Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

October 16, 2013

Consumers Energy looking for connections in northern Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY — Consumers Energy’s commitment to spend $1 billion on new products and services from other Michigan businesses is garnering quite a bit of attention in the northern portion of the state.

Consumers spokesman Daniel Bishop said 105 businesses registered for an Oct. 21 event in Gaylord called Pure Michigan Business Connect. The event allows businesses throughout northern Michigan to meet directly with purchasers from Consumers and make a business pitch for a new contract or relationship with the energy provider.

“The response by northern Michigan companies to the vendor summit has been fantastic,” Bishop said. “It’s very well-organized, with presentations by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Consumers, and companies will be carefully matched with subject experts to do an assessment of their products and services and do an analysis in terms of need.”

Consumers and DTE Energy committed to spend $2 billion in new monies with other Michigan-based companies. The commitment is part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect program, which was launched in 2011.

DTE Energy expects to spend an additional $750 million with Michigan-based suppliers by the end of 2013 and an additional $1 billion by the end of 2015. Ford Motor Company, General Dynamics, and Michigan State University are now participating in the program, as well.

Andy Smits, a treasurer and manager at Traverse City-based Inland Seas Engineering, plans to attend. The engineering firm already performs engineering services for Consumers, but Smits said the Business Connect event is an opportunity to further develop the company’s relationship with Consumers.

“We heard about the opportunity to meet with other buyers in their organization so we applied so we could meet with them and tell them some of the great success stories we’ve had,” said Smits. “Hopefully, it would spark conversation about what we could do for them.”

Bishop said one example of the benefit of the Pure Michigan Connect program to northern Michigan is found in Onaway. Consumers Energy recently signed a $19 million contract with Onaway-based Moran Iron Works for the fabrication of clean air equipment for the utility’s power plants. The new contract covers flue gas duct work for Consumers Energy’s J.H. Campbell Complex Unit 3, the utility’s largest coal-fired generating plant located in West Olive.

The event will be at the Treetops resorts. Registration is full but business owners interested in developing a relationship with Consumers and others can still pursue those opportunities by registering at the Pure Michigan Business Connect website maintained by the MEDC.

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