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.


The Michigan Opportunity Podcast

Season - 2 Episode 18

Brittany Hunter, Managing Partner - Atomic Object

Atomic Object, this multistate company makes custom software for all types of clients, based right here in Michigan, with clients ranging from health to furniture and much more!

Join Brittany Hunter, Managing Partner, Atomic Object as she joins host Ed Clemente to delve into the cutting-edge field of software and the talent needed to make it happen. Atomic Object has spent 20 years designing and developing custom software for 200+ organizations, large and small. They have a proven approach to leveling up their team with professional development and keeping that talent right in here in Michigan. You may also learn a little about dressage & horses!

Season - 2 Episode 17

Jennifer Brace, Global Trends and Futuring Manager - Ford Motor Company

Hear how Jennifer is helping Ford be better prepared for what lies ahead, and with the best job title ever.

Join our guest Jennifer Brace, Global Trends and Futuring Manager at Ford Motor Company and host Ed Clemente as we talk not just about the future but the trends that will give options to maximize picking the right path to get there. Jennifer’s career path has given her the opportunity to see a number of different aspects of the company, from Michigan to Palo Alto and back. Her winding career path makes her a generalist, which seems like the right job description to become a futurist.

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 14

Anthony Garofali, Country Managing Director - Altair

Altair! Who knew a multinational information technology company was in our backyard? Apparently, companies around the world!

Come hear their story. Join Anthony Garofali, Country Managing Director for Altair, and host Ed Clemente as they discuss the diverse international technology company with its world headquarters here in Troy, Michigan. Altair provides software and cloud services for simulation, IoT, high performance computing (HPC), data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), for a large variety of fields such as automotive, rail, aerospace, health, energy, architecture, marine, and much more. Listen in to Anthony walks us through the complex but exciting industry he’s in.

Season - 2 Episode 13

Conrad Haremza from PROXIMO and Jamie Wright from Detroit City Distillery

Hear our two spirits experts as they break down the business of spirits, the economic impact on the state as well as the talent and workforce and the business’s unique industry.

Join our guests Conrad Haremza and Jamie Wright alongside host Ed Clemente as they discuss the exciting and evolving world of spirits. Conrad’s day job is working across three states for PROXIMO, a global innovator of quality spirits that builds brands and invents new products to meet the world’s changing tastes and trends. Conrad is also the President of the Michigan Spirits Association (MSA), representing every spirit that you see on the shelf. Jamie is the Regional Sales Manager for the Award-winning Detroit City Distillery. she is also a MSA board member and works with all the local Michigan distilleries. Learn about Certified Specialists of Spirits (CSS) and how it’s recognized internationally.

Season - 2 Episode 12

Martha MacFarlane-Faes, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

Learn the 3 key points about the future of our Michigan history and preservation from our resident expert at The State Historic Preservation Office, and how it could help in the hunt for knowledge jobs!

Join our guest Martha MacFarlane-Faes, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) as she discusses with our host Ed Clemente the complicated but rewarding value of preservation and how it could be a valuable tool to attract and retain talent to the state. She currently oversees SHPO’s community and economic development programs, including archaeology, local historic districts, planning, survey, historic preservation tax credits, and Certified Local Governments. Also learn about Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation; Michigan Historic Preservation Network, Annual Statewide Preservation Conference and National Preservation Month. Having lived in Silicon Valley, New England and Chicago, Martha is happy to have made Michigan her home.

Season - 2 Episode 11

Wafa Dinaro, Executive Director - New Economy Initiative

13 foundations help fund the New Economy Initiative, find out how Wafa Dinaro’s international path has positioned her to be its new leader! Join our guest Wafa Dinaro, Executive Director for the New Economy Initiative, and host Ed Clemente as she explains this unique foundation and how its mission assists small businesses and much more.

The New Economy Initiative (NEI) is a philanthropic collaboration and special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan working to build a regional network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Their mission is to grow an inclusive culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Michigan that benefits all residents and strengthens the regional economy. Wafa has had an exciting career path from Dearborn, to the state legislature, to federal government, as well as international work and economic development with Wayne County Executive, Warren C. Evans.

Season - 2 Episode 10

Mike Piskur, Program Manager - Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers

How the world’s largest system of freshwater is an integral part of the Canadian and U.S. responsibilities for a sustainable economy, and how Michigan is at the heart of this balance to live, work & play!

Join Mike Piskur, Program Manager, of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers, and host Ed Clemente as they discuss how this international alliance grows the regional economy and protects the world’s largest system of surface fresh water. The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec and Wisconsin. The Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect this ecosystem. See how local Michigan partners Pure Michigan, MSU, UM, MI-Tech, Northern MU, Green banks, DTE and many others fit in as integral parts of this enormous and vital initiative.

Season - 2 Episode 9

Brandee Cooke-Brown, Executive Director - 100K Ideas

Learn about this unique organization helping Flintstones and other to reach their full potential in innovation and entrepreneurship through a series of sector partnerships. 

Join our guest Brandee Cooke-Brown who is the Executive Director of 100K Ideas, and host Ed Clemente as they discuss how to really assist innovation and entrepreneurship in Flint. 100K Ideas a non-profit with the mission to assist innovators and entrepreneurs move their ideas forward. They are a community of hobbyists, thinkers, and inventors with the mission of helping passionate innovators create products, services and startups of their own through mentorship. Learn about how they assist in: benchmarks, trademark, patent and domain searches, market trends/analytics, purchaser and end user information. Also learn a little about AmeriCorps and how its changing people’s lives, including Brandee's. You can also read the transcript from our conversation.

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.