Register for the region’s largest one-day Human Resources conference; March 17 ASE event will address opportunities and issues in the modern workplace

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, will hold its 13th annual People, Profit, Progress Conference and Workshops on Thursday, March 17 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Registration is open for the event, which attracts more than 350 attendees and is the region’s largest one-day Human Resources conference. ASE CEO Mary E. Corrado notes that the role of HR is evolving, demanding a broader, more strategic approach to human resources management.

“This year’s conference acknowledges that shift,” Corrado said. “Some of the speakers will address traditional HR topics like compliance, solving people problems and building a positive culture. But other sessions will look at emerging issues such as using predictive analytics to tie HR strategy to business outcomes, and employee engagement data to the realization of the organization’s vision.”

Keynote speakers are Jennifer McClure, founder of Unbridled Talent, and Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative.

Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of three books: The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, and Louder Than Words, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership and passion for work. Die Empty was named by Amazon.com as one of the best books of 2013. His latest book, Louder Than Words, is about how to develop an authentic voice that resonates and creates impact. His keynote address is titled Passion for Work(life).

McClure is a sought-after speaker and business advisor who combines her expertise as a business leader, Human Resources executive, executive recruiter and executive coach with practical strategies to help leaders increase their impact, grow their influence and deliver results in their careers and in their organizations. Her keynote is titled The Future of HR: Four Keys for Creating Competitive Advantage through Innovative People Strategies.

Conference topics and breakout sessions include:
• Taking the Mystery out of Mobile Recruiting
• Ignorance is Not Bliss: Staying on Top of the Changing Legal Landscape
• Key Human Resource Trends and Priorities for 2016
• Creating Manager Accountability for Employee Development
• Seeing the Future Using Predictive Analytics
• Why Employees Sue: A Live Debate Between Management-side and Employee-side Attorneys
• Techniques to Build a Culture of Collaboration
• Talent Shortages & Skills Gaps: 5 Ways to Win the War For Talent
• Demystifying Engagement Data: Moving from Numbers to Insight to Action
• Manage Your Problem Employees Without Losing Your Mind
• Building an HR Strategy
• Hello ‘Stay Interviews’, Goodbye Talent Loss

For a complete conference agenda and registration information, please visit the ASE website.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people.

Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

 

Dickinson Wright Attorney Edward H. Pappas Named to National Law Journal’s ADR Trailblazers List

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Edward H. Pappas has been selected for National Law Journal’s ADR Trailblazers list. He will be featured in the February 29, 2016 issue of National Law Journal.

Mr. Pappas is Chairman of Dickinson Wright and is a Member in the firm’s Troy office. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, arbitration and mediation. Mr. Pappas is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers, the Litigation Counsel of America, and the American College of Civil Trial Mediators. He is a member, arbitrator and mediator of and for the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, the International Institute for Conflict Preservation and Resolution, and the American Arbitration Association. He is a Past President and a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan. He currently serves on the State Bar of Michigan’s 21st Century Practice Task Force. In 2015, he received the Roberts P. Hudson Award, the State Bar of Michigan’s highest honor. Mr. Pappas received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Dickinson Wright’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice regularly assists clients with conflict management and dispute resolution. Our lawyers have facilitated settlements and served as arbitrators, facilitators, mediators and other neutrals in hundreds of cases from coast-to-coast as well as internationally. Using various ADR procedures, including nonbinding and binding arbitration, mediation, mini-trials, summary jury trials, and early neutral evaluation, we resolve a wide range of conflicts quickly and cost-effectively. Dickinson Wright is a member of the Center for Public Resources Institute for Dispute Resolution and our lawyers are listed with many national panels, including the American Arbitration Association, National Arbitration Forum, FINRA and JAMS. To learn more about our alternative dispute resolution practice, please visit us at www.dickinsonwright.com.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 400 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has fifteen offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and eight other domestic offices in Columbus, Ohio; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn. (2); Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Reno, Nev.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canada office is located in Toronto.

The firm offers clients a distinctive combination of superb client service and exceptional quality. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Bugs for lunch? Entrepreneurs say it’s a tasty idea

From: Detroit Free Press

By: John Gallagher 

Feb. 27, 2016

Perhaps the most startling moment at last week’s Detroit Policy Conference at MotorCity Casino came when local entrepreneur Anthony Hatinger asked the audience if anyone had eaten insects that day.

Hartinger is a cofounder of Detroit Ento, one of four local start-up firms that engaged in a pitch competition at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference. And despite a business idea that Hatinger admits strikes most listeners as bizarre, his Detroit Ento won the competition and the right to enter the finals at the Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference in May.

Detroit Ento is based on a simple premise — that insects can provide a vast amount of protein at a fraction of the cost and environmental burden that, say, raising cattle requires.

Starting last year with a colony of crickets raised in the Kalamazoo area, Hatinger and his partners Theo Kozerski and Farrin Forsberg raise crickets in the New Center area, freeze them, then grind them up into a powder that can be mixed with other ingredients to produce energy bars and other food products for human consumption.

“Our biggest hurdle definitely is psychological,” Hatinger said. “It’s getting over that hump. Usually people are repulsed by the idea but after that sinks in and people wrap their mind around it they may not do it but they can appreciate the idea.”

For the more culinary adventurous, Detroit Ento also produces frozen crickets to snack on. And from crickets as a protein source, Detroit Ento expects to develop worms and fly larva as protein sources that could used for pet food and livestock food.

The young company, started just last year, now needs to raise capital to expand its research and production.

Dennis Archer Jr., chairman of this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference and one of the judges last week that named Detroit Ento the winner of the pitch competition, said the firm won because it appeared to have the idea most likely to scale up as a growth opportunity.

“I think the consensus was these guys have something that’s groundbreaking, something that has an identifiable feeling on revenue growth,” Archer said. And given that Michigan can offer Ento many resources, from agricultural research at universities to warehousing, logistics and transportation options, “We just think it’s a good play for the state of Michigan and the region,” he added.

Detroit Ento is one of numerous small start-up firms that have launched in and around Detroit in recent years as the city’s economy evolves from a 20th-Century corporate model to a more entrepreneurial model. The pitch competition at the policy conference last week was just one of many such events and training programs for entrepreneurs created in Detroit to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Among those: There is the City of Detroit’s Motor City Match program, which matches property owners who need tenants with entrepreneurs who need space, business incubators like TechTown, and competitions like Hatch Detroit, NEIdeas, and Accelerate Michigan.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, told the policy conference audience that in Detroit’s 20th-Century corporate culture “bigger was always better.” But now, he said. “the future is based on being small, nimble, innovative. We are seeing the revival of an entrepreneurial spirit across the city, across the state.”

And he recalled how automotive pioneer Henry Ford was the leading entrepreneur of his day. “That spirit is now alive and well in Detroit,” he said. “Detroit has become now the world’s best 300-year-old start-up. We have the history, we have the patina, and now we have an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Medical Liability attorney Studley joins Plunkett Cooney

Attorney Lauren M. Studley recently joined Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, as a member of its Medical Liability Practice Group.

“Lauren’s background perfectly complements our medical liability team,” said D. Jennifer Andreou, Plunkett Cooney’s Medical Liability Practice Group co-leader. “She’s an experienced attorney in the courtroom, and she excels at resolving complex matters on behalf of her clients.”

Studley focuses her practice primarily in the area of medical malpractice defense. She also has experience resolving general liability claims, auto negligence matters, trucking/transportation law issues and contract law matters.

Studley’s clients include hospitals, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers targeted by medical malpractice actions ranging from obstetrics to gynecology to emergency medicine to complex surgery. She has second-chaired complex medical liability jury trials, and she has won numerous dismissals on motions for summary disposition.

Studley received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 2011. While there, she received several awards for her academic achievements and served as the Assistant Comments Editor for Thomas M. Cooley Law Review. Studley received her undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University in 2006.

Plunkett Cooney’s Medical Liability Practice Group is comprised of experienced trial attorneys dedicated to the rigorous defense of all types of medical malpractice lawsuits. Their clients include doctors, pharmacists, chiropractors, dentists, podiatrists, psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals and their employees, medical clinics, mental health facilities and extended care facilities.

In addition to defending medical liability cases, Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys represent their clients before state professional licensing boards when disputes arise. They also work with their clients to mitigate risk related to the regulatory requirements of HIPAA and other federal laws. The firm’s team approach to client service also allows Plunkett Cooney to provide a range of business and personal services to members of the healthcare industry, including real estate, estate planning, acquisitions/sales, tax law and much more.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms, and it was named by American Lawyer Media’s as a “ go-to” law firm in 2016. The firm has also received several awards naming it among the top workplaces in the legal industry.

For more information about Lauren M. Studley joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.
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Sandy Baruah Talks Detroit’s Neighborhoods at the 2016 Detroit Policy Conference

From: Detroit Public Television

Feb. 24, 2016

Detroit neighborhoods are the focus of this year’s Detroit Policy Conference. While Downtown and Midtown are thriving, how do we make sure the city’s neighborhoods are growing as well? Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah joins the team to discuss revitalizing Detroit’s neighborhoods.

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Brian David Johnson to Deliver Keynote Address at 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference

BDJProgramming will kick off at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference with a keynote address from Brian David Johnson, futurist in residence for the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. As a former futurist in residence at Intel, Johnson is in the business of the future. He will motivate leaders to think about the state’s business future and imagine what tomorrow will look like in Michigan.

Johnson works with organizations to “futurecast” an actionable 10- to 15-year vision and what it will feel like to live in the future. Futurecasting uses ethnographic field studies, technology research, cultural history, trend data, global interviews and even science fiction to provide a pragmatic roadmap of the future.

Johnson has worked with governments, militaries, trade organizations, startups and multinational corporations to help envision their future and specify the steps needed to get there. Find out more about Johnson by watching his TEDx Talk.

Collaboration Between Policymakers, Auto Industry Key to Maintain Michigan’s Connected Vehicle Leadership

CollabAs the race for the connected and autonomous vehicle accelerates, continued collaboration between automakers and state and federal government policy leaders, along with public and private partnerships, is key to growing Michigan’s R&D leadership.

“The (automotive) industry and technology are blowing by public policy, legislation and insurance law. What we need now … is to include insurance leaders and public policy makers in the conversations,” said Thomas Manganello, Partner at Warner, Norcross & Judd during the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation’s quarterly Investor Briefing titled “Mobility in Michigan.”

Manganello said currently nine states across the country have some form of connected vehicle legislation. This is critically important at a time when local, state and federal lawmakers are considering increased funding necessary to build out the infrastructure to accommodate connected vehicles R&D.

“We’re going to have 50 sets of rules from an insurance and legislative perspective and that can be a real hindrance to the true benefits of this technology coming to fruition,” he added.

The topic was part of a broader conversation on what the future of mobility looks like for Michigan and next-generation mobility as a driver for economic growth. Panelists also included: Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK; Vicky Rad, deputy director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development; Martin Richter, vice president of vehicle systems for IAV Automotive Engineering Inc.; and Tim Yerdon, global director of innovation and design for Visteon.

Cultivating a talented workforce and moving away from a hierarchical mindset among OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers are some of the other major challenges Michigan must overcome, according to Yerdon.

“In the consumer electronics world, it’s an ecosystem; individual companies are part of a web and everyone is somewhat created equal because they are focused on doing the greater good for mobility or connectivity and bringing it to these different channels. There is no hierarchy,” Yerdon said, referencing his experience at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“What I see in Detroit is very hierarchal and that has to change. If we’re going to be successful as an industry in Southeast Michigan, we have to continue to drive that culture of collaboration,” he said. “There’s those who talk about collaboration and those that do collaboration and Michigan has to be the latter.”

Krutko, who has worked both in Michigan and in Silicon Valley, agreed, stating that Michigan can learn valuable lessons from Silicon Valley companies as the state competes for jobs and investment.

“There is cut throat competition in Silicon Valley, however they also recognize in certain circumstances that the right approach is to collaborate,” he said.

Krutko is hoping to build that collaborative mindset in Michigan with the launch of a connected vehicle research center at the former Willow Run Powertrain Plant, a project that he envisions as a hub of research and development for OEMs and suppliers.

“It has to be an open source environment,” he said. “We are being careful to make sure Willow Run won’t be dominated by a single company. We want anyone and everyone to come.”

View photos from the Investor Briefing.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

Butzel Long attorney Robin Luce Herrmann to moderate State Bar of Michigan panel program on Body Cams on March 9

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Robin Luce Herrmann will moderate a State Bar of Michigan Law and the Media Committee panel program on March 9, 2016 at Wayne State University Law School.

The program titled, “Body Cams: Competing Issues of Transparency, Privacy and Constitutional Rights,” is co-presented by the Wolverine Bar Association. Herrmann is Chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s (SBM) Law and the Media Committee and general counsel of the Michigan Press Association.

Featured panelists include:

· M.L. Elrick, reporter, FOX2 Detroit;

· Rodd Monts, field director, ACLU of Michigan;

· Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Sheriff;

· Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel, National Press Photographers Association; and,

· Christopher White, member, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.

For more information, contact Samantha Meinke, SBM Communications Manager at smeinke@mail.michbar.org or 517-346-6332.

The Law and the Media Committee develops, recommends, and supports programs that promote a positive relationship between the legal community and the media, and accuracy in the reporting of news concerning the law.

Herrmann, a Practice Department Chair for one of Butzel Long’s two Business Litigation Groups, concentrates her practice in the areas of media law, particularly defamation and access issues; commercial litigation, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO); non-competes and trade secrets; and civil rights.

She previously taught Law of the Press in the Journalism Department at Oakland University. Herrmann has been a guest speaker on Law of the Press at Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, and Oakland University.

Herrmann earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1984 and a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law in 1993.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms.

Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long

Mikalonis to join panel discussion on economic regulatory policy

Plunkett Cooney senior environmental law attorney Saulius Mikalonis will be among the featured thought leaders at the 2016 Michigan Forum on Economic Regulatory Policy.

The one-day conference, which will be held on Feb. 26 at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Center in East Lansing, is designed by the Institute of Public Utilities (IPU) for the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Michigan State Legislature, the Offices of the Governor and Attorney General, consumer and environmental advocates, utility industry representatives, and others interested in Michigan regulatory policy.

Mikalonis will be featured on the Analyst and Advocate Perspectives panel, which will also include the following experts:

Dr. Janice Beecher, Director, IPU-MSU, Moderator
Ms. Sarah Mullkoff, Energy Program Director, Michigan Environmental Council
Mr. Douglas Jester, Principal, Principal, 5 Lakes Energy

The conference kicks off at 8:45 a.m. with a status report on energy policy and the electricity markets presented by Dr. Kenneth Rose, an independent consultant and IPU senior fellow. His update will be followed by a plenary session, titled: “Energy Transformation – National and State Policy Perspectives.”

Following lunch, the conference continues with the afternoon featuring three consecutive panel discussions on a range of topics lending perspectives on clean, reliable and affordable energy infrastructure. The cost to attend the conference for members of the private sector is $120. The fee for the nonprofit sector is $40 per person. Attendance is free to all Michigan legislative and Public Service Commission staff.

The IPU supports informed, effective and efficient regulation of the infrastructure-intensive network industries providing vital utility services. The IPU fulfills its mission by providing to the regulatory policy community integrative and interdisciplinary educational programs and applied research on the institutions, theory and practice of modern utility regulation.

Mikalonis is a senior attorney in Plunkett Cooney’s Bloomfield Hills office, and he leads the firm’s Environment, Energy and Resources Law Industry Group. He advises clients and represents their interests in litigation and administrative hearings on issues related to environmental liability and compliance, natural resources and energy law with particular emphasis on greenhouse gases, renewable energy and green building/LEED.

In addition, Mikalonis represents clients in commercial and real estate transactions involving the development of Brownfields and otherwise environmentally-sensitive sites. He also assists clients with completing due diligence in complex transactions, including the identification, allocation and reduction of environmental risks.

A prolific “green” blogger, Mikalonis writes about sustainability issues, alternative energy and environmental law for Crain’s Detroit Business, one of Metropolitan Detroit’s leading business news publications. His “Essential Environment & Energy Blog” posts can also be found at http://www.plunkettcooney.com/blogs-environmentalandenergylawblog.

Plunkett Cooney employs approximately 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities and one each in Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading international directory of law firms, and it is listed among the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” Plunkett Cooney has also received several awards naming the firm as a top place to work within the legal industry.

For more information about Mikalonis’ IPU forum appearance, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John E. Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

When It Comes To Detroit’s Revitalization, It’s Still All About The Basics

From: Daily Detroit

By: Joel Gullickson

February 24, 2016

This year at the Detroit Policy Conference, the fifth annual gathering of more than 800 business and community leaders at the Motor City Casino, we left with way more questions than answers.

That’s actually not a bad thing. The dynamic ideations of some of Detroit’s finest thinkers left everyone talking about both how incredibly far the city has come in recent years, but also, thinking about how much further we have to go in regard to the myriad issues still facing the city.

There were countless quotes and memorable moments throughout the day — far more than we can document in full (we’ll post the videos when they become available) — but we’ve pulled some of what we believe to be the key take-aways of the day to share with you.

We hope that these messages make their way into your neighborhood bar, dinner table, or office water cooler discussion this week, and that you’re inspired to do what you can to help find meaningful answers to some of these massive questions that seemed to focus around two ideas: Detroit still needs to work on the basics, and that there are tensions felt in the city.

DPS and Adult Education Programs Need to Create Strong Programming to Cultivate a Deep Level of Understanding About Financial Literacy 

According to panelists John Hope Bryant of Bryant Group Ventures, and Crystal Nickson with HOPE Inside-Detroit, without a foundation of knowledge around this financial literacy our children are at a significant disadvantage in the ability to create a long term vision for themselves as successful and financially secure adults.

It’s also critical to provide the same opportunity for adults, especially parents. By enhancing financial literacy in parents you create role models who have the ability to inspire their children to follow the same path. Role models and leaders play a critical role in building a thriving community, and without effective educational programming to help empower individuals to take on such roles, the cycle of poverty can never be broken.

Development Requires a Focus on Creating Comprehensive Live Work and Play Communities Both in the City Center and in the Neighborhoods 

Gwendolyn Butler, a developer and partner in the Capri Investment Group, spoke on the issues that Detroit lacks 24/7 live work and play communities and that to remedy the situation development must focus on creating just that. Citing successful examples like The Vermont in Korea Town neighborhood of Los Angeles and Kingsbury Plaza in Chicago, she concluded that such developments can and should replace existing parking lots, abandoned buildings, and the like.

It is developments such as these that will create fully functional neighborhoods which will drive business and further residential developments on the area, resulting in strong neighborhoods.

When it Comes to Building Neighborhoods, Home Buyers/Occupants are Exponentially More Beneficial than Investors

The storyline of investors swooping up buildings downtown is nothing new, but how does this play out in real estate in the neighborhoods? A number of organizations are exploring this issue and have found that investors buying up 20 homes in a developing neighborhood might not be the best long term solution to the neighborhood woes facing Detroit.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority, for example, own the deeds to 15-20 thousand homes, many of which are set to be auctioned off for ownership. Craig Fahle, The Land Bank Authority’s Director of Public Affairs, noted that what really makes a difference is when folks buy a home that they actually intend to live in, rather than looking at it as piece of property they will sell off when the price is right.

Home occupancy, not just ownership, will drive further development because residents will drive demand for businesses like grocery stores and retail — resulting in thriving, full developed neighborhoods bustling with life.

Economic Diversity Creates a More Robust Business Sector and More Job Opportunities 

It has been well documented that Detroit’s reliance on the auto industry was one of the most critical factors in the city’s downfall, and today, the city is facing a similar situation in terms of economic diversity. Despite the Detroit Three’s resurgence in the last several years, in order to become a true economic leader in the U.S., the economic landscape in Detroit must diversify.

The technology sector is growing, as is health care and even the food industry, but it’s not enough. To thrive, we must develop our reputation as a city that is open to any and all types of industry in order to create the economic diversity that will result in sustained growth and economic prosperity.

Lack of Internet Connectivity is a Significant Barrier to Human Potential in Neighborhoods 

The significant lack of Internet connectivity outside the downtown and midtown areas is a no secret. For years, well over half of the city has been without access to Internet, and several organizations have sprung up to remedy the issue. This complex problem appears to stem from a chicken or the egg conundrum.

One side says that providers avoid offering service in areas with high numbers of foreclosures, or areas that are notorious for poverty and economic hardship, leaving residents without access to the Internet, and creating an exclusionary system which hinders their ability to apply for jobs, or students to do school work, and other activities that connected areas have access to.

Existing providers, on the other hand, argue that even with programs like Comcast’s Internet Essentials — which provides Internet access in such areas for less than $10 per month — residents are not actually demanding service and that’s the reason they don’t have customers in these areas.

A representative from Comcast noted that in some cases, residents aren’t well-informed on the value of Internet access, which she believed may be the reason behind lack of demand.

Whatever the case, this is a critical issue that falls under the umbrella of unresolved issues that exist in the neighborhoods of Detroit. When it comes to the jobs of today and the future, if you don’t have basic computer skills, you’re basically lost.

Lots of Talk on Transit, Little Leaving the Station so Far

Another item was transit — the intersection of tensions of race and generation are at play there, too. More and more, young people aren’t as enamored with the car, and they’re choosing cities with mass transit but we can’t seem get off the mark.

Melissa Roy from Advance Macomb who is also the head of SMART (the suburban bus system) talked about how she believes SMART are good stewards of the money there is — but we don’t spend as a region on transit, so we can’t do very much. An upcoming regional millage would aim to fix that. She also highlighted how we have untapped economic potential — and that makes sense as studies show that mass transit access is directly tied to economic mobility (i.e. people getting out of poverty).

Although there has been progress with the construction of the much-talked about M1 Rail, it’s key to remember it’s a considered a neighborhood circulator to help connect greater downtown Detroit, not a regional transit solution.

“New” Detroit. New Tensions 

Detroit’s comeback has an undercurrent of tension, and out of the conference it was clear that it’s not just racial, but also generational. Some tensions — Downtown vs. the Neighborhoods, for instance — have been debated for decades, and probably will be for decades more.

Today, things are changing in the city. The addition of new, affluent residents mixed with the ongoing trend of black middle class residents moving to suburbs is increasing friction with those who have stayed — as well as there has been a mostly undercovered large increase in the Hispanic population.

Mayor Dave Bing pulled few punches with his comments about inclusion, which raised an interesting question — should we even view the city as multiple Detroits — 2, or 3, or 695,000 — or maybe, instead of the divisiveness going on, should we view it as a city that needs to be inclusive work together as ONE Detroit? After all, there was much talk about how African Americans often feel excluded from the city’s renaissance, but less about the one population that’s been growing in Detroit, the Hispanic population. It grew 70 percent from 1990-2010, while everyone else was leaving en masse.

There’s also what feels like new tension point — one that is generational. There’s a feeling that many new “millennial” or “younger” residents (read: under 35) want to make the city (or any place they move or work, it’s really not just about Detroit) “their own.” That feels insulting to many people already here who want new folks to come; however they’d like them to plug in and work with what’s already going on.

Lauren Hood, Director of the Live6 Initiative, put it bluntly:

Her point was that if you move in, it’s not your own, you should explore what’s there and then see how you can develop it with whatever resources you bring to the table, and add to the existing sense of community rather than trying to mold it to your vision.

The policy conversation as far as the Detroit Regional Chamber goes will continue at the Mackinac Policy Conference at the end of May. But the discussion around all of these topics should be ongoing — what do you think?