On October 18 - 20, 2010 Statewide leaders from the Michigan Port Collaborative traveled to Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, and Alpena, Michigan respectively to meet with regional representatives from area ports to enlist their participation in this newly formed statewide organization. All three meetings saw high attendance from approximately 80 regional port representatives.
John Kerr, chairman of the Michigan Port Collaborative and Director of the Port of Detroit has been a prime mover in the formation of the collaborative and describes the organization's mission as, "an effort to unify Michigan ports to develop our coast as Michigan's front door." He added, "We are trying to work together to foster robust waterfronts that integrate marine and intermodal transportation, recreation, tourism and maritime history while protecting the health of our Great Lakes."
Fred Stonehouse, Vice chair of the MPC and organizer of the Marquette area regional meeting said, "the collaborative is having great success in helping leaders from ports throughout the state recognize that our Great Lakes and coastal assets are key to growing jobs, businesses and tourism."
Don Gilmet, MPC Steering Committee member and host of the third and final meeting in the Alpena district summarized the event in this way, "I attended all three meetings and it was very clear that everyone was excited about the opportunity to solve a vast array of port issues and seize new entrepreneurial opportunities through networking, communicating and collaborating with the private sector and the public sector as one unified team." Many of those in attendance saw the collaborative as a fresh start upon which they could model Michigan's future image by attracting and involving today's youth in the planning process and incorporating their demands for quality of life in the visioning process.
The Michigan Port Collaborative is comprised of locally elected municipal officials, convention & visitors bureau officials, tourism advocates, private sector leaders within maritime commerce, ferry operators, marina and harbor operators, museum representatives, lighthouses and underwater preserve leaders, economic development and tribal officials, consultants and educators representing Michigan's Great Lakes communities.