walled Lake Northern High School were “high-stepping” Tuesday after receiving an invitation to perform at London’s New Year’s Day Parade in January 2018.

A delegation of British parade officials visited the 1,685-student school to personally extend the prestigious invitation, one of only 16 high school marching bands asked to take part in the 31/2 hour event. This year, more than 640,000 people lined the 21/2-mile parade route. About 8,000 people from 20 counties participate in the parade, which is broadcast to millions globally.

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Medical Main Street in United Kingdom and Ireland on trade mission

A business development team from Oakland County’s Medical Main Street is spending the week in the United Kingdom and Ireland selling medical device and life science companies on the benefits of expanding their operations into Oakland County.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb and business development representative John Wolf-Meyer are meeting with nine Ireland-based companies on Thursday and Friday, making the business case for locating in Oakland County. Gibb and Wolf-Meyer are also accompanying state officials, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, in business attraction meetings with automotive and aerospace companies during the week.

“Medical Main Street has matured to the point that it’s opening doors around the globe,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We have a waiting list of companies wanting to meet with us in Ireland. It’s an international recognition of the approach we’ve taken to assisting companies who want to expand into Oakland County. This proves the strength of Medical Main Street.”

Ireland is fertile ground for the medical device and diagnostic manufacturing industry as 20 of the world’s top 30 medical technology companies have significant operations in Ireland, according to the state of Michigan. The sector is the second largest exporter of medical devices in Europe and accounts for eight percent of the total, with most of the manufactured products destined for the United States and other foreign markets. The industry employs 25,000 people.

More than 100 companies are involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a diverse range of products. Thirty-three percent of the world’s contact lenses and 50 percent of the ventilators worldwide are manufactured in Ireland and 30 million people rely on injectable devices made there, according to state statistics.

Launched in 2008, Medical Main Street is branding the region as a global center of innovation in health care and the life sciences. It has helped 53 companies expand or locate in Oakland County, generating investment of more than $1 billion while creating or retaining more than 8,500 jobs.

Medical Main Street is also taking on an increasing international flavor. In May, Patterson signed a “Friendship City” relationship with the People’s Republic of China and its life science program, China Medical City, to explore opportunities for promoting and commercializing new products and technologies in life science, business, education, energy and the environment.

The county itself has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. More than 1,050 foreign-owned companies from 39 countries have business locations in the county. Foreign Direct Investment in the county (investment from a company headquartered outside the U.S.) for 2015 totaled about $357 million – more than double the $171 million from 2014 – and accounted for about 43 percent of the county’s total private business investment of nearly $835 million, said Economic Development & Community Affairs Director Irene Spanos, .

Through the first five months of 2016, 23 international companies from 11 countries either located or expanded in Oakland County, investing more than $144 million and creating over 1,000 jobs, Spanos said. The countries are Germany (seven companies), Japan (4), China (3), Italy (2) and one company each from Australia, India, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, and Switzerland.

In October, a team from Medical Main Street will be attending the Innovation Summit at the Cleveland Clinic, which focuses on the next wave of growth in the industry and the best practices for commercialization, Spanos said.
 

FACC-Michigan to host his Excellency, Gerard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

Excerpt:
 
The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter (FACC Michigan), a not-for-profit business organization committed to the improvement of economic, commercial and financial relations between France and the United States and offering a variety of business, educational and social opportunities to its members, is pleased to host his Excellency, Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States at a networking reception on Thursday, April 28 in Auburn Hills. Mr. Araud will be in Auburn Hills to visit France-based automotive suppliers Faurecia and Valeo. The networking reception is open to both members and non-members. 

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