Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why I Live in Michigan?

Automation AlleyPeople often ask me "Why did you move from New York City to Southeast Michigan?" I typically respond that "I like the lifestyle, people, and Midwest Values." It is true, "I choose to live in Michigan and I am proud of that fact."

I had an experience yesterday that, once again, reminded me of why I choose to live in Michigan.

I got an email @ 4:04 PM yesterday from my good friend Charlie Devries from Automation Alley about an opportunity to attend a lucheon featuring His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the new Saudi Ambassador to the United States at the Ritz Carlton Dearborn.

Charlie's email noted that I should contact the hosts of the event at the Arab American Chamber directly if I wanted to attend. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a meeting and only had access to my Blackberry to respond. The invitation required me to fill out a PDF form and I was not going to be able to get to a computer until after 10 PM.

I excused myself from the meeting for a minute and called Charlie on the phone. I told him my predicament and ask for him to help me respond because I DEFINITELY WANTED TO ATTEND!!! Charlie, who I kiddingly referred to as my "dog robber," graciously assisted me and ensured that I would have a "seat at the table."

I got to the Ritz Carlton Dearborn at around 11:50 AM this morning and was overwhelmed by the number of people who were descending on the venue. When I went to pick up my name badge, I noted that I was at "Table 4 -Alsati." Table 4 sounded like a good table, but I had no idea how good until I walked into the ballroom. The first table number I saw was #50, this was a very big event. As I continued to search for my table, I eventually found out that it was one of the best, if not the best, table in the room - directly in front of the stage. I was beginning to feel like a real VIP and I am just a regular guy.

The first person I introduced myself to at the talbe was Dr. Saud Alsati, Counselor to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabi - senior member of Prince Turki Al-Faisal's staff. He looked at my name tag and noted that the table was named after him - "Alsati." Three cheers to the folks from the American Arab Chamber of Commerce for attending to this level of detail.

I proceeded to introduce myself to the rest of the folks at the table and began to notice a pattern, these folks were VIP's. The table was made up of significant philanthropists, political officials, and community leaders. I felt honored to be sitting in their company.

It was wonderful to share in the multi-cultural experience and listen to Prince Turki Al-Faisal's position on issues in the Middle East.

It is experiences like this that remind me, Why I live in Michigan? I can't ever remember Mayor Giuliani or Mayor Bloomberg offering me an invitation like this.

My vote is to stay in Michigan and help transform our economy.

I would like to extend a warm thank you to the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, Automation Alley, L. Brooks Patterson and my "dog robber" Charlie Devries for making Michigan a great place to live.


Dog Robber

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