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Gov. Snyder names florist director of immigration office

January 31, 2014
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Gov. Snyder names flower retailer director of immigration office
Bing Goei. Photo via twitter.com

Gov. Rick Snyder has created a special office to attract immigrants to the state — and has named a local businessman the office's first director.

Bing Goei will head the Michigan Office for New Americans, an initiative the Republican governor announced in his recent State of the State address.

Goei, an Indonesian of Chinese descent, settled in Grand Rapids in 1960 and is CEO of Grand Rapids-based Eastern Floral, one of the state's biggest floral businesses.

Snyder announced Bing's hiring at a Michigan Press Association luncheon on Friday in Grand Rapids and quickly signed an executive order creating the immigration office.

"I've been truly passionate about this topic as a way to bring back the economy," Snyder told a separate crowd that gathered to watch him sign the order.

He called Goei, 65, a "fabulous success story" who will have a "lot on his plate" immediately.

As part of his emphasis on immigration, Snyder recently asked the federal government to set aside thousands of work visas for Detroit in a bid to revive the decaying city by attracting talented immigrants.

His administration also has applied to make Michigan the second state government along with Vermont to run a regional center for the EB-5 visa program, with the goal of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs.

Goei starts immediately and will make $135,000 a year.

"We will become in Michigan the most welcoming state for immigrants," he said.

Goei will be the chief adviser to the governor and state departments on the formulation and implementation of Michigan's immigration policies, programs and procedures.

He created a business incubator offering low-cost space to young, minority and female entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids.

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