Reimagining the Future of Corktown Detroit

Ford Motor Company’s Detroit Development Director Mary Culler is helping reimagine the future of Corktown Detroit with the Michigan Central Station redevelopment and creation of a new innovative mobility ecosystem. Culler spoke at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference on Ford’s commitment to creating a vibrant, innovative community where people come to create, test, and experience new transportation solutions that advance human progress.

Corktown currently houses Ford’s autonomous vehicle business unit where more than 250 employees work toward its goal to deploy a self-driving car by 2021. As Ford reopens Detroit’s iconic train station and several nearby properties, more than 5,000 employees for Ford and partners will join the Corktown scene.

“Ford was built on the idea that the freedom of movement drives human progress,” said Culler. “There’s so much change in the mobility industry happening right now and we are tackling these issues head on.”

Culler discussed the progress already made on the renovations to Michigan Central Station, where the team has already stabilized the building and covered it with a temporary roof. More than 650,000 gallons of water were removed from the basement, said Culler, and workers even found still-full whiskey bottles in the walls of the station.

Ford is devoted to preserving this rich Corktown history, explained Culler. By bringing this former symbol of neglect back to life and recreating its historic details, Ford hopes to create a new symbol of progress for Detroit with Michigan Central Station. By working with the surrounding communities in Corktown and beyond, Ford aims to become a neighbor, instead of a traditional developer.

“It is impossible to be in Detroit without acknowledging our people and our past,” said Culler.

With its new innovation district, Ford will reinforce Detroit as a global destination for mobility by creating a testing ground for automated vehicles, said Culler. Ford also plans for the district to attract business and talent to the region, while highlighting local businesses and community arts and culture.

“I’m here to invite you to join us in taking on the transportation challenges of the future.”





Thank you to Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center for sponsoring this keynote.

Oakland County Exec. David Coulter: We Have to Think Regionally

Taking the Detroit Policy Conference stage for the first time as Oakland County Executive, David Coulter had one key message 

We have to think regionally.”  

Coulter emphasized the need for regionalism and drew from recent events where collaboration was necessary. From health care to law enforcement, Oakland County has worked with neighboring counties and others across the state to achieve success. 

When talking about the current barriers to collaboration between counties, Coulter was quick to reinforce his desire to work with Detroit, Wayne County, and others.   

“These borders are artificial, and we need to start treating them as such,” he said. 

But his call for collaboration did not stop there. Coulter touched on several key initiatives and issues where regionalism is critical to growth of Detroit and its surrounding cities and counties including regional transit, business development, and the growing senior population. 

Coulter specifically called out regional transit as a focusciting that a large proportion of his constituents commutes are between counties every day. Coulter is optimistic about the future of transit legislation, saying he hopes to have a solution to benefit all by the end of 2020. 

While Oakland County has been a beacon of success, Coulter stressed that this success is due in part to its proximity to Detroit.  

“Options in Oakland County are enhanced because of their place in the region,” he said, emphasizing the benefits of a thriving urban core for all in the region 

As he concluded his keynote, Coulter remained positive about working together with other regional leadersnoting that leaders are working better together now more than they ever have. 

Michigan Moves Ideas Through Inclusive Entrepreneurship


In the first keynote of the day at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II discussed how Michigan can create an environment prime for innovation and ideas. With an emphasis on inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation reaching beyond technology, Gilchrist presented a vision for a Michigan that starts with investing in ideas.

“Michigan has moved people. Michigan has moved goods, services, in a literal sense, through mobility. We can move much more,” Gilchrist said. “What if we make Michigan the place that moves ideas?”

Gilchrist outlined three factors to make that happen: innovation, grit, and entrepreneurship. He emphasized how innovation is not exclusive to technology but can occur in partnerships and in creating space and opportunities to elevate promising ideas. Innovation coupled with Michiganders’ grit and perseverance feeds the evolving culture of entrepreneurship.

This new decade is a critical moment for expanding the understanding of what an entrepreneur is and welcoming more diverse people and ideas.

“Entrepreneurs are people who turn barriers into springboards,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist also shared the compelling stories of three individuals who fit that bill – a young mother who turned her passion and ideas into a prominent legal career; a 13-year-old boy taking incentive to improve his community by repairing potholes; and a tradesman who is using his career to empower others to pursue the training for fulfilling careers with FCA US LLC.

Finally, the lieutenant governor shared the state’s plan to foster the development and strength of Michigan through:

  • Investing in educations for Michiganders of all ages.
  • Closing the skills gap through programs like Michigan Reconnect.
  • Investing in the environment by protecting the state’s natural resources.
  • Improving infrastructure to better connect communities.

Thank you to DTE Foundation for sponsoring this keynote session.

2020 Detroit Policy Conference: Defining a Decade

At the dawn of a new decade, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2020 Detroit Policy Conference brought together more than 900 key business, community, civic, and government leaders to address Detroit’s ongoing path to economic sustainability and set into motion meaningful change in the city. Local and national leaders highlighted the work underway, new ideas, opportunities, and challenges that will define the next 10 years for the Detroit region.

Follow the Chamber’s coverage from the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference by visiting the Conference website, complete with session video highlights, recaps, photos, and more.

Business Coalition Support Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect in Letter to Governor

January 24, 2020

The Honorable Governor Gretchen Whitmer
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909


We write this letter with appreciation for the priority you have placed on filling the skills gap with the Michigan Reconnect program and the Going Pro Talent Fund. When taken in tandem, these two programs will answer a wide array of needs in our economy and improve the income and prosperity of tens of thousands of Michiganders.

This new year affords an opportunity to start fresh with a bipartisan win for the people of this state. While we understand that there is talk of a supplemental appropriation in the first quarter, there is urgency behind the need to move forward with the Going Pro Talent Fund and Michigan Reconnect program as soon as possible.

The vast majority of training plans awarded from the Going Pro Talent Fund are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020. Getting an appropriation completed in January will allow that important work to continue without further interruption. Additionally, the window of time available to get Michigan Reconnect up and running by the fall semester is closing fast. Combining these two important programs in a skill building appropriation will fast track a scalable response to Michigan’s workforce shortages.

Thank you for your consideration and we stand ready to assist in advancing this important work.

Brent Hanson Joins Pentastar Aviation As Account Manager & Client Relations Representative

WATERFORD, MI. – Pentastar Aviation, a leader in the world of business aviation, announced today that Brent Hanson has joined the company in the position of Account Manager & Client Relations Representative. Hanson will be based at Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), as part of Pentastar’s new partnership with Avflight.

In his role as Account Manager & Client Relations Representative, Hanson is responsible for developing strategies to attract new business and managing customer accounts. In addition, he will be promoting Pentastar in the West Michigan region.

“Brent brings a wealth of aviation experience, technical knowledge and care for customers to Pentastar Aviation,” said Brad Bruce, Executive Vice President of Maintenance & Sales. “He is going to be a tremendous asset for us going forward as we continue to expand our footprint in the Great Lakes region.”

Prior to joining Pentastar, Hanson served as Regional Sales Director for Textron Aviation. In this role, he evaluated customer needs to provide effective aircraft solutions.

Hanson earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, Advertising and Public Relations from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and is a native of the Grand Rapids area.

He also served as an officer in the United States Navy/Navy Reserve from 2010 to 2018.

“It is an honor to be joining the Pentastar family,” said Hanson. “Pentastar’s experience, professionalism, and award-winning service will be a tremendous value to the West Michigan business community. I look forward to being a part of this exciting expansion into this part of the state.”

About Pentastar Aviation
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, is a leader in the world of business aviation, providing aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services and award-winning FBO services. Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S. FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Their team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to their customers.
Pentastar Aviation has been servicing regional and global travelers for more than 50 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). For more information, please visit

Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Second Statewide Policy Poll

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll at

DETROIT, MICH. (Jan. 27, 2020) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that highlights the issues that matter most to Michigan voters in advance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second State of the State Address and the Detroit Policy Conferencon Wednesday, Jan. 29.  

Michigan is going to be the key state in the election this year and it is important tknow what is on the minds of Michigan voters,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We are not interested in the national horserace. Today it is important to understand the issues Michiganders care most about – roads, health care, jobs, and the economy – this Michigan voter poll reflects that.” 

The Chamber is a leading voice for the business community on many statewide issues outlined in the poll. The poll was conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. of 600 Michiganders that are likely to vote in the November general election and the findings reflect a consensus among Michigan respondents on statewide and federal issues. 

Statewide Issue Highlights:

When asked if Michigan was on the right track, 46.2% of statewide voters believe the state is on the right track and 33.2% believe it is on the wrong track (20.7% no response).

When asked in an open-ended question, “What is the most important issue facing Michigan right now?” The top four responses were:

Roads and bridges (29.5%)
Jobs and the economy (18.0%)
Education/education funding (7.2%)
Water/sewer infrastructure (6.3%)






Michigan voters are still widely focused on fixing the roads. Roads and bridges ranked as the top issue in Michigan among every demographic group.

By a wide margin, 29.5% of Michigan voters ranked roads and bridges as the most important issue facing the state.

When asked if Michigan roads have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same, statewide voters said:

They have gotten worse (46.3%)
They are about the same (40.2%)
They have gotten better (11.7%)
No response (1.8%)





However, when asked if Michigan government have enough money to fix the roads or if the state needs to raise more money, a margin of 53.3%-33.7% of voters believe the state has enough money (13% no response).

“Michigan’s elected leaders continue to lose the PR battle on additional road funding. By a margin of 53%-33%, Michigan voters continue to believe that the state already has enough money to fix the roads as compared to needing additional revenues. As far back as 2012, we talked about how voters did not understand why Michigan needed more road money. And eight years later, voters still don’t understand why Michigan needs more money for roads,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

The chart below compares how each party affiliation viewed this question. While Democratic voters appear split on the question, all other party affiliations strongly believe the state already has the money to fix the roads.

Party Affiliation Enough Money Need to Raise More Money
Strong Democratic (43.4%) (46.2%)
Lean Democratic (38.5%) (44.2%)
Independent (56.1%) (30.4%)
Lean GOP (56.9%) (30.6%)
Strong GOP (64.4%) (20.7%)

Voters were asked who they would trust to spend the money if more money was raised for roads:

Their local city or township government (29.7%)
Their county government (29.7%)
Michigan state government (22.5%)
None (12.2%)
No response (6.0%)





Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Strong Republican voters were most likely to support their county (37.8%) to spend the money.
  • Strong Democratic voters were most likely to support state government (35.8%) to spend the money.
  • Independent voters were most likely to support their local government (33.8%) to spend the money.

Voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to support an increase in road revenues if they knew their local government would be responsible for handling the money and making the road fixes.

More likely to support (47.4%)
Less likely to support (15.3%)
It would make no difference to them (32.2%)
No response (5.2%)





Debt-Free Community College for Adults

By a margin of 74%-22.1%, Michigan voters strongly support providing debt-free community college tuition to any Michigan adult who is re-entering the workforce or needs to get retrained because their job has been eliminated.

Additionally, 56% of Michigan voters strongly support free community college tuition.

The chart below looks at support by party affiliation. Only Strong Republican voters are split on the proposal.

Party Affiliation Support Oppose
Strong Democratic (90.8%) (6.4%)
Lean Democratic (90.4%) (9.6%)
Independent (78.4%) (18.3%)
Lean GOP (65.3%) (30.5%)
Strong GOP (45.9%) (48.2%)






Extending Elliott Larsen

By a margin of 77.3%-16%, Michigan voters continue to strongly support legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment or housing of LGBT Michiganders. 66.3% strongly support the legislation while only 9.5% strongly oppose the legislation (6.7% no response).

Requiring Hands-Free Driving Devices

By a margin of 88.3%-9%, Michigan voters strongly support legislation that would prohibit drivers from holding their cell phones while they are driving and require them to only use a hands-free device. 77.5% of voters strongly support the hands-free legislation (2.7% neither support or oppose, or no response).

This is the second poll the Detroit Regional Chamber has commissioned by Glengariff Group Inc. ahead of the November 2020 general election. The first was conducted in July 2019 in advance of the CNN Democratic Debate in Detroit and it also focused on issues that were top of mind for voters to ensure the candidates were focusing on the issues Michigan cares about.

National Issue Highlights:

Washington dominates as the most important issue facing the nation for Michigan voters. When asked in an open-ended question, what is the most important issue facing the nation, Michigan voters said:

President Trump and his impeachment were the most important issue (15.2%)
Jobs and the economy (12.5%)
Access to health care (10.0%)
The political divide in the nation (9.0%)
The possibility of war (8.8%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • 31.8% of Strong Democratic voters said President Trump was the most important issue facing the nation, while 20% of Strong Republican voters said the political divide in the nation was the most important issue.
  • By a margin of 62.2%-26.7%, Michigan voters believe the national economy is on the right track (11.2% no response).
  • When asked if the economy is better today than it was four years ago, 51.2% said it was better, 28.8% said it was the same, and 16.2% said it was worse (3.8% no response).

There were major differences based on whether or not the household had a 401K.

  • For households with a 401K, 57.8% said the economy was better, 28.3% said it was the same, and 10.5% said it was worse.
  • But for households without a 401K, only 36.8% said it was better, 30.5% said it was the same, and 27.4% said it was worse.

Michigan voters were asked if their household finances were better today than they were four years ago, 42% said their finances were the same, 38.3% said they were better, and 17.3% said they were worse (2.3% no response).

There were major differences based on whether the household had a 401K.

  • 46.5% of households with a 401K said their finances were better, while only 24.2% of households without a 401K said their finances were better.

Health Care

Michigan voters with private and employer health insurance are overwhelmingly satisfied with their insurance.

When voters were asked if they had health insurance and if so what kind of insurance they had:

No coverage (4%)
Yes, employer provided coverage (56.3%)
Yes, paid for private coverage (8%)
Yes, Medicare (20.2%)
Yes, Medicaid (9%)
No response (2.5%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • While 61.2% of white voters said they had employee coverage, only 33.3% of African American voters said they had employee coverage.
  • Voters with employee and private coverage were asked if they were satisfied or unsatisfied with their health insurance.
  • 75.1% of voters with employee or private coverage are satisfied with their coverage, while 43.0% are very satisfied, and 32.1% are somewhat satisfied. 22.0% are not satisfied with their coverage.
  • Michiganders choose moderate options on health care and agree across the board on pre-existing conditions.

When Voters were read four different options about our nation’s health care system and asked which they supported the most:

We should expand the existing Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to give anyone the option to purchase their health coverage through Medicare. This is known as Medicare for All who want it. (35.8%)
We should make some changes to the Affordable Care Act, but we shouldn’t go beyond that. (20.2%)
We should create one Medicare for All system in which everyone has the same health insurance plan and private insurance would not be required. (20%)
We should leave the system alone. It is working fine and there is really nothing wrong with it. (8.5%)
No response (9.0%)








“It is a great misconception that voters are unhappy with their current health insurance coverage. 75% of voters with employer provided or private health insurance coverage are satisfied with their coverage. That is why 67% of Michigan voters choose a national health option that is not Medicare for All. Voters want a more moderated direction in the national health care debate,” said Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Among Strong Democratic voters, 51.4% chose Medicare for All that want it, while 23.1% chose Medicare for All.
  • The lowest support percentage for Medicare for All came among Strong Republican voters (8.1%), union households (13.1%), and African American voters (14.1%).
  • The strongest support for ‘Medicare for All that want it’ came from African American voters (59%) and Strong Democratic voters (51.4%).
  • 21.5% of Strong Republican voters said we should leave the health care system alone. 27.4% chose minor reforms to the Affordable Care Act.

Ranking Local, State and Federal Leaders for Civility

Since 2017, the Chamber has led a call to restore civility in public discourse. Given civility is a signature priority for the Chamber, Michigan voters were asked their opinion on the nation’s current state.

When Michigan voters were asked to rank local, state, and federal leaders on their civility. Using a one to 10 scale – with one being lowest and 10 being highest – voters were asked to score each entity on civility.

Your local city and township government (6.7)
Your local mayor or township supervisor (6.7)
Governor of Michigan (5.5)
Michigan State House and State Senate (5.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (4.2)
President of the United States (4.2)
Social media like Facebook and Twitter (3.6)








Looking closely at the demographics:

Republicans voted:
President the most civil of the entities (7.6)
Social media the lowest (3.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (3.7)
Governor of Michigan (3.8)





Independents voted:         
Their local mayor or supervisor highest (6.5)
Social media the lowest (3.6)
The President (4.0)




Democrats voted:         
Governor of Michigan highest (7.1)
President of the United States lowest (1.7)






The poll is a live operator telephone survey of 600 likely November 2020 general election Michigan voters conducted from January 14-18, 2020. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 62% of respondents were contacted by landline telephone. 38% of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll at

What’s Next For Detroit? With Dennis Archer Jr.

January 22, 2020

Daily Detroit

Jer Staes

The New Year is a great time to take inventory of what we’ve done and where we’re headed, and I like to talk to Dennis Archer Jr.,the CEO of Ignition Media Group and the president of Archer Corporate Services ahead of the Detroit Policy Conference that’s coming up this Wednesday, January 29.

We touch on a variety of topics including transit, education, development, the focus going forward on the neighborhoods, and why Archer doesn’t like the word “comeback” when it comes to Detroit.

Archer is also the chair of the conference, with speakers like Dug Song, who has gotten more visibly involved in policy and such since selling his company, Duo Security, to Cisco. Actor Hill Harper, who owns the Roasting Plant in downtown Detroit and bought a house in the city.

The suburbs are in, too. Oakland County Executive David Coulter is speaking. A statewide perspective from Lieutenant-Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

Listen to the conversation:

View the original article

UHY LLP CPAs expands into Port Huron; merges with Stewart, Beauvais & Whipple

Port Huron, Mich. January 23, 2020 – UHY LLP, certified public accountants, with over 400 employees in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, has merged with Stewart, Beauvais & Whipple, of Port Huron. This is the firm’s fifth office in Michigan and entrance into St. Clair County, and positions them as a leader in nonprofit, municipal and government auditing.

“Reaching up into the thumb allows us to better serve our existing client base in the Bluewater area,” said Tom Callan CEO of the UHY Great Lakes Region. “The addition of SBW deepens our resources in various practice areas, and will present new opportunities for our staff and our firm.”

Harold Burns and Dan Markey, partners of UHY LLP and members of the firm’s executive committee, have been heavily involved in St. Clair County for decades. This includes serving on boards of SC4 Foundation, Community Foundation of St. Clair, St. Clair County RESA, Memphis Community Schools, and the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.

“We are very excited about the opportunities that this merger brings to both firms and all of our clients. Both firms have a great reputation in providing quality service and this will only improve by bringing together our talented professionals. With UHY wanting to have an office in Port Huron, it is a testament to the economic growth happening in St. Clair County and UHY will only help sustain this growth”, said Mike Turnbull, (former principal of SBW) managing director of the Port Huron office.

SBW employees were memorably welcomed into the UHY family during their annual busy season kickoff celebration at Royal Oak Music Theatre over the weekend.

# # #

About UHY Advisors
UHY Advisors provides tax and advisory services to entrepreneurial and other organizations, principally those enterprises in the dynamic middle market. UHY LLP, a licensed CPA firm, provides audit and other attest services to publicly traded, privately owned and nonprofit organizations in a number of industry sectors. UHY Advisors, operating in an alternative practice structure with UHY LLP, forms one of the largest professional services firms in the US. While that scale might provide confidence for some clients, others tell us our greatest value is the way we bring these resources to bear to help address today’s evolving business challenges. It’s a philosophy we call “The Next Level of Service”. To learn more visit

All of the above entities are members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited (“UHYI”), a worldwide network of independent professional services firms that provide audit, tax and advisory services around the globe. UHYI is ranked among the top international accountancy networks and a proud member in good standing of the Forum of Firms. Collectively, the US operating entities (UHY Advisors and UHY LLP) are the largest independent members of UHYI with significant participation, bringing the power of the international network to serve the individualized needs of US clients.

UHY Advisors, Inc. provides tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors.” UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY Advisors, Inc. and UHY LLP are US members of UHYI, a UK company, and form part of the international UHYI network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHYI international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY Advisors, Inc. and/or UHY LLP (as the case may be) and not by UHYI or any other member firm of UHYI. Neither UHYI nor any member of UHYI has any liability for services provided by other members.

Brad Williams Testifies on Infrastructure Funding to Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee

The following is testimony from Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams to the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee on Jan. 23, 2020.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Brad Williams, I am the Vice President of Government Relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber. Some of you have visited the Chamber’s office in Downtown Detroit and you know that we have one of the most stunning views of any Chamber of Commerce in the entire country. As we do our work, promoting economic growth in our region, we overlook the Detroit River and literally watch commerce flow. Across Jefferson Avenue sits the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority, which represents an opportunity to capitalize on a set of unique assets in our region.

The Chamber supports SB 667, because modern infrastructure is a tool to grow a modern economy. The Detroit region has many existing and future infrastructure assets that will allow for ongoing economic growth and modern port facilities with accelerate that. Michigan’s transportation infrastructure built to support our manufacturing economy is a potential economic advantage. We have redundant highways, meaning that truck traffic has the ability to avoid congestion, we have strong rail infrastructure, we will soon be home to three international crossings for commercial activity including the most modern in North America. However, the policy choices we make will determine whether or not we are able to leverage these assets as successfully as we would like.

That is why the Chamber supports SB 667 to allow for greater investment in port facilities. That is why the Chamber supports efforts to dramatically increase our investment in preserving our surface transportation assets. That is why the Chamber supports efforts to create a regional transit system in our region. Because regions that can effectively move people and goods are going to continue to have a leg up and be more competitive into 2030 and beyond. We encourage your support of SB 667.