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Clean Energy Coalition

924 N. Main St., Suite 2
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Sean Reed

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
When we were first getting started I worked with SCORE and NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) in Ann Arbor. Both organizations were extremely helpful in providing needed technical assistance that helped move our organization along. Additionally, I have been blessed to work with a deeply experienced and talented board of directors that has provided me with sound guidance and reassurance that has allowed me to confidently grow our organization.

Where did you find your first employee?
Our first employee is still with the organization and was hired three years ago. Although we did extensive postings advertising the position, she was someone that had been one of our first volunteers and that I felt like I knew something about. One of the most important things to me in making this hire was to bring someone on board that I thought would be committed to the organization. Happily, this is how things have turned out.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We have done this a few times with interns and volunteers for the organization and I think it can be a great way to go. Many times, interns and volunteers, by the nature of what they are doing, have the type of drive and commitment we are looking for in successful employees.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
The Ann Arbor area, in large part because of the University of Michigan and the general quality of life offered by the city, is both rich in talent and is also an attractive destination for talent interested in moving to Michigan. I feel that the area has the type of amenities that helps to retain people over time. Additionally, we have found the area to be rich in the type of affiliated contractors that we need to support the diversity of our work.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
It would be nice to see the region come together through a connected and highly utilized mass transit system, paired with a strategy for effective land use around transit hubs. I think that this would be an effective linchpin that would radically change both the perception of the region and also bring its various assets together. I have been extremely pleased to witness the far reaching vision of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the connectivity they see as being essential to grow the region.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
Well as someone who advocates for clean energy, I would be remiss here to not mention the amazing opportunity available to Michigan's businesses and residents to invest in the state's future by keeping our energy dollars close to home. The vast majority of our energy in the region comes from out-of-state fossil fuel sources: petroleum, natural gas and coal (in that order). Although it is obviously a tall order to swap out these fuels for renewables outright, through a combination of efficiency, conservation, and wise investments in renewables, we could not only be keeping more of our money local, but could be growing jobs here as well. The region's unique combination of engineering and other talent, high-caliber university system, and historic manufacturing base, could easily allow for the growth of all aspects of the clean energy industry and I would love to see this part of the region's economy continue to flourish.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
I feel like over time I have seen a lot of talent pass through the state's university system. Many times, these are folks that are native Michiganders or that are transplants into the state that have come here to participate in the many excellent higher educational institutions that Michigan has to offer (I am one such transplant myself). I feel that there needs to be a stronger support system in place to retain these folks and their energy before they move on elsewhere. A lot of the state's best potential talent would like to stay, but simply can't find the type of work that they need both to grow professionally and to provide the quality of life that they would like to see.

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