By CYNTHIA KMETT
Where is Michigan headed and what does the economy hold for the state’s economic future? On hand at last Wednesday’s Best of Troy Awards breakfast at the MSU Management Education Center was Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) CEO Jeff Mason, who has only been at the job for about six months.
Troy Chamber CEO Ara Topouzian, however, has known Mason for a many years and said Mason “has an eye for business” and Michigan is “lucky to have him running the MEDC.” Prior to taking this new job last year, Mason was the Executive Director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor. which is an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University to transform, strengthen, and diversify Michigan’s economy.
Now, besides those goals, Mason’s mission for MEDC is business development and attraction, community development, providing access to capital and improving Michigan’s brand and image, so every company in the world will want to be part of “Pure Michigan.”
It takes vital and productive partnerships for the state to grow, Mason told the Chamber breakfast gathering. To foster economic growth, Mason said we have to invest in Michigan and support technology and there have to be some new policies in place to make that happen.
One good change for Michigan, we have moved up the ladder in having the best business tax rate. We used to be at the very bottom of the list and today we’re ranked 8th. In addition, there was a 57,000 increase in employees last year, and Michigan has become much more attractive to the 25 to 34-year old inbound college graduate. And, almost 45,000 new jobs were created.
“We have a thriving auto industry,” Mason continued, noting that Michigan is No. 2 for mobility and autonomous vehicles. He sees the state “positioned for long-term, stable economic growth.” He believes it’s important that technology and innovation also improve people’s lives.
Mason wants to eliminate roadblocks for advanced manufacturers so they can move cleaner, softer and faster. Among the business arenas MEDC will be pursuing are: agriculture, aerospace, cyber security, mobility and defense.
MEDC is working to improve communications and build contacts to attract private investors and venture capitalists, and create jobs so they know Michigan is a great place to live, work and play.
He also wants to see Michigan businesses connect with each other. “Let’s buy and sell locally,” Mason strongly suggested, and added, “Don’t pay more or take less inferior products….Now is not the time to stand pat.”
The annual salute to businesses that chose to move to Troy, or reinvest in their property for the future are named to be “The Best in Troy” for that year by the Troy Chamber of Commerce. They were celebrated at last Wednesday’s breakfast at the MSU Management Education Center.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood restaurant is a ground up new build where once stood a three-story, 9,941-square-foot office building on Big Beaver Road, west of Crooks Road. Eddie V’s follows Troy’s vision to construct free-standing buildings. The restaurant’s décor will take residents back in time to Detroit’s wellknown Jazz Age with nightly live music, an eclectic atmosphere and charismatic vibe.
Owners Laurent & Valerie Besson came from France six years ago to follow Laurent’s automotive career at Delphi in Troy. This beautifully designed facility features elegant marble sculpture, soft music, subtle inviting fragrances, and sound isolation technology that makes for a truly relaxing experience. Fidelity When Fidelity relocated from Birmingham to Troy, their goal was to provide a consolidated working space for employees, while improving the visitor experience and accessibility for clients. Market research and client feedback relating to the interior design of the space led to a sophisticated neutral pallet and non-traditional banking experience.
National team of art curators is responsible for about 12,000 pieces of art throughout the country and runs the collection like a museum; collecting artwork and exhibiting on a rotating basis.
In 2017 Kelly Services adopted an aggressive Headquarters’ renovation to reflect its current culture, improve the customer experience, and introduce a changing workstyle termed “Kelly Anywhere” for its global team members. Two additional floors were gutted and redesigned with open-concept floor plans and a mix of low height workstations and lots of comfortable meeting spaces for independent and group work to accommodate an agile workforce.
From a Bowling Alley to an Entertainment Complex, Troy Lanes changed their name to Escape and converted their traditional 40 lane center into an entertainment hub that features 30 Bowling Lanes, 3,600 sq. ft. two-level laser tag arena, a 28 game arcade room and much more.
The former home of Thunderbird Lanes is now a dramatically transformed office space and new home of 24G. Ten bowling lanes remain adorned with the historic Thunderbird sign which employees are encouraged to use to help work through a problem, relieve stress or simply to have some fun.
While the concept is a franchise, no two locations look the same and the Troy location is the most unique, eclectic and stunning of them all. The mixture of stone, coloring, lighting, floor plan and different height elevations provides for a cozy atmosphere.