Category Archives: U-M

Don’t miss this gathering of urban-minded entrepreneurs!


Several months ago, I had the idea to form an organization that would encourage and empower entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to work on solving problems for urban communities. I called the organization the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI). In the beginning UEI was just an idea, then it was a proposal, and now it’s a group of people working hard to bring that original idea to fruition. On October 10, 2014, UEI will present its first public event, the 2014 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium. This event, to be held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library on the North Campus of the University of Michigan, will convene innovators from academia, business, government, and communities to focus on the ways that entrepreneurs can solve important urban problems.

To get the entire scoop on UEI and the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium,, visit the new web site: There you will find information about the Initiative and the symposium and acquire your ticket to attend the October 10 event. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there!

One more thing: as the title suggests, UEI has grown up now — at least to adolescence.  The organization has its own web site, supporters, and sponsors, so the original proposal will no longer be shown on I will always provide a link to my “baby” here, though.

David Tarver named to U-M Electrical and Computer Engineering Council (ECEC)

Dr. Khalil Najafi, Chair, U-M Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Khalil Najafi, Chair, U-M Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The purpose of the University of Michigan Electrical and Computer Engineering Council (ECEC) is to foster excellence in all areas of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) research and teaching, provide strategic guidance to ECE faculty and leadership, and strengthen relationships among ECE faculty, students, alumni and corporations, foundations, and government agencies with ECE-related interests. Continue reading

October 10 is Urban Entrepreneurship Day at U-M Ann Arbor

city Easternside_t700

What would happen if entrepreneurs focused their considerable intellectual and financial resources on creating solutions for urban citizens? What would happen if businesses focused on producing the two things urban citizens need most: products and services that solve the problems they face, and jobs? On October 10, 2014, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, we will begin to discover the answers to these questions. Continue reading

Andy Crawford Award – 2014 Winter Term

Presenting Andy Crawford award to IOE 422 student Mark Grum.

Presenting the Andy Crawford award to IOE 422 student Mark Grum, May 5, 2014.

One of the courses I’m teaching at University of Michigan, IOE (Industrial and Operations Engineering) 422, was originated by an extraordinary fellow named Andy Crawford. Andy was a fervent believer in entrepreneurship education, and he crusaded for years to establish an entrepreneurship course at U-M. He succeeded in doing so, and the result is the IOE 422 course that I have the honor and privilege of teaching today. Continue reading

Charles White, 2013-14 Fred and Louise Tarver Scholar

Charles White and me in November, 2013

Charles White and me in November, 2013

Charles White of West Bloomfield, Michigan is the 2013-2014 Fred and Louise Tarver Scholar. This fall, Charles will begin his junior year in the U-M College of Engineering, but first he will spend the summer on an internship at Intel Corporation in California. Charles is an outstanding student and a delightful young man. He’s going to make huge contributions to the profession.

Last nail in Michigan’s affirmative action coffin

Last Nail

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Sixth Circuit Court’s ruling and reinstated the State of Michigan’s ban on racial preferences in college admissions. This ban was enacted by Michigan voters in 2006 as a part of the Proposal 2 public referendum. For me, it was an anticlimactic decision that was simply the last nail in the coffin for affirmative action policies and procedures at the University of Michigan and other public education institutions. Continue reading

If we’re so smart…

smart guy

You could start a lot of questions with that phrase, and over the years I have certainly done so. Lately though, the question bugging me has been: “If we’re so smart, then why do our cities have so many problems?” We have so much knowledge and expertise in this country, and yet if you drive through many of our urban centers you would think you were in a war zone. Crime, sub-standard education, lack of access to nutritious food, deteriorating infrastructure, high unemployment…all of these conditions could legitimately lead one to question our intelligence. Simple? Yes. Sophomoric? Yes. But you have to start somewhere, and I decided to start here. Continue reading

What’s your personal “brand?”



That was the question of the day when personal branding guru Hajj Flemings stopped by my IOE 422 class at the University of Michigan today. His message: know the impression you convey in all communications media. Better yet, control that impression – in person, on the internet, everywhere. It was a lively, engaging session, and the students enjoyed it. It was truly information they could and should use, today!

Sunday afternoon in the DEN

2014-04-06 DEN group

Hanging with the Detroit Entrepreneurship Network team and program participants

Spent this afternoon with the Detroit Entrepreneurship Network (DEN) team at Bizdom Detroit. This group of talented, entrepreneurship-focused U-M students volunteer their time to inspire and inform Detroit area high school students who wish to be entrepreneurs. It was my pleasure to hang out at DEN this afternoon to talk entrepreneurship, eat pizza, and make new friends. Our session culminated with the Urban Entrepreneurship challenge: define an important problem that might lend itself to an entrepreneurial solution. The winner received a fresh hardcover copy of “Proving Ground: A Memoir.”

Thanks to the DEN team for an engaging session, good pizza, and the free t-shirt. Thanks also for the work you do on behalf of Detroit area high school students.

About Detroit Entrepreneurship Network:
DEN produces a series of entrepreneurship and social justice focused workshops for high school students in the City of Detroit and the Detroit Metro area. Students learn business principles and build a business plan using their own interests and creativity. Each workshop focuses on a different core business concept and allocates time to intergroup dialogue. DEN is premised on the belief that the best way to create a brighter future for Detroit is by instilling a sense of community and personal responsibility in today’s students. By empowering students to take a creative idea and turn it into a reality, that they can truly do something with themselves in the future that benefits both their own welfare and their communities. This year, Detroit Entrepreneurship Network has 52 participants from 21 high schools from areas including Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills, Sourthwest Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Southfield, and Livonia.