QAD Explore in Detroit

I’m very lucky to have been born and raised in the wonderful city of Detroit or “The D” as we like to call it. It’s the city that I refer to around the world as I travel as “home,” so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that QAD was hosting Explore 2017 in Detroit! I find that many people have formed opinions about Detroit without ever getting to know the city. Let me tell you, Detroit is full of culture, history, fun things to do and amazing people. Did you know that Detroit has recently been named by Business Insider as one of the hottest cities of the future in the USA? It was also just ranked number nine of the “52 Places to Go in 2017” list by the New York Times!

Detroit’s Rich History

My Grandfather’s Passport Photo

This is the part of the blog where you probably thought I was going to talk about Detroit’s history, when in fact, I’m going to talk about my family history, which has roots in Detroit. Back in 1914 Henry Ford started giving workers $5/day at his Detroit factory — which back then was a lot of money. It was around that time that my grandfather, an immigrant from Italy, was working at a steel plant in Pennsylvania. When he heard about Ford’s wages, he moved to Detroit. He worked at what we now call the Ford Rouge Plant where the F-150s are made. My father also worked in automotive manufacturing and retired from Chrysler as a designer. In fact, he recently shared with me that he did the first drawings for the Prowler in the late 90s. Perhaps this is where my love of automotive comes from? I guess I was born with gasoline in my veins. I’m so proud of my family and heritage in Detroit and manufacturing; I can’t wait to share it with you.

My Top Ten Must-See Sights In Detroit

Even though I live in Detroit, I’m always finding cool new things to see and do. I love the historical parts of the city as well as the new — it’s that mix that makes it so special. From a local, let me give you my top picks to check out while you are here for Explore in May.

  • Detroit Institute of Arts — The DIA has over 100 galleries — did you know that the DIA was ranked as the 9th best museum in the United States?
  • Motown Museum — Visitors can go behind the curtains to see where Motown music all began. Numerous celebrities and musicians have visited the museum, including Michael Jackson in 1988!
  • Campus Martius — It is the commercial center and the heart of downtown. Did you know that is serves as the “point of origin” to Detroit’s coordinate system? There is a marker in the square from which all of Detroit and its suburbs are measured from. Stop me at Explore know if you find it!
  • Guardian Building — My top pick and a must see! You will be in awe by the explosion of color from the large glass mosiac upon entering the lobby. Did you know that the Guardian Building is home to one of four Tiffany clocks like it in the world?
  • Little Caesars Arena — Beginning in September 2017, LCA, will be the home to the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, which has a growing amount of fantasy hockey teams based around it. Recently it was announced the Detroit Pistons basketball team will also call LCA home too. Did you know LCA will be home to the first arena ever with gondola seating and it’s nickname will be “the Baddest Bowl?” Check in on the building progress as we move towards May!
  • The Dequindre Cut — It is two miles of urban art work and graffiti which was designed only for pedestrians and bicycle traffic. Do you want to go for a bike ride through it while you are in town? Visit Wheel House Detroit.
  • Ford Piquette Plant — Do you want to visit the birthplace of the Model T? You need to look no further if you make a stop here.
  • The Henry Ford Museum — The museum is just outside of Detroit. The museum stores hundreds of innovations. The museum even holds the car and the chair that President Kennedy was assassinated in.
  • Greenfield Village —Located on the same campus as the Henry Ford Museum, there are over 80 authentic historic structures. You can see the lab where Thomas Edison gave light to the world and where the Wright Brothers gave us wings so that we can fly.
  • Detroit People Mover (DPM) — If you need a lift during the conference, you can pick up the DPM right outside the conference. This driverless 3 mile track offers great views of Detroit and can drop you off at 14 locations around the city. Also, the brand new Q-Line (and no, QAD did not name it!) or M-1 Rail is anticipated to open in April which will be yet another great way to get around downtown Detroit.

Detroit Skyline

Register for QAD Explore 2017 in Detroit!

Please join me in Detroit this May for QAD Explore! We’ll have exciting speakers, informative sessions and many networking opportunities. Let’s explore Detroit together! I look forward to seeing you there and if you have any questions on “The D,” just ask me!

Terry Onica
Terry Onica is QAD's automotive vertical director. She lives in the metropolitan Detroit, Michigan area, which is one of the best places in the world you would expect to find someone who is passionate for her industry! In her spare time, she enjoys getting her friends and family to run with her in 5K/10Ks across the USA.