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2018 CEO Summit highlights statewide growth strategies

400+ leaders convene to focus on Michigan’s economic future
2018 CEO Summit highlights statewide growth strategies
Monday, Nov 5, 2018


DETROIT — With election day approaching, top leaders from across Michigan came together in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 1 to focus on tools for business growth, as well as a set of shared strategies for boosting the state’s prosperity over the long term.

More than 400 business executives, nonprofit and community leaders, philanthropists, and policymakers were on hand to discuss what it takes to succeed, both as individual enterprises and as a state.    

“Our economic recovery in Michigan has been impressive, thanks in large part to the hard work of leaders who were willing to make thoughtful, strategic choices about key statewide policies,” said BLM president and CEO Doug Rothwell.  “We’ve all been successfully connected to a strong shared plan for continuing our economic growth in place—a Plan for a Stronger Michigan—and on Tuesday we’ll have an opportunity to go to the polls and support leaders who are ready to keep moving that plan aggressively forward.”

At the event, Rothwell posed a series of five questions for voters to consider when deciding on candidates:

  • Will they continue to follow sound fiscal management practices?
  • Do they support specific actions to reduce the state’s long-term debt?
  • Are they prepared to raise user fees to fix our roads permanently and sustainably?
  • Are they serious about ensuring our schools deliver better results, our kids get an affordable college education and our workers get the training they need?
  • Are they committed to Michigan having a strong and competitive economic development program and building on Michigan’s strengths to grow our mobility, engineering, travel, logistics and other critical sectors?

“We need to keep Michigan moving along a pathway to success by pursuing strategies that are proven effective,” Rothwell said. “We cannot afford to let the growth we’ve achieved in recent years evaporate.”

Summit highlights included a keynote presentation from Richard Anderson, president and CEO of Amtrak and former CEO of Delta Air Lines. Patti Poppe, president & CEO of Michigan-based CMS Energy & Consumers Energy, also spoke.

“Each of our keynote speakers shared insights about ways organizations—and the state as a whole—can work to become more competitive,” Rothwell said.  “With that competitive strength as our asset, we can begin to work on the investment and growth Michigan needs to become a ‘Top Ten’ state for jobs, income, and productivity—which is the cause BLM has championed for the past decade.”

Other panel discussions throughout the day addressed the future of the health care sector, the importance of designing positive user experiences, and the unique challenges faced by family-owned businesses. Rothwell himself provided a short update about his organization’s Plan for a Stronger Michigan and offered access to a link showing how each of this Tuesday’s election candidates aligns with the Plan.

The one-day Summit was held at Cobo Center in Detroit.

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