Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > Full Circle: Illustrious Career Brings Daniel J. Loepp Back to Where He Started

Full Circle: Illustrious Career Brings Daniel J. Loepp Back to Where He Started

May 28, 2024 Tom Walsh

Tom Walsh | Writer, Editor, Journalist

A Detroit kid who grew up on the east side of Detroit during the 1970s, Daniel J. Loepp would buy his first house in the East Warren-Cadieux neighborhood.

Today, as he winds down his 18-year tenure as president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), Loepp has BCBSM funding a revival of his childhood neighborhood, emblematic of its commitment to Michigan’s “core cities.”

Since 2019 BCBSM has pledged $5 million to East WarrenCadieux as part of Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund that’s driving similar efforts across 10 neighborhoods. It’s the latest in a series of investments championed by BCBSM in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing.

Loepp’s first years after graduating from Wayne State University were focused on politics, working for former Michigan attorney general Frank Kelley and Chief of Staff to former Speaker Hertel, among others. In 2000, he was hired as vice president of government relations for BCBSM, and selected as chief executive officer six years later.

Soon after, Loepp joined the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors − one of BCBSM’s largest customers and partnerships that ensures small companies have the same opportunities as larger companies when it comes to health benefits for their employees. He was chosen to be chairman of its 2007 Mackinac Policy Conference and chaired its board of directors from 2007 to 2008.

Detroiter graphic“I became a viable player in the business community,” Loepp said. “Getting involved with the Chamber right away was important for me and the company, to go in and meet people of influence, inside the city and county.”

In 2010, Loepp also served on the selection committee to hire Sandy Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber. “Sandy has been an outstanding leader and great partner to work with over the years. He is a trusted voice for business in the Detroit Region.”

He also reached out to West Michigan, where corporate leaders were investing in downtown Grand Rapids. BCBSM had renovated the former Steketee’s department store building in Grand Rapids and moved 300 employees into it in 2004.

In 2007, Loepp initiated the restoration of Lansing’s derelict power station and opened that in 2011 as the new national headquarters of Accident Fund, BCBSM’s workers’ compensation subsidiary.

In his biggest move for Michigan’s core cities, Loepp relocated 3,400 employees n 2010 from suburban offices to the GM Renaissance Center, bringing total BCBSM employment to 6,400 in five Downtown Detroit buildings.

“I thought after what we did in Grand Rapids,” Loepp said, “why not here in Detroit?”

GM had filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2009 and Loepp met company leadership in 2010, cutting a deal to have BCBSM take over space in Ren Cen towers 500 and 600, which were near empty.

Looking back at the work BCBSMand Loepp have done to improve the economic vitality of Michigan’s core cities, he cites these efforts among his proudest accomplishments.

“We all have a responsibility to make our communities more viable,” he said. “And at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we aim to make communities healthier and stronger.”

Sandy Baruah

“Dan Loepp served on the search committee that brought me to the Detroit Regional Chamber – and he was a formidable presence. But in the intervening years, I have had the privilege not only to get to know Dan Loepp the corporate leader, but Dan Loepp the community leader and philanthropist.

The number of community institutions that have benefited from Dan’s personal
engagement is enormous and includes public health initiatives, the Parade Company – and he has been the undisputed champion of the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Mackinac Policy Conference. Neither the Chamber or the Conference would have the level of success it enjoys today without Dan Loepp’s support and friendship. And I still find him formidable.”

Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber