Forward Detroit Quarterly Results

January – March, 2017 

Between January and March, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team assisted in closing three deals, which created 97 jobs and brought in an investment of $4.8 million to the Detroit region. Learn more about the Chamber’s Business Attraction efforts.
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During the last quarter, the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative wrapped up the Race to the FAFSA Line challenge for Southeast Michigan. Since the kickoff of this challenge in October, 16,467 students in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties have completed their FAFSA. These students extend from 85 schools that participated and five were awarded for their outstanding completion rates. Learn more about the Detroit Drives Degrees.
MICHauto, Michigan’s first-ever strategic initiative dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive and next-generation mobility industry is a program under the Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy. During the last quarter, MICHauto held a Legislative Tour and Reception during the North American International Auto Show, educating 32 elected officials on the industry. In addition, MICHauto held a Discover Auto career series event that exposed 72 Oakland University students to automotive careers with the participation of 12 automotive suppliers. Learn more about MICHauto.


Read more about what the Forward Detroit initiatives accomplished:

Education Advocates: Reform, More Training Opportunities Needed to Sustain Detroit’s Momentum


Tech Startup Lessons from Israel: Entrepreneurs Thrive with Collaboration, Government Support

Business and Education Leaders: College Access Programs Are Launchpad for Region’s Economic Prosperity


December 2: Gov. Snyder’s China Trade Mission Bolsters Businesses, Jobs in Michigan; Outlook Survey Gauges Economic Health of Detroit Region

Gov. Snyder’s China Trade Mission Bolsters Businesses, Jobs in Michigan

Capitalizing on the growing interest of Chinese firms to invest in Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber participated in a weeklong trade mission to China with Gov. Rick Snyder in November to promote economic development opportunities in the region.

The Governor met with top executives from numerous Chinese companies in one-on-one business receptions and roundtable discussions, along with government officials in Beijing, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou to address Michigan’s economic recovery and Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy. The Governor also signed a memorandum of understanding between the Michigan Automotive Office and Chinese Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Automotive Committee. The agreement provides for a U.S.-China automotive forum both at the North American International Auto Show and the Shanghai/Beijing Auto Show.

The trip included several contract signings between Chinese and Michigan companies, including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. The company’s STEC USA subsidiary will locate a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Madison Heights, investing more than $100 million and creating more than 1,000 jobs in the state. These contracts will increase export opportunities from Michigan to China.

As part of the trip, Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development for the Chamber, helped facilitate meetings with the Governor, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and several key Chinese prospects to ensure that the Detroit region is front and center for future investment.

Outlook Survey Gauges Economic Health of Detroit Region

With a new year approaching, the Detroit Regional Chamber is seeking members’ input in the 2015 Michigan Economic Outlook Health Check survey. This online survey gathers employees’ perspectives on the economic outlook for their organization, community, region and state. Data collected from the survey will provide valuable feedback for future discussions focused on creating a healthy economic environment conducive to growing businesses in Michigan.

The economic health check is simple and easy to complete in five minutes or less. The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday, Dec. 11. Click here to access the survey.

Learn Secrets of Fortune 50 Companies to Boost Health Care Engagement Among Employees

Join the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) at Forward Thinking: Driving Health Care Value through Employee Engagement, an intimate workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the AIAG headquarters in Southfield.

Speakers include Laurie Cosgrove, manager of health and welfare benefits at Robert Bosch LLC, who will share strategies and tactics that drive health engagement among Bosch’s almost 25,000 North American employees. Also, attendees will hear from associates from ROC Group, whose client list includes McDonald’s, Kraft Foods Group, and PepsiAmericas Inc., on how to communicate health benefits with employees and their families. The workshop provides tools and resources to drive greater employee engagement and satisfaction from a company’s current benefits portfolio.

Click here to apply to be selected for a free registration valued at $250 per person. Space is limited, and only two people per company are allowed to attend. Applications must be submitted no later than Dec.19. Winners will be notified by Jan. 9, 2015.

November 18: Advocacy Team Active in Solution to Fix Michigan Roads; Ford Motor Co. Vice President to Highlight Michigan Supply Base at MICHauto Annual Meeting

Advocacy Team Active in Solution to Fix Michigan Roads

The Detroit Regional Chamber applauds the Michigan Senate for taking a critical step to address Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure. The Senate voted 24-13 last week to modify how gas taxes are calculated in order to raise at least $1 billion to fix state roads and make strategic infrastructure investments. Leveraging its bipartisan reputation, the Chamber’s advocacy team worked closely with key legislators to push for the bill’s passage, a top legislative priority for the organization.

Improving roads and other transportation infrastructure is paramount to the economic vitality of the region and state. The legislation passed by the Senate provides a comprehensive, sustainable solution to a problem that would otherwise continue to cost businesses and residents much more in the long run. The Chamber calls on the Michigan House to approve the Senate’s bill to send to Gov. Rick Snyder prior to the end of the legislative session in December.

Ford Motor Co. Vice President to Highlight Michigan Supply Base at MICHauto Annual Meeting, Jan. 8

The future of Ford Motor Co.’s automotive supply base in Michigan will take center stage at MICHauto’s Annual Meeting and Reception on Thursday, Jan. 8 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of global purchasing at Ford, will deliver the keynote address, focusing on the need to further develop the local supply base, and share his insight on Ford’s efforts to assist suppliers in their expansion overseas – to supply the company globally. Attendees will also receive a brief update on MICHauto’s activities over the past 12 months. The event is sponsored by PwC.

A complete event agenda will be released at a later date. For more information, contact Rob Luce, MICHauto director, at 313.596.0383.

Chamber Traveling to China with Gov. Snyder on Trade Mission

As part of its effort to support and grow the business community in Southeast Michigan, business attraction representatives from the Detroit Regional Chamber are traveling overseas to China on their fourth trade mission with Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The weeklong trip, held the week of Nov. 19-26, will include matchmaking meetings between Chinese delegates in Beijing and Shanghai and business representatives from nine Michigan companies.

The Chamber’s role will be to meet with manufacturing firms looking to grow their business in the United States, as well as facilitate dialogue with Michigan companies wanting to increase their exports to China. Foreign direct investment in the United States from China continues to excel, with Michigan as one of the top 10 states for direct investment.

Revamped, Mobile-Optimized Website Offers Chamber Information on the Go

The Detroit Regional Chamber recently optimized its website for mobile and tablet platforms to accommodate the increasing number of mobile website visitors. The site is now “responsive,” which means the site recognizes the size of the viewer’s browser and adjusts its size appropriately.

Responsive sites can be viewed on nearly all mobile devices and tablets including the new iPhone 6, iPad, Windows phone and Android devices. It also will adjust to any desktop browser size.

While web visitors may not notice many changes on a desktop or laptop computer, the mobile and tablet versions now display webpages that are easier to read and navigate. Visit on your phone or tablet device to view the updates.

Tony Michaels Gives Insiders a Glimpse of Leadership at The Parade Company

Last week, Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Company, offered business leaders and community members an inside look at what makes the company tick during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind series. Michaels told a packed audience of more than 60 attendees that consistency, honesty and a willingness to listen to others has been his guiding principles both as the former CEO of Big Boy Restaurants and since taking over the reins of one of Detroit’s most successful companies five years ago.

Under his leadership, The Parade Company’s signature event remains one of the highest rated national programs on Thanksgiving Day, and the company boosted its revenue from $3.6 million in 2009 to $7.6 million in 2013. Michaels says the company is “not the little engine that could, but the big engine that does” and that all it needed was “a little love, brand focus and absolute freedom for the staff to encourage innovative ideas.”

The 2014 America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van is themed “Walking on Sunshine” and will focus on Detroit’s comeback. Michaels said he hopes anyone watching the parade will see that Detroit continues to be a great place to live, work and play.

November 11: Bankruptcy Decision Paves Way for New Era in Detroit; Kevin Kerrigan to Lead State’s Automotive Office

Bankruptcy Decision Paves Way for New Era in Detroit

The Detroit Regional Chamber applauds Judge Steven Rhodes for approving Detroit’s bankruptcy plan last week, paving the way for a new era for the city and region. Exiting bankruptcy so effectively has wiped out decades of poor financial decisions and created a historic opportunity to move the city forward.

The Chamber acknowledges the bold leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr for taking the necessary and difficult steps to address Detroit’s financial and structural problems. Most notable was the approval of the Grand Bargain to better protect pensioners and the Detroit Institute of Arts collection.

The Chamber also congratulates Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council for their resilient governance during the first year of bankruptcy. While the city’s bankruptcy balanced the books, it’s not the end goal. Building on the progress already made under Mayor Duggan, and maintaining discipline with city finances and operations over the long-term is critical to building off this historic effort.

Chamber Frames Positive Message for Detroit Post-Bankruptcy

As it did at the start of bankruptcy, the Detroit Regional Chamber continues to share the positive message of Detroit’s resurgence for a national audience following last week’s ruling by Judge Steven Rhodes.

Leading up to and immediately after Rhodes’ decision, Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah interviewed with numerous state and national media outlets, including WXYZ Channel 7, WDIV Channel 4’s Flashpoint, Reuters and the Los Angeles Times — sending a clear message that Detroit is poised to emerge a stronger, more resilient city. The appearances underscore the need for Detroit residents to be “loud and proud” of their city, a goal echoed by Gov. Rick Snyder during the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference and a Conference To-Do List item.

In addition to shaping Detroit’s story for a national audience, the Chamber is co-leading the Detroit Brand Alliance, a coalition of businesses and thought-leaders, to develop a unified messaging brand that creates a positive economic impact on the city. Baruah is co-chairing the Alliance with Tom Lewand, group executive for jobs and economic growth for the city of Detroit.

Kevin Kerrigan to Lead State’s Automotive Office

The Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates Kevin T. Kerrigan on his appointment as senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Kerrigan will to lead the state’s automotive office and replace Nigel Francis, who will be returning to the private sector.

Continuing to build Michigan’s automotive assets, including focusing on ensuring the state and region retain the mantle as the epicenter of next generation advanced mobility and the connected vehicle, is a key goal the Chamber’s MICHauto program shares with the Governor. While much has been accomplished under the Governor’s administration, much remains to be done. The Chamber thanks Francis for his leadership and looks forward to working with Kerrigan to continue building upon the state’s comprehensive automotive economic strategy.

Chamber Helps Bring American Flags Back to Hart Plaza

More than 15 American flags now line Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit just in time for Veterans Day thanks in part to the efforts of the Detroit Regional Chamber. The flags were unveiled during a ceremony on Saturday that capped a year-long campaign launched by Revolution Flag Group.

After efforts to raise the required $60,000 to restore and maintain the flags and poles were mired, the company reached out to Chamber employees, who advised the company on setting up a charitable foundation and helped facilitate dialogue with the Rivertown Detroit Association. Through that connection, Revolutionary Flag Group secured underwriter funding for the project through the UAW-Ford National Programs Center, and JJ Curran Crane Company provided a cherry picker and crane to erect the flags.

Local Businesses Encouraged to Hire Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, the Detroit Regional Chamber is renewing its call to members to take an active role in providing employment opportunities to the dedicated men and women who have served in the military.

The Chamber continues to be a steadfast advocate in raising awareness of the importance and the value of hiring Michigan veterans, providing resources for area companies through its numerous partnerships. In 2013, the Chamber partnered with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to host the Governor’s Summit on Veterans Talent, making the case for employers to implement veteran-hiring programs. These efforts were further expanded upon during a veteran talent showcase at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, giving veterans an influential stage to market their qualifications to top companies across the state.

Visit the Chamber’s resource page for hiring veterans and view this video created by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs that promotes the impact veteran talent has on the state’s economy.

SEMCOG Invites Public to Comment on Transportation Improvement Program

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is soliciting public comments for an amendment to its 2014-2017 fiscal year Transportation Improvement Program.

As part of the amendment, 23 projects proposed for funding are either being added or have a major change in scope. New projects include 12 that preserve pavement, four transit improvements, three that will manage freeway lighting, two bridge projects, one guardrail project, and one project designed to improve traffic operations. An additional 16 projects are being deleted, including a delay of the M-153 reconstruction in Canton Township and several Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) projects due to priority shifting.

The amendment requires all proposed projects undergo a public comment period. Written comments can be mailed to SEMCOG Information Center, 1001 Woodward Ave., Suite 1400, Detroit, MI 48226. Comments can also be made in person at the Transportation Coordinating Council meeting on Dec. 3 at 9:30 a.m., or the SEMCOG Executive Committee meeting on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Governor Snyder Opens 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference

“Credit doesn’t matter. Solving the problem is what matters,” said Governor Rick Snyder as he kicked off the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference this afternoon. Gov. Snyder took the stage to address Michigan’s path forward in relation to the Conference pillars of education, cultural change and the 21st century global market following an introduction by Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah and 2013 Conference Chair and the Chairman, President and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp., Joseph Welch.

Snyder opened the Conference discussion by focusing on his strategy to follow through on each of the Conference pillars and their impact on all Michiganders, beginning with Michigan’s role in the 21st century global market. He stressed the fact that Michigan should take a step back, look at what made it great and focus on the importance of engaging in business outside of state borders and globally. He also pointed to innovative ideas as a crucial global commodity.

In looking at education and its role in Michigan’s future, Gov. Snyder pointed to the advantage of having speakers like Gov. Jeb Bush participating in the Conference. He stressed his focus on lifelong and early childhood education as well as the need to move away from the silos of education levels. And to close his remarks, Gov. Snyder discussed cultural change as one of the toughest issues he faced when running for office. He said Michigan has become too divisive and focused on the old ways of doing business. He reiterated his mantra of relentless positive action by pointing out the need for a positive, forward-looking and inclusive cultural environment.

“Let’s have a great discussion, but then let’s spread the word,” said Gov. Snyder. “It’s about all of us being ambassadors to succeed.”

He is also scheduled to give a keynote address to attendees on Friday at 11 a.m.