SAE 2014 World Congress & Exhibition

April 8-10, 2014

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Cobo Center

Governor Rick Snyder

Rick Snyder 48th Governor of Michigan

Three years ago, businessman Rick Snyder was a virtual unknown in the political world. When he first decided to run for governor, his standing in the polls was so low that taking the margin of error into account, he theoretically could have had negative numbers. Political pundits said there was no way he could compete against the better known field of experienced political rivals.

The pundits were wrong.

Governor Rick Snyder won in a landslide victory after running as "One Tough Nerd" ready to make the tough decisions career politicians refused to make. The tactic led one particularly snarky pundit to quip "I guess nerd tested better in the focus groups than dork."

As a candidate, Gov. Snyder pledged to eliminate the job-killing Michigan Business Tax and replace it with a flat, 6-percent corporate income tax that is simple, fair and efficient. He pledged to structurally balance the budget without using accounting gimmicks or quick fixes. He pledged to create an environment where small businesses can grow and create jobs.

The businessman-turned-politician has delivered. As promised, he eliminated the job-killing Michigan Business Tax. He ended the unfair double tax on small business owners. Working together with lawmakers, the governor eliminated the state's $1.5 billion deficit. And in stark contrast to the partisan fighting that led to two government shutdowns under his predecessor, Gov. Snyder got the budget done by the earliest date it has been completed in 30 years.

Less than a year ago, Michigan barely had enough money saved in the rainy day fund to run the state for approximately 30 minutes. Under Gov. Snyder, the state is doing the responsible thing by saving for the future and paying down its long term debt. Gov. Snyder earned his undergraduate degree, MBA and law degree from the University of Michigan - all by the age of 23. After teaching at the University of Michigan, he went to work as a tax accountant at Coopers & Lybrand - now PriceWaterhouseCoopers - where he made partner after only six years. He then joined the fledgling computer company Gateway and helped it grow from a little over 700 employees to a Fortune 500 company with more than 10,000 employees before leaving to form his own successful venture capital firm.

Serving as an elected official brings challenges that are different than working as a CEO in the private sector. Now that he is the making tough decisions needed to Reinvent Michigan, Gov. Snyder is encountering resistance from entrenched special interests, protestors and recall efforts.

But anyone who has had an opportunity to hear the governor speak knows that he is not interested in being negative or getting bogged down by unproductive partisan fighting. It's this same spirit of "relentless positive action" that has him working on an accelerated schedule of "dog years" as governor.

As the governor said during his inauguration, we can only achieve extraordinary things if we aspire beyond traditional thinking. Do not shy away from high expectations - deliver on high expectations.