Barry Matherly

President and CEO, Detroit Regional Partnership

Barry Matherly is the president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership, an economic development nonprofit serving Southeast Michigan’s 11-county region. Under Matherly’s leadership, the Partnership is laser focused on marketing the region to out-of-state and international companies to attract investments and jobs.

Prior to joining the Detroit Regional Partnership, Matherly was the chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is also a member of the IEDC thinktank, the Economic Development Research Partners. Matherly also serves on the executive board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is an institute instructor.

Matherly earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech University.  He is a recipient of the Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award.

Megan Moslimani

Chief Legal Counsel, Special Projects, City of Detroit

Megan Moslimani is the chief legal counsel for special projects for the City of Detroit, where she is responsible for strategic initiatives integral to the City’s revitalization and development. In 2016, she led the Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Regulation program helping the City implement a complex framework to regulate the possession and sale of medicinal marijuana. Today, she oversees the Medical Marijuana Facilities Review Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and approving applications for new marijuana facilities

Moslimani also assists in the oversight of the Local Prosecution Unit at 36th District Court and commercial blight litigation before the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County. She has been deputized by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to practice as a Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney to prosecute graffiti, illegal dumping and scrap metal thefts across the City. Megan takes pride in that fact that her work will increase the quality of life of the citizens of Detroit.

She began her career as an assistant prosecuting attorney at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in the Trials Division. Moslimani serves on the boards of the Arab Civil Rights League, the Detroit Bar Association, and the Detroit Institute of Arts Founders Junior Council, and Police and Fire Retirement System Pension.

Leigh Ann Hello

Vice President, The Cabinet Studio

Leigh Ann Hello is the vice president of The Cabinet Studio, a Windsor-based business that designs and sells non-toxic, green kitchen cabinetry. She has been with the company since 2005.

Prior to joining The Cabinet Studio, Hello worked in engineering, marketing, and business. She earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Windsor.

Hello has been published in local and national magazine, such as The Art of Luxury Living. She has received awards for her design from The National Kitchen and Bath Association. Hello has also been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by The Women’s Council of Realtors Birmingham-Bloomfield Chapter and most recently was featured in a film photography exhibition celebrating twenty of Windsor’s most influential and impactful women.

Najah Bazzy

Executive Director and Founder, Zaman International

Najah Bazzy, is the executive director and CEO of Zaman International, a metro Detroit-based nonprofit providing crisis assistance and vocational training to marginalized women with children.

In addition to Zaman International, Bazzy is the CEO of Di­versity Specialists and Transcultural Health Care Solutions, a training group that promotes cross-cultural understanding between clinicians and patients. As head of that organization, she has conducted workshops for health care administrators, practitioners, educators and policymakers on cultural and spiritual considerations for service delivery, ethical decision-making, staff training, and end-of-life care.

Bazzy was recently profiled on CBS 62’s “Eye on the Future: The Power of Women” along with Suzanne Shank, Mary Barra, Gretchen Valade and Andra Rush. She earned her nursing degree from Madonna University with a specialization in critical care and transcultural nursing, which promotes cultural and spiritual competency within health care.

Christy McDonald

Christy McDonald is the anchor and moderator of “MiWeek,” a weekly news and political analysis show on WTVS – Detroit’s PBS. McDonald also anchors WTVS special coverage including the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference. She has appeared on the PBS “NewsHour” and CNN reporting on Detroit, Michigan politics and the 2016 presidential election.

McDonald has moderated panels at the Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Policy Conference, Mackinac Policy Conference, Great Lakes Conference and Michigan Political Science Association Conference.

As an Emmy-winning anchor and reporter, McDonald connected with Detroit viewers for 10 years on WXYZ-TV 7 on big stories, from 9/11 in New York to political corruption in the city of Detroit. She has received reporting honors from the Associated Press and Michigan Association of Broadcasters for anchoring and breaking news coverage. She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

Adrienne Bennett

President and CEO, Benkari LLC

Adrienne Bennett is president and CEO of her contracting company, Benkari LLC. In this position, she leads a team of operational personnel, negotiates contracts, consults on water conservation and commissioning, and has worked on projects that include the construction of the Little Caesars Arena. She is the first black female master plumber in the nation.

Prior to starting her own business, Bennett served as a consultant in project management and design for Products Direct LLC, serving clients including Comerica Park, Ford Field and Atlantic City. In this position she worked with a team to create hospital plumbing and piping and led preventive maintenance programs.

Bennett is active in several professional organizations including the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the American Society of Sanitary Engineers, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.

A Message From Sandy Baruah, President and CEO

As 2018 comes to an end, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah reflects on the Chamber’s priorities over the past year while looking forward to 2019.

Thank you to all of our members, investors, Board members, government leaders and stakeholders that made this year prosperous for the Detroit region.

Walsh Honored for Architectural Design Excellence

TROY, Mich., Dec. 18, 2018 – Valerio Dewalt Train Associates announces that Walsh’s Troy location at 3838 Livernois Rd. has been awarded a Citation for outstanding design in Informa’s American School & University® 2018 Architectural Portfolio. The project is featured in the November/December 2018 edition of the magazine and also online at An annual competition honoring education design excellence, the Architectural Portfolio spotlights projects representing today’s most effective learning environments.

“We believe it’s essential to deliver a practical and progressive business education, and we also want to ensure that our students have an engaging environment that enhances their learning experience,” said Marsha Kelliher, president and CEO of Walsh. “We are honored to be recognized for the thoughtful and beautiful additions to our Troy location.”

A jury of American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education members and education administrators evaluated submissions from architectural firms, schools and universities across the country. One hundred sixteen projects were chosen for publication in AS&U. Awarded projects exhibited clarity of concept, innovation and creativity in response to the specifics of program, users, community, and site. Other considered criteria included: clarity of idea, sense of place/atmosphere, unique identity, healthful interior environment, anticipates user needs, security, flexibility/adaptability, pushing envelope, suited to community, and economy.

Founded in 1928, American School & University is devoted exclusively to education facilities/business administration. The authority for information about the educational facilities market, AS&U delivers an insightful combination of exclusive reports, special focuses and how-to articles. For more information about Walsh, visit


Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of the region’s largest business schools and Michigan’s third largest graduate business school, offering classes in several locations as well as online. Our nationally ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (

How Gov. Snyder’s ‘Relentless Positive Action’ Is Helping Detroit Win

With Michigan’s new governor and legislators poised to take office in the new year comes an opportunity to support Detroit in its continued growth and revitalization.

Three years after exiting bankruptcy and nearly a decade since the Great Recession, Detroit is coming back — the Detroit MSA labor force is up 6.2 percent, employment is up 15.9 percent, and per capita income is up 34.2 percent. It has been a remarkable turnaround, and so much of the success is attributable to the earnest work of Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration.

That he has been able to garner statewide support for Detroit’s transformation without criticizing others or resorting to the lack of civility that is so common in today’s public discourse is remarkable – and appreciated.

Gov. Snyder’s unique willingness to bring the business, community, government, nonprofit and the public and private sector together as “One Michigan” paid dividends for Detroit, our state and region during his tenure. His positive message that “when one community wins, we all win,” resulted in a city and region more unified than when he took office.

The results of the Governor’s collaborative spirit is evident in the work being done and the relationships forged between the business community and groups across the city and state in everything from economic development legislation, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and foreign business attraction to support for the landmark passage of the “Grand Bargain” facilitating Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Part of this success is the result of the Governor’s message that cities, of all shapes and sizes, play a role in fostering economic growth and talent attraction. Gov. Snyder’s leadership in the comeback of Detroit was not just critical to Southeast Michigan, but his “ignore the politics” approach resulted in a transformation that the nation is still talking about – and has made Detroit a city that once again makes all parts of the state proud.

Under the leadership of the Governor, Detroit has achieved more than anyone could have expected in 2010. You need look no further than the growth of our economy and the vibrancy of places like downtown.

There is still much left to do for Detroit to experience its full renaissance. It is paramount that Governor-elect Whitmer and the soon-to-be-sworn-in members of the state Legislature take a page from Gov. Snyder’s playbook and set aside their differences, avoid politically-charged attacks and come together on key issues like education reform, broadband access, transportation and mobility, and other economic issues that will allow our business community to thrive.

In his exit interview with the Detroit Economic Club the Governor said, “The greatest threat to our country is our lack of civility between one another. It’s not about who is on the other side and why you should insult them or call them a name or anything else. What’s the problem we are there to solve?”

Let’s show the world how Detroit and Michigan can disagree without being disagreeable, how we can debate without personal attacks, and how we can solve more problems together than we can apart.

Accelerating Our Electrified Autonomous World

By Claire Charlton and Glenn Stevens

Michigan has long been known as the global epicenter of automotive design, research and engineering. As the industry undergoes one of its most profound changes, companies large and small are leading the charge in developing next-generation technologies that are ushering in a new era of mobility solutions around connected, electrified and autonomous vehicles.

As major players in this space, global parts supplier Magna International and Ann Arbor startup May Mobility are changing the paradigm of industry collaboration, working together to bring electric, autonomous shuttles to the masses and contributing to Michigan’s mobility transformation. Each bring unique contributions to the industry and their partnership as providers of technology.

The Detroiter interviewed Swamy Kotagiri, chief technology officer for Magna International, and Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, on how they are leveraging the decades-old experience and know-how of a traditional supplier with the innovative prowess of a startup to forge solutions for today’s mobility needs with clear eyes on the future to help solve tomorrow’s global challenges.

How is Magna’s R&D expertise helping expand the global automotive industry’s commitment to electrification?

KOTAGIRI: There are a lot of bold predictions about the future of mobility. For Magna, we believe the future is, at least in part, electric and autonomous. If we look at the overall Magna product portfolio, we are addressing mobility as a whole including key areas of autonomy, electrification, connectivity and shared mobility.

On electrification specifically, Magna is engaged in not only hybrid and electric powertrain systems, but also with developing electric and electro-mechanical systems.

What was once six or so basic powertrain architectures will balloon to more than 50 by 2025. Magna is focused on the development of scalable building blocks to support such proliferation. Our deep understanding of vehicle system requirements helps us ensure these developed solutions support powertrain system level needs for all the different areas of mobility.

Magna is committed to innovative partnerships to bring technology to the market. What led Magna to partner on May Mobility’s automated, electrified shuttle?

KOTAGIRI: We are excited to support new mobility efforts like this one, which will ultimately help getting around crowded city centers easier. Partnerships like with May Mobility provide the opportunity to continue playing a role in the startup ecosystem and serve as cornerstones to Magna’s “open for business” mindset. Through this approach we look at all aspects of mobility, including privately owned vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and mobility as a service, and we consider how we can help build solutions for startups like May Mobility.

May brings a pure startup mentality to this partnership. Magna is an established global tech supplier. What are the challenges and opportunities of this partnership?

OLSON: Magna International is our manufacturing partner. While the vehicle design and autonomy stack is engineered by May Mobility, Magna helps bring our vision to life at scale, enabling us to retrofit hundreds, and eventually thousands of shuttles. Magna shares our high technical standards and excitement about servicing the growing demand for self-driving vehicles to meet today’s transportation needs. This deal demonstrates our commitment to scale operations with a partner who understands quality and reliability in the build process, and who can match the exacting process that makes us a trusted community partner.

Experts assert that low-speed, shared electric shuttles on a fixed route are the first widely-deployed autonomous vehicles. Why is this an appropriate beginning?

OLSON: Deploying low-speed electric shuttles on limited route networks is a practical solution to many existing transportation problems using technology that’s ready and safe now. By giving real people, not opt-in test subjects, a chance to experience self-driving vehicles in a controlled setting, we believe we will be able to scale the technology more quickly. And by easing people into the whole idea of self-driving cars in a way that helps them in their daily routine, we are also able to collect early-stage data and customer feedback.

For new technology partnerships to emerge and new mobility solutions to be brought to life, what are the critical success factors for Michigan? 

KOTAGIRI: Around the world, the next generation of mobility and the requirements for mobility as a service are being defined in part by a new class of service providers, like May Mobility. Large cities are beginning to dictate requirements for powertrain, especially EVs, full autonomous capability and vehicle use cases, such as no single occupants. Sharing of mobility and making it multifunctional are the next steps in improving city access, passenger movement and access to services. Partnerships will ensure there is support in place for implementing new solutions driven by mobility’s transformation.

What have you learned from your pilot programs in Detroit and Michigan and how will that data drive your decisions on EV shuttle deployment?

OLSON: The value of getting out to market as the first fleet of self-driving shuttles is immeasurable. From user experience to business models to corner cases experienced in the streets of Detroit, we’re learning something every day about how real people want to use and interact with self-driving vehicles in their everyday lives. We’re able to draw on years of experience with the talent that’s available in the Motor City, while drawing some of the best minds from research and academia to develop our cutting-edge technology.

Claire Charlton is a metro Detroit freelance writer and Glenn Stevens is executive director of MICHauto.