OU takes the next step in furthering higher education availability

The Oakland Post 

Laurel Kraus

November 28, 2017

As of 2015, around 60 percent of Americans had not obtained an associate’s degree or higher, according to Forbes. Oakland University has entered a full partnership with the Detroit Promise Program beginning fall of 2018 to provide Detroit students with the opportunity to combat that statistic.

“We’re trying to create a culture and an understanding in Detroit that if you graduate high school, there is a pathway for you to go on to higher education,” said Greg Handel, vice president of education on the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Detroit Promise Program, established in 2013, is a scholarship program in which Detroit students are offered the ability to attend either two or four years of college tuition-free.

“Most of our students come from Oakland and Macomb County,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Oakland, James Lentini. “We’d like to actually expand our opportunities for Wayne County students, and Detroit students in particular with the Detroit Promise, to be able to attend Oakland.”

For the previous two years, Oakland has participated through accepting up to five students in the program each year, but with the full partnership it will now be accepting an unlimited number.

“We are trying to increase our presence in the Detroit area,” Director of Financial Aid Cindy Hermsen said. “I think this is another step toward Oakland University expressing our interest in providing access to students throughout the entire state.”

Students who have lived in the city all four years of high school and have graduated from a Detroit school, achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and earned a minimum score of either 21 on the ACT or 1060 on the SAT, are automatically eligible for the scholarship but must register with the Detroit Chamber of Commerce.

Since Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the idea for such a program in 2011, the Detroit Regional Chamber has been responsible for managing it, with funding from the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation.

The Detroit Promise Program is considered a last dollar scholarship, which means that Oakland will first accept and apply all other scholarships and/or grants that a student is eligible for before utilizing the program’s scholarship to pay any remaining tuition balance.

“We build on existing sources of support so that we’re really leveraging our resources in a way that allow us to be sustainable,” Handel said.

While the Detroit Promise Program fully covers tuition costs, it does not aid in books or housing.

“We understand that there are still barriers to students being able to continue, but we’ve removed a major one,” Handel said.

Under the program, five classes have graduated from high school and moved into the community college program and two classes have moved into the four-year university program, according to Handel.

As similar scholarship offered at OU is The Wade H. McCree Scholarship Program, which holds the same academic requirements as the Detroit Promise Program, but awards full tuition to students in Detroit, Pontiac and Royal Oak who are nominated by their school districts.


View the original article here.

Wayne State University Innovation Hub launch on Nov. 15 to Cover the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Spectrum

As one of the nation’s preeminent urban research universities, Wayne State consistently generates important innovations and ground-breaking research. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Student Center Ballroom, the university will launch the Wayne Innovation Hub to coordinate and enhance its programs for entrepreneurship education, technology commercialization and community partnerships, and to enhance the university’s overall culture of innovation.

The centerpiece of the launch celebration is a series of brief, compelling IDO (Innovation, Disruption and Opportunity) Talks by innovators and entrepreneurs from the Wayne State community. Each IDO talk, similar in format to TED Talks, will focus on a different aspect of innovation and entrepreneurship drawn from the speaker’s experience and will last five minutes or less – just enough time to convey the speaker’s core message and ignite the imagination of the audience. The IDO speakers are:

 Dr. Mary Anderson – Associate Professor and Associate Chair, WSU Maggie Allesee Department of Theater and Dance. Dr. Anderson will share images and ideas about what she has learned observing durational child-directed play in the Detroit Free Forest School, located at Belle Isle.

 Kavya Davuluri – a Wayne State student and co-founder of Optimize Wayne. Ms. Davuluri will share what she has learned about Wayne State and her fellow students through her involvement with Optimize, a student-led organization that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship to achieve social impact.

 Dr. Lauren Hamell – Assistant Professor, Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Institute. Dr. Hamell will describe how she identified a significant problem – a lack of patient-physician treatment discussions – and how developing a solution to the problem led her to a new role as an entrepreneur.

 Fares Ksebati – graduate of the WSU Mike Illitch School of Business and CEO of MySwimPro. Mr. Ksebati will describe how he turned a passion for swimming and an idea into Apple’s Best App of 2016, with impact in 150 countries.

 Maurice Recanati, M.D. – Assistant Professor-Clinical, Wayne State University School of Medicine. Dr. Recanati will relate how his childhood desire to make the journey to Mars led him to a career that includes undergraduate degrees in physics and engineering, a medical degree, a series of inventions, and success as an entrepreneur and venture investor.

 Jordette Singleton – graduate of the WSU Mike Illitch School of Business and owner of the UnitedFront retail shop. Ms. Singleton will describe how she overcame fear and took the leap into entrepreneurship, and how being the ultimate failure as an entrepreneur can lead to great success.

In addition to the IDO Talks™ presenters, WSU President M. Roy Wilson, Provost Keith Whitfield and Vice-President of Economic Development/TechTown Detroit CEO Ned Staebler, will offer brief remarks. Tech entrepreneur W. David Tarver, recently appointed Senior Counselor to the Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will serve as event host and master of ceremonies.

The Innovation Hub launch celebration will reinforce Wayne State’s strong track record of innovation and entrepreneurship and showcase how it is taking this commitment to an even higher level. In addition to the IDO TalksTM, the high energy event will include music, the kickoff of a student-led community engagement project where participants produce one-minute video profiles to highlight the innovations produced by everyday Detroiters, and a prototype “Innovation Studio” where attendees will have the opportunity to interact with innovations and innovators from the Wayne State community and the region. Attendees will be encouraged to connect with the many resources that exist in the region, and representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

The event is open to the public. Light food and beverages will be served. Please register at go.wayne.edu/innovation-hub. Space is limited.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.


PlanetM Landing Zone Launches in Detroit, Will Draw Mobility and High-Tech Startups to the Region

In an effort to attract and connect more mobility-focused startups and other emerging high-tech, automotive-focused companies to the region, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and WeWork launched the PlanetM Landing Zone in Detroit last week.

This first-of-its-kind space will serve as an environment where startups with autonomous, connected, electric and shared transportation technologies can connect with Detroit’s automotive and economic development network. This initiative will be housed at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row shared workspace location in Detroit. The PlanetM Landing Zone will occupy 40 to 50 workspaces with room for about 20 companies in the first year of operation.

Selected companies will have access to WeWork locations globally and a direct connection to the MEDC through its PlanetM and Pure Michigan Business Connect program, which helps connect local and global purchasers to suppliers of Michigan goods and services. Additionally, the Chamber will house staff members on-site who will provide services to these firms, that can help connect them to and grow more quickly in the market.

The PlanetM Landing Zone is the region’s latest tool to foster innovative technology development and talent growth, key focus areas of Forward Detroit. Creating a welcoming environment and platform for mobility entrepreneurs to establish a presence in the Detroit region is also a 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do item.

“Our region must be overly competitive in next-generation mobility. To complete this ecosystem, we need to attract more tech pioneers and entrepreneurs to our region,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO for the Chamber.

Ford Motor Co. is the first automaker to join the partnership, while :DriveSmart, Spatial, SPLT and Sherpa Capital are currently tenants. Read coverage of the PlanetM Landing Zone opening in Crain’s Detroit Business, DBusiness and The Detroit News.

110 Lawyers from Dykema Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018

Dykema, a leading national law firm, announced today that 110 of the its attorneys, in multiple practice areas and markets, have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 guide. Additionally, 10 of the firm’s practitioners have been named Best Lawyers 2018 “Lawyer of the Year,” a special distinction conferred upon a single lawyer within a practice area and metropolitan market.

The Best Lawyers in America® is the pre-eminent national listing of outstanding attorneys. This annual guide is derived from exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.

The Dykema attorneys named Best Lawyers 2018 “Lawyers of the Year,” the practice area(s) for which they are being recognized and office location are:

• Kerry T. Benedict – Banking and Finance Law
• Marie R. Deveney – Trusts and Estates
• James P. Feeney – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Dennis M. Haffey – Litigation – Banking and Finance
• J. Daniel Harkins – Litigation – Intellectual Property
• Kathryn J. Humphrey – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Howard B. Iwrey – Litigation – Antitrust
• D. Richard McDonald – Securities / Capital Markets Law
• William J. Perrone – Government Relations Practice
• James M. Truss – Oil and Gas Law
The Dykema attorneys listed in the 2018 Best Lawyers in America guide, identified by office location and the practice areas for which they have been recognized, are:

Ann Arbor, Michigan

• Maria B. Abrahamsen – Health Care Law
• Phyllis G. Adams – Health Care Law
• Marie R. Deveney – Trusts and Estates
• Kathrin E. Kudner – Health Care Law
• Melvin J. Muskovitz – Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• Roselyn (Roz) Parmenter – Health Care Law
• Ronald J. Santo – Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management
• Robert P. Tiplady – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Trusts and Estates
• Jill M. Wheaton – Appellate Practice; Commercial Litigation

Austin, Texas

• Keith A. Shuley – Environmental Law; Water Law
• Phillip M. Slinkard – Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

• Bowden V. Brown – Public Finance Law
• Brendan J. Cahill – Mergers and Acquisitions Law
• Amy M. Christen – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
• Michael G. Cumming – Trusts and Estates
• Stephen R. Estey – Land Use and Zoning Law
• James P. Feeney – Arbitration; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Corporate Law; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Adam M. Fishkind – Real Estate Law
• Fred J. Fresard – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Alan M. Greene – Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate
• Dennis M. Haffey – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions; Litigation – Securities; Litigation – Trusts and Estates
• Kyle R. Hauberg – Project Finance Law; Real Estate Law
• Margaret Adams Hunter – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
• Howard B. Iwrey – Antitrust Law; Litigation – Antitrust
• Joanne R. Lax – Health Care Law
• Gerald T. Lievois – Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law
• D. Richard McDonald – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law; Securities Regulation
• Mark A. Metz – Corporate Governance Law; Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law; Securities Regulation
• Brian M. Moore – Commercial Litigation
• James D. Obermanns – Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
• Sheryl L. Toby – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy
• Stephen L. Tupper – Information Technology Law

Chicago, Illinois

• Ross J. Altman – Construction Law; Real Estate Law
• Michael C. Borders – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Terrence M. Burns – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
• Derek L. Cottier – Real Estate Law
• C. Elizabeth Darke – Real Estate Law
• Michael S. Kurtzon – Real Estate Law
• Robert C. Linton – Real Estate Law
• Andrew P. Scott – Land Use and Zoning Law
• Michael F. Sexton – Real Estate Law
• Ian M. Sherman – Insurance Law

Dallas, Texas

• Thomas B. Alleman – Insurance Law; Litigation – Environmental
• Mark E. Andrews – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
• M. David Bryant, Jr. – Commercial Litigation
• William Frank Carroll – Arbitration; Banking and Finance Law; Commercial Litigation; Mediation
• Bob H. Feroze – Real Estate Law
• William B. Finkelstein – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
• Brian R. Forbes – Real Estate Law
• R. Chris Harvey – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Christopher D. Kratovil – Appellate Practice
• Arlene Switzer Steinfield – Employment Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• Edwin J. Tomko – Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Detroit, Michigan

• J. Michael Bernard – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law
• Robert A. Boonin – Employment Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• Michael P. Cooney – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Samuel C. Damren – Commercial Litigation; Mediation
• Sherrie L. Farrell – Commercial Litigation
• Grant P. Gilezan – Environmental Law; Litigation – Environmental
• Steven E. Grob – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law
• James F. Hermon – Litigation – Labor and Employment
• Kathryn J. Humphrey – Aviation Law; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Mark D. Jacobs – Environmental Law
• Peter M. Kellett – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – Securities; Mediation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• Joel D. Kellman – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law
• Jin-Kyu Koh – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law
• Cameron H. Piggott – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law
• Carl Rashid, Jr. – Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law; Litigation – Real Estate; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Real Estate Law; Tax Law
• Thomas M. Schehr – Commercial Litigation
• Thomas S. Vaughn – Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law

Grand Rapids, Michigan

• James S. Brady – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; DUI/DWI Defense; Family Law; Litigation – First Amendment; Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy); Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
• John A. Ferroli – Environmental Law; Litigation – Environmental
• Stephen S. Muhich – Employment Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• Brian J. Page – Corporate Law; Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law

Lansing, Michigan

• Richard J. Aaron – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Energy Law
• R. Lance Boldrey – Gaming Law; Native American Law
• Sandra M. Cotter – Administrative / Regulatory Law
• Ann D. Fillingham – Corporate Law; Public Finance Law
• Gary P. Gordon – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice
• James P. Kiefer – Corporate Law; Public Finance Law
• Lori McAllister – Arbitration; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Insurance
• William J. Perrone – Banking and Finance Law; Government Relations Practice
• W. Alan Wilk – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Corporate Compliance Law; Corporate Governance Law
• Leonard C. Wolfe – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Gaming Law; Government Relations Practice

McAllen, Texas

• Diann M. Bartek – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Minneapolis, Minnesota

• Reed R. Heimbecher – Patent Law
• Timothy D. Kelly – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions; Litigation – Real Estate
• Brian Melendez – Commercial Litigation

San Antonio, Texas

• Kerry T. Benedict – Banking and Finance Law; Real Estate Law
• Ramon D. Bissmeyer – Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• J. Daniel Harkins – Copyright Law; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Litigation – Patent; Patent Law; Trademark Law
• C. David Kinder – Commercial Litigation
• Wilhelm E. Liebmann – Corporate Law; Securities / Capital Markets Law
• Donna K. McElroy – Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management
• Robert W. Nelson – Tax Law
• J. Patrick Ryan – Corporate Law
• Thomas E. Sanders – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – ERISA
• Brett W. Schouest – Commercial Litigation
• James B. Smith, Jr. – Corporate Law
• Phylis J. Speedlin – Arbitration; Mediation
• Daniel R. Stern – Employment Law – Individuals; Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; Labor Law – Union; Litigation – Labor and Employment
• John B. Stewart – Real Estate Law
• James M. Truss – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Litigation – Environmental; Litigation – Real Estate; Oil and Gas Law
• Dan G. Webster III – Corporate Law
• David B. West – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Trusts and Estates
• Deborah D. Williamson – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
• W. Roger Wilson – Energy Law
• Harry W. Wolff, Jr. – Trusts and Estates

In addition to all of the lawyers listed above, we are proud to note that a few of our recently retired attorneys have earned recognition from Best Lawyers as well.

• Eric Thomas Carver – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates
• Jaime Ramon – Litigation – Labor and Employment; Labor Law – Management

About Best Lawyers
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer review evaluation. More than 83,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 13 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

About Dykema
Dykema serves business entities worldwide on a wide range of complex legal issues. Dykema lawyers and other professionals in 13 U.S. offices work in close partnership with clients – from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies – to deliver outstanding results, unparalleled service and exceptional value in every engagement. To learn more, visit www.dykema.com and follow Dykema on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Dykema.

Clayton & McKervey shareholder helps establish new ‘Great Lakes Chapter’ of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce

Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, announces that Timothy Finerty CPA, a shareholder at the firm, is a founding board member of the newest chapter of the United States – Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC), the Great Lakes Chapter, based in Detroit.

The official launch announcement was made by the Honorable Juan Manuel Solana, Consul General of Mexico in Detroit, and Al Zapanta, CEO and President of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, on May 9 at Automation Alley in Troy, Mich. In addition to Finerty being a founding board member, Clayton & McKervey is among the first 20 corporate members of the new chamber.

Finerty is the practice leader for Mexico and Latin America at Clayton & McKervey and specializes in Mexican and Latin American tax and accounting issues including entity structure, transfer pricing and exchange rates. He also advises small and midsized growth-driven businesses in the manufacturing, system integrators, distribution and service-related industries to help them achieve their global expansion plans. Finerty holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Michigan State University,

About the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce
A group of distinguished Mexican and U.S. businessmen established the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC) in 1973 as a 501 (c) (6) non-profit business association chartered in Washington, D.C., to promote trade, investment and joint ventures on both sides of the border. All chapters and offices, with strong local membership and international contacts, help businesses bridge differences in legal, regulatory and economic systems, as well as language and culture.

About Clayton & McKervey

Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.

ROSSETTI’s QLINE Station Design Blends Civic Architecture with Modern Amenities for Riders


May 12, 2017 – (Detroit, MI) Twenty new QLINE rail stations will be fully operational today for the opening of the QLINE streetcar rail system. ROSSETTI has been working with M-1 Rail, the owner and operator of the QLINE, and AECOM (Formally URS) to design the new QLINE stations that are located along the 3.3 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue, serving 12 Detroit locations between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard.

“Our goal was to create minimal and elegant structures that were both transparent and durable. We wanted the shelters to be visually identifiable as part of the QLINE rail system, but simple enough that they would blend into the context of the various locations where they would be placed.” said Jon Disbrow, Principal and Architectural Lead at ROSSETTI. ROSSETTI designed each 98 foot x 12-foot glass and concrete station with a strong modern form that blends with the civic architecture of Detroit to house the ‘smart’ amenity and sponsor features. Each location incorporates a different color of Pewabic tile, the iconic ceramic tile unique to Detroit. Space for sponsorship was also incorporated into the design. Each station honors the corporate and philanthropic partners whose support brought the QLINE street car to life. Rider amenities at every QLINE station include heating, concrete bench seating, sufficient lighting, WIFI access, a security camera, ticket vending machines, emergency phone and nextvehicle alert screens.

The shelters are made of precast concrete with an anti-graffiti admixture with five-panel glass partitions. Concrete was selected for its durability and simplicity. Laminated glass was selected for its durability and ability to protect the graphics. Extreme care was taken to promote transparency between areas behind the shelters and the station platforms for user safety and to minimize obstruction to circulation.

Two primary station typologies exist within the M-1 Rail streetcar system. The base station consists of the M-1 identifiers, service components and furnishings that are universal at each location – creating a cohesive appearance across all stations. The second station typology includes the same features as the base station with opportunities for additional public space and design amenities such as public art, additional benches, bike racks, etc. While some stops have one station, others have two, with one station located on each side of Woodward Ave.


List of Stations + Sponsors

  • Congress Street – Quicken Loan
  • Campus Martius Park – Blue Cross Blue Shield
  •  Grand Circus Park – Chevrolet
  •  Foxtown – Ilitch Holdings
  •  Sibley Street – Ilitch Holdings
  •  Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – Detroit Medical Center
  •  Canfield Street – JPMorgan Chase (northbound) and Compuware (southbound)
  •  Warren Avenue – Wayne State University
  •  Ferry Street – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  •  Amsterdam Street – Ford
  •  AmtrakWest – Penske
  •  West Grand Boulevard – Henry Ford Health System


ROSSETTI is a global architectural design and planning firm with a portfolio of showcase properties spanning sports and entertainment, interiors, hospitality, retail and urban planning. Founded in Detroit in 1969, the firm will be celebrating 50 years in business in 2019. ROSSETTI currently has six major projects under construction: Ford Field Renovation Project (Detroit, 2017); UCLA Health Training Center, Home of the LA Lakers (El Segundo, CA 2017); Green Bay Packers’ Titletown District (Green Bay, WI 2017), USTA’s Armstrong Stadium (New York, 2018); the QLINE stations (Detroit, 2017) and Michigan State University’s Breslin Center renovation (East Lansing, 2017). Significant projects in design stages include: the Henry Ford Health System Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit; a new soccer stadium in Venice, Italy; renovation of the motorsports stadium at Phoenix Raceway; LeBreton Flats, the $3 billion mixed-use entertainment development in Ottawa, Canada; Calgary NEXT, a sports and entertainment district in Calgary, Canada. In 2016, ROSSETTI’s design was unveiled for a $1+ billion new mixed-use MLS stadium, which would propel Detroit’s sports district to become one of the largest in North America. Learn more at:


M-1 RAIL is a non-profit organization formed in 2007 to lead the design, construction, and future operation of a 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. M-1 RAIL is an unprecedented public private partnership and model for regional collaboration Notably, the first major transit project being led and funded by both private businesses, philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local government, the State of Michigan, and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Improving Talent Attraction and Retention

By:  Sarah Craft

Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) has three focus areas: Allowing regional residents improved access to a postsecondary opportunity, improving success within those programs, and retaining this talent once they’ve completed their certification, as well as attract new talent to the region. When we say “talent”, we’re talking about people with any sort of postsecondary credential, including a professional certification, and degrees including associate, bachelors and beyond.

Detroit Young Professional Mixer

We’re working with incredible partners throughout the region to reach our goal of increasing the number of people with postsecondary degrees to 60 percent by 2025. Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is one of those partners. DYP is dedicated to strengthening the next generation of regional leaders by providing professional development, civic engagement and networking opportunities. Professional organizations like this do an incredible job getting local people connected to opportunities, as well as providing an effective welcoming mat to area newcomers.

D3’s talent working group is doing research to better identify strengths, challenges and opportunities in regionwide talent attraction and retention. We’ll be promoting a broader talent survey in the next week or two, but we’ve also been looking at national models, research and facilitating one-on-one and focus group discussions to better understand talent needs.

DYP serves on our working group, and we recently attended one of their networking events. With more than 200 people present, we collected useful narratives and perspectives on individuals’ experiences related to talent retention and attraction.

Why Here imageThe biggest takeaway was that region’s opportunity for making an impact and the spirit of our people is what seems to matter most. Whatever possible improvements to talent retention and attraction we come up with will be sure to focus on people, equity and relationship building.

Here are highlights from questions we asked at DYP:

Why do you live in the region?

  • Family
  • To be part of positive changes
  • The spirit of Detroiters
  • Deep roots and pride
  • Career
  • It’s a cool place to live

What are your community’s greatest assets?Best Assets

  • People
  • Activities
  • Walkable communities

How can people get connected to your community?

  • Spend time (and money) at local
  • Get involved with a local organization
  • Get out and about to talk to neighbors, attend networking events or joining a recreational sports league
  • Through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites like Meetup

Unfortunately, many people weren’t sure how to encourage others to get connected to their community, especially when people lived in smaller suburban communities like Romulus or Roseville.

For residents, new to the region or to those who left for a while and recently returned, we asked:

What made your transition to the region easy?

  • Having a friend, colleague, family member or neighbor as a guide
  • Being curious and open to new experiences
  • Finding a community to be involved in, like the music scene, volunteer opportunity, or an interest-based networking group
  • Looking through social media to find out about events

What made your transition hard?

  • Finding new friends
  • Finding a place to live
  • Outside perceptions of the region, especially related to safety
  • Adjusting to the quality of life, like not having regional transit or the lack of walkable communities

What could have made your transition better?

An easier way to:

  • Make friends and meet new people
  • Find things to do, based on interests or personal recommendations
  • Get information about the region, like where to live based on interests and lifestyle

Stay tuned for our upcoming talent survey and opportunities to get involved in our work. For questions, comments, or ideas, reach out to scraft@detroitchamber.com.

Business and Education Leaders: College Access Programs Are Launchpad for Region’s Economic Prosperity

Continued progress on raising educational attainment levels and driving economic development in the region requires enhanced investment in and support for quality higher education access programs. That was a key message outlined by David Dodson during a keynote address at the Chamber’s Talent Outlook: Detroit Drives Degrees breakfast in March.

The event brought nearly 200 attendees together to hear from leaders from the higher education, business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on what is needed to maintain Southeast Michigan’s economic momentum.

Praising the work of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative under Forward Detroit, Dodson challenged the business community in attendance to focus on creating bigger and better launching pad programs in Detroit that encourage more young people to get a postsecondary education. The payoff, Dodson said, will be more graduates choosing to remain in the state, and a robust talent pipeline that will put Michigan at the top of the list among national and international investors.

Drawing from his personal journey, Dodson shared how mobility outcomes can drastically change with a postsecondary credential. His philosophy centered around the belief that a person’s socioeconomic status early in life should not determine where they end up later and education makes all the difference.

The pathway to upward economic mobility is a three-step process, according to Dodson. First, one must complete foundational education. Secondly, obtain a postsecondary credential. Lastly, enter and advance in the workplace. Educational experience, a support network, work exposure, work experience, professional development and a professional network are all building blocks that must be developed and cultivated to achieve success.

The event also featured a panel that shared insight on how to strengthen the Detroit region’s homegrown talent pipeline (pictured). Dodson was joined by Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest; William Huffaker, global director of talent acquisition for General Motors Co.; and moderated by Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network.

The discussion centered on the concept that talent, not capital, is Detroit’s most important asset.

“Detroit children are at the bottom of student achievement,” Arellano said. “A Boston fourth-grade student, educationally, is three years ahead of that of a Detroit student. The schools can’t do it alone. We all need to become advocates, pushing for urgency, excellence and equity.”

“The talent pipeline picture really isn’t pretty,” Huffaker added. “At General Motors, we hire someone with a STEM background every 26 seconds. Our community has changed so much over the last five years than in the last 50 years. As a community, we need to not only consume talent, but produce talent.”

Huffaker also suggested the creation of a more robust mentor program. “Everyone knows that they should have a mentor, but not everyone knows how to use a mentor,” he said.

For more information on Detroit Drives Degrees, contact Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent, at ghandel@detroitchamber.com.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

The Ilitch Touch: Transforming Detroit’s Downtown

By Tom Walsh

Christopher Ilitch, in a Bloomberg Television interview a month before his father died, succinctly captured his family’s role in Detroit’s riches-to-rags-to-revival story.

Detroit “ran into several decades of hard times,” Ilitch said, “and we felt an obligation to do everything we could to bring our city back.”

Chris Ilitch at GrounbreakingIn the late 1980s, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who co-founded the Little Caesars pizza chain, bought and renovated the Fox Theatre in Detroit and moved the pizza company headquarters downtown from the suburbs – at a time other businesses were
fleeing the city.

When the Tigers played the 2006 World Series in the ballpark he built across the street from the Fox, Mike Ilitch told a reporter, more in candor than in jest, “We were probably about 15 years too early” as pioneers investing in Detroit’s rebirth. Eventually others followed: Peter Karmanos brought Compuware downtown, and in 2010 Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans jumped in with a bang, buying and renovating buildings and filling them with thousands
of employees.

Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc., has doubled down on his family’s commitment, leading a massive investment in the Little Caesars Arena and The District Detroit –while partnering with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores to bring NBA basketball back to the city. It’s a fitting legacy for his late father, who he extolled as “a kind-hearted family man, big-idea businessman, hands-on leader and devoted philanthropist who created opportunity and pride for everyone around him.” Ilitch recently discussed The District Detroit’s progress and the impact on jobs and the city’s neighborhoods during an interview with the Detroiter.

When your mom and dad brought Little Caesars’ headquarters downtown and took on the Fox Theatre renovation, was there a long-term vision that looked anything like The District Detroit?

My parents always loved Detroit – it’s their hometown – and they wanted Detroit to be a vibrant city. They were very excited to take on the Fox Theatre restoration and to move the Little Caesars headquarters downtown. They took so many steps to help re-energize the city: encouraging and supporting the Lions’ move back to Detroit, building Comerica Park and supporting dozens of local charities. The District Detroit, with its amazing collection of sports and entertainment assets, and also residential, retail and office spaces, is a natural extension of their lifelong commitment to Detroit. Some of those early decisions were certainly led by the heart, but the outcome of their early investments, and those of many others is that today Detroit is a great place to do business with a strong outlook for the future.

What is the impact of The District Detroit on investment and jobs?

We’ve already announced investment plans of more than $1.2 billion. We’re working really hard to develop the finest work, live and play district in the country, if not the world. Our investment also includes $175 million for two recently announced projects: the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion for our growing pizza business and the new mixed-used building that includes parking, which is currently under construction on Henry Street at Park Avenue. These projects are expected to generate more than 12,500 construction-related jobs, more than 1,100 permanent jobs and more than $2.1 billion in economic impact for our community.

Talk about Tom Gores and his decision to bring the Pistons back to the city core and to pursue a pro soccer franchise. What’s the impact of that move for the region?

Tom Gores’ decision to bring the Pistons to Detroit was a watershed moment for the city. It will contribute tremendously to the positive momentum already underway here and make our city stronger. Detroit is fortunate to have a home-grown entrepreneur like Tom investing so heavily in the city. He is a great businessman who is also committed to doing things the right way. We both share a commitment to making a positive difference in our community, and that’s really what brought our organizations together.

The opening of Little Caesars Arena is less than 200 days away. How will them arena be different than comparable arenas – not only in design and features, but how it interfaces with the surrounding community?

There are a number of innovations that will make an exhilarating experience for fans who attend concerts, sporting events and shows at Little Caesars Arena. We’ve got an incredible outdoor space called the Piazza, a one-of-a-kind indoor experience that’s almost like a downtown street in the Via, and gondola seating that is suspended over the event level for some of the most remarkable views in the world. Other innovations include the Player’s Club tunnel, where fans can see the team enter and leave the ice, and a unique jewel skin around the bowl where we can project video.

At the same time, we put extensive effort into making sure we’re good neighbors to the community surrounding the arena. That includes a number of elements such as building the arena nearly 40 feet below grade so that it blends in with the existing structures. The external facade looks more
like a series of cool buildings than one long wall. We’re also working on a public art program with the College for Creative Studies, landscaping and programming for other public spaces, and more.

How are you addressing the workforce challenges and opportunities triggered by Detroit’s resurgence and the host of new construction projects?

The construction boom throughout the city represents an incredible opportunity for careers in the skilled trades. More than $345 million in contracts awarded for Little Caesars Arena alone have gone to Detroit based or headquartered companies, totaling more than 60 percent of contracts awarded.
And we’ve held dozens of outreach events to attract employees and contractors to our projects, resulting in hundreds of thousands
of hours worked by Detroiters. At the Little Caesars Arena construction site there are more than 1,100 people working every day, and the site has had more than 150 skilled trades apprentices.

Detroit has added about 16,000 new workers downtown since 2013. How many more do we need living and working in the city core to attract the basic amenities that other thriving cities have?

That is a great question. We anticipate the number of people who want to live, work and play in Detroit will only increase. To that end, our plans include the type of “consumer retail” that you are talking about. We are actively discussing where we might want to help develop grocery stores, dry cleaners, gas stations and the like in The District Detroit in the coming years.

How will the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State support growth and jobs in the city?

The Mike Ilitch School of Business will have a lasting impact on Wayne State University, its faculty, staff and students, and this entire community. Wayne State is already one of our city’s largest and most stable employers, and its campus injects youth, energy and culture into our downtown. And now, even more than in the past, we’re seeing these bright minds want to stay right here in Detroit, joining our workforce and becoming leaders in the making, thanks to the city’s amazing momentum. It has always been my parents’ dream to see the vibrant Detroit of their youth return for future generations —the new business school will be an important part of that.

Tom Walsh is a former columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for length.

Read more from this issue below:

Detroit: A City on the Rise

Under Construction: Michigan’s Build-To-Suit Market

Dan Gilbert Taking Detroit to Overdrive


Dan Gilbert Taking Detroit to Overdrive

By Tom Walsh

If it feels like Dan Gilbert has taken Detroit’s development surge and thrust it into hyperdrive, get ready to buckle up and brace for more.

ISMs Day, July 2015., Dan Gilbert speaking to team members about the Quicken Loans and FOC culture and ISMs.

Borrowing a Winston Churchill quote, after a pivotal World War II battle turned the tide for Britain, Gilbert said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is,perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Translation: Detroit’s revival, with QLine streetcars to debut this spring and plans underway for a dazzling 52-story skyscraper on the old Hudson’s site – on the heels of news that a Shinola Hotel is coming, Microsoft moving downtown and a major neighborhood development in Brush Park breaking ground – is still at an early stage.

“We’ve got a lot more to go. I don’t think you’re ever really done as a city. You’re either growing or dying, nothing in between,” said Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and chairman, whose family of companies has acquired more than 95 properties and grown to 17,000 employees in the city since Gilbert moved Quicken headquarters with 1,500 employees downtown in 2010.

Gilbert’s Quicken and Rock Ventures teams have led development of the QLine project and Detroit’s blight removal task force, are investing $20 million in community projects this year, and and are planning to renovate the David Stott building, Book Tower and the old Detroit Free Press building downtown.

But Gilbert is also reaching out to CEOs from Silicon Valley, Wall Street and elsewhere to peddle a much bigger vision for his hometown.

“Detroit is going to be the center of the world in the next 10 or 15 years, with technology changing the whole world economy. Detroit has a real chance to be THE city where it’s all centered. It’s right there for us,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert recently sat down with the Detroiter to discuss his impact on Detroit’s revitalization and plans for the future.

You have talked about the need to “go vertical” as the next stage of Detroit’s growth in the city core. Why? Where? How soon? And how high?

If we don’t grow vertically, we can’t grow anymore because we’re full (downtown). There are companies that want big chunks of space, 50,000 square feet, and we have nowhere to put them. So we have to build, and that’s the focus of the next few years for sure. Hudson’s will be the tallest building in Detroit, 52 stories, 734 feet high. The tower will be residential. There will be retail on the street and the first floor will be like a showcase — there will be a gap on Woodward, so cars can come in and drive out to do a reveal or something. We plan to showcase the best in technology in a civic space. We’ll also be building on the Monroe blocks and Brush Park.

The QLine streetcar is getting ready to roll. What do you expect the impact to be?

I think it’s going to have more of an effect than anybody believes. The fact that most of QLine is curbside – which I really fought for, big time – will make it easy, logical to use. I don’t know if there’s a street in the world like Woodward Avenue, from Grand Boulevard to the river. It has a beautiful river and a riverwalk and then QLINE-Streetcaryou come up through parks and retail developments, new construction, and this huge entertainment district that’s got four stadiums … and then you have all the museums. It’s got everything. I think the QLine already has an effect on the real estate market. There are numerous real estate developers who have jockeyed and bought along the route. One of the most impressive things about the Ilitches’ development of The District Detroit is, look at where they put that stadium: right up to Woodward. I was so excited when I saw that. I don’t think that happens without the QLine.

Tell us about your fellow NBA team owner Tom Gores and his decision to move the Detroit Pistons downtown. He is partnering with you on a bid for a pro soccer team, which you would like to build on the unfinished jail site downtown. What will his impact be?

Once the Sacramento Kings opened their new arena downtown last year, the Pistons had the only one of 29 NBA arenas not located in the city – not only not in the city, but 35 miles away. When LeBron James went to Miami for four years and our (Cleveland Cavaliers) team wasn’t doing well, we were at about the same record as the Pistons. I don’t think we’re any better marketers than them; I don’t think there’s any greater appetite for basketball in Cleveland than in Detroit – but we were getting 18,000 fans and Pistons were announcing 9,000 but getting 5,000 in the seats. Why is that? We have the same kind of team, both rebuilding. But you know you’re going to go downtown, have dinner, go to a casino and walk around (in Cleveland).

In Detroit, am I going to drive 35 miles, park 300 yards away on asphalt and freeze my tail off to watch a team that’s not competitive, and then walk out and have nowhere to go to dinner? In the city, you have more chance of drawing fans when the team is not so great, right? I also think that (Tom Gores) genuinely wants to participate in Detroit’s turnaround.

The big private investors in Detroit’s resurgence have been native Detroiters who built successful businesses: the Ilitch family, yourself, Peter Karmanos. What about big money from other states and countries? Are we on the cusp of a major investment influx from outsiders?

I think if you go to Midtown, a significant portion of the developers are out-of-state people. Now, the big investors, there’s no doubt in my mind they want to do something. But they don’t want to do little deals, they want do something big.

Next year, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is bringing its national 2018 Spring Meeting, about 4,000 people from all over the world, top real estate developers and experts to Detroit. It’s going to be huge. The REITs (real estate investment trusts) are very interested in Detroit. That’s why this ULI convention is a big one, because almost every big real estate developer or owner participates in it.

What is the solution to the oft-cited “two cities” dilemma of a thriving Detroit downtown surrounded by struggling neighborhoods? How will people across the city benefit from Detroit’s resurgence?

When we moved downtown, we had 75 people that lived in the city of Detroit. Now we have 3,500 and we would have 2,000 more if there was product for them to move into. They live in nearly every neighborhood
in the city. You absolutely have to have commercial neighborhood services and jobs. But most of the jobs are going to be in downtown and Midtown for the people in the neighborhoods. That’s just a fact. And the best thing you can do for the neighborhoods is to have jobs, period. We opened up a company named Rock Connections, a call center, just a few years ago. Of the 850 people there, most are Detroit residents. Our CEO, Victor You, wants to hire 2,000 more. We have nowhere to put them; we have no space. In my opinion you need these sort of entry point-type jobs. They get $12 to $15 an hour, plus incentives based on sales sometimes, but full benefits, and the the good ones move onto other businesses. I’m so high on the call center. I’m trying to get everybody that outsources that service – whether it’s to India or the Dakotas or Nebraska – let’s get your call centers in Detroit.

Where does the rapid evolution of self driving cars and other technologies fit into the Detroit development story?

I have to tell you, this is not something I could have predicted, that car technology – what they’re calling autonomous vehicles – was going to take off so fast. I went to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas the last two years and it’s like THE car technology show. It’s all they talk about. The technology guys want (mobility and self-driving cars) here and the car companies want it here. There’s a case to turn one urban core into the premier place. In Michigan, the governor and legislature already passed the best law in the country for sure, allowing autonomous vehicle testing. And now, the next phase in my view, is turning Detroit into the city where you go to see how this works. You get ahead of the curve.

Tom Walsh is a former columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Read more from this issue below: 

Under Construction: Michigan’s Build-To-Suit Market

The Ilitch Touch: Transforming Detroit’s Downtown

Detroit: A City on the Rise