Businessman Dan Gilbert to speak March 30 at Wayne Law


Businessman Dan Gilbert, well-known for recognizing and investing in the potential of Detroit, will speak Wednesday, March 30, at his alma mater, Wayne State University Law School.

Gilbert, Wayne Law class of 1987, is chairman and founder of Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s second-largest mortgage lender; founder and chairman of Rock Ventures LLC, the umbrella entity for his portfolio of business and real estate investment; and majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. He also founded JACK Entertainment, a developer and owner of unique urban casinos in downtown Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore. In 2013, the company also acquired Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, which will be renamed as JACK Detroit Casino-Hotel Greektown later this year.
Gilbert will participate in a question-and-answer session with law school Dean Jocelyn Benson, discussing his work in Detroit and beyond.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at the law school, 471 W. Palmer St. The evening will begin with a brief hors d’oeuvres reception. Register at or by calling Duc Abrahamson at 313-577-6199. Parking will be available for $7 (credit or debit cards only) in Structure One across West Palmer Street from the law school.

“We are thrilled to have Dan join us,” Benson said. “We have been fortunate to have him speak to smaller groups at Wayne Law, but this marquee event provides the opportunity for many of our students, alumni and the community to interact with him directly and hear his thoughts on the numerous ways he has helped to lead Detroit’s revitalization.”

Since 2013, Detroit-based Quicken Loans has closed $200 billion in home loan volume across all 50 states, and, in 2015, for the sixth consecutive year, earned J.D. Power’s highest rating for client satisfaction among all U.S. mortgage lenders. Quicken Loans is No. 1 on Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work in IT” and has been named one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 12 consecutive years.

Rock Ventures and its more than 110 affiliated companies across the country employ more than 25,000 team members.

Gilbert is also a shareholder in several sports-related consumer and technology businesses, including a wall graphics company (Fathead), electronic ticketing company (Flash Seats) and sports equipment helmet maker (Xenith).

He began moving his family of companies to Detroit’s central business district in 2010 to help lead Detroit’s transformation. In January 2010, he co-founded Bedrock Real Estate Services, a full-service real estate firm specializing in buying, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial space based in downtown Detroit. Since then, he has invested more than $2.2 billion to buy and renovate more than 80 commercial properties accounting for more than 14 million square feet in the city’s urban core. Thousands of jobs have been created, and today more than 15,000 Rock Ventures team members work in downtown Detroit.

In March 2013, Rock Ventures, in collaboration with the Downtown Detroit Partnership and Detroit Economic Growth Corp., unveiled and implemented a placemaking and retail plan centered on creating activity and vibrant, distinct destinations to draw people to the region using a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.

Gilbert is a founder and principal of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that funds startup and early stage technology companies in Detroit. He is also a founding partner of Detroit-based private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, which invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing and the sports and entertainment industries across the United States.

In September 2013, Gilbert was named co-chair of the Blight Removal Task Force. The group, appointed by the Obama Administration, published a detailed plan in May 2014 to remove all blighted structures and lots in the city of Detroit. He also serves as vice chairman of the M-1 RAIL initiative, which began construction in July 2014. The 6.6-mile light rail system is designed to spur economic development and improve downtown and Midtown Detroit’s transportation infrastructure. In 2007, he founded Bizdom, a nonprofit entrepreneurial accelerator that trains, mentors and finances business builders in their startup enterprises in Detroit and Cleveland.

Gilbert serves on the boards of Cleveland Clinic, Washington D.C.-based Children’s National Medical Center and Children’s Tumor Foundation, which is focused on finding a cure for the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.