2022 Annual Conference Event Descriptions

Plenary Sessions

County Collaboration in Broadband Buildout

(Sept. 19, 8:45-9:45am)

After years of lagging investment, Michigan businesses and residents have pushed for more focus on broadband buildout to unserved and underserved communities. With the recent influx of funds from the federal government, the state has more than enough resources to adequately invest in broadband expansion. How can counties capitalize on this and use their funds in the best way possible to spur economic development and residential connectivity for their community? This session will bring the broadband industry to the table to talk about expansion and the value of creating public, private partnerships to achieve our common goals.

Speakers: Bruce Moore, Highline; Jennifer Greenburg, PFN

MAC Legislative Update

(Sept. 19, 12:40-1pm)

MAC’s Governmental Affairs Team, led by Director Deena Bosworth, will review the progress on MAC’s 2022 legislative priorities, chart out strategies for the rest of the 2022 legislative season and take questions from the audience.

Speakers: Deena Bosworth

Energy Panel: Michigan’s Energy Providers Preparing for the Future

(Sept. 20, 9-10am)

Energy is fundamental to moving Michigan forward, making families safe in both frigid and blistering weather, and keeping businesses, schools, and hospitals operating. But, with growing demand for energy, how are Michigan’s energy companies working to modernize their systems, adapt to greater use of renewable sources, and prevent disruptions all while keeping electricity, gasoline, and heating bills affordable? It requires a collaborative working relationship with local government and other stakeholders.  This session will focus on what county officials need to know about energy infrastructure and how it works, regulatory roles of state and local governments, and approaches our utilities are taking toward a cleaner, safer, smarter, better energy future. Panelists will include representatives of Michigan’s major utilities and foremost energy suppliers, including DTE, Consumers Energy, ITC and Enbridge.

Speakers: Kathryn Burkholder, Consumers Energy; Cynthia Stump, ITC Holdings; Stephanie Beres, DTE Energy; Paul Meneghini, Enbridge

MAC Annual Business Meeting

(Sept. 20, 2-3pm)

MAC’s Annual Business Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Blue Water Convention Center during the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference. County commissioners who are registered for the conference may participate as voting members in the business meeting, which includes review and approval of MAC’s 2022-2023 policy platforms. Members also will receive reports on the elections for Board seats conducted on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 19. And Kent County Commissioner Stan Ponstein will take the oath of  office to become MAC’s 114th Board President.

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MAC Policy Breakouts

Monday, Sept. 19, 10:30-11:45am

Best Practices for Community Engagement

As county leaders, understanding the needs of your community both on an everyday basis and during times of crisis is crucial for better service delivery and an improved quality of life of your residents. This workshop will provide you with case study information on how counties and cities across the country are taking a proactive approach to community engagement in order to stay ahead of the curve with key decisions, get your board agreed on actions to take and ensure resident needs are met.

Speakers: Michael Simon, Zencity; and Chelsea Maupin, Gud Marketing

What Do Veterans Counselors Do?

Chris Smith, president of the Michigan Association of Veteran Counselors and director of the St. Clair County Department of Veterans Affairs, will be explaining who serves on the Michigan Association of Veteran Counselors Executive Board, and the counties they are serving in as County Veteran Service Officers across the state of Michigan. Included in this presentation will be an overview of MACVC membership, mission, and objectives that are used in helping eligible veterans and their dependents across the State obtain their benefits. In the second half of the presentation, we will be reviewing the economic value added by having a Veterans Affairs Office with accredited County Veteran Service Officers assisting veterans and their dependents in obtaining any assistance through local, state and federal programs.

Speaker: Chris Smith, St. Clair County

What Should Your County be Doing to Prepare for Electric Vehicles?

Description: TBD

Speaker: Erin Quetell, Oakland County

Monday, Sept. 19, 2:30-3:45pm

Where Do Counties Fit in on Economic Development

We will examine some ways counties can improve local partnerships to attract more investments for community development. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will provide tools and resources for counties to partner with businesses, community members and families.

Speakers: Michele Wildman, Michigan Economic Development Corp.

FOIA Update

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act is nearly 50 years old, but it remains one of the least understood measures that apply to the daily functioning of county government. In this breakout session, Matt Nordfjord, Shareholder/Director of Cohl, Stoker & Toskey, P.C., will review the law’s general purpose, how it applies to routine functions of county government and the changes to it since its adoption in 1976. This breakout will allow ample time for questions.

Speaker: Matt Nordfjord, Firm of Cohl, Stoker & Toskey

Health Care’s Dirty Little Secret and What It’s Costing Your County Budget

When you hear supply chain issues, images of shipping containers stuck in ports might come to mind. Have you ever thought about the healthcare delivery supply chain? It’s a mess, and counties are losing an average of $1,000 per employee annually as a result. Included with our discussion will be two easy takeaways your county can do to take back control.

Speakers: Brian Cote and Sarah Kline, 44North

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Strategic Use of Brownfield Incentives in Your County

Is your county’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) being used to its full potential? Does your community understand how it can leverage the county’s BRA to encourage and support economic development? Michigan’s brownfield toolbox is a powerful resource that, in many cases, is underutilized. Brownfield sites (i.e., properties that are contaminated, blighted, functionally obsolete, or a historic resource) typically need additional financial support to offset the conditions that make them a brownfield or an obstacle for redevelopment. Potential site conditions include asbestos, lead-based paint, demolition, vapor mitigation systems, infrastructure, and site preparation. Brownfield funding and incentives are often thought to only be available for cleaning up contaminated sites, but blighted, vacant sites may also qualify. Collaborating with the county’s Land Bank Authority can further strengthen these tools, including supporting affordable or attainable housing. Join us to learn more about these tools and explore successful project examples using unique brownfield strategies.

Speaker: Jeff Hawkins, Envirologic

Partnering with Your Local United Way

In this workshop, we will explore how counties can utilize their United Way to improve cross county communication and agency partnerships. Specifically, how county commissioners can utilize 2-1-1 data and delve deeper into the structure and programs of United Way.

Speaker: Nancy Lindman, Michigan Association of United Ways

Emerging Challenges in Law Enforcement

This session will examine several challenges emerging for law enforcement from new policies and practices. We will dive into problems with recruitment and retention and how counties can improve partnerships between communities and law enforcement. The recent development of policies that have had an impact on law enforcement will also be discussed.

Speakers: Matt Saxton and Daniel Pfannes, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 1-2pm

County Parks 101

The way in which our communities benefit from a quality county park system will be the focus of this session. How can counties improve partnerships with recreational services to better benefit their citizens? The session will also explore recent investments in parks and recreation and opportunities for counties to invest in parks.

Speaker: Brian Lechel, Saginaw County

Preparing for Disasters

Emergency management “owns” a ton of disaster real estate. Natural disasters, technological disasters, and human-caused disasters can all affect operations of critical government and business functions that are essential to human health and safety or economic security. As “bridge builders” between “islands of interests,” emergency managers play an important role in linking stakeholders to include our elected officials and administrators to foster collaboration before, during, and after disasters. An emergency management mantra is ensuring we aren’t exchanging business cards in the middle of a disaster. Are you actively engaged with your local emergency management department? With our continuously evolving threat and hazard environment, this presentation will explore the opportunities for successful emergency management collaboration and engagement in 2022 and beyond. 

Speakers: Ryan Wilkinson, Eaton County, and Allison Farole, City of Grand Rapids

Dealing with the Media

The media landscape is constantly changing. Newsrooms across the state have diminished, which can make getting news coverage even more challenging than ever. But what happens when you land that big interview? This presentation will provide an overview of Michigan’s media environment, strategies for securing visibility for your county and tips for putting your best foot forward in a variety of interview formats.

Speaker: Josh Hovey, Martin Waymire Advocacy Communications

For workshops for MCMCFC members, click here.

Special Events

President’s Banquet

(Sept. 20, 6-8pm)

Join newly inaugurated MAC Board President Stan Ponstein and your fellow conference attendees for an evening of fine food, beverages and entertainment.

Entertainer: Chris Young, comedian

Strolling Dinner

(Sept. 18, 6-7pm)

The first evening of the conference will conclude with a strolling dinner at the Blue Water Convention Center and its fine views of the St. Clair River, Lake Huron and Sarnia, Ontario.

Welcome Reception

(Sept. 18, 5-6pm)

Catch up with old friends or make new acquaintances at this reception, which will feature beverages and light appetizers.

Monday Reception

(Sept. 19, 4:30-5:30pm)

After a full day of policy sessions and MAC elections, it’s time to kick back and relax before dinner with some beverages and snacks. Sponsored by CoPro+.

President’s Hospitality Suite

(Sept. 20, 8-10pm)

As the conference winds down on Tuesday night, join President Stan Ponstein for some refreshments and conversation in his suite at the Doubletree Hotel.

Exhibitor Show

(Sept. 19, 8am-3pm)

Visit with representatives of approximately 40 firms offering products and services of interest to county governments. Play Exhibitor Bingo for your chance to win one of two Grand Prizes of $250 in cash.

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