As most of my friends know, I had the good fortune to work on the North American International Auto Show public relations account for seven years. During that time, I saw first hand the impact that the show makes on this region.
First and foremost, the show provides for this community. In the seven years I worked on the show, the gentlemen from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association raised more than $45 million for local children’s charities. That’s a real impact on thousands of young lives.
The show also provides more than $1 billion to the local economy every two years. This doesn’t just benefit the car companies…it benefits average folks just looking to make a buck:
* It’s the woman who works at the Pizza Queen inside Cobo…she said the extra hours during auto show help her pay her heating bill in the winter;
* It’s the kid who works the coat check on Charity Preview night…he said the extra tips were helping to pay for classes at Wayne State;
* It’s the hundreds of construction workers who move the exhibits into Cobo;
* It’s carpenters who work at the exhibit houses to build the exhibits;
* It’s the ad agencies, PR firms, exhibit marketers and talent agencies that get extra projects to promote the new vehicles;
* It’s the hotels where thousands of journalists spend the night;
* It’s the restaurants that fill up when 750,000 people venture downtown for the show.
But, our status as North America’s greatest auto show hangs in the balance. Cobo Center is outdated and cramped. I have been to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and seen their convention centers first hand. Cobo simply doesn’t measure up. Holding a world-class car show at Cobo is akin to the Pistons playing at Calihan Hall (yes, I had to slip in one basketball reference).
As a region, we simply can’t afford to lose our standing as one of the world’s greatest auto shows. It’s not the car companies that will suffer. It’s the workers and professionals in our community who will be hurt the most.
If I’ve copied you on this note, it is because you are someone I respect and who has an influential role in our community. I urge all of you to tell join the Detroit Regional Chamber’s efforts to keep the Cobo issue on the front burner.
Go to http://www.vote4biz.com to take action. Send email to Detroit city officials to express your displeasure with their reluctance to move the Cobo Hall agreement forward. This is simply too important to the region to ignore.