January 2015

2015: Charting a path to a vibrant, prosperous future


Our state has come a long way over the last few years. State government finances are more stable. Changes to our tax system have reduced the burden for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Long-term debt has been reduced. Unnecessary regulations have been eliminated. 


We've made great gains. Our state is performing better but

what was necessary then is not what is needed now - if we are to make MI a Top Ten  state with more jobs and higher incomes. 

Now that we've regained our economic footing, it's time to think about how we can strategically invest for our future growth.  


Michigan leaders know two crucial areas of investment are needed--people and infrastructure. We need to make sure our people have the tools they need to succeed, and that our roads and bridges are safe for everyday travel and have the capacity to move our products and services to market.


We begin-first, last, and always-with the people of our great state.  There needs to be more investment in educational programs Michiganders need to be successful.  Our young people need more than a high school education to succeed.  Yet, our state spends more to house prison inmates than it does to help a kid get through college. We can do better.  And additional job training opportunities would help many talented, displaced workers re-enter the workforce and fill the 70,000+ open jobs that exist today.


For Michigan to continue to grow, we need to develop a skilled, educated workforce that is capable of meeting the demands of employers today, tomorrow, and even a decade from now.  At the same time, we need to fundamentally retool our state's transportation infrastructure.  Michigan's roads and bridges need to function as more than a humorous punchline; they need to be capable of supporting our growing economy. 


State policymakers have shown tremendous foresight in adopting a comprehensive road funding solution. Voters will have an opportunity to approve this solution this spring, connecting Michigan to the resources and tools necessary to be an economic powerhouse once more.


Please join us, our colleagues, neighbors and communities as we rally around these strategies for growth in 2015.  Michigan's future prosperity depends on it. 


Mark your calendar!  Registration is now open!

New Michigan Summit Logo  


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lansing Center, Lansing, MI

8:00 am-12:00 pm


 More details to follow.  Click here to register for the event!

No cost to attend.


The Michigan Turnaround Plan reflects the significant progress that has been made in making Michigan more competitive.  It identifies areas where we can compete, invest and grow in order to make our state stronger for generations to come.



Our view:  As there are an unlimited number of places where businesses can locate in a global economy, MI has to be as good or better on most business climate factors compared to competitor locations.

A majority of Michigan local governments firm up financial practices closup Logo

CLOSEUP | December 18, 2014


A majority of Michigan jurisdictions, or 53 percent, report that their financial practices have become more formal during the last five years, as recessionary shortfalls have highlighted the pitfalls of lax policy. A University of Michigan survey of top elected and appointed officials in the state's 1,856 units of government found that the number rises to 72 percent when looking at jurisdictions with more than 30,000 residents. Click here to download the report.  Read more. . .


Our view: MI is known as a hub of innovation and as a thriving, welcoming state that cultivates its strongest assets. 

Michigan's 'blue economy' a growing industry URC

Detroit News  | January 2, 2015 

Water emerged as one of the most compelling issues for Michigan's economic future during a five-city "Blue Economy Tour" led by the University Research Corridor (URC) - an alliance of Michigan's three leading research institutions, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.  Read more. . .


Download the URC's report, "Innovating for the Blue Economy".     


Transformative Deals Not Coming To MI or Northern States

Site Selection Chart  

The Top Ten most transformative projects for 2013 according to Site Selection magazine are listed below.  Note that all of these are located in the South or Southwest.  Our understanding is that Michigan did not get serious consideration for any of these except the Boeing opportunity. 

  • Apple, Mesa AZ: $1.5B, 700 jobs
  • Boeing, N. Charleston, SC: $1B, 2000 jobs
  • Cerner Corp., Kansas City, MO: $4.3B, 15,000 jobs (Health care IT center)
  • Engineered Floors, Dalton, GA: $450M, 2000 jobs
  • Hankook Tire, Clarksville, TN: $800M, 1800 jobs
  • IBM, Baton Rouge, LA: $55M, 800 jobs
  • MetLife, Cary, NC: $125M, 2622 jobs
  • Motorola, Fort Worth, TX: $3M, 2000 jobs
  • State Farm Insurance, Richardson, TX: $1.5B, 8000 jobs
  • Tenaris, Bay City, TX: $1.5B, 600 jobs
 Read more. . .

How College Grads Impact Urban Redevelopment in MI


Many American cities are being repopulated with young college graduates.  While the trend is stronger in western and southern cities, MI cities are also experiencing this phenomenon.  But MI faces a fundamental challenge to fully take advantage of this trend - we aren't producing enough college graduates to repopulate our cities at the rate of Top Ten states.  Here are some facts:

  • MI retains more in-state college grads than the average state, but we rank last attracting out-of-state college grads. 
  • While we're producing more college graduates than a decade ago, we only rank in the middle of our peer states and 9% below the Top Ten states. 
  • Compounding the matter: MI's aging demographics - we have a shrinking pool of young people to educate.

These factors are a big reason why places like Detroit compare so poorly to other cities - even those in the Upper Midwest - for the growth of college graduate residents.  MI just isn't producing enough of the college grads to catch up with our peer and Top Ten states.  The chart below from the New York Times shows the comparisons.  Read more. . .

Michigan Ranks Average on Innovation Index


A study published in Harvard Business Review identifies the most innovation-friendly states based on the effectiveness of each state's top publicly-traded companys' R&D efforts.  The measure essentially looks at what these companies spend on R&D relative to the impact that spending has had on company revenues.  The index ranks MI slightly below average - meaning R&D spending by our publicly-traded companies is having below average impact on income generation. Read more. . . 




Q&A: Domino's Pizza CEO on 2015 outlook

Detroit Free Press  | January 4, 2015 Dominos pizza logo


The consistent growth of Domino's Pizza under CEO Patrick Doyle's reign has thrilled investors.  The Ann Arbor Township-based company's stock has increased more than fivefold since Doyle took over for former CEO David Brandon in March 2010.  Doyle killed Domino's costly strategy of introducing a slew of new products every year, expanded the company's highly profitable online ordering system and helped the company accelerate its international expansion. He recently spoke to the Free Press about his outlook for Michigan and for Domino's in 2015.  Read more. . .

Two executives lauded for business leadership

Detroit Free Press  | January 2, 2015


Sandra (Sandy) Pierce, vice chairman of FirstMerit Corporation and chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan, was one to two executives named Business Leaders of the Year by the Harvard Business School Club of Michigan. The executives are to be honored at a dinner on March 26 at the Michigan State University Management Education Center in Troy. "Both Sandy Pierce and Gordon Krater exemplify strong leaders who are able to direct growing and complex enterprises while creating and sustaining a culture of corporate citizenship that fosters community engagement for the betterment of the region," the club's chair, Richard Shapack, said.  Read more. . .

Whirlpool Opens Technology Center as Part of $155M Expansion

DBusiness | December 23, 2014 Whirlpool Logo


Whirlpool Corp. has marked the latest developments in the company's $155 million investment initiative with the opening of the new Benton Harbor Technology Center. "As an employee of Whirlpool, I recognize those who came before us and worked hard to give us a better company," Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO, told employees and guests at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "They built this company from the ground up, which helped pave the way for us to transform what was once a warehouse into a state-of-the-art global technology center. This is not just a new facility. It is a testament to our values as a company, our commitment to investing where it counts - right here at home." Read more. . .

Little Caesars Pizza to double its downtown space

Detroit News | December 10, 2014


Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza is helping deliver some of the biggest plans to overhaul downtown Detroit in recent history, including Wednesday's announcement that the company will build a new eight-story headquarters on Woodward Avenue. The large pepperoni pizza catapulted Little Caesar's company into the upper echelon of pizza chains and is the driver behind the Ilitch family's billion-dollar sports and entertainment empire. Read more. . .

Detroit Manufacturing Systems aims to hire 200

ModelD | December 9, 2014


Detroit Manufacturing Systems is in the process of hiring 200 people for its new manufacturing facility near Brightmoor. The company specializes in making automotive interior systems and employs about 750 people. It took over an older plant in 2012 to build the new aluminum body for the Ford F-150 pickup. Read more. . .


Poll: Michigan voters more optimistic about future of the state than nation MLive Logo

MLive.com | December 24, 2014


Michigan voters are more optimistic about the future of the state than the country, according to the results of a year-end public opinion poll released this week. Fifty-two percent of Michiganders believe the state is "headed in the right direction," according to a telephone survey of 600 likely voters conducted December 10-14 by EPIC-MRA of Lansing.  Read more. . .

Detroit in good shape after bankruptcy 

Detroit News | December 11, 2014


Detroit wakes up today with a clean balance sheet, a solid plan for keeping its finances on course, and a leadership team that is demonstrating a commitment to changing both the culture and fate of the city.  That's about as good an outcome as anyone could have hoped for when state intervention in the city's operation began nearly two years ago. Read more. . .




March 26, 2015:  
Don't miss the 2015 New Michigan Summit at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click here to reserve a seat!

November 12, 2015: 
Mark your calendar for the 2015 Michigan CEO Summit
at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit in downtown Detroit.

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About Us


Business Leaders for Michigan, the state's business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is comprised of the chairpersons, chief executive officers, or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities.  Our members drive over 25% of the state's economy, provide over 325,000 direct and 820,000 indirect jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 Trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly one half of all Michigan public university students. Find out more at: www.businessleadersformichigan.com