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Business Leaders To Discuss Progress Toward New Economy

DETROIT -- Top executives from across the state will convene in Lansing March 11 to update their economic development strategies and plan next steps.

"Through collaboration and careful analysis, Michigan will successfully capitalize on its future economic opportunities," said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. "The key is to be smart, strategic, and unrelenting in our efforts. This summit represents an important check point on our path forward."

Conference participants will spend a half-day in updates and discussion related to each component of BLM's New Michigan strategy.

The New Michigan Summit will be held on Monday, March 11 at the Radisson Hotel Lansing from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The half-day event is free and includes panel discussions on six directions of future growth for Michigan.

Natural Resources Economy: Michigan is poised to supply growing global demand for food, energy sources, water, and minerals. Our abundant natural resources, as well as our agricultural expertise and tourism industries, are ripe for expansion. Intelligent stewardship and distribution can help make our state a leader and voice for natural resource management; in this session, we'll explore strategies for cultivating and sharing our abundant resources. Panelists include Erin McDonough, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and Wayne Wood, president of the Michigan Farm Bureau. The moderator is George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Global Center of Mobility: With a rich automotive history, ample industrial resources, and amazing technological know-how, Michigan is ready to expand mobility into the 21st century. From multi-modal transportation systems and electric vehicles to the wonder of GPS-assisted parking, our engineers and manufacturers are moving Michigan  forward into a world where cars are just one of the ways to get from here to there. Panelists include Jay Baron, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors Inc. The moderator is Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business

Global Engineering Village: Michigan's knowledge about what it takes to produce well-engineered products is second to none. Our patent activity, talent, and manufacturing plants are all at the ready to support the development of a dynamic engineering hub with the potential to transform how the world works. Panelists include Rich Wells, vice president and site director of Michigan operations of Dow Chemical Co., and Christopher Webb, co-director of the Engineering Society of Detroit Institute.

Gateway to the Midwest: With international trade growing, Michigan has the geographic, logistical, and talent resources to serve as a distribution center for supplying products and services across the nation and around the globe. Our population, ports, and access to foreign markets have tremendous potential; we're learning to leverage them in ways that will make Michigan a launching point for the world of tomorrow. Panelists include Peter Anastor, senior policy director of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Higher Education Marketplace: When it comes to innovation, Michigan's universities have a corner on tomorrow's technology. Some of America's strongest research and baccalaureate universities are located in our state; with their intellect, energy, and zest for new technologies,these organizations are a key component to Michigan's future economic success. Panelists include Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber, Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, and Kenneth Nisbet, executive director of technology transfer at the University of Michigan.

Life Sciences Hub: The biological and life sciences offer tremendous long-term growth potential for Michigan, which already generates many of America's university bioscience degree holders. We have what it takes to succeed in the bio-pharmaceutical sector, and look forward to advancing. Panelists include Steve Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, and Therese Thill, vice president of business development at The Right Place Inc.

To find the full agenda or to register, visit

Business Leaders for Michigan, the statewide organization that replaced Detroit Renaissance, is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, CEOs or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities. Its members drive more than 25 percent of the state's economy, provide more than 325,000 direct and 820,000 indirect jobs in Michigan, generate more than $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly one half of all Michigan public university students.

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