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A Message from Chamber Economic Development Leadership Council Chair, Tricia Keith

Optimism, realism and measurable progress continue to characterize Detroit’s redevelopment. All of these themes flowed through the recent Detroit Policy Conference, in which I was privileged to participate on a panel to address the diversification of Detroit’s industries. Health care, information technology, food, logistics and financial services all show tremendous growth in the city’s business community, and are forging new ground in recruiting capital and talent. To compare the state of the city and our prospects today to where we were four years ago is to compare two separate worlds, two vastly different cities.

The Detroit Policy Conference, itself, and what it has become in its third year, symbolize much of what has happened in the city. The Conference has become a mini-Mackinac Policy Conference for Detroit, growing in attendance each year. The energy is palpable, and with so many ideas and initiatives, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them. And while it will take all of us – government, businesses, non-profits and the general population – to make the city we want, more and more businesses of every size and sector are making a public commitment to improve the region.

Perhaps most important, I noted a certain maturity in the conversations at the Conference, and those that I hear around the city. The optimism has moved beyond mere happy talk – it’s realistic about the very real challenges that we’ll need to confront to succeed. But this realism didn’t temper the optimism – it’s driving it. That’s the kind of energy that underlies the real progress we’ve made so far, and that I’m convinced lies ahead for Detroit.