The Michigan Opportunity

Through dynamic discussion, The Michigan Opportunity markets the state and promotes Michigan as a world-class business location. The podcast serves as a forward-thinking voice for Michigan as a conduit to global trends and applications in the new global economy.


This Just In:
The Michigan Opportunity Podcast Now Airing on WJR’s The Great Voice

The Michigan Opportunity Podcast

Season - 2 Episode 26

Raymond Boeman, Research Professor at Michigan State University, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), Scale-up Research Facility (SuRF)

This gem of an institute in Corktown, Detroit may be the future of manufacturing materials and composites, which can lead to a more sustainable future! 

Season - 2 Episode 16

Special Episode from Mackinac Policy Conference - Day 2

Join our host Ed Clemente for another special Michigan Opportunity Podcast from the Mackinac Policy Conference, hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber. Hear from our thought leader guests including Michelle Grinnell, SVP Marketing and Communications, MEDC; Glenn Stevens, Exec. Dir. MICHAuto and VP Automotive & Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber; Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., President, Michigan State University; G. Jerry Attia, Managing Principle AECOM, Michigan.

Season - 2 Episode 15

Special Episode from Mackinac Policy Conference - Day 1

Join our host Ed Clemente for a special Michigan Opportunity Podcast live from Mackinac Policy Conference, hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, and hear from five very interesting guests. Our special edition podcast guests range from higher education, economic development organizations, health care, talent & workforce development and an International Ambassador. Guests include Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, President of Oakland University; Lucius Vassar, Corporate Counsel and Executive Vice President of Cinnaire, Michelle Johnson Tidjani, Esq., Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Henry Ford Health; Cindy Pasky, Founder, President and CEO, Strategic Staffing Solutions; and a special guest, former U.S. Lithuanian Ambassador, Zygimantas Pavilionis.

Season - 2 Episode 4

Gary McDowell, Director of Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

MDARD Director McDowell breaks down the complex ecosystem of agriculture and rural development across the State of Michigan.

Join Gary McDowell, Director of Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, with host Ed Clemente as they discuss one of the biggest economic industries in Michigan. Gary grew up in the Upper Peninsula and has a family business of hay farming, as well as careers including being a county commissioner, a UPS driver, volunteer firefighter and EMT. He is passionate about the agriculture business and its future growth for talent and economy. Director McDowell also discusses the Office of Rural Development and how it works hand in glove with Michigan’s agriculture future.

Season - 1 Episode 52

Michelle Grinnell - MEDC Senior Vice-President & Host Ed Clemente, Senior Advisor for Trends and Development

The Michigan Opportunity Podcast is celebrating it’s one year anniversary! Join Michelle Grinnell, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for MEDC who puts Ed on the hot seat with a ‘year in review.’

Join Michelle Grinnell, MEDC Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications as she grills host Ed Clemente about the 50+ economic development guests over the last year. Though Ed has a very nontraditional background, it “uniquely” compliments MEDC’s The Michigan Opportunity Podcast. Learn the sage advice from the many economic development guests, especially in areas of their unique career paths, their elevator speeches, future trends and disrupters, career advice and what they like best about Pure Michigan. Listen to the many stories of the Michigan geographic ecosystems and trends observed over the year such as: variety small business, connectivity, mobility, talent, higher education, finance, Industry 4.0, digital nomads, supply/block chain, edge computing, international footprints, digital nomads, BIO R&D, infrastructure, CED and what Michigan could look like by 2050! And so much more!

Season - 1 Episode 51

Bobby Hopewell – President & CEO, Mobile Health Resources

Listen to the former Mayor of Kalamazoo Bobby Hopewell, and his unique business in mobile health, plus he knows Yankees legend Derek Jeter!

Join Mayor Bobby Hopewell, President and CEO of Mobile Health Resources, and MEDC host Ed Clemente as they explore his current business, his experienced career in the health care field and as a public servant as the Mayor of Kalamazoo, a truly unique city! Mobile Health Resources billing services has allowed Michigan EMS organizations to focus on what they really care about – helping people in their time of need. Learn about the Kalamazoo Promise, the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence and a few famous people who went to Kalamazoo Central as well including Yankee Derek Jeter & NFL Receiver Greg Jennings. Also learn about the need for qualified EMTs and what a great career it is.

Season - 1 Episode 49

Menaka Abel - CFO, Request Foods

Lasagna, soups, mac-n-cheese and much more! You’re going to get hungry listening to this conversation with this pleasant CFO and the unique West Michigan headquartered food company!

Join Menaka Abel, Chief Financial Officer for Request Foods, for an epicurean discussion with host Ed Clemente about this unique West Michigan company. Request Foods is a contract manufacturer of frozen foods, with over 600,000 sq. ft. of cooking, blending, freezing and packing capacity; a one-stop resource for R&D, processing and specialty packaging. Their team of top culinary chefs develops custom entrées, side dishes, heat ‘n’ serve portions, and a whole lot more—every meal in every size. Listen to their diversified growth and investment plans, and why they chose Michigan with the help of MEDC, Lakeshore Advantage and many others. This second-generation family-owned and operated business in Holland has a unique culture with a talented and diverse workforce. Hear about Menaka’s exceptional international path from Sri Lanka to Request Foods, and all the stops in between.

Season - 1 Episode 48

Eric Roberts - Executive Director, 20Fathoms

What is an Incubator, a Tech start-up, VC, and do Angels really exist in Michigan? Find out answers to these questions and more with 20Fathoms' Executive Director.

Join Eric Roberts, Executive Director of 20Fathoms for a fast-paced discussion with host Ed Clemente about a Traverse City-based niche industry of helping emerging innovators get started and nurtured. 20Fathoms is a membership organization for the region’s entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, tech professionals, creatives, and other innovators. They provide services, resources, support, and a robust support network to help their members accelerate careers and businesses. Eric also shares discusses Northern Michigan Angels, what it’s like working in Silicon Valley, as well as why he chose to come back to Michigan near his Yooper roots after living all over the country. Eric also clears up any confusions between the terms venture capital, incubator, tech start-up, SmartZones and more!

Season - 1 Episode 46

Quentin L. Messer Jr. – CEO, MEDC

MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr. gives us some brief highlights of 2021 and looks forward to the state’s opportunity is 2022.

Join Quentin L. Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as he joins host Ed Clemente, to discuss managing his challenging job and how’s he’s up to the task, while feeling blessed to have the opportunity. He gives you a fresh view of the myriad of assets in the great state of Michigan, and how he is working to line up statewide stakeholders to support this effort. He applauds the efforts of our partners in the Governor’s office, the Michigan Legislature, and local EDOs across all corners of the in the Upper and Lower peninsula. Quentin discusses what’s on the horizon and how we have the tool kit of individuals and organizations to meet the tasks of the future!

Season - 1 Episode 41

Dr. Tarek Sobh, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost, Incoming LTU President

“If you are wondering what the future will be like for careers, take out your notebook and follow this discussion with the new incoming LTU President!”

Join Dr. Tarek Sobh, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost, and the incoming President for Lawrence Technological University and host Ed Clemente, for an innovative discussion on entrepreneurship, engineering, robotics, design, global fingerprints, and many other future trends and careers! LTU is recognized for its transformative STEM and Design education structures that develops leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset and global perspective. Find out about Dr. Sobh and his ‘boots on ground’ academic passion that led him on a path from Alexandria, Egypt to Michigan.

About the Host: Ed Clemente

Ed Clemente joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2020 as the Senior Advisor for Trends and Development.

From 2012-2020, Clemente served as a two-term governor appointed Hearing Commissioner for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). Executing over 7,000 judicial Orders/Decisions, over the tenure of service. Prior joining the MLCC, Clemente launched Michigan’s Energy Innovation Business Council (EIBC) establishing it as 501c3 and 501c6 entity and serving as its first President.

Ed Clemente was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2004 representing parts of southern Wayne County. During his three terms in the State House (2004-2010) he led task forces on electric vehicles, biosciences, film industry, Brownfield restoration, economic development, quality of life and advanced energy. Before his tenure as a public official, Clemente held several leadership roles at the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce, including President and Director Economic and Business Development. He also previously chaired the Economic Development Committee of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and was elected as a Trustee for Wayne County Community College District, serving four terms.

Clemente has earned degrees from Ferris State, Michigan State University and Sienna Heights Universities. Clemente was awarded with a prestigious fellowship to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and The National Judicial College for Administrative Law. He graduated from several political leadership development programs, including Leadership Detroit, Michigan Political Leadership Program, and Leadership 21. He is a previous small business owner and has taught at Northwood University. Additionally, he hosts a “Critical Conversations” podcast and is a member of the Workforce Advisors for Wayne County Community College. Ed serves on the Board of Directors for Global Ties Detroit and the Motor Cities National Heritage Area. An avid traveler, Ed has visited more than 80 countries and territories, 150+ UNESCO World Heritage sites, many to play rugby tournaments, others for professional exchange and some for just intellectual curiosity.

The Michigan Opportunity is brought to you by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners, MEDC markets Michigan as the place to do business, assists businesses in their growth strategies and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state.