More than 100 business and community leaders gathered in Howell, Thursday for an event highlighting the work a pair of non-profit organizations have done for the community.

Crystal Gardens in Genoa Township was the site for the annual meeting between Ann Arbor SPARK and the Economic Development Council of Livingston County. The event highlighted successes from the partnership between the two that have resulted in 1,200 new job commitments and nearly $290 million of investments made by businesses in Livingston County. The partnership has also resulted in over 500 referrals connecting local companies to resources and funding since 2012.

Ann Arbor SPARK President and CEO Paul Krutko addressed the crowd, emphasizing the importance of using regional economic development to improve the county’s quality of life by attracting and retaining companies that pay well, provide opportunity, and reinvest in the community. SPARK Senior Vice President Phil Santer highlighted key economic indicators, such as Livingston County having the lowest poverty rate and highest median household income in the state. The county’s tax base has also increased 4% over the past year. EDCLC Chairman Ron Long said that because of their relationship with SPARK , Livingston County is now on the map for site selectors from all over the world. (MK)