Crain's Detroit Business, May 27, 2024

Page 44

‘Radical collaboration’

2024 Mackinac theme focuses on bridging divides

About 1,500 people will trek north for the annual Mackinac Policy Conference this week, the state’s preeminent business summit that this year will be centered around inspiring leaders to bridge divides to move Michigan forward.

Speci cally, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s three-day meeting on Mackinac Island

will focus on nding common ground to attract businesses and jobs; improve education outcomes to ensure workforce readiness; strengthen infrastructure; and lead with innovation and equity.

e policy issues — economic development, education and infrastructure — are big ones that state lawmakers and others have struggled to address consistently over time. ey are among the


challenges identi ed more than ve months ago by a council Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced at last year’s conference to recommend ways to increase Michigan’s population amid projections that it will decline 1.3% by 2050 while the U.S. will grow 8% by then. e state ranks second to last in population growth since 2000.

See MACKINAC on Page 47

Gilberts give $21M to nd disease cure

e Gilbert Family Foundation on May 17 announced $21 million in grants to launch a new initiative to nd a medicinal cure for neuro bromatosis type one — the rare disease that led to the death of Dan and Jennifer’s son Nick a year ago.

e funds support 18 research grants at leading universities in the U.S. and Europe, including Johns Hopkins University, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Minnesota, the IMRB in Italy and others.

The preclinical models generated from the grants will eventually make their way to the Nick Gilbert Neurofibromatosis Research Institute, which will be headquartered in the planned Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Research Institute when it opens in Detroit’s New Center in 2027. The institute is expected to be the first brick-and-mortar institute dedicated to battling the disease.

e research grants will focus on in vitro 3D models, organiclike tissues grown in a lab, to allow for rapid drug screening to determine which drugs may

work best to treat the disorder.

Neuro bromatosis type one, or NF1, is a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow along nerves in the body. A parent usually carries the gene and can pass it down to their children.

Nick Gilbert battled the disorder his entire life, rst starting chemotherapy to treat a tumor in his optic nerve at just ve years old. He died at 26 years old on May 6 last year after complications from the disorder.

See GILBERTS on Page 49


Take a look at Michigan’s top 200 private companies.



Kelly Sexton leads state’s movement in university-based startups.


VOL. 39, NO. XX l COPYRIGHT 2023 CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS INC. l ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 21 l COPYRIGHT 2024 CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS INC. l ALL RIGHTS RESERVED CRAINSDETROIT.COM I MAY 27, 2024 HEALTH CARE Coalition asks Legislature to look at rising hospital costs. PAGE 3 Efforts to land more projects and jobs for Michigan could see some changes. BEGINS ON PAGE 33
The Mack plant in Detroit received state incentives under an older program, Good Jobs for Michigan. That program could be revived and renamed. STELLANTIS The donation from Dan and Jennifer Gilbert will help fund research to nd a cure for neuro bromatosis. | NIC ANTAYA By Dustin Walsh The porch at the Grand Hotel is the site of many confabs among attendees at the Mackinac Policy Conference. | DALE G. YOUNG

EV startup picks Detroit to grow its operating system

An international electric vehicle charging startup is setting up shop in Detroit.

German company EcoG GMBH is up and running at its new North American headquarters at Newlab, the tech hub neighboring Michigan Central in Corktown. e company, which develops software for EV charging networks, received a $1.5 million performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. earlier this year supporting its $14.5 million investment in Detroit.

EcoG was founded in 2017 in Munich by Johannes Hund and Jörg Heuer, who wanted to develop a standard solution for the different EV charging options that were beginning to enter the mobility market.

What separates EcoG from other startups, Hund said, is its focus on the software involved in charging infrastructure, rather than simply developing new hardware for every electric vehicle that hits the market.

“We see the ecosystem (in Detroit) is very good for growing companies like us, especially being close to the automotive industry, being in a town that is looking for new opportunities,” Hund said at a grand opening for the head-

quarters on May 16. “When we were in the Techstars (incubator) program, we were invited for New York and for Detroit, and we chose Detroit — which also in hindsight was the right choice, because it brought us immediately to a very vivid ecosystem between automotive industry, energy industry, and also a general sense of business and entrepreneurship.”

EcoG’s software is meant to act as an operating system of sorts for EV charging stations and the companies that develop them. As Hund described it: “We don’t build chargers ourselves, we empower companies building char-

Heuer said it was clear at EcoG’s founding that “that the best market opportunity to do the next step was initially Europe. ree years later, it was India. Now we see two years later that the North American market is really, really picking up. It has great potential, especially also in the commercial vehicle sector.”

With EcoG’s new headquarters in Detroit, Heuer said he sees himself spending more time in Michigan. He hopes to visit frequently, though he and Heuer will continue working from EcoG’s headquarters in Munich. He hopes to return at some point to visit the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula.

gers. And we build up an ecosystem of di erent manufacturers of all the components you need to build a charger.”

EcoG has collaborated with more than 60 partners globally, including the Big ree, and its charging stations represented a 15% market share in the European Union at the end of 2022, just three years after entering the market.

e technology developed at EcoG allows companies to rapidly develop interoperable level-3 charging stations for electric vehicles.

e company is beginning with two employees in Michigan — one at the Newlab headquarters and

another at their hardware testing facility at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti. EcoG plans to hire at least 45 employees in the Southeast Michigan region in the next ve years.

EcoG has over 50 employees in Germany and more in 17 other countries, Hund said.

Heuer said it was never a question of whether EcoG would end up with a stake in Detroit. e company rst visited the city the year of its founding to implement its rst prototype. e same year, it also joined Techstars Detroit. It returned in 2018 for the Detroit Auto Show.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the impact EcoG will have on Michigan’s economy is remarkable, and solidi es the state as a place where international companies can thrive.

“Companies around the world are betting on Michigan,” Whitmer said at the May 16 event. “[EcoG] has established partnerships with the Big ree and dozens of other leading mobility rms. It’s a German company looking to expand — they could have gone anywhere. And I can tell you, every governor in the country would love to be making this announcement today.”

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German startup EcoG hosted a grand opening for its new North American headquarters at Newlab, pictured left, on May 16. The company develops software that acts as an operating system of sorts for EV charging networks. | KURT NAGLE

State asked to look at rising hospital prices

Rising health care costs are startling Michigan’s business community, the largest payers of those bills. Hospital services in the state have risen 40% since the turn of the decade to a grand total of more than $39 billion for payers, up from under $28 billion in 2010.

e Michigan Health Purchasers Coalition — a nonpro t full of Michigan’s largest companies and associations, including Ford, General Motors, the AFLCIO, Detroit Regional Chamber and others — are accusing hospitals of predatory pricing.  e allegation centers around how much more hospitals

charge payers than are reimbursed by Medicare for the same services.

Michigan’s agship hospitals charged private payers between 172% and 307% more than the Medicare rate, on average.

e business coalition also said recent hospital mergers, such as those between Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health as well as Michigan Medicine and Sparrow Health, have led to a 7% to 10% rise in costs for private insurers post merger.

“ e costs of healthcare is una ordable for Michigan families and employers. Healthcare is stalling business growth causing Michigan to be less competitive in the global economy, and is

the primary cause of personal bankruptcies,” Bret Jackson, president of the coalition said in a press release. “A signi cant driver of the unsustainable costs is the mergers of large health systems. We are asking policymakers in Lansing to help lower healthcare costs by prohibiting anti-competitive contracts and establishing fair price for all payers.”

Hospitals are charging far higher than what is needed for them to break even on costs, according to 2022 data from the National Academy for State Health Policy and thinktank RAND Corp.

See HOSPITALS on Page 49

UWM’s 0% down program could be a ‘game-changer’

A new 0% down payment program rolled out by the nation’s largest mortgage lender could greatly ease one of the largest challenges many homebuyers face.

But local real estate experts are split on the extent of the impact that Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage’s new program may have on the broader market. Some are calling it a “game-changer” while others view it as a mechanism that is sure to drive some interest from would-be homebuyers but ultimately may not nd it suited to their needs.

Nonetheless, the program — rolled out May 16 at the company’s annual UWM Live conference for brokers from around the country — comes at a time in which housing inventory remains tight, albeit improving, in metro Detroit and beyond.

e 0% down program replaces a previous 1% down payment initiative UWM previously o ered.

“I gured 0% is better than 1%,” UWM President and CEO Mat Ishbia said May 16 to cheers from brokers when announcing the new program. “Today, brokers have something that nobody in America has.”

Several other mortgage lenders, as well as government entities, o er down payment assistance programs.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

e down payment loan from UWM comes with 0% interest, no minimum monthly payments and must be paid o within 30 years, per the ne print of the program. But a renance or payo of the primary mortgage would trigger a balloon payment.

“I gured 0% is better than 1%. Today, brokers have something that nobody in America has.”

Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage

UWM’s new 0% down payment program comes in the form of a second-lien loan directly from the lender for 3% of the purchase price up to $15,000, and is open to both rst-time homebuyers as well as those earning 80% or below of their area median income. For two people, the AMI would be about $60,640 in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, according to gures from the

UWM executives said that when or if rates fall and borrowers seek to re nance, the loan could be paid o with accrued equity from the home. If there was not enough equity to repay, the company would subordinate the second lien loan to put back in second lien position.

“From a UWM perspective, it’s

See UWM on Page 48

New Detroit City FC stadium planned in Corktown

Detroit City FC is planning on leaving its Keyworth Stadium home in Hamtramck to return to playing on a pitch in Detroit.

e popular soccer club that draws thousands of diehard fans con rmed May 16 that it plans a new stadium on the site of the former Southwest Detroit Hospital in Corktown. e long-vacant hospital property at Michigan Avenue and 20th Street was recently purchased for $6.5 million by an entity connected to former Urban Bean Co. co ee shop co-owner Edward Siegel. A news release

from DCFC says the team owns the site.

Speci cs about the stadium were not revealed other than an anticipated opening in 2027, but a source briefed on the matter said it’s expected to seat about 14,000 people. Both the men’s team and women’s team would use it.

“ is is a huge step for our organization to build a modern venue to serve our club and community,”

Sean Mann, CEO of Detroit City FC, said in a statement. “As longtime residents of the city, with a few of us even living within walking distance of the site, the leaders

and founders of the club view this project not only as an opportunity to grow our organization and sport, but as a civic endeavor to give back to the city we love. We look forward to starting a process to connect with our supporters, city residents, and community leaders, among others, to craft a community-focused, grassroots professional soccer stadium that serves the city of Detroit.”

Neither Mann or Alex Wright, co-owner and chief creative ocer of DCFC, were made available for interviews.

See STADIUM on Page 48
Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck | DETROIT CITY FC Business leaders are alleging Michigan hospitals charge commercial payers more than the rates they are reimbursed by Medicare for the same services. | BLOOMBERG
Ishbia introduced the
company’s 0% down purchase program to hundreds of brokers at a May 16 event at the UWM Sports
Complex in Pontiac. |

Why this Corktown building is missing some exterior walls

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If you’ve walked the new-ish Southwest Greenway or driven around Corktown recently, you may have noticed something you don’t see all that often.

Lots of work being done on a Dennis Kefallinos-owned building.  It’s important, however, to qualify that statement a bit.

Namely, contractors have been working on the building at least in part because Kefallinos was targeted with several city lawsuits over conditions at 1448 Wabash, as well as other buildings he owns around the city. ose include the old Southwest Detroit Hospital property on 20th Street at Michigan Avenue Kefallinos recently sold, as it is now expected to be razed to clear the way for a new Detroit City FC soccer stadium.

A spokesperson for the city said last month that a planned lawsuit from a year ago over the 437,000-square-foot former coldstorage building at 1448 Wabash next to the new Bagley Mobility Hub parking deck has been halted because “Kefallinos has been addressing the issues he’s been required to under city code.”

e city has repeatedly cited Kefallinos — and, to be fair, the previous owner he bought the building from in 2018, the Moroun family — over its conditions, although the former has received quite a few more tickets.

According to city records on-

line, Kefallinos was deemed not responsible for some of them dating back to last year, including for defective exterior walls; failure to obtain a certi cate of compliance; failure to maintain a vacant building or structure; and unlawful maintenance of a dangerous building that is “likely to fall, detach, dislodge or collapse.”

Kefallinos took out a building permit in March 2021 and it was revised in 2023. e permit is for installing windows and removing concrete masonry units, or CMU — basically, industry-speak for cinder blocks.

We’ll see how that work actually plays out, but for the time being at least, it looks ... unconventional?

Kefallinos is known for buying Detroit real estate generally on the cheap, and sitting on properties while doing very little work or upkeep — one of the reasons he was being sued in the rst place. He is regularly the target of lawsuits and complaints from commercial and residential tenants, not to mention workers in non-real estate businesses.

see now are actually sliding doors, not standard windows.

“We decided to take it (walls) down even further and then kind of came up with the idea (of livework units) because these were non-load-bearing, and we could create walls on the inside columns and create balconies on the outside,” Matsamakis said. “ at’s why they are a little recessed from the outside wall.”

“Our main goal is to provide a space for small businesses, incubating businesses to have a space in prime Detroit real estate area to come to and try to run their business,” Matsamakis said, adding that he hopes the rst three oors would be open for occupancy within a year.

Or, as one source described it in a conversation, perhaps some-

“We decided

to take (walls) down even further and then kind of came up with the idea (of live-work units) because these were

Niko Matsamakis, general manager for Kefallinos’ Detroit-based Boydell Development Co., told me last month that the original plan for the building was to remove brick and replace windows. However, over the course of the work they determined the best course of action was to create balconies for live-work units, and what you

thing akin to the Russell Industrial Center (although decidedly smaller).

Matsamakis anticipates the units running 1,000 to 1,400 square feet. He said there has not been a determination on the number of units in the building, but there is room for about 40 on each oor.

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DMC will keep its $16.7M annual tax break

LANSING — e Detroit Medical Center will continue getting property tax breaks valued at $16.7 million annually after the state unanimously approved a 15-year extension of its Renaissance Zone designation in Detroit on May 21.

e Michigan Strategic Fund Board acted at the request of Wayne County and DMC, the hospital system owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill this month authorizing the extension, which is retroactive to 2023 and ends in 2038. e measure is supported by the city, too.

In memo to the board, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. estimated the tax exemptions are worth an average of $16.7 million a year — the rst time their value was made public amid negotiations to lengthen the incentives.

e tax exemptions e ectively place DMC on par with similar tax breaks as nonpro t hospitals, like crosstown rival Henry Ford Health, which pays Medicare, payroll taxes and taxes on lobbying e orts. e Detroit City Council rst approved the extension on May 15 under the guise

that introducing new tax burdens on DMC could cause Tenet to shutter one of its hospitals in the city or reduce services.

Under an agreement with Detroit, DMC will keep open Harper-Hutzel Hospital (Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Hospital and the cardiovascular institute); Detroit Receiving Hospital and University Health Center; Children’s Hospital of Michigan; Rehabilitation Hospital of Michigan; and Sinai-Grace Hospital. It must maintain core services at the facilities, keep its regional headquarters in the city, support

its mission for undergraduate and graduate medical education, and continue contracting with Detroit businesses and companies owned by minorities or women.

DMC provides more than $100 million a year in uncompensated care and employs more than 8,500 people, including 44% who live in Wayne County, according to a memo written by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It says uncompensated care costs, the COVID-19 pandemic and a national nursing shortage have put a nancial strain on DMC and


importance of the hospital system and the bene t it brings to the community

cannot be overstated.”
Michigan Economic Development Corp memo

show the need for the lengthier tax exemptions.

“ e importance of the hospital system and the bene t it brings to the community cannot be overstated,” the memo states.

DMC has a long history in Detroit’s Midtown. It rst organized as DMC in 1985 with the combining of Harper, Hutzel and Children’s hospitals. Harper Hospital, however, dates back to 1863, with its rst patients being injured Civil War soldiers. Hutzel, Sinai Grace and Children’s were all founded before the turn of the 20th Century.

e Renaissance Zone incentive was a key element of the 2010 sale of DMC, then a nonpro t, to Vanguard Health Systems, which pledged to invest $850 million into DMC, pay o debt and assume pension liabilities. Vanguard was bought by Tenet for $1.73 billion in 2013.

However, the hospitals have struggled to perform well under Tenet.

e Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services rated three of DMC’s hospitals — Sinai-Grace, Harper and Detroit Receiving — with one star out of ve in 2023. CMS rates hospitals based on a number of factors, including mortality, patient safety, readmission rates, patient experience and timeliness of care. e three DMC hospitals, along with two Beaumont hospitals, Hurley Medical Center in Flint and Ascension in Saginaw, rank among the bottom 5% of hospitals nationally.

Detroit Receiving and Sinai-Grace also received “D” letter grades from the annual semi-annual report card by e Leapfrog Group. e report card by Leapfrog, a national patient advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., ranks based on a criterion of 30 metrics in preventable medical errors, accidents, injuries and infections. McLaren Macomb Hospital and McLaren Oakland Hospital were the only two other Michigan hospitals that received a D.

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Innovation, consistency key for growing economy

Private sector growth is fundamental to economic prosperity. Michigan needs more of both.

As policymakers haggle, yet again, in Lansing over how best to attract, retain and grow jobs in Michigan, at least one element seems abundantly clear: e state needs a consistent approach, and it needs to stick to it.

at approach should include a hearty dose of support around innovation so Michigan can grow its own and lead the way in the 21st century the way it did in the rst half of the 20th.

Crain’s Forum, our monthly deep dive into public policy issues, takes a close look this week at Michigan’s e orts with business incentives. In reporting the Forum, Senior Reporter David Eggert talked to a lot of knowledgeable people around the state with various perspectives in an e ort to get some clarity on this dynamic issue full of moving parts.

One key nding is the need for consistency when it comes to Michigan’s economic development policy.

Remember the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, or MEGA? at was phased out in 2011 as part of a business tax cut and replaced primarily by the Michigan Business Development Program.

en the state added Good Jobs for Michigan in 2017, but allowed the taxcapture incentive to lapse two years later (though lawmakers keep debating whether to bring it back).


In 2021, the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve, or SOAR, was created to prepare sites for development and subsize large-scale projects. SOAR is now the subject of intense debate and very well could be renamed the Make it in Michigan Fund. ese fundamental shifts in programs and approaches are largely the result of political power switching from one party to the other in Lansing over the past two decades. Michigan is a purple state, and our leaders in both parties need to learn to set aside politics to craft a smart, businessfriendly approach that will attract good

jobs and help the state prosper.

What these various business attraction programs are called isn’t the concern, but the approach needs to be consistent.

Maureen Donohue Krauss, in a guest column for the Crain’s Forum, notes that the timing of development projects does align with legislative calendars or election cycles.

“When the Legislature gets into a tug-ofwar on incentives or changes the previous policy, we run the risk of starting a project with one set of economic development tools and nishing with another,” Krauss

wrote. “Companies are not going to make major investments with that type of uncertainty.”

Another key area of focus must be innovation.

Eggert reports that at least 36 states o er tax credits for research and development. Michigan does not — although it once did. e Senate and the House have passed bills to create an R&D tax credit, but the legislation is on hold while other incentives for business attraction are debated.

In a separate legislative e ort, the venture capital community recently testi ed in Lansing urging lawmakers to support bipartisan bills that would set aside funding for early-stage startups.

e legislation is sponsored by a Republican from the Muskegon area and Democrats from metro Detroit. We welcome this type of cross-state, bipartisan cooperation that focuses on supporting innovation that will grow Michigan’s economy.

e restoration of an R&D tax credit and funding for startup investment would be strong steps toward a more robust e ort to foster innovation.

As with so much legislation, the devil is in the details. But we know businesses will gravitate toward states that o er certainty in their approach toward economic development, and Michigan must have a consistent plan. And that plan needs to heavily support innovation so we can develop jobs for the future rather than subsidizing the jobs of the past.

Cross county lines to bridge the future together

As 1,500 business, community and government leaders from across Michigan prepare to head to the Mackinac Policy Conference to talk about “Bridging e Future Together,” we plan to be there, together, to talk about how that can be done.

We have di erent counties and di erent party letters next to our names, but we work together as partners, every week of the year, realizing that we share much more than we claim for our own. We plan to share on Mackinac Island how we and our colleagues in Macomb and St. Clair County government collaborate in a variety of ways.

Importantly, we stand together as advocates and champions of our natural resources and freshwater assets. Historically, our communities, as coastal partners have advocated for the environmental impact and signi cance of Lake Saint Clair and our waterways and how they uniquely connect our communities and give us access to some of the valuable aspects of life across the state.

We are committed to innovating Work-

force Development. Macomb/Saint Clair Michigan Works continues to be a model of how intergovernmental partnership can lead e orts to meet the talent challenges of today and prepare our residents for the careers of tomorrow. ousands of residents live in one county and work in the other. Every county should accept and understand that fact.

And while it is not always the most headline-grabbing part of our mutual priorities, infrastructure is often the most signi cant area for us to work together. We continue to advocate for additional resources to come in from the state, federal and regional level to make the road and utility networks that connect us more resilient and focused on future development to meet the emerging needs of the businesses we are working together to retain and attract. From the 26 Mile Road corridor and our shared aspirations there to the way that we continue to work with partners like DTE to innovate, and modernize the grid, we want there to be no noticeable

di erence in the way our two counties approach our shared infrastructure.

From our experience, if government leaders can do this right, others in communities can too. Look no farther than the chambers of commerce in our counties. ey frequently host events together and share common projects, recognizing that their members’ interests, and lives, cross county boundaries.

Nobody alive in Michigan today had anything to do with drawing the lines between our state’s 83 counties. But we can control how we work across them. We can overcome the challenges all of Michigan

faces only through collaboration within and between counties.

Population, housing, child care and education are other big challenges in every corner of the state and in communities big and small. We need to talk about them outside the borders of our cities and counties if Michigan is going to grow.

In some ways, Macomb and St. Clair Counties is a microcosm of Michigan in the challenges we face. But we are committed to building bridges to address issues and want to show other communities what we are doing together, while, at the same time, learning what works for them.

6 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | MAY 27, 2024 Sound off: 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.
The Mackinac Policy Conference runs May 28-May 31 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. | KURT NAGL Mark Hackel is the Macomb County executive. Jeff Bohm is the chair of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners. Twin battery plants are under construction by Stellantis in Kokomo, Ind., a project that Michigan bid on but did not win. | ALAMY

Detroit Zoo puts on a new face as it updates branding

e Detroit Zoo is launching new branding and designs for the landmark water tower at its home in Royal Oak.

e new images circling the tower are the focal point of the zoo’s rst rebranding e ort in 26 years, which comes with a new tagline for the zoo, redesigned websites, a new mobile app and a larger-than-life version of the new Detroit Zoo logo for visitor picture-taking.

e zoo announced its plans May 21 and will reveal another surprise aspect to the water tower design in the coming weeks, once the wrap is completed.

e design for the new vinyl wrap on the water tower at I-696 and Woodward Avenue will replace a parade of animal silhouettes that had circled the tower since 1998. e new images will feature the Detroit Zoo’s new logo with connected Os in the name serving as “a portal or a canvas for storytelling,” said Kim Waatti, the zoo’s marketing director.

As the images on the tower come into full view over the next week or two, visitors will spy some of the zoo’s favorite animals — a amingo, gira e and tiger — peeking out of the connected Os in the new logo as if they were in binocular sights. Butter ies utter in between them, while an exotic frog, coiled snake and curious penguin look on.

e zoo introduced the new water tower design May 21 through a display on a miniature version of the water tower built by e Parade Co., something that will go on permanent display at the zoo.

“We know the water tower is an iconic landmark in our community, and many people have a special connection to it,” Hayley Murphy, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society, the zoo’s nonpro t operator, said in a news release. “We’ve heard so many stories of the joy people get, adults and children alike, when they see the water tower, whether they’re out and about in the community or heading to the Zoo for a visit. is new design will continue to spark that joy for years to come.”

e new water tower design and logo are part of a $267,000 rebranding campaign done by Doner in Detroit for the zoo, which is operating on a $49 million annual budget.

Developed with lots of community engagement and feedback, the campaign also includes new logos for the Detroit Zoological Society and the Belle Isle Nature Center with leaf motifs. It also includes a new tagline, “Where life connects ...,” a nod to the zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center bringing people together to ignite positive change at home and around the world, DSZ said.

“We really knew that we needed to focus on a more timeless and modern design that re ects the future of our organization,” Waatti said. “We also address the

fact that consumer behavior has signi cantly changed in the past 30 years, where more than 80% of our guests purchase online. So ensuring that we have a web experience that also serves our guests was top priority, and to elevate our storytelling capabilities, with conservation being at the heart of everything that we do and the beginning and end and everything that we do.”

A new dedicated DZS website highlights the 96-year-old zoo’s research, community impact and conservation work, and redesigned, consumer-facing websites for the Detroit Zoo and

Belle Isle Nature Center improve the user’s experience, Waatti said.

e new Detroit Zoo mobile app includes an itinerary feature and interactive map of the zoo.

Visitors will also nd an 18-foot-wide, three-dimensional version of the Detroit Zoo logo with inset benches in the O’s outside the zoo’s main gates for picture-taking. Farmington Hillsbased Electro-matic Products Inc. produced the 3D photo op and entrance signs.

Stay tuned for another announcement tied to the water tower, Waatti said.


At Wayne State University, student success means more than earning a degree: It means a commitment to making sure our graduates are prepared for a lifetime of success, beginning with their first job and through a long, prosperous career. With every degree, we focus on learning that goes beyond the classroom, from internships to hands-on projects, from community service to global experiences, from clinical work to impactful research and local volunteer opportunities. We do this better than other universities because of our outstanding faculty, top-tier research status, and close connections to neighboring businesses and industry titans. And it’s just one reason why, for 156 years, we’ve turned our students into graduates — and our graduates into leaders.

The Detroit Zoo introduced a new logo and water tower design on May 21 — its rst refresh in 26 years. | DETROIT ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Riverfront Conservancy investigation turned over to FBI

e FBI will take over the investigation of alleged nancial wrongdoing on the part of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s CFO, according to the nonpro t’s chairman.

e move came about a week after the conservancy announced it had placed its CFO, William Smith, on leave as the Michigan State Police investigated possible nancial mismanagement.

“ e state police have advised us that due to the nature and complexity of the situation, they have turned the investigation over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Matt Cullen, chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, said in an emailed statement May 21.

Cullen said this month that he recently became concerned about

“As soon as we can, the Conservancy will share with the public and its many stakeholders exactly what happened.”

the accuracy of management reports and nancial statements provided to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy board of directors.

Leaders immediately moved to order an independent forensic audit by PwC and sought counsel from the Honigman law rm and its lead partner for investigations, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.

On behalf of the conservancy, Honigman took evidence of alleged nancial wrongdoing by Smith, who has been the nance leader of the conservancy since 2005, to state police and requested a criminal investigation, Cullen said.

“We are cooperating with authorities and are determined to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this matter,” said Cullen, who said this month that he was stepping in to oversee the conservancy’s operations during the investigation.

e conservancy has hired Quatrro Business Support Solutions, led by Paul Trulik, to oversee dayto-day accounting and nance functions “for the foreseeable future,” Cullen said.

“As soon as we can, the Conservancy will share with the public and its many stakeholders exactly what happened, how it happened, and our full plans for moving forward,” he said.

“As I said last week (May 14), the riverfront is a beloved and important asset to the community, and we are committed to building a vibrant space for all metro Detroiters to enjoy. e project is moving ahead and will be stronger because of what we learn from the

Board-controlled internal review and the criminal investigation.

“We owe it to our donors, other key stakeholders, and the entire Detroit community to be transparent and accountable about this situation — and that’s exactly what we will be.”

Nagl, Forum lead Crain’s in annual Detroit journalism awards

Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kurt Nagl won a pair of rstplace awards while public policy project Crain’s Forum was recognized four times in an annual program honoring the best journalism in metro Detroit.

Crain’s earned a total of nine honors in the annual awards announced May 15 by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Detroit chapter.

“Kurt Nagl had a phenomenal year covering a breadth of issues, including the UAW strike and concerns about air pollution from a Stellantis factory, and it was great to see the judges’ recognize

the high quality of his journalism,”

Crain’s Detroit Business Execu-

tive Editor Mickey Ciokajlo said.

“Our Forum section allows us to stretch into topics such as racialjustice reporting and education, and it was rewarding to see the judges acknowledge that work as well.”

One of Nagl’s rst-place awards came in the highly competitive Automotive Reporting category, where his beat work topped competition from e Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

Associate Creative Director

Karen Freese Zane also earned a rst-place award for Inside Page Design.

Here are all the awards won by

Crain’s Detroit Business on May 15 in the SPJ contest:

◗ Automotive Reporting, rst place, Kurt Nagl, for a range of work including a scoop on Ford's selection of Marshall for an electric-vehicle battery plant and a Crain's Forum piece on the race for EV investments in the Midwest.

◗ Community/Local News Reporting, rst place, Kurt Nagl, “Stellantis air pollution plagues residents.”

◗ Inside Page Design, rst place, Kayla Byler and Karen Freese Zane, “ e Race for EV Investments.”

◗ Page One Design, second place, Karen Freese Zane (Sept. 25, 2023).

◗ Health Reporting, third place, Dustin Walsh, “Ketamine isn’t just

a new mental health treatment.

It’s a growing business.”

◗ Explanatory Story, third place, David Eggert, “Michigan endures longer, more frequent power outages. Is there hope for change?” (Crain’s Forum).

◗ Education Reporting, third place, “Want to x Michigan’s worker shortage? Make college make sense again” (Crain’s Forum).

◗ Racial Justice Reporting, third place, “ e ght for Detroit’s disappearing Black middle class” (Crain’s Forum).

◗ Racial Justice Reporting, fourth place, “Michigan is sending fewer people back to prison. Getting companies to hire them is trickier” (Crain’s Forum).

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Chairman Matt Cullen is stepping in to oversee the nonpro t’s operations during the investigation. PROVIDED Crain’s reporter Kurt Nagl with his two rst-place awards from the annual SPJ Detroit awards ceremony on May 15. Detroit Riverfront Conservancy CFO William Smith speaks at an event on May 12, 2021. | CITY OF DETROIT FLIKR Matt Cullen, chairman, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy remains “committed to building a vibrant space for all metro Detroiters,” DRC Chairman Matt Cullen said in a statement. | COSTAR GROUP
Verifying his business credit score before considering a new location. Wondering how many miles he’s walked this shi . Monitoring payment approvals between bites. Scheduling time with a banker before starting on dessert. Learn more at Business solutions so powerful, you’ll make every move matter. Access to Dun & Bradstreet business credit score information in Business Advantage 360, our small business online banking platform, is solely for educational purposes and available only to U.S.-based Bank of America, N.A. Small Business clients with an open and active Small Business account, who have Dun & Bradstreet business credit scores and have properly enrolled to access this information through Business Advantage 360. Dun & Bradstreet’s business credit scores (also known as “The D&B® Delinquency Predictor Score” and “The D&B® Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) Score”) are based on data from Dun & Bradstreet and may be different from other business credit scores. Bank of America and other lenders may use other credit scores and additional information to make credit decisions. Screen images simulated. Sequences shortened. ©2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. | MAP6204811 What would you like the power to do?®

This technology knows about crashes before you do

A Chicago-headquartered startup plays a big role in Michigan road safety by curbing accidents between drivers and emergency vehicles. One of the founders even credits the state of Michigan for helping get the startup o the ground.

HAAS Alert, founded in Chicago in 2015 by Cory Hohs, Jigar Patel and Noah Levens, recently opened an o ce in Newlab at Michigan Central and is partnering with communities both locally and internationally, including more than 50 Michigan towns and cities.

e Safety Cloud software allows rst responder agencies to send alerts to drivers that signal there is an accident, construction or other incident impacting tra c on their route. ese appear as yellow warning triangles or an illustration depicting a collision in certain GPS navigation systems that partner with HAAS Alert.   In 2018, HAAS Alert’s Safety Cloud integrated into the Waze app, a navigation app that is a subsidiary of Google. In 2022, it launched in all Stellantis vehicles that have been released since 2018, including Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Chrysler. Also in 2022, it integrated into “one of the largest navigation app providers,” Hohs said.

Multiple news outlets have reported that Safety Cloud has been integrated into Apple Maps.

Its latest Michigan customer is the Troy Fire Department, which joined the program in March, with plans to further expand in the Detroit area.

Talking to cars

e idea for HAAS Alert formed when Hohs was riding a motorcycle through Chicago and was nearly struck by an ambulance. e experience led him to brainstorm ways that he could get emergency vehicles to speak to cars. ough the company’s road to safety still had its fair share of potholes.

“We rst started and went on the path for almost three years using acoustics where we thought the car would be able to listen for sirens,” Hohs, co-founder and CEO, said. “And then tow truck drivers started calling saying, ‘Well, we get struck and killed every ve and a half days. Can we use your service?’ Utility truck operators in construction zones? Well, they don’t use sirens.”

Hohs said rst responders told them their biggest risks of death and injury on the job is getting hit by cars.

“First responders were telling us … ‘We’re not getting hit when our lights and sirens are on. People crash into us when we’re stopped at a scene,’” Hohs said.

Attracting excellence: How Michigan businesses could draw in top talent

Despite the uphill battle in reversing signi cant population decline, the great state of Mi igan is brimming with economic potential as dedicated business leaders and government o cials collaborate to attract top talent for the future of work in the region. At last year’s Ma inac Policy Conference, Governor Gret en Whitmer announced the Growing Mi igan Together Council aimed at boosting economic growth and growing the state’s population. Last fall, Whitmer’s administration laun ed a $20 million national advertising campaign, “You Can In Mi igan,” to attract and retain young people to live and work in the state.

Beyond workforce development programs and other strategies to bring more residents to the state, what can Mi igan business leaders focus on when it comes to building businesses people will want to join and grow their careers for few years to come? In its 2024 Global Human

Capital Trends, Deloitte identi ed areas that might be most informative for local CEOs and Chief People O cers in particular. By positioning companies to support the workforce of the future, Mi igan can attract and retain people who can continue to grow and shape our state.

One of the top trends in the report underscored the importance of human sustainability – a concept that requires organizations to focus less on how mu people bene t the business and more on how mu they bene t their people. Deloitte found that while 76 percent of respondents companies recognize the importance of prioritizing people, only 10 percent believe they are doing great things to a ieve this.

In Mi igan, how can businesses better support and provide for their people as a means of bringing talent here? Providing living wages, skills and advancement opportunities, belonging, safety and well-being are huge drivers of worker attraction and retention, and they also bene t the organization: In fact, studies have shown a strong correlation between employee well-being and organization performance.

In order to make Safety Cloud by HAAS Alert e ective, members of the company had to knock on the doors of every agency in every municipality, due to the di erent technology and services that different areas o er.

“It was literally that — just going around driving around the country, looking for key early adopters like and just knocking on the door at the re stations, like it was a brute force sort of e ort,” Hohs said.

In the years since its founding, HAAS Alert has partnered with emergency vehicle manufacturers so that Safety Cloud comes standard on most new re apparatus and can easily expand to the rest of their eet. e company has also launched integrations with a wide array of telematics, connectivity, and eet management solutions like Cradlepoint, Samsara, Geotab, and others so that agencies can activate Safety Cloud on those platforms instead of having to purchase and install physical units.

A Michigan history

HAAS Alert opened its Detroit o ce in Newlab in March, which o ered it a prime location for connecting with automotive manufacturers and its Michigan customers. All research and

development and automotive-related work is located in the Newlab at Michigan Central space.

Eight of the company’s 50 employees are located in Detroit, with about 20 in Chicago and the rest located throughout the U.S. and internationally, in countries such as Japan, Germany, the U.K. and more.

“Grand Rapids was our rst customer that let us pilot and help us develop the technology,” Hohs said. “We also did some acoustic testing in Michigan at MCity at the University of Michigan’s autonomous track. ... e MEDC gave us a grant because Grand Rapids was our rst department and that helped us get this thing o the ground. Being in Chicago, we just have these like deep roots with this was all really developed and born Michigan.”

HAAS Alert has more than 3,500 customers worldwide, with 50 within the state of Michigan, including dual- eet deployments like Grand Rapids Fire and Police Departments, statewide eets like the Michigan State Police and individual re departments in cities including Troy, Rochester Hills, and Hastings, and private towing and EMS eets across the state as well.

“ e main business model is on the broadcasting side. It’s a subscription service,” Hohs said.

Another trend highlighted in Deloitte’s report centers on “microcultures,” declaring that, instead of fostering for one common culture, businesses “should enable a ‘culture of cultures’ tailored to the needs of local teams while aligning to organization-wide values.” By taking a “micro” approa to culture, Mi igan companies can potentially better attract and retain in-demand talent and drive better business outcomes. Culture can be a critical piece of drawing in and keeping talent; interestingly, almost a third of new workers leave their jobs within the rst 90 days of being hired, with unmet expectations from recruitment and culture being top factors.

But how can this be a ieved? Creating thriving microcultures requires a coordinated e ort between organizational leaders, team leaders, and HR. e rst big step is focusing on the work at hand, as it o en shapes these microcultures. en, it’s about integrating these microcultures into all aspects of talent management, like hiring, performance management, development and deployment. Rewards can also play a signi cant role in reinforcing the unique behaviors of ea

microculture, and leaders play a crucial role in connecting the dots to ensure alignment.

ese are just a couple of ways that Mi igan businesses might rethink their people strategies to support a boost in our population. Continued collaboration amongst business leaders, government o cials and our universities is critical in meeting this allenge head on.

is publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, nancial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. is publication is not a substitute for su professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may a ect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may a ect your business, you should consult a quali ed professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by

this publication. About Deloitte Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Tou e Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member rms, and their related entities. DTTL and ea of its member rms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member rms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective a liates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see com/about to learn more about our global network of member rms. Copyright © 2024 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved. SPONSORED CONTENT
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A Safety Cloud alert in a Stellantis vehicle | COURTESY OF HAAS ALERT



The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has been committed to making every day better for Detroiters since 1852. Today we acknowledge key milestones for our organization, leadership, and volunteers from 2023 that support our commitment to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.


Eric Huffman was elected as the 58th Chair of the Board for the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Huffman is the first African American to serve as the organization’s Chief Volunteer Officer. Huffman’s career began as a State Farm claims manager and advanced to an agent owner where he served metropolitan Detroiters for over 27 years before retiring in 2022.


Parrish Underwood was selected as the 15th President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Underwood is the first African American to serve as the organization’s President and CEO. To date, Underwood’s 31-year YMCA career spans from Atlanta, Georgia, to Detroit, Michigan, where he has a proven track record of garnering substantial philanthropic resources to realize organizational sustainability.


The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit is a dynamic 171-year-old institution—one of the oldest community service organizations in the region. This organization is nimble and responsive to community needs; from its humble beginnings aiming to serve white men new to the big city, to providing


health and wellness programs to families with diverse cultural heritages, to mitigating chronic diseases, keeping children safe around water, to being the community choice for summer fun and education through our day camps.

Today we are actively engaged in real-time strategic planning garnering input from all stakeholders. We look forward to unveiling a dynamic strategic plan that will greatly enrich the lives of the great people who live, work, and play in Wayne, Oakland Macomb, and East Livingston counties.

We welcome your input! Please email



The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit earned the prestigious Praesidium Accreditation for child safety lead by Lisa Mullin, Vice President of Human Resources and Risk Management, who has earned the coveted Praesidium Guardian honor. Praesidium Accreditation® is a prestigious honor that publicly demonstrates the organization has worked to achieve the highest industry standards in abuse prevention.


The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit was honored as the Detroit Free Press Best of Detroit for Summer Day Camps. We are truly grateful for all the community votes to receive this people’s choice recognition. Every summer thousands of Detroit children are actively engaged in YMCA summer camps.

Provided over 20,000 children with recreational and educational activities

Provided over 50,000 free healthy meals to children and seniors

Provided free life-saving water safety lessons to over 1200 children



Residents urge Whitmer, Duggan to halt I-375 project

Nearly 500 people are asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to pause the project to convert sunken Interstate 375 into a street-level boulevard, saying it would disconnect — not better connect — the area and should be reassessed.

In a letter sent May 13 and made public May 15, the Rethink I-375 Coalition expressed “grave concern” and recommended halting

the current redesign approach. e move came despite the Michigan Department of Transportation recently o ering a plan to shrink the


envisioned wide road from nine lanes (three of them turn lanes) to six (two turn lanes.) MDOT had collected new data showing a reduction in peak tra c volumes.

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“We urge you to insist that MDOT’s work immediately halt so that a more legitimate process can be developed,” the coalition wrote. “We request that the City of Detroit and its Framework Plan for the corridor be completed before any further work on the road design or any award of the design/ build contract can be made. is project is more than a road project — it will fundamentally change the urban fabric of our city.”

MDOT spokesperson Je Cranson said the department has held more than 50 engagement session to collect community input in the last year.

“ e revisions we’ve made to the road design are directly related to the feedback we received,” he said. “When the public said they were concerned with the safety of a nine-lane boulevard, we listened, reviewed tra c counts and modi ed the size of the road. We’re still listening, and the opportunity to continue working closely with the community, the City, the Federal Highway Administration, Downtown Detroit Partnership and Kresge Foundation is ongoing. We’re looking forward to continued engagement and working toward a design that serves the needs of the Detroit.”

Whitmer’s o ce said it would let MDOT’s response speak for the administration. A message seeking comment was left with Duggan’s spokesperson.

Construction is planned to start in 2025. A design has not beennalized.

“We appreciate and welcome the opportunity to repair and improve Detroit infrastructure, but as eastside Detroit residents — who use these streets and sidewalks daily — we are telling you that aspects of the current plan are not improvements at all,” the letter

says. “In fact, the project will result in an uglier, less safe, less economically viable, less inclusive city fabric — one that would even delay medical services in an area with a large senior population, including in life-threatening emergencies. MDOT has yet to meaningfully address these concerns.”

In 2022, Michigan landed a $104 million federal grant to expedite the conversion of I-375, a onemile freeway that connects I-75 directly to Je erson Avenue. e highway’s construction decimated two predominantly Black neighborhoods more than 60 years ago. e city has said I-375 is no longer needed and the aging infrastructure requires costly maintenance. e redesigned road will improve connectivity between downtown and neighborhoods, according to proponents. e boulevard is expected to create excess land that could be developed, too. e letter urges that plans be developed to protect small businesses and employers in Greektown and Eastern Market, Detroiters’ jobs and products brought to the market by farmers and ower growers. It also says no “meaningful” action has been taken to ensure the community will actually be reconnected and to address past wrongs related to the original freeway.

“MDOT has consistently deferred action on the issues listed above to ‘later in the process,’ but we believe that they must be addressed before an RFP for a progressive design build contract is issued,” the people wrote.

Among those signing the letter were Athina and Stella Papas, executives at Atheneum Suites Hotel; Backbone Hospitality founder and CEO Ping Ho, who owns restaurants Marrow Detroit and Mink Detroit, as well e Royce wine bar and shop; Bu alo Wild Wings general manager Paul Talia; Detroit Segways owner Maureen Kearns; and Greektown Neighborhood Partnership Executive Director Melanie Markowicz.

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently offered a revised vision for the street-level boulevard to replace Interstate 375. MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Nearly 500 people are asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to pause the conversion of I-375, pictured here in 2022, into a street-level boulevard. | BLOOMBERG
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Judge orders township to stop blocking Gotion factory

A federal judge has ruled in favor of Gotion Inc.’s attempt to force a township to comply with a development agreement outlined for a $2.36 billion battery plant near Big Rapids.

U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering on May 17 granted Gotion’s request for a preliminary injunction e ectively forcing Green Township o cials to support the company’s plan for the massive battery components plant.

e company sought the injunction in mid-March, a few months after a new slate of ocials took power following a recall election that ousted ve former members of the township board. e new board members expressly ran for o ce in an attempt to stop the Mecosta County development.

On May 17, Beckering agreed with Gotion’s argument that Green Township was in breach of a contract nalized in August between the company and former township Supervisor Jim Chapman, who had unanimous support of the township board at the time to negotiate with Gotion.

“We are pleased by the court’s decision to grant this injunction, and look forward to working with

the township to move the project forward,” Chuck elen, vice president of Gotion Inc., said in a statement.

A township o cial could not immediately be reached for comment.

e multi-phase project is expected to employ about 2,350 people and produce up to 400,000 tons of cathode material for lithium-ion batteries used in electric

vehicles. e project has received a total of $715 million in various tax incentives and grants.

However, newly elected township o cials swiftly sought to stop the project. Within a month of taking o ce, the board moved to rescind two prior resolutions involving a water services agreement and the township’s support for the project.

Township o cials then sought

to create a new seven-member township planning commission to take over the project review from the Mecosta County planning commission. On March 7, the township threatened to sue the county if it didn’t stop processing Gotion’s site plan and special use permit application.

A week later, Gotion led the breach of contract lawsuit in federal court seeking an order for the

township to comply with the agreement, which Beckering approved May 17.

Township o cials argued in the federal case that potential harm to Gotion’s project was “speculative” and that the development agreement negotiated under Chapman was invalid.

However, Beckering found that the development agreement with previous township o cials was valid and that Gotion stands to “su er irreparable damage” without the injunction.

“ e current record more than amply supports a showing of irreparable harm to Gotion absent injunctive relief,” Beckering wrote in the May 17 order. “ e signicant monetary and contractual harms Gotion would su er if the Project, an extensive undertaking with coordinated construction processes, were to continue to be delayed qualify as irreparable injury under Sixth Circuit precedent.”

Under the development agreement, the township is required to review plans and speci cations for the project to ensure they comply with township ordinances, coordinate with county agencies on infrastructure needs and assist Gotion in obtaining any authorizations for the project, among other requirements.

Through the power of listening, perspective, and connected purpose, we work with you to achieve your unique goals. We walk beside you, navigating challenges and opportunities so you can focus on what you do best. We are your business success partner.

Gotion Inc. is planning a $2.4 billion EV factory near Big Rapids, where it would make 400,000 tons of cathode material annually. | GOTION


For 85 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has served a unique purpose – to provide access to quality, affordable care to people everywhere and to advance the quality of health for all Michiganders. I’ve been fortunate to lead this great company for the past two decades, and as I look toward retirement at the end of 2024, I am optimistic that we will continue to advance the quality of people’s lives in our great state.

Over my tenure, our team at Blue Cross has transformed health care – working with thousands of physicians to create the largest patient-centered medical home program in the country and launching Michigan’s first value-based care programs to align payment with the goals of the medical community around quality of care and patient outcomes. We have invested in the economic vitality of our cities –basing our employees in the vibrant downtowns of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Traverse City and Marquette. We transformed our company to become a nonprofit mutual health insurer. We made a historic $1.56 billion commitment to the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to protect vulnerable people and improve health outcomes in local communities.

Whatever our future objectives, we can best achieve them by working together, drawing strength from our diversity and collaborating to find common ground. I am grateful to have served this great company – and all of you – for so long. I am fully confident that our company’s next generation of leadership will maintain Blue Cross’ historic commitments toward a healthier Michigan far into the future.

President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Real estate tech rm donates

Corktown lease to Detroit PAL

Property management software company Revela Inc. has donated the remainder of its lease in the former Ponyride building in Corktown to Detroit PAL, which will launch programs for area youth there this summer.

Detroit PAL is also paying it forward. It’s sharing the 3,000square-foot space, which will come at no charge through 2027, with the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center and plans to make it available to other nonpro ts as well.

"We attribute much of Revela's success to the city of Detroit," founder and CEO Grant Drzyzga said in a news release. "When we needed to accommodate our growing team, we wanted our former o ce to be a hub of service to Detroit. We're deeply connected to the missions of these community organizations and look forward to being a small part of their continued impact on the city."

Revela moved to an expanded o ce space at 6001 Cass Ave. in recent months, following its Series A fundraising late last year. It will cover the cost of the lease for the second- oor space at 1401 Ver-

mont St. in Corktown through December 2027, a donation equivalent to more than $275,000.

Detroit PAL’s main programmatic location is e Corner Ballpark at Michigan and Trumbull, with plenty of outdoor space for sports programs. But programs held indoors, like Apple coding and digital literacy, drone apprenticeships and chess, often face space challenges when the upstairs in the building is rented out for company meetings, conferences, weddings and banquets, President and CEO Fred Hunter said. Having the added space from Revela will provide more continuity for scheduling those programs week to week, he said.

“It took a lot of creativity and

discussion between us and Revela. But it opened our eyes (that) this isn’t just an opportunity for Detroit PAL. It’s (also) an opportunity for other youth and community programs to use the space," he said.

Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center has been holding free legal clinics in the shared space for more than a month, Executive Director Kevin Piecuch said in the release.

"Our clients value the clean, light- lled, and private setting. rough the generosity of Revela and our partner Detroit PAL, we bring hope to over 100 of Detroit's residents in need each week, offering them essential legal counsel and support," Piecuch said.

Rocket to

pay up to $3.5M to settle overtime lawsuit

Executives at Rocket Mortgage LLC have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought last year by former employees alleging unpaid overtime.

e Detroit-based mortgage lender, part of Rocket Companies Inc. (NYSE: RKT), has agreed to pay up to $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to court documents led May 17 in federal court in Arizona.

Rocket "expressly denies and continues to deny the allegations," according to the ling, but "desires to settle the Lawsuit nally on the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement."

e settlement agreement says that $1 million of the total agreedupon settlement will go to attorneys for the plainti s. It's unclear how many current or former Rocket employees may be entitled to funds from the settlement.

e case had a total of nine named plainti s, eight of them residents of Arizona and one a Michigan resident.

A federal judge in December allowed the lawsuit to move forward as a proposed class-action case. At the time, an attorney for the plainti s in Phoenix told Crain's he estimated the overall class could be in the thousands based on the criteria being used and the number of mortgage bankers Rocket employs.

Sherri Welch Detroit-based mortgage lender Rocket has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Revela Inc. donated its leased space in the former Ponyride building at 1401 Vermont St. to Detroit PAL and will continue to pay the lease through 2027. REVELA


County of cials fuel growth in urban and rural areas with data-driven tools and strategic plans

Dynamic changes in southeast Michigan have always been part of the economic terrain.

As the region’s workforces shift between industrial and agricultural industries, the region’s residential patterns transform as well, mirroring the changing needs for rural and urban population centers. This is especially evident in

Washtenaw County, straddling the border between the industrial center of Detroit and Wayne County, and the more agriculture-intensive counties elsewhere in Michigan.

With a population of 372,000 in the 2020 census, Washtenaw encompasses major city centers like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti — both home to worldclass academic institutions — and a proud farming

community in outlying townships with a rich history of agricultural innovation of their own. Working together, county leaders have harnessed data-driven, nimble and responsive tools to make sure Washtenaw is at the forefront of creative community planning.

Doing so has helped drive new solutions for age-old problems like housing and healthcare inequality, infrastructure aging and resource management for the 21st century.

One innovative tool under the belt of county leaders is the Opportunity Index. The Opportunity Index


e Washtenaw Opportunity Index is a tool to benchmark opportunity in the community. Dark blue on the map represents areas with the highest access to opportunity. Dark red represents areas with the lowest access. e county uses this data-driven tool for planning policies and programs to create new solutions for things like housing and healthcare inequality, infrastructure aging and resource management. Access the data at

Justin Hodge, Washtenaw County Commissioner for District 5, and Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator, stand near the Briarwood Mall site, where leaders are working with developers to tear down the vacant Sears and replace it with new housing and commercial development.
CRAIN’S CONTENT STUDIO (Continued on Page 18) MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 17


Washtenaw County is attracting national attention for its commitment to providing enriching recreational opportunities for residents and visitors across the county. The Eastern Washtenaw Community Recreation Center is a $30 million project on the 26-acre site of the former Cheney Elementary School on the border of Superior and Ypsilanti Townships.

But the project is more than a mere recreation center, says Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill. With funding from local, county, state and federal governments, he says, the site will act as “the town square of that community” with spaces dedicated to childcare and healthcare. The center, he says, “will act as a conduit to make sure that those lowest

(www.opportunitywashtenaw. org) is a benchmarking tool that identi es where there is — and, importantly, is not — access to opportunities in health, nancial and career services. The index maps with pinpoint accuracy where residents in Washtenaw have more or fewer opportunities in each of these sectors.

“We look at access to job opportunities, access to food, health outcomes, life expectancy, and more,” says

on the [poverty] index don’t have to travel to receive services.” With these additions, he says, “we have a huge opportunity to interrupt generational poverty.”

Another recreational development making waves in Washtenaw County is a collaboration between Destination Ann Arbor, Marriott Eagle Crest, Ypsilanti Charter Township and Eastern Michigan University. The Rowing Course at Ford Lake is a submersible, championshiplevel rowing course that will emerge from below the surface during competitions. The course is capable of hosting regional, national and international rowing events, and it will prime the area to become a destination for rowing professionals and enthusiasts from around the globe.

e new Rowing Course at Ford Lake is a championship-level rowing course that will emerge from below the surface during competitions. It is a collaboration between Washtenaw County, Destination Ann Arbor, Marriott Eagle Crest, Ypsilanti Charter Township, and Eastern Michigan University. Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

funding streams. Policy and program decisions are based on the index.

Washtenaw County

Justin Hodge, Washtenaw County Commissioner for District 5 and Chair of the Board. “We can see where there are [geographic] areas where people tend to have lower access to opportunity, and so we strategically make greater investments there.”

At the county level, administrators and planners are committed to using data tools like the Opportunity Index to shape public policy and

A formerly blighted and abandoned shopping center is now ready for redevelopment in Ypsilanti Township. After decades of gradual decline ever since the closure of a nearby freeway ramp, township and county of cials are eager to work with planners from Wayne County just across the county line. Wayne and Washtenaw Counties are set to renew a joint operating agreement, says Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill, and Gault Village may be a perfect spot to develop a site that bene ts residents of both communities that want better access to food and shelter.

The joint operating agreement, says Dill, “really set the table for us to have more generative discussions with Wayne County about how we develop this corridor.”

Justin Hodge, Washtenaw County Commissioner for District 5, agrees. His district

includes the city of Ypsilanti, to the rural outer rings like Manchester and Bridgewater Townships, leaders are working directly within the community to level the playing eld for all. “We’re really trying to shift, generationally, the outcomes for people in Washtenaw County,” Hodge says.

By examining how infrastructure issues like internet access can negatively impact residents, Washtenaw County leaders have nearly completed an ambitious initiative to provide broadband internet access to every residence in the county, linking up rural and high-density addresses alike. This helps every resident, from the senior citizen meeting with their doctor via a telehealth appointment or an elementary student accessing online tutoring software.

straddles the border between Washtenaw and Wayne Counties. “Residents don’t care about which jurisdiction is which,” he says. That’s why he worked so closely with Christopher Girdwood, CEO of Aerotropolis, on the Gault Village project, which directly bene ts residents of both counties. “Housing, homelessness or the need to buy food, or any other need, is not bound by jurisdiction, so partnership is essential,” Hodge says.

Girdwood agrees. “Being a part of Aerotropolis is something that allows me to understand the Wayne County and Washtenaw County partnerships much better. Aerotropolis gives Washtenaw a small pathway to collaborate with Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County. We’re happy to help them increase that collaboration.”

on wheels” that uses data tools like the Opportunity Index, the Social Vulnerability Index and quali ed census tracts to pinpoint where in the community its services are most needed at any given time.

Like many communities, Washtenaw County faces plenty of housing challenges. According to the Washtenaw Urban County 2023-2027 Consolidation Plan, the most common problem facing both renters and owners in the county is cost burden. Dill and the county commissioners have taken a nimble approach to housing woes and are building vibrant and connected communities in the process. The goal, says Dill, is to “create a place where all housing sectors can thrive.”

Administrator Gregory Dill sees the Opportunity Index as a vital information source to guide his work. At the end of the day, he says, “we are the safety net in our community. And we want it to be positioned well to do that work.”


“The core of what we’ve been trying to achieve is to ensure equity for everyone,” says Commissioner Hodge. “We want the community to be a place where everybody has the opportunity to thrive and be successful.” Across Washtenaw County, from Hodge’s eastern district, which

Financial empowerment programs are another tool that county leaders implement for long-term prosperity. The My Future Fund is a county-wide children’s savings initiative, in which each student who quali es for free school lunches is granted a $500 college savings account. The Financial Empowerment Center offers one-on-one counseling for residents in a number of nancial topics.

One ultra-responsive and local strategy that the county directs to help eradicate income inequality is the Mobile Service Support Initiative (MSSI), a “community center

That means turning blighted or abandoned spaces into mixed-use and mixed-income properties that draw residents from all ends of the housing spectrum. One such project is the Dorsey Estates Brown eld redevelopment on the east side of Washtenaw County. When completed, it will feature 46 mixed-income residential condominiums. A mixture of cottages, duplexes and townhomes, half of the Dorsey Estates will be available for residents with income targeting between 40% and 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) as de ned by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Christopher Girdwood is the CEO of Detroit Region


Aerotropolis, a public-private economic development partnership that drives investment around Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports and the I-94 corridor. He’s worked closely with Washtenaw County on this and other projects and has high praise for their outside-the-box approach. “Administrator Dill and Commissioner Hodge have taken a renewed focus to look at brown eld sites and how they may be located in underserved communities and how there could be a winwin,” he says. “Remediating the brown eld site and bringing new investment to an underserved community is very much a focus from a real estate perspective.”

Another adaptive reuse project in the works for the county is repurposing valuable land at Briarwood Mall, located just off I-94 and State Street. County leaders are working with developers to tear down the vacant Sears and replace it with a four-story, 354-apartment building alongside a two-story commercial building with an anchor grocery store. And on the western edge of the county, a 100-year-old stove manufacturing factory will be transformed into market-rate apartments thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program.


By shoring up infrastructure and creating equitable and desirable housing from underutilized sites, Washtenaw County leaders are betting on a promising future for the county. The county has an active farming community, with a farm council that

supports farmers and their families’ social and nancial needs, and a Michigan State University Extension program that caters to the unique needs of the county’s many rural residents.

That’s one of many strengths that help position Washtenaw for economic development, says Dill. “What our infrastructure is perfectly situated to do,” he says, “is just that blend between the urban and the rural parts of our communities. When you think about east and west on I-94 and north and south on US-23, we have the conduit and the framework to build that connection between our urban and rural areas.”

easier with partnerships like Ann Arbor SPARK, a community resource that helps drive economic growth by offering startup services, business expansion assistance, and funding solutions for new and established businesses in Washtenaw. Those partnerships paid off in June 2023 when Toyota North chose York Township for its next expansion, a project expected to bring nearly $50 million in capital.

At the same time, Toyota doubled down on its interest in Washtenaw by announcing its rst “Driving Possibilities” STEM initiative to create Pre-K-12 opportunities to prepare today’s youth for tomorrow’s job opportunities.

“We really want to make sure that entrepreneurship and business opportunities are here, and that we illuminate them in the right way.”
- Gregory Dill, Washtenaw County Administrator

Part of that conduit is a robust school system, from preschool all the way through the county’s world-class universities. “We always talk — rightfully so — about the University of Michigan,” says Dill. “But our public schools are among the top in the state of Michigan, and we have Eastern Michigan University, another leader in education.”

Attracting and retaining top talent to Washtenaw is made

Public-private partnerships in funding, training, housing and more, say Washtenaw County leaders, are the key to positioning Washtenaw County to reap its best economic rewards. To make sure that “our talent will want to stay in this community,” says Administrator Dill, “we really want to make sure that entrepreneurship and business opportunities are here, and that we illuminate them in the right way.”


Developers and of cials in Washtenaw County are seeking ways to transform once blighted sites. Here are a few highlights.

Gault Village: The site of an abandoned 145,000-squarefoot shopping center in Ypsilanti Township has been razed and of cials say is ready for renewal.

Briarwood Mall: The planned project at Briarwood transform a former 166,000-square-foot Sears store, demolishing it and replacing it with new retail and residential spaces. Simon Property Group and Hines global real estate group plan to add sidewalks to give the area a village feel.

Too often, the community services that would most bene t a resident can be dif cult to navigate. That’s where Washtenaw County’s Barrier Busters come in. The Barrier Busters are a group of more than 100 social service agencies who work together with residents to respond to emergency needs as they happen. About half of these are immediate utility needs; other requests for nancial aid come in for housing, transportation and medical care.

The Barrier Busters Emergency Unmet Needs Fund gives agencies the funds they need to prevent costly evictions and utility shut-offs and to aid their clients in need. If a resident has emergency car repairs, for example, wand needs assistance to retain transportation to their job, the resident can turn to their local social service agency, which ef ciently connects them to the funds they need to stay on the road.

For every dollar the County invests in Barrier Busters, the program leverages three additional dollars in emergency funding. These funds prevent costly evictions and health emergencies and save local governments and taxpayers money.

“The Barrier Busters is an innovative program. People don’t have money in their bank accounts for many different kinds of emergencies. That’s why we have various clusters of support for them.”
- Justin Hodge, Washtenaw County Commissioner for District 5
Photos by Doug Coombe for Crain’s Content Studio Cheney Elementary School: On the border of Superior and Ypsilanti Townships, the closed school is the future home of the Eastern Washtenaw Community Recreation Center, a $30 million project on the 26-acre site.

Sports-community complex aims to lift up Detroit neighborhood

A new multi-purpose recreation facility and park being built by a nonpro t in a west-side Detroit neighborhood intends to rede ne community space and spread hope.

e Merit Park project broke ground May 17 at 10123 Grand River Ave. near I-96 and Livernois. e project is being led by David Merritt, co-founder and board chair of Give Merit, the nonpro t arm of Merit Goodness. Merritt is also a former University of Michigan basketball player from 2006-09.

e facility will be home to an NBA regulation basketball court, a turf eld with indoor bleacher seating for up to 300 people and a rock climbing wall. Other physical activity features include a slash pad, 31.3-yard dash and outdoor obstacle course.

Opportunities for professional advancement include a podcast room and a training kitchen. Additionally, Merit Park will o er retail space, restaurants and co ee shops.

Construction of the park is estimated to take a year and it is expected to open in summer 2025. Once completed, the 57,500-square-foot facility is planned to be a “holistic life skills and tness training center”

open to the community and focusing on advancing the lives of Detroit youth.

Merit Park will include a variety of resources that support health and expand educational opportunities to youth and families in Detroit, Merritt said. e nonpro t will own the park and manage all programming there.

Merritt said the $15 million Merit Park project has been more than seven years in the making. More than $10 million for the project has been raised from organizations including the Kresge Foundation, Ally Bank, the Mullick Foundation and the state, according to a news release.

e project ful lls multiple needs for the community, Merritt said, noting the area currently doesn’t have any city or neighborhood parks.

“We have about 7,000 young people under the age of 19 within the 48204 ZIP code without much to do. Very few spaces for young people to safely play, but also just very few places for the community as a whole to come together and to build community to build relationships,” Merritt told Crain’s.

Two dilapidated buildings on the property that sat vacant for about 40

years were demolished for the project. e land, now solely owned by Give Merit, was owned by a variety of private owners. e rst piece of the land for the project was donated by Merritt’s parents who started Straight Gate International Church, across from the planned park.  Merritt would not disclose nancial details of the land purchases.

“We're hoping to create a model for other Black communities throughout the city and throughout the country. How we can take spaces that are underutilized, dilapidated, and to transform those spaces, again, into beacons of hope for the community,” Merritt said. “Merit Park is another platform that we are creating for young people in the city of Detroit to create their own future.”

However, the Merit Park project is not limited to youth and intends to be a space that cultivates community.

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood since I was a teenager — over 50 years. I was raised here, I raised my daughter here, and now she is raising my grandson here. ere is currently absolutely nothing in the neighborhood for any type of activity for people, young or old,” neighborhood resident Vanessa Bennett

said in the release.

Merritt said the creation of the park aims to increase the reach of the nonpro t’s mission. Since 2011, Give Merit has aimed to enhance and extend educational opportunities to underserved youth through mentorship and programming. Its central program, FATE, has formed cohorts of students who for eight years participate in programs that focus on academic enrichment, social and cultural awareness, career development and student mentorship. Additionally, if students maintain certain standards, such as maintaining at least a 2.5 GPA, the FATE program provides students with college scholarships.

Merritt has been a part of the larger community his entire life. He is an associate pastor at Straight Gate church, which his parents started 46 years ago. Merritt gradu-

ated from West Bloom eld High School in 2004 and pursued his college degree at UM.

Merit Park’s e orts align with the vision and goals Give Merit has for how the program can push young people to preserve and continue to positively impact the world.

“So we talk about how do we create spaces and ways in which Detroit youth are able to aspire, able to dream, also able to believe in themselves?” Merritt said. “ en we surround those young people with a group of individuals that are family and encourage them to continue to persist. We can get young people to aspire and believe ultimately they will contribute to themselves, their families and their communities.” e general contractor for the project is Flint-based Siwek Construction and Detroit-based Gensler is the architect.

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Once completed next year, the 57,500-square-foot Merit Park facility in Detroit will be a “holistic life skills and tness training center” open to the community. | GENSLER

New space in East Village aims to light the way for artists

What was once the site of a commercial bakery and warehouse in Detroit’s East Village has since been revitalized into a “neighborhood destination for the arts” called Lantern.

Lantern’s recent grand opening highlighted the local nonpro ts and artist studio spaces it houses and previewed local businesses that will be open at the location later this summer. e mixedused center illuminates how the space can contribute to the community, culture and artistic ventures.

Lantern, located at 9301 Kercheval Ave., has 21,400 square feet of program space and 22,300 square feet of gross oor area. e space is part of a neighborhood-wide development initiative called “Little Village” that aims for a portion of Detroit’s East Village neighborhood to become an “innovative arts community.”

Anthony and JJ Curis, co-founders of Detroit art gallery Library Street Collective and partners, aim to have Lantern as a “hub for the arts” in the city.

“We are thrilled to see Lantern open its doors and join the Little Village programming,” the Curises said in a news release. “Working with OMA and our partners, we’ve created a space that not only supports local businesses, artists, and non-pro ts, but also fosters inclusivity, education, and accessibility in the arts. We look forward to seeing Lantern’s impact on the neighborhood and beyond.”

Two art nonpro ts, Progressive Arts Studio Collective and Signal-Return Press, are the key tenants of Lantern and will occupy about 8,500 square feet of the location.

Lantern will be the new headquarters for PASC, a program that is part of the disability services organization Services to Enhance Potential. PASC is “the rst art studio and exhibition program” that helps Detroit and Wayne County adults with developmental disabilities and mental health di erences “launch professional art careers.” In addition to its programming, PASC will have a gallery for its artists’ work.

e second nonpro t, Signal-Return, preserves and teaches traditional letterpress printing in Detroit by hosting workshops and exhibitions, o ering access to printing facilities for independent artists and educational partnerships. Signal-Return’s space in Lantern will also feature a retail store, featuring the work of more than 50 artists, and a gallery that will present exhibitions related to Signal-Return’s programming.

“Our grand opening was a huge success,” said Lynne Avadenka, director of Signal-Return. “Hundreds of visitors poured into our space, took part in hands-on art activities, learned about our organization and what we bring to the community.”

Signal-Return moved from Eastern Market to the Lantern for the opportunity the space o ered.

“Our lease (at Eastern Market) ended in May of 2023. We had out-

grown our space, met Anthony Curis and were excited to be part of a growing arts district on Detroit’s east side,” Avadenka said. “We are delighted to be located in the Lantern Building.”

Four other local businesses will

be located in Lantern, planned to open late this summer:

◗ Assemble Sound: e full-service music company and recording studio founded by Nicole Churchill in 2015 is currently located at 2300 17th St. in Corktown.

◗ Coup D’etat: An independent fashion boutique founded in 2019 by Angela Wisniewski, catering mainly to women.

◗ Collect Beer Bar: e family-owned business, owned by Kyle and Lea Hunt, currently serves craft beers on Gratiot Avenue in the Eastern Market district.

◗ Café Franco: A co ee shop owned by Juan and Kat Perez of La Ventana Cafe.

e Lantern was designed by OMA, an architectural rm based in New York, in a project led by

OMA’s Partner-in-Charge Jason Long. e Lantern features a courtyard at the center of the building, a design choice created out of the “existing building’s state of disrepair.” Before renovations, the area was missing a roof and wall, a condition that shaped the space to its nal design.

Additionally, the south facade of the building has more than 1,300 drilled holes that “subtly reveal light and movement within” and at night the center becomes a “glowing Lantern,” the release states.

“We are very excited to start seeing Lantern come to life. In the renovation, we tried to work both with and against the former bakery’s solidity to make its transformation feel simultaneously familiar and mysterious,” Long said. “ e result is a building that welcomes and emits light and creativity.”

Other projects part of the Little Village project will soon have public grand opening events. e village’s centerpiece e Shepherd, formerly the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, is transformed into an art gallery. A grand opening for e Shepherd was held this month.

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The exterior of the newly opened Lantern space in Detroit’s East Village. | PHOTOS BY JASON KEEN COURTESY OF LIBRARY STREET COLLECTIVE The Signal-Return space in the Lantern development. A studio space inside the Lantern development.

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What if we had all hands on deck to solve the housing crisis?

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is moving with urgency to address the housing crisis by nancing more homes and meeting the needs of our evolving, modern housing markets.

We know that a quality, a ordable home is the foundation for stability in nearly every aspect of our lives –from education and employment to overall health and well-being. at’s what makes our current housing crisis

MI Neighborhood and other programs are helping address Michigan’s aging housing stock, which is critical since nearly half of the housing units in Michigan were built before 1970. We are also focused on bringing more a ordable new homes to neighborhoods throughout the state.

All this work requires a deeper look at our housing ecosystem and aligning our investments with current priorities and future growth goals, so we can

“Michigan’s housing crisis didn’t crop up overnight – and solving it will take sustained work across the state as well as commitment from local, regional, and statewide partners.”

-Amy Hovey

so concerning. Today, Michigan is about 170,000 homes short of meeting current demand.

We need to nd more ways to make housing a ordable for every Michigan resident – e orts that will require all of us to work collectively if we want everyone to make it in Michigan.

What if we had all the resources needed to address supply?

e governor called on us to “build, baby, build” in her State of the State address, setting an ambitious goal for MSHDA to commit $1.4 billion in nancing to support the construction, rehabilitation, and/ or purchase of 10,000 housing units across Michigan.

We’ve been busy nding solutions to eliminate barriers and increase housing opportunities across Michigan. MSHDA’s new MI Neighborhood application streamlines the process for requesting funds for new unit construction and rehabilitation - each of which plays a vital role in achieving the goals in Michigan’s Statewide Housing Plan.

Initiatives like the Housing Readiness Incentive Grant Program for cities, villages and townships were introduced to help combat both supply-related issues and a ordability. Costs associated with the adoption of land use policies, master plan updates and more may be eligible for funding and can make developing housing easier and more e cient, and ultimately more a ordable for residents.

For prospective buyers, one of the largest obstacles to homeownership is the down payment. To increase eligibility and use of MSHDA’s down payment assistance program, last year MSHDA expanded its MI 10K DPA program to include all 986 zip codes in Michigan, allowing more of our neighbors to achieve the dream of homeownership.

Yet we can do more. Passing Senate Bill 293 would eliminate outdated, arbitrary restrictions that force MSHDA to invest housing funds in certain geographic areas while leaving others ineligible, and prevent us from supporting middleclass families. is bill cleared the state Senate with bipartisan support last summer. e House should join them and pass it right away.

House Bill 5032 would increase the purchase price of a home that can be nanced with a MSHDA-backed mortgage, which has been set at

$224,500 since 2009. Michigan’s housing market has changed a lot since 2009, and MSHDA should have the exibility to nance more homes in more parts of the state.

What if we all worked together to solve our housing challenges?

Michigan’s housing crisis didn’t crop up overnight – and solving it will take sustained work across the state as well as commitment from local, regional, and statewide partners. We are making progress, but there is still more work to do.

Michigan’s future prosperity depends on having an adequate supply of quality, a ordable and diverse housing options. Our residents deserve it, communities need it, and businesses thrive with it. By supporting exible funding solutions and local priorities, business leaders and policymakers can help us solve the housing crisis.

Building more single family homes, apartments, and mixed-use buildings will expand supply and lower costs, while supporting thousands of skilled trade jobs.

ensure there’s adequate supply of diverse housing options. For Michigan businesses, the charge is simple: support solving the housing crisis, and economic development will follow.

What if housing was affordable for everyone?

Lowering housing costs is a challenge across the country. We know that in Michigan, over half of renters are paying more than 30% of their income in housing costs, and for too many people trying to buy their rst home, the cost of homeownership remains out of reach.

Low supply and high demand, coupled with rising construction costs and high interest rates, have resulted in steep costs for renters and homebuyers alike from Detroit to Marquette to Kalamazoo. Solving this issue will not come easy, and it will take federal, state and local policymakers, developers, community-based organizations, businesses and philanthropies working together to ensure every resident who needs housing can secure – and retain – it.

WHAT IF WE BUILT A BETTER MICHIGAN FOR EVERYONE? We can with more housing. It leads to increased housing choice and affordability, vibrant communities, jobs and a stronger economy. Let’s build and rehabilitate more homes, and make our state an even better place to live—for all. AdNumber:PP-MSHDA-23429ATrim:6"x6"
The State of Michigan will make the largest investment to build housing in Michigan history—nearly $1.4 billion to build or rehabilitate nearly 10,000 homes.


Progress is worth pursuing

Let’s start saying ‘yes’ and working together toward practical sustainable solutions

Chief Sustainability Of cer and Vice President of U.S. External Affairs Enbridge

Pete oversees sustainability strategy, corporate partnerships, public policy and government relations federally and across the 41 states in which Enbridge operates. He serves on the Sustainability Advisor Council to the New York Stock Exchange.

America’s ability to achieve a sustainable energy future — one that’s a ordable, reliable and lower-carbon — relies in large part on the actions we take today.

But far too o en, we evaluate proposed actions through a single lens — as a pocketbook issue or a climate issue, as “good” energy or “bad.” e outcome — far too o en — is a resounding “no.”

at means we’re not moving fast enough or far enough when it comes to solving for climate, energy security and a ordability.

We need to come together and say “yes” to practical solutions — the actions that, while not perfect, achieve meaningful progress.

Expanding use of North America’s abundant, inexpensive and lowercarbon natural gas is a case in point.

Switching from coal to natural gas has been instrumental in reducing US greenhouse gas emissions — power sector emissions declined more than 30% between 2005 and 2019 — with

a further 7% drop in 2023 alone. At the same time, by providing reliable, baseload power that can be quickly dispatched when needed, natural gas helps support the buildout of zeroemissions wind and solar — further reducing emissions from the electricity systems we rely on.

“We must prioritize making progress on our shared goals.”

Natural gas is vital to energy transition. So, too, is energy infrastructure — the pipes and wires that move energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed. When you consider the sheer size and scope of the energy infrastructure across America serving our growing energy needs, incremental gains in e ciency across systems — tackling methane leaks, using renewable energy to move conventional energy — can deliver big impacts in lowering overall emissions.

Yet too o en infrastructure projects are held back by competing interests, opposing views on which form of

energy is best, outdated policies and unnecessary bureaucracy. Consequently, it’s become di cult to reach the consensus needed to move these projects forward.

While it may, for some, be an inconvenient reality, to meet our climate goals and adequately power our lives and businesses, we’ll need all forms of energy — more renewables, more natural gas, more oil — alongside more carbon capture, more energy e ciency and more innovation.

It’s encouraging that even among environmental activists, we’re seeing discussion of the need to support “new developments that address present crises” and calls for progressives to embrace the green building boom by saying ‘yes’ to building infrastructure in our backyards.

Instead of prioritizing one energy solution over another, we must prioritize making progress on our shared goals.

Understanding common ground, options and compromising is how we

make progress. Perfection is the enemy of progress, and that’s a dangerous place to be when we’re talking about energy supply, the infrastructure that serves it and our ability to meaningfully reduce emissions.

We have to do better. We can do better. It starts by overcoming a focus on perfection that’s preventing us from making the progress we need at the speed we need it — and at terms that are a ordable for the customers we serve.

We in North America are lucky to have vast natural resources, a welltrained workforce, and an inherent drive to innovate. We have the tools to tackle the complex challenges of climate change, energy security and energy a ordability — to bridge to a sustainable energy future.

Imagine what we can accomplish if we work together.

Let’s say “yes” to progress.

Bridging the energy future together

The promise of tomorrow is built on the collective e orts of today. It’s built on our shared commitment to sustainability and the environment, and actively addressing climate change while safely and a ordably meeting energy demand.

It relies on the investments we make in building safe, vibrant communities, and the care we take in making Michigan and the world around us better places. Tomorrow is on, and we share your commitment in making it better.



MGM Grand Detroit keeps its promises 25 years later

When MGM Grand Detroit opened in its temporary space in 1999, we could not have predicted the phenomenal shi in Detroit’s economic trajectory over the next 25 years. However, looking toward the next phase of our region’s development, we

believe that our journey from new arrival to premier hospitality and entertainment destination o ers a case study in what’s possible when an organization is focused on what matters: Cultivating strong and diverse partnerships, authentic and impactful community involvement, and a comprehensive commitment to improving lives, both inside and outside of the casino’s doors.

In the mid-‘90s, Detroit had experienced decades of revitalization e orts with mixed success, each with signi cant investments of money, in uence and public fanfare. e city was riding an upward trend of optimism and interest from a growing coalition of committed players, and the struggle to bring casino gaming to Detroit had at last crossed the threshold from being one more big idea to jump-start the regional economy to emerging as a dream ful lled — a new start accompanied by tremendous expectations to make good on promises made.

Establishing a secure foothold for an entire entertainment industry sector in Detroit remained a massive undertaking yet to be realized, with

much to deliver for the people and institutions that had attached their hopes and fortunes to our success. e tables were open, and the stakes couldn’t have been higher for our opening bet.

But we didn’t get there alone, and we knew that there was a lot more than our money on the table. From day one, MGM Grand Detroit has been committed to honoring the faith and support of the partners and public that worked so hard to give us the opportunity to carve out a place for a thriving gaming and hospitality culture in Detroit, and to plant roots in the community that has become our home.

Our focus has been xed on building a prosperous future together, where our success inspires the next chapter in Detroit’s ongoing comeback story. We’ve never taken those next steps alone, and every win along the way was anchored by the strength of the connections we’ve forged.

We promised that Detroit residents would make up 50% of our workforce, and in exceeding that pledge, MGM Grand Detroit has connected

thousands of Detroiters to new careers — not merely jobs, but life-changing opportunities o ering a path to the middle class.

We’ve demonstrated that nancial strength follows when we make intentional decisions to invest in the people who can deliver. It’s no coincidence that nearly 50% of our spending on outside vendors is awarded to minority-owned, womenowned and Detroit-based businesses, supporting a local economy that’s representative of the city we love.

We’ve shown that our commitment to inclusion in hiring, with minorities making up more than 70% of our workforce and holding 64% of MGM Grand Detroit’s leadership positions, is a proven success in bringing all voices to the table, and in fortifying our top position in the Detroit market.

Before these concepts became buzzwords, they were the cornerstones of our operating plan. Today, they de ne the roadmap that connects best practices in business to the best outcomes for our neighbors, friends and families.

e initial $100 million investment MGM Grand Detroit made over 25 years ago was rightly regarded as an ambitious bet, and while the stakes have only gone up, the odds grow more favorable every day as investment in the city accelerates, as demand for entertainment and hospitality destinations are met with the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs who drive sustainable growth, and as innovations in cross-sector collaboration are fueled by new technologies, informed legislation and shared purpose across an increasingly diversi ed regional economy.

We have arrived here together, and in the process, we have changed the face of Detroit’s entertainment and hospitality landscape, moving the needle on what’s possible when we’re focused on what matters. Today, as we step forward to collaborate on creating the best path forward, MGM Grand Detroit is proud to stand by our record of promises made and promises kept.


State OKs grant for Flint-area megasite

The Michigan Strategic Fund board on May 21 approved a $250 million grant to prepare a megasite near Flint for a major manufacturing project.

e board voted unanimously to pass the Strategic Site Readiness Program grant for the Mundy Township Advanced Manufacturing District, paving the way for a “transformational” project.

e roughly 1,300-acre tract of farmland near Flint Bishop Airport is the state’s most prized megasite after Ford Motor Co.

i ed but time is of the essence to ready the site for development as the federal government has accelerated deadlines for federal funding applications, said Christin Armstrong, senior vice president of business development at the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

e state has said it is targeting automotive, battery, semiconductor and clean tech manufacturers, which are also be subsidized heavily at the federal level. e project is expected to spur investment above $2 billion and create more than 2,000 direct jobs.

“It’s much more than a one-time bene t. That will mean thousands of new jobs and opportunities for young people.”

claimed one in Marshall for an electric vehicle battery plant and local opposition spoiled plans to develop one in Eagle Township, near Lansing.

An end user has not been solid-

e grant request by the Flint and Genesee Group Foundation, which is leading e orts to develop the site, follows approval last month of a $9.2 million grant supporting the project and appears to indicate that o cials are getting closer to landing a user.

"It’s much more than a onetime bene t," said Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the


Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance, said. " at will mean thousands of new jobs and opportunities for young people so they can grow and build a life here.”

e $250 million grant is on a similar scale with funding used to get the Marshall site ready for Ford’s EV battery plant. e grant in Mundy Township will be used primarily for land acquisition of all parcels within the advanced manufacturing district as well as conducting due diligence and “doing some demolition and ini-

tial site clearing work,” according to a brie ng memo.

e Mundy Township grant is part of the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund, created in response to losing Ford's $11 billion investments in Kentucky and Tennessee in 2021.

e public comment period of the MSF board meeting on May 21 was lled with project supporters, including representatives from a skilled trade union, workforce development group, area

colleges, a real estate agency and Genesee County businesses. Two residents expressed opposition to the project and large manufacturing developments in general, citing concerns over safety, environment, transparency and disruption to communities.

O cials said there are nearterm site visits planned by prospective users.

“We do expect companies are making site location decisions over the next several months," Armstrong said.

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 27 UNLEASH YOUR INDUSTRY WITH FERRIS STATE Partner with Ferris State University to accelerate your industry and our state forward. Ferris State University is an equal opportunity institution. For information on the University’s Policy on Non-Discrimination, visit JN-1743
Mackinac-Poliy-Conference-Crains-Ad-20240410.indd 1 5/9/24 9:  AM
An approximately 1,300-acre tract of land in Mundy Township, near Flint Bishop Airport, has seen interest from major automotive and semiconductor manufacturers. | FLINT & GENESEE GROUP Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance

Startup aims to use technology to take ‘forever’ out of PFAS

e Biden administration made headlines last month with announcements about reducing the impact of so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS and having the Environmental Protection Agency cracking down on polluters.

ose headlines are particularly good news for a women-owned early-stage company at Michigan State University called Enspired Solutions Inc., whose patented technology shows promise for ending the “forever” description of PFAS chemicals.

PFAS stands for per- and polyuoroalkyl substances, synthetic chemicals that have been widely used for more than 60 years to make plastics, re ghting foams and lubricants. Exposure to high levels can, among other things, lead to liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer.

What makes PFAS particularly dangerous is the compounds are almost impervious to decay and live up to that tag of “forever.”

e now-closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda is one of the most contaminated sites in Michigan as a result of decades of reghting foam soaking into the

ground. In 2018, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a “do not sh” order for the Huron River in Ann Arbor after large plumes of PFAS foam started leaching into the river from underground and oating downstream.

Current methods for dealing with PFAS contamination often don’t eliminate the contamination. Instead, they capture the PFAS and transfer them elsewhere, with materials used to capture the PFAS themselves at risk of becoming new sources of contamination.

Enspire was founded in 2021 by Denise Kay and Meng Wang because of their excitement after reading an article in the journal Scienti c Reports that detailed how researchers in China and at MSU had developed a process that breaks down PFAS chemicals by destroying the carbon- uoride bonds in them, one of the strongest bonds known in nature. It was research sponsored by the National Science Foundation of China, the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and MSU AgBioResearch.

e article was published in the September 2016 issue, titled “Complete De uorination of Peruorinated Compounds by Hydrated Electrons Generated from

3-Indole-acetic-acid in Organomodi ed Montmorillonite.” One of the co-authors was Stephen Boyd, a professor in MSU’s Institute for Integrative Toxicology.

“It was brilliant, elegant chemistry,” Kay said.

Once the researchers got their U.S. patent in 2019, the technology became much more commercially viable and investment-worthy.

Kay and Wang reached out to the authors in 2020.

“ ey said they’d been waiting for someone to call,” Kay said.

So, both Kay and Wang quit their jobs with Ramboll Group A/S, a company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, to start a company to tackle the PFAS problem head-on. And they trademarked the slogan “Forever chemicals gone forever.”

Kay got her undergraduate degree in environmental science from the University of Michigan in 1992 and her Ph.D. in environmental technology from MSU in 1998. She then spent the next two decades in a variety of jobs involving toxicology, and from 2019-21 was based in East Lansing as toxicology technical director for Ramboll.

Wang, who is a director at Enspired, had been based in Chicago for Ramboll with the title of lead for data analytics, Americas. She got her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia in 2009 and then earned a master’s in business administration from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

“We knew we had the knowledge, experience, and drive to bring this to market, so we obtained the patent license, quit our careers and started our journey as rst-time entrepreneurs,” Kay said.

contaminated current or former military bases, such as Wurtsmith. And it got a second DOD grant of $1.1 million in March to conduct two eld pilots.

So far, Enspired has raised $3.5 million in equity funding, including a total of $560,000 from MSU funds — $250,000 from the Michigan Rise fund and $310,000 from Red Cedar Ventures. It now employs 11 people.

Kay is particularly proud that most of the friends-and-family round of fundraising came from women, and nearly $1 million more was raised from 12 angel investors who are women. e company also raised $1 million from Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington Ventures and $400,000 from Ann Arbor-based LP West Technology Holdings LLC, which invests in women-run technology rms. Enspired also won the $10,000 rst prize at the Michigan WomanUp Pitch Competition in 2022.

Enspired used the grant and investment money to design and build a machine in its lab to turn the research paper into a commercial reality.

ing PFAS is that we are not just moving the problem around, capturing the PFAS and transporting it to another location, such as a landll,” Kay said. “We’re building our next machine now and will build more.”

e last of the $3.5 million came after the company hit three milestone targets in March for further funding, including a pilot demonstration that met customer satisfaction in the eld, expanded intellectual property and a customer purchase order.

“Denise and Meng are two really outstanding female founders who are coming into our research ecosystem,” said Je Wesley, executive director of both Michigan Rise and Red Cedar Ventures and a member of Enspired’s board. “It’s been a blessing to be aligned with them.”

One of their satis ed customers is Malcolm Gander, remedial project manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest in Silverdale, Wash.

list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors**

“We immediately realized its potential to be developed into a practical solution to alleviate the most challenging problem that we face in the environment today,” Wang said.

“I had been working with Denise for almost 10 years, and we knew each other very well. Perfect timing, perfect market opportunity, perfect technology and a perfect partner made Enspired Solutions happen.”

Enspired began its relationship with the MSU Research Foundation in July 2021 when it rented wet-chemistry lab space in the school’s VanCamp Incubator east of campus.

After initial funding of $30,000 in April 2022 by MSU’s Red Cedar Ventures, Enspired moved into a 3,300-square-foot lab and o ce space in the Research Foundation’s Alliance building, which is part of the University Health Park. e MSU Foundation built out their space.

at was followed a month later by a friends-and-family investment round of $300,000.

e company also got a grant of $330,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2022 to test the technology breaking down PFAS at

e machine involves hitting PFAS that has been concentrated from contaminated water with ultraviolet light while adding some chemicals. e light and chemicals create a reaction that breaks PFAS molecules into water, uoride and simple carbon compounds.

ey call the machine the “PFASigator,” as in the gator that eats PFAS. And their logo shows a cartoon alligator munching on something, presumably PFAS.

He said Enspired came to his attention in 2021 when it won $10,000 by nishing second in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge.

Gander said he doesn’t have permission to talk speci cally about

“We immediately realized its potential to be developed into a practical solution to the most challenging problem that we face in the environment today.”
Meng Wang

Eventually, as revenue ramps up and customers sign on, Kay said she would like to have the machines at contaminated sites around the country. For now, though, their in-house machine does more cleanup than one might suspect just looking at it.

Kay said the ratio of PFAS to the water it contaminates is about one to a thousand. She said their machine breaks down 200 gallons of concentrated PFAS a day, which means destroying what had contaminated 200,000 gallons of water a day.

“ e rst major distinction from current approaches for remediat-

any contract Enspired might have with the Navy and couldn’t comment on how he is using or evaluating the technology. But he said he can say that the Navy is a customer, he can talk in general terms about what he likes about Enspired’s technology, and that he has heard good things about it from other contractors and consultants. “ ey need to scale it up, but Enspired technology is proven. It is recognized as showing great promise to successfully clean up PFAS-contaminated sites at much lower cost than current technologies, the most prominent of which is the use of granular activated carbon to remove PFAS from drinking water,” he said.

A Fee-Only Wealth Management Group Michigan’s #1 Financial Advisor by both Barron’s* and Forbes** Charles C. Zhang CFP , MBA, MSFS, ChFC, CLU Founder and President 101 West Big Beaver Road, 14th Floor Troy, MI 48084 (248) 687-1258 Minimum Investment Requirement: $1,000,000 in Michigan $2,000,000 outside of Michigan. Assets under custody of LPL Financial and Charles Schwab. *As reported in Barron’s March 11, 2023. Rankings based on assets under management, revenue generated for the advisors’ rms, quality of practices, and other factors. **As reported in Forbes April 4, 2023. e rankings, developed by Shook Research, are based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings and a ranking algorithm for advisors who have a minimum of seven years of experience. Other factors include client retention, industry experience, compliance records, rm nominations, assets under management, revenue generated for their rms, and other factors. See zhang for full ranking criteria. www.zhang
is the highest ranked Fee-Only Advisor on Forbes’
Co-founders Denise Kay (left) and Meng Wang in front of the PFAS-destroying machine they call the PFASigator. | ENSPIRED SOLUTIONS

Thank you, Margaret Cooney Casey!

As president of the Corewell Health Foundation Southeast Michigan, you have been an extraordinary leader and transformative champion for health care philanthropy.

In partnership with our generous benefactors, you led fundraising efforts totaling more than $700 million to support innovative programs, new facilities, advanced technologies, breakthrough research and more – positively impacting the lives of so many patients and families in the communities we serve.

We celebrate you and wish you all the best in your retirement.

Thank you for 24 unforgettable years.

Entrepreneur blazes trails from health care to real estate

One could be forgiven for seeing a di cult future for Re’Shane Lonzo after she gave birth at age 14 while a freshman at Oak Park High School.

But Lonzo didn’t just beat the odds. She crushed them, thanks to her own tenacity and to help from her mother and grandmother in raising her son.

Lonzo has since blazed a trail of entrepreneurship from health care to worker training and, now, to real estate development in Lansing.

“No matter how adverse an individual’s circumstances are, they can use them as an opportunity to overcome and succeed,” is a motto Lonzo says she lives by and preaches.

She got a scholarship to Michigan State University after graduating from high school in 1991, got a

degree in criminal justice in 1995, and an MBA from Northwood University in 2011.

She was a corrections o cer for the state of Michigan in 1996 and 1997; was a substitute teacher for the Lansing school system from 1995-2002; and was an instructor at Lansing Community College from 1999-2002.

Lonzo stopped teaching in 2002 when she founded her own home health care business, Lansing-based DRM Genesis Home Healthcare Providers. Later that year, unable to nd enough certi ed professionals to ll the needs of her fast-growing company, she founded DRM International Learning Center.

Her two businesses grew out of her helping a friend care for her son, who had been paralyzed in a car accident in 1999. “I’d go over and help, and his mother said I did a better job than their professional

Total Commitment to STUDENT SUCCESS

health care aide was doing,” recalled Lonzo. “She said, ‘You should start a company and I’ll be your rst customer.’ ”

Lonzo shut down the home health care business to devote more time to training and certication.

e letters D, R and M, not incidentally, are the initials of her rst child, David Raphael Major.

Lonzo is CEO of the company, which o ers state certi cations for nursing assistants and for drywall and carpentry; and national certications for phlebotomy technicians, patient-care technicians and medical assistants.

She is also president of the Lansing Black Chamber of Commerce and has been a board member of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce for 12 years.

Lonzo says DRM has a total of 50 subcontractors and employees

and certi es about 300 students a year with a placement rate of 98 percent.

Student success isn’t just a goal; it’s our unwavering commitment, something we take to heart. We believe that when students thrive, they become the architects of our future. Here are a few ways we are putting this into action:

Dedicated Support: More student success navigators, with smaller caselaods. Shifted from a transactional advising model to a resource coach model.

Clear Pathways: Guided pathways provide students with a clear roadmap to reach goals and earn a degree or certificate.

Industry Relevance: Strategic partnerships with local industry, orchestrated by Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE). Providing programs tailored to today’s job market.

Real-World Experience: Prioritize work-based learning, encouraging students with internship opportunities to learn real-world work skills.

Flexible Learning: Online or in-person classes, shorter 7- or 15-week sessions, flexible learning options that accommodate students’ schedules and learning styles.

Inclusive Community: Affinity Liaisons represent diverse groups in our community, fostering an inclusive campus culture where every voice is heard and valued.

Re’Shane and her husband, Steven, who retired last summer after a career as a language teacher and then principal in the Lansing school system, are dramatically expanding the scope of their entrepreneurship.

Last November, the Lonzos opened e Comfort Zone Cigar Lounge & Bistro on South Pennsylvania in Lansing after an expensive redo of an old neighborhood restaurant called Leo’s Outpost that had been closed for about 18 months.

He is a cigar a cionado and after driving for years to Churchill’s in Birmingham or Robusto’s Cigar Bar in Sterling Heights or King’s Cigar Lounge in Flint, they decided it was time to open up a re ned cigar lounge in Lansing.

“I enjoy cigars and the cigar culture,” he says. “I’ve had a 40-year passion for cigars.”

And in 2022, their Lonzo Development Group bought a long abandoned two-story, 30,000- squarefoot building on West Saginaw Street in Lansing that over the years was home to a bakery, a furniture store, a saloon and a grocery store.

DRM International were honored with the Best Small Business Award for the Lansing area at the 18th Annual Michigan Celebrates Awards Gala, hosted by the Grand Valley-based Small Business Development Center.

Darryl Horton is a CPA who serves as a business consultant for SBDC out of its o ces at Lansing Community College and since 2021 has helped the Lonzos with nancial and business planning, both for DRM and for their new endeavors.

“Both Re’Shane and her husband are great entrepreneurs. ere’s such a value in providing training to the community,” he said. “We don’t have many minority-owned businesses of her caliber. She a strategic visionary. She doesn’t take no for an answer.”

Amanda Miller recently got her certi cation as a nursing assistant from DRM, which had an immediate and huge impact on her life. She was working in the dietary and kitchen unit at the Holt Senior Care center and says she regularly pulled double shifts and worked 28 hours of overtime a week to make enough money to pay her bills and her house payment.

ey want to put a culinary arts school and an international café on the ground oor and 10-11 affordable housing units on the second oor. ey have received $1.5 million in grants so far, $1 million from the city of Lansing and $500,000 from an Ingham County trust fund, and are seeking more. ey have also applied for browneld and historic-preservation tax credits.

e anticipated budget for e Iris project is $6.5 million. ey hope to begin construction this fall and open for business 18 months after that.

“We chose to name this e Iris because this is a project that symbolizes hope, faith and courage,” Re’Shane Lonzo said. “In ancient Greek stories, the Greek word ‘iris’ means rainbow.  When we think of rainbows, we know that there is a promise of sunshine, and that is what the rebirth of this Saginaw Corridor is, an indication that something beautiful is on the horizon that will bene t an entire community,” she said.

In 2022, Re’Shane Lonzo and

Miller got her certi cation on April 22 and began work at the senior care center as a nurse’s assistant three days later, doubling her pay and eliminating the need for overtime, a boon, she says, for a single mother with a young daughter. She even bought the rst new car of her life.

Miller is e usive in her praise of DRM and Lonzo.

“I was really nervous and behind in class and I met with Re’Shane. She boosted me up. ‘You need to believe in yourself,’ she said. “She takes care of you and makes you a better person. She’s an amazing teacher.

“I’ve always been on public assistance, and I just got o ,” said Miller. “Re’Shane is a builder-upper. I’m here crying just thinking of her, just so you know. ere’s not a word to describe how great she is.”

Miller said Lonzo has told her she plans to add a nursing program, “and I’ll take it when she does.”

Lonzo said she hopes to have one up and running within two years.

2111 Emmons Road | Jackson, MI 49201 2111
Mackinac Policy Conference JC Ad.indd 1 5/10/2024 8:22:13 AM
Steven and Re’Shane Lonzo in front of their new cigar lounge in Lansing, called The Comfort Zone. | TOM HENDERSON

Rede ning philanthropy:


In a historic announcement, Bowling Green State University and the Thompson Foundation will expand their philanthropic partnership to provide nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in student scholarships at the University.

When combined with their past scholarship support, alumni Bob and Ellen Thompson shared their intent to increase their contribution to scholarships at BGSU to total $121 million, with the possibility of an additional $30 million to extend the program past 2035.

This contribution will be the largest in the University’s history, the largest single gift designated to student scholarships in the state of Ohio and one of the largest non-endowed scholarship programs of its kind in the nation.

Through a shared commitment to student success, BGSU and the Thompson Foundation announce a cumulative scholarship investment of nearly $250 million to make higher education a reality for thousands of BGSU students.

For ‘Team Michigan,’ electricity transmission company ITC is a key player

Michigan ranks second nationwide for clean energy investments, with $20 billion in investments since August 2022 spanning clean energy, battery, and electric vehicle manufacturing, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Many projects the state is pursuing have greater electrical needs than existing manufacturing operations. ITC, the largest independent electricity transmission company in the United States, is working closely with the state, other utility providers and the MEDC to attract and retain new business to help grow our economic base and increase job opportunities in the state. Simon Whitelocke, the president of ITC Michigan and vice president of ITC Holdings Corp., and Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. discuss how ITC and the MEDC are working to grow the state’s economic opportunities.

How do electricity transmission provider ITC and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation work together to attract and retain business investment in Michigan?

Q.M.: The MEDC takes a “Team Michigan” approach to economic development, and ITC is an integral part of that team. ITC ensures that not only are we connected energywise, but also as a Michigan-based company, we’re connected with answers to the challenges that businesses might face as they locate and grow here.

How big of a role does ITC play in economic development opportunities for the state of Michigan?

Q.M.: The electrical grid is an important part of our ‘Make It In Michigan’ economic development strategy focused on People, Places and Projects as we’re competing for and winning projects. We are seeing projects that have greater power needs, frequently requiring the development of substations, bringing power across greater distances, and doing it in a way that’s renewable. ITC is important to this process because power generation is only as effective as the ability to reliably and safely transmit it.

S.W.: Electric transmission and infrastructure have taken on a more prominent role in economic development in recent years. We’re seeing a lot of large manufacturing facilities — for example, those manufacturing semiconductors and EV batteries — that require more electricity than other manufacturing processes use. So, electricity is just that much more important in the decision-making process. We have a best-in-class high-voltage transmission grid here in Michigan, which is a key driver when it comes to attracting businesses.

How does ITC partner with the state of Michigan on economic growth strategies and projects?

S.W.: Over the last few years, we have increased our involvement in the process. If there’s a large project coming up, MEDC engages us and the other utilities,


CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

and we work on it with a team approach. We work with the local utility to determine what the power needs are for that prospective company and come up with a solution from a transmission perspective. We work together to gure out how to do this as ef ciently, and quickly, as possible.

What are businesses looking for from the state’s grid and how are the state of Michigan and ITC poised to deliver that?

Q.M.: Among other things, businesses are seeking reliability and predictability. We are seeing projects with intensive energy needs. ITC is a critically important partner because you can have the right power generation, but if you don’t have the right transmission, you’re not going to be successful. Having ITC at the table early in the process as a core part of our project team has been vital for any success we’ve had as a state.

S.W.: We’ve invested over $7 billion in capital projects and maintenance of the transmission grid since 2003 when we rst started the business. We’ve been making a lot of improvements here to the point where, today, we’re as good as it gets. The transmission system in Michigan is a tremendous asset for the state in that it provides us with a competitive advantage to offer prospective companies.

On a recent economic development trip to Taiwan and South Korea, Gov. Whitmer announced the opening of the Michigan Taiwan Of ce, focusing on securing investments in industries including automotive,


Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan

semiconductors, renewable energy and advanced manufacturing. How can ITC partner with the state to attract these kinds of businesses?

S.W.: Companies with advanced manufacturing processes have high expectations when it comes to electricity, and their processes are very electrically sensitive. They require continuous, uninterrupted, clean, pure power. Our grid is certainly one that can handle it and deliver what they need.

What were some of MEDC’s key takeaways from the trip to Taiwan?

Q.M.: There’s a long history of Taiwanese students attending the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Consequently, there are very strong alumni networks for both institutions in Taiwan. There’s a rich connectivity that’s always existed between Michigan and Taiwan.

Now, with the Michigan Taiwan Of ce staffed by KC Kong, who is a two-time University of Michigan alum, we are institutionalizing in an intentional way, alumni connectivity, to attract more foreign direct investment and Michigan business exports to Taiwan. KC is working to ensure that that MEDC and the entirety of Team Michigan are developing greater connectivity between Taiwan and our state. The of ce allows us to connect with Taiwan more intentionally on a daily basis, rather than relying on once a year or biannual meetings.

Last fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that

set ambitious targets for clean energy and renewables, leading to 2040, when Michigan will produce all its energy from clean sources. How will this boost the state’s economy?

Q.M.: The governor’s aggressive goals signal to companies that they will have a partner in government. Our ‘Make It In Michigan’ economic development strategy focused on People, Places and Projects is undergirded by a commitment to demonstrate that pro table business growth will occur when we are climate responsible and leverage our deep tech expertise to reduce carbon emissions. Among the industries attracted to Michigan because of our lean-in on clean energy are cleantech, hydrogenbased companies in the infrastructure and propulsion sectors. We’re creating policies that will support their success. That’s vitally important as we

continue attracting and retaining companies at the forefront of this work.

What is ITC’s role in ensuring a cleaner energy future for Michigan?

S.W.: We’re working to accommodate the growing demand for electricity by making sure a mix of generation sources, including renewables, are interconnected to the transmission system. We’re not just planning the grid for short-term needs, rather we are looking 10-20 years ahead to determine energy needs to make sure we have an ongoing source of safe, secure, reliable power. Our continued investments in capital and maintenance of the transmission grid earns us top quartile reliability performance, something very attractive to prospects looking to do business in Michigan.



Can Michigan devise a better strategy to get projects and jobs?

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her allies stood on the porch of the Grand Hotel at the state’s preeminent business summit and outlined Make It in Michigan, a broad-strokes, three-pronged economic development vision.

One pillar? Winning more projects — investment and jobs from companies choosing to expand in or locate to Michigan. “We’re on the same page about economic development,” the Democratic governor said at the Mackinac Policy Conference, less than two months after she signed a law solidifying the state’s na-

scent, marquee business attraction fund with up to $1.5 billion over three scal years.

A year later, however, the strategy is unsettled and in legislative limbo. Lawmakers are debating the worthiness and size of existing incentives used to keep and lure companies — and whether new ones, such as a tax incentive for job creation, should be added to the mix.

Such wrangling over business subsidies is not new, given Michigan’s political pendulum and shifting economic fortunes over the decades. But several factors are putting economic development under the microscope to a

degree perhaps not seen before in the Capitol, where Whitmer and the Democratic-led Legislature may forge a plan in the next month after talks stalled last year.

Potential changes

e governor wants new, enduring incentives to keep the state competitive and to provide a predictable economic development policy. e push comes amid the auto industry’s budding electric vehicle realignment, a massive federal push to lure manufacturing jobs back “onshore” and sobering population projections that threaten Michi-


gan’s long-term prosperity.

Lawmakers are on board with two proposals, a research and development tax credit and more exibility to create tax-free Renaissance Zones. ey are split or noncommittal on two others, to again let certain companies capture income taxes for new jobs — Michigan had such an incentive from 2017 to 2019 — and to create an innovation fund to invest in early-stage startups. e biggest ght, though, is over something Whitmer is not spearheading — an overhaul of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, the closing fund she and legislators cre-

ated 2 ½ years ago in response to Ford Motor Co.’s bombshell move to put new EV battery and assembly plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Senate-passed bills would dedicate half of the fund’s money, up to $500 million of the maximum $1 billion earmarked over this budget year and next, to a new initiative called Michigan 360. It would support funding for things like regional transit, a ordable housing, the redevelopment of demolished or vacant properties, infrastructure, child care and job training.

See BUSINESS on Page 34

David Eggert A year ago at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (left) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Make It in Michigan, a strategy of investment and incentives to bring more projects, jobs and quality-of-life improvements to the state. The program is now in legislative limbo and may undergo some changes in the near future. | STATE OF MICHIGAN

“It’s a more e ective way to do economic development now that has a higher return on investment,” said a leading sponsor, Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak. e legislation is modeled on how Virginia secured Amazon’s additional headquarters in 2018 with, yes, cash grants but also investments in education and transportation infrastructure that comprised a majority of the o er, she said.

“Fundamentally, I think Michigan has to evolve,” she said. “We have to evolve to be less reactive and more proactive.”

Ways to spur growth

Incentives, McMorrow said, too often are “the rst tool instead of the last one.” e goal should be to get to a point where a community or region’s workforce and assets are so attractive that they are not needed, but it would be “pretty naïve to think we can just cut them o in one fell swoop,” she said.

“ ere’s sort of the existential question of whether or not you should do (economic development) because there’s people who say, ‘Well, the state is picking winners and losers. It shouldn’t be in that business.’ I think we should be, but we should use it in a way that gets us on the trajectory of where we want to go as a state,” McMorrow said.

SOAR, which could soon be renamed the Make It in Michigan Fund, has helped land large, “transformational” manufacturing projects that remain important in an industrial state that is home to nearly 20% of all U.S. auto production. ey include new auto, EV battery and solar plants that have committed a combined $15 billion in investment and more than 14,400 new jobs.

Without the account, proponents say, Michigan risks losing out at a time it can ill a ord to amid electri cation and erce interstate competition for investment being spurred by federal climate and clean energy tax credits.

“ e federal dollars say, ‘Hey, come to the U.S.’ at doesn’t say, ‘Come necessarily to Michigan,’” said Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund.

While SOAR was a response to Ford’s decision, he said, the state also is trying to “match the moment” of U.S. industrial policy, when billions of funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the In ation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act is on the table.

He pointed to competition not only with 49 other states but also places like Canada, where the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the national government are “very aggressive.”

“We are in a global competition for capital that’s even more mobile, especially in those sectors in

which Michigan excels … the hard tech, deep tech, manufacturing, advanced manufacturing at scale, which are heavily capital intensive before they ever create a dime of revenue let alone pro t.”

SOAR, however, is under scrutiny on both sides of the aisle. It gets more attention than other subsidies due to its size, newness and a requirement that legislative budget committees review and OK disbursements. Lawmakers have leverage to push for changes because it has no ongoing source of revenue — currently corporate income taxes — beyond the 2024-25 budget year.

Criticism of the fund runs the gamut: “Corporate welfare” does not work and comes at the expense of smaller businesses and startups. e incentives are expensive — nearly $2 billion to date. e promised factory jobs will not pay enough and more should be done to boost prosperity by preparing, retaining and attracting young professionals. Some of the battery factories being built have ties to China. e EV transition is slower than anticipated and has led Ford, for instance, to scale back its battery plant in Marshall.

“We didn’t used to write $100 million to checks to land factories here in the state of Michigan or around the country. And over the past 30 years, that has changed. And that has changed for the worse, and it has changed in a way that I think is inappropriate,” said James Hohman, scal policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, a critic of incentives generally.

Key factor: Implementation

Legislators and Whitmer are talking about extending SOAR another 10 years but directing a smaller amount to it annually and ensuring a percentage goes to community investments. Diminishing the pot for critical industry and site readiness grants and inserting new criteria the state would consider before awarding incentives has drawn concern from business groups, economic development o cials and the governor.

“I agree with the approach. I disagree with the source of funding,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, whose region is bene ting from the construction of a $2.5 billion, 1,700-job EV battery plant in Delta Township to be operated by Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution Ltd. It is part of the rst-ever SOAR projects, a $666 million deal, that also included the $4 billion expansion and conversion of GM’s Orion Township assembly plant to make EV trucks, creating 2,300 jobs.

“I think we need every penny of the $500 million of SOAR money for the businesses. I’d like to see $500 million for SOAR and $250 million for community bene t,” said Trezise, who said the package


Michigan created the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund in December 2021 to help support large-scale business attraction deals. Critical industry program grants go directly to companies. Strategic site readiness program grants support land purchases, infrastructure upgrades and other work needed to facilitate projects. Here is how the state has allotted funds:

January 2022: $666.1 million to support plans by General Motors Co. and Ultium Cells LLC to spend $6.5 billion and hire 4,000 people across two projects: converting GM’s Orion Township assembly plant in Oakland County to make electric pickup trucks and building an EV battery factory in Delta Township near Lansing.

June 2022: $100.8 million to support Ford Motor Co.’s $1.16 billion plan to add 3,030 jobs across four plants and a new packaging facility, around two-thirds of it related to EV production. The facilities are Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, the Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti Township, the Livonia Transmission Plant and the Monroe Packaging Center.

October 2022: $200 million to support Our Next Energy Inc.’s establishment of a $1.6 billion, 2,112-job EV battery factory in Wayne County’s Van Buren Township. $175 million to support Gotion Inc.’s plan to build a $2.36 billion, 2,350-job EV battery components factory near Big Rapids. $60 million to support ve agricultural processing companies’ $187 million worth of investments and 145 new jobs by upgrading a wastewater system in Muskegon County. The businesses are Fairlife, Continental Dairy, DeVries Meats, Applegate Dairy and Swanson Pickle.

February and March 2023: $330.3 million* to support Ford’s $2.2 billion, 1,700-job EV battery plant in Marshall. (* $330.3M incentive will be scaled back because Ford initially planned a larger investment and more jobs.)

January 2024:

$87.5 million to make 18 sites statewide ready for development. The sites are:

◗ Hancock Business & Technology Park, city of Hancock: $969,352

◗ Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority Small/Medium Hangar Infrastructure, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority: $500,000

◗ Muskegon Heights Industrial Parks-West & East, Muskegon Area First (brown eld site): $121,200

◗ Covenant Business Park, Lowell Township, The Right Place: $17.5 million

◗ Three Mile and Wilder Road, along I-75 in Monitor Township, Bay Future (brown eld site): $4.2 million

◗ Flint Commerce Center, Buick City site, Flint Genesee Economic Alliance (brown eld site): $5.9 million

◗ Parmenter Road in Corunna, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership: $435,000

◗ Lansing RACER Trust Plant 6 Site, city of Lansing (brown eld site): $19 million

◗ Delhi College Road Site, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (brown eld site): $6.5 million

February 2024: $97 million to support Corning Inc.’s new $900 million, 1,151job solar components facility in Saginaw County’s Richland Township.

◗ Southwest Michigan Commerce Park in Comstock Township-Kalamazoo, Southwest Michigan First (brown eld site): $2.1 million

◗ Hartford Industrial Site in Hartford, Market Van Buren (brown eld site): $467,250

◗ Benton Harbor Data and Tech Park, a partnership between Cornerstone Alliance and developer Franklin Partners (brown eld site): $3.6 million

◗ AICP Lot 14, city of Saline: $15,350

◗ LAC Site, Monroe County Business Alliance: $82,310

◗ Latson Innovation Interchange Technology & Industrial Park in Genoa Township, Ann Arbor Spark: $6.5 million

◗ Pleasant Valley Development in Brighton Township, Ann Arbor Spark (brown eld site): $604,000

◗ 440 acres in Van Buren Township (Ecorse and Belleville Roads), Detroit Aerotropolis: $18.6 million

◗ DET Crosswind Runway, Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (brown eld site): $510,000

2022 2024
From Page 33
MICKEY CIOKAJLO May 2024: $250 million to the Flint and Genesee Group Foundation to support land acquisition and infrastructure activities at a 1,300-acre megasite in Genesee County’s Mundy Township.

in hindsight “would have been even more perfect” with extra funding for housing, transit and child care.

He said there is no doubt in his mind that the factory, now about three-quarters done, would be in a nearby state without SOAR. Roughly 2,000, mostly union-trained construction workers are working at the site over a 2 ½-year period.

“ at’s not talked about at all,” he said. “But that’s a long time to have a very steady, good income. And that’s a lot of people, too, in our community.”

Tim Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, studied Ford’s $2.2 billion, 1,700-job project in Marshall and concluded, to his surprise, that the bene ts are signi cantly greater than the incentive costs. at is because of a higher multiplier — related supplier and retail jobs — its location in a county that needs jobs and the incentives not coming from revenue that funds schools.

Bartik generally thinks cash incentives are overused and should be reformed. He supports the approach of shifting dollars to community infrastructure and services but said the “devil’s in the details.”

“If the state’s handing out these grants for e orts to strengthen job

training services and child care services in the neighborhood and other things like helping people get transportation access, etc., that program could be poorly run or run great,” he said. “When you talk about any kind of policy, implementation’s absolutely key.”

e SOAR debate is linked to another contentious incentives topic — restoring and changing the Good Jobs for Michigan program that lawmakers let lapse in 2019. e largest withholding tax capture incentive, $99 million, was awarded to Stellantis NV as part of its plan to spend $2.5 billion and add 4,950 jobs in Detroit.

at included opening the city’s rst new assembly factory in decades, Mack, and expanding the Je erson facility.

Good Jobs would be renamed the High-wage Incentive for Regional Employment, or HIRE, program. e state could lure businesses by letting them capture up to 100% of income taxes from new jobs — at least 25 jobs paying 175% of the regional median or a minimum 250 jobs equal to 150% of the regional median. e overall cost would be limited to $125 million a year.

e previous incentive was “absolutely important” when Califor-

nia-based KLA Corp., a semiconductor company, decided in 2018 to locate its second headquarters in Ann Arbor, said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, the area’s economic development organization.

“Without that tool, they would likely be in Toronto today because at the end of the day, that’s who we ended up competing with,” he said, calling KLA the successful “poster child” because it hired more than 500 engineers and other employees it promised in exchange for a $16 million grant.

HIRE would be e ective in securing high-paying jobs at companies that add positions but do not plan major capital expenditures like those that have gotten SOAR funds, Messer said.

“It helps companies of all sizes, companies that are I would say in the more knowledge, less physical product development, product manufacturing,” he said. “We can attract those R&D centers, those design centers that could potentially allow us to also land ultimately a manufacturer. It just allows us to have a broader set of tools to compete for a broader set of opportunities.”

HIRE’s fate appears to be inextricably linked to SOAR changes. In the House, where Democrats have a razor-thin 56-54 edge, Re-

publican Minority Leader Matt Hall said reforms must start with the entire Legislature voting on SOAR transfers to back speci c deals — not just the appropriations panels.

Lawmakers also may insist that SOAR projects pay better wages and that businesses getting a SOAR grant do not also receive a HIRE incentive or vice versa.

“I think we need to make sure it doesn’t all go to electric battery plants, that it’s spread out more diversely,” Hall said.

e path ahead is uncertain. SOAR was created when Michigan enjoyed large in uxes of state tax revenues from federal pandemicrelated stimulus e orts. ose surpluses are over.

“Our policymakers have a pie, and they have to decide what is the best mix. It shouldn’t be one or the other,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership, which focuses on economic development in Southeast Michigan. ings like child care, job training and transportation are critical to ensuring that residents have job opportunities, businesses have trained workers and communities attract outside talent, she said.

“It’s hard. I mean, that’s what policymakers get paid to do is gure out how cut up the pie.”

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 35 BUSINESS ATTRACTION Working to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.
Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution Ltd., is part of the rst-ever SOAR projects, a $666 million deal. Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, believes the factory, now about three-quarters done, would have gone to another state without the SOAR money. | DALE G. YOUNG

Six ideas to help lure more businesses, jobs to Michigan

How can Michigan attract more businesses and jobs?  ose who work in the economic development eld, and others, have ideas beyond alterations to the closing fund for large-scale business projects or creating a tax capture program for job creation.

Some suggestions:


Economic development leaders want the state to pick a strategy and stick with it for a while.

It o ered Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credits in the 1990s and 2000s. ose went away in 2011 as part of a business tax cut, though automakers are still redeeming old ones into the next decade.

MEGA was replaced primarily by the Michigan Business Development Program, which remains in place. e state added Good Jobs for Michigan, a tax capture incentive, in 2017. Lawmakers allowed it to lapse in 2019 and have debated bringing back something like it ever since.

e Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve was created in 2021 to subsidize large-scale projects and help prepare sites for development. It is up for a possible revamp and its future funding is uncertain.

“Ideally, Michigan can nd an incentive strategy that we can stick to for the long term so that companies and developers and communities can all learn how to best utilize these tools,” said Randy elen, president and CEO of e Right Place economic development organization in Grand Rapids.

“We’ve been changing them at such a frequency. … We’ve stopped them before companies understand them. We’ve stopped them before we know if there’s really true economic impact. We start over, and it’s these ts and starts that create confusion. When there’s confusion, companies tend to go where there’s more certainty.”


Economic developers and legislators are advocating for increased attention on regional economies.

competing against other regions in the state, she said, but rather Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Atlanta and others.

Indiana has committed $1 billion to the Regional Acceleration and Development Initiative, with an additional $250 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. Each of the state’s regions collaborates to submit proposals for funding to boost the quality of life, place and opportunity.

“When there’s confusion, companies tend to go where there’s more certainty.”
Randy Thelen, The Right Place

“Our regions are quite di erent, and we need to be more focused on that, on what are the strengths of our regions. It’s not a one-sizets-all solution,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. e Detroit region is not

In Michigan, Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who chairs the Senate Economic and Community Development Committee, is urging that the state create a 10-year economic development strategy in the wake of a report issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s population growth council. She is starting to do roundtable discussions in the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s 10 prosperity regions so “the state’s strategy really supports each region.”

She has gotten feedback, especially outside metro Detroit, that

there is too much focus at the state level on the auto industry and not enough emphasis on places like the umb and Northern Michigan.

“When people are looking to move, they’re not looking to move to a state, they’re looking to move to a city. … Once we get into that mindset of recognizing that metro Detroit and Grand Rapids and the umb and the Keweenaw (Peninsula) are all very di erent places but if we agree that our goal is the same, that every region wants to grow young, educated talent to build a workforce, what’s the answer to how to get there for each region and then support that with resources from the MEDC to be that connector?”

R&D credit

At least 36 states o er a tax credit for research and development. Michigan does not, though it once did before a business tax was scrapped and replaced, e ective in 2012.

Both the House and Senate have approved bills to create an R&D credit, but they are on hold amid negotiations over other business attraction incentives.

“Ohio has it, and Indiana has it. Minnesota has it. We’re the only one in the Midwest that doesn’t have it,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Spark economic development organization.

“It puts us at a competitive disadvantage when a company says, ‘Hey, we’d like to make an investment here of high-wage, knowledge jobs’ — which are supposed-

ly the direction the state wants to go in — but they decide to place research and development activity in another state because they can book that work there and take advantage of the credit.”

Reverse scholarships

One recommendation in the population report is to pilot nancial incentives for people to live and work in Michigan. It brie y mentions, for instance, “reverse scholarships” — assistance with student loan debt — but does not delve deeper.

Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, said the state should make an o er to people in or outside Michigan: stay or move here for ve straight years and get reimbursed 20% of their tuition, room and board fees each year until reaching 100%. at would cost a lot, but he said the population projections are “very disturbing.”

“I’ll put any bet that anyone who remains here for ve years falls in love and never leaves,” Trezise said, also calling for increased state spending on the startup ecosystem, neighborhood development, main streets, arts, culture, universities and wastewater treatment capacity.

He said he is not naïve about the budgetary implications, “but you have to spend money to make money.”

Innovation fund

Whitmer and others want to bolster the funding of early-stage startups and entrepreneurs by re-

directing proceeds from Venture Michigan Funds to a new Michigan Innovation Fund. It would enable a handful of nonpro t “evergreen” funds to continuously invest in early companies as opposed to having to wait because they have reinvested their returns and need another return before investing in the next business, Krutko said.

“If we don’t have any resources, they’re going to look someplace else,” he said. “We don’t want to be the garden for the rest of the country. Other states come in and harvest our early-stage companies and say, ‘We can help you grow even further if you move to Ohio or you move to Texas or California or Massachusetts.”

‘Right to work’

Democrats last year voted to repeal a “right-to-work” law, letting private-sector unions again negotiate contracts that require union-represented workers to join or nancially support a union. Republicans and business groups say restoring that law would boost economic development e orts because some businesses refuse to expand into non“right-to-work” states. e law harms Michigan’s ability to compete for investment and jobs, they say.

Critics of the law, which was in e ect for 11 years, say it undermined workers’ ability to negotiate for better pay and bene ts. e repeal will remain in place unless Republicans regain control of both the Legislature and governor’s o ce.

Two projects received state incentives, the Mack plant in Detroit (above) and KLA in Ann Arbor (left), under an older incentives program, Good Jobs for Michigan. That program could be revived and renamed. | STELLANTIS AND KLA

Economic strategy needs long-term planning

Much has been written about Michigan’s population, an intractable challenge that has lingered over numerous decades and administrations. Since 1980, Michigan has grown just 8.8%, compared to 46.3% across the United States. While our population has ticked up recently thanks to immigration and the attractiveness of our strong colleges and universities to talented international students, our state’s population on the whole is largely stagnant and aging, with fewer young workers coming into the workforce than those looking to retire.

State Sen.

is challenge is not unique to Michigan. ere are simply fewer people in Gen Z than there are baby boomers, meaning there’s about to be a steep economic crunch as one generation reaches retirement age and the other enters the workforce. Nationwide, the birth rate has slowed and the United States’ population is growing at its “slowest rate since the founding of the nation,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. is means it’s time for a complete rethink on economic development and our metrics for success. After all, measuring success in “jobs created” means very little if your state currently has more job openings than people to ll them.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Growing Michigan Together Council in 2022 in order to tackle this issue head on.

“Despite our incredible people, natural advantages, industrial might, and relatively low taxes — Michigan ranks 46 out of 50 in combined state and local tax burden as a percentage of personal income…on too many measures Michigan has fallen behind the rest of the nation,” reads the Growing Michigan Together nal report. “Our students are less prepared, our median incomes are lagging, we’re

struggling to maintain our infrastructure, and our state is 49th out of 50 in population growth since 2000 (Citizens Research Council of Michigan).”

At the same time, Michigan’s chief growth o cer Hilary Doe led a three-month statewide public engagement e ort, surveying 2,700 young people from 15 metropolitan areas nationally, 11,000 Michiganders in-state — and holding 70 events with over 3,000 participants statewide.

e Council issued three broad recommendations in December 2023:

Now how do we get there?

Across the country, states have begun creating long-term, comprehensive economic development strategies as a tool to free them from the rat race of competing with every state for every project. Instead, they do the hard work to gure out who they really are as a state and their unique value proposition to companies and talent, and focus their economic development e orts only on what ts their plan.

Pennsylvania released its rst-ever longterm economic development strategy this year, acknowledging previous e orts “have lacked coordination and focus, and economic conditions have varied widely.” e 10-year plan creates a narrow lens to maximize efforts without spreading limited resources too thin.

Massachusetts’ plan promises a publicly available dashboard to track success metrics including housing, transit/infrastructure, population, employment and income — acknowledging that success in economic development must be measured in terms of prosperity for residents, not merely in jobs created.  Virginia’s plan re nes its focus to “elevate industries where Virginia has competitive advantages,” and includes a speci c focus on

attracting headquarters in the growing service and knowledge economy, concentrating its e orts and resources on securing a company’s anchor (and thereby, its supporting ecosystem).

What’s most notable about Virginia’s plan is how it was created. Under Democratic governor Terry McAuli e, the Virginia legislature passed sweeping reform of the state’s economic development arm in 2017. is compelled the creation of a long-term comprehensive economic development plan now being executed under Republican governor Glenn Youngkin.

One common complaint I’ve heard from business leaders throughout my six years in the Legislature is that when it comes to Michigan, lack of consistency is our biggest Achilles’ heel. As we begin to look toward 2026 and the election of the next governor, there has never been a better time for Michigan to create a 10-year comprehensive economic development strategy that will outlive any one

administration and achieve that elusive consistency in our approach.

As chair of the Senate Economic & Community Development Committee, I’ll host roundtable discussions with local business leaders, economic developers, residents, education and community leaders about what they’d like to see in a 10-year economic development plan. We’re starting this month in Traverse City with my colleague from Northern Michigan, Sen. John Damoose. We’ll leave partisanship at the door and hear directly from local leaders what they need from the state to help their region thrive.

From there, we’ll travel to Southwest Michigan and Southeast Michigan, and use our ndings to in uence legislation to compel the creation of Michigan’s own 10-year comprehensive economic development strategy. After all, it’s hard to know where you’re going — or how to best utilize your resources — without a plan to show you the way. Let’s create ours.

Economic development shouldn’t be an ‘either-or’ proposition

As elected leaders debate Michigan’s approach to economic development, we can all agree that we need better jobs, increased investment in our communities, and improved public services for our residents.

However, we should avoid setting up a false choice that pits business development against community development; we need both. e private sector creates jobs that grow the tax base to fund improved services, just as amenties like transit and parks lead to more vibrant communities that attract and retain talent.

businesses and jobs. So does Michigan’s lack of a consistent, long-term economic development strategy that transcends elections.

Development project timelines don’t ow neatly with legislative calendars or election cycles. Policies that impact projects, like incentives, must be shielded from frequent shifts and the tendency to “undo” what the other party or previous Legislature did. Companies’ expansion strategies span several years and election cycles. ey must have clarity and consistency on the business landscape and available investments.

e fact the Legislature allowed the Good Jobs for Michigan to sunset in 2019 — and four years later are debating the High-wage Incentive for Regional Employment or “HIRE” as its replacement — re ects a disjointed politics-driven approach to economic development, which is failing us, and has under both parties.

ter it was created, there are already calls to slash funding from SOAR and dilute its impact. is threatens to pull the rug out from under the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and economic developers.

We need it all — but the best way to raise the revenue needed to pay for it all is through private sector growth — and that requires a long-term economic development strategy that incentivizes business to locate here and doesn’t change each legislative session.

As an organization dedicated to bringing jobs and investment to the 11-county Detroit Region, the Detroit Regional Partnership successfully recruits domestic and international companies interested in expanding in North America. Uncertainty created by frequent policy change undercuts our ability to attract

When the Legislature gets into a tug-of-war on incentives or changes the previous policy, we run the risk of starting a project with one set of economic development tools and nishing with another. Companies are not going to make major investments here with that type of uncertainty. Yes, we need to invest in our communities, and remove barriers to employment, but undercutting private sector business growth isn’t the way to accomplish that. We have to come together to grow our economy and create more revenue, not ght over a shrinking economic pie.

Good Jobs for Michigan worked for economic developers, and HIRE is a good t for the 100- to 400-job expansion projects the Detroit Regional Partnership typically attracts, but it’s not enough on its own. We need to continue to incentivize businesses to locate and expand here.

Properly funding SOAR, creating HIRE and an R&D tax credit are good steps toward developing that long-term economic development strategy that transcends politics and lets businesses know they can thrive in Michigan.


debate over the SOAR fund demonstrates to the business world that Michigan is not uni ed.

For instance, research and development creates jobs throughout the entire product life cycle from concept to manufacturing — yet Michigan is one of the few states that doesn’t have a R&D tax credit. Creating one will help ensure that the companies that are creating the jobs of tomorrow, are doing it in Michigan.

e debate over the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve or SOAR fund demonstrates to the business world that Michigan is not uni ed behind its economic development strategy. So far SOAR has delivered seven projects that are expected to create more than 11,650 jobs. Yet, less than three years af-

Rallying around a long-term economic development strategy that incentivizes business will lead to a more prosperous Michigan that delivers the jobs, communities and services we all want.  ere’s nothing Michigan cannot accomplish when it works together — but we must pick an economic development strategy that supports private sector growth and stick with it long enough to let it deliver what we all want: increased prosperity and opportunity for all.

Maureen Donohue Krauss is president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. Mallory McMorrow is chair of the Michigan Senate’s Economic & Community Development Committee.
Researchers work in the VanCamp Incubator facility in East Lansing. One goal set by a task force looking to grow jobs and attract people is to establish Michigan as the Innovation Hub of the Midwest. | 517 VISUALS


Draft shows possibilities with proactive strategy

All of America witnessed through the record-setting NFL Draft in Detroit: When we work together toward the common good, Michiganders outshine and outdo everyone.

e Michigan Economic Development Corp. is proud to have played a role in a successful Draft weekend; however, the success was thanks to a collaborative, multiyear, multi-faceted e ort to ensure Detroit and Michigan displayed for the world the hard work over the last decade that has revitalized the city.

As the Lions have demonstrated, transformative hard work takes an entire team working toward a common goal. We are grateful for our team on this goal: Mayor Mike Duggan and his sta , Visit Detroit, Downtown Detroit Partnership, small businesses that sold out of their products, Detroiters who helped tourists nd their way, residents of neighboring communities who opened their homes and hotels, developers who invested in real estate and commercial opportunities in and around the city, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature for all their support.

e NFL Draft was a microcosm of economic development as a whole: Leveraging the opportunity to change perceptions makes it easier to attract people, revitalize places and compete for projects to grow prosperity. If not for the infusion of state dollars into many Detroit-area placemaking

projects, for instance, we would not have had the requisite amenities (hotels, restaurants, infrastructure) demanded by the NFL.

Just as the city of Detroit and neighboring communities rose to the challenge when the NFL invited them to host the Draft, Team Michigan must seize this broader moment by committing to an intentional, long-term economic development strategy that exemplies how more individuals and businesses can ‘Make it in Michigan.’

Given the positive impact legislation has on accelerating prosperity, we fully support the governor and Legislature’s work to pass an economic development package that includes a research and development tax incentive, Renaissance Zone modi cations, and High-wage Incentive for Regional Employment or HIRE bills. Each of these bills is connected to a component of the ‘Make it in Michigan’ economic development strategy: Projects, places and people, respectively.

Michigan is the only state in the Midwest without an R&D tax incentive, meaning the life-changing work and products emerging from the mobility, university, health and materials sectors are less likely to be developed in the state where they were created originally.

Renaissance Zones — mechanisms that drive investment in often overlooked communities — have not adjusted to meet the

accelerating need for a ordable housing, placemaking and commercial investments.

e growth of knowledge economy jobs by employers willing to pay higher wages has grown across the state — yet we can accelerate that if the sensible “pay as you create jobs and payroll” HIRE bill is enacted.

As the Lions have demonstrated through assembling several successful draft classes, successful teams in any industry possess the right set of tools to strengthen every “position” on the eld. Federal industrial policy is a ording every state the chance to bring supply chains back to the United States to lessen disruptions to businesses, reduce cost to consumers and increase national security. However, few states can match Michigan’s demonstrated ability to make things at scale, deliver a skilled and innovative workforce, and nurture robust ecosystems — all while also hosting large

global events, delivering meals in James Beard-recognized restaurants, and treating visitors to genuine hospitality and care within a car ride from most of the nation’s population.

With teammates living and working in communities in every region across state, the MEDC team is working in partnership with local o cials, planners, businesses and developers to identify investments in the people, places and projects that continue to highlight the Michigan story of resiliency, grit and reinvention that the Draft catapulted into national headlines.

Just as the special event fund set the policy framework that enabled the Draft to happen in Detroit, passing an economic development package will set a similar stage for accelerated success in attracting people, revitalizing places and winning projects across our state.

Improve Michigan’s business subsidy transparency

Lawmakers have authorized $4.4 billion in selective business subsidies this legislative session and billions more are making their way through the legislative process. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made road funding a major campaign plank, but roads are a lower spending priority than writing big checks to big companies.  Some have wondered whether there ought to be more transparency and accountability with taxpayer funding.

Of course.

is the director of scal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market research and educational institute in Midland.

While administrators compile huge reports on the state’s economic development programs, they are still unable to answer basic questions about them. It shouldn’t be di cult to tell residents how much of their money went to businesses and how many jobs that spending created.  Yet here we are.

e biggest o enders are the rules guiding the state’s selective refundable tax credit programs. e state made deals to give a few companies billions of taxpayer dollars. e credits give the company other people’s money but lack the transparency strings that apply to expenditures.

Administrators continue to claim that all the money collected by companies constitutes con dential taxpayer information. We wouldn’t want a person’s tax returns to be public, supporters note. But we also don’t give billions to normal taxpayers through

refundable tax credits.

While legislation can provide a solution, it shouldn’t be required. e state constitution mandates that expenditures of public money are public records, and that ought to apply here.

ere are other basic problems that should be xed. Lawmakers and administrators are good at talking about these deals when they are announced. ey are terrible at telling people what happens later. Whether companies actually create jobs is something lawmakers should want to know. ey announce subsidies with press releases and news briefs, and the deals get enthusiastic headlines. Yet there is a big di erence between job announcements and actual jobs.

Take a recent example. Whitmer announced that supply chain manager NorthGate would get $1 million from the state to open a location in Burton that would create 374 jobs. e company already operated at a number of di erent locations in the state, and nowhere did administrators mention whether the company was moving people from one site to another. e automotive industry, after all, isn’t employing more people — especially in Michigan. Nor was the $1 million required to sway the company to locate in Burton instead of somewhere else. ey’re eligible for state money regardless.

When the state ended its deal with the company without making payments, there

were no headlines. Just a statement that the company was “unable to meet job creation requirements,” in a report published long after the state ended its agreement.

People are paying for jobs, not the appearance of jobs. ey deserve more skeptical administrators and better reporting.

Getting better administrators is tough. ey serve elected o cials who want business subsidy deals to be positive and to minimize bad news. Better reporting is possible. e state could be required to keep a site detailing the current status of projects that received assistance. It could also be required to report when companies fail to meet their requirements.

at will at least let people know what happens after deals are announced, giving

them a chance to hold their representatives accountable for their job boasts. People should be more skeptical of lawmakers when they hand out taxpayer money to select companies. Corporate welfare tends to be ine ective at creating jobs, unfair to the businesses that don’t get subsidies and expensive to the state budget. It’s worse when lawmakers fail to provide the basic transparency and accountability that people deserve. Administrators refuse to tell people how much of their money companies get. And they still can’t provide an adequate accounting of where their money goes or what they get in return.

If lawmakers want to continue corporate giveaways, there are many basic improvements to be made.

James Hohman Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers want to attract more companies to do business in Michigan and hire more people. A website that details the current status of projects that received assistance and when companies fail to meet their requirements would increase transparency for all. | BLOOMBERG The draft helped change perceptions of Detroit, which may make it easier to attract people to the area. | NIC ANTAYA Quentin


PENSKECORP., Bloom eld Hills48302 248-648-2000;

BARTON MALOW HOLDINGSLLC, South eld48034 248-436-5000;

WALBRIDGE, Detroit48226 313-963-8000;

LINEAGE, Novi48377 800-678-7271;

SERRA AUTOMOTIVEINC., Fenton48430 810-936-2730;

MOROUN FAMILY HOLDINGS, Warren48089 586-939-7000


PLASTIPAK HOLDINGSINC., Plymouth48170 734-455-3600;

H.W. KAUFMAN GROUP INC./BURNS & WILCOXLTD., Farmington Hills48334 248-932-9000;

PISTON GROUP 4 , South eld48075 313-541-8674;

MCNAUGHTON-MCKAY ELECTRICCO., Madison Heights 48071 248-399-7500;

HOLDINGSINC., Birmingham48009 248-594-1144;

VICTORY AUTOMOTIVE GROUPINC., Canton Township48188 734-495-3500;

Dearborn48126 313-271-8460;

INTERIORSLLC, Detroit48209 313-842-3300;

WOLVERINE PACKINGCO., Detroit48207 313-259-7500;

AUTOMOTIVEINC., New Hudson48165 248-486-1900;

INTEVA PRODUCTSLLC, Troy48084 248-655-8886;

GENERAL RV CENTERINC., Wixom48393 248-349-0900;

MichaelHaller,CEO; JohnRakoltaIII,president

MattSerra,president; JoeSerra,chairman

WilliamYoung president and CEO $3,618.0

AlanKaufman,chairman, president and CEO, Kaufman; DannyKaufman,EVP, Kaufman, president, Burns & Wilcox; JodieKaufman Davis,EVP, Kaufman

founder and chairman

DonaldSlominskiJr. executive chairman MarkBorin,CEO

and logistics companies

of rigid plastic


LIPARI FOODS 6 , Warren48089 586-447-3500; ThomLipari,CEO; JohnPawlowski president and COO

SOAVE ENTERPRISESLLC, Detroit48207 313-567-7000;

THE DIEZ GROUP, Dearborn48126 313-491-1200;

PVS CHEMICALSINC., Detroit48213 313-921-1200;


HOLDINGSLLC, Farmington Hills48331 248-669-6500;

INTEGRATED SYSTEMSLLC, Brighton48116 517-694-6500;

vice chair and COO|ThislistofprivatelyheldcompaniesisanapproximatecompilationofthelargestcompaniesinWayne,Oakland,Macomb,LivingstonandWashtenaw countiesthatdonothavestocktradedonapublicexchange.Itisnotacompletelistingbutthemostcomprehensiveavailable.Crain'sestimatesarebasedonindustryanalysisandbenchmarks,news reportsandawiderangeofothersources.Unlessotherwisenoted,informationwasprovidedbythecompanies.Companieswithheadquarterselsewherearelistedwiththeaddressandtopexecutive oftheirmainDetroit-areaof ce.NA=notavailable. e. Crain'sestimate. 1. From TransportTopics, Top100Logistics. 2. 3. DirectorofUniversalLogisticsHoldingsInc..,vicechairof CentralTransport,chairofP.A.M.TransportandowneroftheAmbassadorBridge. 4. HoldingcompanyforPistonAutomotive,IrvinAutomotiveandDetroitThermalSystems. 5. AutomotiveNews. 6. Sold toanaf liateofConnecticut-basedprivateequity rmLittlejohn&Co.inNovember2022.LittlejohnacquiredthefooddistributorfromMiami-basedprivateequity rmH.I.G.Capital,whichacquiredLipari in early 2019. 7. Estimated North American revenue. Want the full Excel version of this list — and every list? Become a Data Member:

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 39 Company Phone; website Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area employees/
employees Jan. 2024Type of business 1
RogerPenskeSr. chairman $43,000.0 $41,000.0 4.9%1,485 73,000 Retail automotive,
logistics, motorsports racing 2
$6,476.1 $4,814.4 34.5%948 3,500 General
president and CEO
contracting, construction management
$3,603.6 65.2%285 1,500 General
$5,000.0 1 $4,000.0 1 25.0%NA NA Cold-storage warehousing and logistics 5 ILITCH ChristopherIlitch president and CEO $4,300.0 2 $4,400.0 2 -2.3%NA NA Food,
contracting, design-build, construction management
president and CEO
HOLDINGSINC., Detroit48201 313-471-6600;
sports, entertainment and real estate development industries
2,796 Automobile dealership
MatthewMoroun 3 $3,664.3 $3,940.2 e -7.0%NA NA Owner
$3,777.2 $3,376.7 11.9%803
of the Ambassador Bridge and various trucking
-6.6%620 6,400 Manufacturer
containers and recycled plastic material 9
$3,600.0 $3,200.0 12.5%301 1,890 Insurance services 10
$3,297.9 $3,181.0 3.7%1,104 8,898 Automotive supplier 11
$2,814.0 $2,186.0 28.7%472 NA Electrical distribution 12 BELFOR
SheldonYellen CEO $2,687.0 $2,144.5 25.3%1,638 10,115 Property restoration 13
JeffreyCappo president $2,633.8 5 $2,409.6 5 9.3%NA NA Automotive dealership 14 LAFONTAINE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP,
RyanLaFontaine CEO $2,609.6 5 $2,463.3 5.9%NA 2,454 Automobile dealership group 15 CARHARTTINC.,
MarkValade,executive chairman;
and CEO $1,937.9 $1,734.8 11.7%696 3,154 Apparel manufacturer 16
RonaldHallJr. president and CEO $1,831.3 $1,713.0 6.9%1,260 2,200 Automotive seating systems 17
$1,751.9 $1,684.3 4.0%NA NA Wholesale meat packer and processor; wholesale meat, poultry and seafood distributor 18
$1,708.1 $1,669.3 2.3%1,312 NA Auto dealer 19
GerardRoose president and CEO $1,600.0 $1,300.0 23.1%245 8,734 Automotive
electronics 20
owner $1,553.0 $1,742.0 -10.8%803 2,238 Recreational vehicle dealership 21
$1,292.9 e $1,276.3 e 1.3%NA NA Wholesale
Highland48357 248-887-4747;
supplier of closure systems, interior
and motors and
and owner; LorenBaidas,CEO and
food distribution
AnthonySoave CEO $1,288.7 $932.0 38.3%537 1,897 Diversi ed management holding company 23
$1,200.0 $1,054.5 13.8%411 644 Aluminum and steel sales, precision
DavidNicholson president
CEO $1,185.0 $882.0 34.4%300 1,800 Manufacturer,
industrial chemicals 25
KevinBaird CEO $1,160.3 e7 $1,121.1 e7 3.5%NA NA Supplier
interior automotive components
KennethHopkins president and CEO $1,090.0 $977.0 11.6%856 3,242
distributes driveline
$1,073.0 $1,230.0 -12.8%1,720 2,850 Automotive complex assembler and sequencer
processing, warehouse and logistics companies
marketer and distributor of
and systems, including cockpits and
Designs, manufactures and
systems and service parts
Ranked by 2023 revenue


ATLAS OILCO., Taylor48180 800-878-2000;

COMMERCIAL CONTRACTINGCORP., Auburn Hills48326 248-209-0500;

PLANTE MORAN, South eld48075 248-352-2500;

ALUDYNE, South eld48034 248-728-8700;

AMERISURE MUTUAL INSURANCECO., Farmington Hills48331 248-615-9000;

KENWAL STEELCORP., Dearborn48126 313-739-1000;

ORLEANS INTERNATIONALINC., Farmington Hills48334 248-855-5556;

ARISTEO CONSTRUCTION, Livonia48150 734-427-9111;

MOTOR CITY ELECTRICCO., Detroit48213 313-921-5300;

BELLE TIRE DISTRIBUTORSINC., South eld48075 313-271-9400;

THE CHRISTMANCO., Detroit48202 313-908-6060;

UNITED ROAD SERVICESINC., Plymouth48170 734-947-7900;

BARRICK ENTERPRISESINC., Royal Oak48073 248-549-3737;

THE IDEAL GROUP, Detroit48209 313-849-0000;


JosephLuther,senior VP and general manager, Southeast Michigan operations; MaryLeFevre,regional VP of business development

management, general contracting, design/build, facilities planning and analysis, program management, real estate development, etc.

LinzieVenegas,president; FrankVenegasJr.,chairman

MACOMB GROUPINC., Sterling Heights48312 586-274-4100; WilliamMcGivernJr.,president;

eld Hills48302 248-334-3600;


contracting, specialized miscellaneous steel manufacturing and distribution of protective barrier products, global supply chain management

Engineering, product development, performance vehicles, aftermarket components and alternative fuel systems

Distributor of pipe, valves, ttings, heating and cooling, control and instrumentation, boilers, pumps repair, steam products, sanitary piping products, etc.

solutions, staf ng and technology rm

40 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | MAY 27, 2024 Company Phone; website Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area employees/ Worldwide employees Jan. 2024Type of business 28
SamSimon founder and chairman $1,056.7 e $1,301.4 e -18.8%NA NA Petroleum distribution and fueling solutions 29
SteveFragnoli president and CEO $1,035.2 $633.5 63.4%290 437 General contractor, construction manager, design/ builder, machinery installer, concrete, etc. 30
JamesProppe 1 managing partner $1,009.8 $919.9 9.8%1,447 3,963 Audit, tax, consulting and wealth management 31
BillPumphrey president and CEO $1,009.4 e $1,046.0 e -3.5%NA NA Chassis and subframe, body structural components, electric vehicle components 32
GregoryCrabb president and CEO $966.7 $806.6 19.9%316 NA Property and casualty insurance company 33
StephenEisenberg chairman and CEO $940.0 $1,231.0 -23.6%202 317 Steel service center 34
EarlTushman,president and CEO;
secretary $887.6 $986.6 -10.0%29 35 Meat importing, exporting and trading 35
MichelleBarton president $818.4 $488.2 67.6%550 750 General contractor with self-perform earthwork, concrete, steel fabrication and steel erection services 36
DaleWieczorek chairman, president and CEO $801.3 $572.3 40.0%1,196 1,730 Electrical contractor 37
JackLawlessIII CEO $700.0 $557.0 25.7%1,600 NA Retailer of tires and automotive services
$683.0 $435.4 56.8%106 NA Construction
MarkAnderson president and CEO $681.0 $659.0 e 3.3%NA NA Vehicle transportation and logistics 40
RobertBarrick president $639.9 e $677.1 -5.5%NA NA Petroleum wholesaler
retailer 41
$605.5 $555.4 9.0%420 862
JamesRiehlJr. president and CEO $595.9 e $575.8 e 3.5%NA NA Automobile dealership 43 ROUSH
EvanLyall CEO $590.0 $560.0 5.4%2,348 2,604
$580.0 $350.0 65.7%172 605
45 RonShahani president and CEO $547.0 $459.9 18.9%363 3,864 Workforce
BillGolling president $540.7 $543.3 -0.5%471 NA Automobile dealership group 47 SUBURBAN AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES, DavidFischer,chairman; DavidFischer Jr.,CEO $540.0 $476.4 13.4%610 1,134 Distribute OEM accessories
provide eet management
logistics services 48 POPULUS GROUP, Troy48083 248-712-7900; KarenPhilbrick VP of HR $538.5 $606.3 -11.2%152 NA HR services and staf ng 49 CAMACOLLC,
ArvindPradhan president and CEO $523.7 e $506.0 3.5%NA NA Automotive seat structure assemblies 50 ROCKFORD
Detroit48226 313-309-9854; KentJackson MattEvans vice presidents $522.4 $435.0 20.1%NA NA Construction management rm serving the industrial, education, health care, manufacturing, multifamily, hospitality, retail, warehouse and distribution industries 51 JOHN E. GREEN COMPANY, Highland Park48203 313-868-2400; MichaelGreen president and CEO $510.0 $430.0 18.6%800 NA Mechanical and re protection contractor 52 MSX INTERNATIONALINC., Detroit48226 248-829-6042; FrederickMinturn group chairman $500.8 e $497.4 e 0.7%NA NA Business process outsourcing service provider for global automotive retail segments and human capital managed service provider 53 DETROIT LIONSINC., Allen Park48101 313-216-4000; SheilaFord Hamp principal owner and chair $495.0 3 $452.0 3 9.5%NA NA National Football League franchise 54 HUNGRY
Madison Heights48071 248-414-3300;
StevenJackson president and CEO $468.3 $479.2 -2.3%NA NA Pizza franchisor 55 REDICO,
DaleWatchowski president and CEO $455.9 $400.6 13.8%1,385 NA Commercial and residential real estate and senior housing
ENTERPRISES, Livonia48150 734-779-7000;
ACRO SERVICECORP., Livonia48152 734-591-1100;
Farmington Hills48331 248-442-6800;
South eld48076 248-827-1700;
Ranked by 2023 revenue
From Forbes
1. TobesucceededbyJasonDrakeasmanagingpartner,effectiveJuly1,2024. 2. FormerlyRosevilleChryslerJeepInc. 3.
.Netofstadiumrevenueusedfordebt payments.


RPM, Royal Oak48067 855-585-1910;

ATWELLLLC, South eld48076 248-447-2000;

CLARK HILLPLC, Detroit48226 313-965-8300;

PRESTIGE AUTOMOTIVE, St. Clair Shores48080 586-773-1550;

SMITHGROUP, Detroit48226 313-983-3600;

CHASE PLASTIC SERVICESINC., Clarkston48346 248-620-2120;

PROGRESSIVE MECHANICALINC., Clawson48017 248-399-4200;

RONCELLIINC., Sterling Heights48312 586-264-2060;

PAT MILLIKEN FORDINC., Redford Township48239 313-255-3100;

65 UHYLLP, Farmington Hills48334 248 355 1040;

ELDER AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, Troy48083 248-585-4000;

67 JAMES GROUP, Detroit48209 313-841-0070;


GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE ALLIANCELLC, Detroit48210 313-849-3222;

69 GOLDFISH SWIM SCHOOL FRANCHISINGLLC, Troy48084 800-856-5120; gold

70 STEWART MANAGEMENT GROUPINC., Harper Woods 48225 313-432-6200;

ALTIMETRIKCORP., South eld48075 248-281-2500;

MatthewBissett,president; BrianWenzel,CEO

JeffreyGerwing,Midwest region practice director;Russ Sykes,chairman and managing partner

KevinChase,CEO; AdamPaulson,president

RandyHosler,president; CharlesHosler,executive VP

GinoRoncelli,president and CEO; GaryRoncelli,chairman

BrianGodfrey,president; BruceGodfrey,chairman

ThomasCallan,Great Lakes regional managing partner

SylvesterHester,chairman; WilliamPickard,executive chairman

AndrewMcCuiston,president; ChrisMcCuiston,CEO and co-founder

RajSundaresan,CEO; RajVattikuti,executive chairman

EddieHall,president and

design and

accountants and consultants

Provides swim lessons and water safety instruction to infants and children aged 4 months to 12 years

Data and digital engineering services 72 HALL AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, Royal Oak48067 248-548-4100;

DEARBORN MID-WESTCO., Taylor48180 734-288-4400; ToddBegerowski president

DICKINSON WRIGHT PLLC, Detroit48226 313-223-3500;

APPLIANCEINC., Pontiac48343 248-335-4222;

AUTOMOTIVE FAMILY, Highland Park48203 313-868-3300;

DETROIT PISTONS, Detroit48201 313-471-7000;


Detroit48226 313-596-6900;

REVERE PLASTICS SYSTEMSLLC, Novi48375 833-300-4043;

Material handling systems integrator, construction, tooling and equipment installation, plant maintenance services, and life cycle improvement

Consulting and staff augmentation services, vendor management programs, customized solution, call center technology and a domestic IT development center

Designs and manufactures safety hardware and software, including crash test dummies, simulation tools, digital solutions and sensor technologies

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 41 Company Phone; website Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area
Jan. 2024Type of business
BarrySpilman founder and CEO $398.0 $366.6 8.6%258 NA Transportation logistics provider/third-party logistics 57
employees/ Worldwide employees
$379.0 $308.0 23.1%168 NA Provides
comprehensive turnkey services, including land and right-of-way support, engineering, land surveying, planning, environmental compliance, etc.
JohnHensien CEO $373.5 $343.5 8.7%288 NA Law rm 59
CEO $366.0 $322.8 e 13.4%NA NA Automobile dealerships, real estate and insurance 60
chairman and
$364.8 $354.1 3.0%301 1,427 Architecture,
engineering and planning
$359.0 $413.0 -13.1%95 NA Specialty engineering thermoplastics distributor 62
$358.1 $105.2 240.5%150 420 Mechanical contractor 63
$358.0 $253.0 41.5%163 185 Construction services,
program management,
build 64
$357.0 $395.0 -9.6%150 NA Automobile dealership
$349.7 $307.4 13.8%556 NA Certi ed
$345.6 e $334.0 e 3.5%NA NA Automotive dealerships
$331.4 $242.6 36.6%497 587
logistics solutions
TonyElder president
$325.4 $248.6 30.9%620 1,913
Warehousing, contract assembly, freight forwarding, contract logistics, procurement, quality control and inventory management
$316.1 $261.9 20.7%60
GordonStewart president $314.4 e $303.8 e 3.5%NA NA Automobile
dealerships 71
$304.6 $294.9 3.3%50 NA
III,general manager $297.4 e $287.3 3.5%NA NA Automobile dealership 73
$294.0 $433.0 -32.1%150 474
MichaelHammer CEO $285.0 $285.0 0.0%317 932 Law rm 75 ABC
GordonHartunian chairman $283.3 e $290.3 e -2.4%NA NA Appliances, electronics and car audio, bedding and furniture 76 SNETHKAMP
MarkSnethkamp president $275.7 e $266.4 e 3.5%NA NA Automobile
$274.0 1 $278.0 2 -1.4%NA NA National
CindyPasky founder, president and CEO $266.5 e $267.0 3 -0.2%NA NA
$254.6 e $255.7 e -0.4%NA NA Engineered
systems 80 HUMANETICS,
ChristopherO'Connor president and CEO $250.0 $210.0 19.0%180 1,000
Basketball Association franchise
GlenFish CEO
plastic injection molded assemblies and
Farmington Hills48335 734-451-7878;
COO $246.0 $150.0 64.0%157 NA Construction management
rm 82 MIDWEST STEELINC., Detroit48211 313-873-2220; ThomasBroad president $236.9 e $240.0 -1.3%NA NA Structural-steel contractor 83 NATIONAL FOOD GROUPINC.,
800-886-6866; SeanZecman,executive chairman; JimMoore,president $229.0 $224.0 2.2%101 132 Wholesale
the focus
large volume accounts 84 BOWMAN AUTO GROUP
owner $228.5 $231.0 -1.1%119 119 Auto dealer
CONSTRUCTION, Detroit48201 ToddSachse,CEO; SteveBerlage,president and
and general contracting
(BOWMAN CHEVROLET), Clarkston48346 248-795-1841;
Coleman president and
Ranked by 2023 revenue e. Crain's estimate. 1. From Forbes. For 2022-23 season. 2. From Forbes. For 2021-22 season. 3. From Staf ng Industry Analysts.



DYKEMA GOSSETT PLLC, Detroit 48243 313-568-6800;

BRINKER GROUP, Detroit 48216 313-897-9130;

CHEMICO LLC, South eld 48033 248-723-3263;

GHAFARI INC., Dearborn 48126 313-441-3000;



VILLAGE FORD INC., Dearborn 48124 313-565-3900;

CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS INC., Detroit 48207 313-446-6000;

VESCO OIL CORP., South eld 48076 248-557-1600;

CHELSEA MILLING COMPANY, Chelsea 48118 734-475-1361;

GROUP INC., Farmington Hills 48331 313-841-7588;

96 SCRIPTGUIDERX (SGRX), Grosse Pointe Park 48230 313-821-3200;


Woodhaven 48183 734-676-2200;

(STG), Troy 48084 248-643-9010;

DEVON INDUSTRIAL GROUP, Detroit 48226 313-221-1600;

LOAD ONE TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS, Taylor 48180 734-947-9440;

AVIS FORD INC., South eld 48034 248-355-7500;

ROGER ZATKOFF CO. (ZATKOFF SEALS & PACKINGS), Farmington Hills 48335 248-478-2400;

DESHLER GROUP INC., Livonia 48150 734-525-9100;

E.W. GROBBEL SONS INC., Detroit 48207 313-567-8000;

JASCO INC., Detroit 48209 313-841-5000;

REWOLD & SONS INC., Rochester 48307 248-651-7242;

PACKAGING, Livonia 48150 734-744-4900;

Tamaroff, chairman; Eric Frehsee, president; Jason Tamaroff, vice president


transportation and logistics provider. Services include ground expedite, air charter, air freight, logistics management, truckload, etc.

and manufacturer of seals and sealing products

42 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | MAY 27, 2024 Company Phone; website Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area employees/ Worldwide employees Jan. 2024 Type of business
Leonard Wolfe chair and CEO $225.0 $224.8 0.1% 226 722 Law rm
Larry Brinker Sr., owner and chairman; Larry Brinker Jr., CEO and president $222.0 $203.0 9.4% 82 82 Commercial construction with complete services from general contracting and construction management to carpentry, electrical, ooring and glass
Leon Richardson CEO, chairman, president $217.6 $194.5 11.9% 99 480 Chemical manufacturing, chemical management 88
Yousif Ghafari chairman $210.6 $163.4 28.9% NA NA Engineering, architecture, process design, consulting, construction services and professional staf ng 89
Jeff Hamilton president and CEO $208.0 $188.0 10.6% 85 85 General contractor and construction manager 90
James Seavitt president and CEO $207.1 e $200.1 3.5% NA NA Automotive dealership 91
KC Crain president and CEO $200.0 $220.0 -9.1% 180 693 Business media company encompassing digital platforms, publications, research and data products and events 91
Epstein, chairperson $200.0 $204.0 -2.0% 175 241 Distributor of automotive and industrial lubricants and chemicals, auto aftermarket products 93
Howdy Holmes CEO and chairman $193.9 $164.0 18.2% 341 1 341 1 Dry baking mix manufacturer 94 MPS
Charlie Williams chairman $190.0 $165.0 15.2% 286 973 Waste management, paint shop cleaning and management and industrial cleaning 95
$182.4 $173.0 5.4% 190 NA Automobile dealerships
Stotland, president and CEO; Marjory
THE TAMAROFF GROUP, South eld 48034 248-353-1300;
cer $176.8 $126.5 39.8% 29 NA Third-party administration: pharmacy bene t management, insurance bene t management and 340B administration 97
Ed Jolliffe president $174.5 e $168.6 3.5% NA NA Automobile dealership 98 SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY GROUP
Anup Popat chairman and CEO $171.0 $175.0 -2.3% 621 NA Digital transformation, generative
AI, cloud, data, mobility outsourcing software engineering services
manager $170.0 $227.0 -25.1% NA NA Construction management,
management 100
John Elliott CEO $168.5 $172.0 -2.0% 569 671 International
Mark Douglas, president; Walter Douglas Sr., chairman $165.7 $184.3 -10.1% 123 NA Automobile dealership 102
Ime Ekpenyong. CEO; Vikki Columbus, chief
AI, software
Burnley Sr., president
co-CEO; Stephanie Burnley, co-CEO and general
general contracting, program
Gary Zatkoff president and CEO $158.2 $156.0 1.4% 67 193 Distributor
Robert Gruschow president and CEO $157.7 $157.2 0.3% 217 435 Industrial manufacturing group, incorporating fabrication, design, assembly,
technology 104
logistics, transport and information
Jason Grobbel president $156.0 $153.0 2.0% 350 350 Food processor, meat and produce specialist 105
Louis James, president and CEO; E'Lois Thomas, executive VP $154.1 $155.0 -0.6% 173 NA Engineering services, program management in energy/ sustainability, etc. 106 FRANK
Frank Rewold CEO $152.9 $118.6 28.9% 59 NA Construction manager 107 MJS Nick Haratsaris president $148.2 e $143.5 e 3.3% NA NA Rigid packaging distributor 108 WORKFORCE SOFTWARE LLC, Livonia 48152 877-493-6723; Jeff Moses CEO $147.2 $138.0 6.7% 161 572 Workforce management software 109 INTERNATIONAL EXTRUSIONS INC., Garden City 48135 734-427-8700; Nicholas Noecker president and CEO $145.0 $147.0 -1.4% 240 240 Manufacturer of aluminum extruded pro les, powdercoat painting and fabrication facilities 110 EPITEC INC., South eld 48076 248-353-6800; Josie Sheppard, CEO; Rebecca Bray, president; Jerome Sheppard, chair $143.7 $166.7 -13.8% 584 1,267 IT, engineering and professional staf ng 111 KASCO INC., Royal Oak 48067 248-547-1210; Michael Engle executive vice president $142.4 $100.7 41.4% 160 NA Construction management, design/build, construction program administration 112 GRANGER CONSTRUCTION CO., Novi 48377 248-724-2950; Jeff Havranek, regional director, Metro Detroit; Tim VanAntwerp vice president $139.6 $168.3 -17.1% 113 NA Construction management, design/build, general contractor
Ranked by 2023 revenue e. Crain's estimate. 1. As of July $202.0 -1.0%


ARBOR BANCORP (BANK OF ANN ARBOR), Ann Arbor48104 734-662-1600;

RAY LAETHEM MOTOR VILLAGE, Detroit48224 313-886-1700;

COLASANTI CONSTRUCTION SERVICESINC., Macomb Township48042 586-598-9700;

ChrisColasanti,CEO; PatWysocki,president

APPLIED INNOVATION 3 , South eld48075 800-521-0983; JohnLowery,CEO; CaseyLowery,president

EMAGINE ENTERTAINMENTINC., Troy48084 248-794-5939;

BILL PERKINS AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, Taylor48180 734-287-2600;

AnthonyLaVerde,CEO; PaulGlantz,chairman and founder

MJC COMPANIES, Macomb48044 586-263-1203; MichaelChirco founder and

LINK ENGINEERINGCO., Plymouth48170 734-453-0800; RoyLink

DEMARIA BUILDING COMPANYINC., Novi48374 313-870-2800;

GLASSMAN AUTOMOTIVE GROUPINC., South eld48034 248-354-3300;

C.E. GLEESON CONSTRUCTORSINC., Troy48083 248-647-5500;

AnthonyDeMaria,president JosephDeMariaJr.,CEO

CharlesGleesonII,president and CEO;BradBaker, VPof operations

HeatherLanier,president; LoriPowe,chief client of

and construction manager 123 NATIONAL BUSINESS SUPPLY INC. (DBA NBS COMMERCIAL INTERIORS), Troy48083 248-823-5400;

SKYWAY PRECISIONINC., Plymouth48170 734-454-3550;


PaulOliver,principal PaulHatcher,president

EXHIBIT WORKS INC. (DBA EWI WORLDWIDE), Dearborn 48124 734-525-9010; DominicSilvio founder, chairman

HARLEY ELLIS DEVEREAUX (HED), Royal Oak48067 248-262-1500;

MOTOR CITY STAMPINGINC., Chester eld Township48051 586-949-8420;

JudithKucway CEO and CFO

TRILLAMEDLLC, Bingham Farms48025 248-433-0582; FrankCampanaro

South eld48034 248-851-9600;

MULTI-BANK SECURITIESINC., South eld48075 800-967-9045;

and architectural products

Construction manager, general contractor, and design/build

Design rm, including architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, landscape architecture and construction administration

Stamping plant, automotive welding, assembly, dies and prototypes

Distribution of high-tech medical equipment, maintenance repair and operations supplies and security/IT components

Institutional broker-dealer that specializes in the sales, trading and underwriting of xed-income

services, including domestic and global air, ocean and ground transportation, freight forwarding, customs brokerage, etc.

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 43 Company
Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area
Jan. 2024Type
business 113
Phone; website
employees/ Worldwide employees
TimMarshall president and CEO $138.7 1 $139.2 2 -0.3%NA NA Financial services provider 114
JeffLaethem president $138.7 e $134.0 3.5%NA NA Automobile dealership 115
$138.0 $170.0 -18.8%300 NA General contracting and construction management and design/build; self-perform concrete services 116
$131.2 $118.9 10.4%NA NA
ce technology solutions provider 117
$130.0 $110.0 18.2%300
Movie theaters 118
BillPerkins president $129.9 $132.5 -2.0%64 64 Automobile
president $126.8 $174.9 -27.5%58 NA Residential,
apartment, commercial construction, builder and developer
CEO $122.9 $108.9 e 12.8%326 562 Manufacturer of testing systems
provider of commercial testing services 121
chairman and
$121.3 $124.7 -2.7%117 NA General
contracting, design-build, construction management, program management, preconstruction services
GeorgeGlassman president $121.1 $101.0 19.8%130 NA Automobile dealerships 123
$120.0 $127.0 -5.5%35 56 General
$120.0 $118.0 1.7%120 159 Interior
integrator of commercial furnishings, audiovisual equipment
WilliamBonnell president $116.1 e $118.4 -1.9%NA NA Computer
numerical control production machining
$155.0 -26.5%33 NA
$112.3 $106.2
5.8%183 272 Experiential marketing
president $108.0 $113.0 -4.4%98 377
$106.0 $89.7
CEO $100.0 e $100.0 e
DianeBatayeh CEO $100.0 $60.0 66.7%490 NA Multifamily property management 132
JeffMaccagnone president DavidMaccagnone chairman
CEO $98.9 $70.2 40.9%60 NA
133 SHAW ELECTRICCO., South eld48033 RobertMinielly president and CEO $95.0 $80.0 e 18.8%327 330 Electrical, re alarm, security and teledata audio/ visual contractor 134 ANSARA
VictorAnsara president and CEO $93.9 $91.9 2.1%1,100 1,900 Restaurant and real estate 135 EDUCATIONAL DATA SYSTEMS INC. (EDSI), Dearborn48120
KevinSchnieders CEO $92.5 $85.0 8.8%NA NA Workforce development, training and consulting company serving clients and communities since 1979. 136 AMERILODGE GROUP, Bloom eld
248-601-2500; AsadMalik president and CEO $91.0 e $91.0 -0.0%NA NA Hospitality 137 WOLVERINE TRUCK SALESINC.,
LynnTerry president $89.7 $103.4 -13.3%142 NA Truck sales, parts and service 138 EMPIRE REALTY GROUP, AhmadFawaz broker $89.6 $77.9 15.0%82 82 Commercial and residential real estate 139 DIVERSIFIED COMPUTER SUPPLIESINC., Ann Arbor48108 800-766-5400; JosephHollenshead,chairman
CEO;BrianLeek president $87.9 $95.9 -8.3%47 NA Imaging/printer supplies,
back-end connectivity
XML feeds,
integration, etc. 140 SEKO
owner, managing directors $85.1 $71.6 18.9%30 5,850 Logistics
RESTAURANT GROUPINC., Farmington Hills48335 248-848-9099;
Dearborn48120 313-849-0800;
Dearborn48126 313-846-0960;
clients and supports
WORLDWIDE DETROIT, Romulus48174 734-641-2100;
Ranked by 2023 revenue e. Crain's estimate. 1. From FDIC. 2. From 2022 annual report. 3. Formerly Applied Imaging. Changed name in July.

EVANS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMSINC., Melvindale48122 313-388-3200;

MICHAEL BATES CHEVROLET, Woodhaven48183 734-676-9600;


AUBURN PHARMACEUTICALCO., Rochester Hills48309 800-222-5609;

GUTHERIE LUMBER COMPANY, Livonia48150 734-513-5777;

BETTER MADE SNACK FOODSINC., Detroit48213 313-925-4774;

BELL FORK LIFTINC., Clinton Township48035 586-415-5200;

SME (SOIL AND MATERIALS ENGINEERS INC.), Plymouth 48170 734-454-9900;

BUSCEMI ENTERPRISESINC., Fraser48026 586-296-5560;


SYSTRAND MANUFACTURINGCORP., Brownstown Township 48183 734-479-8100;

BLUEWATER TECHNOLOGIES GROUPINC., South eld48075 248-356-4399;

DSPACEINC., Wixom48393 248-295-4700;

SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONSINC., Taylor48180 877-272-3523;

ROBERTSON BROTHERSCO., Bloom eld Hills48301 248-644-3460;

INTERIOR ENVIRONMENTS 1 , Novi48374 248-213-3010; ieof

CONSULTANTSLLC, Detroit48243 313-963-8863;

GONZALEZ DESIGN GROUP, Pontiac48340 248-548-6010;

DOMESTIC LINEN SUPPLY AND LAUNDRYCO., Farmington Hills48334 248-737-2000;

WALKER-MILLER ENERGY SERVICES, Detroit48202 313-366-8535;

RONNISCH CONSTRUCTION GROUP, Royal Oak48073 248-840-7910;

ENGINEERED PLASTICSINC., Macomb Township48044 586-263-5100;


WORLDWIDEINC., New Hudson48165 248-347-7700;

and developer of single-family homes, condominiums and midrise condominiums

Program, project and construction management consulting; expert witness services

44 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | MAY 27, 2024 Company Phone;
Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change Detroit-area
Jan. 2024Type
business 141
employees/ Worldwide employees
JohnEvans president and CEO $85.0 e $85.0 0.0%NA NA Warehousing and distribution, transportation, contract packaging, quality inspection, staf ng, etc. 142
MichaelBates owner
dealer principal $84.4 e $81.5 e 3.5%NA NA Automobile dealership 143
NanuaSingh chairman and CEO $83.5 $68.5 22.0%350 2,078 Software development, quality lifecycle management software, IT services 144
$80.4 $73.8 8.9%90 90 Generic pharmaceuticals distributor 145
JeffreyFarber,owner; AmberVersosky,president
MelGutherie president $79.6 NA NA90 90 Building material supplier 146
CatherineGusmano,CEO; DavidJones,president $78.3 e $78.6 e -0.3%NA NA Snack food manufacturer/distributor 147
RobertBell president and CEO $78.0 $62.0 25.8%187 NA Material handling and industrial equipment sales 148
MarkKramer president and CEO $75.1 $69.1 8.7%184 369 Geotechnical, environmental, pavement, civil/survey, building and construction materials, etc. 149
AnthonyBuscemi president and CEO $75.0 $72.0 4.2%645 NA Franchisor of pizza and sub sandwich party stores 150
GeorgeHill chairman and CEO $74.6 $74.5 0.2%98 NA Technology,
SharonCannarsa president and CEO $74.3 $53.0 40.0%141 186 Precision machining and assembly 152
SuzanneSchoeneberger president and owner $73.5 e $73.5 e 0.0%NA NA Events and installations 153
PeterWaeltermann CEO $73.0 $59.6 22.5%111 2,600 Development,
154 ARC
GretaSubotich president $69.5 $71.4 -2.6%47 49 Transportation
JamesClarke CEO $69.3 $75.1 -7.7%37 NA
RandyBalconi CEO and owner $66.5 $60.0 10.8%74 NA Of ce furniture dealer 157
specialty chemicals and adhesives manufacturer and MRO services and of ce supplies
testing, simulation and validation of automotive and
management systems, dynamic reporting, modal optimization, nancial services, etc.
RobertSanders,executive director $65.1 $61.9 5.2%47 279
GaryGonzalez CEO $63.4 e $65.7 e -3.5%NA NA Design
MarkColton president $62.5 $62.5 0.0%150 550 Facility
textile rental 160
JohnZann,managing director;
engineering, staf ng, manufacturing technologies, production systems
management and
CEO $60.3 $58.0 3.9%75 172 Energy ef ciency and clean-energy rm 161
$60.0 $59.7 0.5%42 NA Specialize
construction management,
contracting 161 PTI
MarkRathbone CEO $60.0 2 $55.0 2 9.1%265 NA Injection molder
plastic components
assemblies 163
JoeVicari CEO and president $58.1 $52.8 e 10.1%504 NA Restaurants 164 TNG
LarryGaynor founder and CEO $55.0 $40.0 37.5%35 37 Manufacturer of beauty and personal care products 165 GEMSTONE COMMUNITIES, Royal DavidRuby CEO $52.9 $41.9 26.4%20 92 Real estate private equity rm and property management company focused in the manufactured housing industry 166 BRAUN CONSTRUCTION GROUPINC., Farmington Hills48331 248-848-0567; StevenBraun president $51.0 $36.0 41.7%23 NA General contracting/construction management rm 166 MARXMODA, Detroit48226 855-242-9292; WhitneyMarx andJoeMarx principals $51.0 $43.0 18.6%56 NA Of ce furnishings, culture, technology integration 168 RELIABLE SOFTWARE RESOURCESINC., Northville48167 248-504-6869; RaviVallem,CEO; VenkatGone,president $50.8 $64.5 e -21.2%325 NA Data and application services including big data, advanced analytics, business intelligence 169 W3R CONSULTING, South eld48075 248-358-1002; EricHardy president and CEO $50.4 e $50.5 -0.2%NA NA IT staf ng and consulting 170 STAFFWORKS GROUP, Clinton Township48038 248-416-1090; L. WilliamBrannIII chairman $49.9 $48.0 4.0%78 NA Staf ng and recruiting agency
Ranked by 2023 revenue e. Crain's estimate. 1. Also known as Balco Interiors LLC. 2. Plastics News
Walker-Miller,founder and
and general


Company Phone; website


PRODUCTIONS PLUS, Bingham Farms48025 248-644-5566;

HedyPopson,CEO and president; MargeryKrevsky Dosey,founder and chairperson

172 KYYBAINC., Farmington Hills48334 248-813-9665; ThiruGanesan president and CEO

173 JEFFERSON CHEVROLET, Detroit48207 313-259-1200;

174 ZAUSMERPC, Farmington Hills48334 248-851-4111;

175 CAMBRIDGE INVESTORSLLC, Troy48084 248 822-5100;

176 ECLIPSE MOLDINC., Chester eld48051 586-792-3320;


LOWRY SOLUTIONS, Brighton48116 1-888-881-2477;

178 KIRCO MANIX, Troy48084 248-354-5100;

179 AZTEC MANUFACTURINGCORP., Romulus48174 734-942-7433;

AIMS CONSTRUCTION INC./AIMS GROUPINC., Livonia48152 248-476-1310; TimBelanger CEO

Detroit-area employees/ Worldwide employees Jan. 2024Type of business

Screen Actors Guild-franchised talent agency; marketing and event staf ng agency

Engineering and IT staf ng services, application software, offshore development

and preowned vehicles, parts, service, collision and tires

Private equity rm focused on tness clubs in the Midwest, commercial real estate in the Southeast and lending nationwide

injection molds and custom molded components

of Things (IoT), enterprise mobility and managed print solutions


manager, general contractor, design builder 181 ICR SERVICES, Warren48092 586-582-1500;

president and

repair, service and automation provider 182 MICHIGAN BOXCO., Detroit48211 313-873-9500;

AUTOMOTIVE QUALITY & LOGISTICSINC., Plymouth48170 734-459-1670;

Third-party containment, repacking, staf ng, warehousing, re ashing, JIT ful lment 184 CONTRACT DIRECTLLC, South eld48075 248-3610427;

185 DESIGN SYSTEMSINC., Farmington Hills48331 248-489 4300;

186 ENGLISH GARDENS, Dearborn Heights48127 313-278-5244;

187 ADVANCE PACKAGING TECHNOLOGIES, Waterford Township 48329 248-674-3126;

188 BLUE CHIP TALENT, Bloom eld Hills48302 248-858-7701;

INDUSTRIESINC., Wixom48393 248-348-4555;

MALACE & ASSOCIATESINC., Troy48098 248-720-2500;

Livonia48150 734-464-0700;

NORTH AMERICA, Clinton Township48038 586-530-5314;

A.Z. SHMINAINC., Brighton48116 810-227-5100;

DanBirchmeier,JoelSchnelbach and KeithSwims managing partners

PEA GROUP, Auburn Hills48326 248-689-9090; DavidHunter,COO;

195 CAMPBELL MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, Dearborn 48120 313-336-9000;

GregoryShea,managing partner and CEO;DavidLosek,managing partner and president

CJ CHEMICALS, Howell48843 888-274-1044; JoshLee,president; CathyLee,CEO

197 MIG EAST LLC DBA/ MIG CONSTRUCTION, Detroit48226 313-964-3155; PaulJenkinsJr.,managing partner; PaulJenkinsSr.,CEO

Engineering for manufacturing process design and integration, process optimization, supply chain and engineering consultant

Retail stores with nursery, garden center, orist (four of the six locations), landscaping

Design and distribution of automotive adhesive lms and industrial packaging

Aluminum producer, metal slitter, distributor, warehouse and processing service center, etc.

of polyurethane foams and fabricator of nished die cut products usually with pressure sensitive adhesive backings

of manufacturing support services, expendable and returnable packaging, steel racks

and geotechnical engineering, landscape architecture, land surveying, etc.

General contractor, construction manager 198 FORTECH PRODUCTSINC., Brighton48116 248-446-9500;

Bloom eld Hills48304 248-599-1891;

200 ALBERT KAHN ASSOCIATESINC., Detroit48202 313-202-7000;

and CEO

and paint application company to body shops and dealerships

Architecture, engineering, planning, design and management

Top executive Revenue ($000,000) 2023/2022 Percent change
$49.1 $48.8 0.6%40 63
$48.0 -0.2%NA
$47.6 e $46.0 3.5%NA NA
JamesTellier dealer
$45.9 $40.9 12.1%187 187
managing shareholder
Law rm
$45.5 $56.4 -19.4%65 300
ThomasPurther CEO
SteveCraprotta president $45.0 $36.0 e 25.1%200 NA
MichaelLowry CEO $43.8 $57.1 -23.3%50 67
DouglasManix president $43.0 $53.0 -18.9%42 NA Design
GregLopez president and CEO $42.0 $38.0 10.5%75 NA Auto parts manufacturer
$40.5 $36.3 11.5%32 NA
founder $39.5 e $41.1 e -3.9%NA NA Industrial
$38.9 $39.9 e -2.5%71 71 Corrugated
$37.9 e $37.5 1.1%188 1,622
box manufacturing, design, ful llment and assembly
ElizabethHammond president $37.7 $49.3 -23.6%57 NA
Facility service provider
$37.3 $37.4 e -0.5%154 212
JohnDarin president $37.0 e $39.6 -6.4%NA NA
RobCohen president $37.0 $38.8 -4.8%15
NicolePawczuk CEO $35.6 $33.2 7.4%290 290 Staf ng, talent acquisition 189 ALMETALS/CHAIN
JamesChain president $35.1 $35.8 -2.0%19 24
LarryMalaceII CEO $32.8 $34.7 -5.5%340 630 Staf ng company 191 PLASTOMERCORP.,
BillBaughman president $32.8 $28.4 15.5%160 NA
JeffreyCopek president $32.1 $27.4 17.1%17 400 Supplier
AndrewShmina president $32.0 $26.0 23.1%35 NA Building
executive $30.9 $30.5 1.4%145 187
contractor 194
$30.1 $19.6 53.9%78 84 Marketing, public relations, in-house digital
print creative, research 196
$30.0 NA NA20 NA Chemical wholesaler
$28.3 e $28.3 -0.2%NA NA
$28.0 $27.0 3.7%50 66
president $26.7 $21.9 21.7%17 52
CreightonForester president and CEO
Manufacturer of specialty coatings, engineered lubricants, rust preventatives, cleaners and other industrial uids 199 DEALERSHOPINC.,
CEO and
$26.5 $24.0 10.4%94 110
KimberlyMontague president
Crain's estimate.

Group works with communities on equitable spending

A new report from the Council of Michigan Foundations takes a look at how ve Michigan communities are working with philanthropy and local government to equitably shape federal funding through CMF’s Statewide Equity Fund pilot.

e e orts shared in the “playbook” signal opportunities for other

communities and philanthropy to work together to ensure municipal and nonpro t capacity for resident engagement aimed at equity-focused public investments of remaining federal ARPA dollars that must be obligated by year’s end and other public funding, CMF said. Release of the CMF report comes during the nal six months or so Michigan and other states have to commit remaining COVID-19 pan-

demic relief funds. ose not spent or obligated by year’s end return to the U.S. Treasury.

Michigan had allocated 69.5% of the $6.5 billion in ARPA funds the state received by the end of 2023, according to a review of Great Lakes States ARPA expenditures done by the  Chicago-based Joyce Foundation and Brookings Metro research program of the Washington, D.C.based Brookings Institution.

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Xtreme One Entertainment proudly announces Jenny Taft and Ettore Ewen Jr. have joined its Board of Directors.

The Community House

“One of the things that the … Biden administration really highlighted was a commitment to equity in the expenditure of those resources,” said Regina Bell, CMF’s chief policy o cer. “ ere is close alignment as we think about the Statewide Equity Fund and the intended use by the Biden administration of these ARPA dollars.”

e $2 million Statewide Equity Fund Strategic Support Pilot was created three years ago with pooled, exible funding from a long list of Michigan foundations that committed the money not knowing exactly what it would support, CMF President Kyle Caldwell said. But they the opportunity to help communities that wouldn’t otherwise have the capacity to engage with residents and bring them to the table to ensure an equitable approach.

proved health outcomes through civic participation in Flint, Caldwell said.

e pilot e orts have underscored that it takes time to develop relationships and build trust to get authentic community engagement, Bell and Caldwell said.

“When you go fast sometimes that works in opposition to being equitable in your engagement and having other voices at the table,” Bell said. “ ere is a bene t in taking a step back and really thinking about who’s at the decision-making table, who’s not … (and) who should be … and how do you bring those diverse voices in so that you have a better product that really addresses all community needs at the end?” Bell said.

Transferring the model

One of America’s prominent sports reporters and hosts, Jenny serves in a variety of roles for FOX Sports. She is an ambassador and noted expert across an array of sports from NHL hockey to college, NFL and UFL football, the WNBA and World Cup soccer. Ettore is the actor and global television personality best known as WWE superstar “Big E.” He formerly held the WWE World Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and multiple Tag Team Championships. He currently does television and voiceover work and was the 2023 game-day host for FOX Sports and the USFL.

Steven Enwright has joined Taft as a partner, delivering strategic guidance and providing clients with a broad spectrum of corporate law services. Enwright’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and emerging companies, software and technology and general counsel services. He is recognized as a top lawyer within the legal community being the recipient of Top Lawyers from DBusiness and Michigan Super Lawyers.


Orchards Children’s Services


Oswald Companies

As Oswald Companies continues its Michigan expansion, Kevin O’Donnell has joined the Bloom eld Hills of ce as a Senior Client Executive and Multinational Risk Practice Leader. With over 30 years of global insurance experience across most industries, he will work with Oswald’s most complex clients. His extensive international background and global relationships make him adept at offering alternative solutions in placement, mergers & acquisitions, claims, and bankruptcy.

Orchards Children’s Services is thrilled to welcome Rosa Maria Thomas as its new Chief Operating Of cer. Rosa has over 30 years of experience in the mental health eld, including clinical, quality, administrative, and executive leadership. Rosa has worked within the Michigan publicly funded mental health system and Federally Quali ed Health Center primary care system. She has been appointed by Governor Whitmer to the School Safety and Mental Health Committee.

The Community House in Birmingham has promoted two executives, Chris Smude and Tim Hunt

Chris Smude, SVP of The Community House Foundation, has become COO/ SVP of The Community House Association. He now oversees Operations, Culinary, and Banquet teams, creating seamless coordination and ef ciency across departments. Chris brings extensive nonpro t management experience and is committed to furthering our mission to serve our community. Tim Hunt, former COO/SVP, has become CFO/SVP of The Community House Association. In the new role, he manages event sales, education program budgets, and the nances of all departments to ensure the nonpro t’s success. Tim’s leadership and guidance continue to be an invaluable asset to the organization.

CMF and Washtenaw County presented on the pilot during a session on economics during the Mackinac Policy Conference last year, Caldwell said.

e e ort is aimed at ensuring those areas have the municipal and nonpro t capacity needed to receive, oversee and deploy stimulus dollars in an impactful way by providing technical assistance, relationships with community groups and nonpro ts, coordination and capacity support through grants.

“If you’re going to do equity work, you’ve got to have exible resources. Philanthropy …can do that and provide those supports at the local level to leverage all of this public money towards communities and individuals and projects that normally would not have the ability to tap these funds,” Caldwell said.

e State Equity Fund Strategic Support Pilot is supporting ve regions where CMF members launched new e orts to work closely with their local governments to guide investments toward equitable outcomes within their communities. ose communities are Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Washtenaw and Marquette counties.


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“It was really important that we brought voices together who traditionally do not get to make decisions about where public resources go. And yet these are the very community you’re trying to serve. So the convening power of community foundations bringing together government entities along with community voice and having them work together on decision making was one, one really important key lesson,” Caldwell said.

“By philanthropy strategically investing in the capacity of community and governments to work together, they were able to develop really strong models and applications for (ARPA) dollars.”

e Statewide Equity Fund support led to ARPA funding for efforts including an entrepreneur support center in Pontiac, a new way of addressing child care in Marquette by standing up providers and strengthening access to care for the largely rural area, a participatory budgeting process in Grand Rapids and putting leadership in government to embed equity in funding decision-making in Washtenaw County and im-

e pilot is modeling a new way foundations can work with local governments to support community outreach and equitable funding in local communities even beyond the ARPA funds.

“As we were piloting and learning, the (Michigan Department of Natural Resources) was intrigued by the opportunity and came alongside, and so they’re learning to do their work di erently as well,” Caldwell said.

CMF is helping the DNR move $25 million in ARPA funds for indoor and outdoor parks and recreational programming to “parks and rec deserts” where funding for those things hasn’t traditionally been awarded by the state, Caldwell said.

e Statewide Equity Fund is also supporting that e ort with technical assistance, CMF said. e goal is to announce the $25 million in grants to those communities by mid-June, Bell said.

e lens philanthropy is bringing to that e ort is helping in the development, making sure that as plans are created for those recreation opportunities, whether a new playground or an expansion of trails, “that community voice is centered in that development and … throughout the implementation,” she said.

“ e hope is that these new models and ways of working and bringing in community voice will be a through-line for not only the state and local scal recovery dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act, but also represent new ways of doing business, if you will, for other resources” like the DNR program, Bell said.

Yet the pilot is not solely about equitable fund distribution, its working group co-chairs said in an opening to the CMF report. “ is work is not solely about equitable fund distribution; it’s sharing power and providing a table to ensure budgets meet their community’s needs. It’s not justabout building partnerships; it’s helping philanthropy realize its capacity to convene and advocate on behalf of its community,” said former Hudson-Webber Foundation President Melanca Clark and Diana Sieger, retired president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

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Chamber calls off U.S. Senate candidates debate at conference

Rogers and Amash never committed, Slotkin pulled out

David Eggert

e Detroit Regional Chamber on May 22 canceled the bipartisan U.S. Senate candidates debate at the Mackinac Policy Conference after Republicans Mike Rogers and Justin Amash never committed and Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin pulled out as a result.

e chamber had planned a May 30 debate among six of the seven candidates vying for the seat opening with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s retirement — all three Democrats and three of four Republicans polling the highest. But as of May 21, the chamber was eyeing a four-candidate debate once Rogers said no and Amash did not accept the invite. Slotkin then became a no after initially committing to the six-person event.

“ e leading candidates’ refusal to engage in this vital forum points to a deeply concerning trend. It undermines our democratic process and hampers our state’s progress. is is a clear reection of today’s political dynamics, which increasingly discourage candidates from directly addressing voters’ concerns. is decision to cancel the debate also marks a signi cant departure from a tradition of civic engagement and public discourse that has been upheld by leading candidates for statewide ofce at our Conference since 2010.”

“ is is certainly not something we expected after we initially gauged campaigns’ interest starting on April 1 and then commissioned a poll to determine participants, who were extended invitations on April 30,” the chamber said in a statement. “But we have learned in recent days that leading candidates Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin have declined to participate in what was envisioned as a bipartisan, one-stage forum to provide insight to all Michigan voters.

Democratic invitees included Slotkin of Holly, actor Hill Harper of Detroit and businessman Nasser Beydoun of Dearborn. Republican invitees were Rogers — a former congressman from Brighton — businessman Sandy Pensler of Grosse Pointe and Amash of Kent County’s Cascade Township. Dr. Sherry O’Donnell of Stevensville polled fourth among Republicans and was not invited to debate.

“ e Slotkin campaign agreed to participate in the debate with all six leading candidates and an equal partisan split on stage. Unfortunately, Mike Rogers and Justin Amash pulled out of the debate at the last minute, and their unprecedented refusal at this late stage has made it impossible to proceed with the agreed upon format,” Slotkin spokesperson Austin Cook said.

Pensler called out Rogers for declining to participate.


e council’s report said the state’s students are less prepared, residents’ incomes are lagging and infrastructure is deteriorating. “On too many measures, Michigan has fallen behind the rest of the nation,” it stated.

e conference’s chair, Suzanne Shank, the president, CEO and co-founder of investment banking rm Siebert Williams Shank and Co., hopes the gathering will encourage “radical collaboration across divides” to tackle such problems.

“We were tiptoeing around the word ‘civility’ ” for the theme, she said, “and we wanted to do something much more strong and impactful.”

e meeting, which will start Tuesday and e ectively close ursday, will feature panels on the housing crisis, racial equity in population growth, tobacco addiction, Gen Z’s political sway, the electric vehicle workforce, the pursuit of justice within philanthropy, infrastructure, the talent crisis, AI’s impact on business, afterschool programs and how to make Michigan a highwage, high-growth state.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert, former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark and Alto Pharmacy CEO Alicia Boler Davis will participate in conversations in which they will be interviewed by moderators.

“Mike Rogers said the quiet part out loud — he is scared to debate me,” Pensler said in a statement. “Rogers wants to be anointed by Washington, D.C, special interests and cannot defend his record of unprincipled, big spending failure as a career politician. We need a candidate who is not afraid to debate their ideas with other candidates.”

Rogers spokesperson Chris Gustafson, however, said Pensler, Harper and Beydoun “agreeing to share a stage together is not a debate, it’s desperate.” He said Rogers will debate Slotkin “anytime, anywhere.”

e chamber said it welcomes the three candidates who agreed to debate — Pensler, Beydoun and Harper — to this week’s conference. It also said it believes in the potential of reforms such as a nonpartisan primary, rankedchoice voting or other innovative approaches to “reinvigorate our political landscape and ensure that elected o cials genuinely listen to and serve their constituents.”

It is uncertain if there will be any primary or general election debates.

A new Michigan Debate Task Force is trying to organize three post-primary debates in the southeast, western and northern parts of the state. Coalition members include the Detroit Economic Club, the Economic Club of Traverse City, the Grand Rapids Chamber, Grand Valley State University, the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, Northwestern Michigan College, Oakland University, the Urban League of Detroit and Southeast Michigan and the Urban League of West Michigan.

e chamber sustained a setback last week when it canceled a planned six-candidate, bipartisan U.S. Senate debate after two Republicans, including frontrunner Mike Rogers, declined invites and the leading Democrat, Elissa Slotkin, pulled out as a result without the assurance of an equal onstage split among Democrats and Republicans. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah had hoped the format would push the candidates to strike a more centrist message.

“It undermines our democratic process and hampers our state’s progress. is is a clear re ection of

Keynote speakers will be Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and NBC News Chief Political Analyst Chuck Todd.

Leaders participating in panels include the presidents of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Ferris State University, members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, and various business and foundation executives including Rocket Companies CEO Varun Krishna and Acrisure CEO Greg Williams. ere will be more women speakers this year.

“We were tiptoeing around the word ‘civility.’ And we wanted to do something much more strong and impactful.”
Suzanne Shank, Mackinac Policy Conference chair

today’s political dynamics, which increasingly discourage candidates from directly addressing voters’ concerns,” the chamber said.

e chamber will do three “special recognitions” to honor retiring four-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow, outgoing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Dan Loepp and Sandy Pierce, who has retired as senior executive vice president of Huntington National Bank’s Michigan operation. Loepp and Pierce are former chairs of the chamber and the conference, and Stabenow has championed many of the chamber’s legislative priorities, Baruah said.

MAY 27, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 47 REAL ESTATE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MARKET PLACE HEALTH BENEFITS MARKET PLACE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CLASSIFIEDS Advertising Section To place your listing in Crain’s Detroit Classi eds, contact Suzanne Janik at 313-446-0455 or email WAREHOUSING
From Page 1
Rogers Slotkin Bill Ford and Christy McDonald chat on the big stage at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference. | DALE G. YOUNG Whitmer Duggan


Speci cs about the proposal are not known, including project costs or any other components of the plan.

However, sources said the project is expected to go through the city’s Community Bene ts Ordinance process. e process requires that development projects totaling $75 million or more receiving $1 million or more in property tax abatements or $1 million or more in city land engage with a Neighborhood Advisory Council to establish community bene ts. ose can include things like jobs, local hiring, environmental protections, land use programs and local small business and resident inclusion.

The hospital is expected to be razed as part of the plan, sources said. There have been several attempts to raze the 250,000square-foot hospital, which sits on about 5.67 acres, dating back more than a decade. A source familiar with the matter said the team is also looking at additional property that would bring the overall development site to about 10 acres. A team spokesperson said it had the land it needed for the stadium itself.

In the end, it would host matches bringing thousands of dedicated DCFC supporters and others to the site.

“A DCFC home match is a can’t-miss stop for any true sports fan in the U.S., but our players, staff, and supporters deserve a stadium with modern amenities that retains the best elements of Keyworth while also putting the club on firmer financial footing,” Wright said in a statement. “The city and the people of Hamtramck were there when we needed them. Investments by our club and supporters give proof of our gratitude, and we are excited to set forth on the challenge to make our forever home just as iconic.”

A release says “a public engagement process” is slated to start later this year.  Ryan Cooley, who has a small ownership stake in the soccer

and who


dated hospital property.

“I really think location wise it’s fantastic because it’s kind of on the outskirts of the neighborhood and it really doesn’t bump up against any residential,” Cooley said. “I would think with the location of it, everyone is going to be excited about it. e bar and restaurant owners I’m also assuming are going to be ecstatic about this.”

Le Rouge — DCFC’s nickname — began playing at the 7,933-seat Keyworth Stadium at 3201 Roosevelt St. in 2016 under a 10-year

lease with Hamtramck Public Schools that expires Sept. 30, 2025. e lease is for $1 per year. In 2016, DCFC raised more than $700,000 to invest in improvements to Keyworth, including lighting, bleachers, locker rooms and restrooms.

A team spokesperson said a lease extension is in place that allows DCFC to continue using Keyworth until the new stadium is built.

Repeated messages recently with the school district’s interim superintendent, Jim LarsonShidler, have not been returned.

Keyworth was opened by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 as the state’s rst Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression, Crain’s reported in 2015 when the lease received approval from the Hamtramck school board.

Prior to the 2016 season, DCFC played at Cass Technical High School’s 2,500-seat stadium for four seasons, Crain’s reported in 2015.

DCFC plays in the Tampa, Fla.based USL Championship league, the professional soccer league ranked under Major League Soccer by the United States Soccer Federation, the sport’s governing body in the U.S. It began playing in that league in 2022.

e team was founded in 2012, two years after Mann founded the Detroit City Futbol League — a co-ed recreational league — that began playing on Belle Isle in 2010. Mann then recruited four friends as co-founders of the team.

It is currently 5-2-1 in USL league play, good for third place. Earlier this month, the team defeated Houston Dynamo of MLS, the second time it has bested an MLS team, following 2022’s defeat of the Columbus Crew.

In addition to its use of Keyworth Stadium, the team also has physical footprints in downtown Detroit, with a Capitol Park merchandise store and ticket shop, as well as in the Elmwood Park neighborhood, where it has the Detroit City Fieldhouse on Lafayette west of Mt. Elliott.

brilliant,” said Joe Fuca, a mortgage broker with Simple Home Lending in Macomb Township.

“You’re giving people the opportunity to buy a home in a very appreciating market, knowing the rates are about to drop. And as soon as those rates drop, people are going to re nance a mortgage and pay back the UWM money.”

Ishbia on May 16 told brokers he expects rates to begin falling in the coming months and that brokers are “going to get really busy” as re nancing activity ticks back up.

e CEO also announced that UWM would become the rst ocial mortgage sponsor of the NBA and WNBA in a multi-year deal.

To Fuca’s point about appreciation, online brokerage Red n reported May 17 that the median home price in the U.S. hit an alltime high of $434,000, up 6.2%

from a year ago. In metro Detroit, the median sales price stands at $260,000, up 6.8% from one year earlier, according to April data from Realcomp, a Farmington Hillsbased multiple listing service.  e May 17 report from Red n notes that new listings around the

country increased 1.7% month over month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis and rose 10.8% year over year. However, new listings are still about 20% below pre-pandemic levels as many homeowners are locked into low rates, leaving little incentive to sell.

Introducing a slew of new buyers equipped with down payment loans could, at least temporarily, exacerbate the problem, said Jeanette Schneider, president of Troy-based brokerage Re/Max of Southeastern Michigan.

“We already have more buyers

in the market than homes available,” Schneider said. “And that, to some degree, is helping to continue to push home prices upward.”

While Schneider said she believes there are enough parameters in place for the UWM program that it might not have a massive impact on the overall market, it could at least bring increased buyer competition.

Fuca, the mortgage broker, agreed that the lack of inventory leads to the current “extremely challenging” market for would-be homebuyers seeking mortgage loans. But the prospect of falling rates in the coming months might help ease the situation, he said.

“My opinion, I think that could come together,” Fuca told Crain’s. “People that are not willing to sell their homes because they don’t want to go from a 2% rate to an 8% rate. Going from a 2% to a 5% might be a little more palatable. And that would unlock the marketplace.”

team runs O’Connor Realty, said the stadium is the best outcome for the dilapi-
From Page 3
Detroit City FC fans at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck | PHOTOS BY DETROIT CITY FOOTBALL CLUB Former Southwest Detroit Hospital property at Michigan Avenue and 20th Street in Corktown Sean Mann Alex Wright
From Page 3
United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia onstage speaking to hundreds of brokers at a May 16 event at the UWM Sports Complex in Pontiac. QUINN BANKS


From Page 1

His parents, Dan and Jennifer, have dedicated more than $125 million to research a cure for the disorder.

“NF1 a ects about one in 2,500 births, meaning millions of people worldwide experience debilitating symptoms including blindness, deafness, tumors and more,” Jennifer Gilbert, cofounder of the Gilbert Family Foundation, said in a press release. “ ose who face NF inspire us every day to identify more innovative approaches to this challenging disease. ese investments will accelerate the discovery of treatments that address both the symptoms and underlying cause of neuro bromatosis.”

e new initiative follows three others supported by the Gilbert Family, including the Vision Restoration Initiative, Brain Tumor Initiative and Gene erapy Initiative, all designed to nd cures.


From Page 3

Corewell’s former Spectrum Hospitals — the system completed its merger with Beaumont in February 2022 — charges private payers 307% more than the Medicare rate, but only needs 151% of the Medicare rate to break even, according to the data provided by MHPC. University of Michigan Health charges payers 255% of the Medicare rate, but only needs to charge 105% of the Medicare rate.

Corewell reported net income of $992.8 million in 2023. However, the vast majority, $822 million, stems from its investment portfolio, not patient care. Its operating margin equated to just 1.3%. ese systems rely heavily on commercial payers.

Commercial payers cover 44% of the total costs charged by Corewell’s Spectrum hospitals on the state’s west side. Medicare and Medicare Advantage payments combine for 35% of the charges. Commercial payers account for 51% of all the charges for University of Michigan Health.

A representative from Corewell was not immediately available to comment.

In 2023, the national annual average an employer pays for health benefits was $17,393, according to data from MHPC. For every four employees, employers pay the equivalent in health benefits as the salary of an addi -

e NF1 research institute is among the Gilbert’s massive $375 million gift that will also bring a 72-bed state-of-the-art physical medicine and rehabilitation facility to Detroit.

e rehab facility will become part of Henry Ford Health’s $3 billion campus expansion and be managed by Shirley Ryan AbilityLab of Chicago, where Dan Gilbert was treated following a stroke in May 2019.

e Gilbert Family Foundation is also establishing a $10 million fund speci cally for Detroit residents who make less than 400% of the federal poverty line to receive care at the new stroke center.

e planned AbilityLab in Detroit — slated to open in 2029 — will occupy three oors of the planned Henry Ford Hospital tower and will total 125,000 square feet.

e Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the highest-ranking rehab hospital in the country.

tional employee.

Rising costs for employers are leading to rising costs for consumers, MHPC said in the study.

GM spends nearly $5 billion on health care bene ts annually, which translates to the automaker adding $1,500 to $2,000 to the cost of a car to account for the costs.  is not only impacts employers but is also taking a toll on Michiganders, particularly minorities. In Michigan, 13% of residents are saddled with medical debt, but 18% of minorities in the state hold medical debt.

“Hospital costs need to decrease and stop over-charging employer-sponsored/ private plans.”

Michigan Health Purchasers Coalition

MHPC is calling for the legislature to take action in preventing further mergers and issue policies to control costs.

“Immediate action is essential,” MHPC said in the study. “Hospital costs need to decrease and stop over-charging employersponsored/private plans. Policy makers, hospital administration, physicians and advocates need to focus on how to develop a hospital price model that charges fair prices to all payers and purchasers of health care.”

OneStream reportedly les for IPO

group Inc., they said.

Birmingham-based software company OneStream has condentially led with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public o ering that could come within a few months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

e company, backed by investment rm KKR & Co., is seeking to be valued at up to $6 billion in an IPO, said the people, who asked not to be identi ed because the information isn’t yet public. OneStream is working with underwriters including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citi-

Terms including the company’s valuation in a listing are uid and subject to market conditions.

Representatives for KKR, OneStream, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup declined to comment. A spokesperson for JPMorgan didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

KKR rst invested in the company, led by Chief Executive O cer Tom Shea, in 2019. “One of the things that was important to me in an investor was nding an investor that truly understands the power of our platform and believes, as we do, that it has the potential to truly disrupt the market,” Shea wrote in a post at the time.

e company, which makes software that’s used by chiefnancial o cers and nance teams broadly, counts Tidemark, Partners Fund Capital and Alkeon Capital Management as investors, according to its website. In 2021 it raised capital at a $6 billion valuation from backers including D1 Capital Partners and Tiger Global. Shea was a Crain’s Newsmaker in 2019 for the rapid growth of the company, then based in Rochester Hills. e company said last month that its annual recurring revenue exceeds $450 million, and had climbed 34% year over year as of March 31.

Nick Gilbert, son of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert, died last year after a lifelong battle with neuro bromatosis. | GILBERT FAMILY FOUNDATION Gillian Tan, Amy Or and Ryan Gould, Bloomberg News The Birmingham headquarters of OneStream Software ONESTREAM

Kelly Sexton is leading the state’s movement in university-based startups

Kelly Sexton joined the University of Michigan as associate vice president for research and innovation partnerships in 2018, and in 2021 she was acknowledged as one of Crain’s 100 Most In uential Women for her work launching the Accelerate Blue Fund, an early-stage venture fund that exclusively invests in UM-licensed startups. In January, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded UM Innovation Partnerships $5 million to establish the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund and the Michigan University Innovation Capital Consortium. By | Anna Fifelski

Can you tell me a little bit about your background?

I was actually born and raised in Georgia and rst gained exposure to the incredible world of university research while I was attending the University of Georgia in Athens. When I graduated from UGA, I moved to the West Coast to earn a Ph.D. in molecular pathology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. From there, following along the research pathway, I then went and did a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University's School of Medicine. It was while I was at Stanford that I became really interested in understanding how universities take these research discoveries and then move them out of the lab and into broad application, and so that was really where I began what's now a 20-year journey in university tech transfer.

Can you talk about the use of the $5 million UM Innovation Partnerships received in January to establish the Michigan University Innovation Capital Fund and the Michigan University Innovation Capital Consortium?

I'm co-chairing the consortium along with my colleague Je Wesley, who's the executive director of Spartan Innovations, and the role of the consortium is really to leverage all of the great resources at the University of Michigan and all of the partner universities to help support the success of MUICF portfolio companies. And to ensure that MUICF has visibility to emerging University spinouts, whether they're coming out of Michigan Tech or Western or Grand Valley, Michigan State or Wayne, that we know about them and can get them on our pipeline. Also, we are now able to coordinate investment activities between MUICF and the other universitybased venture funds such as Michigan Rise, the Biosciences Research Commercialization Center at Michigan.

What does the timeline look like for the MUICF and the consortium? What are the goals that you'd like to reach?

In terms of a timeline, I'm happy to share, hot o the press, that we have a fully executed contract with the MEDC as

“We’re hoping to invest in over 15 university startup companies over the next 24 months.”
Kelly Sexton, associate vice president for research and innovation partnerships at the University of Michigan

of last week, and already our team has been engaging with prospective portfolio companies from universities across the state. We’re so excited about this, this pipeline and the opportunities that we're seeing, so we hope to close our rst investment in the next six to 12 weeks.

In terms of midterm goals, we're hoping to invest in over 15 university startup companies over the next 24 months and we anticipate that we'll see leverage number that similar to what we've seen for the Accelerate

Blue Fund. Which means that for every $1 we invest, we hope to see those portfolio startup companies attract an additional $35 or so.

Outside of the consortium, how do Michigan universities work together with research and improving the state?

All of the public universities in Michigan collaborate on university research commercialization, and there are a number of ways that we do that. For example, one is called the MTRAC programs.

at stands for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization. e immediacy funds, these MRAC programs ... they're sort of allocated around the state. For example, at the University of Michigan, we're fortunate to host two: one for life sciences, one for advanced transportation. ere's one at Michigan State for agricultural biotech, there's one at Wayne for advanced computing, there's one at Michigan Tech for advanced materials. ese hubs provide funding to research teams to help them advance technologies within the lab kind of pre-startup. Any of the hubs can support teams from any university, so we routinely make awards to Michigan Tech, to Michigan State, to Wayne State teams through our hubs. at's one way we're constantly talking, sharing resources. e second way is the Tech Transfer Talent Network. For example, if we’re like, ‘We just got an agricultural biotech invention and the faculty wants to do a startup. Let's call Michigan State, let's talk to their agricultural biotech MTRAC hub and let's talk to their mentor and residents that they have to through the T3N program because that's where the great agricultural biotech expertise resides.’ And so we're constantly sharing resources in that way.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I've got three amazing boys, and this year they are in elementary school, middle school and high school. And so I'm supporting their various sporting endeavors. It keeps me really busy and is where I spend a lot of my weekends. So you're likely to nd me cheering on the Pioneer crew team where I volunteer as their equipment manager to help keep the athletes fed and happy at their crew meets. I'm also supporting the Burns Park Penguins at soccer matches and cheering on my 9-year-old there.

We're transplants; we've been here for six years. Every summer we like to pick a new spot in Northern Michigan and go check it out and take our family and the golden retriever. So far, our favorite spots are Leland and Pictured Rocks, but we're always checking out new places.



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