Virginia economic development guru to head new Southeast Michigan business attraction group

November 1, 2018

Crain’s Detroit

By: Annalise Frank

The still-nameless nonprofit formed by a group of CEOs that’s looking to attract business to Southeast Michigan named its leader, and he’s coming from Virginia.

The regional CEO group led by among others DTE Energy Co. and its top executive, Gerry Anderson, has been planning to launch an economic development organization. The group made news for its regional transit push in the spring and its assertions that Southeast Michigan is lagging behind other regions that have concerted, united attraction efforts in place.

To run the new organization, Barry Matherly comes from a job as president and CEO of the economic development organization for the Richmond, Va., region. The 53-year-old starts in January and leaves his current job Dec. 31.

“… We wanted to get someone with deep proven experience in a peer organization elsewhere in the country with a strong track record of success,” said Anderson, who is also chair of the new nonprofit’s board. “We wanted someone who understands deeply and believes in regionalism.”

The economic development professional with 24 years experience will lead an effort to create a single point of entry for those looking to invest in Southeast Michigan. The CEO group wants to be able to respond more efficiently and cohesively to requests for regional data.

“One of the big things is to … ramp up the marketing of this region and get a bigger pipeline of potential deals and companies coming in, said Matherly, who was born in Connecticut and grew up in Virginia.

Anderson declined to disclose Matherly’s salary.

A selection committee chose the CEO after a national search for someone who knows this model and can quickly implement it in Southeast Michigan. The region is catching up to those in other states that have been at it for a decade or more, Anderson said.

Among those on the committee were Anderson; Ray Telang, Detroit Regional Chamber board chair; Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah; and Matt Cullen, chair of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

In essence, the new nonprofit will spin off from the Detroit Regional Chamber, Baruah said. The five employees staffing the chamber’s business attraction unit, Destination Detroit, will move to work under Matherly. He expects to have a staff of 20-21 when at full strength.

The group is expected to need $5 million-$6 million per year once it is up and running, Anderson said. He declined to disclose specific donors or contributors.

The threads of the nonprofit are still coming together. It is waiting for official approval for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) nonprofit status.

It formed its board this summer, Baruah said, and within the last month added new members: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. Phil Bertolini, Oakland County’s deputy executive and CIO, is signed on in an advisory role.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has been invited, Baruah said. Anderson said he’s confident Oakland County will be eager to contribute when it sees “good work being done.”

Patterson incensed many in the community in August when he said he’d “rather join the Klan” than pay dues to the new business attraction group. For him, the organization appears to represent a threat to county autonomy and its ability to lure companies. But economists argue a united regional strategy is more efficient, Crain’s has reported.

Patterson hasn’t said yes or no to joining the board, Bertolini told Crain’s. “Mr. Patterson is going to keep an eye on it … and see where it goes,” he said. “We want to see how the organization gets formed, where it goes, its mission and how it operates before he becomes part of the board.”

The county leadership was concerned about the group advocating for Detroit over other communities, Bertolini said. It is supportive of the group acting as “neutral broker for the region,” though, he said.

As a united front and marketer of the region’s potential, the entity needs a catchy name.

A “public partner council” made up of leaders of economic development organizations has started that process, Baruah said. Matherly will also weigh in.

Matherly earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech University, according to the Richmond-area development group, the Greater Richmond Partnership. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Now teaches regional economic development there, is on the institute’s board and is head of its curriculum.

He was also chair of the International Economic Development Council, and aims to implement his global experience while traveling often for the new role.

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Nameless regional economic group launches, selects CEO

November 1, 2018 

The Detroit News

By: Breana Noble

A group of 15 CEOs from Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber have launched an unnamed regional economic entity dedicated to spurring job growth.

Barry Matherly, who heads a similar organization in Richmond, Virginia, will serve as the nonprofit’s CEO starting Jan. 3, working to attract out-of-state and international companies to the 11-county region. The organization will fill a need to attract new businesses to the region and create a single point of entry to connect businesses interested in opening up shop with the right resources.

“Site consultants have been pretty clear that you need to get a group like this to make your region much easier for businesses to enter,” said Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Co. CEO who leads the CEO group. “It’s really a place that is going to help bring new investment and make it much easier to enter. That’s our job.”

The nonprofit will spin off from the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Destination Detroit business attraction program that operates off $750,000 per year. Five people currently work in the program and the plan is to expand that up to 20 employees.

“The intent or the goal is to increase our capacity to attract new business investment and jobs into the 11-county Detroit region,” said Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber CEO. “We’re doing that now. We want to do more of it.”

The informal group of CEOs, known as the Regional CEO Group, consists of leaders from the largest companies in the region including Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., Quicken affiliate Rock Ventures, Ilitch Holdings Inc., health-care systems and major foundations. They meet quarterly at DTE headquarters in Detroit to identify areas they can affect with funding and leadership: transit, job training, public place-making and economic development across Southeast Michigan.

Anderson said private corporations and foundations initially will fund the nonprofit, though he said he expects the public sector eventually will contribute, as well. Based on similarly sized regional economic development organizations, he said the target investment for the nonprofit is about $6 million.

Following a nationwide search, Matherly comes from the Greater Richmond Partnership, which covers the city of Richmond and three surrounding counties. During its 2017–2018 fiscal year, the partnership helped to create 20 economic development projects and 1,623 new jobs.

A certified economic developer, Matherly has more than 24 years of leadership experience and previously served as the chair of the International Economic Development Council, the largest economic development association in the world.

“The chance to build a region is just intoxicating to me,” he said. “That was one of the big drivers to be able to work in Southeast Michigan with a lot of people who want to have a very successful regional economic group.”

Matherly said his first steps will be to conduct a month-long “listen and learn tour” as he familiarizes himself with the Southeast Michigan business community. Anderson said he hopes the preliminary structure of the group will take shape by the end of the first quarter. Matherly said efforts will include increased marketing to raise the region’s profile and growing a pipeline of companies.

“Thank goodness Detroit has an excellent hub there with connections across the country and world,” he said.

In the meantime, market research efforts and collaboration are taking place to select a name for the nonprofit. Matherly said one will be chosen over the next three months.

Anderson will lead the nonprofit’s board that will grow overtime. So far it includes Baruah and Mayor Mike Duggan as well as Charles “Chip” McClure, the managing partner at Michigan Capital Advisors, and Ray Telang, greater Michigan managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Detroit Regional Chamber chair. Macomb and Wayne County executives Mark Hackel and Warren Evans are also on it. Phil Bertolini, Oakland County deputy executive, will serve in an advisory role.

Bertolini said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is open to joining the board, though he is waiting to see how the group is formed and how it performs.

“We are very involved in the group,” Bertolini, however, said. “We are using the resources, and we are working with them.”

The CEO group made headlines in August when Patterson told reporters that he would sooner “join the Klan” than join the effort. He later apologized and changed course in September, telling The Detroit News that he was sending representatives from the county to a meeting for the group.

The tipping point, Bertolini said, was a meeting earlier this month between Anderson and Patterson.

“Early on, we were concerned it was being formed to strictly focus on the city of Detroit,” Bertolini said. “They’ve assured us that’s not the case, that they’ll be a neutral broker to all of the region. It’s important for us to be there to ensure that’s actually happening.”

Bertolini said Oakland County’s own economic development efforts have brought in nearly $5 billion in investment since 2004. He said the county would like the group to be transparent and provide new leads for economic growth.

“What success is going to look like is increased development opportunities,” Bertolini said, “and more jobs brought to the region.”

The 11 counties the nonprofit will serve are Genesee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Shiawassee, St. Claire, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Anderson said he expects representatives from all the counties will hold a board position or serve on a board committee.

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DTE Energy’s Gerry Anderson and Meritor’s Chip McClure to Co-Chair Detroit Regional Chamber Economic Development Campaign

MACKINAC ISLAND, May 29, 2012 – Today, at the start of the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber unveiled the “Detroit Regional Prosperity Campaign,” a new regional economic development campaign to drive economic development and investment in Detroit and Southeast Michigan. The campaign will be co-chaired by DTE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Gerry Anderson and Meritor, Inc. Chairman, CEO and President Chip McClure who joined Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah for the announcement on the porch of the historic Grand Hotel.

“As a Detroit-based business, DTE Energy has a significant and vested interest in the economic health of Michigan, and in particular, Southeast Michigan where our headquarters are located,” Anderson said. “We have long supported unified economic development efforts in the region, and I look forward to helping the Detroit Regional Chamber with this new initiative.”

McClure noted, “as Chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber, I’m pleased that we’ve made moving the economic needle in the region our top priority.  I’m proud of the energy and resources we are putting forth to make this a reality and I’m equally proud of the collaborative nature in which the Chamber is progressing.”

The “Detroit Regional Prosperity Campaign” will focus on presenting and marketing Southeast Michigan to economic development and investment prospects.  A key component of this effort will be strategic collaboration with regional governments and economic development entities to ensure coordinated efforts that minimize duplication.  Activities will include regional marketing strategy and materials, coordinated national and international investment missions, and close collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

“Our region needs to be more than the sum of its parts. We have tremendous assets in the Detroit region, but we need an aggressive and coordinated effort to take advantage of the opportunities available in the 21st century global marketplace,” Baruah said. “I am pleased and honored to have Gerry Anderson and Chip McClure to help lead this campaign.”

The “Detroit Regional Prosperity Campaign” has a goal of raising a minimum of $2 million annually in private sector funding to support regional economic development.  DTE Energy is a long-time supporter of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s economic development programs and Chip McClure of Meritor is the Chairman of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Detroit Regional Chamber works in partnership with other economic development entities on four key activities that attract, retain and grow business and job creation in Southeast Michigan:

Business Attraction – Leverages Detroit and Southeast Michigan’s assets to attract world-class talent and business investment. The Chamber accompanied and supported Governor Rick Snyder on his international trade missions to Asia (2011) and Europe (2012).

Connection Point – Links small to mid-sized leading-edge Michigan suppliers with large multi-national corporations to expand their customer portfolio.  In the last 12 months, Connection Point participants have received over $139.6 million in bid package opportunities for new business.

MICHauto – Newly launched trade association dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan.  An advisory committee comprised of leading auto industry CEOs has been established and activities, including a business conditions study, are in progress.

Translinked – Aims to capitalize on Southeast Michigan’s rich assets in transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) to create a cluster of excellence.  The Chamber has been a leading voice for transportation and TDL investment and coordination and is playing a key role in the region and with the MEDC to accelerate this initiative.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference
The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event founded in 1981 – brings together top leadership in business and government to re-energize Michigan.  Approximately 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2012 Conference, held May 29 – May 31 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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