Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks improvements

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks improvements

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced at the Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Spring Business Expo and Luncheon on May 22 that Michigan residents can renew their driver’s licenses while wearing nothing more than a pair of underwear.

Johnson, the featured speaker at the event, also joked that she’s all too often confused with former Michigan Secretary of State turned U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller, but “that’s OK,” she said. She also noted how she recently traveled overseas to visit troops, and made license plates with prisoners.

Johnson’s often humorous speech was the highlight of the expo and she used the event to promote the changes she’s made to the office. is the newest way to complete the department’s most popular transactions online, 24 hours a day. Such services include renewing driver’s licenses and plates, replacing lost licenses, changing an address, renewing watercraft and more. Johnson said the system was implemented as a convenience to residents, but also to save the state money. She added that ExpressSOS kiosks are being installed at two Meijer stores in the state.

She also touted her election reform efforts, including ensuring only qualified voters are voting, cleaning up voter registration, and giving active military the chance to cast their votes.

Johnson also noted that through Michigan’s organ donor awareness campaign, around one million Michigan residents have added their names to donor lists during her first two years in office. Now with organ donation being one of the first questions residents are asked when they visit the Secretary of State, the process has greatly increased the number of donors.

“One donor saves the lives of eight people while they help improve the quality of life for 50 people,” she said, adding that an individual is never too old to donate. The state’s oldest donor is 103 years old, she said.

Prior to Johnson’s speech, the Sterling Heights chamber and the city of Sterling Heights announced the winners of the Sterling Edge Business Awards, honors given to five local businesses in different categories.

Central Macomb Community Credit Union was named “Local Company of the Year” for its growth efforts in the community. The credit union started as a mom-and-pop shop in 1957 and is now a full-service financial institution with branches in Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights and at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Sterling Heights-based Favi Entertainment earned the “Dream Big Company of the Year.” The company offers electronics to customers worldwide, including the world’s smallest handheld projectors, white LCD televisions and more.

The “Blue Ribbon Company of the Year” award went to Experi-Metal for its community outreach efforts. The company sponsors ongoing Red Cross blood drives and gives quarterly to Gleaners Food Bank. In addition, it has reached out to local elementary schools to promote manufacturing careers.

Henry Ford Medical Group-Lakeside won the “Green Company of the Year” for its recycling efforts throughout the building.

BAE Systems in Sterling Heights earned the “Best Place to Work Company of the Year.”

The chamber also honored Roy C. Rose with its 2013 Lil Adams Award. Rose, president and principal project manager for Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, received the recognition for his contributions to the chamber, the community and his man.

Rose, who has worked as a civil engineer for 30 years, also serves as a volunteer on the Board of Regents of the Clinton Township Campus of Baker College, as vice chairman of business for Better Transportation, is a member of Macomb Community College’s Civil Technology Advisory Board, and is president of Leadership Macomb and the Utica Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence. He was also recently appointed to be one of Macomb County’s representatives on the new Regional Transit Authority. Rose thanked the chamber, his employees and his wife, Debbie.