Monday, September 18, 2006

Google era begins in Ann Arbor

Who is the jobs maker again? Don't look for the Detroit News to tell you in this article, but I will refresh your memory-

A year ago, when news that internet giant Google might be looking for a new location for its AdWords online advertising unit, Governor Granholm directed her team at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to do "whatever it takes" to encourage the company to choose Michigan.

And here we are today.

ANN ARBOR -- A 7,000-square-foot nook above a trendy wine bar is Google's new Michigan home -- at least for now.

The technology giant, whose arrival many hope is a harbinger of the state's industry base, opens for business at 8 a.m. today at 110 S. Main St. in the historic Mayer-Schairer Building in downtown Ann Arbor.

"This is a strategic office for us," said Grady Burnett, head of online sales and operations for the Ann Arbor office. "This is very much an operation where we are working hand-in-hand with our customers."

The new office will be home to 20 workers, most of whom were Michigan hires, Burnett said.

"We've seen people from a lot of different places, and we've hired several people from local universities, including (University of Michigan) and Michigan State (University)," Burnett said. "We're really seeing a nice mix of backgrounds, people from the area and people wanting to come back (to the state)."


Given the growth of AdWords in the past four years, Burnett said it's possible the Ann Arbor office could grow to more than 1,000.

The state has offered Google an incentives package of $38 million in tax breaks over 20 years, should employment reach 2,000.

Average pay for the seven different jobs at the office is $47,000, and Michigan economic development officials expect the new office to generate 1,250 spin-off jobs.

Back to you, Dick.