Brian O’Connell

Director, State Government Relations, General Motors Public Policy Center

Brian O'ConnellBrian D. O’Connell was appointed regional director, state government relations, for the General Motors Public Policy Center on January 1, 2010.  He is based in Lansing, Mich.

A native Michigander, O’Connell is a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and began a 13-year career of public service in state government in 1993.  He served as chief of staff to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as legislative director for a legislator in the Michigan House of Representatives.

In 2006, he joined Wyeth Pharmaceuticals government relations staff managing state government relations activities in Michigan and Ohio. He also served as a member of their corporate affairs strategy and development priority team.

In 2010, he joined General Motor’s government relations staff and has managed state government relations activities for GM in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. He also handled local government relations for GM in 22 states across the country.

MICHauto Hosts Middle School Students for Tour of Nissan Tech Center

Earlier this month, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program hosted students from Detroit’s University Prep Middle School for an interactive tour of the Nissan Technical Center North America in Farmington Hills. The students were treated to a morning of demonstrations on everything from computer aided design and engineering in vehicle safety and restraints to environmental and noise simulations.

One of MICHauto’s key pillars is to attract and retain automotive talent in Michigan, and this tour provided the participating students with tangible insight into how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies apply to engineering careers in the automotive industry. The tour took place immediately following the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, where several speakers and panelists discussed the importance of STEM education and the need to address the talent gap in Michigan.

Carla Bailo, Nissan’s senior vice president of research and development, and key members of her team have played a key role in beginning these tours. Bailo serves as the chairman of MICHauto’s Talent Attraction and Retention Committee. To find out how your business can participate in future tours, please contact MICHauto Program Manager Rob Luce at 313.596.0383.

Jeffrey Owens

Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, Delphi

Jeff OwensJeffrey J. Owens, 58, is the chief technology officer and executive vice president of Delphi Automotive, a $16B global automotive systems supplier. He is responsible for the enterprise information technology function and Delphi’s global engineering organization, which includes more than 18,000 technologists located in 15 major tech centers.  Owens leads the company’s innovation strategies while driving advanced technologies that support the global megatrends of safe, green and connected.

Owens has served in a variety of engineering, manufacturing, finance and product line assignments. He served as president of Delphi Asia Pacific from 2006-2009.  Most recently, Owens served as president of the Electronics & Safety division of Delphi Automotive, a role in which he established key growth product lines including active safety, power electronics for EV/HEV’s and consumer connectivity electronics.

Owens has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Kettering University, as well as a master’s degree in business from Ball State University. He also completed the Global Executive Program at Duke University.   Owens currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Kettering University and the Executive Committee of the Energy Systems Network.

Detroit Regional Chamber Helps Three International Firms Locate in Detroit Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team recently helped three international firms establish their first U.S. presence in the Detroit region. The Chamber expects to see these companies grow as they develop a customer base in the Detroit and North American markets. These companies include:


  • AMET S.R.L. (Applied Mechatronic Engineering & Technologies) is a provider of engineering services for the design and development of mechanic and mechatronic products and processes headquartered in Torino, Italy. The new U.S. location provides the company a platform to further develop business with FIAT in the North American market,                                                                 as well as to a new customer base outside of Europe.


  • Cover Car, a division of Confezioni Andrea S.R.L., is the leading manufacturer of luxury car covers in Italy and in Europe. The company produces fully customized protective covers for the automotive, motor bike, camper, marine and vehicle transport industries. Headquartered in Mentasti, Italy, the company is expanding and has selected Commerce Township to serve as its first sales office in the U.S.


  • Ningbo Jingyi Miniature Axle Co., Ltd. is a global leader in the manufacture and supply of precision miniature shafts (axles), pins and hardware parts. The company services many well-known companies in the electric appliance, consumer electronics, communication, automotive and machinery equipment industries. The company operates under the name Jingyi North America and has a North American offices in                                             Toronto and now in Detroit.

Detroit Regional Chamber Markets Detroit Region’s Aerospace Industry at Paris Air Show

The Detroit Regional Chamber teamed with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program at the Paris Air Show last week to develop opportunities for the Detroit region’s aerospace sector. The Chamber conducted followup meetings with several firms that expressed interest in the region at Aeromart in Montreal in April. The Chamber team showcased the region to Airbus, whose U.S. operations are currently in Mobile, Ala. The company is looking to move a large percentage of its major overseas component work back to the U.S.

The Paris Air Show is the key global event for the aviation and space industry. In 2011, the show hosted to 2,113 exhibitors from 45 countries, 290 official delegations from 82 countries, and more than 150,000 trade visitors. Click here to read the team’s blog posts from Paris.


Detroit Regional Chamber, Pure Michigan Business Connect Host Successful Matchmaking Summit with Timken


pmbc_trevorThe Detroit Regional Chamber partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) program to host a “Connection Point” matchmaking summit with The Timken Company earlier this month. Fifty-eight companies selected by Timken, including The Dow Chemical CompanyDexter Research Center and Focus: HOPE Industries, received 20-minute,     pre-arranged private meetings during the event. Participating companies, exemplifying Michigan’s leadership in manufacturing processes and technologies, were chosen based on their current needs in areas including advanced materials and processes, sensors for condition monitoring/diagnostics and more.

With $5 billion in sales in 2012 and more than 20,000 people operating from 30 countries, Timken is a metallurgy, friction management and power transmission leader that improves the efficiency of machinery around the world. The Chamber originated and developed the “Connection Point” program, which joined with PMBC in December of 2012, and is a strategic partner of PMBC programming in Southeast Michigan. For more information on PMBC, click here.

Governor Snyder Launches Statewide Logistics Strategy

Freighter CC 2Governor Rick Snyder has issued the long-awaited Logistics and Supply Chain (LSC) Strategic Plan for Michigan, capping a 10-month effort to direct the development of this vital sector under a single, unified plan of action. The strategy outlines five core objectives to develop Michigan’s LSC assets, a sector which analysts generally recognize as a driver of global competitiveness.  The five objectives are:


  1. Enable logistics and supply chain solutions to create more and better jobs;
  2. Collaborate with industry and regional partners to identify and prioritize initiatives to improve regional competitiveness in Michigan and the Great Lakes MEGA region;
  3. Develop strategic marketing programs and campaigns that promote Michigan’s supply chain capabilities and leverage its location and natural resources;
  4. Prioritize infrastructure and policy initiatives that will increase our competitive advantage, reduce cost, save time, and support value-added supply chain activity; and
  5. Support the growth of Michigan’s innovative industry base with world-class supply chain infrastructure and talent.

Each objective is supported by specific action items with implementation timelines to ensure results-based outcomes. You can access, download and read the full strategy here. The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Translinked intiative played a leading role in the creation of this strategy, which is crucial to Translinked’s mission to develop the Southeast Michigan, Northwest Ohio and Southwest Ontario region into a world-class and globally recognized transportation and logistics hub. For more information on Translinkedclick here.

Detroit Regional Chamber Survey Finds More Recent College Grads Staying in Michigan

The Detroit Regional Chamber announced the preliminary results of a comprehensive survey of recent college graduates in Michigan at the recent Mackinac Policy Conference designed to provide real data on state talent retention issues and learn more about motives behind the location decisions made by young people. The survey indicated that 63 percent of the targeted group of graduates remained in the state, a 12-percentage point increase from a survey of a comparable group in 2007. The final results will be shared Friday, June 28 by Tim Davis, director of iLabs at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, during a meeting and panel discussion at the Chamber.

The survey, which garnered more than 7,000 responses, focused on a target group of recent graduates, including those with advanced degrees under 28 years of age and not making a location decision based on graduate school enrollment. The survey was conducted by the University of Michigan-Dearborn iLabs, and sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Municipal League and the Presidents CouncilState Universities of Michigan. For more information on the survey, click here.

Plante Moran Launches Healthcare Reform Website Featuring Tools to Navigate New System

Southfield, Michigan, June 27, 2013 – Plante Moran, PLLC has launched a website to guide employers and healthcare providers through the intricacies of U.S. healthcare reform.

One of the largest certified public accounting and business consulting firms in the nation, Plante Moran has introduced an information-packed website that gives employers and healthcare providers access to webinars, videos and articles focused on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA. The site,, also offers a downloadable “decision tree” that can help companies determine if they are considered a large employer who must comply with the regulations outlined in PPACA.

“Navigating the complexities of healthcare reform requires a tremendous amount of expertise,” said Ed Murphy, president of Plante Moran Group Benefit Advisors. “Our new website and the tools it offers can help employers analyze the options available to them and optimize decisions, from tax compliance to benefit plan design and pricing, and from reimbursement to capital planning strategy.

“Our hope is that the information on our new website is on point, easy to understand and will be a guide to assist in compliance with PPACA.”

The new website features

  •  A series of spring 2013 archived webinars, including employee benefits purchasing strategies and public/private exchanges. A new Plante Moran webinar series, including healthcare topics, will be launched in the fall.
  •  A free mobile app available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices containing everything available on the new website.
  •  Seven video vignettes that focus on various aspects of healthcare reform for employers, including an overview of the law and its history, public health exchanges and implementation and strategy
  •  A decision tree guide to help employers determine the applicability of the Shared Responsibility rules
  •  A 2013-14 Healthcare Outlook, along with other informative articles authored by Plante Moran accountants and advisers
  •  A “cost of care” benchmarking tool focused on seven key metrics that allows healthcare providers to see how they rank against their peers
  •  A hospital board member “best practices” checklist that provides new board members and healthcare executives with easy-to-digest documents focused on helping them achieve their organization’s mission

“As the research and implementation planning for healthcare reform continues, uncertainty about the appropriate steps can paralyze employers and providers into inaction,” Murphy said. “At Plante Moran, our goal is to provide the tools, understanding and the team needed to help organizations make the best decisions in a timely fashion.”

About Plante Moran, PLLCPlante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting, and wealth management services. Plante Moran has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work. For more information, visit

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