Tag Archives: Dan Gilbert

10 Reasons Why You Need to Register for TEDxDetroit Today

On Thursday, October 8th, creators, catalysts, entrepreneurs, artists, geeks, designers, thinker and doers will all flock to Detroit for the 7th Annual TEDxDetroit. Franco PR Group is excited to work with them to spread the word about this one-of-a-kind conference.

1. TEDx events are breakoffs from the larger, parent conference TED Talks. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design – three words that are practically synonymous with the Motor City.

Photos: Cobo Center, Rockin’ on the Riverfront Concert Series, Detroit Institute of Arts

Photos: Cobo Center, Rockin’ on the Riverfront Concert Series, Detroit Institute of Arts

Check, check and… check.

2. There are only 14 other TEDx conference located throughout Michigan, and as you can see TEDxDetroit is at the TOP of the list.


Which could just be a coincidence, but then again, maybe not.

3. The TEDxDetroit stage has been graced by Detroit powerhouses like Quicken Loans Founder and real estate tycoon, Dan Gilbert, Slow Roll Co-Founder Jason Hall, and Hardcore Pawn star, Les Gold.

4. And this year’s line-up continues to bring the best of the best, with NASA Planetary Scientist, Dr. Cathy Olkin, Life Remodeled Founder and CEO, Dr. Chris. Lambert and President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, Gary Shaprio.

Photo from GMRENCEN “Reflecting A New Detroit”

Photo: GMRENCEN “Reflecting A New Detroit”

Just to name a few.

5. Oh yeah, and on top of all those great speakers – they’ve got LIVE MUSIC. With performances by America’s Got Talent finalist Alicia Michilli, Tunde OlaniranAhya SimoneTimothy OrikriShelby 5Chance MorrisDarius SimpsonScout Bostley and Britney Stoney.

6. Not to mention this year’s venue just happens to be the historic Fox Theatre.

Photo: facebook.com/foxtheatredetroit

Photo: facebook.com/foxtheatredetroit

Which is the largest TEDxDetroit venue in its seven-year history.

7. Charlie Wollborg, Chief Troublemaker at Curve Detroit and TEDxDetroit Executive Producer and Curator has been a featured speaker at several noted conferences including SXSW Interactive, Podcamp Michigan and Ignite Automotive.

Photo: twitter.com/CharlieCurve

Photo: twitter.com/CharlieCurve

So he probably knows how to put on a good show.

8. If you don’t go you’re just going to be checking Twitter for updates all day anyway.

#TEDxDetroit FOMO

9. If you register for TEDxDetroit before Sept. 21, you’ll save $15. Which you can put towards those Red Wings tickets you’ve had your eye on.

10. And if that’s not enough to get you to click the registration link. Maybe this’ll help…

Photos: facebook.com/bigalora, facebook.com/comfortcruzine, detroitstockyard.com

Photos: facebook.com/bigalora, facebook.com/comfortcruzine, detroitstockyard.com

Detroit food truck favorites like Bigalora, Heroes vs. Villain, Motor City Franks, Comfort Cruzine, Stockyard and more will be on-site at TEDxDetroit. 


Which TEDxDetroit speaker is on your must-see list? Share in the comments.

Alex Fulbright is a digital marketing specialist at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5085 or fulbright@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandriaFul and connect on LinkedIn.

Detroit is a city full of opportunity

Tina Kozak, circa 1987, with her grandpa and sister at the Belle Isle aquarium.

I had the privilege of attending the unveiling of Dan Gilbert’s vision for Detroit yesterday; a vision that will undoubtedly become a reality, because as Gilbert pointed out, he doesn’t have a Plan B as it would distract from Plan A. While much of what we saw was conceptual, the opportunity that exists is very real. And I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything.

Born in Detroit and never living more than a few miles away, I’ve always been passionate about the city. A cheerleader. A buzz agent. An optimist. While I tend to see the good, I don’t ignore the challenges (OK, big challenges/problems/disasters) we’ve faced as a city from the 1960s to today. My grandfather was a Detroit business owner. His store was damaged in the riots, but instead of looking back on those times with fear and anger, I’ve always looked back with hope that the city will someday return to glory.

The part of yesterday’s program that moved me the most was when Fred Kent, president of Project for Public Spaces, one of Gilbert’s placemaking consultants, said this:

“The future of Detroit is grounded in the past. We can go back to that and do better.”

This struck me. People have always romanticized the past, the good old days, the days when you could shop on Woodward Ave. The vision that goes beyond that, beyond the past to something even better, is the most exciting part of this movement called Opportunity Detroit.

Earlier this year, I had my own opportunity, the opportunity to become a shareholder in Franco Public Relations Group. As if I weren’t already invested in the success of the city, I now call myself a Detroit business owner. And Franco has its own strong roots in Detroit. We’ll celebrate 50 years in the city in 2014. I’m right where I want to be, and I think Detroit is right where it needs to be.

I can feel the opportunity. I can see the vision becoming a reality. I’m so glad I’m here to be part of it.

With leadership from people like Dan Gilbert, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Detroit Regional Chamber and the other 400 business leaders that surrounded me during yesterday’s announcement, I’d say we’re poised to go back and do better.

Tina Kozak is Franco’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter @tinakozak. Connect with Franco PR Group on Facebook and Twitter @FrancoPRGroup.

Re: View Detroit – Franco tours downtown one bite at a time

Motown, Hockeytown, the D, Motor City – we all know I’m talking about Detroit and I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully tired of our city being the poster-child for post-industrial demise. Instead, (as usual) I choose the “glass half-full” outlook; I look at this city through rose-colored glasses, seeing every misfortune as an opportunity for change, because after all, change is growth and growth is success.


So, every few weeks I’m going to break down the most popular neighborhoods in Detroit in an effort to highlight the hot spots and expose some hidden gems. I’m kicking off the series with the neighborhood Franco calls home: downtown.

Franco’s office has been located in the GM Renaissance Center since it was built in 1977 (and we’ve been downtown since we were founded in 1964!). Michigan’s tallest building, the RenCen is filled with places to eat, shop and stay and is located along the Detroit RiverWalk, an awesome place to grab lunch or take a stroll. The riverfront also plays host to numerous events when the Michigan weather decides to play nice.

One of my other favorite outdoor spots downtown is Campus Martius Park, the place I consider the heart of downtown. It’s located along Woodward Ave. and is a beautiful place to go in both the winter and summer months. The Campus Martius district alone is comprised of 20,000 office employees (and growing thanks to Dan Gilbert and the whole Detroit Venture Partners team), 750 residents, 50 retail shops and more than 35 places to get your eat on.

Speaking of food, here’s our Franco-complied list of must-taste foods in the downtown district:

  • Shawarma from Bucharest Grill – this is my personal favorite. Immediately after finishing one of these bad boys I want to rewind life so I can re-enjoy it. Most of my coworkers would agree.
  • Saganaki from Pegasus Taverna – who doesn’t love a little flaming cheese? This is my family’s go-to restaurant in Greektown.
  • Lafayette Coney Island – Sara Bloomberg says, “a coney, no onions and well done chili fries. A Bloomberg tradition on a hot, late summer night. We’d pack in the car and head downtown for a coney dog.” It’s always been Lafayette for me. What about you – American or Lafayette?
  • Paella at Vincente’s Cuban Cuisine – both Tina Kozak and Stephanie Casola noted this as one of their favorite dishes in Detroit. Tina says, “Paella at Vincente’s is the closest you can get to Spain. I’m a paella snob. I know this for certain.”
  • Burger at Honest John’s –We suggest the regular fixins (i.e. cheese, lettuce tomato). They don’t do fancy, but it’s one of the best burgers around.
  • I’ve also heard the newly revamped and reopened London Chop House is excellent – I’ve yet to dig deep into my pocketbook for that meal, though.
  • Sushi overlooking the Detroit River right here at Joe Muer Seafood in the RenCen. The view from both inside and on the patio is pretty amazing.
  • Finally, helloooo goat cheese mac during happy hour at Roast. And that Roast Burger with the Quail Egg. Don’t get me started.

We could go on, but let’s not. My mouth is watering.

If you’re looking to make your way around downtown, you should give the Detroit People Mover a whirl. It’s just 75 cents a ride and drops you just steps away from almost all of the downtown hot spots like Comerica Park, Ford Field, Detroit Opera House, Joe Louis Arena, Fox Theater, The Fillmore Detroit, Greektown (not just the casino), the GM RenCen and more. Or take a hike! Around the city that is. Unlike many other big cities, most of Detroit’s downtown attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Can’t get enough Detroit? If you hurry, you can snag the August City Guide issue of HOUR Magazine. It’s all about Detroit. In addition, here are some of my favorite sites to follow: Dig Downtown, Curbed Detroit, Positive Detroit and HuffPost Detroit.

Genna Young is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5014 or young@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter at @GennaYoung.