Opinion: Metro Detroit a Hotbed for Small Businesses

November 17, 2019

The Detroit News

Mark S. Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article here 

Motor City Stakes Claim To Be Capital of Autos’ Future

November 7, 2019

The Detroit News

Kalea Hall

Detroit — The Motor City’s historic strength in manufacturing is enabling it to become the center for the future of the automotive industry.

Just a few years ago, conventional thinking assumed Silicon Valley’s tech heavyweights held the upper hand in producing the next generation of vehicles. That was before the extensive problems experienced by electric-vehicle start-up Tesla Inc. in building EVs at its California plant, among other challenges to the tech-will-prevail thesis.

“There was this thinking that Silicon Valley was going to crush Detroit, that they knew how to do it better,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Cox Automotive. “Well, reality has set in” that Detroit knows is how to make cars. “Yes, they can be autonomous, they can be EVs. But … you still have to know how to build a car.”

Detroit does. And recent investments by all three Detroit automakers as well as a Silicon Valley self-driving company are helping the city build on its legacy of manufacturing know-how to stake the claim as the nation’s center for self-driving and electric vehicles.

“It’s almost like we are a Silicon Valley again, because if you look back over a century…we were a hub for natural resources, innovation and people — and we are seeing that again,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives.

The city’s reinvention as a hub of innovation is visible in Corktown, where Dearborn-based Ford is building a campus that will be an electric and autonomous technology center for the automaker and its partners. The technology will take shape at Michigan Central Depot, a towering symbol of Detroit’s decline as it sat vacant for 30 years. Ford plans to reinvigorate it to house 2,500 employees and create space for partners to have another 2,500 employees to develop and test new mobility technologies. The station’s transformation, which will include retail and hospitality businesses, will be complete by the end of 2022.

“Ford believes in the city of Detroit and its peoples’ future as a global hub for modern mobility,” Ford’s Corktown spokeswoman Christina Twelftree said. “Michigan is the automotive R&D capital of the world and Detroit is uniquely positioned to leapfrog other urban cores to explore the role transportation can play in revitalizing cities.”

Already there’s a staff of 250 Ford Autonomous Vehicle LLC employees working in the neighborhood.A fleet of self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids being tested with partner Argo AI is a common sight in the Motor City.

The global automotive industry has multiple cities wanting to stake the claim that they are the center for future automotive technologies. Because Detroit is “working from a position of history and a position of strength with regards to the ecosystem, it’s a great place for the center to develop,” Stevens said.

“We are very quickly becoming not only an automotive center, but an absolute global leader for the development of this next-generation mobility technology.”

GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant is yet another example of the city capitalizing on what it knows how to do best: build vehicles.

Read the full article here

MICHauto Hosts Churchill High School Students at HELLA for First Discover Auto Tour

MICHauto’s Discover Auto program connects students to the career opportunities available to them in the automotive industry through immersive tours with those leading its ongoing evolution. In the first tour of the school year, 15 computer science students from Livonia’s Churchill High School were welcomed to HELLA’s Northville facility on Friday, Oct. 18 for career discussion and exploration.

HELLA CEO Joerg Weisgerber provided the students an introduction to HELLA’s work and its role in the automotive industry and the company’s Young Scholar program. Current Young Scholar, Gwen Roberts, shared a firsthand account of what the program entails and how the challenging work prepares students for fulfilling careers.

Beyond exposure to the operational components of the industry, this Discover Auto tour offered career lessons about work-life balance, the global reach of a Michigan-based automotive career, and the diverse spectrum of roles available – from traditional manufacturing to software development and everything in between.

MICHauto Investors Embark on Leadership Detroit Journey

Last week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s signature Leadership Detroit program kicked off Class XLI. MICHauto’s Katelyn Davis joined 69 executives from across the Detroit region for a 10-month transformational leadership journey designed to challenge emerging and existing leaders from the Detroit region to bring about positive change.

Congratulations to the following investors for embarking on their journey:

Jay Brown, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, RPM-The Driving Force in Logistics

Jade Burns, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Stephen Campbell, Attorney, Clark Hill PLC

Daniel Click, Managing Director, KPMG LLP

Ana Romero Davila, Senior Program Manager, Adient US LLC

Julianne Frost, Assistant Vice President, FCA Foundation; Engagement Manager, FCA Foundation and External Affairs; FCA US LLC

Richard Glover, Manager, U.S. Inside Sales Organization, IHS Markit

Farah Harb, Global Education Programs Analyst, Ford Motor Company Fund

Tom Komjathy, Director, SE Operations, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Dawn Medley, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management, Wayne State University

Robert Nederhood, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

Lucas Polcyn, Principal, Miller Canfield

Christine Roeder, Senior Vice President, Growth and Development, Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Daniel Schairbaum, Attorney, Dykema Gossett PLLC

View the full class roster and learn more.

MICHauto on the Paul W. Smith Show

August 7, 2019

WJR

MICHauto Executive Director Glenn Stevens and Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) joined WJR’s Paul W. Smith from CAR Management Briefing Seminars at the Grand Traverse Resort to discuss MICHauto and the Michigan Auto Caucus’ focus to protect and grow the automotive and mobility industry.

Listen to their conversation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MICHauto Investors Gather in Lansing for Annual Meetings with Legislators

“Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Chamber’s MICHauto initiative gathered executives from 25 automotive companies to meet with 25 legislators in Lansing for the 2019 Automobility Day at the Capitol. Automotive experts and executives discussed the industry’s impact with legislators including MICHauto’s 2019 policy priorities. This year’s priorities focus on the further development of talent, technology, and trade as the key drivers of progress.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” Stevens said.

MICHauto values the opportunity to foster collaboration between industry leaders and the state government, which will ultimately strengthen Michigan’s economy and reinforce its standing as the automotive capital of the world. Many individuals contribute to this shared effort, and each year MICHauto recognizes one of them for their commitment to supporting the automotive and mobility industry in Michigan.

This year, MICHauto named Rep. Rebekah Warren Legislator of the Year for her dedication to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility.

The sixth annual Automobility Day at the Capitol highlighted how a strong partnership with Michigan’s political leadership will continue to promote a promising future for the state’s automotive and mobility industry.

 

Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators On MICHauto Policy Priorities; Rep. Rebekah Warren Named Legislator of the Year

LANSING, MICH, April 16, 2019 – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes executives from 25 automotive companies for meetings with 25 state legislators in Lansing. For the sixth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. For the second year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2019 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected, Automated, Shared and Electric Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-MI 55) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Rep. Warren’s commitment to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility all serve as compelling testaments to her leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year for MICHauto, and I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that Michigan is positioned to lead the transformation to next-generation mobility,” said Rep. Warren. “The automotive industry is our state’s signature, as well as a key economic driver of our state with tremendous potential for growth. I am proud to partner with industry leaders and state policymakers to protect the future of this critical sector, which will benefit all of our state’s residents.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Senator’s Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Mike Kowall (R-White Lake), and Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City).

About MICHauto

MICHauto, Michigan’s only automotive cluster association, is a statewide economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive and next-generation mobility industry in Michigan, MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction. To learn more, visit MICHauto.org.

The Future of Detroit the Mobility City With Glenn Stevens

April 4, 2019

Daily Detroit

Detroit is major center of the development of the automobile. But we’re now transitioning to developing more than just the traditional vehicle — to creating technology and solutions that helps people get around. That’s mobility.

Today’s episode talks about that mobility industry in Metro Detroit. Not just Detroit, the Motor City… but Detroit, the Mobility City.

There are numerous startups and the big players – including Ford and GM – that are serious about it and there’s a lot of money being spent.

After all, that new Ford campus that’s happening in Corktown? That’s about developing this kind of technology right here in Detroit.

That conversation, led by Sven Gustafson – is with Glenn Stevens.  He’s the Executive Director of MICHauto. That’s an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

And even though he’s the head of a group called MICHauto, you might be surprised that his answers to the challenges and opportunities Metro Detroit has is not just to add more cars to the road.

View the full article here

Listen to the conversation: