Making Connections: Michigan's Mobility Business


I’m never surprised at being surprised.

That’s the feeling after watching the demos at the ITS America Annual Meeting.

And, this year, I know I’ll be blown away again by the impressive blend of creativity, engineering and technology on display.

In my role at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, I oversee three programs – PlanetM, Pure Michigan Business Connect, and International Trade. The emergence of mobility technologies and impact on the transportation industry will profoundly impact all three of these areas.

And, in Michigan, we’re not only up to the challenge, we have a plan in place to support innovation among entrepreneurs and businesses riding the wave of the transportation frontier.

At this truly historical time, we are fortunate to come together to share ideas and conversations about the mobility transformation. Perhaps more than any other state, Michigan is playing a vital role in bringing together people, technologies and businesses.

We’re focusing on making connections for global companies with Michigan’s mobility assets (end-customers, testing sites, universities, startups, suppliers). In addition, we look to help mobility companies get connected to new technology deployment opportunities.

Pure Michigan Business Connect has brought together Michigan purchasers with suppliers to more than $5 billion in new purchase orders from some of the world’s largest companies. And, finally, our State of Michigan’s International Trade Office, which connects Michigan companies to export opportunities in foreign markets.

While other states have progressive mobility-focused legislation, and world class testing sites, no other state has a business development program solely focused on mobility/CAVs. And, no other state offers a program like Pure Michigan Business Connect that connects the state’s companies to over 350 in-state and global purchasers.  


Beyond all the conversations about mobility, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Detroit. For those of you looking to explore when you’re in town, I’d suggest checking out the views of the city from Belle Isle Park (designed by the guy who designed Central Park in NYC). The Detroit Riverfront is great for a morning or evening jog. As far as meals, so many new restaurants, where should I begin. If you like Asian fusion, Peterboro is great. For a good steak, Prime and Proper is phenomenal. Central Kitchen, Selden Standard, PARC, Ottava Via are also solid choices.

Trevor Pawl is the Vice President, PlanetM, International Trade & Procurement Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation