Understanding The Circle of Life

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Similar to when you look for the best neighborhood to raise your kids or the ideal place to retire, business leaders select their corporate home based on many intangibles.  That’s why it’s so important that the City of Auburn Hills works to keep a pulse on the wants and needs of its business community.  The City has a vested interest in being one-step ahead so that it’s deemed as an attractive place to invest.

Why?  City leaders view business development as good.  We are very aware of what tax dollars from new and existing companies translate into for our citizens – low taxes, improvements to parks, good roads, police and fire protection, streets plowed, services for seniors, and so on.  Most importantly, these companies employ people and bring good paying jobs to the State of Michigan.  It’s like the cycle of life for a municipality.  If you’re not growing, then you’re dying.  We want our community to be alive at its fullest.

Stephanie Carroll, Coordinator of Community Relations and Legislative Affairs, and I recently visited a company called Teijin at their R&D center located at 1200 Harmon Road.  Teijin is in co-development with GM on developing light-weight carbon fiber materials to help make vehicles more fuel-efficient.  In conjunction with representatives with the State of Michigan, we asked Teijin officials how they were doing and how we could assist them.  They told us about their immediate needs and future plans.  We find that it’s so important to talk to business leaders one-on-one regularly.  Many have a perception that all government is bureaucratic, inefficient, and frankly just in the way.  We provide a human face on behalf of the City and often exceed their expectations.

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In our field experts call this type of retention program “business development.”  It’s not easy.  Like with any relationship it takes time and commitment.  The City of Auburn Hills has proven over the years that it’s willing to make the effort to listen and help.  We believe that fostering these relationships will help keep our town healthy for generations to come.