A good look at Monroe County's I-75 corridor and the headlines for a new Windsor-Detroit bridge was the beginning of the plan ... The Monroe County Link Plan, a strategy to guide future economic development for our community.
The strengths of Monroe County's economy lie in its geography and infrastructure. In 2016, a study of the I-75 Corridor was conducted to determine the amount of development property along the corridor and markets that are most suitable for taking advantage of the corridors' attributes. Please see the downloads page for multiple reports generated from the study.
This plan identifies industries Monroe County should attract to the corridor, action steps that will entice companies to locate/relocate, and specific development areas that will appeal to various industries. Additionally and critical to this plan is a commitment to improving the quality of life and strengthening the image and brand of the County.
Michael Bosanac, Monroe County Administrator, said, "this is a focused effort to bring economic development into Monroe County," and "we want to make Monroe County the right place to do business."
At the November 2017 Board of Directors' meeting, the Monroe County Business Development Corporation (BDC) Board approved the implementation of the Monroe County Link Plan.
An organizational meeting led by Aaron Domini, Partner of OHM Advisors in Columbus, Ohio, brought together the original Management Team and the newly designated Team Captains.
The Monroe County Link Action Team Kickoff Meeting took place on January 12, 2018, which included Team Captains and their selected Team members. This meeting could not have been more successful!
There are 6 Pillars that look at specific actions that are led by captains and their teams. Aaron Domini led the MCL Action Team in a workshop where groups outlined goals and the hurdles to achieving those goals. There was so much engagement and energy on each team that is was, and still is, remarkable to watch.
We have assembled a fantastic group of Team Captains to lead their chosen Action Teams for each of the Pillars. These leaders have demonstrated they are persons of action and are working diligently to lead Action Teams to complete the action steps defined in the Plan.
Our Team Captains:
prepare for investment
Barry Buschmann, Mannik & Smith Group
Tim Lake, Monroe County BDC
Matt Vanisacker, Monroe County BDC
Doug Chaffin (retired First Merchants Bank)
Michael Bosanac, County of Monroe
workforce development & education
Dr. Stephen McNew, Monroe County Intermediate School District
Gregory Pitoniak, SEMCA
The Monroe County Link Plan has been designed as a 5-year plan. As you read through the Action Steps, you will see that while some may be readily achievable, others will take time and coordination with multiple stakeholders. Although the Plan and its 6-Pillars and related Action Steps will take time to complete, the Management Team believes the effort expended will pay dividends over time.
A plan of this magnitude will not come without a cost. We expect to log many volunteer hours from the work of the Action Teams. Cold hard cash will be necessary to complete the plan. The BDC, who has oversight on the Plan and its implementation, will need to employ additional staff and there will be meeting costs along with marketing costs.
The Monroe County BDC applies for grants and seeks support from both governmental units as well as the business community. If you and/or your organization are willing to support the Monroe County Link Plan, please contact the BDC for further details.
You may view the proposed Monroe County Link budget projections below in the Downloadable Files section.
The Consumers Energy Foundation donated a $200,000 grant to Monroe County BDC for the Monroe County Link Plan at a ceremony at Monroe Bank & Trust on January 12, 2018.
Carolyn Bloodworth, Secretary & Treasurer for the Consumers Energy Foundation, talked about how the opportunity to help the community thrilled Consumers Energy as they work to make an impact on those areas they serve. Carolyn said, "we are keeping our commitment to the community we serve."
"We are especially thankful for Consumers Energy and their Foundation for the support they have provided Monroe County," stated Tim Lake. He continued, "Without their leadership, guidance and financial support we would certainly not be able to embark on the Monroe County Link Plan.
Florence Buchanan, Monroe County Link Plan Program Manager, publishes detailed progress of the plan each month. These publications are shared below. Please scroll down to the bottom if you would like to start from the beginning of the year, or read the latest by continuing below. The Monroe County Link Year End Report for 2021 is also available in the downloadable section of this webpage.
Conclusion - All Great Things Never End!
"The Monroe County Link Action Team Kickoff Meeting took place on January 12, 2018, which included Team Captains and their selected Team members. This meeting could not have been more successful! There are 6 Pillars that look at specific actions that are led by captains and their teams. Aaron Domini led the MCL Action Team in a workshop where groups outlined goals and the hurdles to achieving those goals. There was so much engagement and energy on each team that was, and still is, remarkable to watch." ... Source: https://monroecountybdc.org/monroe-county-link/ When I joined the Link Plan in February 2019 as Project Manager, I was excited about the opportunity to work with local stakeholders on economic development initiatives. The six Pillar teams had already been meeting and team leadership was in place. I began working with the teams on organizational processes, resources and identifying new opportunities to achieve the overall Link Plan goals. Each year, annual goals were established focusing on each Pillar's mission. The volunteer members engaged in meaningful communication, collaboration and exchange of ideas that led to successfully achieving the goals. Working through the challenges and as the local economy changed, we combined two of the Pillars to align their mission. The four remaining Pillars are: Michigan's Cornerstone, Launch 734, Prepare for Investment and Talent Development. Over the last five years, more than 60 volunteers have contributed well over 2,200 hours to make the Link Plan a success. Some of the significant accomplishments include: (1) "Michigan's Cornerstone" county-wide brand, (2) Launch 734 business development ecosystem bringing a renewed focus on entrepreneurship, (3) identifying the need for career technical education for high school students and training opportunities for adult learners, (4) the largest single industrial investment in 15 years occurred in the county, and (5) the focus on quality of life amenities such as non-motorized trails/pathways and I-75 interchange beautification. All great things never end! The Monroe County Link Plan is now entering a new phase of economic development and community engagement; MC Link Plan 2.0. What does the future hold? We can imagine the future and now have a blueprint for success. We know it is time for a refresh. We know additional resources, ideas and talent are needed. Developing creative strategies to attract a diverse and "next generation" of volunteers to new Link Plan will help to secure the future growth of the county's economic development. My assignment with the Link Plan is ending soon. It has been an absolute pleasure working with all the volunteers. I am incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to learn so much about local government, economic development and to enhance my relationships with local stakeholders. Thank you Tim Lake, LuAnn Hogberg and Matt Vanisacker, for this opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And, thank you to all the Link Plan volunteers! We have all worked extremely hard and had some fun along the way. Florence may be reached by phone at 419-654-1934 or via email: email@example.com.
- The Talent Development Pillar Team continues to work earnestly on developing the CTE curriculum for the county school districts. The CTE course will be available to county students in the Fall. The immediate task is to locate an instructor for the CTE electrical technician course. The Pillar Team is also working on developing a survey that will be sent to the local manufacturing sector; results will be used to determine the type of certification programs that will best prepare entry-level employees for employment. This effort is the Link Plan's effort to enhance and prepare the local workforce.
- The Prepare for Investment Pillar and the EDC held their Planning and Zoning conference, "Preparing for Solar" on 3/23, at the MCCC campus. The keynote speakers were representatives from Consumers Energy, DTE and Michigan State University Extension. The event was well attended with 45 in person and 26 virtually. The event was created as an educational tool for the county agriculture sector and municipal planning and zoning departments.
- One of the goals of the Michigan's Cornerstone Pillar is to continue to beautify the county interchanges. A meeting was held with MDOT to determine the specifications required to purchase and install monument type signage at the interchanges; we now have the information needed to proceed on interchanges which include I-75, US-23 and M-125. Mayor Clark, Mike Bosanac and Matt Vanisacker attended the meeting.
- The majority of the Launch 734 meeting was focused on preparing for the official launch and grand opening of the physical location of Launch 734 at 9 Washington Street. The celebration will begin on May 3rd during National Small Business Week. Two financial roundtable discussions will be held that day: (1) 8:30 am at the MCCC Whitman Center in Temperance, and (2) 2:00 pm at the Launch 734 office. Representatives from the SBA and First Merchants Bank will be in attendance to lead discussions. MCCC is a co-sponsor May 3rd event. On May 4th at 6:00 pm, a Kick-Off /Meetup event will take place at the Launch 734 office. This will be an introductory meeting and all attendees will meet the staff and learn about the goals and aspirations of Launch 734. Other events geared toward entrepreneurs and small businesses will take place throughout May as well. All are welcome to attend. To find out more information and to register, click here.
- The Prepare for Investment Pillar continued to plan for the EDC Municipal Planning & Zoning Conf. taking place March 23 at the Monroe County Community College. This year's event centers around "Preparing for Solar." The objective of the seminar is to provide a broad perspective on solar energy with insights from keynote speakers representing Consumers Energy, DTE and Michigan State University Extension.
- Quality of life amenities and community beautification projects continue. Mike Bosanac, co-captain of the Michigan's Cornerstone Pillar reported on the progress of the I-75 Beautification program for Exits 15 and 18. Now that the LaPlaisance Road bridge has been replaced, Exit 11 will be added to the project. The project is manned by eligible inmates in the county jail's Red Shirt Program. Weather permitting, the inmates are doing a great job to beautify the county's I-75 interchanges. Also, a report was provided on the status of the Heritage Trail repairs and the 100 Mile Cornerstone Route directional signage project.
- aunch 734 welcomed new members to the team: Amanda Phebus, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer for First Merchants Bank and Kennis Wooten, Economic Development Manager for DTE. Both Amanda and Kennis bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Pillar Team. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence position for Launch 734 was awarded to Nanokore. The principle owners, Dave Meerhaeghe and John Swiatek, will attend the Pillar Team meetings. Both Dave and John will work closely with local entrepreneur start-ups and grow-ups in their business development. Welcome to both Nanokore and our two new Pillar Team members.
- The Talent Development Team did not meet in February since the majority of progress on the CTE Hub development and Production Certificate was being worked on in subcommittees. The next full Pillar Team meeting is scheduled for March.
- Monroe County is the anchor of a region that has geographic and infrastructure advantages for the logistic sector. The county has 26 qualified individuals for every open logistic position.
- For the very reason Monroe County is a great place for business and industry, it is also a great place to live. With its small town atmosphere and close proximity to both Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, there is always something to do.
- The County of Monroe is at the southeastern corner of Michigan along Lake Erie.
- Monroe is an old manufacturing and port city known for its numerous early 2oth century homes and historic attractions related to the residence of General George A. Custer and the War of 1812.