February 3: Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a kick-off breakfast for Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program on Jan. 27. The program connects Detroit youths with summer jobs through participating businesses and creates sustainable career pathways. Speakers at the event included Tonya Allen, CEO of The Skillman Foundation; former Mayor Dave Bing; Mayor Duggan; and Ed Egnatios, program director for neighborhoods at The Skillman Foundation.

Duggan said the goal of the program is to unite existing job programs across the city and to better prepare students for professional careers and put them on a path toward success. In its first year, the Mayor challenged employers to hire 5,000 Detroit residents ages 14-24 between June and August.

The Chamber is co-chairing the program and has pledged to match 500 students with jobs. Eligible students are recruited through Detroit schools, community organizations and the initiative’s program partners, including The Skillman Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program pairs candidates with employers based on interest and ability.

The GDYT program was first announced at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, and support for the program is a Conference To-Do List item. For more information, or to sign up as a participating business, email youthjobs@cityconnectdetroit.org.

Business Attraction, MICHauto Testify on Priorities at Commerce Committee Hearing in Lansing

Detroit Regional Chamber executives testified in front of the Michigan House Commerce Committee last week to provide newly sworn in members of the Legislature an overview of the Chamber’s economic development programs. The testimony comes as the Chamber’s advocacy team continues to partner with lawmakers in support of the bipartisan pro-growth policy needed to create the best possible economic climate in Michigan.

Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development, highlighted the Chamber’s role as the voice for business attraction in the Detroit region, noting that Detroit is a more recognized brand internationally than Michigan. Glenn Stevens, vice president of MICHauto and strategic development, showcased Michigan’s continued role as the global epicenter of the auto industry and MICHauto’s role in preserving, protecting and growing the industry across the state. Brad Williams, vice president of government relations, also highlighted the emerging positive relationship between the city of Detroit and leaders in Lansing leading to the passage of the Grand Bargain last spring.

Cindy Pasky at Inside the CEO Mind: Business Growth Requires Strong Leaders, Innovation

Learning how to anticipate and adapt to changing customer needs is a key component for business success. That’s the message that Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) and former Detroit Regional Chamber Board chairwoman, conveyed to nearly 60 attendees at the Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind series at the Detroit Athletic Club last week.

Pasky, whose company will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October, has grown S3 from a small start up to the 16th largest woman-owned staffing firm in the United States with 31 branches and more than 2,000 employees. A major factor in that success, Pasky said, is due to a customer-centered mentality across the organization and a diversified workforce that increasingly targets military veterans.

She said entrepreneurs have to be “intentional leaders” and show customers and staff that they care, have the courage to make tough decisions, create a sincere culture and engage customers in that culture.

“The way you grow your business is to know your numbers, costs and customers intimately,” Pasky said.

Inside the CEO Mind will continue on Feb. 10 featuring Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas. Hear the inside story that compelled the university to open its Detroit Center. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

‘Yes’ Vote for Road Funding Top Priority in Chamber Appearance on WJR’s Paul W. Smith Show from Lansing

Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, appeared on WJR 760’s Paul W. Smith Show last week in Lansing to discuss the Chamber’s advocacy efforts on transportation funding as part of its top 10 policy priorities for 2015.

Williams said fixing Michigan’s roads is a crucial economic and safety issue and spreading awareness and advocating for a “yes” vote will dominate the advocacy team’s agenda leading up to the May 5 ballot initiative. The Chamber will also continue to support policies that allow for the completion of the M-1 Rail, the development and implementation of the Regional Transit Authority’s strategy, the New International Trade Crossing and other high-impact transportation projects.

As Detroit continues to rebuild, Williams said supporting legislation that assists the city in managing its emergence from bankruptcy also remains a top priority, as well as education reform and accessibility. Click here to listen to the interview.

January 13: Ford, Volkswagen Win 2015 North American Truck, Car of the Year

Ford, Volkswagen Win 2015 North American Truck, Car of the Year

The North American International Auto Show got off to an exciting start on Monday with the 2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards.

Ford Motor Co. won Truck of the Year for its innovative all aluminum-bodied F-150. In accepting the award, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrich said the company is honored to be named a North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award recipient for an eighth year. Hinrich described the truck as the “smartest, toughest, most capable F-150 ever.” Read about Ford’s lineup, including an interview with CEO Mark Fields, in the Detroiter.

Volkswagen Group of America’s compact Golf won the Car of the Year award for its refinement, consumer cost and fuel efficiency. The awards are voted on by a panel of 57 jurors representing journalists in print, online and broadcast publications. For additional coverage of the awards, click here.

Action Packed Opening Day at North American International Auto Show

Global automakers looking to make a big splash at the opening of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) yesterday didn’t disappoint. Below are some highlights from the first of two Press Preview Days on Monday.
Audi unveiled its new full-size luxury SUV, the Q7, which is 716 pounds lighter than its predecessors and boasts increased passenger space and three rows of seats.
General Motors Co. unveiled its all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The car will have 200 miles of electric range and will cost around $30,000.
Ford Motor Co. kicked off its year of innovation by announcing the 2016 Ford GT, an ultra-high-performance supercar with a lightweight carbon fiber body, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and more than 600 horsepower. The automaker also announced the new limited edition Shelby GT350R Mustang.
Toyota Motor Co. unveiled its new 2016 Tacoma midsize pickup truck with a new rugged, tough appearance and 4×4 four-door double cab design.
Volkswagen Group of America announced its new Cross Coupe GTE line of sport utility vehicles. Among its highlights, the mid-size SUV uses a V6 plug-in hybrid drivetrain, with 276 horsepower, two electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Press Preview Days continue today, and the NAIAS will open to the public Jan. 17-25. Click here for additional news coverage from the NAIAS. Coverage of the auto show will continue in next week’s eDetroiter.

#MichiganIsAuto Campaign Promotes State’s Automotive Industry

As the global automotive industry heads to Detroit for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, is using this gathering of industry leaders and stakeholders as a platform to reinforce why Michigan is the epicenter of the auto industry.

From now through Jan. 23, MICHauto will award a $500 VISA gift card to two lucky participants who post the best, most creative reason why #MichiganIsAuto. To enter, post your submission on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MichiganIsAuto. Winners will be announced on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23. Click here to learn more about the #MichiganIsAuto campaign.

Ford, Magna Execs Highlight Industry Challenges, Praise MICHauto’s Efforts at Annual Meeting

Attracting and retaining talent and investing in innovation remain two key priorities for the global automotive industry in 2015. That was the message industry executives conveyed to almost 230 attendees at the MICHauto Annual Meeting and Reception last week at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The event included keynote speakers Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of global purchasing at Ford Motor Co., and James Tobin, chief marketing officer and president of Magna Asia at Magna International Inc. Highlighting Ford’s new F-150 all aluminum-bodied pickup truck manufactured in Michigan, Thai-Tang said demand for talent is at an all-time high as the automaker continues to pair consumer demand with innovation.

Tobin said suppliers are also struggling to market the industry to recent engineering graduates, adding that Magna International prides itself in embracing entrepreneurs and giving them a platform to develop new ideas. Both Thai-Tang and Tobin said they were pleased that MICHauto continues to advocate on behalf of the automotive industry in order to keep local talent in the Detroit region.

During the Annual Meeting, MICHauto also recognized Gayle Joseph, executive vice president of Edelman, as Volunteer of the Year for her work in the automotive industry and MICHauto awareness committee. Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) was named Legislator of the Year for his work in developing the Legislature’s automotive caucus in order to build a stronger partnership between Lansing and the automotive sector. Click here to read a column about the auto caucus in the January issue of the Detroiter.

Cindy Pasky of Strategic Staffing Solutions to Share Leadership Insight at Inside the CEO Mind, Jan. 29

Join the Detroit Regional Chamber on Jan. 29 for the next installment of its Inside the CEO Mind series and hear from Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions.

Pasky, a former Chamber Board chairwoman, will share her unique perspective on leadership from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club. Following the presentation, attendees can participate in a question and answer session and network with fellow business leaders. Click here to register for the event.

Member Appreciation: Global Productivity Solutions Supports Mayor’s ‘Project Lean’ Initiative

Global Productivity Solutions (GPS), an industry leader in productivity improvement and business turnaround, played a key role in Mayor Mike Duggan’s “Project Lean” initiative in 2014. GPS led the project to improve the city’s purchasing processes, measuring and analyzing procedures and protocols and recommending changes that were quickly and efficiently implemented.

“This was a significant engagement because the results impacted all departments and functions for the city,” said GPS CEO Gary Cone.

Cone personally trained a number of city employees in operating their respective departments more efficiently and made recommendations for immediate improvements. As part of its service, GPS professionals donated more than 200 “man days” of support to the city of Detroit for the Project Lean initiative.

“It was an honor to assist Mayor Duggan, whose ultimate goal is to better serve Detroit residents and employees,” added Cone. “The Mayor also assured city employees that this effort would not eliminate any jobs, which is completely consistent with how GPS works with all its clients and is part of our company philosophy.”