Mt. Clemens, MI - Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) last week announced the winners of its Macomb Business Awards.
In previous years, an awards ceremony has been held to mark the event. This year, the announcement went virtual through a weeklong series of videos, which featured County Executive Mark Hackel and Vicki Rowinski, director of MCPED, naming the recipient of each category.
“Even though we could not gather to celebrate the accomplishments of our local businesses, we wanted to make sure we honored them,” said Rowinski. “This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone, so it’s important that we recognize local organizations doing important work in our community.”
- Champion of Workplace Culture (sponsored by MetroParent Magazine): First State Bank
First State Bank is a family founded, locally owned and operated business that has been in Macomb County for 102 years. It provides generous medical benefits and 401(k) matching contributions to employees, flexible work schedules and assistance with achieving higher education and certifications, free mental health counseling through a third party, charity/volunteer opportunities and access to expert financial advice.
- Corporate Citizen: Warner Norcross + Judd
Warner Norcross + Judd provides client-focused, proactive legal and business counsel to clients of all sizes. It has a robust pro bono program that in 2019, provided over 5,600 hours of free legal counsel, totaling nearly $3 million. In addition, it sponsors more than 100 nonprofit organizations within Macomb County and across the state. The firm also offers scholarships to diverse students pursuing a career in law and has awarded more than $200,000 to over 100 individuals.
- Diversity and Inclusion Leader (sponsored by OneMacomb): CARE of Southeastern Michigan
CARE of Southeastern Michigan strengthens resiliency in people and their communities through prevention, education and services that improve quality of life. The nonprofit aims to fill its board of directors with individuals affected by a loved one's addiction to substances or by mental health challenges, or be in recovery themselves. This core value is also evident in its hiring practices. CARE currently employs more than 50 people who are in recovery from a substance use disorder. The organization has also taken other proactive hiring steps, which include the removal of criminal records as grounds for an instant denial to implementing consistent salary scales to create gender pay equity.
- Hidden Gem: The Reptarium
The Reptarium Reptile Zoo is a Utica-based business that provides access to reptiles and other animals from around the world. From its passionate founder to the knowledgeable staff, The Reptarium aims to educate the public about these captivating creatures through a variety of in-person and virtual offerings.
- Manufacturer of the Year: Paslin
Paslin is a full service design and build organization serving the global automotive industry through the concept, design, construction and deployment of complex automated assembly and welding systems. For the last three years, the company has been driven by efforts to innovate and implement new technology, diversify and develop its workforce. As a result, it has grown from a $100 million organization with 300 employees to a $220 million organization with nearly 700 employees.
- Trailblazer of Future Talent: DRIVE One TechCenter
DRIVE One TechCenter provides at-risk students with vocational training in automotive technology, machining, welding and transportation design. It aims to prepare adolescents and young adults for employment by using project-based learning, experienced instructors, state-of-the-art technology and career placement as an approach to workforce development. Since its founding in 2012, 100 percent of DRIVE One’s 300 students have graduated high school, with 84 percent of graduates going on to be employed in the trades industry, enrolled in a post-secondary institution or serving in a branch of the armed forces.
- Beacon of Economic Development: John Bierbusse, executive director of Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works!
John Bierbusse is the executive director of the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board. He has been in this position since the creation of the organization in 1983. Bierbusse has led the organization through three major legislative initiatives; the Job Training Partnership Act, the Workforce Investment Act and the present Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. As executive director, Bierbusse has led the local implementation of numerous workforce programs designed to address the workforce needs of public assistance recipients, dislocated workers, offenders, aging, youth as well as the general public.
- Economic Development Partner of the Year: Macomb County Chamber Alliance
The Macomb County Chamber Alliance was awarded this recognition for its role in helping businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A panel of judges reviewed 58 nominations and selected winners in each category. Judges included: Gene Lovell – president and CEO of First State Bank, Karen Smith – executive director of Leadership Macomb, Jim Sawyer – president of Macomb Community College, Mike Lee – managing editor of Crain's Detroit Business and Vicky Rowinski – director of MCPED.
For more information, visit www.macombbusiness.com.
About Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive. Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents. The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense and homeland security. For more information, call 586-469-5285 or visit: https://ped.macombgov.org/Ped-Home