DBusiness Daily News: ACG Detroit Announces M&A All Star Awards, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Detroit skyline just after sunset
ACG Detroit has announced its 2023 M&A All Star Awards, which will be presented May 2 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. // Stock photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

ACG Detroit Announces M&A All Star Awards

ACG Detroit, a 400-member nonprofit business organization of middle-market M&A professionals that invest in middle-market companies, has announced the winners of the 8th annual M&A All Star Awards.

The winners will be celebrated at a ceremony at The Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham from 6-8:30 p.m. on May 2.

“The past 12 months have been a whirlwind for the M&A community. Economic challenges, including soaring inflation and rising interest rates, may have caused a slowdown in activity in the second half of the year, but dealmakers in Detroit and across the state remained resilient,” says Tom Vaughn, chairman of the ACG Detroit M&A All Star Awards. “As always, we were beyond impressed with the high caliber of nominations we received this year. We look forward to recognizing and celebrating their achievements and the impact they have had on business development in the metro Detroit area at our cornerstone event.”

The 8th annual M&A All Star Award winners are:

  • Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc.’s Acquisition of Fori Automation Inc. — All Star Deal of the Year Over $50M in Revenue.
  • ​American Adventure Holdings’s Acquisition of Ocean Canyon Properties Inc. — All Star Deal of the Year Under $50M in Revenue.
  • Peter Roth, partner at Varnum — All Star Advisor of the Year.
  • Blackford Capital — All Star Dealmaker of the Year.
  • Bryan Berent, Managing Partner at Blue River Financial Group — All Star Investment Banker of the Year.
  • Arjun Murthy, director of Investment Banking at Cascade Partners — Rising Star
  • Scott Eisenberg, managing director of Financial Advisory Services at Capstone Partners — Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the 8th annual M&A All Star Awards, Foley & Lardner will serve as Diamond sponsor. Ruby sponsors include BDO and DBusiness, and Emerald sponsors include AON, Datasite, J.P. Morgan Chase, Peninsula Capital Partners and Ricardo Strategic Consulting.

For more information about this year’s M&A All Star Awards event, visit acgdetroit.org.

In Related News: ACG Detroit is hosting Stories of Success: Two Women in the Business of Wellness from 4:30-7 p.m. April 17 at BasBlue (110 E. Ferry St.) in Detroit.

Part of ACG Detroit’s Women’s Forum — Women in Leadership Series, the event will be an evening of networking and conversation moderated by Mary McCoy, executive director at Chase Bank, who leads a team in assisting diverse, women, and veteran-owned businesses with their banking needs.

Featured participants are Sarah Tankiwicz, founder of Plush Laser, and Brooke Alexandra, founder and CEO of Reforming Foundations Pilates and Wellness and other related companies.

The discussion will include their experiences including making the leap to entrepreneurship, growing and differentiating in a competitive space, and leveraging peer groups in the process of scaling.

The cost is $80 for ACG Detroit members and $100 for non-members.

Visit here for more information.

Lear’s CFO to Participate in March 14 Fireside Chat with Bank of America

Jason Cardew, senior vice president and CEO at Lear Corp. in Southfield will participate in a fireside chat March 14 with John Murphy, automotive equity analyst at Bank of America.

Lear’s webcast will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will run approximately 30 minutes. The webcast link will be available on the company’s website.

Study: Women Continue to Feel the Pay Gap Impact, Report Improved Financial Security

Women in the U.S. continue to face significant financial barriers and career hurdles, according to a new survey released by Laurel Road, a digital banking platform of KeyBank.

Results of the survey show 84 percent of women feel apprehensive about staying on track with their financial goals due to the current economic environment.

The sixth annual survey from Laurel Road, which explores financial security and employment trends among 2,006 U.S. college-educated adults, found that two in three women overall report that they feel behind schedule regarding personal financial security, with 35 percent of all women identifying retirement savings as a key area they are behind in — while BIPOC women feeling generally behind on all financial goals. Findings also indicated not having enough money (60 percent) and too many other responsibilities (41 percent) are key hurdles in making headway toward their goals.

While economic uncertainty is top of mind, 64 percent of college-educated women feel that their current salary does not match their value, a slight decrease from the 69 percent of college-educated women who reported feeling undervalued last year. In comparison, only 39 percent of college men feel they are undervalued.

Unsurprisingly, with only 37 percent of women receiving a salary they feel correlates with their value, 61 percent of women surveyed shared that a higher salary would encourage them to leave their current role. This was followed by remote work opportunities (28 percent), better work-life balance (32 percent), and stronger benefit packages (31 percent) as other top motivators for women to leave their current roles. This sentiment echoes last year’s survey findings, in which women reported higher pay (68 percent), remote work (34 percent), better work- life balance (34 percent) and better management (21 percent) as the top reasons to leave their current roles.

“Our annual study is one small addition to the many voices of women who are bringing these issues to light, especially during Women’s History Month,” says Alyssa Schaefer, general manager and chief experience officer at Laurel Road. “As we continue to field this study year after year, our goal is to bring transparency to the issues women face in the workplace every day which can impact their quality of life, both emotionally and financially.”

Over half (52 percent) of the women surveyed reported feeling their employers are not doing all they can to lessen the gender pay gap, with 59 percent of BIPOC women agreeing that their company hasn’t been successful in improving pay disparity. This is an increase from the 44 percent and 48 percent of women and BIPOC women, respectively, who felt their companies missed the mark last year.

While there is still room for improvement, especially with regards to the wage gap, overall, more women (34 percent) reported feeling financially secure this year than last (25 percent).

Gardner-White to Donate 20 New Recliners to First Responders for 313 Day

To recognize, honor, and celebrate Detroit’s first responders, Gardner-White is donating and delivering 20 new recliners to Detroit police precincts and Detroit fire stations today, 313 Day.

Gardner-White worked with city officials to identify DPD Precincts and DFD Engine Houses on the donations, which will provide comfort and relaxation to the selfless, hard-working men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of Detroit.

“313 Day is unique to only one city in the entire country, and that city is Detroit,” says Rachel Stewart, president of Gardner White. “Gardner-White’s team members wanted to recognize 313 Day in a meaningful way to celebrate the incredible spirit of Detroit, and the true embodiment of that spirit are its first responders. These tireless public servants give their best to Detroit, and these recliners will provide comfort at its best so they can feel relaxed and refreshed.”

Born in Detroit Apparel Expands to an Additional 22 Meijer Locations

Born in Detroit Apparel is expanding its line to an additional 22 Meijer locations in metro Detroit. The expansion brings the total number of Meijer locations selling Born in Detroit merchandise to 27 metro Detroit locations.

The brand will be expanding its Born in Detroit apparel line within Meijer to include new designs and product choices. In addition, in honor of 313 Day (March 13th) and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday, Born in Detroit has created special themed shirts for both that will be sold exclusively online at here.

Born in Detroit was trademarked in 2015 and brought to life in 2020 by group of true Detroiters, two sets of brothers Michael and Anthony Tomey and George and Alex Bourkoulas and their friend, Michael “Mikey” Shumaker.

The brand was created with the mission of showcasing the pride of Detroiters near and far, and to establish a brand partner to champion the city and surrounding communities. The founders were all born in Detroit, attended area schools, played sports throughout the area, and have a fierce gritty work ethic that overflows with pride for all things Detroit.  Born In Detroit was created to honor that pride that Detroit is more than a city, it is that feeling of pride, hard work and perseverance.  You do not need to be born in Detroit, to be a proud “Detroiter”, and you can wear Born in Detroit and showcase to the world how much this city means to you.

The expanded apparel products within Meijer include a wider selection of branded Born in Detroit t-shirts for both men and women, unisex tanks, and exclusive Detroit Kronk Gym shirts.  In addition, a portion of proceeds from the sales of Kronk Gym shirts will benefit Emanuel Steward’s charity for at risk youth called ESCOT (Emanuel Steward Champion of Tomorrow).

“We are thrilled with our partnership with Meijer as a retail outlet for our product line,” says Anthony Tomey, co-owner of Born in Detroit, and The Tomey Group.

Balance & Flow Yoga Studio in Detroit Prepares for Grand Re-opening

Motor City Match recipient Balance & Flow Yoga studio in Detroit is celebrating its re-grand opening with an open house, free classes, and other festivities March 20-30. Attendees can enjoy free yoga sessions, discount massages, door prizes, and more.

Understanding the need for balance, co-founders Dr. Thaddaeus Irby and Princess Galloway, RN., started the Balance & Flow Yoga Studio with one mission in mind. That was to provide a space where yoga, meditation, and well-being programs are offered to the metro Detroit community. They specialize in various yoga styles such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Rocket, Partner Yoga, and more.

“We welcome anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their health. Our focus is on the connection of your spirit, mind, and body,” Irby says. “Through partnerships and collaborations, we plan to host workshops on leadership, life skills, sacred sensuality, spoken word, and many other health & wellness events.

“We received such a great response from our studio members since we originally opened in Spring 2022, we quickly outgrew our space. It was not long before we could purchase a building of our own within the city of Detroit. We are very grateful to have been selected as one of the winners of Detroit’s Motor City Match grant program. This grant was instrumental in helping us get the additional financial support we needed to remodel and update our studio.”

For more information, visit here.

Olga’s Kitchen Celebrates International Women’s Day with Free Snackers

Olga’s Kitchen, owned and operated by Livonia-based Team Schostak Family Restaurants (TSFR), offered women a free side of Olga’s Snackers with any purchase on March 8 in honor of International Women’s Day.

The iconic Michigan brand also announced the opening of grant applications for women entrepreneurs building businesses in Michigan through the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation.

The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation, which was created by Olga’s Kitchen and TSFR, will dispense grants of up to $10,000 in honor of the brand’s late founder and female food pioneer.

Through May 6, women entrepreneurs can apply for the grants here. Grant applicants must live in the U.S., identify as a woman, be actively building their business in Michigan, show financial need and provide a formal business plan as part of the process.

Those interested in supporting women entrepreneurs who might otherwise be unable to attain the resources needed for their business to thrive can donate to the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation here.

“Olga Loizon overcame countless obstacles as she built one of metro Detroit’s most beloved restaurant concepts more than 50 years ago,” says Loredana Gianino, director of marketing at Olga’s Kitchen. “We hope that the next generation of women business owners are inspired by her passion, ambition and vision. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Olga’s wants to support these aspiring leaders as they craft the next iconic Michigan business.”

C & C Heating & Air Conditioning Advocating for More Women in Skilled Trades

General manager of C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in Roseville Dayna Hottle says that more women should consider a career in the skilled trades, especially as a labor shortage in the industry means there are job openings and the pay is lucrative.

“It can be intimidating to enter a male-dominated field, but as more and more women see the benefits of working in this industry, we can overcome any stigma,” said Hottle, who began her career in the trades working the phones at the family business she now runs.

“Learning a skilled trade is ideal for women who want to follow a technical career path but don’t want to rack up thousands in student loan debt by attending a college. HVAC techs, plumbers and electricians are jobs that can’t be outsourced and they are all good-paying jobs with desirable benefits. It’s a great job for a woman.”

March is Women’s History Month, and Hottle points to times in America’s history when most trade and manufacturing jobs were staffed by women.

“During World Wars I and II, with the men gone overseas to fight, nearly all our manufacturing and technical jobs were held by women, so there is a solid history of women in this country taking up the skilled trades as a profession,” she says. “While it’s still a male-dominated field, we are seeing more and more women choosing to make their careers in our industry and the industry is better for it.”

Beyond Basics Presents Awards at Annual Event in Detroit

Literacy nonprofit Beyond Basics kicked off National Reading Month March 3 by hosting its Coming Together for Children Annual Event at the Detroit Athletic Club. Hundreds of dedicated donors and supporters celebrated the promise and possibility that Beyond Basics has given to its students since its founding.

Beyond Basics shared that the pandemic sped up the process to develop an online program to help students access its program.

“We have made strides to reach more children as literacy has become part of a national conversation due to learning loss, even though these problems began long ago,” says Pamela Good, cofounder and CEO of Beyond Basics. “Our story shows that the power of one can change everything. It’s been about each one of you stepping up to help empower the work of Beyond Basics from the very beginning.

“We are grateful to expand our work across Michigan to help more students become proficient readers, thanks to the generous support of our partners and supporters. Our work opens the door to a whole new world to our students.”

Beyond Basics also announced a partnership with the Joique Bell Foundation and other donors to bring its highest intensity literacy tutoring to Benton Harbor. Testing is complete and Beyond Basics tutors are on site working with students.

“Illiteracy is a real problem facing Benton Harbor,” says Joique Bell, a former athlete, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. “I’m excited to team up with Beyond Basics to bring intensive intervention to students in my hometown. This academic program has the power to drastically improve the lives of every student who struggles to read.”

Those honored at the event included:

  • Literacy Chair Award — A.A. Van Elslander Foundation.
  • Partner of the Year Award — Karina Lepkowski, principal of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, and Msgr. Charles Kosanke, pastor of the Basilica of Ste. Anne and Most Holy Trinity Church.

Gesher Human Services to Conduct Direct Care Worker Hiring Blitz March 21

Gesher Human Services in Southfield will be conducting a hiring blitz for 50 direct care workers providing support and training to individuals with disabilities in residential group homes, the community, and businesses from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. March 21 at its headquarters (29699 Southfield Road).

The nonprofit agency recently revamped its pay structure to pay new employees $15-20 per hour with benefits based on work history. Job applicants can apply ahead of time or at the job fair; assistance with the application process and computer use will be provided onsite by a computer trainer and human resource experts.

Applicants who are not successful in obtaining employment at the hiring blitz, or who decide the work is not suitable for them, will be connected with Gesher’s Business and Career Services Department for assistance in finding alternative employment. For more information and to apply for the hiring blitz ahead of time click here.

Four different types of employment will be available:

  • Residential workers needed in group homes to assist those living with a mental health diagnosis; all homes located in Oakland County.
  • Job coaches needed at community worksites, assisting individuals with disabilities who are employed in the community. Positions available at locations in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
  • Facilitator positions working with adults who are disabled, for recreational activities such as visits to parks and malls, arts and crafts. Positions mainly based in Southfield.
  • Program assistants to engage seniors in day programming activities including music, art, cooking, gardening and field trips.

For more information contact Gesher Human Services recruiter Tashia Kelly at tkelly@geshermi.org.

Detroit Artists Market Honoring Cranbrook Graduates at Scholarship Program

The Detroit Artists Market has announced that this year the Detroit Artists Market Annual Scholarship and Exhibition Program has selected 10 graduate students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art as finalists of the John F. Korachis Scholarship Awards Program.

The Detroit Artists Market (DAM) exhibition will present works by the 10 scholarship finalists along with many distinguished alumni and faculty of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. The DAM exhibition opening will run through April 8.

Additionally, this exhibition commemorates and celebrates more than eight decades of contributions to our community by Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Detroit Artists Market.

The 10 graduate student finalists of the John F. Korachis Scholarship Awards were chosen by the DAM scholarship and exhibition committee. The selection process began with an open invitation to all the Cranbrook graduate students that included the candidates academic and artistic background and the artwork selection by the jury for the exhibition. After lengthy deliberations, the recipients of the scholarship awards were finally chosen for their originality, commitment, and exceptional artwork.

For more information, visit here.

Northwood University Esports Teams Qualify for World Championship

Northwood University in Midland will represent the United States in the 2023 Collegiate Rocket League World Championship Series in Dallas.

“The world championship will consist of the best Rocket League teams from 16 countries, with the United States getting three additional spots and Canada getting two additional spots,” says Northwood Esports Coach Cody Elsen. “Both of the Northwood Rocket League teams have qualified for the world championship, so two out of the three U.S. teams will be from here in Midland, Michigan.”

Esports is an umbrella for multiple competitive games, similar to how a university’s athletics department is an umbrella to numerous traditional competitive sports. So, Rocket League is to an esports program what baseball is like to a university’s athletics program.

Last summer, a Northwood Esports team brought home the Collegiate Rocket League world title. It was Northwood Esports’ first world title. In December, Northwood won the Valorant world championship.

“To have a team qualify to compete at the international level is incredible — to have two qualify is astonishing,” Elsen says. “We are beyond proud of these hard-working, dedicated players.”

The following students are on the qualifying Northwood Blue team:

  • Alexander Che — Houston
  • Hunter Woitas — Tucson, Ariz.
  • Stephen Hoelbinger — Philadelphia

The following players are on the Northwood White team:

  • Aaron Cadiz — Newark, N.J.
  • Zander Shah — Newton, Penn.
  • Carter Tschumper — Menomonie, Wisc.

“We invite Michigan high schoolers to come meet with these exceptional players — and more from Northwood Esports — during a March 22 Esports Open House,” Elsen says.

The March 22 event is free and will give high schoolers a chance to play with Northwood players in the Northwood Esports training facility. To register, visit here.

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