Economic Development Council of Livingston County recognizes business progress, pivots, jobs, and investments at the annual meeting

ANN ARBOR, Mich .– (BUSINESS WIRE) – At its annual meeting, the Economic Development Council of Livingston County (EDCLC) celebrated the county’s business growth and hosted an insightful panel discussion about the county’s workforce needs and opportunities. Paul Krutko, President and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, presented the audience with an update on COVID-related business recovery finance and the economic impact of EDCLC’s collaboration with SPARK.

“Since the pandemic began, Ann Arbor SPARK has distributed more than $ 3.2 million in grants to over 330 business owners here in Livingston County,” said Krutko. “While managing these funds, Ann Arbor has continued to provide SPARK with the business support services that are at the core of its mission by providing valuable educational programs and support to businesses that need to attract job seekers.”

On the long-term results of Ann Arbor SPARK’s partnership with EDCLC, he added, “The success of our collaboration over the past nine years has been evident in new investments and 1,300 jobs for the local economy.”

In addition to a presentation on EDCLC’s work with Ann Arbor SPARK, the annual meeting featured an informative panel discussion on the current state of talent in Michigan. Panelists included:

EDCLC also presented three awards for Resilience, Project of the Year and Talent Innovator. Brighton-based Kem Krest, recognized for its resilience, specializes in program management to reduce material costs through supply chain, fulfillment, chemical packaging and aftersales strategies. For the past year, the company has focused on making popular hand sanitizer to keep its team on and running.

Project of the Year FT Techno of America (FTTA) operates a test center for motor vehicles on a test site of approximately 950 hectares in Handy Township. The facility is focused on engineering, design, R&D, testing and prototyping activities to support FTTA’s parent company, Aisin, and its subsidiaries in North America. Since the facility opened in 2005, FTTA has continuously invested in and expanded its capabilities and services on the test site. In 2021, FTTA built a 1.4-mile handling course as well as an area with special surfaces for evaluating driving comfort, noise, harshness and vibrations of vehicles.

The Talent Innovator Award honored the Manufacturing Collaborative, a joint initiative by Ann Arbor SPARK and the Greater Area Brighton Chamber of Commerce. This group of nine employers meets regularly to share data and ideas to create a talent pipeline for critical jobs in the county. Recently, the program expanded when the leading collaborative employer, Work Skills Corporation, created a curriculum that uses virtual reality and online computer-based training methods to expedite employee training for critical positions in the craft.

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a nonprofit, moves the region forward by promoting and supporting businesses accelerating, attracting, and retaining. The organization identifies and fulfills the needs of companies at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK works with business, academic, government and community partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit

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