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DETROITER October 2017


Respect: Forging Detroit's Path Forward Together

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones rewrite script on city government by leveraging cordial relationships, open communication and diverse opinions

12 Michigan Delegation: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics Michigan's congressional leaders set aside differences to achieve results

14 A Match Made in Hardship

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley find common ground by advancing opportunities for workers with disabilities

22 From Adversaries to Allies

Lessons and warnings from Michigan's brief era of bipartisan House control

24 Bringing Civility Back to Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard and Democratic Leader Sam Singh practice respect and compromise to bridge party lines

26 Civility 101

Michigan Political Leadership Program puts politeness back into politics

15 Accentuating the Positive

28 Leading Detroit Into 2067

16 Toward Compromise: Michigan's Good Jobs Coalition

29 Escaping the Echo Chamber

18 Bridging the Bias

32 Leadership Detroit XXXVIII Rewind

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver reaches across the aisle to solve water crisis

State's economic development, business, labor and government leaders set aside differences to support incentives for high-paying jobs

The Center for Michigan's Bridge magazine launches News Bubble Swap to foster empathy, widen perspectives

20 Restoring Civility Across America

National thought leaders call for greater civility in political discourse

Diverse committee of leaders look to the city's past to move toward a better future

'No easy answers' in dealing with misinformation and polarization on social media

The Detroit Regional Chamber's leadership program shapes and supports the region's aspiring leaders

33 Leadership Detroit Reflections

Class XXXVIII reflects on their experiences after graduation

Volume 108, Number 3 Publisher Tammy Carnrike, CCE Managing Editor Megan Spanitz Editor Daniel Lai Associate Editor Tiffany M. Jones Copy Editor Audrey LaForest Photographers Jacob Lewkow Courtesy photos Cover Design Melissa Knapp Advertising Director Jim Connarn Advertising Representative Laurie Scotese Custom Publishing and Design Michelle Percival Back Issues 313.596.0391

Published by Detroit Regional Chamber Services Inc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission. Detroiter (ISSN 0011-9709) is published four times a year (Jan, June, Sept and Dec) by the Detroit Regional Chamber, One Woodward Avenue, Suite 1900 PO Box 33840, Detroit MI 48232-0840, Phone: (313)964-4000. Periodical postage paid at Detroit MI Subscription price: members, $14: nonmembers, $18. Individual copies: $4; plus postage. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Detroiter, One Woodward Avenue, Suite 1900, P.O. Box 33840, Detroit MI 48232-0840. Copyright 2007, Detroit Regional Chamber Services Inc.


DETROITER October 2017

CIVILITY. Compromise. COMMUNITY. Despite our differences, we all have the same say in our representative democracy By Sandy K. Baruah


ach year at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference, our agenda focuses on three distinct themes. For 2017, the theme that stood out was restoring civility in American politics. This element of the Conference garnered more attention and press coverage than the other two timely issues on the agenda and was the issue most of the event’s high-profi le speakers touched upon. As a result, the Chamber made civility a yearlong “To Do” item coming out of the Conference. This issue of the Detroiter is part of the effort. The articles in this edition focus on civility and collaboration, and how these values have helped good things happen for Detroit and Michigan. On the cover, we are pleased to highlight Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Council President Brenda Jones. Duggan and Jones embody what it means to work collaboratively, treat each other with respect, while maintaining core principles. It’s not that they don’t disagree, it’s that they have found a way to work together despite disagreements and craft compromises that allow the business of Detroit to move forward. Compromise; when did this become a dirty word? While we all have our own biases and preferences, when did our society forget that no one perspective will – or should – prevail all the time. In fact, it is the competition of ideas and perspectives that make our community work. Even though I am a Republican, I readily acknowledge that our communities are better and

our society stronger thanks to the leadership and contribution of Democrats and those more liberal than me. Their work has moved our nation closer to the ideals of a “more perfect union” and “justice for all.” This is the essence of what it means to be a community. Regardless if you are talking about neighborhood, city, nation or even the world, we are all part of a community – several communities, in fact. The word “community” is derived from the Latin “communitas,” which means “shared in common.” Things shared in common require compromise. If I share a bowl of tater tots with you, by defi nition, I cannot consume all of them (even though I would desperately want to). Our larger society works on that same principle. It is also important to recognize that as different as we all are – the Texas oil rig roughneck, the Subarudriving environmentalist in Maine, the Silicon Valley VC titan, and all the other 320 million Americans – we all have the same say in our representative democracy. How can any single perspective be expected to prevail among 320 million diverse individuals? While we all secretly wish we could rule the world, the reality is that we are all part of a large and diverse community. Achieving success in our community requires compromise – and it is hard to achieve compromise without first creating an environment of civility. Sandy K. Baruah is the president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.


DETROITER October 2017



ivility. The ability to rise above partisan ideology to humbly consider the differences in opinion of others as equal human beings. It is necessary for a free and democratic society to thrive. It is the synergist that sparks spirited debate and collaboration. Restoring civility is not only vital to successful political participation, but to the economic and social health of communities across the country. Building on a key theme at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference to encourage business and civic leaders to shape public discourse to restore the art of compromise for progress in today’s polarized political environment, these stories take a closer look at how our leaders work together. In that regard, Michigan is leading the way — whether it is forging bipartisan partnerships or coming to the table on key economic development incentives to create good-paying jobs. While there is clear progress, we cannot stop. To underscore the importance of civility, this issue of the Detroiter also serves as the first component of a multifaceted yearlong campaign led by the Detroit Regional Chamber and announced at the 2017 Conference to encourage civility in political discourse across the region.

DETROITER October 2017


“To make it blunt, I view this lack of civility as one of the greatest risks to our country.” - Gov. Rick Snyder


DETROITER October 2017

RESPECT: Forging Detroit's

Path Forward


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones rewrite script on city government by leveraging cordial relationships, open communication and diverse opinions By Tom Walsh


uring the past decade, Detroit suffered not only economic calamity, but was also derided for having one of the nation’s most dysfunctional city governments. A former mayor and council president were imprisoned and YouTube videos of screaming matches at City Hall went viral. That changed in late 2013 when Detroiters elected a new mayor, Mike Duggan, and a mostly new city council, with Brenda Jones emerging as council president. Following Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the Motor City’s new leadership forged a cooperative relationship. In an exclusive interview with the Detroiter, Mayor Duggan and Council President Jones discussed the importance of civil discourse and the positive results it has produced for the city. You and your colleagues do not always agree on every issue, but you have managed to function as partners without public squabbling. How do you do it?

Mike Duggan: A big part of why I ran was the fact that city leaders were creating a national embarrassment for Detroit: the mayor fighting with the council, the mayor fighting with Lansing, the mayor fighting with the unions. I’d get messages from friends around the country, saying, ‘What is wrong?’ And I think Brenda Jones had the same experiences. Brenda Jones: More important than anything is respect and professional courtesy. This is my third term on the council. I ran for office because I had watched council and I did not like what I was watching. My mother always taught me, ‘You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.’ I wanted to see change. And having the opportunity to make that change, that’s exactly what I did. The mayor and I will be the first ones to tell you that we don’t always agree. But we do know how to disagree in a professional manner. Nobody wants to see anybody fighting.

DETROITER October 2017

How did you get everyone on the same page regarding civility? Mike Duggan: Right after the election, we sat down and it wasn’t a hard conversation. We both agreed that the best thing that could happen would be for the mayor and the council to be working together. I’ve worked really hard at it and I think (Brenda Jones) worked really hard at it. Brenda Jones: It’s very simple. I’m the president now – and when you are the leader, you set the standard of having a good working relationship. I was able to do just that. We had five new council members coming in, eager to learn, and we set standards of what you expect and what you can live with and tolerate. I had a conversation with Mayor Duggan about this, prior to me becoming president. And I did say to several of my colleagues that we can agree to disagree, we don’t have to fight in public. It’s important to walk the talk, so my example was important. What do you accomplish when you blow off steam publicly with each other? How do you communicate effectively and avoid surprises? Mike Duggan: I have had regularly scheduled lunches, oneon-one, with each of the council members. They all have my cell phone number and don’t hesitate to use it. That’s the way it should be. I also have the benefit of the first city council in decades where seven of the nine members were elected by district. You had a number of council members who got elected by knocking on doors, who never could have got elected in the citywide name identity contest. As a result, I think they were very much in tune with their constituents, so we came in closely aligned in what we were trying to do. Brenda Jones: One thing I stressed to Mayor Duggan was that, at times in the past with me and every other mayor, all too often we did not have a conversation until it was time for a critical vote and they wanted to get my vote. I think that’s too late, so I said to the mayor, ‘Why don’t you have coffee or lunch with council members, maybe quarterly?’ I know he did it with me. What do the council members want from the mayor? Mike Duggan: They always have asks. Raquel Castañeda-López has been a very forceful advocate for making immigrants feel welcome. She pushed us toward the “Welcoming City” standard. We are hiring more bilingual staff as a result. Janeé Ayres has been very passionate about opportunities for returning citizens. Scott Benson has been a very forceful advocate for community benefits and was an author of the community benefits ordinance. So, each of the council members has their own priorities and initiatives. Sometimes I don’t agree with them, but what we try to do is when they come up with an issue that’s important to them, we try to make it work. How have council members helped shape initiatives to improve services, such as turning on the streetlights? Mike Duggan: The Lighting Authority is jointly appointed by the mayor and the council. When I came into office in January 2014, the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, had intended to appoint the new board members. So, I went to him and said I’ll take responsibility on this. He said, ‘If you and council can agree in the first month on which five to appoint, fine – otherwise I’m going to appoint them.’ It took us about a week to work that out, and



DETROITER October 2017

it was one of the great successes in the city, putting up 65,000 lights in two years. It was something the mayor and council did together – not a lot of bickering, not a lot of drama, we just got it done.

(From left) Mike Ilitch School of Business Dean Robert Forsythe, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Mayor Mike Duggan, Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Christopher Ilitch, Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, and former Wayne State University Board of Governors Chair Gary Pollard participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mike Ilitch School of Business. Photo courtesy of Wayne State University.

Brenda Jones: A lot of things were already in the works before I became president and Mike Duggan became mayor, so it was important that we work together to get things done. I think the bankruptcy gave us the money we needed to get better services for the citizens.

the community about developers making promises that didn’t happen. As far as the ordinance that was passed in a public vote (as Proposal B, applying to projects $75 million and larger), there are not a lot of projects that meet the criteria. So, there are things that need to be improved. Frankly, there are people who feel that they are being pushed out of their communities with developments coming into the city. And that’s why they so strongly pushed for a say-so.

The community benefits ordinance was an issue where opinions differed on what types of projects and project size would be subject to discussion with community groups about things such as local hiring and affordable housing. Are you satisfied with the progress? Mike Duggan: I think most people today would say this ordinance has worked out very well. Six or seven projects have already gone through without nastiness and hostility. Some people thought the ordinance wasn’t going to cover any projects – it’s covered far more than anybody expected – and some people thought it would grind development to a halt, and it hasn’t done that. Every project that’s gone through the process has been approved relatively quickly and with strong community support. Brenda Jones: I began working on this about six years ago, in response to concerns from

What about the issue of the two Detroits and the disparities between downtown and the neighborhoods? Do you feel city council and the mayor’s administration are aligned on development plans going forward? Mike Duggan: I think the council and I are completely committed to rebuilding the neighborhoods. Look at the magnitude of it. In the 13 years from 2000 to 2013, 260,000 people moved out of Detroit, an astonishing number. Almost 30 percent of the city left in that time – and none of them took their house with them. So, when this council and I came in 2014, we were dealing with a population loss that’s never been experienced in America, absent a natural disaster.

So, we are trying to recover from 260,000 people leaving their homes, and we are making progress neighborhood by neighborhood. Our polling is showing 72 percent of the city thinks the city’s headed in the right direction, which is a number you won’t see in very many places in America. I think most Detroiters understand the magnitude of what the city faced and we’re working very steadily. It’s not going as fast as I would like, or as fast as anybody would like, but I think most people give us credit for the progress we’ve made. Brenda Jones: It’s important to concentrate on the neighborhoods just as much as we have concentrated on downtown and Midtown. I do think the mayor understands that the neighborhoods are important. But I think the message that is not getting out clear enough is that we cannot develop every neighborhood at one time. We must do everything it takes to make everyone feel that there is one Detroit. It’s going to take some time to build back. I do think it’s going to happen. Tom Walsh is a metro Detroit freelance writer and former columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

DETROITER October 2017

CHAMPIONS of Civility Celebrating the partnerships and people who are setting aside partisan politics to move Michigan forward


uilding on a key theme and discussions at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber is kicking off a yearlong campaign to encourage civility in political discourse. As a component of the campaign, the Detroiter is highlighting the partnerships and people who truly embody the values of decorum and respect for others as exhibited through their dayto-day actions. Dubbed “Champions of Civility,” these individuals demonstrate how they are setting aside partisan differences and can “disagree without being disagreeable” with the goal of working together for the common purpose to move Michigan forward. Whether it is reaching across the aisle to secure federal funding to upgrade the Soo Locks, collaborating on legislation to incentivize good-paying jobs in Michigan, or forging friendships to fight for individuals with disabilities, respect and civility are key ingredients. These five stories showcase the Chamber’s effort to publicly celebrate those Michiganders it believes consistently rise above the political fray to set a positive example for our state and country.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s yearlong campaign encourages civility in political discourse. These partnerships and people dubbed “Champions of Civility” are setting aside partisan ideologies and working together to move Michigan forward. Pictured (top to bottom) the Michigan congressional delegation at the Soo Locks, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein at the New York City Marathon, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, the Good Jobs for Michigan Coalition bill signing ceremony, and Center for Michigan President and CEO John Bebow, who led Bridge magazine's News Bubble Swap challenge.





DETROITER October 2017

Michigan Delegation: Moving Beyond


Michigan's Booming Development Michigan’s congressional leaders set aside differences to achieve results By Greg Tasker

U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI 14) speaks at a press conference with members of the Michigan congressional delegation following a bipartisan tour of the Soo Locks.


hen issues before Congress impact Michigan — whether it is moving the state forward economically or environmentally, or helping a beleaguered community — members of the state’s congressional delegation are known for setting aside partisan differences and working together. In the past year, Republican and Democratic delegation members have unified to support federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, pursue money for the construction of a new Soo Lock, and secure dollars to help fix Flint’s drinking water infrastructure. “In focusing on Michigan, all of our delegation — no matter what our partisan affiliation or philosophy — cares about our state,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “On things that really, really matter to us like protecting the Great Lakes or bringing in the funding for a new Soo Lock, which affects the entire economy of Michigan and the country, our members are willing to come together.”

U.S. Representative Dave Trott (R-MI 11), whose district includes northwestern Wayne and southwestern Oakland counties, agreed with Stabenow, adding that there are many opportunities for members of both sides of the political fence to unify. “I believe, in our delegation, we have the mindset that before we’re Republicans or Democrats, first and foremost, we’re Michiganders. There’s so much more that unites us than divides us as the Great Lakes State, the heartland of American innovation and the home of our nation’s domestic auto industry,” Trott said. As another example, Stabenow pointed to the growing interest and research in autonomous vehicles. The entire delegation, she said, was behind efforts to persuade the Obama administration to designate the historic Willow Run site, home to the American Center for Mobility, as a national proving ground for self-driving cars — a move that keeps Michigan at the forefront of autonomous vehicle research.

Delegation members were hard-pressed to pinpoint a major issue in which they had to overcome partisan differences. “… Members of our delegation put aside partisan politics, rolled up our sleeves, worked together and did the right thing for our state,” said U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI 6). The civility among delegation members, Upton has found, begins with their own personal beliefs and how they regard people in general. “I’m a big believer in listening to all perspectives and trying to do the right thing for Michigan and the country,” Upton said. “We can disagree, but let’s not be disagreeable. At the end of the day both sides are here in Congress to try and make a difference and improve people’s lives.” It’s a philosophy shared by other members, too. “I will not demonize another member. I think relationships matter,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12).

DETROITER October 2017


Dingell, who was elected in 2014, wrote her master’s thesis on civility in Congress while she was a student at Georgetown University in the 1990s. In that era, politicians spent more time mingling and socializing at events beyond Capitol Hill. These days, they are more likely to hightail it out of the nation’s capital. “I view people as my friend, and I think if you know someone it’s much harder to demonize them,” Dingell said. “I think we need to set the tone for how we believe we should be treating each other. We need to treat others with respect.” Michigan’s lawmakers said they are more likely to find themselves at odds with their congressional colleagues outside of the state. When it came to funding for Flint’s drinking water infrastructure, for instance, there were considerable negotiations with out-of-state Republicans whose districts also had pressing needs, Stabenow recalled. “You have to look at what someone else is trying to accomplish and how you can make it a win-win situation,” Stabenow said. Again, civility played a role. “First of all, it’s my belief that we don’t get anything done when we don’t work together,” Stabenow added. “I don’t have to agree with

In June, members of the Michigan congressional delegation joined Gov. Rick Snyder on a bipartisan tour of the Soo Locks.

someone on every issue to work with them on one issue. That philosophy has served me well, and I’ve been able to get a lot of things done across the aisle over the years.” Whether it is civility, the ability to put partisan differences aside or simple work ethic, Upton said the Michigan congressional delegation is special.

“We constantly communicate and interact with each other,” he said. “We all have a common bond and that is being from a state that prides itself on hard work, common sense and doing right by your family, friends and neighbors. At the end of the day, that’s probably why we get along: we put Michigan first.” Greg Tasker is a metro Detroit freelance writer.



DETROITER October 2017

A Match


Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley find common ground by advancing opportunities for workers with disabilities By Dawson Bell

and practical obstacles she faced began when he already held elective office. “It occurred to me that if the lieutenant governor has this much trouble navigating the system, what happens to ordinary folks?" Calley said. Thus began a mission to broaden assistance and opportunity for the disabled as Gov. Rick Snyder's point man on the issue. Initially, the focus was aimed at developing more inclusive hiring practices for state agencies. That changed, however, after Calley, having read about Bernstein's personal experience and advocacy during the latter's campaign for the Supreme Court, sought out the newly elected justice for counsel. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley work together to promote the benefit of hiring disabled workers.


n an earlier, more innocent age, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein might have been called soul mates. Consider how they refer to each other: “I consider him to be among my closest friends. He's a great human being,” said Calley about Bernstein. “I really like the lieutenant governor. We have a kind of kinship. He's someone who really gets it,” said Bernstein about Calley. That both men are high-ranking elected office holders with starkly different political worldviews who only met as adults when their partisan affiliations were already fully formed seems to matter hardly at all to either one. In the past, Bernstein identified himself “as oldschool Democrat," while Calley is a lifelong conservative Republican. “We're just two people that have these high-profile jobs," Bernstein said. “But all that means is that we've been given an opportunity to do things."

In an era in which many seem to regard political opponents as enemies to be scorned, Calley and Bernstein offer a refreshing, alternative approach. “Richard and I don't agree on probably most things, but we formed a friendship and a relationship about something we do agree on," Calley explained. That something is a commitment to the advancement of opportunity for the disabled. For each of them, the issue is both personal and profoundly important. Bernstein has been legally blind since birth. In 2012, he was struck by a bicyclist in New York City's Central Park and spent 10 weeks in the hospital recovering. After such severe physical challenges, Bernstein said, “You just don't see life the same way. You realize that life is bigger."

“He challenged me to broaden the scope, to include all employers," Calley said. Two years on, the unlikely pair have become regular collaborators on the MI Hidden Talent Tour, a series of events across the state at which decision-makers can learn about the benefits of hiring disabled workers. The duo has also become fast friends and exercise buddies, running the 2015 New York City Marathon together. “The key is intentionally finding areas of common goals and agreement, and building on them,” Calley said. Bernstein said he believes collaborative relationships like his with Calley can be replicated across the partisan divide. To achieve it, however, he cautions that political adversaries need a sense of humility, a realization “that no one person has all the answers."

Calley developed an appreciation of those challenges less directly. He grew up with a cousin who had Down syndrome and an aunt who was developmentally disabled. But the issue really hit home when his second child, Reagan — a daughter who is now 10 — was diagnosed with autism.

Calley said achieving greater comity in public life must start with individual participants recognizing that no one can control the actions of others.

His efforts to address Reagan's condition and maneuver through the labyrinth of medical

Detroit freelance writer.

“But I can control me,” he said. “Each of us can be part of making a fight bigger, or we can choose not to." Dawson Bell is a metro

DETROITER October 2017


ACCENTUATING Flint Mayor Karen Weaver reaches across the aisle to solve water crisis By James Amend

the Positive


ith a constituency suffering through one of the nation’s worst public health emergencies in a generation, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver would have every reason for incendiary and polarizing rhetoric, but the first-term politician chose otherwise. “I am angry,” Weaver admitted. “But you can use that anger in a positive way.” Weaver, a Democrat, was elected in 2015, just one year after the city’s drinking water crisis fully emerged. More than 100,000 residents, including up to 10,000 children, are thought to have been exposed to harmfully elevated levels of lead after the city switched its water sources without applying steps to ensure the new supply would not corrode pipes and cause contamination. Weaver swiftly declared a state of emergency after taking office, and Gov. Rick Snyder and then-President Barack Obama did the same at her insistence. Several government officials have subsequently resigned or been fired, and criminal cases have been filed against local and state officials.

But instead of blistering her predecessors, political rivals and peers for their perceived roles in failing to properly prevent or stem the crisis, Weaver determined the city would move forward quickly if its leadership could reach across the aisle. “We’ll get more done if we are not fussing and fighting,” Weaver said. Too much was at stake to do otherwise, she said. During the apex of the crisis, residents could not drink, cook or bathe with Flint’s water. They felt they had lost their voice in society, too, which stung nearly as much as the neglect to their health and gave the mayor additional reason to proceed judiciously. “When trust has been broken and you are bruised and you have had your voice taken away, there is a process you have to go through,” said Weaver, a clinical psychologist and entrepreneur before taking office. “People were angry, felt brushed off,” she added. “The emotional pathway oftentimes is more difficult than the work itself. You can apply a cost to the work. The human piece you can’t put a price tag on, and some people

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver joins workers replacing the city's corroded lead water pipes.

are affected more deeply than others and will take longer to heal. Others may never heal.” As for the work itself, Weaver’s administration worked with Republican and Democratic leaders to secure $25 million from the state of Michigan and $100 million in federal funds to launch the Fast Start pipe replacement initiative. The fourth phase of the program began in May and so far water service lines to 3,505 residences have been replaced. The goal is to update water lines to 6,000 homes this year and, ultimately, some 20,000 over the next several years. Weaver said that sort of progress would never have been made through the confrontation and bullying she considers far too prevalent in politics these days. “I’ve done a lot of work with the state under Republican leadership and it was difficult at first,” she admitted. “But sometimes you just have to put your differences aside for the greater good.” James Amend is a senior editor at WardsAuto in Southfield.



DETROITER October 2017

Toward Compromise:


GOOD JOBS COALITION State's economic development, business, labor and government leaders set aside differences to support incentives for high-paying jobs By Greg Tasker "It was powerful in that we all came together to help one another. It showed us that it's ok to bring your point of view to the table. Everyone's message was equally important and when you can fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together, that's powerful." — Matthew Gibb, Deputy Executive, Oakland County


he successful effort behind the Good Jobs for Michigan legislation (Senate Bills 242-246) passed by Michigan lawmakers this year stands as a noteworthy example of civility and bipartisanship in the oft-contentious world of politics. Advocates of the legislation, which will provide new economic incentives to lure large companies with high-paying jobs to the Great Lakes state, credit its success not only to the broad coalition behind the effort, but also their footwork before and during the legislative review process. “It started with ensuring an approach that was thoughtful and deliberative,” said state Senator Jim Stamas (R-District 36), the bills’ Senate sponsor. “We took the time to do our homework and assess what our communities needed, but also made sure we understood the landscape of what other states were doing so we could craft something that would be effective,

Gov. Rick Snyder signs the "Good Jobs" legislation into law with members of the coalition during a special ceremony in Rochester Hills.

accountable, have essential safeguards and ability to protect Michiganders.” The Good Jobs for Michigan coalition, led by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), was key in rallying bipartisan support for the legislation, which failed to pass under a similar measure a year earlier. The group included the Detroit Regional Chamber and 65 diverse statewide organizations, many of whom periodically disagree on political and other issues. The groups ranged from economic development agencies and chambers of commerce to trade unions and labor associations to city and county governments. “It was a well-thought-out and well-meaning group of people,” said Matthew Gibb, deputy

executive for Oakland County, who was among the proponents of the bill package. “It was powerful in that we all came together to help one another. It showed us that it’s okay to bring your point of view to the table. Everyone’s message was equally important, and when you can fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together, that’s powerful.” Issues were addressed throughout the process, with changes made to the legislation to make it as transparent as possible. Under the legislation, companies that fail to create the required number of jobs at higher wages do not receive incentives. “The coalition worked hard to address any outstanding concerns or questions about the

DETROITER October 2017


Senator Jim Stamas (R-District 36) and Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place at the committee testimony for the "Good Jobs" bill introduction.

Good Jobs package,” said Kelly Chesney, vice president of marketing and communications for BLM, the state’s business roundtable. “In most cases, it was just a matter of not being fully aware of all the details in the legislation.” There were hurdles, of course. After passing the Senate in March, the bill package hit a snag in the House. Speaker Tom Leonard (R-District 90) raised concerns about the political dealings behind the legislation and canceled a vote on it in June. A month later, Leonard, who remained opposed, allowed the bills on the House floor for a vote. The legislation passed by a wide margin. “It not only speaks to Leonard as a leader but also to this idea of civility in our government,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “He said it was something he didn’t intend to vote on, that it wasn’t right for the public, but let’s have a vote and let the chips fall where they may. That’s not something that happens.”

More often than not, when it comes to creating jobs in Michigan, business and labor interests and other organizations across the state “work as a team,” Williams and other advocates expressed. “It doesn’t sell many newspapers, but it needs to be recognized,” Williams said. “Sometimes adversaries can be partners for progress.”

Jobs are a nonpartisan issue, Williams added. “Everyone recognizes that creating good and high-paying jobs is crucial to Michigan’s future,” he said. “(This process) highlighted how well people could work together when you’re pursuing something that is in the best interest of the state.” Greg Tasker is a metro Detroit freelance writer.



DETROITER October 2017

Tom Herbon (left), the Charara family (center) and Aric Knuth and Jim Leija (right) all take part in Bridge magazine's "Michigan Divided" experiment, where people with different political backgrounds provide insight on their thoughts and frustrations.

Bridging THE BIAS

The Center for Michigan’s Bridge magazine launches News Bubble Swap to foster empathy, widen perspectives By Melissa Anders


taff at The Center for Michigan and Bridge magazine noticed a troubling trend following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As they met with Michiganders across the state, they realized the political divide was much wider than they originally thought. The meetings showed that people did not just disagree with the other side, they distrusted, disliked and, in some cases, even despised it. “From our point of view, it makes it very difficult to move forward as a state if we don’t have some basic level of trust and understanding,” said Ron French, senior writer at Bridge magazine. “We felt that this was the issue that we needed to work on.” The magazine is an online publication of the Center, a nonprofit “think and do” tank located just outside of Ann Arbor. The organization launched a yearlong project called “Michigan Divided,” in which it is following more than a dozen families to gain insight and explain the political gap, how it widened, and what can be done to minimize it. “What became apparent is that people were not working from the same basis of facts,” French said. “And if you don’t agree on some basic facts, then how can you come to

any sort of rational discussion about how to solve issues?” People seemed to be living in “news bubbles,” where most of the news they consumed came from sources they agreed with. To foster empathy and pierce those bubbles, Bridge had some Michigan residents swap news feeds for a week. A conservative from Troy listened to NPR and read The New York Times and Jezebel, while a liberal couple from Ann Arbor listened to The Patriot talk radio and read the Drudge Report.

“The biggest thing I gained from the experience was the realization of just how divided our country is right now,” said Kayla Miller of Kalamazoo. “On some level, I already knew that, but until really diving in, reading articles and especially looking through Facebook comments on these articles, did I really see how much hate so many people have for people on the other side of the aisle. It was disheartening.”

“It was a disaster,” French said of the experiment.

Yet Center President and CEO John Bebow said he was heartened by the large number of volunteers who signed up for the news swap and the thoughtful ways in which they grappled with the questions it raised.

He said the participants were good-natured about the swap, but totally disagreed with the other side’s news outlets. Both sides realized that if that is all the news the other person consumed, it is no wonder they would be so wrong about politics.

“Perhaps this is Pollyannaish given the chaos in Washington right now, but … perhaps the more people can walk in each other’s shoes, the better chance we have of eventually restoring a civil society in this country,” Bebow said.

The article went viral and within five hours of publishing it, Bridge decided to invite readers to participate. More than 230 people from 36 states and six countries signed up to swap news feeds, French said. They were asked where they get their news and were assigned sources opposite of what they normally read.

Bebow is not ready to announce details, but said his organization is developing plans for a statewide public engagement campaign to coincide with the 2018 election. Melissa Anders is a former metro Detroiter and freelance writer.

own political ideology to forge compromise for the greater good?

Respect, compromise and a willingness to listen to the other side are hallmarks of America. How individuals behave toward one another in politics and in everyday life is critical to the state and region’s economic progress and quality of life. Whether it is partnerships at the local level that lead to transformative change, such as Detroit’s Grand Bargain, statewide collaboration to protect and grow Michigan’s defense industry, or a willingness to reach across the aisle on legislation in Congress to protect the state’s automotive, agriculture, manufacturing and technology assets, time and time again, Michiganders are national models for civility and

progress. That progress begins with a commitment to come to the table and embrace a diversity of viewpoints — whether you agree with them or not. As part of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s yearlong campaign to encourage civic leaders to come together and shape public discourse to restore the art of compromise for progress in today’s polarized political environment, we want to hear from Chamber members. Do you know a person or group in your organization or community focused on bringing people together to collaborate and solve a problem? Is there a leader in your community who is setting aside their

Tell us who is working toward civility and restoring the art of compromise Visit

These stories of people and partnerships deserve to be recognized. Take a few minutes to nominate a champion of civility by visiting the Chamber’s website and These stories, as well as the ones featured in the Detroiter magazine, will be promoted throughout the year in the Chamber’s communication channels. By recognizing people and partnerships, we can begin to stem the tide of negativity that has impacted much of the country through celebrating the positive examples of what is possible when civic leaders can come together to improve our economy, make Michigan more competitive and generate opportunity for everyone.


DETROITER October 2017

RESTORING CIVILITY ACROSS A AMERICA National thought leaders call for greater civility in political discourse

t the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, Julie Winokur, executive director of Talking Eyes Media and director of “Bring It to the Table,” challenged attendees to think differently about political ideologies by “stepping into someone else’s shoes, exposing your own rhetoric for what it is, and genuinely understanding an alternate perspective.” During her keynote address, Winokur said it is easy to point fingers at Congress for its ineptitude. It is much harder, however, to take personal responsibility for how partisanship often blinds us. Echoing a key theme from the 2017 Conference, national voices across the country are united in calling for the restoration of civility in American politics.

“We want to serve the people who sent us to Washington to get things done for the American people. And we believe strongly in what we stand for. But we can disagree without being disagreeable. And the way we carry ourselves in our public debates is how we are represented to the American people – no matter how cordial we are behind closed doors.”­— U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-FL 13), on calling for a national day of civility.

“It’s fun to have a fight and it’s really fun to have a fight when you win, but now that we’ve won, it’s important to bring people on. We want to lift everyone up, regardless of their circumstances or their opinions.”­— Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. and keynote speaker at the 2008 Mackinac Policy Conference, following the results of the 2016 presidential election.

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“When people take time to really listen to others who are different from themselves, they often find that there is more in common than they might have thought, including finding ways to work for the greater good together.”­— Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans and keynote speaker at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, as part of the civility pledge signed at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Mayors.

“Be civil. The idea that you shout profanities at one another and expect the other guy or gal to respond like 'that's so nice of you, to call me a name,' this is horrible.” ­— Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and keynote speaker at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, during remarks at the 2017 OZY Fest in New York City.

“Internet anonymity is one of many reasons that civility has been drained from our public dialogue. The internet could have been built differently, and at some point maybe it will be, so that users would have a choice. You should be able to go to the part of the internet that’s anonymous. But you should also have the option to go to a secure layer that has verified identity and authentication. That would allow you to engage in discussions and read the comments of people who are willing to take responsibility for what they say. It would make for more civil discussions.”­— Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and keynote speaker at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, in an op-ed about the intersection of technology and journalism.

“I think Democrats ought to say, ‘We’d like to work with Republicans' and not just keep saying ‘no.’ (Otherwise) they would be hypocrites to engage in the same obstructionist behavior that President Obama was met with from day one by GOP lawmakers."—Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and keynote speaker at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, during on-air commentary discussing the Democratic Party’s strategy.



DETROITER October 2017

From Adversaries


Lessons and warnings from Michigan’s brief era of bipartisan House control By Rick Pluta


harp words and stark differences are nothing new in American politics, but in recent years it seems like the anger’s amped up.

There was a period when Michigan politicians were forced to adopt a cooperative spirit. Republicans and Democrats in the state House of Representatives had to give up their quest for dominance and work together on an equal footing. Voters statewide in 1992 surprised the nation by voting for the Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in 20 years, and by sending an equal number of Republicans and Democrats — 55 and 55 — to the state House. “We were forced to come together,” said Paul Hillegonds, CEO of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, who served as the Republican co-speaker during the session. The 1993-94 “shared power” session was very productive, including a landmark overhaul of the state’s school funding system. That period is looked back upon as an idyllic moment in Michigan political history, but it would not last. Still, there are lessons from that time that may be applicable to resolving some of today’s conflicts. Participants in the “shared power” session say relationships were key to making the arrangement work. The state’s term limits amendment still had not kicked in, so House members typically had long histories of working together in the prior years of Democratic control. “I think the culture was created because there were relationships,” said Kirk Profit, a Democrat who served as the co-chair of the House tax committee and has remained in Lansing as a lobbyist.

(From left) Paul Hillegonds and Cur tis Her tel Sr. pose for a photo during the opening of the “shared power” session of the Michigan House of Representatives. Both men ser ved as co speakers of the House during the 19 9 3 - 9 4 legislative session.

“Each committee chair had been there a while and had to become an expert on their issue. The same is true for the minority vice chair, even if they didn’t have the same juice,” Profit added.

Profit said committee chairs and ranking members typically served eight to 10 years before getting a gavel. House members are now limited to six years, so that authority is wielded by a greener generation that does not have the advantage of building that expertise.

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The arrangement also occurred before smartphones, text messaging, email and social media. “I don’t know if shared power would work today given how we communicate,” Hillegonds said. Daniel Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, served as chief of staff to the late Curtis Hertel Sr., who was the Democratic co-speaker during the 1993-94 session. Loepp wrote a book about his experience, “Sharing the Balance of Power.” He agrees with Hillegonds. “It’s a 24/7 news cycle. People are responding in nanoseconds,” he said. “The world has changed so much.” Loepp said those dynamics do not lend themselves well to solving knotty issues the “shared power” Legislature tackled, such as school funding. At the time, schools relied on local property taxes for their operating funds. The result was spiraling millage rates, growing disparities between wealthy and poor districts, and widespread voter dissatisfaction.

"I think people back then who were serving had a sense of what a special situation it was. I think human nature puts you on your best behavior." — Daniel Loepp, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan A political maneuver gone awry resulted in the Legislature and then-Gov. John Engler scrapping the school funding system without a replacement plan in place. A shifting, bipartisan group of state lawmakers took up the task for crafting a replacement. They worked all the way to Christmas Eve of 1993 and the result was Proposal A, adopted the following March by voters. It stabilized property taxes, partially dealt with the funding disparities, and remains a popular example of bipartisan cooperation. Hillegonds said that effort would have failed if both sides were locked into caucus positions.

“Curtis and I had to let go, and give our caucus members room to problem-solve,” he said. “If you think about it, it’s amazing that it happened, but everybody was in the mindset of ‘you have to come up with something,’” Loepp said. “I think people back then who were serving had a sense of what a special situation it was. I think human nature puts you on your best behavior.” It would be difficult to recreate all the conditions that made “shared power” a success. Not only has technology changed, so has Michigan politics. Before “shared power,” it was presumed the state House would be run by a Democratic majority. Since the 1993-94 session, the House majority has shifted five times, with every election now a fierce battle for control. “Bipartisan compromise becomes problematic for a party that’s seeking to win back power,” said Frances Lee, a University of Maryland political science professor. Lee studies partisan conflict in Congress and state legislatures, including Michigan. She said Michigan is currently among the most partisan in the country, and the constant battle for control is a contributing factor. “If a party that’s not controlling Congress, or any legislature, wants to win back power, it needs to make an argument to do so,” she said. “It needs to say that the people in power are not doing a good job.

(From left) Curtis Hertel Sr. and Paul Hillegonds, co-speakers of the Michigan House of Representatives, listen to Gov. John Engler’s State of the State address during the 1993-94 legislative session. Photo courtesy of Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.

Well, if you work productively with the opposing party … that’s very problematic for making the argument that they’re doing a bad job.” But Loepp and Hillegonds say there are lessons from the “shared power” session that can be applied today, both inside and outside the House Chamber. “Quit sending emails and texts and go talk to somebody,” Loepp said. “Not that emails and texts aren’t useful. They are. But, especially on sophisticated, complicated things, it helps to cut through the clouds.” Hillegonds said in the era of term limits, leaders need to include relationship-building that crosses party lines into their planning. “Any reform idea should be coupled with the question, ‘Does it build relationships or not?’” he said. And he adds that lawmakers should slow down and get to know one another before they start making policy. “I would tell committee chairs, ‘Don’t move any bills for three months. Go on the road with your committee. Build relationships and learn,’” Hillegonds said. Rick Pluta is the state capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.


DETROITER October 2017

(From left) Michigan House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-District 69) and Speaker Tom Leonard (R-District 93) participate in a joint interview regarding their legislative priorities. Photo courtesy of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.


Back to Michigan

House Speaker Tom Leonard and Democratic Leader Sam Singh practice respect and compromise to bridge party lines By Dawson Bell


olitics is war without bloodshed — an aphorism popularized by China's Mao Zedong — is often cited as a hopeful statement about the potential to resolve political differences without violence. Less often noted, however, is that its author followed up by saying that war is politics with bloodshed, and that the communist dictator was responsible for the violent deaths of millions of his own countrymen. American politics have been largely waged on the hopeful side, but the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath have strained that optimism. And there is no mistaking the war-like atmosphere that permeates contemporary American political discourse. Fortunately for Michigan, state House Speaker Tom Leonard, a Republican, and House Democratic Leader Sam Singh have a shared commitment to open and respectful

dialogue during the legislative process. Through the first half of 2017, it seems to be holding. Though separated by a vast gulf of policy disagreement, Leonard and Singh remain civil and respectful toward one another. Their colleagues have largely followed suit. And in a year marked by assassination attempts targeting Republican members of Congress, and a crazed white supremacist mowing down leftist protestors with his car in Charlottesville, Va., the Michigan House has been an island of notable calm. It did not happen by accident. As Leonard told Michigan Public Radio before he took office in January, one of his top priorities was the restoration of civility following “one of the most incivil elections in American history." He and Singh met shortly after the election to talk about their respective agendas and discuss how they would handle House rules

"We're dealing with big issues. There are times when the passion comes out. That's okay, but I believe we're committed to working together." — Sam Singh, Democratic Leader, Michigan House of Representatives and procedures, an often overlooked but critical element in maintaining comity in a large, diverse organization. Singh said he asked the Republican leader, who heads a 63-45 majority, to keep open lines of communication and be mindful that neither party holds a monopoly on wisdom. Leonard agreed, and has so far upheld that commitment, Singh said.

DETROITER September DETROITER October 2015 2017

“I believe I have a good and honest partner (in Singh)," Leonard said. Both say their relations were eased by the fact that they got to know one another as members of the same House class, 2013, and are members of the Capitol Caucus, which promotes the interests of the midMichigan region and Michigan State University. Leonard said he is relying on three principles to nurture the relationship with Singh and foster respectful lawmaking more broadly: • Civil relations with political opponents makes it possible “to get more accomplished." • Regular and open communications are vital to maintain civility. • It is important to “pick your battles." In other words, every policy disagreement does not have to be a nuclear conflagration. Leonard said he relied on the latter in his early dealings with Singh, choosing not to veto — as is the prerogative of the speaker — any of the Democrat's choices for committee assignments, including those he knew were

objectionable to members of his own party. Not surprisingly, their joint commitment was tested in some of the legislative battles that ensued over the first half of 2017. Debates over teacher pension reform, the authorization of a Right to Life license plate, and the right to carry a concealed firearm without a permit all stoked what Leonard and Singh both described as “very spirited debate." Singh viewed each issue as a distraction — and unabashedly said so during floor debate — but none of these distractions deterred the legislators from finding common ground in other areas. Leonard said heartfelt disagreement about some of the issues addressed by the Legislature are inevitable across party lines and between factions within parties. Leonard himself ended up at odds with members of his own party and Gov. Rick Snyder over the passage of tax break legislation aimed at securing major investments. The “Good Jobs" package was approved in July by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, which did not include Leonard. As the ultimate arbiter of the


House calendar, Leonard said he could have blocked it, but did not. “I'm the speaker of the House, not the dictator of the House," Leonard said. Singh and Leonard also stressed the importance of not focusing their respective agendas entirely on divisive, partisan issues. Within a week of the passage of the teacher pension legislation, for instance, the two leaders joined in the appointment of a bipartisan commission to examine the state's role in the mental health system, an area both agree is in need of reform. Singh said he is encouraged that Leonard continues to support greater transparency in state government. “We're dealing with big issues," Singh said. “There are times when the passion comes out. That's okay, but I believe we're committed to working together." Leonard agreed. “Going forward, I will still be an unapologetic conservative, but I'm going to treat everyone with respect,” he said. “I hope we can all do that." Dawson Bell is a metro Detroit freelance writer.


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CIVILITY 101 Michigan Political Leadership Program puts politeness back into politics By Dawson Bell

Steve Tobocman, co-director of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, introduces a panel to discuss a ballot proposal regarding city council by district. Gary Heidel of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) speaks at a community meeting. Heidel is a member of the inaugural class of the Michigan Political Leadership Program.


he original inspiration for the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) at Michigan State University (MSU) came from Robert Mitchell, an official with former Gov. Jim Blanchard’s administration, who was deeply concerned about increasing partisanship in the legislative process. During his 22 years of public service, Mitchell felt candidates should be trained on how to properly serve in government before running for office. The answer was to create a program so applicants could develop cross-party relationships, hone their skills for getting elected, and learn how to effectively govern in a bipartisan spirit. MPLP's founders feared doing nothing would lead the state down a darker path.

Kenneth Cockrel Jr., an MPLP alum and 16-year Detroit city councilman and interim mayor who now heads Habitat for Humanity Detroit, calls his experience “invaluable." The lifelong Democrat said that is due in part because of his interaction with colleagues he otherwise would have never met. More than 20 years on, Cockrel said he counts MPLP classmates, such as former Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche and Aaron Payment, the elected chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, as good friends. Anne Mervenne, the Republican co-director of MPLP, said she regularly hears about — and derives deep satisfaction from — former MPLP participants who are working with each other to solve problems.

Today, as the constantly changing cast of characters in Lansing seems to become more rancorously partisan, state politics are at a low ebb of ugliness.

“Personal relationships translate into cooperation," she said. “We're not trying to get people to agree with each other. We're trying to get them to understand each other."

The program aims to relieve — at least on a limited scale — some of the rancor. On that score, it appears to be working. Graduates (there have been more than 600) attest to the value of having spent monthly weekends with classmates of very different backgrounds and political proclivities.

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12) has served on the program’s advisory board for more than a decade. She calls the program “more relevant than ever." “If you don't have relationships (with political opponents), it's easy to demonize them," she

said. “When you have relationships, you learn to listen. And when you listen to each other ... you sometimes find solutions." Each class of 24 fellows is carefully selected to achieve political, gender, racial and geographic balance, said MSU trustee Dianne Byrum, a former co-director of MPLP and former Democratic lawmaker. “It creates opportunities for dialogue. But by itself, it certainly can't solve the issue of (restoring) civil discourse. It's no panacea. This program can't overcome all the other forces (undermining civility," she said. There is an “art" to effective legislating, said Mervenne's Democratic counterpart, Steve Tobocman, a former House majority leader who now serves as director of Global Detroit. MPLP helps master the art, he said, including how to work effectively with political opponents. But much of the climate of vitriol comes not from elected officials, but their constituents, he added, who for various reasons are alienated and disenchanted with the current state of American democracy. “There are lots of things that can be done,” Tobocman said. “(MPLP) is one, but we didn't get here overnight, and we're not going to fix it overnight." Dawson Bell is a metro Detroit freelance writer.

DETROITER October 2017

BRYAN BARNETT Class of 2001

JOCELYN BENSON Class of 2007





"It was absolutely incredible. Very few programs are designed to get people out of their comfort zones. MPLP takes all these different people from different backgrounds and experiences ... and forces them to collide. You learn a lot that way. I've stayed in close contact with at least a half dozen of my classmates, supported them when they ran for office — Democrats and Republicans — because I believe they have a heart for public service."

"I took two things away (from MPLP): I could run for office ... and (build) relationships. (Classmates) Wayne Schmidt and Deb Shaughnessy are people I genuinely like and respect. Nothing I've participated in since has been as effective at developing relationships. I'd love to see it as a prerequisite (to running for office). After someone is elected, it's almost too late."

"It was a great experience ... that I used as both a candidate and elected official. Of course, it was a different world back then (politically). The climate is very different now, but the need for programs like MPLP is greater now than ever. It's too bad they don't have it in Washington, D.C."


Here is what some of the 600-plus graduates of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University had to say about their experience.

MARK HACKEL Class of 1993

RUDY HOBBS JR. Class of 2004

MICHAEL WEBBER Class of 2006




"I've never been a rigid ideologue. It's not my job to be critical of everything a Republican in office is doing. (MPLP) was about looking at the bigger issue of being part of the solution. Everyone there was focused on 'how do we solve problems?' The focus was dealing with the people, not the politics."

"I remember thinking when I was a state representative that I wish every legislator had to go through (MPLP). It gives you a tremendous advantage in understanding how the system works. To this day, Pete McGregor (a Republican lawmaker and '04 classmate) is one of my best friends in the whole wide world."

"You get a lot of practical skills, like media training and how to run a campaign. But just as important, you see how to get things done ... that everyone is trying to get good things done. You are really able to talk to people as people, to understand where they come from."



DETROITER October 2017

The entry wall, Algiers Motel sign, and 1960s wall at the Detroit Historical Society Detroit '67 Project. Photo by Chuck Cloud for Elayne Gross Photography and courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society.

Leading Detroit Into

Diverse committee of leaders look to the city’s past to move toward a better future By Audrey LaForest


ollowing the 50-year commemoration of the historic crisis that occurred in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967, in Detroit, four community leaders are coming together to co-chair a diverse committee that will continue the critical conversations needed to move the city forward over the next 50 years. Known as the LEAD Committee — an acronym for leadership, engagement and accountability from Detroit’s emerging and existing business, civic and political leaders — the initiative stems from Butterfly Effect owner Marlowe Stoudamire’s work as director of the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit '67 project, which examines the events leading up to the 1967 riots through a multitude of media, including oral histories and an exhibition. “I started thinking about the fact that this whole project has been around past, present and future. Right? Looking back at the past and helping people identify their role in the present to inspire the future,” Stoudamire said. “In order to do that, you have to find a way to bring all generations together.” Inspired by the exhibition's tagline “Looking Back to Move Forward,” Stoudamire said the committee will focus on four critical areas: economic inclusion and opportunity, race relations, youth engagement and leadership development, and the city’s neighborhoods.

Joinning Stoudamire as co-chairs are Joseph Hudson Jr. — one of the original founders of New Detroit, a coalition that was established to identify causes of the 1967 riots and impact changes to prevent another tumultuous incident in the city — along with Hudson Webber Foundation President and CEO Melanca Clark, and Karissa Holmes, board member for Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) and senior counsel at Rock Ventures. The committee also plans on inviting 20 to 25 leaders from various backgrounds to join discussions, including Henry Ford Health System’s Wright Lassiter III, Forgotten Harvest’s Kirk Mayes and the Michigan Science Center’s Tonya Matthews, as well as three to five young professionals from DYP. “We want to be a bridge to help young professionals be prepared to be the next generation of leaders in Detroit,” Holmes said. “A key topic for us is the transfer of generational knowledge and also making sure that young professionals are given a seat at the table when appropriate.” Stoudamire stressed that the committee is not designed to compete with organizations like New Detroit and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, adding that those organizations should be celebrated and included in the committee’s discussions on future leadership and accountability.

2067 “This represents the pivot point of how to move forward through conversations and dialogue that connect to people who have the ability to do something. And those are leaders, but they’re not your traditional leaders,” Stoudamire said. Clark, who served as a senior policy advisor for the Obama administration’s White House Domestic Policy Council and as chief of staff for the grant-making arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, has lived in Detroit for one year and said she hopes she can bring a fresh perspective on what have been age-old challenges for the city. “There’s a real opportunity at the local level for folks to put the partisan rancor and divide (aside) and really get things done,” she said. “And I think Detroit is perfectly primed to do that.” During the Detroit '67 exhibition’s threeyear run, the committee will meet four to six times a year and develop an annual report to track its action-based efforts. The project was announced in July at the Detroit '67 Leadership Summit and established as an auxiliary group of the Detroit Historical Society. The committee is expected to get officially underway this fall. Audrey LaForest is a metro Detroit freelance writer.

DETROITER October 2017



Social media platforms like Facebook make it easier for users to share stories and news that reinforce their own preconceived political beliefs and ideas.

THE ECHO CHAMBER ‘No easy answers’ in dealing with misinformation and polarization on social media By Melissa Anders


ews consumers, particularly those on social media, tend to read, share and comment on articles that reinforce their opinions and beliefs, even if the content is not factually accurate. Scholars say these so-called “echo chambers” are leading to increased political polarization as well as misperceptions and disagreements on facts.

their individual belief systems, making them stronger and stronger believers and polarizing us further. Never having your views challenged is terrible for democracy. This creates significant barriers to discourse and debate. If your views are never challenged, you’re never going to question what you know and what you believe.”

When a news outlet makes a claim that many like-minded people repeat over and over again, it can become exaggerated or distorted until most people assume an extreme version of the story is true, said Terri Towner, associate professor of political science at Oakland University.

Even when people consume news from diverse sources and are exposed to evidence contrary to what they believe, they are seeing it through their own tinted lenses and will not accept information they do not support, according to Kelly Garrett, associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.

“The overall effect of an echo chamber is to legitimize false claims in the public’s eyes through the sheer volume of reporting and media references, even if the majority of those reports acknowledge the factual inaccuracy of the original story,” she said. Social media has caused a shift to a more disintermediated news selection process, which leads consumers to select information that meshes with their beliefs and to form echo chambers, or groups of like-minded individuals, according to a 2016 study in Scientific Reports. “Their opinions are constantly echoed back to them,” Towner explained. “So, this reinforces

Garrett rejects the notion that people are confined to news bubbles and are never exposed to opposing viewpoints, but he agrees that echo chambers exist in the sense that people’s social engagement is limited to sharing and commenting on posts they agree with. “The solution is less about exposure and more about figuring out how we help people interact with one other in meaningful ways,” he said, emphasizing the important role that individuals can play in promoting a more fact-based, civil discourse online. When people see someone sharing a post with misinformation, they can help by sharing a

respectful comment that explains the issue and provides a link to factual information. The more people who join the dialogue and point out inaccuracies, the better. “This kind of conversation is more likely to produce belief change than simply putting a fact-checking article in front of someone,” Garrett said. “It’s the interpersonal contact and the repeated contact that tends to be more persuasive.” Towner stresses the importance of being a savvy news consumer. She talks to students about how to maintain an eclectic news diet and spot whether news is credible or not. Technology and media industries can help individuals in their efforts, Garrett said. For example, Google and Facebook are working on making factual information on contentious topics more accessible. But tech solutions still rely on people to use them, explained Towner, who said she is skeptical that most people would use tools to report fake news on social sites like Facebook. “We do have to find ways to engage more respectfully, but it has to happen from both sides,” Garrett said. “In other words, there are no easy answers here.” Melissa Anders is a former metro Detroiter and freelance writer.


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Talking to OURSELVES?

Michigan's leaders share insight on embracing diverse views


Clement suggests that this “echo chamber” phenomenon is creating a country that is “more polarized than ever,” a claim backed by data from a Pew Research Center poll on partisanship and political animosity.

cautioned that resistance to information that does not conform to personal beliefs is counterproductive in a time where collaboration and knowledge-sharing are critical to innovation.

A 2016 op-ed published in The Washington Post by authors Joel Achenbach and Scott

During his 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference keynote address, Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute,

The Detroiter reached out to notable thought leaders in business, government and media to share their personal insight on breaking out of the “echo chamber.”

n today’s digitally connected world dominated by 24-hour news cycles and social media feeds, studies show that individuals are more apt to interact and connect only with those with “like-minded” interests, creating closed communities centered around a common narrative.

How does the news media and social media platforms reinforce individual echo chambers? What can be done to break away from those silos?

Matt Friedman What role does place have in helping people break out of their echo chamber? How is Detroit accomplishing that?

Mark Wallace

President and CEO, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy “Every great city has a place where people from all walks of life come together. The Detroit riverfront is one of those special places. The riverfront reflects the diversity of our community. And, it reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Co-founder, Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications

“When I worked as a broadcast journalist, our audience said, 'We watch the news.' Now, consumers say, 'I get MY news from…' Mass media has become personal media. When clients share their own habits I ask them to consider, 'Are you looking for information or validation?' As a business community, with the premium on information as high as ever, we get what we pay for. Reward your trusted sources of valuable news with subscriptions, underwriting and other means of support."

DETROITER October 2017


How does the news media and social media platforms reinforce individual echo chambers? What can be done to break away from those silos?

Tina Kozak

President, Franco Public Relations Group “Contrary to what we were taught, I believe we SHOULD talk about politics and religion, not to antagonize but to better understand and learn from one another. We can engage in more conversations with the goal of listening and understanding, not just talking and persuading. As leaders, we can set the tone for progressive, productive, respectful and empathetic discourse and help break away from the silos created by our own echo chambers.”

In today’s polarized political environment, how can elected leaders break out of their own party’s echo chamber and embrace a diversity of views from all constituents?

In today’s polarized political environment, how can elected leaders break out of their own party’s echo chamber and embrace a diversity of views from all constituents?

Rick Snyder

Governor, State of Michigan "It’s important for elected leaders to be in tune with the primary purpose of their role, which is to represent the best interests of their entire constituency. Instead of deepening political divides, we need to recognize the value of reaching across party lines to develop partnerships and find solutions that work for everyone. Being a public servant is about embracing a diverse set of viewpoints in order to make decisions that help build a better and brighter future for all."

Warren Evans Wayne County Executive

"Elected leaders should surround themselves with diversity and aim to have as many viewpoints to draw on as possible. When all voices are included, and people can see their concerns are being heard, it’s easier to find common ground and solutions that benefit us all. That’s true at all levels of government."


DETROITER October 2017

LEADERSHIP DETROIT XXXVIII The Detroit Regional Chamber’s leadership program shapes and supports the region’s aspiring leaders By Tiffany M. Jones

Rewind and CEO for the Detroit Institute of Arts; Olga Stella, executive director for the Detroit Creative Corridor Center; and Dan Varner, CEO for Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

Leadership Detroit Class XXXVIII participants practice team-building skills at a kickoff orientation retreat at Camp Tamarack in Ortonville.


n June, the Detroit Regional Chamber graduated its 38th cohort of Leadership Detroit, which featured 68 executives from across the region, drawing from eight counties and 33 municipalities. The class represented 39 industries including business, organized labor, government, education, media, civic groups, health services and community organizations. Leadership Detroit, one of the most highly sought-after development programs among business and community professionals, helps connect current and emerging leaders across the Detroit region to create awareness of key issues. Class XXXVIII embarked on the 10-month transformational leadership program by first attending an orientation at Camp Tamarack in Ortonville. The experience allowed the classmates to become better acquainted and was the catalyst for building long-lasting relationships, both personally and professionally. Once a month, class members met at some of the region’s most historical locations for daylong sessions. Some of the locations included the Detroit Boat Club, Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. The sessions were focused on regional issues including economic prosperity, education, race and diversity, public safety and the media, health care and human services, and arts and culture. Each discussion featured special guests that provided an “inside” look at the various topics. Speakers included David

Gelios, special agent in charge for the FBI Detroit Division; Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press and host of WDET 101.9 FM’s “Detroit Today”; Juanita Moore, president and CEO for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; Salvador Salort-Pons, director, president

The program year concluded with a graduation, held at the Garden Theater in Midtown. During the ceremony, Leadership Detroit recognized past alumni who exemplify the qualities of leadership and have made a positive impact in the community. This year’s award recipients included David Rudolph, president of D. Ericson & Associates Public Relations; Lisa Nuszkowski, executive director of Detroit Bike Share at Downtown Detroit Partnership; and John Van Camp, president and CEO of Southwest Solutions. Leadership Detroit Class XXXIX was recently announced and began its program in September. To view the full roster or for more information, visit Tiffany M. Jones is the director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Class XXXVIII reflects on their experiences after graduation


What did you learn from Leadership Detroit, and how do you plan to impact the region now that you have graduated?


DETROITER October 2017

Colleen Allen President and CEO Autism Alliance of Michigan

“Leadership Detroit taught me the importance of my work in the broader community. While it is easy to get caught up in your own day-to-day, organization-specific initiatives, the LD experience was a great opportunity to explore ways that Autism Alliance of Michigan, combined with my lifelong love of Detroit, could be impactful across multiple venues. The relationships I now have with so many of my classmates would not have been possible without LD. I feel as though I have a network of professionals who I wouldn’t hesitate to reach out to, whether it is a professional or personal question or request.”

would like to congratulate

on graduating from Leadership Detroit Class XXXVIII.

Shannon Dulin

Manager, Government and Regulatory Affairs Comcast Cable

“My Leadership Detroit experience was enlightening and an opportunity for self-reflection. Growing up in Detroit, I never realized how much I didn’t know about the city, the region, and where I fit in. A journey through Detroit’s successes and challenges, Leadership Detroit showed me what makes our city unique and that each of us brings something equally unique to the table. As such, we can’t wait for success to just happen. Instead, we must be engaged and create opportunities that positively impact our community while rallying others to do the same. Our individual gifts, talents and resources are multiplied when we join together and work collaboratively to bring about change. As an LD XXXVIII graduate, I’m committed to bringing people together to make a difference.”

DETROITER October 2017

Jeff Gerwing Vice President, Director of Operations SmithGroupJJR

“Leadership Detroit was so much more than a personal leadership development program – although I defi nitely grew as a leader through the process. For me, the most impactful portion of the program was taking a deeper dive into the pressing issues of the region and hearing directly the diverse perspectives of my LD class members. Now that I have graduated, I feel much more connected to the pulse of our greater community. Beyond the physical improvements that SmithGroupJJR is making in the revitalization of Detroit, as a direct result of LD, I personally will be helping to rewrite the region’s narrative by volunteering in a leadership capacity with a nonprofit that is making a huge impact in the community.”


Nichelle Hughley Deputy Chief Financial Officer City of Detroit

“As a native Detroiter who spent most my professional career in New York City, Leadership Detroit re-acclimated me to my hometown. I was reminded of the priceless art and architecture, the strength and resiliency of the people, and the real challenges and struggles lurking throughout the region. I have already targeted one organization that touches the community in a manner that is true and genuine. I plan to identify other organizations and give of my time and resources to help move the needle in a positive direction.”


DETROITER October 2017

Dawn Lyman Foundation Manager Barton Malow Co.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better Leadership Detroit experience! We were exposed to both the best and most challenging aspects of Detroit through the lens of some of the region’s most influential corporate, civic and nonprofit leaders. The program provided an extraordinary education on the region as well as on leadership practices and a self-exploration of my own leadership abilities. Even with these wonderful takeaways from the Leadership Detroit program, what I found to be most valuable was meeting and getting to know my incredible classmates. Through our friendships and networks, I continue to explore an enormous array of options to engage and provide positive impact in the city and the region.”

Congratulations! The Detroit Regional Chamber recognizes Jonathan So, senior director of health care initiatives, and the entire Leadership Detroit Class XXXVIII for their commitment to creating positive change in Southeast Michigan.

Jason Paulateer Vice President, Community Development ManagerMichigan Market PNC Bank

“As a native Detroiter, Leadership Detroit provided me with a deeper understanding of a place that has always been home to me. Surrounded by a cohort of highly intelligent, extremely accomplished individuals challenged me as a leader. The experiences made the program rich as we had a chance to ‘see’ the city from the inside out. We were challenged to be introspective, examine our leadership styles and develop leadership qualities to impact issues facing our region. I am excited about new leadership opportunities, like my recent appointment to the Bloomfield Hills Board of Education, and I look forward to collaborating with this network.”

DETROITER October 2017

Kevin Roach Trevor Pawl Group Vice President, PlanetM, Pure Michigan Business Connect and International Trade Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“I grew tremendously as a leader in two specific areas: An understanding of diversity and racial issues, and my approach to issues caused by poverty. The exercises and simulations really provided a unique perspective and I’ll never forget them. Now that I graduated, I hope to maintain the amazing relationships I’ve gained through the program, and leverage those connections to continue building Michigan’s economy.”

CEO Methodist Children’s Home Society

“Every so often, life grabs us by the hand and takes off. All we can do is take a deep breath, take in the experience, and do our best to keep up. For me, that was the Leadership Detroit experience; an experience that reawakened the sleeping giants in me and forced me to revisit old assumptions and rethink my role beyond just a nonprofit leader but a force for change and good in Detroit and Michigan. LD was transformative, empowering, and at times, exhausting. And it was humbling, especially being in the company of so many change-makers and leaders. By the end, I had learned so much, both professionally and personally, and was ready to take off!”



DETROITER October 2017

Fatima Salman Program Coordinator, Community Leadership Development Program University of Michigan School of Social Work Technical Assistance Center

S. Eliot Weiner Director, Business Operations Edw. C. Levy Co.

“Leadership Detroit gave me three things: Context and knowledge of Detroit; a deeper understanding and reflections of my own leadership; and friendships that are made to last. Meeting and listening to some of the foremost thought leaders in Detroit discuss every aspect of our region, as well as their insight into leadership was extremely beneficial. Each session pushed me to go back and reflect on the city and on my own leadership style and will further enhance the work that I do. The friendships and networking that LD facilitates is one of the best parts of the program. My classmates and I are committed to working toward the betterment of our city, together. Keep an eye out on us and our work, because we ARE the best class ever!” "

“Leadership Detroit exceeded all my expectations. It connected me with a bright and diverse group of leaders with the thirst for knowledge and the drive to improve our region. After 15 years away from Michigan, LD offered a total immersion into how our metro area is being reshaped and what major challenges remain unsolved. Since graduation from LD, I have joined a nonprofit board and a foundation committee focused on improving the safety and education of our region’s youth. I plan to continue working with my fellow LD graduates to support Detroit’s renaissance and help rise the tide for all.”


DETROITER October 2017


In Action F

Moving from leadership theory to real-life application By Tiffany M. Jones

or the second year in a row, the Detroit Regional Chamber coordinated Leadership Labs, a unique opportunity that provides Leadership Detroit participants the ability to work alongside community partners to tackle specific challenges facing their respective organizations. The goals of the Labs are to invigorate the leadership development component of the program, create pathways for class members to move from leadership theory to real-life application, and provide an opportunity for members to strengthen their unique leadership practice.

Class XXXVIII was divided into eight groups and tasked with providing critical thinking, along with an outside perspective, to a challenge that was considered a “pain point.” The pain points ranged from situations where an organization lacked the personnel time, staff resources or knowledge to get to the next level, or an organization taking advantage of a team’s strategic thinking to advance its specific mission. The teams worked in partnership with the organizations for four months, concluding with a presentation of the teams’ final plans or recommendations to each organization. Alternatives For Girls (AFG), a nonprofit organization that helps homeless and highrisk girls and women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, was one of the community partners this year. AFG’s social enterprise program, “Sew Great Detroit,” teaches participants both sewing and practical job skill training. Last year, AFG’s board approved the request of taking the program out of its pilot stage into a permanent program, including the possibility of finding a factory location. The main challenge of AFG was the lack of resources causing the program’s day-to-day operations to be managed by volunteers. AFG requested the assistance of Leadership Detroit participants to develop a business plan. “We are extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Leadership Detroit XXXVIII. The presentation was very helpful and we do plan to use it as a primary resource as we continue with the work of the AFG/Sew Great Detroit Project,” said Amy Good, CEO of AFG (Leadership Detroit Class XVI).

Organizations interested in becoming a community partner for the Leadership Labs should contact Dan Piepszowski at Tiffany M. Jones is the director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Program participant Maddie Powers wears the apron she made after learning how to sew through the "Sew Great Detroit" project. After several months of training, many of the women make and sell their own items and even become employed by fabricators.

DETROITER October 2017


On the Roster

Join us in welcoming these new members to the Chamber. We encourage you to contact them for future business opportunities.


Lucerne International-Sure Solutions Mary Buchzeiger 40 Corporate Drive Auburn Hills, MI 48326 248.674.7210

VisionIT David Segura 3031 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 600 Detroit, MI 48202 313.420.2000

Lucerne International is a global supplier of forged, stamped and cast components and assemblies to the automotive and heavy truck markets. We use the most innovative materials, designs and processes to provide customers with the highest level of satisfaction. Lucerne is nationally certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

VisionIT is a global software development company, a preferred systems integrator and a conduit for new technology that helps clients solve their complex business problems. VisionIT produces enterprise software in its Innovation Studio and through its delivery centers in the United States, Mexico and the Philippines. Its support for customers is global.



AbbVie Mark Simpson 3212 Cobblestone Drive Santa Rosa, CA 95404 707.849.0949 AbbVie takes on the toughest health challenges. But we do more than treat diseases—we aim to make a remarkable impact on people’s lives. AbbVie is a highly focused research-driven biopharmaceutical company. American Interiors Wixom, MI 48393 248.624.2255 Create, design, service and sell office furnishings and environments. American Interiors partners with more than 100 manufacturers and showcase Knoll, DIRTT (prefab construction and millwork) and Kimball products. That means we have options to suit virtually any space, style and budget. Trion Solutions Inc. Thomas Jordan 340 E. Big Beaver Road, Suite 160 Troy, MI 48083 248.498.8400 Trion helps companies across the United States to focus their energies and resources where they matter the most: making and marketing products; driving revenues; building their businesses. When Trion takes on payroll, benefits administration, worker’s compensation and other employee-centered activities, it empowers its clients to concentrate on the activities that create success.

Alten Technology USA Inc.

Alzheimer's Association - Greater Michigan Chapter

Catalyst Media Factory

Cherry Health Community Treatment Centers

Crews4HIRE LLC 586.817.0937

D&R Marketing Agency


Advanced Surveillance Group Inc.


Detroit Foundation Hotel

Direct Recruiters Inc.

Edge Partnerships


DETROITER October 2017

Edward Lowe Foundation

Rainbow Child Care Center

William Cobbs

Elite Imaging Systems

Ruby & Associates

WoodSpring Suites Detroit

Hamzavi Dermatology

The Sam Bernstein Law Firm

Business Builder

Health Market Solutions LLC

Signal Restoration Services

Jeff Glover & Associates Realtors

SKF Automotive

Kyyba Xcelerator

Skypoint Ventures

LoVasco Consulting Group

SunGlo Restoration Services

LSI Graphics

Total Health Care Inc. 248.415.3112 586.899.4553 800.574.2000

Windsor Express Basketball

Forward Detroit AECOM

My Fresh Cafe LLC

Type A Creative

Alten Technology USA Inc.

Neapco Holdings LLC

Umicore Automotive Catalysts

Kyyba Xcelerator

Next Question Strategies

United Road Services 313.444.4242

Parjana Distribution LLC


Lucerne International-Sure Solutions

WayPoint Marketing Communications

SKF Automotive

DETROITER October 2017


In the News Good things are happening to businesses throughout metro Detroit Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Katheryne Zelenock has been named a “Woman Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal. The designation recognizes dynamic professional women who are using their talents and influence to change workplaces and the world.

Ford World Excellence Awards at the Henry Ford Museum. Penske Logistics was recognized for delivering on a variety of performance requirements including premier operational performance, exemplary transparency, responsiveness and sustainability leadership.

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Rebecca Davies has been named a “2017 Honoree for Michigan Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit Medical Center is among the best in the country in seven pediatric specialties according to the 2017-18 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in U.S. News & World Report. The Children’s Hospital of Michigan is nationally ranked in: cancer, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.

McIntosh Poris Associates recently received three AIA Michigan Honor Awards for design excellence in various categories. The firm was awarded for Detroit’s east riverfront framework plan in the Unbuilt Project category and the Michigan Research Studio in the Low Budget/Small Project category. Additionally, Laurie Hughet-Hiller received the notable Young Architect Award. Rehmann was recently included in Accounting MOVE Project’s “Best Public Accounting Firms for Women” for the fifth consecutive year. The list, released by the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, recognizes firms that provide: consistent, measurable progress in advancing women; proven and continually evolving programs that retain and advance women; and evidence that the firm’s advancement of women is intrinsic to its growth and succession goals. Adient's IT team was recently presented with the "Gold Stevie Award" recognizing them as the Information Technology Department of the Year in Launch Excellence at the 2017 American Business Awards. SRG Global, a Guardian company, has completed its Innovation Center located in Taylor, Mich. The Innovation Center is designed to encourage creativity and advancement. The space features areas for prototyping, testing and scale-up experimentation, as well as an area for co-innovation. Detroit-based nonprofit organization Goodwill Industries has recently announced the appointment of Jessica McCall as vice president of marketing and external affairs. In this role, McCall will be responsible for developing the organization’s message and building strategic partnerships. Penske Logistics recently received its fifth World Excellence Award from Ford Motor Co. Ford honored 54 companies at the 19th annual

Dassault Systèmes and Boeing have extended their partnership. Boeing will expand its deployment of Dassault Systèmes’ products across its commercial aviation, space and defense programs to include the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform. KeyBank has been recognized by Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, as one of the most communityminded companies in the United States. The winners were announced at the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service in Seattle, where leaders in volunteerism and civic engagement gathered to discuss how social innovation, crosssector collaboration and citizen engagement can drive change. Ken Bluhm, director of financial reporting at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, was recently recognized for his advocacy work on behalf of cerebral palsy awareness by the national CAREERS & the disABLED magazine, which named him “Employee of the Year.” Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. is pleased to announce that Jackie Lakins has joined the company as its new claims assistant vice president. Forgotten Harvest is pleased to announce two new personnel additions to the organization: Kelly McEvoy, director of quality and programming, and Lauren Ann Davies, digital communications director. These positions were created as part of continued operational growth and restructuring. Lear Corp., a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, recently announced

that it has been selected by the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) as its exclusive partner to supply advanced vehicle-tovehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure roadside units and on-board units. The shareholders of Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms – recently elected attorney Thomas Vincent as the firm’s new president and CEO. Vincent works in the firm’s corporate headquarters in Bloomfield Hills. DTE Energy recently named Rodney Cole to the position of director, State Government Affairs, leading the company's policy and advocacy efforts in Lansing. In this role, Cole will lead DTE's Lansing office and will continue strengthening relationships with Michigan's public sector leaders to create and implement policy that benefits DTE's customers throughout the state. Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Harper University Hospital has been recognized nationally as a “Best Hospital” for 2017-18 in diabetes and endocrinology, neurology and neurosurgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and nephrology by U.S. News & World Report. Penske Logistics has been awarded new business with Detroit Diesel Corporation to support the company's engine, transmission and axle supply chain operations in Redford. Penske will provide warehousing and dedicated contract carriage services for the inbound operations. On the outbound logistics side, Penske will manage a NAFTA consolidation center. The Norfolk Southern Foundation recently announced a donation of $100,000 to assist in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. The Foundation, Norfolk Southern’s charitable giving arm, will give $50,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the Houston Food Bank. U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP is proud to announce the expansion of its groundbreaking KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program, a one-of-a-kind and award-winning initiative developed to prepare accounting students for the digital marketplace. The expansion of the program increases the number of participating schools from two to nine, and increases the number of students from 51 to 135 who will receive full tuition, other support and KPMG job offers upon graduation.


DETROITER October 2017

Up and Coming Mark your calendar with these regional business events

October 23

Pints and Politics Emagine Palladium – Four Story Burger 209 Hamilton Row Birmingham, MI 48009 4 to 6 p.m. $25 Chamber members; $35 Future members Pints and Politics connects business professionals in the Detroit region with bipartisan elected leaders who are shaping the course of Michigan's future in a casual environment for conversation and networking. Enjoy pints of beer and discuss the latest buzz in business, community and politics.

November 1 State of the Region Cobo Center 1 Washington Blvd. Detroit, MI 48226 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. $50 Chamber members; $100 Future members Celebrate and discuss the region's tremendous strides in economic growth with the Detroit Regional Chamber at the State of the Region. Following the presentation, economic development experts will participate in a discussion reacting to the data and will provide insights on the current state of the regional economy.

December 5-6

MICHauto Summit: Conversation on Culture and Careers Dec. 5 Ford Piquette Avenue Plant 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 6 College for Creative Studies - A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design and Education 460 W. Baltimore St. Detroit, MI 48202 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. $150 Chamber members; $200 Future members MICHauto's signature event will bring together college students and emerging industry leaders to have a conversation with Michigan’s legacy automotive and mobility companies around exciting career opportunities and the culture of this evolving ecosystem.

March 2

2018 Detroit Policy Conference MotorCity Casino Hotel 2901 Grand River Ave. Detroit, MI 48201 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. $159 Chamber members; $235 Future members The 2018 Detroit Policy Conference will highlight and celebrate Detroit’s ongoing revitalization. More than 600 key business, community and political leaders will collaborate on critical issues related to continued



Energy is essential to the way we live, work and play. ITC operates, builds and maintains the region’s electric transmission infrastructure. We’re a Michigan-based company working hard to improve electric reliability, increase electric transmission capacity, and keep efficient, reliable energy flowing to homes and businesses across the state.

Building the electric transmission infrastructure that will power the future. ITCHoldingsCorp




As the automotive world moves toward fully connected and self-driving cars, it’s no surprise who’s driving the future of the industry. Michigan. Home to the world’s first and only urban real world testing facility for autonomous vehicles, Michigan leads the country in research, development, innovation and technology. Which make us the hands down choice for your automotive business at

Detroiter Magazine October Issue  

The October issue of the Detroiter magazine focuses on restoring civility in political discourse and the people and partnerships that are wo...

Detroiter Magazine October Issue  

The October issue of the Detroiter magazine focuses on restoring civility in political discourse and the people and partnerships that are wo...