Concentrate Speaker Series Event: Young & Sticking Around

Much has been written about Michigan's brain drain and there is little doubt that the state is struggling to attract and retain young professionals. Ann Arbor is not immune to this trend. Despite the hiring power of U-M, some local leaders predict that the 2010 census will reveal that the city has become, on average, older and smaller.

Still, there are some YPs choosing to stay here - not only to live, but to do business. And by doing so, they are investing in both their own, and the city's, future.

Concentrate has invited a group of ambitious young entrepreneurs to chat about why they've decided to set up shop in Ann Arbor. They'll talk about both the challenges and opportunities of being here, what they'd like to see more (or less) of, and what they're hearing from their peers. We're hoping to encourage a discussion about where our community is headed next and the best way to get there.

The conversation will include you as well. Concentrate readers are encouraged to post questions on the Sign Up Form below or bring them to the event.

Guests include:
  • Al McWilliams - Master of the Universe, Quack!Media
  • Michael Watts - Partner, Hook LLC
  • Steve Colson - Co-Founder & Problem Solver, Switchback
  • Mike Monan - Co-Founder & Problem Solver, Switchback
  • Emily Darling - WhipSmart Solutions, LLC
  • Mariah Cherem - Senior Community Manager, Yelp · Metro Detroit
  • Dug Song - CEO and co-founder of Scio Security and Founder TechBrewery
Concentrate's Speaker Series event "Young & Sticking Around" will be held Thursday, August 26th at Conor O'Neill's (318 South Main Street). Please note the new venue!

The event is free and open to Concentrate's readers, but seating is limited so you must pre-register.The presentation will begin around 5:15 p.m. and run for roughly an hour.

Refreshments (beer, wine, and soft drinks) will be provided. Discussion and networking before and afterward is greatly encouraged.

Concentrate's Speaker Series is sponsored by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority


Al McWilliams
is a Michigan native who has lived all over the country, and the world before moving back to Ann Arbor in 2000. In 2003 he founded Quack!Media with a grant from the US NRC to develop fart jokes from spent Uranium234. Al lives in Downtown Ann Arbor and doesn't own a car. (Al McWilliams photo by Doug Coombe)

Michael Watts is responsible for all production and business affairs for Hook LLC.  He has developed numerous award winning campaigns including: Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice, Coke Zero’s Rooftop Racer, Best Buy’s Twelpforce and Sprint’s Now Network.

Mike Monan heads up Switchback's Sales and Account Management team. He has more than 10 years experience building internet-based software that incorporates usability best practices. Previously, he was Director of Engineering at Diamond Bullet Design in Ann Arbor.

Steve Colson focuses on Switchback's CMS/CRM products and client CMS development. His past experience as IT/Systems Administrator for West Pole and Chief Technical Officer for Pure Visibility, both in Ann Arbor.

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