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 10

Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine, Executive Director of Community Affairs, University Research Corridor

What our three top research universities (MSU, UM & WSU) have in common: The University Research Corridor, one of the nation’s top university innovation clusters for research, talent, and innovation.

Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine is the Executive Director at the University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan’s three leading research institutions: Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She discusses how the URC drives innovation for Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world. Some topic of our discussion include life sciences, infrastructure, mobility, talent, advanced manufacturing and more.

Season - 1 Episode 9

Eric Frederick, Vice President of Community Affairs, Connected Nation Michigan

What do global nomads, the digital divide, Starlink & health care have in common? Connected Nation Michigan ties them all together

Executive Director, Connected Nation Michigan Eric Fredrick takes us into the exciting new world economy of how we will be connected for many of our daily activities in the near future. He explains how in the last year this industry has accelerated, and how digital connections impact us all. He discusses the highlights of the growing glossary of connectivity and how we build this out to rural and urban settings alike. Learn a little bit about Digital Nomads, telemedicine, Starlink, broadband, business & workforce opportunities and many other interesting topics.

Season - 1 Episode 8

Maureen Donohue Krauss, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Partnership

How the Detroit Regional Partnership has taken 11 Southeast Michigan counties and is marketing them globally for economic prosperity.

Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Regional Partnership Maureen Donohue Krauss takes us on tour of what makes up the "Detroit advantage" of how marketing the region to out-of-state and international companies to attract investments and jobs. Find out how it was created, and the stakeholders involved and how it serves Southeast Michigan’s 11-county region. She provides a few anecdotal stories to show the unique process of economic development in action.

Season - 1 Episode 7

Birgit Klohs, Former President and CEO, The Right Place

A short history of how Grand Rapids & Western Michigan became an economic global powerhouse.

Former President and CEO Birgit Klohs worked at The Right Place, Inc. for over 33 years, with great success. During her conversation with us she discusses how she navigated the organization by collaborating with state and local leaders and business executives to create more than $5 billion in economic investment in the region and generate more than 50,000 jobs.

Under her tenure at the helm, she assisted the city of Grand Rapids become the beacon of business activity and high quality of life that it encompasses today. Her legacy impacted the creation of the bio-medical, scientific research, and growth of premier healthcare in the region and is coupled with a growth in higher education through out West Michigan.

Season - 1 Episode 6

Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer, State of Michigan and Senior Vice President, MEDC

Hop on for a fast-moving conversation about the future of mobility, electrification and connectivity.

Chief Mobility Officer for the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification Trevor Pawl, takes on a whirlwind path of how fast the world is changing especially in the areas of mobility, electrification and connectivity. Pay attention because a lot of ground is covered from 5G, drones, wearables, autonomous & electric vehicles, TEDX, propulsion, global competition and many other topics. What is the story behind this intricate title and the commission and its catch basin responsibility? Also, a little dip into smart infrastructure and workforce opportunities. Make sure you catch this “mobility” wave.

Season - 1 Episode 5

Keona Cowan, Executive Vice President, Invest Detroit

A discussion about community-based lender “Invest Detroit” and their support of small business owners and developers of color.

The Michigan Opportunity had the pleasure of having a passionate discussion with Keona Cowans, Executive Vice President for Invest Detroit. Invest Detroit is a mission-driven lender, investor, and partner that supports business and real estate projects that will assist economic growth in Detroit and the region. Invest Detroit’s mission is to work for all Detroiters for an improved quality of life – inclusive housing, resourceful and walkable neighborhoods, and to provide equitable opportunities for jobs and business growth.

Ms. Cowans walks us down the many avenues of how the city weathered COVID-19 challenges, as well as the organizations many partners and stakeholders, the challenges of underserved communities and many other topics.

Season - 1 Episode 4

Tom Durkee of MEDC, Deidra Mitchell of Waséyabek Development Company, LLC Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi

Beyond Gaming: Economic diversification within Michigan’s Tribes.

The Michigan Opportunity had the pleasure of having a discussion with Deidra Mitchell, President & CEO of Waséyabek Development Company, LLC, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and Tom Durkee, Business Development Manager, MEDC.

From Tom we will learn about the interaction of what the MEDC Tribal Business Development Program is, and the variety projects that they have been involved with recently and some of the trends. With Deidra we get an inside view of what types Tribally-owned business there are by the 12 Tribes of Michigan. Additionally, we will learn about the local economic impact and how Tribally-owned businesses differ from others in Michigan.

Season - 1 Episode 3

Fay Beydoun, Executive Director, American Arab Chamber of Commerce

Discover how a Michigan business organization is building economic and cultural bridges locally, nationally, and across the globe.

The Michigan Opportunity had a great discussion with Fay Beydoun, Executive Director, American Arab Chamber of Commerce. Fay also holds a seat on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee, as appointed by Governor Whitmer. Executive Director Beydoun runs a dynamic international organization that has grown to encompass a diverse local, national, and international membership. The Chamber has become the largest American-Arab business organization in the United States, stimulating economic growth by building economic and cultural bridges locally, nationally, and across the globe. We discussed the Michigan Council of Ethnic Chambers and Tejara Global Business Development Center and other international trade issues.

Season - 1 Episode 2

Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO, Automation Alley

A fast-paced discussion about global competition, manufacturing and getting on board with Industry 4.0.

For our second episode, The Michigan Opportunity had the pleasure of having a fast moving and informative discussion with Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO of Automation Alley. He discusses what the key to the future of global trends are and what will help keep Michigan a leader in manufacturing. He explains why Automation Alley is a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. He will enlighten us about the digital transformation and what it can mean for workforce opportunities to Michigan’s talent workforce. He touches on the unique economic ecosystem of industry, academia and government working together in the state as well.

Season - 1 Episode 1

Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO, DTE

Hear the energizing story how Michigan navigated the pandemic, jumpstarted the economic recovery and the future of work.

The Michigan Opportunity had an exciting and strategic-driven conversation with Gerry Anderson, Executive Chairman of DTE Energy. He covers a wide range of topics from statewide issues such as the Chair of the Governors Michigan Economic Recovery Council; new leaders at Business Leaders for Michigan and the Detroit Regional Partnership, of which he is the Chair of both of those boards. We discussed future disrupters and evolving worlds of energy, workforce and navigating the new world of COVID accelerators.

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.