Copyright 2024 SPARK

This blog is written by Ann Arbor SPARK’s Phil Santer, Senior Business Development Manager, Livingston County.

I’m just returning from Boston where a series of events had brought thousands of people into the city. The BIO International Convention and Enterprise 2.0 conference were in town, with upwards of 15,000 people there as a result. The Ann Arbor region was well represented at the BIO International Convention, with Velesco Pharmaceutical Services, MichBIO, Molecular Imaging, and the University of Michigan Medical School all in attendance. We were also there for MichAGAIN – an opportunity for folks in Boston to reconnect with the Mitten State.

Regardless of where we were, the message was clear: Michigan and the Ann Arbor region leave an indelible mark on people. We had plenty of folks visit the booth who had only visited Michigan to chat about their experience and reminisce. One conference attendee recounted her experience at the Factory Five Build School that Mott Community College runs in Howell, where she built a kit car and had an opportunity to explore Southeast Michigan. An Eastern Michigan University alum, who now works for a biotech company in California, stopped by to chat about his time in Ypsilanti and discuss some active opportunities in this region. Even Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois stopped by the booth to discuss what’s happening here (he wants to visit Mackinac Island soon). And of course we couldn’t resist taking his picture with Michigan in the background.

The MichAGAIN event took place at the Prudential Tower, offering an exceptional view of Boston. And yet the view didn’t distract us from great discussions on the unique opportunities to return to Michigan. We had a terrific group of people – many of whom had graduated from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University or Wayne State – that were interested in learning about the growth happening here. And yes, I can assure you that the UM and MSU rivalry is still strong 830 miles from Ann Arbor and 600 feet in the air.

The bottom line is that even a short time in Michigan leaves a mark that we often take for granted. That fact, combined with a terrific culture, great places to work and exceptional value-for-money, will certainly contribute to Michigan’s success in the future.