Legislative Update: Raise the Age Bill Passes the House, New Energy and Environment Committee Chair, and New Michigan Voting Rights

Raise the Age Bill Passes the House This Week

The Chamber is a longstanding supporter for juvenile detainment reform. A package of 16 bills that raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18 was recently passed in the House. The Senate adopted a similar package. Under these changes, 17-year-olds are subject to the juvenile justice system instead of state prisons. This legislation changes Michigan statute so that minors currently entrapped in the penal system can instead receive age appropriate rehabilitation and then participate in Michigan’s workforce without the disadvantage of a criminal record.

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee Announces New Chair

On Thursday, April 18 the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee met at the Chamber’s offices to hear from the new director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and to announce the new committee chair.

Liesl Clark, the director of EGLE gave a presentation to the committee on the new department’s priorities, including placing a greater emphasis on water quality, lead pipe replacements, protection of the Great Lakes, air quality, and PFAs, environmentally harmful compounds found in many electronic, and apparel products.

Following this discussion, chairman Abed Houssari of DTE Energy announced his retirement. The Chamber would like to thank Houssari for his experience, insight, and leadership over these past eight years as chairman. Following Houssari’s retirement, Nick Ramos of General Motors was named the new chair of the committee, and a new position-vice chair-has been introduced. Fadi Maroud of DTE Energy will fill this new position. Congratulations to both Ramos and Maroud on their designations.

Learn About the New Rights for Michigan Voters

During the November 2018 election, a ballot was passed that outlined new voting rights for Michigan voters. These new rights include the ability to register to vote through election day and the ability to vote early without any reason. Download this flyer to learn more about these new voting rights and how to register to vote.

Ford Motor Company’s Comprehensive Approach to Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Michigan ranks 10th among states for opioid prescriptions and 18th for opioid-related deaths. The opioid crisis does not discriminate; it affects families of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and ultimately impacts employers’ bottom line.

The Detroit Regional Chamber recently interviewed Jerry Carson, UAW International Coordinator for Ford Motor Company. Carson was asked what Ford is doing to address the opioid crisis in the workplace, and what advice he would give similar companies seeking to provide resources to employees.

“UAW-Ford has developed and delivered an opioid, opiate, and heroin epidemic awareness campaign, titled the ‘UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope.’” said Carson. “We deliver the campaign to UAW-Ford work locations and to the surrounding community via UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope town hall meetings that usually take place in local UAW union halls.”

The UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope consists of the following components:

  1. Education and information that clearly shows that addiction is a chronic brain disease and should be treated as such.
  2. Treatment providers share information on accessing treatment programs and resources.
  3. A long-term recovering addict shares their personal story of overcoming addiction, regaining control, and living a rewarding life.
  4. A toolkit for employees including: drug deactivation kits to safely dispose of unused pain medication, locking bags that are to be used to secure medication, and a list of NARCAN workshops employees can sign up for. These workshops are hosted in partnership with organizations including the County Department of Mental Health, Families Against Narcotics, Unite to Face Addiction Michigan, Deaths Avoided With NARCAN, and Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition.

“The first step is to get educated on the disease of addiction. The second step is to build relationships with organizations in your community that offer treatment programs, resources, and tools.” said Carson when asked for tips and resources to provide to other companies struggling to address this issue.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, contact one of these organizations for immediate help:

  • Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority
    • Website: www.dwmha.com
    • Phone number: 800-241-4949
  • Families Against Narcotics
    • Email: fan@familiesagainstnarcotics.org
    • Phone number: 586-438-8500
  • Unite To Face Addiction Michigan
    • Website: www.UFAMichigan.org
    • Phone number: 810-360-5779

Announcing the 2019 Mackinac Future Leaders, Powered by Bank of America

The Detroit Regional Chamber is pleased to announce the 2019 Mackinac Future Leaders, powered by Bank of America. The program provides a select group of forward-thinking individuals representing a diverse set of business and community organizations across Southeast Michigan an opportunity to attend the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference. Attendees are able to participate in all Conference programming while also enjoying a fully immersive experience tailored specifically toward cultivating their professional growth.

Mackinac Future Leaders are entrepreneurs and rising professionals who are making a significant contribution or working to solve problems in their business, industry, or community. Participants are nominated by their peers, community leaders, and members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

For more information on the Mackinac Future Leaders program, contact Devon O’Reilly, director of entrepreneurship and PlanetM Landing Zone for the Detroit Regional Chamber, at doreilly@detroitchamber.com.

2019 Mackinac Future Leaders

Sirene Abou-Chakra
Deputy Chief Development Officer
City of Detroit

Nicole Bates
Deputy Director, Workforce Development
City of Detroit

Megan Blue
Health Policy Analyst
Beaumont Health

Charity Dean
Director, Department of Civil Rights Inclusion and Opportunity
City of Detroit

Lauren Hoffman
Venture Community Liaison
Rock Ventures LLC

Arielle Johnson
Founder and CEO
Fierce Staffing & Consulting

Dr. Ashley Johnson
Executive Director
Detroit College Access Network

Matthew Jozefczyk
Operations Project Leader
DTE Energy

Anil Kapoor Jr.
Director, National Merrill Performance Manager
Bank of America

Linda Little
President and CEO
Neighborhood Service Organization

Paul Mack
Executive Director
Detroit Experience Factory

Stacey Matlen
Senior Mobility Strategist, Office of Mobility Innovation
City of Detroit

Brian McKinney
Founder and CEO
Gayanga Co.

Angie Perkins
Treasury Management Officer
PNC Bank

John Paul Rea
Executive Director, Planning and Economic Development
Macomb County

Justin Remington
Vice President
Remington Group LLC

Gabe Rodriguez-Garriga
Senior Vice President, Strategy & Partnerships
Detroit Regional Partnership

Matthew Roling
Interim Accounting Department Chair
Wayne State University

Max Schmidt
1701 Bespoke, Commonwealth Sewing Co. 

Sarida Scott
Executive Director
Community Development Advocates of Detroit

Courtney Smith
Founder and Executive Director
Detroit Phoenix Center

Kevin Smith
Project Leader
Boston Consulting Group

Paul Thomas, M.D.
Plum Health DPC

Kelly Benedetti Walsh
Michigan Marketing Leader

Tonie Wells
Lambert & Associates

Michael Alan Williams
Special Assistant to the President
The Kresge Foundation

Richard Wolney
Vice President, Investment and Finance
Bedrock Detroit

Regional Leaders Share Strategies for Saving on Health Care Costs

“To save on health care costs, the first step is to educate employees on how to use it, when to use it, and why to use it,” said Daniel B. Russell Sr., president of Chorus HR Group at the Middle Market Forum on Managing Health Care Costs.

At this Detroit Regional Chamber event on April 17 at the Detroit Golf Club, a keynote speaker and panel of diverse leaders shared insights with regional business leaders on how to save on inflating health care costs.

Atheer Kaddis, vice president of pharmacy services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan delivered a keynote discussion on trends in the pharmacy market. He focused on some strategies employers and providers can use to save on increasing prescription drug expenditures.

A few examples Kaddis provided include using biosimilars, an almost identical copy of a drug produced by a different company and often available at a lower cost, instead of name brand drugs. Kaddis did advise, however, that the use of biosimilars does require physician involvement before a prescription can be written.

Following this keynote presentation, a panel of experts representing diverse viewpoints on health care provided their tips for saving on health care costs.

Joining the panel was Michelle Costa, regional HR director of North/South America for SMR Automotive Systems USA Inc.; Dr. Stephenie Lucas, medical director of the Diabetes Treatment Center; and Daniel B. Russell Sr., president of Chorus HR Group. This panel was moderated by Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer of Henry Ford Health Systems.

Key strategies that were shared during this discussion:

  • Get in front of your employees and have discussions with them on their benefits. If they don’t know what benefits are available to them, they won’t use them.
  • Develop innovative approaches for your company that show that you truly stand behind supporting a healthy workplace. For example, Henry Ford Health Systems provides support to current employees who smoke to help them quit.
  • Be transparent with your employees about the costs you accumulate managing their health care.
  • Educate employees on virtual care as an easier, faster option for receiving care on certain conditions. Riney shared that when patients can schedule their own appointments, there is less than a 1% no-show rate, versus a 20-30% no-show rate when a doctor schedules an appointment for patients.
  • Empower patients to take their health into their own hands. Connect employees with organizations or spaces in the community where they can receive the support they need.
  • Live the healthy lifestyle you are encouraging your employees to live. Encourage standing or walking meetings and provide healthy snacks to employees.

Watch the full video of the event or get additional tips for developing a healthy workplace by subscribing to Wellness Works.

Personal Workplace Wellness Challenge Winner Selected

Congratulations to Angelica Jessup of Oakland University for winning Wellness Works’ Personal Workplace Wellness Challenge. As the winner, Jessup will receive a Fitbit Versa and be featured on the Wellness Works website.

To win the Challenge, Jessup had to answer the question “How do you encourage healthy behavior in the workplace?” Jessup said that she has an accountability partner in her office. She and her partner hold each other accountable by asking each other about workout plans and occasionally exercising together. She also keeps gym clothes in her office for workouts or lunch time walks throughout the week.

Jessup also participates in Oakland University’s Poker Walk every year. The Poker Walk is a fun 1.5-mile walk celebrating National Employee Health and Fitness Day alongside Oakland University’s Heart Walk Initiatives put on by Oakland University’s Recreation and Well-being initiative. For this event, departments are encouraged to come up with a team name and creative costumes to wear during the walk.

Jessup and her team dressed up as budget trolls for the Poker Walk this year.

Do you have a passion for health and wellness? Subscribe to Wellness Works to share your story or receive updates on workplace wellness strategies.

Three Dynamic Speakers to Deliver Mackinac Moments at #MPC19

Steven Kiefer to Talk Distracted Driving Legislation








Steven Kiefer, senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain for General Motors Co. will deliver a Mackinac Moment during the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference. His session falls under the Conference pillar of “Grow Michigan.” Mackinac Moments are sponsored by PNC Bank.

In conjunction with his role at General Motors Co., Kiefer is the founder of The Kiefer Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to end distracted driving and all associated traffic deaths and injuries. In 2016, Kiefer’s son Mitchel Kiefer was tragically killed in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver. The Kiefer Foundation was established to end distracted driving through awareness, policy, and technology.

Ari Weinzweig to Share His Passion for Michigan








Ari Weinzweig, co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, co-founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, two-person staff, and small selection of specialty foods. Today, Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s is a broad community of businesses, employing more than 500 people.

During his Mackinac Moment, Weinzweig will share his entrepreneurship journey and love for Michigan-made products. His session falls under the Conference pillars of “Grow Michigan” and “Love Michigan.”

Alisyn Malek to Deliver Mackinac Moment on Next-Generation Mobility








Alisyn Malek, chief operating officer and co-founder of May Mobility will also deliver a Mackinac Moment at the Conference.

Malek, an engineer and entrepreneur, co-founded May Mobility, an Ann Arbor-based startup transforming transportation through self-driving vehicles and other services. She will bring a unique perspective to the table, discussing how the automotive and technology industries can converge to foster next-generation mobility.

MICHauto Investors Gather in Lansing for Annual Meetings with Legislators

“Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Chamber’s MICHauto initiative gathered executives from 25 automotive companies to meet with 25 legislators in Lansing for the 2019 Automobility Day at the Capitol. Automotive experts and executives discussed the industry’s impact with legislators including MICHauto’s 2019 policy priorities. This year’s priorities focus on the further development of talent, technology, and trade as the key drivers of progress.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” Stevens said.

MICHauto values the opportunity to foster collaboration between industry leaders and the state government, which will ultimately strengthen Michigan’s economy and reinforce its standing as the automotive capital of the world. Many individuals contribute to this shared effort, and each year MICHauto recognizes one of them for their commitment to supporting the automotive and mobility industry in Michigan.

This year, MICHauto named Rep. Rebekah Warren Legislator of the Year for her dedication to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility.

The sixth annual Automobility Day at the Capitol highlighted how a strong partnership with Michigan’s political leadership will continue to promote a promising future for the state’s automotive and mobility industry.


Member of the Month: Women-Owned Brooklyn Outdoor Creates Unique Outdoor Experiences in Detroit

Editor’s note: The Member of the Month highlights a Detroit Regional Chamber member company working to grow the regional economy through innovative leadership and programs or support of policies that benefit the business community at large.

Brooklyn Outdoor was named the Chamber’s member of the month for April 2019 because of their unique ability to drive creative experiences in outdoor advertising and their position as the only national, certified women-owned outdoor advertising agency in Detroit and in Michigan.

In 2019, Brooklyn Outdoor was designated as one of Michigan Celebrates Small Business’ 50 Companies to Watch. This designation is given to companies in the second stage of development, who have surpassed the startup stage and are in their growth phase.

With more than 500 local, statewide, and national clients, Brooklyn Outdoor was named one of the fastest growing advertising companies in the country by INC Magazine in 2018. Since opening for business in 2013, the Detroit-based company has promised innovative marketing, flawless execution, and unmatched relationships.

Some of their most prominent projects in Detroit include driving over 1 million dollars in revenue for Cobo Center through the sale of the digital spectacular video boards at Congress and Washington and assisting the Downtown Detroit Partnership with the expansion of the MOGO public bike-share system.  In addition, Brooklyn Outdoor is one of the founding sponsors of Murals in the Market. This festival is responsible for producing more than 200 art installations and murals in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market and beyond. The response and impact to these murals has been major for Detroit’s tourism industry.

Brooklyn Outdoor’s efforts in community involvement will continue to grow with the upcoming installation of sixty, brand new bus shelters across Detroit. The installation of these new bus shelters will provide brand, new revenue for the city through a pilot advertising program on the bus shelters, increase safety for the bus system, and provide infrastructure to the neighborhoods. The entrepreneurial spirit of locally-owned businesses like Brooklyn Outdoor are what make Detroit unique among other cities and keep the region running at full speed.

Connecting to Community: DRRC and Let’s Detroit Luncheon Offers Insight on Talent Retention and Attraction

“How do we introduce people to a region that has a spectrum of opportunities, not only in diverse industries but in viable career pathways that will be supported by massive institutions?” said John Paul Rea, deputy county executive at Macomb County.

On Friday, March 29 the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted the Detroit Regional Relocation Council (DRRC), a local resource for global mobility solutions, for the 2019 First Quarter DRRC Educational Luncheon Program.

The meeting was an opportunity to share Let’s Detroit, a talent retention and cultivation program of the with the mission to increase retention of college graduates by 1% each year, helping achieve the Chamber’s goal of boosting postsecondary education attainment in the region to 60 percent by 2030—a goal shared by Gov. Whitmer. Panelists also shared a range of county-level talent retention and attraction tools with the attendees in the room: DRRC membership, corporate relocation managers, and relocation service providers in Southeast Michigan.

During the first panel, Rea and Jennifer Llewellyn, manager at Oakland County Workforce Department and Oakland County Michigan Works! discussed regional talent retention and attraction strategies and resources, like supporting the immigrant and refugee population, connecting young learners to diverse industries, capitalizing on regional partnerships, and more.

In the following panel, Let’s Detroit ambassadors, Ford Motor Company’s Jordan Butler, General Motor’s Hind Ourahou, and Ally’s Tim Gerstenberger spoke about their experiences as young professionals who have relocated to Detroit. From why they moved to the region in the first place to how they’ve adjusted, the panelists shared their personal stories and emphasized how relocation professionals can use the Let’s Detroit platform help out-of-state professionals quickly and deeply connect to the community around them.

“I was more comfortable because I had pillars,” said Ourahou. “It’s important that when you land in a new place that you have some sort of orientation.”

To that end, Let’s Detroit is a tool that can help newcomers build those pillars, by connecting them to people and communities across the region so they can grow their professional network, find engagement opportunities, and make a positive impact in the community.