County Executive’s Emerging Sectors® Business Attraction Strategy Tops $3 Billion Total Investment Milestone

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced on Monday via press release that the Emerging Sectors® business attraction and retention strategy he created in 2004 to diversify the county’s economy has surpassed $3 billion of total investment.

The strategy had five successes in May totaling $60.4 million of new investment, resulting in more than 650 new and retained jobs. When added to figures since inception in 2004, the program has 337 business successes resulting in total investment of $3.05 billion; 35,106 new jobs and 18,853 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country.

“OMG – over $3 billion inside of 11 years,” Patterson said. “By anyone’s yardstick, this is a great accomplishment for Oakland County and its crack economic development team. If it weren’t against county rules, we’d be popping corks on the fifth floor.”

The milestone was reached 11 years after Patterson introduced the program to diversify Oakland County’s economy, which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targeted international companies that expressed an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as the right business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The most successful sectors have been the health care/life science sector (Medical Main Street) at $975 million of total investment, and IT/communications (Tech 248), at $619 million of total investment. Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $750,000 every day for 11 years.

“If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Oakland County is the economic engine that drives the Michigan economy,” Patterson said.

The companies that put Emerging Sectors over the top in May are:

  • ISOQA, advanced manufacturing, Farmington
  • Georges Pernoud NA, Inc., advanced materials, Rochester Hills
  • BASF Corp., advanced materials, Southfield
  • Visioneering, Inc., aerospace, Auburn Hills
  • Allied Printing Co., communications/IT, Ferndale

Oakland County aggressively seeks international investment. In 2014, the county attracted $171 million of direct foreign investment. There are 1,040 international firms from 39 countries with business locations in the county. Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb left for China last week in an effort to attract more Chinese companies to Oakland County.

As with many things in life, the attraction and retention strategy improved with age. In 2008, Patterson hosted a celebration at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to honor the first 70 Emerging Sector companies whose total investment surpassed $1 billion. With the Great Recession at its peak, it took until 2013 for the program to reach $2 billion in total investment. More than 500 representatives from Emerging Sector companies and other guests were invited to a “What Goes into $2 Billion?” celebration on the arena floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills held to thank the companies for their investment.

After only two more years, Patterson is planning a $3 billion celebration to thank the companies responsible for this investment record.

“This is a testament to these companies – 337 of them,” Patterson said. “They contributed (invested) to this huge success. I congratulate each and every one of those companies for helping rebuild Oakland County’s economy after the Great Recession, and along the way creating 35,000 new jobs in a completely diversified portfolio.”

About Sarah Hovis

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