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Moving into 2017, Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters plans to focus his efforts on cultivating Michigan as a hub for autonomous vehicle technology. For Peters, the state’s future hinges on growing Michigan’s ability to attract investment in autonomous technology. On the other hand, Peters worries that the president-elect’s hands-on economic development policies could leave behind small businesses in the state and elsewhere in the country. Peters spoke with MiBiz about his views on the year ahead and the challenges 2017 may bring.  

In wrapping up her first “whirlwind” year as mayor of Grand Rapids, Rosalynn Bliss aims to build off of the work she started as she looks ahead to 2017. In the new year, Bliss hopes to move the needle on initiatives related to affordable housing and addressing long-standing racial disparities in the city. Additionally, the mayor believes that 2017 will be the year where visible work commences on restoring the rapids to the Grand River. 

2016 wasn’t an easy year for Gov. Rick Snyder. But even with Democrats’ near-daily calls for his resignation because of the ongoing Flint water crisis, the businessman-turned-politician still maintains his trademark “relentlessly positive” attitude. With about two years left in his second term, Snyder told MiBiz he remains focused on skilled trades training and tackling issues related to the state’s beleaguered infrastructure. 

As coal-fired power plants in West Michigan harbor towns along Lake Michigan get decommissioned, cities like Holland and Muskegon have worried they’ll lose out on federal dredging support, the allocation of which is based on meeting a tonnage threshold for commercial freight at each harbor. That’s why Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga from Michigan’s Second Congressional District was happy to get funds to continue dredging as part of the most recent federal funding initiative.

If you approach Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash with requests for favors for projects in Michigan’s Third Congressional District, he wants you to know that you’re likely wasting your time. As a staunch supporter of limited government and defender of civil liberties begins his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Amash is more than happy with the economic growth happening in the district he represents. But that doesn’t mean he’s about to start earmarking federal dollars or doing one-off favors for the area’s business community. In an exclusive interview with MiBiz, Amash said his job is to defend the Constitution and fight for liberty for all citizens, a position he acknowledges could put him at odds with fellow Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump. 

As they worry about talent and uncertainty, executives from a cross-section of industries voiced optimism in the pro-business policies pushed by President-elect Donald Trump. 

The Legislature’s 2016 lame-duck session was marked by both bipartisan agreement on tough policy issues as well as contentious attempts to solve ongoing state problems that nonetheless split along party lines.

President-elect Donald Trump will enter office in January with an economy that experts say is stable and growing, but one that could probably do better.

Economists expect Michigan to maintain economic growth in the coming year, albeit at a slower pace that will further tighten labor markets.

EDITORS’ NOTE: Uncertainty Ahead

Written by | Sunday, 25 December 2016 20:00 |

In speaking with hundreds of business executives over the last couple of months, we heard plenty of different phrases to describe their overall bullishness: All-time record year. Double-digit growth. Expansion. New markets. New products.

Q&A: Q&A: John Hey, COO, Trivalent Group

Written by | Wednesday, 30 December 2015 14:25 |

The threat of electronic corporate espionage and data theft has become a reality for businesses across all sectors, according to John Hey, COO at Grand Rapids-based tech firm Trivalent Group. While it’s difficult to predict the nature of those attacks, Hey advocates for a commonsense approach to cyber security.

Q&A: Nancy DeBoer, Mayor, City of Holland

Written by | Wednesday, 30 December 2015 14:23 |

As the newly-elected mayor of the city of Holland, Nancy DeBoer looks forward to 2016 as a year when the city and the broader region can help its business community to grow, attract and retain a skilled workforce, particularly for the “robust” manufacturing industry.

Based on the current pipeline of construction work for general contractor Triangle Associates, President Mitch Watt forecasts another five to eight years of growth. The company plans to grow through a variety of avenues, including an expanded workforce, equipment investment and potentially new service offering

A stable economy and a lower unemployment rate in 2016 will enable more people to afford health care, according to Tina Freese-Decker, president of the Spectrum Health Hospital Group that includes 12 facilities in West Michigan.

Now in its second season, the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League continues to add additional offerings to the roster of semi-professional sports in West Michigan. By team President Steve Jbara’s account, the inaugural season was a success for the Drive in terms of ticket and merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships.

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