INSIDE EDITION: November 10, 2016

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inside edition - michigan economic development corp

November 10, 2016

In This Issue:

Business Development

Marine City redevelopment continues to shine


Last month, Inside Edition reported on the progress of The Inn on Water Street, a project furthering Marine City as a cultural destination for locals and tourists alike. 

Today, the small town’s redevelopment continues to be in the spotlight. The opening of the Snug Theatre and Riverbank Theatre, in addition to the boutique hotel project, are bringing new life into the quaint riverside town. 



Check out Katharine Czarnecki’s article in The Times Herald to read more about the collaborative efforts that made the “Marine City Miracle” possible. 


The Michigan Talent Team is Attracting Veterans & Spouses to Live, Work, and Play in Michigan

By Richard Martin

Did you know that the Michigan Talent Team has teamed up with the Michigan veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) to make Michigan THE premier place for transitioning service members and their families? We have been working together to attract transitioning service members who are 3 to 6 months away from leaving the military to re-enter the civilian workforce.

“The partnership our MVAA Private Sector Employment Council has with the MEDC on Veteran outreach activities has been exceptional and helps differentiate companies from Michigan at the events.  It is a competitive advantage in the war for talent. We have employment candidates’ comment on how they had not considered Michigan before interacting with the team at the Washington DC SACC event.  The partnership has helped us land highly skilled candidates who bring their talent and families to the state of Michigan.” – Mark McKeen, Senior Manager, Employment Branding, General Motors

Each year, between 250,000 and 360,000 veteran’s transition out of the military, and, given the right job opportunity, 66% of those veterans are willing to call a new place their home. This is good news for Michigan businesses who want to hire veterans, but are struggling to find qualified talent.  According to a recent survey, 47% of employers have hired a veteran in the last year. That number is rising every year as more and more employers are learning new ways to tap into this amazing talent pool.

Our Talent Team has attended the Service Academy Career Conference in Washington, DC and the Hiring Our Heroes event in Ft. Carson, CO. So far, we have seen 5 veterans and their families make the move to Michigan. In a couple of weeks, we will be in San Antonio, TX to continue making a difference. Michigan has so much to offer veterans. We have a very diverse employment landscape, natural beauty that very few places can match, hunting, fishing, amazing parks, trails, beer, and the list goes on and on. It’s easy to see why veterans are choosing to make Michigan their next stop, over the competitors.


Last chance to enter the Pure Michigan Photo Contest!


There are only a few days left to share your favorite hidden gems from around the state for the 5th Annual Pure Michigan Moments Photo Contest!

The contest launched November 1 and will run through November 13. The public will be able to vote for their favorite photos from November 14-23, 2016. Photos may be submitted directly to, or through Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #PureMichigan and #PMContest2016. Submissions must identify the location in Michigan and the description of the hidden gem featured in the photo and cannot have been submitted in previous photo contest. Additionally, Twitter and Instagram accounts must be public in order to submit photos through social channels.

This year, two winning photos will be selected from the eligible entries received. The first will be selected by a panel of judges from Travel Michigan and McCann Detroit, Travel Michigan’s agency of record, to be featured in the 2018 Pure Michigan Calendar. The second winning photo will be selected by public vote to be featured across Pure Michigan social media channels.  Both winning photographers will receive a prize package from the Pure Michigan store and three runners up, based on public vote, will receive a $25 gift card to the Pure Michigan Store.

All contest photos will be displayed at

Can you pronounce these Michigan cities?

Have you ever wondered how Michigan was named Michigan? Before colonization, the now Great Lakes State was home to at least eight Native American tribes throughout the land, one of which being the Ojibwe Indians. The Ojibwe were the first people to openly interact with the French in Michigan, trading furs and knowledge of the area for guns and goods. Through translation, the state of Michigan was named after the Ojibwe Indian word “Michigama,” which means “great lake” or “land surrounded by water.”

With this in mind, we invite you to take a watch some Michiganders stumble their way through some uniquely-named destinations found across the Great Lakes State. Test yourself and learn the correct pronunciations here


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Employee Input

Employee Spotlight: Debbie Neumann


INSIDE EDITION: What is your role and responsibility?

I am a planner for the Redevelopment Ready Communities Program for Regions 6 and 9 in the Community Development division.  RRC works to empower communities to proactively shape their future by establishing solid planning and development process to retain and attract business investment and talent.  As an RRC planner, I provide a detailed analysis of a communities planning processes and procedures and identify actions to complete to become a certified Redevelopment Ready Community.

IE: What do you enjoy most about your work?

First of all, I work with a wonderful group of people in the RRC program and I feel fortunate to be part of a cohesive, engaging and fun team.  Communities that are engaged in RRC see the value in streamlining their development practices and strive to be the best community that they can be.  Working with these communities to develop partnerships and providing technical assistance to help them attain certification has been rewarding.


IE: Tell us a little about your educational background and career experience.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Community Services from Sienna Heights University and a Master’s Degree in Family and Community Services (concentration in poverty and aging populations) from Michigan State University.  After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I worked as a Resident Service Coordinator in Multi-Family and Senior Housing linking residents to community, agency and social service resources.  My experience in housing led me to MSHDA working as community outreach specialist for the Community Development Division.  As an outreach specialist, I worked with communities to identify state, federal and private resources to support revitalization efforts in downtowns and neighborhoods. 

IE: What activities do you enjoy outside of work and with family?

Travel and cultivating new experiences with my friends and family is important to me.   Being outdoors - whether on a lake, river or hanging out at a campsite is where I prefer to be in the summer.  My other favorite activities include hiking, softball, knitting, quilting, cooking and home renovation.

IE: What would you like to share about yourself that people at MEDC probably do not know about you?

  • After finishing my bachelor’s degree, my husband and I quit our jobs and traveled throughout Costa Rica for three months.
  • When on a road trip, I will map out roadside attractions to stop at.
  • I have experience in welding and have created a few sculptures.

Comings and Goings

New Hires

Janice Thomas – US Business Attraction Manager (Great Lakes Region) – Business Development; Global Business Development – starting on October 24, 2016.  Janice formerly served as the Manager of Government Affairs at Magna International, Inc.

Mark Birkmeier – US Business Attraction Manager (East Coast Region) – Business Development; Global Business Development – starting on October 24, 2016.  Mark is coming to us from Gonzalez Design Group where he served on the New Business Development – Defense team.

Brittney Hoszkiw – Community Assistance Specialist (Detroit) – Collaborative Community Development – started on October 10, 2016.  Brittney was previously with the CCD team detailed from MSHDA where she served as a Main Street Specialist.

Mark Ignash – Program Manager-Defense Operations – Business Development; Business Development Projects – starting on November 21.  Mark is coming to us from the University of Michigan where he served as the Project Intermediate Manager.


New Opportunities

Cynthia Richardson – Director, Michigan Talent Attraction & Resources – Executive – starting on November 7

Emily Tucker – Director, International Trade – Business Development – starting on November 7

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Resources and Recognition

Laura Krizov named to National Main Street Center Board of Directors


For the last 14 years, Laura Krizov has been a vital part of the Michigan Main Street Program, serving as Manager and elevating the program to its current status. On October 28th, Laura was named to the National Main Street Board of Directors to provide her perspective and rich experience to the board. 

Congratulations Laura on this outstanding achievement!

First Annual Michigan Design Prize Winners Announced

Did you know that Michigan has more industrial designers than any other state? More than 4,000 strong to be exact. This fact helped inspire the MEDC to support the foundation of the Michigan Design Council in January of 2015. The Council is made up of design thought leaders from across our state, representing Michigan’s major industries, academic institutions, and professional organizations. The group’s main goal is to grow and retain industrial designers in Michigan to encourage job creation and investment in the state.

In January 2016, the group launched the first annual Michigan Design Prize. The annual competition co-sponsored by the MEDC, is designed to showcase Michigan’s design talent and encourage students to consider careers in industrial design. The competition was open to all Michigan residents including K-12 students. The winners were announced on October 28th at the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in East Lansing.


Eleven finalists from 50 entries were chosen to work with an industrial designer from a Michigan company to bring their idea to fruition. Companies like Sundberg-Ferar, Newell Rubbermaid, Herman Miller, Whirlpool and GM all provided a member of their design team to work one on one with the finalists. Participants were tasked to create designs for products that solve a fundamental challenge for Michigan and for society as a whole. This year’s challenge was to design “a physical  product solution that allows people to safely enjoy the benefits of Michigan’s diverse water resources.” The finalists’ submissions included a variety of creative innovations for products that address water safety and improve water quality. One finalist designed a water-game that promotes physical activity to combat obesity.

Kevin Kerrigan, SVP of the MEDC’s Automotive Team is on the Design Council board.  A designer himself, Kevin has worked with design teams all over the world on innovative solutions for the automotive industry.

“Industrial design is a unique combination of engineering and creativity,” said Kevin Kerrigan, SVP of the MEDC Automotive Office.


“It was inspiring to see that a majority of the entries came from the K-12 segment. Michigan Design Prize is a great way to encourage kids to consider creative technical careers and ensure a robust talent pipeline for the future.”

Jordan Dyment (pictured) was the winner in the K-5th grade category.  The second-grader from Roosevelt Elementary School  designed a filter system that attaches to the stern of a boat to clean contaminants from the water as the boat propels through it.The 2017 Michigan Design Prize Competition is expected to launch in January.

In addition to the competition, the Council has developed a curriculum guide to help K-12 teachers foster the creative development of the state’s youth.


For more information on the Michigan Design Council’s Initiatives, please visit:

We loved seeing everyone's Halloween spirit in the office last Monday! Thank you to all who participated, everyone looked great!


Save the Date

Mark Your Calendar for the All Employee Meeting & Recognition Program!

Tuesday, November 22nd, in Dart Auditorium on the campus of LCC at 1 p.m.

Box lunches will be provided.

Training Opportunities

The Ultimate Supervisor
December 1, 2016        Lansing        $149.00

Understanding Financial Statements
December 6, 2016        Lansing        $249.00

How to Excel at Managing & Supervising People
December 8-9, 2016        Lansing        $299.00

For additional training opportunities, follow the links below:

AMA Seminars
IEDC Professional Development
Fred Pryor Seminars/Career Track
SOM Civil Service Training
           (Available to all employees)

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