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Macomb Business Insider - April 2024

Message from Vicky Rowinski

blooming flower

My favorite telltale sign of spring is when the trees begin to bud.

This is very symbiotic to planning and economic development as it officially kicks off our busy season. 

If you drive all throughout Macomb County, you will see many sites preparing for construction. Whether it is a demo, a rehab, or an expansion, we call this the season of “shovels in the ground.” 

This is the first visual indicator that a project has commenced, and if you follow our success stories, you will find it takes many months and even years to cultivate these projects before anything comes to fruition. 

Similar to planting a seed that grows into a strong, healthy tree, we find ourselves in the long game of relationship building. Our work goes far beyond just developing sites. It includes providing our businesses and communities with the tools and support they can trust to grow and flourish. 

Ensuring we have the right people and talent on our team is also important to our mission. May 6-10 marks “Economic Development Week” across the globe, and it’s a great time to acknowledge and recognize the team and our partners, who have a passion for making a difference in Macomb.  

With this, we are also very happy to announce the promotion of Lauri Morley in her new role leading our marketing and communications team. I remember when Lauri started her job in 2017, and her first big project was planning our bicentennial celebration. She continues to bring fresh and creative ideas on how we position Macomb County as the best place to live, work, play and grow a business and we are excited to see her in this new leadership capacity.

Lastly, the summer months will be fast approaching and our calendar is filling up with many great events and workshops happening throughout the region. I would be remiss if I did not mention our signature event, the 12th Annual Macomb Business Awards, is taking place on May 9th. We hope to see you there as we celebrate some of Macomb County’s finest businesses and hidden gems!

We thank you for taking the time to read about our updates and please feel free to reach out if we can assist you. If you want to stay on top of our latest news, make sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Vicky Rowinski
Director – Macomb County Planning and Economic Development




Success Stories

Fairway Packing is moving to Macomb County

Fairway packing logo

Fairway Packing, a long-respected meat packing company based in Detroit, is building a new, state-of-the-art food processing center and headquarters in Macomb County.

Founded in 1956, Fairway Packing is constructing a 30,000 square foot facility in Fraser and moving their operations to Macomb County. The company is investing more than $9 million in real and personal property and will create 100 new jobs while retaining its current 45 employees. 

The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development was instrumental in helping Fairway Packing to make the transition. MCPED helped to obtain engineering permits from Macomb County Department of Public Works. With MCPED’s help, Fairway received a 12-year tax abatement from the city of Fraser. MCPED assisted in completing the application requesting an Industrial facilities tax exemption, and it accompanied Fairway to a Fraser City Council meeting to make the IFT request. 

MCPED also introduced Fairway to Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! and Macomb Community College to help them with completing and training their workforce.

Is your company considering a move or expansion into Macomb County? If so, contact our economic development specialists at 586-469-5285 or

Economic Development

Michigan Defense Exposition (MDEX) coming to Warren in April


The 15th annual Michigan Defense Exposition, or MDEX, is coming to the Macomb Community College Expo Center in Warren on April 23-25. The event has been expanded from two to three action-packed days!

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) plays host to MDEX in what is considered a premier Department of Defense buyer/supplier event. The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is a partner in the event. 

The event brings together representatives from TACOM (U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command), Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support, Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, Army Contracting Command-Detroit Arsenal, Ground Vehicle Systems Center, Next Generation Combat Vehicle-Cross Functional Team and other organizations, along with key players in the defense industry.

Top five reasons to attend MDEX

Hali Lenney, a business developer with MCPED, provided her top five reasons to attend MDEX.

  1. Connect with someone who needs your product or service.
  2. Connect with someone whose product or service you need.
  3. Get updated on the latest industry plans and developments.
  4. Hear updates from everyone at the Detroit Arsenal – GVSC (Ground Systems Vehicle Center); PEO GCS (Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems); PEO CS&CSS (Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support); and NGCV CFT (Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team).
  5. Experience one of the biggest Defense expositions in the Midwest.

Come and visit members of our MCPED economic development team at booth C20 and learn how we can help your business thrive in Macomb County. Defense companies that stop by will receive a small gift, while supplies last.

Attendance at MDEX is free, but registration is required. Registration closes Saturday, April 20 at 5 p.m.

Artificial intelligence the subject of Macomb Next I4.0 workshop

AI workshop logo

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has integrated itself into every industry and aspect of our lives.

That is why Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) and its partners have joined with ThinkDigits, an AI solutions provider, to show how AI technology can be utilized to assist in growing a business, dealing with capacity constraints, supply chain disruptions and a lack of labor.

“Advancements in AI,” the latest Industry 4.0 workshop powered by Macomb Next, will take place May 22 at Velocity in Sterling Heights from 8-10 a.m.

Why should you attend?

Discover the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) firsthand – a force revolutionizing every sector of our world. ThinkDigits will unveil cutting-edge strategies for leveraging AI in overcoming business challenges. Learn how AI can propel your growth, tackle capacity constraints, navigate supply chain disruptions, and address labor shortages. Don't miss this opportunity to harness the transformative potential of AI for your business success.

What to expect

  • ThinkDigits CEO Shyam Kariat (Prashant) will discuss how AI algorithms interpret data to make predictions and how you can be prepared for future patterns and trends.
  • Listen to a panel discussion from our college partners about how they are preparing the next generation of workforce for careers that use AI. The panelists include:
    • Louisa Krause, the director of Instructional Innovation and Distance Education at Macomb Community College
    • Ratna Babu Chinnam, professor and chair of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Wayne State University.
    • George Pappas, assistant professor and director, MSAI graduate program at Lawrence Technological University.
  • Meet with vendors and experts to get your questions answered.

Admission is free, but registration is required.

Community Corner

MCPED helps restore brownfield in Roseville

With the help of EPA grant funding, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) has helped restore a contaminated brownfield property in Roseville.

The property, located on the southeast corner of 12 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway, is now the site of Clearwave Car Wash, one of seven Clearwave locations in Michigan and Illinois.

Plans to clean up the site began in early 2021, when a developer interested in restoring the property approached Macomb County regarding the conducting of an environmental assessment. The property served as the location of various gasoline service stations as far back as the 1950s and had also been a tire repair shop and a used car/car service facility.

Macomb County planners assisted the developers in two phases of environmental assessments on the property. The county contributed $12,000 to the $52,000 assessment costs, about a 20/80 match with the developer, with funds coming from a $300,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant the county received in 2020.

The assessments found high levels of asbestos, PAH’s (a class of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline), petroleum/petroleum products, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and lesser levels of lead, PCBs (carcinogenic chlorinated hydrocarbons) and metals. The contaminants had polluted building materials, groundwater and the soil.

Clean up of the 1.57-acre property began in August 2022 and was completed in June 2023 as construction of the car wash was ongoing.

Construction of the Clearwave Car Wash was completed in 2023. The resulting business added 10 jobs to the community.

With the help of MCPED’s economic developers, the property also received a five-year tax abatement for the rehabilitation of commercial property from the city of Roseville.

Are you looking for assistance cleaning up a brownfield site? Please contact MCPED at, or call 586-469-5285.

Contact Planning and Economic Development


Talking Talent

Job shadowing beneficial for business and students

Jennifer Weot

Calling all cybersecurity experts!

Most students starting college this fall, will change their major at least once before they graduate. 

Approximately 36% will drop out because they don’t know what they want to do. 

What about you? How did you end up in cybersecurity? Did you know you wanted to go into this field when you applied to college? Were you exposed to the field while you were still in high school? My guess is no. So, please keep reading.

The Academies of Romeo and the Academies of Center Line are changing the way they prepare students for life after high school. These Ford NGL districts offer “meaningful” career exploration experiences to each and every student in every high school grade. They need your help in order to make this happen. If you are interested, please enroll in our Fueling the Talent Pipeline program. You could make a huge difference in a student’s life and help light a fire under a future employee!

In 11th grade, each student is offered an opportunity to “shadow” a professional in the career field they are considering. Both districts are having a difficult time finding opportunities for their cybersecurity students because many professionals now work from home. Sending students to someone’s home for 4-6 hours is not an option. Job shadowing opportunities are needed for this school year – now and through the end of May.

If you work in cybersecurity or if you know someone who does, please reach out to me at or by calling 586-524-2987. By providing a few hours to mentor a pair of students, not only can you make an impact on their future but you may also help fuel your future talent pipeline. I would love to help.

Department Happenings

Tickets on sale now for the Macomb Business Awards

MBA Tickets on sale

Join us for the 12th annual Macomb Business Awards on Thursday, May 9 at Andiamo in Warren starting at 8 a.m.

The MBAs are a great way to network with more than 400 of your favorite businesses or organizations leaders.

This event recognizes organizations that are striving to build their workforce, expand market share, be good neighbors, embrace diversity or start a business. This year the program will honor winners in seven categories.

Tickets are now on sale for $35, and registration is required. Please join us for this  great networking opportunity with other Macomb County leaders.  We will see you at the Macomb Business Awards on May 9!

Morley promoted to program director for marketing and communications

Lauri Morley Headshot

Join us in congratulating Lauri Morley on her promotion to program director for marketing and communications with Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.

Lauri started with the department seven years ago as a senior communications specialist. Throughout her tenure, she has helped lead initiatives like the county's promotion of the 2020 Census, the distribution of millions of federal CARES Act funds for small businesses, the county's Bicentennial Celebration, and the redesign and rebuild of the entire county website. As many of you know, Lauri takes great care to build out measurable goals and plans, manage complex budgets and guide a wide variety of teams and partners to achieve positive outcomes. We're thrilled to have her in this new role and excited for what's next.

Current Opportunities

Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund challenge grants available

A pool of $337 million in state monies has been made available to companies involved in battery and advanced manufacturing projects through the Make It in Michigan Competitive Fund challenge.

The money is intended to provide enabling funds as match grants to unlock federally backed investments.

Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund matching grants are available to
projects that have won federal funding and require a non-federal match in order to get the project across the finish line. Projects can receive up to 50% of the required match. The grant match may exceed 50% if the project qualifies for President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

Federal opportunities supported through this challenge include:

  • Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing Grants, DE-FOA-0003099 (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) 
  • Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grants, DE-FOA-0003106 (Inflation Reduction Act) 
  • Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit, Section 45X (Inflation Reduction Act) 
  • Advanced Manufacturing Investment Credit, Section 48D (CHIPS Act)

Projects for the challenge will be selected based on their ability to bring federal dollars home to Michigan, as well as: 

  • Impact on creating good jobs, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative 
  • Impact in advancing the Justice40 goal of ensuring that 40% of the overall benefits of federal climate-related investments flow to disadvantaged communities 
  • Impact on advancing economic competitiveness in a key strategic sector

Phase one of the challenge is over, but phase two will remain open through May 1.

Is your company in position to apply for this funding? Contact Macomb County economic development specialists at 586-469-5285 or email

PACE program expands to help more commercial property owners

Two bills recently signed into law are making Michigan’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program more accessible to Michigan’s business owners.

PACE is a long-term financing tool for commercial property owners to pay for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy upgrades. Property owners receive 100% pre-funding for energy saving upgrades on their facilities and pay the PACE loan back through a special assessment on their property taxes. Virtually any energy efficiency, water efficiency, or renewable energy project qualifies for the program.

The updated program will give property owners more leeway to decide the amount of protection they need. For retrofits or rehab projects, the bill provides the option to waive the energy savings guarantee and for new construction, the energy savings guarantee is no longer required. Previously, for projects that would cost more than $250,000, the contractor was required to guarantee that the total savings generated from the PACE project would be greater than the investment.

It will also be required that new construction projects be built above Michigan’s energy code.

Secondly, the PACE program will be expanded to allow for the financing of environmental hazard projects, including:

  • Mitigation of lead, heavy metal, or PFAS contamination in potable water systems.
  • Mitigation of lead paint contamination
  • Mitigation of the effects of floods or drought.
  • Increase the resistance of property against severe weather.

The PACE program provides long-term financing from 10 to 25 years with a fixed interest rate. The loan runs with the land, meaning the loan is attached to the property, not the property owner. It does not impact your credit, and it transfers upon sale.

Projects that qualify include:

  • Those with high utility costs – any properties with a utility spend higher than $5,000 per month.
  • Larger projects – the cost of the energy project should be greater than $100,000, with no formal upward limit.
  • Property worth more than $400,000
  • Properties that are current on their property taxes and any other property tax obligations.

The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) has assisted about one-half dozen commercial property owners apply for and receive PACE funding over the last five years. If you are interested in upgrading the efficiency of your property, please contact Curt Chowanic from our MCPED office at or call 586-242-3643.

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Department:Planning and Economic Development