Mobility Week to show off Detroit innovation

October 7, 2018
Crain’s Detroit
By: Dustin Walsh

Detroit’s vision of trading in its moniker of the Motor City for the Mobility City is buoyed by several coordinated events through this week.

Mobility Week Detroit was set to kick off Sunday at Motor City Casino with the 8th World Research Congress on vision and driving, focusing on the impact of autonomous vehicles on health care and wellness. The event, which runs through Wednesday and is sponsored by Henry Ford Health System, will examine how physicians and scientists can aid in automotive design, how mobility influences medicine and more.

The week continues on Monday with a panel at the Detroit Regional Chamber on the rise of mobility as a service, featuring Elliot Darvick, general manager of the Michigan and Ohio market for Lyft; Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city of Detroit; and Lisa Nuszkowski, founder and executive director of Detroit’s bike share MoGo.

The four-day CSforAll Summit, a national computer science education symposium, kicks off Monday at Wayne State University. Tuesday at the Detroit Film Theater will be Techstars Mobiliy Accelerator Demo Day, which is the largest single-day startup event in the state.

The 2018 MichAuto Summit, held Wednesday at The Beacon event space at One Woodward Avenue, is a daylong program featuring speakers from Ford Motor Co., Lyft, Inteva Products, Toyota North America and more.

The highlight of the week will be the two-day Detroit Moves Festival held in Spirit Plaza Oct. 10-11.

The free event, presented by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, will feature demonstrations by General Motors Co.’s Maven, Ford’s Chariot, May Mobility, MoGo, Airspace Experience Technologies and America’s Automotive Trust, and more.

“This isn’t just an industry show,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MichAuto and an organizer of the events. “We need to connect the public, consumers and industry together with these technologies.”

Crain’s Detroit Business is a sponsor of the event, and the Detroit Regional Chamber is helping produce it. Organizers expect around 1,000 people to attend the Detroit Moves event over the two days. Hundreds more are expected to attend the other events throughout the week.

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Destination Detroit Collaborating on Major Business Attraction Effort for Amazon’s HQ2

The Detroit Regional Chamber is a key part of a broad and inclusive leadership group working under the chairmanship of Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert to prepare a world-class proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters has sent economic developers across North America into overdrive vying for this coveted project.

The Chamber will bring its expertise in economic development, business attraction, regional transit, talent and next-generation mobility as well as research capabilities to the coalition.

The coalition is off to a fast and strong start. Detroit has significant assets to be very competitive in this project and a first-rate team assembled. Read some of the regional coverage here.

In Search of Innovators: Bold Entrepreneurs, Better Education Critical to Keep U.S. Economy from Sinking, Says Walter Isaacson

By Tom Walsh

Page 36

Detroit was a major example of the decimation of industrial jobs in America and unless the country reverses a scary decline in its education system, the economy is destined to sink, says best-selling author and renowned journalist Walter Isaacson.

Isaacson, former chairman and CEO of CNN and former editor of Time magazine, and biographer of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger, is not so much a prophet of doom and gloom as he is a crusader for innovation to succeed in a fast-changing world.

In an interview with the Detroiter, Isaacson, a keynote speaker at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, discussed the economic rise and fall of Detroit, the recent signs of revival, and the importance of education to the future success of the United States overall and Michigan in particular.

“We used to have the best education system in the world, so we had the best economy,” Isaacson said of America. “Now our education system ranks about 20th in the world.”

Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s group of corporate CEOs and university presidents, has sounded that same alarm in recent years. At its 2015 CEO Summit, BLM reported that Michigan ranked 31st among the 50 states in educational attainment. As a result, despite an uptick in the state’s economy since the 2009 economic recession, Michigan ranks 36th in per capita income — $11,000 below the national average.

“The auto industry went into decline, and the cost of building cars in Detroit was higher than shifting those jobs elsewhere,” said Isaacson, reflecting on the industrial heartland’s ups and downs. “These trends gutted the city’s middle class. At the same time, the growth of the suburbs and of crime caused people to move out of the city. Detroit is now one of the cities reversing this trend. It has begun luring people back to town, and it is revitalizing and restoring its urban core.”

Isaacson cited a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem as a critical force in the city’s reversal.

“I think we all have been deeply impressed by the efforts, led by (Quicken Loans founder and chairman) Dan Gilbert and others, to restore the downtown area,” he said. “I think the key is attracting entrepreneurs and small business owners. In addition, the center of Detroit has refurbished many of its historic buildings, and it can build on being a cultural destination.

“Entrepreneurs have always taken risks and challenged conventional wisdom, said Isaacson, whose most recent best-seller, “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” profiles tech giants who disrupted their industry. Profiles include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited for inventing the internet.

“It is useful to be tolerant of diverse ideas and approaches,” Isaacson said. “That is what cities like Detroit have to offer.”

And what role should government play in economic renewal?

“The important thing that America needs — and Detroit in particular needs — is a major effort to rebuild infrastructure. That is the most important role that the public sector can play,” Isaacson said.

A key component is a bold overhaul of the nation’s approach to education.

“When we moved from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, we in America made high school free and universal,” Isaacson said. “Now we are moving into an age that is more dependent on information and entrepreneurship, so we need to do something equally bold. We need to create an educational system that is pre-K to 14. By that, I mean that every kid deserves quality pre-K education, so that he or she can get a decent opportunity to succeed. And education should be free and universal through at least two years of college, trade school, or career and technical education.”

“Education used to be an equalizer of opportunity. Now it perpetuates disparities of opportunities,” Isaacson added. “That must change as well.”

Tom Walsh is a former columnist for the Detroit Free Press

Regional Businesses Connect Young Men of Color with Jobs, Pathways to Success

By Daniel Lai

In a visible sign of Detroit’s ongoing economic resurgence, more than 40 national and regional employers descended on Cobo Center on Monday to fill 300 full-time and 100 seasonal positions. The Pathways to Success summit, hosted by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, connected employers with boys and young men of color.

The job fair drew more than 1,500 young people, who met and interviewed with companies like the Detroit Police Department, Little Caesars, Meijer, Quicken Loans, Starbucks and Walgreens.

As part of its ongoing effort to grow the regional economy, the Detroit Regional Chamber served as a key partner for the Summit, helping to recruit Chamber member businesses to provide jobs and/or training opportunities.

“In Detroit, we’re facing an economic boom in the construction industry but also a trade labor shortage. For so many years, people have been told to go to college and it has taken away from the skilled trades industry overall. We need to replace those workers who are starting to age out,” said Dannis Mitchell, diversity manager at Barton Malow Coimg_9670

“Events like this Summit are a great way to meet these younger individuals and educate them on the steps needed toward a job or apprenticeship,” Mitchell added. “This is a tremendous experience for not only the youth but for the employers who are looking to tap into a new talent pipeline. We want to be a change agent in the community.”

In addition to on-the-spot interviews, the Summit provided free resume building workshops, mock interviews, coaching, haircuts from local barbershops, and sports coats and ties donated by Macy’s.

For more information on My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, visit

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

By Daniel Lai 

“Innovation is a key ingredient for leaders to scale their business and sustain growth,” Jeff DeGraff, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, said during his keynote address at the annual Middle Market CEO Summit.

“If you seek growth, innovation isn’t your best friend … it’s your only friend,” DeGraff said.

Drawing on examples from his past clients, such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, the self-professed “dean of innovation,” said successful leaders are ones who understand the importance of:

  • Finding, developing and connecting the best people
  • Establishing a sustainable high-performing culture
  • Engaging a wide array of expertise and capability
  • Creating a collaborative learning environment

In order to accomplish those goals, oftentimes leaders must adopt a “prismatic” way of thinking, DeGraff said. The prismatic model divides innovation into four areas: collaborate, create, control and compete. Watch DeGraff’s presentation on prismatic thinking and how it can spark innovation.

Following the keynote, panelists John Fikany of Quicken Loans, Wright Lassiter III of Henry Ford Health System, and Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) discussed how culture is driving innovation in their respective organizations.

“Two of the biggest issues in health care right now are preventable medical errors and the overall expense of care. Innovation is a way to solve both of these issues,” Lassiter said. “At Henry Ford we celebrate those who not only have the forethought for an idea, but also help to bring it to market.”

Pointing to the success of Henry Ford Health System’s patented Model G patient gown, Lassiter said innovation is often spawned by collaboration, adding that the hospital is currently working with a tech startup to redesign the traditional hospital bed.

Fikany said innovation is such a critical component of Quicken Loans’ success that the company gives employees a half-day weekly to follow their passion, which has led to the creation of numerous product ideas such as the high-speed internet service, Rocket Fiber, serving Detroit.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over

Quicken Loans Mortgage 101 Webinar

Quicken Loans and Detroit Regional Chamber are bringing you Mortage 101 Webinar for the month of March!

As part of the Quicken Loans Mortgage Insiders program, you will receive these special benefits:

  • To register for our free Quicken Loans Mortgage 101 Webinar on March 18 visit URL. Get the scoop on mortgage rates, the housing market, the latest mortgage products and how to qualify for a loan.
  • $500 cash back after closing* on your home refinance or purchase
  • $500 off your closing costs* now through March 31
  • Extend this discount to your family and friends!

Quicken Loans Mortgage Insiders Program March Discount

Quicken Loans and Detroit Regional Chamber are bringing you more amazing Mortgage deals for the month of March!

This exclusive partnership allows Detroit Regional Chamber Employees and Members to receive access to our exclusive VIP team, new mortgage products, and $1,000 in savings!* Whether you are looking to refinance your current home, purchase a new home, or interested in a free Mortgage Checkup, we’ve got you covered! And since Quicken Loans has been rated “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination” by JD Power* for 5 years in a row, you are in good hands!

As part of the Quicken Loans Mortgage Insiders program, you will receive these special benefits:

  • $500 cash back after closing* on your home refinance or purchase
  • $500 off your closing costs* now through March 31
  • Extend this discount to your family and friends!

To take advantage of this special offer, you must contact your dedicated Mortgage Insiders team at (800) 769-8344 or click here.

*Offers Valid on new applications only. *See website for details.

Harvard Business School Club of Michigan Selects Dan Gilbert at Business Leader of the Year

Proceeds from the October 10 dinner event will support Michigan’s leading non-profit executives

Bloomfield Hills, MI —September 13, 2013 — The Harvard Business School Club of Michigan announces that Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Detroit-based Quicken Loans, Inc., has been selected as the Club’s annual Business Leader of the Year. A dinner to honor Mr. Gilbert will take place on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Qzine at the Chase Building in Detroit. The announcement was made by Harvard Business School Club of Michigan board chair, Richard Shapack.

“The Harvard Business School Club of Michigan supports the Harvard Business School mission to train business leaders to make a difference in their communities. Dan Gilbert is the standout recipient for this year’s award. His business success is internationally recognized as is his unwavering commitment to support Detroit in its comeback efforts,” said Shapack. “Mr. Gilbert is harnessing the energy and potential of Detroit and the region, particularly among young adults, and reflects the benefits of private/public partnerships and the good that can be accomplished in business and the community when outstanding leaders are in charge.”

The honorary chair of the Business Leader of the Year event is Matt Cullen, president & CEO of Rock Ventures, LLC. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund scholarships for Michigan non-profit leaders to attend the 2014 Strategic Perspectives for Non-Profit Management (SPNM) program, an intensive six-day course presented each July at the Harvard Business School in Boston. SPNM scholarships are offered through a nomination/application process for candidates who exemplify dedication, commitment and pursuit of excellence within the non-profit sector. The 2013 recipients of the SPNM scholarship were Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of the Detroit Parent Network; Cheryl Johnson, CEO of the Coalition on Temporary Shelter; Perry Ohren, CEO of Jewish Family Services of Metropolitan Detroit; and Alice Thompson, CEO of Black Family Development, Inc. Including the 2013 class, 35 Michigan non-profit leaders have participated in SPNM since scholarships were first presented by the Club in 1999.

“Members of the Harvard Business School Club of Michigan have a passion for helping those in our community and so do Sharlonda Buckman, Cheryl Johnson, Perry Ohren and Alice Thompson,” said Shapack.

“Our Club is proud of these exceptional, dedicated individuals and our opportunity to support their efforts with this important training. The Strategic Perspectives for Non-Profit Management program provides significant opportunities for these outstanding and committed non-profit community leaders to join with their national and international peers and further expand their skills for the benefit of the thousands of Michigan citizens they collectively serve.”

In addition to SPNM participation, scholarship recipients meet together, and with Harvard Business School Club of Michigan members, on a regular basis to collaborate, to be a resource for each other and to continue their exposure to various management and social enterprise concepts, such as performance measurement and the balanced scorecard. SPNM alumni and Harvard Business School Club of Michigan members also serve together as liaisons with the State of Michigan to collaborate in the application of private sector and non-profit management solutions to state agency issues.

For a complete list of all scholarship awardees, please visit

Harvard Business School Club of Michigan Business Leader of the Year

What: Harvard Business School Club of Michigan’s annual Business Leader of the Year event honoring Dan Gilbert; strolling dinner with Michigan-themed food, beer and wine

When: Thursday, October 10 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Qzine at the Chase Building – 611 Woodward Avenue, 8th floor, Detroit

Registration: Tickets begin at $125 and can be purchased online at; for questions, please contact Amanda Schubeck at or 248.930.4614
Sponsorship opportunities, including Crimson sponsorships, for the Business Leader of the Year event are available and inquiries should be directed to Doug Allen at or 734.213.5318.

About the Harvard Business School Club of Michigan (HBSMI)
With a 70+ year history, the Harvard Business School Club of Michigan (HBSMI) offers diverse business, educational and social activities, including opportunities to network and collaborate with local and national business and civic leaders. Learn more at

Gilbert seeks ideas for developing Hudson’s site in Detroit

From the Detroit Free Press

February 28, 2013

By JC Reindl, 

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert is planning an international design competition to solicit ideas for redeveloping the site of the former Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit.

Matt Cullen, president of Rock Ventures, the real estate arm of Gilbert’s business interests, revealed the plan this morning during a presentation on current and future “Live, Work, and Play” vision for the city at the Detroit Policy Conference in the MotorCity Casino-Hotel.

More details will come in several weeks when the contest is formally announced, Cullen said.

A new building with ground floor retail and residential units on higher floors is one possibility, Cullen said, noting the nearly 100% occupancy rate for recent residential developments in downtown.

The 25-story Hudson’s building at 1206 Woodward took up an entire city block and was once the second-largest department store in the world. “It is an iconic site,” Cullen said.

The store closed in 1983 and, on Oct. 24, 1998, the building was explosively imploded before a gathering of about 50,000 spectators.

There is currently a parking structure underneath the site. The property is controlled by the city of Detroit, and Gilbert’s Rock Ventures received a time extension on Wednesday from the state’s Michigan Strategic Fund to come up with development plans for a renaissance zone there with multiple tax breaks.

Gilbert is willing to spend up to $75 million.

“We’re reaching the point where new construction will make a lot of sense for residential because there is such demand,” Cullen said.

Cullen also said that Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures expects to hire 2,000 workers during the next 12 to 18 months and hopes to bring 1,000 young interns to Detroit this summer.

Urban theorist Richard Florida, author of the influential “Rise of the Creative Class,” gave a conference presentation on the economic benefits to harnessing the potential of the many knowledge workers living in the metro Detroit.