When Californian Joel Ewanick went from Hyundai to Nissan to Detroit to take over marketing responsibilities at General Motors, he had a dream: Make the Motor City the place to be again.
Bankruptcies and layoffs had turned Detroit into a shadow of itself, especially in the automotive space.
During the past three years, vacancies in the city soared. Home prices fell. And GM considered moving its headquarters out of downtown.
Jump forward a few years and Ewanick is working to revive Detroit.
He moved GM's creative talent to Detroit, encouraged GM's agencies to rent space in the city and worked with GM North America boss Mark Reuss to get IndyCar racing back near the downtown. Now he's teaming up with one of the Motor City's favorite sons for the area's biggest charity event.
Ewanick is the honorary chairman for the annual Cattle Baron's Ball, a cowboy black-tie event that generates millions for the American Cancer Society. Ewanick helped move the Oct. 29 event to downtown Detroit from the suburbs -- and convinced singer Kid Rock to provide the entertainment.
Said Ewanick: "We felt it was important to bring this great evening back into the heart of the Detroit."