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| 90 sec read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

k-Space CEO Darryl Bartlett tells the group about how the company has flourished in Dexter

The City of Dexter held its annual Business-to-Business-to-City Networking event on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The event, held at LaFontaine Chevrolet, is designed to connect businesses with each other as well as city officials and strengthen those relationships.

“The City started doing business networking events shortly after the economy tanked back in 2008/2009,” explains Michelle Aniol, Dexter Community Development Manager. “City leaders recognized that to retain jobs in the city, they needed to retain the businesses that had created those jobs.  So, City staff, administration, and elected officials began meeting and communicating with the businesses on a regular basis and establishing and maintaining ongoing communication.”

At least once a year, the City and Ann Arbor Spark plan and organize the event to strengthen these relationships. The event sometimes has guest speakers presenting programs that have helped them. Other times, it is more of a networking mixer with a few updates from the City and businesses.

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“This room is sort of microcosm of what’s happening in Dexter and all the energy, all the opportunity that you provide for people and their families,” Mayor Shawn Keough told the group. “We really appreciate it and this business networking is important in our community.”

Darryl Bartlett, CEO of k-Space in the Bishop Circle Industrial Park. k-Space makes measurement tools for the semiconductor industry and has thrived in Dexter since its 2008 beginning. The company is currently working on a project that will double its facility size in order to keep up with demand. k-Space has begun supplying the largest solar panel manufacturer in the U.S. with metrology tools. The company has also begun supplying a company that produces the emerging technology of ‘smart glass’. These are windows that vary their opacity in response to direct sunlight.

Darryl thanked the City for helping in their growth and expansion recommending Dexter to another company considering locating here. “So to the gentleman that works for the aerospace company thinking of moving to Dexter, I recommend it 100 percent,” he said.

Utilities Instrumentation Service Inc. (UIS) has been in Dexter since 2013 and is another fast-growing company that specializes in electrical services and systems for substation design, hospitals, water, and wastewater plants, airports, large commercial buildings, power plants, power generators, and universities.

Chris Knight of UIS also spoke of the help and support from the City. “We found that coming up to Dexter was a great thing to do,” he said. “I’ll echo Darryl’s comments that working with Michelle and everybody in Dexter has been fantastic.”

The event does more than strengthen business relationships, the City of Dexter was able to strengthen its relationships with partner organizations, such as Ann Arbor Spark, SEMCOG, MEDC, MML, Michigan Works, Washtenaw Community College and the Dexter Chamber of Commerce.

The next event is being tentatively planned for early spring 2020.

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