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Media Center

Welcome to the Media Resource Center.  Here you'll find press releases, images, webcasts, postcasts and the latest news and information about Business Leaders for Michigan and its work.  Please consider bookmarking this page and return frequently for the most up-to-date information.



Michigan CEOs Review Economic Progress, Discuss Statewide Prosperity at Summit

State Must Boost Value if Growth Is to Continue 

DETROIT, Mich., November 12, 2015 — Michigan’s economic future is threatened by a lack of cohesion behind a common strategy for growing the economy and prioritizing investments in areas that will improve the state’s overall competitiveness such as education and training beyond high school, innovation and assets and economic development according to panelists presenting at today’s CEO summit hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) in Detroit. 

An audience of 500 senior leaders from the fields of business, policy, education and advocacy gathered at the Westin Book Cadillac for updates and discussion related to Michigan’s economic growth.   

“Thanks to major policy changes since 2009, Michigan’s economy has experienced a surge of growth that has outpaced nearly all other U.S. states,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “However, our progress in absolute terms is still very low compared to our peers. If we want to attract fresh talent and new employers, we need to make absolutely sure the value Michigan offers is worth the cost of locating here.” 

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Business Leaders for Michigan issues statement in response to action on the road funding package 

DETROIT, Mich., Nov. 3, 2015  – Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today issued the following statement in response to the passage of the road funding package.

“This road funding package provides substantial funding toward fixing our roads. While it doesn't meet all of our objectives for funding transportation – it meets many of them,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “Moving forward, we will monitor the state’s finances to ensure the goals of this multi-year funding plan are met and continue to encourage the state to prioritize investments to make college more affordable and to support job training and economic development as these are also critical priorities that are important to growing jobs and our economy.”


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BLM 3Q Forecast: Short-term growth slightly positive, long-term growth flat

DETROIT, Mich., Oct 29, 2015 – According to a survey conducted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, most business leaders forecast the Michigan and U.S. economies will grow modestly over the next six months, followed by flat growth over the next 18 months.

“The majority of Michigan’s largest job providers believe that the state’s economy will remain stronger than the nation’s over the next eighteen months, but growth will slow in both markets,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO. “The economic recovery is entering its seventh year – historically a long time for expansions. Growth is slowing, but America remains a bright spot in the world economy and Michigan will likely out-perform the nation over the next eighteen months.” 

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Business Leaders for Michigan and Michigan Municipal League issue joint statement on road funding proposals 

DETROIT, MI, Oct. 20, 2015—Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable representing 80 of the largest employers, and the Michigan Municipal League, which represents Michigan cities, villages and urban townships as well as several affiliate organizations, today jointly issued the following statement in response to the road funding proposals being discussed by the Michigan Legislature:

“We’ve been talking about the need to invest new dollars in Michigan’s infrastructure for four years. There have been multiple plans and several 'close calls' without a solution. We are at that point again," said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.

The Governor and legislative leaders agreed in principle to a solution that raises at least $800 million in new revenue, while using no more than $400 million in existing funds, to fix our crumbling roads, repair our deteriorating bridges, and invest in transit. Experts agree this total of $1.2 billion is the minimum level of investment needed to fix our transportation network. Business Leaders for Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League support this solution, and we support the call by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof for a conference committee vote on this solution, Rothwell said.

“Some are advocating for a solution that uses even more General Fund dollars for roads. We have serious concerns about any proposal that relies on using more than $400 million in General Fund revenues," Rothwell said. "Using the General Fund beyond that level isn’t sustainable and puts other critical needs at risk – ranging from potential Medicaid shortfalls and less money for community services to higher tuition bills and weaker efforts to attract jobs. These priorities are just as important as fixing potholes.”

Using general fund dollars also could have a negative impact on essential services in local communities, said Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.

“Building and maintaining a transportation network that moves both people and goods is one of government’s most basic functions and responsibilities. Taxpayers expect government to do this, but not at the expense of other critical services," Gilmartin said. "We believe the fairest solution is one that relies on the users of our system to pay for its upkeep and repair – gasoline taxes, registration fees or similar revenue sources. Michigan needs this problem solved once and for all--and solved the right way.”

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Business Leaders for Michigan Takes Michigan Ambassador Program to Silicon Valley

Michigan’s turnaround to be highlighted at The Commonwealth Club

San Francisco, October 1, 2015 — Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state's business roundtable, today brings the Michigan Ambassador Program to the heart of San Francisco. State execs meet with local leaders that have Michigan ties, sharing news of Michigan’s comeback and growth opportunities that exist in the state's emerging mobility industry.

“In just a few short years, Michigan has transformed itself and its business climate,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. “The steps Michigan has taken to become more competitive have paid off.  Our tax climate has flipped from one of the nation’s worst to one of the best; Michigan is a national leader in terms of R&D production and talent; and Michigan’s per capita GDP, per capita income and employment have all grown faster than the national average and are reaffirming our state’s quality of life. Simply put, we’re now a top place nationally to live, work, do business, and play.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, kick off the day with an hour-long discussion at The Commonwealth Club of California, the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum. Their presentation focuses on a variety of economic issues including growing the talent pipeline, the value of public/private partnerships, the country’s biggest growth opportunities, and how new mobility solutions will change the auto industry and cities alike.


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New Renaissance Venture Capital Investments Bring National Focus to Michigan's Technology and Healthcare Sectors

ANN ARBOR, Mich., September 15, 2015 – Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the venture capital fund-of-funds created by some of Michigan’s most important organizations, announced today that it has made a series of five new investments in top tier venture capital funds that will bring additional national focus to Michigan’s emerging technology and healthcare startup scene.

These new investments, totaling over $20 million, were made in firms that not only demonstrated past track records of financial success, but also expressed a desire to actively look for new opportunities in Michigan, helping emerging Michigan companies to grow and increase Michigan employment. Each firm brings an expertise in an industry that shows great promise for Michigan. The announced venture capital funds include (alphabetically): 

  • Arboretum Ventures: Ann Arbor-based Arboretum invests in promising healthcare-related companies, and has been the most active venture capital investor in Michigan. (
  • Atlas Venture: Also based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Atlas Venture focuses on the creation and growth of world class biotechnology companies. (
  • Edison Partners: Based in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Edison Partners helps nurture and create value for growth stage technology businesses. (
  • Flagship Ventures: Cambridge, Massachusetts fund Flagship Ventures invests in breakthrough innovations in healthcare and sustainability, and is the creator of the VentureLabs start-up incubator. (
  • Pelion Ventures Partners: Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Pelion Venture Partners is a nationally prominent investor in software and information technology infrastructure and security. (

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Agenda Released for 4th Annual MI CEO Summit 

Competitiveness, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Growth are Key Themes 

DETROIT, Mich., September 14, 2015 — Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, released the full agenda and speaker list for its upcoming Michigan CEO Summit on Nov. 12, 2015 at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit.

The fourth annual Michigan CEO Summit will bring together more than 400 business executives, policymakers, and community leaders to assess Michigan’s continued progress toward a comeback and discuss new strategies to keep the state moving forward. This year’s speakers will reinforce the theme that businesses, organizations—and even states—need to be constantly innovating to advance and remain competitive in our rapidly changing world. The event costs $125 and includes breakfast and lunch.

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New MI Higher Ed Council Begins Work

A unique panel of business, government and college/university leaders met today, launching a new, voluntary partnership aimed at boosting the economic contributions of Michigan’s higher education sector.

The Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council was created in response to a growing demand for educated, skilled workers in Michigan and the need to fully leverage the potential of higher education to meet that demand and drive economic growth.  The partnership is unique in that other such bodies across the nation are usually operated by government or public authorities.  

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BLM 2Q Economic Forecast: In Short- and Long-Term, Job Leaders Think the MI and U.S. Economies will Stay Flat

DETROIT, Mich., July 30, 2015 – According to a survey conducted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, the majority of Michigan’s largest employers project that the Michigan and U.S. economies will remain flat in the next 6 to 18 months.  

“The majority of Michigan’s largest employers believe that the state's economy will remain essentially the same over the next six to eighteen months – and only slightly outpace the nation over the same time period,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “Recent global conditions in China, Europe and the Middle East are clearly having an impact. But Michigan’s inability to adopt a long-term road solution and talk of dramatically scaling-back economic development have also contributed to a climate of uncertainty.” 

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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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