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Students, Robots, Bill Ford & More Join The Usual Suspects For 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference

From: CBS Detroit

May 7, 2015

MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – Some young students and robots they built will join hundreds of business, government and community leaders for this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and Conference Chair Mark Davidoff, from Deloitte, Thursday announced that three winning Michigan teams involved in the FIRST Robotics program will be operating their robots on the porch of the Grand Hotel before the three-day event officially kicks off at the Grand Hotel on Wednesday, March 27.

The founder of FIRST, Dean Kamen, will deliver a speech focused on talent later Wednesday afternoon.

The conference will focus on three areas: talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

The agenda for the event, expected to be attended by 1,500 people, includes Wednesday speeches by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder along with Mike Rowe, founder of the mikeroweWorks Foundation, Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE.

Thursday, attendees will get a chance to hear from key players involved in Detroit’s bankruptcy. A panel discussion involving former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, retired bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, Chief Judge Gerald Rosen and Darren Walker from the Ford Foundation will focus on Detroit’s future. Authors Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dan Senor and Nate Silver are scheduled to speak Thursday along with Mellody Hobson, chair of DreamWorks Animation and keynote speaker Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

Few companies in Michigan have successfully leveraged their past while looking to the futurelike Ford,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “From talent and workforce development, to the impact of good corporate citizens, Bill Ford’s expertise and unique forward-looking vision aligns well with the Conference’s goal of ensuring dynamic growth for Michigan.”

In addition, Gov. Snyder will deliver a keynote speech on Thursday afternoon.

Friday sessions will include a discussion with three new members of Congress, Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Dingell and Dave Trott. Organizers say there will also be a discussion on roads, although details have yet to be finalized.

The conference ends with a Baruah, Davidoff and the Governor outlining a “to do” list for the year.