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LaVere Structural Consulting

PO Box 201198
Ferndale, MI 48220

Joseph LaVere

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
At previous employers I have been able to take advantage of various risk mitigation and project management training programs. I also belong to professional associations and regularly attend meetings and seminars for professional development and education.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
My first customer was a residential customer (homeowner) with concerns about a home remodeling project and removing walls. I found them through an online marketing service for primarily residential contractors.

Where did you find your first employee?
Currently I do not have employees.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
No, I have not promoted interns.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
The source of my capital has been my savings, which I was able to build quickly by taking a contract position in Afghanistan. I plan to continue growing slowly by re-investing my earnings into the company, at least until I can afford several employees. This will facilitate very slow growth. For an engineering consulting firm, slow initial growth allows the firm to develop the institutional knowledge necessary for large, complex projects at relatively low risk.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
Regionalism applied to services aimed at maximizing commerce and diversification of the physical and economic infrastructure we use are policies this region would benefit from. A myopic, automotive-based economy and stubborn resistance to urban development has caused the region to shrink steadily over the last several decades. New York and Chicago are good examples of what I mean by this on international and national scales, respectively: New York (and New Jersey) has a port authority that manages multiple kinds of regional transportation and the Chicago area has a regional mass transit system. New York has stock exchanges and Chicago the Mercantile Exchange. New York has an international port and Chicago is a national rail hub. Both cities don't remain unaffected by national economic trends, but also tend to be more resilient than Detroit due to diverse economies and diverse, regional infrastructure for commerce.

The communities of southeast Michigan don't exist independently. Southeast Michigan's geography also has potential to provide an alternate link for goods between the rest of the country and Canada and the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the tunnels and bridges we have now. Success lies partly in cooperating on large scales to develop in ways that increase commerce. This could mean regional cooperation for mass transit and investing in the heavy infrastructure needed to move goods in and out of the region such as freight
and passenger rail and a regional port.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
I honestly believe that cooperation between communities to establish systems such as mass transit would provide a significant enough increase in quality of life that the region would be a more attractive choice.

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