DBusiness Daily Update: Accenture’s Shatica McDonald Named Chair of Go Red for Women 2023, 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.
Shatica McDonald, managing director at Accenture, is the chair of the American Heart Association’s 2023 Go Red for Women program. // Courtesy of American Heart Association
Shatica McDonald, managing director at Accenture, is the chair of the American Heart Association’s 2023 Go Red for Women program. // Courtesy of American Heart Association

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.

Accenture’s Shatica McDonald Named Chair of Go Red for Women 2023

The American Heart Association in Southfield has named Shatica McDonald, a managing director at Accenture, as chair for the 2023 Go Red For Women campaign serving southeast Michigan.

This campaign will continue to raise awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death for women, and culminate with the signature Detroit Go Red for Women Luncheon on March 10, 2023.

McDonald says she shares a deep passion for the American Heart Association’s mission and knows firsthand the impact heart disease and stroke can have on families. As chair, McDonald will lead the fundraising efforts of the Southeastern Michigan Go Red For Women campaign and work closely with the campaign executive leadership team, as well as American Heart Association staff and partners to achieve success.

“This year, the American Heart Association and its volunteer leadership team have a record-breaking fundraising goal,” McDonald says. “I am pleased to lead efforts that support the vital mission of the American Heart Association and raise community awareness of the latest forms of prevention for heart disease and stroke and the ways technology is advancing the fight against heart disease. Together, we can create positive outcomes for women impacted by heart disease and stroke across the country.”

The campaign currently is seeking stories from metro Detroit women of diverse backgrounds and communities who have been impacted by heart disease and stroke, especially those who experienced heart-related issues during pregnancy.

To submit a survivor story, email Ebony.Bagley@heart.org

MEDC names Downtown Detroit Partnership as Revitalization and Placemaking Program Recipient

In an effort to improve downtown Detroit’s recovery from the pandemic, the MEDC this week named the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) among 22 statewide community development projects around Michigan to receive funds from its Revitalization and Placemaking (RAP) Program. The organization was awarded $13.7 million.

The DDP, in collaboration with Bedrock, Greektown Neighborhood Partnership and Paradise Valley Conservancy, along with Karp and Associates — a group known as Downtown Detroit Stakeholders, will expand upon Downtown’s public spaces and mixed-use developments that will attract residents and visitors to the City’s core.

“The DDP shares this award with the entire City of Detroit, as we continue to create public spaces that are safe, welcoming and inclusive for all,” says Eric B. Larson, DDP’s CEO. “We look forward to working with our partners and the community to help bring this mission forward.”

Currently, with the daily office population remaining at 40-percent of its pre-COVID level, the stakeholder group applied for funding for several interrelated projects to help continue to transition Downtown from an office-dominated business district to a more diverse, mixed-use district with extended public spaces and additional living options.

The MEDC’s RAP funding utilizes $100 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to support investments in projects that promote population and tax revenue growth to proactively address negative economic impacts of COVID-19 in traditional downtowns, social zones and public spaces.

The announcement includes the allocation of $83.8 million in funds; the remaining awards will be announced at a later date. The program provides gap-funding for public space improvements, place-based infrastructure and real estate rehabilitation and development.

“Great cities have great public spaces and increasingly Detroit is becoming known for its beautiful riverwalk, parks and civic gathering places,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This funding the Downtown Detroit Partnership has secured will help to improve and link many of our city’s central public areas to create a more walkable district for Detroiters and visitors to enjoy.”

Helping to retain residents and visitors to the City’s center, the awarded projects strategically transition Downtown Detroit beyond a place dominated by “work” to a destination that boosts the “live” and “play” dimensions of the economy.

The projects were designed to stimulate both social and economic impact by creating safe, welcoming environments for people to convene, increase new demand for small businesses, activate new businesses to replace shuttered ones, and generate new tax revenue for the City.

“A safe, diverse, and active Downtown has become even more important in this new hybrid work environment. Visitors to Downtown expect dynamic, entertaining and active spaces and places to foster repeat visits and workers see Downtown as an extension of their workplace to collaborate and cooperate with their colleagues,” says Kofi Bonner, Bedrock CEO. “I want to thank my partners in the Downtown Detroit Stakeholders for their alliance as we collectively seek to rebuild and reenergize an historic area of downtown Detroit.”

All eight projects are geographically concentrated along the Woodward Avenue and Randolph Street corridors that will connect the Central Business District, Greektown, Paradise Valley, and the Stadium District into a vibrant play zone for maximum impact.

The DDP will expand three of its existing public spaces – Campus Martius Park, Grand Circus Park, and Capitol Park.

The Downtown Detroit Stakeholders Projects:

  • Placemaking enhancements to Cadillac Square, intended to extend the activity and flow of Campus Martius through the plaza to Randolph Street.
  • A transformation of Randolph Plaza at the gateway into Greektown to create a permanent, high-quality outdoor gathering space for current and future restaurants and businesses in the corridor.
  • Two foundational placemaking investments in Paradise Valley that will transform the central park and remake the entryway into the district, with the goal of creating a world- class public space to support the development of a thriving, African American-led residential and entertainment district around the central plaza.
  • Placemaking enhancements in Grand Circus Park, to provide for continuous, high quality public spaces along this entire spine — while also enhancing the centerpiece of the historic Grand Circus Park district.
  • Social District infrastructure in Capitol Park, to enhance Capitol Park as a visitor destination and attraction with positive spill-over effects for the surrounding areas.
  • The redevelopment of the vacant Harvard Square Center building on Broadway in the Paradise Valley district, which due to its size and position is critical to the successful revitalization of the entire focus area.
  • Karp and Associates will rehabilitate a vacant 7-story building on Griswold Street into a mixed-used development, which will be located adjacent to Capitol Park.

BJ’s Wholesale Club Opens Canton Township Location Today

BJ’s Wholesale Club, an operator of membership warehouse clubs in the Eastern United States, is opening its newest club today in Canton Township. The retailer now has five locations in Michigan and 230 total U.S. clubs.

“We are thrilled to expand our footprint in Michigan and bring more savings and expansive offerings to our smart-saving Canton community,” says David Weber, manager of the Canton Township BJ’s Wholesale Club. “Our team has been working diligently to get this club prepared for our grand opening and we couldn’t be more excited to open our doors on Friday.”

BJ’s members can choose from a variety of convenient shopping options like curbside pickup, in-club pickup, same-day delivery, in-club shopping, as well as online at BJs.com, and using BJ’s mobile app.

The new club is located at 43690 Ford Road. The new club will feature a selection of fresh foods, produce, a full-service deli, household essentials, pet supplies, and various exclusive offerings. It also will have an assortment of seasonal items, home décor, fashion for the family, toys, hot tech, and a selection of local products.

For more information and information on how to become a member, visit here.

Gucci Launches 2nd Chapter of Collaboration with Detroit Designer Tommey Walker

To celebrate the opening of Gucci’s Downtown Detroit boutique and the Detroit Month of Design, Gucci Thursday continued its partnership with one of the most diverse and creative cities in the world by launching the second chapter of the collaboration with Detroit designer, Tommey Walker, and his homegrown label, Detroit vs. Everybody.

The second iteration returns with custom Detroit vs. Everybody patches featured on Gucci’s Off the Grid collection. The Off the Grid line was created to support the House’s vision for circular production that uses recycled, organic, bio-based, and sustainably sourced materials.

The limited-edition collection will include a baseball hat, backpack, and belt bag, all to be sold exclusively at the Detroit store beginning Thursday. Designed for those mindful of their environmental impact, the collection celebrates the connection between Gucci and Walker, supporting Walker’s vision of increasing representation in the industry through Gucci’s Changemakers’ Impact Fund.

“I am even more excited by and proud of my 2.0 collaboration with Gucci as Gucci continues to walk the talk; and now demonstrating its long-term commitment to Detroit as a changemaker in its own right,” Walker says.

To introduce the second chapter of the collaboration, Gucci partnered once again with a local Detroit production house on a video anthem spotlighting Detroit through the lens of the organic patterns that make up the city’s fabric. Featuring narration by Walker and a vintage Gucci Cadillac Seville, the Detroit vs. Everybody collaboration is highlighted throughout.

Skypersonic Demonstrates Drone at LoveITDetroit’s Aerospace Reception

Skypersonic, a subsidiary of Red Cat Holdings Inc., a hardware-enabled software provider to the drone industry, demonstrated its Skypcopter drone for a VIP audience at an aerospace reception hosted by the Consulate of Italy in Detroit on Sept. 7.

As part of the consulate’s LoveITDetroit initiative — a month-long celebration of “Made in Italy in the United States and the Metaverse” — Skypersonic, which is headquartered in Detroit with a European office in Turin, Italy, also was represented in a panel discussion on Italian innovation in space exploration.

Skypersonic Founder and CEO Giuseppe Santangelo joined other panelists including Gen. Roberto Vittori, OMRI, an Italian Air Force officer and ESA astronaut; Simonetta Di Pippo, an Italian astrophysicist and former director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA); and Vicky Selva, executive director of Michigan Defense Center.

“It was an honor to be invited onto that panel, and the invitation reflects Skypersonic’s recent achievements in the aerospace sector,” Santangelo says. “Last year, our company signed a five-year contract with NASA to provide drone and rover software, hardware, and support to NASA’s simulated Mars mission. Then, just last month, we announced that we’d successfully validated our technology during 15 days of testing on Mt. Etna, an active volcano in Sicily whose landscape is similar to Martian geology.”

Following LoveITDetroit’s aerospace panel discussion, a formation of three Skycopters flew around the physical environment that was designed for LoveITDetroit by Italian architect and designer Roberto Palomba. The swarm was co-piloted by Vittori, who has participated in three space flights since the ESA selected him to join the European Astronaut Corps in 1998. To prepare for the Skycopter demonstration flight at LoveITDetroit, Vittori spent half a day in training with Skypersonic’s team in Turin.

“[The Skycopter is] certainly a winning combination with great potential for both terrestrial and space developments,” Vittori says. “Tested both in the external observer mode and through the ‘goggles’– virtually as a pilot inside the drone — it really is an excellent machine.”

The Skycopter drone can be piloted virtually anywhere, from virtually anywhere, as the Skypersonic team recently demonstrated on Mt. Etna in July. Using Skypersonic’s revolutionary Long Range Real-Time Remote Piloting System, the drone on the active volcano in Italy was controlled by personnel in Houston, Texas, in real time. Whereas most drones cannot be piloted without connecting to the GPS network, Skycopter uses technology that is able to control and track the drone in locations — such as Mars — where GPS is not available.

Atwater Brewery to Celebrate Silver Anniversary Saturday

Atwater Brewery, Detroit’s largest craft brewery will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Saturday with a free, all-ages welcome celebration (21+ to enjoy Atwater beers at a cash bar) from -10 p.m. its Brewery, Biergarten, and Taphouse (237 Joseph Campau St.).

The event will celebrate all things Detroit as a thank you to the city which has so enthusiastically supported the brewery’s growth over the past two and a half decades. It will feature live music, food trucks, Detroit-centric vendors, stein-holding contests, games, giveaways, and beer.

Attendees will be able to enjoy Atwater’s wide selection of beers and will be the first to sip the 2022 release of its annual Bloktoberfest Bohemian-style lager.

“We’re thrilled to be an integral part of the renaissance that Detroit is experiencing, and we are looking forward to celebrating with everyone who has supported Atwater from day one,” says Katy McBrady, president of Atwater Brewery. To that end, 25 cents of every pint purchased at the celebration on Sept. 10 will be donated to Detroit’s Heidelberg Project.”

For more information, visit atwaterbeer.com.

PXG in Troy Announces Launch of Fall/Winter 2022 Apparel Collection

PXG, which has a store in Troy, has launched its PXG Apparel Fall/Winter 2022 Collection featuring classic, polished silhouettes and modern technical fabrics, adorned with Americana-inspired detailing.

The Fall/Winter Collection is influenced by PXG’s American heritage and Sonoran Desert headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. Fashioned in PXG’s black, gray, and white color palette, with accents of vibrant red, traditional styles are reinterpreted and modernized with a touch of eclectic Western flair. Technical fabrications include denim inspired knits, deconstructed handkerchief patterns, and simulated needlepoint details.

“Our Fall/Winter 2022 line is a personal celebration of what makes our brand unique, founded in our pride and appreciation of where PXG was established, with a focus on the future and our customer,” says Renee Parsons, president and executive creative director of PXG Apparel. “This collection evokes a sense of Western nostalgia and honors the belief that golf is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”

This season’s collection consists of three distinct drops that will launch throughout autumn: The Essentials, The Edit, and Coming In Hot. Each drop embodies the brand’s monochrome color pallet, high-tech fabrics, and modern, sleek silhouettes. Launched Sept. 1, The Essential drop is comprised of 35 golf styles that exude the American spirit with Western-inspired detailing. From subtle, chevron stitching to bolo-inspired polos, to vests and pullovers with leather paneling, the first fall/winter drop features technical, performance pieces that are easily styled on and off the course.

The Edit, dropping in October 2022, celebrates the irreverent personality of the PXG brand, with pieces that harmonize performance, comfort, and fashion into a curated selection with unbridled Americana sensibility. The homogenous color palette is emboldened through the manipulation of fabrics including contrasted checkered plaids and denim-inspired speckled knits. The Edit includes a custom-designed pattern that pays homage to classic handkerchiefs with a subtle twist – the pattern is made up of the PXG logo and golf iconography, creating bold, statement pieces.

The third and final drop in the Fall/Winter Collection is Coming in Hot, launching in time for the holiday season. Inspired by the vibrancy of red pin flags waving on the course, Coming in Hot introduces an energetic, red hue. The addition adds personality, edge, and color to well-rounded wardrobe staples and outerwear pieces such as the Men’s Zip Fleece Hoodie and Women’s Short Sleeve Puffer Jacket.

The Darkness Capsule, launching in November, is an annual collection that represents the core of the PXG brand – PXG Founder and Marine Corps Veteran Bob Parsons. The Darkness insignia, a distinctive skull and the number 26, honors Parsons’ service with the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War as part of the 26th Marine Corps Regiment. The capsule is anchored in black hues, with camouflage details incorporated throughout. Each style is defined by strong, tailored characteristics.

Great Lakes Water Authority Earns Positive Financial Ratings Outlooks

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) executed a successful bond transaction Aug. 30 at favorable rates to fund $450 million in capital improvements for the regional water and wastewater systems, as well as secured $2 million in cashflow savings by refinancing eligible wastewater system bonds.

In advance of the bond transaction, GLWA earned positive rating outlooks from two of three rating agencies, as well as an affirmation of a “AA” category rating from the third rating agency.

Fitch Ratings moved the outlook to Positive from Stable for the wastewater system and affirmed outstanding water and wastewater systems debt at A+ Senior/A Second Lien. Moody’s Investors Service moved the outlook to Positive from Stable for both the water and wastewater system and affirmed outstanding debt at A1 Senior/A2 Second Lien. Standard & Poor Global Ratings affirmed its water and wastewater system debt at AA- Senior/A+ Second Lien with a Stable outlook.

“The outlook is positive because the authority has strong management and stable operations and its underlying service area continues to improve, particularly in the city of Detroit,” says the Moody’s credit opinion, “as well as across Wayne (A3 positive), Oakland (Aaa stable) and Macomb (Aa1 stable) counties.”

Jaye Quadrozzi, chairperson of the GLWA Board of Directors, says: “I am pleased to see the positive recognition of the efforts put forth by the GLWA management team by rating agencies, as well as highlights of the positive economic trends we see in the region.”

The bond transaction focused on securing $225 million to replenish funding for capital improvement projects for both the water and wastewater systems (total of $450 million). Since January 2021, GLWA has utilized cash reserves to fund its capital program. Utilizing this pay-as-you-go approach over the last 20 months was an intentional effort outlined in the authority’s 10-year financial plan to decrease the overall debt burden and improve affordability.

“This strategy to shift from maximum use of debt, along with overall cost controls, is how GLWA has managed to maintain average system charge adjustments at 1.8 percent over the previous five years (2016–2022) for the water system and less than one percent (0.3 percent) for the wastewater system as noted in the Authority’s 2021 Year In Review Report,” says Nicolette N. Bateson, CFO and treasurer of GLWA.

These tax-exempt bonds were issued with a true interest cost of 4.44 percent for the water system and 4.57 percent for the wastewater system. Despite recent market volatility, these bonds are being issued during an era of historically low rates. Over the past 32 years, benchmark rates have only been lower 34 percent of the time.

GLWA also took advantage of market conditions to refund nearly $18 million in outstanding wastewater bonds. The refinancing of this debt resulted in nearly $2 million in cashflow savings. Added to prior GLWA transactions, the Authority has garnered more than $720 million in cashflow savings from refunding transactions since January 1, 2016, as a result of an opportunistic refinancing program that has taken advantage of market conditions and GLWA’s improved credit.

Strong investor interest resulted in a successful bond transaction, even on a challenging day of volatility within the financial markets. The transaction attracted orders from 37 unique institutional investors, including 14 investors that did not participate in GLWA’s 2020 bond transaction. In addition, retail orders were placed on behalf of several individual retail investors.

“Securing this funding allows GLWA to remain focused on our top priority, which is improving resiliency in the regional system in order to ensure we continue to provide reliable service to our member partner communities,” says Suzanne R. Coffey, CEO of GLWA. “At the core of this transaction is our commitment to fair and equitable charges via best-in-class stewardship of the financial and system assets under our management.”

Blue Cross ‘Mascot Mindfulness’ Meditation Series Features Lions’, Pistons’ Mascots 

In partnership with the Detroit Lions’ mascot Roary and Detroit Pistons’ Hooper, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan launched a series of short guided meditations, “Mascot Mindfulness,” encouraging youth to adopt unique and effective ways of caring for their mental health through quick techniques to focus attention and encourage a heightened sense of awareness.

Six videos, each running between two-to-five minutes in length, were produced in partnership with the professional sports teams and Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being on topics including mindful breathing and gratitude. Research has linked meditation to improved mental well-being, academic skills and social competence in students.

The benefits of meditation can lead to a reduction in anxiety, stress, and self-doubt, as well as improvements in focus, self-confidence, and better sleep. These are all helpful tools as students return to the classroom this fall.

Mascot Mindfulness also will be rolled out to Michigan K-12 schools participating in Blue Cross’ Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program, as another resource to boost students’ overall health and refocus their mindset for learning.

“Mascot Mindfulness has provided an opportunity to connect Blue Cross’ important work with Building Healthy Communities and Virtual Well-Being to our deep, rooted children’s health-focused relationships with the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons,” says Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for community relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Offering kids and even adults the ability to reduce stress in quick and effective ways – guided by fun instructors like our teams’ mascots – can help make a difference in our overall well-being.”

For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit here.

Oakland County’s Land Auction Supports Neighborhood Revitalization, Economic Growth

The first Oakland County Treasurer’s Office virtual land auction is helping to revitalize neighborhoods and support community economic development through the sale of 181 parcels for potential new and reimagined property uses while also returning the properties to the tax roll.

Conducted on Aug. 12, the virtual land auction collected $1.37 million in delinquent taxes, received $131,779 in 2022 current summer property tax payments for local communities, and realized $4.9 million in sales from 1,361 bids placed by 525 bidders. Additionally, outstanding property taxes, in the amount of $640,000, were recovered from 11 Oakland County communities that retained property through the statutory Right of First Refusal process.

Two additional virtual auctions will take place on tax-sale.info for the remaining 193 parcels available for purchase. An auction will be conducted Sept. 28 for the 26 properties initially sold and not closed from the first virtual auction. A final virtual auction will be run for all unsold properties on Oct. 28.

“We are committed to fulfilling our statutory responsibilities and diligently working to support the stabilization and revitalization of communities across the county through community economic development opportunities,” says Robert Wittenberg, Oakland County Treasurer. “The virtual land auction enabled us to return foreclosed properties to the tax roll, recover delinquent taxes, collect current taxes and support our ongoing foreclosed property maintenance needs.”

In accordance with the Michigan General Property Tax Act Section MCL 211.78t, persons who hold title or equity interest in a property at the time of foreclosure may file a claim for excess sales proceeds associated with the parcel beginning with the 2022 property tax foreclosure sale. Claimants must adhere to the statutory process to receive any potential sales proceeds that exceed the amount of the outstanding property tax delinquency.

In June 2022, the Oakland County Treasurer’s Office proactively sent an early notice to more than 400 foreclosed parcels via U.S. mail with the Form 5743 Notice of Intention to Claim Interest in Foreclosure Sales Proceeds form, submission information, and legal aid resources to guide them through the claims process.

Ann Arbor SPARK Presents Sixth Annual Tech Talk Oct. 14

This October, as part of the a2Tech360 series of events, Ann Arbor SPARK will present the sixth annual Tech Talk. Featuring TED-style talks from Ann Arbor’s business leaders, the series promises origin stories, behind-the-scenes accounts of technologies being developed in the region, and firsthand accounts of how speakers have achieved success throughout their careers.

“There are always new and exciting approaches to innovation taking place here in the Ann Arbor region,” says Jenn Hayman, senior vice president of marketing, communications, and events for Ann Arbor SPARK. “Tech Talk has seen a lot of popularity because there are so many visionaries here who can share their success stories — and so many more who are looking to learn as they begin their own creative journeys.”

This year’s Tech Talk will take place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 14, at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.

Speakers currently confirmed include:

  • Diane Bouis — program director, MedTech Innovator
  • Greg Gage — co-founder and CEO, Backyard Brains
  • Laura Kempf — innovation consultant, Merative
  • Brandon McNaughton — CEO, Akadeum
  • Peter Mertens — operations network strategy manager, Sartorius
  • Heidi Poscher — founding partner, Prentice 4M
  • Linda Smith — co-founder, MI-HQ
  • Andy Vassallo — chief growth officer, GDI Infotech

While there is no cost to attend Tech Talk, seating is limited and registration is required. To register, or for more information, visit a2Tech360.com/TechTalk.

Immediately following Tech Talk, attendees will get to cast their votes for the Invest360 People’s Choice award. The initial Invest360 event takes place Oct. 7, and consists of early stage startups competing for $50,000 in three categories: information technology, mobility, and health care.

American Cancer Society to Host Detroit Discovery Ball Oct. 22

The American Cancer Society (ACS) will host its third annual Detroit Discovery Ball, celebrating the courage and determination of individuals touched by cancer and those hustling to find its cure from 6:30 p.m.-midnight on Oct. 22 at Huntington Place in downtown Detroit.

The Detroit Discovery Ball, led by honorary co-chairs Sean Vanderelzen (chief human resources officer and marketing and communications at Lineage Logistics) and Christina Vanderelzen, alongside vice chair Jason Roycht (global head of Nikola Motor Co.), raises needed funds for life-saving cancer research, advocacy, patient programs, and services.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward to the American Cancer Society’s Health Equity for Research and Operations (H.E.R.O.) Initiative. Health equity in cancer care means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or zip code.

“The American Cancer Society is actively working to end disparities in cancer and fight for health equity,” says Chad Creekmore, senior executive director of ACS in Michigan. “If we are to further reduce deaths from cancer, we need to make sure everyone has the ability to benefit from the advances in research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Funds from Detroit Discovery Ball are vital to this initiative.”

The evening will include live and silent auctions, dinner, and late-night dancing. Valet parking is included with a ticket. An afterglow featuring live music by the Bluewater Kings Band begins immediately after the Discovery Ball program and runs until midnight. Individual tickets are $250 and are available here.