Mayor Duggan: Detroit Depends on 2020 Census and Growth of Neighborhoods

Mayor Mike Duggan stopped by the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference for a conversation with Conference Chair and CEO of Ignition Media Group Dennis W. Archer Jr. before heading to Lansing to watch Gov. Gretchen Whitmer give her second annual State of the State address. Duggan talked General Motor Co.’s recent announcement, Detroit’s neighborhoods, and the 2020 census during his interview with Archer. 

The pair discussed the change in direction for General Motors with the reveal of its $2.2 billion investment in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, to create 2,200 jobs, a turnaround from its plant closings that took place last year. Duggan shared that he spoke to General Motors CEO Mary Barra on the phone during news of the closings and told her that he thought the company needed to make an investment somewhere, even with the risk involved. 

“You are going to have to make a big bet on the cars in future automated vehicles that come in,” Duggan reiterated from his phone conversation with Barra. “It’s going to be a scary, risky time for General Motors. Why wouldn’t you want it in the city of Detroit where you’ve been headquarters a hundred years?” 

Duggan said he was pleased when General Motors changed course and made the investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, its first all-electric devoted plant set to build the autonomous Cruise Origin shuttle and an all-electric pickup. These technologies guarantee reduced gas emissions and accidents on the road, Duggan noted.  

Along with the influence of corporate investment in the city, Duggan also emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship in its neighborhoods, and how Detroit can better foster businesses just starting out. 

“We’ve got FCA, we’ve got Ford, we’ve got GM with billion-dollar investments in thousands of jobs, but what about the entrepreneur?” asked Duggan. “Particularly the African American entrepreneur from the city of Detroit.” 

There was once a time where the city’s neighborhoods had shopping districts that people could walk or bike to, Duggan recalled, adding that he wants to continue building vibrant commercial districts. 

“In the last 12 months 13 new businesses have opened – every one of them black owned.” 

While Detroit’s success is dependent on the health of its neighborhoods, it is also reliant on Detroiters themselves. With estimates that Detroit was undercounted in the 2010 census by around 30,000 people, ensuring an accurate count for 2020 is a top priority. Undercounting Detroit means losing money for school lunches, Medicaid, development programs, and more. 

“The minority undercount is very real, which means that our community has to have that much more effort,” Duggan added. “You need trust across the city.” 

Thank you to MotorCity Casino Hotel for sponsoring this session.

Read more about this session on Fox 2 Detroit and The Detroit News.


February 24: Chamber Applauds Customs Plaza Deal; Watch the Detroit Policy Conference Live

Chamber Applauds Deal to Fund Customs Plaza for New International Trade Crossing

The Detroit Regional Chamber applauds last week’s deal between the United States and Canada to build a new customs plaza in Detroit for the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), marking one of the last hurdles before construction on the bridge begins. This deal would not have been possible without the leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), whose support for the customs plaza provided a major boost in securing the government funding needed to build the critical infrastructure.

The construction of the NITC has been the Chamber’s top public policy priority. Last year, the Chamber hosted U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Peters, Stabenow and other high-ranking officials for a roundtable discussion on customs plazas at high-volume trade crossings.

The NITC is an investment in Michigan’s future that will lead directly to tangible economic growth by boosting trade, creating jobs and strengthening the Michigan and U.S. economies.

Watch the Detroit Policy Conference Live Online; Join the Conversation, #DPC15

Can’t make it to the Detroit Policy Conference? The Detroit Regional Chamber will live stream main stage programming online throughout the day on Feb. 26 beginning at 8:30 a.m. courtesy of Red Level Networks.  To view the free live stream on Thursday, visit Join in on the conversations taking place throughout the day and be part of the dialogue shaping Detroit’s success by using the hashtag #DPC15 on Twitter.

Conference registration is available online or on the day of the event at MotorCity Casino Hotel. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with key members of Detroit city government and hear keynote speeches from Mayor Mike Duggan and urban strategist and bestselling author Peter Kageyama during a day dedicated to Detroit’s success.

In addition to keynote speeches, attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with a number of community influencers during concurrent sessions throughout the Conference. Sessions will focus on topics related to continuing Detroit’s resurgence, including the revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods, entrepreneurship, education reform and regional transportation. For information about the Conference agenda and speakers, and to register, click here.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Doris Kearns Goodwin to Keynote Mackinac Policy Conference

World-renowned presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former presidential adviser Doris Kearns Goodwin will deliver a keynote address at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference, held May 26-29 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. This year’s Conference focuses on the pillars of talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

As one of the world’s leading presidential scholars, Goodwin will share her expertise on the composition of effective leaders. Her insight fits with the Conference pillar of cohesion, which aims to inspire a commitment among Michigan’s leaders to speak with “One Michigan Voice” built on a foundation of shared values and the overarching ethos of “doing well, by doing good.”

Goodwin is the author of six critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books, including her award-winning “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” which provided some basis for Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln.” Goodwin also won the Pulitzer Prize in history for “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.” She also served as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House.

Register today to be part of the state’s premier public policy event. Prices increase on March 17. Click here to view updated speaker, agenda or Conference information.

‘CBS This Morning’ Highlights JPMorgan Chase Detroit Investment, Mayor Duggan’s Leadership

“CBS This Morning” recently highlighted Detroit’s resurgence in a story showcasing JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s five-year $100-million investment in the city and the leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan that helped guide Detroit out of bankruptcy.

Since announcing its plan to support the city’s revitalization last year, JPMorgan Chase has spent roughly $34 million to help fix up dilapidated downtown buildings, grow small businesses and support the construction of the M-1 Rail project. In the story, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon credits the mayor’s leadership and highlights the important role of public-private partnerships in building the city’s comeback and improving the lives of people across the region. Click here to read the article.

February 3: Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

Chamber Hosts Kick Off of Mayor’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program to Rally Employers to Connect Youth with Jobs

The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a kick-off breakfast for Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program on Jan. 27. The program connects Detroit youths with summer jobs through participating businesses and creates sustainable career pathways. Speakers at the event included Tonya Allen, CEO of The Skillman Foundation; former Mayor Dave Bing; Mayor Duggan; and Ed Egnatios, program director for neighborhoods at The Skillman Foundation.

Duggan said the goal of the program is to unite existing job programs across the city and to better prepare students for professional careers and put them on a path toward success. In its first year, the Mayor challenged employers to hire 5,000 Detroit residents ages 14-24 between June and August.

The Chamber is co-chairing the program and has pledged to match 500 students with jobs. Eligible students are recruited through Detroit schools, community organizations and the initiative’s program partners, including The Skillman Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program pairs candidates with employers based on interest and ability.

The GDYT program was first announced at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, and support for the program is a Conference To-Do List item. For more information, or to sign up as a participating business, email

Business Attraction, MICHauto Testify on Priorities at Commerce Committee Hearing in Lansing

Detroit Regional Chamber executives testified in front of the Michigan House Commerce Committee last week to provide newly sworn in members of the Legislature an overview of the Chamber’s economic development programs. The testimony comes as the Chamber’s advocacy team continues to partner with lawmakers in support of the bipartisan pro-growth policy needed to create the best possible economic climate in Michigan.

Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development, highlighted the Chamber’s role as the voice for business attraction in the Detroit region, noting that Detroit is a more recognized brand internationally than Michigan. Glenn Stevens, vice president of MICHauto and strategic development, showcased Michigan’s continued role as the global epicenter of the auto industry and MICHauto’s role in preserving, protecting and growing the industry across the state. Brad Williams, vice president of government relations, also highlighted the emerging positive relationship between the city of Detroit and leaders in Lansing leading to the passage of the Grand Bargain last spring.

Cindy Pasky at Inside the CEO Mind: Business Growth Requires Strong Leaders, Innovation

Learning how to anticipate and adapt to changing customer needs is a key component for business success. That’s the message that Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) and former Detroit Regional Chamber Board chairwoman, conveyed to nearly 60 attendees at the Chamber’s Inside the CEO Mind series at the Detroit Athletic Club last week.

Pasky, whose company will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October, has grown S3 from a small start up to the 16th largest woman-owned staffing firm in the United States with 31 branches and more than 2,000 employees. A major factor in that success, Pasky said, is due to a customer-centered mentality across the organization and a diversified workforce that increasingly targets military veterans.

She said entrepreneurs have to be “intentional leaders” and show customers and staff that they care, have the courage to make tough decisions, create a sincere culture and engage customers in that culture.

“The way you grow your business is to know your numbers, costs and customers intimately,” Pasky said.

Inside the CEO Mind will continue on Feb. 10 featuring Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas. Hear the inside story that compelled the university to open its Detroit Center. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

‘Yes’ Vote for Road Funding Top Priority in Chamber Appearance on WJR’s Paul W. Smith Show from Lansing

Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, appeared on WJR 760’s Paul W. Smith Show last week in Lansing to discuss the Chamber’s advocacy efforts on transportation funding as part of its top 10 policy priorities for 2015.

Williams said fixing Michigan’s roads is a crucial economic and safety issue and spreading awareness and advocating for a “yes” vote will dominate the advocacy team’s agenda leading up to the May 5 ballot initiative. The Chamber will also continue to support policies that allow for the completion of the M-1 Rail, the development and implementation of the Regional Transit Authority’s strategy, the New International Trade Crossing and other high-impact transportation projects.

As Detroit continues to rebuild, Williams said supporting legislation that assists the city in managing its emergence from bankruptcy also remains a top priority, as well as education reform and accessibility. Click here to listen to the interview.