Making the Case for the Passage of the USMCA in Washington

Jason Puscas in Washington

MICHauto’s Jason Puscas visits Washington to advocate for the passage of the USMCA.

Earlier this month, Jason Puscas, director of government and community affairs for MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber, visited Washington for the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) USMCA Legislative Fly-In. Joined by member companies, the group advocated for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an ongoing effort by MICHauto and the Chamber to remove the uncertainty and unpredictability of trade and to continue to enable export growth for the American businesses.

Deputy United States Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney joined the coalition to provide an update on the ongoing negotiations between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the House Democratic working group.

Following the briefings, the coalition met with the offices of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI 14), and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY 3), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9), Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN 6), and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD 5) – to discuss the implications to automotive companies and Michigan’s economy if an agreement with Canada and Mexico is not passed, and the importance of continuing good-faith negotiations.

Is your college student considering law school?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—September 17, 2019

Lansing, Mich. –Have you ever heard your college-aged son or daughter utter the words “I’m thinking about going to law school”? If the answer is yes, Foster Swift Collins & Smith has crafted a complimentary, half-day program geared for aspiring attorneys. The event will be held Saturday, October 19.

Undergraduate students considering a career in the legal field can learn about the realities of the profession from those who have experienced it firsthand. Attendees will learn about the process of becoming a lawyer in Michigan from current Foster Swift attorneys. The attorneys’ experiences provide valuable information to allow students to gain a better understanding of the path to becoming an attorney, as well as what it takes to succeed in private practice.

To learn more about this seminar, watch the following video at

Topics covered during the session will include:
• Information to know before applying to law school
• The law school admission process
• Law school summer programs
• First steps after law school
• Private practice and common myths
• Future of the legal field

One of the goals of this program is to showcase private practice opportunities in mid-Michigan to future lawyers. Foster Swift will host the seminar from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at its Lansing office (313 S. Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48933). For more information and to register, visit

Meet Leadership Detroit Class XLI

The Chamber recently reached out to several members of Leadership Detroit Class XLI to ask them questions about their leadership style, their mentors, and more. Get to know them by reading their responses below.

Vicky Rad

Director, Department of Planning and Economic Development, Macomb County

Q: Share a particular issue or challenge in the community that you are really passionate about.  What specific changes relative to this issue are you pushing to see?

A: I am truly passionate about providing opportunities for our future talent pipeline.  I see the current and future workforce needs and am pushing to engage more activities that connect students to employees and future technologies.

Q: How do relationships shape your work? What are your thoughts on how tapping into relationships among a broad and diverse group of leaders will impact your work?

A: My work is defined by relationship building. In order to transform a community, it’s key to be surrounded by good positive energy. Working in county government, I have to continually engage our community partners. These partners represent local, state, regional, and federal organizations. Our multipliers are the leaders and stakeholders who represent non-profit and private entities.

Jason Headen

Director, State and Local Government Affairs, Quicken Loans

Q: Share a particular issue or challenge in the community that you are really passionate about.  What specific changes relative to this issue are you pushing to see?

A: There is a lack of enrollment into the skilled trades and I’d like to see more recruiting done by the trades schools. Kids need to be introduced to the opportunity and understand that they can be paid to learn a skill, have a job, a career, and potentially be a business owner in the future. With the shortage of folks in the trades, it’s caused rising construction costs and with the future attrition of skilled employees. The gap is only going to get larger. For the region to thrive, Detroiters need to be introduced to the opportunity and companies need to start opening their mind to having interns so that they can learn from experienced professionals. It’s a win-win for the region because jobs will be created, developer fees from the Executive Order will be decreased, and companies will have new team members to backfill for retiring skilled employees.

Q: How do relationships shape your work? What are your thoughts on how tapping into relationships among a broad and diverse group of leaders will impact your work?

A: Solving problems comes down to building relationships and trust to reach a common goal. If it’s a big goal the success usually comes down to the team you have built to solve that problem. That means you have to be willing to meet new people, listen to new ideas, and sometimes adapt your approach in order to reach a goal. With that being said, having different and diverse perspectives helps you, your team, and organization grow and create equitable outcomes.

Kelly Cleaver

Michigan Director, Philanthropy, FoodCorps Michigan

Q: Do you currently have someone in your professional life that you would consider a mentor? If so, how does that person support you as a leader? Has your current mentor or mentors you have had in the past, shaped your leadership style, and if so, in what ways?

A: I am fortunate to have had several mentors over the years who have provided valuable advice as I’ve navigated my career path. Some of the lessons I’ve learned from professional mentors include: How to be bold without losing empathy, how to dream big, and it’s all about relationships.

Q: How do relationships shape your work? What are your thoughts on how tapping into relationships among a broad and diverse group of leaders will impact your work?

A: While relationships are crucial cross-sector, they are especially critical for nonprofit work – from programmatic partnerships to volunteerism, board participation, thought partnerships, fundraising, and every day cheerleaders who simply help spread the word about important work being done. I am excited to strengthen relationships with the broad and diverse leadership of Leadership Detroit Class XLI to uncover new connections to prospective partners for the work I’m currently doing and to also expand my own connectedness to important work being done in our region outside of my current framework.

Michael Shaw, Program Director, Hudson Webber Foundation

Q: Do you currently have someone in your professional life that you would consider a mentor? If so, how does that person support you as a leader? Has your current mentor or mentors you have had in the past, shaped your leadership style, and if so, in what ways?

A: Formally, I worked with the CEO of a national foundation. We have structured and standing calls that we hold. We are committed to seeing each other at least once a year in person (they are on the west coast). The agreement is that we can ask anything and we will be frank. It gives me tremendous insight into the thinking and pressures at that level. This helps me as I aspire to that type of role. It further helps me in managing up to my CEO because it gives me the kind of context that I may be missing.

Informally, I have stayed in touch with former bosses. I had chosen to work for these folks because of their unique leadership roles and styles. They know my style, strengths, and gaps incredibly well. Having them available to reference experiences we shared together (successes and challenges) through the context of my work today and moving forward helps me identify where I have more fundamental gaps (things that are very hard for me to conquer) or where I have made strides.

Q: Share a particular issue or challenge in the community that you are really passionate about.  What specific changes relative to this issue are you pushing to see?

A: I am passionate about ensuring that the change we are seeing in Detroit has the greatest benefit for Detroiters. Specifically, I am interested in advancing a mindset that encourages folks (changemakers, stakeholders, policymakers, influencers) to think ahead with a strengths-based perspective. Example, as we see market conditions return in Midtown and Downtown as a signal for the entire city, how are we thinking about where that momentum takes us (appreciation, affordability, culture, etc.) in order to safeguard that the benefit is retained for Detroiters or that we have mechanisms to protect and improve the quality of life?

Special D Events Receives Industry Accreditation

Special D Events – a strategic meeting and events management agency – is pleased to announce its accreditation by the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) , making the company one of only two accredited organizations in the state of Michigan.

As a national agency with nearly 30 years of experience, Special D Events has produced events in all 50 states and beyond. The ADMEI certification, however, acknowledges the company’s local experience in a specific destination (e.g., Detroit). Working from its offices in Detroit and Ferndale, Special D Events connects clients with the latest and most relevant event venues and resources.

The ADMC (Accredited Destination Management Company) distinction is awarded to companies that meet ADMEI’s stringent standards for financial stability, event management experience and client satisfaction.

For further information on Special D Events in the D, please visit, email Matt Rossi at or call (248) 336-8600.

Andrew MacLeod Named President of the Association for Corporate Growth – Detroit Chapter

DETROIT, Mich., September 16, 2019 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Andrew MacLeod has been named President of the Association for Corporate Growth – Detroit Chapter.

Andrew MacLeod is a Member in the firm’s Detroit office. He focuses his practice on private equity, mergers & acquisitions, corporate law and taxation. He is counsel to private equity firms in the acquisition, divestiture and financing of portfolio companies and also serves as outside general counsel to portfolio companies in relation to their ongoing legal affairs and “add-on” acquisitions. He also serves as counsel to various publicly and privately owned companies in numerous merger and acquisition transactions, including LBO’s, MBO’s, recapitalization and divestiture transactions.

Mr. MacLeod is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Metropolitan Detroit Bar Association. Before being named President, he served as Co-Chair of the Programming Committee for ACG Detroit. Mr. MacLeod is recognized as a leader in his field by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and The Legal 500. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan, his J.D. from Wayne State University, and his LL.M. in Taxation from Wayne State University.

ACG Detroit is one of the fastest growing ACG chapters around the globe. ACG Detroit is comprised of over 430 middle-market professionals from the Metro Detroit area and facilitates key networking and professional development events for members and the business community at large. To learn more, please visit

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 19 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 12 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Israeli Mobility Startups visit Detroit

DETROIT, Mich.In collaboration with PlanetM/The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), MICHauto, the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) and The Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, DRIVE TLV on Sept. 12 brought a smart mobility focused trade mission to the United States featuring startups within the transportation sector.

“We’re very pleased to work closely with Michigan as it continues to demonstrate unparalleled commitment and leadership in the global automotive sector by building strong relationships with DRIVE TLV and the Israeli mobility ecosystem, to bring the most innovative technologies to the State and its corporate partners,” said Itay Erel, CEO of DRIVE TLV.

DRIVE TLV ( is a leading innovation center for smart mobility technologies in Israel. DRIVE provides startups with meaningful market opportunities while partners are provided with early insights into the start-ups’ cutting-edge technology ahead of their competitors.

“We are very pleased to host DRIVE and their technology companies here in Michigan. Our mobility sector here in Michigan is ripe with opportunities for collaboration and we look forward to mutually beneficial partnerships from this delegation trip and beyond,” said Scott Hiipakka, CEO of the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator.

The mission hosted companies including Enroute, AD Knight, InfiniDome, Moodify, Ottopia, SoftRide, and Voyage 81. The companies toured Michigan’s testing facilities such as MCity and the American City for Mobility (ACM), and participated in corporate matchmaking meetings with top mobility stakeholders established in Michigan.

“Our partnership with Israel continues to grow as we host delegations and develop grant programs for Israeli companies to test and pilot their technology in Michigan. Programs like this display our commitment to providing global mobility solutions and creating pathways to connect new markets,” said Seun Phillips, managing director of PlanetM, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

In 2013, Michigan became one of the first states in the United States to pass legislation for driverless vehicles. Since, Michigan’s infrastructure has grown as a leader in mobility through talent, research, testing opportunities and collaboration with private sectors.

“The DRIVE Israel team and its startup community are clear leaders in the global mobility ecosystem. Each year the DRIVE cohort of startups are delivering new innovations into the global automotive industry. Our team and the broader Michigan economic development community are committed to ensuring that Detroit’s automotive sector has access to this Israeli innovation,” said Justin Robinson, SVP Business Development, Detroit Regional Partnership

“As we continue to promote, retain, and grow the automotive industry here in Michigan, connecting the industry to new innovation continues to be critical. This mission is vital to bringing startup mobility technology to the forefront of our industry,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto, and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Organizations such as PlanetM/The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), MICHauto, the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) and The Michigan Israel Business Accelerator work together to establish Michigan as the premier partner for economic development between Michigan and Israel. Companies interested in learning more about mobility focused trade mission opportunities to and from Israel should reach out to The Michigan Israel Business Accelerator by visiting

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter


Hafiz Malik

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Michigan

Hafiz Malik is an associate professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at University of Michigan-Dearborn. Some of his areas of research include multimedia forensics, Deepfakes, automotive cybersecurity, information hiding, pattern recognition, and information fusion.

Malik has had more than 80 papers published in leading journals, conferences, and workshops. He is a founding member of the Cybersecurity Center for Research, Education, and Outreach at UM-Dearborn. He is also a member of the Scientific and Industrial Advisory Board of the National Center for Cyber Security in Pakistan.

Kent Sharkey

President and CEO, Ulliance, Inc.

Kent Sharkey, president, CEO, and founder of Ulliance, Inc., oversees operations of this international service company that provides human resource programs and services. Under Sharkey’s leadership, the Ulliance team has assisted organizations to reduce health care benefits costs, saving millions of dollars for the organizations while enhancing their people.

Sharkey was selected as a finalist for the EY “Entrepreneur of The Year Michigan and Northwest Ohio” award. Ulliance and Sharkey have been recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business with an Outstanding Business Award. Sharkey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Social Work, both from the University of Michigan.

Catherine L. Kosin

Senior Vice President and Detroit Market Leader, Oswald Companies

As senior vice president and Detroit market leader at Oswald Companies, Catherine L. Kosin specializes in the large line risk management and middle market brokerage segments with a primary focus on casualty and international risks. For over 20 years, Kosin has provided strategic risk management and personalized insurance services to clientele.

In addition to her practice, Kosin is a current member and former co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council at Oswald. She also sits on the Life Remodeled board as a business advisory member. Kosin holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. She has received the designation of Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and is a Licensed Insurance Counselor (LIC).