The Livingston County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and heard a presentation on economic development activities.

Representatives from Ann Arbor SPARK, which partners with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County, updated the board on its most recent quarterly report of economic activity and successes in county. Director of Business Development Marcia Gebarowski says there is currently a pipeline of about 20 active projects that staff is working on, which equates to a little more than 600 jobs, noting the average lifetime for projects has been about 150 days.

Gebarowski noted there has been really good development activity in the Fowlerville Industrial Park. She says Total Security Solutions held a groundbreaking ceremony a 46,000-square-foot headquarters facility to be built on Garden Lane, which highlighted the new building but also celebrated the next step and growth of the company. CZ Cartage is another new business located on Van Riper in the industrial park. Gebarowski says the logistics trucking firm is now in its newly constructed building and they toured the facility, marking a $6.5 (m) million investment that began in 2017.

A new venture is also moving along in Hamburg Township, where a Canadian forest seedling grower has secured a lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the Brighton State Recreation Area. The land will be put back to use as a nursery operation and will produce more than 8 million various tree seedlings annually. The total investment from PRT Growing Services is pegged between $4 to $5 (m) million and once up and running, will have an combination of annual and seasonal workforce that equates to about 50 total jobs.

A lot of focus for employers is on trying to attract, retain and develop talent. It’s not just an issue locally but across the state and nationwide. Gebarowski tells WHMI Livingston County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state and with the industries located here, there is an immediate need for talent. She says a lot of manufacturers need an added shift and there is continued commercial and retail development in need of hourly and sales workforce. One big disruptor has also been healthcare investments. Gebarowski noted with the new University of Michigan Brighton Health Center opening and continued investments with IHA and Ascension, there continues to be a big need for talent in many different sectors of that industry. She says the partners they coordinate and collaborate with continue to grow to attract talent, but also get the training needed for those interested in pursuing a job in those fields. She says they’re working to help different industry get the word out, learn how to compete with jobs in other counties and make Livingston County a great destination to come to work.

Meanwhile, the Economic Development Council of Livingston County will host its annual meeting on September 19th at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township. The Council is celebrating 35 years of economic development locally and the luncheon will highlight local successes and provide recognition to the top economic drivers in the community. The quarterly report is attached. (JM)