Leaders Discuss Export, Agriculture and Transportation
Collaboration, trade and export opportunities were in the spotlight as more than 250 local business, civic and education leaders participated in the first-ever I-69 International Trade Corridor Regional Summit. The Summit was hosted by I-69 partners Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Lapeer Development Corporation and Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.
Co-sponsored by Pure Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the event featured presentations by Jim Byrum, Director of Michigan Agri-Business Association; Jennifer Nelson, Chief of Staff and General Counsel for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Margaret McAvoy, Chair of the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation and David Dusellier, Port Director of the Blue Water Bridge.
According to Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce the Summit is the first of many collaborative events the I-69 partners will host for business and civic leaders.
“Today’s event was a great opportunity for businesses and the community to learn more about the ways working collaboratively will yield economic growth for the four-county region,” said Karcher. “Our regional partnership is creating and surfacing new initiatives that can support increased trade and transportation activity in the region.”
Dan Casey, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County says the I-69 Corridor is poised to help companies of all sizes take advantage of trade opportunities through leveraging the Blue Water Bridge.
“The Blue Water Border Crossing is a huge asset to the Corridor,” said Casey. “As one of the busiest international crossings in the country, the bridge provides a gateway to trading with the world. Businesses in the region can benefit from combining the wide-range of trade and export assistance with multi-modal transportation options available to them. This summit brought it all together.”
The summit provided updates regarding the border crossing infrastructure, regional benefits of the Next Michigan Program, Michigan agriculture industry trends and new “Buy Michigan” and export programs.
Justin Horvath, President and CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership says the role agri-business plays in economic growth is valuable information for local businesses.
“Michigan crops and food processing can create growth for the Corridor,” said Horvath. “There are many ways to leverage export and trade for agricultural businesses. Today’s summit provided participants with the trends that will impact growth in the future.”
“The synergies achieved through the I-69 Corridor partnership are beginning to yield results in the region,” said Patricia Lucas, Executive Director of Lapeer Development Corporation. “Our goal is to work together to help businesses invest and create jobs along the Corridor.”
For more information about the I-69 International Trade Corridor visit I-69internationaltradecorridor.com.
About the I-69 International Trade Corridor
The I-69 International Trade Corridor is a Michigan-based partnership focused on job growth and investment. The partnership includes agencies, authorities, municipalities, and businesses along I-69 from the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron west across St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee and Shiawassee counties.
A major initiative of the I-69 International Trade Corridor is the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC). Next Michigan is a designated area authorized under a new state law called the Next Michigan Development Act. This initiative allows regions near transportation hubs such as airports, rail lines and highways to use tax incentives to attract new businesses. It is the largest NMDC in the state.