Collaborative Approach to Economic Development

Crain's Detroit Business, February 12 edition has a FOCUS on St. Clair County, Michigan, --- How it's Good To Be Blue... and shares the story of the collaborative approach our region is taking toward economic development that is paying off.  

View the many articles on Crain's St. Clair County FOCUS here

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2017 brought over 700 Jobs and $127 Million in Investment

The Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County hosted its Semi-Annual luncheon yesterday, February 12, at the Blue Water Area Convention Center.  The organization shared key measures from 2017, including that the region benefited from 728 new jobs and $127 million in private investment.

"The economic development growth and tremendous momentum we are seeing in our region is the direct result of the efforts of many.  As shared in this week’s edition of Crain’s Detroit Business (February 12-18), the region has taken a collaborative approach to economic development and we’re seeing many positive results of working together,” said Dan Casey, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance (EDA).

St. Clair County is booming again. New commercial investments in our downtowns and communities have taken off, totaling $70 million and are expected to continue to grow this year.  Healthy local companies expanded facilities and added workforce, resulting in 20 expansion projects totaling $40.3 million.  The region also attracted $17 million in new business investment in 2017 and added 256 single family homes and apartment units.  

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EDA's President named Crain's Notable Woman in Manufacturing

Congratulations to EDA President and President and CEO of PTM Corporation, Donna Russell-Kuhr for being recognized by Crain's Detroit Business as one of their chosen Notable Women in Manufacturing.  The EDA team and Board of Directors celebrate this award with Donna, who has been serving PTM for 35 years and is a valuable asset to the community and our organization.   

PTM Corporation is a metal stamping supplier in St. Clair County.  Donna co-owns PTM with her three sisters.  PTM employs approximately 300 employees at its continuously growing manufacturing campus.  

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ansing, Michigan – January 3, 2018 – Dan Casey, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of St. Clair County, has been elected to serve a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA).


MEDA is a professional society with members throughout the state that attract and grow business, create and retain jobs, and make our communities a better place to live. Dan has been an active member of MEDA since 1999, serving nine years on its Advocacy Committee and seven years on its Education Committee.

Mr. Casey has served the public sector for 25 years and transitioned to the economic development profession in 1998. During his economic development career, Dan has assisted dozens of companies to establish, expand or relocate to Michigan and worked on many significant community development projects, totaling more than $2-billion in investment and creating 10,000 new jobs.

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$217,038 Awarded to Six St. Clair County Companies for Skilled Trades Training

Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) grants were announced today by the Michigan Workforce Development Agency and we are pleased to share that grant funds have been awarded to six companies in St. Clair County, totaling $217,038.     

Grants awarded to employers through the Talent Investment Agency (TIA) are used to assist in training, developing and retaining current employees and individuals to be hired.  Training is short-term and customized to meet employee skills requirements for hiring needs and to help close skills gaps for existing employees. 

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Equipment Distributors Investing Nearly $2 Million in Industrial Build in Ira Township

Equipment Distributors, a supplier of automotive tools and equipment for the auto repair industry is expanding from Shelby Township to 10099 Radiance Drive in Ira Township of St. Clair County.  The company is investing nearly $2 million in a two-phase new construction build, beginning with 14,000 square-feet during Phase I; and adding an additional 14,000 square-feet in Phase II.  The facility will employ approximately 20 employees.     

Equipment Distributors which specializes in wheel alignment and automotive lifts, offers full auto lift support including ALI safety inspections, maintenance, repair and service parts for their flagship line of two post lifts, four post lifts, inground lifts, mobile column lifts, short & mid-rise lifts and pit lifts.  These lifts are commonly recognized in automotive garages and shops and used to raise vehicles and keep them suspended for maintenance, repairs, wheel alignments and tire changes.   

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PTM Corporation of St. Clair County named Michigan Women’s Business of The Year

PTM Corporation, located in Ira Township (St. Clair County) has been named as Michigan’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) of The Year by the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.  Awardees are selected from a pool of more than 900 certified woman-owned, woman-managed businesses statewide.    

A women-owned business is defined as being at least 51% owned, capitalized, operated and controlled by a woman or group of woman.  The business must be a “for-profit” business which typically resides in the United States or one of its territories. 

Donna Russell-Kuhr, Nika Russell-Hess, Dannielle Russell and Gina Russell all deserve this achievement as business leaders and community minded individuals here in Ira Township, their corporation has been tremendous to work with over the years,” said James J.Endres, Jr, supervisor of Ira Township.  “ The entire Ira Township board of Trustee’s congratulates them and PTM on winning WBE of the year.”

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I-69 Thumb Region Selects Smart Shelf of St. Clair County as Winner of the Catapult Business Plan Competition

Seven businesses vied for the top spot in the 2017 Catapult Business Competition, with Smart Shelf LLC, an incubation client at The Underground Business Incubator in St. Clair County winning first-place and taking home the $5,000 grand prize.  The final round of competition was held as part of the 6th Annual Regional Summit, hosted by the I-69 Thumb Region at the Lapeer Country Club. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, respectively, were awarded to second-place winner Town to Town Gourmet Pastries (Shiawassee County) and third-place finisher Thumb Roast Coffee (Sanilac County).  Each of the seven competing businesses advanced to the finals after winning the county-level contests. The I-69 Thumb Region includes Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola counties.  The other contestants were: Happy Little Greens Farm (Genesee County); Simply Enjoyable Snacks (Lapeer County); Imperial Sauces (Tuscola County); and Kyle’s Kindling (Huron County).

Judging the final round were: Dom Holmes, Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Automation Alley; Neal Bishop, Area Manager, Local Government and Community Affairs, International Transmission Company; and Peggy Nolde, Director, Genesee County Equalization Board.

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Wright Plastic Products Company Investing $3.275 Million and Adding 19 Jobs in St. Clair, Michigan

St. Clair, Michigan  

Wright Plastic Products Company plans to add 14,400 square feet to its St. Clair Facility, investing $3.275 million and creating an additional 19 jobs in St. Clair County, Michigan.  The company, which specializes in plastic injection molding, produces a variety of custom plastics parts in the automotive, recreational vehicles, marine, and consumer markets. 

A $160,000 performance-based grant has been approved by Michigan Strategic Fund Board (MSF) a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).   Michigan was selected over a competing site in Tennessee (where the company has a location).  The City of St. Clair has offered a “staff, financial, or economic commitment to the project” in the form of a tax abatement estimated to be worth $143,000.  These incentives will help offset overall costs of doing the project in Michigan.   

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$121,000 Gatekeeper Grant Awarded to EDA for The Underground Business Incubator & Service Center

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $121,000 two-year Gatekeeper Grant to the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.  The EDA will use the funds to hire a manager for The Underground Incubator and Business Service Center which is located in the basement of the Sperry’s Building at 301 Huron Ave. in Port Huron.

“Gatekeeper Grants play an important role in building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem across our state,” said Fred Molnar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at MEDC. “The Gatekeepers that have been funded to date have been highly successful in connecting entrepreneurs with the resources available to them, and we’re looking forward to seeing similar results in Port Huron.”

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