Monroe County Business Development Corporation and the Monroe County Community College Co-Host Fall Event, Focus On The Future in Southeast Michigan

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November 13, 2020

 MONROE, November 13, 2020:The Monroe County Business Development Corporation (BDC) and the Monroe County Community College (MCCC) hosted Focus On The Future on November 12, 2020, at 9:00 am. This is the first of the 8th annual fall events that was hosted as a virtual Zoom presentation and with 142 in attendance, the largest to date. 

Presenters included: 

  • Tim Lake, BDC President & CEO 

  • Lynette Dowler, DTE Energy Foundation & MCCC Board Chairperson 

  • Dr. Kojo Quartey, MCCC President & BDC Board Member 

  • Gary J. VajcnerVajcner Tooling Solutions 

  • Matthew Vanisacker, BDC Vice President Business Development 

  • Michael Larsen, Managing Director Insite Real Estate 

  • Mayor Robert Clark, City of Monroe 

  • Susan Vanisacker, Director of Community Relations & La-Z-Boy Foundation, La-Z-Boy Incorporated 

  • Jim Hume, Founder & Principal Phire Group 

This year’s event began with an MCCC update by Dr. Kojo Quartey and him thanking the audience for the passing of the college’s millage. Ms. Lynette Dowler then introduced the College Supporter of the Year Award to Mr. Gary Vajcner. Mr. Vajcner and his late wife, Patricia, are lifelong residents of Monroe County. After her passing and in remembrance of her, Mr. Vajcner gifted the college with $1.1 million representing the single largest gift from an individual in the college’s 55-year history. This gift will be recognized through an endowed scholarship in his wife’s memory and two significant spaces on campus which will bear their names: the CNC Machining Suite in the Career Technology Center, and the Academic Commons in Founders Hall. 


 The BDC then hosted a development discussion panel that was led by Mr. Matt VanisackerPanelists Mr. Mike Larsen, of Insite Real Estate, and Mayor Robert Clark, City of Monroe, presented a unifying message about strategic planning and policies which inspire development within communities. The pair spoke about recent development projects in Monroe County and what ultimately positions communities for success. In particular, Mr. Larson, who is based in Chicago, discussed Insite Real Estate’s redevelopment of the former Nike Missile Base location, which is being repurposed as an automotive parts distributor hub for Ford Motor Co. 

The event’s keynote speaker was introduced by Ms. Susan Vanisacker who has been part of Monroe County Link’s Local Image & Brand Pillar Team since inception. She gave kudos to the Team Captain Michael Bosanac, Monroe County Administrator, for his diligent work on beginning to create positive change in the way residents and visitors view our home. The team wanted a brand … something that businesses both small and large could incorporate in their own marketing efforts and would make everyone who encountered it feel that deep sense of pride to be from Monroe County. As a result of the pillar team’s vetting process, they contracted with Phire Group, a notable marketing firm out of Ann Arbor, to assist with development. 

Mr. Jim Hume began his presentation talking about the work that was put in before this day. Prior to launch, numerous focus groups, thousands of surveys and hundreds of one-on-one interviews went into telling the story of Monroe County. The goal was to build a grassroots effort to raise visibility and possibility in Monroe County, to raise awareness of each community, attract visitors, new residents, businesses, and help existing businesses with recruiting. The community selected a brand direction: Michigan’s Cornerstone … Monroe County. This brand is aimed to highlight our community assets and put us on the map. The work now begins to find brand ambassadors, motivated business leaders, stories and photography. Learn more and become involved by visiting the website at, and by following the social media sites of the same name on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #MICorner. 


About Monroe County Business Development Corporation 

Monroe County BDC is Monroe County's leading economic development organization and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s local partner. The Monroe County BDC is dedicated to attracting new businesses, retaining and expanding existing businesses and serving as a catalyst for capital investment and quality job growth in Monroe County. The Monroe County Business Development Corporation is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Formed in 1982, Monroe County BDC operations are overseen by a 19-member Board of Directors consisting of the area's top leaders, including representatives from manufacturing, banking, utilities, labor, education and local government. 



About Monroe County Community College 

Founded in 1964, Monroe County Community College is a public, two-year institution supported by tax monies from Monroe County, educational funds from the State of Michigan and student tuition.  The college’s mission is to enrich lives in our community by providing opportunity through student-focused, affordable, quality higher education and other learning experiences.  The Main Campus is located at 1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, Mich., 48161, with easy access to Toledo and Detroit.  The Whitman Center is located in Temperance, Mich., 48182, near the Ohio-Michigan Border.  Detailed information about MCCC is available at 

LuAnn Hogberg, Communications & Operations Manager, (734) 241-8081


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