Business leaders discuss the future Detroit

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    With so much talk of the challenges facing Detroit — population losses, shrinking revenues, increasing budget deficits, school closings, crime and a crumbling infrastructure — it is hard to move past today’s worries to consider what Detroit may be like in the future.

     

    Presented by the Michigan Chronicle and Real Times Media, the next Pancakes & Politics forum will be on April 21 at the Detroit Athletic Club beginning at 7:30 a.m., featuring five speakers who will share their expertise as they discuss “The Future of Detroit.”

     

    The panel includes Sandy Baruah, David Egner, Michael Finney, Dan Gilbert, and George W. Jackson Jr. WWJ-TV/CBS Emmy Award-winning talk show host of “Michigan Matters” Carol Cain will be the moderator.

     

    The law firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, founded in 1948, which is headquartered in Detroit, is a longtime major sponsor of the series. “Honigman believes that the revitalization of our great city includes support of its business community, its cultural organizations and its community service nonprofits,” said David Foltyn, chairman and CEO of Honigman.

     

    Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber

     

    The Detroit Regional Chamber is the largest local chamber of commerce in the United States. The Chamber is committed to creating a Southeast Michigan region that is an attractive place for business development and offers an unparalleled quality of life for residents. Among his many government appointments, Baruah has served under President George W. Bush as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), responsible for an $18- billion small business loan portfolio. Baruah also served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce. In this role he led the federal government’s Economic Development Administration. In addition, he served as the senior advisor to Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez regarding the 2010 Census and represented the U.S. at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France.

     

    David O. Egner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hudson-Webber Foundation

     

    With more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofits and foundations, David O. Egner understands the importance of investing in Detroit neighborhoods. He leads the foundation’s efforts to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Detroit. Established in 1943 with major contributions from the family of Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Webber and The J.L. Hudson Company, the foundation has assets of $150 million. In addition to Egner’s work with the foundation, he serves as executive director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a $100-million philanthropic partnership dedicated to accelerating the transition of Southeast Michigan to a more innovation-based economy. Under Egner­’s leadership, the New Economy Initiative has targeted grantmaking to promote a successful entrepreneurial eco-system, capitalize on existing regional assets and resources, and build and employ a more skilled and educated workforce.

     

    Michael Finney, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

     

    Appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Michael Finney is responsible for executing Governor Snyder’s economic development strategy and administering funding to businesses in Michigan. Finney is not only an authority regarding Detroit’s business development but also economic growth for the state of Michigan. Prior to taking the helm at MEDC, Finney served as president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, a public/private partnership established to advance innovation-based economic development in the Ann Arbor area. Finney also served as president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise in Rochester, New York and vice president of Emerging Business Sectors at the MEDC.

     

    Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.

     

    Dan Gilbert moved his company’s corporate offices to Detroit in August 2010, bringing 1,700 jobs to the city. He plans to relocate more employees to Detroit in the near future. QuickenLoans.com has earned numerous awards, including “Best of the Web” from Forbes, Money and PC magazines. Quicken Loans had $29 billion of home loan volume in 2010, a record for the company. Quicken Loans, which employs more than 4,000 people across the country, recently was ranked high in customer satisfaction among all home loan lenders in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates. It ranked in the Top 30 on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” the past eight years, ranking as high as No. 2. Gilbert became the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005 and is involved in many other businesses. He is also invested and involved in the operation of several consumer-based and technology- centered businesses.

     

    George W. Jackson Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Economic Growth Club (DEGC)

     

    The DECG is a private, nonprofit corporation focused on supporting Detroit business development and goals by providing resources to the city of Detroit and business community. The DEGC also serves as the professional and administrative staff for the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC), Tax Increment Finance Authority, and Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA). The DEGC is the lead organization for implementation of permanent revitalization improvements. Jackson has in-depth knowledge of, and
    has played an integral role in, the economic development programs, projects, initiatives and organizations occurring in Detroit and state of Michigan.

     

    Now in its sixth season, Pancakes & Politics is presented by Comcast Business Class, Strategic Staffing Solutions and Real Times Media. Additional event sponsors include pioneer sponsor Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, medallion sponsors PNC and ProCare Health Plan, and corporate contributors Wayne State University, MGM Grand Detroit, Bank of America, Compuware, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, UHY LLP, and St. John Providence Health System.

     

    WWJ-TV, WWJ Newsradio 950 and Crain’s Detroit Business serve as media sponsors for the series.

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