Opinion: Detroit can drive the future of autonomous vehicles

The Detroit News

November 20, 2019

By Nicole Gelinas

San Jose, Austin, Cambridge, San Francisco … Detroit?

Most people don’t think of the Motor City as an incubator of tech innovation. But as both Big Tech and nimble startup culture have turned their attention to the auto industry over the past half-decade, lured by the promise of driverless cars, both sides have seized on a new opportunity for partnership — one that’s partly the product of a joint moment of necessary humility.

As the Silicon Valley mantra of “move fast and break things” meets the unforgiving reality of the urban road, Detroit is becoming the natural home to dozens of auto-tech ventures. Harnessed correctly by rational regulation, Detroit can view the emerging industry of autonomous-vehicle technology not as just a job creator, but as a way to improve quality of life for residents and commuters.

A decade ago, as Detroit was hurtling toward municipal bankruptcy and the region’s auto industry was mired in economic crisis, it might have seemed obvious that the next generation of automotive research and development would find its natural home in Silicon Valley. On the software side, Uber and Lyft were building headquarters in San Francisco. On the hardware side, Tesla, too, was making California its home. The West Coast would further build on its advantage: a critical combination of tech brainpower and startup brashness. Who needs lumbering old car companies?

But in the past few years, tech has absorbed two lessons. First, building a car is hard. Of course, building Google was hard, too. But a company that wants to build a car from scratch or sell a driverless-tech innovation to an existing auto company must understand how a physical assembly line works, something that the non-hierarchical tech world hasn’t done on a mass scale, but that the Detroit region has long been perfecting.

Second, it involves an entirely different testing culture — one in which caution and incrementalism are just as important as being first. Uber learned this the hard way last year, when one of its driverless SUVs ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The Uber vehicle was travelling at high speed on a complex road with only an improperly trained attendant to monitor its path. The attendant predictably got distracted, helping to precipitate the crash.

Contrast this experience to how Ford-partner Argo is testing driverless vehicles — passengerless, for now — in downtown Detroit. The company requires two trained workers in each vehicle. One watches the road, while the other watches a computer; both talk to each other to ensure that the road matches the computer map and vice versa. As the cars learn, the company keeps the vehicles confined to limited, mapped areas, being sure not to push it further than it can go.

May Mobility, an Ann Arbor startup, takes the same approach to its downtown Detroit shuttle, which ferries passengers from parking lots to office buildings in partnership with office-property manager Bedrock. The shuttle, confined to a mapped route and attended by a staffer, travels at slow speeds, and will always err on the side of caution. It stops at yellow lights, for example, and stops if it has any question about a pedestrian’s path, letting the attendant take over.

In terms of how to test and build a complex vehicle or a component for such a vehicle in real-world conditions, it’s Detroit, not Silicon Valley or Boston, that has the advantage of a dense network of existing brainpower. Detroit is home to 17 “original-equipment manufacturers,” or OEMs, in the industry’s parlance, and 96 of the nation’s top 100 suppliers, as well as three research universities in the region adept at turning out grads for the industry. It also has an infrastructure of test tracks and regulatory relationships

At the Detroit Regional Chamber and Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM landing zone, companies ranging from Lyft to the pedestrian-safety startup Derq have chosen to take advantage of subsidized downtown office space for the chance to collaborate with competitors and potential partners and customers. And though much of the country boasts diverse weather, it’s not a bad thing that Detroit offers rain and snow as well as sun for testing AV resilience.

The city of Detroit, too, can benefit from a thoughtful approach to driverless tech, particularly as the wild predictions of a few years ago — that everyone would be riding around in a driverless car by the year 2020 or so — have dissipated. The technology to make a vehicle fully autonomous — that is, a car that drivers itself — is complex, difficult to power, and difficult to maintain, meaning that it’s likely to remain confined to carefully supervised shuttle services and the like for a while.

That doesn’t mean, though, that the city can’t benefit from incremental improvements now as it considers how AV fits into its broader transportation strategy for the future. On this front, Detroit can benefit from some existing disadvantages. On providing mass transit, it has nowhere to go but up. Fewer than 8% of Detroit workers take mass transit to work, according to the U.S. Census.

That means that the city doesn’t face the same problem faced by cities such as New York and Boston: that using AV to enable shared rides, such as the May shuttle, might simply take people off a more efficient subway system, defeating the purpose. Then, too, far too much of downtown is covered by parking lots or garages, an inefficient use of urban space. Encouraging more mass transit means that as Detroit rebuilds its population, it could transform some of that currently needed parking space into office buildings or homes.

Detroit, then, can lead the way in using tech for mass transit. The city could partner with a company such as Via, which provides shared rides within cities ranging from Berlin to New York, to offer a more frequent and faster bus to and from the airport at a slightly higher price than the $2 bus fare. The city could also work with disabled residents for door-to-door service, combining the on-demand aspect of existing ride-hail technology to map efficient routes for frequent, subsidized, shared vans.

Detroit can also harness autonomous technology to improve safety. Detroit is one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for pedestrians — in part because there are so few people crossing wide-open roads on foot. The best remedy for cutting road deaths is density; walkers and cyclists automatically slow drivers. The next-best cure is design; Detroit is already building protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks in a few key areas, and red light and speed cameras would help, too.

But tech, too, can play a role. More driverless shuttles on the road could themselves change other drivers’ behavior, calming traffic both proactively, with their slow speeds and turns, and reactively, with their eyes-on-the-street vigilance making it harder for a hit-and-run driver to escape without notice.

Over the past two decades, Americans have adjusted to everyday tech, for better and for worse — and over the coming decades, a well-focused Detroit can be the proving ground to help them adjust to tech on urban streets, for better rather than worse.

Read the full article here

Chamber Named Top Workplace Thanks to Human Resources Initiative

This month, the Detroit Free Press named the Detroit Regional Chamber a 2019 Top Workplace based on an anonymous staff survey. Chamber Vice President of Human Resources Michelle Hansel shares how staff initiatives paved the way for success in the organizational culture, and how this achievement will define the Chamber’s competitiveness in years to come.

What factors have contributed to the Chamber’s success in establishing workplace culture?

I truly feel that we [the Chamber] are unique from the standpoint that our top leader, Sandy Baruah, always has the staff top of mind. I often ask myself when posed with difficult decisions, what would Sandy do? Sandy always puts people first. We’re able to be successful because we care so deeply and can interact, provide programs, and provide a family atmosphere that cares for people in a way that some other organizations just are not able to.

Staff wants and needs in a workplace are always changing. How do you keep up with that?

A great mechanism is our volunteer groups, especially our Organizational Culture Committee. It’s a diverse, cross-functional group of staff that lend their time to host staff events and activities centering around wellness, diversity, and networking. They’re the eyes and the ears of the organization. Our staff is very committed and willing to put in the time outside of their daily job to try and make this a great workplace.

Why is this award meaningful to the Chamber?

It’s very meaningful because it’s employee-driven. Our employees are the ones who take the survey and provide us with the feedback, and we take it into consideration and try to do things differently. I think it’s a validation from our staff that we’re doing the right things that make this a great workplace.

What does the Top Workplaces survey measure?

Essentially, it’s a staff engagement survey related to workplace culture. The different subcategories that they look at and have questions related to our alignment, so, where the company is headed, it’s values and cooperation, connection, how employees feel appreciated, if they feel their work is meaningful. We had 85% participation in the last survey which is very high since the benchmark average is 73%.

Butzel Long attorneys named to DBusiness magazine’s Top Lawyers in metro Detroit 2020

DETROIT, Mich. – Seventy Butzel Long attorneys have been named Top Lawyers in metro Detroit 2020 by DBusiness magazine. The list appears in the November/December 2019 edition. The attorneys and their practice areas are listed below:

Ann Arbor office

— Jennifer A. Dukarski
Copyright Law
Information Technology Law

— Ashley Glime
Copyright Law

— Mark W. Jane
Employee Benefits Law

— Nancy Keppelman
Employee Benefits Law

— Lynn F. McGuire
Employee Benefits Law

— Claudia Rast
Copyright Law
Information Technology Law

— Angela Emmerling Shapiro
Information Management & Discovery Law

— Andrew Stumpff
Employee Benefits Law

Bloomfield Hills office

— Stephen A. Bromberg
Litigation – Real Estate

— Jennifer E. Consiglio
Corporate Law

— Carey A. DeWitt
Labor and Employment Law
Litigation – Labor Employment Benefits

— Damien DuMouchel
White-Collar Criminal Defense

— Theodore R. Eppel
Legal Malpractice Law
Litigation – Antitrust

— Debra A. Geroux
Health Care Law

— Amy L. Glenn
Trusts and Estates

— Beth S. Gotthelf
Energy Law
Environmental Law

— David W. Hipp
Banking & Financial Service Law

— Robert A. Hudson
International Trade Law
Securities Law

— Laura E. Johnson
Corporate Law
Mergers & Acquisitions Law

— Susan L. Johnson
Environmental Law

— Thomas A. Kabel
Banking & Financial Service Law
Real Estate Law

— Kaveh Kashef
Litigation – Real Estate

— Sheldon H. Klein
Antitrust Law
Litigation – Antitrust

— Bushra A. Malik
Immigration Law

— Suzanne M. Miller
Tax Law

— Max J. Newman
Bankruptcy and Creditor /Debtor Rights Law

— Neil Patel
Corporate Law

— Robert P. Perry
Trusts and Estates

— Tom B. Radom
Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law

— Joseph E. Richotte
Appellate Law

— Craig S. Schwartz
Labor and Employment Law

— Robert H. Schwartz
Health Care Law

— Thomas L. Shaevsky
Employee Benefits Law

— Thomas C. Simpson
Litigation – Real Estate

— Daniel B. Tukel
Labor and Employment Law

— Roxana Zaha
Real Estate Law

Detroit office

— Geaneen M. Arends
Mergers and Acquisitions Law
Real Estate Law

— Linda J. Armstrong
Immigration Law

— Frederick A. Berg, Jr.
Insurance Law

— James C. Bruno
Arbitration
Commercial Law
International Trade Law
Mergers and Acquisitions Law

— Joshua J. Chinsky
White-Collar Criminal Defense

— Maura Corrigan
Appellate Law

— Michael C. Decker
Construction Law
Litigation – Construction

— David J. DeVine
Insurance Law
Litigation — Commercial

— George B. Donnini
White –Collar Criminal Defense

— Arthur Dudley, II
Corporate Law
Mergers & Acquisitions Law

— David F. DuMouchel
Professional Malpractice Law
White-Collar Criminal Defense

— Eric J. Flessland
Construction Law
Litigation – Construction

— Bernard J. Fuhs
Franchise Law
Trade Secrets

— Michael R. Griffie
Labor and Employment Law

— Cynthia J. Haffey
Litigation – Commercial

— Ziyad I. Hermiz
Franchise Law
Litigation – Commercial

— Justin G. Klimko
Corporate Law
Mergers & Acquisitions Law

— Phillip C. Korovesis
Trade Secrets

— Mark R. Lezotte
Health Care Law
Nonprofit/Charities Law

— Clara DeMatteis Mager
Immigration Law

— Paul M. Mersino
Construction Law
Litigation – Commercial
Trade Secrets

— Brett J. Miller
Franchise Law
Labor and Employment Law

— Donald B. Miller
Product Liability

— Reginald A. Pacis
Immigration Law

— James S. Rosenfeld
Labor and Employment Law
Litigation – Labor Employment Benefits

— George Schooff
Intellectual Property and Patent Law
Litigation – Patents

— Bruce L. Sendek
Litigation – Antitrust
Litigation – Commercial

— Ivonne M. Soler
Family Law

— Nicholas J. Stasevich
Commercial Law
Corporate Law
International Trade Law

— Hannah E. Treppa
Labor and Employment Law

— John C. Valenti
Product Liability

— Kurtis T. Wilder
Appellate Law
Arbitration

— James E. Wynne
Product Liability

Lansing office

— James J. Urban
Litigation – Construction

For the list, DBusiness magazine polled 19,000 attorneys in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties among 50 legal specialties.

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 an alliance office in Beijing. 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

Cybersecurity Expert and Entrepreneur Dug Song Joins the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference

Don’t miss your chance to hear from Dug Song, Duo Security co-founder and general manager, in a one-on-one discussion with Conference Chair Dennis W. Archer Jr. at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

An expert voice in the cybersecurity industry, Song led Duo Security to its $2.35 billion acquisition by Cisco, the largest exit ever for a Michigan-based software company. As one of the few “unicorn” startups in the region, Duo Security’s success is a testament to the importance of venture capital investment for a robust startup ecosystem and therefore thriving economy.

Song will lend entrepreneurial expertise to this discussion on how Detroit can enhance its potential as a global destination for startups.

This is one of many engaging sessions at the Chamber’s 2020 Detroit Policy Conference. Look for more announcements in the coming weeks, and reserve your spot today.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter to Address Regional Collaboration at 2020 Conference

Regional collaboration is a critical tool in supporting Detroit’s ongoing path to economic sustainability. Hear from regional leader, Oakland County Executive David Coulter as he takes the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference stage on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

In a keynote address, Coulter will explain how shared priorities like business attraction and an accessible, expanded transit system can foster increased connectivity and success for the entire region. His remarks will include lessons for an evolving Detroit learned over a political career rooted in community development.

Don’t miss your chance to hear this address and other groundbreaking sessions at the 2020 Conference. Check out the growing lineup and reserve your spot today.

Speakers Announced: Wright L. Lassiter III, Arn Tellem Join 2020 Conference

Wright L. Lassiter III, Arn Tellem Prove Partnerships Power Communities

Wright L. Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, and Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons, will engage in a conversation about the importance of partnership and community investment for the city’s future at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The pair recently made news with the opening of the long-awaited Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, a collaborative project yielding positive impacts that extend beyond sports and medicine.

Henry Ford Health System’s commitment to community health is well-represented in the multi-faceted use of the 185,000-square-

foot facility. It will not only serve as the Detroit Pistons’ practice facility and headquarters but also will foster healthy lifestyles in the surrounding community through public access to fitness resources and healthy food options.

Similarly, the $90 million development completes the Detroit Pistons’ move to the city, reinforcing the organization’s desire to double down on its support of Detroit’s economy through job creation and special events.

This is one of many engaging sessions in which you can participate at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference. Look for more announcements in the coming weeks, and reserve your spot today.

53 Dickinson Wright Attorneys Named 2020 DBusiness Magazine “Top Lawyers”

TROY, Mich., November 18, 2019 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that 53 of the firm’s attorneys have been included in DBusiness Magazine 2020 “Top Lawyers”.

DBusiness 2020 “Top Lawyers” honors the leading lawyers in the Southeast Michigan region. Below is a complete list of Dickinson Wright lawyers included in this year’s list:

Ann Arbor, MI
Jordan Schreier, Employee Benefits Law

Detroit, MI
Allison R. Bach, Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law
Richard M. Bolton, Mergers & Acquisitions Law
William T. Burgess, Banking & Financial Services Law
Aaron V. Burrell, Labor and Employment Law
James N. Candler, Jr., Real Estate Law
David R. Deromedi, Labor and Employment Law
Phillip J. DeRosier, Appellate Law
K. Scott Hamilton, Appellate Law
Mark R. High, International Trade Law, Mergers & Acquisitions Law
Steven G. Howell, Banking & Financial Services Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law
W. Anthony Jenkins, Real Estate Law
Kenneth J. McIntyre, Litigation – Antitrust
Russell A. McNair, Jr., Real Estate Law
Sharon R. Newlon, Environmental Law
Francis R. Ortiz, Employee Benefits Law
James A. Plemmons, Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law
William P. Shield, Jr., Banking & Financial Services Law
Theodore B. Sylwestrzak, Banking & Financial Services Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights Law
Bruce C. Thelen, International Trade Law
L. Pahl Zinn, Antitrust Law, Litigation – Antitrust

Troy, MI
Christian S. Allen, Immigration Law
Maureen H. Burke, Land Use & Zoning
Charles F. Clippert, Litigation – Construction
Margaret A. Coughlin, Energy Law
Stephen E. Dawson, Real Estate Law
Terence M. Donnelly, Public Finance Law
Deborah L. Grace, Employee Benefits Law
Roberta P. Granadier, Employee Benefits Law
Eric W. Gregory, Employee Benefits Law
Henry M. Grix, Trusts and Estates
Craig W. Hammond, Banking & Financial Services Law, Public Finance Law
Robert P. Hurlbert, White-Collar Criminal Defense
Michael R. Kramer, Banking & Financial Services Law
Monica J. Labe, Real Estate Law
Elise S. Levasseur, Immigration Law
Michael J. Lusardi, Real Estate Law
Anna M. Maiuri, Energy Law, Environmental Law
Kelly M. Martorano, Environmental Law
Cynthia A. Moore, Employee Benefits Law
Gregory W. Moore, Health Care Law
John H. Norris, Energy Law
Edward H. Pappas, Mediation
Daniel D. Quick, Litigation – Commercial
Michael T. Raymond, Corporate Law
William L. Rosin, Mergers & Acquisitions Law
Robert L. Schwartz, Public Finance Law
Lynn Capp Sirich, Family Law
Joan Cripe Skrzyniarz, Trusts and Estates
Franklin M. Smith, Litigation – Patents
Mark E. Wilson, Environmental Law, Health Care Law
Kathryn S. Wood, Labor and Employment Law
Paul M. Wyzgoski, Public Finance Law

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. 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 for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Dickinson Wright Ranked in Benchmark Litigation United States 2020 Edition

TROY, Mich., November 14, 2019 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that the firm’s litigation practice in Michigan and its attorneys are recognized in the Benchmark Litigation United States 2020 Edition.

Benchmark Litigation’s rankings are based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews with litigators and their clients to identify the leading litigators and firms. Firms in all 50 states, plus District of Columbia, are recognized for the gravitas of their case matters during 2019, including potential precedent set or verdicts with notably higher dollar amounts at stake.

Benchmark Litigation recognized the following Dickinson Wright litigation practices:

Michigan – Highly Recommended

Benchmark Litigation recognized the following Dickinson Wright attorneys:

Michigan
Thomas McNeill – Local Litigation Star
Edward Pappas – Local Litigation Star
Geoffrey Fields – Future Star

Benchmark Litigation also recognized the following Dickinson Wright labor & employment practices:

Michigan – Recommended

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. 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 for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Butzel Long attorney Kurtis T. Wilder receives 2019 Grano Award, presented by the Michigan Chapter of the Federalist Society

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long attorney Kurtis T. Wilder was recently honored by The Federalist Society as the 2019 Joseph D. Grano Award recipient, given to the most distinguished servant to the rules of the law. The award was presented during the Chapter’s Annual Dinner on October 30, 2019 in Plymouth.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Wilder is Of Counsel to Butzel Long. Justice Wilder served on the Michigan Supreme Court following his appointment by Governor Rick Snyder on May 9, 2017. Prior that time, Justice Wilder served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals from December 1998 to May 2017 and a judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court from March 1992 to December 1998.

Justice Wilder, the 112th Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, graduated from the University of Michigan with an A.B. degree in Political Science in 1981, and from the University of Michigan Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 1984.

He has memberships in the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation; the Federalist Society, Board of Advisors, Lawyers Division-Michigan Chapter; and the Wolverine Bar Association. Justice Wilder has served as a member of the Model Criminal Jury Instruction Committee, the Family Division Joint Rules Committee, and the Family Court Implementation Task Force. He is a Past President of the Michigan Judges Association, and Past Chairman of the State Bar Judicial Conference. Justice Wilder also served as the Supreme Court’s liaison for courthouse security.

Justice Wilder has also been active in numerous civic and philanthropic endeavors throughout his career. He is a former chair of the State of Michigan Community Corrections Advisory Board; former board chair of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and Nonprofit Enterprise at Work; former board member of The Sphinx Organization; Rotary Club of Ann Arbor; Ann Arbor Symphony; and, American Red Cross, Washtenaw County Chapter.

Justice Wilder currently serves on the Boards of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation; and Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is an Elder and Chancel Choir member at First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth.

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 an alliance office in Beijing. 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

Opinion: Metro Detroit a Hotbed for Small Businesses

November 17, 2019

The Detroit News

Mark S. Lee

According to the 2012 U.S. Census data, the City of Detroit is home to more than 62,000 small businesses. Regionwide, it seems there’s a new business opening every time you turn around, and this trend is gaining momentum.

As I’ve considered the entrepreneurial and business ecosystem here, a couple of questions emerge:

Is Metro Detroit a good place to relocate a business? If so, what’s the “state of this region” when it comes to attracting newcomers looking to grow their businesses?

“It was not that long ago,” says Glenn Stevens, executive director, MICHauto, Detroit Regional Chamber, “that Detroit and Michigan had a global perception (and, in many cases, a reality) that we were a city, region and state that was the “rust belt” and would never revive.”

But over time, the perception continues to evolve and change.

“Today’s reality could not be farther from that perception,” Stevens continues. “While we have our challenges, there is a collective focus that is synergized to address what we need to do to continue to make this a place where companies and people with ideas from around the world can come to find opportunity, live, work and play.”

Stevens also points out “the business climate, cost of living, quality of life, access to talent and the unique and special combination of culture and spirit of our people make the region and state more than a potential destination for startups and businesses to locate here.”

Read the full article here