It Takes a Village: Private Sector Funders and Ann Arbor SPARK

Paul Krutko and Phil Santer of Ann Arbor SPARK

There’s a lot of energy humming in the Ann Arbor SPARK offices these days as SPARK’s annual Tech Trek approaches, noted president and CEO Paul Krutko and Senior VP and Chief of Staff Phil Santer. This celebration of more than 60 technology companies operating in the vibrant Ann Arbor region is one of the many outcomes of SPARK’s work in the community. Both Krutko and Santer attribute SPARK’s success, in part, to its 70 private sector partners that provide the support for the strategic programs that drive economic growth in our community. GDI’s been with SPARK since its launch in 2007 as an economic growth engine for Ann Arbor and Michigan. Together, we’ve witnessed the influx of technology companies and learned how to leverage technology to overcome certain market dynamics.

Both Krutko and Santer attribute SPARK’s success to its 70 private sector partners that support the strategic programs that drive economic growth.Santer tells us that, “Bhushan’s leadership in Foreign Direct Investment helped us to put together the network of networks; to encourage and focus on business development in Michigan, specifically Ann Arbor region.”

GDI continues to support work of SPARK as private sector partner. “Support from SPARK’s private sector partners allows us to think strategically and develop projects like the American Center for Mobility – a connected and autonomous vehicle testing site at the Willow Run Airport,” says Krutko regarding the hugely impactful project. As it takes a village to build a community, it takes the continued support of private sector companies to drive economic growth and innovation in Ann Arbor and Michigan.

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