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Steve Kent of greets Bay Area Chamber of Commerce members and guests on one of several tour buses for the 6th annual "Bay Area on the Go!" event..

Over 400 Bay Area Chamber "On the Go" Attendees
Get Regionalism Pep Talk

Matt Davis, Dow Vice President, Gives Stirring Message, Stresses Progress

October 26, 2009       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Now is the time!

An estimated 400 plus attendees at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce sixth annual "Bay Area on the Go" conference sat in rapt attention.

The speaker, Matt Davis, vice president of communications of the Dow Chemical Company, gave a good imitation of a football coach with a pre-game pep talk.

He also showed why introducer Eric Jylha called him "such a force in our community."

Matt Davis, vice president of The Dow Chemical Co., fires up the huge crowd as keynote speaker at the Chamber event.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

Applause swept over the DoubleTree Hotel dining room several times as Davis worked the crowd, hard, with his fervent message supporting regionalism.

REGIONALISM: Three counties, Bay, Midland and Saginaw, working together to meet world competition, cooperating to continue the momentum of economic progress.

That was the powerful thread running through the comments of the keynote speaker, who cited comments by Dow President Andrew Liveris: "Regionalism is our only chance to insure the vision for progress becomes a reality."

The bullet points for this movement:

  • Broaden our horizons.

  • Make our case.

  • Expand participation.

    "We need to realize that none of the counties has it all, but together, with pride of region we can make this a better place to live," he asserted.

    Mr. Davis trumpeted the time-honored theme: "What's good for one is good for all."

    He cited developments like the $600 million Dow Kokam battery plant now going up in Midland, Dow Corning's billion dollar investments in the Hemlock Semiconductor plant, Evergreen Solar's $50 million investment in Midland and the recently-announced Suniva, Inc., $250 million solar cell manufacturing plant in Saginaw's Thomas Township as well as Bay City riverfront revitalization as examples of economic momentum.

    Dow Corning also is planning a $60 to $80 million world class solar research facility in Midland with an initial 250 employees building to perhaps 2,000. It would be called the American Solar Power Innovation and Research Enterprise, or ASPIRE.

    Rob Clark of Citizens Bank-Linwood, hears about the Bay Area Family Y new building from Rebecca Kaiser, Y communication and development director.
    (MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

    Fueling this growth is pumped by the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and an Energy Partnership between Saginaw and Bay Future and Midland Tomorrow economic development organizations, he said.

    The auto industry continues to hold potential for job growth in this area, said Mr. Davis, noting that the new General Motors Volt engines will be built in Flint and the Bay City PowerTrain plant will make various components for the new hybrid vehicles.

    The 2011 Chevrolet Volt and Cruze electric car business has brought a $37 million investment to Bay City PowerTrain, resulting in renovation of 34,000 square feet of floor space, retention of 32 jobs and recall of 60 other employees. The local GM plant has 320 hourly and 80 salaried employees.

    Nikole Montalbano, center, and Anne Kukla, of St. Marys Hospital marketing department, explain the 25th anniversary of open heart surgery at the hospital, complete with cake, to visitors to a booth at the Chamber event.
    (MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

    Not only is Affordable Green Energy (AGE) producing windmills in Essexville, Bay Future is projecting plans for production of huge windmill components for installations in Michigan's Thumb.

    Commenting that base electrical generating capacity will be vital for the autos of the future, Chamber President Mike Seward said:

    "We need to let Michigan's bureaucracy and the governor's office know that we support expansion of the Consumers Energy Karn-Weadock plant."

    Chamber awards for development projects went to Bay Special Care Hospital and Labadie Toyota for their renovations, to ITC Holdings for its investment of $3.4 million in Kawkawlin Township, to the $6.2 million Holiday Inn Express in Monitor Township, to Fabiano Brothers for its $20 million beverage headquarters and Marketplace Center industrial park in Monitor.

    Chamber members gave Mr. Seward a cheer for his seven years on the job here, an anniversary marked on Monday even as he spoke.

    Tour guides Eric Jylha, Steve Kent and Andrea Hales took several buses on a visibility development tour route noting advantages and developments of Bay City.###

    Jim Kostrava, of MITech, Midland, left, chats with Terry King, of Action Leaders Inc., Bay City, and Chris Shannon, Michigan Works, right, at the Chamber event.
    (MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
    respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
    (Contact Dave Via Email at

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