Type: Public event

Engaging heartland residents: Rebuilding pride, ownership, and a brighter future

Transforming Industrial Heartland Regions of North America and Europe -- U.S. Midwest Convening & Learning Exchange

Date & time

Nov 11, 2022, 9:00 am-1:30 pm EST


Michigan Union, Pendleton Room, 2nd floor
530 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Agenda for today's events.

Leaders from North America and Europe will explore approaches to industrial heartland economic renewal in order to address one of the root causes of the polarizing politics undermining Western democracies and the transatlantic alliance.

Industrial regions—historically their countries’ economic powerhouses during the 20th century and the foundation for the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic—have undergone significant economic restructuring over the past several decades, leading to fractured communities and the rise of populist politics. This event will be a working discussion with leaders, managers and experts on community and economic development from North America, the UK and Europe, exchanging insights and ideas around advancing place-focused economic development policies and approaches. The event is one of a number of transatlantic learning exchanges being conducted as part of the Transforming Industrial Heartlands Initiative—a partnership of governments and leading policy organizations in North America and Europe.


U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna

Representative Ro Khanna is a leading progressive voice in the House working to democratize the digital economy, bring advanced manufacturing jobs to factory towns, and advance U.S. leadership on climate, human rights, and diplomacy around the world. Rep. Khanna is in his third term representing California’s 17th Congressional District, located in Silicon Valley. Among other appointments, he chairs the House Oversight Committee’s Environmental Subcommittee. He is the author of two books, “Dignity in the Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us” and “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future”. He will present virtually.

Fiona Hill

Fiona Hill is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings Institution. She recently served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019. From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is the Author of “There is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century” and coauthor of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015). She will present virtually.

Tiziana Dell’Olmo

Tiziana Dell’Olmo is head of the Unit for Integration, Multidisciplinary and Cross-Sector Measures for Companies, and serves on the EU’s Directorate of Regional and Urban Policy, where she is responsible for promoting integrated and cross-sector measures to support innovation. 

Sandra Hannig

Sandra Hannig is Political Analyst for Urban and Regional Development at OECD, where she focuses on national, regional, and urban development and comparative analysis of public policies.

Florence Hennart

Florence Hennart is an economist with the Department of Economic Policy in the Region of Wallonia, Belgium where she analyzes public policies, such as the 2020 European Strategy and National Reform Programme.

Jörg Kemna

Jörg Kemna is general manager for Business Metropole Ruhr, which develops and markets the Ruhr metropolitan business area in Germany.

Bob King

Bob King is former International President for the United Auto Workers (2010-2014) and labor representative on the German metalworker's union IG Metall supervisory board for German automaker and General Motors subsidiary Opel.

Thomas Kralinski

Thomas Kralinski is the State Secretary of Brandenburg in former East Germany. He has held several positions within the Social Democratic Party since 2004. In addition to his position as Secretary of State, he is also responsible for international relations at the state level and the authorized representative at the federal level. He will present virtually.

Randy Thelen

Randy Thelen is the President and CEO of the Right Place, where he leads economic development strategy through collaboration with local, state, and national organizations and stakeholders. His role is central to the organization's core work of business retention, expansion and attraction within the community, where aligning with the Right Place’s mission of driving sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity for all in the Greater Grand Rapids Region.

Rachel Wolf

Rachel Wolf is a Founding Partner at Public First, leading the agency’s policy work. Rachel co-authored the Conservative Party’s Election Manifesto in 2019. Previously she was education and innovation adviser to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and Senior Vice President for the technology company Amplify in New York City. She founded and ran the New Schools Network – the charity that helped develop and implement the government’s free schools programme. Rachel has written for national think tanks and most major news outlets. Rachel began her career as an adviser to the Conservative Party and to Boris Johnson on his early campaigns. She will present virtually.