Program Connects Pure Michigan Businesses to $2.8 Million in Purchases and $71 Million in Contracts

President and CEO John Russell announces a five-year $250 million, or $50 million a year, company investment in the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative to attract and expand business opportunities throughout the state. Russell officially announced the company’s support for the initiative with Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

Today we released a report that shows we’ve increased our Michigan-based capital spending as part of the commitment we  made under the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative. In the first three months since we enrolled in the program, our “Michigan preferred” purchasing program paid Michigan companies $2.8 million and awarded $71 million in new multi-year contracts.

Over the next five years, we’ve committed to increase payments of $50 million per year for five years for Michigan-based capital expenditures. This commitment to increase spending with Michigan companies is in addition to the annual $2 billion we currently spend in the state, making us one of the largest investors in Michigan.

John G. Russell, our president and chief executive officer, feels this is a good start towards building a stronger state economy. “Our commitment to Michigan companies means more money stays in our state because of Pure Michigan Business Connect,” he said. “This program is consistent with our strategy of operating as efficiently as possible on behalf of our customers.”

To implement the new purchasing policy, we revised our purchasing strategy and continue to work closely with our state-based supply chain directors and business organizations on this initiative. If you or another Michigan-based company have an interest in the purchasing strategy and supplier requirements, visit  

Mike Finney, Michigan Economic Development Corporation president and CEO. remarked that our report shows this effort is real and is driving further investment in our state. “Membership is growing in this exciting initiative, which will have a positive impact on Michigan’s economy,” he said.

In our first report, we highlight the following businesses working with us under Pure Michigan Business Connect:

  • Grand River Construction Co., Hudsonville, was contracted to prepare site infrastructure supporting a major expansion project for the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant.  Grand River is building new fabrication shops and a crane rail extension. Grand River subcontracted the sheet piling and auger cast pile work associated with its contract to Hardman Construction, Ludington, and subcontracted the electrical work associated with its contract to Newkirk Electric, Muskegon. 
  • Walbridge Co., Detroit, was contracted for construction services at Consumers Energy’s largest underground natural gas storage field and compressor facility, the Ray Compressor Station Plant 3, near Armada in Macomb County.  Walbridge will construct the balance of the plant’s mechanical, electrical and control systems.  The expanded Ray Plant will consist of five new engine-compressor units. “Walbridge was founded in Michigan 95 years ago.  We’re proud to support such a key project in our state,” said Richard J. Haller, president and COO of Walbridge.  “The economic benefit of this project to Michigan, our subcontractors and their employees and families will make a tremendous difference.”
  • United Solar, Auburn Hills, was hired as the equipment provider of a solar energy system installed at Consumers Energy’s request at The Green Well Gastro Pub in Grand Rapids as part of the utility’s SmartStreet program. Cascade Renewable Energy, Grand Rapids, supplied engineering and design services for this project.
  • Continental Canteen, Sterling Heights, arranged for hiring of the Jackson Coffee Company – replacing a national chain – to provide service to Consumers Energy’s headquarters in Jackson. “As Michigan’s largest food management firm, we are strong believers in supporting ‘Buy Michigan’ and ‘Buy Local’ efforts.  We celebrate our ability to feature home-grown and Michigan produced products to our customers,” said Brent W. Basch, regional director of operations for Continental Services, a member of Pure Michigan Business Connect.