COVID-19 Update: Ford Names New Head of Sales for U.S. and Canada, GM to Convert Temporary Employees to Full-time Status, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Ford Names Frick as Head of U.S. and Canadian Sales
Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn has appointed Andrew Frick as vice president sales for the U.S. and Canada. He succeeds Mark LaNeve, who has elected to leave the company.

In this role, Frick will become an officer of the company and assume responsibility for sales, customer care, and dealer relations for the Ford brand in the U.S. and Canada. He will report to Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Americas and IMG.

A 25-year Ford veteran, Frick was director of U.S. sales, driving positive results in sales and market share. He also has experience across both Ford and Lincoln brands in regional roles in the U.S., Asia Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America.

“Andrew brings deep product knowledge, a passion for customers, excellent dealer relations, and a proven track record of results to the critical role of leading the sales organization in our largest market,” says Galhotra. “His leadership will be critical as Ford continues to turn around its automotive operations, especially with exciting new products and ever-improving quality, modernizing all aspects of the company and disrupting our conventional automotive businesses to better serve customers.”

Frick earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Villanova University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

LaNeve came to Ford in 2015 after leading the company’s marketing and advertising agency, Global Team Blue, where he was COO since August 2012. Prior to that, LaNeve was CEO of Volvo Cars of N.A., general manager of the Cadillac brand, then vice president, sales, service, and marketing at GM, followed by a three-year tenure as CMO and head of agency relationships at Allstate Insurance Co.

GM to Convert More than 650 U.S. Temporary Employees to Full-time Status
General Motors Co. in Detroit announced that more than 650 hourly employees at its sites in the U.S. will transition from temporary to regular full-time employment this month. These employees work at nine GM manufacturing plants and other sites in four states: Michigan, Indiana, Texas, and Missouri.

“We are proud to welcome these team members as regular, full-time employees,” says Phil Kienle, vice president of North America manufacturing and labor relations at GM. “Our people are the heart and soul of everything we do and through their hard work and dedication to building quality products, they are taking the next step in their journey with GM.”

The temporary employees transitioning to full-time status will see medical plan cost-share improvements, the addition of dental and vision coverage, company contributions into their 401(k) plans, profit sharing, and life insurance coverage.

GM employs more total U.S. workers than any other auto manufacturer and has invested more than $29 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations over the last 10 years. According to the Center for Automotive Research, since 2010 GM has accounted for more than one dollar of every four invested by automakers in the U.S.

“Today’s announcement affirms GM’s continuing commitment to building a strong U.S. manufacturing base,” adds Kienle.

MedSupply in Troy Receives PPE Grant from Automation Alley
MedSupply, a Troy-based supplier of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, prosthetics, and orthotics, has received a grant from Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, to produce on-demand PPE.

The grant, part of the Project DIAMOnD (Digital, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing on Demand) initiative is funded through a $10 million grant Automation Alley received from Oakland County and a $2 million grant from Macomb County to provide direct support to manufacture PPE for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant provided a 3-D printer to MedSupply for the production of face shields. As needed, MedSupply will produce face shields for Automation Alley for distribution to essential workers in Oakland and Macomb counties.

“MedSupply is honored to receive this grant and produce PPE to protect essential workers in Oakland and Macomb counties,” says Mike Smith, clinical director at MedSupply. “With this 3-D printer, we will be able to produce face shields quickly when needed. With this technology we also plan to produce other vital health care industry items, such as newer, lightweight innovative prosthetics.”

Project DIAMOnD was created to address the urgent need to move companies into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 as fast as possible to help improve the region’s manufacturing agility and response to future disruptions. All grant recipients are required to remain on the network to produce PPEs for three years. At the same time, businesses may use the 3-D printers to produce other items to help grow their business and expand their product line.

Cambria Hotels Opens Location in Shelby Township
Maryland-based upscale hotel brand Cambria Hotels has opened a new four-story, 98-room hotel in Shelby Township, its second location in Michigan.

Located at 50741 Corporate Drive, the facility joins the Cambria Hotel Traverse City. The Cambria Hotel Detroit Downtown is expected to open next year.

“We appreciate the construction, management, and development teams such as Koucar Management that bring these Cambria projects to life, and look forward to finishing the year strong by adding more Cambria hotels in key markets,” says Janis Cannon, senior vice president of upscale brands for Choice Hotels.

The Cambria Hotel Detroit-Shelby Township features amenities including:

  • On-site dining at Verona by Fabio Viviani.
  • Multi-purpose indoor and outdoor spaces for productive work or relaxation, including an indoor heated pool.
  • Locally inspired design décor with a vintage flare and paying homage to famous historical cars.
  • Immersive, spa-style bathrooms with Bluetooth mirrors.
  • Fitness center.
  • 1,500-square feet of multi-function meeting and event space.

Detroit’s Leonardo’s Produce Joins FreshEdge
Leonardo’s Produce, a Detroit-based distributor of fresh produce and specialty products, has joined FreshEdge of Indianapolis. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The deal positions the combined business as one of the largest independent fresh and specialty food distributors in the U.S. with 1,400 employees, more than 580,000 square feet of warehouse space, and a fleet of 600 trucks.

“We are pleased to continue to build our family of best-in-class fresh food distribution companies that are supported by our group of vertically integrated value-added operations,” says Steve Grinstead, CEO of FreshEdge.

Founded in 1972, Leonardo’s distributes fresh produce and specialty products to foodservice customers from its recently renovated facility in Detroit. Sam Maniaci will continue to lead Leonardo’s as president, and the company’s operations will maintain its current facility.

“By teaming up with FreshEdge, Leonardo’s will expand its selection of specialty items and fresh cut processed products such as fresh salads, sandwiches, and healthy snack items — while providing exceptional customer service to our current and future customers,” says Maniaci. “We are proud of our heritage and look forward to this new era of opportunity and growth for Leonardo’s.”

Starfish Family Services Names First Principal at Marygrove Early Childhood Center
Starfish Family Services in Detroit has is appointed Celina Byrd as the first principal of the Marygrove Early Childhood Education (ECE) Center slated to open in the fall.

The center will include a staff of up to 40 including at least 20 teachers, and will serve 144 Detroit children from birth to age 5. It is part of the P-20 cradle-to-career campus at Marygrove.

Byrd led the Marygrove ECE project for Starfish for the last two years, tackling curriculum development, budgets, and program plans, as well as building strong relationships with partners in the community and on the campus. She joined Starfish in 2014 and has had a variety of roles in early childhood education focusing on innovative projects to increase quality and impact. Prior to Starfish, Byrd was an early childhood education center provider and owner in Detroit and a higher education instructor.

Traditionally early childhood education centers are led by a center leader. Given that the ECE Center will be part of a multi-school campus, and in keeping with P-20 protocols, it was important to add the principal distinction.

“Celina’s grounding in both educational leadership and business makes her the ideal choice to lead this foundational effort,” says Ann Kalass, CEO of Starfish. “Her commitment to family and community empowerment is unwavering, and her excitement for the project vision is infectious, making her the ultimate ambassador for families, Starfish, and Marygrove.”

The ECE Center is an early childhood center on the Marygrove campus in northwest Detroit. Stewarded by The Kresge Foundation, it is part of a project to offer intentional and seamless transitions for families from prenatal to post-secondary education. The P-20 model puts children at the center of neighborhood revitalization and leverages unprecedented collaboration between Starfish Family Services, Detroit Public Schools Community District, University of Michigan – School of Education, and the Marygrove Conservancy.

“More than ever, families need hope and equitable opportunities,” says Byrd, a lifelong Detroit area resident. “Hope for the future, hope for their children, and hope for a strong and united neighborhood community. I am thrilled and honored to play even a small part. This is just the beginning.”

Groundbreaking of the 28,000-square-foot Marygrove ECE Center in the Livernois-McNichols neighborhood took place in 2019, with enrollment starting later this month.

For more information, visit here, email or call 734-728-3400.

Selig Group Acquires Grand Rapids’ Performance Systematix
Chicago-based Selig Group has completed the acquisition of Performance Systematix (PSI) in Grand Rapids. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 1984, PSI is a leading supplier of container and packaging venting solutions worldwide, which protect container integrity, eliminate waste, and reduce shipping costs.

The combination provides Selig with complementary adjacent capabilities to serve its customers more broadly on a global basis. This transaction is Selig’s third acquisition and reflects its strategy to augment growth and expand its business model via complementary solutions.

“We look forward to supporting both Selig and PSI’s continued growth globally and further expanding the combined company’s capabilities and solutions,” says Bill Crown, president and CEO of CCI, which owns Selig Group.

“PSI’s culture of innovation, service and quality are well-aligned with Selig and will enable us to serve customers better as a combined organization with expanded capabilities and short, highly responsive product development cycles,” says Steve Cassidy, president and CEO of Selig.

Glenn Dunn, president of PSI, says, “Selig is an ideal partner to support PSI’s team in its next phase of growth. This is a highly strategic combination which expands both companies’ product lines, enabling us to provide a more comprehensive solutions offering for customers globally.”

Sweeping Corp. of America Acquires C&J Parking Lot Sweeping
Sweeping Corp. of America, the Cleveland-based power sweeping company, announced that it has acquired C&J Parking Lot Sweeping, one of the largest parking lot maintenance companies in Michigan. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Established in 1978, C&J Parking Lot Sweeping is one of the oldest and largest sweeping companies in Michigan and is the state’s first nationally certified sweeping contractor service. It focuses on parking lot and street sweeping services for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

“C&J Parking Lot Sweeping is truly a one-stop-shop, covering all parking lot maintenance needs for customers in Michigan,” says Christopher Valerian, president and CEO of SCA. “Not only does this acquisition mark our first venture into Michigan, it also allows us to better service our customers near Toledo, reflecting our continued focus on market expansion and customer service.”

Kevin’s Song to Host Conference on Suicide Jan. 21-23
Michigan’s largest conference on suicide – the Kevin’s Song 5th Annual Virtual Conference on Suicide: Equity and Equality in Suicide Prevention – will take place virtually Jan. 21-23, 2021.

The three-day online summit features a roster of leading experts in the field with general and breakout sessions and supportive resources for up to 1,000 participants. The conference is presented by The Dolores and Paul Lavins Foundation and produced by Detroit Public Television.

The first two-days of the conference will explore at suicide through a social justice lens, challenging existing bias and belief systems. It will share information about suicide, suicidal persons, and the repercussions of suicide at both the personal and community levels. It will emphasize prevention in all demographics with a special focus on high-risk and underserved communities. It also will address fairness to all regardless of one’s race, ethnicity, gender, ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or geographical location.

“This year’s conference is especially important as the continuing pandemic has widened fault lines across society and demonstrated once more the fragility of the human condition,” says Gail Urso, co-founder of Kevin’s Song. “The pandemic has further exacerbated mental health and suicide prevention issues for already vulnerable groups and individuals and brought to light the ongoing social justice issues right here in Michigan, including access to health care. We intend to address these challenges head on at this year’s conference and invite anyone affected by suicide to please join us.”

The second annual School Summit, presented by the Children’s Foundation, will run concurrently on the first day of the conference, bringing together educators to share best practices about innovative programs for students, teachers, and parents. Continuing education credits for school psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers, and human resource professionals will be available for approved conference sessions.

The Saturday program – Surviving Suicide – is dedicated to survivors of suicide loss and attempt survivors. Keynote speakers will share stories of suicide loss, grief, and hope. A portion of this program – a 90-minute discussion with a panel of survivors of suicide loss – is free of charge and open to the public the Kevin’s Song Facebook page from 12:30-2 p.m.

This year’s conference also will feature a virtual Resource Gallery, a bookstore courtesy of the Self Esteem Shop, a Memorial Forest honoring those who have died by suicide, and a special presentation on Saturday morning of the 2021 Kevin’s Song “Save a Life” award to Sojourner Jones, community liaison for law enforcement for the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network.

Cost to attend the three-day conference is $175. The cost for the Thursday School Summit program is $100. If purchased separately, the Saturday morning Survivor program is $25. Student rates are available. There are also group rates available for the School Summit. Visit here for more information about registration, scholarships, and a complete roster of conference events and speakers.