Mackinac Island, MI. - Observations from Mackinac…
I honestly can’t remember the year I attended my first Mackinac Conference but here’s a hint of the time period: Dan Murphy was Oakland County Executive, Coleman A.Young was the Mayor of Detroit, and Ed McNamara was Wayne County Executive. None of these legendary leaders are alive today. Needless to say, I’ve seen the good years and the bad years. This is a good year! Why? Because the conference added some new twists and some off the beaten path keynote speakers. Simply put, the overall mood was positive, upbeat, and cautiously optimistic. I can’t tell you how many attendees said to me, “It sure does feel like Michigan has turned a difficult corner and is on it’s way back.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. People are realistic. They know that even though the business-friendly Detroit Regional Chamber is holding an action packed conference with entrepreneur-minded Governor Rick Snyder leading the charge, Michigan is still dodging
economic land mines. There are also many senior citizens and public school teachers who are facing uncertain futures under Snyder administration policies who will tell you that they don’t feel as though Michigan is headed in the right direction. Time will tell.
But this much I do know, it’s been quite a while since CEO’s from across this state have come to Mackinac with their heads held high. It felt good to see Governor Snyder stand on the porch of the historic Grand Hotel and announce a new $3 billion public-private initiative with top business leaders. Couple that with the amazing turnaround of Detroit’s auto industry and it’s easy to see why this year’s Mackinac Conference has attendees smiling instead of grumbling about where they think…or hope…the Great Lakes State is headed.
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