Snyders dogyears turnaround timetable

December 5, 2011
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Mike Jandernoa, founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring in Grand Rapids and former CEO of Perrigo, was presented recently with the Spirit of Michigan award at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition gala in Dearborn.

The AMIC praised Jandernoa’s entrepreneurial skills, noting that he took Perrigo from a $30 million company to a $2.5 billion company. In addition to his mentoring service, he is a general partner in Bridge Street Capital Fund I LP, a director of Fifth Third Bank-West Michigan and a director of Steelcase Inc. He also serves on the boards of the Michigan Technology Tri-Corridor (formerly Life Science Corridor) and Business Leaders for Michigan.

Business Leaders for Michigan changed its name from Detroit Renaissance and went statewide in late 2009 with its Turnaround Plan for Michigan and an expressed intent to seek key changes at the state government level. More than 83 Michigan CEOs are now part of BLFM.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, was still in office then and often portrayed by BLFM as part of the problem.


Now that Gov. Rick Snyder is in charge, is it clear sailing for the Turnaround Plan?

The change in the governor’s office has “enabled action,” said Jandernoa. Snyder, he said, is “aligned with the long-term planning that we like to do from a business standpoint that so many politicians are not in favor of.”

At the same time, said Jandernoa, Snyder is “looking to make changes and do things in dog years,” as Snyder has so humorously put it on several occasions.

A dog-year is only about one-seventh the length of a human year, or so we’ve heard.

“So he’s very, very action oriented,” said Jandernoa, “which is so different than the typical politician, and certainly different than our previous governor.”

Snyder is “all about working to enable companies to get excited about investing in the state of Michigan and to get committed to that growth plan.”

In January, the BLFM will announce its “updated turnaround plan agenda and our priorities.”

The first three goals set by BLFM are probably 80 percent completed, said Jandernoa. The first one, he said, was to have a more professional and long-term financial planning process in state government, so that instead of looking ahead one quarter, it would be looking ahead two years.

Snyder, he noted, is looking ahead decades, as far as the state’s debt structure goes.

Governments within the U.S. and around the world that have ignored unfunded liabilities such as employee pensions and health care coverage are now on the verge of disaster, noted Jandernoa.

Another goal or “pillar” of BLFM was to revamp the tax structure to make Michigan more attractive to business — which mainly meant getting rid of the Michigan Business Tax, which of course Snyder did.

The third goal was to get the state budget under control and on a sustainable track, matched with the revenue.

BLFM has looked at the state’s financial information, said Jandernoa, and concluded that “we’ve been digging a hole in the state of Michigan for 40 years — we were digging it much deeper the last 10. We lost 50 percent of all jobs” that were lost in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010.

“So Rick started with us in a huge hole,” said Jandernoa. But he cited a recent Bloomberg report that Michigan is now second in the nation in job growth, whereas it had been 45th a couple of years ago.

“His impact has happened much quicker than I would have anticipated,” said Jandernoa.

Dutch treat

Under the “it’s a nice gig if you can get it” banner, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell summed up his recent trip to the United Nations’ global conference on sustainability last week for city department heads and commissioners — who, by the way, didn’t get to go to the meeting.

Did we mention that the conference was held in the Netherlands?

The mayor said it was his first time at the conference, which was attended by 180 people from 50 nations. While he was there, he was asked to give a keynote address and hold an impromptu workshop relating to the public-private partnerships that have been created here; a number of educators asked him how they, too, could work closely with policymakers to get things done.

“It was really an opportunity to talk about Grand Rapids, and I enjoyed doing that,” he said. “It’s fascinating to see how Grand Rapids fits in a global community.”

The mayor also was fascinated with the public transportation systems he discovered on his trip, which included stops in Paris and Dusseldorf. He rode the bullet train that, amazingly, travels at the speed of a GOP Senate filibuster: roughly 185 miles per hour. “The public transportation there is phenomenal,” said Heartwell.

Puff love

Christmas arrived last Wednesday for members of the Grand Rapids Cigar Society, the West Michigan Cigar Society and the Brotherhood of the Leaf when Grand River Cigar opened at 131 S. Division Ave.

Owned by Robin and Tina Day and Charlie Rossi, the business is the region’s first “premier-class retail shop and lounge,” and seats 17 cigar lovers. The owners said their shop has access to 800 types of cigars and can get any cigar within five days, but presumably not those that are hand rolled in Havana. (Can you hear the sighs?) The lounge is expected to open once the new HVAC system arrives.

City Commissioner Dave Schaffer, also president of the society, helped with the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. The store is open Monday through Saturday. More info awaits you at 451-6800 or at grandrivercigar.com. Feel free to contact them. But you may not want to use the word “stogie” when you do.

Monday moanin’

Cyber Monday was a virtual hit with holiday shoppers, as LowCards.com reported online sales made this season could be up to a third more than last season. But how those sales were conducted could become a concern for next season.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, most consumers used a credit card rather than a debit card to buy their holiday gifts. Javelin reported that consumers spent $82.10 on average for a single credit card transaction and $58.29 for each debit card purchase. The research firm expects this spending choice will continue as the purchase volume via credit cards will rise by 63 percent from this holiday season through 2016, while debit card usage will only inch up by 2 percent.

Interestingly, the research shows that consumers who use credit cards buy for a product’s benefit, while those who use a debit card base their purchases on cost and will even choose a gift that has inferior benefits if the price is right.

“Both studies provide more evidence that consumers must be wise when it comes to shopping with a card credit,” said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com. “This is especially true during Christmas when it is so easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving and buy that extra gift or two. That’s why over 14 million people are still paying off credit card purchases from the 2010 holiday season.”

Bah, humbug!

Well, at least it’s a start. Recently, 58 U.S. Senators agreed to revive the chamber’s Secret Santa gift exchange program, and they stuck a paltry $10 spending limit on it. Thirty-seven Democrats agreed to participate, compared to 21 Republicans.

Two thoughts emerge from that head count. Apparently, the GOP is really, really opposed to spending — even a trifling amount during the holidays. Or the majority of Republican senators feel the $10 spending limit won’t cover the cost of a lump of coal plus shipping, even though the gift wrapping and seasonal note card are free.

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