Crain's Detroit Business, June 3, 2024

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Innovation Station

Michigan Central’s rehab expands notion of what’s possible | Page 18

Editorial: Station’s rebirth shows value of business leadership

Page 6

From the Vanderbilts to Ford: Station’s history is rooted in American royalty

Page 18

8 million restored bricks: Massive renovation by the numbers

Page 20

Michigan Central carves out space to cultivate new talent

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Michigan Central developing plan for a park to connect to the community

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Ex-Lions WR Johnson back in locker room — with CBD

When Calvin Johnson Jr. retired from the Detroit Lions in 2016, he couldn’t wait to get out of the locker room. He shocked the sports world by leaving the NFL in his prime at just 30 years old — he would become a rst-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2021 — but the injuries and pain were nearly constant.

Eight years later, though, Johnson wants to return.

Not to the game, but the locker room … with his CBD company Primitiv Performance.

e company Johnson co-founded with Rob Sims, a former Detroit Lions o ensive guard, has inked two marketing deals recently with Ford Field and the Detroit Tigers with plans to make their Primitiv Performance CBD topical cream products in the same lexicon with other locker-room products like Biofreeze and Body Armor sports drink.

“We always used lots of topicals in the locker room, but there was never this healing component,” Johnson said, rubbing his knees, both of which he su ered ACL sprains and pulls during his football career. “Athletes want this stu , but they also don’t want to get popped (fail a drug test), so we saw an opportunity to create a new product and new application with a perfect alternative to what’s in the locker rooms now.”

‘Getting ready to dig in’

Johnson and Sims founded their cannabis company Primitiv to capitalize on Michigan’s burgeoning cannabis industry, as both turned to marijuana to treat aches and pains from their playing careers as an alternative to prescription opioids.

Primitiv opened a modest 4,000-square-foot cultivation facility in Webberville in 2019 and followed with a dispensary in Niles, about ve miles north of the Indiana border, in May 2022. e group also operates a single dis-

pensary in Massachusetts.

While the duo have a passion for THC-based marijuana, it’s their associated CBD company, Primitiv Performance, which makes a topical cream and hydration powders that Sims expects to make Primitiv a locker room name, if not a household name.

“THC was our foundation and allowed us to get into the market, but Primitiv Performance will be the big thing for us,” Sims said. “ is is the one that puts us on the map. When we launched, we had a lot of press because of Calvin, but we didn’t have a real product to sell. We do now and we’re getting ready to dig in.”

Primitiv Performance inked the deal with Ford Field in March, but it still needed a scienti c stamp of approval to penetrate the big leagues.

For more than 12 months, the company worked to get its CBD topical transdermal cream “Certied for Sport” by Ann Arbor-based

product testing organization NSF International.

NSF, which was spun out of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health 80 years ago, tests and certi es supplements for many professional sports leagues. In fact, MLB, NHL and the Canadian Football League require that only supplements holding NSF certi cation are allowed in locker rooms.

The certification by NSF validates that the product is consistent and does not contain banned performance-enhancing substances.

Primitiv Performance received its NSF certi cation on April 15 and announced its partnership with the Detroit Tigers on May 3. Its topical cream contains 1,500 milligrams of minor cannabinoids — compounds found in cannabis that often have therapeutic uses but don’t get the user high —  and are used to ght in ammation and other common pains from sports, Johnson said. Tigers players can use the product without the threat of failing a league drug test.

Johnson said upwards of 10 teams, including a local professional sports team, have reached

out since the Tigers announcement about potential partnerships and products in the locker room.


up with credibility’

But these major league deals aren’t lucrative up front for Primitiv, which by many standards in Michigan’s cannabis industry is small with just 80 employees. e state’s largest cannabis operator Lume Cannabis Co., which Crain Communications CEO KC Crain is an investor, has roughly 1,000 employees.

e deals to get Primitiv Performance’s cream into the locker room are, in fact, marketing deals: pay to play. Primitiv Performance pays to get its name on the digital signage throughout Comerica Park and ads run on the TVs in the concourse and in the suites for a total of 15 minutes throughout a game.

“We built this for athletes, bringing it to the athletes,” Sims said. “ e lucrative part comes later. We’re creating a new product class.”

Mike Dietz, president of Farmington Hills-based sports and entertainment management rm

Dietz Sports & Entertainment, said few other avenues than sports marketing provide greater brand recognition abilities. Tying your brand to a successful team or passionate fan base can pay dividends in the long run.

“For a new and emerging brand like Primitiv, sports marketing tied to a professional team is a great way to build brand awareness and grow sales,” Dietz said. “One of the key strengths of sports marketing is brand recognition to a large and passionate audience. Having your product in the locker room would be an added bonus to the marketing partnership.”

Two other MLB teams have similar deals. e St. Louis Cardinals have a marketing deal with Pure Spectrum CBD and the Chicago Cubs with CBD sparkling beverage brand Mynd Drinks. e MLB itself also has a CBD deal with Charlotte’s Web Holdings, one of the largest hemp-derived CBD companies in the country.

But these deals aren’t easy to score either. Having a Hall of Fame wide receiver and known guard lead the team opens up doors, said Sims.

“We do show up with credibility,” Sims said. “Our former world had us in those locker rooms. We know what the players want. But a brand can only get you so far. You have to perform.”

Primitiv Performance is waiting out to see how well its cream product does in the sports world before seeking NSF certi cation of its hydration powder line, which also contains CBD.

However, its THC roots are what it’s really waiting to get into locker rooms, if federal legalization ever occurs and/or leagues become more accepting of marijuana as a whole, Johnson said.

“ is is just the beginning; we want to make all our performance products THC,” Johnson said. “ is is overall a small part of the business right now, but going forward we want THC to be more accepted and for leagues and athletes to acknowledge its abilities.”

Makers of jewelry, chocolate chosen for airport’s new program

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport has selected two businesses to kick o its Small Business Operators Arriving Ready, or SOAR, program this summer.

Rebel Nell, a Detroit-based jewelry company, and Quix Chocolate, a Belgian chocolatier located in Ferndale, will open in the Warren Cleage Evans Terminal to add small business o erings to the airport’s millions of travelers each year.

“We’re excited to welcome these small businesses as the rst participants in the SOAR pilot program as we empower entrepreneurs to take their companies to even higher heights,” Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton said in a news release.

e two businesses will be lo-

cated near gate D12 of the Evans Terminal in two newly constructed 320-square-foot storefronts.

To be selected for the program, the businesses went through an application process that opened at the beginning of this year. Rebel Nell and Quix Chocolate received two-year contracts with the SOAR program with the opportunity to extend for an additional year.

Once their contracts expire, other businesses will be considered.

Quix Chocolate owner and President David Ogloza said the SOAR program came along just as he was thinking about expanding his business. He said the bustling airport atmosphere will be a great opportunity.

“I was at the crossroad of either, you know, getting another retail storefront in like, maybe Northville or downtown Detroit or Bir-

mingham, but then the airport, you know, is already a thriving environment where you have a lot of foot tra c,” Ogloza told Crain’s. “I think it was just a tremendous opportunity to be in the airport where there’s guaranteed tra c.”

Ogloza said he appreciates the ability to have his business and the SOAR program o er travelers a taste of what Michigan and its small businesses o er.

“To have ne Belgian chocolate and confections now being made available at the airport, and we are just looking forward to providing a unique gift for travelers with something made in Michigan,” Ogloza said. “I think people think for ne chocolate, they might have to travel to New York or Chicago or Los Angeles, but we’ve got a great spot right here in Michigan.”

Similarly, the jewelry and gifts

of Rebel Nell o er travelers a memento of Michigan. Rebel Nell’s products are made of unique materials sourced from Detroit, including fallen gra ti and remnants of iconic sites such as Joe Louis Arena, Belle Isle and Michigan Central Station.

Additionally, Rebel Nell is a “mission-driven” company that employs and supports women who have faced homelessness, returning citizens, refugees, the LGBTQIA community, as well as women living with mental illness and disabilities.

“As the CEO and founder, I have dreamt of having a store in the airport for years,” Rebel Nell cofounder and CEO Amy Peterson said in the release. “Now everyone who passes through the Evans Terminal can take home a piece of Detroit ... literally.”

Former Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson Jr. and Rob Sims have signed marketing deals with Ford Field and the Detroit Tigers for their Primitiv Performance CBD topical cream products. | PRIMITIV Quix Chocolate owner and President David Ogloza is branching out with a new storefront in the Evans Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. | PROVIDED

Jobs in doubt as Ford and GM change plans

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are altering the blueprints for massive electric vehicle factories in Michigan amid rapid change in the industry, from engineering and manufacturing processes to the overall business case for EVs.

at’s raising concern about the job creation potential for two of Michigan’s most heavily subsidized projects.

Dearborn-based Ford submitted a revised site plan to o cials in Marshall in April detailing con-

struction changes resulting from its decision to reduce a planned $3.5 billion, 2,500-job EV battery plant to $2.2 billion and 1,700 jobs.

Two hours’ drive east, GM received approval last month for a revised site plan at Orion Assembly in Orion Township, where work on a $4 billion expansion continues despite the delayed launch of electric pickup models the Detroit-based automaker plans to build there. e project was expected to create 2,300 jobs and retain another 1,000, but that commitment, made in 2022, looks less certain.

One of the main site plan changes in Orion is a 40% reduction in the number of parking spaces for the plant.

“ at is because as we’ve been going through the process of design and of lling in the interior of the plant with the assembly line and the processes that they’re going to use, we gured out that we could have slightly less employees,” John Maynard, of Detroit-based Wade Trim, told the township planning commission during a meeting where he presented the site plan changes.

Aretha Franklin’s former home undergoes restoration

Situated on the fairways of the Detroit Golf Club, a nearly century-old Tudor revival mansion once owned by the Queen of Soul is undergoing a full-scale restoration.

Dubbed “ e Rose Estate” and located just south of West Seven Mile Road in Detroit, the sixbedroom, 4.5-bath mansion built in 1927 was purchased in July for $510,000 by Trevor omas and his partner, Brandon Lynum.

Since then, omas has undertaken a wholesale renovation e ort of about $1 million to improve the house that he described as having been in “very poor” condition, stemming from utilities having been shut o for years, leading to water damage, as well as overgrown shrubs

within parts of the home and raccoons having taken shelter inside.

While restoration work of the roughly 7,700-square-foot home has been something of a fulltime job, omas’ paying day job is serving as director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Ann Arbor-based Domino’s Pizza Inc.

omas has also taken to documenting the restoration work on e Rose Estate Instagram page, which has garnered a loyal following.

omas becomes just the third owner to have lived in the house, following its nearly 20 years under ownership of singer Aretha Franklin, who bought the house in 1993 and owned it until her death in 2018.

Future of RenCen up in the air: Gilbert

e future of Detroit’s skyline centerpiece remains up in the air, according to billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert, whose Detroit-based real estate company Bedrock LLC is in the process of examining future uses for the Renaissance Center downtown between Je erson Avenue and the Detroit River, spoke May 29 at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Speaking with fellow Detroit businessman Dennis Archer Jr., Gilbert said it’s possible that some of the land upon which the RenCen’s towers sit could be redeveloped into future uses.

Seated at the decision-making table, Gilbert said, are o cials from Bedrock, the city, Wayne County and General Motors Co., the Detroit-based automaker that owns much of the RenCen real estate and makes its headquarters there. e automaker announced recently that it would vacate the buildings to move to the Hudson’s Detroit project, which is being developed by Gilbert’s real estate company.

“But I think that everybody is interested in keeping some very exciting and promising development on that property, whoever comes up with it,” Gilbert said. “We are in a sort of a brainstorming mode right now, and that’s just very important. ose (buildings) have been landmarks for the city for decades now and it’s beautiful riverfront land and property.”

General Motors Co.’s Orion Assembly in Oakland County is undergoing a $4 billion retooling for electric pickup truck production, which was delayed until late 2025. | GM See JOBS on Page 22 By Nick Manes “The Rose Estate” in Detroit boasts a grand foyer. | PHOTOS BY CHRIS AHERN
See ARETHA on Page 13
The backyard of “The Rose Estate” was greatly overgrown (above) when Trevor Thomas and his partner bought it last year. Now it’s a lovely spot (below) to watch the action on the nearby Detroit Golf Club. Nick Manes
See RENCEN on Page 17
Dan Gilbert

Soccer stadium construction will likely require subsidies

There are plenty of details we still don’t know about the new Detroit City FC soccer stadium proposed for Corktown.  Here’s one of them that could be a sticking point in particular: the anticipated use of public money to pay for it.  is may end up being a case of principle vs. practice.

at’s because on the one hand, there is a not insigni cant portion of the wildly popular soccer team’s support infrastructure — some members of the Northern Guard, in particular — who are vehemently opposed to using taxpayer dollars to fund development in general, and sports stadiums in particular.

John Mozena, a longtime DCFC fan who is critical of taxpayer subsidies for development, and is president of e Center for Economic Accountability, said there is “a strong contingent of supporters who see any stadium deal taking advantage of the taxpayers and people of Detroit, and the city of Detroit, as being incompatible with the ethos and morality of the club.”

On the other hand, there’s the very real question of how the team that formed just 12 short years ago nances a very large project that is far bigger in scale than anything

they’ve ever tackled before, from a construction perspective. Although the team is certainly no stranger to creative nancing models, to be fair.

“ ey are going to need a good team that understands the technicalities and community needs and concerns,” said Richard Barr, partner at Detroit-based law rm Honigman LLP who has worked on commercial real estate incentive packages in the city for decades.

Discussions on those incentives are taking place behind the scenes.

But multiple sources have told me that the project, expected to have about 14,000 seats, is anticipated to go through the city’s Community Bene ts Ordinance process. at helps us glean some details that the team has not yet shared publicly. Namely, because it’s expected to go through that process, approved by voters in 2016 and amended in 2021, construction of the stadium is likely going to cost north of $75 million and either involve city land valued at $1 million or more, or receive $1 million or more in property tax abatements.

It’s not known what public dollars may be at play, or how much. I’ve asked for an interview with team ownership but that request was declined.

In a May 20 owners meeting held at the Supergeil restaurant on Michigan Avenue, team co-owner Sean Mann said regarding incen-

tives: “I can’t promise we’ll satisfy 100% of certain folks’ libertarian fantasies but we’ll be more in line with them than most stadiums.”  Brown eld tax-incrementnancing would make sense, given that the developers could be reimbursed for the cost of tearing down the former Southwest Detroit Hospital property and performing lead and asbestos remediation on the site where the stadium, which is to house both the men’s and women’s teams, would go.

Nevan Shokar, a former Detroit Economic Growth Corp. o cial who recently founded the Shokar Group real estate consulting rm,

said he is working as an adviser on the project. He said that tax incentives are not rubber stamped and that the team will have to demonstrate the nancial need to the governing bodies considering granting them.

“In recent years, the path to incentivizing large-scale developments has come under increased scrutiny by the public and by Detroit City Council,” Shokar said in an email.

He also said things like a traditional Public Act 210 Commercial Rehabilitation Act tax abatement are not at play because they cannot be used for profes-

sional sports stadiums.

Regardless, the team gets creative. It sometimes turns to its fanbase for nancial support — and they readily come with their wallets open.

In 2016, it funded renovations to Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck — its current home — through a community nancing program that raised over $741,000, Crain’s reported at the time. In 2020, the team embarked on an e ort to raise $1.2 million at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by selling small ownership chunks in the team (and raised close to that in just a matter of days, per the Detroit News). Crain’s reported at the time that the team drew in some $100,000 in revenue each home match.

ey were able to do that because of fan devotion.

Mozena, who owns a small chunk of the team, said supporters are drawn to Detroit City FC at least in part because of the sense of community.

“It’s one of the things that attracts people to become such passionate fans and supporters of City, is that it’s more than just sort of a sports team,” Mozena said. “It is a club in the sense that there’s this thing we all share and are a part of and have a stake in, whether it’s nancial or emotional, sweat equity with all the work that supporters put into things like banners.”

Move to change teen work permits has business groups concerned

LANSING — e state, not schools, would issue work permits to Michigan minors under legislation that is dividing lawmakers and garnering initial opposition from the business community.

e House Labor Committee heard testimony May 23 on House Bill 5594, which would revamp the process by which 14- to 17-yearolds are approved for jobs.

Permits currently are authorized and revoked by the chief administrator of their school district, charter school or private school. e measure sponsored by Rep. Phil Skaggs, D-Grand Rapids, would transfer the responsibility to the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity 18 months after the proposed law’s e ective date. e department would create an online registration system for minors and employers along with a public database of employers that hire minors.

Skaggs said the existing system is “antiquated,” and sometimes schools do not prioritize granting permits.

“While this legislation continues to allow schools to revoke work permits” for repeated absences that a ect students’ academics, he said, “it doesn’t put them as a major cog in the machine.”

e youth labor law is under leg-

permits for minors from schools to the state.

islative scrutiny following cases in which a 17-year-old boy lost his hand in a meat grinder in Ionia County, the New York Times uncovered underage workers at Grand Rapids food-processing plants and a 17-year-old migrant became paralyzed in a fall at a construction site in Traverse City.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration supports the bill. LEO Deputy Director of Labor Sean Egan said the state now has no role until there is a problem — someone ling a complaint alleging a labor violation — and the legislation would help it “know where kids are working because we don’t right now.”

“We believe this shifting to an electronic database is wonderful. I think it’ll make it much easier for

employers, for kids, for schools out there. It’ll relieve some administration burdens, some recordkeeping requirements. And we think it’ll make it faster,” he said, saying teens and employers can face challenges connecting with school o cials, particularly in the summer months when schools are largely closed.

e database, he said, would help minors see what potential employers are out there and help employers ensure they are properly registered and in good standing.

Republicans on the panel criticized the proposal, however, which is opposed as written by seven business groups: e Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Association of Michigan,

the National Federation of Independent Business, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Michigan Retailers Association, the Home Builders Association of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Chamber.

In a memo to the committee, the organizations — which did not testify May 23 — said they “have several questions and concerns about the practical implications of this legislation, including how it would work in the real world and impact students and businesses looking for work/employees.” ey noted that several states are considering bills to eliminate the work permit process for teens or to let them work more hours, while HB 5595 “doubles down and further complicates this process and draws out timelines for approvals.”

irteen states do not require youth work permits and 20 limit them to kids under age 16, according to the memo.

e business groups wrote that Michigan should work to break down barriers for students looking to work, not add “additional red tape and barriers to entry. We look forward to engaging with the Committee further about how to make Michigan’s work permit process more workable.”

Rep. Mike Mueller, R-Linden, suggested having schools send information to LEO for a database

rather than imposing “more bureaucracy” on small businesses.  “ e system’s not really broken,” he said.

Rep. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, told reporters that state-run websites “are not user-friendly. So don’t tell me, ‘Oh, it’ll work smoothly.’ It won’t. It never has. We’re batting like zero almost. I understand you’re trying to modernize it, and there’s a way to do it. But this best left local.”

After the hearing, Skaggs said modernizing and centralizing the work permit process “makes a lot more sense than keeping it in the 3,000 di erent high schools that we have and making enforcement and education nearly impossible.” He criticized the business community’s letter, saying he interprets it as an “attempt to do away entirely with work permits” and “make it easier to exploit children.”

In October, the committee voted to increase criminal penalties and nes for violations of the youth labor law. e bills are pending on the House oor. e panel did not vote on the work permits legislation May 23.

e labor department estimates it would cost $810,000 to create the registration system and database. It projects an annual cost of $310,000 to fund two additional full-time positions to handle permitting.

Rep. Phil Skaggs, D-Grand Rapids, testi es in favor of a bill that would transfer the responsibility to issue work
Kirk Pinho The former Southwest Detroit Hospital site is expected to become home to a new Detroit City FC soccer stadium by 2027. KIRK PINHO
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Station’s rebirth shows value of business leadership

The year was 1913.

In Highland Park, Ford Motor Co. introduced the moving assembly line that allowed the company to go from producing hundreds of Model T’s per day to thousands.

Seven miles south, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, a new train station opened the same year. Michigan Central Station would become known as the city’s Ellis Island as thousands of newcomers arrived to work in the bustling automobile factories that would power Detroit’s — and America’s — growth for decades to come.

e Beaux-Arts-style building with its 18-story tower helped de ne Detroit’s boom-town prosperity, driven by the rise of the auto industry and innovations such as Henry Ford’s assembly line.

By 1920, Detroit’s population doubled from a decade earlier, catapulting it to the fourth-largest city in the nation.

But in a story that is now well-worn, the good times did not last. By the 1970s, decay had set in — for the city, the domestic auto industry and for Michigan Central.

In 1988, the last train left the station. Over the next 30 years, it sat vacant and, eventually, decrepit, becoming an endlessly cited symbol of a once-great city’s colossal downfall.

Urban adventurers would make their way inside and photographers would document its fallen facade in a genre that became known as “ruin porn.” Michigan Central Station became a metaphor for


everything that had gone wrong with Detroit.

On ursday, that script o cially gets ipped.

e train station will re-open, fully restored in its majestic glory. While it won’t function as a train station, it is very much a symbol of Detroit’s comeback and a signal for future innovation.

Next door and part of the complex is the newly renovated former Book Depository building that opened last year housing Newlab, a members-only shared workspace, research lab and venture platform


e positive energy and momentum around the train station and Newlab are a far cry from just over a decade ago when Detroit became the largest city in the nation to declare bankruptcy. Since then, the city has worked its way back, haltingly at times, but has had a string of recent wins that lead up nicely to this moment.

Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Detroit gained population over the past year for the rst time since the 1950s. Earlier in the spring, Moody’s

and then S&P upgraded Detroit’s bond rating to investment status, an important milestone as the city strives to put the bankruptcy in the rearview mirror.

e Ford Motor Co. bought the train station in 2018 and spent nearly $1 billion restoring the 500,000-square-foot structure. Bill Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman and the great-grandson of Henry Ford, told Crain’s Detroit Business that it bothered him how the building was frequently used in national media as a visual representation of Detroit’s decay. By the end of this year, about 1,000 Ford employees are expected to work out of the renovated building.

is is clearly a moment to celebrate. To be sure, challenges remain all around us.

Among them: a soft downtown o ce environment in the wake of the pandemic, an uncertain future for the Renaissance Center, and questions about what’s next at city hall as Mayor Mike Duggan, who e ectively led Detroit back from bankruptcy, has not yet said whether he will seek another term in o ce next year.

For now, let’s savor this moment — and strive to build on the incredible momentum. “Bold” is an overused word in the business world, but Ford's decision to buy and rehabilitate the train station quali es by any measure.

And let’s all recognize the importance that leadership from the business community plays for the health and vibrancy of Detroit, not only in the past, but as we shape our future.

Why restaurants are more vital than you think

It’s where you had your rst date, celebrated an anniversary or said farewell at a retirement party. It’s where your friends surprised you on your birthday or consoled you after a bad day. It’s where you gather with loved ones or have a solo drink amongst the crowd.

Restaurants are the settings for so many of our special moments.

In so many ways, restaurants play an important role for families, friends and communities. Since emerging from the pandemic here in Michigan, restaurants o er a greater sense of purpose than ever before, even if we don’t always recognize how desperately we need it. We live in challenging times.

I’m not naive enough to think that restaurants solve all social woes. But a good, family-owned local restaurant does break down some of the barriers that exist in our society. When you look around the restaurant, you will see people from all walks of life — people of di erent races and ethnicities, people with opposing political beliefs — all having, if not a shared experience, then a relatable one. We see others around us celebrating the things we celebrate, spending time with friends and loved ones just as we do. We can see others as the people they are, and realize that at the heart of things, we are really not all that di erent.

to the fabric of their community. Vibrant restaurants are key to vibrant neighborhoods and regions.

Beyond o ering a place to dine, these establishments often serve as the heart and soul of neighborhoods, contributing to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of the areas they operate in. Local restaurants add to the vibrancy and character of their neighborhoods, providing gathering spaces for the community and attracting visitors, who then support other local establishments.

preciate is face-to-face feedback. Please remember that your servers are really trying and restaurateurs want nothing more than happy guests. We are all here to serve you and to keep providing the type of memorable experiences that have made restaurants so important to all of us.

Whether it’s politics, culture, sports — opinions are strong, and debates turn divisive. Rage is ... well, all the rage. ere is a clear lack of belonging in society. Anxieties and stress seem to be at an all-time high. And we feel a greater sense of divide and a lack of trust in our everyday lives.

Beyond that, restaurants can o er a respite from the drama that surrounds us. ey o er a place to convene and get a break from the overheated atmosphere, a place to sit and enjoy a meal in peace, or to laugh out loud. A place to relax and enjoy your company and forget your problems for a while.

Restaurants also contribute immensely

writing and a phone number for fact-checking purposes.

Local restaurants also create job opportunities for members of the community. According to a recent study by American Express, for each dollar spent at a local restaurant, 70 cents stays within that community. With the changing economics, however, restaurants often face labor shortages as well as turnover among employees.

It’s not uncommon these days to be in a restaurant and have slow service or an inexperienced server. While restaurants strive to provide a perfect dining experience, judging by Google reviews, many miss the mark. One thing we always ap -

Family-owned restaurants evoke a sense of emotional connection and nostalgia for many customers. ese establishments become part of cherished memories, from family celebrations to romantic dinners, creating a lasting bond between the restaurant and its community. In essence, family-owned restaurants are not just places to eat; they are integral parts of the community's identity. Supporting these establishments is not only a way to enjoy delicious food but also a way to invest in the vibrancy and vitality of local communities.

With the changing economics, however, restaurants often face labor shortages as well as turnover.
hosting nearly 100 startups more than 600 workers.
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Mark Mendola is the owner of D’Marcos Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar and e Backdoor Taco and Tequila Bar in downtown Rochester.

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HR leaders are becoming increasingly creative in their efforts to attract and retain talent during this era of staf ng shortages and low unemployment. Our 2024 Excellence in HR award winners also focus on providing personal and professional development opportunities, bolstering employee well-being and integrating new technologies. Their initiatives strive to boost both productivity and sound mental health in and out of the workplace. Excellence in HR was managed by Leslie D. Green, assistant managing editor – special projects. This year, Crain’s Detroit Business editors and previous Excellence in HR award winners ranked nominees through an online system. The highest-ranking candidates in each category were then selected as honorees. Our 2024 external judges are Kristen Trecker, chief people of cer, Visteon, and Christine McDermott, executive vice president and chief human resources of cer, Ghafari Associates LLC.


Shawndia North

Director, Human Resources,

Hamilton Anderson Associates

Shawndia North has reduced resignations at Hamilton Anderson Associates and increased employee engagement by maintaining its hybrid-work model, adding employee events, creating mentorship programs for new hires and implementing a 401(k) match.

In her two years with the company, resignations dropped 6% and employee engagement events have increased 50%. HAA is on track to have another year-overyear decrease in resignations.

North also increased the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion e orts by digitizing its performance management system, which directly ties pay increases to employees’ performance and cuts out potential discriminatory practices.

Her team also began conducting exit surveys to give leaders feedback and create goals.

“Leaders know that we are assessing the employee but also that the employee is assessing us,” she said.

Creating an engagement committee has led to extra training, support for new hires and relationships with employees on a personal level. is includes holding celebrations like birthdays and baby showers, awards for employment longevity, and ying veteran employees to corporate events.

“When you do that…you actually trust the people you work with…and you feel that someone actually cares about you as an individual,” she said. The human



Leaders at JARC — a Bloom eld Hillsbased nonpro t that assists adults with developmental disabilities — wanted to combat the historically high turnover that direct care organizations typically encounter. So, the HR team went to work.

ey now hold regular meetings for employees, ensuring they can openly and frequently communicate one on one.

“In order to cultivate a great work environment, it’s important to keep communication open and honest with employees,” said JARC Chief Administrative O cer

Shulamith Kantrowitz. “We always take the time to engage in meaningful dialogues.”

e team launched employee recognition programs that include monthly and annual donor-funded awards and an annual donor-funded sta appreciation event.

JARC also o ers competitive bene ts and compensation and uses an Employee Support Coordinator to assist with training and development programs. e coordinator assesses employees’ training needs, identi es career aspirations and skill gaps and selects and coordinates their develop-


In addition, JARC implemented mentorship programs that partner seasoned group home managers with new managers, so they can acquire the feedback, guidance and support they need from day one.

Since implementing these strategies, JARC’s turnover rate dropped 45%, while employees’ overtime hours decreased 15%.

“We’ve acted upon our conversations with employees to help them excel in their work lives,” said CEO Shaindle Braunstein. “ ey are heard, valued and cared for.”

department at JARC
Shawndia North PROVIDED


Great Lakes Water Authority

In line with the Great Lakes Water Authority’s “One Water, One Team” philosophy, the organization o ers comprehensive bene ts, mental health and wellness programs, and leadership, health and safety training that bene t employees and boost productivity.

“One of our main focuses here at GLWA is our team members’ overall health and well-being,” said CEO Suzanne Co ey. “I am so proud of the programs our (Organizational Development) Group has implemented to support them at all levels.

“For example, our Team Member Assistance Program gives them access to physical and mental health support, while our team member-led men’s and women’s health initiatives create safe spaces for real-life health issue discussions.”

Employees can also receive safety training at the One Water Institute and attend the Leadership Academy, which provides skill sets they need to serve customers well.

Employees may also participate in individual coaching sessions, group town hall meetings and pursue outside educational goals through GLWA’s tuition assistance program.

e OD Group looks for outside talent by recruiting from local high schools, colleges and universities and implementing apprenticeship and internship programs in partnership with Focus: HOPE and Michigan Works! agencies.

GLWA’s apprenticeship program provides hands-on training for future electricians, implementation technicians, maintenance technicians and water treatment

operators. One paid internship program enables college students to acquire onthe-job learning in elds like engineering, legal and scienti c research.

JUNE 3, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 9 Building Confidence. Together. For more than 95 years, we’ve been a trusted insurance, risk management, and consulting partner for businesses, communities, and people around the globe. Customizing programs and solutions tailored to your needs. Driving better outcomes for your people and your organization. Helping you build the confidence to handle whatever comes next. | The Gallagher Way. Since 1927. © 2024 Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. | GBSUS100621 Join our next webinar: Top Trends in Paid Leave and Time Away From Work Programs Nancy Snell Area Executive Vice President T: (248) 502 1128 E: Justin Hadley Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits T: (248) 758 1175 E: CONNECT WITH US
The Great Lakes Water Authority Organizational Development Group PROVIDED


Talent Pipeline Management Team, Emerge

Emerge, a Royal Oak-based sta ng consultancy, helps clients attract interns and entry-level hires by partnering with colleges and universities to create exible programs that serve student needs.

One program designed by Emerge’s Talent Pipeline Management team has become the source of 34 interns and 14 sta accountants (or 15% of the workforce) at one mid-sized public accounting rm, said Emerge founder and Managing Director Joe Bamberger.

“Recognizing the importance of preparing students for their careers, we introduced two internships: the Dual Internship and the Rotational Internship,” Bamberger said.

“ e Dual Internship allows students to engage in consecutive internships across departments, while the Rotational Internship enables them to rotate between departments within a single internship season.”

To help students achieve their career and study goals, Emerge built a partnership with Adrian College that o ers a 50% scholarship to the rm’s new sta accountants pursuing the completion of the Adrian

Lear Corp.

To attract and retain a diverse pool of talent, Lear Corp. implemented new recruiting, development and training strategies.

“We look holistically at the employee journey — from attraction, to onboarding, to rewarding and recognizing employees — while keeping everyone engaged throughout their particular journeys,” said Dave McNulty, vice president of global human resources at Lear, an auto supplier specializing in seating and electrical and electronic systems.

Lear created JumpStart in 2023 for people who have been out of the workforce for extended time periods. e 12-week, paid program includes onboarding and orientation sessions, professional development and technical training opportunities.

“ ose who pause their careers — for child or elder care, for example — often struggle to be considered by employers due to gaps on their resume when they can be highly quali ed. JumpStart helps such candidates re-enter the workforce and allows Lear to bene t from their work ethic, experience and knowledge,”


Master of Science in Accountancy program. To help the rm attract more diverse tal-

McNulty said.

“ e program takes diversity and inclusion to a new level by gathering people from multiple disciplines with varying de-

Joanna Murphy centralized employee data from Lineage’s more than 400 sites to create a cohesive database that allows for more data-informed decisions by the company’s leadership.

She created a 15-person team that collects and inputs changes to hiring, employee relations and promotions. ey also troubleshoot and address attendance and technical issues, which allows them to share more accurate data. eir consistency,

speed and accuracy lead leadership to trust them with additional responsibilities.

“It’s been nice to see the fact that it’s been so successful, people want us to help out with more things,” Murphy said.

As a result, she led her team to receive Lineage’s highest and second highest engagement scores during the last two years.

“Each time (Murphy) gets involved with something, the results exceed expectations,” said Chief Human Resources O cer

grees of experience. We’re just getting started too, as JumpStart is being expanded to other regions that Lear operates in, including Mexico and Asia.”


Brittney Connochie

Brittney Connochie has guided EOTech employees through payroll system changes, di ering state laws, three acquisitions and a leadership turnover since 2019. e company is a weapons-sight producer.

“I’d like to think that I’ve accomplished more things in the last four years than I have in my whole life,” said Connochie. After an acquisition in California, Connochie and her team were forced to change recruiting methods and overtime plans to ensure they complied with state laws.

Michigan law requires overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours in a week. However, California requires overtime pay when employees work more than eight hours a day, which required Connochie and her team to change EOTech’s 9/80 work schedule, which divides 80 working hours into nine days.

Connochie also took steps to improve employees’ experience by introducing infertility and diabetes management benets. And when the leadership team turned over at the start of the year, she fought to maintain employee satisfaction during the transition through surveys and follow through.

“Brittney’s meticulous attention to detail — coupled with her unwavering commitment to the well-being of the team — has led to an environment of increased productivity, morale and overall workplace satisfaction,” said EOTech CEO Joe Caradonna.

Sean Vanderelzen.

Because Lineage has completed 80 acquisitions since 2019, her team has become seasoned at transitioning new employees into the company culture.

Meeting with the incumbent human resources teams, adjusting to di erent practices in new countries and adding the new employee data into Lineage’s HR management software are all parts of the now-routine e ort for each acquisition.

“Because we’ve been doing it for so long, we have a good rhythm,” she said.

President of Human Resources, EOTech
ent from out of state, Emerge arranged for on-campus summer housing at Oakland University. The Emerge Talent Pipeline Management Team created programs to serve students. | PROVIDED Human resources department at Lear | PROVIDED Brittney Connochie | PROVIDED Joanna Murphy | PROVIDED



BorgWarner Inc.

Tier-one automotive supplier BorgWarner doubled in size when it acquired Delphi Technologies in early 2020. Between the acquisition, the pandemic and changes in the auto industry, employees’ workloads increased dramatically. So, BorgWarner’s HR team rede ned its well-being philosophy and strategy, which included implementing new programs.

e Total Rewards team established physical, social, mental, purposeful and nancial well-being pillars.

“Each pillar shows employees what BorgWarner o ers to support that particular area of their well-being,” said Total Rewards Vice President Dolf Van Amersfoort. “With regard to the physical pillar, employees receive a selection of standard medical bene ts, including onsite biometric screening, clinics, gyms and health coaching.”

To help manage stress, BorgWarner’s Enterprise Learning and Development team developed a suite of programs that includes courses like Renewing Your Energy and Renewing Your Team’s Energy.

“So far, feedback has been great as more than 90% of all participants would recommend the courses to their colleagues, which is a strong measure of the value they found in the programs,” said Marla Debbaudt, vice president of Enterprise Talent, Culture and HRIS at BorgWarner.

e company also designed a bespoke Executive Energy Retreat, a 3.5-day course that teaches its top 150 leaders how to manage their energy for success at work and home.

“I’m incredibly proud of this suite of o erings,” said Chief Human Resources O cer Tania Wing eld. “It’s positively impacted employees’ lives.”


Crystal Sewell

Chief Human Resources Of cer, The Kresge Foundation

Crystal Sewell has spent the past 16 years building an HR function for e Kresge Foundation focused on empowering employees and their families with the tools to maintain their mental, physical and emotional health.

“She has introduced several standout programs, signi cantly contributing to the overall well-being of Kresge Foundation employees,” said Amy Robinson, vice president, CFO and chief administrative o cer at Kresge.

Sewell is pleased to have initiated a broad range of impactful programs but is most proud of successfully launching a hybrid work schedule and updating a wellness rewards program, allowing employees to earn rewards for engaging in health and tness behaviors and reduce their medical bene ts premium contributions. Under her leadership, the department also established an onsite u clinic, relaxed the bereavement leave guidelines and updated an emergency loan program by extending the payback period.

“My role is helping my people become the best they can be,” Sewell said. “When you’re well and your family is well, you can come to work and really thrive. You can de-

liver the best work for our community.” In addition, Sewell, who is president-elect of the Lambda Pi Omega chapter of the AKAs, oversees ve community programs.


to our Organizational Development Group on being honored by Crain's Detroit Business as HR Team of the Year!

As a team and individually, you are creative, caring and committed to supporting our One Water family.

Thanks to your e orts, GLWA is now on the map as an employer of choice in southeast Michigan.

Keep up the excellent work!


From left, Allison Dunn, director, Global Bene ts; Amy Cribb, director, Enterprise Learning & Development; Dolf Van Amersfoort, VP, Total Rewards and Marla Debbaudt, VP, Talent, Culture & Human Resources Information Systems Crystal Sewell PROVIDED

Congratulations Crain’s 2024 Excellence in HR Honoree Crystal Sewell

Chief Human Resources Officer, The Kresge Foundation



Lee Industrial Contracting

In recent years, Lee Industrial Contracting, a Pontiac-based, employee-owned company, secured funds from the Going Pro Talent Fund, Closing the Skills Gap grant and the State Apprenticeship Expansion grant.

As a result, the HR department has invested $300,000 to train more than 500 team members, bolstering the company’s workforce development and safety initiatives.

“While my team has been at the forefront of implementing various learning initiatives, there is a strong, shared commitment (from leadership) to upskilling, coaching and professional development,” said Lee’s Chief Administrative O cer Krista Fish.

One step in the process was merging managerial coaching with structured training.

“From there, Lee Industrial Contracting’s training sessions have been transformed into practical, on-the-job applications, leading to employee development and advancement,” Fish said.

e changes allowed the HR team to ll all its eld available supervisory positions, 72% of its craftsmen and foremen positions and 28% of its professional posi-


Holly Betke

Senior Director, Global People Development, StockX

When StockX needed a leadership development program that would match the pace of its growth, Holly Betke researched dozens of styles and methods.

“What do we need leaders to do di erently as we progress?” she asked.

Betke settled on “Radical Candor,” a feedback practice that stuck out to her for its simplicity in a sometimes over-complicated environment of learning and resources departments. She also considers that style of communication kind, clear and speci c.

Hundreds of executives and employees at StockX have since completed courses related to the philosophy, and engagement scores around “Radical Candor” rose by 50%.

“ at probably gave us a lot of reason to keep going with [it],” she said.

In her four years with the company, Betke has also built a six-person learning and develop-

tions by promoting from within. Additionally, the company, which partners with agencies and schools like the Southeast Michigan Construction Academy, offered apprentice programs in electrical, HVAC and pipe tting to roughly 40 employees to prepare them for long-term, successful careers. And about 65% of the funds are going toward teaching or reinforcing proper safety practices.

ment team and helped establish a compliance program. e success of her contributions has depended largely on the participation of company leaders, Betke said.

“It feels like they’re in it with us. ey’re learning alongside us,” she added. “I’ve trained a lot of executive teams who, maybe for good reason, feel that they have nothing to learn.”

Krista Fish, chief administrative of cer, Lee Industrial Contracting | PROVIDED Holly Betke PROVIDED


From Page 3

Previously, the residence had been home to Patricia Hill Burnett, an artist, actress and early women’s rights advocate who died at the age of 94 in 2014, according to a Detroit Free Press obituary.

Given the century of history and two previous, notable owners, the goal is to undertake “a restoration, not a renovation,” omas said, noting that he’s begun the process of getting the property added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“We wanted to recognize both women who we see as quite legendary and made a signi cant impact,” omas told Crain’s. “You have so much of the house that both Ms. Franklin deserves credit (for) and Ms. Burnett by maintaining the 1927 pieces. Everything from original hardware to not painting a replace. Any time they could have ripped o the slate roof. So when people think (about) the condition, I praise both women ... for maintaining when they could have just renovated.”

omas said he served as general contractor for the project and has undertaken roughly 50% of the restoration work on his own, hiring subcontractors for the remainder of projects. Doing so allowed him to better understand some of the historical aspects and unique elements of the property, such as hidden compartments built into walls of the library room.

e list of work performed is lengthy, and projects such as nishing a third- oor space, restoring gold doorknobs installed by Franklin and a costly, multi-phase restoration of the slate roof remain ongoing.

Still, omas said that nearly all of the home’s roughly 100 windows have been restored, as has a library, grand foyer, multiple bedrooms and the kitchen, which has been updated with modern appliances.

A red soaking bathtub used by Franklin was also saved and restored.

omas and his partner just began sleeping in the home in recent days.

Some touches, he noted, were beyond saving. Many rooms had Pewabic tile — a standard of several of Detroit’s grand, century-old mansions — but that tile could be only used in one upstairs bathroom due to weight issues, omas said.

Additionally, a large rose installed during Franklin’s ownership on the foyer carpet — now stripped and the original hardwood oors restored — was beyond saving due to mold issues, according to omas.

Franklin was reportedly living in the house when she recorded the hit song “A Rose is Still a Rose” released in 1998, a later hit during the singer’s lengthy career. But the theme of roses associated with the home dates back to its origins, omas noted, pointing to numerous roses etched into the original molding in locations throughout the house.

While the stated goal has been to restore the property and honor its past residents, omas also acknowledges the realities associated

with living in a century-old home while also trying to add modern touches and conveniences.

For instance, he said there’s an ongoing debate between himself and his partner about where to install a television as none of the rooms are situated for modern technology. omas said they may decide to turn one of the bedrooms into more of a living room.

For some, restoring old houses has become a project that people can’t quit, as Crain’s has previously reported. omas, however, said he believes this project home will be his last.

“We went in eyes wide open,” omas said. “But I’ll be the rst to acknowledge that certainly no budget can prepare you and no experience can prepare you.”

However, a sense of dedication to the restoration and love for the project helped propel the project forward, he said.

“But let me also be clear: We will never, ever do it again,” omas said.

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Trevor Thomas (left) and Brandon Lynum (right) take a sel e with nephew Jordan Walker at the former Aretha Franklin home in Detroit last year. | TREVOR THOMAS A red soaking bathtub used by singer Aretha Franklin when she lived in the Detroit home was saved and restored. NICK MANES


1,659$11,388$572,500,000 $327,700,000

1,545:1$11,647$2,938,000,000 $594,000,000

119$113,007$1,200,000,000 $1,714,000,000

527:1$24,943$486,000,000 $124,000,000

220:1$56,636$908,000,000 $844,000,000

313:1$39,078($33,600,000) $64,300,000

158:1$77,028($13,230,000) $41,700,000

286:1$38,263($213,300,000) $242,000,000

71:1$144,402$1,397,000,000 $1,083,000,000

322$31,481$519,118,000 $452,300,000

60:1$137,404$169,959,000 $152,400,000

65:1$123,256$384,000,000 $370,000,000




76.5:1$52,598$40,360,000 $66,200,000

SOURCES:S&PGlobalMarketIntelligence,( lings|TopcompensationforCEOsatpubliclyheldcompaniesinWayne,Oakland,Macomb,Washtenawand Livingstoncounties.Incentiveplan/retirementcolumnistotalofnonequityincentive-plancompensation,nonquali eddeferredcompensationandchangeinpensionvalue.NA=notavailable. 1. Brown wassucceededbyMichaelRhodesasCEOonApril29. 2. InterimCEO.SucceededbyVarunKrishnaasCEO,effectiveSept.5,2023. 3. SteppeddownaspresidentandCEOonJuly10,2023.InOctober 2023, John Dunn was named as the new CEO. 4. Succeeded interim CEO, Bill Emerson as CEO, effective Sept. 5, 2023. 5. Succeeded Daryl Adams as president and CEO in October 2023. Want the full Excel version of this list — and every list? Become a Data Member:

14 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | JUNE 3, 2024 Name Company Total compensation 2023/2022 Salary 2023/2022 Bonus 2023/2022 Stock awards 2023/2022 Nonequity incentive/ retirement 2023/2022 Other compensation 2023/2022 Option awards 2023/2022 CEO pay ratio Median employee's total compensation Company net income 2023/2022 1 MARYBARRA General Motors Co. $27,847,405 $28,979,570 $2,100,000 $2,100,000 NA NA $14,625,000 $14,625,000 $5,250,000 $6,258,000 $997,392 $1,121,560 $4,875,013 $4,875,010 303:1$91,778$10,127,000,000
JAMESFARLEYJR. Ford Motor Co. $26,470,033 $20,996,146 $1,700,000 $1,700,000 $0 $0 $20,329,795 $15,145,381 $2,399,040 $2,754,000 $2,041,198 $1,396,765 $0 $0 312:1$84,829$6,328,000,000 ($1,981,000,000) 3 FREDERICLISSALDE BorgWarner Inc. $19,308,195 $17,860,730 $1,387,500 $1,327,500 NA NA $13,223,536 $12,255,302 $3,651,200 $3,412,800 $1,045,959 $865,128 NA NA 490:1NA $625,000,000 $944,000,000 4 RAYMONDSCOTTJR. Lear Corp. $18,891,372 $15,376,344 $1,300,000 $1,272,500 NA NA $13,349,215 $11,118,747 $3,536,000 $2,418,000 $664,508 $567,097 NA NA
5 KEVINCLARK Aptiv PLC $18,000,136 $16,206,621 $1,462,272 $1,462,272 NA NA $14,032,595 $12,358,679 $2,193,408 $2,193,408 $311,861 $192,262 NA NA
6 JEFFREYBROWN 1 Ally Financial Inc. $13,394,384 $14,439,223 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $4,375,000 $4,287,500 $7,965,789 $9,104,715 NA $0 $53,595 $47,008 NA NA
7 SACHINLAWANDE Visteon Corp. $13,150,490 $10,537,281 $1,101,250 $1,052,500 NA NA $9,794,540 $6,999,953 $1,602,813 $1,987,500 $651,887 $497,328 NA NA
8 KEITHALLMAN Masco Corp. $12,476,381 $6,261,228 $1,274,354 $1,274,354 NA NA $5,876,604 $2,443,149 $2,658,900 $0 $214,777 $100,763 $2,442,978 $2,442,962
9 DAVIDDAUCH American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. $12,198,672 $13,399,781 $1,250,000 $1,250,000 NA NA $5,161,125 $5,532,280 $4,841,438 $5,569,500 $892,871 $1,048,001 NA NA
10 MATHEWISHBIA UWM Holdings Corp. $12,168,119 $6,989,522 $600,000 $600,000 NA NA $1,153,600 NA $9,153,144 $5,246,400 $1,261,375 $1,143,122 NA NA
11 GARYSHIFFMAN Sun Communities Inc. $10,946,746 $14,966,582 $900,000 $900,000 NA NA $9,283,660 $12,395,450 $747,000 $1,665,000 $16,086 $6,132 NA NA
12 GERARDONORCIA DTE Energy Co. $10,278,098 $10,458,218 $1,340,000 $1,330,769 NA NA $6,729,046 $7,013,377 $896,540 $1,937,300 $136,011 $138,962 NA NA
13 RUSSELLWEINER Domino's Pizza Inc. $10,135,862 $6,636,731 $875,000 $840,385 NA NA $5,320,715 $3,095,217 $1,860,250 $800,870 $329,814 $441,819 $1,750,084 $1,458,441
14 JOELAGREE Agree Realty Corp. $8,226,103 $7,656,072 $895,481 $875,000 NA NA $4,212,330 $3,666,730 $3,063,015 $3,062,500 $55,277 $51,842 NA NA
15 DAVIDSLATER DT Midstream Inc. $7,971,250 $6,824,382 $776,923 $676,923 NA NA $5,414,536 $4,279,910 $1,455,700 $1,578,850 $324,091 $288,699 NA NA
16 JEFFREYEDWARDS Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc. $7,634,186 $4,707,758 $1,015,385 $1,000,000 NA NA $4,751,899 $2,689,813 $1,647,360 $896,400 $219,542 $121,545 NA NA 517:1$14,765($201,985,000)
17 PHILLIPEYLER Gentherm Inc. $7,572,491 $5,408,566 $959,500 $911,250 NA NA $4,694,643 $3,499,553 $1,566,951 $786,250 $351,397 $205,733 NA NA 72:1$105,434$40,343,000
18 ROGERPENSKESR. Penske Automotive Group Inc. $7,428,439 $7,300,613 $1,600,000 $1,600,000 NA NA $5,000,000 $5,000,000 NA $0 $828,439 $700,613 NA NA 137:1$54,415$1,053,200,000 $1,380,000,000 19 JAMESSCAPA Altair Engineering Inc. $7,318,992 $5,142,001 $860,000 $830,000 NA NA $2,477,220 $1,704,403 $610,000 $550,000 $186,612 $49,933 $3,185,160 $2,007,665 86.4$84,409($8,926,000)
20 WILLIAM(BILL)EMERSON 2 Rocket Companies Inc. $6,764,187 $478,373 NA $234,521 NA $5,999,996 NA NA NA $51,297 NA NA NA 62:1$90,236($15,514,000) $46,400,000 21 MAJDIABULABAN Superior Industries International Inc. $5,832,507 $6,962,743 $850,000 $850,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $2,769,356 $2,967,053 $691,688 $2,125,000 $21,463 $20,690 NA NA NANA ($92,852,000) $37,000,000 22 PETERW.QUIGLEY Kelly Services Inc. $4,163,424 $3,535,281 $900,000 $884,077 NA NA $2,160,522 $1,811,085 $1,015,200 $777,988 $87,702 $62,131 NA NA
23 THOMASO'BRIEN Sterling Bancorp Inc. $4,064,239 $3,048,707 $2,014,423 $3,000,000 NA NA $2,000,003 NA NA $0 $49,813 $48,707 NA NA
24 THOMASAMATO TriMas Corp. $4,020,922 $4,416,441 $741,250 $715,000 NA NA $3,251,875 $3,029,698 NA $644,930 $27,797 $26,813 NA NA
25 DARYLADAMS 3 Spartan Motors Inc./The Shyft Group $3,755,905 $3,417,703 $777,775 $818,173 NA NA $2,567,922 $2,211,760 $339,346 $253,500 $70,862 $134,270 NA NA NANA NA NA 26 VARUNKRISHNA 4 Rocket Companies Inc. $3,445,914 $404,110 NA $2,606,164 NA NA NA NA NA $435,640 NA NA NA
27 JOHNDUNN 5 The Shyft Group Inc. $3,402,383 $460,039 NA $500,000 NA $2,230,214 NA $189,583 NA $22,547 NA NA NA 65:1$60,470$6,464,000
$9,934,000,000 2
50.12:1$81,088$7,413,000 ($14,200,000)
62:1$90,236($15,514,000) $46,400,000
Ranked by scal 2023 compensation



$9,500,000 $9,200,000

22:1$56,157$92,901,000 $168,600,000

85:1$12,153($5,183,000) ($14,100,000)

SOURCES:S&PGlobalMarketIntelligence,( lings|TopcompensationforCEOsatpubliclyheldcompaniesinWayne,Oakland,Macomb,Washtenawand Livingstoncounties.Incentiveplan/retirementcolumnistotalofnonequityincentive-plancompensation,nonquali eddeferredcompensationandchangeinpensionvalue.NA=notavailable. 1. Fired asCEOinApril2023. 2. SucceededJonathanDeGaynoraspresidentandCEO,effectiveJan.31,2023. 3. ResignedaspresidentandCEO.SucceededbyJimZizelmanonJan.31,2023. 4. Retiredin January. 5. Steppingdownaschairmanandco-CEO,butwillremainwiththecompanyasadirector.NicholasJ.PetcoffbecameCEO,effectiveDec.31,2023. 6. AssumedroleofpresidentandCEOin January. 7. Retired June 1, 2023.

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JUNE 3, 2024 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | 15 Name Company Total compensation 2023/2022 Salary 2023/2022 Bonus 2023/2022 Stock awards 2023/2022 Nonequity incentive/ retirement 2023/2022 Other compensation 2023/2022 Option awards 2023/2022 CEO pay ratio Median employee's total compensation Company net income 2023/2022 28 SHELDONKOENIG Esperion Therapeutics Inc. $2,968,565 $3,799,412 $720,833 $683,333 NA NA $422,100 $549,840 $541,938 $500,500 $16,033 $13,600 $1,267,661 $2,052,139 NANA ($209,248,000) ($233,700,000) 29 RYANGREENAWALT Alta Equipment Group Inc. $2,859,613 $3,533,534 $635,589 $618,000 NA NA $1,232,163 $1,786,644 $960,866 $1,112,400 $30,994 $16,490 NA NA 38:1$75,965$8,900,000 $9,300,000 30 MINASOOCH 1 Ocuphire Pharma Inc. $2,811,138 $1,341,595 $168,831 $550,000 NA NA $470,596 NA $0 $302,500 $1,197,625 $30,090 $974,086 $459,005 NANA ($9,986,000) $17,900,000 31 WILLIAMFEBBO OptimizeRx Corp. $2,789,528 $694,400 $450,000 $450,000 $56,250 $225,000 $963,189 NA $337,500 $0 $19,400 $19,400 $963,189 NA NANA ($17,565,866) ($11,400,000) 32 GEORGEMAGRATH Ocuphire Pharma Inc. $2,667,353 $95,833 NA NA NA $1,148,000 NA $50,073 NA $0 NA $1,373,447 NA NANA ($9,986,000) $17,900,000 33 RICHARDDIIORIO InfuSystem Holdings Inc. $2,286,657 $1,547,367 $600,000 $600,000 $498,000 $174,000 $615,238 $526,503 NA $0 $38,311 $32,265 $535,108 $214,599 NANA $872,000 $0 34 JAMESZIZELMAN 2 Stoneridge Inc. $1,753,374 $1,093,126 $585,533 $410,000 NA NA $741,678 $669,342 $398,179 $0 $27,984 $13,784 NA NA 85:1$12,153($5,183,000)
35 CHRISTOPHERFORGY Saga Communications Inc. $1,751,842 $639,740 $671,766 $325,616 $245,000 $75,000 $737,005 $187,698 NA $0 $98,071 $51,476 NA NA NANA
36 TIMOTHYPHILLIPS Universal Logistics Holdings Inc. $1,232,090 $1,147,402 $601,950 $559,269 $378,000 $588,000 $252,007 NA NA NA $133 $133 NA NA
37 MICHAELMATACUNAS SPAR Group Inc. $1,189,832 $612,613 $627,083 $407,813 $432,668 $200,000 NA NA NA $0 $4,800 $4,800 $125,281 NA NANA
38 MARKSTROBECKPH.D. Rockwell Medical Inc. $1,054,169 $711,762 $565,865 $266,539 NA NA $75,987 NA $330,000 $101,026 $8,799 $9,308 $73,518 $334,899 NANA
39 JONATHANDEGAYNOR 3 Stoneridge Inc. $1,042,767 $3,910,284 $75,483 $925,000 NA NA $962,400 $2,953,782 NA $0 $4,884 $31,502 NA NA
40 KENNETHBOOTH Credit Acceptance Corp. $1,016,500 $1,015,250 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 $16,500 $15,250 NA NA 13:1$80,857$286,100,000
41 RICHARDRODGERS Ocuphire Pharma Inc. $899,076 $379,626 NA $100,000 NA $419,450 NA $0 NA $0 NA NA NA NANA ($9,986,000) $17,900,000 42 KIMTHOMPSON Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. $867,081 $552,402 $447,914 $424,517 $89,583 $84,512 NA NA NA $0 $56,574 $43,373 $260,000 NA NANA NA NA 43 JAEEVANS 4 Isabella Bank Corp. $731,850 $752,689 $504,500 $448,000 $134,400 $130,500 NA $89,600 NA $168 $56,087 $54,171 NA NA NANA $18,167,000 $22,200,000 44 LARRYHEATONII Zomedica Corp. $651,396 $1,339,823 $438,462 $400,000 $212,934 $202,000 NA NA NA $0 NA $15,585 NA $722,238 NANA ($34,529,000) ($17,000,000) 45 FRANCOISMICHELON Endra Life Sciences Inc. $646,787 $636,196 $387,859 $423,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 $587 $587 $258,341 $212,609 NANA NA NA 46 JAMESPETCOFF 5 Conifer Holdings Inc. $613,200 $612,200 $600,000 $600,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 $13,200 $12,200 NA NA NANA ($25,904,000) ($10,700,000) 47 JEROMESCHWIND 6 Isabella Bank Corp. $509,019 $502,605 $382,066 $332,071 $68,093 $68,141 NA $48,065 NA ($26,978) $49,395 $51,056 NA NA NANA $18,167,000 $22,200,000 48 NICHOLASPETCOFF Conifer Holdings Inc. $438,200 $791,503 $425,000 $425,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 $13,200 $12,200 NA $354,303 NANA ($25,904,000) ($10,700,000) 49 JOHNPAYNE Zivo Bioscience Inc. $400,000 $847,753 $400,000 $397,754 NA NA NA NA NA $175,000 NA NA NA $449,999 NANA NA ($8,745,293) 50 JAYFARNER 7 Rocket Companies Inc. $334,552 $9,468,874 $330,959 $800,000 NA NA NA $8,656,917 NA $0 $3,593 $11,957 NA NA 62:1$90,236($15,514,000) $46,400,000 51 TOMBERMAN Nano Magic Holdings Inc. $304,457 $366,889 $158,000 $195,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 NA $1,000 $122,457 $146,889 NANA ($2,855,719) ($2,100,000) 52 MATTHEWKAPPERS The Coretec Group Inc. $267,500 $350,000 $150,000 $154,000 NA NA NA NA NA $0 NA NA $117,500 $196,000 NANA NA NA
$3,902,000 ($732,000)
($8,439,000) ($18,700,000)
Ranked by scal 2023 compensation
Data Member:


SOURCES:S&PGlobalMarketIntelligence,( lings|Topcompensationfornon-CEOexecutivesatpubliclyheldcompaniesinWayne,Oakland,Macomb, WashtenawandLivingstoncounties.Incentiveplan/retirementcolumnistotalofnonequityincentive-plancompensation,nonquali eddeferredcompensationandchangeinpensionvalue.NA=not available. Want the full Excel version of this list — and every list? Become a Data Member:

16 | CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS | JUNE 3, 2024 Name Company Total Compensation 2023/2022 Salary 2023/2022 Bonus 2023/2022 Stock awards 2023/2022 Nonequity incentive/ retirement 2023/2022 Other compensation 2023/2022 Option awards 2023/2022 1 WILLIAMFORDJR. executive chairman Ford Motor Co. $20,613,100 $17,302,266 $1,700,000 $1,700,000 $0 $0 $15,848,199 $12,847,472 $705,600 $810,000 $2,203,425 $1,944,794 $0 $0 2 MICHAELABBOTT former executive vice president, software General Motors Co. $20,388,087 NA $488,889 NA $1,500,000 NA $17,000,001 NA $1,350,000 NA $49,197 NA NA NA 3 MARKREUSS president General Motors Co. $17,966,292 $14,349,551 $1,350,000 $1,350,000 NA NA $10,471,875 $7,471,875 $2,109,400 $2,598,800 $522,168 $438,250 $3,490,634 $2,490,626 4 JOHNFIELD chief EV, digital and design of cer Ford Motor Co. $15,348,161 $15,087,262 $513,500 $500,000 $0 $0 $14,179,265 $14,116,370 $440,748 $304,200 $214,648 $136,272 $0 $0 5 OBEDLOUISSAINT executive VP and chief people of cer Aptiv PLC $14,721,371 NA $750,000 NA $2,000,000 NA $11,139,181 NA $750,000 NA $82,190 NA NA NA 6 DOUGLASTIMMERMAN president of Dealer Financial Services Ally Financial Inc. $13,052,447 $5,377,393 $750,000 $732,692 $1,540,000 $1,800,000 $10,703,257 $2,794,695 NA $0 $59,190 $50,006 NA NA 7 BENJAMINLYON senior vice president and chief technology of cer Aptiv PLC $12,705,545 $4,809,091 $800,000 $9,091 NA $4,000,000 $11,031,269 NA $800,000 $800,000 $74,276 NA NA NA 8 CRAIGGLIDDEN executive VP, legal, policy, cybersecurity and corporate secretary General Motors Co. $11,502,937 NA $893,750 NA NA NA $6,898,406 NA $1,856,300 NA $221,674 NA $1,632,807 NA 9 PAULJACOBSON executive VP and CFO General Motors Co. $11,123,924 $10,235,938 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 NA NA $6,187,500 $5,362,500 $1,687,500 $1,862,500 $186,421 $223,425 $2,062,503 $1,787,513 10 JOHNLAWLER CFO Ford Motor Co. $10,031,212 $8,956,211 $1,187,250 $1,124,850 $0 $0 $5,407,923 $6,535,903 $1,414,350 $1,112,355 $138,434 $183,103 $0 $0 11 JOSEPHMASSARO senior VP of business operations and CFO Aptiv PLC $9,229,124 $7,696,909 $1,256,250 $1,150,000 NA NA $6,206,788 $4,943,446 $1,593,750 $1,500,000 $172,336 $103,463 NA NA 12 KEVINNOWLAN former executive VP and CFO BorgWarner Inc. $7,409,609 $6,776,762 $842,500 $815,000 NA NA $4,558,340 $4,107,096 $1,662,600 $1,554,720 $346,169 $299,946 NA NA 13 JOSEPHFADOOL VP and president, GM of emissions, thermal and turbo systems BorgWarner Inc. $6,964,295 $6,244,439 $865,000 $828,750 NA NA $3,999,113 $3,502,669 $1,711,500 $1,583,160 $388,682 $329,860 NA NA 14 JASONCARDEW senior VP and CFO Lear Corp. $6,555,337 $5,139,609 $850,000 $826,167 NA NA $3,914,999 $2,990,707 $1,445,000 $1,054,000 $310,215 $268,735 NA NA 15 STEFANDEMMERLE VP and president and GM of PowerDrive Systems BorgWarner Inc. $6,526,288 $5,798,154 $810,000 $775,000 NA NA $3,747,834 $3,271,971 $1,603,920 $1,478,880 $364,534 $272,303 NA NA 16 FRANKORSINI executive vice president and president, seating Lear Corp. $6,525,210 $5,115,591 $850,000 $826,167 NA NA $3,914,999 $2,990,707 $1,445,000 $1,054,000 $282,456 $244,717 NA NA 17 KATHERINERAMUNDO senior vice president, chief legal of cer, chief compliance of cer and secretary Aptiv PLC $6,086,741 NA $750,250 NA NA NA $4,457,991 NA $775,000 NA $103,500 NA NA NA 18 WILLIAMPRESLEY senior VP and president of Signal and power solutions Aptiv PLC $5,714,510 $3,779,918 $900,000 $731,250 NA NA $3,778,060 $2,076,265 $900,000 $900,000 $136,450 $72,403 NA NA 19 TONITCALAWAY executive VP, chief administrative of cer, general counsel & secretary BorgWarner Inc. $5,626,834 $5,126,353 $693,750 $668,750 NA NA $3,284,522 $2,958,025 $1,369,200 $1,279,800 $279,362 $219,778 NA NA 20 JOSEPHJORDAN president of U.S. & global services Domino's Pizza Inc. $5,547,857 $3,348,689 $623,077 $561,923 NA NA $2,273,206 $1,181,101 $1,004,535 $399,768 $522,018 $830,833 $1,125,021 $375,065 21 DIANEMORAIS president of consumer and commercial banking products Ally Financial Inc. $4,597,126 $5,036,024 $750,000 $732,692 $1,460,000 $1,560,000 $2,343,279 $2,704,709 NA $0 $43,847 $38,623 NA NA 22 SCOTTSTENGEL former general counsel Ally Financial Inc. $4,457,683 $2,999,100 $650,000 $638,462 NA $840,000 $3,763,285 $1,474,751 NA $0 $44,398 $45,887 NA NA
Ranked by scal 2023

Highlights from the 2024 Mackinac Policy Conference

e 2024 Mackinac Policy Conference is in the books.

e Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual gathering of 1,500 business leaders, politicians, lobbyists and others involved in public policy in Michigan brought another slew of headlines, conversations and networking to Mackinac Island.

Here is a quick recap of some of the top headlines from the conference.

Gov. Whitmer announces steps to support entrepreneurs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on May 30 announced three steps designed to make Michigan more innovative by supporting entrepreneurs, including the hiring of a new economic development ocial, the creation of a $100,000 “Shark Tank”-style competition and a directive that the state help innovators test their ideas.

e governor, in her keynote speech at the conference, said entrepreneurs need a culture of innovation, capital and creativity to thrive.

Whitmer announced that Ben Marchionna, the director of technology and innovation at startup, will be Michigan’s rst chief innovation ecosystem o cer. He will work within the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and serve as the state’s chief advocate and rst point of contact for entrepreneurs.

Revenue growth is ‘limitless’ with AI, Michigan ntech executives say

Major Michigan-based players in the U.S. mortgage and insurance brokerage sectors say articial intelligence is poised to fuel, or already has fueled, rapid growth in revenue and market share.

During a panel discussion May 30 at the conference, CEOs from Acrisure LLC, Rocket Companies and Ann Arbor-based Amesite


From Page 3

A successful redevelopment of the RenCen property — whatever it turns out to be — would be in line with Gilbert’s stated goal of growing the overall Detroit region, with a particular focus on the downtown area, where his real estate business is the largest overall landlord for o ce and retail uses. Still, Gilbert said, it’s critical that economic development efforts be focused all around the city and not just within the cen -

Inc. say integrating AI was either a foundational piece of their organizations or is being rapidly deployed to drive e ciency and worker productivity. For Grand Rapids-based Acrisure, AI has contributed to roughly $3 billion in new revenue over the past three years, from about $2 billion to $5 billion by the end of this year, said co-founder, chairman and CEO Greg Williams.

“ ere’s no rolling back at this point,” Williams said in the conversation moderated by KC Crain, president and CEO of Crain Communications. “It’s all forward and then very aggressively leaning into what’s out there in terms of capabilities.”

State increases goal for more affordable housing

During a news conference on May 29, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a new housingproduction goal that calls for permitting, building or rehabbing 115,000 units over ve years to address a shortage of a ordable and quality housing.

e new goal of 115,000 units is a 53% increase over the earlier target of 75,000 units. In revising the goal, Whitmer said Michigan is already ahead of schedule with nearly 50,000 units built, renovated or permitted. e ve-year period for hitting the target started in 2021 and ends in September 2026.

“It’s ambitious, it’s achievable and it’s absolutely necessary,” Whitmer said. “Our housing supply is not where it needs to be for several reasons — a decadelong slowdown in construction following the 2008 recession and a lack of state investment. Now we are raising our goal because we’ve been exceeding our targets, driven by our dedicated investments.”

Michigan CEOs want the state to compete more with its neighbors

Sandy Pierce said Michigan must do more to compete with the states around it in order to better

tral business district.

e founder and chairman of Detroit-based Rocket Companies Inc. pointed to other large-scale e orts in the city, including Henry Ford Health’s plan to overhaul its campus in the New Center neighborhood and Ford Motor Co.’s soon-to-open Michigan Central hub in Corktown. Such projects will be meaningful for regional economic development for decades to come, Gilbert argued.

“Everything is connected to everything else,” he said.

While acknowledging a handful of long-running problems at the

shape its future. She’s not alone.

Pierce, former vice president of Huntington Bank and current corporate board executive and CEO adviser for the Detroit Regional Chamber, was joined by Natalie King, founder and CEO of Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, Christina Keller, CEO and chair of Cascade Engineering and Rachel Stewart, CEO of Gardner White, at a conference panel on May 30.

e group discussed Michigan’s need to capitalize on the talent coming out of Michigan’s universities, as well as targeting issues in the public school systems and using the growing technological ecosystem to its advantage.

Pierce believes there are policy changes that would directly impact Michigan’s future, speci cally in regard to attracting businesses.

“One of the reasons Ohio got Intel and so many suppliers surrounding them is because they have a site ready with water in the middle of Columbus,” Pierce said.

“And we do not really have the innovation and entrepreneurial support that we need. e MEDC is working hard. We have to do more.”

Mayor Duggan’s land-value tax proposal remains in limbo

Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate said it is still “up in the air” whether the mayor’s proposal can get the legislature this year.

e mayor’s ambitious landvalue tax proposal was a signature headline from the Mackinac Policy Conference in 2023. But a year later

state level, such as inconsistent policymaking by lawmakers and stagnant population, Detroit is now doing much better at attracting younger talent, Gilbert contended.

As proof, Gilbert pointed to the recent hiring of Jonathan Mildenhall as Rocket Companies’ rst chief marketing o cer. A London native who’s worked for companies such as Coca-Cola and Airbnb, Mildenhall was drawn to Detroit after just a couple of visits, Gilbert said.

“You don’t have to sell Detroit anymore,” Gilbert said. “Because Detroit sells itself.”

it remains stalled in the House.

Duggan says the proposal would save homeowners on their property taxes while increasing taxes on abandoned buildings, parking lots, scrapyards and vacant lots. In addition to approval in Lansing, the proposal would also need to go before voters in Detroit.

“I’m still committed to nding a way to nd those solutions to lowering the property tax,” Tate, a Detroit Democrat, said during an interview at the conference for a Crain’s podcast. “ e land-value tax is there. Whether that is something that we can get across the nish line this legislative session is still up in the air because there still needs to be those conversations.”

Business leaders commit to offering workers time off to vote

Michigan’s top election o cial and business leaders are coalescing behind an e ort to ensure that employees have time o to vote, either on Election Day or during early voting.

Members of the Michigan Business United for Elections, a coalition that was announced May 29 at the conference, also are committing to encourage employees to serve as poll workers and to promote nonpartisan information about how to vote.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said at a news conference on Mackinac Island that business leaders currently “are our most

trusted nonpartisan voices” and “have a unique and critical role to play in our democracy.”

Benson, a Democrat, invited other business, education and community leaders to sign on to the initiative.

Duggan endorses Thanedar challenger

At a press conference May 30 on the porch of the Grand Hotel, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan endorsed City Councilmember Mary Waters for Congress over rstterm U.S. Rep. Shri anedar.

“We need somebody in Congress who ghts for us. Right now, I don’t feel like we got any help from our congressman. Not a bad person; he’s just not helping. We can’t a ord to carry a congressperson who isn’t responsive,” Duggan said.

anedar could not immediately be reached for comment. Earlier on May 30, he announced that he is being backed by House Minority Leader Hakeem Je ries and other House Democratic leaders.

Waters and Shakira Lynn Hawkins are challenging anedar in the Democratic primary in August. Go deeper on these stories and more, including exclusive Crain’s podcasts and pictures from the conference, at our dedicated Mackinac Policy Conference page at

Reporting by Andy Balaskovitz, David Eggert, Anna Fifelski, Kurt Nagl and Nick Manes.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual gathering of business leaders, politicians, lobbyists and others involved in public policy in Michigan was last week on Mackinac Island. KURT NAGL Dan Gilbert (left) speaks to Dennis Archer Jr. on May 29 at the Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. | DALE G. YOUNG

Building a bridge from Detroit’s past to its future

If there is one thing reverberating through the thousands of tons of restored Mankato limestone, marble, Guastavino tile and oak in Michigan Central Station, it’s memory.

When the train depot reopens to the public this week after a sixyear renovation to x 30-plus years of decay, Detroiters — by birth, by choice or by chance — will not only have a chance to see the city’s future, but its collective memory.

Memories of millions of people — 4,000 or so each day at the depot’s peak clutching tickets — passing through the building’s doors, in the summer heat and winter cold, from the day it opened in 1913 in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood west of downtown until it shuttered in 1988.

Over that three-quarters of a century, Detroiters went everywhere via the train station: to vacation, visit family or friends, do business, go to ght in Europe and elsewhere. Along their journeys, they saw things benign and magni cent, horrifying and beautiful.

ey could never have imagined what was to be made of the depot — or the city — more than three decades later.

Earlier generations traveled through the train station and came back to steady automotive indus-

try jobs in a blossoming city, with a population climbing toward a peak of 2 million. For later generations, some bought a one-way ticket out of town as the city’s population wilted and collapsed.

Regardless, Detroiters also left something else in the Beaux-Arts style, 500,000-square-foot building — their marks, physical or otherwise.

e feet swinging like pendula from benches in the grand waiting room, admiring its nearly 55-foot ceilings, scu ng up oors waiting for trains. en there were those years later in the abandoned station, leaving gra ti that still remains in coves, in an intentional nod to its not-so-distant past.

e elements also left their mark, with trespassing water that pockmarked columns after the building had essentially been left to nature. e columns, as Melissa Dittmer, head of place for Michigan Central, put it, show “all the di erent chapters of the station’s history.”

In the oak-paneled northwest corner of the train station, you hear echoes of what Detroit used to be — before the building rotted, serving as the city’s de facto tombstone for 30 years.

“It would always bother me,” Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford, said in an interview in that oaken room. “Whenever there was a story about the decay of Detroit, this was often the visual. I hated


that. I hated our national reputation. I hated the fact that this was used as that visual. I always said to myself if I could nd a reason one day to change it, to restore it and change the narrative … then I found the business reason.”

Straddling centuries

For Ford Motor Co., the restoration of Michigan Central Station straddles Detroit’s past and its future, as the company pursues electric and autonomous vehicles. Ford purchased the Warren & Wetmore- and Reed and Stemdesigned building for $90 million in 2018 from the Moroun family. By the end of this year, Ford says, some 1,000 of its employees should be working out of the building, with a total of 2,500 in

Corktown by the end of 2028. ere’s another 2,500 non-Ford jobs anticipated.

Josh Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central, the nonpro t entity that runs the campus with the restored Book Depository building and train station as its heartbeats, said the goal is to create a “world-leading epicenter of talent and innovation.”  ere are already nearly 100 Newlab-a liated startup companies with approximately 600 people working out of the Albert Kahn-designed Book Depository building, which opened a year ago next to the train station. More than half are led by women or people of color, Sirefman said.

“ e growth rate has been really astronomical,” he said, noting that three of every ve companies

there have founders with Michigan roots.  at, in essence, is the business case for Michigan Central’s existence.

“We’re now attracting new talent to this area and they’re getting funding as well, which is really important,” Ford said, noting that some $700 million in outside funding has gone to companies in the Book Depository. “All of a sudden we’re going to have an ecosystem here that really will propel this region forward in terms of allowing it to be the Motor City for the next 100 years.”

Testament to city’s progress

For Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration, the train station’s redevelopment is a testament to

From the Vanderbilts to Ford: Michigan Central Station’s history is rooted in American royalty

Michigan Central Station reopens to the public this week in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, following a six-year renovation and three decades of vacancy after it closed in 1988 as an operational train depot. The 1913 building has the same design pedigree as New York’s Grand Central Station, and its construction was backed by the in uential Vanderbilt family. It saw its heyday in 1945 — but the rise of the automobile quickly ate into train ridership just ve years later. The writing was on the wall for Michigan Central. Once the federal government took over operations in 1971, it would be just 17 more years before the station bid goodbye to the last train in 1988. Since then, plans have come and gone for the building: a casino, a trade center and demolition were all on the table. Now, Ford Motor Co. is giving the station its second life. Here is a short timeline of major events in the history of Michigan Central Station:

Michigan Central Railroad starts buying Corktown property, assembling some 50 or so acres.


Construction begins on Michigan Central Station, a replacement to a much smaller station at Jefferson Avenue and Third Street (roughly where the old Joe Louis Arena sat) that the Michigan Central Railroad operated out of from 1884-1913. The project is nanced by the Vanderbilt family, which owns Michigan Central Railroad, a subsidiary of New York Central Railroad.

Dec. 26, 1913

The train station opens. It’s earlier than the planned Jan. 4, 1914, dedication because a re at the downtown station expedited the Corktown station’s opening. It cost $2.5 million to build, which is a shade over $79 million today. The entire project cost $16 million, which is just under $507 million today. It was designed by the same

designed Grand Central Station in New York City.

1900 1908
1945 Passenger traf c peaks at about 4,000 riders a day.  1950s Passenger rail use declines as the automobile, the interstate highway system and air travel eat into ridership. 1956 New York Central Railroad lists the depot for sale for $5 million, but no buyer is found.  1967 The waiting
grand 54.5-foot ceilings,
passenger traf c drops to about 1,000 riders
day.  Sources:; Ford Motor Co.; Amtrak; Detroit Historical Society;
Detroit Business archives.
room, with its
Passengers line up to board a train at Michigan Central in Detroit. DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY
The steel frame of Michigan Central Station is erected in 1912.
Michigan Central’s waiting area | BURTON HISTORICAL COLLECTION now attracting new talent to this area and they’re getting funding as well, which is really important,” Bill Ford said. LARRY PEPLIN

how far the city has come, from the nadir of what was in July 2013 — what at the time was the largest municipal bankruptcy in history — to today. In the last 20 years, long-abandoned relics of Detroit’s past have either been painstakingly restored — think the Book Tower, the David Whitney Building, the Westin Book Cadillac — or wiped from the map via the wrecking ball. Michigan Central Station itself was almost demolished in 2009, but plans fell through.

For the Corktown neighborhood, this week is a milestone in its many years of change, and the years that will come.

Attempting to capitalize on Ford’s investment in Michigan Central Station, the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository next door and other nearby properties, developers have built hotels and condos, apartments and new retail, all as the Dearborn-based automaker and its contractors worked for years in the background restoring the depot.

While there had been some


Michigan Central Station is taken over by the government-created National Railroad Passenger Corp., today known as Amtrak, after President Richard Nixon signs the Rail Passenger Service Act into law.


progress prior to Ford’s ownership — windows were installed under an agreement between the Morouns and Duggan, for example — the train station was generally viewed in the real estate industry as too expensive, too rundown for a viable redevelopment project.

Case in point: After Ford’s acquisition, some 3.5 million gallons of water had to be pumped out — 2.5 million initially, and then an estimated 1 million after a 2021 ooding event. e initial water removal alone took 18 months, Dittmer said. An Indiana limestone quarry, closed for decades, had to be reopened to get the materials for the restoration just right.

Ford has not disclosed precisely how much has been spent on the train station itself, but more than 20 building permits list construction costs of at least $217 million — and it’s almost certainly much higher than that. e total cost of the Michigan Central campus, between the train station, Book Depository and other work, is nearly $950 million.


Michigan Central Station is added to the National Register of Historic Places. The waiting room is formally reopened after a $1 million Amtrak project.


Penn Central declares bankruptcy and then several years later ends up as part of the Conrail successor company.


Michigan Central Station becomes Penn Central Station, named after the newly formed Penn Central Transportation Co. after New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merge.

‘An adrenaline shot’ for area

In the years since Ford revealed its intentions for Corktown, real estate developers have pounced in that neighborhood and the surrounding area.

Cli ord Brown of Detroit-based Woodborn Partners LLC, which is about to open a new apartment building called e Brooke nearby, said his project would not have happened without Ford’s investment in Corktown. But he stressed that the projects that he and Ford and others are taking on build upon what was already happening in an already vibrant collection of neighborhoods that make up southwest Detroit.

He called Michigan Central Station’s redevelopment “an adrenaline shot” for the area.

“Michigan Central was the initial impetus behind us going there (with e Brooke) and after we got there, we found something that was amazing that already existed,” Brown said.

e new Godfrey Hotel on

Jan. 5, 1988

The last Amtrak train departs Michigan Central Station.

Citing high upkeep, Conrail said it would sell or abandon the station. The station is sold to Kaybee Corp., based out of New York. Although the company received a $3.25 million federal grant to convert the building into retail and of ce, the $30 million project never happened as the grant was withdrawn because of lack of progress.

Michigan Avenue opened, as did a sister multifamily project called the Perennial Corktown. More restaurants have come. Townhouses and condos have been built.

In nearby Hubbard Farms, rowhouses have been renovated. Affordable housing complexes are being overhauled, thanks to a massive federal grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded after Ford’s project began.

Most recently, the Detroit City FC organization announced it was building a new soccer stadium for its men’s and women’s teams, with plans to clear an abandoned hospital property just a few blocks west of Michigan Central Station that has sat rotting for decades.

Bill Ford, a soccer fan, said he plans on going to matches when the stadium opens in 2027, although you may be hard-pressed to nd him doing the Tetris cheer. He also said Ford worked on helping the team nd a site.

“We’re thrilled,” Ford said. “It’s going to be great. I think it’s great for this neighborhood and the bars and the restaurants.”

A building impossible to save — yet it was

Despite all that’s new in Corktown and around that neighborhood, the gravitational pull remains the train station.

In the grand waiting room, performances, events and concerts will be held. ere will be retail and restaurants accessible to the public, although none have been announced; Sirefman said some of that will start opening in the fall.

Ford is planning a hotel to take some of the space in the upper oors of the 18-story tower, but it’s not yet been made public who the operator will be. Google will have a STEM training course for 150 or


Mark Longton Jr. purchases Michigan Central Station. He had plans to convert the building into a casino, but that never happened.


The Moroun family’s Controlled Terminals Inc. buys the building.


The Morouns announce a plan to turn it into an international trade and customs center. The plan never happened.


Then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announces a plan to turn the depot into a new police headquarters at the cost of $100 million to $150 million. That plan never happened.

so high school students that starts in June. Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, which moved its headquarters from Farmington Hills to Newlab in the Book Depository building, is also expected to take space on the fth oor of the station. e 10 children’s charities that will bene t from a $10 million endowment fund Bill and Lisa Ford are leading with the Children’s Foundation will take shared, collaborative space in the historic building. And Ford will begin occupying three oors of the tower starting this fall, Sirefman said.

All of that will be in a building many believed impossible to save.

But much of it was.

Dittmer said many of the 29,000 Guastavino tiles in the building are original, and much of the rose marble ooring in the waiting room was saved.

Although there were no lighting xtures left from its decades of vacancy, Ford worked with specialists to recreate those that were there before it closed. Ditto the herringbone wooden oor in the western portion of the building.

And while much of the ligree around the windows had either fallen o or otherwise “walked away,” Dittmer said, Ford specialists re-created 22 di erent combinations of owers and rosettes to mimic the original design.

A 22,000-pound block of limestone was harvested from a longclosed quarry called Dark Hollow in Indiana and a mason spent more than 400 hours hand-carving it to recreate an exterior column.

For Bill Ford, all of that attention to detail has paid o . When asked what, after what will end up being over six years of work, he would change about the project, he was to the point. “Nothing,” he said.  “ ere’s nothing that I would do di erently or ask the team to do di erently,” he said.


A deal between the Moroun family and Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration results in the installation of 1,000-plus new windows.


A Detroit City Council resolution calls for the demolition of the train station using $3.6 million in federal funds. It remains standing.


Crain’s Detroit Business hosts the opening night dinner for its annual Detroit Homecoming event inside the depot’s waiting room.


Crain’s breaks the news that Ford Motor Co. and the Morouns are in discussions for the automaker to purchase the train station and redevelop it. The Morouns sell the train station to Ford for $90 million.

Feb. 20, 2024 After years of work, Ford says it would reopen the train station to the public on June 6, 2024.

June 19, 2018

Bill Ford Jr. holds an event attended by some 4,500 people outside the train station announcing plans to create an autonomous and electric vehicle campus that would have some 5,000 Ford and other workers.

2030 Bill
June 19, 2018 BLOOMBERG Homecoming dinner in 2017 AARON ECKLES An Amtrak train in 1970 | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Ford on
The massive renovation of Michigan Central Station kept original details, including the former ticket windows inside the building (left) and cornices on the exterior. PHOTOS JASON KEEN/MICHIGAN CENTRAL

8 million restored bricks: Renovation by the numbers

The renovation of Michigan Central Station has been more than six years in the making, requiring some 1.7 million labor hours from 3,100 or so workers. Here are some other details of the interior restoration, as provided by Michigan Central and from the Crain's Detroit Business archives.

3.5 million: Gallons of water pumped out of the basement. That includes 2.5 million initially, plus another estimated 1 million following ooding in June 2021.

6: Years of renovations

$950 million: Amount invested in renovating the entire Michigan Central campus, including the train station and book depository building

29,000: Guastavino tiles in the waiting room

Source: Michigan Central

8 million: Bricks restored

600: Tons of limestone replaced

23,000: Square feet of marble oor restored

300: Miles of electrical cable and wiring installed

5.6: Miles of plumbing installed

114,200: Square feet of terrazzo and marble oor restored

90,000: Square feet of decorative plaster restored or replaced

102,000 square feet of windows replaced or restored

3,900: Cubic yards of debris removed

8.3: Acres of masonry restored

4,000-plus: Rivet heads saved from the carriage house and reinstalled

52,000: Square feet of at roo ng installed

33,000: Square feet of copper roo ng installed over the waiting room

1,300: Linear feet of terra cotta cornices restored

200: Terra cotta components of the cornice replicated

1.7 million labor hours in the station’s renovation

31,600 square feet of skylights installed

8.6 miles of new grout in the waiting room ceiling

3 miles of welding performed, both inside and outside

700 tons of structural steel installed, both inside and outside

300 tons of reinforcing steel installed, both inside and outside

3,100 workers involved in the renovation

4,200 light xtures installed


Station carves out space to cultivate next-gen talent

With an eye to the future, Michigan Central is carving out space in the historic train station in Detroit for youth groups.

e 10 children’s charities that will bene t from a $10 million endowment fund Bill and Lisa Ford are leading with the Children’s Foundation will take shared, collaborative space in the restored

of Detroit. Well, there's nothing more future-leaning than our kids,” said Ford, the executive chair of Ford Motor Co., which has undertaken a nearly $950 million overhaul of Michigan Central Station and the surrounding site.

Bill and Lisa Ford are longtime supporters of the Children’s Center in Detroit. ey discovered through talking with leaders that unlike many groups in other cities, children’s charities in the Detroit area don’t have endowments to support their operations long term, Ford said.

“Our children’s organizations (are) living hand to mouth and spending way too much time worrying about how they’re going to keep the lights on.”
Bill Ford Jr.

building that will reopen this week, Bill Ford Jr. said during a recent interview with Crain’s.

Other youth groups are also expected to move into the building, along with several foundations that are seeking space there, too, he said.

“We're talking about the future

“Our children's organizations (are) living hand to mouth and spending way too much time worrying about how they're going to keep the lights on rather than providing the services that they …  desperately need to provide," he said.

at spurred the couple to work to launch an e ort to raise $10 million or more by Michigan Central’s grand opening on June 6 to establish or increase endowment for 10

yet-to-be-named children’s charities in the region, with the hope they’ll continue to grow.

e e ort is going great, Ford said, though he declined to share how much had been raised.

“It’s all about our future … if we can provide a future for our Detroit-area kids, that'll be a winning combination,” he said.

e 10 children's charities chosen as bene ciaries of the endowment fund will have space in the building where they can work collaboratively with each other and foundations that are looking for space at Michigan Central, Ford said. “We’re in discussions with a number of them," he said.

Google’s Code Next, a free computer science education program for Black, Latinx and Indigenous high school students aimed at growing the next generation of tech innovators, launched in Detroit last year in the Newlab space in the Book Depository building next door. Google is a "founding member" of the mobility innovation district and the Code Next program will be the rst tenant at Michigan Central.

Google declined to comment di-

rectly, but says on its website that the Code Next Detroit Lab o ers students free hands-on training and direct access to professional mentors, tech experts, and state-ofthe-art technologies like 3D printing and augmented reality.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, which moved its headquarters from Farmington Hills to Newlab, is also expected to take space on the fth oor of the station as one of the STEM-oriented youth groups operating there.

e nonpro t said it has a letter of intent to take space in the station but the two sides are stillnalizing an agreement, Boys & Girls Clubs spokeswoman Antonice Strickland said.

As planned, the new BGCSM at Michigan Central will focus on workforce and entrepreneurship training and development programs for ages 14-24 and serve as

the hub for its industry clubs in mobility, tech, urban planning and fashion, which has already launched at Newlab, the nonpro t said.

e new space at Michigan Central would feature a Big Sean content and production studio with the latest technology in production and sound including LED screens for podcasting, lmmaking and content creation, Strickland said. Foundations supporting BGCSM moves at Michigan Central include Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Ballmer Group, Team Penske, the Sean Anderson Foundation, the NBA Foundation and others, it said. Said Ford: "(Michigan Central) will be, in my mind, the ultimate collaborative space, whether it's business collaboration or social collaboration (or) philanthropic collaboration … that's how we're going to build this out."

Google’s Code Next launched its Detroit program last year at Newlab. | GOOGLE

Plan for new park to connect station to community

Michigan Central is developing plans for a new park that will connect the campus to Southwest Detroit and the riverfront.

e park will be created on 8 acres behind, or to the south of, the historic train station and will include a variety of features designed to draw the public.

Michigan Central plans to break ground on the park later this year and nish it by late 2025.

“At the end of the day, we’re really excited about this (and) believe it is incredibly important, but it’s still in the early stages,” Mary Culler, president of Ford Philanthropy and chair of Ford’s Michigan Central project, said in an emailed statement. “We’re talking about it because we know people will want to know what’s going on with the ramp in the station’s concourse and the large dirt lot to the building’s south.”

e developing park will open the Michigan Central footprint to Southwest Detroit as part of a larger plan to make the station and area around it more accessible and welcoming to all through connected public spaces, Michigan Central CEO Josh Sirefman said during a recent tour of the


From Page 3

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a waiver of the parking space requirement, but commissioner and township Treasurer Kim Urbanowski expressed her displeasure with the move.

“Because we’re talking about parking spaces and continuing to dwindle the numbers down because we’re now nding out that machinery is going to be able to eliminate the need for employees, I just really kind of need to say that

building, which reopens this week after a yearslong restoration.

Michigan Central o cials meet regularly with surrounding communities, and Southwest Detroit residents noted the train sheds that once stood there were a barrier to getting to the train station area, Director of Communications Dan Austin said.

e area that was once crisscrossed with train tracks and sheds has been cleared. Once developed, the park on the property will connect to the Southwest Greenway and ow to the developing Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park on the west riverfront and the 29.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway.

e yet-to-be-named park will feature a mix of gardens, playscapes, community gathering and event spaces along with techenabled zones for Detroiters to innovate and collaborate, Michigan Central said.

e Southwest Greenway currently ends by the nearby Bagley Mobility Hub at Bagley and Wabash, but once the new park is complete, plans call for the greenway — a Detroit Riverfront Conservancy project — to continue under Bagley to the park, Austin said. As envisioned, there will also

part of the reason we were excited to have GM come here is they were bringing jobs,” Urbanowski said during the meeting. “Now we’re getting rid of parking spaces and employees, so that’s a little bit of a bummer.”

GM told Crain’s in a statement that it has “not currently revised previously provided estimates.”

“As we get closer to start of regular production, we will con rm our sta ng numbers,” the company said.

Delays and fewer jobs have become recurring themes for highpro le automotive projects in

be an entrance to the new park o of Vernor Highway.

A new walkway strung with lights and large pots of blooming owers, which connects the Bagley Mobility Hub to Newlab in the Book Depository building and Michigan Central, will provide a

Michigan, which has bet billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives on the EV transition.

GM and Ford are billions of dollars in the EV hole themselves after retrenching on production plans. e automakers are grappling with dramatically slower-than-expected consumer demand for EVs, which emerged right as record-high labor costs kicked in under new UAW contracts. As a result, automakers are aggressively working to drive costs out of their businesses, from their own factory oors to their supply base.

GM announced in October that it would delay production at Orion Assembly until late 2025 as it sought to “protect our pricing, adjust to slower near-term growth in demand, and implement engineering e ciency and other improvements that will make our vehicles less expensive to produce, and more pro table,” CEO Mary Barra said in a third-quarter letter to shareholders.

e company’s plan to start production of the Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV in late 2025 is unchanged, a company spokesman said. However, there are discussions about adding another vehicle to the plant to ll capacity and delaying the launch another several months, according to people familiar with the situation.

EV production pullback also left suppliers in a lurch. Plans for half a dozen new supplier plants and hundreds of jobs were put in jeopardy when GM delayed launch at Orion Assembly.

e highest pro le of those projects — the Piston Automotive-run plant on the former Palace of Auburn Hills site — was also scaled

view of the park.

Michigan Central is having conversations with community groups, nonpro ts and the city to explore the best model for operation of the park, Austin said.

With the new park, the 30-acre Michigan Central district will in-

down. GM cut the size of the plant by 35% to 715,000 square feet, while the number of anticipated jobs shrank 10% to 900.

Automakers and suppliers are making game-time decisions about new factories as manufacturing and engineering processes evolve in real time, said Mark Barrott, head of South eld-based Plante Moran's automotive practice.

“In the way that an electric vehicle is constructed, OEMs are responding to it through a big wave of manufacturing simpli cation,” he said. “ ere is actually a very signi cant uptick in work and projects associated with changing the physical nature of the OEMs’ manufacturing facilities.”

What exactly that means for the number of jobs at these plants — or in other words, Michigan’s return on investment — remains to be seen.

State support for the Ford plant in Marshall totals about $1.7 billion. e Michigan Economic Development Corp. said it would discuss with Ford a reduction of incentives but has not given details. GM was given $824 million in incentives for the Orion expansion as well as an Ultium Cells battery plant near Lansing.

e MEDC said it plans to “stay the course in securing our position as the global leader in mobility, clean energy and R&D” by investing in projects that “bring supply chains home.”

“We are currently embarking upon the most profound and evolutionary shift in the automotive industry since the advent of the internal combustion engine,” the agency said in a statement. “While there are signals out there that the

clude just more than 12 acres of green space. e other 4 acres are spread across the plaza in front of the Book Depository, the triangleshaped area to the east of Michigan Central and other areas around the station and Bagley Mobility Hub.

EV adoption rate is slower than originally anticipated, it is expected that the EV market will demonstrate a steady annual growth trend.”

Ford plant changes

In its site plan revisions, Ford separated battery cell production from battery pack assembly. e main cell production plant will span about 1.2 million square feet, which is half the size originally planned. But a separate 606,000square-foot building will be constructed next to the cell production facility for pack assembly.

Additionally, construction crews plan to build a disposal warehouse, battery disassemble warehouse and pump house on site, according to the plans.

GM plant revisions

In addition to the parking space reduction, GM’s revised site plan includes several other changes. e overall size of the expansion increased slightly to 2.8 million square feet, with modi cations within the general footprint. e battery assembly area increased 10,000 square feet to 904,505 square feet; the new body module shop increased 90,000 square feet to 245,644 square feet; and the general assembly building addition was cut in half to 82,360 square feet.

Validation of the battery equipment started earlier this year, the automaker previously con rmed to Crain’s. Production of the batteries, which will be shipped to Factory Zero in Detroit, is expected to start in the coming months, though GM would not con rm a date.

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A new walkway strung with lights and large pots of blooming owers connects the Bagley Mobility Hub to Newlab in the Book Depository building and Michigan Central. It will provide a view of the new park to south of the train station building. | BETH REEBER VALONE

Lighthouse CEO Ryan Hertz is on a mission to solve homelessness

Lighthouse CEO Ryan Hertz is overseeing development of a $32 million campus expansion in Pontiac, a project that will add two new three-story buildings to the one there now, creating a “one-stop shop” for people in need. The new space will house 120 new emergency shelter beds, a “social supermarket” with wraparound services, an economic opportunity center focused on income, employment and education and new community space including a cafe. McGregor Fund President Kate Levin Markel called it a “once-in-a-generation project.” At the same time, Hertz is on a mission to bring more affordable housing online. He’s overseeing plans for $42 million in projects that will bring nearly 100 new affordable units online. Hertz was on Mackinac Island last week for the 2024 Mackinac Policy Conference — and was grateful to have a hotel room this year so he didn’t have to row a boat to the island.  The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity. By |

How are things going with Lighthouse’s $32 million campaign to fund the campus expansion?

We’ve made signi cant progress (and) added elements to the project. Construction pricing has gone up from about $20 million. But the e orts to try to put together the nancing have so far been surprisingly successful. We were able to secure $9.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, $3.5 million in contributions from philanthropy and a number of smaller gifts from our board and executive team for a total of about $13 million. We are intending on seeking about $8.5 million in new market tax credits for this project. We have hopes to break ground before the end of the year, realistically maybe in early 2025.

What are the new elements?

e largest addition is an expansion of the cafe concept and an additional two stories to accommodate our runaway and homeless youth programming. We also are including an expansion for the tenants: Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency providing Headstart programs; the Wellness Plan, which is a federally quali ed health clinic; and the Center for Employment Opportunities, a workforce development organization for returning citizens. Our (new) social supermarket will be essentially a client choice food pantry paired with supportive services. e hope is that people who come for any of our services, the fact that we have the other services on-site will be highly leveraged.

You are also doing some new affordable housing projects? When we brought Lighthouse of Oakland County together, the reason that that conversation started with South Oakland Shelter was we were struggling for years against the lack of a ordable housing. So we broke into the a ordable housing space, but the pandemic caused an explosion of emergency services. While outwardly in a louder way we were focused on our emergency services response, in the background we were working on laying the groundwork to maximize the properties that Lighthouse held prior to the merger (with South Oakland

Shelter). We just completed a 234unit redevelopment of a public housing building, Carriage Place, in partnership with the Pontiac Housing Commission. e (new) investment includes three multi-family properties in Pontiac. Two, Beacon Square Apartments and Beacon Townhomes are redevelopments of previously held Lighthouse assets. We’re investing $14 million. And then adjacent to the townhomes, Lighthouse owned a vacant lot that we’ve been able to secure an allocation of tax credit to build a ($29 million), 54-unit a ordable housing development. All three projects are set to close ideally and break ground by the fall. We have another $75 million-plus in the pipeline of a ordable housing projects. ere’s additional a ordable multi-family rental (planned) outside of Oakland County. When we merged and said Lighthouse Michigan, we meant it.

So, I heard you had some sort of a misadventure tied to the Mackinac Policy Conference last year. Well, I’d never been to the

conference and it took quite a bit of encouragement for me to be convinced this was something we should invest in. So I didn’t register as early as I think most folks do, and there weren’t any hotels available on the island. So I started looking at alternative lodging. And I found a shing boat for rent in the harbor, next to Shepler’s Ferry o of St. Ignace, and so I booked it. It was like $100 a night.

I asked my host if he could park me on the island side, so I didn’t have to get on the ferry. He said sure, but the harbor was closed for renovations so there wouldn’t be any electricity. That was fine; I like camping. But part of the misadventure here, too, was I think I’m one of maybe three people at the conference who keeps kosher. My host drove me and my cooler (of kosher food) and my luggage and the boat that I was staying on to the state harbor right next to the Pink Pony (bar) and said good luck. I definitely had some really interesting showers. I didn’t have electricity but I did have a generator that I wasn’t allowed

to use because it’s noisy. But I could just use it enough without drawing too much attention to pump water for a shower but not enough water. And the hose that was going to the shower with this black hose that ran around on the back of a boat that was normally used for spraying down and cleaning fish, the sun would hit the hose, and I got maybe 60-90 seconds of scalding hot water followed by ice cold water from the lake every morning. It was definitely a big incentive for me to make sure I got a hotel room this year!

I did have another boat with Captain Andy on backup for this, but he told me they no longer allow any commercial use in the harbor. So if I needed to stay on a boat, he was going to anchor me offshore and give me a rowboat to go back and forth. Significant, significant incentive for me to really keep calling and getting through to get a hotel room.

So this year, you have a hotel room but aren’t taking a car to Mackinaw City. You’re riding a bike? Yeah, that is accurate. I’m not alone on that front. A good friend of mine who is the executive director of Hebrew Free Loan introduced me to Dwan Dandridge, the executive director of Black Leaders Detroit. Dwan and David (Contorer) started talking about (Black Leaders Detroit’s) Ride for Equity fundraiser (May 19-25). I bought a bike and rode somewhere around 3,000 miles since then to try to convince myself I’d be able to ride (from Detroit) to Mackinaw with this group. I’m really excited about the work that they’re doing, and I need to get to Mackinaw somehow.

One little hiccup: In addition to the fact that I have to bring kosher food along with me, the last day of the cycling trip falls on Shabbat (a weekly Jewish day of rest). So my wife and kids are going to meet me in Petoskey, and I’ll be doing the last day of the ride on Sunday alone. Because I’m shomer Shabbat, as John Goodman so eloquently puts it in “The Big Lebowski.” “I don’t roll on Shabbat,” I think were his exact words.


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Lighthouse CEO Ryan Hertz is leading new investment into three multi-family properties in Pontiac as one way to help alleviate homelessness in metro Detroit. | LIGHTHOUSE
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