Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Join the ranks of Michigan legislators, school board members, mayors, city council members, county commissioners and leaders at every level who've taken the steps to higher office through the Michigan Political Leadership Program.
Applications are now available for Michigan State University's Michigan Political Leadership Program. The fellowship program is considered one of the nation's leading training grounds for rising policy and political leaders. It is one of only a handful of multi-partisan training programs in the nation.
"MPLP Fellows are asked to form new relationships, learn new concepts and explore effective leadership in new ways," said Douglas B. Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research where MPLP makes its home at Michigan State University.
MPLP's first class graduated in 1992. Since then, more than 500 men and women of various political views, professions and regions of the state have earned an MPLP certificate. Each MPLP class invites 24 Fellows – 12 men and 12 women.
The fellowships are competitive, requiring written application, essay, references and personal interview.
By the most recent count, 45 percent of MPLP's graduates have been elected or appointed to elective or appointed positions at local, regional or statewide levels.
The program of workshops, seminars, panel discussions, hands-on activities and guided tours takes place over 10 weekends. Fellows are asked to commit to the intensive schedule that includes presentations from some of the state's highest political officers and most experienced policy analysts.
MPLP Fellowships, each valued at approximately $12,000, are tuition-free. An administrative fee of $1,000 is requested.
Applications are due Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 for the MPLP Class of 2014. They are available online at http://bit.ly/1bJRWe4. Applications received after that time will be considered for the following year's program.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:18
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) has approved a new, two-year deal with Farmingdale, NY-based Empire Aviation Services to relocate its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation to Hangar Bldg. 425 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).
"Securing an FAA-certified MRO operation at Detroit Metro Airport has been one of the Authority's strategic development initiatives because of the skilled, technical jobs such a facility would bring to our region," said WCAA CEO Tom Naughton. "We look forward to welcoming Empire Aviation to its new home at DTW and to the opportunities having them as part of our airport community will generate."
This new lease agreement provides Empire with its own facility at DTW to which it recently transferred its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 MRO Certificate – enabling Empire to expand its MRO operation at DTW to serve airline customers.
"The Airport Authority's development team has worked tirelessly to earn our business, and thanks in large part to their efforts, we look forward to calling Michigan home," said Michael Romano from Empire Aviation Services. "With this new lease agreement in place, we have just received FAA's approval to move our MRO Certificate from New York to our new DTW facility. We hope to begin our work at Hangar Bldg. 425 in the next 30 days."
As a result of the new lease Empire Aviation will immediately add fifty new, highly-skilled technology jobs to DTW at Hangar 425. Empire expects to end the year with as many as 90 employees and estimates that they will end the two-year lease term with 150 employees.
Empire had considered moving its FAA Certificate to Maine, Indiana, California or maintaining it in New York before selecting Michigan as the best location to invest in the company's future growth.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 09:51
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Courtesy Urban Design Associates
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of the City of Detroit has approved the preliminary terms of a deal with McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) to build a 300-unit residential and retail development along Atwater St. at the Dequindre Trail.
MBS plans to spend $55 million building Rivertown, Phase One as a series of low-rise apartment structures along both Atwater and Franklin Sts. between the Dequindre Trail Greenway and Riopelle St. The site is adjacent to the State of Michigan's Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center, currently under construction at Atwater St. and the Dequindre Trail.
Phase Two of the plan would build an additional 200 housing units on the vacant property extending along Atwater St. west of Riopelle St. The EDC owns most of the property involved and would transfer it to the developer if it can meet the other terms of the agreement. It is also offering a loan to help the developer with implementation costs.
George W. Jackson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which managed negotiations on behalf of the EDC, said, "It is time to reignite the redevelopment of the East Riverfront, and we're excited that a quality developer has recognized the opportunities here. McCormack Baron Salazar is a firm with a solid reputation, and we are confident that it will lead others to the prime real estate we have along the Detroit River."
Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of MBS, said, "I'm a Detroit native, and it's good to be home again to participate in the revitalization of a great city. We have a project that takes advantage of one of its most valuable assets, the Detroit River, as well as all the investments in the state park and RiverWalk that are literally a few steps from our door." The EDC assembled the property, demolished structures, and has made $8 million in road and other infrastructure improvements around the property.
Wayne County has supported the project with assistance preparing the site for redevelopment. "This project is proof that collaboratively pooling our resources brings in positive outcomes for the people of Detroit and Wayne County as a whole," said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. "We're glad to have contributed $200,000 to complete the environmental report that helped developers determine the viability of the EDC's land on the east riverfront."
The EDC vote today allows MBS to begin due diligence and an application for financing from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD participation will allow a portion of the apartments to be available for families meeting HUD income thresholds. Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group is also providing equity capital for the project, Invest Detroit is providing a subordinated loan, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation is also supporting the project.
Jackson said, "Make no mistake, we have created a new culture of collaboration in Detroit. When an economic development opportunity arises we know we can count on strong participation from private, public and philanthropic organizations. That's a transformation as important as any other."
The EDC owns a number of prime redevelopment properties in the East Riverfront District, and it manages the master plan for the district, which guides the redevelopment and acquisition of property for residential, commercial, and related uses, plus park, and recreational opportunities.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 10:30
Category: Business - Original Written by Jackie Berg
Fresh thinking. That’s what is in the offing as Meijer prepares to open its first store in Detroit this week. The Michigan Chronicle got an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the retailer in a series of interviews with its Co-CEO Mark Murray and members of his management team to learn more about this big-hearted company with high hopes for future investment in the city of Detroit.
Murray hopes Detroit residents will embrace Meijer’s commitment to offer the best products, prices and people in the market today.
The simple premise has big implications in Detroit.
Finding quality job candidates to fill the 500 available job openings at its Detroit store location was not a problem, according to Murray, a recognized champion of diversity credited for advancing diversity efforts at on the campus of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) during his tenure as its president.
The majority of employees at Meijer’s newest store have deep roots in the community in which they will serve, and bright hopes for advancement in the high-growth company. That’s important to Murray.
Understanding that diverse candidates with strong retail backgrounds are in high demand here in Michigan and as well as across the U.S., Murray hopes that employees at Meijer’s Detroit store and other locations are able to use their early job experience as a springboard to higher level posts within the Meijer organization.
“We’re growing rapidly,” said Murray, who cites that exponential advancement opportunities exist for candidates who qualify for Meijer’s Retail Leadership Development program.
“People drive our company’s growth and are an integral part of our success story,” Murray said. “That’s why Detroit Store Director Adrian Lewis, one of the best of our best, will be at the helm of our newest location.”
Lewis, the former director of retail services of Meijer’s southern region with 25 years experience in retail and big box locations, trained and is now responsible for the growth and development of the 500 employees at its Detroit location.
The two hope that the Detroit employees who start with Meijer stay with Meijer.
“Although we never like to lose good people, we are cognizant that our ability to mentor and train employees leads to higher-level opportunities both within and outside of our organization and are proud of our role in helping motivate and train future leaders regardless their career path,” Murray said.
Meijer is a big believer in buying local. The Michigan-based business is a major supporter of Michigan State University’s Michigan Product Center, which helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in agriculture, natural resources and bioeconomy.
The majority of Meijer’s Michigan-made products are purchased from the center, as well as from farmers and suppliers located throughout the state. One exciting product available at the Detroit store is the State Fair Pale Ale, a distinctive craft beer produced by Detroit’s own Atwater Brewery to honor the Michigan State Fair.
Fresh produce, which is often locally grown and produced, is a leading contributor to Meijer’s high customer loyalty rates. And Detroit shoppers will find plenty of it at Meijer’s newest location.
“When shoppers step inside the store, the first thing that they will see is our fresh produce section filled with Michigan-grown products and what is now the largest array of produce ever offered at any Meijer location,” said Murray, who notes that the center store location is a first for Meijer, which customarily features side floor produce sections.
Shoppers will also discover that Meijer has paid close attention to local preferences throughout its store, as evidenced by its expanded health and beauty section and product selection.
“We pay attention to unique local preferences and make every attempt to deliver the type of products our customers want,” said Murray, who emphasized that Meijer is constantly seeking to purchase its products from locally owned vendors who can service its customers need.
Meijer is committed to hunger relief and supports both food banks and food pantries throughout the Midwest through its food rescue and Simply Give programs.
As a part of its grand opening of the Meijer store on West Eight Mile Road in Detroit, Meijer will host a special one-day offer for the start of its fall Simply Give campaign, according to a company spokesperson. On July 28 only, Meijer will triple match all Simply Give donations made at the West Eight Mile Road Meijer store, with all donations benefitting the Storehouse of Hope Food Pantry.
The premise of Meijer’s program is simple: to replenish the shelves of nearly 200 food pantries in the retailer’s five-state region by encouraging customers to purchase $10 Meijer Food Pantry Donation cards, which are converted into Meijer gift cards given to local food pantries.
“That means that for every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will give $30 to the program, resulting in a donation of $40 that day,” said Murray.
To date, the program has generated nearly $6 million, or an estimated 36 million meals for Meijer partner food pantries across the Midwest since the program began in November 2008.
Health and well-being are central to Meijer’s core values and is evidenced by senior level commitment to free programs and services that help maintain community wellness.
“So much of what we do is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for our shoppers – whether it’s helping them to live better or to feel better,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO of Meijer. “Our Healthy Living and Wellness programs include everything from diabetes screenings and in-store food demos to prescription drug programs, immunizations and meal planning. And represent one more way Meijer can help our customers build healthier lifestyles while saving them money.”
Free in-store services include access to clinical-services pharmacists, who are also certified diabetes specialists. A dedicated consultation room will be available for customers who wish to meet with specialists committed to helping them avoid or help manage diabetes. The complimentary consultation service does not require an appointment, according to Frank Guglielmi, spokesman for the Grand Rapids-based company. Like every Meijer pharmacy, the Detroit location also will fill prescriptions for certain prescribed medications at no cost, including certain prescribed antibiotics, prenatal vitamins, metformin and atorvastatin calcium, the generic substitute for Lipitor.
The nearly question-free program does not require the release of personal information nor any additional purchase.
“We don’t know how many people would not have gotten needed medication and left a pressing health condition unaddressed without this program,” said Murray. “We just know that it has helped.”
Since its inception in 2006, the Meijer free prescription program has filled more than 14 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers nearly $200 million.
The 203-store chain is big on partnerships, as evidenced by the recent addition of Secretary of State (SOS) service hubs in two Meijer stores in Lincoln Park and Grand Rapids. The hubs are garnering rave reviews from customers who appreciate the ease of access, according to Murray.
A Detroit police hub, where officers can stop in to do reports, shares the same building as the Meijer convenience store and gas station in the development that is already open.
Meijer has also worked with Huntington Bank to bring in store service branches with extended hours and services to its Michigan stores.
Meijer’s $20 million investment in the Gateway Marketplace development near the old State Fairgrounds speaks to the company’s commitment to Detroit.
“It doesn’t just represent a grocery store but a major retail development,” Meijer President J.K. Symancyk said in a company statement.
“We are personally committed to the success of this location and the transformation of Detroit and hope that with this opening, our first urban store in Detroit, we will become a part of Detroit’s renewal and return to prosperity,” Murray said.
“I am confident that we will see Detroit return to a population of one million or more and, as important, that Detroiters are going to witness the expanded commitment of companies like Meijer, who will be visibly supporting continued investment in this market, stemming the tide of out-migration and attracting more people to this great city.”
“We absolutely firmly believe in Detroit,” he concluded on the eve of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which is expected to draw Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan).
Editor’s Note: The Detroit Meijer store, at Eight Mile and Woodward Avenue, will officially open on Thursday, July 25. Other retailers going into the 350,000-square-foot development include Marshalls, Petco, K&G Fashion Superstore, Dots, McDonald’s and a PNC Bank.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:22
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins
The City of Detroit's filing of Chapter 9 bankruptcy may be a blessing in disguise for Detroit's business community, according to Michigan Business and Professional Association President and CEO Jennifer Kluge.
"The business community long ago committed to re-developing the City of Detroit," said Kluge. "With the City's path forward is no longer in doubt; now public officials must follow the direction of the court and finally address long-simmering financial issues which means that private sector leaders can proceed with their plans knowing that the City's financial issues are being addressed," she continued.
Kluge pointed to a number of signs that prove businesses both large and small are committed to keeping Detroit alive:
Corporate Real Estate magazine named Wayne County Economic Development as one of the nation's top-performing economic development organizations citing 10,582 new jobs and $2.2 billion in capital investment in Detroit in 2012.
Detroit was chosen No. 5 on the 2012 list of fastest growing tech cities according to tech job site Dice.com. It was No. 1 on the same list in 2011.
Major food retailers, Meijer and Whole Foods, are building new stores within Detroit's boundaries—the first for any major retailer in many years.
State officials are moving forward with the new International Trade Crossing across the Detroit River and the M-1 Rail Streetcar project.
Local business leader Dan Gilbert has purchased 22 properties over the last three years through his Rock Ventures entity.
The renovation of historical business buildings, apartments and hotels in Downtown and Mid-town seems to be picking up steam.
"These developments are continuing because Detroit has a lot of spunk on top of its reasonably priced talent and real estate," Kluge declared. "From our work with thousands of businesses across the state, we know that we have great talent and an enduring spirit of entrepreneurship in the private sector that will help to ensure Detroit's future."
Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013 10:24
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