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U-M scholars hit the road to explore Michigan's knowledge economy

  • Contact Deborah Greene, (734) 763-4008, greenedm@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The Michigan Road Scholars' 14th annual "seminar on wheels" kicks off May 6 as 30 University of Michigan faculty and staff embark on a five-day journey across the state from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula and Grand Rapids to Bay City.

"In 2013, we are focusing on the ways Michigan is adapting and evolving into the new knowledge-based economy," said MRS coordinator Dana Sitzler, U-M associate director of state outreach. "The scholars will visit several firms that share common roots: a dynamic entrepreneur who had the vision, established the company and made a commitment to stay and serve the communities of Michigan."

This year's scholars will continue the MRS tradition of identifying ways in which U-M can contribute expertise to local and regional initiatives. Their itinerary includes leadership consultations and site visits in:

  • Lansing (May 6): State Capitol to meet with city and state elected and appointed officials, and leadership at Emergent BioSolutions and the Accident Fund of Michigan, which has chosen to keep its headquarters in Michigan as it expands nationally.
  • Grand Rapids (May 6-7): Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi, Goodwill Industries and Cascade Engineering, whose mission embraces profit, and environmental and community well-being in equal parts.
  • Traverse City (May 7-8): Front Street Writers, Michigan Sea Grant program and the CEO of Oneup Web, who relocated her Alaska firm to Michigan where it is achieving significant global growth from its shoreside headquarters on the Grand Traverse Bay.
  • Petoskey (May 8): Native North Tour, a visit to Emmet County and Charlevoix County landmarks with cultural significance to the Odawa, guided by cultural specialists from the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
  • Sault Ste. Marie (May 8-9): Lake Superior State University Aquatic Research Lab and Cloverland Electric Coop to review various aspects of caring for the Great Lakes and the complicated policy questions involved in meeting competing demands on this unique freshwater resource.
  • Bay City (May 9): Bay Carbon and Do-All Inc, which creates new companies to provide employment for adults with disabilities.
  • Detroit (May 10): Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, College for Creative Studies, Eastern Market and a Detroit Future City presentation.

MRS was established by the offices of the Provost and the Vice President for Government Relations to help faculty better understand the communities and broadly diverse regions their students come from, and to identify areas where their expertise can make a difference to Michigan communities.