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Two Wixom Companies Attend International Paris Air Show/International Trade Mission

Acromag Inc and Classic Precision Inc Among Attendees

Post Date:07/10/2017 11:58 AM

Posted to www.thenewsherald.com June 28, 2017
By Mark Cavitt

Some of the state’s top economic development minds have returned from a trade mission to Europe with a positive forecast for statewide foreign investment.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Oakland County Executive Matt Gibb, Automation Alley Executive Director Tom Kelly, Trevor Pawl, Michigan Economic Development Corporation vice president of international trade and Michigan aerospace and manufacturing company executives all visited the International Paris Air Show last week.

Gibb said he is confident that he was able to land some major investments for Michigan and Oakland County. He joined the governor in Italy and Germany as well as in France.

“We very likely solidified most, if not all, of the hundreds of millions in investments we were looking at,” said Gibb. “Those announcements will be coming over the next couple of months. The results were better than we had hoped for in the sense that I spoke with multiple companies that explained the immediacy of growth from an employment standpoint with their focus on Michigan.”

As of May, Oakland County has seen $139.9 million in foreign investment in 2017 from 16 companies based in France, Switzerland, Korea, Italy, Germany and China. This growth has created 1,664 new jobs in the county.

The air show, which began more than 100 years ago, is the world’s largest aerospace trade show in the world. The Michigan delegation visited to pitch Michigan’s business climate as it relates to aerospace, build relationships and partnerships through trade and expansion, and sign investment project deals, which could mean millions in investments for Michigan.

Russell Nieves, Director of Embedded Solutions Group, Acromag, Inc. based in Wixom, said the trade mission was an incredible investment for his company.

“The exposure at the show, the business-to-business meetings arranged by their (Automation Alley and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation) staff and the contacts made will prove their value in the near future,” said Nieves.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who spent the whole week in Europe, spent three days at the air show meeting with around 60 different companies and trying to convince all that Michigan is the right place to invest.

“This was an expansion of scope for me by coming to the Paris Air Show because we have done so well in the automotive industry we thought it was appropriate to get the word out there about how strong Michigan is in the aerospace industry sector and we are,” said Snyder. “Our aerospace supply chain is really strong.”

Snyder said that Michigan’s supply chain of talent is supplying work for much of the aerospace industry.

Pawl said this show is where most large companies take care of business to take care of business and announce deals.

“We often got overlooked within the aerospace industry because we are so heavily automotive but that can no longer be the case given all the synergy and convergence that is happening in how planes are being made now,” said Pawl. “We have that supply chain that can connect us to new opportunities. All the real players in aerospace were at this show that want to expand now.”

Aerospace in Michigan

• Snyder said there are currently 680 companies in Michigan doing aerospace work.

• Michigan is ranked third in the nation for its pool of talent among occupations in primary demand by aerospace companies.

• Nine of the 10 largest aerospace/defense research and development firms are located in Michigan.

• Michigan ranks as a top 10 state for aerospace supply chain expansion.

• The University of Michigan boasts the No. 3 ranked aerospace engineering program in the country.

Snyder said he didn’t finalize any projects or investments but made the Michigan elevator pitch to companies looking to invest sooner rather than later.

“We ran across many companies that were looking to acquire land,” said Snyder. “They were that far along in the process of planning expansions. We ran across others that had projects on the drawing board that would really like to have Michigan in consideration.”

Snyder said many of the companies he spoke with are considering Michigan for expansion because of the strong aerospace supply chain and the success of the companies already located in Michigan.

“We have more industrial and mechanic engineers and industrial designers than any other state in the country,” said Snyder. “We have the professional skilled trades people that these companies want right now. I explained that to them. We are building this pipeline.”

Oakland County difference

Gibb said out of the 66 company meetings he had all week, there were about 40 companies already located in the county that had plans for expansion.

“As far as new expansion into Michigan, there were about a dozen companies that were really on the state of readiness to come to Michigan” said Gibb. “We had really good, dynamic conversations between big and small companies that would result in expansions of operations.”

Snyder said Oakland County is positioned very well for foreign investment growth.

“It actually has an opportunity to continue to build, not just maintain what it has, because of the strong reputation and the great resources,” said Snyder. “Oakland County’s strength is about future growth in terms of collaborations between aerospace and automotive companies relating to research and development and engineering.”

Kelly said Oakland County is a global hub of knowledge around mobility and aerospace.

“There is such a concentration of engineering talent and executive talent,” said Kelly. “That’s what these companies are looking for. Aerospace pairs well with manufacturing and automotive. There is no better place then Oakland County to locate your business.”

Connecting Michigan businesses

Kelly said 10 Michigan companies were represented at the air show. All specialize in aerospace, defense or automotive and were looking to build new foreign relationships.

“All had a great story to tell about Michigan and about them as a company within Michigan,” said Kelly. “We are looking to generate global sales through these trade missions. We have generated over $700 million in revenue for our trade mission participants over the last 10 years.”

The companies that attended included Acromag (Wixom), Alpha Precision Aerospace (Fraser), Classic Precision (Wixom), Detroit Engineered Products (Troy), Enstrom Helicopter (Menominee), Hydra Lock (Mt. Clemens), ThermoAnalytics (Calumet), Traverse Legal PLC/Drone Law Pro (Traverse City) Vanderplaats Research and Development (Novi) and Weldaloy (Warren).

“It’s always an expectation that we are going to hit it out of the park with the companies we bring along on these foreign trade missions,” said Kelly. “My role was to take these Automation Alley member companies and help them create new customers by setting up face-to-face meetings. It was very, very successful.”

Kelly said every single company left the air show with “awesome leads” and should see an increase in business as a result.

“Some of these companies will now be first time exporters overseas,” said Kelly.

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