Entrepreneurial Detroit: E2 Detroit
The E2 conference was held early last week on Wayne State University’s campus. The conference boasted record numbers and was a very well run conference. The focus of the fourth annual conference was business in the Detroit region. Conference goers were inspired by stories of successful business and entrepreneurs in the region. My two favourite speakers were Mary Ellen Sheets, of Two Men and a Truck, and David Brandon, CEO of Dominos Pizza.
Mary Ellen was so touching in her presentation of her struggles to make ends meet after her husband left her with a houseful of teenagers. She confided that her husband left to get some bread and never came home; “a 23 year old loaf of bread.” Her story was a winding road to success. Her family was instrumental in getting the business by during tough times and being guinea pigs in franchising. She divided her first thousand between her 10 favourite charities. Today Mary Ellen is a multi-million dollar success with an international franchise empire under her belt.
David Brandon of Domino’s was beyond charming. He told a tale of working in a Domino’s store on New Year’s Eve before Y2K (does anyone even remember that?) because he did not want to tell his employees to work this monumental day and not do so himself. Everything from the cardboard-like uniform pants to the difficult prosciutto pizza topping was a challenge and an eye-opening experience. Today, he lives by the Dave rule. If he cannot make a product or get through a process, it is not going out the door.
We in Michigan are losing jobs left, right, and center; however, we still have the power to create. What better time than now?