DBusiness Daily Update: 8,200 Detroit Tigers Fans to Return to Comerica Park for Opening Day, PolyFlex Products to Deliver Material for Military Applications, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of March 18

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

8,200 Detroit Tigers Fans to Return to Comerica Park for Opening Day
The Detroit Tigers announced today that tickets for the April 1 Opening Day game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park will go on sale March 25 and that 20 percent of the stadium’s seats will be available until state guidelines change.

The latest epidemic order by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services allows for select outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities, which operate under enhanced safety protocols, to operate at up to 20 percent capacity, or approximately 8,200 fans at Comerica Park.

The Tigers say the team has coordinated with public health and medical experts, government officials, and Major League Baseball to develop a comprehensive plan that will allow fans to safely and confidently return to the downtown Detroit ballpark.

Limited individual game tickets will available for purchase on Tigers.com beginning March 25. As an extended safety measure, all tickets will be mobile-only. Members of 1901 Society — the Tigers’ season ticket membership group — will receive the first opportunity to purchase tickets.

“Tigers baseball is back, and we couldn’t be more excited to begin welcoming our great fans to Comerica Park again,” says Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment at Ilitch Holdings Inc. “Safety is our top priority, and we have developed and invested in a plan that allows us to confidently provide fans a safe and entertaining experience. We’ve missed our fans greatly and can’t wait to celebrate the start of the season with them, when the first pitch is thrown on Opening Day in Detroit.”

A comprehensive series of health and safety measures have been incorporated or enhanced at Comerica Park, including the following:

  • All attendees will be required to complete a Gameday Wellness survey no more than 24 hours prior to entering Comerica Park.
  • Facemasks will be mandatory at all times except when actively eating or drinking at a fan’s assigned seating location. Neck gaiters, bandanas and masks with halves are not permitted.
  • All points of sale will require cashless payment methods. Reverse ATM’s will be installed at Comerica Park ahead of the home opener, and contactless parking can be reserved in advance through The District Detroit mobile app.
  • Fans will be seated in pods with at least six feet of physical distance between other groups.
  • Select concession locations will be open, and food and beverage items can be ordered via mobile phone for express pick-up.
  • Physical distance signage and concourse decals have been installed to decrease contact near higher-traffic areas.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers with CDC-recommended products are located through the Comerica Park concourse.
  • Significant enhancements to cleanliness, disinfecting the venue to CDC standards including the use of UV-light technology.
  • All bags, purses, and clutches are now prohibited, with medical or diaper bags being the exceptions.

PolyFlex Products to Deliver Material for Military Applications
PolyFlex Products, a Farmington Hills-based supplier of custom polymer solutions to the automotive industry, has been certified to deliver its material to the U.S. military and its prime contractors.

“Rooted in the automotive industry where innovation, precision, reliability, and on-time delivery are a necessity, we are committed to being a strong partner to the military supply community to meet the strict delivery, first article testing, product durability, and non-disrupted supply chain requirements of the military,” says Ken Bylo, executive vice president and partner at PolyFlex Products. “With our highly advanced material handling solutions, unmatched capability of delivering products quickly, anytime and anywhere, makes us a highly sought-after partner by customers and competitors alike.”

A Certified Small Business with DUNS, CAGE, and NAICS codes, PolyFlex Products is ISO 9001-2015 certified for quality and conducts continuous testing to ensure that all products meet MIL-SPECs and MIL-STDs with on-time delivery.

With a $2 million material inventory, PolyFlex says its in-house design and engineering teams deliver a multitude of resolutions to its customers’ most complex component, packaging, and material handling manufacturing challenges through the latest molding capabilities including solid elastomer urethane, foamed urethane, thermoplastic injection, and thermoforming.

For more information, visit here.

Dodge Extends Gold Rush Paint Color to Performance Charger Models
The Dodge//SRT brand of Auburn Hills’ Stellantis is making its Golf Rush paint color available on select Charger models.

The golden exterior color, first introduced on the Challenger 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, now is available on the Charger R/T, Scat Pack, Scat Pack Widebody, SRT Hellcat, and SRT Hellcat Redeye models. All models must be equipped with the Satin Black hand-painted hood, roof and decklid. Gold Rush continues to be an option on 2021 Challenger T/A, T/A 392, SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye models.

“The customer response to the Dodge Challenger Gold Rush exceeded our expectations,” says Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Doge brand for Stellantis. “We’re sticking to that successful Dodge formula of proliferating our most popular options across the lineup and giving Charger customers, who want the Gold Rush color, the option to have it on their four-door muscle car.”

Gold Rush joins the Dodge palette of heritage-inspired paint colors, such as Frostbite, Hellraisin, Sinamon Stick, TorRed, F8 Green, and Go Mango, on the 2021 Dodge Charger.

Other new options for Charger in 2021, include:

  • The “Demon-possessed” Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world with 797-horsepower, 707 lb.-ft. of torque and a top speed of 203 mph.
  • Standard 20-inch wheels on Charger GT AWD, available on SXT AWD
  • SRT branding on high-performance Brembo brakes on Charger SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye, available on Scat Pack.

Dealers can begin ordering Gold Rush on 2021 Dodge Charger models this spring.

Marathon Receives Top Workplace Safety and Health Designation from State
Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Detroit Refinery has completed the most rigorous protocol in the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP), becoming an MVPP Star site for workplace safety and health excellence from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Representatives from Marathon joined government officials at the refinery Wednesday to mark the accomplishment.

The U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that there are 10 million manufacturing sites eligible for this designation across the country and only 2 percent of them have achieved this status.

SME Introduces Certified Manufacturing Associate Credential
SME, the Southfield-based manufacturing certifying body, has developed and will offer the Certified Manufacturing Associate (CMfgA) Certification.

The new certification is designed for individuals new to manufacturing who may not currently possess enough knowledge or experience for more advanced technical certifications. This could include high school students, dislocated workers, and individuals coming from other nonmanufacturing sectors who wish to pursue an entry-level role as an assembler, manufacturing associate, or production worker, among others.

“Unfortunately, there are thousands of individuals either displaced from work due to the impacts of COVID-19 or newly entering the labor market while manufacturers still struggle to fill a variety of positions, many which do not require a postsecondary degree,” says Jeannine Kunz, vice president of Tooling U-SME, SME’s workforce development arm. “A CMfgA credential can indicate to employers that someone is ready to start on a path into manufacturing at the ground level. SME wants more people to join manufacturing, see the art of what is possible and pursue advanced technical roles also waiting to be filled.”

Covering fundamental topics such as shop math, assembly, maintenance, machining, inspection, and more, this industry-driven certification demonstrates that the individual has a basic knowledge of manufacturing. After earning the CMfgA, individuals are encouraged to explore a variety of available career pathways in manufacturing. They may continue with on-the-job training and further education to earn more advanced technical certifications and progress to higher-skilled roles.

“The pace of technological change in manufacturing is outpacing the overall capabilities of the workforce,” says Kunz. “The industry needs people who want to grow and advance. The career opportunities and higher-level programs to upskill and assess exist. Not everyone starts their first job after obtaining a two or four-year education, and manufacturing allows for upward mobility for those committed to their development.”

Oakland University Reveals Blueprint for Fall Return
A majority of classes will be taught in person in sanitized classrooms, preventive health measures will be required, vaccinations will be encouraged, and student life will resemble a pre-pandemic atmosphere on campus, according to Oakland University’s plan to repopulate campus this fall.

“Grizzlies Together – Again” is a blueprint that presents students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a range of expectations and opportunities when they return to campus. The rationale for the plan is based on the ongoing widespread distribution and efficacy of vaccines, adherence to prevention measures, the extremely low number of virus cases and positivity rates on campus, the overall downward trend of COVID-19 cases, and less restrictive state of Michigan requirements.

“We have a comprehensive plan that preserves the highest level of safety and health while providing students with an engaging educational experience,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University. “We look forward to students walking on campus and coming together in residence halls, public lectures, entertainment venues, sporting activities, and all those traditional occasions that define the OU experience.”

Increasing face-to-face coursework to pre-pandemic levels gives students the flexibility to learn through a variety of methods, says Britt Rios-Ellis, vice president and provost at OU. “We pride ourselves in creating a learning environment that facilitates student empowerment, provides support for student success and optimizes safe public health practices.”

The “Grizzlies Together – Again” plan includes:

  • Normal (pre-pandemic) level of operations that preserves student course choice while increasing undergraduate face-to-face learning opportunities to nearly 80 percent.
  • Increased number of students living in on-campus resident halls and apartments to up to 80 percent.
  • Additional mental health services available to support students who may experience stress and anxiety.
  • On-campus dining halls will offer in-person and carry-out options.
  • Support services will be available in-person, virtually and a hybrid format.
  • Student-centered educational, social and recreational programs will resume in campus facilities.
  • Spectators will be permitted at athletic events as allowed by preventive health protocols and attendance restrictions.

University of Detroit Mercy Receives National Recognition for Fundraising
University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit recently earned national recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its fundraising over the last three years.

Detroit Mercy’s University Advancement Division is one of only three in the category of private research/doctoral institutions with less than $740 million in endowment that is being recognized nationally with the CASE 2020 Education Fundraising Award in Overall Performance.

“We are delighted to receive this unexpected but much appreciated CASE national award for overall fundraising performance,” says Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of the university. “Detroit Mercy’s $114 million comprehensive campaign exceeded its goals because of our excellent advancement team and dedicated alumni, friends, foundations and corporate partners who believe in the transformative impact of a Jesuit and Mercy education.”

CASE is the global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement — alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services — that shares the goal of championing education to transform lives and society. Each year, the CASE Educational Fundraising Awards recognize exemplary development programs based on a blind review of data. Winners are determined through a number of variables in addition to the amount of funds raised.

According to CASE, Detroit Mercy was recognized for not only demonstrating the “highest levels of professionalism and best practice in its fundraising efforts, it has contributed to the betterment of educational advancement worldwide by serving as a model to which others can aspire.”

Detroit Mercy’s most successful fundraising campaign ever was completed in December 2019. Following the campaign, the institution announced its first major investment, the McNichols Campus Renovation Project, which will significantly change the university’s McNichols Campus. Ground broke on the project in November 2020.

Brother Rice Legacy Students Timothy and Jack Nelson Named Evans Scholars
Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills has announced that students Timothy and Jack Nelson have been awarded Evans Scholarships out of Oakland Hills Country Club.

The Evans Scholarship is a full tuition and housing college scholarship for high-achieving caddies with excellent academics and outstanding character who have demonstrated financial need.

“The Evans Scholarship Program and Oakland Hills have provided a truly exceptional opportunity to these remarkable young men. We are proud and grateful,” says Tom Reidy, president of Brother Rice. “One of the greatest gifts that our alumni can give us is the opportunity to inspire future generations of their family. The Nelson family has a long history at Brother Rice, spanning over 40 years, and the 14th legacy Warrior from their family will join the class of 2025 in the fall.”

In 2017, the twins unexpectedly lost their father, William Nelson (Brother Rice class of 1984), just before they entered the school as freshmen that fall. They joined older brother Billy (class of 2018) and alumnus Christopher (class of 2016) in carrying on their father’s legacy and enthusiasm for the school.

With 26 honors and 16 AP classes between them, the duo will be headed to Ross Business School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this fall.

Lawrence Tech Science & Technology Showcase Spotlights Student Talent
The life sciences expertise of Lawrence Technological University students will again be on full display as the Southfield university conducts its fourth Science and Technology Showcase on Wednesday, April 28.

The event will be streamed live online from 2-4 p.m. This year’s theme is “Bench to Bedside: Moving Medical Devices and Technology from Concept to Clinical Application.”

The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by Jaideep Rajput, director of commercialization at Beaumont Health. Panelists include M. Therese Jamison, director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at LTU; Brianna Riley, manager at Henry Ford Innovations; and Fred Molnar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The panel will discuss what hospitals and health networks are doing to engage with companies, how a startup can get the most out of conducting pilot studies with a health care system partner, how early stage companies can work with health care systems to generate user experience for new technologies, and how and why health care organizations should share their technical expertise.

Also, dozens of LTU students will exhibit their senior capstone projects and other research in a virtual poster session. The presenting students are majoring in biomedical engineering, nursing, molecular and cell biology, and other life science disciplines.

The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit here.

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