The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places Are Building the New American Dream

Steve Case's message has particular resonance for the construction industry, which he discusses in this excerpt from his new book.
By Steve Case
January 31, 2023

Steve Case, cofounder of America Online and Revolution and New York Times bestselling author of “The Third Wave,” writes about how entrepreneurs across the country are building ground-breaking companies, renewing communities and creating new jobs—in the process reimagining the American landscape and bringing people together around a shared future. Case’s message has particular resonance for the construction industry, which is literally building that reimagined landscape, including Detroit, whose rebirth Case discusses in this excerpt from “The Rise of the Rest”:

Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, has played a pivotal role in leading Detroit’s revival. […] He built [Quicken Loans] into an extremely successful company, located in an office park in a Detroit suburb.

As the company expanded, Dan began to look for more office space, and he started to think about how to help his hometown, which was really struggling. He decided to move Quicken Loans and its 1,700 employees to downtown Detroit, as a sign of faith in the city. But he did more than that. He began buying vacant buildings in the downtown area with the idea of revitalizing it. Dan ended up acquiring more than one hundred buildings, many of which had been abandoned as companies moved to the suburbs. [...]

Those empty buildings that Dan Gilbert bought when few others were interested suddenly started filling up. Downtown Detroit became a magnet for talent and the epicenter of the city’s startup community.

Dan had a message to the nation about Detroit: “Don’t give up on us, we’re going to fight to become a great city again.” Once he opened the door to new possibilities, he found that Detroit had a remarkable roster of advocates from both the public and private sectors, all eager to do their part. These included local business and philanthropic leaders, as well as the three big automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler.

by Steve Case

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