Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Budget Priorities: Infrastructure, Education, And Talent

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Michigan’s newly elected leader, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, gave a sneak peek of Michigan’s future under her leadership during a conversation with 2019 Conference Chair Dennis W. Archer Jr.

Her full budget proposal will be released on Tuesday, March 5 and she said it will focus on three priorities: improving the state’s crumbling infrastructure, education, and attracting and retaining talent.

Whitmer explained that these issues build on one another. Improved infrastructure leads to better transportation, which attracts talent from across the nation. Improving our education system creates more qualified talent to fill job openings. These issues are truly at the core of what the state needs to succeed.

“We are capable of making change in Michigan,” said Whitmer. “I chose to focus on all of these issues because they are non-binary. No one party or the other has all the solutions, but we all know these are issues that must be addressed.”

After discussing her budget, the conversation moved to how Whitmer will emphasize diversity and inclusion in her cabinet. She emphasized the needs for ethnic and gender diversity, but also officials who are intentional, swift, and thoughtful forward-thinkers and problem-solvers.

To close out their discussion, Archer asked Whitmer what her vision of Detroit 2030 looks like.

“By 2030, all Detroiters will have a real pathway to prosperity, and that pathway is not necessarily linear.” Said Whitmer. She cited professional certificates, community college degrees, and skilled trade jobs as legitimate ways for Detroiters to achieve their goals.

“We are all Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “When Detroiters succeed, we all succeed.”

This session was sponsored by MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Jay Pitter: Building Inclusive Communities

“We can’t seize future opportunities if we disregard the past,” said Jay Pitter, author and placemaker.

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Pitter emphasized the importance of creating an inclusive community to continue Detroit’s upward trajectory. Pitter, who is from Toronto, is an expert in social justice, spatial relations, and inclusive planning. She gave Detroiters a number of ideas to create inclusive communities.

Key takeaways from Pitter’s keynote discussion:

  • Pay respect to the history of a space when building new structures.
  • Create spaces that provide value, healing, and discovery. They should not only focus on appearance.
  • Tell stories with the spaces you are building.
  • Remember that urban design is not neutral; it has a history rooted in colonization and tense racial relations. Designers need to create spaces that respect our history while still moving toward the future.
  • Recognize local leaders and heroes who are building inclusive communities now.

This session was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Barry Matherly: Become an Ambassador for the Region

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Detroit Regional Partnership President and CEO Barry Matherly took to the Sound Board stage to promote the Detroit region and the power of collaboration. Citing the region’s 5.4 million people and 275 municipalities, Matherly focused on helping the region compete globally, not just within the United States. For the region to succeed on a global scale, Matherly provided some key takeaways:

  • Neighborhoods must grow in conjunction with larger cities; it is imperative that regional growth is inclusive.
  • The region is not devoid of issues. We should not hide them, but instead learn from them.
  • People should become ambassadors of their hometown and entire region.

This session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation.

Dennis Archer Jr. On Keeping Detroit’s Comeback Moving And The Detroit Policy Conference

February 22, 2019

Daily Detroit

By: Jer Staes

On a bonus interview episode of Daily Detroit, our guest is Dennis Archer, Jr.

He’s the owner of Ignition Media, proprietor of the successful Central Kitchen and Bar, and chair of the upcoming Detroit Policy Conference.

We talk about a variety of topics around Detroit’s comeback and a vision for 2030 for the city and region.

View the original article here


Spotlight on the News: Roads, marijuana, immigration, politics & the Detroit Policy Conference

February 22, 2019

WXYZ Detroit

By: Chuck Strokes

WXYZ DETROIT — On Sunday, February 24, Spotlight on the News will interview Michigan State Senator Peter Lucido, (R ) Shelby Township; Sandy Baruah, President & CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber; Dennis Archer, Jr., Chairman, Detroit Policy Conference; Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, (D) Dearborn and Congressman Fred Upton, (R) St. Joseph. Some of the topics will include roads, marijuana, the Detroit Policy Conference, immigration and politics.

Spotlight on the News, now in its 54th season, is Michigan’s longest-running weekly news and public affairs television program. It airs every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit and 2:30 p.m. on 23.1 WKAR-HD in East Lansing and 6 p.m. on 23.2 WKAR World.

View the original article here

Small Talk with Mark S. Lee – February 24th, 2019

February 24th, 2019

Small Talk with Mark S. Lee

This week, just sit back, relax and enjoy a hot cup of coffee on this winter day as we catch up on the latest events supporting entrepreneurship and small business development with the following guests:

Awenate Cobbina, Vice President, Detroit Pistons & Executive Director, The Pistons Foundation

Denise Graves, MEDC

Paula Silver, Vice President, DTE Energy & Devon O’Reilly, Director, Entrepreneurship, Detroit Regional Chamber

Kelly Siegel, CEO, National Technology Management

Butzel Long attorney Beth S. Gotthelf named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s ‘Leaders in the Law’

February 21, 2019

Butzel Long attorney Beth S. Gotthelf named
to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s ‘Leaders in the Law’

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Beth S. Gotthelf
is one of 30 attorneys named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Leaders in the Law” Class of 2019. Honorees will be recognized at a luncheon and awards celebration on April 18, 2019, at the Detroit Marriott Troy. “Leaders in the Law” are honored, among other things, for:

• Significant accomplishments or achievements in law practice;
• Outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Michigan;
• Leadership in improving the justice system in Michigan;
• Seeking improvements to the legal community and their communities at large; and,
• Setting an example for other lawyers.

Gotthelf is Butzel Long’s Director of Innovation and External Relations. She also is an Executive-in-Residence at the Macomb-OU INCubator and serves on the Macomb-OU INCubator Advisory Council.

She has helped auto suppliers diversify into alternative energy and defense, which have been lifelines to those companies.

Gotthelf served as a lay-leader on legislative trade missions to Israel to help Michigan legislators learn what has worked to make Israel an economic leader, and bring those ‘lessons learned’ back to Michigan. She is immediate past president and a current Board member of the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA). With her connector skills, Gotthelf chaired a highly successful matchmaking initiative to bring Israel and Michigan automotive companies together during a high-tech automotive exchange mission by the Israel Consul for Economic Affairs and the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (now the MIBA). That mission resulted in over 100 matchmaking meetings.

She continued her passion of connecting companies to create business when she became president of MIBA by convincing Israel to have its first ever trade mission of Israeli Defense companies to a state (Michigan) in 2017. This mission was so successful that it led to the first-ever trade mission by a state (Michigan) of defense companies to Israel in December 2018. As a result, Michigan and Israel defense companies are reaping the benefit.

Gotthelf brings a pragmatic and holistic approach to clients’ issues, assisting them in reaching their business goals, often matchmaking clients’ needs and acting as an outside general counsel. Her assistance in diversifying automotive suppliers into the aerospace & defense arena during the economic downturn is just one example of her holistic approach. She now counsels clients in governmental contracting, ITAR, EAR, and Foreign Military Sales. Gotthelf also is a leader in environmental law, bringing creative solutions to remediation, redevelopment, tax incentives, and waste management.

She represents and counsels a diverse mix of clients in numerous matters throughout the country. These matters include: compliance and permitting; alternative energy issues; responding to an emergency; siting new facilities; civil and criminal enforcement; compliance audits; brownfields; tax incentives; remediation of contaminated sites; insurance claims; administrative procedures; solid and hazardous waste; landfills; composting; and occupational safety and health.

Gotthelf has served as general counsel to the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Surface Finishers since 1990; Better Business Bureau Board member (2012-present); former general counsel to the Wayne County Brownfield Authority. She has represented the Wayne County Department of Environment on a broad variety of issues, including the Detroit bankruptcy as it related to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department; wastewater treatment plant expansion, upgrade and compliance; wet weather; landfills; remediation; and ordinance amendments. She also represented Oakland County on matters concerning stormwater and wastewater.

She has been very active in the Bar, including past service as: Vice Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Water Quality and Wetlands; former Vice Chair of the Section’s Keystone Committee; Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section; and Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association. She is a past member of the State Bar Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County.

In addition, Gotthelf is on the board of the Better Business Bureau. She is an active member of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Environmental Committee, past member of the Chambers Leadership Committee for Transportation, and is past Chair of the Chamber’s Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues. She is Chair of the City of Birmingham (Michigan) Brownfield Authority (2005-present). On behalf of industry, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee charged with recommending stormwater rules and served as a Director of the Detroit Area Commercial Board of Realtors, which covers the State of Michigan. Gotthelf served as an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Forum.

Gotthelf was selected as one of 20 influential leaders by Michigan Lawyers Weekly – Women in Law (2010). She was listed as one of the “Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers” by Michigan Super Lawyers (2006, 2007, 2008) and as one of the “Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers” (2006, 2008, 2014 and 2015). She also is listed in Michigan Super Lawyers, Environmental (2006-2018). She has received a number of awards and special recognitions, including as an emerging leader by the Detroit Regional Chamber (2003); the National Association of Surface Finishers (2002); Corp! Magazine as one of “Michigan’s 95 Most Powerful Women” (2002); Corp! Magazine’s “Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan” (1999); and Crain’s Detroit Business’ 40 emerging leaders under age 40 (40 Under 40) (1994).

She has authored articles of national interest for the ABA on Proposed Wastewater Regulations and Underground Storage Tanks, and authored a public policy update on the Detroit wastewater ordinance amendments for Detroiter. National lectures include National Brownfields Conference (2008); Walsh College “FIN or Else: FIN 47” Seminar; Urban Land Use Planning (2007); COATING 2005 on “Doing Business in China”; the ABA Annual Meetings, Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law concerning general practice (2007) and water issues (2004 and 2002); “A Civil Reaction: Confronting Environment Problems in the New Millennium” (1997); “Annual Fundamentals of Real Estate Taxation” (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002); and at the National Association of Metal Finishers, “Federal Wastewater Pretreatment Issues.”

Gotthelf’s charitable activities include serving as Co-Chair of the Gleaners Food Bank Women’s Power Breakfast fundraiser (2015); Board member and eventually President of the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter (1996-2008); Board member and eventually Chair of the Board of Trustees of Oakland Plus Foundation (2005-11); Trustee of the Jewish Vocational Services (2000-15); member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, State Government Relations Oversight Committee (2004-present); member of the Board of Directors for the University and Cancer Foundation (2000-07), to name a few.

About Butzel Long
Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing and Shanghai. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting or follow Butzel Long on Twitter @butzel_long or :
* * * * *

Media Contact: Maribeth Farkas at Caponigro Public Relations Inc.,
(248) 353-3030, ext. 214

Member of the Month: Waymo Invests in New Self-Driving Hardware Installation Facility in Metro Detroit

Editor’s note: The Member of the Month highlights a Detroit Regional Chamber member company working to grow the regional economy through innovative leadership and programs or support of policies that benefit the business community at-large.

Waymo was selected as the member of the month for February 2019 because of their recent announcement to invest up to $13.6 million in a new self-driving hardware installation facility in Southeast Michigan. This facility could create up to 400 jobs in the region by 2025 and have a significant positive impact on the region’s economy. The launch of this facility will create jobs for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to retrofit and deploy the self-driving vehicles.

The agreement signed earlier this year requires Waymo to sign a three-year lease in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb county and create up to 400 jobs to be applicable to receive an $8 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Total planned investment in the plant would be up to $13.6 million.

This move signifies Michigan’s evolution towards becoming a global leader in autonomous and self-driving technology. Waymo ultimately decided on Michigan versus other states in the running because of the established engineering and manufacturing framework, and the flexibility the state offers in allowing emerging high-tech companies to grow.

Waymo is the latest in a flurry of Silicon Valley companies moving to Michigan. California-based automotive battery manufacturer Samsung SDI America Inc., semiconductor equipment manufacturer KLA-Tencor Corp. and information technology firm Nexient have announced major investments in Southeast Michigan over the past year. San Jose’s Cisco Systems acquired Ann Arbor-based Duo Security, a cloud-based, trusted-access provider, and last year, Google moved 100 employees from its Birmingham office to a new space in Little Caesars Arena.

Sandy Baruah Discusses Talent Attraction at Troy Chamber Event

“When we talk about talent, the name of the game is retention,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, during a panel discussion on talent attraction in Michigan.

Retaining talent in Southeast Michigan is a key initiative of the Chamber that is supported through the work of the Chamber’s suite of education programs – including Detroit Promise, Detroit Drives Degrees and Let’s Detroit – and its automotive cluster association, MICHauto.

The panel discussion on Feb. 12 was part of the Troy Chamber of Commerce’s Power of the Future: 2019 Economic Forecast. Baruah was featured alongside Dan Gilmartin, president and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League; and Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of the Workforce Development for Oakland County and director of the Michigan Works! Agency. WDIV Local 4 News Reporter Rod Meloni moderated the discussion.

“When you look at the lateral region, Troy is incredibly important. It’s basically Troy and Detroit that are the two central business districts in our region,” said Baruah. “It’s great to have two choices between a true downtown environment that Detroit is rapidly becoming and a suburban business base that Troy truly is.”

At one point, Meloni asked Baruah, specifically, to share his thoughts on the current push to increase higher educational attainment levels in Michigan.

Baruah replied with data, “We have about 41 percent of adults that either have a four-year, two-year degree, or highly-skilled certificate. By 2030, roughly 60 percent of all jobs will require one of the three.” He added, “If 60 percent will be our needs and we’re at 41percent –that’s bad math.”

Baruah insisted that talent retainment can become a steady growth measure by answering to the needs of people already present in Michigan.

“Keeping people here – that’s placemaking, jobs, transit and investments in the infrastructure. And if we don’t do that, it’s game over,” said Baruah.