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DanGilbert.jpg.jpgDan Gilbert, the man whose name has become synonymous with Detroit’s renaissance, is set to speak about the future of the city before a national audience of former Detroiters, CEOs and investors, including billionaire investor Warren Buffet, one of the top five richest people in the world.

Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures who has bought more than 60 buildings in downtown Detroit, will speak at the Detroit Homecoming Conference September 17-19, a gathering of former Detroit­ers returning to the city as well as business leaders from across the country including Buffett. The event is organized by Crain’s Detroit Business magazine.

One of the main highlights of the gathering is a sit-down conversation between Gilbert and Bankole Thompson, editor of the Michigan Chronicle, which will take place September 18 at noon at the College of Creative Studies, discussing the opportunities Detroit offers and how the city can be a catalyst for innovation.

Thompson and Gilbert will talk about the importance of diversity, reconnecting and reinvesting in Detroit, all of which are part of the theme of the conference. Thompson, reputed for his no-holds barred conversational style, accepted Gilbert’s invitation to appear with him on stage before a national audience to engage the issues that are front and center of Detroit’s recovery.

This is the second time Gilbert and Thompson are appearing on stage together for a conversation about Detroit and the challenges and opportunities that exists. The two first appeared together as the highlight of the 2013 Detroit Good Governance Summit.

The upcoming conversation between the two at the Crain’s event is crucial as the city wriggles through near end of bankruptcy. Such a national audience and the larger investment community will be interested in hearing what key players on the ground like Gilbert have to say about the city’s current financial health and the direction it should take.

One major attraction for outside investors is the perception and performance of already existing investors. In a sense the deliberations will be a pulse reader of the Detroit investment climate.

The conference, an invitation-only program billed as a gathering of 300 of the most influential leaders including 150 former Detroiters described as “expats,” is expected to generate ideas on how to make Detroit a major destination for investors and others who are looking to return home.

Following Thompson’s conversation with Gilbert, the Quicken Loans founder will then proceed to moderate a conversation with Buffett.

Other speakers at the conference include Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors; Roger Penske, founder and chairman, Penske Corporation; Chris Ilitch, president and CEO, Ilitch Holdings; Jerry Norcia, president and chief operating officer, DTE Energy; Andra Rush, president and CEO, The Rush Group; Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, among others.

For more information about the conference visit http://www.detroithomecoming.com.

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