If there is one thing we can all say about Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is that he is an impressive public speaker. If we add to that the fact that he is focused, enthusiastic, and highly intelligent, we do come up with an excellent leader for Michigan – regardless of political affiliations.
Gov. Snyder was invited as keynote speaker at a luncheon on Monday, November 4th, 2013, at the elegant 126-year-old Detroit Athletic Club. On his arrival, he was greeted with a standing ovation by over 200 executives, who eagerly awaited to hear what the Governor of Michigan had to say about the state politics, education, and the future of our economy.
The event was organized by FEI Detroit (Financial Executives International), and ALPFA Michigan (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) for their mutual members, as part of their strategic alliance.
Gov. Snyder was introduced by Lenora Hardy-Foster, member of the Leader Roster of FEI Detroit, and CFO & Executive Director of Southwest Solutions. During her introduction the audience learned that Gov. Snyder is only the third Governor in the US who is a CPA.
Hardy-Foster also spoke about the fact that Gov. Snyder had already completed his MBA by age 23 “… at one of the most prestigious universities in Michigan… and we’ll leave it at that!”, she joked, in an effort to keep collegiate sports rivalries out of the equation – at least during the Governor’s speech.
Gov. Snyder began by talking about the economy. “We could use a lot more CPAs in the public sector!” joked Gov. Snyder. “In my view, we had a broken government, where too many people in Michigan thought that the best days of Michigan were over”. He also talked about the “broken political culture” that we have in the US today.
“Money is not what government is about, and that is something we’ve lost. That’s not why government exists”, said Gov. Snyder. “Government should be a customer-services organization and you are the customers who deserve an accountable government, and I want to deliver on that”, he explained.
Gov. Snyder subsequently spoke about his 10-Point Plan to Reinvent Michigan, which has already added thousands of jobs in the state. “One of the roles of government is to create jobs”, said the Governor.
Gov. Snyder also explained about the Healthy Michigan Plan, that will provide coverage to almost half a million low-income Michiganders, and will help Michigan small businesses have a healthier and more productive workforce. He explained how Healthy Michigan Plan will use funds from the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), and how the new plan will help reduce millions of dollars in medical costs annually.
Regarding education, Gov. Snyder stressed the fact that it is important to help people to connect to the right career by collaborating with the private sector, by upgrading talent, by working alongside the educational system, and by connecting both areas. He also spoke about improving early childhood education, and about expanding interest among older students in new technologies such as mechatronics (a design process that combines electronics, and control, electrical and mechanical engineering to improve manufacturing process), a program that he brought from Germany to the United States, and had modified with the help of German companies, Henry Ford Community College, and Oakland Community College.
Gov. Snyder spoke at length on all these topics for almost half an hour, but what he stressed the most was the importance of taking responsibility, not just for our own actions, but also for the actions and decisions of those who came before us. “We are reinventing Michigan together. We are taking the tough issues and building the foundations for the state”, said Gov. Snyder.
Following Gov. Snyder’s remarks, Mary Kramer, past president of Detroit Athletic Club and publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, moderated the Q&A session, which included questions on whether a new limit will be imposed on the weight of vehicles that travel Michigan roads, whether taxes will go down, and whether Medicaid will be expanded in Michigan.
At the conclusion of the event, FEI executives thanked Gov. Rick Snyder, and presented him with an Honorary FEI Membership.