ESD Mackinac Notebook

MACKINAC ISLAND — Reporters like to call public relations “the dark side.” So in my new role as director of communications for The Engineering Society of Detroit, it can be argued that I have indeed gone all Lord Vader, even though ESD is about as benign a nonprofit as you’re ever likely to find.

But among my duties at ESD is editing its quarterly print publication,
Technology Century, as well as its companion Website,, which I hope you’ve noticed is
becoming much more of a legitimate tech news site.

Based on that, the fine folks at the Detroit Regional Chamber saw fit
to give me a press pass to their annual Mackinac Policy Conference a
the Grand Hotel. So here I am, part PR person, part magazine editor.
Part Sith Lord, part Jedi Knight. Am I Luke or his father? Whatever I
am, I’m not complaining… I’m back in a palatial ballroom at the Grand
Hotel that’s converted into a media center for these four days.
Perhaps three dozen of Michigan’s reporters, editors, photographers,
videographers and web journalists are here. They’re covering the
politicians and the business titans and the labor leaders and the
community champions as they jockey for position and power and
funding and (we hope) work effectively to continue the turnaround of
Detroit. The Grand Hotel takes almost embarrassingly good care of
these fine ink- and electron-stained wretches. Free food and drink
and an unlimited supply of high-speed Internet and copies, in an
atmosphere of elegance most people don’t get to experience much,
if at all.

The Mackinac conference is a great place to be a reporter. All the
politicians and business and community leaders that can sometimes
be hard to get for an interview are all here, in one building. And there
are no cars so they can’t get away. And there’s plenty of free alcohol
flowing, so the loquacious ones can be more wordy than usual, and
even the taciturn may talk freely.

I’m here to listen on behalf of Technoogy Century’s readers. But I’ll
also talk to anyone who’ll listen about the ESD’s mission to boost
STEM education in order to fill the talent pipeline and solve the tech
worker shortage. And the ESD Institute’s many initiatives in that regard as well. I’ll let you know what I find on that subject over the
next few days.

1 thought on “ESD Mackinac Notebook

  1. Gayle Joseph Post authorReply

    The lines between journalists and public relations pros are increasingly blurred, Matt. In the end we’re all storytellers, aren’t we? Congratulations again on the new role. I’m looking forward to seeing the continuation of the positive changes you’re making.

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