Dennis Archer Jr. On Keeping Detroit’s Comeback Moving And The Detroit Policy Conference

February 22, 2019

Daily Detroit

By: Jer Staes

On a bonus interview episode of Daily Detroit, our guest is Dennis Archer, Jr.

He’s the owner of Ignition Media, proprietor of the successful Central Kitchen and Bar, and chair of the upcoming Detroit Policy Conference.

We talk about a variety of topics around Detroit’s comeback and a vision for 2030 for the city and region.

View the original article here


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 to view the original post. 

Chamber Welcomes New Board Members, Stephen Polk Named Board Chair

The Detroit Regional Chamber announced the election of Highgate President and CEO Stephen Polk as chairman of its Board of Directors for the 2017-18 term. Polk, who chaired the highly successful 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, succeeds Archer Corporate Services President Dennis Archer Jr., whose one-year term as board chairman came to an end.

“My vision for this year is to push forward,” Polk said. “I plan to continue the momentum of this year’s Conference pillars of restoring civility in American politics, winning the race in connected technology, and increasing economic opportunity.”

In addition to announcing the new chair, the Chamber welcomed 12 new executives to its Board of Directors. The new board members, representing the region and a variety of industries, include:

  • Chris Brochert, Partner, Lormax Stern Development Co.
  • Dean Brody, Managing Director, Accenture
  • Michael Brosseau, President, Brose North America Inc.
  • Jeff Davidman, Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs, Delta Air Lines
  • Brian Demkowicz, Managing Partner, Huron Capital Partners LLC
  • Alessandro DiNello, President and CEO, Flagstar Bank
  • Anthony Frabotta, Managing Director, UHY LLP
  • Wright Lassiter III, President, Henry Ford Health System
  • Trevor Lauer, President and CEO, DTE Electric, DTE Energy
  • Leon Richardson, President and CEO, Chemico Systems Inc.
  • David Segura, CEO, VisionIT
  • Chris Thomas, Founder and Partner, Fontinalis Partners LLC

In recognizing the new directors, Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said: “We are incredibly grateful for you volunteering your valuable time. You are all leaders working nationally and internationally and the fact that you would spend some time with us, we are very honored by that.”

The Chamber also made a special presentation to honor Archer for his work as board chairman.

“Dennis made us a better organization. Our culture of diversity and inclusion was impacted by his leadership this past year,” Baruah said.

Archer will remain a member of the board as immediate past chair and will serve on the Executive Committee.

The staff also recognized the service of the outgoing directors including: Stephanie Bergeron, president of Walsh College; Phil Cooley, co-owner of Slows Bar BQ; George Johnson, managing director of George Johnson & Company; Steven Kurmas, vice chairman of DTE Energy; Nigel Thompson, advisor to the CEO for Yazaki North America Inc.; and David Zilko, CEO of Fuel Leadership LLC.

View the full list of board members here.

2016 To-Do List Results

During the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, Dennis Archer Jr., president of Archer Corporate Services, CEO of Ignition Media Group, and Detroit Regional Chamber Board president, took to Michigan’s Center Stage on Thursday, June 1 to highlight the results of last year’s To-Do List.

View the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List final report here.

Since 2010, at the end of each Conference, the Chamber develops a To-Do List, taken from the conversations held on the island during the Conference. The list provides accountability and a focus for the upcoming year. Archer, who was the 2016 Conference Chair, was pleased to announce that all four items were accomplished.

2016 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List included:

  • Support the establishment of the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run.
  • Help the state of Michigan develop and execute a strategy to protect and grow our valuable defense assets.
  • Advocate for robust infrastructure investment in our basic utilities and assets.
  • Continue to support an economically inclusive Detroit by promoting education access, options and attainment, as well as to continue to promote financial literacy.

Watch the results presentation below:

Detroit Developers: Thoughtful Inclusion Key to City’s Ongoing Transformation

Watch the full panel discussion here. 

In the midst of countless projects underway, developers must continue to make intentional decisions to include all Detroiters in the city’s revitalization.

As part of the “Inclusive Development: Impacts of a Prosperous Downtown” panel, leading developers provided insight on projects throughout downtown, Midtown and the neighborhoods, while discussing ways to bring opportunities to residents.

“We are going to the places where people who do not appear to be participating in the recovery and need the opportunity are,” explained Peter Cummings, co-founder of The Platform. “Sustaining the momentum depends on the ability of broader sectors of the population to participate. Detroit is not blighted, it’s not distressed, it’s just grossly underserved.”

Inclusive Development panel discussion at 2017 Detroit Policy ConferenceBasco of Michigan President Roger Basmajian explained that it is also important that when buying buildings, a high priority is made to ensure tenants are not being displaced.

Taking a similar approach to Basmajian, Develop Detroit’s Sonya Mays discussed how important it is for developers and businesses to interact with existing communities.

“We want to go out and engage the people that will be most affected by the developments, meaning we try to develop from the bottom up, not the top down,” she said. “It is very labor intensive, but our perspective is that’s one of the best ways to make sure the work being done is for and includes the people affected, not being done to them.”

“At Develop Detroit we use a few different lenses to talk about inclusion, we talk about income inclusion, we talk about racial inclusion … and we talk about age inclusion and our philosophy is that you do have to be intentional if you actually care about making a change,” Mays added.

The panel also touched on barriers developers face in Detroit including: access to capital, brownfield development, millage taxes and infrastructure issues. All of the panelists said the city government has been a strong advocate for development.

This panel was moderated by Ignition Media Group CEO and Detroit Regional Chamber Board Chair Dennis Archer Jr.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Christopher Ilitch: Teamwork, Collaboration Will Guide Detroit’s Bright Future