LPI special report features ideas from 14 Michigan leaders on how to move the state forward
Ideas from 14 Michigan thought leaders on how the state can move forward, is available for review in a new MSU Land Policy Institute special report: Moving Michigan Forward: State Thought Leaders on Helping Michigan Find Answers.
Ideas from 14 Michigan thought leaders on how the state can move forward, is available for review in a new MSU Land Policy Institute special report: Moving Michigan Forward: State Thought Leaders on Helping Michigan Find Answers. The report highlights important strategies and recommendations and advice for the state in the areas of:
- Knowledge and Attitudes among Leaders and Citizens Affects the State’s Future;
- Making Places that Will Attract People and Economic Growth;
- Working Regionally;
- Detroit and Its Region;
- The Green Economy; and
- Retooling and Reinvesting in Michigan’s Places.
During the 2010 Fall semester, Michigan State University students enrolled in the ESA 450 course on Smart Growth and Strategic Land Use Decision-Making were asked to interview the leaders as part of a semester project on such topics as economic development, land use, the environment, urban design, government and social justice. The course was taught by Soji Adelaja, PhD, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy; and John Warbach, PhD, an MSU Land Policy Institute associate director.
The Michigan leaders interviewed included:
- Amy Arnold, Preservation Planner for the State Historic Preservation Office in the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
- Guy Bazzani, President/CEO of Bazzani Associates.
- Patty Birkholz, Member of the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, former Director of the Office of the Great Lakes in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and former State Senator.
- Matthew Cullen, President and CEO of Rock Ventures LLC, Chair of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, and volunteer CEO of the M-1 Light Rail Initiative in Detroit.
- Pat Gillespie, developer, and Founder and President of the Gillespie Group.
- Pete Hardigan, Manager for Environmental Policy for Sustainability Business Strategies at Ford Motor Company.
- Gary Heidel, Director of Program Policy and Market Research, and former Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
- Jim Lively, Program Director for the Michigan Land Use Institute.
- Gregory Main, President of St. Gregory’s University, and former CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
- Larry Merrill, Executive Director of the Michigan Townships Association.
- Eric Schertzing, Ingham County Treasurer and Chair of the Ingham County Land Bank.
- Michael Score, President of Hantz Farms in Detroit.
- Sam Singh, recently elected Michigan State Representative, former Senior Consultant at the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan, and former Mayor of East Lansing.
- Marsha Smith, Executive Director of Rotary Charities of Traverse City, a CORE Group Member of the Grand Vision; and Advisory Committee Member of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments’ New Designs for Growth Program.
This is the second report in this special report series. The first report in the series focused on national thought leaders with a focus on the New Economy and placemaking. The third report, coming soon, will feature interviews from additional state-based, local, national and international leaders with a focus on moving Michigan thinking forward.
The purpose of the semester research assignment was to promote contact and discourse between students and leaders, broaden the scope of education and enhance the preparedness of students to become future leaders themselves through a better understanding of how leaders think and act. The comments the students received from their subjects were intriguing, timely and of great potential value to statewide policy makers, other distressed states and the nation. Samplings of the leaders’ thoughts include:
- “Now, more than ever, businesses are going to where the talent is, not the other way around, so attracting and retaining talent ensures a city’s ability to continually attract new businesses, as well as money.” Gary Heidel
- “High-speed rail can be a positive for Michigan, since it can become a selling point for getting people and businesses to move to the state.” Senator Patty Birkholz
- “The natural landscapes, namely the water resources, provide beauty and can lead to successful tourism businesses. This is the primary reason why the preservation of these natural areas is so important to the Grand Traverse Bay Region.’” Marsha Smith
Michigan fortunate to have thought leaders in land use, the environment, social issues and economic development, who recognize how the state moved into an economic decline, and also how it can move forward toward prosperity. Michigan’s civic leaders and students—the state’s future leaders—should pay attention to their contributions, as the state transitions from a state of decline to one of prosperity, especially for its most distressed places.
According to Professor Warbach, “The results of these interviews of thought leaders from local, regional, and statewide organizations and agencies demonstrate that Michigan faces issues that all levels of government experience, and that what affects local government affects the well-being of the state as a whole. All levels of government, as well as business and stakeholder organizations, need to collaborate to find common local, regional and statewide solutions to the issues of economy, society and environment if we are to move Michigan forward.”