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Posted on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 3:10 p.m.

Google declines to discuss Ann Arbor hiring promise as new exec moves in

By Nathan Bomey

Google, which issued a high-profile promise in 2006 to hire 1,000 workers in Ann Arbor by 2011, is only one-quarter of the way to its initial goal, and the company is no longer discussing its hiring plans.

Mike Miller Google.jpg

Google’s AdWords sales headquarters on Division Street in downtown Ann Arbor houses about 250 employees, said Mike Miller, Google’s new Ann Arbor leader.

But Miller, who is moving from California to Ann Arbor, declined to address the company’s hiring plans, saying only that Ann Arbor “remains a firm investment for Google.”

“As a company, we don’t comment on forward-looking” plans, Miller said. “For us it’s about continuing to grow the business. That will come as the economy grows and as Google and AdWords continue to grow.”

Google’s reluctance to discuss its hiring plans comes after former Google executive Grady Burnett suggested in January 2008 that the firm would reach its goal of hiring 1,000 workers by 2011. The company, enticed by up to $38 million in tax breaks spread out over 20 years, announced its Michigan investment in 2006.

Burnett departed Google two months ago to lead global online sales for social networking giant Facebook. Miller is a former Cisco Systems executive with 2.5 years of experience at Google.

The broad limbs of the economic crisis have dazed the historically secretive search engine giant, which earlier this year laid off 200 sales employees in the U.S. as cost-cutting measures. The company has declined to discuss whether any Ann Arbor staffers were laid off.

In the second quarter, Google reported the lowest revenue growth in its history. But its financial results - including $1.48 billion in second-quarter profit - are still undoubtedly strong in light of the global economic downturn.

Miller said the company has “no plans” to leave its Ann Arbor offices at the McKinley Towne Centre, where the firm has space on several floors.

“It’s a great space for us. Obviously we’ve been able to customize it to get the quote unquote ‘Googly feel,’” Miller said. “It’s a challenging economy, but if you walk around the office, there’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy. We can have a tremendous impact on this area.”

Elizabeth Parkinson, director of marketing and public relations for Ann Arbor SPARK, the region’s economic development organization, suggested that companies often hire in “fits and starts,” not continuously. She said she had no information about Google’s hiring plans but said “it’s also possible they’ve adjusted based on business demand and market pressures.”

Google’s Ann Arbor office focuses almost exclusively on AdWords sales. Employees communicate regularly with new and existing AdWords clients to enhance their search engine marketing strategies. Miller said Google has some 10,000 Michigan clients, including all of the major car companies.

The company’s Birmingham office, which employs about 20, handles the Google's North American AdWords sales for auto customers.

Michelle Morris, Google's auto industry manager, said the car companies have leveraged AdWords to communicate directly with the public during the economic crisis.

“We’re committed to standing by them through the bankruptcies and beyond,” she said. “We’re very thrilled with their level of sophistication in the field. They’re constantly testing and getting back in and optimizing their campaigns based on what they tested.”

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Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 1:02 p.m.

Maybe our elected officials should consider giving a $38 million dollar tax break to Edwards Brothers and Big George's Appliances!!!! No, instead, we'll all go out tomorrow and in November, and without even thinking, we'll all vote for the same people, and we'll all vote for the same tax & millage increases, over and over and over and...


Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 12:54 p.m.

It's true that Google doesn't even have an Ann Arbor listing on their website under Careers, and to be honest, their commmunity presence --- at one time likened to "a replacement for Pfizer" --- seems neglible at present. I rarely see their brand connected with any community sponsorships, festivals, pledge drives, United Way, etc. to date, and other than the presence downtown of the office sign, not really noticable above and beyond any other midsize business. Edwards Brothers and heck, Big George's Appliances, do more for the local community than Google does.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 10:11 p.m.

What did Google promise to get $38 Million in our tax dollars? How do things end up this way? We need to keep voting for the SAME tax increases, the SAME millage increases, the SAME council people, time and time again. After all, it's only $38 Million squandered in tax payer dollars! And it is unbelievable that Google is hiring at 19 of its locations around the country, but Ann Arbor is not one of these locations. Oh well, we can vote for the two tax increases come November to cover this $38 Million deficit.


Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 11:59 p.m.

Would 1,000 jobs be better than 250? Of course. But 250 is much better than 0.

Chrysta Cherrie

Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 12:21 p.m.

I've removed another comment regarding moderation because it was off-topic. Let's stick to discussing Google in this forum. If you'd like to comment about our moderation, please go to Thank you.

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 8:03 a.m.

I've taken down two additional comments here that were off-topic regarding outsourcing on the part of Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan. If folks would like to talk about those issues, please start a conversation on the blog. Let's keep this conversation focused on Google jobs. Thanks.

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 7:43 a.m.

A comment regarding moderation of comments on this entry was taken down because it was off-topic. Let's stick to discussing Google in this forum. If you'd like to comment about our moderation, please go to Thank you.

Ryan Munson

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 11:48 p.m.

That is kind of funny.

Alan Benard

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 11:24 p.m.

Chevrolet Aveo: Assembled in South Korea and Mexico Ford Transit van: Assembled in Kocaeli, Turkey Chrysler Town & Country: Assembled in Windsor, Ontario Toyota Camry: Assembled in Lafayette, Indiana Nissan Altima: Assembled in Canton, Mississippi Honda Accord: Assembled in Marysville, Ohio


Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 11:12 p.m.

Excellent post, NorthMaple. At the website link you provided, there are 19 Google locations that are hiring, but as you noted, the Ann Arbor location is NOT on the list. Well, so much for the $38 million in tax dollars given away to entice Google. Our local and state officials have got to do a better job with our tax dollars. Until we clean house, none of us should be willing to support another tax increase or millage. The current model being used only gave us a 15% (and still rising) unemployment rate. What better way to send our message that many of us are hurt by the self-serving policy decisions being made by our local and state officials than by saying "NO" to all future tax increase or millage increase requests.

Alan Benard

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 11:07 p.m.

Our silly state government, led by the silly governor, continues to think big corporations promising 1,000 jobs here and 1,000 jobs there will save our collective skin. Time to stop believing empty promises from big corporations like Google and GE and handing them tax breaks. Time to invest in Michigan small business and grow our own jobs.


Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 10:36 p.m.

I doubt they did a spit shake on this. Fact is they can't be "held" to having X amount of jobs. Tough if they got incentives b/c they said they would have X amount is bait and switch. But really, who wants to expand a business in A2 when A2 doesn't do anything for business except discuss charging it's employees tax just for working here.

Gina Valo

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 8:46 p.m.

I'm a proud Googler and have been with the company since our Ann Arbor office opened. I'm not at liberty to comment on our hiring, but I can say that this company is the reason that I chose to stay in Michigan and purchase property in Ann Arbor. The addition of any number of jobs that attract talent to our state (especially knowledge workers) is a good thing.

Sam Nead

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 7:23 p.m.

The honeymoon is over? Seems I remember front page after front page of giddy Google coverage when the search behemoth moved it's Adsense to town.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 3:25 p.m.

I wouldn't commit to adding another 750 jobs, either, with all the talk of tax hikes. Remember that every specialist that Google has to convince to move to Ann Arbor will have to contend with the loss of privacy and money related to a proposed income tax. Google might be better off moving to one of the townships.