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 - 3 Episode 52

Leo Kempel, Dean of the Michigan State University College of Engineering

The future of engineering at Michigan State University (MSU) is rich with diverse opportunities, boasting a comprehensive range of majors that cater to a wide array of interests and career paths. Under the leadership of Dean Leo C. Kempel, the Dennis P. Nyquist Endowed Professor of Electromagnetics and the ninth dean of the MSU College of Engineering, students can explore at least 10 distinct majors. The focus on continuous education emerges as a key element to keep Michigan at the forefront of advancements in the diversity of engineering fields.

Season - 3 Episode 51

Empowering Innovation: Midwest's Edward Lowe Foundation Teams Up with MEDC in a Dynamic Partnership to Fuel Small Business Growth

Dan Wyant, Chairman and President at Edward Lowe Foundation, and Rodney Parkkonen, Small Business Consultant at MEDC, discuss their unique and dynamic partnership that assists small businesses to thrive in Michigan. Dan also has experience with many previous leadership roles in state government and policy.

Season - 3 Episode 50

Mark Kramer, President and CEO, SME

Unlocking the Earth's Secrets: Mark Kramer, President and CEO of SME, describes some unique and iconic projects, as well as the infrastructure under our feet. Geotechnical Engineering and Environmental Engineering related, SME Engineering has over 50 years of excellence behind iconic projects from Notre Dame Stadium to clean energy initiatives, the Gordie Howe Bridge and more.

Season - 3 Episode 49

Eddie Gillis, Operations Manager at Third Man Records

Listen to Eddie Gillis, Operations Manager at Third Man Records - a vinyl manufacturing studio in Detroit - discuss the studio's success and his life growing up in SW Detroit. Launched by Jack White in Detroit in 2001, the Detroit location has opened a record and novelties lounge, mastering studio, and Third Man Pressing manufacturing facility. Hear how Third Man became an innovator in the world of vinyl records and a boundary pusher in the world of recorded music.

Season - 3 Episode 48

Voices of Michiganders Across the State

The Voices storytelling initiative aims to share perspectives of Michiganders across all 83 counties. Join MEDC's CEO Quentin Messer and guests Nyshell Lawrence/Eaton, Brandee Cooke-Brown/Genesee, Nancie Oxley/Van Buren, and Benjamin Bartz/Gogebic as they share their compelling stories showcasing what it’s like to live and work in Michigan.

Season - 3 Episode 47

Dr. James M. Smith, President, Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University, founded in 1849, is moving forward for today’s challenges. Hear how President Dr. James M. Smith is charting a bold course for continuing the University’s 174-year legacy, including revising the University’s Strategic Plan, creating the position of Chief Diversity Officer and introducing the University’s Sustainability Commission.

Season - 3 Episode 46

Thomas Schuelke, President of Fraunhofer USA Inc.

Listen to Thomas Schuelke, MSU professor and President of Fraunhofer USA, explain how this unique global organization is making business innovation better in the state and around the world. Headquartered in Michigan, Fraunhofer USA, Inc. is an R&D organization in the high-tech problem-solving business, utilizing world class scientific and engineering expertise to respond to technical problems. From designing and developing prototypes to developing and proofing the manufacturing processes, they work to bridge the gap between basic research and new market developments all along the technology readiness scale.

Season - 3 Episode 45

Colin Bird, Consul General for Canada in Detroit

Hear Colin Bird, Consul General for Canada in Detroit, discuss Michigan and Ontario’s trade relationship, the busiest between any Canadian province and U.S. state, supporting thousands of jobs on either side. Last year, total trade between Michigan and Ontario was valued at $80.6 billion (CDN), with imports from Michigan totaling $31.3 billion (CDN), and approximately 22% of North America’s automotive output through both Michigan and Ontario’s highly integrated automotive supply chain.

Season - 3 Episode 44

Duc Abrahamson, Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce

The Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC) works to facilitate business relationships among Asian and U.S. based companies and to promote the economic advancement of Asian Pacific Americans. Join APACC Executive Director, Duc Abrahamson, as she explains the vision of her organization, her path to this position, and the compelling story on how she came to Michigan.

Season - 3 Episode 43

Terri Fitzpatrick, Executive Vice President, Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer, MEDC

Terri Fitzpatrick, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, leads the MEDC’s Office of Tribal Business Development. Fitzpatrick is also the chief real estate and global attraction officer for the state’s site readiness and global attraction efforts, helping businesses move to and expand in Michigan. Those two career responsibilities overlap in their focus on building community by diversifying and increasing economic opportunity. Listen as Fitzpatrick explains the economic relationships that Tribes have with Michigan and how their goals align to bring prosperity to every corner of the state.

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.