Flashpoint 1/21/18: Examining Detroit’s lacking Amazon campaign Watch Flashpoint at 10 a.m. on Local 4

January, 21, 2018

WDIV Local 4 – Flashpoint

Devin Scillian – Anchor

On Tuesday, Detroit learned it wouldn’t be the location for Amazon‘s second world headquarters. This week’s Flashpoint examines what can be taken away from the city’s lacking campaign.

Also, this year’s North American International Auto Show is about trucks and SUVs, but why?

Flashpoint is hosted by WDIV Local 4 anchor Devin Scillian. Watch Flashpoint on WDIV at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Visit clickondetroit.com to view the original post. 

ASE’s Annual HR Conference and Workshops will take place March 15 in Novi, MI.

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations celebrating 115 years of services, will hold its 15th annual Human Resource Conference and Workshops on Thursday, March 15 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI. The event attracts more than 400 attendees and is the region’s most anticipated one-day Human Resources conference.

“This year’s conference is about transforming the workplace,” Corrado said. “Whether its transformation through technology or culture, the workplace is constantly evolving, and HR must lead the way. Our great line up of keynotes and breakout speakers will discuss best practices in the field, compliance updates, and innovative ways to create a desirable workplace.”

Keynote speakers are Jason Averbook, CEO and Co-founder of Leapgen and Jennifer Moss, Co-founder of Plasticity Labs and author of Unlocking Happiness at Work.

Jason Averbook, one of the world’s leading thought experts on the future of work, will discuss the role HR must play in transforming itself and the entire organization to prepare for the future. HR is the function that is most responsible for keeping the workforce engaged. Jason will challenge your thinking and give you new techniques to re-design the HR function and deliver a ‘consumerized’ workforce experience.

Jennifer Moss, author and happiness expert, will discuss the business benefits of adopting a health, wellness, and happiness strategy – critical for employers who want to attract new talent, improve their brand, and boost profitability in an authentic way that is life-enhancing for their staff. With insightful and practical takeaways, case studies, and the most current scientific research from leading experts, Jennifer will debunk the happiness myths, discuss the science of well-being, and explore the role technology will play in building a happier, higher performing, and more innovative workplace culture.

Conference breakout sessions include:
• The Trump Administration – What Can Employers Expect in 2018?
• Developing Business Value as a Human Strategist
• It’s Time to Accept the Truth: Most Employees are Below Average
• Recruiting for the Next Generation
• Are FLSA Ticking Time Bombs Hiding in Your Organization?
• From Customer Experience to Employee Experience – Designing for Moments That Matter
• Building the Habits of High Performing Teams
• Creating a Technology Strategy to Transform the HR Function
• When Employee Rights Compete With Each Other
• The Business Case for Gender Diversity in Leadership Roles
• Resolving Conflict in the Workplace – 8 Vital Keys for Success
• Goodbye Annual Performance Review! Making the Shift to Agile Performance Management

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

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
Celebrating 115 years, 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.

Firm stacks deck with addition of regulatory attorney Card

Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, recently expanded its administrative law and regulatory practice with the addition of attorney Melissa M. Card.

Card joins the firm as an of counsel member of the Administrative & Regulatory Law Practice Group and the Foodservice & Hospitality Industry Group. Her practice includes extensive experience and expertise in the areas of food and beverage regulatory compliance and the defense of related litigation. Her clients include food manufacturers, packaging suppliers, restaurants and other businesses in the food chain industry.

Card’s regulatory expertise includes advising clients with respect to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and other state and federal statutes pertaining to food, food additives and labeling requirements.

In addition to her affiliation with Plunkett Cooney, Card serves as a professor of global food law at Michigan State University College of Law. She also serves as associate director of the university’s Institute for Food Laws & Regulations. Card is a sought-after speaker and author, nationally, on the topic of food law, food and drug labeling and prescription medications.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Health Law Section and the Food and Drug Law Institute, Card received her law degree, magna cum laude, from University of Minnesota Law School in 2014. She received her undergraduate degree, with honors, from the University of Michigan in 2011.

Plunkett Cooney’s Regulatory and Administrative Law Practice Group represents clients before numerous state and federal agencies. Among the matters routinely handled by group members are licensing and permit issues, regulatory compliance and appeals of fines and sanctions.

The members of firm’s Foodservice & Hospitality Industry Group serve the needs of restaurants, bars/taverns, grocery stores, theaters, private clubs and hotels. Services include all aspects of business law, governmental affairs and litigation related to such areas as food spoliation, liquor liability, premises liability and security guard disputes.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs approximately 150 attorneys in eight Michigan cities; Chicago, Illinois; 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 is listed among the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” in 2018. Plunkett Cooney has also received numerous awards naming the firm as a top place to work within the legal industry.

For more information about Melissa Card joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, John Cornwell, at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.


OCC Culinary Community Events – Prepared to be Wowed by Student Chefs!

If you like amazing food, prepared with skill and dedication, you’re in for a treat this season. Oakland Community College’s (OCC) award-winning Culinary Studies Institute continues its lineup of events open to the community. Join the College’s aspiring chefs for an incredible dining experience and enjoy the best in food and service. Events and dining are at OCC’s Orchard Ridge Campus, 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. More information and tickets available at www.oaklandcc.edu/culinary.

Special Event Dinners
• Chinese New Year Festival, February 22, 2018, 6:00p.m.: Join us to celebrate the auspicious Year of the Dog with a festive five-course dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine accompanied by wine service. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks available for purchase.
• Espionage Spy vs. Spy, April 19, 2018, 6:00p.m.: You are under specific instructions to enjoy a five-course dinner accompanied by a secret wine selection revealed to you at the appropriate time. Come dressed to kill and join us for a cocktail, wine or beer at our cash bar with passed appetizers as you assume your secret agent identity. Price is $55 per person. Signature drinks for purchase.

Lunch and Dinner Buffets
• Valentine’s Grand Lunch Buffet, February 1, 11:15a.m. – 1:00p.m.: You and your sweethearts will be treated to a special menu featuring appetizers, salads, fish seafood poultry and beef entrées, starches and vegetables and a decadent dessert table. Price is $12/person and may be purchased at the event.
• St. Patrick’s Evening Buffet, March 15, 2018, 5:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.: Celebrate the luck of the Irish with a wee bit of malarkey and lots of good cheer with your family, club or corporate gathering. Price is $25 per person; cash bar is available. Paid reservation required.
• High Tea in Reflections Feb. 8 and April 5, 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A full lunch is included and ladies are encouraged to wear a fabulous hat! High Tea tickets are priced at $25.00 and sold at the culinary office. Advance purchase is required.

Dine with us at the Orchard Ridge campus.

• The Ridgewood Café – Menu items are freshly prepared from scratch and change daily offering salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts. Guests are invited to dine in with service or utilize the cafeteria and help themselves. The Café is open 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., most Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 18. *The Ridgewood Cafe is closed February 27-28 and March 6-7.

• Reflections Restaurant – The restaurant’s Prix Fixe $16 menu features a four-course meal with three entrées to select from that change weekly. Reservations are required. Wine and beer are available. The restaurant is open Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. through April 19. *The Reflections Restaurant is closed March 1 and 8.

• The Bakery is open Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on the third floor of J Building. Purchase breads, cakes, candies, cookies and chocolates. *A special bakery sale is being held on March 15 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

About the OCC Culinary Studies Institute
OCC’s Culinary Studies Institute is Michigan’s premier hospitality school. The largest of the Institute’s programs, Culinary Arts, gives students a combination of classroom and hands on experience. In addition to extensive time in kitchen labs cooking and baking, specialties such as ice carving and wine and spirits are offered. Students participate in events such as the annual Wassail Feast at the student-run Ridgewood Café, a restaurant on the Orchard Ridge Campus.

About OCC
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve. More than 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Experts Examine the Formation of the Autonomous Drive Industry

By: Kelly Weatherwax

Throughout the North American International Auto Show Industry Preview Days, conversations around autonomous vehicles flooded the halls. Everyone wants expert insight on when these vehicles will become consumer products, what infrastructure and legislation will be needed to move automated vehicles forward, and most of all – where will all the talent come from?

May Mobility CEO Ed Olson sat down in AutoMobili-D with a panel of experts from companies working on the future of automotive in one way or another, for more insight into how this autonomous drive industry will culminate.

So when will this technology take over the roads like the iPod took over the music industry? Samit Ghosh, President and CEO of P3 said by 2021 he believes most OEMs in the western world will have fully autonomous driving deployment, but there is still a lot more R&D and testing to be done to allow that to happen.

“Germany and the U.S. are leading on autonomous vehicle development. By2021 China will catch up. They’re lagging on key complexity, because of high congestion,” Ghosh explained. “Currently the U.S. is at the forefront with legislation like what Gov. Snyder signed. Other countries like China will be more restrictive and fall behind.”

Talent is top of mind

With innovation happening so rapidly, challenges arise that need to be addressed and the one that is top of mind for everyone is talent.

Udacity, an online education platform that offers AI courses with a focus on autonomous vehicle education, is one way people can get the skills they need for the growing industry demands.

“More than 10,000 students have enrolled in the ‘Intro to Self-Driving Cars’ course and go off to get jobs in Detroit, Silicon Valley and Germany,” explained David Silver, an engineer for the nanodegree program at Udacity. “At the end of the nine-week course the students take the code they worked on and test it on the road on an autonomous vehicle where they see real-time how the code interacts with lane and path finding, and adhering to traffic laws.”

Recognizing that P3 has a global talent pool, Gosh said the company is always looking for creative ways to recruit because attracting talent is a challenge with everyone fighting for the same finite resource.

“When it comes to project work, we are inclined to look at the U.S. market and look through certain visa regulations set up through NAFTA,” he explained.

Cybersecurity on the frontlines is key to success

Many have questioned if OEMs have learned from past mistakes.

“Are we handling security better with autonomous vehicles today than we did with the connected car where cybersecurity was an afterthought?” asked Geoffrey Wood, director of automotive cybersecurity for Harman. “Investing in security research to do R&D for technology to be implemented on the frontlines of this is going to be key to the success of autonomous vehicles.”

Ride-sharing alone is expected to pose a large vulnerability – when you get into the vehicle the car is going to know you in some way and the rider before or after you may have access to that data.

“Being able to pull data off vehicles and continually monitor the system – we need to get to that point infrastructure-wise,” Wood explained.

Investing in the proper research and engaging legislators early to understand the technology they are legalizing will be checkpoints in the process that will delay autonomous cars for years to come if missed.

Robust, safe infrastructure will be an expensive challenge

The way roads are designed, from signage to parking, will need to be different for autonomous vehicles to dominate the road, but who is going to fund new infrastructure?

“You can start charging a tax for driving, a curbside tax for shared vehicles, or a tax system to charge against vehicle owners that need that infrastructure in place,” said David Ben, chief technology officer for PPG.

Olson added that building maps, understanding traffic flow, building the shortest loop that makes sense, are all things May Mobility is currently working on.

What’s next for Amazon’s HQ2

Jan. 19, 2018

New York Times

Twenty cities got a rose from Amazon and are advancing to the next stage of the competition for its second headquarters.

What New York City, Atlanta, Toronto, Denver and the others can expect, according to Nick Wingfield of the NYT:

“The process will now shift into a new phase, with Amazon representatives communicating more directly with the finalist cities as they prepare to select a winner later this year – and perhaps with cities being even more outspoken about why they should be chosen. Emissaries from Amazon are expected to visit the finalist locations in person.” 

Some Observations

It’s notable that three contenders are in the D.C. area. And would Amazon dare annoy Mr. Trump by picking Toronto?

Rejects’ reactions

  • Detroit: “This is the N.F.L. Economic development at this level, it ain’t beanbag,” said Sandy Baruah of the Detroit Regional Chamber, who said that the city fell short on developing and attracting talent.
  • San Diego: Cindy Gompper-Graves of the South County Economic Development Council said that the city might have done better if California had been more clearer about potential incentives.

Critics’ corner

  • Tom Buerkle writes, “Hundreds of cities hoped Amazon would think outside of the box, but a desire for talent and a welcoming environment led to the usual hot spots.” (Breakingviews)
  • Brian Alexander worries about how cities court big companies: “The way most cities pursue that goal – by offering to forfeit enormous amounts of tax revenues – produces outcomes that have worried many economists for years.” (Atlantic)

View the entire post here.

Was Amazon Bid The Right Use of Time for Detroit?

Jan. 19, 2018


Stephen Henderson

Detroit will not be home to Amazon’s second North American Headquarters.

The internet retail giant yesterday released its list of 20 cities that made its first cut in the process of finding a home for its new headquarters. It included a lot of cities that had been rumored to be in the running: Chicago, Raleigh, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta. Washington D.C. essentially made the list three times: the district itself as well as Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Cities that were missing? A lot of those cities that needed those jobs the most. Detroit and Baltimore — which had a very intriguing bid— were two of the notable omissions.

Now that we know we won’t be getting tens-of-thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment from Amazon, where does Detroit go from here? And what does this say about these high-profile contests to lure huge corporations? Was this ever the right use of time and energy for Detroit?

Joining Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the process and answer those questions are Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah and Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kirk Pinho.

At the end of the day, this was a fabulous experience,” says Baruah. “I think everyone in the Detroit region should be proud… that we were in a position to compete for this. This would not have been the case five years ago, ten years ago. I don’t think we would have been in the game.”

I’ve been doing economic development for a long time. This was a world-class proposal,” he says. “So, at the end of the day, yeah, we’re disappointed we’re not on the list. But we learned a lot. We have a template for future large-scale investments like this… So I’m very happy with the outcome.”

Pinho was part of a reporting team that published a number of in-depth pieces for Crain’s about the process. Crian’s got hold of the actual bid document that Detroit submitted to Amazon and made it public, and published a vivid account of what the bid process looked like behind the scenes.

People that I’ve spoken with have sort of viewed this as a good step in the right direction with regard to transit,” says Pinho. “The first step in addressing a problem is recognizing and admitting that you have one. And… if that’s one of the key reasons why Amazon didn’t see our region to be fit to include on that short list, then that’s sort of a kick in the rear.”

Pinho also talks about reports that Amazon felt Southeast Michigan lacks adequate talent to fill jobs, and the role that played in Detroit’s omission from the “HQ2” short list.



Why Amazon didn’t pick Detroit

Jan. 18, 2018

Detroit News

Candice Williams, Christine Ferretti and Charles E. Ramirez

A lack of mass transit and a questionable ability to attract talent doomed Detroit’s bid to host Amazon’s second North American headquarters, regional leaders say.

Organizers of the city’s bid received a call early Thursday morning from the online retail giant informing them that Detroit was not among the 20 cities selected to remain under consideration.

It was a call that Khalil Rahal, who heads Wayne County’s Economic Development Corp., told The Detroit News he received from Holly Sullivan, an Amazon economic development manager, before the formal announcement was made.

“As a courtesy, she called today before it hit the wire, and we had a good conversation as to what she thought and some of the reasons why we didn’t make the list,” he said. “Out of the 238 responses, she thought we had a phenomenal response to the RFP. She said not just the presentation but the data blew them away.”

Rahal then shared reasons Detroit wasn’t the best candidate for Amazon’s second headquarters.

“One thing they are looking for is what places are likely to attract talent,” he said. “What are some of the factors that exist to attract talent from 25- to 30-year-olds.”

They also, he said, had a specific conversation about mass transit.

“Some on the list either have a robust transit system or, if they don’t, have plans for some,” he said. “That was not the only factor, by any means, but it was a factor.”

The Seattle-based company said in a statement that it reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico to host its so-called HQ2 and picked 20 areas to move to the next phase of the selection process.

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Through this process, we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

Following that initial early morning call with those involved in Detroit’s bid, Amazon executives held a conference call with Detroit’s key project team members, said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

There were representatives on the call from the cities of Detroit and Windsor, Wayne County, Dan Gilbert’s office and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

“It was nothing too detailed,” Baruah said of the call. “They were very impressed with the proposal, creativity and impressed with the regional approach. The document itself and the accompanying video. They were impressed with our ability to integrate Windsor into the proposal. What they had questions about was talent. Do we have enough talent here over the long-term?”

In its proposal, the team said that Amazon could tap the region’s rich university talent pipeline, which includes 25 colleges and universities. It noted companies are moving downtown to capture the millennial workforce and that the total number of workers downtown age 29 or younger has grown by 38 percent from 2010 to 2015, while half of downtown’s residential population is age 18-39.

“We’ve made incredible progress,” Baruah said. “If this opportunity were to happen a few years down the road where Detroit’s renaissance and the regional renaissance were a little more established, the outcome might have been different.”

Mass transit was thought to be a weakness for Detroit as it headed into the bid proposal process. The proposal countered that Detroit roadways have ample capacity to absorb additional traffic.

Uncompetitive mass transit was one of the reasons East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group ranked Detroit 32nd in its index of 35 metro areas.

“Amazon followed what they said in their (request for proposals), pretty much,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group. “Their top 20 is very clearly based on the factors of business tax burden, labor force availability and transit options that we calculated in our index and they stated in their RFP. As further evidence of that, none of the bottom 10 (from the index) were in their top 20. Detroit wasn’t singled out. Others that had similar rankings also didn’t make the cut.”

The Detroit News last week reported Metro Detroit leaders are working to put a regional transportation millage on November’s ballot just over two years after voters narrowly rejected a tax hike to expand mass transit in southeastern Michigan.

Regional leaders have been meeting to come up with a new plan, and Wayne County officials say Executive Warren Evans is leading the group. An announcement could be forthcoming as early as this month

Detroit’s Amazon bid committee was led by Gilbert, Detroit’s business mogul. Mayor Mike Duggan tapped Gilbert for the role shortly after Amazon announced plans to invest $5 billion and create 50,000 high-paying jobs averaging $100,000 a year.

Amazon was no stranger in the region. It has 200 employees at its tech hub in Detroit, and it opened a fulfillment center last fall in Livonia. Work is underway on a fulfillment center in Romulus expected to bring 1,600 jobs when it opens later this year. The company also expects to create 1,000 full-time jobs when it opens another fulfillment center in Shelby Township this year.

Gilbert said in a statement that “we are not deterred in any way, shape or form.”

“Detroit is the most exciting city in the country right now, and the momentum continues to build every single day,” he said.

Gov. Rick Snyder added Thursday the news is disappointing, but the state appreciates the company’s continued investment and expansion in Michigan.

“Detroit’s proposal to Amazon was incredible and garnered positive attention for the city from all across the world,” he said in a statement. “As a state, we will continue to pursue these types of valuable opportunities for our talented workforce.”

Duggan said the city is proud of its proposal, despite not moving on to the next phase in Amazon’s selection process. He thanked Gilbert, the governor, the area’s county executives, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and the committee.

“It showed a clear vision for the future of our city and brought out the very best of our city and our region,” he said. “We’re going to keep building on the progress we’ve made and keep pursuing major developments.”

Dilkens echoed similar sentiments.

“We are not going to wallow and be sorrowful here. We want to learn where weaknesses are and see where they saw weaknesses and turn it into a strength,” he told The News, adding the same document can be used for future pitches to other companies. “We may be out of the Amazon game for now but I’m telling you the proposal is extremely strong.”

Rahal said Sullivan told him that there were some good factors working in Detroit’s favor including the fact that recently Amazon has expanded its footprint in the region.

“She thought from that standpoint, they really loved working with folks in the area,” he said. “What I say to folks is ‘this is a disappointment, but there were a lot of goals that were met.’ I think we did all we could.”

Among them, Rahal said, is the regional collaboration that came together to develop the plan.

“It’s a big deal for this area, and it hasn’t always been like that,” he said, adding they learned a lot about strengths and “what our shortcomings are.”

Wayne County’s Rahal said Detroit ranked “pretty high up there,” but Amazon was not willing to reveal the entire list.

Rahal thinks the bid will serve as a guide for future pitches to land new businesses, noting Apple is looking for an area for significant investment as are others.

Rahal said five years ago, the city wouldn’t have had a shot like this and five years from now he expects more amenities to attract all types of people.

“This was not a total loss by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “There were several goals as a region that we hit and we learned from. We are all committed as a region to get to that next phase where we start being recognized as people on this list.”

Amazon’s top 20 

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington D.C.

View the original story on Detroitnews.com.

Amazon to Detroit: You didn’t have enough talent to get HQ2

Jan. 18, 2018

Detroit Free Press

John Gallagher

It came down to talent.

Amazon reached out to Detroit leaders Thursday to say that an insufficient talent pool in the region was the main reason why Detroit didn’t make Amazon’s short list of finalists for its second headquarters.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, was among those on the phone call with Amazon and reported that Amazon said Detroit almost but not quite made the list of 20 finalists.

“The creativity, the regional collaboration, the quality of the bid document, the international partnership with Windsor, all of that got incredibly high marks,” Baruah said in recounting Amazon’s feedback.

“But this is the NFL. Economic development at this level, it ain’t beanbag,” Baruah said. “We were good but we weren’t good enough on the talent front.”

Detroit’s lack of a robust regional transit network also hurt, but wasn’t pivotal.

“My takeaway, yeah, regional transit played a role. Was it the defining role? No, I think talent was the defining role in us not making the list,” Baruah said.

By “talent” Amazon meant a host of issues, from the quality of K-12 education in the region to the brain drain Michigan suffers by losing highly educated, tech-savvy graduates who move elsewhere once they graduate from schools here. And the Detroit region still struggles to attract talent from elsewhere and keep it once it’s here.

“We’re doing good on those fronts but we’re not necessarily world-class yet,” Baruah said. “And since our renaissance is relatively new here, I think it’s difficult for Amazon to make the size of the bet they’re about to make on HQ2 in a place with a track record on talent that is good but not necessarily long enough.”

With that feedback in mind, the Detroit region and Michigan as a whole has a lot of work to do. The feedback speaks to how the school curriculum is developed here, why the state cannot hang onto those tech-savvy graduates, and how to turn around a reputation for losing rather than attracting talent.

“We’re still working on developing that kind of (better) reputation,” Baruah said. “I think we’re doing all the right things, but we’re still working on that.”

Indeed, Jeff Mason, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., told the Detroit Economic Club recently that Detroit would have to attract talent from Windsor as well as surrounding states, including Ohio and Indiana, to meet all of Amazon’s needs. That may not have been enough for Amazon.

“I was very gratified that Amazon reached out to us so quickly,” Baruah added. “We were in it until the very end.”

Amazon’s feedback helps clarify, at least to some extent, Amazon’s decision to leave Detroit off its short list of 20 finalist cities for its second headquarters.

If talent was the big issue for Amazon with Detroit’s bid, let’s not forget the transit issue. Amazon made clear in its initial request for proposals that it wanted a city with a robust public transportation network for its employees to use. Detroit’s lack of the sort of light rail systems available in so many of the finalist cities — Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Toronto — remains telling.

And remember, too, that Amazon made clear from the beginning that it wanted a city with a stable business climate and a large and growing tech sector. Detroit may have come up short on both counts.

Detroit and Michigan as a whole still suffer a traditional boom-and-bust cycle — higher highs during boom times and then dismal lows during recessions. That may have counted against us in Amazon’s deliberations.

And our technology sector, while growing rapidly, still lags that in many other cities.

There were some surprises on the list. Only one of the 20 finalist cities, — Newark, N.J. — shares Detroit’s reputation for severe urban distress. But Newark, situated just a short lob across from New York City, may have made the list due to lying within the Big Apple’s orbit. Detroit didn’t have have that going for it.

And Detroit wasn’t the only city left off that proved surprising. Minneapolis, San Diego, and Phoenix, didn’t make the list, either.

But there were things to be grateful for. I’ve always said Detroit did check many of the boxes Amazon cared about. We have a great international airport, great universities, a large population. Our proximity to Canada was a plus for us. And the regional cooperation that went into the bid could pay off down the road.

So while disappointed, Detroit leaders looked ahead to the next challenge, or as businessman Dan Gilbert said in his reaction statement, “Next.”

Because, although Amazon may have been the biggest prize, there are lots of others out there. And Detroit needs to compete for them, day after day, year after year.

Can Pittsburgh learn from all the loser talk about Amazon HQ2?

Jan. 18, 2018

Trib Live

Flabbergasted. Disappointing. A wake-up call.

The soul-searching began right away in Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Charlotte, Memphis and many of the 200-plus cities coping Thursday with the news that they didn’t make Amazon’s list of 20 finalists to host its second headquarters.

Pittsburgh made it , but the city and its metro area have some of the same persistent challenges with improving the quality of secondary education, expanding mass transit and retaining talented college graduates that sunk its competitors.

In what appeared to be a rare conference call from Amazon, the Detroit Free Press reported , Detroit officials learned that the region wasn’t chosen because it doesn’t have a sufficient “talent pool.”

“But this is the NFL. Economic development at this level, it ain’t bean bag,” Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, told the Free Press. “We were good, but we weren’t good enough on the talent front.”

In Cleveland, the Plain-Dealer reported that even though the city lost out, the nonprofit that submitted its bid plans to keep its application “a protected business trade secret” to use for other economic development prospects.

Some in Memphis said missing out on HQ2 should rally support to improve the state of its public school system.

“We ought to use the rejection as a galvanizing event,” the Rev. Ken Whalum Jr., a former Memphis school board member, told the Commercial Appeal. “Our leadership is still in denial about the quality of the public schools.”

In what is arguably the most surprising miss, HQ2 supporters in Charlotte couldn’t believe the growing city isn’t good enough to make the top 20.

“I am absolutely flabbergasted that Charlotte didn’t make the list,” Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari told the Charlotte Observer . “If you had said five cities were on the short list and Charlotte wasn’t one of them, I’d say, ‘All right, I guess I understand that.’ … Something’s wrong here.”

In the Baltimore Sun , Amazon’s snub was reported as just the latest in a series of bad national news stories, including a record number of homicides in 2017, students trying to learn in unheated school classrooms and a patient-dumping scandal.

“Maybe this is our wake-up call,” Seema Iyer, an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business, told the paper. “We have got to start having that conversation.”

Buffalo, N.Y., and Rochester teamed up to submit a joint bid, hoping that by combining their resources in Western New York, they could compete with larger metro areas. It didn’t work, but organizers told The Buffalo News that the unique tandem attempt left them more confident about cooperating.

“We’re disappointed, because we always go into every search thinking we can win,” Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara. “I think we can compete together with a lot of those that made the final list.”