May 19, 2014
Consumers Energy and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder kicked off an effort to invigorate the Jackson-based company's downtown area, joining more than 18 businesses and three colleges to celebrate the start of the new Anchor Initiative.
"Caring for the communities we serve is our Promise to Michigan, and that is especially true in our hometown," said Consumers Energy President and CEO John Russell. "Businesses like ours can enable Michigan's downtowns to thrive, and we think what we are doing in Jackson can be a model across the state."
Russell spoke about the company's plan to convert downtown Jackson's former Woolworth Building into a hub for business innovation. Consumers Energy's strategic innovation and utility business development teams will work in the building, along with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) and CP Federal Credit Union.
Consumers Energy will encourage employees to live downtown, within a short walk of the company's corporate headquarters, and collaborate with other Anchor Initiative members on ways to build a vibrant center in which to live and work.
"We started more than 125 years ago in Jackson and have served this community and Michigan for that entire time," said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy's vice president of customer experience, rates and regulation. "Our ability to attract top talent depends on a healthy Jackson, with a vibrant downtown that's an attractive place to live, work and innovate."
The kickoff event for the Anchor Initiative took part in Jackson's Bucky Harris Park, which was built on the original town square for the city, located 80 miles west of Detroit. Also speaking during the kickoff were leaders of Michigan International Speedway and Commonwealth Associates, a Jackson-based company that is committed to expand in the city.
Besides its support for the Anchor Initiative, Consumers Energy already focuses its spending on Michigan. The company is on target to reaching its goal of increasing spending with Michigan-based suppliers by $1 billion over five years. Consumers Energy was one of the first companies to join the state's Pure Michigan Business Connect, an effort promoted by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that encourages Michigan companies to invest in the state.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com, join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ConsumersEnergy.
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