Award-Winning Site Selection
Award-Winning Site Selection

The AEP economic development team ranks among Site Selection Magazine’s Top Utilities again in 2021. Learn more

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When site selection pros think of the auto industry, one city comes to mind instantly. But Detroit isn’t the only manufacturing hub in Michigan, where people take pride in fixing things and creating solutions. The Southwest corner of the state, near the Indiana border, is home to one of the country’s fastest-growing regions for medical technology (medtech) manufacturing. Shelley Klug, Indiana Michigan Power economic and business development manager, reached out to Brenda Stewart, business development manager at Michigan Economic Development Corporation to find out why commercial and industrial properties in SW Michigan are must-see.

SHELLEY: Brenda, what makes SW Michigan such a great draw for medtech? We’re also seeing a growing presence of food processing and pharma. What do those companies know that others don’t?
BRENDA: Michigan ranks among the top 10 states for the number of medical device manufacturing companies in the U.S.; and specifically, SW Michigan has five times more workers than the U.S. average in the medical device sector. This means household names like Stryker and Pfizer, as well as exciting upstarts like Tetra Therapeutics get the benefits of a synergistic med-tech ecosystem that offers a deep talent pool, supportive communities and mutual success.

SHELLEY: What steps should medtech companies take to ensure we’re focusing efforts on prospective sites that best suit our special needs?
BRENDA: We make it easy to explore opportunities, on your own and/or with one of our site selection experts. I recommend searching available properties on our website and reaching out to Susan Proctor, proctors1@michigan.org, as the first step. Follow up with a free consultation and site assessments based on energy needs, among other requirements, from the economic development team at AEP.

SHELLEY: Michigan invests heavily in workforce training programs. Can you tell us more about them?
BRENDA: Two come to mind immediately. Jobs Ready Michigan provides grants for training in high-tech, high-demand, and high-wage jobs. The Going Pro Talent Fund helps companies offset training costs for new and incumbent employees.

SHELLEY: What factors should companies/site selectors consider when looking at sites in SW Michigan?
BRENDA: Consider access to talent. Is the local workforce able to support your talent needs? Also think about the cost of living, which is critical in talent acquisition. Michigan’s low cost of living is matched only by its high quality of life – and with direct access to hundreds of miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, a nationally recognized wine region, and significant cultural attractions the region is a place talent wants to call home.

SHELLEY: Indiana Michigan Power offers an Economic Development Rider incentive, a discount on electric demand available for up to 5 years. On top of that, there are incentives offered by the state. How can site selection teams find out more?
BRENDA: Check out our diverse toolkit which includes the Michigan Business Development Program (MBDP) which provides performance-based grants for highly competitive projects.

SHELLEY: Some of my clients think their project is too small to qualify for state incentives. What resources are available to small companies?
BRENDA: Our business-friendly tax structure and low cost of living help companies of all sizes realize immediate savings before incentives are even considered. Secondly, we work with projects of all sizes, and we offer a wide range of business services – including B2B matchmaking, access to international trade opportunities, and a capital access program – to help businesses of all sizes thrive in the state. Learn more at www.michiganbusiness.org/pure-opportunity.

A certified economic developer, Shelley Klug has helped businesses find growth opportunities in SW Michigan for more than two decades. Contact her at slklug@aep.com.

Brenda Stewart brings extensive experience in workforce development and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional. Contact her at MEDC, stewartb6@michigan.org. For more information on the MEDC including other programs and services, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org

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