Crain's Detroit Business, April 24, 2023, issue

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Lawmaker wants to stop cash bans

End to card-only retail pitched in Detroit

Detroit City Council Member Angela Whit eld-Calloway hasn’t been back to the downtown Plum Market since October, when she learned she couldn’t buy a salad she had prepared with the $20 bill she brought for that purpose. e store takes payments by card, phone and even watch — but it doesn’t accept cash.

Now, Whit eld-Calloway is championing an ordinance that would ensure no one has to experi-

Fertility care a new hot perk for talent

More employers add to bene t packages

ence the embarrassment and frustration she did when trying to pay with legal tender. If passed, it would prohibit restaurants and stores in Detroit from going cashless.

“ ey lost a customer,” she said.

“It really left a bad taste in my mouth. ... It just didn’t feel like it was a fair experience.”

e city’s legislative policy division said it was hard to know how many businesses didn’t accept cash. One that didn’t, Mootz Pizzeria, dropped its cashless policy less than six months after opening in 2019. e pizzeria at 1230 Library St. changed course after backlash. Its owners declined to comment for this story.

But others, including Plum Market and the Market Express store in Hollywood Casino at Greektown, remain cash-free. Plum Market didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story, but signs inside the store said the change was


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Insurers have long thought of infertility as a socially constructed condition — families are waiting too long to have children and therefore fertility treatments should be elective.

But with a growing population of workers seeking the expensive treatments — and employers facing greater competition for talent — coverage is now becoming a standard part of benefits packages.

On Jan. 1, the Detroit Pistons began offering, and marketing, a

Graduate Business Degree Programs.

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comprehensive health insurance plan specific to fertility treatments in hopes of attracting new, younger talent.

“We are always trying to stay ahead of current trends (from a benefit standpoint),” said Justen Johnson, human resources partner for the NBA franchise. “We were in good shape, but fertility was an area we weren’t offering as much, and as our demographics have gotten younger, our workers were demanding help.”


Meet some of Michigan’s top names in marketing.

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How Michigan ‘green bank’ works to boost lending for home repairs.
The Plum Market inside the Ally Building in downtown Detroit is a cashless operation. | JAY DAVIS/CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS
While some barriers of post-prison life have eased, the path to jobs is still fraught.
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FERTILITY on Page 28
Kevin Harris, after being denied a job when he forgot to list one of his prison sentences on an application, went to school and now is pastor of Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.| NIC ANTAYA/CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS



THE NEWS: Waterford Township-based Helix Diagnostics has led for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a major business downturn, a decline in Medicare reimbursements and denials of claims left it cash-strapped as its lender called its note. e lab, which specializes in toxicology and molecular testing, petitioned for the voluntary restructuring with between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities and assets, according to the ling in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

WHY IT MATTERS: e lab, launched in 2015, conducts 15,000 to 17,000 tests per month and has more than 200 customers throughout the state, including OB/GYN clinics, family practices, emergency care and substance abuse.


THE NEWS: A hot line for business owners that goes to o cers monitoring downtown areas for potential crime, increased business inspections to crack down on violations, and more lighting in Greektown and on the city's RiverWalk are among the dozen strategies the city of Detroit will implement after a weekend

of downtown violence.

WHY IT MATTERS: Two people were killed and ve injured in six shootings last weekend between Greektown and the Detroit RiverWalk. All week, Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James White and others have been telling residents the violence will not stand, and they released a 12-point plan on how to stop it.


THE NEWS: Stellantis has hired Natalie Knight, an executive with a Dutch food retailer, as its CFO to succeed Richard Palmer, who helped orchestrate the 2021 transatlantic merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group. Knight will become the top executive based out of the automaker's U.S. headquarters in Michigan, with "extensive travel" to Europe and other regions, the company said Wednesday.

WHY IT MATTERS: Knight will take over for Palmer by July 10. Stellantis said Palmer plans to leave June 30 to ensure a smooth handover after a 20-

year career with the company and its predecessors.


THE NEWS: A Detroit-based real estate tech company has completed a funding round of more than $8 million. InvestNext Inc. late last month closed on a Series A capital raise totaling $8.25 million, according to a news release. e funding round was led by Whitecap Venture Partners based in Toronto, and included participation from a variety of local funds, including Detroit Venture Partners, Grand Ventures and ID Ventures, as well as Hyde Park Ventures in Chicago.

WHY IT MATTERS: he release says that sponsors on the platform "manage over 60,000 investments and billions of dollars in transactions on the platform every year," and that InvestNext last year grew revenue by about 2.7 times year-over-year.



Lawmakers narrowly OK Gotion incentives

 Michigan lawmakers narrowly gave nal legislative approval ursday for $175 million in state subsidies to build a nearly $2.4 billion, 2,350-job electric vehicle battery parts factory near Big Rapids planned by Gotion Inc.

It is the fourth incentives package for a new EV battery plant to be blessed by legislators in 13 months, but it was approved by a much tighter margin amid concerns about Gotion's alleged ties to the Chinese government.

e Democratic-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee passed the grant transfers 10-9, with all six Republicans and three of 13 Democrats opposed.

Of the $175 million, $125 million will go to battery supplier Gotion Inc. and $50 million will go to e Right Place, which plans to buy land, upgrade infrastructure and do other work to prepare the megasite for the company. A state board last fall approved a $540 million, 30-year tax break for the company.


e vote followed testimony from local elected o cials who support the project and said the majority of local residents back it, outside a vocal few.

She estimated it will create 5,000 additional jobs in the supply chain and service industry.

 A list of Largest Money Managers that ran April 3 incorrectly ranked Comerica Wealth Management. e company should have ranked No. 1 on the list with assets under management of $193,988,815,000. e updated list is online in the Data Center at


People who oppose the factory testi ed, too, citing concerns that Gotion — a Silicon Valley-based U.S. subsidiary of China-based Gotion High-Tech Co. Ltd. — is a national security threat and front for the Chinese Community Party. Others said the project is not the right t for a rural area, voicing worries about farmland and the Muskegon River being polluted. ey accused o cials of downplaying the level of local opposition.

A rendering of the planned Gotion Inc. plan near Big Rapids. | GOTION INC.
Nominations Due June 2
Nominate a leader in energy who has made a measurable environmental impact throughout their career. They should also hold leadership roles in the energy industry or their community.

In ation spurs big property tax increases

Rates reach levels not seen in decades

e surging in ation of the last year and more means that Michigan homeowners are paying property tax rates not seen in at least a generation.

A law on the books in Michigan dating back to the mid-1990s caps the annual increase homeowners will see on their property tax bill at 5 percent. In years past, while in ation was low, tax bills never got to that level, unlike in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s when state homeowners were seeing double digit increases in their property tax bills.

Solanus Casey Center expansion nears the nish line as it aims to draw pilgrims

Work is nearing completion on the Solanus Casey Center’s $23.5 million update that’s been ve years in the making. Soon the east side “urban oasis” for the Catholic faithful and others will be t for a saint.

Construction crews are nishing a garden area for prayer and meditation and outdoor cafe seating at the center, located at 1780 Mt Elliott St., ahead of a late May opening date. e project launched in anticipation of the thousands of people who would come to the center to pray at the tomb of American-born Capuchin

priest Solanus Casey following his 2017 beati cation, which put him on a path to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

e center is attracting a grow-

ing number of Catholics from around the region and people from the surrounding community, even as it nishes construction and the process of canonizing Casey progresses.

Inside, visitors can already explore the tomb of the late friar, see displays of his clothing, prayer book and other artifacts, attend a Mass at the historic St. Bonaventure Chapel and visit the gift shop or On the Rise Cafe, a workforce development program of the center’s neighboring a liate, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

Many who come to the center are looking for a place to relax or get some work done in a peaceful

environment, Brother Steve Kropp, the center’s director, said.

“ at’s our goal: that however many people come here, that we’re prepared to welcome them and to have a beautiful space where everybody ts.”

Journey to sainthood

Casey, who died in 1957, was known for his great faith, attention to the sick and ability as a spiritual counselor. He is the second American-born man to be beati ed, according to the Catholic News Agency.

is year is di erent, according to experts.

For nearly 30 years, Michigan homeowners have been protected by Proposal A, approved by voters in 1994. e measure is a school funding mechanism that also capped property tax increases at 5 percent, based on the consumer price index, which measures in ation in the economy.

Since that time, in ation has remained low enough that the 5 percent cap put in place by Proposal A was never hit. at changed in the last year as the CPI surged above 6 percent.

“And so in periods of time when values are going up rapidly, that cap is protecting you,” said Randy Repicky, market research manager and Realtor with South eld-based brokerage Real Estate One. “It just so happens that this year is the ( rst) year that we used the 5 percent cap instead of the rate of in ation.”

Outrageous loans, plummeting prices spell trouble for industry

e promise of riches brought thousands to the Michigan marijuana industry. But, for some, the quest of turning plants into pro t has shriveled due to tough loan terms and plummeting prices.

A group of marijuana companies organized under the name Transcend, and its founders, bet their livelihoods on a ripe industry — entering into a loan agreement with exorbitant terms only to nd them all but impossible to pay back.

Transcend and its a liates secured a three-year loan of $3.6 million in March 2022 from Utah-based lender CBR Funding to acquire prop-

erty and operations at the Harvest Park marijuana industrial park in Windsor Township. e terms were unfavorable — a $100,000 origination fee with a 25 percent interest rate. e loan, which was personally guaranteed by Transcend’s founders Edward Merriman and Tarik Lester, translated to 35 monthly payments of nearly $80,000 with a nal balloon payment of about $3.8 million.

e total cost of that loan is 80 percent higher than the loan itself at $6.475 million.

e group is now under a court-ordered receivership for failing to pay back the loan or taxes under a grinding marijuana business landscape.

“It’s insane, but you’re dealing

with entrepreneurs here,” said Chris Rosmarin, principal and head of cannabis practice at accounting rm Rehmann. “ ey see entering into these loans as the only way they can enter the business. A personal guarantee is just suicide.”

at guarantee means creditors can seek repayment by repossessing the guarantors’ personal assets, like their homes and cars and bank accounts.

Rosmarin said traditional loans like this one are less common in the industry — most seek funding from rich investors in exchange for equity — but they all carry a personal guarantee.

The renovations on the expansion of the Solanus Casey Center include a garden, a new Stations of the Cross pathway and space for outdoor Mass. | SOLANUS CASEY CENTER The casket of Fr. Solanus Casey within the Solanus Casey Center. QUINN BANKS FOR CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS SHERRI WELCH Repicky DUSTIN WALSH
Page 29 See TAXES on Page 27 See CASEY CENTER on Page 27
CBR Funding lent Transcend $3.7 million in March 2022 to acquire at least a portion of the Harvest Park property at 10310 Harvest Park Drive, east of General Motor’s Delta Township plant, from its original developers. | COSTAR INC. See


A new day for shuttered Tuesday Morning store in Troy

Discount retailer Tuesday

Morning is shedding hundreds of stores in its effort to restructure in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy playing out in Texas.

That case is having ripple effects in Michigan, as the Dallas-based company said in February it is shuttering its stores in Troy, Grand Rapids and Portage, my colleagues on the west side of the state reported at the time.

Now it seems like there is new life at least for the store in the Troy Commons shopping plaza at 905 E. Big Beaver Road. That’s because the 14,000-square-foot lease for the Troy location has been auctioned off to another discount retail chain: Five Below Inc., according to a spokesperson for New York Citybased real estate advisory firm A&G Real Estate Partners, which had been tasked with selling off scores of Tuesday Morning leases.

A court order says the lease had $13,750 in unpaid rent, although the purchase price for the lease is not known. The lease in Portage at Southland Shopping Center, owned by Portage-based Meyer C. Weiner Co. LLC, did not sell at the auction and is being terminated.

Darren Frankel, principal of Troy-based Stuart Frankel Development Co. which owns Troy Commons, declined comment. An email was sent to Five Below, which is based in Philadelphia.

According to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service, the Troy location sits in the 117,800-square-foot shopping plaza anchored by a Fresh yme grocery store (30,200 square feet) and e Container Store (23,100 square feet).

Five Below has about 1,300 stores in 42 states and plans more than 1,500 in the future, the company says. The average store size is about 9,000 square feet and the company (Nasdaq: FIVE) crossed the $2 billion in sales threshold in 2020 after being founded in Pennsylvania in 2002.

The International Council of Shopping Centers says that around 30 of 250 Tuesday Morning leases received successful bids, with Five Below acquiring the majority and

companies such as Michaels Stores Inc., Books-A-Million Inc. and Dollar General Corp. buying others.

Tuesday Morning’s location at 23314 Farmington Road in Farmington is not expected to close.

This is Tuesday Morning’s second bankruptcy filing in three years.

Joshua T. Weiner, CEO of Meyer C. Weiner Co. LLC, told my colleagues in February that he doesn’t anticipate having difficulty filling the vacated Tuesday Morning store in Portage.

“We’re very fortunate, it’s a great location in a shopping center that is fully leased and has a waiting list,” Weiner said in February. “We’ve got more than a couple of prospects to take this space, and we think we’ll upgrade.”

Detroit’s oldest standing public school for sale

e former Clay School building dating back to 1888 at 453 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. is up for sale for $2.5 million.

“ e American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture,” co-authored in 2002 by architect Eric Hill and former Detroit Free Press reporter John Gallagher, describes the J. B. Tarleton-designed building as “the oldest public school building still standing in Detroit.”

It is currently owned by an entity called Clay School Building LLC, which city property records say paid $1.8 million for it in August 2017. Jerome Dixon, the Max Broock broker with the listing on the building, said it is owned by Ben White-Levin.

e property is currently vacant, Dixon said, adding that a few interested prospects have come forward since it listed recently, including a unidentied local developer.

It is 17,400 square feet.

It is on the National Register of Historic Places. An application for inclusion on the list says it was an elementary school until 1923 and was then “used as a special education center for discipline problem boys” until 1931. It then became a vocational study headquarters and administrative o ces for the Practical Nursing Center before being sold by what was then the Detroit Public Schools Board of Education in 1981 to a private developer, according to the application.

Contact:; (313) 446-0412; @kirkpinhoCDB

For $2.6 million, the best view on a quiet West Michigan lake

Kathleen Cullen Harwood’s ve children are all grown up now, and she’s ready to pass their summer home to another family looking to make memories at the secluded lakeside estate in West Michigan.

Harwood, of Lake Forest, Ill., north of Chicago, purchased her Spring Lake vacation property at 2931 Judson Road in Spring Lake Township from Larry and Frances Prelesnik for $1.27 million in August 2009.

After 14 years of spending summers there with her children, their friends and now her grandchildren, she listed the residence for sale on April 3 for $2.595 million.

e approximately 2.5-acre property — which she christened “Harwood Haven” — has two houses on it: a 5,769-square-foot, ve-bedroom, four-bathroom main house and a 1,450-square-foot guest house with a kitchenette, living room, bathroom and three bedrooms.

ere are also four garage spaces, a four-season porch, a back deck and pergola that Harwood added after buying the house, an in-ground pool and 170 feet of lake frontage complete with a 150-foot boat dock.

e home is priced at $450 per

square foot, which is in line with the average price of six other nearby listings in the $1.5 million to $3 million range that have an average price of $461.50 per square foot.

“It’s a historical, stately home that is just second to none,” said Harwood’s listing agent, Sandi Gentry, an associate broker and Realtor with Re/Max Lakeshore in Grand Haven, which is about 7 miles from Harwood Haven.

Gentry said that while there have been no written o ers on the estate yet, there’s been strong interest in the place, with a steady ow of requests for showings.

Days gone by Harwood, a native of Bu alo, N.Y.,

and a widow since 1999, bought the house when her children ranged in age from 10 to 20 years old. Previously, they spent summers in Canada, just down the beach from her parents’ second home. But when her father died, she set her sights on the Spring Lake/Grand Haven area as a more convenient destination closer to the Chicago area.

Now, her brood has own the nest, much like the bald eagles she’s watched each summer growing from edgling to adulthood in a tree by the Spring Lake dock.

“I love the house; I love everything about it. It is an absolutely phenomenal family home. You could never be bored there because there just is so much to do. … (But) somehow, I

missed the chapter that said (my kids) were going to grow up, graduate from college, get jobs and move away to be on their own,” she said.

“Since November of 2022, I went from having four of my ve children in Chicago and a three-hour drive to Spring Lake, to only having one here and the rest are on the East Coast, which is where I’m originally from. … I looked around (at the lake house), and I’m like, ‘ is is a lot for one person.’”

e house was built in 1895, and Harwood said the previous owner gave her some black-and-white photographs from the 1900s, when he said the house was an innkeeper’s home for a nearby hotel, although she hasn’t been able to nd an indication of where the inn might have been. e photos show women — possibly hotel guests — wearing long white dresses and carrying lace parasols, strolling up the built-in steps from the shoreline to the home.

e main house is on a hill and has “arguably the best view of the lake” compared to neighboring properties, Harwood said.

“It is pretty much the only house that looks over the entire length of the lake, which would make sense if it’s one of the rst homes on the lake,” she said. “You wouldn’t build inside on a bayou, where you’re looking across at other people’s homes. You’d choose a spot that has pretty much the best view.”

Speaking of bayous, Spring Lake is known for having many with di erent names. One that’s nearby her

property is colloquially referred to by locals as “Hanky Pank Bayou,” because it’s where all the neighborhood kids used to go to make out, Harwood said, laughing.

“ e rst year I bought the house, (Hanky Pank Bayou) lived up to its name, because people would come and stay until two, three in the morning and have parties and all the rest of it. But then they quit because when gas gets expensive, people don’t come as far up the lake,” she said. e main house, which was updated at the time Harwood purchased it, has two original “show-stopper” features: a bifurcated “bridal” staircase that’s the centerpiece of the house, and a light- lled, wood-walled dining room that can seat 14 or more diners.

Harwood’s standing rule for the lake house was, “ ere are never any orphans at dinner time; everybody’s always welcome.” As a result, most weekends the house was “full to over owing” with at least a dozen visitors, plus her family.

Harwood said she’s looking for a smaller house now that her kids can’t spend much time with her at Harwood Haven.

“I feel like it may be time to pass the house on to another family looking to create incredible memories,” she said.

“It’s just a wonderful place to get away to.”

The Troy Commons shopping plaza. | COSTAR GROUP INC. Kirk PINHO
Contact: (989) 533-9685; @RachelWatson86
Harwood Haven is a 2.5-acre property with a main house, guest house, four-stall detached garage, pool and 170 feet of Spring Lake frontage. THE SANDI GENTRY TEAM, RE/MAX LAKESHORE Harwood

Mentorship can help drive bottom line for businesses

Stop the see-saw on business regulations

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and fellow Democrats are feeling emboldened these days.

With narrow majorities in the House and Senate, Democratic lawmakers are busy rolling back GOP-era laws. Of signi cant note was their recent repeal of right-to-work laws that banned paying union dues as a condition of employment.

As we noted last month when that legislation was on a fast track, we are concerned that an overly aggressive unraveling of business-friendly laws could harm the state’s economic prospects just as it seems we are gaining some momentum.

We all know the saying: To the victor goes the spoils. However, increasingly these days, it seems politicians are treating lawmaking like a winner-take-all sporting event, rather than seeking to strike a reasonable balance. Inevitably, Republicans will regain control in Lansing one day. If current practices hold, they will simply set out to undo all of the undoing that Democrats are currently pursuing.

A legal see-saw does not make for a stable foundation on which economic growth thrives. Businesses seek regulatory certainty, and it is imperative that we keep Michigan a business-friendly state.

is brings us to Democrats’ latest e ort to overturn a relatively recent GOP-enacted law that is widely supported by the state’s business community.

In 2018, Republicans approved, and thenGov. Rick Snyder signed, a law that makes it more di cult for the state to adopt environmental regulations that are more stringent than federal standards.

is law is supported by business groups such as the Michigan Manufacturers Associ-

ation, as well as home builders, retailers and farmers, Crain’s Detroit Business senior reporter David Eggert recently wrote.

e law, which took e ect in 2019, says that when the federal government requires the state to promulgate rules, a state agency cannot adopt regulations that are more stringent than those standards set out by Washington. e law makes an exception for emergencies and allows state regulators to exceed federal rules if they nd a “clear and convincing need.”

If no federal mandates are required, an agency can only set tougher regulations if speci cally authorized by law or, again, if the director nds a clear and convincing need.

To do this, “exceptional circumstances” prompting the stricter standard must be explained.

is seems perfectly reasonable to us. If the state is going to raise the bar, and change the rules on businesses, the state should be required to articulate a clear and convincing need for setting standards that are di erent than the federal requirements companies may be following in other states.

Caroline Liethen, director of environmental and regulatory policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association, told lawmakers that the current law was passed in part to show companies that the state will be thoughtful in how its regulations impact business.

e current law, Liethen said, “stands as an important symbol that Michigan prioritizes our competitiveness.”

Creating a climate of regulatory certainty helps position our state as economically competitive. Michigan’s future prosperity is in the interest of all citizens, regardless of which political party controls Lansing.

hen I began my career, I did not envision myself advancing beyond entry-level professional. I thought I would do just enough to pay the bills. Fortunately, someone saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time, and it was through that mentorship that my outlook on — and outcome of — my career totally changed. I rst met my mentor, who was a leader in thenancial community, at an event we both attended. Unexpectedly, she approached me and said, “I see something in you — you are smart, amazing, and I want to help you.” Since that moment, she has remained a mentor to me and a true xture in my life. My mentor spoke my name into rooms I never thought I would have the opportunity to enter. And as she progressed in her career, she created space for me to progress and grow.

All too often, professionals lump e orts like networking, mentorship, sponsorship and diversity, equity and inclusion work into the ‘soft skills” bucket. ey consider these soft skills nice-to-haves or nonrevenue drivers, as diametrically opposed to the hard skills that are more aligned with business results.

is is a false dichotomy.

e truth is, having a mentor or sponsor is a business asset, not only for the people engaged in those roles, but for the business and bottom line. What’s more, investing in developing mentoring programs and initiatives that foster career development, particularly for those most often left out of those opportunities, creates a more level playing eld and drives stronger business results.

e evidence supports this. Nine out of 10 workers who have a career mentor say they are happy in their jobs, according to a CNBC survey, and retention rates for mentees are much higher. Companies that have greater diversity, including in their upper ranks, report higher pro ts, according to a 2021 McKinsey study.

We also know that Black Americans account for 12 percent of the U.S. population, but only hold 3.2 percent of senior leadership roles and occupy just 0.8 percent of all Fortune 500 CEO positions, according to the Center for Talent Innovation. And despite making up a majority

Wof the U.S. population, women are a orded fewer opportunities for growth in leadership roles, and the average white, non-Hispanic woman earns 78.7 percent of white, non-Hispanic men. Black women are paid even less, earning 63 percent less than white, non-Hispanic men according to the U.S. Department of Labor. is is not necessarily because minorities are paid less than men in equal roles, but often because there are fewer minorities in higher-paying roles. at is in part because they’ve not had mentors or sponsors who have helped create pathways for their advancement.

Balancing the scales of wealth and representation in the workforce requires dedicated strategic initiatives and deliberate investments in developing diverse talent to create the next generation of leaders that better represent the communities that they serve.

I’m proud to have worked my way up to an executive role and get to lead initiatives like our $30 million commitment to expand pathways through student development programming and nancial education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as partnerships with nonpro ts such as DigitalUndivided’s Breakthrough Program, which provides grants and coaching to minority-owned small businesses.

I learned a few lessons about mentorship that are critical:

 Mentorship is important no matter where you are — everyone needs a trusted, valued partner. When mentors are active in your growth, they can often see opportunities that a mentee can’t see for themselves. It’s about planting a seed and potentially changing the trajectory of an individual’s life.

 A mentor and mentee must build a vulnerable space and engage in honest and proactive conversations.

 Mentorship is critical, especially at large and matrixed organizations. Navigating and progressing in your career at a big organization can be di cult. Participating in mentorship allows you to have insight into opportunities available outside of what may be apparent.

I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without a mentor who perhaps saw her younger self re ected in me, and decided to invest in my success. My mentor not only created pathways for me to grow from entry level to executive, but helped to instill in me the importance of paying that sponsorship forward. Once you’ve established your voice in the room you have a responsibility to make room for others to follow, because progress won’t happen unless we promote one another. at’s true whether you’re an individual, or a business.

6 CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | AP RI L 24, 2023 Sound o : Crain’s considers longer opinion pieces from guest writers on issues of interest to business readers. Email ideas to Managing Editor Michael Lee at
Write us: Crain’s welcomes responses from readers. Letters should be as brief as possible and may be edited for length or clarity. Send letters to Crain’s Detroit Business, 1155 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, or email Please include your complete name, city from which you are writing and a phone number for fact-checking purposes.
Byna Elliott is head of Advancing Black Pathways for JPMorgan Chase.

Good child care is good for business

In 2022, our companies joined forces to study the e ect child care issues had on our workforce. Like many companies, ours have struggled to sustain labor levels necessary to operate at capacity, exacerbating supply chain and other challenges we’ve had in recovering from the pandemic. In collaboration with Battle Creek Unlimited, that region’s economic development organization, and the Pulse Initiative at W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, we surveyed our employees about how child care shortages have impacted their ability to fully participate in the workforce and be productive workers.

From the survey results, it is evident that child care is a fundamental issue affecting our workers and is standing in the way of the state’s economic growth and continued prosperity.

Sixty-two percent of our employees report missing work at least once per month because of issues relating to child care. is represents a signi cant blow to our productivity levels — and to the household income of our em-

ployees. e domino e ect on our regional economy is evident.

Michigan, like the rest of the country, is facing a child care crisis that threatens the size and productivity of our current workforce — as well as the quality of the workforce of tomorrow. Increasing the supply of high-quality, a ordable and accessible child care that meets the preferences and needs of families will have a signi cant impact on our ability to access labor, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity. In turn, this will have a signi cant impact on the economic growth and competitiveness of our region and our state.

A world-class workforce is a product of a world-class educational system. While elementary school has previously been viewed as the start of a child’s education, we now know that a good education, a successful career and a strong civic foundation starts at birth.

As employers of thousands of Michigan residents, we are committed to promoting e orts to improve and expand access to quality child care programs. We are already taking stock of our own company policies to support working families, and we intend to

Metro Detroit air quality improving in some ways

But there is room to get better, report says

Metro Detroit’s air quality is improving in one category but remains problematic in another, according to a new State of the Air report from the American Lung Association.

e report measures two types of pollution — ozone and particle. Ozone pollution is best understood as smog, while particle pollution is more like soot, said Ken Fletcher, the director of advocacy for Michigan for the American Lung Association.

In the ozone category, metro Detroit fell o the top-25 list — it went from 24th-worst in the country to 32nd-worst, Fletcher said. For particle pollution, though, metro Detroit is the 12th worst in the country. Bakers eld, Calif., is worst.

“Wayne County’s driving it,” Fletcher said. “ ere’s a lot of concentrated industry in Detroit.”

Residents’ complaints about air quality have led Wayne County to earmark money for monitors to track pollution levels around the county and Detroit to include in its budget $400,000 for air puri ers for residents near the existing Stellantis plant and former AMC plant.

Questions about air quality have been raised by residents in both areas, while those elsewhere in the city have said they are concerned that the level of heavy industry is tantamount to environmental racism.

e report showed Wayne County had 11 days between 2019 and 2021 when the ozone level was unhealthy for sensitive groups. For particle pollution, there were 11 days where the air was unhealthy for sensitive groups and one day unhealthy for anyone.

Contact:; (313) 446-6774; @ArielleKassCDB

in uence the public conversation, raising awareness of early education’s importance to the economy and workforce development. e business community cannot do this alone. We need policies that will strengthen our e orts and give us tools to advance access to high-quality, a ordable child care to support

our employees, the broader community, and the state. ese policies — which include increasing compensation to stabilize the child care workforce — must be girded by a public commitment of funds proportionate to the importance of child care in attracting families and workers to Michigan.

Cheryl Johnson is senior VP of HR for Bronson Healthcare Group.
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Marketing professionals are in the know: ey know how to creatively inform, wow and woo clients, partners, customers and fans with innovative branding initiatives, social media campaigns and merchandising strategies. ey also use their myriad skills to bolster their communities and industry through board membership and volunteerism.

Deena Bahri Chief Marketing O cer


Bahri brings decades of experience to her role at StockX where she invests heavily in customer insights and experience management tools to build the company’s reputation further. She oversees StockX’s global marketing and merchandising efforts spanning North America, Australia and large swaths of Europe and Asia.

Marketing is a critical function at StockX, where Bahri manages nearly 80 team members across 11 countries. She directed and implemented a complete brand redesign and product releases collaborating with well-known creators like Megan ee Stallion, Daniel Arsham, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marvel Comics and more.

“Deena encourages others to voice their opinions, asks to be held accountable, leads by example and invests in relationships,” says StockX Chief Communications O cer Terra Carmichael.

Bahri serves on the board of BasBlue, a gathering space for women and nonbinary people in Detroit. She’s also on the Adcraft Detroit advisory board and an active adviser to early stage startups.

Charles Chapman

Multicultural Marketing Leader

General Motors

Chapman is responsible for developing and implementing a market action plan that cultivates industry talent from diverse backgrounds. ese e orts aim to expand conversations surrounding diversity throughout the country in general and the automotive industry speci cally, often by creating strategic partnerships with organizations, celebrities and in uencers. e results of Chapman’s work help introduce GM vehicles into new ethnic markets.

His e orts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the automaker earned Chapman the company’s prestigious GEM Award. GM also nominated Chapman to showcase his expertise at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as part of the Black Executive CMO Alliance’s inaugural class. As a philanthropist, Chapman is committed to bringing water and light to villages and schools in rural Africa. He also donates his time to organizations that address basic human needs, providing clean drinking water and solar-powered electricity to other underserved communities.

Sharon Banks CEO and Owner Bankable Marketing Strategies LLC

Banks opened her Detroit-based agency in 2009 with a focus on designing and executing marketing and advertising campaigns for clients in diverse industries. Among her company’s largest clients are the Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority and Detroit Jazz Festival. Several clients have been with her rm for more than a decade.

Banks advocates for veterans, working with public and private organizations to support them with resources and outreach opportunities. A Wayne State University alum, Banks serves as a board member for the university’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts’ Board of Visitors and is a frequent guest speaker at Wayne State events. She volunteers with Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and previously received a 2023 Help Others Rise award from Ferris State President Bill Pink.

“Sharon’s unique connectivity in the community and commitment to excellence are unparalleled,” said Christopher Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation president and artistic director. “In addition to being a leader in preparation, activation and communication, she has the knowledge and experience to be a consummate problem solver.”

Michelle Collins

Global Director, Marketing & Public Relations

BorgWarner Inc.

Collins is charged with leading marketing innovation and overseeing a global and multinational team at BorgWarner in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia. She is responsible for digital and web marketing, press and media, social channel management, advertising, graphics, shows and events, overarching brand strategy, brand trademark strategy and the partnership between BorgWarner and the Indy 500.

Her marketing team at BorgWarner recently supported the integration and brand strategy of the company’s acquisition of Delphi Technologies in 2020, the largest such acquisition in BorgWarner’s history.

Additionally, Collins volunteers for several BorgWarner mentoring programs and previously was a mentor to high school students through the Detroit Economic Club’s youth mentoring program.

Collins serves as treasurer for Friends of Lake Orion Lacrosse and is on the board of directors for her alma mater Regina High School in Warren. She also volunteers on the Marketing and Communications Committee at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Katie Bryk Chief Marketing O cer Bush Seyferth PLLC

Bryk implements and executes Bush Seyferth’s overall marketing vision, helps attorneys develop and execute individual marketing plans and secures prominent speaking and writing opportunities for partners and associates. She oversees four professionals who support 28 attorneys with business development and marketing.

In addition, Bryk manages the rm’s many philanthropic endeavors, including the annual BSP Law Charitable Foundation’s Golf and Tennis Outing, which raises money for the New Day Foundation for Families. She launched New Day NEXT to inspire the incoming generation of emerging leaders at BSP and throughout the legal industry and is an integral leader with BSP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.

She also served as co-chair of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms’ Marketing Best Practices Group.

Bryk manages branding and communications for the Joel Stern Scholarship, which provides nancial support to law students from diverse backgrounds as they pursue their legal careers.

“Katie is a creative, motivated marketing leader working collaboratively to elevate brands and causes by engaging corporate leaders to prioritize the community in their marketing,” says New Day Foundation for Families Founder Gina Kell Spehn.

Tamara Collins

Vice President, Marketing and Business Development

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Collins has played a major role in managing the Karmanos Cancer Institute’s brand for more than two decades. She leads a team of marketing professionals responsible for delivering strategic marketing, communications and multimedia productions designed to create transformative campaigns to build and expand the Karmanos brand.

Her work includes leading the award-winning “Inspire” brand campaign in Michigan and northwest Ohio markets.

Collins is a member of the Detroit Economic Club, Association of Community Cancer Centers, American Cancer Society Michigan Prevention Taskforce and the Public A airs and Marketing Network. Collins is also an active leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion committees within Karmanos’ parent company McLaren Healthcare.

“Tamara has substantial institutional knowledge her peers and leaders respect and is integral to Karmanos’ growth and joint venture partnerships,” said Karmanos Interim President and CEO Joseph Uberti, M.D. “Tamara’s expertise is essential to accomplish our goals of expanding access to care.”

METHODOLOGY: The honorees featured in this Notable Leaders in Marketing report were nominated by their peers or companies. Crain’s Detroit Business editors selected nominated honorees based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in their eld and contributions to their industry and community, as outlined in the detailed eligibility forms. Special Projects Editor Leslie D. Green,, managed this Notables Leaders in Marketing report, and Mike Scott wrote the honoree pro les based on the nomination forms.

Crain’s Detroit Business is accepting Notable Leaders in Energy nominations until June 2, 2023. For questions about how to nominate someone for this or a future Notable award program, visit our Nomination Page or email


Marketing job growth increased more than 15 percent from Sept. 2021 to Sept. 2022— with women holding the most jobs, according to companies questioned for The CMO Survey last year.


SOURCES: FDIC.GOV, BANKINGJOURNAL.ABA.COM 23.3% Education 22.2% Health care 21.7% Mining/ construction CREDIT: THE CMO SURVEY LARGEST GROWTH BY INDUSTRY 2.5% Transportation 2.1% Consumer packaged goods SMALLEST GROWTH BY INDUSTRY 14.5% The
amount of marketing spending in the next three years,
from 8.9 percent
in September 2022.

Jen Crowley Partner, Chief Marketing O cer Highland Group

Under Crowley’s co-leadership, Highland Group became a dedicated Bene t Corporation, seeking to balance pro tability with the good of the community and the planet. She was also instrumental in the agency earning the B Corp Best in the World community designation in 2019, 2020 and 2022. As chief revenue o cer for Highland, she helped the company become a Top 10 marketing agency in West Michigan by expanding into several states. Her 24-member team is responsible for more than 60 clients, including Steelcase, the Kent District Library, Varnum LLP Law Firm and ADAC Automotive.

“Jen’s vision and seasoned team were instrumental in building the brand and reestablishing its reputation during the turnaround of North Country Bank and Trust. e rebranded company, mBank, grew from $350 million in total assets to just over $1.5 billion, doubled the number of branches and made multiple bank acquisitions during her rm’s tenure as a marketing partner,” said Kelly George, CEO and founder of Mackinac Credit and Compliance.

Ti any Devon Director of Communications

Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network

During Devon’s tenure with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, her department has signicantly increased the number of social media followers, impressions and platforms. She increased the organization’s community outreach presence by almost doubling the number of events and activities attended while expanding the network’s media presence by working with numerous media organizations.

Most notably, Devon’s team led the launch of a mobile app that saw almost 800 downloads in the rst two weeks. e app allows patients and families to nd resources and gather information about mental health, substance abuse disorders and other health services.

“Ti any has helped our e orts to reach new audiences,” said Brooke Blackwell, vice president of governmental a airs and chief of sta for DWIHN. “Ti any is helping to break down barriers by ensuring that we are providing resources in new spaces.”

In addition, Devon serves on the board of Just4Me, a nonpro t dedicated to helping young adults with special needs.

Kelli Ellsworth Etchison Chief Marketing O cer and Chief Diversity O cer LAFCU

Ellsworth Etchison has led the marketing e orts at LAFCU since 1988 and is its rst chief diversity o cer.

As CMO, Ellsworth Etchison manages a team of six professionals and oversees strategic marketing and community relations. She spearheaded the credit union’s college scholarship programs for high school seniors and nontraditional students, such as women entering or re-entering the workforce, rst responders, veterans and active service members.

“Kelli is a born leader and innovator whose passion for the industry goes well beyond what my words could describe. Kelli gives me inspiration to be a better person,” said LAFCU Director of Professional Services Ryan Larson.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Ellsworth Etchison to the state’s Black Leadership Advisory Council. She is also an o cer of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan. Ellsworth Etchison was the rst African American woman elected board chair of the YMCA of Lansing.

Dana Galvin Lancour

Vice President of Branding and Communications

Barton Malow

Lancour oversees 40 marketing, creative and communications employees at the $4 billion company. She modernized the rm’s marketing by implementing an email marketing platform to design and optimize targeted campaigns, redesigning Barton Malow’s intranet and creating the vision for the rm’s rst all-employee conference.

In 2021, Lancour launched a company podcast that Construction Dive recognized as a top industry-related podcast.

“Under Dana’s leadership, the Barton Malow brand experience and reputation is stronger than it’s ever been,” said Jennifer Sulak Brown, senior vice president of People + Culture + Brand at Barton Malow.

Barton Malow expanded its entity structure from one company to become a Family of Companies in 2020, and Lancour led the planning, communications and rebranding e orts.

Lancour is a fellow and president-elect of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and a member of the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan’s Chocolate Jubilee committee.

Heather Geisler

Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing, Communications and Experience O cer

Henry Ford Health

Geisler leads brand strategy, marketing, communications, consumer insights and experience with a team of 107 for the $6 billion integrated health system.

Notably, Geisler established Henry Ford Health’s consumer insights and experience team and launched the comprehensive brand repositioning campaign, “I am Henry.” e campaign included nearly 246 million media impressions, more than 400,000 patient emails and 1.3 million social impressions in less than 14 months.

In addition, Geisler developed a comprehensive plan to support Henry Ford Health System’s diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice strategy.

Her industry and community work includes roles as a mentor for the Women of Tomorrow, campaign cabinet and innovation committee member for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and system representative for the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital board of directors.


Director, Marketing & Communications

Gesher Human Services

Glenn is responsible for marketing, communications, public relations and branding portfolios for Gesher Human Services. Gesher, the company that resulted from a recent merger between JVS Human Services and Kadima Mental Health Services, supports residents with behavioral health, residential and job placement services.

Under Glenn’s leadership, Gesher Human Services has garnered more than 500 media placements using a marketing budget of $400,000.

During her 20-plus-year career, Glenn has shaped the messaging and digital marketing communications for numerous nonpro ts, including Common Ground and Forgotten Harvest.

“Bree has brought high-level strategic insights to Gesher’s marketing e orts, especially in the wake of our recent merger and rebrand,” said Eric Adelman, Gesher’s executive vice president and chief advancement ofcer.

Glenn is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit, helping to support its newsletter committee. She also volunteers her writing skills at her church.

Ajay Kapoor

Global Director of Performance

Driven Marketing

General Motors

Kapoor’s responsibilities include driving transformation at GM through marketing technology, analytical storytelling, demand generation, customer privacy and more.

He supports a marketing budget of more than $1 billion and manages a team of over 200 professionals.

“Ajay brings a contagious entrepreneurial energy to GM. He revolutionized Performance Driven Marketing at GM to enable our modern marketing capabilities and encourage our marketers to quickly innovate to meet the demands of today’s customers,” said retired former GM CMO Deborah Wahl. Kapoor’s leadership extends to his roles on the Executive Board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, where he helps shape marketing industry standards, and as a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum.

Moreover, Kapoor co-founded GrowDetroit and is a venture partner at NextGen Ventures and Space Angels. He serves on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s executive board and Adobe’s executive advisory board.

Alicia Je reys Director of Communications

Detroit Pistons

Je reys manages more than 50 people and oversees brand strategy, digital marketing, content and creative, culture and in uencer marketing, game presentation, retail marketing and social media e orts for the Detroit Pistons.

“Alicia is talented, insightful, a coach, trainer, businesswoman, and a good human being. Her background in sports marketing gives her much-deserved credibility and a real edge as an innovative leader in the sports industry,” said Detroit Pistons Chief People O cer Nicolet Lewis.

Je reys launched this year’s brand campaign “Di erent by Design” in collaboration with rapper Big Sean and former Pistons Ben Wallace and Dave Bing, showcasing how the team and city are purposely unlike any others. She also worked with the Sean Anderson Foundation to positively impact Detroit youth.

Je reys serves on several boards, including the Detroit Historical Society, CATCH, New Day Foundation, the Chordoma Foundation and Saginaw STEM. She is also a staunch supporter of Adcraft Detroit, e American Cancer Society and Focus: Hope.

Pauline KnightonPrueter

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Eastern Market Brewing Company

Knighton-Prueter has made significant improvements since joining Eastern Market Brewing Company in 2022. She is responsible for 15 direct reports and, outside the beer industry, oversees revenue across the company’s family of brands: Ferndale Project, Lincoln Tap, Dooped Donuts and Ashe Co ee.

She has improved e ciencies among the sales reps, dispatchers and delivery drivers who visit more than 400 independent retailers across Michigan. She has also helped increase revenue 74 percent through event planning and product development expertise and leveraged a decade of industry experience to land accounts at Meijer and Kroger.

Collaborative by nature, she also developed partnerships for Eastern Market Brewing with Downtown Boxing Gym and Gleaners Food Bank, among other organizations.

Furthermore, Knighton-Prueter supports women in the industry through Fermenta, a nonpro t advocacy group she co-founded that provides education, scholarships and monthly gatherings.

APRIL 24, 2023 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 11 Contact Laura Picariello at for a unique opportunity to co-brand your company with a reputable news source. SHARE YOUR SUCCESS with custom reprints, logo licenses, awards and more. IMPACTFUL & INSPIRING LEADERSHIP Karmanos Cancer Institute congratulates Tamara Collins, VP of marketing and business development, for being recognized among Crain’s 2023 Notable Leaders in Marketing. Tamara encourages her team to deliver transformative brand strategy, marketing, communications, and multimedia productions. Her initiatives strive to convey the importance of cancer research and development, community education, prevention and screening, and access to innovative treatment options through channels and messaging that resonate with people touched by cancer. We are honored to have Tamara as a member of Team Karmanos. PROUDLY A PART OF McLAREN CONGRATULATIONS on being selected as a Crain’s Detroit Notable Leader in Marketing DANIELLE MAUTER Chief of Marketing and Communications Join Our Team! METROPARKS.COM/HIRING THEY’RE YOUR METROPARKS. AND YOU KNOW IT THANKS TO OUR MARKETING TEAM.



Stefan Kogler

Director of Marketing

H.H. Barnum Co.

Kogler creates and implements campaign strategies that help the $250 million-$300 million organization distribute products and solutions for factory automation. His department services 60 sales associates and more than 13,000 clients and 50 global suppliers.

In collaboration with Barnum Reach, Kogler’s department donated more than $100,000 in products to Midwest high school and university robotics programs.


Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment!

“Stefan’s in uence on the business, the culture, the community, and the individual can be summed up with three simple statements he wrote to encapsulate the H.H. Barnum work ethic and culture: “Be Brilliant, Be Ambitious, Be Barnum!” said H.H. Barnum President Ed Koza.

Kogler also created the Great Lakes Post, which covers sports stories and features across the U.S. through the voices and words of people with autism. e Great Lakes Post has partnered with statewide media outlets, including WJR 760 AM in Detroit and WTRX 1330 AM in Flint. Kogler was awarded the Michigan Association of Broadcasters — Broadcast Excellence Award for these e orts.

Steven Majoros

Chief Marketing O cer


Majoros is responsible for marketing Chevrolet, creating objectives to bene t the company’s brand and growth and driving marketing innovation that appeals to evolving consumer tastes and trends.

Further, Majoros, who manages a team of more than 50, along with agencies that support Chevrolet, also sets the roadmap for marketing Chevrolet in the EV space. He works with the media, in uencers, dealers/sales consultants and thought leaders to position Chevrolet as a subject matter expert.

For the last 15 years, Majoros has been involved with the city of Farmington’s zoning board and currently serves as chair of the Planning Commission. He is also active with Common Ground, a 24-hour crisis services agency dedicated to helping youths, adults and families.

Nikki Little

Senior Vice President Franco

Little, who manages a $1.1 million budget, marketing strategies and seven employees, led Franco through its transformation into an integrated communications agency. is included removing traditional agency titles and guiding sta through

PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned) Model certi cation after she earned her certi cate. She also created a scholarship program for Central Michigan University students to earn their certi cates and recruited new talent to the rm while helping to retain key leaders following the pandemic.

Little is a member of Impact100 Oakland County and publisher of e MichComms Report, an e-newsletter for communications professionals in Michigan looking to grow their industry knowledge. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

“Nikki puts in the time to learn and give back,” said Franco CEO Tina Kozak. “She’s like the fairy godmother of integrated marketing, wrapping her arms around others and helping them grow.”

Anthony Marion Director of Marketing Operations Dykema

Marion has led marketing activities at Dykema for 19 years. His role includes daily collaborations with the business development team, attorneys and administrative departments to support new client growth.

He was responsible for rebranding Dykema, which included developing a new logo and website and other strategies. Marion’s e orts increased page views by 15 percent, improved the average time on the site by 36 percent and increased career page visits by 78 percent. He also led the implementation of a new customer relationship management and email platform.

Under his leadership, Dykema won 13 Legal Marketing Association awards and two Horizon Interactive Awards.

“Tony is an exceptional marketing leader who has made an indelible mark on our team, organization, and even industry by pushing the envelope in the historically very traditional legal industry,” said Linda Moss, Dykema’s chief business development and marketing o cer.

Moreover, Marion volunteers as a Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Mentor to “at-promise” young adults. He also volunteers for the Enlisted Heritage House at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Promote Your Industry Event News MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT!
Stein |
for being recognized as a CRAIN'S DETROIT 2023 NOTABLE LEADER in Marketing!
has demonstrated excellence and creativity, especially as we re-brand after the merger of JVS and Kadima. The Gesher team is better because of your great work.

Chief of Marketing and Communications

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

Mauter develops and executes integrated marketing plans for one of the country’s largest regional park systems. She is responsible for analyzing and adjusting to consumer data and trends and establishing marketing strategies to support brand management, advertising, social media, strategic partnership building, public relations and more.

Mauter oversees six employees and an annual marketing budget of $1.5 million. As a Huron-Clinton Metroparks executive team member, she is also tasked with strategic visioning, aspirational leadership and implementing change-making plans and initiatives.

“Danielle expertly leads internal initiatives, cultivates external partnerships and sets the standard for public organizations throughout the region and beyond,” said Huron-Clinton Metroparks Director Amy McMillan.

anks to Mauter’s e orts, Huron-Clinton Metroparks has experienced an 11.9 percent increase in brand recognition in just 2.5 years and a 14.1 percent increase in overall attendance since 2020.

Over the years, Mauter has mentored interns and championed student shadowing. She participated in the mParks marketing group and presented marketing topics at conferences.

Roy Sexton

Director of Marketing


Sexton manages a sta of 12 marketing professionals, a seven- gure marketing budget and two public relations rms at Clark Hill. ere, he is also responsible for internal and external communications and social media content. His e orts to ramp up video marketing through social media helped increase online video views to 500,000 in 2021 and more than 750,000 in 2022.

“Roy’s enthusiasm for his work and community shows through in the way he embraces any activity he engages in,” said Detroit Regional Partnership President and CEO Maureen Donohue Krauss.

Further, Sexton has championed and executed the rm’s Simply Smarter branding campaign and new website launch, for which Clark Hill received the 2022 Best Marketing Campaign award from the London-based Managing Partners’ Forum. His many community and corporate service e orts include serving on the governance committee for the Mosaic Youth eater board and his work as chair of the marketing committee for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor. Sexton also served as a governor-appointed member of the Michigan Council of Labor and Economic Growth.

Latitia McCree-Thomas

Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications

YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit

McCree- omas leads three direct reports and is responsible for executing a $1 million marketing budget. She oversees brand compliance, media buys, public relations, crisis communication and governmental relations.

In 2022, McCree-Thomas launched a yearlong YMCA 170th

Birthday Celebration that included encouraging more than 2,000 Detroiters over nine months to move their bodies for 170 minutes a week. Her work helped the YMCA increase membership to 75 percent of pre-pandemic and program participant levels.

Additionally, McCree- omas serves on the YMCA of USA Innovation taskforce that identi es emerging programs that help people nationwide.

“Latitia is a committed, devoted Y Detroit leader. Her enthusiasm is contagious as she o ers new and progressive direction for our marketing,” said Eric Hu man, chair-elect of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit.

Within the community, McCree- omas is a prayer chaplain leader at Detroit Unity Temple and supports the World Day of Prayer, where all faiths unite in an e ort to achieve global peace. McCree- omas trains prayer chaplains and comforts individuals in need. She is also a “Pal with Papa,” primarily assisting seniors with doctor visits and grocery shopping.


DFCU Financial

Sheibar manages eight employees and a $1.8 million marketing budget at DFCU Financial. He is responsible for all credit union marketing and messaging, from new product rollouts and acquisitions to communications and community outreach. Over the last six years, his e orts have helped the credit union experience growth that signi cantly outpaces the previous 14 years and increased general awareness of DFCU.

In addition, Sheibar has been instrumental in developing DFCU Financial’s partnership with Mastercard USA, which led to donations for Gleaners Food Bank in Detroit in terms of nances and volunteerism.

Locally, Sheibar has provided volunteer marketing support for Honey Creek Community School in Ann Arbor.

“I had the pleasure of working with Andy for ve years in a previous position. rough his leadership, knowledge and mentorship, I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from him and implement it into my own management style,” said Sarah Bryan, executive vice president of Slurry Monster.

Megan Mesack

Executive Director of Marketing and Communications College for Creative Studies

Mesack, one of three original marketing team employees at CCS, oversees external marketing and communications e orts and operations for the college. She leads an estimated 500-plus marketing and branding projects annually and is responsible for developing marketing strategies that increase enrollment.

Notably, Mesack made proactive adjustments to CCS’s digital presence to meet post-pandemic enrollment challenges.

“Megan’s exibility, teamwork and open mind have been key to CCS navigating a very challenging enrollment environment,” said CCS Vice President of Strategy and Communications Olga Stella.

Under her leadership, the school increased organic tra c to its main website by 31 percent and developed three new websites to drive speci c types of tra c post-pandemic. e relaunched website has garnered 7.2 million page views, an increase of 272 percent since its launch.

Mesack is active in industry leadership groups, chairing the marketing and communications work group for the Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities Association. She also led the marketing e orts for “Design for Adaptation” at the 2022 Cumulus Conference Detroit that CCS hosted.

Ashley Sinclair

Executive Vice President, Marketing & Brand Loyalty

Village Green

Sinclair oversees directors, vice presidents and managers at apartment management rm Village Green and is responsible for leading all marketing efforts for the $20 million company.

“Ashley’s ability to leverage and enhance the skill sets of the people around her is unmatched, and it shows in her results,” said Village Green CEO Diane Batayeh.

During her time at Village Green, Sinclair has organized and led popup leasing events and other robust integrated marketing campaigns designed to attract new tenants, driving the growth and evolution of the Village Green brand.

She piloted a company messaging platform that included shared messaging and brand concepts and has supported more than 200 sales professionals with marketing tools.

Also, Sinclair o ers mentorship opportunities to Village Green associates and university students. She also serves on the National Multifamily Housing Council’s executive committee and is active with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Vice President, Marketing United Wholesale Mortgage

Miller oversees United Wholesale Mortgage’s nearly 60-person inhouse marketing agency team and supports tens of thousands of independent mortgage brokers across the country.

She focuses much of her work on integrated marketing e orts and brand strategies to increase company awareness among independent mortgage brokers. Other projects Miller leads help recruit new talent to the organization.

Miller has developed partnerships and business development initiatives, such as UWM’s Super Bowl ads in 2020 and 2021, that signi cantly impact clients and UWM’s brand on a local and national level. Miller has also created strategic sponsorships with the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings, District Detroit and United Shore Professional Baseball League. Within the community, she worked with the Detroit Pistons to support Brilliant Detroit’s mission of creating kid-success families and neighborhoods through programming and other support. She also helps the Princeton University Alumni Association provide permanent nancial aid without student loans for underrepresented prospective students.

“Lauren’s strategic thinking and innate ability to build strong relationships make her a standout marketing leader,” said UWM Chief Marketing O cer Sarah DeCiantis.

Jennette Smith Kotila

Partner and Chief Marketing O cer


As a shareholder and member of the executive committee at MCCI, Kotila has been responsible for client development, client support activities, marketing strategies and the account team.

She closed more than $1 million in new business for MCCI in the last year. With Kotila’s support, MCCI projects $6 million in revenue for 2023. Under her leadership, MCCI boasts numerous clients, including Downtown Detroit Partnership, Detroit Regional Partnership, Bosch USA, Honigman LLP, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator and Barton Malow.

In addition, Kotila serves as the account lead for numerous clients.

“Her team has helped the rm with media relations, social media content ideas and training, video projects, and more,” said Winning Futures President and CEO Kristina Marshall. “I appreciate Jennette’s counsel on complex issues and her curiosity and warmth. MCCI is a trusted partner in the rm’s communications and marketing e orts.”

Moreover, Kotila supports the community as a governing board member for Winning Futures, vice chair of the Troy Community Foundation and board trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Previously, she was editor of Crain’s Detroit Business.

Nicole Rihtarchik Senior Marketing Manager PEA Group

Rihtarchik has grown PEA Group’s brand through marketing initiatives and strategic partnerships with multiple charities in the metro Detroit area. Her early work at the company included rebranding PEA Group by overhauling its website and social media presence. e new website generated 700 percent more leads than the previous site and increased organic and direct tra c by 122 percent.

“Nicole has taken us to the next level, and we appreciate her leadership in this space,” said PEA Group Senior Manager of Business Development Brian Schmidt.

In addition, Rihtarchik is a member of the company’s Integration with Business Development team and its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

Outside of work hours, Rihtarchik organizes volunteer events for PEA Group employees. She is membership chair of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and a volunteer for Birmingham Marian High School’s Live Your Best Life event.

Megan Spanitz

Chief Strategy O cer

Detroit Regional Chamber

Spanitz is responsible for leading 20 team members and raising approximately $7.5 million in revenue for the chamber. She oversees a $2.5 million budget. As a member of its executive team, she leads marketing, communications, resource development and stakeholder engagement e orts to spur membership growth and garner regional in uence.

“Megan’s recent promotion to chief strategy o cer re ects the continued excellence she demonstrates and her outstanding work over the years... especially including our brand positioning and revenue growth,” said Detroit Chamber President and Chief Executive O cer Sandy Baruah.

Under Spanitz’s leadership, the Chamber launched the Detroit Policy Conference, Michigan Voter Poll, the brand for a digital marketing and communications plan and updates to Mackinac Policy Conference’s annual agenda.

Spanitz oversees integrated marketing strategies for all chamber initiatives, including MICHauto, racial justice and equity, public policy and chamber events.

She established the Paul Spanitz Memorial Fund Scholarship in honor of her husband, a Lincoln Park High School teacher, for Lincoln Park High School students.

APRIL 24, 2023 | C RAI N’S DET ROI T BUS I NESS | 13

Erin Sullivan

Vice President of Marketing & Customer Experience

Priority Health

Sullivan leads the 80-person marketing team at Priority Health, a $7 billion health plan. Since 2020, Sullivan spearheaded the rollout of a refreshed logo to better align with parent company Corewell Health, the result of a merger between Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health.

Her team’s efforts included creating a communications plan to inform stakeholders of brand initiatives and messaging changes. She also helped create Priority Health’s multimedia brand campaign “What’s Your Priority,” which delivered more than 132 million impressions, nearly 400,000 social media interactions and more than 11,000 quotes with over 200 enrollments.

“Erin brings an invaluable strategic lens to the brand development and management at Priority Health,” said Jeremy Harper, chief marketing and consumer experience o cer at Corewell Health. “ is skill set is crucial to providing the best services possible to members, communities across Michigan and in the integration e orts at Corewell Health.”

Sullivan is also a Total Health Care Foundation board member.

Chief Marketing O cer Lee Industrial Contracting

As the company’s rst CMO, Trost executed a successful West Michigan market entry for Lee Industrial through consumer and talent attraction marketing campaigns in 2020. Her ongoing marketing responsibilities include digital, outdoor and radio advertising, direct mail campaigns and local sponsorships to elevate Lee’s brand in the Grand Rapids region. ese e orts resulted in a 128 percent increase in web tra c from the region in 202122.

Additionally, Trost has served on the Central Michigan University Broadcast and Cinematic Arts Alumni advisory board for the past 12 years. She is also chair of CREW Detroit’s nance and budget committee and was selected to serve on the national CREW Network communication and editorial advisory committee. CREW supports the advancement of women in the real estate industry.

“Jacqueline’s attention to detail, marketing knowledge, communications and video skills helped take CREW to the next level,” said CREW Detroit President Jennifer omas.

Marten van Pelt Chief Marketing O cer

Plante Moran

In the three years since accepting the CMO role, van Pelt has helped increase rm revenue by 35 percent and marketing sta by 40 percent. He now manages an annual marketing budget of approximately $23 million and leads a team of more than 110 professionals.

“Marten has taken the marketing strategy to a new level through his energy, innovation, and leadership,” said Plante Moran Managing Partner Jim Proppe. Under van Pelt’s direction, Plante Moran evolved to a digital- rst buyer environment to target speci c prospects and existing clients. He also led the creation of the rm’s Modern Marketer University, which provides development opportunities for marketing sta .

As a senior member of the Association for Accounting Marketing, a group of 10 rms, van Pelt launched an e ort to understand how accounting rms can better understand client needs.

Van Pelt is partnering with community focused CMOs to build an organization focused on introducing more Black, Indigenous and people of color to the eld of marketing.

Jamie Kaye Walters

Chief Operating O cer and Head of Marketing and Talent

VVK PR + Creative

A founding partner of the agency, Walters is responsible for its website, social media and all brand materials for the $2.7 million company. She is the rm’s lead consultant on marketing, public relations and video initiatives with such clients as New Detroit Inc., Detroit Future City, Business Leaders for Michigan and the Village Network of Battle Creek.

Moreover, Walters contributes to business strategy and direction and cultivates new business relationships and strategic partnerships. And she runs VVK’s diversity, equity and inclusion and engagement initiatives.

Walters has served on the InsideOut Literary Arts, Detroit Artists Market and Detroit Public eatre boards.

“Jamie has that great Detroit talent for marrying form with function. Always mindful of the endpoint, she insists on applying elevating creativity,” said WDIV Anchor Devin Scillian. “Her producing ‘Flashpoint’ meant I had a creative partner who always had an artistic eye on the program’s higher potential on both the content and marketing side.”

Principal and Executive Creative Director

seeds Marketing+Design

Zwolak founded seeds Marketing+Design in 2008. He transitioned the agency from producing live-marketing experiences to building and managing digital portals to support day-to-day corporate communications and virtual events.

He manages 10 full-time professionals collectively responsible for serving clients such as Audi, Great Lakes Co ee Roasting Company, Volkswagen, Bell’s Brewery, Ven Johnson Law PLC, Buick/GMC, X nity, OnStar and Oakland Family Services.

In partnership with the College for Creative Studies, Zwolak supported the rebranding of Life Remodeled and was instrumental in developing the concept and creative materials with CCS for Life Remodeled’s Lean on We campaign.

“Dan is a creative genius. His strategic, fun and hands-on approach, commitment to our mission and passion for his work ensures our stories are seen and heard e ectively,” said Life Remodeled Founder and CEO Chris Lambert.


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Listed alphabetically

Berrien Springs49104


Grand Rapids49506





Mount Pleasant (and other locations)48859



Howell48843 517-338-3332

MBA, doctor of business administration Auburn Hills, Cadillac, Jackson, Muskegon, Owosso, Royal Oak

M.S. in administration, M.S. in information systems; MBA; master of arts in economics, M.A. in economics; online master of entrepreneurial ventures; doctorate in health administration, educational technology

Full time, part time, evenings, weekends, in person, hybrid and online Varies by degree Varies by degree $770 2


Grand Rapids49525


Warren, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Lansing 48092 810-459-0587


Ypsilanti48197 734-487-4444

Big Rapids49307-2284



Grand Rapids49504





South eld48075






East Lansing48824 517-355-8377









Rapids Kalamzaoo


Grand Rapids, Lansing, Midland


but MBA can be completed with 70%


Full time, part time, evenings, and/or online. Executive MBA available. 2.75 (3.0 for MSA, MSF, MST) 450 (500 for MSA or MST; 550 for MSF). Waived for quali ed candidates. $939

MBA, Executive MBA, M.S. in accounting. M.S. in taxation Grand Rapids Part time, hybrid, full time(for MSA only) 3.0 NA NA

Flint Online, full time3.0 NR $945 4

South eld Full time, part time, and online 3.0 Not required unless undergrad GPA is under 3.0 $1421 5

Livonia and online Part time, evenings, weekends and online 3.0 NR $980

VariesVaries $842

MBAs: full time and executive; M.S. degrees in accounting, accounting and data analytics, business data science and analytics, customer experience management, nance, nancial planning and wealth management, health care management, management strategy and leadership, marketing research, supply chain management. Ph.D.s in accounting, nance, information technology management, logistics, management, marketing, operations, and sourcing management.

East Lansing, Troy

Houghton Campus, full time, part time 3.0 550/NR$1228

|ThislistisanapproximatecompilationofcollegeswithaphysicalpresenceinMichigan.Informationforthislistwasprovidedbytheschoolsthroughsurveysortheirwebsites.Itisnotacomplete listing,butthemostcomprehensiveavailable.NA=notavailable.NR=notrequired.NOTES:

1. CostpercreditfortheMBAisdiscounted33%fromfulltuition,$850/credit.

5. The average cost of one graduate credit hour for the 2023-2024 year.

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administration; MSA in organizational managementBerrien Springs On campus, online, o campus 2.60Varies $1267 1
Grand Rapids Part time, full time3.0, two years work experience NA $673
616-632-2924 Master
Flint48507 800-469-3165 Online, full time, and part time 2.5 Optional$600 for graduate; $750 for doctorate
Clinton Township, Dearborn, Detroit, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Traverse City, Saginaw, South eld, Troy
Online, blended2.5 NR $858 3
MBA in strategic leadership; MBA in health care leadership; MBA in analytical e ciency; MBA in women's leadership; MBA in leadership; MBA in sports administration; MBA in digital marketing; M.S. in culture, change and leadership; M.S. is human resource management
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY - ANN ARBOR Ann Arbor48105 734-995-7300
Full time, part time, evenings and online 3.0 NR MBA: $799; master of science in business analytics: $806; doctor of business administration: $867
Fully online MBA with 14 concentrations and doctorate in business administration (DBA) with three concentrations.
Full time, evenings, online 2.7 NR $565
MBA; MBA concentrations in health care administration, global business, project management, nance; doctor of education in organizational leadership and development
In-seat and online, full or part time, days and evenings 2.75N/A NA
MBA, BBA, nursing, computer science, cybersecurity, accounting, urban education, data analytics
MBA (general or choose from 13 specializations); M.S. degrees in accounting, nance, human resources/organizational development; information systems; integrated marketing communications; tax consulting
to face. Online or in classroom3.00GMAT or GRE are not required $711
MBA; master of science, information security and intelligence; master of science, criminal justice administration; master of science, data science and analytics All
MBA with certi cate programs in global leadership, supply chain and ERP, operations management, health care management; tech MBA with focus in data analytics and big data, advanced mobility, new energy and sustainability, materials science and engineering, advanced manufacturing, systems engineering, logistics & supply chain management; M.S. in engineering management with concentrations in technology leadership, supply chain and ERP, operations management, healthcare management, global leadership; M.S. in operations management with concentrations in global leadership, operations management, supply chain and ERP, healthcare management; online MBA, M.S. in engineering management, M.S. in operations management and M.S. in supply chain management are also available
MBA in general business with concentrations in nance, human resources, project management, information technology, business analytics, and cybersecurity. MBA in accounting with concentrations in nance, human resources, project management, information technology, business analytics, and cybersecurity. MBA in marketing with concentrations in nance, human resources, project management, information technology, business analytics, and cybersecurity. MBA in information technology with concentrations in nance, human resources, project management, information technology, business analytics and cybersecurity. MBA in nance with concentrations in nance, human resources, project management, information technology, business analytics, and cybersecurity. M.S. in information technology with concentrations in project management, business analytics, and cybersecurity. M.S. in business data analytics. M.S. in healthcare administration. M.A. in global leadership and management. Graduate certi cate in cybersecurity. Graduate certi cate in health care management. Graduate certi cate in accounting, nance, and marketing healthcare. Graduate certi cate in project management. graduate certi cate in IT health care & global HC system. Dual degrees in MBA/architecture, MBA/ engineering management and MBA/information technology
MBA; M.S. in health services administration; online; M.S. in accountancy, online; nursing administration/business administration dual degree; M.S. in criminal justice leadership and intelligence; M.S. in business leadership; 4 certi cate programs
Full time, part time, evenings, weekends, and online
TechMBA, engineering management, accounting, and applied natural resource economics
Average cost per graduate credit hour.


Listed alphabetically





Marquette49855 906-227-2900



Midland48640 800-622-9000


Rochester Hills48309



Olivet49076 269-749-6612


Saginaw48710 989-964-6096


Adrian49221 (517) 264-7662


Spring Arbor49283 517-750-6611




MBA; 4+ 1 MBA with a concentration in accounting; health informatics graduate certi cate; master's of public administration (

Full time, part time, campus, online and evenings

of the GMAT, the undergraduate GPA and relevant work experience will be evaluated to determine eligibility.

12-month accelerated MBA, evening MBA, online MBA, M.S. in organizational leadership, science in nance, science in business analytics, human resources, doctor of business administration

MBA, 100% online MBA, weekend executive MBA, M.S. in IT management, M.S. in business analytics, master of accounting; graduate certi cates and post-master's certi cates o ered

MBA with concentrations in insurance, enterprise risk management and general business

Full-time and part-time programs, o ered in both online and inperson formats

100% online, partial online, part time or full time based on student choice, evenings, some Saturdays.

100% online with a exschedule format designed for the working professional.

MBA University Center Online, hybrid, part time, evenings

Master of arts in organizational leadership, health care leadership and higher education leadership; MBA Program; master of science in nursing

MBA with concentrations in health care administration, management; organizational consulting and executive leadership; master of arts in management and organizational leadership

MBA; JD/MBA; MBA/MSCIS; MBA/MHSA; MBA for health care professionals; 5-year BS/MBA, master of science in ethical leadership

Jackson, Monroe, Adrian, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Lansing, Dearborn, Kalamazoo

South eld, Temperance, Jackson, Spring Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint, Gaylord

Detroit: McNichols Campus; Detroit: Riverfront Campus; and online










Ann Arbor48109



Windsor, OntarioN9B 3P4



Troy48083 248-823-1600






Kalamazoo49008 269-387-5133

MBA, online MBA, M.S. in accounting, M.S.-business analytics, M.S. in nance, online MS in nance, M.S.-information systems, online MS-marketing, M.S.-supply chain management. MBA dual degrees with M.S. in nance, M.S.-information systems, M.S.-supply chain management, MSE in industrial and systems engineering, and master of health services administration. Dual M.S. in accounting and M.S. in nance.


Face to face (one night a week) or online, hybrid

Part time MBA, full-time MBA, and online MBA; part time or full-time M.S. in ethical leadership; graduate certi cates available in business fundamentals; nance; forensic accounting; ethical leadership and change management

In-person degree programs are o ered in the evenings at the Dearborn campus, but also include numerous online course options. Online degree programs can be completed fully online, but also o er numerous in-person course options.

3.0Can be waived with professional experience.

$884 2

Competitive with applicant pool

Competitive with applicant pool


MBA with concentrations in: accounting, computer information systems, nance, health care management, international business, supply chain management, marketing & innovation management, and organizational leadership; M.S. in accounting; M.S. in leadership and organizational dynamics; graduate certi cate in business; post-master's certi cates in accounting, nance, international business, marketing, organizational leadership; doctor of business administration (online)

Full time MBA, online MBA, global MBA, executive MBA, master of management, master of accounting, master of supply chain management, master of business analytics and Ph.D.

Ann Arbor

MBA; master's in management, professional accounting specialization, managers and professionals, engineering management Windsor

MBA; STEM MBA; M.S. degrees in accounting, data analytics, nance, information technology, information technology leadership, management, marketing, taxation; dual MBA/M.S. in nance, dual MBA/M.S. in IT leadership, dual MBA/M.S. in management, dual MBA/M.S. marketing; graduate certi cates in cybersecurity, data analytics, global program and project management, human resource management and strategic business communications

MBA; MBA-J.D. dual; M.D./M.B.A. dual; M.S. degrees in accounting, nance, data science & business analytics; executive M.S. in automotive supply chain management; Ph.D. in business administration

Troy; classes at Macomb University Center, Oakland Community College-Orchard Ridge and St. Clair County Community College

All degrees can be completed online. Also o er ex courses, where students choose whether to take courses in person, over Zoom or 100% online. Programs can be completed part time or full time.

Full time, part-time (weekend and online), and executive education

Full time, onlineNAGenerally required but can be waived in some circumstances.

Business and technology, full time, part time, evenings, on ground and online/remote

Detroit Full time, part time, evenings, weekends and online


VariesNR $924


waivers available to eligible applicants.

GMAT 450; GRE 149 Verbal/149 Quantitative; Ph.D. 600 GMAT


MBA, M.S. in accountancy, graduate certi cate and M.S. in cybersecurity, M.S. in nance and graduate certi cates in nance and nance technology

Grand Rapids, KalamazooEvening courses (full or part time), online

$855.09 (resident); $1714.14 (nonresident)

$730.78 per credit hour (resident);

$1,096.17 per credit hour (nonresident); $730.78 per credit hour (online)

|ThislistisanapproximatecompilationofcollegeswithaphysicalpresenceinMichigan.Informationforthislistwasprovidedbytheschoolsthroughsurveysortheirwebsites.Itisnotacomplete listing,butthemostcomprehensiveavailable.NA=notavailable.NR=notrequired.NOTES:

1. ForMichiganresidentsandnonresidents.

2. U.S.,Canada,Mexicopercredithour.

3. CollegeofBusinessgraduatetuitionforMichiganresidents,including course premiums. Discounts apply after the eighth credit-hour within each semester.

4. Also known as Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

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APRIL 24, 2023 | C RAI N’S DET ROI T BUS I NESS | 21
$741 1
score is not required for admission
2.75NR $904
3.0450 $681.75
(Michigan residents)
3.0NR NA
$1070 3
VariesGMAT is not
VariesNR NA


INSIDE: There are nonpro ts and agencies that help train the formerly incarcerated, and the city of Detroit o ers job aid, as well. PAGES 24-25

COMMENTARY: A job o ers parolees more than a second chance, and other factors that encourage success for those recently out of prison. PAGE 26



Kevin Harris had a shot at a good job with a Detroit automaker when he got out of prison in 2006 after a 15-year stretch for drug crimes.

For starters, he knew the automaker was open to hiring ex-felons. Harris applied, passed his drug test, and was scrupulously honest about listing his felony convictions on his application. But he had forgotten one — he stole a car when he was 17 — and the employer spotted it during a background check. It cost Harris the job.

at such an error or lapse in memory could block access to a good job shows the kinds of roadblocks the formerly incarcerated face looking for work. And it shows the pain that even newly freed people still nd at every turn.

“It was really, really, really hard,” Harris recalled in an April interview.

“A lot of times you can get hired for menial positions, hard labor positions, but when you try to elevate yourself to certain things, those barriers are there. It was devastating to me. It hurt my heart.”

Eventually, he turned his life around. He went back to school, found work as a paralegal for lawyers willing to accept his record, and studied for the ministry. Six years ago he became pastor of Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit’s North End district, where he works with young Black men facing the same sort of challenges that he did growing up in a Detroit neighborhood ooded with drugs and guns.

“It’s easy to start sliding back into what you used to do,” Harris said.

“It’s vital that people that are in positions to help somebody give them a chance, if we’re going to have a

better community out here.”

Removing barriers

For the formerly incarcerated, barriers to good jobs come in many forms: Reluctance by employers to hire ex-felons, regulatory bans on hiring the formerly incarcerated for certain professional licenses, lack of education and mental health issues, among a host of others.

Given the roadblocks facing those returning citizens looking for meaningful work, society ought to pay more attention, said Stephanie Hartwell, a criminal justice expert who is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University. In Michigan alone, there are now more than 30,000 people held in state prisons, with thousands more locked up in local jails or federal institutions.

The percent of 2018 parolees who returned to prison within three years, after either a technical violation or a new sentence.

9.9% or less 10%-19.9% 20%-29.9% 30%-39.9% 40%-49.9% 50% or more

LOWEST RECIDIVISM (Six-way tie, designated with a red dot) Arenac, Kalkaska, Menominee, Missaukee, Ontonagon and Sanilac: 0%



Mackinac: 57.1%


Genesee: 20.6%

Lapeer: 16.7%

Lenawee: 22.1%

Livingston: 20.2%

Macomb: 19.6%

Monroe: 20.4%

Oakland: 24.0%

St. Clair: 20.8%

Washtenaw: 24.1%

Wayne: 26.1%

While some of the barriers of post-prison life have eased, more needs to be done |
Kevin Harris, after being denied a job when he forgot to list one of his prison sentences on an application, went to school and now is pastor of Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. NIC ANTAYA/CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS

“We need to be better at it because 95 percent of people incarcerated are coming back into the community,” she said. “If we’re not open to employing them, we’re not going to have good outcomes.”

e good news is that in many ways Michigan is doing better with prisoner re-entry than the nation. Michigan’s recidivism rate — the percentage of released prisoners rearrested — is pegged at just over 26 percent, below the national rate. Michigan ranks as the eighth lowest state for recidivism out of 42 states for which data are available, according to the WiseVoter data reporting website.

But before Michigan pats itself on the back, remember that Michigan, like all states, locks up its residents at a rate far higher than any other western democracy. To cite one statistic: Michigan reports a lower rate of violent crime than France but incarcerates people at roughly ve times the rate that France does.

Put simply, the American criminal justice system is dramatically more punitive than that found in most democracies. Michigan’s numerous programs for returning citizens are attempting to cure a problem made worse by the state’s own actions.

at said, Michigan continues to inch toward more solutions to get the formerly incarcerated back into the workforce.

Truly a ‘clean slate’

In mid-April, an important next

phase of the state’s Clean Slate legislation took e ect, creating automatic expungement of past criminal records for many ex-o enders. Wiping out past criminal records can be essential to clearing various licensing and employment hurdles and removing the stigma of past convictions.

Expungement was already possible under an earlier version of Clean Slate, but the latest rollout is much more signi cant, said John Cooper, executive director of Safe & Just Michigan, a Lansing-based nonpro t that works for criminal justice reform.

“Only a few thousand expungements (were) granted each year because it’s a cumbersome process so this will be orders of magnitude more than that,” he said.

Not all criminal records are eligible to be wiped clean. Violent crimes such as homicide, manslaughter, rape and armed robbery will remain on one’s record, as will tra c o enses that caused death or injury or a conviction for driving while intoxicated.

But even with those limitations, thousands of people incarcerated long ago for nonviolent o enses will now have their records automatically wiped clean, making it that much easier to nd employment.

And some of the examples show how long a conviction can dog someone. The Oakland County Clean Slate Program, a partnership between the county and Michigan

Works!, offers examples: There was a mother of four who stole two rolls of aluminum foil from a store in 1981 and had the misdemeanor conviction on her record until 2022.

A 17-year-old received a felony conviction for larceny in 1990 and was unable to obtain her CPA license despite having earned a mas-

ter’s degree in accounting. She finally had her conviction set aside in 2022.

Helping each other

Lansing-based nonpro t Nation

Outside is run entirely by formerly incarcerated people who work to

ease the transition back into the workforce for men and women like themselves.

One of them: Tony Gant spent 20 years in Michigan prisons before release in 2015 and he faced a dismal employment prospect.

See ROADBLOCKS on Page 24

Working to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.
After prison, Tony Gant found a temp job with Quality Dairy in Lansing. That gig turned into full time and he rose to warehouse manager before joining the sta of Nation Outside, a Lansing nonpro t, where he is policy director. | NIC ANTAYA/CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS

Agencies, nonpro ts o er path to success

e nonpro t Southwest Solutions in Detroit o ers job-training classes leading to a commercial driver’s license needed for a truck driving career.

Among those who took advantage of it was Tremayne Guin, who did eight years of a 10-year sentence in federal prison for a nonviolent drug o ense.

Released early during the coronavirus pandemic, he was able to get a seat in the training class and in a little over two months had his license. He now works as a driver taking trash from a local dump site to land lls.

“ e program was a blessing,” he said. “I’m trying to change my life. I know I can’t sell drugs anymore. I’m an example. If you want to change, you can change.”

Contact information for its various programs and training assistance is listed at

Other organizations o ering assistance:

Fresh Coast Alliance

Based in Muskegon and founded in 2013, the Fresh Coast Alliance provides one-on-one counseling and other services for the recently released.

Leadership includes the Rev. Joe Whalen as executive director and Nate

Johnson, who served more than 12 years in Michigan prisons and who had promised he would “help clean up what he messed up” when released. For more on its reentry, training and counseling programs, visit

Vocational Village

For the past few years, the Michi-

‘Imposter syndrome’ and other obstacles

Former Michigan prison inmate

Terrell Topps calls it “imposter syndrome,” a gnawing sense in one’s gut that as a formerly incarcerated person, you don’t belong in normal society even after release.

Sometimes it leads to paranoia, as when an ex-prisoner now in a university class will see another student using Google and presume the student is looking up his record.

Other times it leads to acute embarrassment. Jonathan Roden spent 23 years in Michigan prisons and had to learn everything anew when he got out.

“I didn’t know how to work my cellphone, I didn’t know how to work my computer,” he said. “I got out and I was lost. Every day I wake up, I’m constantly learning how to use this system, that system.”

Paying at a restaurant, Roden said, he had to learn it’s expected to hand cash to a cashier because in prison he never had direct physical contact with a corrections o cer. If

he had to hand a guard some paperwork, he’d just place it on the table.

“You don’t realize how much social communication skills you lose when you’re in prison,” Roden said. “It doesn’t do me any good to hold the door for someone (in prison). You constantly throw those things away. Coming back, I didn’t have those things anymore. It was real embarrassing, little things that you don’t even pay attention to.”

gan Department of Corrections has operated its Vocational Village training programs at selected prisons. e training covers in-demand elds including carpentry, commercial truck driving, cosmetology, 3D printing/ robotics, food technology/hospitality and horticulture.

A report to the state legislature on the program cited good results: Some 69 percent of program grads on parole

were employed, and only 11 percent had returned to prison, lower than the state’s overall recidivism rate.

e state has information on the various training options at michigan. gov/corrections/offender-success/ vocational-village.

Freedom Ink

Leaving prison behind can also

How Michigan compares to neighboring states



From Page 23

Tremayne Guin, a Detroit resident recently released from federal prison after doing eight years for a drug o ense, put it this way: “Being able to take care of yourself, that’s the hardest thing. When you’re gone that long, you’ve got to nd your way with everything. ings change in a year, let alone eight years.”

“When I was released in 2015 what I found that, as a person with a violent conviction, it was really di cult to get just a simple job,” he said. “ e staing companies were not willing to take me on. It was just a real big hurdle to overcome, when you desperately want to get your life back on track, and to be unable to get something as fundamental as a job is pretty depressing.”

Eventually he found a temp warehouse job with Quality Dairy in Lan-

sing. e day-to-day gig turned into full time and eventually he rose to warehouse manager before joining the sta of Nation Outside, where today he is policy director.

“People who have served long periods of time oftentimes are the most ambitious people you’re going to meet,” Gant said. “I just want employers to understand that.”

A path for education

A relatively new e ort based at Wayne State University called the Educational Transition Coordination program helps get recently released

mean shedding some of the body ink that may scare o certain employers. Freedom Ink is a volunteer service o ered by medical personnel through the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. to remove tattoos for people coming out of prison or a gang lifestyle.

e service is provided at DHDC ofces at 1211 Trumbull, Detroit. For more information, call (313) 967-4880.

people into job training and university classes.

Created in 2021 through a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Michigan Justice Fund and overseen by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Social Work, the ETC program helps those enrolling in postsecondary institutions ranging from trade schools to small colleges to major universities.

A dozen men are now enrolled in classes, seven at Wayne State and ve in various community colleges. Program sta ers at Wayne State are working with about 300 others soon to be released from Michigan prisons to

2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 1,514
Tremayne Guin got job training after prison from Southwest Solutions in Detroit. “The program was a blessing,” he said. “I’m trying to change my life.” NIC ANTAYA/CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS
—Jonathan Roden
Probationers (per 100,000) Parolees (per 100,000) Incarceration rate (per 100,000) 400 300 200 100 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 500 500 300 200 100 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 172 400 *THREE-YEAR RATE AS OF OCTOBER 2021. SOURCE: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CORRECTIONS/VIRIGINIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Detroit focuses e orts on hiring the formerly incarcerated

City o ers training and helps with job search


Marcus Fleming had been to prison three times on drug charges when he started a program through the city of Detroit to earn his commercial driver’s license. From there, he drove dump trucks for the city, later got a heavy equipment certi cation and was ultimately hired as a team lead in Detroit’s demolition department.

“I wanted to do something that feels ful lling, that feels like it has a purpose,” Fleming said. “I wanted to rewrite my story and do something positive.”

A number of formerly incarcerated residents — “returning citizens,” in the city’s parlance — have gotten job training through Detroit at Work programs like Skills for Life, then gone on to work for the city or other outside organizations. Hiring and training residents who have served time has become an administration priority, and at a recent job fair for those with convictions, the city hired two of the ve people who got jobs on the spot.

Two job fairs in the past year have had nearly 200 participants, with almost 40 people getting job o ers both inside and outside city government and dozens more signing up for training programs, completing pre-employment applications or beginning the process to expunge their criminal records. Additionally, nearly 4,000 people have had their criminal records expunged through a city program dating back to 2016.

Todd Bettison, Detroit’s deputy mayor, said residents who have served time deserve a second chance and it’s the city’s duty to support them.

“Our responsibility and our job is to

create opportunity for Detroiters,” he said. “Where there are inequities, we want to create a level playing eld.”

Bettison said incarceration is supposed to be rehabilitative and employment prohibitions for those who have felony records can be detrimental for their families and the city as a whole. By hiring the formerly incarcerated, he said, the city has been able to contribute to a lower unemployment rate and improve stability for residents.

“Detroiters are very prideful. ey don’t want a handout,” he said. “ ey want to participate and do their part. It allows them to participate in the community. If you can’t provide for your children, your family, you don’t feel worthy. When you give them these opportunities, it changes their whole world.”

Fleming, 52, said programs to help nd jobs for people who have been released from prison are likely benecial for residents and for the city — he thinks they will lead to a reduction in crime, help minimize recidivism and improve the lives of individuals and their families.

“ is will really help out a lot; it’ll change the city in a di erent direction,” he said. “I think when guys realize there’s an opportunity out there for them, that there’s hope, it gives them another option.”

Fleming decided during his last prison stint that he didn’t want to go back. His granddaughter was born while he was away, he had a lot of therapy and he came to the conclusion that it was more important to his family that he be present in their lives than he earn money by selling drugs. If he had continued down that path, he said, he was likely heading toward a

life sentence. Four weeks into his new position with demolition, Fleming said he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“I can’t live my whole life like this and end up dying in prison,” he said. “I sent my family through a lot. It’s not something I want to send them through again.”

Detroit City Councilman Fred Durhal chairs the Returning Citizens Task Force. He said equitable employment and fair housing opportunities for those who have been released from prison have long been a passion of his. Since the largest percentage of the state’s prison population comes from Southeast Michigan, its most populated area, Durhal said, it’s incumbent on city leaders to be proactive about the conditions people will face and the opportunities they will have when they return home.

Programs like the city’s, he said, help knock down barriers.

“Obviously, it is a huge issue,” Durhal said. “We call it corrections, but if we’re not correcting conditions ... we’re doing ourselves a disservice. We need to create an environment that’s conducive for them to thrive.”

Detroit has a moral responsibility to help the formerly incarcerated nd work, he said, to set an example

for other employers to follow suit. e training programs are vital, Durhal said, to help people gain better opportunities.

“If it’s not our responsibility, then it is our problem,” he said.

Fleming said he found barriers to some trucking jobs he had applied for when potential employers learned about his record. He said it was meaningful not only that the city hired him, but that there were classes dealing with professional etiquette and resolving workplace issues designed to make him and others feel comfortable in the type of professional setting they may not have experienced before.

“ ey want us to succeed,” he said. “ ey really, really want to help us.”

When she started hiring workers who had felony convictions, LaJuan Counts, director of Detroit’s Construction and Demolition Department, said she didn’t know what to expect. She had some concerns about whether she might unknowingly hire rivals still carrying a beef,

department was spending more on social services for its employees.

But she said those workers came ready to commit and ready to work. Any stigmas, she said, just aren’t fair.

“ ey just work from a di erent mindset,” she said. “You shouldn’t be punished for the rest of your life because you made a mistake.”

e city doesn’t ask employees if they have a criminal record when they’re hired, so there’s no way to track how many city workers do. But Counts said she knows nearly a quarter of her department’s 108 employees spent time in prison and she said she’s actively looking for more employees who have.

“I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “When you say you’re committed to the community, you take people as they are.”

She said since she’s been intentional about trying to nd formerly incarcerated workers, it’s been easy to do so. While she said there’s still more work that can be done, she thinks Detroit is doing more than a lot of other places to give people access to jobs.

qualify them for the program.

Among much else, the program helps incarcerated or newly freed people understand how to transfer college credits, apply for nancial aid, and otherwise move from the rigidly controlled environment of a prison into a modern workforce training world.

“What people would call gaps in the road, they’re Grand Canyons in the road for men coming home that don’t know how to navigate those things,” said Terrell Topps, a sta coordinator with the program at Wayne State who was himself incarcerated in Michigan for 15 years.

Formerly incarcerated men and women almost always need job training or higher education when released because so many lack educational credentials or job experience. A 2016 national survey of educational achievement among incarcerated adults found that only 1 percent of prison inmates had a bachelor’s degree compared to 17 percent in the population at large. And 30 percent of inmates had less than a high school education, more than twice the rate for U.S. households, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Such programs are important, Har-

ris, the Detroit pastor, says. “ e hardest thing about coming home from prison is the lack of resources and trying to gure out how you’re going to make it when you’re facing so many barriers,” he said. “Coming home from prison you’re facing barriers to getting jobs, you’re facing barriers to housing, barriers even to be able to raise and support your kids. I call it post-conviction poverty, and it’s a huge barrier for those who are coming home from prison.”

Building up workers

If nothing else, society is being

or whether her employees would show up to work every day. But she said employees who have been released from prison are the strongest workforce she’s ever had.

It’s not that there were no challenges. Some workers had trouble securing housing and there was a need to work around required report times for those on parole. Counts said the

For his part, Fleming said he’s glad that after more than a combined 12 years in prison, and more than a dozen arrests, he’s found another path. His colleagues who have also served time in prison are excelling in their jobs at the city because they understand that they have an opportunity there that they wouldn’t normally have. ey value the work, he said, and feel valued in return.

“It means everything,” Fleming said of Detroit’s e orts. “It shows the city doesn’t judge guys like me who came home from prison. ... I just want to keep bringing more people on board.”

Contact:; (313) 446-6774; @ArielleKassCDB

forced to take second looks at returning citizens because the labor market is so tight.

As Nation Outside’s Gant says, “As a result of this labor crunch, people who traditionally were very hesitant about bringing on people with criminal convictions are coming to us trying to gure out how to bring them in. Employers are starting to rethink those blanket bans.”

But integration back into the workforce requires more than a low unemployment rate or any one single program or policy. Criminal justice advocates have backed multiple reform measures, some of which

may be easier to implement than others.

Among those: Expand internet access in prisons where it is often denied to prisoners; ease or end restrictions on occupational licensing for those with criminal records; and expand oversight and regulation of the criminal background check industry.

But all these moves and others presume society truly believes in giving the formerly incarcerated what they need most. As Harris puts it, “We just have to continue doing a better job of promoting second chances.”

APRIL 24, 2023 | C RAI N’S DET ROI T BUS I NESS | 25
Bettison Counts
Recidivism percent rate* Prison employees 15,000 12,000 9,000 6,000 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 11,941 40% 30 20 10 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 26.6% Prison budget $2.5 million 2.0 1.5 1.0 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. $2.1 million Number of prisons 40 30 20 10 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 31 3,000 No data No data 0.5 Number of jails 125 100 75 50 0 Mich.Ohio Ind.Ill. Wis. U.S. 88 25
—Marcus Fleming, who served 12 years in prison and now works in Detroit’s demolition department.


A job is more than a second chance

April is Second Chance

Month in Michigan and nationwide. It signi es the importance of jurisdictions reintegrating people with criminal records into community life. is includes removing barriers and creating opportunities for returning citizens to fully participate in society, and especially in the workforce.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record. is often prohibits returning citizens from accessing a multitude of employment opportunities. A criminal record is often an automatic disquali cation for employers conducting background checks on job applicants. at means that about 70 million people in America struggle to participate in the workforce. Research has consistently shown that the inability to nd stable employment increases the likelihood of re-incarceration. It is also linked to unstable housing, poor mental health and violence.

In Michigan, an estimated 2 million to 3 million people have criminal convictions, with about 45,000 felonies and 200,000 misdemeanor convictions issued annually. For those Michiganders, a criminal record follows them long after their sentence. ese barriers are often permanent. ese factors led to Michigan enacting the Clean Slate law, which started to automatically expunge certain convictions


beginning this month.

Poverty and violence work in tandem in the lives of people involved in the criminal justice system, particularly for people of color who are overrepresented in it. Despite making up about 13 percent of the total Michigan population, a staggering half of Michigan’s prisoners are Black. Gun violence disproportionately impacts Black communities.

Black people in Michigan are 21 times more likely than white people to die of gun violence. It is no surprise, then, that the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of people with records and levels of violence are the same.

Meaningfully reintegrating returning citizens into the workforce is more than a second chance; it is a matter of life and death and helps achieve racial equity. I know this for a fact. I was released from a state prison 17 years ago, wondering what life would be like. e rst employment

“chance” someone gave me was working at a Dunkin’ Donuts making $7.25 per hour. e next was at a local tness facility. e next, at a sales ofce, and so on. ese opportunities allowed me to support myself while I attended school. It gave me a sense of dignity, and provided the space and time away from the streets that were home for so many years.

More importantly, I met people, built relationships and increased my

social capital and con dence. Eventually, I earned my Ph.D. and I now work to improve the lives of others as a program o cer in e Joyce Foundation’s Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform program. I now work at the intersection of empirical evidence and personal experience: my doctoral dissertation examined how housing insecurity impacts involvement in the criminal justice system. I learned that the economic conditions of people with records are foundational and, if not addressed, people cycle in and out of jails and prisons for much of their lives.

Getting here, for me, represents more than a “second chance” — it represents a full embrace. A multitude of chances allowed me to make

mistakes, learn, grow and be human.

e more we embrace this humanity the better we will be.

e work of the Michigan Justice Fund, a collaborative of statewide and national funders focused on advancing criminal justice reform, provides another important example.

Earlier this year, the fund announced that it will provide nearly $3 million to organizations that support returning citizens. ese resources will help increase economic mobility for people returning from incarceration and include workforce training and wraparound resources like transportation, health care and mentorships.

ese resources represent more than just a job. e work of the Michigan Justice Fund and the enactment

of automatic record expungement are examples of eliminating bureaucratic barriers and facilitating meaningful second chances. rough the e orts of the fund and its organizational bene ciaries, more returning citizens in Michigan will be positioned to secure meaningful jobs, expand their capacity to support themselves and their families, develop leadership skills and gain dignity, respect and con dence.

As we celebrate another Second Chance Month, policymakers must continue expanding eligibility for relief and decrease waiting periods for eligible returning citizens. Supporting the critical work of organizations like the Michigan Justice Fund is fundamental to advancing those e orts.

‘Reset principle,’ other factors could aid parole success

Workforce shortages are plaguing the business community as well as nonprofits across the state. Yet there is an often overlooked and plentiful workforce among those with felony convictions.

Over 20 million people in the U.S. have been convicted of a felony, the majority never sentenced to prison. However, there are often additional consequences associated with that conviction. ose with a felony conviction are excluded from hundreds of professions and, depending on the state, may be prohibited from receiving various social services (housing access, food stamps) — irrespective of incarceration status.

For those who were incarcerated, there are additional hurdles to overcome.

E orts to “ban the box” on employment applications have been helpful in advancing applicants forward without attention to criminal history. However, background checks are frequently used before -

nalizing a hire and decades-old convictions are still visible to the employer. is information and disclosure around conviction results in further scrutiny by human resources, often using methods of inquiry that can be stigmatizing and inconsistent with best practices or current research.

Consider a 45-year-old man convicted of burglary when he was 18 years old who has committed no further crimes. Every time he applies for a new job, he has to disclose the conviction, subjecting himself to in-

quiries that take him back to the “worst day of his life” in an attempt for the employer to discern the potential risk of this hire.

Researchers at the Rand Corporation advocate for the “reset principle,” which requires that a person’s risk be estimated at the time a background check is conducted, rather than at the time of last interaction with the criminal justice system.

e reset principle implores that, in the above case, we consider the 27 years of no criminal activity rather than returning to exploring and judging the behavior of an 18-year-old.

e research underlying the reset principle says that in a rather short period of time (three years for nonviolent and seven years for assaultive or multiple o enses), the risk of future criminal involvement is the same for the person with the previous felony as it is to the general public or any other hire without a felony. Knowing that the risk of future criminal behavior diminishes quite drastically with time is important, but it

does not eradicate the e ects of incarceration on an individual or the supports needed upon reentry.

Incarceration freezes time and awareness of how the world outside is changing and advancing. Individual and family problems present prior to incarceration are likely compounded by separation and the isolation experienced inside.

Returning citizens have hopes and dreams of a second chance after using time inside to better themselves mentally and physically. A chance at redemption, if you will, which provides an opportunity to demonstrate value to family and society. Although somewhat prepared for challenges and stigma, most returning citizens nd that society isn’t as accepting as they hoped and the employment search becomes daunting.

Not only is there constant rejection but unrelenting challenges in access to, and understanding of, technology. Imagine our rapid change to the online environment of Zoom during COVID and how di cult online interviews and applications may be after separation from technology for many years (i.e., no cellphones or internet access in prison).

For those who do end up in pris-

on, employment is a critical factor in their success while on parole. People on parole are required to nd immediate employment. e longer a person is unsuccessful in obtaining employment once released, the more likely restrictive measures of movement can increase (i.e., curfews). Lack of employment compounds the ability to pay previous nes and the cost of parole supervision (which is passed on to the individual), but also the ability to earn money for housing and transportation. ese stressful conditions increase anxiety, depression and anger, and may culminate in a defeatist attitude. is catastrophic thinking is a major risk factor for those on parole.

For people at the highest risk of recidivating, parole supervision alone is not enough to break the cycle of reo ending. It must be paired with e ective treatment and programming, as well as pathways to employment and housing. Now is the perfect time to work with returning members of our community to build supportive networks and new personnel policies that build this valuable workforce resource. e success of our businesses and communities depends on it.

Dr. Quintin Williams is a program o cer in e Joyce Foundation’s Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform program.
Sheryl Kubiak (from left) is dean and professor of the Wayne State University School of Social Work and director of the school’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice. Larry West is a returning citizen coordinating the Crisis Response Initiative for the center. Terrell Topps is the rst-ever educational transition coordinator at Wayne State.


Last year, 120,000 people visited the center, up as much as 20 percent from the years prior to the pandemic, Director of Public Relations Tim Hinkle said.

e Vatican is currently considering the miracles people claim to have experienced as it considers the proposal to declare Casey a saint, Kropp said.

ose miracles include health issues reportedly cured after people have prayed at Casey’s tomb.

“It’s hard to believe it has been over ve years since we began, and the center and its surrounding neighborhood look very di erent today,” said David Van Elslander, board member of the A.A. Van Elslander Foundation and the son of the late Art Van Elslander, who made a $20 million gift to the center to support its expansion.

“We think the result honors the humility of Father Solanus Casey, fullls our father’s vision and will welcome people of all beliefs for generations to come,” his son said in an emailed statement.

Art Van Furniture founder Van Elslander made the gift in December 2017, just months before his death. e center launched the project in 2018.

Art Van Elslander realized after Casey was beati ed that there would be many more visitors to the center and that they should have a place to re ect after what might have been a long journey for some, said Diane Wells, executive director and board member of the Van Elslander Foundation.

“(He) saw the Solanus Casey Cen-


From Page 3

All told, the current situation hearkens back to a period many have never experienced, according to Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing-based economic consulting rm.

“ is is the rst time that many Michigan homeowners will face the kind of in ation that their parents and grandparents did back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s,” Anderson said. “A lot of them are going to be shocked.”

Crunching the numbers

So how do property taxes in Michigan work? e simple answer: In a rather complex manner.

A breakdown from Repicky puts it this way:

 ere are three values within a property tax assessment: the state equalized value, capped value and taxable value.

 e SEV accounts for 50 percent of a local assessor’s estimate of the true cash value of the home of Dec. 31 of the prior year.

 e capped value amounts to last year’s taxable value multiplied by either 5 percent (the cap), or that year’s in ation rate, which ever is lower.

 A home’s taxable value is the lesser of the SEV or the capped value. is scenario changes when a home is sold. At that point, at the start of the year after the sale, the previous owner’s capped value and taxable value are thrown out and the SEV — with adjustments for gains or losses in the surrounding neighborhood — becomes the new starting point for establishing property tax values.

ter as a place where people come for hope, and his initial wish was really very simple. He wanted visitors to have a place to enjoy a cup of co ee and a sandwich,” Wells said, the very thing Casey o ered the hungry who came to the St. Bonaventure Monastery for help decades earlier.

It was important for the foundation to collaborate with the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, the parent of the Solanus Casey Center and the neighboring St. Bonaventure Monastery and Capuchin Soup Kitchen, and to listen to provincial leadership to understand how Van Elslander’s vision complemented their needs, Wells said.

“Our commitment grew to include

Because of this scenario, a home that has been lived in by the previous owner for many years may have a low taxable value that will increase in the rst full year after a sale. ose “popup” taxes, as they’re called, are something that residential real estate executives say they work hard to make sure buyers understand so as to not induce sticker shock.

Per the Tax Foundation, as of 2020 Michigan stood at No. 13 in the country for highest property taxes, accounting for 1.44 percent of owner-occupied housing value.

As of 2018, property taxes accounted for nearly three-quarters of all local government tax collections in Michigan, and almost one-third of public revenue collected by state and local governments, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“Property taxes are something that everybody loves to hate. For taxpayers, they represent the largest tax burden most people face, despite the multiple tax limitations enacted over the years,” the CRC report says. “For local governments, the tax represents a critical revenue source to fund services, but one that struggles to provide enough revenue, on its own, to fully meet all local needs.”

A matter of education

e issue of property taxes — and talking about topics such as “uncapping” value — too often makes for an afterthought in the home-buying process, said Chris DeRosier, a sales development manager and mortgage loan consultant for John Adams Mortgage Co. based in South eld. But it’s something that has an “absolute impact,” and buyers need to be aware of the taxes.

items he had not contemplated, such as restoration of the St. Bonaventure chapel and steeple and renovations inside the center, as well as modi cations to the planned outdoor re ection and garden space.”

A saintly space

Over the past ve years, the center has completed the bulk of the project, adding a 5,000-square-foot expansion for a new gift shop and the cafe. Both opened last summer.

It also created a new confession chapel, a new reception area, relocated o ce and meeting space and painting and structural con gurations and installation of sacred art in the St.

“You can re nance interest rates,” DeRosier said. “You can’t re nance property taxes.”

To that end, Realtors and mortgage loan o cers say that a signi cant part of their jobs — particularly during a period like the present when taxes are at elevated levels — involves managing the expectations of clients and ensuring there are no surprises.

Ultimately, that comes down to education, said Robert Scalici, broker and owner with Re/Max Metropolitan in Shelby Township.

“So when I have buyers, I typically refer them to lenders that I know and trust,” Scalici said. “So that information from the lender back to the buyer is also conveyed, saying, ‘Hey, initially your principal, interest, taxes and insurance payment is going to be this. But once the new tax amount comes out, here’s what you can expect.’ And I always try to do the worst case scenario for them.”

Under a hypothetical example created for Crain’s by DeRosier, a home in which sellers have lived for more than 20 years with an SEV in 2022 of $125,000 and a taxable value of $74,000 with a millage rate of 41.5 mills, property taxes would be $3,071 annually.

Once the home is sold and 2023 becomes the uncapped year, the SEV would increase 9 percent year-overyear to $136,250 and the new taxes would ultimately increase to $5,654 annually.

e mortgage executive added that tax increases are not taken into account when qualifying buyers.

Given that, DeRosier said one of the rst questions he asks a new client is what is the monthly payment, all in, that they’re most comfortable with as a way to ensure against any major

acquisition became an issue. It also scrapped an earlier plan to acquire several houses in the area to serve as a place to stay for people traveling long distances to visit Casey’s tomb.

e center was able to raise the additional $3.6 million needed from the Van Elslander Foundation and other individual and corporate donors to cover the cost increases, Kropp said.

Work to nish the garden and outdoor cafe areas is now underway.

On Wednesday, crews were pouring new concrete and scoring it in a diagonal pattern that mimics brick pavers to create pathways through the garden that will have benches throughout. e paths will lead to a new entry way to the center, a votive wall with candles to light in remembrance of loved ones, the stations of the cross — Christian depictions of the path Jesus took to cruci xion — a rosary garden to guide Catholics in praying the rosary and outdoor cafe seating.

Bonaventure Chapel to return its appearance to the way it would have looked during Casey’s lifetime.

Outside, a new, 65-space parking lot across Kercheval Avenue from the center between Mt. Elliott and Meldrum streets greets visitors.

“No project of this magnitude succeeds without a great team,” Wells said, with a nod to architects Hamilton Anderson and Hathorne PLLC, general contractor Albert M. Highley Co. and project manager Doug Turnbull.

As it evolved and costs rose, the project was scaled back in some areas. e center did a one-story addition instead of two-story and added fewer parking areas than planned as land

sticker shock once a new tax assessment arrives.

Ultimately, DeRosier said the math works out like this: for every $1,000 in property taxes, it adds on just more than $83 in monthly payment for a buyer. At a median sales price of $219,900, that gure can start to become signi cant as buyers seek a new home.

“It could be an extra bedroom or a nished kitchen,” DeRosier said.

Policy prescriptions

While the surging property taxes being experienced this year are new to many homeowners, experts say the situation is unlikely to be limited to just this year. While in ation has cooled in recent months, it remains high, and Anderson, the economist, said he expects overall in ation to remain elevated for several years, meaning Michigan property taxes will likely continue to hit the 5 percent cap under Proposal A.

“In ation is still in the U.S. economy,” Anderson said.

“Michigan homeowners are seeing the unhappy fact that once it picks up it doesn’t go away quickly. I fear that we may have another 5 percent increase baked into 2024.”

Anderson and DeRosier, the mortgage loan o cer, noted that one perhaps-unintended consequence of Prop A — coupled with the rock-bottom interest rates of the COVID-19 pandemic era — is that people are now handcu ed to their homes due to

Completion of an outdoor assembly area envisioned for the north end of the garden along Mt. Elliott near Kercheval is on hold for now while the center catches its collective breath and works to raise the $1.5 million needed to complete that area, Kropp said.

e center is talking with an interested donor about a future commitment for that area, he said.

“ e project has absolutely exceeded our expectations, resulting in positive impact for not just the center, but for the surrounding neighborhood, while preserving its generational history,” Wells said. “It is our hope that this will serve as a catalyst for continued improvement in the area.”

Contact:; (313) 446-1694; @SherriWelch

lower taxes and mortgage rates. e Michigan Realtors trade association is keenly aware of the “rude awakening” many buyers and homeowners are seeing on their most recent tax bills, but is not working on any speci c legislation to address at the moment, said Brad Ward, vice president of public policy and legal a airs at the Lansing-based group.

Overturning Prop A, Ward noted, would take a constitutional amendment.

e group has been “looped in” on discussions in Detroit being led by Mayor Mike Duggan to overhaul the city’s property tax structure to tax based on land value, not improvements to structures. e Michigan Realtors trade group has not yet taken a position on such a policy call, Ward said.

Anderson said he’d expect some politicians to look at making changes

to Michigan’s property tax structure, but he also expects residents would broadly wish to keep the current system.

“I expect there will be more scrutiny,” he said. “But I also expect a lot of citizens are going to wake up and say, ‘I’m sure glad these protections are in our constitution.’”

Contact:; (313) 446-1626; @nickrmanes

APRIL 24, 2023 | C RAI N’S DET ROI T BUS I NESS | 27
From Page 3
—Chris DeRosier, sales development manager and mortgage loan consultant, John Adams Mortgage Co A new raised addition to the chapel at the Solanus Casey Center. QUINN BANKS FOR CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS


From Page 1

and families. But they are costly — as much as $30,000 per treatment.

Dr. Samantha Schon, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at University of Michigan Health’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, said the cost of treatments is one of the rst discussions she has with patients when going over fertility plans.

Between 1985 and 2018, the number of IVF procedures in the U.S. increased 153 times to more than 300,000 procedures per year. In 2018, IVF accounted for 2 percent of the roughly 3.8 million babies born in the U.S., according to data from the CDC.

“ e Blue Cross rider provided coverage for some initial care, but didn’t have a solution for adoption or surrogacy, for example,” said Johnson. “ ings are not as traditional as they once were, and we wanted to support all paths to parenthood. We need to support same-sex couples, single mothers or fathers and our traditional families equally.”

Fertility issues can stem from a litany of medical issues, including blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count, endometriosis, age and other reasons. Assisted conception solutions vary as well — from intrauterine insemination, where sperm is placed directly into the uterus at the time an ovary is released, to in vitro fertilization, where an egg is removed from a woman’s ovaries during an arti cial cycle and fertilized in a lab and returned to the womb.

Fertility treatments can also include medicines, freezing eggs, surgeries, surrogacy and adoption.

e Progyny plan is now embedded in the Pistons’ regular health care coverage, at no additional cost to the employees.

With a growing population of workers seeking expensive fertility treatments — and employers facing greater competition for talent — coverage is now becoming a standard part of bene ts packages. GETTY IMAGES Schon

“ e way we cover this is uniquely di erent. We are focused on clinical outcomes,” Anevski said. “When I started at this company in 2008, the incidence of infertility was one in eight. Today it’s one in six. at’s a society trend and there needed to be solutions. It’s a ubiquitous need.”

Covering costs

Progyny typically covers the majority of two to three cycles on average and users are paired with a dedicated patient advocate to guide them through the complicated mess of fertility treatments or surrogacy or adoption or freezing embryos.

Anevski said, at best, it produces positive outcomes for families and makes employers more attractive. At worst, it eliminates the undue stress

of fertility issues on workers.

“It’s a very complicated journey and if you’re going through that journey without the right help, you are going to be disrupted as an employee,” Anevski said. “ e bene t right away eliminates the anxiety and downstream costs that a ects an employee’s well-being.”

Twenty years ago, the median age for pregnancy was 25. Now that gure is over 30 years old for myriad reasons, including education, career demands, rising cost of living and cultural changes leading people to delay pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But at age 35, the chance of getting pregnant naturally in any given month is as low as 15 percent. At age 40, that dips to 5 percent, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

e rise of fertility treatments has brought hope to these individuals




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“It’s a discussion I have with all of my patients,” Schon said. “Obviously, we go through what I recommend medically and all the available evidence for successful treatment, but we live in a world where money is an issue. We have to make decisions on what patients can a ord and what options are available.”

Due to the high cost of fertility treatments, many patients often leave an employer for one that does provide fertility insurance or look to relocate to a state that mandates coverage, Schon said.

“I absolutely have patients who make job decisions because of this,” Schon said. “If you can nd an employer who o ers fertility coverage, with costs being $10,000 to $20,000 a cycle, that’s a huge bene t.”

The rise of fertility treatments

As of 2022, 20 states in the U.S. passed legislation to require insurers to cover some coverage for diagnosis and treatment of infertility. West Virginia was the rst state to mandate third-party coverage for infertility services in 1977. Maryland passed the rst mandate for in vitro fertilization coverage in 1985.

Yet, only 24 percent of infertile couples are able to access the full extent of fertility services due to cost and other roadblocks, according to ASRM. In the 13 states that mandate third party coverage for IVF, the number of births occurring from IVF increased from less than 1 percent in 1985 to more than 50 percent in 2018, according to the CDC. Michigan is not one of those states.

“Infertility is a disease and it’s not fair people can’t have treatment for their disease because they can’t pay for it out of pocket, even if they have really good health insurance,” Schon said.

UM began providing comprehensive coverage to its employees in 2015, Schon said, and the women’s hospital saw a sharp increase in fertility treatment utilization, especially among those who couldn’t previously a ord it.

Meeting employees where they are

BCBSM and the Blue Care Network introduced last year a new comprehensive family building solution that includes more comprehensive fertility treatment coverage as more employers are seeking to have an o ering.

“Fertility treatments and medications can be very expensive depending on the treatment needed.” Dr. Martha Walsh, senior medical director of provider engagement for BCBSM, told Crain’s in a statement. “Self-funded employer groups can add fertility coverage to their bene ts. We have seen interest among larger employers in adding the bene t due to improvement in treatment protocols and to help with employee retention.”

Royal Oak Recycling

Royal Oak Recycling, a family-owned fullservice leading national recycling provider, has named Ed Mamou as president and Craig Reeves as vice president, with both leaders bringing a combined 30 years’ experience with the company and 50 collective years of industry experience to their new positions. Ed was formerly the vice president and Craig served as director of sales and operations. In less than 10 years under Mamou and Reeves’ leadership, Royal Oak Recycling has grown its employee count from 30 to 250 employees, increased total sales by 300 percent, and expanded its service area locations from three to 10 markets throughout Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.


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Progyny, which also o ers coverage for employees at Whirlpool, Domino’s Pizza Inc. and an unnamed Michigan automaker, is looking to expand deeper into the state by targeting labor unions, Anevski said.

“Our focus in Michigan is the labor market,” he said. “Prior to last year, we were generally going after large self-funded corporate employers.

Now we’re in a go-to-market strategy with the labor unions. Companies are interested in this bene t, especially unions, because it checks all of the boxes if you’re focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. We’re LGBTQ+ friendly, an important area of doing business right now.”

Proof as to how important the coverage has become to employers, Progyny covered 110,000 at ve employers with its insurance in 2016. It now covers 5.4 million with a guidance of $1 billion in revenue in 2023.

Johnson said the company hasn’t seen much utilization of the bene t yet at the Pistons, but expects a sharp up tick now that the season is over for the team.

“We’re promoting it through all of our new hire resources and it’s highly promoted in our employee bene ts guide. In the last 12 months, I’ve had private conversations (with employees) about solutions, whether it’s adoption, IVF or freezing their eggs. ose conversations weren’t as great as they are today. Now we have a solution and we think that really matters.”

Contact:; (313) 446-6042; @dustinpwalsh

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e Pistons, who employ roughly 280 outside of its players that are covered by the players’ union, contracted with New York-based public fertility insurance provider Progyny Inc. (NASDAQ: PGNY). Since 2015, the team had previously o ered a lesser coverage program through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. But its HR executives knew more was required.
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From Page 3

intended to o er customers a faster, more e cient checkout.

Market Express, which opened late last year with Amazon’s Just Walk Out Technology, was a win for customers, Hollywood Casino at Greektown general manager John Drake said during the opening. e casino declined to comment for this story. Entry into the 400-square-foot store is gained using a credit card or by hovering a palm over an Amazon One device at the entryway. ere are no employees.

Equal opportunity spending

ere is no federal law requiring that businesses accept cash, but if Detroit approves this ordinance, it will join a number of states and cities that have created their own requirements, with some limitations.

Mia Ackerman, a state representative in Rhode Island who pushed for the passage of an ordinance in that state, said it was a teenager’s inability to buy a bag of Doritos and a bottle of soda that made her interested in the issue.

“We’re a little state and we should be accepting cash; it’s the basis of our economy,” said Ackerman, a Democrat and the deputy majority whip. “Since we passed the bill, people have been emailing me stories. ... Not every American adult has a credit card, let alone a kid. Seniors always have cash in their wallets.”

In fact, a 2021 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says that nearly 6 million U.S. residents don’t have bank accounts — about 4.5 percent of all households. e numbers are higher in Michigan, where about 6 percent of households are unbanked. And Black households are nine times more likely than white households to not have access to a bank account.

In Detroit, where 78 percent of residents are Black according to Census data, as many as 24 percent of residents may not have bank accounts.

“Especially compared to a lot of other cities, Detroit has a very high unbanked rate,” said Afton Branche-Wilson, the assistant director of community initiatives for Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan. “Saying a business is cashless, it’s an exclusive thing.”

Particularly since only 4 percent of unbanked Detroiters are white, Branche-Wilson said, Black residents are disproportionately a ected by cash bans. Low-income residents, who often use check-cashing establishments, are also among those most harmed, she said.

“It sends the message that we don’t want you to shop here,” she said of businesses. “From a business perspective, you want a customer base as wide and diverse as possible.

To say you only want folks who keep money in a certain way, that’s exclusive by nature.”

at exclusivity was part of what bothered Whit eld-Calloway. e ordinance, which is in committee to be discussed before coming to a full council vote, would prohibit food service and retail establishments from refusing to accept cash, posting signs that say cash is not accepted or charging more for shoppers who pay with cash. Parking lots and garages, membership clubs like Costco, on-site company stores and businesses that rent consumer goods are all excluded from the proposal, as are those that

sell by phone, mail or online.

Signs like one Whit eld-Calloway saw in Florida earlier this year saying cash was accepted but credit cards were preferred would be allowed, she said. So would kiosks like those at Detroit’s professional sports venues — each of which is cashless — that allow people to convert their cash into a prepaid card.

e council member said she doesn’t foresee any pushback from colleagues. e number of current cashless businesses is relatively low, she said. But she wants to quell the practice before it gains traction. She said conversations are ongoing as to what the recourse would be for refusing cash, but jail time and a $500 ne are on the table.

“It’s discriminatory on its face,” Whit eld-Calloway said. “It feels like it, it looks like it, it smells like it.”

Preparing an ordinance

Ackerman, in Rhode Island, said she wishes her law had more teeth — but she was encouraged to begin by passing the bill, and improve it from there. If successful, she said, it allows more people to be part of the economy.

In San Francisco, where a similar ordinance was approved, the legislation says the city must remain vigilant to ensure the economy is inclusive. In a city with a high unbanked population, “not accepting cash payment is tantamount to systematically excluding segments of the population that are largely low-income people of color,” the ordinance reads.

“Cashless business models may also have signi cant detrimental impacts on young people who do not meet age requirements for credit cards, for the elderly (many of whom have not transitioned to credit and digital payment modes at the same rate as younger generations), and for other vulnerable groups (such as homeless and immigrant populations).”

Gloria Chan, a spokesperson for

“ e banks, they require a guarantee,” Rosmarin said. “ ey understand the risk in the industry and they want the collateral in a volatile market.”

e high-cost loans were gobbled up by borrowers in the industry because sky-high marijuana prices meant covering the cost of capital was a breeze. But now, with prices slumped, margins are negative or razor thin and the big payments are wreaking havoc on the industry.

Recreational marijuana retail prices have plummeted from $512.05 per ounce of ower in January 2020 to just $86 per ounce of ower in February — e ectively eliminating margins for many businesses.

“Our rm has observed a number of these situations in the cannabis business and the common denominator is that most folks underwrote to ‘best case scenarios,’” Calderone told Crain’s. “ at was easy to do when credit was abundantly available and the good times never seemed like they’d end. Now that the tide has turned, most of these hard money loans are underwater.”

Calderone said the lenders of these loans tend to be just as negligent as the borrowers that agree to the terms.

“Someone can attach the most onerously rich terms imaginable to a loan, but the reality is that they really don’t matter when the underlying creditors can’t generate breakeven cash ow,” he said.

the San Francisco O ce of Economic and Workforce Development, said there have been nearly 20 service requests citing the issue since the start of 2022.

Philadelphia, which passed a similar ordinance in 2019, nes business owners $2,000 if they violate the ban on refusing cash. Pamela Gwaltney, the deputy director of compliance with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, said there have been eight total inquiries since the law went into e ect, but only one has led to an active investigation. One of the complaints, against a gym, is leading to a new exemption going forward.

Gwaltney said once businesses are told they may have violated the rule, they usually comply. But not everyone who complains pursues the matter; she said if they don’t, her o ce sends a letter saying there’s a possible violation. at’s usually enough to change a business’s practices, she said.

Still, not allowing cash can make operations more e cient and allow businesses to operate with a smaller workforce in a tight labor market, said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, in an email to Crain’s. He said the industry has invested in technology to enhance the experience for customers and make operations more e cient.

Since restaurant operators need to be attentive to customers’ needs to be viable, he said, the balance can be di cult to maintain.

“If the trendline toward a cashless society is in fact inevitable, then it is incumbent on elected leaders to facilitate solutions to ensure every member of society can participate fairly,” he said.

Michigan Retailers Association vice president of marketing and communications Andrea Bitely said her group hasn’t heard any complaints about in-store payment options from any of its 5,000 members.

Branche-Wilson said she couldn’t say whether any legislation was a good idea or not. But she said if government sees form of payment as an equity issue, it’s one way to get there. If the city can’t enforce any potential ordinance, though, residents aren’t able to bene t from its protections.

“What is public policy for? What do governments want to accomplish?” she asked. “Is access to a business an equity issue? Some people might say ‘no, you can walk down the street.’”

Contact:; (313) 446-6774; @ArielleKassCDB


(313) 446-1612; @JayDavis_1981

Winners and losers

When Transcend entered the business, prices were $190.65 per ounce but dropped nearly 60 percent in 11 months.

Harvest Park neighbor Skymint, which acquired capital through a real estate investment trust, entered into court-ordered receivership last month, owing lenders more than $127 million. At least ve other Michigan marijuana businesses are also under receivership.

Alex Calderone, president of Birmingham-based Calderone Advisory Group, said most of the industry is underwater on loans.

Rosmarin said the great shakeout is occurring due to di erent capital structures, and the ultimate decider of winners and losers in the state’s industry will be how capital was raised.

“Most cannabis companies raised money through friends and family, and your rich uncle isn’t likely to take you to court. He’ll accept the loss and move on,” Rosmarin said. “Others found deep pockets in wealthy investors. Demand is still there. Sales keep going up. Who is going to survive the price slump are those who have investors willing to weather the storm and wealthy investors can weather the storm a lot easier than a bank.”

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APRIL 24, 2023 | C RAI N’S DET ROI T BUS I NESS | 29 To place your listing, contact Suzanne Janik at 313-446-0455 CLASSIFIEDS Advertising Section MARKET PLACE Mayor’s Workforce Development Board Cynthia J. Pasky, Co-Chairperson David E. Meador, Co-Chairperson Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation Board Calvin Sharp, Chairperson Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation Terri Weems, President An equal opportunity employer/program. Supported by the State of Michigan, Labor and Economic Development, Workforce Development (LEO/WD). Auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. 1-800-285-WORK. TTY: 711. The Mayor’s Workforce Development Board (MWDB) is directly responsible and accountable to the State of Michigan, Labor and Economic Opportunity-Workforce Development (LEO-WD) for the planning and oversight of talent development programs in the City of Detroit. Designated by the MWDB, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) serves as the fiscal and administrative entity that provides workforce services to job seekers and employers. DESC’s primary funding streams include Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) that funds Michigan’s PATH (Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope.) employment program, Food Assistance Employment and Training (FAE&T), Wagner-Peyser Employment Services (ES), and other public and private funding. The Corporation enters into contracts with qualified entities to provide workforce development programs and services to job seekers and employers. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Center for Disease Control Foundation (CDC) funding may support contracts resulting from competitive bid process. DESC is seeking proposals from qualified individuals and/or organizations to provide as needed, Media Planning and Buying Services for the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), and the contracted organizations performing employment and training services on behalf of DESC or its stakeholders. Bid package for this RFP is available for download at this DESC website: 4cols x 3.25 inches Requests for Proposals are being accepted for: Media Planning and Buying Services 2023 RFP Response Due: May 22nd, 2023 Issued: April 14th, 2023 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS ADVERTISE TODAY REAL ESTATE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY CORKTOWN FACILITY FOR LEASE UP TO 175,000 sq ft PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE TAB PROPERTIES 313-712-1656
From Page 1
A new, cashless market run by Amazon opened in December inside Hollywood Casino at Greektown. PHOTOS BY JAY DAVIS FOR CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS Kiosks on the concourse at Comerica Park allow fans to convert cash into a prepaid card to make in-stadium purchases.

How Michigan ‘green bank’ works to boost lending for home repairs

Michigan Saves, a so-called “green bank,” aims to further bolster lending capacity to those seeking high-e ciency home repairs. The Lansing-based nonpro t has long worked with credit unions to originate traditional loans for such projects, but saw a need in places like Detroit where poor credit scores of those seeking loans often hampered their ability to obtain the money. Michigan Saves last year, in conjunction with the Kresge Foundation, rolled out the Detroit Loan Fund, which provides loans to those in the city based on their ability to pay, as opposed to being based on credit scores. As of last month, the fund had loaned more than $1 million for 114 projects.

Mary Templeton, president and CEO of Michigan Saves and who is retiring from the role later this year, spoke with Crain’s about the origins of the fund, some of the impact it’s having, and what comes next.

 How did the fund come to be?

We were formed in 2009 and issued our rst loan in 2010. The primary reason we were formed by the state of Michigan — through a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission — was to address market barriers in lending as it relates to energy e ciency and renewable energy. When you think about our mission, it is centered on promoting accessible, equitable and just investments in energy e ciency and clean energy. And so we … have always wanted to make sure that our loans were as successful as they possibly could be to all Michiganders all around the state. We do have statewide coverage and most of our lending has been through the private markets. So we use state funds and public funds to leverage credit union funds on the residential side.

 What does that mean?

Those funds mitigate risk for the lenders, where we pay a portion of defaults if they occur. And that allows the lenders to create more access, to o er longer terms, lower interest rates, which often times line up with energy savings. So imagine if you put in a new furnace and a solar installation and the payment for your loan was paid for by your energy savings. That’s the ideal, right? And with this credit enhancement structure in the form of a loan loss reserve, the lenders have been able to o er really great rates and terms, and serve an awful lot of customers, both on the business side and on the residential side.

 To what extent?

When we looked at our loan approval rates — and we look at them statewide


on the residential side — we see that almost 75 percent of the applicants that apply are getting approved. But we wanted to take that a little bit deeper and look at that from kind of a racial equity perspective. On the residential side, like 59 percent of our loans are in low-to-moderate income census tracts. But when you look at the applicants and those that are approved in the city of Detroit — which is the biggest majority minority city in Michigan — the loan approval rates were ipped with 40 percent of the applicants were getting approved.

 What are you trying to do to ght the disproportionality on display there?

So we knew we wanted to do something di erent. So we went to the Kresge Foundation, and we got program-related investments. So it’s money that they have provided us that we have to pay back, and we are, we got that at a low cost of capital. We are now lending that out, focused in the city of Detroit. We’re not looking at credit scores at all. For our credit union program our credit scores are as low as 600, but there’s not a whole lot of exibility for going anything less than that. And we wanted to see what kind of access we could provide to Detroiters if we had a program that looked at their ability to pay rather than look at any kind of credit history.

 How has the demand been?

So broadly, we didn’t expect to have as much demand as we did in the rst nine months, to reach a $1 million milestone. I think right now we’re at like 157 loans and $1.3 million. So it’s really own out the window. I think we expected

to do that in the rst two years rather than the rst year. So it’s double what we expected. Where a program like Michigan Saves can be really e ective — and this is in my wildest dreams — but I’d love to be able to collect enough data on this to be able to go back to the private market and say, ‘Look, these are good loans. People pay back their energy loans.’ Which we have done with the credit union program.

 And what kinds of projects are

incredibly high interest rates … or have a really low-performing piece of equipment that is not going to serve you well in the long term. The options are not very good.

 What are the biggest challenges you see?

We’re hoping that funding from the (EPA’s) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will really help with this. We don’t have ready capital to deploy … We have to get money from other sources. What we

there’s funding for everyone, and

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Andi Owen's rough week, explained

Andi Owen, the CEO of West Michigan's MillerKnoll, the world's largest o ce furniture maker, was lambasted all over the internet last week for her comments to employees in a video clip from an internal meeting. e tweet that brought her words into the national spotlight has been viewed nearly 30 million times and has been used as fodder against the rich in the current climate of class warfare.

But it's unclear what long-term impact the viral video will have on MillerKnoll or Owen herself. Local experts believe the controversy won't cause much long-term external strife with the furniture maker's customers. e real damage may be between Owen and her employees.

"I don't think this is going to im-

pair their ability to sell o ce furniture," said Matt Friedman, a crisis communications expert and partner at public relations rm Tanner Friedman. "But it has caused challenges

for making things right internally."

Friedman said the events have likely caused embarrassment and anger among MillerKnoll employees beyond the initial words Owen

chose in the video.

"It's not just that employees are upset, but they are also embarrassed that this is in the news," Friedman said. "Employees don't get to pick their CEOs, and it's embarrassing because their friends and neighbors are going to ask them about this. e sales team is going to be asked about this. It's a big negative distraction that needs to be xed on the inside."

Owen apologized to employees this week for her comments on employee bonuses, and the company said the video was taken out of context.

"Andi ercely believes in this team and all we can accomplish together, and will not be dissuaded by a 90-second clip taken out of context and posted on social media," the company said in a statement.

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& Business O ces 1155 Gratiot Ave., Detroit MI 48207-2732; (313) 446-6000 Cable address: TWX 248-221-5122 AUTNEW DET CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS ISSN # 0882-1992 is published weekly, except no issues on 1/2/23, 7/3/23, 9/4/23, 11/27/23 nor 12/25/23, by Crain Communications Inc. at 1155 Gratiot Ave., Detroit MI 48207-2732. Periodicals postage paid at Detroit, MI and additional mailing o ces. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS, Circulation Department, P.O. Box 07925, Detroit, MI 48207-9732. GST # 136760444. Printed in U.S.A. Contents copyright 2023 by Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial content in any manner without permission is prohibited.
Mary Templeton is president and CEO at Michigan Saves MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen apologized to sta after a video clip of her comments on employee bonuses sparked backlash on social media. | MILLERKNOLL
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