DBusiness | January-February 2022

Page 28

The Path to Gold

Michigan has plenty of auto companies that have reached $1 billion in valuation, but can the state, along with venture capitalists, nurture and attract more unicorns?



The recent cyber attacks and the shockwaves that were felt by businesses and individuals across the country, have taught us it is more important than ever for organizations to have a resilient and effective cybersecurity plan.



Do we have an incident response plan in place?

Do we perform regular scans of our network and applications for vulnerabilities?

Do we have backups of critical systems, data and configurations?

Are we prepared for a cyber attack?

Do we have an employee security awareness program?

Do we have cyber insurance?

UHY Consulting has experienced cybersecurity specialists who can help you address cybersecurity as an enterprise business risk. We help companies translate IT risks into business risks and determine the appropriate security posture for your company. For a copy of our Cyber Readiness Guide or if you would like to discuss your situation, please contact us at 630 288 6992.


Every step we take toward a healthier, safer meeting experience is an important one. When you are ready to plan your next event, let us help you meet safely. With best in class meeting technology for hybrid and virtual or in-person with spacious rooms, superior ventilation, and enhanced cleaning standards; we allow you to stay focused on meeting objectives while putting the health and well-being of your group first.

CONVENE WITH CONFIDENCE Excludes Michigan Disassociated Persons. mgmgranddetroit.com Contact 877.MGM.EVNT (646.3868) or sales@det.mgmgrand.com 2021

30 Genius of Production

FOCUS : A Danish TV crew visits Detroit to feature the legacy of Bill Knudsen, the auto executive who helped save the world from tyranny, in a new series.

By Ronald Ahrens


Inside Out

PERSPECTIVES: The Flint water crisis never led to criminal charges. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is using a one-man grand jury to bring charges. By Norm Sinclair

Path to Gold

Michigan has plenty of auto companies that have reached $1 billion in valuation. Can the state and its venture capitalists attract more unicorns? By Dale Buss

Revenue Streams

The recorded music industry has changed as fans rely on portable devices to play music, often for free. The formula makes it difficult for artists.

By Dan Calabrese

Catch -22

Orders are up in COVID-19’s wake, but workforce and supply chain issues, along with inflation, complicate the future of manufacturing. By Tim Keenan

6 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 01-02.22

25,000 square feet of remodeled space

State-of-the-art Crestron® sound system

Vibrant “lake effect” design theme

New air walls and LED lighting

Private meeting planner office

All-new digital signage


New look, long history. For over 30 years, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has been Northern Michigan’s premier meeting destination. With our nearly $3 million renovation, including upgraded technology, services, and design, we’re bringing the future of meetings to life. Learn more at grandtraverseresort.com/meet.

Owned and Operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians






Michigan has an opportunity to boost its share of annual R&D spending by the U.S. Department of Defense as the military seeks to increase its use of autonomous systems for ground and aerial vehicles.


Michigan is falling behind in K-12 public education as the Democratic Party and school unions block meaningful reform and competition.


As 5G is built out both here and across the world, cellular developers are beginning to tout 6G as the next wave of instant communication.


How outsiders view Detroit.


Two young songwriters and entertainers from Grosse Pointe climb the music charts.


Once a homeless single mom, Crysta Tyus has rebounded to lead a $1M accounting services firm.


At the Athlete Lab in Farmington Hills, the body and the mind get equal treatment.


A chef’s son takes advantage of the pandemic to launch a knife company.

26 PDA Q&A

Marina Schloff, chief sales officer, Phiston Technology Inc., Southfield. By R.J. King


How a Detroit startup led by Temeria Heard made it to the big leagues. By R.J. King


The City of Dearborn is sitting in comfort due to a novel program that saved the municipality more than $600,000 per year.

8 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
Foreword The Ticker
28 01-02.22 MATTHEW LAVERE



GameAbove Mobility has teamed up with EMU to take big challenges head on. When autonomous mobility is ready to go we will be ensuring vehicles are safe from cyber attacks. This is where we are setting the pace of innovation. An engineering campus completely rebuilt and reimagined with advanced laboratory resources and industry-leading, corporate partnerships. We see the future. Can you?

Apply today at www.emich.edu/gacet


Exec Life


The BasBlue Club in Midtown Detroit is a place for women to network and the community to gather. By Tim Keenan


Breaking the Rules: Siobhán Cronin improvised the musical skills she learned at Cranbrook Schools and the University of Michigan to become a world-renowned performing artist. By Tom Murray


Need for Speed: Dynamic Machine in Troy is helping to overcome a shortage of skilled workers by advancing the use of high-speed robots.


The Mighty Middle: In a world where business headlines are dominated by small-business unicorns or mega-billion IPOs, what’s often overlooked is the unsung superhero of Michigan’s economy: The Mighty Middle Market.


Our party pics from exclusive events.

Et Cetera

82 FROM THE TOP Top Hotels in Metro Detroit, Top Corporate Counsel.


Deriding the Rails: When railroad service came to Michigan, pockets of resistance developed before “The Great Railway Conspiracy” of 1849-1851 got ugly.


ON THE COVER Illustration by Austin Phillips

10 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
72 01-02.22
Kitch Attorne y s & Counselors www.kitch.com Congratulations to all Top Corporate Counsel Nominees and Recipients! A special congratulations to: Detroit Mt. Clemens Lansing Upper Michigan Toledo Chicago Michelle Johnson Tidjani Henry Ford Health System Sara Conn Beaumont Health Monica Barbour University of Detroit Mercy Meg Van Meter Trinity Health

Smart City

The way to revive a city like Detroit, which 150 years ago established the world’s first and largest manufacturing economy, is to rebuild from the roots of its success.

Like other older cities, Detroit was set along a major waterway to ease the move ment of people and goods.

What followed, in succes sion, were railroads, high ways, runways, and now the digital highway.

While other cities expanded by mostly balancing the development of homes, stores, offices, and industrial plants, Detroit is unique. Following the Civil War, the city saw its manufacturing sector, which got its start in the 1750s when the Detroit River shoreline was dominated by shipbuilders, expand almost exponen tially as the country evolved into the world’s first superpower.

To meet the demand for steel, processed metals, equipment, and engines, manufacturing plants were built on the city’s outskirts. Since there were no read ily affordable cars (or paved roads) until Henry Ford’s Model T was introduced in 1908, homes were built around the factories so people could walk to work.

As Detroit became the automotive capital of the world and led the nation in providing machines and armaments during a string of global conflicts, more “neighborhood” factories were built on the city’s edge. By 1925, Detroit, after annexing nearly every thing in sight save for Highland Park and Ham tramck, grew to its current size of 139 square miles.

In 1940, when the federal government and Chrys ler Corp. worked together to build tanks for use during what would become World War II, the plant was set along Van Dyke Avenue (M-53), north of 11

Mile Road, in Warren. The military wanted to develop the factory in Detroit, to be closer to the manufactur ing supply base, but the city had no room.

In the early 1950s, as the economy transitioned to consumer demand, living near a factory became largely undesirable. Soon, a wave of people would move to the suburbs, a trend propelled by safety and a better quality of life as well as racial tensions and a city government that was so mismanaged it eventu ally led, in 2013, to the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the country.

When the city emerged from Chapter 9 bank ruptcy in late 2014, its books were balanced, but the landscape was in dire need of repair and rejuvena tion. Slowly but surely, private and public organiza tions began to build off denser and popular enclaves like Midtown, Corktown, and more than 20 historic neighborhoods.

And while industrial redevelopment would seem counterproductive, given the city’s history, Mayor Mike Duggan and his team, along with private devel opers, have been steadfast in clearing older factories and converting the land into modern logistics, light manufacturing, and production facilities. In addition, investments were made to improve the surrounding neighborhoods with new and repaired homes, store fronts, parks, and more.

Apart from drawing new tax revenue, the trans formation allows people, especially those left behind by the suburban exodus, to walk to work. If the pat tern continues, in the next decade or two Detroit will be built out again, only this time the landscape will be inclusive and welcoming.

The final piece of the renaissance, however, remains elusive. If businesses and organizations worked more closely with educators, our schools — and our future workforce — would be the envy of the world for decades to come.

R.J. King rjking@dbusiness.com


I thought that you would be interested to know that Rebel Nell opened a pop-up store in the Twelve Oaks Mall (in Novi) for the Christmas season. I mention this because I met Amy Peterson at your recent DBusiness Breakfast Series at the Gem Theater (Oct. 12). I’m always interested in new retail concepts seeking stores. I was introduced to Amy and she quicky noted that she needed to figure a store for 2021. Donna Barnett of SBRE and I met with Amy a few days after the event. Donna was able to secure some potential opportunities and Amy settled on Twelve Oaks. Many companies that start on the web end up with physical stores.


Tom Murray did a good job (in the September/October 2021 issue of DBusiness) of capturing my Michigan roots and my enthusiasm for my work in bringing electric vehicle technology to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. I’ll be flying in from San Francisco to Detroit for meetings Nov. 4-8 on the electric school bus project with DTE Energy in Ann Arbor and Roseville.

Lisa Lillelund San Francisco, Calif.


Thank you for the press. We appreciate DBusiness’ commitment to sharing great news stories and sharing our voting for “Making It … With Lowes” to the local community. It means the world to us.

The Birdy Boutique Team Detroit

EMAIL US AT: editorial@dbusiness.com SEND MAIL TO: Letters, DBusiness magazine, 5750 New King Drive, Ste. 100, Troy, MI 48098 Please include your city of residence and daytime phone number. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and content.
Letters 12 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
ATTORNEYS & COUNSELORS AT LAW Thomas P. Vincent President & CEO 248.901.4000 | tvincent@plunkettcooney.com Michigan | Ohio | Indiana | Illinois | www.plunkettcooney.com Business leaders say they trust the attorneys of Plunkett Cooney to anticipate legal pitfalls, to resolve high-stakes litigation and to craft contracts they can sign... with condence. See your business differently.  Banking & Finance Law  Business Transactions  Cannabis Law  Commercial Litigation  Environmental & Energy Law  Estate Planning & Business Succession  Foodservice & Hospitality Law  Government Relations & Public Policy  Health Care Law  Labor & Employment Law  Mergers & Acquisitions  Nonprofit Law  Real Estate Law Plunkett Cooney Perspective™ Get the



Born and raised on Detroit’s east side, Rodriguez is a freelance photographer known for capturing moments in time. Rodriguez often finds inspiration in the ruins of the city. His style has gotten him a wide range of clients, such as Red Bull, Bedrock, General Motors Co., and multiple publications including Architect, Hour Detroit, Graffiti Art, and Hi-Fructose. One often can find Rodriguez working on his current project, Shipwreck Detroit, a visual look into the Detroit phenomenon of abandoned boats. He’s also working on a project documenting the artists of our time, from Shepard Fairey to many Detroit-based artists. For this issue, Rodriguez spent two days with the rock band The Romantics, shooting the group’s sound check and a local concert.

17 •


PUBLISHER John Balardo





COPY EDITOR Anne Berry Daugherty


ART DIRECTOR Austin Phillips



ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Cynthia Barnhart, Regan Blissett, Karli Brown, Maya Gossett, Donna Kassab, Lisa LaBelle, Mary Pantely and Associates

OUTREACH SPECIALIST Paige Fritts, Alice Zimmer



SENIOR PRODUCTION ARTISTS Stephanie Daniel, Robert Gorczyca



Sinclair has been a contributing writer for DBusiness for nearly a decade, during which time he’s produced varied cover stories including the demise of Art Van Furniture, the resurrection of the Book Cadillac Hotel, and a profile of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. His features covering the Midland dam floods and Art Van won two of three national Gold Medals awarded to the magazine in the most recent Alliance of Area Business Publishers Editorial Excellence Awards (for 2020 coverage). A Michigan State University graduate, Sinclair spent 34 years at The Detroit News, where he was an investigative reporter covering criminal justice and white-collar crime. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, he was elected to the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2008.


A documentary photographer born in Oklahoma, Zamarrón currently lives and works in southwest Detroit. In this issue, she photographed the new women’s club in Detroit, BasBlue. Zamarrón graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in photography, focusing on documentary and photojournalism. She has exhibited her work in cities such as Grand Rapids; New York; Detroit; Austin, Texas; and Rome. Her work has appeared in publications including DBusiness, Hour Detroit, Vogue, Bon Appetite, the Detroit Free Press, Metro Times, BridgeDetroit, and on WDET. Zamarrón is co-founder of La Sirena Studio, which is a female-led studio in southwest Detroit that provides studio space in the community.





WEB PROJECT ASSISTANTS Mariah Knott, Luanne Lim, Bart Woinski








CIRCULATION COORDINATORS Barbie Baldwin, Elise Coyle, Nia Jones, Cathy Krajenke, Rachel Moulden








MARKETING AND RESEARCH INTERNS Shekinah Adams, Katherine Donnelly, Celeste Janson, Maryan Toma


CEO Stefan Wanczyk

PRESIDENT John Balardo





ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATES Sammi Dick, Estefano Lopez

DISTRIBUTION Target Distribution, Troy

Postmaster: Send address changes to DBusiness, 5750 New King Drive, Ste. 100, Troy, MI 48098

For advertising inquiries: 248-691-1800, ext. 126

To sell DBusiness magazine or for subscription inquiries: 248-588-1851

DBusiness is published by Hour Media. Copyright © 2022 Hour Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. DBusiness is a registered trademark of Hour Media.

CONTRIBUTING Ronald Brian Britigan, Patrick Gloria, Christine MJ Hathaway, Matthew LaVere, Sal Rodriguez, Josh Scott, Martin Vecchio, James Yang, Rosa María Zamarrón CONTRIBUTION: Photographer, Revenue Streams Photographer, DETROIT’S PREMIER BUSINESS JOURNAL
Ahrens, Dale Buss, Dan Calabrese, Christopher T.R. Letts, Tom Murray, Norm Sinclair CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
A Lady’s Place | SEE IT HERE: Page 66 CONTRIBUTION: Writer, Inside Out SEE IT HERE: Page 34
14 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Contributors
Take advantage of Little Caesars Arena’s world-class hospitality with the luxurious and customizable Premium Passport. Starting at $5,000 Contact us today at (313) 771-0124 or email us at premiuminfo@pistons.com Premium Passport


Defense Gains

Michigan has an opportunity to boost its share of annual R&D spending by the U.S. Department of Defense as the military seeks to increase its use of autonomous systems for ground and aerial vehicles. The branches of the mil itary — Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Space Force — also are looking for new communication platforms that will streamline shared intelligence and operational missions.

Based on the 2020 (FY) defense budget, Michigan had $5.5 billion in contract awards performed, up considerably from $1.1 billion in 2015. Overall, though, the state ranks 24th for total annual defense spending — $6.8 billion — representing 1.1 percent of such activity. By comparison, Texas leads the nation, drawing $83 billion in defense outlays, followed by Virginia ($64.3 billion), California ($61 billion), Maryland ($30.4 billion), and Florida ($29.1 billion).

While each of the top five states dwarf Michigan’s standing, the num bers include multiple military bases and personnel salaries, along with large projects such as the space program and the production of fighter aircraft. If base and personnel costs are factored out, Michigan ranks in the top 15 states based on R&D military spending.


MICHIGAN IS FALLING behind in K-12 public education as the Democratic Party and school unions block meaningful reform and competition. Before and during the pandemic, parents became increasingly frustrated with poor teaching standards and lackluster performance in public schools — dissatisfaction rose even further when 60 percent of public school students were subject to hybrid or remote classes.

The poor performance has parents making alternative educational choices for their children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of Michigan households with school-age children who are home-schooled rose 11 percent, from 5 percent between spring and fall 2020. Enrollment at charter schools rose 1.5 percent last year. At the same time, public schools in the state lost 64,000 students last year, representing a nearly 5-percent decrease in admissions.

Overall, school choice is favored among families and businesses, but at every turn the Democratic Party in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and the unions have stymied reform. With Whitmer running for re-election in 2022, don’t look for much to change as she relies on union support for her campaign.

According to a poll from June 2021 by the American Federation for Children, 74 percent of voters support school choice, including 70 percent of Democrats.

Number of defense-related jobs in Michigan

As it stands, few regions can match Michigan’s expertise in autono mous systems, supply chain logistics, cybersecurity, artificial intelli gence, robotics, and more. Consider the state has 130,000 engineers working in automotive, mobility, machine equipment, medical, and multiple specialty disciplines — one of the highest concentrations per capita in the world.

It’s a key reason the U.S. Army has 7,500 people working at TARDEC (U.S. Tank-automotive and Armaments Command) along the so-called Defense Corridor that runs along nine miles of Mound Road in Sterling Heights and Warren. In the same area, across a 10-mile radius, there are 81,000 manufacturing jobs supporting automotive plants, along with aerospace, defense, and advanced manufacturing centers. Businesses include the Big Three, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Loc Perfor mance, KUKA, Key Safety Systems, and US Farathane.

Since Whitmer took office in 2019, she has vetoed several meaningful attempts of school reform, all while admitting in her inaugural State of the State address that: “Our students are not broken. Our teachers are not broken. It’s our system that’s broken.” As we’ve written before, unions should be prevented from supporting any political party or candidate for office, less we give rise to politicians who block reforms in the name of soliciting campaign donations.


Defense suppliers in Michigan

Across the state there are 4,000 defense suppliers, 1,000 prime con tractors, and 17 military commands and installations, including Self ridge Air National Guard Base, the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, and the Alpena Com bat Readiness Training Center. TACOM itself oversees repair parts plan ning and supply chain management for more than 3,500 weapon systems, and directs six of the Army’s manufacturing arsenals and maintenance depots in the U.S.

AS 5G, OR the fifth generation of wireless technology, is built out both here and across the world, cellular developers are beginning to tout 6G as the next wave of instant communication. The debut of 6G, which is expected by the end of the decade, will lead to a drop in smartphone usage in favor of cellular surfaces, smart wearable technology, sophisticated headsets, and sensor implants.

Scientists liken the speed of 6G to that of air and say it will lead to major improvements in connecting ground and aerial vehicles (autonomous operations), Wi-Fi devices (even Wi-Fi implants that would work almost anywhere), automated manufacturing, (Internet 4.0), home appliances, and entertainment systems.

Total economic activity of the defense sector in Michigan Sources:

U.S. Department of Defense, Michigan Defense Center

Beyond designing, manufacturing, equipping, and supplying military parts, components, and vehicle systems, along with pioneering the future integration of ground and aerial vehicles, groups like the Michi gan Aerospace Manufacturing Association in Sterling Heights are work ing to provide low orbit and hypersonic launch technology for commercial and defense applications. The rocket program is key to placing advanced satellites in orbit to power next-generation communi cation systems like 5G and autonomous vehicles.

Overall, the Michigan Defense Center, part of the Michigan Eco nomic Growth Corp., works with businesses, public agencies, aca demia, and veterans to maintain and attract military outlays. As the defense sector seeks to maximize its use of the latest mobility, commu nication, and cyber assets, the state has an opportunity to boost its share of military spending.

Anyone who has watched the first “Star Wars” movie will be witness to fiction becoming reality. The debut of 6G will allow for the use of holograms just like in the film when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker watch a hologram of Princess Leia providing an update in the battle against the empire. The use of holograms will make businesses more efficient, boost connections between families and friends, and lead to unforeseen advances.

As the number of battery-operated devices increases, however, one challenge with the rollout of new cellular technology will come from providing sustainable power. Looking ahead, the introduction of new communication systems must go hand in hand with the development of reliable energy so the holograms of the future aren’t cut off in midstream.

Commentary 18 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
The United Green – We’re Here to Help You Grow #1 Cannabis Staffing Company in the Midwest and the Largest in Michigan Connect with us today. Visit theunitedgreen.com/employer • Call (947) 886-2427 • E-mail info@theunitedgreen.com




The U.S. auto sector’s production slump this year is more than a big minus for Detroit — it’s a major drag on the entire economy.

Gross domestic product growth slowed to the weakest pace in more than a year during the third quarter at just 2 percent annualized. That was less than a third of the growth rate in the preceding quarter.

While the Delta variant of COVID-19 played a big role as it swept through the country during July, August, and September and put a lid on growth in consumer spending, the biggest soft spot in Thursday’s weak GDP reading was the car industry — by a country mile.

In all the auto sector subtracted 2.4 percentage points from economic growth in that period. That was the biggest drag Detroit has had on U.S. output in four decades — and one rarely seen outside of a recession. The contraction caused by COVID-19 officially lasted just two months in the spring of 2020, and the economy has been in recovery mode since.

The main culprit behind the auto industry’s

difficulties is a worldwide shortage of microchips, which are needed to run all of a modern vehicle’s complex systems. But with the world economy rebounding from last year’s shutdowns, it is not just the car business that is chasing those chips, and they have become a global scarcity.

As a result, U.S. motor vehicle production has fallen in six of the last nine months. ...

is thrilled to no longer ratchet-strap furniture to the roof of his 2018 Ford Focus. What’s more, his “cactus gray” Maverick is just as efficient, consistently logging 28 miles per gallon of gasoline.


The two best-known garment districts in the United States are located in New York City and downtown Los Angeles. But soon, there might be a third: Detroit.

That’s the vision driving Tracy Reese, an icon of the American fashion scene for more than two decades, whose colorful, patterned dresses have been worn by everyone from Michelle Obama to Sarah Jessica Parker to Mindy Kaling.

Three years ago, Reese moved her operations from New York back to her hometown of Detroit to be part of a movement to transform the former automotive hub into a center of ethical, sustainable American fashion manufacturing. In 2019, she launched a new label, Hope for Flowers, that is designed and partially manufactured in Michigan.

were within a four-block radius. But then they began to close.”

Over the course of Reese’s career, U.S. apparel manufacturing hollowed out as brands moved their production to developing countries, where labor was cheaper.


U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Trevor McKinnon decided to buy a new car slowly and then all at once.

In a matter of days, he had to call on his boyfriend’s parents to shuttle a water heater and he read a review of the Maverick, a pint-sized pickup truck — the newest new thing from Ford Motor Co.

“I got on cars.com and saw that there was one Maverick for sale in all of Colorado Springs,” he recalled. “I drove over there and bought it that day.”

McKinnon, 26, doesn’t ski or camp; he doesn’t ply a trade or even drive off road. But he is a first-time homeowner and

Having supersized its trucks and killed off many of its regular, car-shaped vehicles (including the Focus that McKinnon traded in), the U.S. auto industry is playing an old hit with tiny pickups. The same types of fuel-sipping work rigs that gained momentum in the Reagan era, after the gas crisis of the 1970s, are having a renaissance today, as young buyers fret over the climate crisis and confront piles of student debt.

Jim Baumbick, Ford’s vice president of product line management, said the company sees small trucks as “an untapped opportunity” — precious so-called white space in an auto industry jammed with SUVs of all shapes and sizes. Ford had been closely eyeing the market for starter vehicles, Baumbick said, and saw “a lot of competitors and a lot of customers” but not a lot of trucks.

“When you make a list of things you can do in a truck that you can’t do in a car,” he said, “the list gets really long.”

In addition to Ford’s Maverick, Hyundai recently launched the Santa Cruz. …

Today, 97 percent of garments sold in the United States are manufactured overseas. Reese has seen firsthand what it will take to bring back apparel production to the country. It’s a laborious process that involves training garment workers, investing in factories and machinery, and more. The past few years have shown Reese that such a transformation is possible, but it’s a process that requires support from the government, fashion brands, and us, the consumers.

Reese was born in Detroit in 1964 and left her hometown at 18 to attend Parsons School of Design in New York. After several years working at fashion houses, including Perry Ellis, she launched her own eponymous ready-to-wear fashion label in 1998 and became a fixture of the runways at New York Fashion Week.

In the early days of her business, Reese manufactured in New York City, where there was a bustling ecosystem of factories. “Creating my collection meant going to one workshop for marking and grading garments, another for cutting, another for pleating, and another for embroidering,” Reese recalls. “When the Garment District was stronger, all of these factories

In the 1960s, 95 percent of all apparel sold in the U.S. was made here, but by 1993, that had plummeted to 52 percent. Today, only 3 percent of the clothes Americans buy are made in the country. But garment workers in the U.S. don’t always have better working conditions than those overseas. In order to compete with the low labor prices in Asia, garment factories in New York and Los Angeles often skirt labor laws by paying workers a “piece rate” amounting to pennies for every item they sew. This can work out to as little as $2.68 an hour, a fraction of California’s $14 minimum wage. ...

The idea of moving to Detroit to set up a new manufacturing hub came to Reese in 2018, when she participated in a nine-month residency focused on sustainable design organized by the Council of Fashion Design ers of America and Lexus. As she pored over the latest data about her industry’s carbon footprint and exploitative labor practices, she felt compelled to radically change her business.

Reese’s desire to upend the fashion supply chain coincides with a larger movement. Organizations ... have emerged over the last decade to draw attention to fashion’s devastating impact on the planet and highlight the abuse of garment workers. ...

Commentary 20 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022


Detroit City FC announced (in November) that it would be joining the USL Championship, the second tier of the American Men’s Soccer Pyramid, for the 2022 season.

The Detroit outfit had just won its second consecutive NISA championship, putting themselves consistently at the top of the third tier of American men’s soccer.

Started in 2012 by five Detroiters, Detroit City FC has since become the standard of excellence for men’s professional soccer in the third and fourth tiers. They have since been to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup in 2016 and 2018 as members of the NPSL before making the jump and subsequently dominating NISA for two seasons.

“The momentum behind Detroit City FC is remarkable and a credit to every person who has played a role in the club’s rise,” said USL President Jake Edwards in a statement. “It’s hard to find a better example of bringing a community together through soccer. We welcome the DCFC community and its famed supporters into the USL family, and we look forward to seeing this next phase of the club’s evolution.”

The move will allow Detroit City FC to have its games broadcast on a national scale, with the USL’s partnership with the ESPN family of networks. In 2021, 17 regular season games were broadcast on ESPN linear channels, while the rest of the league’s games were on ESPN+. Compare that to NISA, which uses Eleven Sports (a company based in Zurich, Switzerland) to broadcast its games on a webcast.

In 2021, Detroit averaged more than 4,000 fans, which would put them in the top half of USL clubs, with Memphis 901 FC and Hartford Athletic drawing similar numbers in USL competition. The club will continue to play its home games at Keyworth Stadium

in Hamtramck, but announced that there will be upgrades to the stadium, which has been open since 1936, before the club debuts in the USL Championship.

The announcement comes less than two years after the club opened a public offering of 10 percent club equity to mitigate their losses during the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent financial losses in 2020. ...

“The investment campaign was an inspiring solution to the challenges facing our 10th year as a club. When we needed our supporters most, they were there for us,” said DCFC co-owner and COO Todd Kropp in a statement. “Moving to the USL Championship honors that commitment and makes us more accessible and impactful.” ...



If electric-vehicle startup Rivian comes even close to justifying the valuation targeted in its initial public offering, Detroit has a real problem.

The company delivered its first vehicles in Septem ber. On Nov. 1, it disclosed a price range of between $57 and $62 a share. At the midpoint, that equates to a market value of about $51 billion, using the minimum number of shares outstanding expected after the IPO. At the upper end, and factoring in the dilution effect of stock options, the valuation would exceed $60 billion.

For Rivian, the timing could hardly be better.

Amid a fresh wave of enthusiasm for EV stocks, the market value of Lucid, Rivian’s closest listed peer, rose 53 percent last week to roughly $60 billion on an undiluted basis. Both companies have well-reviewed launch products but are very early in the risky production ramp-up phase.

For an investment banker, as for a realtor or art dealer, price is what someone is prepared to pay. Lucid’s latest valuation makes Rivian’s IPO range seem fair, even reasonable. Ultimately, though, a $50 billion valuation for Rivian will only make sense if the company grows very fast. Since the automotive market is highly mature, that can only mean one thing: taking meaningful market share from incumbents. Rivian’s launch vehicle is a pickup truck, and it also plans to start production of a sport-utility vehicle and a delivery truck for its largest shareholder Amazon.com by the end of the year. These are Detroit’s big money spinners.

Rivian poses a competitive threat to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler-owner Stellantis in a way Tesla never really has with its sporty sedans. ....

The coming battle over electric trucks in both the consumer and commercial markets is set to be brutal. GM plans to start limited deliveries of its new electric Hummer by year-end; so does Ford with its electric Transit van. The battery version of Ford’s best-selling F-150 truck will follow in the spring. …


When it comes to reliable cars, the newest and latest aren’t always best.

Electric vehicles fare poorly in the latest reliability study from Consumer Reports, with Tesla Inc. and its battery-powered lineup finishing second to last for the second straight year. Only Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln division was worse, the organization said Nov. 18 at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

But there’s a twist: It’s not the battery or motor that makes EVs less reliable. It’s the glitchy new gadgets that carmakers, especially Tesla, pack in to make their vehicles feel modern and appeal to early adopters. EVs tend to have touchscreen controls for climate, seat controls, and other devices that once were mechanical, leading to problems.

“A lot of EVs are at the high end of the market and have a lot of new tech, like new ways to open the doors,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “It’s causing problems.”

Electric vehicles usually come with the latest infotainment systems, large touchscreens, and features like over-the-air updates that can send new software from the cloud. The software and equipment is relatively new, and Consumer Reports says automakers haven’t worked the bugs out.

The Tesla Model X and Y SUVs and Model S sedan all rank below average in reliability. Only the Model 3 ranks average and gets a recommended rating, Fisher said.

It’s not just Tesla. The Audi E-Tron and Volkswagen ID.4 EVs also were below average, Consumer Reports said. One exception: The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle did well.

German luxury brands also placed in the bottom half because their cars tend to have a lot of new technology, Fisher said. BMW placed 17th and Mercedes-Benz a lowly 23rd. ...

Commentary January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 21

We’re your local DIRTT experts with the tools and know-how to harness the cost, schedule, and performance benefits of DIRTT.

DIRTT’s completely custom solutions, powered by their ICE® software, allows us to work with you to create your entire project, not simply offer you products. Sizes, shapes, angles, finishes, supports are designed to exact specifications, allowing you to create environments that support your team, easily integrate into your space, and fully reflect your culture.

Contact us for your next project.

MarxModa is proud to be Michigan’s DIRTT Partner, making a difference for businesses in our state by helping them build better.
01-02.2022 TEAM SPORT Temeria Heard, president and CEO of Corporate 52 Marketing Group in Detroit, launched her business full time in 2016 after spending three years running the company as a side project. Blade Runner PDA Q&A Brand Awareness Peak
MATTHEW LAVERE January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 23 p. 24p. 26 p. 28
THE TICKER Kings of Summer Body and Mind Tax Shelter
Savings 28

Kings of Summer

Two young songwriters and entertainers from Grosse Pointe climb the music charts.

Alex O’Neill’s transformation from a stu dent at Grosse Pointe South High School experimenting with electronic music in the basement of his parents’ home into Ayokay (A-OK), a Gold Record singer-songwriter-pro ducer, began at the age of 14 when he resisted his mother’s urging to take piano lessons.

He opted instead for learning to record with an older brother, Mike — who, during his downtime from studies as a medical student at Wayne State University, sang and played drums and guitar in the basement of their home. “He was very, much into music and I looked up to him so much, I was eager to bond with him,” O’Neill says of his brother, who’s eight years older and is now an emergency room physician in Miami.

As he taught himself the fundamentals of both recording and electronic music, O’Neill invited a


Alex O’Neill went from learning to write and record songs in his parent’s basement in Grosse Pointe to landing a record contract and performing at sold-out concerts.

schoolmate and aspiring rapper, Mike Temrowski, to join him in those basement sessions. Their collaboration would later propel them to the top of the electronic music charts; Temrowski is a top touring solo act known as Quinn XCII (Quinn 92).

The explosion of music service providers like Spotify, Apple Music, and Sirius XM has given freshly minted artists lucrative platforms where songs and albums are measured not by how many records or CDs they sell, but by how many times fans download or stream their music from those services.

Ayokay’s signature hit, “Kings of Summer,” recorded in college, and Quinn XCII’s “Another Day in Paradise,” written in his friend’s Grosse Pointe basement, each attained Gold Medal status with more than 100 million streams each.

O’Neill explains that in 2013, the burgeoning electronic music market catapulted once-anonymous record producers to the forefront. “That was it for me; I knew then I wanted to produce,” he says. “I locked myself in the basement for a year. I was writ ing these songs and I didn’t know what a pre-chorus was or what a bridge was, or that a verse was different than a chorus. I didn’t know anything.”

While he was studying at the University of Michigan, O’Neill used a student recording studio to produce “Kings of Summer,” featuring Temrowski singing cho rus. The song quickly rose to No. 1 on Spotify. “I didn’t even pay for Spotify at the time because we didn’t know what that meant. And that’s when the first checks started to come in,” he says. “Spotify pays between $5,000 and $7,000 for a million streams. We’re still in college and, in less than two months, we made $70,000.”

He also didn’t know about Ian Desmond, a Texas Rangers baseball player who adopted “Kings of Summer” during the 2016 season. The song played every time Desmond went up to bat. “The song blew up in Texas and became the No. 1 song in Texas, and that’s how we got signed. We got called by a bunch of record labels and we decided to sign with Columbia Records,” O’Neill says.

With six-figure contracts in their pockets, the students moved to Los Angeles, where today O’Neill performs, writes, produces, and discovers new talent.

Ford and Rivian Scrap Plans to Collaborate on EV Pickup

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn and Rivian, an electric truck manufacturer that operates an R&D center in Plymouth Township, confirmed in November that they are no longer planning to co-develop an electric vehicle.

Consumers Energy Adds Three Solar Projects

Consumers Energy in Jackson announced agreements to add almost 400 megawatts of clean energy — enough to power nearly 190,000 homes — from three Michigan solar projects in south central Michigan.

U-M Economic Outlook Shows Recovering Job Market

According to economists at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the job market has been recovering despite waves of COVID-19. Inflation, supply chain strains, and more could limit economic momentum in 2022 and beyond.

Ford and GlobalFoundries to Boost Supply of Semiconductors

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn and semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries Inc. are collaborating to advance semiconductor manufacturing and technology development within the United States by boosting chip supplies.

GM’s BrightDrop EV Order Grows to 18,000 Units

General Motors Co.’s tech startup BrightDrop in Detroit says that Merchants Fleet plans to expand its purchase order to 18,000 BrightDrop EVs with the addition of 5,400 EV410s, a new mid-size electric light commercial vehicle.

The Ticker 24 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022


MOST WORKOUTS ARE routine, but at the Athlete Lab, a new high-performance training and sports science center in Farmington Hills, the body and the mind get equal treatment.

The 13,000-square-foot facility, a collaboration between the Suburban Sports Group in Farmington Hills and 2SP Sports Performance in Madison Heights, is designed to provide progressive training, testing, and education to inspire and support an athlete’s peak physical and mental performance.

“We’re very excited about bringing these resources together to create a space to fully support the needs of today’s competitive athlete,” says Tom Anastos, CEO of Suburban Sports Group. “Our goal is to not only provide training and tools that will help athletes pursue their dreams and highest potential today, but also to help establish a set of physical and mental skills and lifestyle habits that will impact their lives long after their competitive playing days are over.”

Athlete Lab includes a host of offerings not normally found in a gym environment, such as a cognitive training zone, a mind gym classroom, study areas, and a physical therapy clinic.

The performance training space, meanwhile, features weight racks, Kaiser squat racks, FreeMotion cable columns, a dumbbell zone, and a skating treadmill, while a turfed area is equipped with Torque Tank4 sleds, sprint lanes, a medicine ball zone, a battle rope zone, and open space for functional movement exercises.

Tax Shelter

Once a homeless single mom, Crysta Tyus has rebounded to lead a $1M accounting services firm.

The road to success has been a roller coaster ride for Southfield’s Crysta Tyus. That ride also carried her to more than $1 million in revenue in 2020.

Tyus, 33, operates Crysta Tyus & Associates, which provides marketing consulting services to tax and accounting professionals, and SkilledPro, which offers online training and other software services. Both businesses are located in Southfield.

“There’s been a few different times when I’ve been broke and was staying with family or living in my office,” Tyus recalls.

Tyus says she started her career in 2012 and did well during tax season, but she struggled to make ends meet during the rest of the year. That led the entrepreneur and her two young children to find shelter with family.

She dabbled in real estate in 2017 but that only led to more hardship, including a three-month stint living in an office building at Nine Mile Road and Greenfield in Southfield.

From there, Tyus decided to become a consultant to other independent tax and accounting professionals, and that’s when her fortunes started an upswing. “We accountants aren’t typically very extroverted people, so I taught a lot of them how to get clients via social media,” Tyus explains.

“That became very profitable.”

In the span of a couple of years, Tyus’ homebased business has amassed more than 4,000 cli ents in 13 countries.

While advising her clients about marketing on social media, she learned that some areas of the accounting business had become very specialized and the software people were using wasn’t meeting their needs.

“Accountants now need to specialize in particular industries,” Tyus explains. “In the cannabis industry, for example, it’s very heavily regulated and you have to know very specific tax law. One mistake could lead to a fine or federal prison for the operator.”

In August 2020 she created SkilledPro and recruited experts in areas that require specific train ing, put them online, and offered the training in what she calls Certifyible.

In January 2021, Tyus launched Onboardible, a seamless virtual onboarding and client management system for independent tax and accounting pros.

“In order to run virtually, an independent

accountant may need to use as many as 10 different programs to serve their clients,” Tyus says. “We put a lot of those components into one software applica tion. Everything is integrated and seamless.”

Prolendly, which Tyus launched in January 2021, is a capital management platform that helps small busi nesses obtain funding and establish business credit.

Penske Acquires Oregon Freightliner Retailer

Penske Automotive Group Inc. in Bloomfield Township announced in November it has acquired McCoy Freightliner in Portland, Ore., a deal expected to generate approximately $200 million in annual revenue.

Southfield’s Sun RV Resorts Rebrands as Sun Outdoors

Sun RV Resorts in Southfield, owner and operator of more than 175 resorts and campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada, is now known as Sun Outdoors. In addition, the company streamlined its booking process.

Dykema Survey Points to Strong M&A Activity in 2022

Respondents in Dykema’s 17th annual M&A Outlook Survey believe the strong pace of U.S. M&A deals will continue in 2022, with 75 percent of respondents expecting the U.S. M&A market will strengthen in the next 12 months.

Hour Media in Troy Acquires Vero Beach Magazine

Palm Beach Media Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hour Media in Troy, has acquired the assets of Vero Beach Magazine from Moulton Media. Hour Media owns 150 regional publications in the U.S., including DBusiness

“During COVID-19, tax and accounting profes sionals played a pivotal role helping businesses navi gate how to get PPP and apply for other emergency loan applications,” Tyus says. “It wasn’t a service they would normally offer.


As an accountant, Crysta Tyus found it difficult to drive revenue outside of the tax season until she learned to become an expert adviser.

I created a platform where they can continue to offer that service.”

Bell’s Brewery Acquired by Australian Brewer

Larry Bell, founder of Bell’s Brewery near Kalamazoo, has reached an agreement to sell the business to Australian brewer Lion. The sale aligns Bell’s with Fort Collins, Colo., craft brewery New Belgium, purchased by Lion in 2019.

For full stories and more, visit dbusiness.com/ daily-news to get daily news sent directly to your email.

The Ticker January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 25

Blade Runner

A chef’s son takes advantage of the pandemic to launch a knife company.

Ryder DelSignore was bartending and working as an expeditor in the kitchen at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield, which is owned by his father, Luciano, when the COVID-19 shutdown happened. Looking to capitalize on his free time, Ryder and his girlfriend, Robin, began brainstorming business ideas.

The pair’s creative meanderings led them to launch Ken Knife Co. in Southfield. Fearing his dad would reject the idea, DelSignore initially kept the plan to himself.

“I’ve had my own take on knives my whole life, just being in the kitchen and having a lot of knives,” he says. “I did a lot of research. What do people look for in a knife? What does a knife weigh? How long is your average chef’s knife? What materials are used? There’s a lot (that goes) into it.”

DelSignore researched more than 100 vendors before developing a finished product. Finally, with everything in place, he approached his father.

“I walked into his office and brought up the idea that I’d like to start a knife company, knowing exactly what he was going to say,” the entrepreneur recalls. “I handed him a finished product that I brought just to show him, and he was blown away. He loved the idea.”

A knife is often regarded as a chef’s most important tool, and with Ken — Japanese for sword — DelSignore created several lines of cutting instruments that range in price from $130 for a 6-inch Beast Serbian


Ken Knife Co. in Southfield considers multiple factors in designing and crafting kitchen blades, including the point, edge, spine, heel, tip, scales, bolster, and handle fasteners.

Cleaver to $500 for a 17-inch Yanagiba knife.

Made from a blend of Japanese AUS 8 and VG 10 steel, along with high-carbon Damascus and hard woods, the knives have a distinct look and are designed to stay sharp over long periods, yet are soft enough to sharpen easily.

Aside from the knives in the Puro, Shefu, and Shoshinsha series, DelSignore developed cutting instruments with one-of-a-kind handles that are gone as quickly as they arrive. The blades, along with a handful of accessories, are available at kenknifeco.com and locally at Fairway Packing Co. in Detroit.



MS: In Miramar, Fla., to attend our ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Phiston Technologies’ new state-of-the-art R&D, engineering, design, and manufacturing facility.


MS: Due to the increase in data breaches, more and more companies are looking for digital and physical data security solutions to protect

their organizations from legal and security repercussions that arise from corporate espionage, hackers, and potential data breaches. Phiston has pioneered the development of safe, effective, in-house, high-security media, and data destroyers.


MS: When it comes to properly disposing of old hard drives, cellphones, and other data storage media, Phiston’s

method of physically de stroying and shredding hardware into small particles is the safest, most foolproof method to ensure the complete removal of all data. We know research studies show data can still be retrieved even after a hard drive, for example, has been reformatted or erased.


MS: Yes. Companies such as Ontrack and DriveSavers claim

DelSignore believes this is just the start. “I see a lot more growth to come. I’ve quadrupled (revenue) yearover-year since I started, and I just see that growing much higher,” he says. “I’d like to get nationwide with retail, and I have some plans (for) the designs I’m working on now.”

One of those plans caters to the request he says he gets most frequently — home kitchen sets with match ing handles, which are now available. Also, in collabo ration with Frame in Hazel Park, he and his father will host knife skills classes on Jan. 26 and Feb. 23. “We’re looking to get the word out any way we can,” he says.

they can recover lost data from any storage device that hasn’t been properly destroyed.

According to Cygnus Systems, a cybersecurity IT company, a hacker attack happens every 39 seconds and the global average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million across small and mid-size businesses. Plus, cybersecurity insurance costs are on the rise.


MS: Phiston is the vendor of choice for Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, Salesforce, IBM, Facebook, SpaceX, and many more companies, along with federal government agencies such as DoD, State, Treasury, DHS, HHS, Justice, and state and local governments. Our devices are sold as desktop units or portable machines, and they’re safe and simple to operate.


Phiston Technologies Inc., Southfield The Ticker 26 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
We think you should stay focused on the big picture. With talented architects and interior designers in-house, Fishbeck manages everything, from design through construction. This allows you to realize your vision while we precisely detail your comprehensive solution. 800.456.3824 fishbeck.com This holiday season, we send our best wishes to you and yours for a prosperous and healthy New Year. © 2021 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. HOL003 CRC 3714343 08/212021 Morgan Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. HOL003 CRC Andrew Howard Senior Vice President Financial Advisor 130 Kercheval Avenue Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236 313-343-8471 andrew.howard@morganstanley.com

Brand Awareness

How a Detroit startup made it to the big leagues.

T emeria Heard, an aspiring entrepreneur, was working as a marketing manager for a Detroit-based automotive supplier when she came across a Detroit Tigers booth at a Pure Michigan business matchmaking event in 2015.

“As I left the event, I saw a sign for needed services, and one was for promotional items for the Detroit Tigers,” Heard says. “I had launched Corporate 52 Mar keting Group two years prior, and I was trying to figure out which direction to take it. Perhaps it was fate.”

Following a meeting with the director of procure ment for the Tigers organization, Heard landed her first purchase order — several dozen crystal wine stoppers. The decorative corks proved popular, and in addition to taking more orders from the team for an array of branding items, Heard began working with Major League Baseball.

A year later, in 2016, her side business received national attention when the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball named Heard the recipient of the 10th annual Jackie Robinson Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner award. The program culti vates minority-owned and women-owned busi nesses to boost procurement opportunities within professional baseball.

“I quit my job in November 2016 to become an entrepreneur full time, and moved into an office near Greektown. As much as I loved the space, my business

started to grow and in 2018 I moved to a larger office in the New Center One Building,” Heard says. “It was challenging. I had doubts. But I became my own best cheerleader, and we kept growing.”

As part of her work, Heard was invited to the annual MLB winter meetings, where she met with sev eral teams. That experience created new opportuni ties to expand Corporate 52 beyond branding to include marketing, commercial printing, corporate gifts, graphic design, consulting, and photography.

The added services helped draw more accounts like the Detroit Public Schools Community District, MGM Grand Detroit, Rock Ventures, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets, The Lip Bar, and more.

“We treat each of our clients like a luxury brand, and we can create gift bags for them like the Oscars or the Grammys,” says Heard, who grew up in Detroit, became a police cadet, and joined the ROTC, where she com peted in national drill competitions. She’s also a classical violinist. “My best advice for entrepreneurs and startups is to believe in yourself.”

Looking to give back to the community, she launched Swaggles in 2019, which supports local and national animal shelters through the sale of paw-branded apparel and gift items designed by Heard. “I love dogs, and the name came from com bining Swag with my dog, Snuggles.”


AT A TIME when energy costs are on the rise, the City of Dearborn is sitting in comfort due to a novel program that saved the municipality more than $600,000 per year.

The multiyear project was designed to turn the city’s 80acre building complex, located across Michigan Avenue from the Ford World Headquarters, into an energy-efficient, sustainable municipal campus.

“There are numerous elements of the Dearborn project that, combined, make it quite unique and innovative,” says Vytau Virskus, principal of Millenium Energy Co. in Dearborn. “The Central Powerhouse and much of the energy infrastructure were built in the 1960s, and the energy costs had risen to over $1 million per year.”

To turn the tide, the company, along with Larkin Engineering in Williamston (near Lansing), utilized Millenium’s patented E-flow control system, which uses a control algorithm to satisfy a building’s real-time heating and cooling demand to deliver the right amount of hydronic energy — a water or steam heat-transfer medium — at the right time to each of the buildings and heating/cooling systems on the campus.

“This project is bringing the City of Dearborn to the forefront of municipal energy management and efficiency, and the energy cost savings alone are estimated to be upward of $600,000 per year,” Virskus says.

He adds that there are more than 1 trillion square feet of public and commercial buildings nationwide that could benefit from this type of energy infrastructure upgrade.


After Temeria Heard received the Jackie Robinson Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner award in 2016, she threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park.

The Ticker 28 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

Everyone always asks how much their insurance is going to cost, but that’s the wrong question. The real question is, how much can you afford to lose?

work with you to develop the right program for your risks, budget, and goals.


At Kapnick

Genius of Production

A Danish TV crew visits Detroit to explore the legacy of Bill Knudsen, the auto executive who fostered mass production, streamlined logistics, and saved the world from tyranny during World War II.

Stephanie Surrugue likes to fly and enjoys, as she says, the “experiences that are not just, you know, the Boeing experience.” Her per sonal bests were helicopter flights over Iraq and Greenland as an international correspondent for the Danish Broadcasting Corp., known as DR.

One Tuesday last October, under an azure sky, Sur rugue found herself a passenger in an entirely different aircraft — “Rosie’s Reply,” a vintage B-25D Mitchell bomber owned and operated by the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti Township. The sortie was part of the location work Surrugue and her film crew undertook for a special DR segment about William Knudsen, the Dane who came to the United States in 1900.

Knudsen helped to shape Ford Motor Co. in its early years before moving to General Motors Co., where he rose swiftly and became president in 1937. Three years later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Knudsen chairman of the Office of Production Management, where, for the first time, he centralized government procurement and led America’s conver sion to wartime production. The result was known as the Arsenal of Democracy.

Surrugue’s flight served as an emblem of Knudsen’s efforts and left her feeling a bit wistful as she consid ered the bomber’s eight combat strikes over Italy. “So that was what hit me, sitting in that plane,” she says by phone from her apartment in Copenhagen, the Dan ish capital. “I was actually sitting on seats where Amer ican soldiers had been sitting, fighting for freedom years ago.” The experience was “humbling.”

Scheduled for broadcast on, Jan. 1, 2023, the epi sode hosted by Surrugue will kick off DR’s six-part series — the title translates as “Danes in the World.” It traces the fortunes, good and bad, of emigrants from the small Scandinavian country. The documentary is


Then Gen. William Knudsen, center foreground in military uniform, led the U.S. war effort during World War II. To his left is Edsel Ford, president of Ford Motor Co., and to Ford’s left is Charles E. Sorensen, a vice president of Ford who oversaw the automaker’s defense contracts. The group was photographed in August 1942 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti Township. The Danish film crew filming Knuden’s life story, opposite page, gathers at Willow Run Airport in front of a B-25D Mitchell bomber owned and operated by the Yankee Air Museum.

timely, as DR exploits renewed interest in Knudsen, who died in 1948. A pair of Dan ish biographies published in 2019 sparked the revival. (Curiously, the books have English titles: “Big Bill” and “One Dollar Man.”) Otherwise, Knudsen was little-re membered in the U.S. or Denmark until the Knudsen family collection came to the Detroit Public Library in 1999.

Surrugue’s viewers will become acquainted with a fascinating and inspiring tale. Born in 1879, Signius Wilhelm Poul Knudsen arrived in New York City before his 21st birthday, becoming known as William S. Knudsen, then Bill, and finally Big Bill. His basic education was flavored with studies in French, German, and English, along with the violin and the piano. After an apprenticeship with a wholesaler of crockery, toys, and hardware, Knudsen spent two years managing an importer’s warehouse and assembling bicycles.

From there, he hired on at a Bronx shipyard. The gangly young man did brutal piecework as a “bucker-up” on a riveting gang by day; in the evening he practiced conversational English with neighborhood youngsters. There followed an 18-month stint in Salamanca, N.Y., working nights to repair locomotive boilers in the Erie Rail road shop. The $100 per month salary wasn’t bad, yet for less money — but more promise — Knudsen worked as a stockroom keeper at John R. Keim Mills in Buffalo. Rising to superintendent, he introduced acetylene welding and led 1,200 workers making axle housings and engine crankcases for Ford Motor Co.

With an eye toward obtaining the “deceptively rumpled, mild-tempered Dane,” as Ford biographer Douglas Brinkley puts it, Ford bought Keim Mills. Knudsen was

30 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Focus

was a large Highland Park bungalow at 137 Moss St.

City life could be oppressive, though. In 1917, Knudsen enlisted an agent to locate a summer house. “I want you to find me a place on running water within driving dis tance of Detroit — a place where I can put my wife and kids in the summer so I can drive back and forth to the shop,” he told his biographer, Norman Beasley. A house on Grosse Ile filled the bill. The main shop-related task was building a large factory to make Eagle boats, the 204-foot-long submarine chasers for the United States Navy, along the Rouge River in Dearborn.

After World War I, Knudsen victory-lapped Denmark, setting up a Ford plant in Copenhagen. As Ford himself noted, Knudsen emerged in these years as “the best production man in the United States.” Success brought further financial reward with an annual salary of $50,000 (around $720,000 today). But in the spring of 1921, it was over with Ford. “Mr. Knudsen was too strong for me to handle,” the boss said.

Reaching this career impasse, Knudsen had to take stock of his success to date. Surrugue reckons it was the result of innate opportunity and energy within the American system. “I think it’s an extremely important lesson to take that this was an immigrant,” she says, recalling the dropping of his Danish citizenship. She para phrases him: “In Europe people always tend to show you old things. In America we want to show new things.” It’s a “key to understanding his drive, but also to under standing what can be the American drive.”

She glances out the window at an 800-year-old church in her trendy Copenha gen neighborhood, reflecting further: “Knudsen got to create himself in the new country. It was still a new country back then. In some ways, it still is.”

In 1922, after a one-year interlude running Ireland and Mathews Manufacturing Co., a supplier of metal parts, Knudsen joined General Motors, which had stumbled in the economic recession following World War I. Chevrolet Motor Co. barely sur vived. As vice president of operations, and once again earning $50,000 per year, Knudsen pushed Chevrolet to become the mass-market brand it was supposed to be after its creation in 1914. He also reorganized plants to increase capacity.

to oversee the outfitting of Ford’s many branch facto ries. “Don’t worry about expenses,” the automaker said. “Draw on us for whatever you need.”

Knudsen left home in Buffalo and hit the road. Some facilities needed to be reconfigured. The tab for contractors came to $400,000. Upon returning to Detroit, he had an “oh-oh!” moment when Ford’s busi ness manager, James Couzens, summoned him. Instead of getting chewed out or worse, Knudsen received Couzens’ highest compliments and found he’d earned not only a big raise in salary but also a $5,000 bonus.

By 1914 — the same year U.S. citizenship was granted — Knudsen moved his wife, Clara, son Semon Emil, and daughter Clara south of Hamtramck to 122 Medbury St. in Detroit. Two more girls, Elna and Mar tha, were to follow. “Grandpa loved nicknames,” says granddaughter Judy Christie, 82 years old, who lives in Birmingham. The children were called Bunkie, Tuttie, Dottie, and Girlie. (William and his son bunked together while Clara nursed their daughter, Clara, hence the moniker “Bunkie.”) The family’s next home

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 31 Focus

mobilization demanded the conversion of factories for arms production. “Few people realize the dimension of the task imposed on us then, or the manner in which we performed it,” Sloan recalled. President Roosevelt invited Knudsen in 1940 to join the newly formed, sev en-member National Defense Advisory Commission, which meant forsaking $300,000 per year (nearly $1 million) for a $1 salary.

“I’m not a polished man,” Knudsen told the Wash ington press, “but I know how to make things.” (He soon made the cover of Time.) Focusing at first on air craft production, Knudsen met with political and defense leaders, looked at blueprints, learned how radial engines were assembled, and walked through 17 aircraft plants. Through it all, he dealt with bureau cratic inertia, not to mention reluctance and discord among leaders of industry.

After the momentous 1940 election, Roosevelt formed the four-man Office of Production Manage ment and appointed Knudsen to represent industry. Another of the four leaders, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, wrote in his diary, “I told Knudsen he was to be the chief figure.” Big Bill’s shoot-from-the-hip style was somewhat novel by capital standards, but he man aged to sign up Detroit automakers for the manufac ture of aircraft, tanks, trucks, artillery pieces, and more.

In the capital, he worked in the Social Security Building and lived in the Rock Creek Park

Ford was outselling Chevy by eight to one when he advanced to company presi dent in 1924. Now he had the Model K, a mechanically refined car with fully enclosed bodywork. Lower and longer than the Ford Model T, it came in a palette of Du Pont’s fast-drying Duco lacquers. Chevy closed the gap down to three to one.

As long as things were going well, the Knudsen family moved to a stately manor at 1501 Balmoral Drive in Palmer Woods, an upscale neighborhood in Detroit. Knudsen himself remained on the go, visiting Chevy’s nine plants and various sales points. Near the end of 1925, the dealers, flush with prosperity, met at Chicago’s Palmer House.

Expecting a comprehensive banquet oration from their leader, they heard Knud sen stand and utter five syllables: “I want vun for vun!” He declared this much and sat back down. Deciphering the Danish accent and discerning the mandate to match Ford’s sales, the dealers roared approval. Chevy surpassed 1 million units in 1927, and then exceeded Ford, which shut down the Rouge works to retool for the Model A. Two years later, Chevy threw a haymaker, introducing the standard six-cyl inder engine. “A Six for the Price of a Four,” said the hype.

Producing the powertrain entailed retooling the main Flint factory over six weeks and spending $28 million on systemwide updates. GM president Alfred Sloan gave a dinner for those involved in the changeover, but noticed more than a few nodding heads. Knudsen told him, “Yes, many of them have worked for two months with only six hours’ sleep each night.”

For his work, Knudsen received acclaim in newspaper headlines that called him a “Genius of Production.” He rose to GM executive vice president in 1933, taking responsibility for all car, truck, and body manufacturing. After the sit-down strike of 1936-1937, Sloan stepped up to chairman and Knudsen assumed the presidency.

GM hummed right along. Reaching home in the evening, Knudsen unwound by playing a xylophone in the basement, then joined his family. His wife said she hardly knew what he did at work. Some of their wealth went to building Lutheran churches around Detroit and to helping his Danish relatives acquire homes. His son, Bunkie, who worked on the line at Pontiac during summers back from MIT, set out to follow him in the car business and would carve quite a path of his own.

The outbreak of World War II initiated Knudsen’s third corporate act. Full

32 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Focus


THE KINGDOM OF Denmark is a small Scandinavian country that has one land border — in the south, with Germany — which extends just 42 miles. With a population of 5.8 million people, Denmark covers about the same area as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, 16,500 square miles, but in shape and geographic orientation, it remarkably resembles the Lower Peninsula.

The part of Denmark that juts up between the North Sea and Baltic Sea is fittingly called Jutland. In the southeast, Zealand is the largest of a cluster of islands. A combination tunnel-and-bridge leads five miles across Øresund Strait, connecting Zealand and the national capital, Copenhagen, to Sweden.

The Kingdom also includes the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands in the north Atlantic Ocean. Greenland is 50 times larger than Denmark proper, but Danes laughed in 2019 when President Donald Trump suggested the United States might want to buy the enormous island, which had not been offered for sale. There was precedent for the idea, though. In 1917, the U.S. acquired the Danish West Indies for $25 million and renamed them the Virgin Islands.

Mixing Danish commerce with Michigan encompasses a few surprises. Denmark has no auto industry, but under the umbrella of Harman International, Bang & Olufsen A/S supplies audio components to Ford Motor Co., equipping its global lineup of crossovers and SUVs, including the Edge, Mustang Mach E, and Escape.

A robotics hub in Odense, on the island of Funen, is home to Universal Robots A/S, which has dominated the worldwide market for collaborative robots, or cobots. From its North American headquarters in Ann Arbor, UR overnights parts to any North American location instead of returning the robot to Denmark for service.

Two years ago, Guardian Industries Corp. in Auburn Hills launched a strategic agreement with another major player in the Odense robotics hub, Mobile Industrial Robots A/S. MIR’s autonomous robots carry pallets or other bulky loads through a factory.

Denmark’s strong design tradition has led to significant contributions in the furniture and textile industries, with reciprocity occurring among Danish and Michigan companies. In 2019, Herman Miller Inc. in Zeeland completed a $144 million deal for two-thirds’ stake in the HAY brand from Nine United Denmark A/S. Herman Miller CEO Andi Owen said the move would help the company reach “a younger, more urban demographic that we’ve been targeting for expansion.” Meanwhile, in its marketing, Steelcase Inc. flouts the Danish concept of “hygge,” which loosely means “coziness.” The Grand Rapids company offers a collection from privately owned Carl Hansen & Søn, including pieces by Hans Wegner, the master of Mid-century Modern design.

In textiles, Kvadrat A/S last year opened its North American headquarters in Grand Rapids, as well as showrooms in New York and Los Angeles. From the charming town of Ebeltoft, situated on Jutland’s “nose,” Kvadrat creates textiles in vibrant colors for upholstery that’s used by the architecture-and-design community and large companies.

— Ronald Ahrens

neighborhood. If one of his daughters visited, they went out on the town. “He carries himself lightly for a two-hundred-and-thirty-pound man of sixty-one and can dance for hours without puffing,” The New Yorker reported. No longer “decep tively rumpled,” he even made a best-dressed list.

Labor unrest and raw materials shortages further impeded the drive to full pro duction. In his account, “Freedom’s Forge,” Arthur Herman quotes Knudsen as he reassured Roosevelt: “Not everyone knows that mass production takes time to get started.” Political problems arose with “New Dealers,” who undercut Knudsen by pressing for creation of the Supplies, Priorities, and Allocation Board to take over some of the work.

Still, by time of the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, preparations were laid for copious production. “It was all due to Knudsen and his team,” Herman writes. “They had created, in effect, an almost self-perpetuating mechanism that fed upon its own individual dynamic elements.”

Appointed U.S. Army lieutenant general in 1943, Knudsen toured the Pacific the ater, a journey requiring such feats of endurance as San Francisco-to-Honolulu on a C-87 Liberator Express transport, which he logged as “a very nice flight of 14 hours.” He watched soldiers train for battle, looked at bases, and toured towns in Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia, and New Zealand. On Guadalcanal, liberated at terrible cost from the Japanese six months earlier, he was greeted by “some excitement” in the form of an ammunition-dump fire lasting four hours. After-dinner conversation with a pair of generals acquainted him with their preference in bombers. “They use B-24 and B-25 exclusively,” he noted.

Knudsen finished the war with a distinguished service medal. After resigning his commission on May 1, 1945, he received a letter from General H.H. Arnold, com mander of the Army Air Forces. “I look back with great appreciation upon the way you handled the creation of new factories, the tooling required, and the changes necessary in the production lines,” Arnold wrote. “These were not easy problems.”

In 1946, King Christian X of Denmark awarded Knudsen the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog. Knudsen also chaired that year’s Automotive Golden Jubilee, sometimes considered “Detroit’s World Fair.” Responding to the invitation to the Jubilee’s industry dinner, Henry Ford wrote Knudsen, “I will be very pleased to attend … and am looking forward to seeing you then.”

Back in Copenhagen, Surrugue’s bell had just rung for a delivery. Soon returning to the call, she picked up her thought, saying, “I know it’s a cliche to talk about the American dream, but for a poor Danish boy, becoming the head of GM, one of the highest-paid people on the face of the planet — and he’s a part of the reason that World War II turned out as it did — that makes me really proud.” The nearly 6 mil lion Danes will soon know more.


Below, Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Co., and William Knudsen, president of General Motors, attend an auto industry dinner in Detroit on Aug. 15, 1938. Two years later, Knudsen would be selected by President Roosevelt to lead U.S. war production. Knudsen had previously worked at Ford. Mementos of Knudsen’s life are displayed, opposite page top, while below the general inspects an anti-aircraft gun on display at an Army Air Show (date and location unknown).

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 33 Focus
Perspectives 34 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

Inside Out

The Flint water crisis, a tragedy in which the government failed at all levels, never led to criminal convictions. Unsatisfied with the outcome, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is using a secretive one-man grand jury to bring charges to speed up potential prosecutions, but the move has been anything but swift.

Nearly six years after former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the first round of criminal charges against state and city officials involved in the Flint water contamination crisis, none of the 15 persons he eventually indicted has served a day behind bars, nor has anyone gone to trial.

Since the first defendants were named in April 2016, seven of them accepted plea agreements for minor misdemeanor offenses with no fines or jail time attached. The deals were offered by Schuette’s special prosecutor, Todd Flood, a Royal Oak lawyer Schuette hired to lead the investigations.

In January 2021, the case hit another milestone when Flood’s successors under Attorney General Dana Nessel, Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, announced that after 12 months of a rarely used, secret, one-man grand jury investigation, nine top state and local offi cials, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, would face 42 charges in the case.

The indictments were brought by Genesee County Circuit Judge David Newblatt, a 16-year member of the court who was appointed a one-man grand juror by the chief judge of that bench in January 2020. Newblatt issued the indictments a year later.

The one-man grand jury process is unique to Mich igan and has been used sparingly in two counties, including Wayne County. Under an obscure 1917 state law, a judge can be appointed to act as an investigator in a criminal matter, use his or her findings to issue charges or indictments, and then order the defen dants to face trial in a circuit court. This process allows the judge to move the cases immediately into circuit court and sidestep preliminary examinations in dis trict court, where determinations would normally be made on whether the charges are legitimate.

For example, Newblatt charged Snyder with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty, each punishable by one year and $1,000 fines. Defense law yers cried foul, saying the one-man grand jury tactic is unfair, unconstitutional, and robs their clients of due process under the law. So far, the procedure has sur vived at least two circuit court challenges to dismiss the cases, with more appeals to come in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“They announced these indictments with a big splash last January, saying that this process was going to be more efficient than Schuette’s, but here we are now in December, 11 months on, and we haven’t even gotten all the discovery material yet,” says criminal defense attorney Harold Z. Gurewitz, principal of Gurewitz and Raben in Detroit. He noted that the

one-man grand juror’s term consumed an additional 12 months before the indictments were announced. It has also produced 31 million pages of evidence that he and other lawyers in the case are analyzing.

Gurewitz’s client, Nancy Peeler, manager of the Early Childhood Health Section of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is charged in the grand juror indictments with two counts of mis conduct in office, both felonies punishable by five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.

“The use of the so-called one-man grand juror is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers,” says Charles “Chip” Chamberlain, founding partner of Chamberlain and Wiley, a law firm in Grand Rapids. “You’re converting a judge who is a judicial officer into an executive officer and that violates the Michigan Constitution, where only judges can adjudi cate and only prosecutors can prosecute.”

Chamberlain’s client, Nick Lyon, former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Ser vices, faces nine counts of involuntary manslaughter based on the Legionnaires’ disease deaths of nine per sons who were sickened by consuming Flint River water. Peeler and Lyon are among six of the original defendants charged by Schuette who are now facing

started referring to it as a one-man grand jury, and the name stuck. It stuck because it was done in secret and because the judge doing it had the authority to sub poena witnesses, so those are the similarities to a grand jury. The one-man grand jury name stuck, like tissues are called Kleenex and cola drinks are Coke.”

Because of grand jury secrecy rules adopted by the current procedure, Nessel and other state officials have declined to comment on the cases or give details of Newblatt’s role in the investigation.

“The secrecy provisions over the grand jury pro ceedings do not allow for a discussion of the grand jury evidence underlying the charges at this time,” Ham moud said in a statement. “We must remember that the Flint water crisis is not some relic of the past. At this very moment, the people of Flint continue to suffer from the categorical failure of public officials at all lev els of government who trampled on their trust and evaded accountability for too long. Where we believed the evidence would (lead) to a criminal charge, we sought and obtained warrants for those crimes.”

The one-man grand jury process is so obscure that law professors contacted for comment at a handful of law schools said they didn’t know enough about it to speak on the record. In a letter to the editor of The

charges for the second time.

Chamberlain and Gurewitz say the century-old statute creating the so-called one-man grand jury pro cedure used to indict their clients doesn’t apply today. Both have filed appeals to have the cases dismissed against their clients.

“The statute is based on an old Detroit police court going back to the 19th century,” Chamberlain says. At that time, police had no authority to force suspects to cooperate in an investigation. “People would just tell the police to buzz off, and the police couldn’t solve crimes. So the way they solved that problem was to say you have to go before a judge who has the authority to swear you in and has authority to hold you in con tempt if you don’t cooperate. So that was to solve that ancient problem, and it isn’t necessary today.”

It’s significant that the law for the procedure didn’t start out as a grand jury. “It’s a judicial investigation procedure,” Gurewitz says. “Sometime shortly after that law was passed for Detroit in 1917, newspapers

Detroit News last March, retired U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn denounced the proceedings. “The defendants in the Flint case have been unfairly treated by denial of access to the evidence on which the juror found probable cause,” he wrote. “They have no infor mation as to the basis of the indictments, particularly the evidence to support a finding of probable cause.”

He pointed out the late Robert Scigliano, a political science professor at Michigan State University and one of the few experts of the process, made it clear in his writings that the use of a one-man grand jury should be limited to cases of political corruption and conspiracies where this kind of inquisition might be necessary. “You should know that on July 9, 1949, The Detroit News expressed skepticism over the one-man grand jury process, calling it a ‘failure in democracy,’ ” Cohn wrote.

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly, who joined the bench in 2019, has already rejected motions by Chamberlain and Gurewitz to

Perspectives January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 35



THE LIFE AND career of one of the great crime fighters in Detroit history, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Homer S. Ferguson, whose name and grand jury became synonymous in the 1940s, is the stuff that inspires Hollywood movies.

Ferguson came to Michigan from his home in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century to attend medical school at the University of Michigan. He fainted at his first sight of blood and switched careers. He eventually was admitted to and graduated from the U-M Law School, and moved to Detroit — then a wide-open hotbed of public corruption.

Ferguson practiced law for 16 years before he was appointed to the Wayne County Circuit Court.

In 1939, a young woman named Janet McDonald killed herself and her daughter and left behind letters detailing gambling rackets and police payoffs involving her former boyfriend. The investigation into the allegations made in the letters seemed to end when then-Wayne County Prosecutor Duncan McCrea said he didn’t have the staff to investigate the matter.

A citizen’s group, however, petitioned Wayne County Circuit Court to conduct a one-man grand jury investigation, and Ferguson was selected for the job.

Within two years, and after hearing testimony from 6,000 witnesses, he had nearly every top official in the city behind bars. McCrea, along with Wayne County Sheriff Thomas C. Wilcox and 23 others, was convicted of conspiring to protect vice and gambling enterprises. Mayor Richard Reading was nailed for protecting the numbers racket, three Detroit city councilmen were convicted, and the rest of the council members were forced out for taking bribes involving the development of the Herman Gardens public housing project on the city’s west side.

In turn, Detroit Police Superintendent Fred W. Fraham and three police officers were convicted for graft involving a baseball gambling ring, and Detroit contractor Abe Smith, under investigation by Ferguson for bribery involving city officials, killed himself in spectacular fashion by jumping from the 14th floor of a Chicago hotel in the middle of the day.

Ferguson left the bench and went from crime-buster to lawmaker when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1942. He served until 1955, when he was defeated by Patrick V. McNamara. Ferguson is credited with introducing the bill that added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

After leaving the Senate, Ferguson was appointed ambassador to the Philippines in 1955. The next year he was appointed to the Military Court of Appeals. He retired to Grosse Pointe from the military court in 1976 and died in 1982 at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy as one of the state’s most ardent supporters of justice.

dismiss the charges against their clients based on sim ilar probable cause arguments.

The Flint water crisis began in April 2014 when a state-appointed emergency manager, in an effort to save money, switched the city’s drinking water supply from Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant. Officials later discovered Flint water officials failed to require corrosion-control chemicals as part of the water treatment process, and that blunder exacerbated the disaster of toxic lead leaching through substandard pipes into nearly 10,000 Flint homes.

The city switched back to the Detroit water system in 2015. In his 2016 State of the State speech, Snyder apologized for the actions that led to the water crisis and vowed to fix the water disaster.

In August 2021, the city agreed to a $641 million set tlement with the state over the crisis. The city will also receive $99.3 million in relief funds through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law in 2021.

The criminal investigation into the fiasco took a different tack when Nessel replaced Schuette in 2019. She fired Flood, Schuette’s special counsel, and closed down his office which, at one time, had 18 lawyers and investigators working on the case. By that time, Flood had already been paid $8.2 million for his three years of work. As of January 2021, the state had paid out more than $35 million in legal bills for current or former state employees charged in the case.

Flood’s departure was precipitated by the discov ery of a cache of 23 boxes of documents found in the basement of a state building. None of the material had been reviewed by Flood’s investigators, according to Nessel. In reorganizing the investigation, Nessel said she erected a wall between the civil and criminal sec tions of the case, assigning separate staffs of lawyers and investigators to handle each area.

Nessel headed up the civil side, assigned the crimi nal investigation to Hammoud, and recruited Worthy to join the state team. In June 2019, after preliminary hearings that took a year to complete in district court, the cases of Nick Lyon and Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s former chief medical officer, were bound over for trial to the Genesee Circuit Court.

Five other cases were in the process of their own preliminary examinations when the Nessel team shocked many by dismissing all the cases without prejudice — a legal designation that allows defen dants to be recharged after a new investigation.

In a statement from the attorney general’s office, Hammoud and Worthy said they had grave concerns about the investigative approach and legal theories embraced by the former OSC (office of special coun sel) — particularly regarding the pursuit of evidence.

On a Michigan Radio program, Nessel said the cost of the OSC’s work was outrageous and she wasn’t satisfied that the cases had been handled properly. Particularly galling were the seven cases Flood reduced to misde meanor pleas, in which taxpayers paid millions of dol lars to achieve the lightest possible legal outcome.

Among the cases settled with a misdemeanor plea was that of Liane Shekter-Smith, the former chief of

the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assis tance in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She also holds the distinction of being the only state employee who was fired shortly after the Flint disaster became a national scandal.

Flood charged her with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty, and informed her that she would also face involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the Legionnaires’ disease deaths in Flint.

A law firm hired by Shekter-Smith was paid $1.2 million by taxpayers to defend her, and facilitated her plea of no contest to an obscure and completely unre lated minor misdemeanor charge of disrupting a pub lic meeting — a mark that has since been wiped off her record. In September, an arbitrator found she had been made a “public scapegoat” who lost her job because of politics. He ordered the state to pay her $191,880 in back pay and benefits. The Whitmer administration declined to appeal the award and in November agreed to pay her $300,000 to put an end to the matter.

The arbitrator, Sheldon Stark, said Shekter-Smith had “an exemplary record” and her department direc tor, Keith Creagh, fired her without talking to her, or waiting for a state police investigation that would later exonerate her. For 19 months, from the summer of 2019 until January 13, 2021, the Flint criminal investi gation disappeared from public view. Not until this new round of indictments was announced did lawyers and their clients learn that the new 42 charges brought against them was developed by Newblatt, acting as a one-man grand jury.

Last March, U.S. District Court Judge William Crawford refused to dismiss the charges against for mer Gov. Snyder, whose lawyers had argued that because he worked from his office in Lansing and Ing ham County, and not Genesee County, the indictment against him was in the wrong place. If the case goes to trial, a jury can determine if the charges of willful neglect occurred within the boundaries of Genesee County and Flint, Crawford ruled.

Gurewitz and Chamberlain are awaiting decisions on other motions they filed with Kelly to have the cases thrown out. In fact, Gurewitz is appealing to the Michigan Court of Appeals to have a panel review Kel ly’s earlier decision on the validity of the case. In her decision she said the Michigan Supreme Court has already ruled the one-person grand jury procedure legal, comparing it to the citizen’s grand jury used in state and federal courts. Kelly also maintains that defendants charged by the one-man grand jury have no right to a preliminary examination.

“Basically Judge Kelly’s ruling is that all grand juries are the same. Our argument has been (that the) so-called one-man grand jury procedure is based on a different statute,” Gurewitz maintains.

Chamberlain says even if use of the ancient Detroit statute was constitutional, the attorney general’s team didn’t follow the requirements of the statute. “In this case, the judge was not the investigator. We maintain the prosecutors were the investigators and they acted as though Judge Newblatt was a judicial officer similar to a federal system, which isn’t the case under the

36 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

(Michigan) statute,” he says. “All the judge has the authority to do is to investigate and make a recom mendation to prosecuting authorities. He doesn’t sit as a judge, but that’s the way they conducted it.”

Worthy is the only prosecutor in Michigan who has used the one-person grand juror to any extent, nearly always in violent criminal cases in Detroit. She main tains it’s a vital crime-fighting tool, as its secretive rules protect the identity of reluctant witnesses who might be afraid to come forward in such a high-profile case.

Worthy and Hammoud said that by adopting the grand juror tactic, justice will be better served by speeding up the cases, bypassing lengthy preliminary examinations, and going directly to trial. The process is also cheaper, as Newblatt didn’t need to hire investi gators — assistant attorney generals and Wayne County prosecutors who were already on state or county payrolls did the legwork for Newblatt.

Worthy has used the one-man grand jury method successfully in dozens of violent criminal cases in Detroit and Wayne County, but her record with a cou ple of high-profile cases fell short. In September 2013, she asked for a one-man grand jury to investigate the fiasco of the doomed Wayne County jail project that was canceled after $100 million in cost overruns and allega tions of $29 million handed out in no-bid contracts.

One year after the case was filed, three persons, including Carla Sledge, the retired former chief finan cial officer for Wayne County, were indicted for mis conduct in office and willful neglect of duty. In September 2018, the charges were dismissed. A judge found two defendants were improperly charged and Sledge didn’t show corrupt intent. “The project’s fail ure was at most negligence, per se, of all interested

parties,” the judge determined.

Gurewitz represented Sledge in that case and points out that the charges brought against her were the same as the ones his Flint client Peeler is facing. “The Sledge case was similar to the Flint case because they wound up charging Nancy Peeler with the same kind of violation of misconduct in office, a common-law offense in Michi gan, based on how she conducted herself as a civil ser vice employee,” Gurewitz says.

Another high-profile case in which Worthy used the one-man grand jury method to obtain warrants was the 2010 shooting death of Aiyanna Stanley-Jones, a 7-yearold girl who was killed during a Detroit police raid.

Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekly was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and a misde meanor count of careless discharge of a firearm caus ing death. He twice went to trial, and both times the cases produced hung juries. In 2019, nearly 10 years after the shooting, Worthy dismissed the case against Weekly and he returned to active duty.

Gurewitz says the years of stops and starts and pro longed litigation since the first Flint charges were filed mocks all the defendants’ rights to a speedy trial.

“It’s frustrating. Everybody deserves their day in court to get serious charges resolved,” Gurewitz says. “It’s been delayed — it was delayed the first time (under Schuette) because of the nature of the evi dence, the various allegations, and the 3 million pages of evidence that came along with it. And now, despite the claims that the process would be speeded up, that’s not happening. We’re just bogged down by the complexities in the procedures initiated by the prose cutors and the attorney general’s office through the use of this very unusual grand juror procedure.”


NAMES, POSITIONS, CHARGES, and penalties for the nine defendants in the Flint water crisis case, brought by a one-man grand jury.

Jarrod Agen — Former director of communications and former chief of staff for former Gov. Rick Snyder; one count of perjury, a 15-year felony.

Gerald Ambrose — Former City of Flint emergency manager; four counts of misconduct in office, five-year felonies and/or $10,000 in fines.

Richard Baird — Former transformation manager and senior advis er to Gov. Snyder; one count of perjury, a 15-year felony; misconduct in office, a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine; obstruction of justice, a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine; extortion, a 20-year felony and/or $10,000 fine.

Howard Croft — Flint’s former director of public works; two counts of willful neglect of duty, one-year misdemeanors and/or $1,000 fine.

Darnell Earley — Former Flint emergency manager; three counts of misconduct in office, five-year felonies and/or $10,000 fine.

Nick Lyon — Former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, 15-year felonies and/or $7,500 fine; willful neglect of duty, a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine.

Nancy Peeler — Manager of the Early Childhood Health Section of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; two counts of misconduct in office, each a five-year felony and/or $10,000 in fines; one count of willful neglect of duty, a one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine.

Richard Snyder — Former Michigan governor; two counts of willful neglect of duty, each a one-year misdemeanor and/ or $1,000 fine.

Eden Wells — Former chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; received nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, 15-year felonies and/or $7,500 in fines; two counts of misconduct in office, five-year felonies and/or $10,000 in fines; one count of willful neglect of duty, one-year misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine.

Perspectives January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 37


We help entrepreneurs prepare to sell or transition their business by implementing proven strategies that increase market value and achieve their personal and financial goals.

For more information please contact an Absolute Advisor at admin@absolutesuccession.com or visit buildtransferablevalue.com

The Path to Gold

Michigan has plenty of auto companies that have reached $1 billion in valuation, but can the state, along with venture capitalists, nurture and attract more unicorns?


nder the bridge that leads north and downhill into downtown Rochester sits a building that’s nonde script from the outside — a retrofitted old warehouse that fits nicely among the collision shops, dog groom ers, and other workaday businesses that populate an industrial park. But this structure is a modern Michi gan equivalent of the family garage where Steve Jobs started Apple in Los Altos, Calif., in 1976.

OneStream, a “corporate performance manage ment” software startup that has reached an esti mated valuation of more than $6 billion in a decade of existence, is one of five companies launched in Michigan that have reached the vaunted plateau of “unicorn” — marked by a valuation of $1 billion or more in the eyes of the venture capitalists who invest in such companies.

“The ‘big idea’ is the most important thing — you have to have an idea that’s worthy of a $1-billion valu ation,” says Tom Shea, the Oakland University gradu ate and former financial manager for automakers and suppliers who founded OneStream in 2010. “Then it’s an incremental process in your brain. Once that’s underway, and you start methodically working it to the resources available, Michigan is a great place to be able to execute on that idea.”

And for the future of the region and state, that’s the issue: Can entrepreneurs and investors here create and grow enough unicorns to help the endemic auto industry amplify the state’s role as a truly robust player in the economy of the future?

At this point, the roster of unicorns from Michigan is paltry compared with the legions that have been spawned in Silicon Valley, where new unicorns emerge from the area’s low-slung tech campuses like they’re climbing out of Russian nesting dolls. Elsewhere, Bos ton has more unicorns than Michigan, as do a handful of emerging digital-tech havens such as Austin, Texas, and in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. Closer to home, Chicago boasts 10 unicorn companies.

Like OneStream, Michigan’s other unicorns started with a big idea entrepreneurs sparked and nourished. They were propelled by aspects of Michigan’s pre-ex isting economy and the major players in it, and, for various reasons, have found the state to be a propi tious place to evolve into the upper echelons of today’s growth companies. Several other local high-growth tech companies are relying on the same factors to try to achieve unicorn status.

Michigan’s unicorns inarguably are headed by

Rivian, the electric-car startup from Plymouth Town ship that, in November, went public in a Tesla-esque manner with an initial offering that yielded a market valuation of more than $100 billion, making it the world’s largest IPO of 2021.

Now 28 years old, R.J. Scaringe founded Rivian after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the Sloan Automotive Lab at MIT. Scaringe’s aim was to create a line of highly desirable, environmentally friendly vehicles like Tesla’s. But his big idea was to focus first on pickup trucks, an exploding category that’s the most profitable for traditional automakers.

Now officially headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and making its vehicles in a former Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Ill., Rivian put its engineering and development operations in Plymouth Township, qual ifying Michigan as its childhood home, essentially — Rivian still employs more than 600 in the state. In addition, a few years back, Ford Motor Co. purchased 102 million shares of the company for $820 million. Based on the closing price of $100.73 a share on the Nasdaq following Rivian’s first day of trading on Nov. 10, 2021, Ford’s shares were worth $10.3 billion (the automaker owns roughly 12 percent of the company).

Rivian got an even bigger infusion from Seat tle-based Amazon. As part of the arrangement with the e-commerce giant, Rivian sold a 20-percent stake and committed to deliver 100,000 electrically powered delivery vehicles by 2023.

Outside of the manufacturing realm, StockX in Detroit launched an online marketplace that resells sneakers, streetwear, collectibles, and other items. It was founded by the city’s iconic entrepreneur and ven ture backer, Dan Gilbert, along with three other inves tors, in February 2016, and earlier this year it reached what StockX said was a valuation of $3.8 billion after broadening its product line to include game consoles, smartphones, and computer hardware.

StockX began as a way to emulate a stock exchange — or a “stock market of things” — by providing market data for desired and one-of-a-kind items, including indicators such as 52-week highs and a volatility index. StockX generates revenue by keeping a percentage of each transaction.

“The original inception for StockX came from thoughts Josh had for stock-market mechanics,” says Greg Schwartz, co-founder and COO of StockX, about fellow co-founder Josh Luber. “So we’ve built the lead ing destination for Generation Z customers who are focused on highly sought, culturally relevant items.”


Cover Story 40 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 To hea , O n e aertS D u g S ong D ecurity G er g Schwa StockX Jon rheid e , D eSou R ari n g e , R naivi

From a fairly robust market for cybersecurity expertise, DuoSecurity emerged in Ann Arbor in 2010 as a company to watch. The epiphany for comput er-security experts Dug Song and Jon Oberheide was the recognition that “democratizing security would be useful in a world that’s increasingly connected and heterogeneous,” Song says. The duo started by build ing “second-factor authentication” security for so-called native-cloud operations. For inspiration, they looked to pioneers with Salesforce, which created a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for custom er-relationship management.

DuoSecurity blossomed and was preparing to go public in 2018 when networking-hardware giant Cisco began sniffing around, eventually offering nearly $2.4 billion in cash to buy the outfit and accel erate its growth. “It’s been quite a success,” Song says, “and we are all over the place, now in more than 100 countries, with more than 400 global offices and Cisco folks representing us. And the pandemic became another big driver of our business.”

Llamasoft was founded in Utah in 1998 by Don Hicks, who sold the company to an enterprise in Ann Arbor before returning to work for the company in 2003. A unicorn today, the company’s proposition was to automate supply-chain design and planning with artificial intelligence, long before the current sup ply-chain crisis that has been jangling the global econ omy for a year. Llamasoft’s platform is used by Fortune 500 companies and major brands including Ford, General Motors, Ikea, Michael Kors, and Unilever.

In late 2020, Llamasoft was acquired by Coupa, a

California-based leader in so-called business-spend management software, for $1.5 billion. “We are very excited about joining forces with Coupa,” said Razat Gaurav — who served as the company’s CEO for a cou ple of years and recently departed — at the time of the acquisition. The combination “provide(s) a unique opportunity to bring together digital-transformation solutions that drive decision-making and operational efficiency across the enterprise.”

Before he launched OneStream, Shea worked in finance for local auto suppliers such as ITT and then for Chrysler, now Stellantis. All the while, Shea was writing code on his own. He came up with a software platform that tracked CAD engineering time on auto-related products and sold his first software pro gram when he was 22 years old. Several more custom programs followed.

Emboldened by his early entrepreneurial success, Shea left the corporate world and, with his brother and a friend, founded Upstream. “By then I knew enough about the challenges that CFOs were facing, and we saw PCs and microcomputers rising above the importance of mainframes,” Shea recalls. In 2006, the trio sold Upstream to Hyperion, a software giant that subsequently was acquired by the even larger Oracle.

From there, Shea pivoted to developing a plat form for corporate financial managers that would give them the same kind of comprehensive view of various accounting functions that Salesforce, for instance, was giving sales executives and that man ufacturing chiefs were getting from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms.


In September, R.J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, drove the first customerbound vehicle,an R1T pickup truck, off the assembly line at the company’s plant in Normal, Ill.

RIVIAN Cover Story January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 41


StockX was founded in Detroit in early 2016 by Dan Gilbert, Josh Luber, Greg Schwartz, and Chris Kaufman. The online marketplace facilitates auctions between buyers and sellers, and mostly offers sneakers, streetwear, and consumer electronic products.

“The opportunity was how to get data from differ ent sources, including ERP systems and mainframes, into a layer that could be combined with financial intelligence, and then focus it on the office of the CFO,” Shea says. “’OneStream means funneling all of these streams of data together, with analytics, so they can view it all for decision-making.

“We sell a platform, and we have a ‘store,’ and when a new pressure is created on CFOs, we create a new product and they download it, and they get value out of it without having to buy an entire new technology or having to vet it and make sure it’s secure. We provide true agility and continuous value.”

As with other software companies, such as those providing e-commerce capabilities, OneStream got a huge boost from COVID-19 as businesses were com pelled to update their systems to work more effi ciently and flexibly amid the pandemic and the impact it had on in-person interaction. Annual recur ring revenue grew by 85 percent in 2020, with OneStream’s customer count growing that year by 40 percent, to 650 enterprises.

Private-equity giant KKR & Co. invested more than $500 million in OneStream in 2019, providing a $1-bil lion-plus valuation. Another round of investments, in April 2021, injected $200 million more and valued OneStream at $6 billion. By the end of 2021, Wall Street rumors of an impending IPO were rampant and an

early 2022 announcement is expected.

In addition to huge new expansion opportunities, remote work meant OneStream had to build out phys ically to accommodate its growing workforce. In Rochester, Shea ambles through the headquarters building that the company — in a pre-virus strategy typical of fast-growing tech enterprises — trans formed into a workday playground for millennial and Gen Z employees. The facility includes a gym-sized space for corporate dodgeball games and a virtualreality cage that started as a golf simulator.

A dozen unused Pelotons also sit nearby on a typi cal day in which Shea and a handful of other OneStream employees populate the building, com pared with its previous regular on-site workforce of about 80 people. The company has offices sprinkled around the world. “There used to be real electricity here,” Shea muses. “Now there are just pockets of peo ple, although we’ll see a burst of up to 50 people here sometimes for training.”

Fortunately for Michigan, OneStream’s story isn’t a tale of a tech high-flyer originating here and then flee ing for other locales that are more accustomed to a silicon-based business. Right before the pandemic unfolded in March 2020, OneStream was planning to build a new corporate headquarters of 60,000 square feet barely a quarter mile away in downtown Roches ter. It was to feature a large “shared public space” that

Cover Story 42 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

would welcome local shoppers as well as guests from the nearby Royal Park Hotel.

“But COVID-19 came, and then a lack of clarity (formed) around how people were going to need to be in offices, and that idea had to be unwound,” Shea explains. Instead, OneStream has opted to convert a former church in downtown Birmingham into its new physical headquarters. One benefit: It’ll be about 45 minutes closer to Detroit Metro Airport than relatively isolated Rochester.

The Birmingham refurbishment will house fewer employees, as OneStream takes more of a distribut ed-workforce approach going forward. In late 2021, for example, the company opened an office in Golden, Colo. “We think of our offices as ‘collaboration centers’ now,” Shea says. “As the hybrid work mode evolves, we feel we need more high-quality offices with a consis tent feel and culture to them, in more places, rather than one giant office.”

The great reshuffling of technology jobs due to the rise of remote work is a potential new burden for digi tal Michigan companies — as well as, of course, a potential blessing, depending on how migration to and from the coasts works out.

Clearly, the state has a good deal to overcome as more than 80 percent of America’s venture funding comes from California, Massachusetts, and New York. “There’s a tendency to look at the coasts, to places that are more renowned as to where entrepreneurial activ ity comes from, and we take it for granted that’s just where it comes from,” says Chris Thomas, co-founder of Assembly Ventures, which seeks to boost Michi gan-based mobility startups, and co-founder of Detroit-based Fontinalis Ventures with Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, and a handful of other investors.

Reilly Brennan, the Michigan-based founder of Trucks Venture Capital, which is headquartered in San Francisco and places bets on mobility startups, says the state “typically hasn’t seen enough risk capi tal, so founders who have a great idea go to the coasts to get financing, and many build companies there.”

Yet Thomas and Brennan are leaders of efforts to expand and accelerate venture funding in Michigan. Thomas says the conventional wisdom that the state can’t do better is wrong. “The places entrepreneurial success comes from are places where individuals will take the steps necessary to compete and to win — and to not be satisfied with just being at the table, but to win.”

How can Michigan do more winning?

In the broad and long-term effort to create more unicorns, Michigan does bring some substantial things to the table. For one, there’s the legacy of the state as home and nurturer to some of the biggest startups in the world: The Detroit Three automakers and literally dozens of major suppliers that have grown up around them. The companies remain some of the richest and most significant players in the global economy.

Maybe even more relevant is that, because of how the domestic auto industry grew up and remains headquartered in Michigan, the state has the biggest concentration of mechanical and electrical engineers


IT’S NO WONDER Ann Arbor should spawn Michigan’s two most promising near-unicorns in May Mobility and Groundspeed Analytics, as well as two of its actual unicorns, DuoSecurity and Llamasoft.

Ann Arbor is Michigan’s petri dish for unicorns, with the resources and vibe of the University of Michigan campus and its $1.6 billion in annual research volume (FY20), singular tech-focused operations ranging from the Domino’s Garage digital beehive to one of the world’s leading autonomous-vehicle testing sites called Mcity, and research headquarters for Toyota and Hyundai.

There’s also a vaunted startup incubator called Spark. Even Zingerman’s, which owns a thriving business-consulting outfit, is a crucial node as entrepreneurs huddle at its iconic bakery and restaurant.

“Take a look at the statistics around entrepreneurship and creating an environment for startups, and Ann Arbor and southeastern Michigan have many of them,” says Jeff Mason, founder and CEO of Groundspeed Analytics, which has created an internet-based ecosystem for the vastly more efficient exchange of information in the document-heavy commer cial-insurance business.

“People are very educated and there’s easy access to talent across many different fields in Ann Arbor. U-M is in the top 10 (U.S. universities) in maybe 15 different specialties. The cost of living is great, yet you get many of the benefits of infrastructure, social services, and quality of life that normally only are offered in cities 10 times its size.”

Mason leveraged these resources, along with advanced machine-learning and image-analysis techniques and his own background in alternative financing and casualty insurance, to establish Groundspeed in 2016. The objective was to

help brokers and customers communicate better in the middle market and large-placement sectors of the commercial-insurance business, which has been “entirely conducted through email, manual and grueling processes on both sides,” he says.

Local investors included the Michigan Angel Fund and Tappan Hill Ventures, joining a group of New York-based VCs. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Spark, now a 15-year-old economic-development organization for the region, helped as well.

Mason has validated their bets, with customers including insurance giants such as Aon, Willis Towers Watson, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual. Groundspeed tripled revenue in 2021 and is “solidly on the way” to unicorn status by 2023, he says.

But the journey to the next lofty position hit reality and required a pivot. COVID-19 whacked Groundspeed’s workplace culture in Ann Arbor, as it did most other companies, emptying out the enterprise’s cool industrial-themed office space. While the building fills up on many typical weekdays and for special collaborative meetings, on some days it’s only Mason and his Wheatondoodle, Jessie, who see the long table of dozens of tech workstations in the building’s largest room.

“We’ve completely changed our work culture, and now we’re remote first,” Mason says. “We’ve got team members in 30 different states.”

May Mobility, meanwhile, is more physically concentrated in Ann Arbor because it’s actually modifying automobiles on-premises. The company is closing in on unicorn status just four years after its founding as one of the vanguards of autono mous-driving startups addressing a potentially vast global market. The firm has solidified its position as a leader while some others have faltered, and is now operating shuttles in five cities in the United States and one in Japan.

“We have delivered more than half of the revenue-generating rides across the entire (AV) industry,” says Edwin Olson, co-founder and CEO of May Mobility. “All of them are on public roads in mixed traffic; we’re not focusing on low-speed parking-lot trams. All of our street-legal vehicles drive with traffic and deal with the full customer experience.”

So far, May’s clients are mainly “municipalities trying to solve transportation problems” in cities including Ann Arbor; Arlington, Texas; Indianapolis; and Hiroshima, Japan. In Hiroshima, it’s operating vehicles on a 1.9-mile route on the campus of Hiroshima University.

Additionally, in Grand Rapids, May Mobility operates a 3.2-mile fixed route, and local employers “have kicked in to help provide transportation because it benefits their employees,” Olson says. The company also participated in pilot projects in Detroit, Columbus, and Providence, R.I., and took on a handful of private routes for corporate clients.

Olson is an MIT graduate who led U-M’s winning team in a 2010 mapping competition and worked with Ford on AVs before joining the Toyota Research Institute in Ann Arbor. Toyota staked May Mobility to $50 million in initial funding in 2019, and the AV outfit has raised a total of about $86 million through Series B funding.

All the while, May Mobility is pursuing people-moving, even though the quickest and broadest commercial applications of driverless technology are coming in moving goods instead.

“There’s a greater business opportunity with people,” Olson says. “People-moving is generally a higher-margin business. People are the most valuable things there are, and they care how long they’re waiting, whereas if your grocery delivery is delayed by five minutes, it’s no big deal. With logistics, autonomy doesn’t have to work as well.”

STOCKX Cover Story January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 43

in the country, and one of the densest in the world. As cars have become increasingly sophisticated, software engineering also has become a critical new compe tency among young Michiganders, making the state more competitive with the likes of Silicon Valley — and helping the local auto industry battle for control of the brains of vehicles with digital-tech giants such as Google and Apple.

“Michigan, historically, has been light in comput er-science engineers,” Brennan says, “but that has changed in the last decade or so, particularly with a lot of work being done at the University of Michigan.”

Likewise, there’s a long history of product design and design engineering in the southwest part of the state, and that legacy is part of what’s behind an ambitious collection of about two dozen major employers there called the Seamless Consortium. Members including business-furniture maker Haworth, appliance titan Whirlpool, giant auto sup plier Prince, and consumer-products leader Amway collectively finance “proof of concept” engagement with startups around the world related to manufac turing technologies such as sensors, helping create entrepreneurial energy and resources that often find their way back to the Grand Rapids area.

“The West Coast is getting excited about the Inter net of Things, connecting widgets to the internet,” says Mike Morin, co-director of the Seamless Consortium, “but it’s easier for physical companies to integrate this stuff than for digital people to integrate all the capital in the physical world. That’s why you’re seeing this happen here.”

Brennan believes that important parts of the Mich igan proposition for creating more unicorns are the same elements that make the state a great place to live in general — and the same elements that have local leaders hoping to lure more tech entrepreneurs here as the diaspora from coastal cities continues in the wake of the pandemic. “Michigan has so many inher ent good qualities,” Brennan says. “A wonderful low cost of living, for example, and very low taxes com pared with New York and California.”

Venture capitalists from California, checking out DuoSecurity a few years ago, had to “come to Ann Arbor in the dead of winter” or Song wouldn’t meet with them, Brennan says. “They would say, ‘When are you going to leave Michigan?’ — like we’d be the last ones to turn out the lights. I tried hard not to be offended by that, but on a personal level, I believe Ann Arbor is the best place in the country to raise a family.”

Conversely, Schwartz says being in Michigan has proven to be a “competitive advantage” for StockX in a business where access to talent is key. “We’re able to be a big fish in a smaller pond at an earlier stage than if we were based in Silicon Valley and competing with Facebook and Google and Twitter. People can work for an exciting consumer-tech startup here.”

State government, in general, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. get kudos from some for providing entrepreneurs in the state with incen tives such as seed funds, says Ara Topouzian, executive

director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association in Novi.

For instance, May Mobility “got really good sup port” from the MEDC as the maker of autonomous vehicles in Ann Arbor. Edwin Olson, co-founder and CEO of May Mobility, says there was minimal red tape in granting the startup a number of manufac turer’s license plates that allowed the company, before its technology was completely proven, to test its vehicles on the streets and roads of Livingston County and beyond.

But it’s crucial for Michigan leaders to do more to nurture tech entrepreneurs and future unicorns, and to have more arrows in their quiver to do so. The most important improvement factor would be for more high-risk capital to originate with entities and people in the state. That might create more loyalty by success ful entrepreneurs to the notion of staying in Michigan, and it would ensure that more monetary payback when startups are sold or go public would rebound to local residents.

“Ultimately, the highest multiple (that’s) paid back to investors is to people from the first rounds of capi tal-raising,” Brennan says. Consider, for example, that the sale of DuoSecurity to Cisco “was a great success for the founders in Michigan, but not for capital in the state of Michigan, because most of the exit profits went to firms that are on the coasts.”

Even Michigan, which has its share of billionaires outside of unicorn founders, can’t bootstrap itself enough with native capital if there isn’t a concerted effort. Thomas calls for “all the major players from the private sector to get around the table and talk about how we can partner (with startups) in unique ways that can succeed. There’s a tendency to look outward for partners, but we need to have an equal desire to look inward.

“We have to move away from the mindset of ‘What is our legacy?’ to one of, ‘What will our legacy be?’ ” Thomas adds. “It sounds like a small shift, but it’s actually a huge shift. It’s something we need to do a lot better.”

Brennan believes “everybody in the state should invest in a Michigan startup each year” — a sort of crowdfunding approach — and says he’s working with some entrepreneur friends “who’ve been thinking down the road about how to do this.”

Jeff Mason thinks the state already is “benefiting from a capital trend that started looking elsewhere for investments than the coasts over the last few years, because the coasts were very expensive to invest in.”

The founder of Groundspeed Analytics, a near-uni corn in Ann Arbor, says more investors have “found less costly opportunities” in places including Nashville and Austin, as well as Ann Arbor.

Michigan, indeed, “is getting more capital” from other states and from within, Topouzian says, “but these companies are called ‘unicorns’ for a reason — you’re not going to have thousands of them over night. A multitude of components are necessary. But one thing is for sure: The pipeline for startups and entrepreneurs in Michigan is plentiful.”


Cover Story 44 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022
JeffM n Grou n psd dee scityl dE w i n Olson yMobil y



171 Monroe Ave. NW Grand Rapids 49503 616-325-2100 42np.com


42690 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-481-3157 abundantventures.com


401 E. Stadium Blvd. Ann Arbor 48104 734-662-2102 amherstfund.com


40701 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-712-1086 annoxcapital.com


350 E. Michigan Ave., Ste. 500 Kalamazoo 49007 269-349-8999 apjohnventures.com


130 S. First St., Ste. 200 Ann Arbor 48104 734-668-9000 arborpartners.com



303 Detroit St., Ste. 301 Ann Arbor 48104 734-998-3688 arboretumvc.com


380 N. Old Woodward Ave., Ste. 290 Birmingham 48009 248-766-2903 ariaventures.com


303 Detroit St., Ste. 301 Ann Arbor 48104 734-436-1496 arsenalgrowth.com


300 Renaissance Center Detroit 48265 gmventures.com


13827 Port Sheldon St. Holland 49424 616-294-1026 genesisinnovationgroup.com

LIS VENTURES 28555 Orchard Lake Rd., Ste. 100 Farmington Hills 48334 lisventures.com

LUDLOW VENTURES 1555 Broadway Detroit 48226 ludlowventures.com


206 S. Fourth Ave. Ann Arbor 48104 augmentventures.com


2950 S. State St., Ste. 401 Ann Arbor 48104 734-302-2900 bairdcapital.com

BERINGEA 32330 W. 12 Mile Rd. Farmington Hills 48334 248-489-9000 beringea.com

BIOSTAR CAPITAL 206 Bridge St. Charlevoix 49720 biostar.capital


2103 Rochelle Park Dr. Rochester Hills 48309 bluevictorcapital.com


236½ W. Front St. Traverse City 49686 231-631-1734 boomerangcatapult.com

COURTSIDEVC Detroit courtsidevc.com


1555 Broadway, 3rd Floor Detroit 48226 detroit.vc


2030 Dow Center Midland 48674 989-636-1000 dow.com/venture


303 Detroit St., Ste. 100 Ann Arbor 48104 734-215-7577 drapertriangle.com

Ann Arbor 48103 cfe.umich.edu/mb-seedfund


330 Detroit St., Ste. 200 Ann Arbor 48104 narrowgaugeventures.com




414 S. Main St., Ste. 600 Ann Arbor 48104 734-302-5309 dteenergyventures.com


425 N. Main St. Ann Arbor 48104 734-663-3213 edfvc.com


34300 Woodward Ave., Ste. 200 Birmingham 48009 248-981-6688 eiconicacap.com


One Kellogg Square Battle Creek 49016 269-961-2000 1894capital.com


505 E. Liberty, LL500 Ann Arbor 48104 734-926-5221 elabvc.com


39665 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 200 Farmington Hills 48334 248-522-7166 envycapital.com


201 W. Big Beaver Rd. Troy 48084 248-619-1864 evergreencappartners.com


Bloomfield Hills 248-766-3040 firefoxventures.com


One Woodward Ave., Ste. 1600 Detroit 48226 313-432-0321 fontinalis.com

GRAND VENTURES 38 W. Fulton St., Ste. 308 Grand Rapids 49503 616-326-1585 grandvcp.com


63 Kercheval Ave., Ste. 111 Grosse Pointe Farms 48236 313-444-0093 honorequity.com


171 Monroe Ave. NW, Ste. 410 Grand Rapids 49503 616-325-2110 hopenls.com

HURON RIVER VENTURES 303 Detroit St., Ste. 100 Ann Arbor 48104 huronrivervc.com


1000 S. Old Woodward Ave., Ste. 105 Birmingham 48009 248-593-9355 incwell.net

INVEST DETROIT 600 Renaissance Center, Ste. 1710 Detroit 48234 313-259-6368 investdetroit.vc

INVEST MICHIGAN 19 Clifford St. Detroit 48226 313-727-2500 419-345-7688 investmichigan.org

JXP CAPITAL 6735 Telegraph Rd. Bloomfield Hills 48301 248-550-0838 jxpcapital.com

KELLY INNOVATION FUND 999 W. Big Beaver Rd. Troy 48084 kellyservicesinvestments.com

MADDOG TECHNOLOGY 233 Pierce St. Birmingham 48009 248-686-0900 maddogtechnology.com


106 S. Walnut, Ste. 1 Bay City 48706 866-616-1463, ext. 4 mckinleytechnology.com

MERCURY FUND 303 Detroit St., Ste. 100 Ann Arbor 48104 mercuryfund.com

MICHIGAN ACCELERATOR FUND 140 Monroe Center NW, Ste. 300 Grand Rapids 49503 616-235-3567 maf-1.com

MICHIGAN BIOMEDICAL VENTURE FUND 3350 Duderstadt Ann Arbor 48103 cfe.umich.edu/mbdf

MICHIGAN CAPITAL NETWORK 40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 336 Grand Rapids 49503 michigancapitalnetwork.com

MILLER CAPITAL PARTNERS 1411 W. Long Lake Rd., Ste. 100 Troy 48098 248-901-1650 millercapital.com

MISSION THROTTLE 2 Towne Square, Ste. 900 Southfield 48076 248-415-1455 missionthrottle.com

MK CAPITAL 353 W. William, Ste. 303 Ann Arbor 48103 734-663-6500 mkcapital.com

MONROE-BROWN SEED FUND 2281 Bonisteel Ave.

206 S. Fifth Ave., Ste. 550 Ann Arbor 48104 734-662-7667 northcoastvc.com

NORTHBROOK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT 2149 Jolly Rd., Ste. 500 Okemos 48864 517-347-0347 northbrookinvestment.com

OMEGA ACCELERATOR 3707 W. Maple Rd., Ste. 100E Bloomfield Hills 48301 248-633-8557 omergaaccelerator.com


555 Briarwood Circle, Ste. 210 Ann Arbor 48108 734-747-9401 plymouthgp.com


120 W. Saginaw St. East Lansing 48823 quantummedicalconcepts.com


1030 Doris Rd. Auburn Hills 48326 248-292-5680 qvmllc.com


325 E. Grand River Ave., Ste. 275 East Lansing 48823 517-256-4040 msufoundation.org/redcedarventures


VENTURE CAPITAL 201 S. Main St., 10th Floor Ann Arbor 48104 734-997-8661 renvcg.com

RESONANT VENTURE PARTNERS 425 N. Main St. Ann Arbor 48104 resonantvc.com

Cover Story January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 45


38710 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-561-5508 rhvcapital.com


260 E. Brown St., Ste. 2500 Birmingham 48009 248-594-4751 rizvitraverse.com

ROCK COS. 6400 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 2500 Bloomfield Hills 48301 248-430-7712 rockcompanies.com


350 N. Main St., Ste. 400 Ann Arbor 48104 734-332-1700 rpmvc.com



28 W. Adams Ave. Detroit 48226 313-818-3260 secretsaucecapital.com

SI CAPITAL 38955 Hills Tech Dr. Farmington Hills 48331 sicapitalllc.com


601 Saginaw St. Flint 48502 810-547-5591 skypointventures.com


430 N. Old Woodward Ave. Birmingham 48009 248-540-9660 sloanventures.com


261 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Ste. 200 Kalamazoo 49007 269-553-9588 southwestmichiganfirst.com


221 N. Michigan St. NE, Ste. 501 Grand Rapids 49503 616-281-6720 spectrumhealth.org


220 E. Huron St., Ste. 650 Ann Arbor 48104 tamarind-hill.com


425 N. Main St. Ann Arbor 48104 734-355-7399 tappanhillventures.com


7171 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo 49009 269-217-1999 tgapvcfunds.com

THIRD SHORE GROUP 25909 Meadowbrook Rd. Novi 48375 248-291-7758 thirdshoregroup.com

TKM VENTURES MANAGEMENT 706 Dornoch Dr. Ann Arbor 48103 734-369-3456 tkm-ag.com


201 S. Main St., Ste. 900 Ann Arbor 48301 734-274-2904 ventureinvestors.com


26111 W. 14 Mile Rd. Franklin 48205 248-415-8000 vineyardcap.com


719 Griswold, Ste. 820-101 Detroit 48226 734-788-4199 voyletcapital.com


40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 200 Grand Rapids 49503 wakestreamventures.com


2401 Plymouth Rd., Ste. B Ann Arbor 48105 734-747-9401 whitepines.com


701 Tappan Ave., R3200 Ann Arbor 48109 734-615-4419 zli.umich.edu/programs-funds

Sources: Michigan Venture Capital Association, DBusiness research



390 W. Dryden Rd. Metamora 48455 248-812-2418 abundantventures.com


40900 Woodward Ave., Ste. 250

AR2 3600 Wabeek Dr. W Bloomfield Hills 48302 812-418-0639 ar2.global

THE ASCENT GROUP 28 W. Adams, Ste. 800 Detroit 48226 313-908-0476 ascentgroupmi.com


146 Monroe St. NW Grand Rapids 49503 616-980-9810 auxopartners.com


380 N. Old Woodward Ave., Ste. 314 Birmingham 48009 248-594-6350 avenirgroupinc.com


6905 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 119 Bloomfield Hills 48301 313-647-5340 blackeaglepartners.com

BLACKFORD CAPITAL 190 Monroe Ave. NW Grand Rapids 49503 616-233-3161 blackfordcapital.com


251 E. Merrill St., Ste. 202 Birmingham 48009 248-792-3644 bluewaterep.com


171 Monroe Ave. NW, Ste. 410 Grand Rapids 49503 616-732-1051 bridgestreetcapital.com


27725 Stansbury St., Ste. 175 Farmington Hills 48334 248-741-5100 camelotvg.com


COLFAX CREEK CAPITAL Birmingham 48009 248-631-4620 colfaxcreek.com


1600 E. Beltline, Ste. 213 Grand Rapids 49525 616-649-2510 concaphold.com

CORTEX GROUP 383 Elmington Ct. Canton 48188 734-981-1027 answerthink.com

COVINGTON PARTNERS 1734 Crooks Rd. Troy 48084 248-450-5900 covingtonllc.com


CAPITAL PARTNERS 339 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor 48014 734-276-9914 crescenwaycapital.com


40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 1000 Grand Rapids 49503 616-259-8430 dempseyventures.com

DETROIT VENTURE PARTNERS 1555 Broadway St., 3rd Floor Detroit 48226 detroit.vc

ENDURANCE VENTURES 121 W. Washington St., Ste. 400 Ann Arbor 48104 734-994-3406 enduranceventures.com

EQUITY 11 2701 Cambridge Ct. Auburn Hills 48326 248-377-8012


200 Renaissance Center, Ste. 3150 Detroit 48243 313-259-2266 eiihq.com

Farmington Hills 48334 248-522-6964 gal-mar.com

GR INVESTMENT GROUP 839 N. Rochester Rd. Clawson 48017 248-588-3946


28470 13 Mile Rd., Ste. 220 Farmington Hills 48334 248-855-5500 grandsakwa.com

GREENSTONE INVESTMENTS 2605 Greenstone Blvd. Auburn Hills 48326 248-276-0800

GVD INDUSTRIES 3440 Windquest Dr. Holland 49424 616-836-4067 gvdindustries.com


260 E. Brown St. Birmingham 48009 248-385-5285


500 Griswold St., Ste. 2700 Detroit 48226 313-962-5800 huroncapital.com


500 Griswold St., Ste. 1640 Detroit 48226 313-244-0667 investmichigan.org

JACOB AND ROHN EQUITY 1345 Monroe Ave. NW, Ste. 410 Grand Rapids 49505 616-710-1437

LAKE STREET CAPITAL Detroit lakestreetcapital.com


410 Lakeland St. Grosse Pointe 48230 313-886-8370

Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-593-7878 alidadecapital.com

AMERIVEST GROUP 119 Church St., Ste. 236 Romeo 48065 877-745-1976



3001 W. Big Beaver Rd., Ste. 310 Troy 48084 248-430-6650 andertonindustries.com

43842 W. 12½ Mile Rd., Ste. 150 Novi 48377 248-231-0900 chestmoror.com


354 Indusco Centre Troy 48083 citgcapital.com


7600 McCain Rd. Parma 49269 517-914-8284 freshwater.ventures

GAL-MAR 32255 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 290


4984 Champlain Circle, Ste. 1800 West Bloomfield 48323 248-432-2861 leapfrogholdings.com


74 E. Long Lake Rd., Ste. 210

Cover Story 46 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-712-6160 longlakecapital.com

LONG POINT CAPITAL 26700 Woodward Ave. Royal Oak 48067 248-591-6000 longpointcapital.com

LONGHOUSE PARTNERS Detroit 313-618-9735 longhousepartners.com

LORIENT CAPITAL 55 W. Maple Rd. Birmingham 48009 248-247-3900 lorientcap.com


2013 W. Wackerly St., Ste. 200 Midland 48640 989-631-2687 lv2partners.com

M GROUP 805 E. Maple Rd. Birmingham 48009 248-540-8843 mgroupinc.com


5755 New King Dr., Ste. 210 Troy 48098 248-247-3045 mcubedcp.com


39520 Woodward Ave., Ste. 205 Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-590-2275 michigancapitaladvisors.com


1441 W. Long Lake Rd., Ste. 100 Troy 48098 248-901-1650 millercapital.com


29155 Northwestern Hwy. Southfield 48034 248-795-5469 motoringventures.com


1 Towne Square, Ste. 1690 Southfield 48076 248-262-3140

NORTHSTAR CAPITAL 100 Jackson St., Ste. 206 Jackson 49201

517-783-5325 northstar-capital

O2 INVESTMENT PARTNERS 40900 Woodward Ave., Ste. 200 Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-540-8040 o2investment.com

OAKLAND STANDARD CO. 280 W. Maple Rd., Ste. 305 Birmingham 48009 313-701-7735 oaklandstandard.com



126 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste. 500 Grand Rapids 49503 616-454-4114 linkedin/company/ottawa-private-capi tal/


500 Woodward Ave., Ste. 2800 Detroit 48226 313-237-5100 peninsulafunds.com


P.O. Box 140991 Grand Rapids 49504 616-200-8677 rainstarcapitalgroup.com


6400 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 2000 Bloomfield Hills 48009 248-430-7961 rgpequity.com


1070 Woodward Ave. Detroit 48226 313-373-7000 rbequity.com


186 E. Main St. Northville 48167 248-223-0122 sigmainvestments.com


335 E. Maple Rd. Birmingham 48009 313-662-3538 simongroupholdings.com


335 E. Maple Rd. Birmingham 48009 313-662-3538 simongroupholdings.com

SPEYSIDE EQUITY Ann Arbor 212-994-0308 speysideequity.com

STAGE 2 INNOVATIONS 26800 Haggerty Rd. Farmington Hills 48331 248-536-1970 stage2innovations.com


261 E. Maple Rd. Birmingham 48009 248-203-9840 stonerivercap.com


801 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Ste. 235 Plymouth 48170 734-667-1925 scgequity.com


350 N. Old Woodward Ave., Ste. 100 Birmingham 48009 248-593-5800 strengthcapital.com

STURBRIDGE CAPITAL 280 N. Old Woodward Ave. Birmingham 48009 248-220-8400 sturbridgecapital.com


500 Griswold St., Ste. 2320 Detroit 48226 313-596-9600 superiorfund.com


400 Talon Centre Dr. Detroit 48207 313-392-1000 talon.us


59 Baynton Ave. NW Grand Rapids 49503 616-443-8346 tillermanco.com


101 W. Big Beaver Rd., Ste. 800 Troy 48084 248-844-1410 tmwent.com

TRANSPORTATION RESOURCE PARTNERS 2555 S. Telegraph Rd. Bloomfield Township 48302 248-648-2101 trpfund.com


2555 S. Telegraph Rd. Bloomfield Twp. 48302 248-648-2101 trpfund.com


477 S. Main St. Plymouth 48170 248-890-3961 truenorthequity.com

UNION LAKE MANAGEMENT 7609 Locklin West Bloomfield Twp. 48324 248-363-0080

VALSTONE PARTNERS 260 E. Brown St. Birmingham 48009 248-646-9200 valstonepartners.com


201 S. Main St., Ste. 900 Ann Arbor 48104 734-274-2904 ventureinvestors.com


700 N. Old Woodward Ave., Ste. 300 Birmingham 48009 248-865-1515 visioninvpartners.com


130 S. First St., Ste. 201 Ann Arbor 48104 734-669-8260

THE WINDQUEST GROUP 201 Monroe Ave. NW, Ste. 500 Grand Rapids 49503 616-459-4500 windquest.com


Bloomfield Hills 48302 248-220-2200 wolverinecapital.com

Sources: Michigan Venture Capital Association, DBusiness research



255 E. Brown St., Ste. 120 Birmingham 48009 248-642-5660 amherstpartners.com


Ann Arbor 734-678-0483 arborcapitalmarkets.com

BEACONVIEW CAPITAL 1002 N. Main St. Rochester 48307 248-302-0671 beaconviewadvisors.com

BLUE RIVER FINANCIAL GROUP 1668 S. Telegraph Rd., Ste. 250 Bloomfield Hills 48302 428-309-3730 goblueriver.com

BOULEVARD AND CO. 333 W. 7th St., Ste. 280 Royal Oak 48967 313-230-4156 boulevardusa.com

CASCADE PARTNERS 29100 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 405 Southfield 48034 248-430-6266 cascade-partners.com

CHARTER CAPITAL PARTNERS 1420 Broadway St. Detroit 48226

313-879-2565 chartercapitalpartners.com


300 Park St., Ste. 480 Birmingham 48009 248-594-0400 cowen.com


34977 Woodward Ave., Ste. 210 Birmingham 48009 248-792-3000 finneagroup.com

GREENWICH CAPITAL GROUP 189 Townsend St., Ste. 200 Birmingham 48009 248-480-2030 greenwichgp.com

P&M CORPORATE FINANCE INC. 2 Towne Square Southfield 48076 248-223-3300 pmcf.com

PAINT CREEK CAPITAL PARTNERS 755 W. Big Beaver Rd. Troy 48084 248-792-3544 paintcreekpc.com

PENDO ADVISORS 400 Renaissance Center, Ste. 2600 Detroit 48243 313-309-7134 pendoadvisors.com

UHY CORPORATE FINANCE 719 Griswold St., Ste. 630 Detroit 48226 313-964-8311 uhy-us.com

Source: DBusiness research




271 Woodland Pass East Lansing 48823 517-853-6900 the-abrams-foundation.org


Midland 48640 989-832-5678

BAIARDI FAMILY FOUNDATION 2328 Pinecrest St. Harbor Springs 49740 231-526-8395 baiardifoundation.org


15 Capital Ave. NE, Ste. 205 Battle Creek 49017 269-968-6171 bindafoundation.org

COOK FAMILY FOUNDATION 120 W. Exchange St., Ste. 202

Cover Story January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 47

Owosso 48867 989-725-1621 cookfamilyfoundation.org


P.O. Box 1688 Birmingham 48012 248-788-6500 williamdavidson.org


3485 W. M 179 Hwy. Hastings 49058 616-945-4700


P.O. Box 230257

Grand Rapids 49523 616-643-4700 dpdevosfoundation.org


P.O. Box 230257 Grand Rapids 49523 616-643-4700 dbdevosfoundation.org

(DOUGLAS AND MARIA) DEVOS FOUNDATION P.O. Box 230257 Grand Rapids 49523 616-643-4700 dmdevosfoundation.org


1018 W. Main St. Midland 48640 989-631-2471 hhdowfoundation.org


315 Post St. Midland 48640 989-839-2740 avdowfamilyfoundation


6960 Orchard Lake Rd. West Bloomfield Twp. 48522 248-785-0299 dresnerfoundation.org

ERB FAMILY FOUNDATION 215 S. Center St., Ste. 100 Royal Oak 48067 248-498-2503 erbff.org


9292 W. KL Ave. Kalamazoo 49009

269-375-2000 fetzer.org


Two Towne Square, Ste. 920 Southfield 48076 248-415-1444 mmfisher.org


320 E. 43rd St. New York, NY 10017 212-573-5000 fordfoundation.org

FORD MOTOR CO. FUND 1 American Rd. Dearborn 48126 fordfund.org


40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 1100 Grand Rapids 49503 616-451-0303 freyfdn.org

GENERATIONS MANAGEMENT 13919 SW Bayshore Dr. Traverse City 49684 231-946-8772 generationsmgnt.com

HAGERMAN FOUNDATION 601 S. Saginaw St. Flint 48502 810-285-9223 thehagermanfoundation.org

(EDWARD AND JUNE) KELLOGG FOUNDATION 1250 Byron Rd. Howell 48843 517-546-3330

W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION Battle Creek wkkf.org


440 Burroughs, Ste. 380 Detroit 48202 305-908-2600 knightfoundation.org

LAIDLAW FAMILY FOUNDATION 314 Newman St. East Tawas 48730 laidlawfoundation.org

(RICHARD AND JANE) MANOOGIAN FOUNDATION 21001 Van Born Rd. Taylor 48180 313-792-6246


333 W. Fort St., Ste. 2090 Detroit 48226 313-963-3495 mcgregorfund.org

MEIJER FOUNDATION 80 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste. 101 Grand Rapids 49503 meijercommunity.com


P.O. Box 2485 Saginaw 48605 989-753-3438 morleyfdn.org


503 S. Saginaw St., Ste. 1200 Flint 48502 810-238-5651 mott.org


111 E. Court St., Ste. 3C Flint 48502 810-233-0170 ruthmottfoundation.org


P.O. Box 4900 East Lansing 48826 517-402-1009 reoldsfoundation.org


211 S. Rose St. Kalamazoo 49007 269-388-9800


212 W. Summit St. Ann Arbor 48103 313-881-0500

REID FAMILY FOUNDATION 3159 Alco Dr. Waterford 48329 reidff.org




333 W. Fort St., Ste. 2010 Detroit 48226 313-961-6675, ext. 118 cfsem.org/organization/ Russell-family-foundation

SCHAAP FOUNDATION P.O. Box 75000, MC 3302 Detroit 48275 313-222-3568


812 W. Main St. Midland 48640 989-832-0066 strosacker.org


200 E. Long Lake Rd., Ste. 190 Bloomfield Hills 48304 alfredtaubman.com



240 W. Main St. Midland 48640 989-837-1100 towsleyfoundation.org

TUMMALA CHARITABLE FOUNDATION 1240 Woodkrest Dr. Flint 48532 810-733-8673


UPJOHN FUND 300 S. Westnedge Ave. Kalamazoo 49007 269-385-0439 haroldandgraceupjohnfoundation.org

VAN ELSLANDER FAMILY FUND 6500 E. 14 Mile Rd. Warren 48092 586-939-0800


P.O. Box 370 Midland 48381 248-205-1390 waltersffmi.org

WILLIAMS FAMILY FUND 380 N. Old Woodward Ave. Birmingham 48009 248-642-0333

KAREN COLINA WILSON FOUNDATION P.O. Box 728 Grosse Ile 48138 kcwf.org


1901 St. Antoine St., 6th Floor Detroit 48226 313-392-1040


3101 E. Grand Blvd. Detroit 48202 313-885-1895 ralphwilsonjrfoundation.org

Source: DBusiness research



201 S. Division St., Ste. 430 Ann Arbor 48104 annarborangels.org

Mission: Invest in young companies with breakthrough products or services while sharing expertise, providing mentoring, and facilitating connections to the broader marketplace.

ARK ANGEL FUND 30095 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 101 Farmington Hills 48334 248-851-1200 arkangelfund.com

Mission: The fund invests in early stage, startup, and other technology-based businesses, along with assisting in the development of such firms.

BELLE MICHIGAN IMPACT FUND 217 Lake Shore Rd. Grosse Pointe Farms 48236 bellefunds.com

Mission: Provide superior returns for investors while serving the early-stage capital needs of companies led by women.

BLUEWATER ANGELS INVESTMENT NETWORK 1320 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 6 Saginaw 48602 bluewaterangels.com

Mission: Recognize the value of supporting and nurturing the entrepreneurial community for the economic benefit of mid-Michigan and Michigan in general.

CAPITAL COMMUNITY ANGEL INVESTORS 1181 Ridgewood Dr. East Lansing 48823 ccangels.org

Mission: Introduce qualified entrepreneurs to member investors, focusing on disruptive early-stage investments that offer a sustainable competitive advantage.


440 Burroughs St., Ste. 631 Detroit 48202 communeangels.com

Mission: To expand access to angel investing and capital investing in scalable consumer, enterprise, and life science companies that transform lives. Diversity is essential to transformative innovation, and members are committed to contributing their experiences, relationships, and resources to drive better outcomes for investors, portfolio companies, and their customers.


40 Pearl St., Ste. 336 Grand Rapids 49503 616-566-1770 grandangels.org

Mission: Invest in new ideas that will have a positive effect on the world, focusing on west Michigan and border states.

Cover Story 48 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022


568 Woodway Ct., Ste. 1 Bloomfield Hills 48302 glangels.org

Mission: Provide funding to capital-efficient, early-stage companies located in the Midwest.


40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 336 Grand Rapids 49503 grandangels.org

Mission: Measure impact through business growth, job creation, and the attraction to and retention of talent in west Michigan. (This is an affiliate of Grand Angels.)


201 S. Division, Ste. 430 Ann Arbor 48104


Mission: Provide funding to the most promising, capital-efficient, early-stage companies in Michigan.


37 Ottawa Ave. NW Grand Rapids 49503 michigancapitalnetwork.com

Mission: Through its prompt investment and constant monitoring, it assists entrepreneurs who want to establish world-class businesses.


200 Viridian Dr. Muskegon 49440 muskegonangels.com

Mission: Find, fund, and mentor great young companies, from pitch through successful exit, with a priority

on job creation and development in the Muskegon area.


Grosse Pointe

WOODWARD ANGELS woodwardangels.com

Mission: Invest in tech and digitally scaling companies in and around Detroit at the pre-seed and seed stage.

Sources: Michigan Venture Capital Association, DBusiness research



330 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor 48104



Mission: Advance the economy of the Ann Arbor area by establishing it as a desired place for innovation and growth.


16901 Michigan Ave., Ste. 6 Dearborn 48126 313-943-2180 cityofdearborn.org

Mission: Business retention, attraction, and investment; improving neighborhoods; contributing to a high quality of life.


500 Griswold St., Ste. 2200 Detroit 48226 313-963-2940 degc.com

Mission: Design and implement innovative solutions that attract investment, create jobs, and advance Detroit’s economy for all residents.


1101 S. Saginaw St. Flint 48502 810-766-7015 cityofflint.com

Mission: To improve the quality of life for all residents of the city of Flint through the creation of safe and healthy neighborhoods, and promoting a growing and diverse economy.


202 E. Grandview Parkway Traverse City 49684 231-995-7108 grandtraverseedc.com

Mission: To help grow, retain, and expand business in the Grand Traverse region.


1000 S. Washington Ave., Ste. 201 Lansing 48933 517-702-3387 lansingmi.gov

Mission: Attract, expand, and retain business and industry in the city of Lansing.


33000 Civic Center Dr. Livonia 48154 734-466-2200 livonia.gov

Mission: The retention and expansion of existing Livonia businesses, and attracting new business.


300 N. Washington Square Lansing 48913 888-522-0103 michiganbusiness.org

Mission: Market Michigan as the place to do business, assist businesses in their growth strategies, and foster the growth of vibrant communities across the state.


125 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste. 450 Grand Rapids 49503 616-771-0325 rightplace.org

Mission: To build the next chapter in west Michigan’s growth story.


34300 Woodward Ave., Ste. 200 Birmingham 48009 1-866-59-STARTUP startupnation.com

Mission: Provide resources and services to start and grow a business.


6633 18 Mile Rd. Sterling Heights 48314

586-884-9322 sterling-heights.net

Mission: Attract, expand, and retain business and industry.

WESTLAND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 36300 Warren Rd. Westland 48185 734-467-3264 cityofwestland.com

Mission: To provide leadership in the

retention, expansion, and attraction of businesses.

Source: DBusiness research



1 Towne Square, Ste. 800 Southfield 48076 800-345-4783 acadviser.com


200 E. Long Lake Rd., Ste. 160 Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-433-4000 azimuthcap.com

BLOOM ASSET MANAGEMENT 31275 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 145 Farmington Hills 48334 248-932-5200 bloomassetmanagement.com


260 E. Brown St., Ste. 100 Birmingham 48009 248-646-4000 rhbco.com


91 W. Long Lake Rd. Bloomfield Hills 48304 248-723-8000 clarkstoncapital.com


2000 Town Center, Ste. 2850 Southfield 48075 248-358-3200 deroydevereaux.com


901 Wilshire Dr., Ste. 555 Troy 48084

2488-740-9400 jaf-ltd.com


89 Ionia NW, Ste. 600 Grand Rapids 49503 888-562-8880 formulafolios.com

MAINSTAY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 10775 S. Saginaw St. Grand Blanc 48439 866-444-6246 mainstaycapital.com

MUNDER CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 480 Pierce St. Birmingham 48009 248-647-9200 vcm.com

PLANTE MORAN FINANCIAL ADVISORS 27400 Northwestern Hwy. Southfield 48034 248-352-2500 plantemoran.com

Q3 ASSET MANAGEMENT 2175 Cole St. Birmingham 48009 248-566-1122 q3tactical.com


1500 W. Big Beaver Rd. Troy 48044 866-799-9580 rehmann.com

RETIREMENT INCOME SOLUTIONS 2301 Platt Rd., Ste. 300 Ann Arbor 48104 734-769-7727 risadvisory.com

SCHWARTZ AND CO. INVESTMENT ADVISORS 3707 W. Maple Rd., Ste. 3212 Bloomfield Hills 48301 248-644-2701 gjsco.com


34100 Woodward Ave. Birmingham 48009 248-593-1500 seizertcapital.com

TELEMUS CAPITAL 2 Towne Square, Ste. 800 Southfield 48076 248-827-1800 telemus.com


411 W. Lafayette Blvd. Detroit 48226 313-222-1227 worldasset.com

ZHANG FINANCIAL 101 W. Big Beaver Rd., 14th Floor Troy 48084 269-325-1826 zhangfinancial.com

Source: DBusiness research

Cover Story January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 49


or anyone with talent, making money in the music industry used to be simple. Artists signed with a record label and created albums that were sold to con sumers. In exchange, fans had unlimited access to songs.

The system worked, leading to an outpouring of recorded music that today is a $23.1-billion industry. The only drawback was that, until recently, recorded materials weren’t portable.

Apart from live performances, as far back as the 1920s music could be played

on record players, followed by 8 Track tape players, cassettes, and compact discs, or CDs.

Today, though, the economic dynamics of the recording industry are shaped around devices. People can make playlists on Spotify or YouTube, often at no cost, in lieu of buying an album that contains the exact same songs in the exact same order. Whether enter tainers make as much money in the digital age is another matter.

New realities have forced all kinds of adjustments that have been especially challenging for older bands. Take The Romantics. The Detroit-based quartet first burst on the scene in 1977 and started to get attention in 1980 with the emergence of their single, “What I

Like About You,” which just missed the Top 40 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Rising to national prominence in 1983 with the album “In Heat,” The Romantics earned gold record status while jumping to No. 14 on the U.S. album chart. Their single from that album, “Talking in Your Sleep,” made it to No. 3 on the singles chart.

While the follow-up single, “One in a Million,” broke the Top 40, The Romantics never again reached the level of success they enjoyed with “In Heat.” Origi nal members Wally Palmar, Jimmy Marino, Rich Cole, and Mike Skill (replaced in 1980 by guitarist Coz Can ler) had risen from their Detroit-area roots to estab lish a national network of fans, along with regular

50 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Feature


radio airplay across the country.

They had made it, and they were getting paid. But few bands remain at the top of their field over long periods of time. Life intervenes. Members come and go. Musical tastes change.

For The Romantics, the last 10 years of the music business has brought on considerable shifts in the strategies designed to keep them viable as a band and allow the group to earn a living.

During their preparation for a recent private gig in Detroit, Palmar took time to discuss moves The Romantics have made to navigate the current era of the music business. “Thirty-two some odd years ago, when you had a physical product, you could keep an

eye on things far more as sales went,” Palmar says.

But recent advances have changed the revenue lay out. He cites several revenue streams artists can tap in the current environment, including:

• Sales from record labels.

• Revenue from publishing for songwriters, once the songs they’ve written are licensed.

fees from digital music services and pays them to artists for:

• Licensing the use of songs for films or commer cial uses.

• Touring and festival appearances.

• Merchandise sales.

• Royalties from radio airplay, which come through the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

• Sound Exchange, which collects licensing


The Romantics — Coz Canler, Wally Palmar, Clem Burke, and Bruce Witkin — perform at a private concert in Detroit last September. The group got its start in 1977 in the Motor City.

ASCAP is a membership organization that moni tors the public use of its members’ music and collects fees from those users to pay ASCAP members. It’s a massive job, with more than 750,000 members and more than 10 million pieces of work to monitor.

According to its annual report, ASCAP collected nearly $1.3 billion in revenue in 2019, and distributed close to $1.2 billion of that amount to its members.

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 51 Feature
52 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Feature

Sound Exchange plays a similar role, but interacts with digital music services like Pandora and Spotify. Artists who register with Sound Exchange receive money when their songs are played over digital plat forms. Songwriters and even record companies can be compensated through the Sound Exchange system.

There are other ways for artists to monetize the digital playing of their music, but it takes a lot of vol ume to make much money. According to FreeYourMu sic.com, the most popular streaming platforms pay only fractions of a cent per stream to artists, including:

• $0.00437 per stream on Spotify.

• $0.00783 per stream on Apple Music.

• $0.00402 per stream on Amazon.

• $0.00133 on Pandora.

• $0.002 on YouTube.

Put in perspective, it would take 500 streams on YouTube to earn $1 — and 500,000 streams to make $1,000.

For a band that came up in the age of record sales and concert tickets, there’s a lot to learn. And The Romantics are doing so without the benefit of a man ager, which hasn’t always been the case. The band has had managers at different points in its history, but for now The Romantics are relying on specialized help for specific scenarios, while handling much of their own day-to-day business. “We’ve worked with different managers before,” Palmar says. “Right now I have advisers, so to speak. I have a good bookkeeper. I try to keep a good attorney.”

Palmar cites the longtime relationship of Bob Seger with his manager, Punch Andrews, as a rarity in the business. Most bands, he says, don’t maintain rela tionships with managers that last that long. The mod ern-day Romantics draw on their decades of experience in the business, as well as the advisers they keep on hand. Palmar acknowledges, though, it only goes so far.

“I find myself more, every time I think I know quite a bit, turning around and asking just as many ques tions as before,” Palmar says. “People specialize in what they do, and that’s why they’re in the positions they’re in. I wouldn’t ask my bookkeeper to help me write a song. I figure, after all these years, I do what I do best.”

In some ways, rock bands have a lot in common with traditional businesses. One example is personnel turnover. A company founded in 1977 probably doesn’t have the same employees today, yet people can get upset when their favorite bands go through per sonnel changes.

For a band like The Romantics, such changes have been par for the course.

“The Romantics is a totally different situation because there are a lot of moving parts — parts that have come in and gone out,” Palmar says. “For us to still function as a group and still perform and do shows after 40 years, I think is still quite unique. Espe cially when all the guys from the original album are still alive, thank God, and health-wise, everyone is still doing well. But we’re not the same band, even though they’ve all been in and out of The Romantics.”

The current incarnation of The Romantics — by

design — is the lineup that put out the 2003 album “61/49.” That’s because the band is now promoting a re-release of the album on vinyl, which has re-emerged in recent years as a nostalgia item. Some in the indus try think vinyl records could still have potential as a revenue-generator.

According to the Music Business Worldwide web site, vinyl records outsold CDs in 2020. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1986. While the trend largely reflects the growing obsolescence of CDs, it also suggests there’s a loyal constituency for vinyl records. “For every artist that comes out at this point, there’s always some form of vinyl,” Palmar says.

He cited Detroit musician and singer Jack White, a member of White Stripes in Detroit, and later, the Raconteurs. White, who grew up in southwest Detroit, founded Third Man Records in 2001 and added in-store vinyl record-pressing technology to his opera tions in 2017.

White may be on to something. Just as Music Busi ness Worldwide showed vinyl outselling CDs in 2020, Billboard reports vinyl record sales in the first half of 2021 came in at 19.2 million in volume. That generated revenue of $232.1 million.

But does the market for vinyl records hold enough capacity to make it more than a novelty sales item? According to Statista, around 75,000 turntables were sold in the U.S. in 2020, compared with 72,000 in 2019. In a nation of more than 320 million people, it’s still a limited market.

granted at mainstream companies are harder to come by in the music business.

“There’s no common health insurance for these guys in their 40s, 50s, or 60s,” Palmar says. “The only thing that comes close is your Social Security. You have to pay for everything. If you’re a successful song writer and you’ve got money coming in to fund your projects, you can rely on that. But there are some guys that aren’t the songwriters of a band, so for them it’s very important to go out and play.”

In addition to the money bands earn from ticket sales or festival performance fees, they also see live performances as an opportunity to earn money selling CDs, records, and merchandise.

And because artists need to rely on so many streams to make money, many are attracted to what’s called a 360 deal. A 360 deal gives certain artists an instant taste of viability — or, in some cases, revives the fortunes of older artists who can no longer gener ate substantial revenue based on their own recordings or shows.

While such deals have been around since the 1990s, they’ve taken on new importance in the current economic environment for bands. The basic idea is a company with deep pockets provides various forms of financial support to the artist — not only direct compensation, but also support for promotions and even touring expenses. In exchange, the company receives a substantial share of the artist’s take from writing, recording, and performing.

But there are downsides.


The Romatics’ best-selling album, “In Heat,” released in 1983, has sold close to 1 million copies. The record was awarded a gold album in the U.S. and Canada.

Bands today, especially those that have been around awhile, need every revenue stream they can get. And it’s not just about paying the bills or the mortgage. Some things people take for

“When we were starting out, we wanted to get signed to a deal because then you’re able to get an advance of some money, so that would help you out — get you out of the hole,” Palmar says. “Before that, you’re working with managers or somebody who’s funding you to go out on the road. You’re throwing six

Feature January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 53

people around the country or checking into a hotel and trying to pack four people into one room.”

The company providing the funding under the 360 deal might tell the band to go out on tour and play 200 dates. If they want to keep their funding stream alive, the band has little choice. Young, up-and-coming bands might welcome the opportunity to perform live so relentlessly. An older band that’s been on the road for decades might prefer the option of saying no, or at least scaling back.

Some of the bigger bands have that luxury. The British band Genesis (which has had the same man ager, Tony Smith, since 1973) toured last fall for the first time in 14 years — picking its own dates and ven ues, and funding its own touring expenses. Having sold more than 150 million albums over the course of a 50-plus-year career, Genesis can tour when it wants and rest when it wants.

But most memorable bands from a certain era are more like The Romantics. They had their years in the sun, but they didn’t make so much money that they can rest on their laurels today. They must play, and they must be more creative than they were in the past about finding people who will pay them to do so.

If a band’s name and reputation don’t carry the cache to support a traditional tour, there’s always the festival route, which is favored by many younger bands. Festivals like Lollapalooza and South by South west will pay handsome fees for the kinds of bands that appeal to their attendees. Meanwhile, older bands like The Guess Who and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (as well as some not-so-old bands like Stone Temple Pilots) have been recent headliners at Royal Oak’s annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival.

It’s a simpler proposition for the bands, who book festivals for an agreed-upon fee. Venues and ticket sales are someone else’s problem. To avoid the consid eration of ticket sales entirely, bands can pursue opportunities to play corporate events. It’s a simple matter of negotiating a fee and collecting it from the company putting on the show.

“They’re in a position to hire you,” Palmar says. “There are different events. They could be private events for their company, and those actually pay very well if you get asked to come in and perform a set at their company’s annual party or something. That’s one way to do it.”

The Romantics have also gotten involved with another revenue-earner they believe has potential. Under the leadership of promoter Richard Blade, the band has joined the lineup of Lost ’80s Live, which is exactly what the name suggests: A festival featuring the likes of Naked Eyes, Glass Tiger, A Flock of Seagulls, Missing Persons, and even former members of Oingo Boingo.

Lost ’80s Live was born in 2007 and has been pre sented in a variety of venues around the country. The most recent Lost ’80s Live took place at the Greek The atre in Los Angeles on Sept. 3, 2021, where 7,000 tickets were sold.

“God bless (Blade), he has all the belief in these bands from the ’80s,” Palmar says. “Certain bands don’t want to get tied into it because maybe they feel embarrassed by it, or they’re big enough that they don’t need to lean on it. But what we did was kind of cool.”

The Romantics played a 15-minute set consisting of four songs, then gave way to nearly a dozen other bands who did the same. The result for those in the audience was a live nostalgia trip designed to appeal to their good feelings about an unforgettable decade.

“You get the best of what the artists have to offer,” Palmar says. “You’re paying pretty good money for a ticket, but you’re going to know all the songs and walk away from it thinking, Wow, that was pretty cool.”

The Romantics’ current touring lineup includes Palmar on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Coz Canler on lead guitar, Bruce Witkin on bass, and Clem Burke (best known for playing with Blondie) on drums. Of course, for any musician, opportunities to perform and earn money don’t have to be limited to one band or any other situation. Palmar experienced a



AS THE ROMANTICS burst through the opening chords of a recent rehearsal at 54 Sound, a legendary recording studio in Ferndale, the band was in the presence of something exceedingly rare in the music industry.

Just a few feet away was a Neve 8028 soundboard, an original analog board and one of the few still in existence.

Built in 1971 by British-born audio engineer Rupert Neve, the console has been used to record some of the most iconic artists of yesterday and today.

The board is treasured for its ability to equalize, or balance, different frequencies in ways today’s digital recording technology can’t capture. From Smokey Robinson’s tenor voice to the strum of a bass guitar from the Funk Brothers to the blare of Maurice Davis’ legendary trumpet, the console can capture the very movement of air — or, in music parlance, the auditory signal path.

Studio owner Joel Martin, who has worked in the Detroit music production scene since the 1970s and purchased the board a few years back, says

‘99 25.2 30 25 20 REVENUE IN BILLION U.S. DOLLARS SOURCE: STATISTA 15 10 5 0 ‘05 20.1 ‘11 14.8 ‘00 23.4 ‘06 19.4 ‘12 14.9 ‘01 24.4 ‘07 18.2 ‘13 14.6 ‘17 17.3 ‘02 22.6 ‘08 16.9 ‘14 14.2 ‘18 18.9 ‘03 21 ‘09 15.8 ‘15 14.7 ‘19 21.5 ‘04 20.8 ‘10 14.9 ‘16 16 ‘20 23.1 Feature 54 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

it’s one of only four that are still in use. And he has no intention of letting it become a mere historical curiosity.

“I don’t want this to be a museum,” Martin says. “It’s not supposed to be a museum. It’s a place where people learn and record. I’ve got possibilities of bringing in groups (from) all over the country here — if they understand what’s going on here.”

It’s the same type of board that was used at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, and was the subject of a 2013 documentary directed by Dave Grohl, drummer of the rock band Nirvana and front man and guitarist of the Foo Fighters. “It was arguably the most famous series of boards that were ever made, and there are very few in existence that actually reside in recording studios,” Martin says. “People have taken the guts out of these and they just sell (each of) the modules for, in some cases, $15,000. But we have 24 modules and they’re all working as they were intended to work.”

As rare as such boards are, it’s even harder to find studio pros who know how they work. That makes Martin and the Neve board a unique combination.

“This is what I understand,” Martin says. “I was a recording engineer. I worked with the Motown engineers. I started working with Funkadelic (at Universal Sound Studios in Detroit) at 16 years old in a work-study program out of high school, and I happened to be at one of those iconic studios back in 1973. I understand how people were recording back then.”

But why would someone want to record using an old-school analog board when newer digital technology easily eliminates flaws and distortions? According to Martin, that’s exactly the reason.

“The EQ (equalization of the Neve board) is more responsive to sounds that weren’t recorded digitally,” Martin says. “In some cases, I don’t even know why you need equalization on a digital recording. It’s what they call transparent. But what’s lost is the distortion of the harmonics that come from a piece of gear that was meant to

capture things differently on the low frequencies or the mid-frequencies.”

So what kind of sound comes from a Neve 8028 soundboard? “Warmer. Gooier. More distortion,” Martin intones.

And, yes, those are good things.

“Included in our collection of analog gear are the four reverb plates that were originally from the iconic Chess Records studios in Chicago,” Martin says. “The EMT (electro-mechanical sound they produce) is a bad-ass reverb. That’s what people are trying to emulate. You could turn a knob up instead of setting the parameters on a digital reverb, and it’s tactile. You feel differently when you’re in the process of doing it on an analog board like this.”

Others at the studio can see — and hear — the difference of working with such a classic and powerful soundboard.

“There’s something to be said about the imperfections of

analog,” says Nick King, an engineer and studio manager who works with Martin at 54 Sound. “You can’t make that with a computer program, and those imperfections are what adds quirk to your music.”

The bands that would benefit the most from a Neve 8028 might be those who make their best sounds during live jams. With the board at 54 Sound able to pick up sounds so effectively, it’s a much more viable option for bands to record together in a studio rather than separately.

It’s a throwback to an older way of recording, as well. And with all due respect to the digital technology of today — which 54 Sound also offers — lots of listeners would surely not complain if their new music sounded like the stuff they’ve heard (or remember, if they’re old enough) from the old days.

Imperfections and all. In fact, that’s a feature — not a bug.

MUSIC MAN Joel Martin, owner of 54 Sound in Ferndale, operates one of the world’s most iconic recording studios. He also won a major court battle against record companies over artist royalties.
January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 55 Feature

high-profile example of that when he was contacted by representatives of Ringo Starr.

Palmar toured with Starr’s band in 2010 and 2011, and had the opportunity to perform “What I Like About You” and “Talking in Your Sleep” as part of the set. This was a high-profile opportunity to expose The Romantics’ best-known songs to a differ ent audience. Palmar also formed a new band with Clem Burke, called The Empty Hearts. The band has released two albums, and featured Ringo Starr on one of its songs.

All this may serve as a cautionary tale for those pursuing big dreams of music stardom. Some performers get on top and stay there for decades — put ting themselves in a position where they can retire on royalties from their back catalog, or tour if they feel like it. For most, however, the time at the top will be brief, and can be followed by decades of scrambling for ways to keep monetizing their legacy.

Is it worth it? The Romantics are still at it. Musi cians who have played their entire lives can naturally be expected to look for ways to keep doing it, even if it’s become far more complicated to earn a living from inside a recording studio or out on a stage.

Those who enjoy jamming out to songs by The Romantics or any other artist might want to keep this in mind as they’re tapping their feet to the beat: Most people have no idea how hard the artists had to work just to produce that music — let alone make a dime from it.



A SCIENTIFIC OVEN isn’t a standard item in a recording studio, but for 54 Sound in Ferndale, the device is an essential element of preserving the voices, instruments, and yes, the imperfections of some of the greatest songs released between 1962 and 2000.

From Eminem to the Clark Sisters to Funkadelic to Northern Soul, Joel Martin has acquired thousands of master recordings captured on magnetic tape. The challenge, however, is the 1-inch tapes recorded in succession as technology improved — 4 Track, 8 Track, 16 Track, and 32 Track — are deteriorating.

As a last measure of preservation, Joel Martin, owner of 54 Sound, and his team bake each reel-to-reel tape in the oven — similar in size to a mini-fridge — for

eight hours at 129 degrees. Once the process is completed, engineers play back the reels on a special recorder that transfers the songs to a digital format.

“Once the tape cools down, you can get one or two playbacks and that’s it,” Martin says. “The oven reheats the emulsion coating on the tape and lubricates it for a very short amount of time. We’ve baked 600 reels already, which represents thousands of songs. Once they’re digitized, they become part of our library that we make available to producers, musicians, and vocalists all over the world.”

In a digital format, Martin and his team can isolate what are known as recorded stems, pulling the drums from one track or the bass guitar from another track. Not only are the isolated voices and instruments preserved, but they’re also available for use in new songs. Martin likens his library to the DNA of master tapes.

“It’s a different approach to use isolated music in new recordings,” Martin says. “People think they can only create music on a computer these days, and they’ll have the best sound. But the master tapes we have were specifically created by engineers who knew how to get everything out of a recording in relation to the tape equipment of the day.

“You can literally hear a guitarist strum the strings, and he or she may give a slight tap on one string to create a unique and cool sound. You can’t do that on a computer. Because of our contracts, I can’t say which artists have used the stems, but they are contained on new songs that you would recognize instantly.”

A Neve 8028 soundboard at 54 Sound in Ferndale, right, is one of a few still in use. To the left of the Neve is a recorder the studio uses to digitize master tape recordings.

Feature 56 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022


Explore the latest book from award-winning journalist and DBusiness magazine editor R.J. King. “Detroit: Engine of America” is the real life story of how the city grew, step by step, from a French fort on the riverfront in 1701 to become the world’s largest manufacturing economy in 1900.

To purchase copies of “Detroit: Engine of America” personally signed by the author, visit DetroitEngineofAmerica.com.

s the economy continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers in Michigan and around the nation are book ing new orders yet are struggling to fulfill them, due to a lack of workers and a supply chain that has several broken links.

“All segments of the manufacturing economy are impacted by record-long raw materials lead times, continued shortages of critical materials, rising commodities prices, and difficulties in transporting products,” says Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the manufacturing survey committee at the Institute for Supply Management, the oldest and largest such organization in the world.

“Global pandemic-related issues such

22 OrdersareupinCOVID-19’swake,butworkforceandsupplychainissuescomplicatethefutureofmanufacturing.
A 58 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Feature


as worker absenteeism, short-term shut downs due to parts short ages, difficulties in filling open positions, and overseas supply chain problems, continue to limit manufacturing growth potential,” Fiore says.

The workforce problem is far from a Michigan-only concern. As of June 2021, there were 700,000 unfilled jobs in manufacturing in the U.S., up from 500,000 before the pandemic, according to the National Associa tion of Manufacturers.

What’s more, as many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled through 2030, according to a 2021 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The report warns the worker shortage will hurt revenue and production, and could cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion by 2030.

To improve on market conditions and expand production, manufacturers in the Great Lakes State need to recruit more workers and straighten out the kinks in the supply chain, even as many of the logistics issues are out of a manufacturer’s control.

“It’s like a tale of two cities,” says John Walsh, president and CEO of the Michi gan Manufacturers Association in Lan sing. “On the one hand, orders are up, the economy is still healthy, (and) manufac turing in all industries feels good. The opposite of that is the impact of the work force. Many of our members and the industry at large are struggling to get folks to come in and work. And if they can get them in to work, there’s a shortage of truck drivers and longshoremen.”

Walsh says he’s confident the workforce issue will improve. “We hope and expect to see more (job) applications start to come in now that the extended and enhanced unemployment benefits have come to an end,” he says.

In early September, when extended and enhanced unemployment benefits enacted in response to the COVID-19 ended, the Michigan Department of Technology,

Management, and Budget reported state wide employment for the entire month advanced by 16,000 workers, while the number of unemployed people dropped by 4,000. Manufacturing jobs edged up slightly for the second consecutive month during September.

“Workforce was a weakness for Michi gan even before COVID-19,” Walsh says. “I think the governor and the legislature have responded aggressively, with $230 million more in the budget for training programs, so that will be helpful. That’s not immedi ate relief, but more of a long-term accep tance that we need to invest in skilled trades. And manufacturers have consis tently been raising their salaries, which seems to be impacting folks and their inter est in the industry.”

Although immediate relief is needed, many of the efforts to boost the manu facturing sector are focused on longterm remedies. SME, for example, recommends a concerted effort to boost vocational training as well as four-year college as an option for high school graduates.

Diversity also is critical, according to Joe Steele, senior director of communications and legislative affairs at LIFT in Detroit (American Lightweight Materials Manu facturing Innovation Institute). The pub lic-private partnership between the U.S.

Feature January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 59

Department of Defense, industry, and aca demia is reaching out to more women and minorities. One example is LIFT’s initiative with the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michi gan, which awards a manufacturing patch to encourage girls to explore the field of advanced manufacturing.

LIFT also brings students from Detroit high schools to its learning lab to partici pate in a curriculum called IGNITE: Mas tering Manufacturing. “The program gives students the opportunity to meet LIFT engineers and see our ecosystem at work on new manufacturing innovations and processes,” Steele says. “By immersing (stu dents) in that environment, not only are they being introduced to materials science and advanced manufacturing, they’re also able to see the future for themselves.”

Then there’s the supply chain, which includes the transportation of raw materi als and components as well as the delivery of finished products. “Supply chain is still a weakness for all of Michigan’s industries,” Walsh says.

Overall, the computer chip shortage plaguing the auto and electronics indus tries since spring 2020 is the logistics issue most detrimental to Michigan’s manufac turing production growth. Walsh says he expects that bottleneck to be opened up in the first half of 2022.

While manufacturers can’t do much about the shortage of truckers on the road and longshoremen on the docks of U.S. ports, which is slowing the delivery of raw materials and finished products, Walsh says industry trade associations are work ing to resolve the issues.

He says he believes the upside to manu facturing in Michigan is its continuing diversification.

“We make something for virtually everything on the planet,” Walsh says. “There’s someone making a piece for a fighter jet engine. There’s someone making a part that goes into a nuclear energy facil ity. We make clothing, cars, and equipment

Motor vehicle parts 13% & supplies industrial furniture & kitchen cabinets 2.4% Beverages 2.8% Semiconductor & other electronic components Navigational, measuring, electromedical & con trol instruments Other general purpose machinery 2.6% Motor 12.7% Michigan Manufacturing Output Source: National Association of Manufacturing $100 $60 $80 20122014201620182020 Billions of dollars Household and Medical equipment 5.2% 3% Grain & oilseed milling 5.5% 5.2% vehicles Top 10 Manufacturing Segments for Growth in 2020 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis How is your business approaching Industry 4.0? ILLUSTRATIONS BY MICHAELA BUNGER Avoiding 24.36% Tip-toeing 52.56% Tackling head-on 23.08% Source: MiBiz Manufacturing 60 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Feature

for health care and agriculture. We’re very diverse.”

Motor vehicles and auto parts still accounted for the bulk of the state’s manu facturing output in 2020, at $40.9 billion. General machinery added nearly $9 bil lion; fabricated metal products, $7.9 bil lion; chemical products, $7.7 billion; food, beverage, and tobacco products, $5.8 bil lion; plastics and rubber products, $4.1 bil lion; electrical equipment and appliances, $2.8 billion; and furniture and related products, $2.5 billion.

One bright spot in the state comes from companies that manufacture products for the defense, aerospace, and space indus tries. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in Lansing, the state has the highest military vehicle production in the U.S., with 37 percent of total con tracts in the country. It also added more than 1,000 jobs in relevant defense indus tries between 2015 and 2019. The 15-per cent growth rate outpaced national trends over the same period.

“We’re very big in tool and die for both aerospace and space,” says Gavin Brown, executive director of the Michigan Aero space Manufacturers Association (MAMA) in Sterling Heights. “We make a lot of the platforms for tool and die use in aero space. We also do limited production of titanium parts for both mainframe and engine components.”

To drive additional business, MAMA has been at the forefront of establishing facilities for both horizontal (from air planes) and vertical (from a launch pad) low Earth orbit rocket launch facilities in Michigan. The horizontal launch site in Oscoda is expected to be operational, along with a command center in Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula, in 2023. The vertical launch site in Marquette, also in the U.P., will be developed in future years.

“We’re looking at building an ecosys tem, or a value chain where the capabilities interact to eliminate bottlenecks,” Brown

says. “When you’re working with space and aerospace, you’re providing both with the material knowledge that’s needed for highgrade alloys that are used in both.

“It allows you to do a more regional approach that includes engineering and design, manufacturing, and special pro cesses. It becomes cost-prohibitive when you have to go across the country to get a part. Michigan is well-positioned with all of its capability throughout the entire manu facturing process chain.”

Brown foresees a time when satellites designed, produced, and launched in Michigan will help the auto industry reach its autonomous vehicle goals. The vision is outlined in a MAMA white paper titled “Space Enabled Advanced Connectivity for Advanced Mobility” (SAECAM).

The plan calls for coordinating the research and development of the engi neering design guidelines and stan dards for a common automotive industry platform of advanced connec tivity for mobility (ACAM) data links, and developing a pathway toward implementation of ACAM-enabling technologies. This approach positions Michigan as the center of these efforts, while creating jobs and advancing the nation’s technological competitiveness.

“To get to the point of EVs and autono mous technology operating outside of urban areas, there has to be constant con nectivity — and that will be provided by a satellite program,” Brown says. “We see our growth as essential to helping the auto industry get to its next benchmark. This will also help the overall community stay connected with 5G.”

While the move to EVs and autono mous vehicles will be a boon to high-tech manufacturing, it’s going to cause prob lems for the companies that have been sup plying parts for internal combustion engines for more than 100 years.

A recent report by Bloomberg News describes how legacy auto companies are leery about a future of electric vehicles that contain a fraction of the parts of their gaso line predecessors. Where a conventional

Supply chain issues and labor shortages are affecting manufacturers of all sizes, but small businesses have another question to answer: How can they compete with lower-priced overseas competitors, particularly those in China?

Karen Buscemi, owner of apparel manufacturer Detroit Sewn, based in Pontiac, caught a break at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when personal protection equipment (PPE) like masks and gowns were in short supply. But after experiencing a surge of initial orders, in recent months demand has tapered off and Buscemi and other small manufacturers are back to competing with cheaper overseas suppliers.

“Once China released the ships that had the PPE and it finally made it over here, most of the hospitals went right back to using disposable masks,” Buscemi says. “Costs are what makes it difficult to be a profitable cut-and-sew (operation) in the United States.

“Even though everybody understands how much people are paid in China, and (realize that) in some instances there’s forced labor in horrible working conditions, and all of the (other) factors that make that product ridiculously cheap to make, people still look at the price.”

And that, according to Buscemi, makes it important for U.S. makers to cater to buyers who are looking for higher-quality products. Working with local suppliers also keeps revenue from leaving a given region or state.

“You shouldn’t be making anything that’s disposable fashion,” she says. “You should be making higher-end, quality pieces. That’s what we’re going to be able to do best in the U.S., (to) make an impact. It’s really all about how you market and find the audience that cares.”

Buscemi and other apparel manufacturers are challenged by another workforce issue, as well.

“When (apparel) work (first) went overseas many years ago, the workers that were here aged out,” she says. “Now there’s a big gap in the workforce in industrial sewing.”

Although the sector isn’t typically included among the list of skilled workers who need training, Buscemi says the industry is taking care of that itself. “It has changed quite a bit in the fashion arena since I started six years ago,” she notes. “When it comes to cut-and-sew, there’s a lot more education being built here now, which is also good.”

Automation sometimes can be the answer to a lack of skilled workers, but that’s not the case in the apparel industry.

“When it comes to sewing, it’s still a hands-on thing,” says Buscemi, whose company has purchased automated snap equipment. “Unless you’re making the same product in the same size over and over and over, it wouldn’t make sense to invest the kind of money you’d need to automate something like that.”

Feature January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 61

car’s engine and transmission have hun dreds of parts, some EV powertrains have as few as 17, according to the Congressional Research Service. That doesn’t include radi ators, fuel tanks, or exhaust systems that EVs don’t need.

But the eventual widespread switch to EVs, which is a few years away, may help overcome worker shortages, as far fewer parts are needed.

At the same time, the number of advanced manufacturing systems is on the


rise. The trend will help companies con tinue to churn out highly specialized parts. To speed the adoption of greater produc tion efficiencies, Automation Alley in Troy and a recently announced partnership between SME in Southfield and CESMII, The Smart Manufacturing Institute based in Los Angeles, are working to accelerate the adoption of advanced manufacturing to assist companies large and small.

Due to these efforts, Michigan is a national leader for employment in indus tries related to Industry 4.0 (the adoption of machine sensors) and automation. Michi gan is home to the nation’s first Industry 4.0

Accelerator program, launched by Auto mation Alley, Lean Rocket Lab in Jackson, and Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator in Southfield.

Still, more work needs to be done. Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Auto mation Alley, says the supply chain issues may force companies to reshore some of their parts, bringing more manufacturing back to the U.S.

He adds that many local small and midsize manufacturers aren’t taking advantage of the advanced technology resources in their backyards.

“Things are going great, but (the manu facturers) don’t see the sands shifting beneath their feet,” Kelly says. “There’s lots of change that’s happening in manufactur ing. A lot of it is being observed by the larger players and even, to some degree, the Tier 1s. Tiers 2, 3, and 4, they’re just not pay ing attention as well as they should be.”

Because manufacturing is a “physical thing,” smaller players “have a difficult time wrapping their minds around how soft ware can help them,” he says. “What I’m seeing out there is a complacency in under standing that efficiency alone isn’t going to matter.”

He says Industry 4.0 is about mass cus tomization rather than mass production. It includes the ability to produce products where they’re sold and the ability to share data up and down the production stream — from the intake of raw materials to sell ing the finished goods.

Kelly says he believes one answer to many manufacturing ills, including work force shortages and supply chain prob lems, is 3-D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing.

High costs and low build speeds have been hurdles to adopting 3-D printing in the past, but the technology is changing the landscape. According to Kelly, a 3-D printer that cost $14,000 a year ago costs $8,000 now and is many times faster.

He points to the example of Relativity Space in Long Beach, Calif., which is 3-D printing entire Terran 1 and Terran 2 rock ets from raw material in 60 days, compared to 12-18 months with traditional methods. The company claims its additive manufac turing platform has cut production costs

Feature 62 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

from $120 million to $12 million, and reduced the number of components from 30,000 to 300.

This method, according to Relativity Space, reduces touchpoints and lead times, simplifies the supply chain, and increases overall system reliability.

“If they’re successful, they’ll destroy the aerospace industry and remake it in a new way,” Kelly says.

Until 3-D printing comes into more widespread use, proponents of Industry 4.0 are encouraging manufacturers to use arti ficial intelligence, sensors, the industrial internet of things, collaborative robotics, big data, modeling and simulation, and vir tual and augmented reality to make their operations more efficient.

With fewer workers to keep their eyes on manufacturing processes, sen sors — which now are wireless and are becoming less expensive every day — become a manufacturer’s eyes. Paired with AI and other advanced technology, a plant foreman using a smartphone or a tablet can make decisions to stop, start, and adjust operations in seconds, further improving efficiency.

“5G (the fifth generation of cellular net works) is going to be profoundly impactful for manufacturing,” Kelly adds. “One of the things that keeps manufacturers from digi tizing is the cost, but with 5G, because the latency is so low and the throughput is so high, you can put in wireless sensors that will last for years in machines. That’s a game-changer. Sensors are the five senses of your AI.”

SME, as evidenced by its recent partner ship with CESMII, also is a strong propo nent of advanced manufacturing.

“Too often, small and medium manu facturer owners and workers may perceive these issues as too big, too complex, or too costly for them to address,” says Robert Willig, executive director and CEO of SME. “But as the majority of manufacturers in the United States are classified as small businesses, the industry’s success relies on making low-cost, high-efficiency solutions for manufacturing’s transformation (that are) available across the board, not just to its biggest players.”

Ultimately, Kelly predicts, “3-D printing

will become the de facto manufacturing method for almost all products at some point — maybe in 20 years, 10 years, or five years. It will be the most disruptive force for manufacturing, ever, including every other industrial revolution, because the change is so profound. Manufacturing is going to be a software business that happens to make stuff. Right now, we’re a maker busi ness that happens to use software. Labor’s not going to matter in a 3-D printing world.”

Kelly talks about a graph where one line charts the increasing fixed costs of the machines manufacturers currently are using, while another line traces the decreas ing cost of 3-D printers.

“Eventually those lines are going to cross and all hell is going to break loose,” Kelly says. “Once those lines cross, I must go addi tive or I’m out of business. That’s the cata strophic cliff that we don’t want to see happen in Michigan.”

It’s a cliff that may someday be faced by Michigan’s more than 11,000 manufac turing firms, which employ more than 600,000 people.

Regardless of the current challenges fac ing Michigan’s manufacturers, represented by more than 11,000 producers that employ 600,000-plus people, trade association lead ers are bullish.

“Our manufacturers are incredibly resil ient,” Walsh says. “They’re problem-solvers. They’ve survived other impacts before. They know how to adapt. We have to acknowledge we’re in a worldwide econ omy and that’s good for everyone, but we do need to identify things that need to be man ufactured here — certain components for medicine, for instance. Defense items, and things like chips.”

Automation Alley’s Kelly says in order to make the changes necessary to carry pro duction into the future, Michigan’s compa nies need to return to what made Detroit the manufacturing capital of the world 100 years ago and the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II. “We need to get back to the age of innovation and creativity,” he says.

Business executives were asked which of the following strategies do you intend to implement? (Select all that apply) Electricity (per kilowatt) U.S.A. DETROIT 2018 $0.139 2019 $0.140 2020 $0.137 2021 $0.143 2018 $0.161 2019 $0.173 2020 $0.175 2021 $0.183 Crude Oil ($ per barrel) 2018201920202021 $30 $70 $50 16.43% 27.85% 73.42% 54.43% 11.39% Relocate some operations to another country. Realign tax strategies. Identify new or alter native suppliers Invest in technology to take advantage of B2B sales model. Reshore to U.S. because of policy change. Natural Gas Prices (Per BTU) 2021:$5.68 2020:$2.59 2019:$2.94 Source: Knoema Source: Statista Source: Forbes Investing Source: U.S Bureau of Labor & Statistics ILLUSTRATIONS
MICHAELA BUNGER 2018:$3.20 January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 63 Feature

Q: How does the Eastern Michigan University GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology enrich the lives of students?

A: EMU aims to enrich the lives of students in more ways than one. Since GameAbove is a technical college, students develop a set of skills that will help them achieve successful careers. The average classroom is 17-18 students, allowing faculty to build strong one-on-one relationships with their students. Free mentoring and tutoring are also available.

As students enrich their lives, they also enrich communities. During their sophomore year, students are connected with companies through career fairs or an internship, to ultimately help them secure a job and start their career after graduation. GameAbove provides businesses with the talent they’re looking for, and engages with government and other public entities.

As a founding member of the American

Center for Mobility, EMU’s GameAbove connects with companies and nonprofit organizations, and hosts projects on their behalf. For example, their cybersecurity program is helping a number of government agencies. Many students are hired by these agencies in Michigan and Washington, D.C.

New labs have been developed that will enrich the experience for students, including 3-D printing, virtual reality, robotics, drone technology, and vehicle cybersecurity research. The fastest growing programs are engineering, cybersecurity, and aviation.

There are 15,000 new engineering jobs in Michigan, and many employers are recruiting out of state to fill these jobs. By engaging students early on and making these disciplines exciting for them, they can help themselves, companies, communities, and the state.

Q: How does UHY Consulting help companies manage cybersecurity risks?

A: UHY’s cybersecurity consultants collaborate with clients to develop and execute specialized solutions tailored to each client’s unique situation. They offer services to help business management get a clear picture of their risks and vulnerabilities, so those issues can be appropriately remediated.

Security testing, also called penetration testing, is often the first step to evaluate cybersecurity risks. With a client’s permission, and following a well-defined methodology, UHY attempts to hack their website, network, mobile apps, or other assets, just as a cybercriminal would do. This way, clients will know what real-world risks exist in their business.

Clients often want to know how to create an overall security program, and that’s when it’s time to recommend an overall security assessment. UHY looks at

the entire security program, from assets (laptops, servers, customer data, etc.) to protection and monitoring capabilities, backup and recovery, and physical security, to develop a roadmap for improvement.

Compliance also includes cybersecurity and involves controls to protect confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, such as patient health information (HIPAA) and credit card security (PCIDSS). Some compliance programs require a third party to do the assessment, and that’s something UHY offers. Finally, if a company has been breached or ransomware is actively occurring, UHY can do the incident response, triage the problem, and/or do digital forensics to attempt to uncover where the problem originated.

Contact UHY to learn more about their cybersecurity services.

Eastern Michigan University GameAbove College of Engineering & Technology

Mohamad S. Qatu, Ph.D., MS, B.Eng.Dean of College of Engineering and Technology

P.O. Box 921 Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-487-3060 / 800-468-6368 emich.edu

EMU Office of Admissions: P.O. Box 921 Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-487-3060 / 800-468-6368 emich.edu/admissions/ index.php

Undergraduate Admissions: un-dergraduate_admissions@ emich.edu

Transfer Admissions: transfer_ admissions@emich.edu

Advertisement on page 09

UHY Consulting Inc.

Richard Peters CISA, CDPSE, CISSP, QSA

Principal | UHY Consulting Inc. 10613 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Ste. 175 Houston, TX 77064

D: 713-325-8684 |

M: 713-412-4105 | O: 713-325-7870 rpeters@uhy-us.com | uhy-us.com


on inside front cover

A NEW DAY Members of BasBlue, a new women’s club in Detroit, cut the ribbon on the renovation of a historic mansion in the Midtown district near the Detroit Institute of Arts. The club opened last October.

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 65
01-02.2022 EXEC LIFE p. 72p. 66 p. 74p. 68 p. 75 Production RunA Lady’s Place OpinionReturn on Investment The Circuit 66

A Lady’s Place

BasBlue Club in Midtown Detroit is a place for women to network and the community to gather.

Clubs for women aren’t a new concept in Detroit; the Detroit Association of Wom en’s Clubs was organized in 1921 with eight clubs. It still exists, but right around the cor ner is a new women’s club located at 110 Ferry St. in Midtown: BasBlue.

The nonprofit club resides in a newly renovated historic mansion that was once home to the first pres ident of the Michigan Telephone Co. and later served as Your Heritage House children’s museum. The new group caters as much to the local community as it does its members.

Miah Davis, the club’s membership and commu nity manager, says the establishment hopes to attract women from every field of business. “It’s not our goal to be restricted to one tax bracket, income level, or career field,” she says. “We want to have female engi neers, tradeswomen, accountants and lawyers, doc tors, artists, designers — everyone.”

Key to the future success of BasBlue is its interac tion with the community, which includes nearby Wayne State University, the College for Creative Stud ies, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Histor ical Museum, among others.

“BasBlue is designed to be driven by the commu nity and the members, so we’ll have our ears to the ground to hear what our members are saying,” Davis says. “We want everyone to feel welcome. People are impressed that it’s not a corporate setting. It’s warm and inviting, and there’s cozy seating. We’re kind of designed to be a home away from home.”

As a nonprofit, the club leans heavily on donations as well as membership fees, revenue from a café, and space rentals for events.

“We’ve already had interest in book clubs, lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, wine tastings, cocktail classes, and cooking classes,” Davis says. “We’ve had an amazing response (from) the community.”

BasBlue Detroit was co-founded by Nancy Tellem, executive chairman and chief media officer at Eko in Culver City, Calif. She’s married to Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons. The club’s other founder is Los Angeles-based Natacha Hildebrand, who helped establish BasBlue clubs in Los Angeles, New York, and London.

“BasBlue is dedicated to creating pathways and opening doors for women,” Tellem says. “Its pur pose is to cultivate a community of connection and mentorship, and a space where skills can be learned and shared. I firmly believe we’re stronger, wiser, and better together. Over the past year, my

EMPOWER PLACE BasBlue, set in a historic mansion in Detroit’s Midtown district, is a new women’s club that seeks to advance careers and help the local community.
Exec Life 66 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

NETWORK CENTRAL BasBlue’s philanthropic mission supports women with an array of offerings, including mentorships, funding, and business coaching.

belief has only grown stronger.”

The pair could hardly have selected a better place for their new club. The exterior features natural brick with green painted wood accents and a white bas relief sculpture in the façade.

Inside, the lobby boasts hardwood floors, wood paneling, a leaded glass window, and a working fire place. The intricately carved wood banister has been restored to its original glory.

The rooms throughout the mansion are decorated in a modern style, yet in keeping with the house’s architecture, and the contemporary chandeliers somehow don’t look out of place.

The building — the first floor of which is open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for coffee, lunch, or brunch — features a café and a full-service kitchen fashioned from the house’s former coal room. It also has lounge areas, state-of-the-art conference rooms with plenty of electrical outlets for cellphones and laptop computers, event space, and a health and wellness space complete with shower facilities and a yoga area, all operated and programmed by female business owners.

The first-floor library is stocked in partnership with the Detroit Public Library, and features tomes about Detroit and notable women. The second floor is for members only. The third floor, once the home’s attic, now serves as an event space.

Every room showcases artwork acquired through partnerships with several local art galleries. Most of

the pieces are by local women artists and are for sale. “Every space in every room was designed intention ally to foster and cultivate connections and conversa tions,” Hildebrand explains. “That includes how we place the chairs and how many chairs we place.”

Hildebrand says even in this age of inclusion, it’s important for women to have a place to meet with other women.

“Networks take time to develop,” she says. “For many, many, decades, men have traditionally had places like golf courses and cigar clubs and other places. History shows that women haven’t had the same opportunities.”

Hildebrand says women who are new in their careers need to be able to meet with women who are more experienced in business, so wisdom can be passed along.

“There are more CEOs named John than there are female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies,” she says. “You cannot be what you do not see. If you have no spaces to see where you may or may not want to be, how are you going to strive for that opportunity?”

BasBlue is off to a nice start. It had close to 130 members when the doors opened in October 2021 and had 212 by the end of the month.

Memberships are designed to meet women where they are in their careers, and the club includes pricing levels specifically for students and young profession als. Fees are $600 per year for those under 35, and $1,200 for 35 and older. Corporate membership

programs that include multiple memberships and the ability to host events are being developed.

BasBlue’s philanthropic mission is to support local women entrepreneurs, young women’s profes sional development, and women-led businesses with resources like funding, mentorships, scholar ships, and business coaching. This includes mem bership scholarships to self-identifying women and nonbinary individuals.

Built in 1887, the home of BasBlue originally was the residence of William Jackson. In addition to being an early Michigan telephone pioneer, Jackson was president of the Municipal Lighting Commis sion under Mayor Hazen S. Pingree from 1893 to 1894. After two other owners, the Jackson House was sold to the Merrill-Palmer Motherhood and Home Training School (now the Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University) in 1925 and was used as a staff residence. In 1969, it became the home of Your Heritage House, a children’s museum founded by Josephine Love.

Anyone wondering where the name BasBlue came from can consult a French dictionary. Bas blue is a variation of the French bas bleu, which literally means blue stocking but has evolved over time to describe an intellectual woman.

“We want people who have been in their careers for 40 years and people who have been in their careers for 10 years, and for two months,” Hildebrand says. “We’re willing to grow and flow with the community.”

Exec Life January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 67


Breaking the Rules

Siobhán Cronin utilized the musical skills she learned at Cranbrook Schools and the University of Michigan to become a world-renowned performing artist.

Siobhán Cronin is best known these days as a classically trained violinist who regularly performs around the world with interna tionally celebrated artists and touring shows. Her very first steps on the path she forged toward her current profession — and passion — were taken as far back as she can remember.

“My parents liked classical music and opera, and I grew up listening to that,” Cronin recalls. “We had a piano in the house and my mom tells me when I was like 2 and could climb up, I was banging on the piano.

“I grew up kind of close to where the Somerset Col lection is, kind of the edge of Troy and Birmingham, on Brandywyne Drive,” she says. “We were always kind of the weird artsy, musical, European family.

“My dad was a psychotherapist — he passed when I was 13 — and Mom’s from Europe. She ran a success ful high-fashion women’s retail store in downtown Bir mingham for a long time. She closed it just before I

was born and, shortly after that, (she) got into market ing and opened an advertising and marketing firm.”

Cronin’s earliest school years were spent at Brook field Academy, a Montessori school in Troy. “And then my parents were trying to get me into Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, and you have to take all these tests and get on the waiting list,” she says.

That’s when the course of Cronin’s life dramati cally changed.

“There was a little blonde girl who was playing vio lin and she was taking lessons, and just that exposure was enough,” she says of her start at Cranbrook in the second grade. “I was like, I want to play that. And my mom was saying, ‘Oh God, here we go, you’re already taking piano lessons. Now, you want a violin.’ So, yeah, I got a violin. I think I was 6 or 7 at the time.”

Cronin’s obsession with the instrument began immediately. Her mother, Annemarie, confirms that some days, her daughter practiced for as many as 13 hours — but not necessarily on the conventional, staid pieces Cranbrook’s strings program was focused on.

“I remember my parents bought me this big ampli fier when I finally figured out how to use a pickup on my violin,” Cronin says, laughing at the memory. “I’d go out in the backyard and practice for hours with this amp, and the neighbors would be screaming, ‘Shut up, we’re so sick of you practicing. Go inside or play in the street, like a normal kid.’ But I never really wanted to go out and play in the street like the other kids.”

By the time Cronin graduated from Cranbrook and enrolled at the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she’d already stretched the versatility of her instru ment far beyond its traditional range.

“I always had an interest in other types of music, and I always felt like I would get to a point of learning a piece and think, Wait, I feel like there’s something else I want to do with this, and (I’d) experiment with it,” she says. “I remember even before all the good music technology, I would sit in my room and make photo copies of Beethoven and Mozart piano pieces and match them up with Garage Band rock, and so on.”

At U-M, Cronin was intent on focusing on a fulltime career as a musician.

“Everyone was telling me it was going to be impos sible to have a career in music, so I planned on going to law school,” she says. “I remember an adviser saying, ‘Economics is a great major to help you perform well on the LSAT,’ so I did that and loved it. And I thought, All right, this is it, I’m going to do both music and eco nomics, and at the end of it all, I’m going to leave this music thing behind and apply to law school.”

During her pursuit of seemingly incongruous undergraduate dual degrees in violin performance and economics, Cronin got the first big break of her life

STRING SESSIONS Siobhán Cronin and Starset perform in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2019 at a sold-out performance from the band’s world tour.
68 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Exec Life

— a call to perform with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the progressive rock band that’s also one of the top acts in the world (since its founding 25 years ago, TSO has played to more than 100 million people in nearly 100 cities).

“I played a gig with somebody that was contracting the strings for (TSO), and I guess I had kind of the look and the charisma and energy of what they were looking for,” she says. “They do this big kind of immersive concert — some original stuff with metal guitars and a big drum kit, but they also incorporate classical things like their own remixes of Beethoven and Mozart, but mixed with shreddy metal guitars and bass.

“I was so amazed when I stepped on stage and I’m like, Oh my God, there’s 30,000 people coming to the show. I got hired to do a whole bunch of shows, and ended up getting the position of string leader for a lot of the Midwestern and East Coast dates.”

It was exciting stuff for Cronin, but not so much for her music professors and fellow student musicians at U-M. “I was getting in trouble with the orchestra because I was skipping all the time and missing rehearsals,” she laughs.

The violinist seemed to be well on her way to the career she’d dreamed of, but after graduation she was still compelled to hedge her bet.

“I did take some job interviews,” she allows. “I remember I was flown to New York City to interview for Morgan Stanley, and I felt physically ill when I went in for it. It’s not that anyone was mean or anything. Everyone was very nice, and it was a great interview, but I just felt something (didn’t) feel right about it.”

During the summer following graduation, Cronin did an internship at a prominent law firm in Chicago. “They offered me a full-time job,” she says. “They told me, ‘If you don’t want to go to law school right away, stay, you can be a project assistant and work with the attorneys and then apply to law school.’ ”


1. TROY, MICH. Siobhán Cronin grew up in Troy and attended Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

2. MIAMI, FLA. Following the completion of her studies, Cronin moved to Miami and looked for opportunities to perform with diverse musical acts.

Cronin was on the verge of accepting the position when she got another fateful call — this one from the U-M School of Music.

“They said, ‘If you want to come back and continue music, we’ll give you a fellowship.’ Basically, it was a full scholarship for a two-year master’s degree, and with a beautiful instrument to play. I remember I called my mom, and she was like, go for the music, you can always go back for those other kinds of jobs.”

Cronin earned her master’s degree in violin and viola performance — “the viola is what’s in between a violin and a cello,” she explains. Finally, feeling secure enough to wholly commit to music as a career, she jumped in her car and, with only a few hundred dol lars to her name, she drove directly to Miami.


“It was blowing up,” she asserts. “Art Basel was coming to Miami. There was a mix of Latin music. There was a big DJ scene — not a ton of rock music, actually, but a lot of big shows and a lot of events. I had done a lot of piecemeal private stuff around Detroit, and I figured if there’s a place where I can do what I want and have absolutely no judgment, Miami is it, because you can try anything and there will be an

2 1 January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 69 Exec Life


Cronin performs with Starset at the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., last November. Below, Cronin and the band rehearse in front of fans.

audience for it.”

Once the word got around that Cronin was in town, it didn’t take long before she was sought after. “Within a couple of weeks, people would find me and ask me to play different events, and then I got asked to play in the Miami Symphony,” she says. “I got asked to play with DJs and just about anything that required strong classical chops, but (I was) also able to do electronic stuff.”

In early 2017, several years after Cronin settled in Miami, she got word that Starset, another well-known rock/metal band, was looking for a touring violinist. She was immediately intrigued.

“As much as I love the big shows, I always wanted to play with somebody that was a little bit more closeknit, and at the time that’s what it was,” Cronin explains. “It was a four-piece rock band, up-and-com ing, and they were kind of blowing up but still playing mid-sized venues. I was like, Sure, I’ll totally do this, and I jumped on board.”

She’s been with Starset ever since. In September 2020 she married Brock Richards, a guitarist with the band. Nowadays, when she’s not performing in venues around the world with Starset, she keeps adding names to the list of luminaries she’s appeared with — from Andrea Bocelli and Earth, Wind & Fire to Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, and Michael Bublé. And then there are her more obscure, serendipitous contribu tions that clearly captivate Cronin as much as those big shows. For instance, several years ago she was asked to “record some stems” for an unnamed project one of her colleagues in Miami was working on.

“And a while later,” she says, giggling, “he came back and said, ‘Oh, hey, I put you in the credits for the

The Queen’s Gambit.’ I was like, What? It became a big hit on Netflix, but I had no idea that what I recorded was going to turn into that, so it was super cool.”

In addition to her busy schedule, Cronin stays con nected to her Detroit roots by squeezing in the time to write and perform the original music, as well as the

commercial spots, for the radio show her mother, Annemarie, hosts on WJR-AM in Detroit.

When she’s available, Cronin even flies in or is available via Skype to co-host the station’s Cronin Medical Hour on Thursday evenings with her mom, sharing with the listeners the attitude and perspective she’s endorsed since she was a little girl.

“I feel like my passion in life is to prove to people that you can do anything,” she says, emphatically. “Life is just too short, and you have to be willing to take risks. And that’s really, really hard because you have to listen to a lot of people who will tell you it’s not possi ble or that you’re going to fail, and that applies to everything, not just music. But if you can do some thing really well, and you truly believe in doing it, you just kind of have to find your passion.

“For a long time,” she continues, “I tried to pretend I was going to be an orchestra player and I would (work hard) over those excerpts and hope my teacher would give me the gold star and say, ‘Good job.’ ”

Here, Cronin pauses for a beat. “But I was con stantly breaking the rules, and it worked out.”

Exec Life 70 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

Need For Speed

Dynamic Machine in Troy is helping to overcome a shortage of skilled workers.

Twenty years ago, Greg Sandler was work ing in the local machine tooling sector when his employer cut sales commissions across the board. Rather than accept a pay reduction, Sandler decided to pivot and develop a more sustainable enterprise in the fast-growing auto mation industry.

“My business partner, Vince Mileto, and I met at an Applebee’s in Woodhaven and put a business plan together that would create a service model for our future customers, not just sell them machines,” says Sandler, partner of Dynamic Machine in Troy. “We sell the machines, but we also program a client’s buildable parts, train their people, and service and maintain the machines.”

Sandler readily admits larger machine purveyors provide similar services, but he maintains his firm’s offering of “big company services with a small com pany feel” has attracted a steady share of automation operators. Dynamic Machine, which has 49 employ ees, sold close to 300 machines in 2021 at a cost rang ing from $150,000 to more than $1 million, up from


Greg Sandler and Vince Mileto launched Dynamic Machine in 2001. The Troy headquarters includes multiple machines from global tooling giants.

225 units in 2020 and 150 units the year prior.

To drive growth over the past two decades, the company expanded to the west side of Michigan — in Byron Center, south of Grand Rapids — and in Canada, where it services the Ontario and Quebec markets. The Troy headquarters, mean while, works across southeast Michigan, and parts of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

During a recent tour of the Troy facility, which spans 25,000 square feet of space, Sandler showed off an array of machines that are the workhorses of the manufac turing sector. The units, which can grind, shape, sort, and transfer metal parts, are either sourced from Europe (mostly Germany) or southeast Asia, particularly South Korea or Taiwan. Brand names include Miyano, Fuji, Chiron, Liebherr, Accuway, Enshu, and more.

“All the specialty machine tools come from overseas, as the U.S. market was

72 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Exec Life PRODUCTION RUN



impacted by lower costs for real estate, labor, and parts,” Sandler says. “Now we’re seeing more reshoring, as the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that became effective in July 2020) requires more locally-sourced parts from North America.

“Companies are trying to figure out how to make parts here with the least amount of labor while being cost-effective. That’s certainly helped our business, and we see strong growth for the next few years to come. The good news is the machines and robots we sell and service are becoming much more adept.”

According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor, robot orders were up 67 percent in the second quarter of 2021 (the latest figures available) compared to the same period in 2020, showing a return to pre-COVID-19 demand for precision parts as manufacturers and others return to work. North American companies ordered 9,853 robots

don’t call in sick.”

While robots have come under attack from labor unions and others for taking jobs from humans — repeated tasks like manning a deep fat fryer can be dangerous — they boost safety. Automation, in turn, drives the need for more skilled positions, which has been a boon for higher education and advanced train ing providers.

Asked about future challenges in the machine industry, Sandler says he’s concerned about inflation and supply chain slowdowns, along with the potential for rising interest rates.

“There’s education, as well,” he says. “America has fallen behind in our industry and we should (reinstall)


valued at $501 million in the second quarter.


“With the big increases in automation sales and favorable economic conditions in the U.S. manufacturing sector throughout much of 2021, it’s clear users have accelerated their orders for robotics and other forms of advanced technologies,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “While compa nies have long realized that automation increases efficiencies, expands pro duction, and empowers human employees to do more valuable tasks, the pandemic helped even more industries realize those benefits.”

The growth came from an array of compa nies that produce components for passenger and cargo vehicles, heavy equipment, aircraft, appliances, food products, consumer goods, and more. In the biomedical field, meanwhile, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor recently received a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Health to develop a new type of powered exoskeleton for lower limbs. The powered exoskeleton is an effort to bring robotic assistance to workers, the elderly, and others with disabilities.

“The revitalization of automation we’re seeing across myriad industries is extremely encouraging,” Burnstein says. “Not only will the increase in automation use be a win for our member companies, but it will also help the U.S. economy grow even more as customers increase produc tivity and fill the millions of manufacturing jobs that remain unfulfilled.”



Another growth sector comes from the recent introduction of collaborative robots, or cobots, where humans work side by side with an automated machine. The latest single-arm robots are highly sophisticated and have a dexterity humans can’t match.


Dynamic Machine is experiencing rising orders for cobots, also known as collaborative robots. The machines are designed to work with humans to speed production and boost safety.

“When you work next to a robot, the sen sors inside boost productivity because they can take a geared part and fit it into another geared part much faster than a human,” Sandler says. “The dexterity at speed is unbelievable. Plus, robots never get tired, they can work around the clock with minimal supervision, and they

the machine shops in high schools that were pulled out for budgetary reasons. We need to create more apprenticeship programs, too. Apprentice training programs can be hard for businesses to afford, so that’s an opportunity for community colleges and technical schools.”

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 73 Exec Life 49 employees at Dynamic Machine 67% rise in robot orders in North America in Q2 2020
automated tooling units Dynamic Machine sold in 2020
top-end price of automated tooling machines
Association for Advancing Automation

The Mighty Middle

In a world where business headlines are dominated by small-business unicorns or mega-billion IPOs, what is often overlooked is the unsung superhero of Michigan’s economy: The Mighty Middle Market.

The middle market is a broad industry term that describes middle-sized businesses that have revenue between $10 million and $1 billion. Although far less recog nized in comparison to their small and large corpo rate counterparts, these businesses are a financial colossus worthy of a starring role in a Stan Lee comic book.

Middle market companies generate more than

continued through the pandemic. A report released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics in November 2021 showed Michigan was a top 5 state in year-over-year job creation. This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering almost one-third of all workers in southeast Michi gan are employed by a middle-sized business.

During recent conversations I’ve had with my middle market clients, I’ve heard a similar message: While remarkably tough, these companies aren’t

to qualify for SBA-subsidized loans, mid-sized busi nesses have, for years, struggled to secure commer cial financing for their companies. Many middle market lenders often require personal guarantees from business owners and typically charge higher interest rates.

This must improve. As mid-sized companies evolve their operations to confront yet another year of COVID-19 disruptions, access to affordable and consistent lending — from both public and private sources — will be more crucial than ever.

one-third of our GDP, even though they make up 1 per cent of all American businesses. These firms employ more than a quarter of America’s workforce and, even more impressive, they’ve created more than half of all U.S. jobs since 2008. Think about this: If U.S. mid-mar ket businesses were a country, it would be the third-largest economy in the world.

If their giant contribution to America’s GDP wasn’t impressive enough, these companies are among the most resilient employers in our economy. Look no further than the recent nemesis of COVID-19. Data collected by the National Center for the Middle Mar ket (NCMM) showed that the average mid-sized busi ness reported a pandemic-induced employment decline of 2.2 percent. The result may be disappoint ing at first glance, but not in comparison to other business sectors. In 2020, on average, small businesses with less than 50 employees reduced their workforce by 5.1 percent, and large public companies cut staff by 8.2 percent.

As much as the middle market is an American suc cess story, it’s a tale unique to Michigan, and the Motor City has been its main protagonist. Since the Great Recession in 2008, Detroit has ranked in the top 10 for middle-sized firms, while Michigan has been a nationwide leader for middle market business growth. This has had a tremendous impact on our regional economy, with very quantifiable results.

In 2009, our state had the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Fast-forward to spring 2020, and Michigan’s jobless rate was at a multi-decade low largely driven by strong middle market investment and hiring — and this employment trend has

invincible, and they currently face many powerful economic villains. According to the NCMM, less than half of mid-sized companies have returned to reve nue growth, and 21 percent of these businesses still continue to lose revenue. Top concerns for middle market leaders? Ongoing pandemic impacts to operations, hiring and retaining staff, govern ment regulations, and surging costs.

Although these capital-intensive threats are well known across American companies of all sizes, many middle market firms often find themselves — like the Lone Ranger — navigating these challenges very much on their own.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has been a significant ally to small companies for nearly 70 years. Federally mandated to “provide capital, expertise, and a voice,” governmental policy has long focused on the needs of small business owners. The same has not been true for mid-market companies. In fact, the recent Payroll Protection Program, a $1 trillion SBA initiative, funded the paychecks of millions of Ameri can workers through COVID-19 but was designed with employee limits that specifically disqualified many mid-sized companies from participating.

Not large enough to attract Wall Street interest and not small enough

Clark Kent and the Mighty Middle Market have this in common: They are unrecognized and largely unappreciated. If Michigan is to continue its eco nomic comeback, more must be done by lawmakers, the leaders of our state, and our business community to support mid-sized companies and the millions of employees who work for them.

It’s time we unmask our middle mar ket businesses — along with the entrepreneurs who lead them — and understand, embrace, and promote their remarkable con tribution to our region. With so much of our success sitting on the shoulders of so few, these are the economic super heroes we all need to be cheering for.

Co-founder of the Pine Harbor Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Bloomfield Hills, which advises on nearly $1.3 billion of client assets. He also is a past chairman of the Detroit chapter of the Association of Corporate Growth.
74 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022 Exec Life OPINION



The French American Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2021 Gala and Awards Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Daxton Hotel in downtown Birmingham. The event, which drew more than 180 people, featured networking, champagne, fine dining from Madam Chef Garrison Price, a silent auction, recognitions, and more. Mark Stewart, COO of Stellantis North America in Auburn Hills, was honored for the merger between FCA and PSA in January 2021 into Stellantis.

1. Malcolm and Debra Collins, Nick Marentette

Anna Heaton, Elizabeth Weir, Nicholas Payne, Tracey Alyssa

Chad and Lynn Johnson

Paul and Janann Hoge

Colleen and Norm Scherb, Sarah Scherb



The Dynami Foundation hosted its sixth annual Uncork for a Cure event on Friday, Nov. 12, at Cauley Ferrari in West Bloomfield Township. Guests enjoyed fine wines and dishes prepared by chefs from area restaurants, including Grey Ghost, SheWolf, Mabel Gray, Bacco, Casa Pernoi, Apparatus Room, and Motor City Seafood. Proceeds from the fundraising efforts go to breast cancer research, survivorship, patient outreach, and education.

6. John and Flora Migyanka, Amy and Jeff Marentic

Marcie Wheeler, Amy Hiltz, Sara Ruhland, Deborah Fishaw-Venegas, Amy Marentic, Bindy Dhaliwaz

Dan Glisky, Christel Gaillard

Brandon Smith, Ursula Mullen, Adrienne Volk

Aaron Brooks, Lindsey Glasson



The American Cancer Society hosted its Detroit Discovery Ball on Friday, Nov. 12, at Eastern Market in Detroit. The event drew around 300 people and raised more than $500,000 for cancer research, advocacy, patient programs, and services. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, live music, and a strolling dinner. There also were 20 grants funded by ACS representing $14 million in research in Michigan. The event was sponsored by Huntington Bank and Lineage Logistics.

11. Paul Glomski, Matt Cullen

Ellie Duvall, Tom Klein, Doug and Marcie Apple

Angela Stacy, Wayne White

Deborah Wahl, Pat Hultman

Sandy and Michael Hermanoff

12 34 5 67 89 10 1112 1314 15



The Chaldean Community Foundation hosted its third annual Awards Gala on Nov. 11 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. The event, which drew nearly 650 guests, honored Ascension Health, Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System, and McLaren Health Care with the Humanitarian of the Year Award. Wild Bill’s Tobacco and its CEO, Mike Samona, received the Philanthropist of the Year Award, and $61,000 in scholarships were given to 24 recipients to assist with escalating education costs.

1. Hon. Hala Garbou, Cheyene Garbou, Frank Garbou

2. Stephanie Yaldo-Sheena, Hon. Andy Levin, Yara Shadda

3. Zack and Gina Aboona

4. Hon. David Viviano, Mary Ann and Mike Sarafa

5. Jeff and Vivian Denha




DesignConnect, a nonprofit organization that pairs creative mentors with students from the Detroit Public Schools Community District to help prepare them for college, hosted Dress for 2050, a gala benefiting Detroit youth, on Nov. 13 at the College for Creative Studies’ Taubman Center in Detroit’s New Center. The futuristic fashion gala featured a strolling dinner, a fashion contest, auctions, raffles, and a live performance. Creative work done by Detroit high school students who participate in DesignConnect programs was on display, as well as work by CCS students.

11. Eumyoung Park, Yuni Lang, Christine Cheng, Rita Chue

Lisa Bouchard, Doris Giles, Don Manville, Vivian Pickard

Janan and Daniel Darancou

Craig Metro, Paul Snyder

Nancy and Bud Liebler, Molly Beauregard



The German American Business Council of Michigan hosted its annual fall dinner on Nov. 17 at the Detroit Athletic Club in downtown Detroit. The event, attended by VIP guests from government and industry, focused on how Michigan can work together — with unique automotive, cultural, and economic ties to Germany — to advance the movement of people, goods, and services in the state. The event was sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corp., Delta Airlines, and Brose.

6. Arnd Herwig, Maureen Donohue Krauss, Vlatko Tomic-Bobas, Quentin L. Messer Jr.

Ingrid Tighe, Raina Porter, Elizabeth Weir, Drew Coleman

Ann and Richard Lemke

Birgit and Werner Eckardt, Wiebke Engel

Jochen Schmidt, Werner Beermann, Ray Sculde

12 34 5 67
10 1112 1314 15 Exec Life 76 DBUSINESS || JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2022



The RIM Foundation hosted its annual Go Beyond Gala on Nov. 12 at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit. The annual event raises money to help the foundation make a significant, lasting, and positive impact on people who have life-altering disabilities. The evening gathering, which drew more than 500 people, featured cocktails, a silent auction, and dinner, along with the honoring of three individuals with disabilities who the organization said are going “Beyond Impossible.”

1. Taylor Ross, Alyssa Redowte, Linda McKinney, Jason Wallace

Shawny DeBerry, Beverly Watts, Byron Pitts, Ruth Carter

Barbara Lee, Kim Hobson

Bobby Nahra, Mark Davis, Barron Meade

Torre, Tim Grover



Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs hosted a celebration of Michigan’s current and former military personnel on Nov. 13 at Andiamo in Warren. The event featured networking, a silent auction, and a dinner, along with a meet and greet with service dog recipients. The event raised funds and awareness for the organization’s service dogs, which assist veterans struggling with illnesses and ailments such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorder, mobility issues, and more.

6. Paul Curtis, Ron Lamparter, Melissa and Darren Werner

Mary Lamparter, Carol and Chris Borden

Allen and Madeleine Phillips

Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Lemoyne Veney





The Parade Co. hosted the Hob Nobble Gobble presented by Ford on Nov. 19 at Ford Field in downtown Detroit. The black-tie event, which drew nearly 2,000 people, featured a gourmet dinner buffet along with a carnival midway with games and fare, a marching band, prizes, and photo sessions with Santa Claus. Each year, The Parade Co. hosts the annual event to raise money for America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner White.

Jon and Amanda Pinney, Julie and Brian Tretkorics

John, David, Elizabeth, and Marcy Fikany

Sylvia and Ricardo Thomas

Mitchell Meier, Sophie Smith, Paul W. Smith

Tammy Carnrike, Guliana Granata, Terra Granata

2. Dr.
4. Chef
5. Frank
and Kimberly
12 34 5 67 89 10 1112 1314 15 Exec Life JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 77


The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Detroit Chapter is a nonprofit business organization of professionals from corporations, lenders, and private equity firms that invest in middle-market companies. We also provide advisory services for accounting, investment banking, law, and other firms. Our professional and social development functions include networking opportunities and panel discussions. To learn more about the event calendar and how to become a member, please visit acg.org/detroit.


Please join us at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is a great way to kick off the new year by meeting with business professionals and community leaders. City of Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel will serve as the keynote speaker, acknowledging accomplishments from 2021 and presenting initiatives in 2022 for this dynamic Michigan city. Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce 2021 board chair, Deborah Burton, CPA, partner at Plante Moran, will share innovative experiences as well as introduce our next chair, Gary Neumann, general manager of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, and the 2022 board of directors. The ILEAD class of 2021 will also be announced and recognized. To attend, become an exhibitor, or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, call 248-853-7862 or visit auburnhillschamber.com.


Join KIDSgala, a David C. McKnight foundation, for its seventh annual fundraiser. This nonprofit organization, created in memory of Nicole Marie Burton, provides gifted celebrations for children who experience life-altering disabilities and illnesses. We are dedicated to bringing joy among children and their families in a unique way, tailored for their specific needs. Our fabulous event will be held at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Guests will enjoy the exquisite customized decor showcased by Emerald City Designs. There will be a hosted bar to accompany the gourmet cuisine. The evening’s emcee is Fox 2 News anchor Jay Towers, with entertainment by Jared Sykes. Features include 52-card raffles (win a lease on new Cadillac and more), silent auctions, as well as an exhibition of vacations, which will be available for purchase. Please visit kidsgala.org for admission, attire, and sponsorship details.


Our fourth annual State Bar of Michigan Business Law Symposium will be held in person at The Detroit Club on Thursday, Jan. 20, from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It also will be accessible for virtual attendees via livestream. Please join us, as this year’s function will feature 40 presenters, with dialogue on the business of law firms. The format will consist of lectures, roundtable discussions, and guest participation. All venue amenities will be available, which includes a cigar lounge, as well as an open bar and strolling dinner throughout the event. To learn more about the program, registration, and/or sponsorships, visit bizsymposium.com.

EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES SPONSORED BY DBUSINESS Dan and Amy Loepp, Eric Larson Nikolai Vitti, Misha Stallworth West, and Rachel Vitti Melissa and Kenneth Gardener, Trisha Stein, and Brianna Ellison The Downtown Detroit Partnership hosted its 37th annual Detroit Aglow dinner on Monday, Nov. 22, at MGM Grand Detroit. The event, which drew more than 400 people, raised funds for DDP’s core programs and initiatives. Photos by Patrick Gloria
To find out about more DBusiness sponsored events and see photos from those events visit DBUSINESS.COM


Detroit: The Tech Hub of the Midwest

Gem Theatre | 333 Madison Street, Detroit


President Regional Corporate Center General Counsel North AmericaWE CONGRATULATE


for being recognized as one of the top corporate counsels for the second year in a row.

President Regional Corporate Center Regional Representative General Counsel North America


For being recognized as one of the top corporate counsels for the second year in a row.


for being recognized as one of the top corporate counsels for the second year in a row.

Tickets $65 | DBusiness.com Breakfast Series
to Bryant M. Frank, Secretary and Senior Counsel at Soave Enterprises on being selected as a DBusiness Top Corporate Counsel Award Recipient for 2022! 3400 East Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48207 (313) 567-7000 CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations to the winners!

Senior Intellectual Property Counsel

Miyuki Oshima Corporate Counsel Compliance, Labor & Employment

Thank you to the incredibly hard-working members of our Legal team, whose excellence is recognized in the 2022 Top Corporate Counsel Awards. Your efforts continue to drive BorgWarner toward an innovative and sustainable future.

Eric Doyle


choicehotels.com Rooms: 154 Meeting Rooms: Yes Dining: Italian restaurant Meeting Capacity: NA Amenities: Rooftop lounge, free Wi-Fi, fitness center, sauna, valet parking, sundry shop, convenience store, banquet rooms, sun deck, EV charging station, copy/fax machine, business center



615 East Huron St. Ann Arbor 734-769-2200 graduateannarbor.com Rooms: 204

Meeting Rooms: 6

Dining: The Allen Rumsey Supper Club, Poindexter

Meeting Capacity: 8,809 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly; event planners; catering; fitness center; complimentary pass to nearby recreation building for racquetball, basketball, weight-lifting; complimentary Wi-F; Olympic-size pool; bicycle rental



298 S. Old Woodward Ave. Birmingham 248-283-4200

daxtonhotel.com Rooms: 151

Meeting Rooms: 8

Dining: Madam

Meeting Capacity: 8,490 sq. ft.

Amenities: Lobby bar, more than 400 pieces of art curated by Saatchi Art, fitness center, terraces, pantries, mechanical horse, valet parking, complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry and dry cleaning, bedside wireless charging pads, pet-friendly


100 Townsend St. Birmingham 248-642-7900

townsendhotel.com Rooms: 150

Meeting Rooms: 8

Dining: Rugby Grille, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, bakery items to go

Meeting Capacity: 12,825 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, Bose radios, Homedic sound machines, Nespresso machines in every room, ATM/banking, complimentary newspapers, event catering, fitness center, concierge services, multilingual staff, seasonal outdoor seating offered by Rugby Grille, pet-friendly, wedding services


39475 Woodward Ave. Bloomfield Hills

studio, faxing/copying/printing services


Renaissance Center 400 Renaissance Dr. Detroit 313-568-8000 marriott.com Rooms: 1,328

Meeting Rooms: 38


doubletreebloomfieldhills.com Rooms: 144

Meeting Rooms: 5

Dining: Zalman’s Delicatessen, The Duke Lounge, Joe Muer Seafood

Meeting Capacity: 11,313 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, RFID card or smartphone door locks, in-room laptop safes, complimentary Wi-Fi, courtyard, flat-screen HDTVs, premium cable, coffeemaker with Starbucks coffee refilled daily, 24-hour fitness facility, on-site business center, shuttle service, valet and self-park, indoor saltwater pool


DEARBORN INN 20301 Oakwood Blvd. Dearborn 313-271-2700 marriott.com

Rooms: 230

Meeting Rooms: 12

Dining: Edison’s, Ten Eyck Tavern, room service

Meeting Capacity: 17,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, messenger service, notary public, overnight delivery/pickup, seasonal outdoor pool, fitness center, barber, beauty shop, coffee/tea in room, valet dry cleaning


Fairlane Plaza

300 Town Center Dr. Dearborn 313-441-2000 behenry.com

Rooms: 308

Meeting Rooms: 13

Dining: TRIA, 24-hour room service

Meeting Capacity: 26,295 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, fitness center, indoor pool with whirlpool, concierge services, wedding accommodations, notary public, AV equipment, pet-friendly



1 Park Ave.

Detroit 313-237-1700 marriott.com

Rooms: 136

Meeting Rooms: 5

Dining: WXYZ Bar

Meeting Capacity: 10,262 sq. ft.

Amenities: WXYZ Bar, fitness center,

pet-friendly, complimentary Wi-Fi, valet parking, beauty shop, barber, on-site laundry and dry cleaning, car rental, coffee/tea in-room, concierge


1000 Brush Ave. Detroit 313-962-2323 atheneumsuites.com

Rooms: 173

Meeting Rooms: 7

Dining: Fishbone’s Rhythm Kitchen Café, Pegasus Taverna, A-Bar, 24-hour room service

Meeting Capacity: 6,266 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, wedding accommodations, hotel shuttle service, health and fitness facil ities, catering services, massage by appointment, barber shop, valet parking, fax/copy/printing services


600 W. Lafayette Blvd. Detroit 313-733-0300

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT 333 E. Jefferson Ave. Detroit 313-222-7700 marriott.com Rooms: 260

Meeting Rooms: 7

Dining: Applebee’s, IHOP Express Meeting Capacity: 6,468 sq. ft. Amenities: Business center, fitness center, Wi-Fi, pool, AV equipment, LCD projector, copy/fax service, car rental, barber, laundry on-site, beauty shop

DETROIT FOUNDATION HOTEL 250 W. Larned St. Detroit 313-800-5500 detroitfoundationhotel.com

Rooms: 100

Meeting Rooms: 2 Dining: The Apparatus Room

Meeting Capacity: 2,723 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly, fifth-floor event space, complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour fitness center, same-day laundry and dry cleaning, complimentary Detroit Bikes rental, pet-friendly, ice delivery, podcast

Dining: Starbucks, Volt, Motor City Pantry

Meeting Capacity: 96,104 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, overnight delivery/pickup, secretarial services, translator, on-site car rental, fitness center, coffee/tea in room, barber, concierge, laundry on-site, beauty shop, valet dry cleaning

525 W. Lafayette Blvd. Detroit 313-963-5600 doubletree3.hilton.com Rooms: 203 Meeting Rooms: 19

Dining: Motor City Kitchen and Round Bar, room service

Meeting Capacity: 18.,535 sq. ft.

Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, business-friendly, complimentary coffee/tea, audio/visual equipment rental, 24-hour business center, complimentary printing service, express mail, secretarial services, video conferencing, catering menus, fitness center

ELEMENT DETROIT AT THE METROPOLITAN 33 John R St. Detroit 313-306-2400, ext. 0 marriott.com Rooms: 110 Meeting Rooms: 3 Dining: Monarch Club Meeting Capacity: 2,817 sq. ft. Amenities: Coffee in lobby, coin laundry on-site, fitness center, car rental, pet-friendly, in-room kitchens, complimentary Wi-Fi, valet dry cleaning

FORT PONTCHARTRAIN, A WYNDAM HOTEL (FORMERLY CROWNE PLAZA) 2 Washington Blvd. Detroit 313-965-0200 https://hotelpontchartrain.com/ Rooms: 367 Meeting Rooms: 13 Dining: Tabacchi Lounge Café, Urban Cellars

Meeting Capacity: 32,000 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly, wedding accommodations, pool, spa, sauna, fitness center, catering services, business center, valet, short walk to TCF Center, valet laundry service, same-day dry cleaning

GREEKTOWN CASINO-HOTEL 555 E. Lafayette Blvd. Detroit 313-223-2999 greektowncasino.com Rooms: 400 Meeting Rooms: 11

From the Top 82 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

Casino Tables: 61

Poker Tables: 13

Dining: Bistro 555, Monroe Market, Noodle Art, PRISM, Stack’d

Meeting Capacity: 20,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business center, fitness center, valet, in-room dining, wireless internet, state-of-the-art meeting/ audio/visual equipment, concierge services

351 Gratiot Ave. Detroit 313-967-0900 hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com

Rooms: 198

Meeting Rooms: 6

Dining: The Chrome Bar and Grille, The Garden Grille and Bar, room service

Meeting Capacity: 3,456 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, audio/ visual equipment rental, complimentary printing service, gift shop, express mail services, ATM machine, wedding accommodations, multilingual staff, secretarial services, fitness center, pool


1777 Third St. Detroit 877-888-2121 mgmgranddetroit.com Rooms: 400

Meeting Rooms: Grand Ballroom, 3 meeting rooms, 2 executive board rooms

Casino Tables: 160 Slots: 2,800

Dining: D.PRIME Steakhouse, Tap at MGM Grand Detroit, Breeze Dining Court, Topgolf Swing Suite, The Roasted Bean, room service

Meeting Capacity: 30,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, built-in video and teleconferencing services, fitness center, indoor pool, distinct lounges, meeting and event planning, concierge service, shoe-shine, hotel retail store, IMMERSE spa, AXIS Lounge, BetMGM Sports Lounge


2901 Grand River Ave. Detroit 866-752-9622

motorcitycasino.com Rooms: 400

Meeting Rooms: 14

Casino Tables: 59

Dining: Assembly Line, Grand River Deli, Little Caesars, Lodge Diner, Pit Stop, Sweet Ride, room service

Meeting Capacity: 67,500 sq. ft., including 17,856-sq.-ft. Grand Ballroom Amenities: Business-friendly, complimentary printing, 24-hour fitness center, concierge services, wedding accommodations


1000 River Place Dr. Detroit 313-259-9500 detroitriverwalkhotel.com

Rooms: 106

Meeting Rooms: Yes

Dining: Roberts Bistro

Meeting Capacity: 12,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: River views, business center, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, high-speed Wi-Fi, parking


1400 Woodward Ave. Detroit 313-356-1400 shinolahotel.com Rooms: 129

Meeting Rooms: 5

Dining: Penny Reds, San Morello, The Brakeman, Evening bar

Meeting Capacity: 22,205 sq. ft.

Amenities: Wi-Fi, Parker’s Alley shopping, HDTV, fitness center, pet-friendly, mini bars, Shinola turntables and record library in select rooms

THE INN @ 97 WINDER 97 Winder St. Detroit 313-832-4348 theinnat97winder.com

Rooms: 10

Meeting Rooms: NA

Dining: None on-site Meeting Capacity: NA Amenities: Continental breakfast, antique furnishings, spa, private fenced parking, European-style garden and walkways, high-speed Wi-Fi

THE SIREN HOTEL 1509 Broadway St. Detroit 313-277-4736 thesirenhotel.com Rooms: 106

Meeting Rooms: NA

Dining: The Siren Café, Karl’s, Candy Bar, Albena

Meeting Capacity: NA

Amenities: Social Club Grooming, Sid Gold’s Request Room, The Siren Shop


CADILLAC DETROIT 1114 Washington Blvd. Detroit 313-442-1600 marriott.com Rooms: 453

Meeting Rooms: 20

Dining: Michael Symon’s Roast, 24 Grille, The Boulevard Room, The Motor Bar, Starbucks Reserve Café Meeting Capacity: 35,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: Meeting and catering services, wedding specialist, audio/ visual and production services, video conferencing, Service Express, concierge desk, WestinWorkout Studio, heated pool and spa, Spa Book

Cadillac, complimentary daily national newspaper, laundry/dry cleaning, shoe-shine, luggage storage, in-room iPod docking station, high-speed internet



DELTA HOTELS DETROIT NOVI 37529 Grand River Ave. Farmington Hills 248-653-6060 delta-hotels.marriott.com

Rooms: 139

Meeting Rooms: 3

Dining: Founders Tavern Meeting Capacity: 4,284 sq. ft. Amenities: Indoor pool, fitness center, free Wi-Fi, coffee shop


DETROIT MARRIOTT LIVONIA 17100 Laurel Park Dr. North Livonia 734-462-3100 marriott.com Rooms: 221

Meeting Rooms: 5 Dining: FINS Kitchen and Bar Meeting Capacity: 5,769 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly, pet-friendly, coffee in the lobby, indoor pool and whirlpool, concierge services, 70+ retailers and restaurants (hotel is attached to Laurel Park Place Mall), fitness center, overnight delivery/pickup, wedding accommodations, post/parcel services



thebaronette.com Rooms: 155

Meeting Rooms: 7 Dining: Toasted Oak Grill & Market, room service Meeting Capacity: 8,213 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly; data port in each room; concierge services; ATM; outdoor garden terrace; wedding accommodations; barber and beauty salon; near Twelve Oaks Mall, West Oaks, and Fountain Walk


THE INN AT ST. JOHN’S 44045 Five Mile Rd. Plymouth 734-414-0600 stjohnsgolfconference.com Rooms: 118

Meeting Rooms: 22 Dining: 5ive Steakhouse, The Burger Loft Meeting Capacity: 48,000 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly, new 18-hole championship golf course, par-3 course, golf center coming in 2023, heated driving range and retail outlet at Carl’s Golfland, fitness center, complimentary weekday newspaper, Jacuzzi, wedding accommodations, chapel, food and beverage services, indoor pool with waterfall, bubble lounge



Pontiac 248-253-9800 marriott.com Rooms: 290 Meeting Rooms: 13 Dining: Woodward’s, Starbucks, room service

Meeting Capacity: 23,283 sq. ft. Amenities: Business-friendly, messenger service, overnight delivery, translation services, wedding accommodations, indoor and outdoor pools, cocktail terrace, fitness center


ROYAL PARK HOTEL 600 East University Dr. Rochester 248-652-2600 royalparkhotel.net Rooms: 143

Meeting Rooms: 11 Dining: Park 600, Royal Tea, seasonal outdoor seating on the terrace Meeting Capacity: 15,205 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, audio/ visual services, bicycle rental, wedding accommodations, seasonal fly-fishing equipment rental, putting green, 24-hour fitness center, concierge services, 16 miles of jogging trails, Travel Like a Local program



From the Top

marriott.com Rooms: 261 Meeting Rooms: 8

Dining: Delta Prime Steak House and Marilyn’s Lounge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Jyllian’s Bakery open for breakfast

Meeting Capacity: 7,825 sq. ft. Amenities: Airport shuttle, fitness center, indoor/outdoor pool, high-speed internet

THE WESTIN DETROIT METROPOLITAN AIRPORT 2501 Worldgateway Pl. Detroit 734-942-6500 westindetroitmetroairport.com Rooms: 404

Meeting Rooms: 35

Dining: Reflections Restaurant & Lounge, 24-hour room service

Meeting Capacity: 28,844 sq. ft.

Amenities: Lobby access to the McNamara Terminal’s 90 shops and services, perfect meeting location without leaving the airport, 24-hour shuttle service to the North Terminal, complimentary fitness center, indoor heated pool


CAMBRIA HOTEL DETROIT-SHELBY TOWNSHIP 50741 Corporate Dr. Shelby Township 586-473-0200 choicehotels.com Rooms: 98 Meeting Rooms: 1

January - February 2022 || DBUSINESS.COM 83

Dining: Verona – Inspired Italian

Meeting Capacity: 1,500 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business center, indoor heated pool, 24/7 fitness center



26555 Telegraph Rd. Southfield 248-356-7600 bestwestern.com Rooms: 206

Meeting Rooms: 9

Dining: Nomad Grill and Bar

Meeting Capacity: 40,000 sq. ft.

Amenities: Complimentary full breakfast, hot tub, exercise facility, wedding services, free Wi-Fi, 24-hour business center


27033 Northwestern Hwy. Southfield 248-356-7400 marriott.com Rooms: 226

Meeting Rooms: 4

Dining: Fire Iron Grill, Lobby Lounge, room service

Meeting Capacity: 4,283 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, overnight delivery/pickup, wedding accommodations, indoor pool, full-service bar, concierge services, fitness center


1500 Town Center Southfield 248-827-4000 westinsouthfielddetroit.com Rooms: 388

Meeting Rooms: 31

Dining: Jamocha’s Coffee Shop, Tango’s Restaurant, Level 1 Lounge, 24-hour room service

Meeting Capacity: 47,700 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, wedding accommodations, allergy-friendly rooms, concierge services, pet-friendly, indoor heated pool, whirlpool, fitness center


DETROIT MARRIOTT TROY 200 W Big Beaver Rd. Troy 248-680-9797


Rooms: 350

Meeting Rooms: 21

Dining: 200 West Restaurant and Lounge, room service

Meeting Capacity: 16,881 sq. ft.

Amenities: Business-friendly, catering, concierge lounge, indoor pool, safety deposit boxes, complimentary daily newspapers, shuttle within five-mile radius of hotel, post/parcel services, fitness center

Sources: DBusiness Research, AAA

BRYANT M. FRANK Soave Enterprises


Superior Industries International Inc.

KENNETH GOLD General Motors Co.


MICHAEL A. GRUSKIN General Motors Co.

JOHN D. GULLEN AAA - The Auto Club Group

GLORIA A. HAGE University of Michigan

JOHN P. HAMAMEH Class Valuation


BETH T. HILL FordDirect

WARREN HUNT Magna Exteriors




Flagstar Bank


University of Detroit Mercy


ITC Holdings Corp.


Rock Central


Kongsberg Automotive


Rock Central


DANIEL BYRNE Ford Motor Company



Oakland County — Indigent Defense Services Office


JUSTIN “J.P.” MORGAN Friedman Real Estate


LAURINE PARMELY Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

KEVIN M. PLUMSTEAD General Motors Co.


Lear Corp.


LINDA ROSS Trinity Health

ADAM RUBIN Shift Digital

MAUREEN T. SHANNON Rivian Automotive

ANNA INCH Carhartt Inc.

DAN ISRAEL Goldfish Swim School Franchising

KYLE M.H. JONES FCA US (Stellantis)

JOSH SHERBIN The Shyft Group

KIRSTEN SILWANOWICZ Great Lakes Water Authority


MGM Grand Detroit





Lear Corp.

DEBRA A. WALLING City of Dearborn

EDWARD A. WALTON Ameriprise Financial

ADAM WEST Altair Engineering Inc.

ADAM WOLFE United Wholesale Mortgage Holdings Corp. (UWMC)

MARLA ZWAS Truck Hero Inc.

* Selected by private attorneys in metro Detroit as part of DBusiness’ Top Lawyers annual peer-to-peer survey.


Mitsubishi HC Capital (USA.) Inc.

MARLA SCHWALLER CAREW Brose North America Inc.


BMTS Technology



Beaumont Health


CAVU International


General Motors Co.


TIM DEVINE Detroit Land Bank Authority


ITC Holdings Corp.

THOMAS DONO Stoneridge Inc.


BRIAN DOUGHTY Harman International

ERIC L. DOYLE BorgWarner Inc.

BOB EVANS Freudenberg North America


Phillips Service Industries Inc.

STEPHANIE JONES General Motors Co.

HARRY A. KEMP Lear Corp.

HOWARD KLAUSMEIER Ameriprise Financial

KILEY LEPAGE Compuware Corp.

LANCE LIS Inteva Products



MICHAEL SOCHA Ally Financial Inc.


JAMI STATHAM Nexteer Automotive Corp.



SATYAM TALATI Mahindra Automotive North America

From the Top 84 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022


Confidence comes with every card.

With 32 years of dedicated, passionate service to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, our senior vice president and general counsel, Laurine, is a constant source of leadership, vision and support.

We’re proud to share our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to 2022 Top Corporate Counsel Award winner Laurine Parmely!

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

Closing Bell

Deriding the Rails

When railroad service came to Michigan, pockets of resistance developed before “The Great Railway Conspiracy” of 1849-1851 got ugly.

John Pierce had some sheep that were killed on the Michigan Central Railroad’s tracks, so he sent a letter to a Marshall newspaper. “No heathen altar ever smoked more continually with the blood of its victims,” wrote Pierce, a preacher and Michigan’s first superintendent of public instruc tion. People along the whole line from Detroit who were losing cattle and other livestock held the railroad responsible. Violence should be expected, Pierce implied. But John Brooks, the railroad’s chief of opera tions, responded, “Tell that parson out there he’d bet ter stick to preaching.”

And so the battle line was drawn. The Detroit & St. Joseph Railroad was privately chartered in 1831, six years before Michigan’s statehood. It became instantly decrepit, with trains barely able to make 15 miles per hour. The state took over operations in 1837 and paid farmers full compensation for lost livestock, but after an investor group formed the Michigan Central Rail road Co. in 1846 and bought the railroad for $2 mil lion, Brooks said a cow was the farmer’s responsibility. He reduced the outlay for slaughtered farm animals to half-value.

Landowner Abel Fitch, of Michigan Center, and attorney Benjamin Burnett, of Grass Lake, initiated a campaign of active resistance. In Jackson County, trains that now maintained 30 miles per hour thanks to track improvements were attacked. People hurled rocks, placed obstacles, and jammed switches. Asked about gunfire in the night, a Michigan Center teamster admitted to his neighbor that, indeed, he’d pulled the


The first Michigan Central Railroad Depot operated along Third Street, between Fort Street and the Detroit River, from the 1840s until 1884, when a new station was built on the same site. The original structure included a passenger depot, center, and a freight terminal, left.

trigger: “Damn ’em, if they don’t want to be shot, let ’em pay for the cattle they’ve killed.”

Jackson County’s unique geography may have exacerbated the situation. “The Dry Marsh” east of Michigan Center had been an obstacle in foraging, but “the cat tle in the area, which had previously skirted the marsh, began to use the tracks as a convenient bridge, with disastrous results to themselves,” as Charles Hirschfeld wrote in his 1953 account, “The Great Railroad Conspiracy: The Social History of a Railroad War.”

For Michigan Central’s management, bad publicity was an obstacle in their vision of continuous travel from Buffalo to Chicago. They had finished the line all the way to Lake Michigan by 1849, and earnings reached $200,000 per year with strong dividends to investors. Yet the social situation worsened, so Brooks commis sioned spies to gather evidence.

Knowing as much, the farmers struck back. Ringleader Fitch, together with three others, paid $150 and supplied an incendiary device to George Washington Gay, a Detroit brothelkeeper formerly known as the “Whig Bully of City Hall.” On Nov. 18, 1850, he started the $140,000 fire that destroyed the railroad’s Third Street freight depot in downtown Detroit and its uninsured contents of flour and grain.

The next April, one train with a sheriff and deputies set out from Niles. Another like it set out from Detroit. Overnight, in Jackson County, they rounded up some 30 men who were taken to Detroit and jailed. Bail was set at $2 million for the bunch. “The R.R. folks think they have got us completely in their clutches and feel disposed to wrong us in every possible way,” Fitch wrote his wife from prison.

The case was rushed to trial and lasted 89 days. The defendants, now numbering 37, weren’t allowed to testify. During the proceedings, Gay, the arsonist, died of advanced syphilis, and Fitch, the mastermind, succumbed to dysentery. A dozen defendants were convicted and sentenced to as many as 10 years.

Burnett, who was acquitted, went home to Grass Lake and crusaded in his Public Sentiment newspaper. His effort led to reforms such as fencing the tracks, and from then on, people became less inclined to repeat his charge that the railroad was “an iron-armored slave-holding giant without any soul.”

86 DBUSINESS || January - February 2022

PENINSULA CAPITAL PARTNERS L.L.C. is a local firm that has used Detroit grit to establish a name for itself in the global private equity industry. Since its founding in 1995, Peninsula has raised seven investment partnerships totaling approximately $1.9 billion, each providing customized capital solutions to middle-market businesses seeking funding to complete acquisitions, support growth, buyback stock or address other special situations requiring junior capital. We pioneered the development of a new, more flexible investment approach in the private equity industry and are recognized as a leader in our market, earning us the patronage of major institutional investors both in the United States and Europe. Our unique investment approach combines elements of buyout, private debt and growth capital funds, allowing us the rare flexibility to craft tailored capital solutions for businesses, including both debt and equity, and either as a controlling or non-controlling investor. Since 1995, we have closed over 140 platform investments, about half of which have been in partnership with independent sponsor groups. Please keep us in mind the next time you require a junior capital provider; we’d love to share our Detroit perseverance to help make your deal a success.

LUXURY REAL ESTAT E . REDEFINE D. M: 248.302.3921 O: 248.289.0660 tushar@ tvahomes .com www.tusharvakhariya.com 210 S Old Woodward Ave Suite 200 | Birmingham MI 48009 | 6755 Telegraph Rd Suite 200 | Bloomfield Hills MI 48301 LUXURY REAL ESTAT E . REDEFINE D. M: 248.302.3921 O: 248.289.0660 tushar@ tvahomes .com www.tusharvakhariya.com 210 S Old Woodward Ave Suite 200 | Birmingham MI 48009 | 6755 Telegraph Rd Suite 200 | Bloomfield Hills MI 48301
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.