macombLast April, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development was awarded a grant by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to launch a statewide strategy to support existing defense companies and to attract new defense business to the state.

“The first priority of the MEDC Michigan Defense Center is to retain and grow jobs in the defense industry,” said MEDC Director Sean Carlson. “Macomb County is an important regional partner and we look forward to furthering our relationship through this project.”

The defense industry is important to Michigan’s economy. In the last decade, more than 1,600 companies throughout the state have fulfilled U.S. Department of Defense contracts valued at more than $4.6 billion. These contractors are found in 71 of our state’s 83 counties and employ some 45,000 people.

“Macomb County companies receive nearly two-thirds of all of Michigan’s defense work,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “It makes sense for us to use our assets to attract new investment to the state.”

The $231,000 grant is part of the MEDC Collaborative Development Council’s Regional Projects program. The department will work closely with the Michigan Defense Center to develop a strategy for attracting key global defense and homeland security companies to the state. The different activities supported by the grant are:

  • Developing a 60-second video aligned with the Pure Michigan campaign that showcases the state’s defense and homeland security industry as a tool for attracting new investment and jobs.
  • Building a new website to highlight the strength of Michigan’s defense industry.
  • Targeting and coordinating business attraction efforts through participation in selected trade shows.
  • Facilitating activities centered on creating a robotics cluster.
  • Coordinating two statewide “Michigan Values Veterans” events that will educate, inspire and motivate employers to strengthen or establish veteran-dedicated hiring programs.

Part of the grant included developing a new website, publishing a brochure and creating a video.  To find the best-qualified vendor, an RFP was created and published on the Michigan Inter-governmental Trade Network.  There were 15 responses from marketing agencies across the state.  Each was reviewed and scored by a panel of State and County officials.

After much consideration, including one-on-one interviews with the top five candidates, Skidmore Studio of Detroit was selected.  For several weeks they worked in close collaboration with Macomb County, the Michigan Defense Center (MDC) and the MDC’s Marketing and Communications Task Force, which is made up of community partners involved in the defense industry.  Collectively, these Stakeholders provided necessary data, content and photographs that help brand the message that Michigan is the Arsenal of Innovation.  The task was completed in time for a targeted launch at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Exhibition and Conference in Washington D.C., where The Michigan Defense Center, Macomb County, Automation Alley and 12 companies from Michigan shared an Exhibition space.

See the newly created materials: