Bright Ideas

What 45+ policy geeks are thinking, reading and doing.

One hundred days, 19 teams and one audacious vision

The Muskegon community is in the midst of a cultural renaissance Exactly one year ago, residents across the county came together to understand — and address — the root causes [...]

dripping faucet

Past due: Confronting the affordable water crisis

The conclusion of our three-part series looks at the utility cliff looming ahead for many Michiganders and addresses the rising cost of water bills and how to keep residents from [...]

Past due: Water affordability, public health and COVID-19

This is part two in a three-part series that takes a look at the utility cliff looming ahead for many Michiganders and the state and federal assistance available to keep [...]

Rocky cliff

Past due: Energy shutoffs, affordability and COVID-19

This is the first in a three-part series taking a look at the utility cliff looming ahead for many Michiganders and the state and federal assistance available to keep them [...]

Distressed parent trying to work while children do school work

Families struggle to keep up as schools remain closed

Unprecedented. First in our lifetime. Never seen before. The superlatives used to describe the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are employed so often they almost sound cliché. There is no escaping it, [...]

Jar filled with U.S. cash currency

CARES Cash in Michigan: A County by County Look

Like many of you, we have been following the twists and turns of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and working to be as helpful as possible. Here at Public Sector Consultants, [...]

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PSC’s Year in Review

Have you ever wondered what we really do every day at Public Sector Consultants (PSC)? Some people suspect we spend a lot of time sitting in meetings, reading stuffy intellectual [...]

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The Power of 1 Percent

Just how big is 1 percent? Well, when it comes to caring for our state’s aging population, a 1 percent change in services or outcomes is bigger than most of [...]

Old home that is in shambles

Land banks: Drastically reinventing communities, even amidst funding crunches

Michigan isn’t exactly a stranger to distressed and blighted properties. Many homes across the state have lain abandoned for years — some serving as decade-old reminders of the Great Recession [...]

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What We’re Reading

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, about a quarter of American adults report they have not read a book — in whole or in part — in the [...]

The production team at public sector consultants, collaborating on edits for a report.

Why does PSC’s work shine? Its team of wordsmiths and artists, of course

Powerful policy solutions and compelling marketing and communications products don’t take shape overnight. They’re the result of copious research, countless development meetings and a lot of hard work. But at [...]

Photo collage of Public Sector Consultants staff taking selfies

Happy Brandiversary PSC!

A year ago this month, Public Sector Consultants launched its new brand — a fresh, sunny look that we thought better reflected our enthusiasm for and commitment to creating innovative, [...]

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What We’re Reading

As usual, PSCers have been busy gobbling up all kinds of reading material to inform our work, stretch our minds and feed our inner geeks. Below are a few of [...]

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What We’re Reading

As you might guess, we’re voracious readers at PSC. We can’t tell you how many kitchen, hallway, lunch and after-work conversations center around the interesting things we’re reading, why we [...]

Covered bridge

Does zoning matter? It does to Michigan’s natural rivers

Okay, we admit it. Zoning isn’t sexy. People don’t swap stories about it around the office water cooler or make witty posts about it on Facebook. But to those who [...]

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PSCers don their vagabond shoes for an early childhood project in New York

In the dead of winter, when most Michiganders are dreaming of trips to sunny Palm Springs or steamy Key West, PSC vice president Jeff Guilfoyle and consultant Eric Pardini were [...]

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Is the American dream dying in Michigan? Can our education system resuscitate it?

Earlier this year, the 21st Century Education Commission issued a warning: Our education system is not preparing our young people to compete with their peers in other states and developed [...]

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Cancer continues to have devastating effects on Michiganders

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2014, there were 14.5 million people in the U.S. living beyond a cancer diagnosis; this number is expected to reach almost 19 million [...]

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12 More Reasons to Love Michigan

Ask any Michigander why they choose to live here and chances are their answer will include access to world-class outdoor recreation assets. Whether you’re a skier, biker, hunter, camper, golfer, [...]

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Five questions with Jon Beard about pups, pollution and policy

Canine scent work isn’t just reserved for bomb detection and police investigations. Dogs with savvy sniffers are increasingly being used to detect the presence of human waste in our lakes, [...]

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What kills more Michiganders — guns, cars or opioids?

You can’t escape it; nearly every day there is a disturbing report or news story warning us about the worst drug crisis in American history — the rampant opioid epidemic. [...]

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Michigan’s Infrastructure: How Bad is it?

These days, it seems like everyone — whether inside or outside of Michigan — is talking about infrastructure. In late January, for example, news sources reported on a preliminary list [...]

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PSC Launches New Bright Ideas

In January 2017, we refreshed our brand, giving PSC a refined focus and sunny new look. Now, we’re doing the same for Bright Ideas. To start, we created a new [...]

Melissa Gibson, senior consultant

On the Road: PSC uses its nonprofit expertise to sow economic seeds in the Sunshine State

Like Michigan, Florida is well known for its thriving tourism industry. But did you know that its nonprofit sector also plays a prominent role in the state’s economy? PSC’s Melissa [...]

Julie Metty Bennett, senior vice president

Is Michigan’s environment on the federal chopping block?

Earlier this spring, President Trump proposed significant cuts to environmental spending at the federal level. Michigan’s legislature then followed suit with its own substantial state-level reductions, effectively delivering a one-two [...]

Michelle Richard, vice president

The U.S. Department of Education: What does it do?

The highly publicized confirmation of Michigander Betsy DeVos as the country’s education secretary left many people wondering what exactly that position entails. Who better to explain the role of the [...]

preschool children

How do you build a better child care system? With greater investment and pure determination

Every day, parents across Michigan make difficult decisions about who will care for their children. What moms and dads want is a safe place where their kids are happy, healthy [...]

Oil refinery in Detroit

Michigan’s oil and natural gas industry is an economic and environmental force. Who knew?

An oil refinery in Detroit Automobiles. Agriculture. Tourism. These are probably the words that come to mind when people think of industries that contribute most to Michigan’s economy. But what [...]

Jeff Williams and Joan Bowman

Michigan nonprofits pack an unexpected economic punch

On a regular day inside any Michigan nonprofit, from huge hospitals to tiny foundations, business as usual is exactly that: business. Staff members make purchases and pay bills. Funds for [...]

Downtown Detroit skyline.

PSC’s research tells the story of URC’s impact on Detroit

To increase the area’s prosperity, the University Research Corridor (URC) has been actively engaged in Detroit-focused research projects and initiatives for a number of years. But are its efforts working? [...]

Aerial photo of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Happy birthday, PSC!

A lot can happen in 37 years — just ask anyone who has ever been part of the Public Sector Consultants (PSC) family. Since its inception in Jerry Faverman’s basement [...]

Doctor and patient shake hands

Q&A: PSC’s Peter Pratt and Jane Powers talk about building consensus on alternatives to Section 298

In February 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder shocked the health care community when, in Section 298 of his Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) budget, he proposed that the [...]

Aerial photo of farm land in Michigan.

PSC evaluates two innovative food programs’ efforts to help vulnerable children

The Farm to School and Hoophouses for Health programs are working hard to help Michigan farmers grow more vegetables and get them onto the tables of families with children who [...]

Q&A: PSC’s Jon Beard discusses how much Michigan should be spending on its water infrastructure

When people hear the word "infrastructure," roads, bridges, airports and railroads immediately come to mind — the things we see and use every day. It’s much less common, at least [...]

workplace wellness feature

PSC turns a fun, friendly competition into a statewide behavior-change program for small businesses

We’ve all heard the adage: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Jacquie LaFay, a consultant with Public Sector Consultants (PSC), believes the saying applies equally to [...]

Jane Powers, senior policy fellow

Data visualization: PSC helps longtime client explore this new frontier

Data can be used to make decisions and drive change, but only if it can be easily accessed, understood and manipulated. That’s why Public Sector Consultants (PSC) utilizes Tableau, an [...]

Downtown area with people dining on patios

Eight placemaking assets show economic promise for Michigan communities

With so many headlines broadcasting the challenges facing our cities — from struggling schools, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of affordable housing to food insecurity and precarious finances — it [...]

Teacher helping students in a computer lab

Striving for more graduates in Michigan

This article originally appeared in Capital Gains, an online magazine and website showcasing the growth and investments transforming the Lansing region, on February 24, 2016. It has been edited by PSC staff for this reprint [...]

Pictured Rocks in the winter time with kayakers

Leveraging Michigan’s natural resources for economic development

As any Michigander knows, our state has abundant and diverse natural resources that everyone can enjoy. These resources contribute significantly to the state’s culture, history, identity and economy—attracting visitors, residents [...]

Q&A: PSC’s Julie Metty Bennett on the firm’s inclusive approach to strategic planning

For an entire day, no phones were answered, no e-mails were replied to and no texts were sent. Instead, Public Sector Consultants’ staff unplugged for a daylong retreat to make [...]

Car taking a curve with a motion blur

Michiganders’ voices heard on issues ripped from the headlines

Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants (PSC) presented voters with a diverse set of questions in its latest quarterly poll, with topics ranging from robot cars to carrying concealed weapons. [...]

students in a classroom

Beyond evaluation: How Michigan supports its teachers

This article originally appeared in Second Wave, a Michigan-focused online magazine, on November 9, 2015. In early November, Gov. Rick Snyder signed new rules for evaluating teacher performance into Michigan law. Senate Bill [...]

Aerial photo of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Best Thing About Public Sector Consultants Video

Before ringing in the new year and making resolutions, we asked staff, “What is the best thing about PSC?” A whole lot of wonderful ensued. Check it out! Share:

Peter Pratt, president

PSC turns 36!

PSC president Peter Pratt Public Sector Consultants’ president, Peter Pratt, has been with the firm for 29 years. In honor of PSC’s 36th birthday this past month, he reflects on [...]

Team that celebrates diversity

Talent in Michigan: Setting an ambitious agenda

An interactive conversation hosted by Public Sector Consultants Talent retention, recruitment and development are key to a healthy workforce. On Oct. 29, Public Sector Consultants will bring together experts in [...]

Region 9 Prosperity Summit

Region 9 Prosperity Summit…setting the course for the future!

Come hear from leaders of successful regional economic partnerships about how they have moved their talent and economic agendas forward, discuss how these models could be applied in Region 9 [...]

Gears of public policy innovation

In the Gears: PSC’s evaluation skills inform decision-makers

Effective policy does not end with implementation; programs, initiatives and policies must be continuously evaluated to make sure they are reaching their milestones and goals. At PSC, consultants work with [...]

Jeff Guilfoyle, vice president

Voters, experts agree: It’s time for an independent redistricting commission

Redistricting made national headlines this past June when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s independent redistricting commission -- a bipartisan alternative to having the state legislature draw voting lines. In [...]

University Students Taking Notes

Upcoming conference will focus on college affordability and value

High school seniors have some big decisions to make before they put on their caps and gowns. And because of tuition hikes in Michigan, these decisions are getting more difficult. [...]

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In the Gears: Defining the problems — and solutions — for Region 9

Downtown Chelsea, Michigan. Defining problems and solutions through facilitation, strategic counsel and strategic planning is the focus in this installment of In the Gears, a series that highlights the tools [...]

Eastern Market in Detroit

The Michigan Clean Energy Reports: A look at clean energy

Participants engage at a Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association energy fair. Communities throughout Michigan are making clean energy efforts, but it’s important to take a closer look at what’s actually [...]

Group of diverse children

PSC report makes recommendations to improve Michigan’s education system

Michigan’s economic future depends on the state’s ability to produce a talented workforce that can both create new businesses and jobs and attract them from around the world. But despite [...]

United States army veterans

Beyond the battlefield: Bridging the disconnect between public perception and the state’s efforts

Most Michiganders think the state doesn’t give returning veterans adequate services, according to a recent poll from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants. According to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency [...]

Five college graduates in their caps and gowns

Tracking the class of 2015: Where will millennials move post-graduation?

As spring comes to a close, students across the nation will pour out of the hallowed halls of colleges and universities to launch their careers and their futures. As tassels [...]

Public Sector Consultants' environment and energy team

In the Gears: Putting PSC’s implementation skills to work for the Great Lakes

Fostering an idea into a fully implemented project is the focus in this installment of In the Gears, a series that highlights the tools PSC uses to turn the gears of public [...]

Child girl who just had a vaccine shot

Why vaccinating matters

Each year, thousands of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic immunizations. When a child catches measles or whooping cough, there is an obvious threat [...]

R. Collier

Q&A: Council of Michigan Foundations President and CEO Rob Collier

Growing Michigan’s philanthropic impact is a primary goal for the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF). The organization depends on its members, investments in Michigan’s charitable organizations, collaboration and more to [...]

Power plant

Powering the Mitten: Report warns of looming electricity capacity shortfall

Source: Midwest Independent System Operator via Public Sector Consultants. Electricity shortages, rolling blackouts, and surging electricity prices were the order of the day in California back in 2000 and 2001. California's [...]

Two children picking cherries

Meet the Michigan economy: Cars, chairs and cherries, oh my!

North Star Organics cherry orchard in Frankfort, MI. Recession hit Michigan earlier and deeper than most states during the last decade, digging an economic hole that residents and businesses have [...]

Vintage film strip

Michigan in the movies: Q&A with Michigan Film Office director Margaret O’Riley

The Michigan Film Office has been active since 1979, serving as a bridge between the state government and those interested in bringing images from the Great Lake State to the [...]

Child with asthma

Q&A: PSC’s Shanna Draheim and Amanda Menzies on the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

A healthy home is crucial for educational and economic success — unfortunately, many families live in substandard housing, plagued by hazards like mold or chipping lead paint. The national nonprofit [...]

Michelle Richard and Sarah Greer reviewing a binder of information

In The Gears: Turning the implementation gear with the Michigan Department of Education

Bringing projects from thought to practice takes a special set of skills in implementation. How implementation benefits our clients is the focus of this installment of In the Gears, a series that [...]

Melissa Gibson, senior consultant

Visualizing Data: The performance of nonprofits in a new tableau

Melissa Gibson, senior consultant at PSC crunches the numbers to beautiful effect. When it comes to high-quality information analysis, the numbers can become overwhelming. But Public Sector Consultants has always [...]

Old photo of operator working phone board

In The Gears: Finding the right research to turn the gears

Informing public discourse with research is the focus of this installment of In the Gears, a series that highlights the tools PSC uses to turn the gears of public policy [...]

Road under construction

Is Michigan finally getting serious about fixing our crumbling roads?

For anyone driving into Michigan from a bordering state or from Canada, the situation becomes immediately clear: Michigan's roads are crumbling beneath their tires. While that's nothing new, officials say [...]

elda and rafael castellanos

Global Detroit: Leveraging the talent of Michigan’s immigrants

Elda and Rafael Castellanos own El Comal, a restaurant in southwest Detroit featuring Salvadorean, Guatemalan and Mexican fare. Global Detroit helped connect the Castellanos to partner organization ProsperUS Detroit, a [...]

Eyeglasses resting on a report focusing on a title called

Where do Michiganders stand on immigration?

Public Sector Consultants’ quarterly public opinion poll asked several questions on the topic of immigration. The poll, which ran September 11–13, is the second installment of an effort by PSC [...]

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative infographic

Place-based education motivates students by connecting learning to community

Black heaps of illegally dumped tires pockmark the landscape around Hope of Detroit Academy. They are unsightly, attract pests, and make the community less safe. But teachers and students at the [...]

kurt metzger

A grayer Michigan: How the aging of the Mitten State will impact public policy

Demographer Kurt Metzger As we enter into this midterm election season, policymakers and the public are grappling with issues that will chart Michigan's course for years to come. But just [...]

Three people standing by a watershed preserve

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative receives $150,000 EPA grant to support environmental stewardship

From Left to Right: Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager, and Mary Whitmore, Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative coordinator As teachers [...]

Girl getting off elevator with her bicycle

Smart Policy, Smart Commute: How PSCers get to work

The sound of a loud engine accelerating reverberates through the quiet neighborhood as Shanna Draheim gets ready to leave for work. Breakfast bar and a change of clothes secured tightly [...]

stack of one hundred dollar bills

Social impact bonds: A new financing tool for public-private partnerships

PSC’s Jeff Guilfoyle writes about what’s possible with social impact bonds (SIBs). Mr. Guilfoyle specializes in school finance, tax policy, intergovernmental fiscal relations, and issues pertaining to Michigan’s economy and [...]

doris williams

Q&A: Place-based education expert Dr. Doris Terry Williams

On November 6, hundreds of educators and community leaders will converge in Grand Rapids, Michigan to kick off the 2014 Great Lakes Place-based Education Conference. This fourth annual conference will [...]

Girl brushing her teeth

Oral health initiative helps Michigan kids smile

Michigan's children are suffering a dental crisis. To help address the crisis, Public Sector Consultants is helping the dental insurance provider Delta Dental to develop a campaign called the Brighter [...]

dan wyant

Q&A with Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Dan Wyant On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new proposed rule under the Clean Air Act that will regulate carbon emissions from new and existing power [...]

Woman holding her cell phone

PSC resumes public opinion polling

Public Sector Consultants is launching this month a new polling partnership to assess the views of likely voters on key topics in Michigan. The quarterly poll restores a PSC tradition. [...]

amanda menzies

In The Gears: How PSC’s Amanda Menzies builds consensus for better policy

In the June edition of Bright Ideas we started In The Gears, a series on how PSC turns the gears on public policy innovation: research and analysis, program implementation, evaluation, and [...]

Policy cycle gears

Public Sector Consultants’ ‘special sauce’: deep policy knowledge and the ability to get it done

For more than 30 years, Public Sector Consultants has provided services that help advance Michigan. While the nature of those services have evolved over time, two things remain constant: a [...]

The Gerry-mander Political Cartoon

Gerrymandering: Picasso could not have done it better

CEO Jeff Williams stepped before the Lansing Rotary Club May 16 to talk about politics. His first presentation slide was dominated by a work of art by Pablo Picasso. Say [...]

Exterior view of Goodwill Industries building

Update on economic benefits of Michigan’s nonprofit sector

To most people, the term “nonprofit” conjures visions of benevolent institutions doing good work in communities, perhaps feeding the homeless or providing job training to ex-convicts on a shoestring budget, [...]

Peter Pratt at Greatler Lansing Food Bank fundraiser

Charitable giving and doing: part of Public Sector Consultants’ culture

PSC President Peter Pratt enjoys the 2014 Greater Lansing Food Bank fundraiser in East Lansing along with Colleen McNamara (left) and Leslie Brogan. Pratt is a longtime member of the [...]

Public Sector Consultants sign at reception desk

Welcome to Bright Ideas

Welcome to Bright Ideas, the newsletter of Public Sector Consultants, the premier public policy and program management firm in Michigan. Thirty-five years ago, PSC began in the mind of Jerry [...]

Jeff Guilfoyle, vice president

Q&A: Jeff Guilfoyle, vice president at Public Sector Consultants

Nina Ignaczak Jeff Guilfoyle joined Public Sector Consultants in early April as a vice president after an already impressive career in the public policy arena, most recently as president of [...]

Kid smiling at the camera while other kids are learning in the background

Michigan’s Office of Great Start ready to ‘race to the top’ of early childhood learning

A partnership among Michigan's Office of Great Start (OGS), Public Sector Consultants and early childhood organizations has yielded $52 million in new federal funds to help hundreds of thousands of Michigan [...]


Michigan nonprofits make big impact on state’s economy

For nearly two decades, PSC has been tracking and detailing the effects of the nonprofit sector on the economy and life of Michigan. In May, PSC will release its latest [...]

A thumbtack pinpointing a location on a fitness map

Public Sector Consultants recognized for workplace wellness

Public Sector Consultants’ long experience with health data and research has propelled the firm into an aggressive employee wellness program – a program that just drew state acclaim and responds [...]

Infographic containing data on Michigan's ranking in national recycling.

Michigan gets serious about keeping money and jobs out of the landfill through recycling

Recycling in Michigan   Michigan gets serious about keeping money and jobs out of the landfill through recycling Along with trash, Michigan has buried dollars and jobs in landfills for [...]


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