Henry Ford Health System’s Nancy M. Schlichting to Lead Chamber Board, New Directors Announced for 2012-2013 Program Year

DETROIT, July 20, 2012 – The Detroit Regional Chamber has announced the election of Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System, as chair of its Board of Directors for the 2012-2013 program year. She succeeds Chip McClure, chairman, CEO and president of Meritor, Inc, who remains on the Chamber’s Board as immediate past chair.

“What an honor it is to serve this Board and this community as a part of the Detroit Regional Chamber,” Schlichting said. “It is a critical time for our region, state and country. I think the opportunities we have with the Chamber to make a big difference are exceedingly important. There’s momentum in this city and in this region that we haven’t had in a long time.”

Most recently, Schlichting served as chair of the Chamber’s 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference, the state’s premier public policy event, where approximately 1,500 top business, political and community leaders from across the state gathered to focus on creating a more globally and economically competitive Michigan. Under Schlichting, the Conference featured many prominent regional change-makers and national speakers and focused on collaboration, innovation and the 21st century global marketplace.

The 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, which will be held from Wednesday, May 29 to Friday, May 31, will be chaired by the Chamber’s First Vice Chairman Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp.

In addition to announcing the new chair, the Chamber welcomes the following new directors to the Board:

Brett Bernard, President, Michigan Market, Bank of America
Randall Book, Senior Vice President, Colliers International
Timothy Bryan, Chairman and CEO, GalaxE.Solutions
Mark Davidoff, Michigan Managing Partner, Deloitte LLP
John Fikany, Vice President, U.S. Commercial Sector, Microsoft, Inc.
Rick Going, President, Michigan Division, The Kroger Company
Tricia Keith, Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
George Lenyo, Partner, Ernst & Young
Ryan Maibach, President, Barton Malow Company
Kevin McKervey, Shareholder of International Services, Clayton McKervey PLLC
Mike Miller, Director, Business and Industrial Markets and Ann Arbor Office, Google, Inc.
Patricia Mooradian, President, The Henry Ford
Brian O’Connell, Regional Director State Government Relations, General Motors
Heather Paquette, Managing Partner, KPMG LLP
Stephen Polk, Chairman, President and CEO, R.L. Polk

“We added some tremendous leaders to our Board. Their vision and commitment to our region will help drive the Chamber’s efforts to moving the economic needle in Southeast Michigan,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “I look forward to working with them in the upcoming year to move our city and region forward.”

For a full listing of Chamber Board members, click here.

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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Michigan governor finalizing plan to raze empty Detroit homes

From Reuters
July 18, 2012
By: Julie Halpert 

(Reuters) – As the next step in an April deal between financially strapped Detroit and the state of Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder is finalizing a plan to tear down thousands of abandoned houses in a bid to make the city safer.

Detroit has been hard-hit over the past four decades by a steep drop in population, a steadily eroding tax base and crippling budget deficits, resulting in countless barren streets punctuated by vacant lots and burned-out buildings.

The state plan, likely to be announced early next month, is part of a financial stability agreement reached in April that headed off the appointment of an emergency city manager, which Detroit had opposed.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s administration already has demolished 4,500 “dangerous and abandoned buildings,” according to press secretary Naomi Patton, and plans to tear down another 1,500 vacant structures by the end of September — part of Bing’s pledge three years ago to demolish 10,000 derelict buildings by the end of his term in late 2013.

In a statement, the mayor said, “We welcome the governor’s efforts . . . Tangible assistance from the state is critical to our efforts to transform Detroit.”

As Detroit struggles with a $197 million budget deficit, Snyder has looked at a variety of state actions to support the city. The financial stability agreement outlined a plan to improve the quality of life and safety for Detroiters, including demolition as a way to address blight.

“We’re working with a variety of state departments and agencies to coordinate in an unprecedented way the work that gets done,” said Sara Wurfel, Snyder’s press secretary.

In addition to razing houses, she said, the governor is considering better public lighting and coordination between the state and city police departments on an ongoing “safe routes to schools” program.

“This is more than tearing down structures. We’re trying to develop a community approach to making sure there are safe, stable neighborhoods” in Detroit, Wurfel said of the plan, which she called a “work in progress.”

The governor is in the process of identifying pilot neighborhoods for the effort, Wurfel said, with the initial focus on the city’s east, southwest and northwest sides.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is compiling a geo-mapping and coding effort to detail information on the structures to help guide decisions on which buildings will be demolished and provide a better estimate of the costs involved, Wurfel said. She said the governor is exploring multiple funding options.

Snyder appointee Roy Roberts, emergency manager of Detroit’s public schools, said the governor’s plan coincides with his work to make schools the “hub of the community.”

Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said the actions will help give Detroit a more vibrant urban core.

“The effort really aligns with what the mayor is doing to accelerate the clearing of dilapidated buildings,” Baruah said. But he added that tearing down buildings is not enough. The newly cleared land must be usable for community gardens or other public projects.

Among the state agencies involved are the Department of Treasury, the Michigan Land Bank, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Department of Human Services and the Michigan State Police. Also involved are the Detroit mayor’s office, Detroit Public Schools and a variety of private sector, nonprofit and neighborhood organizations.

(Reporting by Julie Halpert in Ann Arbor, Mich.; editing by Matthew Lewis)

Enhancing the Talent Pipeline: Near-term and Long-term solutions to fill your talent needs

MICHauto hosted “Enhancing the Talent Pipeline:  Near-term and Long-Term solutions to fill your talent needs” on Monday, July 9, 2012 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago – Detroit Branch.

Since its launch in January, MICHauto has been hard at work building a coalition of industry executives, developing Michigan-centric promotional materials, engaging in business attraction activities, and connecting stakeholders to address the industry’s engineering talent shortage.  The Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program hosted an event focused on increasing the number of engineers in the talent pipeline and introducing new programs that assist private industry in solving their immediate engineering needs.  Attendees were educated on four topics: private industry involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education reform; corporate immigration assistance and foreign-born recruitment; the utilization of academia’s research and development capabilities; and a unique engineering internship program.

Find presentations from the event below (Click the presentation name to view in PDF Format):

Athena Trentin, Program Director, Global Talent Retention Initiative of Southeast Michigan

Dennis Atkinson, Director of Corporate Engagement/Michigan Corporate Relations Network, Wayne State University

Rebecca Wenglinski, Program Manager, Talent Enhancement, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Dr. Joachim Wolschendorf, CTO and Vice President of the Vehicle and Drivetrain Engineering Division, FEV, Inc.

For more information on MICHauto, contact Rob Luce at 313.596.0383.    This event was presented in strategic partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with presenting sponsorship from Warner, Norcross, and Judd, LLP.

A Shocking Sight In Downtown Detroit: People

From Forbes
July 10, 2012
By: Joann Muller

Editor’s Note: This post kicks off a new special section called “Reinventing America,” which we launched Tuesday. As part of this effort, more than a dozen Forbes contributors and staff writers will focus attention on the challenges facing towns, cities and traditional industries across the nation–and highlight the growing number of success stories we’re seeing, too. Over the coming months we’ll have stories, rankings of who’s doing it right (and wrong), and, we hope, great conversations with readers, so please join in. It kicks off with this dispatch from our Detroit Bureau Chief, Joann Muller:

The city of Detroit is on the brink of insolvency. So why is it that I’ve never been more optimistic about its future?

A year ago, I wrote a Forbes cover story, Detroit: City of Hope, which included a conversation with many of the city’s movers and shakers about the challenges of trying to reinvent the Motor City. The headlines since then certainly have been discouraging, at least on the government side. Mayor Dave Bing has been a disappointment and he and the do-nothing City Council can’t seem to agree on anything. Meanwhile, the city’s top lawyer is dithering in court to void an agreement with the state of Michigan for a financial oversight board. The political gamesmanship is probably just delaying the inevitable, which is either the governor’s appointment of a slash-and-burn emergency financial manager to run Detroit or a municipal bankruptcy filing, or both.

But all you have to do is visit Woodward Avenue, the spine of Detroit’s central business and cultural district, to see that something quite encouraging is happening. Woodward used to be Detroit’s Fifth Avenue or Broadway, a thriving retail and entertainment district anchored by the old Hudson’s Department store and the famous Fox Theatre. By the time I moved to Detroit in the late 1980s, all that was gone, and Woodward was a Ghost Town, just one more of those scary, abandoned places you didn’t go in the Motor City.

But not long ago, I found myself driving up Woodward on a Tuesday afternoon, and I was shocked — shocked — to see dozens of pedestrians strolling along the street. They were soaking up the sunshine at outdoor cafes, or taking a break from work at one of the downtown office buildings to stretch their legs or run errands. In any other city, this would be unremarkable. But in Detroit, it was an amazing sight. Seriously.

Friends who work downtown marvel at the number of people they see riding bikes or walking dogs in the neighborhood. They joke that joggers are running for exercise, not out of fear.

People are moving back to the city’s core. Yes, Detroit lost about 25 percent of its population in the past decade, but young professionals are moving in, lured, in part, by cash incentives offered by some of the city’s largest employers, who have added an estimated 10,000 jobs downtown in the past 18 months.

A year ago, five companies — Quicken Loans, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, DTE Energy and Strategic Staffing Solutions — pledged more than $4 million to help employees offset the cost of buying, renting or renovating a home in the downtown area. The program was modeled after a similar one a couple of miles to the north, in the area known as Midtown, home to big employers like Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Hospital. Both programs are part of an effort by these so-called “anchor institutions” to attract 15,000 talented young people downtown by 2015. So far, nearly 500 people have taken advantage of the two programs, with many more applications under way.

The problem now is there aren’t enough apartments for all the people who want to live downtown. But that’s attracting more developers who are remodeling old buildings and creating loft apartments as fast as they can.

Restaurants and nightclubs are multiplying, too. I was at a friend’s bar over the weekend and was delighted as he rattled off all the development activity going on in his neighborhood, where the only other business currently is a strip club.

As I listened to him talk about the new steakhouse opening soon on the corner, and the buildings being rehabbed down the block, I was struck by the fact that entrepreneurs and large employers, too, aren’t waiting for Detroit to solve its fiscal crisis. They sense that Detroit’s on the cusp of a rebound and they want to get in on the ground floor, while it’s still cheap. Even Twitter is opening an office downtown.

A year ago, I wrote a Forbes cover story, Detroit: City of Hope, which included a conversation with many of the city’s movers and shakers about the challenges of trying to reinvent the Motor City. The headlines since then certainly have been discouraging, at least on the government side. Mayor Dave Bing has been a disappointment and he and the do-nothing City Council can’t seem to agree on anything. Meanwhile, the city’s top lawyer is dithering in court to void an agreement with the state of Michigan for a financial oversight board. The political gamesmanship is probably just delaying the inevitable, which is either the governor’s appointment of a slash-and-burn emergency financial manager to run Detroit or a municipal bankruptcy filing, or both.

But all you have to do is visit Woodward Avenue, the spine of Detroit’s central business and cultural district, to see that something quite encouraging is happening. Woodward used to be Detroit’s Fifth Avenue or Broadway, a thriving retail and entertainment district anchored by the old Hudson’s Department store and the famous Fox Theatre. By the time I moved to Detroit in the late 1980s, all that was gone, and Woodward was a Ghost Town, just one more of those scary, abandoned places you didn’t go in the Motor City.

But not long ago, I found myself driving up Woodward on a Tuesday afternoon, and I was shocked — shocked — to see dozens of pedestrians strolling along the street. They were soaking up the sunshine at outdoor cafes, or taking a break from work at one of the downtown office buildings to stretch their legs or run errands. In any other city, this would be unremarkable. But in Detroit, it was an amazing sight. Seriously.

Friends who work downtown marvel at the number of people they see riding bikes or walking dogs in the neighborhood. They joke that joggers are running for exercise, not out of fear.

People are moving back to the city’s core. Yes, Detroit lost about 25 percent of its population in the past decade, but young professionals are moving in, lured, in part, by cash incentives offered by some of the city’s largest employers, who have added an estimated 10,000 jobs downtown in the past 18 months.

A year ago, five companies — Quicken Loans, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware, DTE Energy and Strategic Staffing Solutions — pledged more than $4 million to help employees offset the cost of buying, renting or renovating a home in the downtown area. The program was modeled after a similar one a couple of miles to the north, in the area known as Midtown, home to big employers like Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Hospital. Both programs are part of an effort by these so-called “anchor institutions” to attract 15,000 talented young people downtown by 2015. So far, nearly 500 people have taken advantage of the two programs, with many more applications under way.

The problem now is there aren’t enough apartments for all the people who want to live downtown. But that’s attracting more developers who are remodeling old buildings and creating loft apartments as fast as they can.

Restaurants and nightclubs are multiplying, too. I was at a friend’s bar over the weekend and was delighted as he rattled off all the development activity going on in his neighborhood, where the only other business currently is a strip club.

As I listened to him talk about the new steakhouse opening soon on the corner, and the buildings being rehabbed down the block, I was struck by the fact that entrepreneurs and large employers, too, aren’t waiting for Detroit to solve its fiscal crisis. They sense that Detroit’s on the cusp of a rebound and they want to get in on the ground floor, while it’s still cheap. Even Twitter is opening an office downtown.

 

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Announces Primary Election Endorsements for Johnson, Peters

DETROIT, July 3, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced endorsements for State Senator Bert Johnson and U.S. Representative Gary Peters in key congressional races in the primary and general elections in Michigan.

“With districts redrawn, this year’s choices for several of the key races are even more difficult than usual, pitting many great candidates and incumbents against each other,” said the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams. “However, the Chamber PAC Board remains committed to its tradition of putting partisan politics aside and endorsing the candidates we believe best align with the Chamber’s pro-business goals and good public policy. While no candidate aligns 100 percent with the Chamber’s policy positions, I am confident in these candidates’ ability to usher through legislation that will help move the economic needle and improve the quality in life in Southeast Michigan.”

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

In the race for the 14th Congressional District, the Chamber PAC Board faced a difficult choice between Congressmen Hansen Clarke and Gary Peters.

“There are no easy decisions in a primary election featuring quality people like Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke,” Williams said. “Congressman Clarke is a relentless advocate for our community whose work ethic is only outpaced by his integrity. However, Gary Peters’ leadership potential in the Congress and track record of effectiveness speaks for itself. We believe he will make a fine representative for this diverse new district.”

In the 13th Congressional District, the Chamber’s PAC announced it would support current State Senator Bert Johnson.

“Bert Johnson has been one of the rising stars in Michigan politics over the past few years. With all the gridlock paralyzing politics at the federal level, his no-nonsense approach, commitment to producing results and fresh perspective will serve us well in Washington, D.C,” Williams said.

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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