Official: Auto industry perfect platform to help diversify Michigan’s economy

By Michael Wayland

MLive.com

Diversifying Michigan’s economy doesn’t mean giving a cold shoulder to the automotive industry, according to Sandy K. Baruah.

In fact, the Detroit Regional Chamber president and CEO believes the auto industry is the key component to spurring economic diversification in the Motor City, southeast Michigan and throughout the state.

“There’s no better platform to diversify an economy than this very complex, very high-tech and growing automotive sector,” he told MLive.com Monday. “When we look at the automotive sector we’re not just thinking of just the four-wheel wonders.”

Baruah said the auto industry nowadays is just as much about technology and engineering as it is manufacturing, which is why officials launched MICHauto late last year.

The group — overseen by an advisory board of some of the state’s top auto execs — is designed to work closely with other industry leaders and economic development agencies around the state to help Michigan’s auto industry compete with other regions around the country and around the world that are building automotive hubs.

“It’s a brand of Michigan,” said Chip McClure, CEO of Meritor Inc. and member of MichAuto. “As you look at it going forward, I think it’s going to be a very strong brand – both from an engineering and automotive side, as well as a broader side even outside of automotive.”

MICHauto is one of the most notable achievements of the chamber’s “2011 to-do list” that was set during the 2011 Mackinac Policy Conference in June, according to officials.

The chamber made its first to-do-list during the 2010 Mackinac Policy Conference as a way to show officials from the public and private sectors what progress has been made in regards to concerns brought up at the annual gala of politics and business executives.

The 2011 list ranged from working with a Harvard professor to better identify the state’s most promising industries to improving the relationship between the state – particularly the east and west regions.

This week, the chamber released an updated to-do list identifying its accomplish thus far – MICHauto being one of them.

Other accomplishments included collaborating with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce on numerous activities, including two business delegations; working with delegates from Washington, D.C. on ways to spur economic growth in Michigan; supporting local business leaders and bringing them all together with public officials; and launching a mentorship program to connect business leaders with college students.

“We’ve made pretty good progress on all seven items, but there will be a few things we’ll focus on (before this year’s conference),” Baruah said.

The 2012 Mackinac conference will once again have a heavy automotive presence, according to Barauh.

Announced speakers at this year’s conference — from May 29-31 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island — include Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr., Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman and Roger S. Penske, founder and chairman of Penske Corp.

“The Conference focuses on how to position Michigan to prosper in the global economy – and clearly the auto industry will continue to play a vital role in embracing the realities of globalization and building a roadmap to prosperity for our city, region and state,” said Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, who is chairwoman of the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference, in a release.

Here is the 2011 Detroit Regional Chamber “To-do List”:

  1. Improve collaboration between East and West Michigan businesses and key institutions.
  2. Incorporate southeast Michigan’s leading and most promising clusters into the regional economic development strategy.
  3. Work with Harvard Professor Michael Porter to convene the Great Lakes governors to accelerate the development of a Great Lakes “super regional” strategy.
  4. Convene relevant institutions and leaders to drive the “Outsource to Detroit” initiative.
  5. Convene business, labor and educational leaders to develop and document the factual benefits of doing business in a globally competitive Michigan, and the benefits of the global marketplace to Michigan.
  6. Establish a mentorship initiative engaging graduates of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit program.
  7. Education: Support the governor’s education agenda and the new education achievement system.

Political Strategists Donna Brazile and Tucker Eskew to Lead Session at 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference

DETROIT, March 20, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that national political strategists Donna Brazile and Tucker Eskew will offer their election insight during a session on stage at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. The Conference, held Tuesday, May 29 through Thursday, May 31, is focused on innovation, collaboration and positioning Michigan to succeed in the 21st century global market.

“Bringing two of the nation’s top political minds to the Conference will add an important national perspective to the Mackinac conversation as we head into an election season that will greatly impact the direction of our state and country,” said Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, who is Chair of the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. “Adding speakers of the caliber of Donna Brazile and Tucker Eskew continues the Conference’s tradition as one of the premier public policy events in the nation.”

A leading political strategist, Brazile is Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and former Chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. Author of the best-selling memoir “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics,” she is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated columnist for United Media, and an on-air contributor to CNN and ABC.

Eskew has more than twenty-five years of experience in state-level and presidential politics. As Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Global Communications, he developed strategic communications to promote American policies around the world and led the administration’s wartime messaging. Early in the Afghanistan war, he served in London as President Bush’s representative for communications strategy. He is a founding partner of Vianovo, an international management and communications consulting firm.

“I’ve known Tucker Eskew for years, including during our service in the George W. Bush Administration. I can say without a doubt that the session featuring Tucker and Donna Brazile will be candid, entertaining and extremely insightful,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “They have been key voices in Washington during some of the most crucial political events of our times and can offer in-depth expert analysis of how the upcoming election will impact our country.”

Brazile and Eskew join a speaker lineup that already includes Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, The New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist and best-selling author Thomas L. Friedman, former Utah Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt, Penske Corporation Chairman Roger S. Penske and noted print and broadcast journalist Fareed Zakaria.

The 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference’s three pillars are innovation, collaboration and the 21st century global market. To learn more about how the Conference aims to increase economic development and create a globally competitive, financially attractive business environment in Michigan, visit mpc.detroitchamber.com.

Detroit Regional Chamber 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference

The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event – brings together business and government to re-energize Michigan. Since 1981, the Conference has provided access to Michigan’s top business professionals, legislative leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Over 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2012 Conference, held May 29 – May 31 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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The Detroit Regional Chamber Announces Bill Ford as Headliner at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference

DETROIT, March 12, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that William C. Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, will be a keynote speaker at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. The Conference, held Tuesday, May 29 through Thursday, May 31, is focused on innovation, collaboration and positioning Michigan to succeed in the 21st century global market.

“Ford Motor Company is one of the world’s leading innovators and this year’s Conference is the perfect stage for Bill Ford to share his insight on Michigan’s future,” said Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, who is Chair of the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. “The Conference focuses on how to position Michigan to prosper in the global economy – and clearly the auto industry will continue to play a vital role in embracing the realities of globalization and building a roadmap to prosperity for our city, region and state.”

In the Conference session, Ford will discuss his vision for the future in regard to urban mobility and global gridlock issues, and how Michigan and Ford Motor Company are well positioned to lead the world in automotive communications innovation. Ford will also explore how automakers, technology companies and governments must work together to prevent global gridlock and maximize energy and resources.

“The auto industry drives innovation like no other sector on the planet, and is the ideal platform from which Detroit and Michigan can spur economic development and growth,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “Welcoming Bill Ford to the Mackinac Policy Conference reinforces the Chamber’s commitment to Michigan’s signature industry and our efforts through MICHauto to keep that industry right where it started.”

The 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference’s three pillars are innovation, collaboration and the 21st century global market. To learn more about how the Conference aims to increase economic development and create a globally competitive, financially attractive business environment in Michigan, visit mpc.detroitchamber.com.

Detroit Regional Chamber 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference

The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event – brings together business and government to re-energize Michigan. Since 1981, the Conference has provided access to Michigan’s top business professionals, legislative leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Over 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2012 Conference, held May 29 – May 31 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber 

With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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Chamber’s Translinked Program Holds Supply Chain Forum on Region’s Value Proposition

On Wednesday, Feb. 29, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s transportation, distribution and logistics initiative, Translinked, hosted the Translinked Supply Chain Forum: The Region’s Value Proposition. The forum focused on the region’s supply chain value proposition and the opportunities the region’s assets offer to the private sector.

“The Translinked event showed the value of our region’s industry, talent, location and infrastructure for maximizing our transportation, distribution and logistics assets,” said Benjamin Erulkar, Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Moving forward, the Chamber will look to partner with the private sector to drive this development with targeted projects to bring more value-added freight activity to the region.”

Carolyn Gawlik, Senior Director of Translinked, presented the region’s supply chain value proposition. According to Gawlik, the region’s assets can be classified into four categories: industry, talent, location and infrastructure.

Translinked developed the value proposition in partnership with the private sector. The research included data collected through interviews with more than 30 Southeast Michigan, Northwest Ohio and Southwest Ontario businesses and trade associations who manufacture or move freight. Experts who were interviewed told what aspects of supply chain management work well in this region as well as specific areas that need improvement in order to better conduct business.

To further validate the region’s value proposition, Translinked partnered with transportation consulting firm TranSystems to complete a regional freight study. The freight study provided a data-based account of the region’s current and predicted future state of freight and an accurate comparison of the Detroit region to other Midwest logistics centers. According to Gawlik, the study provides an accurate baseline for measuring the region’s progress and provides data that is more valuable than anecdotes and estimations.

“The value proposition highlights the great things our region offers to companies moving freight,” said Gawlik. “Spreading the word globally about the ways our industry, talent, location and infrastructure work together is critical to maximizing the region’s ability to create jobs and attract investment.”Guest speakers Kerry Zielinski of CEVA Logistics, Christiane Meyer of Penske Logistics, and Jeffrey Rende of BASF, presented unique approaches their companies have taken to transport products from point A to point B using the region’s assets. The speakers participated in a question-and-answer session, with remarks on the importance of cost, reliability and efficiency to customer satisfaction, the supply chain life cycle overall, and the need for continuous improvement for the region to compete on a national level for business.

For more information and presentations from the event, please visit Translinked or contact Carolyn Gawlikdirectly at 313.596.0443.

Translinked

Translinked’s mission is to develop the Southeast Michigan, Northwest Ohio, and Southwest Ontario region into a world-class and globally recognized transportation and logistics hub. For more information, please visit translinked.detroitchamber.com.