Grand Traverse County Highlights Local Businesses During International Auto Conference

For the first time, Grand Traverse County has its own booth at the 52nd Annual Center of Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars.

They hope the thousands of international auto leaders will see the area as more than a tourist destination, but a source for manufacturing industry talent.

Every year the event takes place at Grand Traverse Resort.

9&10’s Megan Woods and Jeremy Erickson was at the conference and has all the details.

One thousand, one hundred auto industry leaders all under one roof.

Michigan’s Lt. Governor Brian Calley (R) says, “This is where all the major industry players gather together to talk about what’s happening in the industry and to especially focus on the future.”

The value of a conference this large varies from person to person. For Lt. Governor Calley it’s the future of autonomous cars.

 For co-director of the conference Brett Smith it’s the rare chance to come together.

Lt. Governor Calley says, “I see it as a way to reduce congestion, traffic accidents and a lot of efficiency in our roadways, but what I’m especially excited for is the 500,000 people with disabilities that live in Michigan right now will have a better access to all the things the world has to offer.”

Smith says, “From the industry’s point it’s always been one of those events where because we’re off site, because you’re in Northern Michigan you get a very different view of things. You’re much more willing to talk about things you wouldn’t normally talk about.”

For Grand Traverse County, it’s about showing a different side of the area. Throughout the week they’re passing information out about the local companies that do international business and who are thriving in the manufacturing industry.

Jean Derenzy, Grand Traverse County Community Development and Codes Director says, “The value is that we’re on the international stage to not just highlight our community from a tourist perspective, but really from the business perspective and that’s important because a lot of communities do not have this opportunity.”

Smith says, “From that tourism point it’s (the conference) important, but also for the economic growth. These are companies that are looking for markets to grow in looking for places to establish and that’s a role that Grand Traverse County can maybe play in the future.”

The management briefing seminars go until Thursday.

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