Tell us about living in Detroit. What neighborhood do you live in and what things make it unique and exciting?

I live in the New Center area, just a few blocks south of the Fisher building and right by Tech Town.  I love the buildings in New Center, the Fisher building; Cadillac place and the Taubman Center are amazing and enormous.  My go to places in the area are Café con Leche, New Center Eatery, and Z’s villa and a new Bucharest grill is opening down the street.  My favorite place is Northern Lights Lounge, my local watering hole that has a lively happy hour crowd and a great weekend brunch.  There is plenty of hustle and bustle during the work day in the area, but I enjoy how it is quiet and has no traffic at night.

What have you learned from Challenge Detroit so far?

In Challenge Detroit I have learned so much about the city of Detroit, coming in I’ve heard all about the challenges facing Detroit, but you don’t hear much about what is being done to address the challenges.  Being a part of challenge you get to understand these problems much more in-depth and can start brainstorming solutions.  I’ve learned to be a lot more creative when it comes to thinking, there are so many limitations and layers to these challenges that sometimes as we learned during orientation, you really need to think outside the box.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

My Host Company is Edward C. Levy, who has had a fellow for all 4 years of Challenge Detroit.  Recently they started a fertilizer, and I am the first person they have hired with an agriculture degree.  Since we are a new part of the company my boss likes to say we all wear lots of hats.  The title we finally landed on was research analyst, but I’ve been working on creating content for our new website, customer surveys, business development, research, and lately I’ve been working with Rory Lincoln on creating volunteer opportunities for Levy employees to get involved with the community.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

In my host company, we are entering a completely new area of business for Levy.  When my challenge year is up, I’d like to see us doing well financially, and hopefully can be part of the reason we increase sales and expand into new territories.  Working with Rory, I hope we can find opportunities for the rest of the company to get involved in Detroit.

What ways would you like to be engaged in the Detroit community during Challenge Detroit?

Hockey has always been a big part of my life, so I am hoping to start coaching and helping out once the Clark Park Ice is down.  There are numerous events every week that are engaging that I try to go to.  Some of my favorite events have been with Slow Roll, SOUP, noel night and Dally in the Alley.  I think going to as many events and places is crucial for being engaged with the Detroit community.  I am constantly surprised how Detroit is just a big small town.  I see so many familiar faces at many of these events.

Check out Michael’s spotlight video to learn even more about his experience in Detroit.