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. 

Was Amazon Bid The Right Use of Time for Detroit?

Jan. 19, 2018

WDET

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.

 

CLICK TO HEAR THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION. 

Detroit Named ‘Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working City’ for Manufacturing Excellence, Economic Growth

By Daniel Lai

With efforts underway to position Detroit as the premier location for Amazon’s HQ2, the city’s latest accolade sends a clear message to the retail giant: Detroit’s innovation economy is powered by an unrivaled manufacturing workforce.

On Wednesday, Freightliner Trucks awarded the city its “Hardest Working Cities” designation. The award recognizes cities across North America that are fueling economic growth as determined by an exhaustive review of approximately 400 metropolitan census areas across 11 different key economic performance indicators, including unemployment rate, infrastructure investment, and contribution to total gross domestic product.

Detroit was recognized as one of the leading cities in North America for manufacturing employment. It is also among:

  • The top 10 percent of cities for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and light truck and delivery
  • The top 10 percent of cities for number of transportation establishments
  • The top 15 percent of cities for contribution to U.S. gross domestic product
  • The top 20 percent of cities for construction employment

“The city of Detroit is near and dear to Freightliner because of the legendary Detroit engines and drivetrains that power our trucks,” said Allan Haggai, marketing communications manager for Freightliner Vocational Trucks.

Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber, accepted the award on behalf of the business community during an event at Detroit Diesel Corporation.

“The Detroit Regional Chamber proudly accepts this honor and recognition on behalf of the region’s business community. As Freightliner’s ‘Hardest Working City,’ this award celebrates the people and industries powering the Detroit region’s economy and builds on our rich history of driving innovation, developing word-class talent and creating high-quality jobs in order to compete and win in the 21st century global economy,” Robinson said.

Since its inception, the award has recognized 10 cities across North America: Dallas, Des Moines, Edmonton, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Toronto.

Chamber CEO Joins Roundtable Discussion on WDIV-4’s Flashpoint to Talk All Things Amazon

On Sunday, Sept. 25, WDIV-4’s Flashpoint centered its entire show on “The Amazon Chase.” Detroit Regional Chamber CEO and President Sandy Baruah joined Rock Ventures Principal Matt Cullen, Regional Transit Authority Interim CEO Tiffany Gunter, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Flashpoint host Devin Scillian to discuss how and why the Detroit region is a strong contender to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters.

The panel highlighted all the tremendous positives that the region has going in its favor – space, quality of life and the energy of a vibrant urban core, to name a few – all of which will be key factors for Amazon. “Detroit is an exciting place. It’s the comeback city. It’s the place of opportunity,” said Cullen.

Regional transportation and the need to attract and retain talent in the state was also discussed. In terms of the failed RTA ballot initiative, Gunter acknowledged that the ball has moved down the field in terms of progress around regional transportation. She added that plans are already underway on how RTA would tweak the next campaign. “Our region is ready for a change,” she said.

The roundtable panelists all agreed that under the leadership of Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert, the region would prepare and present a world-class proposal. “This is a great exercise in how much progress this region has made working collaboratively,” said Baruah. “I feel really good about where we are and how we’re doing this.”

The second segment of the program focused on how the proposal should look and featured Ignition Media Group Founder and CEO Dennis Archer Jr., Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kirk Pinho and Detroit Creative Corridor Center Executive Director Olga Stella.

View the original article here.

Destination Detroit Collaborating on Major Business Attraction Effort for Amazon’s HQ2

The Detroit Regional Chamber is a key part of a broad and inclusive leadership group working under the chairmanship of Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert to prepare a world-class proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters has sent economic developers across North America into overdrive vying for this coveted project.

The Chamber will bring its expertise in economic development, business attraction, regional transit, talent and next-generation mobility as well as research capabilities to the coalition.

The coalition is off to a fast and strong start. Detroit has significant assets to be very competitive in this project and a first-rate team assembled. Read some of the regional coverage here.

Howes: Regional Amazon Bid to Test Leadership Cohesion

Detroit Free Press

Daniel Howes

Sept. 14, 2017

Mayor Mike Duggan likens the gathering regional bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters to delivering Detroit Super Bowl XL more than a decade ago.

But it’s not even close. The hunt for Amazon is far larger, far more competitive and far more likely to tax the ability of just about anyone to corral business, political and civic leaders around a deadline measured in weeks, not years. The deadline is Oct. 19 to proffer a plan to compete for a $5 billion investment worth 50,000 jobs.

“We’ve got five weeks,” the mayor said Thursday at Crain’s Detroit Business’s Detroit Homecoming. “We’re up against really tough competition from really good cities.”

Yes, we are — as Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah learned this week when he flew to Toronto for a speech on trade between Canada and the United States. On the minds of the Canadian CEOs: luring Amazon’s massive economic play north of the border, no mean feat in the era of Trump.

This is no secret to the online retail giant, of course. With a single press release, Amazon unleashed an interstate and intercity feeding frenzy for a chance to land one of the biggest economic development fish since, when? The stakes are high, and the cost is likely to be even higher.

That’s not deterring Detroit’s mayor, facing re-election. It’s not deterring Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert, who quickly accepted Duggan’s offer to chair the regional effort to prepare an Amazon bid. And it’s not deterring local and state politicians, or a business community that is far more active in economic development efforts than their predecessors a decade ago.

It shouldn’t.

In fundamental ways, this region is different than the one industrialist Roger Penske shepherded through the process of bidding for a Super Bowl (at the personal request of Bill Ford Jr., whose family owns the Lions). It’s more competent, more confident and often more regionally cooperative.

It’s witnessed the deep costs of division and political corruption, of big business that worries more about bragging rights with competitors than being competitive. It’s tasted the ignominy of financial dissolution, and seen how private capital can breed renewal.

Weathering the near-collapse of two Detroit automakers, the Great Recession and the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history can do that. Seeing the crucial importance of individual leaders in a broader mosaic of leadership can, too. So can national embarrassment.

Southeast Michigan is legendary for parochial infighting pitting city against suburb, for measuring solutions to difficult civic problems in decades, not years, for fixating on why change cannot happen instead of pushing to make it happen.

Which raises a critical point that will be answered by the success of Gilbert & Co. to rally disparate leaders quickly around a cohesive bid: Were the speed and decisiveness of the auto restructuring, of the city’s financial workout, of the revitalization of downtown just historical aberrations?

Or are they harbingers of a can-do future liberated from the confrontational zero-sum game that helped drive Detroit and its hometown auto industry to the edge of complete financial collapse?

Look, no one should kid themselves: For a bid that seeks access to regional transit with connections to an international airport, the region that put America on wheels is woefully behind. For a bid that aims to create a second headquarters hub for one of 21st-century America’s iconic corporate brands, southeast Michigan isn’t too far removed from the stain of bankruptcy, municipal and corporate.

How indelible are those stains, if at all?

We’re about to find out.

“This is a no-lose proposition for southeast Michigan,” says Baruah of the Chamber. “Best case is we prevail under some very heavy competition. Even if we don’t win, but come close. It’s still a win for us. We learn how to do this well.”

Whatever happens, business and political leaders arguably are more aligned around the economic way forward than any time in decades. The Democratic mayor of Detroit and the Republican governor coalesce around common problems, and more often than not so do their respective lawmakers.

Business leaders are more predisposed to dig into civic problems, with a dozen or so of their top leaders coming together in a new, still-unnamed group to champion reform. For the first time in a decade or more, Detroit’s automakers are led by longtime Michiganders — Mary Barra at General Motors Co. and Bill Ford and Jim Hackett at Ford.

None of that is enough to guarantee success in the campaign for Amazon. But it should give southeast Michigan a chance to earn a win that could change its economic trajectory.

Positioning the Detroit Region as the Future Home of Amazon’s HQ2

With Detroit’s revitalization fresh on the minds of the business community, there is no better time to leverage the region’s world-class talent, assets and resources to attract leading global companies. With Amazon’s recent announcement to build a second headquarters, the Detroit Regional Chamber is doing just that.

A Collaborative Effort

As reported in the Detroit Free Press, the Chamber, along with the city of Detroit and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., is leading a broad coalition of business and government leaders to establish a proposal to make the case for Amazon’s expansion to the Detroit region. Through its best-in-class economic development expertise, the Chamber is well-suited to lead this effort.

From its annual State of the Region report to its automotive and mobility asset map and interactive Data Center, regional and statewide economic development partners often look to the Chamber to provide key information to site selectors and businesses interested in the Southeast Michigan market. Collectively, these assets provide an impactful tool for business attraction.

Read the latest stats and data presented by Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah to justify Detroit’s position as a contender for Amazon’s HQ2 in a letter to the editor published in Crain’s Detroit Business.


MORE: Read the latest stats and facts about how Michigan is positioned to lead the world in next-generation mobility.


Well-Positioned to Compete

Key to the coalition’s success in positioning Southeast Michigan as an ideal location for Amazon’s HQ2 will be meeting Amazon’s preferences and decision drivers as laid out in the request for proposal – namely real estate availability, incentives and a strong labor force.

  • According to the Chamber’s 2017 State of the Region, Detroit has availability of industrial and commercial real estate across the region.
  • Michigan’s business-friendly climate bodes well for economic incentives, from the recently passed “Good Jobs for Michigan” legislation, to the MI Thrive collection of bills incentivizing the redevelopment of transformational brownfields projects.
  • Detroit’s rich labor pool exceeds 2.5 million individuals, larger than 28 other states.
  • It is one of the fastest growing technology regions, leading peer regions in STEM occupation job growth at more than 18 percent since 2010.
  • The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is a world-class facility, recently being ranked No. 1 in business travel.
  • Detroit is an international gateway to business around the world. The region is one of the strongest export markets in the nation, especially with its ideal proximity to the Canadian market.

These are just a few of the ways the Detroit region is a standout contender for Amazon’s headquarters project.

The Chamber will continue to be the voice of business and will monitor the developments.

Let’s treat Amazon HQ like the Olympics and build what we (and they) need: Mass transit

Detroit Free Press

Rochelle Riley

Sept. 8, 2017

Detroit has an amazing chance to do something that only cities like Torino, Italy, and Salt Lake City, Utah, have done: transform themselves because of a major event.

But in this case the event would not be the Olympic Games, but the arrival of a company that could bring 50,000 jobs and a whole lot of hope to the Motor City.

When Amazon, the Seattle-based online retail company, announced that it would build a second North American headquarters, it was as if Willy Wonka in the form of billionaire Jeff Bezos announced a golden ticket contest.

The winner in this contest, rather than get a tour of a candy factory, would get a $5-billion project, one of the biggest economic development coups in recent history.

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 19, and the company plans to announce a decision next year.

The announcement comes as Detroit, fighting to sustain a renaissance that began with a 2013 bankruptcy — the largest municipal filing in history — seeks residents and companies to rebuild itself into a first-class city.

Here’s the thing: Detroit has to get out of its own way. Columnist Nancy Kaffer rightly mentioned the first thing I thought about when the announcement was made: Boy, I sure wish we had better sold mass transit last year.

Problem was: Transit officials tried to sell mass transit as a solution for struggling workers and their efforts to get to work rather than a necessity for middle- and upper-class residents, millennials and cool kids who don’t want to own cars.

The effort showed an amazing lack of foresight or understanding of what 21st-Century American cities require.

The effort failed.

Rather than lament what we don’t have to woo Amazon, let’s get Jeff Bezos, who transformed online shopping, to help transform Detroit’s transit system and save Detroit from its parochial and traditional past.

And Detroit looks good on paper: A Washington Post analysis of cities that most closely fit Amazon’s criteria includes the Motor City, thanks to Amazon’s “preference for metro areas with more than 1 million residents … is easy to fly into, and would have enough space — as much as 8 million square feet — for years of growth.”

Detroit has an opportunity, if Bezos wants to plant his flag and his name on an American city the same way that Dan Gilbert has.

Detroit could use Amazon to build what it needs. If Amazon considers a multi-campus approach, something Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah told the Free Press on Friday was a possibility, then it could help build the transit needed to transport workers to and from those multiple locations.

“We don’t anticipate one 10-million-square-foot building,” he told staff writer Katrease Stafford. “We’re anticipating multiple footprints around the city and region.”

The working group that Baruah is a part of plans to reach out to Gilbert, the real estate icon who announced his own group Thursday to woo Amazon.

“We have already put together a task force of internal and external people here in Detroit to fully explore the opportunity of Amazon’s HQ2,” Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, said in a statement.  “We are very excited, and we believe that Detroit will make an extremely strong pitch to Amazon.”

Cities around the world have turned hosting an Olympic Games into a citywide transformation.

Detroit could do it with Amazon. It could be our Olympics.

Contact Rochelle Riley: rriley99@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @rochelleriley. You can listen to her radio show 6 to 7 p.m. weekdays on Detroit 910AM Radio Superstation and at www.910amsuperstation.com/watch-live/#. You can pre-order her new book “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery” (Wayne State University Press, 2018) from Wayne State University.