Patterson Plans to Raise the Bar with Innovative Management in Oakland County with VIDEO

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says that Oakland County’s best accomplishments are yet to come. During his annual State of the County address before an audience of more than 600 guests at the Auburn Hills Marriot Pontiac at Centerpoint, he spotlighted several high-tech connections moving into the county.

Brooke Wilson Vitale - photo by Michael Dwyer

Brooke Wilson Vitale – photo by Michael Dwyer

Patterson was introduced my the Brooke Wilson Vitale, the owner of specialty bakeries in Royal Oak and Birmingham, who was selected by a public online vote as the winner of the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. She thanked Brooks Patterson for creating the program and “for recognizing the ambition, goals and dreams of our young businesspeople in Oakland County; and pushing us to strive for excellence,” said Vitale.

“Thank you, Brooke,” said Patterson, “Brooke and Brooks … isn’t that precious.”

Patterson also thanked the audience for electing him to his seventh term as County Executive in November and moved quickly into the focus of the near future for Oakland County.

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The 2017 State of the County by L. Brooks Patterson - photo by Michael Dwyer

The 2017 State of the County by L. Brooks Patterson – photo by Michael Dwyer

Beaumont Proton Therapy Center

“Tonight, I’m truly eager to share with you big news about a giant leap forward into 21st Century medical technology in our county. I’m pleased to spotlight Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak which will open its $40 million Proton Therapy Center this spring. It will be one of only 36 such facilities worldwide. This is incredible news for many cancer patients – both pediatric and adult,” said Patterson, “Construction on Beaumont’s Proton Therapy Center began precisely two years ago in February of 2015. A  5,000‐square‐foot building will house the Proton Therapy Center on the first floor which will begin treating patients this spring. The second floor will be the future home of Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Oncology and Hematology program.”

Medical Main Street Evolves

“In eight years, Medical Main Street has become a premier organization for marketing and advocating on behalf of our 4,300‐plus healthcare businesses, life science, medical device manufacturing, and bio‐pharma companies,” said Patterson, “In that brief span, Medical Main Street has seen over 56 successes exceeding $1.1 billion in private investment, creating about 6,200 jobs and retaining 3,000.”

Uber, Google, and Other Advanced Vehicle Technology

“I’m particularly proud tonight to highlight this next bit of news. Uber announced just a few weeks ago that it has selected a site in Oakland County, in the city of Wixom, where it will test autonomous driving technology. What that means is in the future when you click on your Uber app for a ride to your next destination and opt for a self‐driving car, the company will have developed some of that 21st Century technology right here in Oakland County. Uber just announced that it has hired a NASA engineer from the Langley Research Center to develop flying cars,” said Patterson, “The Uber announcement comes on the heels of Google opting last year to locate its 53,000‐square‐foot research and development center for self‐driving cars in Novi. Why are leading Silicon Valley companies turning their eyes toward Oakland County as the place to develop advanced vehicle technology? Certainly, it’s the fact that 75 of the top 100 global tier one automotive suppliers in advanced vehicle technology have locations in Oakland County. These suppliers are experts in the light‐weighting of materials, powertrain innovations, and vehicle connectivity,” he continued, “In addition, we have the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force which we launched back in 2014. Its mission is to work with companies in our automotive technology corridor and other stakeholders to create a business model for investing in connected vehicle technology and connected vehicle infrastructure.”

Oakland Next

“A little over a year ago, I announced the creation of a fifth committee for the Oakland County Business Roundtable. As some of you know, the Business Roundtable is a way for the business community to have input into programs that make Oakland County favorable for job growth. We started with four committees focusing on economic development, workforce and education, transportation and mobility, and quality of life. This new committee, called ‘Oakland Next,’ is made up of members younger than 40 and will be a key way for my administration to stay informed and initiate policies that will keep our younger adults in Oakland County,” Patterson spoke for some time on the need for more skilled trade-ready young people entering the workforce. “I recognize every year that I spend a fair amount of time talking about the knowledge‐based economy, the high‐tech opportunities in Oakland County. Let me balance those comments with a reality check tonight: not every child is college bound. My son, Brooksie, the boy I lost, spent a year and a half in college and then dropped out to start his own business. He was the quintessential entrepreneur. My point this evening is this: there is room for both entrepreneur and college bound students within our educational spectrum, and we should encourage those who would rather make a good living with their hands to look at the increasingly availability of jobs given the fact that baby boomers are choosing to retire,” continuing on that thought, Patterson said “One way to get a boy, or a girl for that matter, interested in a very satisfying career within the skill trades might be as simple as reinstituting in grade school or high school what we all knew as ‘shop class.’ When we abandoned the shop class idea it was immediately stigmatized that it was not an inspirational career and rather we should focus on sending everybody to college. Seriously, I hope my friends at Oakland Schools are listening to this call to return to the basics such as shop class where ultimately the jobs are plentiful, good paying, and you graduate without a college debt.”

Investing in Pontiac

Patterson turned the attention to the county seat of Pontiac. He highlighted several gems in the city, including Lenderful, Auch, The M1 Concourse, and the Flagstar Strand – he hinted that may make for a good venue for future State of the County addresses. He also mentioned Lee Industrial Contracting and concluded the Pontiac portion of the night with the “new and improved $180 million project called Bloomfield Village,” located on the corner of Telegraph and Square Lake Road, said Patterson, “Construction will begin this spring on this mixed‐use development with up to 300,000 square feet of new retail space including a movie theater, grocery store, hotel and restaurants and some multi‐family residential units.”

Oakland County International Airport

Several investments are proceeding with the airport. “Oakland County International Airport is expanding its footprint for corporate business development projects this year ‐ projects worth millions of dollars in private investment ‐ you get the sense that Oakland County’s economy continues to strengthen from the days of the Great Recession,” said Patterson, including “The airport will invest $8 million in the coming year to rebuild taxiway Charlie, the busiest taxiway in all of Michigan. Yes, busier than any of the taxiways at Detroit Metro Airport I’m told. This will help maintain Oakland County International Airport as a desirable place to land and service corporate aircraft.”

“Do you know since Oakland County has operated the airport, our runways have never closed due to inclement weather? A credit to our outstanding ground crew. Anyway, you get the picture. The airport is full of landmark moments and has a story to tell,” Patterson said.

Enhancing Public Safety

“Few things impact our quality of life more than public safety. And in 2017, we are enhancing it,” stated Patterson, “This month we have begun to replace the county’s 911 infrastructure from a copper network which has reached the end of its useful life as it dates back to 1963. A new regional fiber optic network called Emergency Services Internet‐protocol Network or ESINet (pronounced: Ezee Net) will prepare the way for the Next Generation 911 system in Oakland County.”

Patterson also continued the conversation on safety with the need to be ready for an “active shooter.” With real threats out there, the county has been building “OakTac” – a term for the Oakland County Tactical Response Coordination Group – system involving Sheriff Mike Bouchard and Homeland Security, under the leadership of Ted Quisenberry, Manager of The Homeland Security Division of Oakland County.

“Finally, another slant on public safety. Today’s headlines are full of stories about the abhorrent practice of human trafficking taking place both locally and globally,” said Patterson, “Locally, law enforcement on all levels continues to fight human trafficking and rescue children from forced prostitution. And Oakland County Children’s Village is playing a key role in our region as a safe haven.”

Concluding the State of the County, L. Brooks Patterson riffled through a several quick mentions and many acknowledgments – he quite proud of the county employees and his team. “I hope you leave here struck by how busy 2017 will be for Oakland County. As I stated at the beginning, my administration is operating on the premise that our best accomplishments are ahead of us,” he said, “And looking at the year ahead, indeed they are.”

The evening finished in an afterglow of snacks, deserts, refreshments and community leaders mingling. Here are some images of the evening, including connections to Rochester and Rochester Hills (all photos by Michael Dwyer):



Watch the entire 2017 State of the County Address:


About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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