Michigan’s Big Show – Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber

Michigan’s Big Show

Michael Patrick Shields 

May 31, 2019

Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber sat down with Michael Patrick Shields on Michigan’s Big Show.

What Are Some Solutions to Our Student Debt Crisis?

May 6, 2019

WDET – Detroit Today 


How do we deal with the $1.5 trillion Americans owe for their educations?

On Detroit Today, Stephen Henderson speaks with three people who think quite a bit about these questions.

Adam Harris is a staff writer at The Atlantic covering education. He has been covering Sen. Warren’s student debt forgiveness proposal.

Neal P. McCluskey is the director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute. He talks about why he thinks Sen. Warren’s plan is misguided.

Sandy Baruah is president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, which is leading a debt forgiveness program for students who return to school. Three local institutions of higher education are participating: Wayne State University, Oakland University, and Henry Ford College.

Listen to the conversation here

Dingell not only ‘witness to history … but a maker of it’

February 7, 2019

The Detroit News

By: Mark Hicks and Melissa Nann Burke

Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr.’s death Thursday prompted an outpouring of praise from across Michigan and across the political aisles, as leaders from all walks of life agreed he was “not merely a witness to history … but a maker of it.”

From former presidents to titans of industry to those who knew him as a champion for his state, many said Dingell fought politically to find common ground, was deeply rooted in public service and focused on improving lives for generations.


Dingell “paved the way for the kind of statesman-like leadership we long for today, embodying civility and an effortless way of working across the aisle,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, which has made the restoration of political civility a major priority.

“John was a champion for Michigan and always placed the interests of people above party. This loss will not only be felt across the state, but the nation as well.”

View the full article here

Paul W. Smith’s Automotive Reporter Roundtable – January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019

The Paul W. Smith Show

WJR 760 AM Radio

“Paul W. Smith’s Automotive Reporter Roundtable” – Daniel Howes, Detroit News Columnist, Paul Eisenstein, Chief of TheDetroitBureau.com and Jamie Butters, Automotive News Chief Content Officer talk to Paul W. Smith about this year show

Is it Time Detroit Stop Being the ‘Motor City’?

January 22, 2019


By: Laura Herberg

According to U.S. Census Bureau data compiled by Data Driven Detroit and analyzed by WDET, overall auto-related manufacturing in Metro Detroit decreased by about 38 percent between 2001-2017. This number takes into account manufacturing jobs for whole motor vehicles, frames, bodies, trailers and parts using North American Industry Classification System codes 3361, 3362 and 3363. Manufacturing jobs for people working on whole vehicles and base frames alone decreased by about 58 percent (see blue line on the graph). Parts manufacturing jobs alone decreased by 27 percent (see red line)

View the graph here.

During the same time period, jobs for the entire industry — not just manufacturing but also wholesale parts sellers; parts, accessories and tire stores; dealers; automotive equipment rental and leasing; and vehicle repair and maintenance — decreased by 29 percent. However, the yellow line on the graph shows it hasn’t been a steady decline. The numbers bottomed out around 2009, plateaud until about 2011, and have been rising since then, though they still fall short of what they were in 2001.

TABLE: Average Number of Automotive-Related Jobs in the Detroit Metro Area by NAICS.


Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOGestimates that the region was responsible for about 17 percent of motor vehicle manufacturing jobs in the United States in 2000. In 2015, SEMCOG estimates the region held a smaller share, with about 13 percent of all motor vehicle manufacturing jobs in the country.

The industry is shifting, however, away from gas-powered motors to “mobility,” a catch-all term for technology innovations in transportation.

Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah says, “If you look at the automotive industry today, it’s essentially a $3 trillion industry globally. We estimate, and people smarter than us estimate, that tomorrow’s mobility industry is going to be worth about $10 trillion.”

As for the current impact of mobililty on the Detroit region? Baruah says the Chamber is conducting research on that. “We’re going to quantify that number in a substantive way later on this year,” he says.

Listen to the full report here

June auto show forecast: Slow Jan., busy summer

January 7, 2019

The Detroit News

By: Breana Noble


Business is slow at the Caucus Club in the week following New Year’s Day.

Last year, it was one of the historic restaurant’s worst. A week later, the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center helped the restaurant beat its previous best week by 30 percent.

“When the press comes to town, it’s a complete reversal,” said George Sboukis, who in 2017 reopened the club on Congress Street a couple of blocks from Cobo. “It couldn’t be more extreme. It was gigantic. It kind of carries the month of January.”

Not for long. Facing declining participation by carmakers — only one European brand, Volkswagen, will be present this year — the Detroit auto show will end a 30-year January tradition. It will skip January 2020 and move to June with a more consumer-focused show. While it still will be based at Cobo, events and exhibits will spill into Hart Plaza, Campus Martius and other locations.

With the change in dates, some local businesses expect a far slower winter, and a busy summer season that will be even more hectic.

A block from Cobo on West Larned, the District Bar and Grill typically sees business increase at least 70 percent during the auto show, said Kelly Pendleton, the restaurant’s manager.

But already, it’s expecting less. In previous years, the restaurant catered events for Mercedes-Benz, which pulled out of the Detroit show.

Pendleton is looking forward to a June event. “I think that there will be more activity during than in the cold winter months,” she said. “The patio would get a lot more action.”

Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, sees the change as an opportunity to show off the city and its resurgence.

“More people will be engaged with hands-on demonstrations, rides and drives and autonomous testing in a real-world environment,” he said. “The opportunities are so much more robust with a show that includes outdoor events.”

New opportunities

Claude Molinari, Cobo general manager, said it has been fortunate that the center’s most profitable show took place in January, a month that is historically slow in the convention and trade show industry. The Detroit auto show represents more than 40 percent of Cobo’s annual revenue.

“The North American International Auto Show’s move to June certainly complicates the event schedule at Cobo Center,” he said in an emailed statement to The Detroit News. “…We are working very hard to manage our event calendar for April and May, which were already busy, and will now be ‘jam-packed.'”

Several major associations, Molinari said, had been negotiating for June in future years, though that is no longer an option. Two shows, however, have been scheduled to different months.

Over the past several years, Cobo was a part of city-wide conventions in June for the Service Employees International Union and the National Letter Carriers Union. Chinese retail e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Limited was in town in 2017.

The availability in January does open new opportunities: At least one longtime tenant is relocating to January 2020, and the authority booked another consumer show that could become an annual event, Molinari said. The group is speaking with another major convention that has never considered Detroit before because of the auto show.

Michael O’Callaghan, chief operating officer of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Center, said the organization is working aggressively to offer January dates. The move also frees up space in December when automakers traditionally have set up stands.

“There are meetings and conventions that in some cases are specific to technology and manufacturing that Detroit could be very attractive to,” O’Callaghan said. “We’re sending a great deal of our efforts in that direction. Fraternal and education meetings provide opportunity, as well.”

The new June dates will bring more people downtown during an already busy season, O’Callaghan said. Hotel occupancy during that month is in the mid-70 percent range.

“They’ll look forward to additional hotel occupancy in the month of June,” he said. “The opportunity for us to market Michigan and Detroit in one of the best times of the year really is favorable.”

O’Callaghan said smaller stands and outdoor options will be less expensive for carmakers. And that could be attractive to some who’ve quit the show.

“The fact that the expense to the auto company to build out a display will go down,” he said, “and there will be a lot of things with outdoor venues, it makes it a lot more attractive to the European auto companies.”

Looking to June

Some businesses have high expectations for a June show.

Herasanna Richards, director of the Detroit Restaurant & Lodging Association, said a June auto show would provide more opportunities for local businesses to offer creative menu styles, different seating setups and auto show pop-up stores.

“The better weather will allow people to be able to get out and go exploring, and that will trickle down to restaurants and businesses,” she said. “That’s a huge opportunity.”

Dennis Archer Jr., son of the former Detroit mayor, owns Central Kitchen + Bar at Campus Martius. Archer has hosted the annual Detroit Glamour party with BMW following the auto show’s Charity Preview gala. With the German carmaker a no-show this year, Archer has teamed with the LaFontaine family car dealerships to hold the event.

Business does slow around Jan. 2 at Central Kitchen + Bar, he said, and the auto show provided steady business. But the Motown Winter Blast and other activities in the park have boosted business up to 30 percent.

Archer said the move to June won’t bring a significant uptick, because many summer nights, especially Fridays and Saturdays, Central Kitchen already is at capacity.

“At the end of the day,” Archer said, “a healthy vibrant downtown Detroit is better for everybody.”

One restaurant already is planning for June 2020: AKtakeaway on West Jefferson plans to pull employees from its Anita’s Kitchen locations in Metro Detroit to meet the expected higher demand.

The Caucus Club has some concerns about the move to summer because it features a heavier menu and doesn’t have outdoor seating. But owner Sboukis hopes the move is successful.

“We hope the move means growth and more participation from the industry and not less, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it from our perspective,” he said. “A high-profile show like that with international attention is a natural magnet for the downtown area to just strive. We hope it’s a smart move.”

View the original article here

A Message From Sandy Baruah, President and CEO

As 2018 comes to an end, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah reflects on the Chamber’s priorities over the past year while looking forward to 2019.

Thank you to all of our members, investors, Board members, government leaders and stakeholders that made this year prosperous for the Detroit region.

Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah appointed to Federal Reserve board in Detroit

Crain’s Detroit Business

Kurt Nagl

September 27, 2017

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has appointed Detroit Regional Chamber CEO and President Sandy Baruah to its Detroit branch board of directors.

Baruah’s term, effective immediately, expires Dec. 31 and will be followed by an additional three-year term through 2020, according to a news release from the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Baruah, 51, replaces Fernando Ruiz, retired vice president and treasurer of Dow Chemical Co., who vacated his position on the board, Fed spokesman Dan Wassmann said via email.

In his new role, Baruah will be tasked with helping form national monetary policy and acting as a link between the Federal Reserve and the private sector, the release said. He will receive compensation for his service on the board.

“(Baruah) works extensively with Detroit business leaders and has keen insights regarding the economic pulse of the region,” Bob Wiley, manager of the Detroit branch, said in a written statement. “His views will help the board of directors provide (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) President Charlie Evans with a comprehensive view of economic conditions in Southeast Michigan.”

View the original article here.