Greetings! We hope you enjoy our September 2016 Newsletter!
Soy Bean Processing Facility Feasibility Study Update
Although it only seems like yesterday, it has been a year since the Monroe County BDC partnered with the County of Monroe, Consumers Energy, Spartan Agriculture and the Michigan Soy Bean Association to submit a grant application to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to fund a study to determine if southeast Michigan may be a feasible location for a soy bean processing facility. We are pleased to report that, although the work is not complete, we are nearing the end of the study and believe a business case can be made for locating a facility in the region.

Here is what we know to date:

  1. Nearly 100 million bushels per year of soy beans are grown in Michigan with 20 million of those being grown in Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.  
  2. Only 10 percent of the soy beans grown in Michigan are currently being processed in Michigan; this means whole beans are exported for processing then are imported back into Michigan in meal and/or as oil. 
  3. The market for soy meal is growing in Michigan and the Midwest as more livestock and poultry are being raised locally. 
  4. New uses for food grade soy oil are being discovered every day. Soy oil is being used in cleaners, hand sanitizers, lip balm, crayons, bio diesel, along with many other uses.
  5. Southeast Michigan, and Monroe County specifically, are geographically situated to provided value to the supply chain for agricultural production.

As the grant recipient, the BDC contracted with Poggemeyer Design Group to conduct the study. They and their partners, MSU Product Development Center and Public Sector Consultants, have been diligently working on the final report.

To date, a comprehensive assessment of suitable sites has been evaluated with three sites making the final cut. Economic impact at the state, region and local levels has been evaluated. A financial model, designed by MSU for a prior project, is in the process of being updated for inclusion into the study. The model will allow a user to enter various data to calculate the rate of return on the project. 

We are still in the process of gathering additional data for the final report but expect a draft copy in the next few weeks. The final published report will be ready by the end of the year. That is when the real work begins … the BDC will hit the streets to meet with the development community to determine if there is interest for the construction of a soy bean crushing facility and oil refinery. 

So, ... stay tuned, we will update you when the final report is complete! 

BDC has Two New Board Members!
Dan Schwanke

We are excited to welcome Dan Schwanke of ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital as a BDC Board Member! Dan has more than 28 years of experience with ProMedica serving in multiple leadership positions. Dan is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University, a physical therapy certificate from Mayo Clinic and a Master of Business Administration from the The University of Toledo. Dan lives in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife Alison who hails from Monroe. 
Bart Kulish
We are also excited to welcome Bart Kulish of MTS Seating as a BDC Board Member! Bart has more than 31 years of experience with MTS Seating serving in multiple leadership positions. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Toledo with a major in Information Systems and Operations Management. He serves on numerous community boards and committees with ProMedica (formerly Mercy Memorial), Comprehensive Economic Development Committee (CEDS) for 4-county region, and The Notre Dame Academy in Toledo. Bart lives in Perrysburg, Ohio, with his wife Marsha.
Things Worth Noting ...
BDC's Annual Event ... A New Name, A New Focus

annual fall event brings interesting content that will enlighten Monroe County business leaders. One of which is our key note speaker, Andrew Doctoroff, who will be sharing the latest information on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project! Plus many more initiatives will be discussed that will affect our community ... our county ... our region ... our state.

"Focus on the Future" will be held on Thursday, September 29, beginning at 5:00pm Click here to learn more and register! Seating is limited.

> Charlene Page and SEMCA have busy over the past months meeting with Monroe County companies interested in applying for a Skilled Trades Training Fund grant to cover a portion of their training expenses. The open application deadline is October 12, so there is still some time if you are interested in this funding opportunity. If you have not spoken with Charlene from our office or anyone from SEMCA regarding your application, please contact her right away to arrange a meeting (phone: 734-241-8081).

>> Monroe County Community College will host an open house Sept. 28 to launch the school’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center from 5 to 7:30 pm in the atrium of the MCCC Career Technology Center, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe. The center will offer technical assistance and guidance to entrepreneurs and small businesses through workshops, training, one-on-one counseling, and access to space and technology.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is a partnership among MCCC, the BDC, the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, the MEDC of Monroe County, and the Bedford Business Association.

Those attending the open house will be able to tour the Career Technology Center and meet with local entrepreneurs, MCCC faculty members, business owners, and local economic development officials to get business advice and learn about the technology and equipment available to entrepreneurs and established small businesses.

>>> Plans are underway for Monroe County's first ever Manufacturing Day! Monroe County ISD's Jennifer LaDuke and Charlene Page have been working together and organizing this event to be held on October 7 for Monroe County 8th grade students! National Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions by giving manufacturers an open door opportunity to show what manufacturing is. By working together, manufacturers address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry.

>>>> Did you know ... Monroe County has a total of 4,868 businesses. In 2016, the leading industries were Manufacturing, Retail, Education, Health Care and Social Services, and Accommodation and Food Services. 

  Please feel free to contact us anytime!
Tim Lake  |  Charlene Page  |  LuAnn Hogberg