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Through its relationship with the Economic Development Council of Livingston County, Ann Arbor SPARK staff worked on many new opportunities and strategic initiatives in Livingston County. While successes have been shared over the past year in quarterly updates, these are our top three success of 2018.

Livingston County sees new investment from Canadian tree seedling company

Canadian-based PRT Growing Services Ltd. announced plans to construct up to 30 greenhouses and open crop production compounds to produce more than eight million various tree seedlings annually, including red pine, jack pine, and black spruce. Most of the product is already under contract to the State of Michigan for re-forestation along with other Great Lakes states, local communities, and private firms. With nursery operations throughout Canada and in Oregon and Alabama, PRT is North America’s largest producer of container-grown forest seedlings. PRT takes pride in being a major player in North American forest sustainability and replenishment.

Ann Arbor SPARK was introduced to the company through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and its international attraction team. SPARK coordinated introductory meetings with Hamburg Township officials and made referrals to local construction firms for PRT to bid the work through. PRT plans to begin seeding the first crop in March 2019 to begin servicing its customers throughout the Midwest. SPARK is also ensuring that PRT’s Human Resources team in Canada is connected with talent programs and other resources in Michigan to recruit the approximately 50 new jobs the operation will require. Overall, the project brought a $4 million investment to Livingston County. Construction of the greenhouses is complete and PRT plans to begin operations in March 2019.

Livingston County Manufacturing Day 2018

More than 275 participants in Livingston County, including students, teachers, and chaperones joined Ann Arbor SPARK, Mott Community College, LESA, and 13 Livingston-based companies to explore manufacturing career opportunities during the first annual Livingston County Regional Manufacturing Day.

The Livingston County event was one of many national MFG Day Celebrations, helping to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. The Livingston County event had the largest turnout per capita for any MFG Day event with less than five years of participation. This year’s event was funded through a grant that SPARK received from the MEDC to implement MFG Day in the five-county greater Ann Arbor region. The event was organized by a committee of engaged volunteers from the Chambers of Commerce, Schools, Mott Community College, Michigan Works, the Workforce Intelligence Network, and Ann Arbor SPARK.

Planning for Manufacturing Day 2019 activities is in progress and we look forward to another inspiring year.

CPV plans for a natural gas power plant in Livingston County

Ann Arbor SPARK staff is working with Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), a power generation company headquartered in Maryland, as the company considers constructing a natural-gas-fired power generation facility in Handy Township, investing up to $1 billion.

In 2018, CPV Mason Road, LLC optioned 145 acres in the southeast corner of the township, near the Fowlerville Proving Grounds. The company now begins a two-year due diligence period, allowing time to assess whether the location is suitable for one of their facilities. The proposed power plant would burn natural gas to generate electricity and the proximity of the proposed location to natural resources plays a leading role in CPV’s local interest. Once completed, this project will be one of the largest single investments made in Livingston County by a business.

2019 is gearing up to be a busy year for our businesses in Livingston County and SPARK continues to work with employers, schools, and other partners to address the region’s talent needs. Among our activities, we look forward to bringing more career awareness for students and promote the Hot 50 Jobs Michigan will need to develop in the years to come. Livingston County will continue to be a place where innovative ideas can create real solutions to meet the needs of our local employers and the community as a whole.

Contributed by Marcia Gebarowski, the director of business development in Livingston County.