The autonomous gold rush is on in season 3

Automotive News

April 30, 2018

By: Shiraz Ahmed

In Season 3 of “Futurismo,” the Automotive News podcast on tomorrow’s cars, we’ll go inside an industry being transformed by new technology and new ideas, following the path of startups and gargantuan carmakers to understand how the ecosystem for innovation is changing how we get around.

Host Shiraz Ahmed will be joined by Mobility Report Editor Sharon Silke Carty and Staff Reporter Hannah Lutz to inform listeners on how robotics, artificial intelligence and digitalization have sparked an autonomous gold rush.

Over the course of eight episodes, the “Futurismo” team will talk to industry leaders and researchers, visit factories and laboratories and spend time learning the language of coders and entrepreneurs that has shifted how we — and you — understand autos.

Don’t miss out: Subscribe to “Futurismo” on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts. Season 3 will debut May 14. Listen to the trailer above and subscribe at


View the original post from Automotive News on their website.

Omron Foundation Supports UM-Dearborn Engineering Students with $1M Gift and Scholarship

Omron Foundation has announced a gift of $1 million to the University of Michigan-Dearborn for the establishment of a brand-new laboratory inside the university’s Engineering Lab Building (ELB), a $90 million project expected to be complete in 2020. The new Omron Robotics and Human Factors Lab will be an exciting addition to the state-of-the-art building that will provide UM-Dearborn students with a comprehensive, 21st-century engineering education.

Omron Foundation coordinates the charitable efforts of all U.S.-based offices of the Omron Corporation, a global leader and pioneer in automation technology and solutions. Through this generous contribution, Omron demonstrates its commitment to preparing today’s engineering students for the challenges of the future.

The university’s new ELB will transform engineering education by combining innovative teaching labs with modern classrooms to cultivate entrepreneurial problem-solving skills as well as technological expertise. Students will benefit from a multidisciplinary approach in an environment rich in collaboration and project-based learning. Cutting-edge labs will let students explore real-world applications in power engineering, robotics, bioengineering, cybersecurity and more.

“Through Omron Foundation, we are delighted to have the opportunity to support this amazing innovation investment at University of Michigan-Dearborn. At Omron we continue to make revolutionary new developments in human robotics harmonization. With the vision and talented research teams ever evolving at UM-Dearborn, we are committed to not just this engineering lab, but the scholarship programs to support future generations of engineers, fortunate enough to study in this impressive new environment,” said Nigel Blakeway, Omron Americas Corporation CEO and Omron Foundation President.

Daniel Little, Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, is gratified to receive this “historic investment” from Omron Foundation. “Their support is key to this transformative project which will advance our academic programs and expand our capacity for premier research and industry partnerships,” says Little.

Omron Foundation is also grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in engineering education. “We’re very excited to partner with the University of Michigan-Dearborn on their endeavor to further the learning and advancement of future engineers,” says Robb Black, President and CEO of Omron Automation Americas. “Students will be learning the most advanced robotic technologies to further their problem-solving abilities.”

In addition to the $1M gift, the Omron Foundation also announced a new scholarship for UM-Dearborn electrical engineering students. This is the Omron Foundation’s 8th endowed scholarship in electrical engineering with prior endowments established at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kettering University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Southern Illinois University, University of Houston, and the University of Illinois at Champaign.


About UM-Dearborn

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has over 9,300 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health. A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.

The Omron gift supports the ELB as part of the Victors for UM-Dearborn campaign, which is raising funds for student support, educational initiatives, learning environments and faculty support. To date, the campaign has raised more than $42 million, with more than $20 million dedicated to student assistance including 100 new scholarships. For more information about the campaign, or to make a gift to the ELB, visit or call 313-593-5130.

About OMRON Foundation, Inc.

Founded in 1989, OMRON Foundation, Inc. (OFI) coordinates the charitable efforts of OMRON offices in the US to achieve the greatest positive social impact. The Foundation is funded by OMRON’s subsidiaries in the US, which contribute a portion of sales revenue to the Foundation. The Foundation divides its charitable resources among organizations benefiting education, people with disabilities, cultural programs, health, and other social concerns including disaster relief.


OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation based on its core technology of “Sensing & Control + Think.”  Established in 1933, OMRON has about 36,000 employees worldwide, working to provide products and services in 117 countries.  The company’s business fields cover a broad spectrum, ranging from industrial automation and electronic components to automotive electronics, social infrastructure systems, healthcare, and environmental solutions.  For more information, visit OMRON’s website:

Detroit-based Van Dyke Horn PR Firm’s Growth Continues with Launch of New Lansing Office

Detroit-based Van Dyke Horn, Michigan’s largest minority-owned public relations firm, announced today that it has opened an office in Lansing.  This announcement comes after two years of significant growth for the 20-year-old firm, formerly known as Berg Muirhead and Associates.  Van Dyke Horn has doubled its revenue and staff since 2016, now with a 14-member team across the two offices.

“Since our founding, our firm has been dedicated to being present wherever our clients need us,” said Peter Van Dyke, Van Dyke Horn CEO. “There has been a consistent demand for Van Dyke Horn to service clients in Lansing. With our strong history of award-winning services in public affairs, complemented by our diverse array of communications services, we are thrilled to meet this demand and expand within the Lansing market.”

Van Dyke•Horn has hired Lansing communications veteran Maureen McNulty Saxton to lead its Lansing office.  For the last 10 years, Saxton has owned the communications consulting firm PR Edge, with clients ranging from those in the energy sector to early childhood education.  Her past experience includes heading  the communications/press offices of the State of Michigan’s Departments of: Treasury; Management & Budget; History, Arts & Libraries and a statewide gubernatorial campaign. Prior to her work in Lansing, she was a reporter at the Erie Daily Times in Erie, PA, the Grosse Pointe News, and at the Detroit Free Press.

“Maureen comes to Van Dyke Horn with a strong portfolio of clients, further establishing our foundation in Lansing,” said Marilyn Horn, Van Dyke Horn president and CFO. “She is an excellent addition to the team and we are thrilled that she will be helping steward our expansion.”

The opening of a Lansing office is another step in Van Dyke Horn’s rapid growth since owners Van Dyke and Horn acquired the company in 2016 from founders and Michigan communications legends Bob Berg and Georgella Muirhead.  Van Dyke Horn recently hired Kaye Byrd, former deputy communications director for Wayne County and communication director for its public works department.  Byrd is leading representing a large portfolio of the agency’s utility clients.

Van Dyke Horn also hired Brianna Shreve as an account executive and Grant Wickersham as junior account executive in late 2017.  Additionally, the recently promoted team members Nat Synowiec, to senior account executive and operations director, Elizabeth Durham, to senior accounts and operations executive, and Terrence West to account executive.

A key element that defines Van Dyke Horn’s brand, and sets it apart from other Michigan-based agencies, is to have a diverse team that reflects the diversity of the communities and industries the company serves.

“Van Dyke Horn strong believes in having a team that reflect the clients and communities we serve. While we are proud of our deep bench strength of professional expertise, we also recognize how important it is to have a diverse team of consultants, in gender, culture, race and age,” said Van Dyke.  “In a nutshell: we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk,” he said.

Van Dyke Horn’s mission is to not only serve its clients, but to serve the communities in which it does business.  In Detroit, Van Dyke Horn sponsors the Berg Muirhead Scholarship for Public Relations Student Advancement in honor of the firm’s founders, as well as supports the Michigan Humane Society, Detroit Public Theatre and the Coleman A. Young Foundation. –

Van Dyke Horn currently serves approximately 40 clients across a broad spectrum of sectors,  including automotive, government, energy, education, coalitions, hospitality, non-profits, foundations and associations, real estate development and utilities.

About Van Dyke•Horn

Van Dyke•Horn, Michigan’s largest minority-owned public relations agency, is headquartered in Detroit with an office in Lansing.

The company executes integrated and strategic campaigns that resonate with our clients’ industries and their audiences. We are respected for our skill, integrity and dedication to our clients and our community.

Formerly Berg Muirhead and Associates, Van Dyke•Horn builds on the foundation established by its founders with an 18-year track record of successfully serving clients.  While we serve clients globally, it’s Van Dyke•Horn’s philosophy to not simply work from Detroit, but to be deeply engrained in our community. Our clients benefit from our intentional, relationship-driven philosophy. It’s our team of industry experts that all abide by Van Dyke•Horn’s relationship-driven philosophy that drives our clients’ results.


For more information, visit

Health Care and Automotive: A Match Made in Innovation

By: Megan Lasley

As technology is ever-evolving, so is the automotive industry and furthermore, so is health care. During Forward Detroit’s Investor Briefing: Health Care’s Transformation and Innovation hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber on April 26, panelists focused on the synergy between the industries and how much Michigan can stay ahead of the curve. Speakers included Dean Brody, Accenture managing partner; Jennifer Dukarski, shareholder for emerging technology, intellectual property and media at Butzel Long; Philip Hessburg, doctor of ophthalmology at Henry Ford Health System; Jaideep Rajput, director of  commercialization for Beaumont Health; and Taryn Simon, director of Henry Ford Innovations at Henry Ford Health System. The panel was moderated by Jonathan So, senior director of Health Care Initiatives at the Chamber.

“Health care is the largest employer in Michigan, accounting for more than 300,000 employees,” So said. “Our region is more than just automotive, health care is one of our core competencies.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The region provides strong assets that surround the innovation and transformation in health care, including access to CEOs, world-class educational institutions, community development, and a shared mission among health care systems.
  • Collaboration is key to achieving health care goals in the region.
  • Disruptive technology offers numerous opportunities for the future of not only health care but Michigan’s leading industries (i.e. automotive, manufacturing, information technology)
  • The future of health care could mean patients can be treated at home via telecommunications.
  • There are direct parallels between the health care and automotive industries, regarding technology implementation and how the data is used.

For more information on Forward Detroit, or to become a Forward Detroit Investor, please visit:

Proposed Regional Transit Plan Would Generate $4.5B in Personal Income if Approved

April 30, 2018


By: R.J. King

If metro Detroit can speak with one voice via a regional transit authority in submitting applications for federal transit funds, rather than from as many as 10 separate entities, it would stand to garner more grants and other investments needed to better move people, products, and cargo.

In March, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, his economic development team, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA), and others released a proposal for a 1.5-mill annual tax over 20 years to fund a regional transit plan. If approved in the coming weeks, the measure would be on the November ballot.

The plan, called Connect Southeast Michigan, would raise $5.4 billion over 20 years in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties. The average house in the region is worth $157,504, meaning it would cost $118 a year, or less than $10 a month.

In 2016, an RTA ballot initiative for a 1.2-mill tax was narrowly defeated because it was too rigid, failed to benefit some communities while neglecting local input, and didn’t take into account rapid changes in mobility, among other factors.

“Every year we wait in forming a single regional transit authority, the more expensive it becomes,” says Khalil Rahal, assistant Wayne County executive, during an interview on Friday. “Other regions like Seattle have taken a tough road to form a single regional transit authority. That means when they submit an annual transit request to the federal government, those federal officials are going to give them more support over a region like ours that submits as many as 10 separate applications.

“When federal officials looks at those applications, they say about a place like Seattle, ‘Wow, they have their stuff together.’ But for a region like ours, 10 separate applications is a lot more difficult to deal with. It’s clear regions with strong, well- supported regional transit authorities perform better. We’re leaving a lot of money on the table.”

The benefits of having a single regional transit authority — right now southeast Michigan has SMART, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), and smaller transit entities — is not only the ability to speak with one voice but the efficiency of planning transit needs with one organization.

Rahal says millions of dollars in savings could be realized via a single RTA, including reduced costs for “planning, procurement, administration, a single call center, one single brand, and one map,” he says. “We have 140 municipalities and we’re not speaking with one voice, and that is really hurting us. It’s better to work together than separately.

“Some people say, ‘Well we have SMART, they should do it.’ But SMART can’t do everything because they have very clearly defined regulations that restrict what they can do. It’s the same thing with DDOT and other transit organizations. Nearly every community right now is paying for transit, whether it’s helping seniors get to shopping destinations or a cultural event, or to help people get to a job. But when you operate all of these transit needs separately, you can’t take advantage of efficiencies when you operate in a macro way.”

By way of example, Rahal says one reason metro Detroit didn’t make the cut for landing Amazon’s second headquarters — and with it up to 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in new investment — was because there was no regional transit system that could efficiently move the influx of new workers to Amazon’s planned employment campus.

“There is not a region out there that has 50,000 workers ready to go for Amazon,” Rahal says. “Whatever region gets selected will have to bring in new workers.  Amazon is looking to get new people into a region and get their (overall) employees to work and take care of their other needs very efficiently. We lacked a regional transit operation that could draw those people here and take care of them in terms of their public transit needs.”

Following the defeat of the 2016 plan, Rahal says the RTA team and others looked at what went wrong and what could be improved. The first plan called for rigid, bus-only lanes along Woodward Michigan, and Gratiot avenues, among other roadways, that would cost as much as $10 million a mile to implement. The new plan is more flexible and reaches more places, and would cost up to $1.5 million a mile to design and operate.

“Where before we had dedicated bus lanes, now we have lanes that can be tapered at much less expense, plus there is (traffic) signal priority in some places, and there is more flexibility to bring in future technology,” Rahal says. “We’ve added more priority routes that will have 15-minute (pickup) intervals along Woodward, Michigan, Gratiot, Grand River and Mound/Van Dyke. Right now, some SMART routes have a one-hour (pickup).

“Plus our park-and-ride lots are at capacity, so there are plans to expand those, and each county would be provided better access to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (in Romulus via buses and an existing train line). It’s clear when you look at factors like an upcoming 140-percent increase in people who will be 65, and the fact that young people largely prefer mass transit so they can work more or use their smartphones more, that we need to do something.”

The plan also would provide for greater commuter rail offerings between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

While the proposed RTA plan faces some resistance from Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, as well as some outlying communities that would like the ability to opt out of the millage, Rahal says the plan should be placed on the ballot so that voters, not solely politicians, can decide the fate of the RTA.

In turn, the plan calls for a single rate structure, and it is projected to support 167,000 jobs, provide $6.6 billion in additional Gross Regional Product, and generate $4.5 billion in personal income if approved.

By statute, 85 percent of tax revenue raised under the plan will be invested in the county it was collected from. With federal and state contributions, investments in each county will exceed 105 percent of their tax contributions.

“We have the support of the business community, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and many others,” Rahal says. “Study after study has shown that for every $1 you spend on public transit you get back $4 in return based on efficiencies and other factors like lower traffic volumes, fewer accidents, increased safety, better access, less pollution, and lower insurance rates.

“Like I said, the more we wait and try to do another plan, the more expensive it will become. Wayne County Executive Evans has put forth a very viable plan with plenty of input from the community, and we feel the community should be able to vote on the measure.”

For more information, attend a public meeting, or take a survey, visit

Finley: Warning signs for Whitmer in poll

The Detroit News

April 28, 2018

By: Nolan Finley

No wonder the Democratic establishment was so worried about Gretchen Whitmer standing as the party’s anointed candidate for governor.

A poll released late last week by the Detroit Regional Chamber, the first independent survey since the filing deadline for the race, has Whitmer struggling against a challenger few had heard of a year ago.

The unconventional Shri Thanedar finds himself ahead of Whitmer, 29.6 percent to 26.3 percent.

The survey by the Glengariff Group, which is also the pollster for The Detroit News, was used by the chamber to shape the field for the gubernatorial debate during its Mackinac Policy Conference next month. (I’ll be asking the questions, along with my MiWeek colleagues Christy McDonald and Stephen Henderson.)

Richard Czuba, who heads Glengariff, says the Thanedar edge is all about the money — the author and entrepreneur has spent a fortune early on TV ads — but cautions Whitmer, who’d love to conserve money for the general election, about waiting any longer to respond.

“What she’s having difficulty with right now is name ID among black voters,” Czuba says. “She really needs to focus on this essential element of winning a Democratic primary. She needs to get into Wayne County, campaign hard there and be on the air.”

Democrats were warned from both inside and outside the party that endorsing an all-white slate of candidates at their state gathering earlier this month would sit poorly with the party’s African-American base.

While Whitmer represents the party establishment that made that poor choice, Thanedar has been busy courting black voters, targeting most of his spending on the Detroit market.

Despite his strong early showing, Thanedar is getting the Bernie Sanders treatment from the Democratic Party. He was forced out of the Progressive caucus at the state convention and not allowed to speak, even though he boasts of being the most liberal candidate in the race.

Czuba doesn’t read disaster in Whitmer’s weak polling. She’s got plenty of money and once she starts spending it her name ID should climb — if she spends it in the right way.

Democrats who said they get most of their news from television overwhelmingly support Thanedar, while those who say they get their information from social media and online sources back Whitmer. To reach black votes, she’ll have to mount a traditional campaign in the city.

Czuba says Thanedar has “made himself a legitimate candidate by spending lots of money.” But most of the money is his own, and he admits it’s not limitless. To stay competitive, he’ll have to start raising funds.

But I’m not wholly convinced the sole difference here is just dollars.

Look at the Republican contest, where Attorney General Bill Schuette has a sizable lead over Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (36-23), even though Calley has been up with a barrage of ads introducing himself to voters.

Whitmer has been in the race as long as Schuette, and has picked up nearly every major Democratic endorsement as well as most of the media coverage. And yet, for now, she’s running second to an out-of-nowhere challenger.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s instincts may have been right when he staged his failed recruiting drive to find a more appealing Democratic standard bearer.


View the original post from the Detroit News on their website.

Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe: Lead with a Purpose

When it comes to motivating coworkers to produce top-quality work, infusing individuals with a sense of purpose is key, according to Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe. Poppe, who delivered a keynote address to nearly 50 regional business leaders, said “Show your coworkers that what they do every day makes a difference.” The presentation was a part of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s ongoing Inside the CEO Mind series and was held April 19 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

Consumers Energy’s mission statement is, “World-Class Performance Delivering Hometown Service.” This mission, Poppe said, was born out of an experience she had at the post office in her hometown several years ago.

“I remember walking into the post office and the woman I spoke to asked me, ‘How is your dad doing? We all love Bill here.’ My dad had not visited this post office in several years, but the staff still remembered him. Now that is hometown service.”

Poppe said that simply “being nice” is not enough.

“If you cannot deliver your service or product efficiently and effectively, customers will not continue their relationship with your business.”

This is where the “world-class performance” component comes in. By combining world-class performance with hometown service, Poppe believes Consumers Energy is truly making a difference in the energy industry.

While Poppe was collaborating on a new mission statement, she simultaneously worked on the new triple bottom-line model Consumers adopted.

“Consumers Energy is focused on three things: people, the planet and prosperity,” she said. “Businesses cannot disregard the people their products and services affect. We are really taking a customer-centric focus at Consumers as part of our mission to deliver world-class performance with hometown service.”

Through Poppe’s leadership, Consumers Energy has retired more coal plants than any other energy company in the country. At the same time, it has decreased its water usage by 35 percent. In her closing comments, Poppe said the key to encouraging these large-scale changes was leading with confidence and being intentional.

“People will follow a leader they believe in,” she said. “So make sure you are leading them down a purpose-driven path.”

Detroit chamber sets stage for gubernatorial debate at Mackinac Policy Conference

Crain’s Detroit Business

April 26, 2018

By: Chad Livengood 

Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar narrowly led former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer in the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Michigan governor in a new poll the Detroit Regional Chamber commissioned ahead of next month’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

In the Republican field, Attorney General Bill Schuette had a 13-point lead over Lt. Gov. Brian Calley — 36 percent to 23 percent — in a poll conducted April 19-21 by Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s political action committee commissioned the poll the determine the top three candidates in the Democratic and Republican fields and set the lineup for a bipartisan debate May 31 at the chamber’s annual conference at the Grand Hotel.

Thanedar, who has blanketed the airwaves in recent months with a multimillion dollar TV advertising campaign using his own money, garnered 29.6 percent support among the 400 likely Democratic voters polled for the survey.

Whitmer, the long-presumed front-runner and favorite of the Democratic Party establishment, got support from 26.3 percent of voters surveyed, followed by 6.5 percent for Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., the former Detroit health department director.

Thanedar’s lead in the poll conducted more than three months before the Aug. 7 primary falls within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error. Nearly 35 percent of likely Democratic voters said they were undecided.

About 34 percent percent of likely Republican voters said they, too, were undecided on who should succeed two-term Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who can’t run for re-election because of constitutional term limits. Snyder has endorsed Calley.

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton Township trailed far behind Calley with 4.3 percent support, according to the poll results.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s PAC is holding a debate on the last night of its annual Mackinac Island confab that will be limited to conference attendees who donate $200 or more to the chamber’s PAC.

The chamber used the poll to limit the number of candidates to three for each political party. Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines, who will be on the ballot, finished fourth in the polling and won’t be on the debate stage in the Grand Hotel theater.

Detroit Public Television”MiWeek” co-hosts Christy McDonald, Nolan Finley and Stephen Henderson will moderate the 90-minute debate.

Glengariff Group conducted separate 400-voter surveys for the Detroit Chamber. The Democratic voter poll was conducted April 20-22.

Schuette, Calley, Colbeck and Hines will face off in their first televised debate sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party on May 9 in Grand Rapids at WOOD-TV, which will broadcast the 7 p.m. debate.

A third debate is scheduled for June 28 at the downtown Detroit studios of WDIV (Channel 4).


View the original post from Crain’s Detroit Business here.

Complete Gubernatorial Race Poll Findings Available

The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) will host the first bipartisan debate featuring both the top Democratic and Republican candidates for Michigan governor at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

The top three candidates for each party’s nomination were identified by a poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC and conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. in April. The poll was a research survey of public opinion from 800 Michigan primary election voters, 400 from each party. The results do not necessarily reflect the views of the Chamber or its PAC.

Republican candidates who will participate in the debate and the percentage of voters who say they are supporting each candidate in the primary are:

  • Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan (23 percent)
  • Patrick Colbeck, Senator, State of Michigan (4.3 percent)
  • Bill Schuette, Attorney General, State of Michigan (36.3 percent)

(34 percent of Republican primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

View the in-depth Republican results for the Michigan governor’s race here.

Democratic candidates who will participate in the debate are:

  • Abdul El-Sayed, Former Executive Director, Health Department, City of Detroit (6.5 percent)
  • Shri Thanedar, Author and Entrepreneur (29.6 percent)
  • Gretchen Whitmer, Former Senator, State of Michigan (26.3 percent)

(34.8 percent of Democratic primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

View the in-depth Democratic results for the Michigan governor’s race here.

The Gubernatorial Debate: Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2018 PAC Reception will take place on Thursday, May 31 in the Grand Hotel’s Theatre. To attend the Gubernatorial Debate, you must also register for the Mackinac Policy Conference. Register today.


Detroit Regional Chamber Announces Gubernatorial Primary Poll Findings, To Host First Bipartisan Debate

DETROIT (April 26, 2018) – The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) will host the first debate featuring both the top Democratic and Republican candidates for Michigan governor at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. The debate will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 in Grand Hotel’s Theatre.

The top three candidates for each party’s nomination were identified by a poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC and conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. in April. The poll was a research survey of public opinion from 800 Michigan primary election voters, 400 from each party. The results do not necessarily reflect the views of the Chamber or its PAC.

Republican candidates who will participate in the debate and the percentage of voters who say they are supporting each candidate in the primary are:

  • Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan (23 percent)
  • Patrick Colbeck, Senator, State of Michigan (4.3 percent)
  • Bill Schuette, Attorney General, State of Michigan (36.3 percent)

(34 percent of Republican primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

Democratic candidates who will participate in the debate are:

  • Abdul El-Sayed, Former Executive Director, Health Department, City of Detroit (6.5 percent)
  • Shri Thanedar, Author and Entrepreneur (29.6 percent)
  • Gretchen Whitmer, Former Senator, State of Michigan (26.3 percent)

(34.8 percent of Democratic primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

“We appreciate the fact that candidates in both parties are participating in multiple debates to help voters decide. But, with this event, we are trying to do more than just narrow down a field. We want to help Michigan choose its next governor,” said Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber. “The Mackinac Policy Conference has long influenced major statewide races and we expect that this debate will have a similar impact on the 2018 election.”

The candidates will be moderated by the Detroit Public Television (DPTV) “MiWeek” co-hosts Nolan Finley, Stephen Henderson and Christy McDonald. The debate audience will be comprised exclusively of Conference attendees. A separate ticket is required to attend the debate and the proceeds benefit the Chamber’s PAC. DPTV will livestream the debate at


The in-depth results of the poll’s findings on the governor’s race, commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC, can be found at The initial analysis conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. in April includes:

“The Democratic race is a toss up at this point with Thanedar’s television advertising paying dividends in Wayne County where Gretchen Whitmer is simply unknown yet.  We’re in the early stages of this race.  But Thanedar’s early television buy has made him a strong competitor early in the race,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

“The Republican primary is very much a two-person race at this point with the difference being viewers of Fox News, who are going disproportionately for Bill Schuette, while Republicans who get their news from sources other than Fox are breaking relatively even between Schuette and Calley,” added Czuba.

For more information on the Mackinac Policy Conference, visit