Major Detroit companies host conference for suppliers


The 2014 Detroit-Based and Diversity-Owned Businesses Procurement Conference held August 7 on the Wayne State University campus was an opportunity for several dozen women- and minority-owned Detroit-based suppliers to have a one-on-one dialog with buyers from five major Detroit companies: Detroit Medical Center, DTE, Henry Ford Health Systems, Wayne State University and Quicken Loans.

“Reshaping Our Community by Investing in Local Resources” was the theme of the conference. Current vendors were able to renew their relationships, and potential vendors were able meet the procurement representatives from each of those institutions and share brochures, pamphlets and other literature.

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager 

EDC approves site remediation for Orleans Landing


Orleans Landing, a 290-unit apartment and retail complex in the East Riverfront District has taken one more step towards construction as the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) approved Rickman Enterprise Group, Detroit, to provide remediation services for the site. The approval paves the way for site clean up to begin this month.

Rickman will perform the environmental remediation services through the financial support of a $1 million remediation grant provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

McCormack Baron Salazar Development Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, is developing Orleans Landing in five blocks of the east riverfront adjacent to the soon-to-open Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure & Discovery Center. The developer expects to build 210 one-bedroom units, 46 two-bedroom units and 34 two-bedroom townhouses, with some retail space.

The EDC is remediating the site in support of a project that is an important, catalyzing development for the East Riverfront. Since 2005, the EDC has invested city, state, foundation, and EDC funds to construct more than $8 million in road infrastructure, $2.7 million for the first elements of the RiverWalk, and $5 million for the Dequindre Cut and Dequindre Trail.  Those investments and other key public investments by the state, city and Riverfront Conservancy allow for continuing implementation of the EDC East Riverfront Development Plan.

Will Tamminga
Director of Project Management

Photos of Orleans Landing supplied by Urban Design Associates

Buyer Ready Business Profile: Kenji Lemon, One Stop Property Maintenance


One Stop Property Maintenance LLC is a Detroit-based, commercial facility maintenance company that provides turf maintenance, snow removal, pressure washing and lot striping. The vast majority of its work is in the city of Detroit, and it also provides services to companies in the tri-county area. Kenji Lemon founded the company eight years ago, and agreed to talk to us about his success.

Tell us how you used D2D and what the program means to you.

We used the D2D Buyer Honor Roll to target our marketing efforts. Our philosophy is that companies that are strong advocates for the city are compatible with our mission to hire local wherever possible. D2D is one more way to gain exposure to Detroit decision makers. We’re also a member of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, a certified minority vendor and on the Pure Michigan list.

Would you give examples of some of the companies you are working with?

We currently do power washing for Henry Ford Health System and Wayne State University. We provide all of our services to CVS Caremark, and we provide power washing and lot striping for PNC Bank.

What has landing a contract with a major buyer meant to your organization?

It has provided stability, the ability to grow to meet the needs of larger clients and exposure to other large clients.

Have you experienced an increase in business scale?

Yes, we’ve added four employees over the last two years due to the increase in business from our customers, and we’re looking for even more for next year. Our revenues have increased at least 30% over the last two years.

Where do you see your company in five years?

We’ll be expanding into new services, including pesticide applications, window cleaning, lot sweeping and of course, we’ll be adding staff to manage these new services.

Tiffini Smith
Director of Corporate Communications


CEO Spotlight: Comprehensive Logistics, Inc. – Brad Constantini, Executive VP/Principal


Comprehensive Logistics, Inc. (CLI) is an award-winning, third-party logistics provider (3PL) that provides services primarily to the automotive and industrial industries. CLI offers engineered logistics solutions that help businesses stay competitive in today’s changing and often unpredictable business environment. The company currently has 19 locations across the U.S. and Canada and will open a new facility in Detroit in the fall of 2014.

It sounds like you’re in the middle of a significant expansion. How did you pick this location?

Real estate is a big part of our company’s business model because we operate, in many cases, very large warehouse facilities. We were looking for a plant that was as close as possible to the Ford-Dearborn Assembly plant, which we will service. That facility is where the Ford F-150 is built.

We came across the property through a broker and secured a deal with the owner. A build-to-suit plan was developed that allowed us to expand upon the facility to fit our company’s needs. The site had a pre-existing 120,000 square foot facility and there was also a larger area where we could add a new building, which is almost complete. The new building will be 365,000 square feet.

We’re located at Wyoming and McGraw, which is only about two-and-a-half miles away from the plant that we will service. The location was an important factor. Being close to the Ford-Dearborn Assembly plant will help us serve the client with a very high-level of efficiency.

How has your company grown in Detroit?

Will grow substantially in the new Detroit location. We conservatively estimate that the new facility will have 240 employees, but it could certainly be higher than that. We anticipate that number will grow substantially over time. We’ve operated in Michigan for a long time, including some business in Lake Orion and a hub in Lansing. We’re very much looking forward to growing with Detroit.

How will your investment here in Detroit impact the city positively?

The property we bought was a former glass manufacturer and there were environmental issues that needed to be addressed and cleaned up. With brownfield remediation support, we were able to clean up the soil and the property. We’ll also be adding a large number of jobs, which will impact the city positively. Most of the work that has gone into developing the location has been provided by companies that are locally-based, and the same will be true of the vendors and suppliers that service this operation when it’s functional. The equipment used will also be locally-based.

In total, the investment that our family and company are going forward with is about $20 million. We’re very happy to be taking part in Detroit’s revitalization and are looking forward to our future in the city. We’ve also joined the Bridging Communities Group, which is very influential in strengthening communities throughout Detroit.

How have your relationships grown with the City of Detroit and DEGC?

It has grown pretty quickly. CLI Director of Finance John Hopkin has really worked hard to make this facility a reality. He worked directly with DEGC, which has provided support and played a very important role in helping us navigate the process. Honigman also provided valuable counsel. The experience has been extremely positive, and we’re very appreciative of all the hospitality and support we’ve received.

We’re looking forward to continuing to build our relationship with the city and DEGC. This facility will launch around September or October, and we would gladly go through this process again if the opportunity presents itself.

Tracie Tillinger
Business Development Manager

DEGC Board selects Rodrick Miller as its new CEO


We are pleased to welcome Rodrick T. Miller to DEGC and Detroit — as our newly selected president and CEO. Rod Gillum, Chairman of the Board of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), announced the Board action Friday. Miller is the founding President and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), a public-private partnership organization that creates an enabling environment for business, grows jobs, and grows investment in New Orleans.

Before he launched NOLABA in 2011 Miller led successful economic development initiatives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Phoenix and Glendale, Arizona. He also has experience in private industry as a consultant to governments involved in large-scale infrastructure projects.

“Rodrick Miller has an outstanding record in leading new initiatives to attract business, jobs and investment to the cities where he has worked. He has also overseen infrastructure improvements that retain existing businesses and drive further development” said Gillum. “DEGC has earned a reputation for innovation in economic development and project management, and we are confident that Miller’s experience and expertise will build on the positive momentum in Detroit and the region and accelerate that progress going forward.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, “Rod Miller is very impressive and very well qualified. I’m extremely pleased that he has accepted the leadership position at DEGC and I know he’ll do a great job helping to bring new businesses and jobs to Detroit.”

Miller said, “Detroit has iconic status among cities around the world, based on its long history as a center for business and culture. It offers a unique value proposition to the businesses that invest here, and my goal is to leverage its assets and work with its people and the City administration to create more jobs and spur more investments that will make an even better Detroit.”

Miller is expected to start at DEGC September 15. He succeeds George W. Jackson, Jr., who has served as President and CEO of DEGC since February 2002. Jackson is leaving DEGC to form a Detroit-based private consulting and development firm. He has been elected by the board as Member Emeritus of DEGC’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

Tiffini Smith
Director of Corporate Communications