Business Team: Please Call Us. Or We’ll Call You.

Has your company gotten our call yet? If it’s one of Detroit’s largest 150 manufacturers, it likely has – or will soon. DEGC’s business retention staff expects to talk to every one of those companies in the next few months – and a lot of other businesses as well. If it’s a company that could be a good fit for a downtown Detroit office building or industrial area, DEGC’s business attraction staff is spreading the facts about why a Detroit location should be on your list.
This outreach is just one of the many new ways that DEGC is working to keep Detroit companies going and encourage others to invest here.

Thanks to support we have gotten from Detroit’s business and foundation community, we are in a better position now than ever to focus our efforts and market Detroit to the kind of businesses who can take advantage of Detroit’s assets and natural advantages.

Because you may be hearing from some of these people, let me introduce you to the newer members of the team we have assembled over the last six months.

  • Malinda Jensen is our director of business development. She is helping to lead our new business development focus and is working with the team to make sure that we produce results for every business we work with—such as the property tax abatements for manufacturer W Industries.
  • Eric “Dusty” Duistermars is a manager of business attraction with great contacts from his experience as a commercial broker in the real estate industry.
  • Mary Grace Wilbert is our retail business attraction consultant. She’s no stranger to DEGC since she worked here as a loaned executive from DTE Energy until she retired recently and joined our team part time. Her experience is invaluable to any entrepreneur setting up retail shop in Detroit.
  • Brian Ellison is a business development specialist who strengthens our ability to carry out our programs and services through research and other special projects.
  • Jonathan Quarles is a Public Policy Manager who comes to us with experience working for the City of Detroit. His expertise will help us and the clients we serve stay on top of any state and federal actions that might benefit businesses here.

These new team members join the seasoned professionals who have helped move our business attraction and retention forward: Tracie Tillinger, a manager in business attraction; Kenyetta Bridges, a manager in business retention; Bill Dillon, strategist working in both business attraction and retention; and Wendy Hill, business development associate who supports all of us in our work.

With this team in place we are accelerating our efforts to support the local business base, and reaching out to businesses across the country for which Detroit is the smart choice. We are creating a strong grocery store business attraction and retention program to recruit stores and encourage upgrades at existing outlets.  Expect to hear more about these and other ways that we are working hard to grow Detroit’s business base in the coming year.

While others might be trying to simply ride out the current economic tempest we are not waiting for it to blow over. We are filling our sails and heading out to sea. You are always welcome to call, although we might just be calling on you first.

Olga Stella is vice president of business development at Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a non-profit organization that works with businesses, government and other organizations throughout Detroit to encourage and manage economic development projects.

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