2018 Detroit Policy Conference

The Detroit Policy Conference will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit, exploring what it means to be “civil” and the role that communities play in influencing individual behavior.

Programming will also examine role models of civility, Detroiters that have put their differences aside and are working together to put Detroit first to solve issues and create opportunities for all.


$159.00 Chamber members; $235.00  Future members   (Registration price shown below after login)

Chamber Members Show Their Creative Side for Third Member Appreciation Day

As a way of thanking members for their support this past year, the Detroit Regional Chamber gave away a handful of prizes throughout the third Member Appreciation Day on Dec. 7th. To enter, members had to take a picture of their Chamber plaque or graphic in a fun, creative way and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The Chamber received a few creative graphics from our members. One featured the Chamber’s appreciation day graphic on Santa’s sleigh while another had a cute bulldog holding up the graphic. The Chamber also received a few video entries, among them one showed the staff of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit doing their own version of the Mannequin Challenge.

Prizes ranged from complimentary registrations to signature Chamber events to various gift cards and lunch with a Chamber executive at the Detroit Athletic Club. Five members were awarded prizes over the course of the day and three final prizes were announced the following morning.

Below is the full list of winning entries and their prizes.

Janette Sadik-Khan

Principal, Transportation, Bloomberg Associates

Janette Sadik-Khan is the principal transportation consultant for Bloomberg Associates. A leading voice on urban transportation policy, Sadik-Khan advises mayors around the world in developing street redesigns to help improve quality of life for citizens.Janette Sadik-Khan Detroit Policy Conference

Sadik-Khan previously served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During her tenure, the city added nearly 400 miles of dedicated bike lanes and the first parking-protected bike paths in North America. She also launched the city’s first rapid bus lines and oversaw the redesign of streets and intersections that contributed to record-low traffic fatalities. As chair of the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO), she led the development and publication of NACTO’s Global and Urban Street Design Guides and the Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Sadik-Khan served as a deputy administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She is the author of “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.”

February 24: Chamber Applauds Customs Plaza Deal; Watch the Detroit Policy Conference Live

Chamber Applauds Deal to Fund Customs Plaza for New International Trade Crossing

The Detroit Regional Chamber applauds last week’s deal between the United States and Canada to build a new customs plaza in Detroit for the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), marking one of the last hurdles before construction on the bridge begins. This deal would not have been possible without the leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), whose support for the customs plaza provided a major boost in securing the government funding needed to build the critical infrastructure.

The construction of the NITC has been the Chamber’s top public policy priority. Last year, the Chamber hosted U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Peters, Stabenow and other high-ranking officials for a roundtable discussion on customs plazas at high-volume trade crossings.

The NITC is an investment in Michigan’s future that will lead directly to tangible economic growth by boosting trade, creating jobs and strengthening the Michigan and U.S. economies.

Watch the Detroit Policy Conference Live Online; Join the Conversation, #DPC15

Can’t make it to the Detroit Policy Conference? The Detroit Regional Chamber will live stream main stage programming online throughout the day on Feb. 26 beginning at 8:30 a.m. courtesy of Red Level Networks.  To view the free live stream on Thursday, visit http://www.detroitchamber.com/detroit-policy-conference-live-stream/. Join in on the conversations taking place throughout the day and be part of the dialogue shaping Detroit’s success by using the hashtag #DPC15 on Twitter.

Conference registration is available online or on the day of the event at MotorCity Casino Hotel. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with key members of Detroit city government and hear keynote speeches from Mayor Mike Duggan and urban strategist and bestselling author Peter Kageyama during a day dedicated to Detroit’s success.

In addition to keynote speeches, attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with a number of community influencers during concurrent sessions throughout the Conference. Sessions will focus on topics related to continuing Detroit’s resurgence, including the revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods, entrepreneurship, education reform and regional transportation. For information about the Conference agenda and speakers, and to register, click here.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Doris Kearns Goodwin to Keynote Mackinac Policy Conference

World-renowned presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former presidential adviser Doris Kearns Goodwin will deliver a keynote address at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference, held May 26-29 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. This year’s Conference focuses on the pillars of talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

As one of the world’s leading presidential scholars, Goodwin will share her expertise on the composition of effective leaders. Her insight fits with the Conference pillar of cohesion, which aims to inspire a commitment among Michigan’s leaders to speak with “One Michigan Voice” built on a foundation of shared values and the overarching ethos of “doing well, by doing good.”

Goodwin is the author of six critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books, including her award-winning “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” which provided some basis for Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln.” Goodwin also won the Pulitzer Prize in history for “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.” She also served as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House.

Register today to be part of the state’s premier public policy event. Prices increase on March 17. Click here to view updated speaker, agenda or Conference information.

‘CBS This Morning’ Highlights JPMorgan Chase Detroit Investment, Mayor Duggan’s Leadership

“CBS This Morning” recently highlighted Detroit’s resurgence in a story showcasing JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s five-year $100-million investment in the city and the leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan that helped guide Detroit out of bankruptcy.

Since announcing its plan to support the city’s revitalization last year, JPMorgan Chase has spent roughly $34 million to help fix up dilapidated downtown buildings, grow small businesses and support the construction of the M-1 Rail project. In the story, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon credits the mayor’s leadership and highlights the important role of public-private partnerships in building the city’s comeback and improving the lives of people across the region. Click here to read the article.

February 17: Macomb County Honors Chamber’s Business Attraction Efforts to Move Detroit Region Forward

Macomb County Honors Chamber’s Business Attraction Efforts to Move Detroit Region Forward

The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development awarded the Detroit Regional Chamber its “Economic Development Partner of the Year” award on Feb. 10 during Macomb County’s annual Business Awards.

The award was presented to the Chamber for its business attraction efforts, including hosting international delegations, trade missions, trade shows and site consultant activities in Macomb County during 2014. The Chamber’s participation at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) annual meeting and expo in Washington, D.C. last October helped market the region’s assets, located in Macomb County’s defense corridor, to more than 500 key military leaders.

Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development, accepted the award on behalf of the Chamber.

“Economic development is a team sport and we work very closely to bring new opportunities for business investment and jobs to the communities and residents of the county. It confirms that our regional partnership is working, and we are thankful for the recognition from our partners in Macomb County,” Krauss said.

Regional collaboration is one of the Chamber’s key strategic pillars, bringing together public and private partners to collaborate in economic development strategies to move the Detroit region forward. Click here for more information on the Chamber’s economic development initiatives.

Chamber Applauds Governor’s Support for Struggling Schools, Higher Education, Skilled Trades

The Detroit Regional Chamber applauds Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed $54-billion state budget presented last week to the Legislature. The budget includes increased funding to help educators address underperforming schools and remove barriers to higher education — two key areas necessary for the region and the state’s continued comeback. The Governor’s budget also calls for more support for career pathways, including a $10 million increase to the state’s Skilled Trades Training Fund.

The Chamber encourages the Legislature to support the Governor’s call for increased investment on these critical issues. In January, the Chamber released its top legislative priorities which include reinventing education for struggling schools, making higher education accessible and expanding Michigan’s career pathways to better support areas of need such as the skilled trades. Click here to see the Chamber’s top legislative priorities.

Detroit Policy Conference Full Agenda Available Online; Prices Increase on Thursday

The full agenda is now available for the 2015 Detroit Policy Conference, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 26 at MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet members of Detroit city government and hear keynote speeches from respected leaders, including Mayor Mike Duggan, and urban strategist and bestselling author Peter Kageyama during a day dedicated to Detroit’s success.

In addition to keynote speeches, Conference attendees will have the opportunity to engage with a number of community influencers during concurrent sessions throughout the day. Sessions will focus on topics related to the continued growth of Detroit’s business landscape, including the revitalization of Detroit’s neighborhoods, entrepreneurship, education reform and regional transportation.

Some of this year’s top panelists include:

Tonya Allen, President and CEO, The Skillman Foundation

Dennis Archer Jr., Founding Principal and President, Archer Corporate Services; President and CEO, Ignition Media Group

Jim Boyle, Senior Program Officer, New Economy Initiative

Kenneth Cockrel Jr., Executive Director, Detroit Future City, Implementation Office

Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor, The Detroit News

Michael Ford, CEO, Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Douglas George, Consul General, Canada

Lisa Katz, Executive Director, Workforce Intelligence Network

Victoria Kovari, General Manager, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Detroit

Cindy Pasky, President and CEO, Strategic Staffing Solutions

Andre Spivéy, District 4, Detroit City Council

Laura Trudeau, Managing Director, Community Development, The Kresge Foundation

The Conference will also feature Power Perspective remarks by Charlie LeDuff, bestselling author and journalist for WJBK-TV Fox 2; Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.; and Paul Pastorek, education adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Be sure to register for the Conference to engage in the future of Detroit’s business landscape. For full information about the Conference and to register, click here.

‘Safe Roads Yes!’ Coalition Launches New Website

Safe Roads Yes!,” the bipartisan coalition supporting the passage of Proposal 1, launched their website on Friday, giving voters a chance to learn more about the May 5 ballot initiative to fix Michigan’s roads and transportation infrastructure.

The website provides voters a comprehensive overview of the condition of the state’s roads, a list of frequently asked questions about the ballot proposal, and facts such as Michigan invests less per capita in transportation than any state in the country.

Finding a long-term solution to address Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure has been an ongoing priority for the Chamber. In addition to announcing its full support of the road funding proposal in January, the Chamber’s government relations team made Proposal 1’s passage a top legislative priority for 2015.

To learn more about Proposal 1, visit saferoadsyes.com.

Thomas Haas at Inside the CEO Mind: GVSU Making Presence Felt in Detroit Region

Almost two years after opening its Detroit Center, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) continues to have a large presence in the region. President Thomas Haas told an audience of nearly 40 attendees at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind on Feb. 10 that the university has noticed consistent growth in enrollment annually.

GVSU is Michigan’s fifth-largest university with 25,000 students on five campuses. Of that number, he said, roughly 40 percent of GVSU’s enrollment comes from Southeast Michigan.

The secret to the university’s success is strong leadership and community partners, who have helped facilitate “controlled growth” to protect programs and smaller class sizes while keeping operating costs down, Haas said.

Haas, a retired U.S. Coast Guard, also shared that GVSU has enjoyed exponential growth among military veterans and said he’s proud of the fact that 86 percent of the university’s graduates remain in the state to build up the talent pipeline and help Michigan compete globally.

Frank Venegas Jr., CEO of the Ideal Group, will share his leadership insight and guiding principles for growing his company into a $250-million enterprise on March 25 at the Chamber’s next Inside the CEO Mind. A location and time will be announced. For more information, contact Marianne Alabastro.

February 10: Nolan Finley Explores ‘Two Detroits’ at Detroit Policy Conference, Prices Increase Feb. 19

Nolan Finley Explores ‘Two Detroits’ at Detroit Policy Conference, Prices Increase Feb. 19

Nolan Finley’s recent columns in The Detroit News highlight two narratives emerging in Detroit’s post-bankruptcy era — one of a resurgent downtown juxtaposed with struggling neighborhoods. Following opening remarks by Finley, he and Devin Scillian, WDIV-TV 4 anchor, will lead a panel discussion with local community experts at the Detroit Policy Conference focused on the disparities in economic and entrepreneurial opportunity that exist among the “two Detroits.”

Panelists include Dennis Archer Jr., president and CEO of Archer Corporate Services; Cindy Pasky, president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions; Detroit City Councilman André Spivey; and Eric Williams, director of the Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law, Wayne State University.

The Conference, scheduled for Feb. 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MotorCity Casino Hotel, brings together key business, community and political leaders to lead dialogue focused on shaping the city and the region’s future. The agenda will feature main stage programming and speakers — including Mayor Mike Duggan and urban strategist and best-selling author Peter Kageyama — while concurrent breakout sessions will focus on education, neighborhood revitalization and transportation.

The Detroit Regional Chamber encourages you to attend this day dedicated to Detroit’s success. Click here to register and to view speaker, agenda and program updates. Conference registration pricing increases on Feb. 19.

Shifting Business, Consumer Needs Focus of 2015 Health Care Leaders Forum, March 31

The health care landscape in Michigan and the United States is evolving at a rapid pace due to changes in regional demographics, rising medical costs and shifting business and consumer needs. On Tuesday, March 31, the Detroit Regional Chamber will host the 2015 Health Care Leaders Forum at the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) largely in place, the Forum will focus on the ACA’s wins, losses and consequences for patients and businesses. Mark McClellan, director of the Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will kick off the Forum with a keynote address focused on the current health care setting in the United States and areas for improvement. Click here to register and to view speaker, agenda and program updates.

The Forum has been approved for 6.25 HR (general) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. For more information about certification or recertification, visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org.

MICHauto’s Discover Auto Series Gives Lawrence Tech Students Up Close Look at Automotive Industry’s Comeback

As part of its ongoing Discover Auto series, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto initiative collaborated with Lawrence Technological University last week to engage and excite students about careers in the automotive industry.

Over 70 students attended the event to hear from keynote speaker Jeff Nichols, executive director of advanced technology integration at American Axle & Manufacturing, as well as a panel of recent university alumni working in the industry. The speakers shared how new innovations and technology are driving growth and opportunity, emphasizing that there has truly never been a better time to work in the automotive industry.

Following the presentation, the students had a chance to network and exchange resumes with MICHauto partner companies. The event was the third of its kind hosted by MICHauto. The series aims to build the next generation of automotive leaders by attracting and retaining talent to the industry. Click here to learn more about MICHauto.

Michigan Ranks Fifth in Nation for High-Tech Assets, New Brookings Study Finds

A new report released by the Brookings Institution reveals that Detroit and Michigan are outperforming the rest of the country in terms of high-tech assets. The report shows that the state ranks fifth in total number of advanced industry jobs, ranging from automotive to information technology. In addition, among large U.S. metropolitan areas, the study ranks the Detroit region fourth, behind San Jose, Calif. and Seattle, Wash., with jobs directly tied to those high-tech industries.

According to the report’s authors, high-tech industries have a direct impact on the country’s global competitiveness. Since 2010, high-tech industries have led the U.S. economic recovery effort, employing 12.2 million people and producing 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The report ranks the state and region high on the list due to its large concentration of engineers and research facilities. However, the report concludes that Michigan is not doing enough to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers. Click here to read the full report.

Chamber Board Member Frank Venegas Honored with MLK Social Justice Award from Dartmouth College

The Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates Frank Venegas Jr., founder and CEO of Ideal Group and Chamber Board member, for being named one of Dartmouth College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award recipients.

The award honors community members who have contributed significantly to social justice, peace, civil rights, education, public health or environmental justice. Venegas is being honored for his community service contributions to the city of Detroit and for “engaging corporations, area nonprofits, government and educational institutions to build a collaborative model resulting in a community socioeconomic transformation of more jobs, increased high school and college graduation rates, satisfying career paths and Southwest Detroit neighborhood pride.”

Venegas will share his leadership insight on growing Ideal Group into a $250-million company on March 25 at the Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind. A location and time will be announced. For more information, contact Marianne Alabastro.

January 27: NAIAS Sets Attendance Records; Hotel Reservations for Mackinac Policy Conference Open Feb. 2

2015 NAIAS Reports Record-Setting Attendance, Estimated Impact of $400M

Demonstrating the renewed strength of Detroit and the automotive industry, the 2015 North American International Show drew record attendance at the newly renovated Cobo Center. Attendance at the NAIAS tallied 808,775 from Jan. 18-26, surpassing last year’s show by more than 5,000. Event organizers estimate a total economic impact of $400 million from the event, its largest since 2008.

This year’s event featured 55 vehicle debuts and 5,025 journalists, from 60 countries and 40 states, covering the event. In addition to the public show, the Charity Preview attracted 15,350 people, raising $5.3 million for children’s charities in Southeast Michigan, and 35,551 people from 2,001 companies and 25 countries attended Industry Preview.

The Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts and Chairman Scott LaRiche for their leadership in making the NAIAS one of the world’s most successful auto shows. For more information on the NAIAS, click here.

Discover What’s Next for Regional Transit at Detroit Policy Conference

With construction of the M-1 Rail underway in Detroit, mass transit improvement in Southeast Michigan is one step closer to becoming reality. During the 2015 Detroit Policy Conference on Thursday, Feb. 26, join transportation experts Dennis Cowan, partner at Plunkett Cooney, Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, and Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United for a panel discussion titled Connecting the Region: Transit Development in the “D.”

The panel will focus on the transit challenges the city and the region are facing, and discuss the opportunities that exist for a more connected system. The panel will also explore how improved transit infrastructure can support economic development and urban revitalization, and provide increased mobility to residents and commuters.

The Conference, held at MotorCity Casino Hotel, brings together key business, community and political leaders for a day dedicated to Detroit’s success. For more information, or to view speaker and agenda updates for the Conference, click here.

Hotel Reservations for Mackinac Policy Conference Open Feb. 2

Mackinac Island hotels will begin taking room reservations on Feb. 2 for the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference. Attendees must be registered for the Conference to book a room. This year’s Conference will take place from May 26-29, and focuses on three catalysts critical to ensuring dynamic and geometric economic growth for Michigan – talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

Accommodations are available at numerous hotels on the island including Bicycle Inn, Chippewa Hotel, Island House, Lake View Hotel, and Lilac Tree Suites and Spa, among others. Rooms book quickly, so be sure to register early. Click here to view all accommodations as well as room rates for the historic Grand Hotel.

This year’s announced keynote speakers include DreamWorks Chair Mellody Hobson, Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb, and political prognosticator Nate Silver. Click here to register for the Conference or for more information on speakers and to view the Conference agenda.

‘Yes’ Vote to Fix Roads Leads 2015 Legislative Policy Priorities

Each year, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team adopts 10 public policy priorities that are critical to economic development and growth. The Chamber advocates for these policies at the local, state and national levels to help make Southeast Michigan one of the best places to do business.

Beginning with a “yes” vote on the May 5 ballot initiative to fix Michigan’s roads, priorities for 2015 include:

• Support for the city of Detroit’s economic recovery
• Education reform for struggling schools
• Access to higher education for all students
• Doubling efforts to attract and retain a skilled workforce
• Accountability in education
• Reliable and affordable energy
• Regulatory streamlining
• Ballast water regulation
• Resisting health care coverage mandates

Click here to view a complete detailed description of the 2015 public policy priorities.

Sandy Baruah Talks with WJR 760’s Paul W. Smith on the 2013 Detroit Policy Conference

Detroit Regional Chamber president and CEO Sandy Baruah talks with WJR 760’s Paul W. Smith about the 2013 Detroit Policy Conference. Original air date: March 1, 2013.

Detroit Regional Chamber Supports Gov. Snyder’s Call for ‘All Hands on Deck’ to Transform Detroit

Private sector recovery needs long-term fiscal solution for city.

The Detroit Regional Chamber supports Governor Rick Snyder’s call for increased collaboration and “all hands on deck” as he declared the city of Detroit in financial emergency during a special town hall meeting today at Wayne State University. Chamber CEO and President Sandy K. Baruah attended the event to show support for the Governor and the new path forward, building on the positive growth under way as the business community leads Detroit’s transformation.

As demonstrated during yesterday’s Detroit Policy Conference, the tremendous revitalization efforts occurring in the private sector speak to the unrivaled potential of the Motor City. The final barrier to Detroit’s ongoing renaissance is financial stability and local government stability – an emergency manager will be in a position to make the quick and difficult decisions that have eluded city government. While there has been important progress under Mayor Dave Bing, the Chamber echoes the Governor’s sentiments that the status quo is no longer acceptable and the city’s citizens, neighborhoods and businesses deserve more rapid change.

The Chamber encourages business leaders to continue to distinguish between the fiscal challenges facing city government and the positive business trends in Detroit, and to continue to work with public and private partners to revitalize Detroit. As the Governor said: “Let’s come together as Detroit, Michigan – not Detroit versus Michigan.” Read more from the Governor on his blog.

The Governor is encouraging an open dialogue on the topic of an emergency manager. For more information or to share your input, visit the Governor’s “Detroit Can’t Wait” website.

Special Edition: 2013 Detroit Policy Conference Engages Business Community in Timely City Discussion

For full news coverage of the 2013 Detroit Policy Conference, click here. You can also view videos and photos from the event here.

2013 Detroit Policy Conference Inspires Engagement, Sparks Timely Discussion

Nearly 600 of Detroit’s government, business and community leaders gathered today to take part in a day dedicated to Detroit’s success during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2013 Detroit Policy Conference. The Conference discussion continued online, with tweets streaming live throughout the day on MLIVE Buzz Boards located throughout the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah also explained to Conference attendees Charter One’s unique Growing Communities program, which provides microgrants to vendors and farmers at Eastern Market who then use the funds to grow their businesses. The Growing Communities Market Refreshment Breaks between Conference sessions highlighted this program and followed the Conference theme of responsible corporate citizenship for shared growth. To watch the video of Baruah’s speech, click here.

Rock Ventures’ Matt Cullen Talks Opportunity in DetroitBeginning the morning keynote sessions, Rock Ventures President and CEO Matt Cullen took the stage to highlight the array of projects taking place throughout the city through the Rock Ventures portfolio and others with the goal of providing citizens a dynamic place to live, work and play. He outlined in detail the progress made in bringing business back into the city through talent attraction, greater quality of life opportunities and increased redevelopment efforts. He also talked about the Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans community campaign, “Opportunity Detroit.” The campaign focuses on promoting business opportunities in Detroit and was showcased on a commercial featuring Kid Rock, which aired nationally during World Series Game 4 and during the Thanksgiving Day Lions game. To view the video of Cullen’s keynote speech, click here.

Dr. Richard Florida Focuses on Importance of Creativity to Economic Success

Best-selling author and renowned “urbanist” Dr. Richard Florida took the Detroit Policy Conference stage this morning to quantify Detroit’s continued comeback. Florida, who recently completed a five-part video series titled “Detroit Rising,” stressed the importance of tackling urban development with an entrepreneurial spirit. During one of the high points of his remarks, Florida said that if you had asked him if Detroit could recover the way it has 10 years ago, he would’ve said no. He noted that he would’ve given the city credit for having plenty to build on, but that this amount of progress is impressive.

He said that this is an economic time driven not by knowledge or technology or corporations, but that of a creative class. He said the key to nurturing and growing this type of developing economy, especially in a city like Detroit, is a defined transit strategy like the M-1 Rail and the development and incubation of the service industry. This session was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. To watch the full speech, click here.

Morning Panelists Re-Imagine Detroit’s Greatest Institutional Assets

Following the morning keynote sessions, the Conference split into concurrent breakout sessions with topics ranging from the food and creative industries in Detroit to the city’s greatest assets. One of these sessions, “Re-Imagining Detroit’s Assets: Leadership, Policy and a Strong Urban Core,” featured panelists including Larry Alexander, chairman, Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority; Graham Beal, president, Detroit Institute of Arts; Thomas Naughton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority; and Faye Nelson, president and CEO, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for DTE Energy Paul Hillegonds moderated the session.

Panelists discussed the policies being put forth that will help ensure the vibrancy and reinvention of Detroit’s largest institutions continue to flourish. The panel collectively presented the keys to revitalizing Detroit’s most valued institutions as being dependent on collaborative community efforts and forward-thinking strategies. The speakers agreed that public-private partnerships are crucial elements in driving progress. This session was sponsored by Chase.

IT Panel Analyzes Emerging Technology Sector in Detroit Region

The final group of breakout sessions highlighted topics including small business, urban development and the IT industry. The “Outpacing Silicon Valley: How Detroit is Revolutionizing the IT Industry” session included the following panelists: Jim Anderson, founder, president and CEO, Urban Science; Henry Balanon, co-founder, Detroit Labs; Jen Todd Gray, vice president of marketing and creative services, ePrize; and Joey Grover, software engineer and mobile technology lead, Livio; Zafar Razzacki, account executive, Google Inc. Matt Roush, technology editor for WWJ Newsradio 950, moderated the session.

Session panelists focused their discussion on the Detroit region’s growing IT sector, highlighting the opportunities helping technology businesses leverage talent in and to the region. They each shared successful company practices and benefits that have helped to bring on young talent from surrounding collegiate networks as well as the weight of Detroit’s growing reputation as a vibrant, innovative city. This session was sponsored by Comcast Business Class.

Business Process Maps Unveiled, Mayor Bing Discusses State of City

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah took the stage after lunch today in order to present the Walsh College and Business Services Network process maps. These maps are a direct result of the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List. The maps are simple graphic representations of commonly used city processes that to help guide businesses navigate city requirements. This set of maps focuses on permit processes including obtaining a business license, special events, signage, outdoor patio space, new construction and renovation construction.

Following Baruah’s presentation of the process maps, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing took the stage to discuss the state of business in Detroit. Mayor Bing discussed his hopes for the city now and moving into the future. He also highlighted his successful relationship with the federal government and his plans to continue to advocate for Detroit at the White House. To watch the video of Mayor Bing’s speech, click here. This session was sponsored by KPMG.

Top Media Minds Examine 2013 Election Landscape, State of the City

At a critical time in Detroit’s history and redevelopment, some of the area’s top media voices gathered to discuss the 2013 election landscape and the transition to a council by district system in Detroit. Panelists included Nolan Finley, editorial page editor for The Detroit News; Mildred Gaddis, host of WCHB’s “Inside Detroit;” Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press; and moderator Vince Keenan, founder and president of Publius.org.

The panelists engaged in a lively discussion over the impending possibility of an emergency manager appointment and that person’s perceived role and possible impact on the city’s redevelopment. They then moved into dissecting the changing role of council members under the new council by districts system. The group also discussed the upcoming mayoral race and the impact an emergency manger will have on the candidates.