Gov. Snyder: Michigan’s Long-Term Growth Requires Cohesive Plan for Economic Development, Education and Efficient Government

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Putting Michigan on a path to long-term success requires cohesiveness between state and local leaders Gov. Rick Snyder said — honing in on one of the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference pillars. A key component of that work involves coming together on sustainable economic development programs for transportation infrastructure funding, talent development and fiscally responsible energy policies.

The Governor also called on leaders to reform education in Michigan, accentuating the fact that Michigan’s comeback requires access for all students who shouldn’t have to struggle to make decisions based on educational silos. Snyder also reinforced the importance of skilled trades awareness in the state.

“We talk about income inequality a lot in this country. The easiest way to eliminate income inequality is offering honorable, well-paying job opportunities,” Snyder said. “Let’s make Michigan the leader in income quality again.”

Turning attention to state and local government, Snyder said Michigan continues to be “the comeback state” — highlighting the fact that Michigan’s economic health ranked second in the nation. However, the Governor acknowledged that long-term sustainability requires efficient, effective and accountable government.

“We can do better,” he said, suggesting that Lansing must move away from a mindset of “creating a program for every problem.”

“We need to help people with dignity and move from a culture of programs to people. We have to solve the root cause of a problem so people can be successful again on their own,” he said.

Snyder closed his remarks by echoing his call from last year’s Conference, encouraging attendees to be “loud and proud” about Michigan’s bright future — a 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List item.

Dennis Archer Jr. Named 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference Chair

Closing out the second full day of programming at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that Dennis Archer Jr., the founding principal and president of Archer Corporate Services (ACS), and CEO of Ignition Media Group, will serve as Chair of the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference.

“Dennis’ leadership on the Chamber Board and engagement with the Mackinac Policy Conference continues to make a positive impact on this organization and his passion for making the city and region a better place is evident through his work every day,” said Chamber President Sandy Baruah.

Archer said he is honored to serve as Conference Chair.

“I was first introduced to the Detroit Regional Chamber by way of the Mackinac Policy Conference as I attended with my parents. Since then, I have seen the reach and influence of the Chamber increase as the diversity of its members and board expand,” he said. “At such a pivotal time in Detroit’s and Southeast Michigan’s history, I am honored to serve as Chair of this one-of-a-kind event and look forward to working with the Chamber team to advocate for businesses of all sizes and industries throughout our region.”

The 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference will be held on Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3. Click here to read the full press release.

Political Prognosticator Nate Silver: 2016 Presidential Election Too Early to Call

With over a year to go, Democrat and Republican party leaders should tread lightly when it comes to predicting a winner of the 2016 presidential election, according to renowned political prognosticator and founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver.

Silver said there are many disruptors for party candidates, particularly the Democrats. While he fully expects Hillary Clinton to secure the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Silver cautioned Conference attendees who listen to the “noise” that Democrats have a “blue wall” in the Electoral College that allegedly gives the edge to Democrats in the national election. Silver also dismissed historical evidence that three-time back-to-back presidencies from the incumbent party are historically rare.

Instead, Silver said the 2016 election will come down to likeability and name recognition. While Clinton can appeal to President Obama’s supporters, Silver said her name recognition is not as strong. Similarly, he said Republicans currently do not have a candidate that resonates with both party loyalists and undecided swing voters. To that end, Silver predicts the Republican candidate to challenge Clinton will either be Scott Walker or Marco Rubio, rather than Chris Christie or Jeb Bush.

Silver also said with more political polls beginning so early this year, the accuracy of the data is questionable and cause for concern.

“There’s too much that could happen before the 2016 election — war, changes to the economy, and the favorability rating of the current sitting president, just to name a few,” he said.

Click here to read more about Nate Silver in the Detroiter magazine.

Detroit Regional Chamber Announces Dennis Archer Jr. as 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference Chair

MACKINAC ISLAND, May 28, 2015 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that Dennis Archer Jr., the founding principal and president of Archer Corporate Services (ACS), and CEO of Ignition Media Group, will serve as Chair of the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference. This year’s Conference Chair and Deloitte’s Michigan Managing Partner Mark Davidoff made the announcement from the four-day Conference held at Grand Hotel.

“Dennis Archer connects the start-up and corporate communities like few others at a time when the convergence of entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies is playing an expanded role in the regional economy. His ability to connect these communities will help bolster the Chamber’s Startgrid program as we work to link the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “Dennis’ leadership on the Chamber Board and engagement with the Mackinac Policy Conference continues to make a positive impact on this organization and his passion for making the city and region a better place is evident through his work every day.”

A serial entrepreneur, Archer has grown ACS into one of the nation’s leading marketing fulfillment services firms and launched Ignition Media Group, a boutique integrated marketing agency headquartered in downtown Detroit, specializing in experiential marketing, public relations, event production and brand development. In March, Archer and partners announced the opening of a modern American gastropub, Central Kitchen + Bar, in the First National Bank building in downtown Detroit in July.

“I was first introduced to the Detroit Regional Chamber by way of the Mackinac Policy Conference as I attended with my parents. Since then, I have seen the reach and influence of the Chamber increase as the diversity of its members and board expand,” Archer said. “At such a pivotal time in Detroit’s and Southeast Michigan’s history, I am honored to serve as Chair of this one-of-kind event and look forward to working with the Chamber team to advocate for businesses of all sizes and industries throughout our region.”

The 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference will be held Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3.

Detroit Regional Chamber 2015 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. Approximately 1,500 attendees are gathering for the 2015 Conference from May 26 – May 29 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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“To-Do” List Shows Impact of the Mackinac Policy Conference

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2014 Conference Chair Henry Cooney took the stage today to report on the Chamber’s completed 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference “To-Do” list and its accomplishments, including repealing the Personal Property Tax, being “loud and proud” about Detroit, helping launch Mayor Duggan’s Grow Detroit Young Talent Program and celebrating the region’s “disagreeables. ”

  1. One of the Chamber’s proudest achievements was the passage of Proposal 1, repealing Michigan’s burdensome Personal Property Tax. Aiding in that effort, the Chamber launched an aggressive marketing campaign ahead of the August election and was a key voice for business in the media.
  2. After swiftly exiting bankruptcy, the Chamber continues to be “loud and proud” about Detroit’s future. Whether organizing foreign delegations, appearing in the media or hosting the second annual Detroit Policy Conference, the Chamber is working with its public and private partners to position the city and region as the place to do business.
  3. At the 2014 Conference, Mayor Duggan announced the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program, a summer jobs initiative aimed at connecting the city’s youth with educational employment opportunities. The Chamber served as a key partner, promoting the program to Detroit’s business community. A year later, it has already met and exceeded its goal of securing 5,000 jobs.
  4. The Chamber also answered 2014 Conference keynote Malcolm Gladwell’s call to embrace what he called “disagrreables,” those who have the courage to ignore naysayers, bring an idea to fruition and create transformative change. The September edition of the Detroiter magazine showcased the business leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving innovation and reshaping Southeast Michigan.

The results of the Chamber’s 2014 “To-Do” list demonstrate the impact the Mackinac Policy Conference and the collective power of participants to contribute directly to the state’s growth.

2013 “To-do” List Update

Following New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s keynote address at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Chamber led a delegation from Detroit to New Orleans in October to learn lessons about education reform and neighborhood revitalization following Hurricane Katrina. The trip completed an item from the 2013 “To-Do” list.

Foreign Affairs Expert Dan Senor Gives Michigan Israel’s Entrepreneurial Lessons

Leveraging the entrepreneurial impact on Detroit and Michigan’s transformation requires a societal commitment to innovation and a willingness to embrace failure, according to Dan Senor, best-selling author of “Start-up Nation.”

If Michigan hopes to build its entrepreneurial space, Senor said state and federal leaders must collaborate on creative government programs that encourage startup investment from venture capitalists and embrace a culture shift that views immigration as an opportunity rather than a burden. In addition, Senor said the United States can learn a lot from the Israel Defense Forces, which teach youth responsibility and leadership expertise that are of value in the workforce.

Finally, Senor said entrepreneurs in Michigan and the United States must have a “ferocious commitment to building something great” and take pride in the collective success of the community.

Senor, a geopolitical expert and adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, drew on lessons from years of research on Israel, which has more high-tech startups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world.

“There’s tremendous opportunity in Michigan. The world needs innovation and entrepreneurship. Israel’s got it and Michigan has the potential for it. We’re already seeing the kernels of it, particularly with the tech startups moving here,” Senor said.

Mellody Hobson: Millennials Will Reshape Business in the New Economy

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As millennials continue enter the workforce in high numbers, they are poised to be a catalyst for sweeping change in both individual companies and the larger economy. As a globally recognized expert on investment, Ariel Investments LLC President Mellody Hobson shared how millennials are redefining the traditional career path and how businesses attract and retain talent.

Combined with lofty aspirations and an immediate connection to the world through social media, millennials are using their immense entrepreneurial spirit to hang their own shingle and start small businesses. According to Hobson, millennials have gone from “Generation Y to ‘Generation Why Not Start My Own Business.’”

Millennials currently represent 36 percent of the workforce, but will comprise 50 percent in just five years, reported Hobson. In order to cultivate millennial leadership in their organizations and succeed in the new economy, businesses, particularly large ones, will have to adapt. They must embrace and foster diversity, as well as find new ways to reward creativity.

Hobson finished her time on the Conference stage by answering questions from former U.S. Representative and MSNBC Political Analyst Harold Ford Jr., where she shared thoughts on the direction of the stock market and her passion for financial literacy, the key theme of fellow Conference keynote John Hope Bryant.

Doris Kearns Goodwin: Pragmatic Leaders Can Lead Michigan’s Economic Growth

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Citing the courage and bold leadership of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt in the face of historic challenges, Doris Kearns Goodwin, best-selling author of “Team of Rivals” called for more cooperation and pragmatic leaders to move Michigan forward.

In her keynote address, Goodwin drew parallels to FDR’s ability to unite business and government in one common goal to defeat Nazi Germany, and Johnson’s innovation in the face of opposition to pass the Civil Rights Act to the “out of the box” approach Michigan’s leaders had to solving Detroit’s bankruptcy crisis.

Goodwin said partnership requires compromise and a willingness to circumvent ideology for more long-term and sustainable solutions. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author said effective leaders, such as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Gov. Rick Snyder inspired common action in the face of the bankruptcy crisis but said a lack of cohesion and community revitalization could threaten Michigan’s progress.

“In the absence of that daily crisis, how do you keep (Michigan’s) momentum going because the problems still exist” she asked.

Click here to read an article about Goodwin in the Detroiter magazine.

Detroit Bankruptcy Architects: City Must Be Fiscal Stewards, Focus on Regional Inclusion

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Five months after Detroit exited from the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States, the city’s bankruptcy architects overwhelmingly agree: The path forward requires regional inclusion and keeping leaders accountable.

Thursday’s panel included Kevyn Orr, former emergency manager for the city of Detroit; Steven Rhodes, former judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan;  Gerald Rosen, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; and Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation.

In responding to questions from moderator Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Rhodes and Orr said Detroiters must “keep their eye on the ball” and hold leaders accountable to make sure the city complies with the court-mandated plan of adjustment milestones to protect creditors and pensioners.

“The one constant is not leadership. Leaders come and go. The constant is on the people to make sure the city’s tremendous obligations are met so it continues to move forward and doesn’t slide back into prior behavior,” Rhodes said.

Walker agreed, stressing that there is tough work ahead in order to build a vibrant and robust economy that includes everyone.

“The challenge for Detroit is overcoming its legacy of inequality and division and not having a regional paradigm,” he said. “In order to be successful, there has to be a regional approach. Detroit won’t be successful if the region is not successful and vice versa.”

Addressing the Grand Bargain, Rosen characterized the cooperation between public and private partners as “visionary and courageous” and said the rest of the state can take several lessons from Detroit’s bankruptcy, which he called “the four C’s”: candor, cooperation, creativity and courage.