“Are you going to the Mackinac Policy Conference this year?” My answer again for 2017 was a resounding ‘no’, as I am more than happy with the deluge of coverage the conference has from much larger media houses than GreeningDetroit.com, but this year I felt it gave me an unwavering advantage, as I was happy to be able to attend the Premier of what should no doubt be the First Annual Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Green Infrastructure Conference, which took place May 31 – June 2 at Cobo Center in Detroit.
Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality pulled off a beautifully instrumented event with over 470 attendees and 180 speakers that represented not only Michigan’s top experts in sustainability, but nationwide and Canadian representatives as well.
Event Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Matt Tomlinson stated it took nearly 2 years of lead time in order to structure the 3 day conference which focused on the much talked about concerns of Integrated Stormwater Management from Duluth To Quebec, and highlighted Keynote Speakers Jon W. Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Valencia Mobley, P.E., Deputy Director & Chief Engineer of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Adam Freed, Principal, Sustainability Practice for Bloomberg Associates, and Andrew J. Reese, P.E., LEED-AP, D-WRE, Vice President of Amec Foster Wheeler. The time was well spent.
8 concurrent tracks and breakout sessions highlighted such important topics as planning policy, urban hydrology, municipal case studies, emerging technologies, nationwide initiatives and economics.
31 exhibitors showcased their engineering prowess and innovative products such as Detroit based Parjana Distribution as well as the Michigan Wildflower Farm, located in Portland Michigan. With attendees coming in nationally from Washington DC to Washington State and Canada, the list of who’s who in the clean and green industries and municipal representatives gave way to sincere networking and collaborative opportunities.
Friday was a special opportunity to attend 5 different field trips including a CSO Control Tour, Lawrence Tech University & Midtown Detroit, a Detroit Local Bike Tour, The Ford Rouge Plant’s LEED Visitor Center and complex, and a tour of Recovery Park, LEAP Lots, and the historical Eastern Market.
This was a highlight for the upcoming sustainable infrastructure and innovative company leaders that should not have been missed.
The irony should not be lost on the fact that this conference would be going on at the same time that the president has decided to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, but Michigan’s companies and energy innovation leaders seem to have full confidence in the public and private business sectors that Green Innovation and Sustainable Infrastructure go hand in hand with a successful future. The MDEQ should be applauded for their efforts to bring the best and brightest together, and we look forward to their next Detroit based event, the Michigan Sustainability Conference September 14, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza
Click Here to be introduced to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Cathleen Francois is Executive Director, an environmental advocate and enthusiastic writer for of GreeningDetroit.com.