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.


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The Michigan Opportunity Podcast Now Airing on WJR’s The Great Voice

The Michigan Opportunity Podcast

Season - 1 Episode 50

Dr. Roy Wilson - President, Wayne State University

Hear President Wilson of Wayne State University, and his international path as ophthalmologist, author and his unique background that drives him to push for upward social mobility for all at an R1 U!

Join Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and host Ed Clemente as they cover a myriad of topics, but most importantly the mission he sees for the university to drive up social mobility so that everyone can benefit from a healthy economy especially at an R1 University. WSU is a preeminent, public, urban research university known for academic and research excellence, success across a diverse student body, and meaningful engagement in its urban community. Dr. Wilson, the ophthalmologist, will discuss his unique international career in the field from the Caribbean to Africa. Also, his exclusive story of his background that is now a in a published memoir!

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 47

Dr. Parag Khanna, Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, global strategy advisor, world traveler, and best-selling author

Why will Michigan be the place to be in 2050? The future has been partially mapped out for us in this intriguing interview with Dr. Parag Khanna discussing competition for talent and quantum people.

Join Dr. Parag Khanna, Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap & Climate Alpha, for a very strategic and futuristic discussion, with host Ed Clemente. They discuss his new book Move, and all of his empirical research on how the future hunt for young talent will be more and more in demand and how Michigan will have a definitive role in that future. Hear why he predicts Michigan will be the place to be in 2050, backed with compelling reasons why. He has and still lives all over the world, teaching currently at the National University of Singapore, has degrees from Georgetown and the London School of Economics. He has been an advisor and participated with: CFR, WEF, UN, Brookings, 3 times TED presenter, OECD, Ford Foundation & Royal Geography Society. Don’t miss this conversation about the global civilization!

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 45

Charlie Tyson, Technology Activation Manager, Office of Future Mobility & Electrification, MEDC

What happens in Las Vegas doesn’t always stay there. Hear about self-driving tractors, cars that can change colors, and a ton more on the growing presence of mobility and electrification at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Join Charlie Tyson Technology Activation Manager, in the Office of Future Mobility & Electrification, at the MEDC, and host Ed Clemente as you get a firsthand account of the many activities at the Consumer Electronics Show and how it creates multiple benefits for the Michigan economy. You will hear about the fast-moving mobility sector, autonomous vehicles, electrification platforms, what Michigan companies are there. Also, about a car that can change colors, autonomous farm equipment and more drones!

Season - 1 Episode 44

Lisa Lunsford, Co-Founder and CEO of GS3 Global

Listen to a dynamic automotive manufacturing leader, with her hand on the “wheel” as to how the future of mobility is evolving!

Join Lisa Lunsford, co-founder and CEO of GS3 Global, for an energetic discussion with host Ed Clemente about mobility, engineering and leadership. Global Strategic Supply Solutions offers a variety of services including assembly, CNC bending, engineering, advanced manufacturing, as well as new services in development. Lisa is very committed to creating a better future for all, especially with her leadership. She is the Chairperson of Michauto, serves on the board for the Detroit Regional Chamber and is on the Wayne State University Mike Illitch School of Business Global Supply Chain Management Advisory Board. She is also part of the Winning Futures Advisory Board and spends time mentoring as well as many other activities. Lisa has unique perspective on mobility and the future!

Season - 1 Episode 43

James Weakley, President, Lake Carriers Association

Great Lakes Shipping, who knew? Learn all about the new Soo Locks, ice breaking, supply chain economy, 9/11, coast guard, Boat Nerds, and many other unique freshwater stories!

Join James Weakley, President Lake Carriers Association, as he has a conversation with our host and landlubber Ed Clemente about the critical economic role they play in Michigan, the Midwest and North America. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway combine to form the longest deep-draft navigation system in the world, extending 2,300 miles into the North American heartland. Since 1880, Lake Carriers Association (LCA) has represented the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet, which today can annually move more than 90 million tons of cargo that are the foundation of American manufacturing, infrastructure, and power generation: iron ore, limestone, coal, cement, and other dry bulk materials such as grain and sand. Learn especially about how the Soo Locks expansion finally happened and what it means to the economy. Who are Boat Nerds anyway and where is the Great Lakes Maritime Academy?

Season - 1 Episode 42

Chris MacInnes, President Crystal Enterprises, Inc.

“Learn about Chris MacInnes Interesting life journey and business devotion that brought her back to Michigan!”

Join Chris MacInnes, President Crystal Enterprises Inc, and host Ed Clemente, for a four seasons conversation on doing business with evolving challenges, with emphasis on the quality of life and the future. Chris is passionate about discussing the relations her business has with nature, design, and the family recreational experience for all ages! She has lived all around the U.S., east and west coasts, but she and her husband chose to live in Benzie County. Also, hear about the unique connection to the College for Creative Studies and the Legacy Art Park!

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.