Seven Questions with Dom Holmes

Over the next couple months, we will be featuring some of the greatest minds behind the mission of MedHealth–our steering committee members. Learn about the people who help direct our work, why they enjoy what they do, and what gets them through their work day.

Today, we’re featuring a long-standing member of our steering committee–Dom Holmes, administrator of emerging growth and innovation at Oakland County.

Questions and Answers

What is your day job? Why do you enjoy what you do?

I’m employed as an economic development professional for Oakland County. In my role as the administrator of emerging growth and innovation in our business development division, I have the opportunity to develop and administer programs that enhance Oakland County’s key and emerging sectors. This includes programs and initiatives serving our manufacturing (advanced manufacturing), digital technology, aerospace, defense, automotive, and mobility sectors.

I enjoy my work because it allows me to engage with various stakeholders and policymakers across our region as we work collaboratively to develop assets and resources available to the communities we serve.

How has your participation in MedHealth initiatives, such as steering committee, matchmaking events and working groups, benefited you/your organization?

With a background in technology commercialization and early stage company support, I have an appreciation for the mission of MedHealth. MedHealth is a convener of entities (big and small) spanning the health and life sciences continuum with an international footprint. The collaborations it facilitates and the events it hosts are critical underpinnings of a healthy ecosystem. My participation on the steering committee has been enlightening and is a testament to our collective commitment to regionalism.

What’s one thing in healthcare that you’re excited about in the next five years?

Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and the advancement of medical-device technologies offer exciting opportunities for healthcare practitioners and patients across the world. MedHealth and its stakeholders, including Wayne State University, Oakland University, University of Michigan, and their academic peers in Canada are critical to the continued advancement of these fields. For this reason and others, I’m bullish on the future of MedHealth.

If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose?

During my career, I’ve benefited from mentors at each of the places I’ve had the opportunity to serve. Wayne State University, Automation Alley, and now Oakland County leaders have all had a profound impact on my worldview and approach to economic development. In these organizations, I’ve found leaders with a dedication to service and having a positive impact.

If I had the opportunity to choose my next mentor, I’d favor someone like Michael Porter, the talented and thought-provoking Harvard Business School professor. His books and lectures have also helped to shape my perspective on the economic development profession and the role of government.

What’s one thing—either industry related or not—you learned in the past month?

Thanks to those mentors of mine and Professor Porter, I’ve developed a strong interest in cluster development. I study the theory and practical implementation of cluster strategies around the world. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit numerous clusters in this and other nations to better understand the variables that have enabled their success and bring those lessons home.

This week, I had the opportunity to visit with talented practitioners in Rome, New York—home of what is now the Griffiss Business and Technology Park—to understand their transformation from a community grappling with a Base Realignment and Closure of Griffiss Air Force Base in 1995 to a burgeoning hub for advanced air mobility today. I learned and continue to learn that we must leave our “bubble” or “comfort zone” to engage and learn from our peers in this and other communities. This commitment to continued advancement and learning is one of the qualities that excites me about Oakland County leadership.

What’s one must-have that gets you through your work day?

Headphones, and I know I’m not alone.

Dom Holmes, administrator of emerging growth and innovation at Oakland County