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Friday, March 30, 2012

Moran Iron Works Honored

Here is a copy of a recent press release from Moran Iron Works
DATE: March 27, 2012

Contact Information: Thomas Moran, Founder & President, tom@moraniron.com , 989-733-2011
Moran Iron Works - Honored as One of the 2012 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch"
(Onaway, MI) –

Moran Iron Works has been recognized as one of the 2012 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch," an awards program sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation and presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.

Moran Iron Works
will be honored at an awards ceremony during the eighth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business event, May 3, 2012 in Lansing, Mich.

Moran Iron Works
is a steel fabrication market leader, supplying custom welding and industrial fabrication to a global market, specializing in one-of-a-kind fabrication for the power industry. Moran Iron Works has built its business plan on Integrity, American Craftsmanship, Participation, and Performance. This is accomplished by having a dedicated team of employees that bring all necessary resources together to assure continual momentum in quality, service, technology, and price.

"Our business has been successful because of our employees," states Thomas Moran, founder and president of Moran Iron Works. "We have the most motivated, educated and highest performing employees in the industry".

Companies making it to the "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch" list are a remarkable group of second-stage companies. Defined as having 6 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and generating $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investors or grants, these companies form the backbone of Michigan’s economy. Representing all regions of the state and a diverse range of industries, companies like Moran Iron Works are known for their exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, creation of innovation or use of innovation in creative ways, and their sustainable competitive advantage.

Winners were selected by Michigan-based judges from the banking, economic development, entrepreneurship development, industrial and venture capital communities.

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch is presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.

Founding underwriters are PNC Bank, Michigan Certified Development Corporation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and Dynamic Edge, Inc.

Contributing Underwriters are DTE Energy Foundation, Comcast Business Class, Comcast Spotlight, Varnum Attorneys at Law, Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates, Huntington and DBI Office Interiors.

Michigan Celebrates Small Business was founded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, Edward Lowe Foundation, Greater Lansing Business Monthly and Small Business Association of Michigan

Information about next year’s Michigan 50 Companies to Watch program can be found at http://Michigan.CompaniesToWatch.org. For information about Michigan Celebrates Small Business, visit http://MichiganCelebrates.biz.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Women Entrepreneurs May Lead Recovery

Below are excertps from and article in USA today by Rhonda Abrams.  This article is interesting and important for the future of business in Rogers City.  women can lead the way!

"First, it is electric. Next, it's equipped with a state-of-the-art digital dashboard that charges your battery remotely and plots routes for the least battery consumption. It's made in America. And you can personalize the bike with all kinds of features.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this cutting-edge product is that this company has a woman president, is financed by women investors, and is made in a manufacturing plant owned by a woman.
Why surprising? Here's a sad truth in 2012: Women entrepreneurs still have a harder time raising money for high-growth ventures than men.
That situation is changing, thanks to women like Lauren Flanagan of Belle Capital of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Flanagan represents a relatively new breed of angel investors, experienced businesswomen investing in startups founded by women.
"Women have over 51% of the wealth in the U.S., but we do less than 10% of early stage investing," Flanagan said. "We have women with talent and money sitting on the sideline.
"If we could get some of that money invested, we'd change the game," she said. "We could break the cycle of lack of access to capital for women entrepreneurs."
To understand financing for high-growth companies, it helps to understand the two types of professional investors and lack of women in these ranks:
Venture capitalists raise money from others, typically investing very large sums of money — $2 million to $5 million and more in early rounds. About 11% of venture capitalists are women, according to the National Venture Capital Association, and estimates are that only 4 percent to 9% of companies receiving venture-capital financing have even one woman on the founding team.
Angel investors put their own money into promising startups. About 13% of angels are women, and about 13 percent of angel-backed companies have women founders.
Keep in mind that nearly half of all businesses in the United States have a female owner: 29% owned by women alone, 17% equally owned with a man. So you see what a small percentage have access to high-growth capital.
Increasingly, women are starting their own angel-investor groups to make it easier for women entrepreneurs with great ideas to succeed.
"We want to solve big problems and, of course, we want to make money," Flanagan said. "But we're doing this to pay back, too. In the past, wealthy women were philanthropists, they gave money away. We're trying to teach women to be more comfortable with investing."
Last year, she started Belle Capital with 44 women investors. One of its first investments is Current Motor Co. of Ann Arbor, Mich., makers of that shiny, new electric scooter.
Belle Capital has brought far more than money to this promising startup.
"We leverage our financial capital with our human capital," Flanagan said. "One of our partners is Andra Rush, she's the founder of two companies that combined have over a billion dollars of revenue."
Rush founded Rush Trucking, which later did a joint venture to launch Dakkota Integrated Systems, which manages the manufacturing process for automotive interiors. Dakkota, based in Holt, Mich., is building the bike, creating good jobs here in the United States.
"Marie Klopf, an investor in Belle, is a supply-chain expert. She's now president of Current Motor. Nancy Phillipart — she used to run GM global accessories (and is) another investor in Belle — is advising on personalization strategy," Flanagan said. "And I brought a relationship with Dell. They've provided technical assistance and helped us get to market six months faster."
Flanagan points out it's not only women her venture-capital firm brings to the table.
"We brought in Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors and father of the Chevy Volt."
Belle Capital, www.bellevc.com, and Flanagan are part of a nationwide movement to increase women's access to venture financing. Other places to check:
Astia, www.astia.org
Golden Seeds, www.goldenseeds.com
Springboard Enterprises, www.springboardenterprises.org
Women 2.0, www.women2.org
Women's Capital Connection of Kansas City, www.onekcforwomen.com
And soon, look for a Current Motor electric scooter on a street near you.
Rhonda Abrams is president of The Planning Shop and publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her previous book is the 5th edition ofThe Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies. Register for Rhonda's free newsletter atwww.PlanningShop.comand "like" The Planning Shop onFacebookfor updates. See an index of Abrams' columns. Twitter: twitter.com/RhondaAbrams. Facebook: www.facebook.com/RhondaAbramsSmallBusiness."
                                           Copyright Rhonda Abrams 2012.
I hope this article inspires women in Rogers City to start their own business.  These women can be successful and help lead Rogers City into a bright future.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Placemaking for Rogers City

I believe that Rogers City is a great place.  A place with great people, great history, and great natural resources.  Having said that, we can make it better. 

What is better?  Different people will have vastly different ideas of a "great place."  Below is a website with lots of different ideas about what makes a "great place" and how to work toward being a great place.  Please visit this site and comment back to me about what you want and don't want for Rogers City.  Everyone has a voice and your comments are welcome.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Make Michigan a Hub for Trade

The following article was published in the Detroit News on March 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

Make Michigan regional trade hub, experts say

Panelists: Increased foreign deals key to U.S., Canadian cities

Lansing — Michigan cities and towns that border Canada are increasingly setting their sights on efforts to rebuild local and regional economies by increasing foreign trade, according to panelists at a Wednesday forum sponsored by Michigan State University.
Economic development experts from downtown Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie in the eastern Upper Peninsula shared their strategies and struggles to add jobs, growth and wealth to their communities with efforts that not only target trade with Canada and other nations, but that also include joint efforts with their neighbors to the north.
By thinking cooperatively and creatively, they say, Michigan can build itself into a regional trade hub and vital link in the global supply chain.
"Michigan has an opportunity to think very innovatively," said AnnMarie Schneider, director of program planning and policy education at MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.
Michigan should build on its existing strength in trade, Ben Erulkar of the Detroit Regional Chamber told the forum. Foreign automakers spent $1.6 billion in research and development in the U.S. last year, he said, $1.2 billion of it in Michigan. With exports of $51 billion to 200 countries in 2011, Michigan was a Top 10 state for export growth.
"Michigan is a global player," Erulkar said. "We are fully integrated into the global economy."
In the Genesee County region, the Next Michigan Corp. is focusing on the growth of existing companies, noted Janice Karcher of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce. Like many communities, the region's focus includes transportation, logistics and distribution, through a project called the I-69 International Trade Corridor.
Karcher noted the heavy rail traffic through the Genesee region, mostly headed to Chicago. But once the cargo is delivered there, much of it is trucked back to Michigan. Her region is focusing on developing a freight hub where that cargo can be unloaded without requiring a return trip. Such efforts can create 18,000 direct new jobs, she said.
Representatives of Sault Ste. Marie and St. Claire County also discussed their efforts to work jointly on regional business and economic development with Canadian cities across the water.
(313) 222-2145

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee Meeting

Attached is the formal announcement of the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee Meeting to be held on Wednesday April 11, 2012 at the Ram Center located along Higgins Lake.   The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and be completed by 3 p.m.  The meeting will focus on the presentations for the Spring Workshops and for details see the attached agenda and meeting notice but a brief list of items to be discussed at the meeting include:
1) A discussion how several native species are flourishing by taking advantage of the invasives.

2) An overview of the expanding walleye fishery in Lake Huron with highlights from Thunder Bay.

3) A review of the status of the baitfish in Lake Huron and related research projects for 2012.

4) Cormorant management in Thunder Bay and the potential of increased cormorant monitoring in Saginaw Bay.

5) A volunteer’s perspective of assisting with cormorant management.

6) Updates since the fall Advisory Meeting on the Atlantic salmon and cisco projects.

7) A discussion of the splake fishery in the Les Cheneaux Islands area.

8) A progress report of updating the lake trout harvest limits and regulations for 2012 in Zone MH-1 ( Rogers City to Drummond Island).

9) Management and Law Enforcement Updates.

10) Overall, the goal is to fine-tune and adapt the above presentations for the Sea Grant Spring Workshops being held at Cedarville, April 23, 2012; Alpena April 24, 201 andPort Huron May 9, 2012.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fishing Improves in Lake Huron

The following is an excerpt from a DNR report dated December 9, 2011:
The fishing during 2010 was excellent in many regions of Lake Huron. What is not widely known is that after the alewife crashed in 2003 and the salmon fishery declined, fishing in much of the Lake is currently as good as it was during the peak nearly 10 years ago. The species found in the catch have been changing but the resulting diverse fishery has been very good. In 2010, rainbow trout (steelhead) became a very important component of the fishery in much of Lake Huron. Since the loss of alewife, there has been much less baitfish in the mid waters for the salmon and trout to eat but the fish are beginning to adapt. Research has shown that the successful rainbow trout has learned to feed on the surface for terrestrial insects, in the mid waters for smelt and on the bottom for goby. Lake trout, which is also becoming a very important part of the catch, developed similar feeding habits by swimming back and forth from the bottom to the surface searching for food. The walleye fishery in Saginaw Bay has recovered and fishing is excellent not only in the Bay but at many ports to the north and south including Thunder Bay which has developed into a high-quality reliable spring and summer fishery. Chinook salmon continue to be important in the catch in the north from Alpena to the Straits and along with rainbow trout, lake trout, walleye, Coho salmon, brown trout, catfish and Atlantic salmon they make up an excellent diverse fishery throughout the Lake. During last season when all the catch rates from the fish mentioned above are considered together, the fishing in 2010 was comparable to the best years at several locations.

Why did the Alewife Crash and Food Web Change Dramatically in 2003?
The food web starts with energy from the sun, which is absorbed by tiny one-cell plants known as algae or phytoplankton. Very small animals about 1/100 to ½ inch in length that are known as zooplankton eat the algae and become food for small fish like smelt and goby which are eaten by larger fish like trout and salmon. Generally, lakes with more algae produce more food for fish. When the zebra and quagga mussels were introduced during the 1990s, they eventually spread to the deep waters of Lake Huron where they efficiently filtered the mid waters and consumed much of the algae. As a result, the zooplankton numbers decreased dramatically causing the alewife and smelt to
decline to record low levels because of lack of food. Since the mussels trapped the food as they filtered the water, the area around the mussels on the bottom became rich with nutrients and bottom dwelling fish like goby survived very well. After the food web changed, there was much less food in the mid waters but there was still a concentration of food on the surface as terrestrial insects and an increase in food on the bottom. Lake Huron is beginning to produce more baitfish with a large number of bottom feeding goby, resurgence of emerald shiners and smelt consistently producing good year classes.

Editor's note:  Overall, fishing has improved significantly, especially in the area of Lake Huron near Rogers City.  Thanks to Frank Krist and the Great Lakes Fisheries for the above information. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Business-to-Business Online Network

The following is a posting from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC):

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for a business-to-business online network application, which will be branded under the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) economic gardening initiative, has been issued. This project will result in a directory of Michigan businesses and a procurement marketplace where Michigan businesses may post procurement opportunities available for other Michigan businesses and, conversely, the participating businesses may themselves look for and find opportunities posted by other companies. Company participants may also use the system as a business-oriented social network whereby companies can communicate between each other directly and as self-designated groups or clusters.

Thank you,
Mandy Rossman  /  Partner Relationship Manager
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
desk: (313) 456-3034 / cell: (517) 862-7324  /  fax: (313) 456-3021

Friday, March 9, 2012

Export-Import Bank Coming to Michigan

The Detroit Free Press reported:

"The U.S. Export-Import Bank said Tuesday that it plans to establish a full-time presence in Detroit and three other cities, making it easier for small businesses to access its services.

The bank's Detroit presence could help increase exports from Michigan, which was the eighth-largest exporter among the 50 states last year. The Brookings Institution and Public Sector Consultants prepared a report for Business Leaders for Michigan that calls for boosting exports, among other things."

Presque Isle County has several enterprises that could potentially benefit from increased exports.  Among those are:  Cadillac Products, Moran Iron works, the timber industry, and of course, Carmeuse Lime and Stone Company.  I encourage local business leaders to explore the opportunity for growth and expansion of their business through exports.  We have a lot of natural resources and local talent to put to work for the good of all.

Forbes Report Includes Michigan Billionaires

Here is an excerpt from a Detroit Free Press Report on Forbes List of Billionaires:
Reported by Zlati Meyer: 313-223-4439 or zmeyer@freepress.com

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Forbes' billionaires list. According to the magazine, that first year, 140 people were on this list, while this time around there are 1,226, an all-time high. Their combined worth is $4.6 trillion.

Michigan billionaires
With worldwide ranking, name, city, wealth, age and source of wealth.
205. Richard DeVos, Holland, $5 billion, 86, Amway
216. Hank and Doug Meijer, Grand Rapids, $4.9 billion, retail
491. Ronda Stryker, Portage, $2.5 billion, 57, Stryker
491. Alfred Taubman, Bloomfield Hills, $2.5 billion, 88, real estate
521. Michael & Marian Ilitch, Bingham Farms, $2.4 billion, 82, pizza
854. Dan Gilbert, Franklin, $1.5 billion, 50, Quicken Loans
854. Manuel Moroun & family, Grosse Pointe Shores, $1.5 billion, 84, transportation
960. Manoj Bhargava, Farmington Hills, $1.3 billion, 58, 5-hour Energy
1015. John Brown, Portage, $1.2 billion, 77. Stryker
1015. William Clay Ford Sr., Grosse Pointe Shores, $1.2 billion, 87, Ford
1015. Jon Stryker, Kalamazoo, $1.2 billion, 53, Stryker
1075. Roger Penske, Birmingham, $1.1 billion, 75, cars

It is well known that people with great wealth are often philanthropic.  The City of Rogers City would be extremely grateful to someone who decided to assist our community.  We are not too proud to ask. 

We are also a great location for a forward-thinking investor.  People with money may be looking for a good investment.  Rogers City is a great place to invest and obtain significant future returns.  Visit www.rogerscity.com to learn more.  Also, I would be happy to provide a tour to potential investor or philantropist. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Governor's Tourism Conference

Governor’s tourism conference coming
Pete Daly

The most important gathering of the Michigan tourism industry in 2012 is slated for Sunday and Monday, March 25 and 26, at the Amway Grand Plaza, and it may draw 700 or more attendees.

The Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2012 is hosted by the state tourism promotion arm, Travel Michigan, plus Michigan State University and the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Delivering on the Pure Michigan Promise,” with the focus on the Michigan tourism industry’s strategic future for the next five years. Participants in the industry will learn how to work with economic developers and regional and local officials to help grow the business at home through tourism marketing and partnerships.

Keynote presentations will be made by Gov. Snyder; Peter Greenberg, national travel expert and CBS News travel editor; and Joel Secundy, vice president of Strategic Outreach for Brand USA, the new international tourism promotion agency for the United States.

The Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association is actually producing the conference, according to its president/CEO, Steve Yencich.

Yencich said the “continued growth and expansion of that Pure Michigan branding campaign” is probably the No. 1 concern of the tourism industry throughout the state.

Snyder’s proposed budget includes $25 million for continuation of the Pure Michigan national marketing campaign.

“Thanks to the governor and the support of the Legislature, we do have access to 21st Century Jobs Fund monies which are being appropriated in the amount of $25 million annually, and we believe that fund is secure for the next several years,” said Yencich. “However, the industry is still concerned and wants to work toward the establishment of a true long-term funding mechanism for that award-winning (marketing) campaign.”

Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small noted that there are still “uncertainties that surround Michigan’s economy and subsequently its annual budget,” adding that “it is imperative that the tourism industry continue to work diligently to deliver on the Pure Michigan investment and promises that the brand promotes. Though very thankful that the governor understands the value of tourism to this state, we must continue to show results, thus allowing for sustained funding for years to come. More strategic alliances and collaborations between the tourism industry and economic development partners should be encouraged in order for us to grow state revenues and lead the effort to put Michigan back firmly on its feet, and you can count on Grand Rapids to take a lead role with this initiative.”

Although the state’s official 2011 statewide tourism figures haven’t been compiled yet, Yencich said 2010 showed “a 21 percent increase in the number of vacationers coming in from other states.”

He quickly added that in that same year, there was a 6 percent increase in tourist activity by Michigan residents within the state.

Michigan residents spending their vacation time and money within the state “remains pivotally important to the industry,” noted Yencich.

That number began dwindling along with the loss of 1 million jobs in Michigan over the last 10 years, “culminated by the bankruptcies of Chrysler and GM, and all the parts manufacturers and suppliers. The ripple effect made itself felt for literally all of that 10-year period, so to see the rebound of 6 percent in that instate resident (tourist) base is a wonderful sign.”

The numbers are from Travel Michigan’s annual study by the Longwood research firm.

The Pure Michigan campaign “most decidedly” is working, added Yencich.

Hotel/motel occupancy rates are a key indicator of the health of the tourism industry in every market, according to Yencich, and Michigan’s hotel occupancy levels have led the country, in terms of percentage increase, since the summer of 2009, he said — “and have been doing so virtually every month since that time.”

At the end of 2011, according to Yencich, the average hotel/motel occupancy rate across the United States was 60 percent; in Michigan, it was 55.3 percent. In Detroit alone, the occupancy rate was 59.8 percent.

In terms of an increase in the occupancy rate from 2010 to 2011, the U.S. increase was 4.4 percent, according to Yencich, while Michigan’s increase was 6.9 percent “and Detroit’s increase was 10.2 percent — and that’s the mark of Pure Michigan.”

For five years in a row, ending in 2009, Michigan had the lowest hotel/motel occupancy rate in the nation. The Pure Michigan marketing strategy kicked in around 2009.

“If anyone is looking for evidence as to the impact and efficacy of the Pure Michigan campaign, they need only look at numbers like these,” said Yencich.

So, what about that gasoline price? Some business publications such as Forbes have mentioned predictions of gas reaching $5 per gallon by Memorial Day.

“The price of gasoline is a concern” of the Michigan tourism industry, said Yencich, but his opinion is that “very few families are going to look at the price of gasoline and … say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to take a vacation this year.’

“There are many who might have been planning to drive to the Grand Canyon, to drive to the East Coast, and those folks are going to choose to vacation closer to home, and a great deal of Pure Michigan’s market resides both in the state of Michigan and in those states immediately adjoining the Great Lakes area.”

“Where it suppresses tourism outcomes,” said Yencich, “is the frequency of weekend travel. So people with cottages, people who like to go on day trips, to drive up north for the weekend and stay in a hotel — the number of those kinds of trips is generally suppressed by high gas prices.”

However, he noted that “in years past, when we’ve seen spikes in gas during the summer travel season, we’ve seen individual properties and convention and visitors bureaus offering gas cards and other incentives to help offset the cost of that travel. So the market generally finds a way to positively react to those kinds of conditions.”

Yencich said the last figure he had heard for the total economic value of the tourism industry in Michigan was $17 billion.

The Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association took over management of the annual state tourism conference in 2006, at which time fewer than 300 people attended. In 2011, attendance was more than 600, and Yencich said the MLTA thinks there will be 700 to 750 attendees this year.

To register for the 2012 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, visit the MLTA website: www.milodging.org.

The MLTA, formerly known as the Michigan Hotel, Motel & Resort Association, is a 100-year-old organization based in Lansing. The trade association represents more than 500 hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts, with a total of more than 40,000 guest rooms.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Presque Isle County Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Thanks to the efforts of Joe Libby, Presque Isle County may actually obtain a functional, county-wide CVB.  This would be good news for the tourism industry in our county.  Keep up the good work Joe!

Friday, March 2, 2012

DOJ Launches Website for At-Risk Girls

Subject: U.S. Department of Justice Launches Website To Improve Outcomes for At-Risk and Delinquent Girls
The U.S. Department of Justice announces a new resource-the National Girls Institute website-to better meet the needs of at-risk and delinquent girls, their families and the agencies and organizations that serve them. The institute is supported by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) through a grant from the Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

 "We have a responsibility to educate professionals and the public about what programs work to keep girls safe and out of trouble," said Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator of OJJDP. "This website is an important step forward in our efforts to improve the lives of girls across the country."

OJJDP established the National Girls Institute in 2010 to develop and provide a range of training, technical assistance and other resources to local, tribal and private organizations serving girls and young women in, or at risk of entering, the juvenile justice system. Through this website, professionals can submit requests for training and technical assistance, as well as find current information about best practices, gender-responsive tools, research and related events.

"The National Girls Institute website is a critical resource for the public to learn about research, practical tools and best practices specific to the issues surrounding girls and young women with experiences in the juvenile justice system," said Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, Director of the NCCD Center for Girls and Young Women. "The website will be a dynamic way to share timely information about the urgent needs of girls, as well as giving girls, their parents and caregivers practical resources. Most importantly, the website provides a vehicle for bringing girls' issues to the forefront, so we can effect positive change."

Visit the website at www.nationalgirlsinstitute.org. For more information about OJJDP research and programs related to girls in the juvenile justice system, visit www.ojjdp.gov/programs/girlsdelinquency.html. Read the full release at http://ojp.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/2012/ojppr020812.pdf

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