Detroit’s Ambassador looks more like a rock star than a political appointee. He wears Yeezys from StockX, scarves from John Varvatos, watches from Shinola, and a signature hat from Henry the Hatter.

Bruce Schwartz is the embodiment of the city and as its Ambassador, he’s showing the world one tour at a time that Detroit’s totally got its groove back!

Bruce Schwartz, Detroit Ambassador
Photo by Bre’Ann White

EXP: You recently celebrated your 25th Anniversary at the Rock Family of Companies! How did this all begin?

BS: My career at Quicken Loans began in 1994 as a mortgage banker. I was fairly new to the industry and after a short while, I realized what I had to do to become successful. I began learning everything and anything about the business and made sure I was first in and the last out of the office every day. I asked to sit next to the top banker and set personal goals that I knew would push me beyond limits. I soon started breaking all sorts of records in mortgage banking and that’s when I knew that my work in Detroit was only beginning. After becoming a Vice President at Quicken Loans in 2003, I founded a company called In-House Realty, which simplifies the home buying and selling process. Eventually, I was hand picked to begin my current role as the Detroit Ambassador at Rock Ventures.

“Every day I continue to share the story of the city’s resurgence”

Shinola Hotel Detroit

EXP: As the Detroit Ambassador, how would you describe yourself as Detroit Bruce?

BS: Since 2011 I’ve worked to showcase Downtown Detroit. Some have called me The Man with the Hat, but now, I’m known as Detroit Bruce. As an ambassador my goal is to support the Rock Family of Companies by keeping the great talent of our youth and young visionaries here in Detroit. Over the past 8 years I’ve held countless tours, escorting national and international figures, business leaders, students and journalists. This year, I’m taking my role as Detroit Ambassador even further by creating new and exciting opportunities to connect Detroit’s residents, old and new, with our tours, properties, and upcoming projects both in Downtown and throughout the community!

“Opportunity is just a few blocks away”

EXP: Who have been the most interesting people you’ve toured through Detroit?

BS: I have had the pleasure of touring tens of thousands of people in the last few years. Some of my favorite celebrity tours include my dear friend, the late Mrs. Aretha Franklin, Warren Buffett, Madonna, Ice Cube, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg. I have also been lucky enough to tour students from across the world, but my favorite is when I get to tour Detroit Public School (DPS) students during an event we host called Day of Innovation. It’s an initiative to tour every single 6th grade DPS student through our spaces. Everything that we are doing in Detroit is for the kids and we want them to know that opportunity is just a few blocks away. While I have the opportunity to share downtown with them, they too, teach me a lot and for that I feel blessed to have them in my life. 

Central Kitchen + Bar

EXP: What are people most surprised to learn about the city?

BS: People are surprised to learn that while billions of dollars are being invested in properties and restoring historic buildings, there are tons of activations that are taking place all around town as well. Campus Martius is one of my favorite places to hang out and one that keeps livelihood right in the heart of the City. Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Rock Family of Companies work together to bring activities to the park, including a man made beach and a full outdoor bar in the summer and an ice-skating rink in the winter. In the summer Cadillac Square is activated with food trucks and hand painted basketball courts and in the winter you can find small huts that sell handcrafted goods. Most of those shops are owned by Detroit entrepreneurs.

Mootz Pizzeria

EXP: What’s your favorite food spot, cocktail bar, and coffee joint these days?

BS: Anyone that knows me, knows that I love Central Kitchen + Bar for lunch and San Morello, Mootz Pizza or London Chophouse for dinner. There are also a ton of cocktail bars that have great menus including Standby and Evening Bar. Evening Bar is in The Shinola Hotel and is small, intimate, and extremely fascinating with its interior design and brilliant drink selection. If you’re looking for a smoothie or a quick non-alcoholic cocktail, check out Brome Modern Eatery because they have some of the most unique menu items! As far as coffee goes, Roasting Plant is the coolest coffee bar with the tastiest coffee in the whole city!

EXP: What is something that you are most proud of?

BS: The thing I’m most proud of is being a dad and a husband to my wife Jessica. I have two teenagers, Ruby and Rocco, as well as my toddler, Coco. They are the light of my life. My family is growing as Jessica and I are expecting our son this September. They truly are what I’m most proud of and every day I feel blessed to have them by my side!