DBusiness Daily Update: ACG Detroit Opens Nominations for Eighth Annual M&A All Star Awards Program, 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.
Wolverine Worldwide executed last year’s ACG Deal of the Year Over $50 Million. // File Photo
Wolverine Worldwide executed last year’s ACG Deal of the Year Over $50 Million. // File 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 Opens Nominations for Eighth Annual M&A All Star Awards Program

ACG Detroit is putting out a call for nominations for its eighth annual M&A All Star Awards program, which takes place May 2 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

Eligible nominations include deals done in Michigan, dealmakers based in Michigan, including either buyer or seller, that closed in 2022. Factors considered most strongly in the judging are impact to the local M&A community, complexity, and degree of difficulty and success.

The deadline to submit a nomination is Jan. 26. The nomination form can be found here.

To explore DBusiness’ coverage from last year’s event, visit here.

Toyota Supports Detroit’s West Side by Donating Winter Boots and Socks to Grandale

Seeking to provide support in various Detroit neighborhoods in need, Toyota Motor North America stepped in for the 12th consecutive year to support a local Detroit community through its “Walk in My Boots” community outreach project.

On Jan. 14, more than 150 family members from The Salvation Army (TSA) Detroit Grandale Corps Community Center neighborhood on Detroit’s west side received new insulated winter boots and socks to help shield families from the cold.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine going without — like not having a pair of quality boots on a cold day,” says Maj. Bob Mueller, area commander for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.  “This year’s ‘Walk in My Boots’ event hit close to home for me because I grew up in Detroit’s Grandale neighborhood, and I know firsthand about the need in this community.  Sturdy boots and warm socks are life-changing in frigid Michigan winters. Thankfully, 150 of our community members are better equipped to weather the storm thanks to the generosity of our partners at Toyota Motor North America.”

With this project, in Detroit alone, Toyota has donated more than 2,200 pairs of boots and socks to local families and contributed more than $160,000 to The Salvation Army Great Lakes Division.

“Many people know Toyota as a car company, but we’re so much more than that,” says Bill Shelmon, executive project manager at Toyota’s R&D Advanced Product Planning Office. “We are passionate about serving in the communities where we live and work. With so many people in need due to the recent pandemic crises and economic downturn, it’s a major reason why Toyota continues to do whatever we can to ensure Detroiters are getting the help they need.”

The Salvation Army Detroit Grandale Corps Community Center provides outreach to the community through social services such helping families and individuals pay their utility bills when faced with financial crisis, free fresh produce and canned goods through the food pantry, weekly women’s ministry, and church services.

Efforts are underway to expand services in the spring. Toyota also donated $15,000 to The Salvation Army Great Lakes Division enabling it to continue to support the communities they serve.  A delicious hot luncheon was served to the families as well.

LifeLab Kids Sensory Garden and Play Park Wins Ferndale’s 2022 Project of the Year Award

LifeLab Kids, a Ferndale-based nonprofit center offering therapy, recreation, skill development, and creative outlets for children with disabilities 18 months to young adult, has won the 2022 Project of the Year award from the city of Ferndale for its Sensory Garden and Play Park, slated to open in late spring 2023.

LifeLab Kids Sensory Garden and Play Park is an inclusive, recreation-based, outdoor learning environment for children with special needs, including ADD/ADHD, anxiety, autism, developmental delays, Down syndrome, feeding challenges, mood disorders, and other physical or sensory differences, as well as those who are wheelchair dependent.

The space will provide access to individuals who may not always be able to participate in traditional playgrounds, sports teams, recess, or gym classes and will present fun and engaging recreational activities where children can learn, play and grow together.

“At LifeLab Kids, we believe stimulating multi-sensory environments promote physical, cognitive, and social development in individuals,” says Jai Reddy, founder and CEO of LifeLab Kids. “The new Sensory Garden and Play Park is being developed in response to an unmet need for a gathering space and play area that will benefit not only LifeLab Kids but the community.”

Within the Play Park, children will be able to enjoy adaptive sports and recreation programming for health, wellness, and social benefits. The multi-use sports court will include a fully enclosed mixed-use court for inclusive sports such as wheelchair basketball or volleyball, tennis/racquetball, cycling, and spinning.

Additionally, the Play Park will feature developmentally appropriate playground equipment and a landscaped garden to allow the children to enjoy various sensory inputs while outdoors to positively prepare them for the world beyond the playground.

A video rendering of it may be viewed here.

Study: When Battling Multiple Infections, Infants and Toddlers at Higher Risk

With COVID, flu, and RSV creating what many are calling a tripledemic, new research is shedding light on the effect the different COVID-19 variants have had on the youngest of patients throughout the pandemic and the role co-infections have played on pediatric outcomes.

Results of the 18-month study, published in Lancet Regional Health – Americas and led by Dr. Amit Bahl, an emergency medicine physician with Corewell Health East, formerly Beaumont Health, showed that while omicron cases had the highest hospital admission rates among children ages 0 to 17, serious, even deadly, cases of illness were less likely during omicron than during the delta and alpha variants. In fact, the odds of severe disease were 65% lower during omicron compared to alpha.

If other respiratory viruses such as the flu or RSV were involved with any of the variants, however, severe outcomes more than doubled, with infants and toddlers being at a significantly higher risk.

“Younger kids who were infected with multiple viruses at the same time demonstrated a significantly higher need for oxygen therapy and ICU-level care,” Bahl says. “More than 45 percent needed this type of care compared to just 22 percent of the patients who were sick with one virus. Given the higher-than-normal spread of RSV and influenza this year, it is especially important for providers to recognize this increased risk when they are treating patients.”

Bahl and his research team, including Nicholas Mielke, co-author and a fourth-year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, examined more than 4,500 emergency department visits at Corewell Health Beaumont hospital between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 16, 2022.

The study also showed that co-infection was most common during the delta variant with almost 17 percent of pediatric cases having more than one virus, followed by omicron at 12.5 percent and alpha at just more than 5 percent. The data was gathered from three timeframes: alpha – January through June 2021; delta – July through December 2021 and omicron – January to June 16, 2022.

“The idea for this study began about one year ago while we were working on a project that looked at the effectiveness of the COVID booster vaccinations in adults,” Mielke says. “We felt that it was important to build on our previous investigation and report on COVID-19 outcomes in pediatrics given the general lack of research in this population.”

According to Mielke, one surprising result of the study was while severe outcomes increased significantly in co-infection cases, overall deaths remained relatively low among younger patients.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the low rate of mechanical ventilation and in-hospital mortality among this population, especially compared to our previous study on adults,” Mielke says. “The risk of severe illness and death remains significant for adults, and with how fast viral illnesses spread from children to adults, vaccinating the pediatric population is very important regardless of their baseline risk of severe illness.”

Bahl indicated that even though vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 became available near the tail end of the Delta-predominant period, there still was no vaccine for children under five years old so the true impact of vaccination among the younger age groups was difficult to show during the study period. However, he said some data was collected representing the adolescent age group.

“When isolating adolescents who had access to vaccination earlier than the other age groups, it is clear that proportionately there were fewer ED encounters, hospitalizations and severe outcomes in this older age group over the course of the pandemic,” Bahl says.

According to Bahl, the biggest takeaway for parents is remembering to take preventative measures when it comes to their children.

“Our ERs are full again with pediatric patients suffering from respiratory illnesses,” he notes. “The COVID vaccines are protective against severe outcomes, and with these co-infections rampant, the more protection our kids have, the better for them and the rest of the population.”

Additional study authors included Dr. Steven Johnson, emergency medicine at Corewell Health Beaumont; Dr. Ankita Desai, pediatric infectious disease at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital; and Dr. Lihua Qu, research outcomes at Beaumont Health Research Institute.