Welcome to the new Arsenal of Innovation Newsletter brought to you by the Michigan Defense Center, an agency of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The state that drives America has now become increasingly synonymous with defending it as well. The defense industry has been important to Michigan’s economic recovery but even more critical to the readiness of our nation’s troops. We are proud to say that Michigan is truly at the front-line of supporting America’s most valued asset, the “Warfighter”.

Over 1600 companies located in seventy-one of our eighty-three Michigan counties are contractors with the Department of Defense (DoD), earning nearly $5 billion in contracts. Click here to see a snap shot of the Michigan Defense Industry.

So, why are Michigan defense contractors successful? Why are more and more defense contractors moving operations to Michigan?

  1.  Top Talent.  Michigan has more electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineers per capita than any other state in the nation. Michigan’s engineers-to-population ratio is more than double the U.S. average and 3rd in the country in terms of skilled trades workers. If you want to design, engineer or develop a new technology…Michigan is the place.
  2. Critical DoD assets.  The Detroit Arsenal is home to the Army Contracting Command, TACOM-The Center of Excellence for the U.S. Army’s manned and unmanned vehicles and TARDEC-The Army’s premier science and technology center, which also has one-of-a-kind specialized testing facilities.  Camp Grayling is an important testing facility and the country’s largest training installation, key to the readiness and success of our troops.
  3. R&D Leadership.  We know how to make things work.  Michigan is home to more than 370 vehicle-related R&D technical centers.  From fuel cells to innovative materials research, 8 major Michigan Universities are engaged in research and development important to the U.S. military. In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit is so strong in Michigan, the U.S. Patent Office opened its first office outside of Washington D.C., right here in Detroit.
  4. Manufacturing Dominance.  We know how to make things.  We are home to over 14,000 manufacturing facilities. Michigan’s workforce is known globally for their skill, expertise and strong work ethic which, along with advanced manufacturing prowess, provide lower costs of doing business and higher return on investment!
  5. Key Partnerships. Michigan has the most robust Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) network in the country.  11 PTAC regions and over 40 PTAC counselors offer important assistance and support to companies (both small and large) diversifying their portfolios and pursuing DoD work.  Michigan’s automotive strength offers unique partnership and commercialization possibilities. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Engineering society of Detroit (ESD) are integral partners with the Michigan Defense Community.

Building on this base of strength, the Michigan Defense Center is pushing forward in the spirit of innovation and will be introducing new economic gardening tools within the next 90 days to support and grow Michigan companies in the defense sector.

  • The Bid Targeting System.  This tool will provide business intelligence support to help companies better assess which contracting opportunities to pursue.
  • Bid Writing support.  The Michigan Defense Center will be pre-qualifying bid writing companies to provide services.  MDC will provide matching bid writing funds and will be working toward providing a bid template library to assist companies pursuing federal contracts.

As the Executive Director of the Michigan Defense Center I can tell you that our team is focused on providing top notch support and proudly growing a Michigan industry that continues to play a key role in supporting the U.S. “Warfighter”.  We look forward to serving you.

Thank you!

Sean L. Carlson
Executive Director – Michigan Defense Center
Michigan Economic Development Corporation