Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors program, which fosters business development in high tech fields such as aerospace and robotics, generated more than $518 million of investment in 2013 while creating or retaining 4,200 jobs, county officials say.
The investment was second only to the $672 million generated in 2007, due in large part to an expansion into Independence Township of McLaren Hospital.
“We’re clearly charging out of the recession,” says L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive. “I can’t wait for the 2014 numbers to be tabulated.”
Nearly half of that investment stems from General Motors’ $258 million data center in Milford, which will create 20 new jobs. In Auburn Hills, Rigaku Innovative Technologies is investing $55 million and creating 24 new jobs, while the French-based auto supplier Faurecia is investing $24 million, creating 24 new jobs, and retaining 689 jobs.
In Keego Harbor, Mercury Medical Systems is investing $48 million in the creation of an independent elder and assisted living village that will employ 100 workers, and Vectorform in north Royal Oak will invest $2.2 million as it plans to move to new offices in downtown Royal Oak.
When traditional projects are added to the 2013 tally, there was more than $727 million of investment in the county. “Those figures bring a smile to my face. The noises you hear in the background are corks popping,” Patterson says.
Since it first began in 2004, the Emerging Sectors program has attracted new investment of $2.6 billion from 258 projects — companies that were either new to Oakland County or stayed here when they considered moving to another state or country. The investment generated more than $66 million in taxes and created or retained more than 44,000 jobs.
Patterson attributes much of the program’s success to attracting international firms. To date, more than 900 international companies have offices or facilities in Oakland County.
Currently, one of the county’s business development representatives is in Turkey for the first time, courting automotive, medical device, and IT companies.