We are featuring Advancing Macomb board member Grace Shore. Grace is the CEO of the Macomb County Chamber, a 900-member organization that is respected throughout the state. She has lived and worked in Macomb County for most of her life being involved in numerous professional, civic and business organizations in Macomb and throughout the region. She has built a strong reputation as a progressive and impactful member of the local business community during her more than 36 years with the chamber. Under Shore’s leadership, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce has been twice recognized with the Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.
I have lived in Macomb County since 1956, moving from Detroit, until the present. I have lived in Warren, Harrison Township, Clinton Township and now – Macomb Township. I have worked, played, and raised my family right here in Macomb County.
I started working at the Chamber in 1979. Since that time, there have been a variety of changes in the community. The growth – both in population and number of businesses – has been phenomenal. To think that M-59 just 20 years ago was mostly vacant from businesses and industry. But that growth has brought unique challenges to Macomb in terms of sprawl; however, overall Macomb has done a good job of managing this growth.
Another area of change has been the realization of the importance of regionalism. Both communities and businesses realize that in order to prosper, they must think beyond the borders of any one particular community and view progress, growth and impact with a bigger lens – even globally in some instances.
One item that has remained constant is the willingness of the business community to engage in efforts that will bolster community and economic development. The Macomb business community takes corporate responsibility seriously and devotes the necessary time and resources for the betterment of Macomb. The business community sponsors hundreds of events throughout the county each year – some for fun – some for the betterment of the community.
A singular goal for the chamber would be to remain relevant in a rapidly changing business environment. A chamber must be impactful and influential to gain and retain its business members.
There are several things about Macomb County that make it a great place to do business. Certainly, the vibrant economic base in Macomb makes doing business in Macomb a real opportunity. The diversity of our population adds to the adaptability of people and the businesses that support different cultural groups. Many State, County and Local communities are business friendly – making it easier to do business in Macomb. The citizens of Macomb are hard-working, principled people who like to do business with people they know. So, these things and many, many more make Macomb a great place to do business.
What is the biggest challenge Macomb county will face over the next five years?
One of the biggest challenges Macomb County will face over the next five years is the infrastructure in the county. Roads, bridges, sewer, water systems are in need of maintenance and, in some cases, replacement. The County will need to prioritize the projects and find funding sources.
I would love to see Advancing Macomb raise the necessary resources to embark on transformational projects over the next year – and years to come. This year will continue to build on the organizational structure and partnering with community organizations. At some point in the next several years, I’d like to see Advancing Macomb initiate and execute on a major project that will enhance the viability of Macomb County.