U.S. Army Secretary Mark Espers Gets Up-Close Look at Michigan’s Defense Industry During Tour

Last week, in her first official duty as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Tammy Carnrike, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s chief operating officer, greeted U.S. Secretary of the Army Mark Esper and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters for their visit of the Detroit Arsenal in Macomb County, including the Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM).

As escorting officer, Carnrike greeted both men at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and accompanied Esper and Peters through a series of meetings as well as demonstrations of mission-enabling technologies being developed in Michigan. In addition to TACOM and TARDEC, they also visited the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems during their visit of the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

“I am very proud that Secretary Esper was able to visit TACOM and TARDEC for the first time to see the incredible innovation and technology being developed here due to collaboration between the private sector, transforming automotive industry, and the U.S. Army,” Carnrike said. “It was also very impactful to show Secretary Esper and Senator Peters the great work that is being done by the thousands of military and civilian employees stationed in the Detroit Arsenal who work to support our soldiers in sustainable readiness and protect the nation.”

Esper and Peters reiterated the importance of integrating the use of autonomous vehicle technology for future wars, protection of soldier, and deterring threats.

During a recent interview at the Pentagon, Esper discussed the need for next-generation combat vehicles and plans to accelerate the deployment timeline for military use. Peters serve on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee. He noted that Southeast Michigan’s strong automotive, manufacturing and technology roots will better prepare the country’s military for conflicts that are dramatically different from years past.

Esper and Peters also toured the  Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems during their visit of the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Learn more about the visit as well as collaborative work between the U.S. Army and the automotive industry here.

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

Paul Rogers

U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center

Paul Rogers is director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), where he is responsible for providing executive management to deliver advanced technology solutions for all U.S. Department of Defense ground systems and combat support equipment. Rogers manages a workforce of more than 1,700 engineers, scientists, researchers and support staff and sets strategic direction for a full range of investments that affect more than 270 Army systems.

Rogers previously served as deputy program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, where he managed the development, systems integration, acquisition, testing, fielding, sustainment and improvement of ground combat systems in accordance with the Army’s transformation campaign plan. He is a member of the Michigan National Guard and served in Iraq as the battalion commander for the 507th Engineer Battalion.