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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.



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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MI Universities Outperforming U.S. Peers in Key Categories

Efforts to control costs and increase access continue

DETROIT, Mich., February 26, 2015  Performance data for each of Michigan’s 15 public universities, released online today by Business Leaders for Michigan, shows the state’s higher education sector is performing better than most peers in producing talent while working to control costs and increase access.

 The Michigan Performance Tracker for Public Universities reports on about 30 different metrics that measure productivity and efficiency, affordability and access, and economic impact. 

Visitors to the Performance Tracker can see exactly how much Michigan invests in its public universities compared to other states as well as how Michigan’s universities compare to peer universities in other states on graduation rates, degrees awarded in critical skills areas (including science, technology, engineering and math), and the cost of attendance. 

Data available in the dashboard shows that most Michigan universities receive less state appropriations but generally out-perform their national peers.

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Business Leaders Economic Forecast: Optimism High for both MI and U.S. Economies in Short and Long Term

Plan more hiring and investment in Michigan this year

DETROIT, Mich., February 23, 2015 – Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, projects that both the Michigan and U.S. economies will continue to grow through the next 6 to 18 months.  The forecast is reinforced by nearly half of the state’s largest employers projecting that they plan to increase hiring or make new investments in Michigan this year.  

“Michigan’s largest employers reported much stronger confidence in Michigan’s and the U.S. economy since the third quarter forecast,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO.  “The national outlook has improved for a variety of reasons – lower energy prices, good job numbers and America’s relative economic strength compared to other regions.  In Michigan, the November election results had a positive impact on the future outlook.  What’s interesting is that this is the first time in nearly three years that the outlook for the national and state economies are nearly the same.”  

Highlights of the survey of Business Leaders for Michigan include: 

  • Sixty percent (60%) of business leaders believe both the Michigan and U.S. economies will grow in the short-term (the next six months).  None believe that either economy will be worse.

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BLM: Higher Ed Critical to Growing MI’s Economy

Colleges & Universities Well-Positioned to Help MI Become a Top Ten State 

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan’s higher education institutions must play a more central role if the state is to achieve an economic transformation, according to a report released today by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM).

“As our overall economy becomes more knowledge-based, we’re seeing a growing demand for both more skilled and highly-educated workers and a greater reliance on higher education to drive innovation,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO. “Higher education is one of the state’s most critical assets for moving Michigan forward.  We need to ensure affordability and access, strengthen outcomes and employment transitions, and grow overall economic impact.”

BLM’s report, which was developed in collaboration with higher education experts from across Michigan and the U.S., as well as business, economic, and public policy leaders, clearly shows a correlation between educational attainment and per capita income. 

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Business Leaders for Michigan’s statement on the FY 2016 Executive Budget Recommendation

LANSING, MI- Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, today applauded Governor Rick Snyder’s Executive Budget recommendation, particularly the increased support for technical skills training and Michigan’s higher education institutions.

Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO said: “A survey conducted by Business Leaders for Michigan showed that over half of all small, medium, and large business are having difficulty finding talent with the right skills to fill available jobs. This isn’t surprising considering Michigan ranks only 26th in technical credentials per 100,000 of the working age population. We strongly support the Governor’s recommendation for an increase in appropriations for technical job training and education to help fill these high-demand, high wage occupations.

“We also know that there is a strong correlation between more education and higher incomes. Today, Michigan ranks in the bottom 20 states for both educational attainment and personal income. To help raise both, we need to make college education more affordable. The Governor’s 2016 proposed budget marks the fourth consecutive year of increased appropriations tied to performance standards. We applaud the Governor for continuing to make college affordability a priority.”

 Download the statement. 


BLM Statement in Response to the 2015 MI State of the State Address

In response to the 2015 Michigan State of the State address, Business Leaders for Michigan released the following statement: 

"Business Leaders for Michigan believes fixing our roads and accelerating efforts to increase both education and skill levels are the most important steps the legislature can take this year to create more good jobs. Helping more people get the education and job skills they need to secure jobs will require both greater state support and collaboration to make college more affordable. Fixing the roads and continuing to prioritize job training and higher education funding in the budget are the next steps in Michigan's turnaround.  The Governor's priorities align well with these goals."

---- Doug Rothwell, President & CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan.

Download the statement. 


Business Leaders for Michigan Supports Road Funding Package

LANSING, Mich. December 18, 2014 —Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, announced today that it was pleased Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature reached an agreement on a proposal to increase investments in Michigan’s transportation infrastructure.

Doug Rothwell, President & CEO said: “We are pleased to see Michigan’s transportation needs being addressed. Today’s actions will help Michigan build on the turnaround that’s underway in our state by making meaningful investments that will accelerate our growth. The proposal will fix our roads and represents a big step toward a broader long-term solution to expand the capacity of our roads to grow the economy. While there is some risk in relying on a ballot measure that requires a strong public awareness campaign, this proposal offers some very positive benefits for citizens, schools, communities and businesses alike.”

 Download the statement


Business Leaders for Michigan Applauds Passage of MI Senate’s Transportation Package

DETROIT, Mich. – Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, strongly applauded today the Senate passage of a long-term solution to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges. 

Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO, said that today’s Senate action will help existing Michigan companies and prospective businesses see that our state is willing to take care of itself. 

“Business executives rank access to and condition of highways as one of the top factors in making site location decisions,” Rothwell said. “If we want to protect the jobs we have and grow new jobs, we need to fix our roads and bridges. Today was a major step in the right direction.” 

Providing a long-term solution for our roads also eliminates the need to use scarce general fund dollars. 

“For the past several years, general fund dollars were used to plug the hole in road and bridge funding. We can’t sustain that,” Rothwell said. “Those dollars should be prioritized for our other urgent need—growing our workforce, which includes worker training and making college more affordable. Today’s Senate action will also make us stronger in those areas.” 


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Charting the Course to Michigan’s Future

CEO Summit Highlights Growth & Progress, Pushes for Aggressive Strategy that Leverages the State’s Competitive Strengths 

DETROIT, Mich. November 13, 2014—An audience of 400+ business, nonprofit and community leaders, and policymakers gathered today at the Westin Book Cadillac to take stock of Michigan’s economic transformation to date and rally around strategies for moving Michigan forward. Headlined by XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis and McKinsey & Co. Director Jonathan Woetzel, the event emphasized the need for aggressive action to compete in today’s highly competitive economy. 

“The pace of change in business has rapidly increased,” said Jeff Fettig, Chairman and CEO of the Whirlpool Corporation and Chair of Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), which hosted today’s event. “You have to be first in the market or better than everyone else.  Industry leaders must constantly be reinventing themselves if they are to stay ahead of the curve and Michigan must too.” 

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BLM & MEDC: Suppliers Needed for Michigan Matchmaking Supplier Summit

LANSING, Mich. –Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) and MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect office are partnering on an invitation-only supplier summit to be held on October 8 at the Lansing Center. The goal of the event is to help businesses and universities identify Michigan-based suppliers to meet their procurement needs.

The summit will feature purchasing representatives and subject matter experts from some of the largest and most influential businesses and universities in Michigan, all of which are interested in keeping their supply chains local.

“Some of the state’s largest companies have identified their future supply needs and this event is designed to help them find Michigan-based partners capable of delivering crucial resources,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “This is a great strategy for improving Michigan’s economy and growing jobs and income.  Through this summit, we hope to see some amazing partnerships take hold and flourish.”

“This matchmaking summit, with its diverse range of more than 350 procurement opportunities, will connect Michigan suppliers with some of the state’s largest companies,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “We commend Business Leaders for Michigan for partnering on this event and for its commitment to engaging with veteran-, minority- and women-owned enterprises, as well as all Michigan suppliers.”

“Boosting local supplier partnerships is key to Michigan’s continued economic growth,” Rothwell said.  He encouraged Michigan suppliers interested in attending to complete the online application and identify their qualifications based on the needs of participating businesses and universities. The priority deadline to apply is September 5, 2014. The online application and a listing of the services and products needed can be found at:

Each application will be reviewed and invitations will be sent to those companies that are the best fit for the specific opportunities. Participating businesses and universities include: 

  • Absopure Water Company
  • Amway
  • Barton Malow Company
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Champion Foods
  • Comerica Bank
  • Consumers Energy
  • Detroit Manufacturing Systems
  • Detroit Tigers, Inc.
  • Domino's Pizza, Inc.
  • DTE Energy
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • FirstMerit-Michigan
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Google, Inc.
  • Gordon Food Service, Inc.
  • Haworth, Inc.
  • Herman Miller, Inc.
  • Huntington Bank
  • La-Z-Boy Incorporated
  • Masco Corporation
  • McKinley, Inc.
  • Meijer, Inc.
  • Michigan State University
  • MotorCity Casino Hotel
  • MSX International
  • Olympia Development
  • Olympia Entertainment
  • Perrigo Company
  • PNC Financial Services Group
  • Roush Enterprises, Inc.
  • Rush Trucking Corporation
  • Steelcase Inc.
  • The Bartech Group, Inc.
  • University of Michigan
  • Walbridge
  • Wayne State University


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About Business Leaders for Michigan:

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, chief executive officers, or most senior executives of Michigan's largest companies and universities.  Our members drive over 25% of the state’s economy, provide over 325,000 direct and 820,000 indirect jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly one half of all Michigan public university students. Find out more at:

About Pure Michigan Business Connect:

Launched in 2011, Pure Michigan Business Connect is a public-private alliance of the MEDC, state agencies and major Michigan companies and organizations that connects in-state companies to business resources. Companies can find new ways to raise capital, get access to professional business services at little or no cost, connect with each other through a new business-to-business network, and identify potential supplier opportunities, while developing resources to improve their supply chains. Find out more at www.

Download the press release.