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may - june 2007

CHALDEAN COMMERCE The newsletter of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

BOJI AND LEVIN HONORED AT

ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER

INSIDE

WARREN MAYOR'S RACE REPORT FROM IRAQ BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: ALTOR INC. GOALS FOR FRANCHISE SUCCESS


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BANQUET AND CONFERENCE CENTER

Enjoy everything Shenandoah has to offer. NEW SPECIAL PRICING FOR MEMBER WEDDINGS

WEEKDAY PRICING NOW OFFERED DURING WEEKENDS STARTING AT

4550 PER PERSON

$

ANYTIME MONDAY-SUNDAY (NON-MEMBERS WELCOME) REGULAR $59.50 PER PERSON. INCLUDES FOOD, HOUSE BAR,TAXES AND GRATUITY SPECIAL WEEKEND PRICING VALID OCTOBER 2007 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2008

CALL RHONDA AT 248-454-1933 OR THERESA AT 248-454-1927 FOR MORE INFORMATION

SHENANDOAH ALSO OFFERS SPECIAL PRICING ON CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAY PARTIES AND MEMBER FUNERAL LUNCHEONS

The premier meeting and gathering place for our community. 5600 WALNUT LAKE ROAD • WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI • 248-683-6363 • SHENANDOAHCOUNTRYCLUB.COM


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CHALDEAN COMMERCE The newsletter of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

m a y - j u n e 2007

7

8

16

CALENDAR

4

Mark the Dates

MESSAGE

4 5

From the Chairman From the Executive Director

BRIEFINGS

6

Chaldean Storeowners: Targets of the Mayor’s Administration? Members in the News

POLITICS

7

Warren Mayor’s Race: Clerk To Test City’s Diversity

REPORT FROM IRAQ

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The Last Stand for Our People

COVER STORY

10

Boji and Levin Honored at Annual Awards Dinner

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

14

Johnny Oram: Altor, Inc.

PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT

15

Olivia Bock: Private Banker

SOCIALS

16

2007 State of Michigan Outlook: Senate Majority Leader Michael D. Bishop Gentlemen’s Night Out: Fight To End Hunger Corporate Leaders Support Cultural Center

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

17

Setting Goals for Franchise Success

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CALENDAR

mark the dates

MESSAGE

from the chairman

MAY 23

Chaldean Cultural Center hosting Sherwood Foods JUNE 5

Meet the CEO Series, with Special Agent In-Charge Andrew Arena, FBI JUNE 14

Chaldean Federation of America Commencement Gala JUNE 21

Annual Golf Outing AUGUST 4-5

Annual Chaldean Festival AUGUST 23

Quarterly Networking Meeting at the World of Erhard SEPTEMBER 20

Real Estate/Franchising Conference NOVEMBER 15

Board Elections and Quarterly Networking Meeting

The Chaldean American Chamber is continuing to make good progress in the service of our Chaldean business community. We want to keep you informed and engaged in the activities of the Chamber through this publication. This spring has been very productive for the Chamber. The highlight, of course, was our Fourth Annual Awards Dinner held April 13. Nearly 900 people attended the event at Shenandoah Country Club, making the event a sellout. It was a wonderful evening, which showed the extent of the support that the Chamber and its honorees enjoys in the community. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all who assisted and contributed to the success of the event, from planning, to attending, and providing sponsorships. We have also been busy implementing our partnerships and Dave Nona services to our members. In collaboration with Gleaners Food Bank, the Chamber hosted a Gentlemen’s Night Out at Shenandoah Country Club on April 19. As a result of the event, Gleaners raised approximately $45,000 to help in the fight to end hunger in our communities. We are also continuing to work closely with the Chaldean Federation of America, dedicating our efforts to assist Iraqi refugees and help them deal with the monumental problems they have to contend with. The chamber recently hosted Senate Majority Leader Michael D. Bishop. The Senator gave an informative presentation on Michigan’s current economy and the impact it may have on Chaldean owned businesses. As part of our continuing “Meet the CEO.” series, we had an engaging evening with the legal firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn; some good memories were exchanged and a better understanding developed. These meetings give some of Detroit’s most important decision-makers the opportunity to learn more about the Chaldean business community. Looking forward, we are busy planning the Quarterly Networking Meeting (May 17), Golf Outing (June 21) and Chaldean Festival (August 4-5) as well as several other events. Thank you again for your ongoing support and dedication to the Chaldean American Chamber.

Chaldean Festival Vendor application is now available online!

COMING SOON! Networking is key to the development of vital industry connections and building and maintaining relationships. In the month of June, the Chamber is introducing the Industry Outlook Series. The series will bring together business leaders providing insight on the future of their industry.

Dave Nona, Chairman

Interns Wanted The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce is a partnership of Chaldean businesses and professionals working together to strengthen member’s business, increase job opportunities, encourage expansion and promote Chaldean business and culture. Interns will support these objectives.

DUTIES:

OPEN TO:

• Assist staff with correspondence

Students who need credit towards high school and college classes.

• Perform administrative tasks • Assist with planning and attending business events and meetings

For more information please contact Lisa Kalou at 248-538-3700.


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from the executive director

As you are aware, Chaldeans comprise a large and influential community in Southeast Michigan. Information sources available on the prevalence of the Chaldean community are often too infrequent, insufficiently detailed and based on inaccuracies. Thus, the Chamber decided to commission United Way and Walsh College to conduct a study that will provide an accurate portrayal of the Chaldean community. The Study is designed to provide accurate, up-to-date informaMartin Manna tion about the characteristics of Chaldean households and individuals on a range of issues. The specific aims of the Survey are to:

“Information sources available on the prevalence of the Chaldean community are often too infrequent, insufficiently detailed and based on inaccuracies.”

• Provide an accurate count of the Chaldean population residing in Southeastern Michigan. • Show the economic influence Chaldean businesses have within Michigan • Provide statistics on the education level • General Demographic Analysis In the upcoming weeks, the Household Survey will be arriving in your mailboxes. It is imperative that the Survey be completed by every member of the community. The study will greatly benefit the entire community by giving people a clear picture of who Chaldeans are. Sincerely,

Martin Manna, Executive Director

Publisher Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce Interlink Media Editor Brenda Koza Art Director Alex Lumelsky

Chaldean Commerce is published six times a year by the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce 30095 Northwestern Hwy. Suite 102 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 Phone: (248) 538-3700 Fax: (248) 932-9161 www.chaldeanchamber.com

Graphic Design SKY Creative, Inc.

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BRIEFINGS

Chaldean Storeowners: Targets of the Mayor’s Administration? by Otha Williams

I

t’s stupid for us not to have a better relationship” were the words of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick when he addressed the audience at a Chaldean Chamber of Commerce Network Meeting in February, 2006. The purpose of that meeting held at the Shenandoah Country Club was to strengthen dialogue and trust between this mayor’s administration and the Chaldean

community’s leadership. So now, a little more than a year later, Chaldean storeowners are complaining of a reemergence of Detroit Police Officers randomly doing food inspections and unfairly citing storeowners with selling unwholesome food. While merchants are in agreement that none should sell bad food, some storeowners charge that this is part of a conspiracy. They complain they get ticketed for having food with recently expired “Best if sold by”

dates. This is outside the state’s and the city’s definition of “unwholesome food.” There is a requirement that “Best if sold by” expired dated food be separated and marked accordingly. However, in a recent meeting with the mayor’s staff and discussions with the Chief of Police’s office, they said there is no program targeting independent storeowners. They said they are unaware of the problem or how widespread it is. They did agree to help with some assistance.

In order to effectively investigate this action of citing storeowners and identify which precincts and/or officers involved, the chamber in conjunction with the Association of Food and Petroleum Dealers is collecting recently received unwholesome food citations. The Chamber is asking Chaldean storeowners to send their citations to the Chamber offices so we can properly assess the situation and rectify the problem. Otha Williams serves as the Chamber’s municipal advisor

Members In The News Wireless Toyz, founded by Joe Barbat, will significantly broaden its national reach, connecting with thousands more

Joe Barbat

wireless consumers across Florida through the acquisition of Tampa, Florida-based Beepers ‘N Phones of America Inc. This deal will bring the nationwide store count to more than 200 stores operating in 21 states solidifying their position as one of the nation’s leading multi-carrier wireless retailers. 6

Joseph Jonna was featured in Crain’s Detroit Business article “Multifaceted Families: Younger generations look to make their mark on the family business.” Jonna, chief estimator and safety director for Southfieldbased Jonna Company, joined the family owned company in 2003

Joseph Jonna

after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in urban and regional planning. Fifth Third Bank has recently awarded a $53,000 grant to the

CHALDEAN COMMERCE

Chaldean Cultural Center at Shenandoah Country Club. The Chaldean Cultural Center will promote an awareness

Chanelle Hana

and understanding of the cultural heritage, artistic and social traditions and history of the Chaldeans The center plans to open in 2008. The first ever Miss Chaldean Beauty Pageant was held on March 31, 2007 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. The exquisite event was produced by Jason Kado and

Joe Jirgis of JADO productions. Out of twelve beautiful contestants, Chanelle Hana was crowned Miss Chaldean 2007. Wasim Somo has recently partnered with one of the newest and most fascinating establishments to hit the real estate world. He is a member of the

Wasim Somo

Dream Team at Re/max New Trend and his office is located in Historic Castle of Bloomfield Hills. The owners are pioneering a new way to conduct business and take

pride in providing a one-of-a-kind work place environment consisting of plush couches, a cozy fireplace, and state-ofthe-art technology

Ziad Dallo

supported by soft jazz music playing and a full coffee bar. Wasim and his partner Jason Hanna are getting away from the traditional office with cubicles and fluorescent lighting and are motivating their agents to work more effectively with this inspirational approach. Visitors have dubbed the office

“an atmosphere like no other…the Starbucks of real estate offices.” Ziad Dallo has joined Michigan Financial Companies in Southfield, as Sales Director for their insurance and financial service department. Dounia Senawi has been appointed by Peoples State

Dounia Senawi

Bank as their managing director of bank branching and sales. Previously, she was Vice President in the Retail Bank at Comerica Bank for the past six years.


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POLITICS

Sulaka wants more police in the neighborhoods and to repair the icy relationship between the mayor’s office and the council.

WARREN MAYOR’S RACE

Clerk to test city’s diversity R

ichard Sulaka believes his life story epitomizes the American dream. However, there is an unprecedented twist in the next chapter. The son of an Iraqi immigrant, Sulaka is vying to become possibly the nation’s first mayor of Chaldean descent. Adding to that, he is one of three candidates running in Warren, a city not known for being particularly welcoming of diversity in race and religion. While the election isn’t until November, Sulaka said he doesn’t expect it will be long before some of his political opponents try to use his heritage against him. Still, Sulaka, who was born in the United States, said he doesn’t

want to make the election about his ethnicity. “I’m very proud to be a Chaldean American,” he said Wednesday. But “this is not about where my father was born. I want people to vote for me because I’m the most qualified and experienced.” Lots of eyes will be on Sulaka, with the large Chaldean community in metro Detroit. And Warren has more than 6,000 Chaldean residents, estimates Martin Manna, executive director of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce in Farmington Hills. “He’s accomplished so much, and he will be the next mayor of Warren,” Manna said. Sulaka has a long history in Warren. He grew up there and after graduating from Fitzgerald High School, he became a real estate broker, married and had three children, two of whom attend the University of Michigan. Sulaka, who served on the City Council for eight years and spent the last eight years as city clerk, also attends St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church with his family.

Hostility lingers Still, Sulaka may face challenges in his run for mayor as hostility toward people of Middle Eastern descent lingers in the city. Earlier this month, an Assyrian church was vandalized with antiArab graffiti. And over the past year, there have been several incidents of vandalism at the Islamic Organization of North America, which will be the city’s first mosque when it opens this spring. So far, two City Council members — Mindy Moore and Mike Wiecek — have filed to run. Moore could not immediately be reached for comment. Wiecek said he doesn’t expect Sulaka’s heritage to become a political

issue, particularly because Sulaka’s name is known among voters. Wiecek said Sulaka’s heritage may impact voters “to some degree with some people — that has a negative connotation after Sept. 11.” Richard Sabaugh, a longtime Macomb County political consultant, said anything is possible in Warren. But he said opponents who attack Sulaka’s heritage might only hurt themselves. “I think it would backfire if they went after him and mentioned his background,” Sabaugh said this week. “There are so many issues out there in Warren today that people are going to look through all that mudslinging.”

Increased voter turnout possible Sabaugh said negative campaigning might only bring out more Chaldean voters, a growing group in Warren. “There’s a large Chaldean population in that area,” said Vanessa Denha-Garmo, editor-in-chief of the Chaldean News, a monthly newsmagazine. “It would make such an impact in the Chaldean community.” Sulaka said he is ready to make an impact as someone with Chaldean heritage, but that he rather would talk about his agenda. He wants to develop the downtown district without using additional bonding. He also wants more police in the neighborhoods and to repair the icy relationship between the mayor’s office and the council. “Our agenda needs to be moving Warren forward,” he said. “This election needs to be about the future of Warren.” Reprinted with permission by the Detroit Free Press. Dan Cortez, Free Press Staff Writer M AY - J U N E 2 0 0 7

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REPORT FROM IRAQ

Ismat Karmo during his recent trip to Iraq

The Last Stand for Our People By Ismat Karmo

O

ur Chaldean Syriac Assyrian people call their Arab and Kurdish neighbors “brother.” Perhaps it would be more proper that they be called “big brother.” They are subjected to fear and intimidation and if they should step outside certain boundaries, they will be massacred. It is time to work to break this mindset at the national and international level to restore the lost hope of our people and to give them the most fundamental right, the right to exist. As a representative for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, March 10, 2007 began for me a 10-day expedition into Iraq, the homeland I left 30 years ago. The purpose was to attend a conference that would take on the increasingly bleak future of Iraq’s ancient Christian population (known through various names as Chaldean, Syriac or Assyrian, but as one Surayeh peo8

CHALDEAN COMMERCE

ple) in the northern Nineveh Valley (or Plain) region. Since my previous visit shortly after the fall of Saddam’s regime in November 2003, it was evident that Iraq would never be the way that I remembered it. In northern Iraq, Kurdistan has essentially become its own country that maintains loose ties to the central Iraqi government. It has its own legislative government, constitution, judicial system, army, economy, flag, anthem and language (with English, not Arabic, as the second language after the native Kurdish tongue). The Kurdish government has taken the right steps to ensure that a secular government, society and region be fostered where radical Islam does not have the opportunity to flourish. This conference was intended to help to ensure the future of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian and other minority populations in the

region by making certain demands of the Kurdish and Iraqi governments. In attendance were some 1,300 Chaldeans Syriacs Assyrians from around the world and from the various provinces within Iraq. Eventually, we voted upon a single Declaration. The Declaration’s agreements can be summarized in four main points: • A demand for a selfautonomous area within the Nineveh Valley while remaining part of a unified Iraq. • A demand that Christian villages and cities be returned to their original people and that any attempt to forcibly alter the landscape’s demographics be immediately halted. • An agreement that the ancient Christian populations are all one people while still using different names, and that a compound name (Surayeh) be used to encompass and refer to all Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians.

• That a 41-member council be established to act as a parliament that will represent all the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian people from all over the world. Detroit Surayeh will have one seat. Establishing this Declaration was a vital step in the right direction, yet much work needs to follow. As a Chaldean activist Robert DeKelaita puts it, the Nineveh Plain solution is “Our Last Stand.” At stake is whether our people will be able to preserve themselves as the indigenous people of ancient Mesopotamia, or be set on the path of extinction from their very homeland within a few generations. The Kurds asked, reasonably, for the creation of their own representative and legislative body. Why can’t the people of Nineveh Valley ask for the same? An autonomous Nineveh Valley region in no way divides or harms Iraq’s unity. Since the rise of Islam in the region, Iraq’s indigenous people have been subject to the mercy of the volatile moods of local rulers. What once was a highly intellectual, culturally civilized and magnificent Christian community that dominated the region has been slowly chiseled to a mere few hundred thousand. They have been pushed to the fringes of society, and because of past memories of angering the Arab or Kurdish Muslims, they fear even asking for their own rights as human beings. They have allowed themselves for too long to be treated as second-class citizens as they watch their once millions-strong community dwindle away. Ismat Karmo is the chairman of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce’s Iraq Task Force.


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Board of Directors/Executive Committee CHAIRMAN Dave Nona President, Triangle Development EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN Frank Jonna CEO, Jonna Construction SECOND VICE CHAIRMAN Rocky Husaynu President, Professional Insurance Planners TREASURER Arvin Ayar Partner, Bahoura, Ayar, Barringer & Bahoura SECRETARY Wendy Acho Vice President, Targeted Business Development, LaSalle Bank IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR & EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER Saad Hajjar President, Advanced Technology Systems COUNSEL Ron Acho Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho

Board Members Paul Asker Partner, Asker, Clos & Perlmuter

CHALDEAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

mission statement The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce is a partnership of Chaldean businesses and professionals

Sandra Hanna Chemist, NSF International

working together

Sharon Hannawa Mortgage Consultant, The Prime Financial Group

to strengthen

Tony Konja President, Artistic Outdoor Services

members’ business,

Majid (Mike) Koza President, Group 10 Management

increase job

Anthony Mona Vice President, Investments, Smith Barney Jason Najor President, Super Fair Cellular Bassam Salman CEO, Apollo Development Stephen Yatooma Managing Partner, Audere Group

opportunities, encourage expansion and promote Chaldean business

Chamber Staff Executive Director Martin Manna

and culture. The

Director, Operations and Events Lisa Kalou

Chamber seeks to

Controller Paul Alraihani

service and represent

Administrator Brenda Koza

Aramaic-speaking

2007 Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce Partners

people, including Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs.

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COVER STORY

BOJI AND LEVIN HONORED AT ANNUA he Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Annual Awards Dinner on April 13 was attended by nearly 900 people at Shenandoah Country Club. Among the event’s highlights were remarks given by his Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldeans. Through first hand account, his Excellency discussed the situation of the Iraqi people amongst the turbulent postwar period, in which Iraq is still immersed. His discussion focused on the relationship of the Christian community with the Islamic majority in which innocent lives are being taken in the name of religion. Throughout his speech, his Excellency advocated for peace, stability and security for all people in Iraq. Ray Sayah of Channel 7 News was the master of ceremonies. The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce recognizes individuals that have contributed excellence through their success, vision and contribution to the Chaldean community. At this year’s premier event, awards were presented to Eliya (Louie) Boji as Businessperson of the Year and Senator Carl Levin as Humanitarian of the Year.

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CHALDEAN COMMERCE

Eliya (Louie) Boji: Businessperson of the Year: Immigrating to the United States in 1968, Eliya (Louie) Boji, an attorney who earned his law degree from the University of Baghdad, had to discover another way to provide for his family since the U.S. does not accept foreign law degrees. He became involved in a number of grocery and party stores with a variety of partners both in California and in Michigan. His role was to provide finance and management expertise, paving the way to the formation of The Boji Group in 1997. The Boji Group is a Lansing based Real Estate development firm that has contributed to the revitalization of Lansing, Michigan. A year after the formation of The Boji Group, Louie acquired the former Michigan National Tower building in downtown Lansing and redeveloped it as The Boji Tower. The Lansing landmark is the tallest building in the city. During the past 8 years, Mr. Boji has developed the Capital View Building (165,000 square feet) an adjacent 1250 car parking structure completed in 2004. During this time, he also acquired various Lansing buildings such as the Hollister Building (comprising 100,000 square feet) and the Fifth Third Bank Building (55,000 square feet). Louie’s efforts and risks have contributed to the redevelop-


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member of the Finance Committee for the Chaldean Iraqi Association of Michigan. Aside from his successful business accomplishments and community service, Louie dedicates his time and efforts to helping others with business ventures, securing financing, mediating disputes and sponsoring immigrants from Iraq. Through hard work, perseverance, and success, Mr. Boji has exemplified how an immigrant from Iraq can capture and live the America Dream. He is a constant inspiration to the entire Chaldean community.

UAL AWARDS DINNER ment of the State’s capital, which has spurred growth in Lansing’s central business district. His business endeavors do not cease in Lansing. In January 2004, Louie along with some partners acquired United Wholesale, a 12 facility cash and carry operation servicing convenience stores. With the same group of partners, he purchased Custom Services Inc., a distribution facility for convenience stores. He then led United Group to purchase and restore an older 165,000 square foot shopping center in Southfield. Also in 2006, he led a group of partners to acquire 26 Quik Chek convenience stores and gas stations in North Carolina, along with the development of a 9 acre truck stop and four Hardee’s restaurants. His successful business endeavors have made him one of the most respected and prominent figures in the real estate and building industry. An active participant in his community, Louie served on the Associated Food Dealers of Michigan Board and is currently a Board Member and Treasurer of the Arab American and Chaldean Council. He is a prolific fundraiser for the North American Chaldean Diocese and various church projects, including the Chaldean Catholic Churches, St. George and St. Thomas. Also, many consider Louie a permanent

Senator Carl Levin: Humanitarian of the Year Carl Levin is currently serving his fifth term in the United States Senate. Since his 1978 election to the Senate, Levin’s reputation as a lawmaker who puts principle before politics has earned him the respect and admiration of not only Michigan’s voters but also his colleagues in both parties. As a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee since 1979, Carl Levin is recognized as a strong supporter of our national defense and an effective waste fighter. He was an early and consistent advocate of efforts to prepare the American military to combat terrorism and other emerging threats of the postCold War world. Levin has served as the Chairman of the Committee from June 2001 to January 2003, and became the Chairman of the Committee again with the beginning of the 110th Congress in January 2007. M AY - J U N E 2 0 0 7

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Acknowledging

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COVER STORY

Our Sponsors Much thanks and appreciation goes out to all the sponsors who so generously supported the dinner:

Presenting Sponsor: Comerica Bank

Gold Sponsors: The Boji Group DaimlerChrysler Financial Services DTE Energy Fifth Third Bank LaSalle Bank Wireless Toyz

Silver Sponsors Beaumont Hospitals Country Fresh Peoples State Bank Spartan Stores Sprint

Bronze Sponsors Bavarian BMW Blue Cross Blue Shield Charter One Citizen Bank Coca Cola D&B Grocers Dickinson Wright Flagstar Bank Henry Ford Health Systems International Wholesale Inc. J. Lewis Cooper Co. Pepsi Qwik Park St. John Health/ Providence Park Hospital Supervalu United Fuels United Wholesale Grocery U.S. Army Wayne County The World of Erhard Much gratitude to all who worked so hard on planning the event, including CoChairs Amal Berry Brown, vice president of business development for Comerica Bank, and Mike Koza, President of Group Ten Management

Levin has been

Senator Levin also serves as the Levin has been an advocate in an advocate in Chairman of the Permanent Washington on issues of great importance Subcommittee on Investigations of the Washington on to the Chaldean American community. Homeland Security and Governmental Last year during the Senate’s debate on the issues of great Affairs Committee. For the last six years, immigration bill, he offered an amendimportance to he has directed his staff in a comprehenment to prevent the deportation of Iraqi sive money laundering investigation, religious minorities who came to the U.S. the Chaldean which has led to strengthened U.S. antiwith valid claims of asylum. His amendAmerican money laundering. In addition, Levin’s ment would make these individuals eligicommunity. work has supported international efforts ble for legal permanent residency status to detect and stop money laundering and and would supersede all previous judicial terrorist financing. In 2002, Levin led Congress’ most action on their cases. The Senate accepted the amendin-depth examination into the collapse of Enron. His ment, but unfortunately, the House of Representatives investigation exposed how Enron used deceptive and Senate conferees have so far failed to agree on an accounting and tax transactions to report better finanimmigration bill. Senator Levin is hopeful that the cial results than the company actually experienced. new Congress will take up the immigration bill again The subcommittee’s investigative work contributed to this year. He remains optimistic that, with the strong the accounting and corporate reforms enacted in the leadership of the Chaldean Federation of America and Sarbanes-Oxley Act in July 2002. supportive efforts of others including the Chaldean Levin is also a member of the Small Business and American Chamber of Commerce, there will be sucEntrepreneurship Committee and an ex officio memcess in providing necessary relief in that bill. Levin ber of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. As has also urged the Administration and Congress to a co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus and the Senate address the issue of Chaldean and Iraqi refugees and Auto Parts Task Force, Levin has been one of the most to help resettle them. insistent voices in Washington calling for tough action Senator Levin has been a great advocate for the to open the world’s markets to American goods. In his Chaldean community as a central and pivotal figure for role as co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Chaldean issues in Washington. Senator Levin has Levin has fought to protect this irreplaceable natural brought a voice to our community at the highest levels resource for Michigan and the country. of government.


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New Members AL LONG FORD-TARIK DAOUD A dealership that treats every customer as a potential lifetime purchaser, communicating a professional image which embraces honesty and concern for the customers wants and needs.

13711 East 8 Mile Road, Warren, MI ANTONE, CASAGRANDE & ADWERS P.C., PETER ANTONE, CORPORATE MEMBER An immigration firm which practices in all areas of employment and family-based immigration law, including Green Cards, Work Permits, Naturalization, Employer Assistance, and other related matters.

view a listing of our members at www.chaldeanchamber.com LAW OFFICES OF WALTER Z. GRAVES, WALTER Z. GRAVES Specializes in real estate and business planning, including all aspects of commercial and residential real estate development.

Offers you the most complete health and fitness experience, with numerous cardiovascular and weight machines, innovative classes and more.

39533 Woodward Ave., Suite 170, Bloomfield Hills, MI

6750 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, MI

MORAN’S FLORA, INC.

TONER INK & MORE, MARSHA (SHAMOUN) VENET

Offers a large variety of fresh flowers and gifts. Enjoy the convenience of safe and secure ordering online 24 hours a day, with flower and gift delivery to the Birmingham, MI area.

Everyday savings up to70% on toner and ink cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines.

37665 Five Mile Road, Livonia, MI

375 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, MI

31555 W. 14 Mile Road, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI

PARKWOOD PROPERTIES, JOHN KHAMI

THE DENTIST, RITA MARROGHI-JABRO

Assist clients with the purchase and sale of properties and commercial real estate.

A family dentist office providing premium care, offering services such as teeth cleaning, gum disease treatment and other procedures.

POWERHOUSE GYM, TERRY AZZO

VARIANT PARTNERS, DAVID SARAFA

5364 Cheltenham Drive, Troy, MI

Over 35 years of experience developing and delivering custom recruiting solutions.

24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, Suite H 3000, Ann Arbor, MI

683 W. Huron, Pontiac, MI FRANKLIN BANK, HAMMAD SYED A full service bank primarily serving a substantial number of small to medium sized business, their owners and individual customer in its primary market area.

50787 Corporate Drive, Shelby Township, MI HOBBS BLACK ARCHITECTS, ELLIN CALLAHAN A nationally recognized design firm with over 40 years of experience providing architectural and engineering design and related consulting service.

100 North State Street, Ann Arbor, MI THE LARK, ADRIAN LARK One of the most renowned and celebrated restaurants in the Midwest, specializing in eclectic and distinctive cuisine, created with French cooking techniques.

6340 Farmington Road, West Bloomfield, MI LUCKY B.P. INC., CHARLES AGHAJOUN A reputable company that builds and leases commercial real estate properties, such as shopping centers, gas stations and restaurants.

29672 Brentwood , Southfield, MI

Renewed Members AAA TRUE VALUE, Alan Mansour ARTISTIC OUTDOOR SERVICES, INC, Tony Konja BBDO DETROIT, Joyce Tominna BBDO DETROIT, Vivian Alhermizi CHARTER ONE BANK, Jacqueline Wiggins, CORPORATE MEMBER! COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL, Layth Barash DKI, INC, Phillip Mansour EIGHT MILE BOULEVARD ASSOCIATION, Tami Salisbury FIFTH THIRD BANK, Byna Elliott, CORPORATE MEMBER! GIAMARCO, MULLINS & HORTON P.C., Randall A. Denha HEATHER’S LIQUOR LAND, Adel Thomas Gallozi INVESTICO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Ned Hakim LASALLE BANK, Wendy Acho, CORPORATE MEMBER! VANIA KASKORGIS KENSINGTON INN, George & Kevin Jappaya MBN AMERICA, Wally Jadan PEPPER HAMILTON, LLP, Randy Adwish PENTACLE TECHNOLOGIES, Ed Babbie PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES, Salah Zoma QONJA ENTERPRISES, Zuher Qonja REMAX CLASSIC, Brian Yaldoo SECURITY FINANCIAL SERVICES, Kenny Zair STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAVID LAW TINELLE PROPERTIES, Ronnie Asmar UNITED HARDWARE, Jerry George YORK FINANCIAL, Sally Denha Lafave W3R CONSULTING, Bashar Hannosh WHITEHALL REAL ESTATE INTEREST, Gary Steven Jonna WORLD OF ERHARD, Leslie Rhodes, CORPORATE MEMBER!

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Johnny Oram: Altor, Inc. T

he meaning of Altor in Latin is to “help, advocate, and guide.” These are the objectives of Altor, Inc., an international consulting firm founded by Johnny Oram in 2004 and based in Troy, Michigan. Altor is a global business and governmental consulting firm which represents companies in many industries, such as financial services, information technology, waste management/refuse, retail, wholesale, and governmental clients. Johnny began envisioning Altor while working as former Michigan State Representative Ken Daniels’ Chief of Staff. During his time in Lansing, he was assisting small businesses engrossed in the bureaucratic mess they faced in the capital city and elsewhere. Legislators had passed certain laws which negatively impacted their welfare. Due to his experiences in the public sector at all levels of government spanning a period of 15

years, Johnny felt compelled to leave his job and open a consulting firm. Moreover, Johnny spent many years in the private sector, having lived and worked in Hawaii, Asia, and South America. During these experiences he encountered in both the public and private sectors, he saw the importance of unity. He believes that “business and government must work in unison with one another to help ensure a robust and healthy economy”. Some of Altor’s many accomplishments include: development and implementation of a strategic plan which resulted in a multi-million dollar private equity investment for the client’s company to expand their oper-

ations, conceiving of a wide array of diverse software processes which provided a new revenue stream for client, and development of a national franchise, etc. Since 2004 Altor’s consulting operations have continued to expand into a variety of industries and governmental sectors. Altor’s services include: • Business Planning Development: Assist companies in their business planning development, by putting together sophisticated, high quality, investor grade business and marketing plans. • New Business Development and Expansion: Consult companies in developing new business concepts in order to realize new revenue streams.

“Business and government must work in unison with one another to help ensure a robust and healthy economy” – Johnny Oram Franchise Planning/Development: Assisting clients with a franchise concept, operational and franchise implementation. • International Governmental & Regulatory Planning: Advise local, state and federal units of government by helping shape public policy. • International Governmental & Regulatory Advocacy: Assist small, medium, and big companies and non-governmental organizations bring issues before local, state, and federal bodies of government. Although Altor, Inc is local, Johnny and his team have a reach that is global. Johnny A. Oram Altor, Inc 3250 West Big Beaver Road, # 426 Troy, Michigan 48084 (248) 479-1056 e-mail: info@altor-inc.com Web: www.altor-inc.com

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PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Olivia Bock: Private Banker

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hoosing a person to handle your money is as important as choosing your doctor. If you seek comfort in knowing your assets will be preserved through life events and “golden years,” Olivia Bock is your best investment. Olivia Bock is an Assistant Vice President in the Wealth & Intuitional Management Department at Comerica Bank. Olivia possesses a degree in Corporate Finance from Wayne State University and six years of business experience. She has developed the skills to provide a full range of customized lending arrangements and special-

izes in financing for residential and commercial real estate, professional practice and deposit products. As a private banker, Olivia caters to high-net worth individuals. To attain this level of individualized attention, she follows a set of enduring principles held by Comerica Bank. This process requires careful planning based on in-depth analysis of your financial goals, current financial situation, economic and tax status. Olivia allocates her time by dedicating herself to each client’s shortterm and long-term financial goals. She will ensure a smooth and convenient application process and handle transactions that complement your lifestyle Throughout the ongoing process of private

banking, Olivia is able to access a network of advisors, attorneys and accountants. This team approach ensures the development of an intricate and well planned strategy to obtain your investment needs. Further, Comerica’s Wealth & Institutional Management offers a plethora of investment services that meet planning, management, and banking needs for both individuals and businesses. As the 2005 and 2006 recipient of the Chairman’s Outstanding Achievement Award, it is apparent that Olivia can be trusted to help you attain the financial investments necessary to meet your future hopes and dreams. Olivia W. Bock Comerica Bank Wealth & Institutional Management 35405 Grand River Ave. Farmington, MI 48335 Ph# 248-473-4546

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SOCIALS

2007 State of Michigan Outlook: Senate Majority Leader Michael D. Bishop

Senator Bishop presented on Michigan’s economic and financial crisis and his commitment to finding solutions during Michigan’s difficult time.

Gentlemen’s Night Out: Fight To End Hunger On April 19, 2007, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, in collaboration with the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce hosted Gentlemen’s Night Out at Shenandoah County Club. Approximately 300 men enjoyed an evening of food, games, and camaraderie in the efforts of raising money and awareness to help fight hunger within neighboring communities. The event raised an estimated $45,000, which equates to 105,000 meals made available to the public. Thanks to everyone who came out to support this wonderful cause.

On April 24, 2007, The Chaldean Chamber hosted Senate Majority Leader Michael D. Bishop at Shenandoah Country Club. Senator Bishop presented on Michigan’s economic and financial crisis and his commitment to finding solutions during Michigan’s difficult time. He discussed prevalent issues such as “Will taxes be raised this year?” and “Will new legislation affect your business.” More than 80 members and guests from the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce, Chaldean Federation of America, Chaldean Cultural Center, and Chaldean Iraqi American Association of Michigan attended the presentation.


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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Setting Goals for Franchise Success: Before you buy a franchise, it’s important to set goals so you can reach your financial and personal dreams. By Joe Matthews, Don DeBolt and Deb Percival

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efore you research any franchises, you should set three- and fiveyear goals. Goals must be both financial and “quality of life” (or non-financial) in nature. Financial goals should take into account cash flow, savings, net worth, equity build-up and spendable income. Quality of life goals should consider lifestyle issues that are important to you, like having dinner at home three nights a week, being able to take vacations, attend soccer games, make a difference in the community, and so on. Don’t overlook quality of life goals or you’re setting yourself up for dissatisfaction. Quality of life goals are more important that financial goals. Why? Because many people who invest in a franchise have already made a decent living in the past. Aside from earning a paycheck however, they couldn’t find a compelling reason to go to work in the morning. Money alone wasn’t enough to keep them going, and money will not hold your interest long either. While you will have some minimum threshold of earnings which you won’t dare to venture below, once that threshold is exceeded, you will find that quality of life becomes the driver. Virtually all franchisors have key performance criteria that help you and the franchisor determine whether or not your business is winning. You will be taught how to track sales, labor costs, cost of sales, and other statistical measures. Franchisors design their business and support systems to help you structure your business to achieve these measures and monitor results. However, we know of no franchisor who measures how many means you’ve eaten with your children or how many of the kids’ soccer games you’ve attended. Franchisors measure your success by their definition, not yours. Most franchisors have no clue as to whether or not their “successful” franchisees are living the life they originally desired when they invested in a franchise. Franchisors follow the money. And as we’ve already stated, money won’t hold your interest long. Additionally, in order to secure SBA loans, bank financing, financial support from your family, or other forms of financing, chances are you will need to write and submit a business plan or cash-flow projections to the parties from whom you’re seeking financing. In your plan you will detail the tactics and strategies you will execute to drive the sales, contain the costs, maximize the cash flow of your business, and repay your loan. To succeed in business, you have to generate money. Imagine that you’re in business, money is tight and you are two months late on loan payments. The loan officer calls you to see what happened. You tell the loan officer that while you don’t have the money to pay the two installments, you did attend all your kid’s soccer 18

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games this month. Most likely the loan officer will sarcastically reply, “Congratulations. I’m nominating you for parent of the year. Where is my money?” Like the bank, the franchisor also wants its money on time. Franchisors, like banks, are as focused on achieving their own financial goals as you are in achieving your complete and total definition of success. We’re not saying this is right or wrong, it’s just the way it is. If you were to list and prioritize the many reasons you’re looking to start a franchise, where does “Helping the franchisor exceed its corporate objectives” show up on the list? So you want yours, the franchisor wants theirs, the bank wants theirs, and the world turns. It’s solely your responsibility to create a clear definition of the financial and quality of life goals that define what winning looks like for you. Use your definition of winning as your criteria to compare various franchise opportunities. The franchise where you have the highest probably of attaining both your financial and quality of life goals is the franchise you make an investment in. It’s easy to lose sight of your goals. Prospective franchisees often get caught up in their perceptions of the problems and challenges of the business rather than whether or not the franchise can help them achieve their objectives with a high degree of probability. For instance, you may be investigating a residential home-cleaning business and from talking to franchisees you hear there is a high employee turnover. Afraid that you might get stuck cleaning houses, you think, “I didn’t go to college so I can clean toilets and vacuum carpets.” Your knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss the opportunity. However, whether or not there’s employee turnover isn’t’ the real issue at hand. Given employee turnover, your focal point should be whether or not you can still achieve your goals with a high degree of probability. Therefore, goal-focused prospective franchisees will dig deeper and ask such questions as: • What are the franchisor’s hiring and retention strategies? • What is the impact of turnover on the business? • How long does it take to find replacement help? • What training programs are in place to train replacement labor? • How long does it take a new hire to become productive? Every franchise has its unique challenges to overcome. Franchisors either have proven systems and a demonstrated track record for overcoming these challenges or they don’t. Dismiss those who don’t. Investigate those who do by asking questions like the ones above.


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presents the

fourth annual

CHALDEAN CHAMBER FOUNDATION

GOLF OUTING 11 am, Thursday, June 21, 2007 at

Shenandoah Country Club 5600 Walnut Lake Road West Bloomfield, MI 48323

CONTACT LISA KALOU AT 248-538-3700 OR LKALOU@CHALDEANCHAMBER.COM TO REGISTER.

Corporate Sponsors:


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The Women’s Professional and Business Committee is Looking for You! Come join us at Blush Salon for the Women’s Networking Event on July 12. For more information contact the Chamber office at 248-538-3700

Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce 30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 102 Farmington Hills, MI 48334

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PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 83 FARMINGTON HILLS, MI


Spring 2007 Chaldean Commerce Newsletter