Detroit Business Conference Set for April 24


The Detroit Business Conference, an event focused on inspiring innovation and investment in the Motor City, will bring together corporate executives, community leaders and small business owners to engage in conversation on Detroit’s transformation. The event will be held, Tuesday, April 24 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel.
The Detroit Business Conference features an action-packed agenda of key business, community and political visionaries who are leading Detroit’s recovery, including Scott Benson of Midtown Detroit, Inc.; Phil Cooley of Slows Bar BQ; Tricia Keith of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners, and Roy Roberts of Detroit Public Schools.  Anthony Williams, former mayor of Washington, D.C., will also be a keynote speaker.

For more information and to register, visit:

The schedule:

7:30 a.m. Registration and Networking Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Remarks: Chris Ilitch, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ilitch Holdings Inc.
8:35 a.m. Remarks: Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber
8:50 a.m. Morning Keynote Presentation: Kirk Lewis, Deputy Mayor, City of Detroit
9:10 a.m. Q & A Session with Kirk Lewis, Deputy Mayor, City of Detroit

Moderator: Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber

9:30 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions: A Snapshot of Business Opportunities in Detroit

Attraction and Retention of Talent in Detroit
Take a look at the policies and resources currently in place and those that need to be implemented in order to create an environment that will cultivate and retain the talent of native Detroiters while attracting the talent of young professionals nationwide.
• Amy Cell, Senior Vice President, Talent Enhancement, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
• Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Municipal League
• Ryan Hoyle, Director, Global Recruiting, Galax.E Solutions
• Roy Roberts, Emergency Manager, Detroit Public Schools
• Dan Varner, Chief Executive Officer, Excellent Schools Detroit

Starting or Expanding Your Business in Detroit’s Downtown Neighborhoods
Uncover the positive aspects of opening or expanding business in Michigan’s ubran core, learn how to encourage prolific entrepreneurship and hear solutions for common challenges associated with startups and expansion.
• Scott Benson, Small Business Development Manager, Midtown Detroit, Inc.
• Sheila Cockrel, President, Crossroads Consulting
• David Carleton, Owner and Partner, Fieldstone Properties, Mindfield and NewGAR LLC
• Phil Cooley, Co-owner, Slows Bar BQ
• Anthony Curis, Partner, Curis Enterprises; Partner, Wayne County Construction Services; Owner, El Guapo Food Truck

Development Opportunities in Detroit
Discover how Detroit’s available industrial land, commercial real estate and historic buildings are physical assets to growth in the city.
• Fred J. Beal, President, JC Beal Construction Inc.
• Dave Blaszkiewicz, President, Invest Detroit; President and Chief Executive Offier, Downtown Detroit Partnership
• Teresa Lynch, Senior Vice President, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
• Robert Riney, President and Chief Operating Officer, Henry Ford Health System
• Olga Stella, Vice President, Business Development, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Collaboration and Innovation in Detroit
Hear examples of collaborative innovation that lead to better ideas, methods, entrepreneurial ecosystems and business growth in today’s innovation-rich world.
• Mark Hatch, Chief Executive Officer, Techshop
• Josh Linkner, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, Detroit Venture Partners
• Christian Marcillo, Co-owner and Director of Creaive Designs, Future Help Designs
• Mike Miller, Head of Business and Industrial Markets Team, Google
• Sam Singh, Senior Consultant, New Economy Initiative

11 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. Keynote Speaker Introduction: Dennis Archer, former Mayor Detroit; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dennis W. Archer PLLC; and Chairman Emeritus, Dickinson Wright PLLC
11:45 a.m. Lunch Keynote Presentation: Anthony Williams, former Mayor, Washington D.C. Williams will discuss his experience during his eight years as mayor of Washington, D.C. and some of the key steps in the revitalization of the city.

12:45 p.m. Break
1 p.m.  Afternoon Keynote Presentation: Tony Goldman, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Properties

Goldman will share his experience in urban renewal and creative ideas for Detroit’s redevelopment.
1:35 p.m. Q & A Session with Tony Goldman, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Properties

Moderator: Mary Kramer, Vice President and Publisher, Crain’s Detroit Business
1:55 p.m. Introduction of Panel: John Gallagher, Author, “Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City,”
2 p.m. Inspiring Development and Growth through Urban Investment
Hear directly from some of Detroit’s largest corporations about investments in the city including resident incentives, local procurement policies and the purchase of downtown real estate, how those investments have inspired the redevelopment of downtown Detroit and discuss ideas for further ventures.
• Mike Duggan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Medical Center
• Tricia Keith, Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
• Bruce Schwartz, Detroit Relocation Ambassador, Bedrock Real Estate Services
2:45 p.m. Break

3 p.m. Training Programs and Resources for Entrepreneur in Southeast Michigan
Discover several entrepreneurial training programs and resources available to current and future business owners throughout Southeast Michigan and learn how to utilize their offerings.
• Ken Agacinski, Executive Director, The MORE Program
• Catherine Gase, Lead Business Development Specialist, Small Business Adminstration, Michigan District Office
• Meredith Kerekes, Chief of Staff, Techtown
• Robin Kinnie, Business Development Manager, Small Business Detroit Microloan Program
• Jon Zemke, Startup and Development News Editor, Metromode

Social Entrepreneurship in Southeast Michigan
Social entrepreneurship, an emerging trend in small business development, is the concept of forming a profitable business around a driving social mission. Discover several successful examples of social entrepreneurship in Southeast Michigan that are selling products or services, providing jobs and participating in the community–the “triple bottom line.”
• Jeff Aronoff, Executive Director, D:Hive
• Christine Coady Narayanan , Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Resource Fund
• Faith Fowler, Founder, Green Industries
• Lisa Johanon, Executive Director, Central Detroit Christian
• Simone Landon, Editor, The Huffington Post Detroit

Resources for 2nd Stage Companies in Southeast Michigan
Hear directly from successful business owners and service providers on available regional resources and how to capitalize on them in order to reach your business’ growth potential.
• Lola Are, Supervisor, Oakland County One Stop Shop/Business Center; Center Director, Oakland County Business Center – MI – SBTDC
• Carolyn Cassin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Women’s Foundation
• Paul Czarnik, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Compuware
• Mark Davis, Business Development Officer, SEM Resource Capital
• Kala Gibson, Senior Vice President and Affiliate Head of Business Banking, Fifth Third Bank
• Perry Mehta, President and Chief Executive Officer, FutureNet Group, Inc.

Level the Playing Field with Information Technology
Gain a competitive edge for your business while containing costs by providing  the productivity tools  today’s business environment demands. Comcast Business Class will share how to leverage connectivity to give your business strategic advantages. Invest the time, yield the dividends and watch your business grow.
• Chris Chelios, Executive Advisor for Hockey Operations, Detroit Red Wings; former Detroit Red Wings player; Owner, Cheli’s Chili Bar
• Natasha Evans, Director, Advanced Media, Central Region, Comcast Spotlight
• Jeffrey Freyer, Regional Vice President, Heartland Region, Comcast
• Jason A. Lambiris, Chief Executive Officer, Apex Digital Solutions
• Diana DesJardin Tibbs, General Manager, Central Region, US Small and Medium Business, Microsoft Corporation

4 p.m. Program Adjourns