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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

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.