On March 28, approximately 40 of our investors and elected officials attended Monroe County BDC’s Annual Investors’ Meeting. Our meeting was held at Tenneco, who a couple years ago, celebrated their 100-year history that all began in a garage in Monroe, Michigan.
Tenneco Inc., a $9.3 billion global manufacturing company, is pioneering global ideas for cleaner air, and smoother, quieter and safer transportation. They are an industry leader in leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of Ride Performance and Clean Air products and technology solutions for diversified markets, including light vehicle, commercial truck, off-highway equipment and the aftermarket.
Tenneco serves customers from 92 manufacturing facilities and 15 engineering and technical centers around the world, delivering advanced technologies, quality products, powerful brands and outstanding engineering and manufacturing capabilities.
We had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Mark Christiaanse, Director of Engineering for North American Aftermarket Ride Performance. His presentation was followed by tours of Tenneco’s Monroe facility.
Prior to Tenneco taking the stage, we heard from Doug Chaffin, Monroe Bank & Trust President & CEO and BDC’s Board Chairman. He introduced BDC’s 17-member Board and talked about the healthy financial condition of the BDC – our annual operating budget has hovered around $250,000 over the past several years and is funded by local municipalities and corporate partnerships. Investment dollars fund staffing and general operational overhead, but also dollars are leveraged to take advantage of grants, programs, and other partnerships that support economic development in Monroe County. Doug stated, “Our local economy in Monroe remains very strong, evidenced by continued job growth, low unemployment, and demand for skilled labor and talent throughout the community.”
Next, Senator Dale Zorn took the podium and talked a few minutes about the great number of challenges going on in the State of Michigan. But with the increased tax liability, we are seeing new businesses in our area. Senator Zorn stated, “With the young talent in Michigan today, our best days are yet to come.”
Representative Joseph Bellino also spoke for a few minutes and remarked about Ford making a $700 million investment in our community just 3 days after he took office. Representative Bellino agreed with Senator Zorn’s comments and looks forward to being part of and seeing what is accomplished in 2018.
Tim Lake, Monroe County BDC’s President & CEO, gave details about working with regional partners for attraction of new businesses to our community. In 2017, the BDC had 3 successful attraction projects with capital investments projected at $9.9 million and job creation peaking at 334 persons.
Retention and growth of existing Monroe County businesses is vital to our community. The BDC called on 34 companies last year to assess their operations and offer assistance. Direct support services were provided to 16 companies. Total investment equaled $82.7 million with 469 new jobs and 230 jobs retained.
Tim then talked about how initiatives are vital to laying the groundwork for future development opportunities and explained the various partnerships that the BDC is involved in, one of them being the
Monroe County Link
Plan. This plan is a strategy to guide economic development along the I-75 corridor and identifies and promotes our geography, infrastructure, cost competitiveness and workforce as the backbone of our strengths. The plan is in its action stage and progress is already being made and seen.
In Tim’s final comment for the morning, he informed guests to, “stay tuned … 2018 is going to be a great year!”