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Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state's business roundtable, today brought leading corporate executives to Washington, D.C. to meet with Michigan "alumni" to talk about Michigan's reestablished position as a leading location for business development and expansion. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined executives in emphasizing the state's progress on key factors that lead to economic expansion.

"In just a few short years, Michigan has transformed its business climate," said Doug Rothwell, Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO. "The steps Michigan has taken to become more competitive have paid off. Our tax climate has flipped from one of the nation's worst to one of the best, Michigan is a national leader in terms of R&D and talent production and Michigan's per capita GDP, per capita income and employment have all grown faster than the national average."

Today, the group, including CMS Energy Corporation and Consumers Energy Company President & CEO John Russell and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who champions the Ambassador initiative for Business Leaders for Michigan, meets with D.C.-based Michigan alumni at an evening Michigan Ambassador event. The objective of the Michigan Ambassador Program is to increase the engagement of business executives who formerly lived, worked or graduated from school in Michigan and now lead companies or organizations across the nation and globe.

"By re-engaging leaders who have a passion for Michigan, we can share ideas, improve our image and identify growth opportunities that can help our state," said Bill Ford. "With all the elements necessary to be an economic leader, Michigan is a great example of American ingenuity. We created a way of life by inventing and making things that improve people's lives. We know how to get things done."

Created in 2011, the Michigan Ambassador Program's outreach includes alumni reunions in Michigan, alumni "chapter" meetings in cities with substantial numbers of Michigan alumni such as Chicago and New York and a semi-annual alumni newsletter.

Rothwell noted that Michigan is poised for economic expansion with unique assets and strengths, including the development of top talent. "We have top talent, including one of the highest concentrations of engineers per capita of any state in the country," said Rothwell. "There is no other place in the world with more automotive expertise than Michigan. Further, $2 billion of university research is conducted in Michigan annually and we are a leader in the number of patents granted."

Those representing Michigan include Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company; John G. Russell, President & CEO, CMS Energy Corporation and Consumers Energy Company; and Doug Rothwell, President & CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan.

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