County poised to bring in more business, help entrepreneurs prosper

Quentin Bishop, right, visits with Mary Kay Brunner, controller at St. Clair County Community College.

Quentin Bishop grew up in St. Clair County, and ultimately his love for the Thumb, and a great job brought him back to the Blue Water Region.


In his role as Director of Business Attraction and Entrepreneurial Services for the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, having a passion for the region and wanting to see it prosper is essential.


"I love St. Clair County and my people," Bishop says.


He and his wife, Sara, consider themselves a boomerang family, moving around the U.S. as entrepreneurs. Just before moving back, both had several amazing opportunities to pursue, but nothing felt more intriguing, or like home, than the Port Huron region.


"At the end of the day none compared to the love we have for this area," Bishop says.


In fact, the people of the community are an inspiration and help drive the vision he has for the region.


"Our people exhibit a creative work ethic I couldn’t find anyone else. That drive and passion for creating a better communityQuentin Bishop shares tips for writing a strong business plan. for everyone is the force I use every time I get a chance to talk about St. Clair County," he says.


Bishop wears many hats during the day, heading up The Underground business incubator, assisting entrepreneurs, as well as encouraging new companies to discover the Blue Water area.


Bringing business to town


Bishop says St. Clair County is uniquely positioned to save businesses money, an asset created by its geographic location.


"St. Clair County is logistically positioned to save companies supply chain costs," he says.


"International shipping, rail, air, and ground transportation benefit from Interstate 69 and Interstate 94 bisecting our county. If anyone takes a look at our international border crossing in Port Huron, they would soon realize that the Blue Water Bridge serves countless commercial transportation companies--truly an asset other inland counties cannot claim."


"Needless to say I have a strong belief that we are development ready and St. Clair County is open for business."
 -Quentin Bishop

The region as a whole represents conscientious prosperity, he says.


"Throughout St. Clair County’s 32 various cities, villages, and townships you’ll find a collaborative team of leaders who prepare their long-term strategic plans around how they can proactively serve business while providing citizens a quality of life found second to none in our great state."


Many of the new business developments coming to St. Clair County are creating a bigger workforce. According to DATAUSA, St. Clair County has seen an increase of about 1.5 percent in its workforce, with several big projects still underway.


Bishop says the county is lucky in that the available space inventory is low right now and most available turnkey sites are being utilized, but that's not to say there is no space for newcomers. There are sites ready and waiting across the county. Places like Marine City and Marysville also have smaller spaces available, too.


"Without question, we have, or can build to suit, buildings to fit the needs of companies," Bishop says.


"Needless to say I have a strong belief that we are development ready and St. Clair County is open for business."


What's next?


Bishop says St. Clair County must continue to grow and diversify, especially in the ever-changing world of technology. It must

"From the tip of the Thumb to the Algonac and everywhere in between, our region can very well become the next entrepreneurial proving ground for our state."
-Quentin Bishop

be ready to meet the demands of the future, like the expanding autonomous car sector. But, he says, as the world continues to turn toward technology, St. Clair County cannot forget the importance of the agriculture economy.


Michigan is second only to California in agriculture production, so the state needs to continue investing in agriculture science, and keep expanding the base of sought-after jobs.


Just as important as attracting business to the area is attracting people.


Development will continue to grow, as long as population continues to grow, Bishop says. So it is important to tout the benefits of living in the Port Huron region.


"Our ability to promote our educational options, especially our pre-engineering programs, such as First Robotics is of great importance and should be top of mind with real estate agents that will ultimately help secure housing for incoming residence," Bishop says.


"And we cannot forget about the entrepreneurs and small business owners who consistently create new jobs and expand the frontier of technology."


Quentin Bishop helps a student with his business plan.Entrepreneurs are a key component to the communities, with new small shops opening across the county.


The county is flowing with educational opportunities for entrepreneurs, even those still in high school. This year, Bishop taught a group of high school students how to write a business plan, as part of a competition. The students learned invaluable lessons about preparing for the business world. It was so successful, it will take place again next year.


"From the tip of the Thumb to the Algonac and everywhere in between, our region can very well become the next entrepreneurial proving ground for our state," Bishop says.


"A goal such as this requires all major leadership positions to openly promote our region’s assets while lobbying state and national funding sources to build up the capacities of our schools, our roads, our homes, our businesses, and ultimately our quality of life."


Bishop is ready to make sure that happens.

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