By Carol Cain
It was reading about a teenage girl in Detroit who feared for her safety on the walk to school that inspired Bill Pulte, 24-year-old scion of the Pulte Home fortune, to action and move to the Motor City and be part of the new generation of leaders making a difference.
Born and raised in Boca Raton, Fla., Pulte spent summers up north with his family. His grandfather, William Pulte, is the founder of the home building giant bearing his name which is one of the largest in the nation.
"I wanted to be part of this movement to help Detroit," Pulte, CEO of Pulte Capital Partners LLC during taping of "Michigan Matters." Pulte, who is working with his grandfather in the Detroit Blight Authority project, also has the support of Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder's team.
Pulte recently cleaned up a 10-block area near Eastern Market in 10 days as a pilot program. He aims to do the same in other neighborhoods across Detroit. But first he is lining up funding from foundations, the city, state and federal governments to continue the work. The Detroit Blight Authority is a non-profit and Pulte's family is not benefitting financially from it.
"Detroit has 135,000 square miles with 70,000 vacant structures," he said. "There is trash and debris and forestry in too many neighborhoods. There is no reason citizens need to be living in these conditions." "We just want to help and give back to the city that has given us so much," he added.
The entrepreneurial minded Pulte is also busy running his growth acquisition firm. He just purchased two more firms and has 171 employees across the county. "I love creating more jobs and businesses and making a difference," he added.
"Kudos to you and your grandfather for making a difference," said Denise Ilitch, eldest offspring of Marian and Mike Ilitch – another Detroit family known for making an investment in the Motor City. Ilitch appeared on the show's roundtable along with Pulte and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "Imagine where we would be if we had more people working to help our city. Imagine what our city could look like," said Ilitch.
Given sports seems to be the tie that binds the region, Hackel talked about the Detroit Tigers recent opening day and "how it has been a family tradition to go each year."
"With so many people coming down to be part of the festivities, it really almost should be a national holiday," Ilitch said with a laugh. On other sporting matters, Hackel said he rooted for University of Michigan in the NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night against Louisville, which they lost. Hackel added he wished his Michigan State Spartans had gone further in the playoffs.
Also on the program was Ric DeVore, regional president of Detroit and southeast Michigan of PNC, and Ann Kalass, CEO of Starfish Family Services, who talked about a gala event this Thursday at The Henry Ford Museum. Starfish Family Services, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary , will give an award to PNC for helping the community in many ways including its early education program in Inkster.
Watch "Michigan Matters" 11:30 a.m. Sundays on CBS 62.
Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of "Michigan Matters." She also writes about politics and business in Sunday's Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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