Mike Duggan is perhaps the Detroit area’s most successful turnaround specialist, having rescued Michigan’s largest county, a regional transportation system and the state’s top medical center from financial collapse.
In each of these cases, Duggan was able to cut costs without significant layoffs, improve services and chart a path to new levels of success. He also is a highly respected negotiator and fighter for the city of Detroit on the issues of crime, public transportation, health care, workers’ rights, recreational opportunities and more.
After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Duggan, a Detroit native, resisted the urge to follow many of his friends to jobs in other states. Instead, he chose to commit his life’s work to improving conditions for people of Detroit and surrounding communities. Some of his accomplishments include:
Mike Duggan became president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center in January 2004, when the system was facing the planned closure of two of its flagship hospitals (Receiving & Hutzel) and thousands of layoffs after having lost nearly $500 million over the previous five years. Under Duggan’s leadership, the DMC made a profit for the first time since 1997, and has been profitable every year since.
In 1991, at the request of the workers, Duggan stepped in as the general manager of the SMART bus system where he negotiated an interim line of credit, restructured routes, cut maintenance expenses, modified union contracts, cut overhead and passed the SMART millage in 1995. Duggan successfully eliminated the deficit and had a 50 percent increase in bus service on the road.
In 1987 at the age of 29, Duggan was named Deputy Wayne County Executive and became the engineer of a solvency package that helped the county eliminate a $130 million budget deficit and helped lead the county to 15 consecutive balanced budgets after 17 consecutive years of budget overruns.
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
One of Duggan’s first moves as CEO of the DMC was to institute a guarantee that anyone coming to a DMC emergency room would be seen by a doctor within 29 minutes. He also shifted focus to put all available resources to support anything related to direct patient care, which significantly improved customer satisfaction.
At Wayne County, Duggan redesigned its indigent health care system to improve care for those with no insurance, ease the burden on overcrowded hospital emergency rooms and save the county millions of dollars a year in health care costs. He also was the architect of HeathChoice, an innovative health care program for small businesses that provided affordable, quality health care for nearly 20,000 previously uninsured workers.
Duggan served Wayne County’s Prosecutor from 2001 to 2003, ushering in many new approaches to reduce violent crime. Thanks to his strategies and strong partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, he was able to help lead Detroit to its lowest murder rate in 30 years. During this time, Duggan also created a program that quickly seized abandoned homes in the city, many of which were used as drug houses, and auctioned them off to residents with a requirement they fix them up and occupy them.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
In 1996, Duggan helped negotiate the $545 million agreements with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions to build new stadiums in downtown Detroit. As head of the Stadium Authority, he also made sure that minority contractors received a significant percentage of the construction related work. Duggan also headed the negotiating team with Northwest Airlines that secured a $1 billion agreement to build an expansion of Metro Airport including construction of the new Midfield Terminal.
At the Detroit Medical Center, Duggan took an aging campus of hospitals and secured an $850 million investment in new buildings, of which he also made sure minority contractors received a large portion of the work. By the time Duggan left the DMC at the end of 2012, its number of employees had risen from approximately 11,000 to 14,000. During his time at the DMC, Duggan also created Project Genesis; a program that brought provided summer jobs for 100 Detroit Public School Students each year and provided them on the job training, as well as certifications in key areas of the health care field.
While at Wayne County, Duggan also led a countywide parks millage campaign, which resulted in the construction of the Chandler Park Family Aquatic Center and significant investments to Historic Fort Wayne. These projects, done at Duggan’s insistence, represented the first time county parks money was spent on recreation in the city of Detroit.
In addition to saving the SMART bus system and significantly improving its level of service and ridership, Duggan has been a champion on road-related issues. In 1998, Duggan successfully sued Gov. John Engler to force him to rebuild the Davison Freeway after Engler announced plans to close the aging and unsafe historic freeway, which serves as a vital link to Highland Park and areas of Detroit. He also successfully fought Engler in court when the governor attempted to force the privatization of road maintenance work in Wayne County.