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Business Leaders for Michigan is an organization dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. Serving as the state's business roundtable, Business Leaders for Michigan is composed of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of the state’s largest job providers and universities. Read more...

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Entries in New Michigan (8)


BLM Issues Recommendations for Boosting Natural Resources Economy

DETROIT, Mich. —Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today released The Michigan Natural Resources Business Plan: Leveraging Our Assets to Make Michigan a Top Ten State,  showing how Michigan could better leverage its strengths in natural resources, from tourism to agriculture and beyond.

Currently, Michigan’s natural resource industries provide over 7 percent of all Michigan jobs, create over $32 billion in GDP, and account for over $400 billion in sales, according to the report. Exports of natural resource industry products from Michigan account for over $61 billion annually.

“Our natural assets are a powerful engine for economic growth,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO. “Managed responsibly, with careful attention to long-term environmental impact, Michigan has tremendous opportunities to harness these assets and share them—profitably—with the world.”

Natural resources was one of the six industry clusters identified in BLM’s New Michigan strategy as having the most potential to grow good paying and sustainable jobs in Michigan.  The BLM Natural Resources report identifies the industries within our natural resources sector with the greatest opportunity for growth, including tourism and outdoor recreation, agriculture and food processing, timber and renewable energy industries.

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Leveraging MI’s Most Valuable Assets

BLM New Michigan Summit leaders: “Opportunities are only meaningful if we act on them”

LANSING, Mich., March 26, 2015 — Nearly 500 Michigan business and policy leaders convened in  Lansing today to explore the state’s most promising economic growth opportunities.

Hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the third annual Building a New Michigan Leadership Summit offered projections, data, and strategies for accelerating Michigan’s economy. 

“Michigan has natural assets and strengths capable of driving long-term job, income and GDP growth,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “But these opportunities are only meaningful if we act on them in smart, aggressive ways. We’re in a fast-paced global race for economic leadership. We must maximize every opportunity we have if we’re going to win.”

Rothwell highlighted his organization’s latest report on each of six key opportunity areas identified in the Michigan Turnaround Plan’s New Michigan strategy as having the best potential to create good paying jobs in the state.  “Michigan can be a global leader, but we have to aggressively build upon our strengths,” Rothwell said.  “As a Top Ten competitor, our state stands to gain 230,000 more jobs, $14,000 more in average annual earnings, and $36,500 more in per capita GDP. We can’t afford not to get serious about each of these opportunities.”

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In 2012, “New Michigan” jobs grew twice as fast as the state as a whole

DETROIT, Mich., March 10, 2014 — Strategies for accelerating the state’s economic transformation took center stage in East Lansing today, as nearly 500 business and policy executives came together to discuss ways to build a New Michigan economy. 

Hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the second annual leadership summit offered a forum for participants to hear about the state’s recent progress in six areas identified in BLM’s New Michigan strategy as having the greatest potential to grow good jobs quickly and a sustainable economy.  A detailed report providing updates was also released today. 

“We are seeing excellent progress in these New Michigan opportunity areas; in fact, they are growing jobs at twice the rate of the state as a whole,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “While we are seeing positive gains, it’s crucial to put an even greater focus on these areas. Properly leveraging our strongest assets will accelerate growth in our state, grow jobs and earnings and create an economy that is less susceptible to economic downturns.”

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Reflecting on 2013

Dear Colleagues, 

It's the time of year when we reflect on what's been accomplished and what's left to do on our respective agendas. At Business Leaders for Michigan, we're excited about the progress MI is making to grow the economy. While we still have work ahead to reach our goal of becoming a Top Ten state, a number of Michigan Turnaround Plan objectives have been met. 

During the past year, the state's policy leaders have made strategic decisions necessary to strengthen the state's fiscal foundation. For the third consecutive year, the budget passed and signed into law was based on a two-year plan. In a move toward more efficient and effective public service, the Regional Prosperity Initiative was enacted to encourage regions to collaborate and promote economic growth. To give our children a better chance at success, our policy makers included funding to provide more under-served children access to early childhood education programs, continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards which will prepare our students for careers and college, and provided additional performance funding for our state universities. Earlier actions have made MI more competitive, including reducing state debt, reducing taxes for small and medium-sized businesses, and reducing obsolete or unnecessary regulations. 

Our most recent Benchmarking Report tells the story of a state that is recovering faster than most other states. MI's tax climate has flipped from one of the nation's worst to one of the best, and we remain a national leader in R & D and talent production.  MI produces 30% more patents, our universities generate about 30% more research and development, and the value of our exports is 50% more than Top Ten states. Our capacity to innovate positions us well to provide more of what the world needs - a key characteristic of Top Ten states. 

We will continue to develop  strategies that boost our state's leadership in areas such as mobility, engineering, natural resources, and the life sciences. Registration is now open for our Leadership Summit: Building a New Michigan on March 10, 2014 where we will showcase progress being made to leverage the state's unique strengths and ultimately create more jobs.

Happy Holidays from Business Leaders for Michigan!


Doug's esig  

Doug Rothwell,President & CEO


Michigan Poised to be Global Center of Mobility

Business Leaders for Michigan unveils strategy to grow auto industry potential, add 100,000 new jobs

Download the report. 

DETROIT, Mich., December 11, 2013— Michigan has the potential to grow up to 100,000 new jobs in the state’s important automotive sector by becoming a center of excellence in advanced powertrain, lightweight and smart/connected transportation technologies. That’s according to a strategy advanced today by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten State for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy.

The BLM plan was developed with a coalition of top industry experts, the Center for Automotive Research and McKinsey & Company. The plan positions Michigan for long-term growth in the auto sector as it continues to transition to an increasingly advanced technology-based sector.  It is one of six strategies BLM is developing as part of its Michigan Turnaround Plan.

“The automotive industry is fast becoming a mobility industry,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company and chair of BLM’s mobility initiative.  “While Michigan already is the automotive leader, we need to take actions now to ensure that we are the leader of the emerging mobility industry.”

Mobility refers to products associated with transporting people and goods, as well as sophisticated connectivity technology in vehicles to assist drivers with navigation, parking, road conditions and safety.  Mobility also refers to multi-modal and intermodal solutions that integrate personal vehicles with public transit and reduce congestion and emissions. Michigan’s advantage in the mobility arena is rooted in the state’s leadership on R&D, production and supply companies that operate here. The automotive industry has the highest jobs multipliers of any sector of the Michigan economy.

Jay Baron, President & CEO of the Center for Automotive Research said, “Michigan is well positioned to compete in powertrain and light-weighting technologies, but faces strong challenges from other competitive hubs in the emerging area of smart and connected transportation.  No place has a greater concentration of the auto industry, but Michigan must have a sharper focus and build greater public-private collaboration to ensure continued leadership as the industry evolves.”

“Michigan must build on its strengths,  while seeing and acting on emerging needs and shaping industry, technology, regulation and consumer trends,” said Hans-Werner Kaas, Senior Partner, Leader Automotive & Assembly Practice for McKinsey & Company and BLM board member.  “Michigan has strong capital availability and an unsurpassed concentration of Original Equipment Manufacturers/suppliers and their respective know-how.  As the industry is transforming, Michigan must be aggressive in growing the talent pipeline, base of innovation and industry collaboration across the industry value chain.”

The BLM mobility strategy outlines six categories of action:

  • Leadership: Support the creation of a state-level position/function to facilitate government’s role in growing the automotive and mobility industries. Other key leadership elements include an inter-agency partnership and the establishment of a private-sector mobility leadership group focused on implementing BLM’s recommendations
  • Marketing & branding: Launch a marketing and branding campaign to support Michigan's strengths and aspirations in the automotive and mobility industries
  • Strategic convening: Attract and create high-stature advanced mobility conferences and events in Michigan, anchored by economic development and B2B opportunities for attendees
  • Talent development: Support the pipeline of new employees into Michigan’s mobility industry and design/offer education programs for universities and trade schools that deliver skill sets for future roles; support strong programs with adequate financial/tax incentives
  • Collaboration network:  Develop a focused collaboration, research, and testing initiative, and work to attract mobility research centers; the state should explore competitive financial support models to attract critical future R&D investments in light of a global competitive context
  • Capital attraction: Support the development of additional sources of financial capital, including venture capital, private investment, and innovative business arrangements to attract new funds

“This strategy provides an exciting, fact-based roadmap to grow one of our state’s most important industries,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO.   “Currently, Michigan is home to 70 percent of all U.S. automotive R&D expenditures, and 13 percent of global R&D spending. Coupled with the state’s top ranking as home to engineers, and high concentration of smart and connected test beds and pilot deployments, Michigan is well-positioned to soar as a leader of automotive innovation.”

The full report can be found at:  BLM will report annually on progress being made to implement this and the other five strategies identified to make Michigan a Top Ten state.


NOTE:  Media interested in speaking with the industry experts that prepared the report can attend a special briefing onThursday, December 12 at 1:00 P.M. at the Center for Automotive Research at 3005 Boardwalk, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Speakers: Doug Rothwell, President & CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan, Hans-Werner Kaas, Senior Partner, Leader Automotive & Assembly Practice, McKinsey & Company and Dr. Sean McAlinden, Executive Vice President of Research and Chief Economist, Center for Automotive Research

Please RSVP to Amy Novak at: 313-259-5400.

Download the press release.