Small Talk With Mark S. Lee

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    Welcome to 2013!

    2012 was interesting year. One filled with ups and downs. Excitement and disappointment.

    For Detroit, it was a roller coaster ride. With the Tigers going to the World Series and the continued excitement surrounding the rejuvenation of downtown and Midtown, the city had many thrills.

    And on the flip side, with the budgetary crisis, continued increases in crime and other negative news offered up on a daily basis, the region experienced many lows.

    Well, as we enter a New Year, hope continue to be boundless. We have an opportunity to shape this year in a way that takes this city to another level.

    Like a newborn baby, the year presents many hopes and aspirations. The challenge is to craft a story that continues to shape Detroit’s future. One filled with heightened hopes, aspirations and dreams.

    If we don’t aspire and dream as a region, then who will? We are the underdog and sleeping giant and, as the year unfolds, let’s awaken–one that can show the rest of the country this great city is a leader–in the areas of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

    A city, that once put the world on wheels, now focused on collaboration and becoming the epicenter of small business, job development and creation.

    As another year awaits us, one thing’s for sure, expect the unexpected this year.

    If we had a crystal ball, it would make things easier to predict and we could all certainly plan accordingly.

    Unfortunately, we don’t.

    With this in mind, here are headlines I would like to see in Detroit and beyond this year:

    -Fiscal cliff averted

    -Detroit’s budget is balanced

    -Population slide stabilized and reversed

    -Mayor and City Council Agree on a fiscal recovery plan

    -Lions Bounce Back to win the NFC North and make the playoffs

    -Plans announced for the old Packard Plant

    -Big Three records record profits

    -Hiring up 10% versus 2012

    -Crime drops significantly

    -Tigers win the World Series

    -Ground’s broken on the proposed Ilitch Entertainment complex

    -NHL strikes ends

    -Red Wings win the Stanley Cup

    -Gilbert buys 5 more buildings

    -10,000 more employees relocated downtown

    -Kilpatrick trial ends with a verdict

    -Record number of small businesses started in Detroit

    -President Obama recognizes Detroit as an entrepreneur incubator leader

    -Pistons bounce back with a strong second half

    -Lower Woodward filled with new small businesses

    -5 new restaurants open downtown

    While these headlines might be a partial reality and partial dreams. The beauty of a new year is anything’s possible and if we have big dreams like Dan Gilbert, we can make good things happen.

    Detroit’s issues have been well documented. Let’s not continue to focus on the the past. However, we have an opportunity to come together (city and suburbs) and work together to focus on how to improve this region.

    Think about it, this region, with its lakes and rivers, has natural beauty, a storied history, cultural gems, historical sports teams, and hard-working people who’ve help to build America’s middle class.

    In other words, this metropolitan area of over 5 million people has resources other cities don’t have. Let’s take advantage of it and make this truly a great American metropolis–again.

    And, let’s start in 2013 and build on it in future years and generations.

    My hope for Detroit in 2013 is truly peace, growth and prosperity.

    Are you with me?

    Happy New Year!

    You can reach Mark at mark@leegroupinnovation.com or you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In. 

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