DBusiness Daily Update: Amazon Begins Hiring 1,200 Full-time Positions in Detroit, 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.
Photo of worker wearing safety vest in warehouse pushing cart with yellow bins.
Amazon is working with Detroit at Work to hire 1,200 full-time employees for its fulfillment center in Detroit. // Photo courtesy of Amazon

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.

Amazon Begins Hiring 1,200 Full-time Positions in Detroit

Amazon today announced that it will begin hiring for more than 1,200 full-time positions ahead of the 2023 launch of its 823,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Detroit. This hiring effort is in collaboration with Detroit at Work, which is partnering with Amazon to recruit Detroit residents for full-time positions.

“Detroit at Work has already partnered with Amazon to fill an initial wave of roles, and we are delighted now to be able to start recruitment for the 1,200 full-time positions available,” says Dana Williams, chief strategy officer for Detroit at Work. “Residents who register with Detroit at Work will be notified first to apply for these positions, which come with a combination of competitive starting salary and excellent benefits and provide a genuine pathway to careers with Amazon.”

At this facility, employees will play integral roles within Amazon’s customer fulfillment operations — everything from receiving inventory, picking and shipping customer orders, and supporting logistics.

On top of Amazon’s $19 average starting wage, the company offers full-time employees industry-leading benefits, which include comprehensive health care from day one, 401(k) with 50 percent match, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave, and access to Amazon’s Career Choice program, which pays full college tuition for employees at hundreds of education partners across the country, including six colleges and universities in Michigan. In addition, Amazon has pledged to invest more than $1.2 billion to expand education and skills training benefits for its U.S. workforce.

“We are very excited to not only offer well-paid job opportunities to local Detroit residents, but also comprehensive benefits to all employees beginning day one of employment at Amazon,” says Kyle DeGiulio, manager of economic development policy at Amazon.

Amazon and Detroit at Work will be hosting informational sessions open to Detroit residents both virtually and in-person. If you are interested in further information, visit here to register.

Pfizer Invests $43B to Acquire Cancer Medicine Maker Seagen

Pfizer Inc., which has facilities in Kalamazoo and Rochester, has agreed to acquire Seagen Inc., a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops, and commercializes cancer medicines, for $43 billion.

“Pfizer is deploying its financial resources to advance the battle against cancer, a leading cause of death worldwide with a significant impact on public health,” says Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer. “Together, Pfizer and Seagen seek to accelerate the next generation of cancer breakthroughs and bring new solutions to patients by combining the power of Seagen’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with the scale and strength of Pfizer’s capabilities and expertise.

“Oncology continues to be the largest growth driver in global medicine, and this acquisition will enhance Pfizer’s position in this important space and contribute meaningfully to the achievement of Pfizer’s near- and long-term financial goals.”

Seagen expects to generate approximately $2.2 billion of revenue in 2023, representing 12 percent year-over-year growth, from its four in-line medicines, royalties, and collaboration and license agreements. Pfizer says it believes Seagen could contribute more than $10 billion in risk-adjusted revenues in 2030, with potential significant growth beyond 2030.

Seagen is a pioneer in ADC technology, with four of the 12 total FDA-approved and marketed ADCs using its technology industry-wide. ADCs are a transformative modality that is emerging as a powerful tool across a broad range of cancers designed to preferentially kill cancer cells and limit off-target toxicities.

Pfizer expects to finance the transaction substantially through $31 billion of new, long-term debt, and the balance from a combination of short-term financing and existing cash.

The companies expect to complete the transaction in late 2023 or early 2024, subject to fulfillment of customary closing conditions, including approval of Seagen’s stockholders and receipt of required regulatory approvals.

Barton Malow Becomes a Corporate Member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Barton Malow, a construction enterprise based in Southfield, is reinforcing its commitment to supplier diversity across its national footprint by joining the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a corporate member.

The company says this membership is significant as it continues to expand its productive relationships with woman-owned subcontractor and supplier partners.

“Our commitment to supporting organizations like WBENC at the national level reflects our ambition to be one of the country’s foremost construction firms advancing supplier diversity in the industry,” says Dannis Mitchell, director of community engagement at Barton Malow. “We’ve received consistent recognition from WBENC for our supplier diversity efforts at the regional level, so we’re looking forward to making a similar impact nationally through increased collaboration with this well-respected organization.”

Last year, Barton Malow was recognized by the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, a regional chapter of WBENC, at the Ambassadors Championing Excellence Awards Ceremony in the Advanced category. The enterprise also joined the National Minority Supplier Development Council as a corporate member and was recognized as Corporation of the Year by the Michigan chapter.

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Merges with Asahi Kasei Asaclean Americas

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America (APNA) in Fowlerville (east of Lansing), an international compounder of advanced engineered polymers and polypropylene, and Asahi Kasei Asaclean Americas (AKAC), a supplier purging compounds and concentrates, are merging effective April 1. The combined company will operate as APNA and be headquartered in Fowlerville.

The merger creates a plastics-focused company with customers spanning the automotive, industrial, and consumer industries. Following the integration, the company will have more than 350 employees with four locations in North America to support the diverse needs of customers in different segments.

“The merger will provide significant internal and external benefits for our employees, customers, and communities,” says Todd Glogovsky, president and COO of APNA. “We expect to drive value creation and synergies between APNA and AKAC to leverage both companies’ strengths. We have a strong team with industry expertise to serve our partners’ needs while expanding our growth.”

The goal is to improve the customer experience by providing both the production material and the materials that clean the resin in one place to reduce downtime and deliver efficiencies. By consolidating relevant resources, customers can streamline items such as invoicing and product support through one partnership.

For more information, visit asaclean.com.

JARS Cannabis Completes Acquisition of Colorado’s Euflora

Detroit-based JARS Cannabis has completed its previously announced acquisition of Euflora, a collective of boutique recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.

With the addition of one greenhouse and six recreational storefronts to its portfolio, the strategic move further solidifies JARS Cannabis’ position as a leading purveyor of affordable and accessible cannabis products in the nation’s second- and third-largest cannabis markets.

“We are pleased to announce that JARS Cannabis has successfully completed the acquisition of Euflora, says Scott Rybicki, managing partner of JARS Cannabis. “As a pioneer that has been shaping the Colorado cannabis market since 2014, Euflora established a reputation for innovation and customer satisfaction over the past eight years. With this acquisition, we look forward to leveraging our teams’ strengths to build upon that legacy and introduce new experiences to the Colorado cannabis community and beyond.”

In Related News: Cloud Cannabis will host a meet-and-greet with iconic professional wrestler Ric Flair at its Detroit retail location (16001 Mack Ave.) from 2-3:30 p.m. March 17 to celebrate the Michigan launch of the Ric Flair Drip Cannabis line by TYSON 2.0, Mike Tyson’s cannabis company.

Best Michigan Small Businesses to be Honored at May 2 Gala

Eleven Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) clients will receive Best Small Business awards at the 19th Annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards Gala May 2, at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

“It’s great to see these entrepreneurs get recognized for all the hard work and passion that goes into their businesses,” says J.D. Collins, CEO and executive state director of the SBDC. “The Michigan SBDC’s mission is to help small businesses succeed, and this impressive list demonstrates the impact we aim to have with all our clients.”

Small businesses to be honored at the MSCB Gala include:

  • City Shield Security Services – Wayne County
  • Barney’s BakeHouse Bakery – Bay County
  • Eagle Link LLC – Delta County
  • Freedom Counseling LLC – Kalamazoo County
  • Groovy Donuts – Ingham County
  • Ludington Meat Company – Mason County
  • J.’s Metropolitan Ice Cream Co – Jackson
  • Sand Bay Marina Sales, Service & Storage – Presque Isle County
  • Stafford’s Hospitality, Inc. – Emmet County
  • Thumb Roast Coffee – Sanilac County
  • Wood Shop Social – Isabella County

For more information and tickets to the event, visit here.

Wayne Metro Launches HEAT Job Training Program

The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency has launched its first Home Energy Auditor Training (HEAT) initiative, made possible through a $600,000 grant from General Motors Co. with nearly $90,000 earmarked for the HEAT project.

HEAT is a 10-week job training program that will combine field experience with classroom instruction in partnership with MiTEC to effectively train participants for the in-demand field of energy auditing. It also allows for an $18.75 per hour stipend for participants during the course of instruction. The program focuses on communities of color and includes access to entrepreneurship classes for those seeking to build their own business in the field. Participants will also become contractors for Wayne Metro’s Weatherization Assistance Program upon completion.

“We have created a track for tangible career opportunities at a time when the need for weatherization professionals is great,” says Steve Cato, director of Community Development for Wayne Metro. “Increasing the number of qualified energy auditors will create an influx of available weatherization projects, having a layered impact on the community. The success of these participants will catalyze the onboarding of new contractors, green jobs, and ultimately, maximize energy savings for an increasing number of Detroit and Wayne County residents.”

In addition to HEAT, the $600,000 funding from GM also will support two additional programs including Grow Wayne County and Minor Home Repair.

For more information and to apply for the second cohort, visit here.

Hospice of Michigan’s Barley, BBQ & Beats Fundraiser Returns to Detroit

After a three-year hiatus, Hospice of Michigan’s Barley, BBQ & Beats fundraising event is returning to Detroit from 5-9 p.m. April 21 at Saint Andrew’s Hall.

Barley, BBQ & Beats is the not-for-profit’s signature fundraising event featuring hand-crafted cocktails from local distilleries, barbecue courtesy of local pit masters and restaurants, and live musical performances, all to support access to not-for-profit hospice.

The fundraiser has grown every year since its inaugural event in Grand Rapids in 2016, expanding to Detroit in 2018. Because of its popularity, Barley, BBQ & Beats has spread statewide, with 2023 dates set for:

  • Detroit — 5-9 p.m. April 21 at Saint Andrew’s Hall
  • Grand Rapids — 4-8 p.m. May 6 at GLC Live at 20 Monroe
  • Cadillac — 5-9 p.m. May 19 at The Wex
  • Ann Arbor — 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at The Valley
  • Traverse City — 5-9 p.m. Oct. 20 at Cathedral Barn
  • Alpena — 6-10 p.m. Nov. 3 at The Depot

Tickets for all Barley, BBQ & Beats events are on sale now, and can be purchased for $50 in advance at hom.org/bbb or at the door of each event for $75. Ticket holders will be provided tokens at check-in valid for three servings of BBQ and three hand-crafted cocktails. Extra tokens will be available for purchase. Alternative samplings will be available if guests have sensitivities to barbecue foods.

Exclusive to the Grand Rapids event is a special appearance by Kelsea Ballerini. Visit hom.org/bbb for tickets and special ticket packages that include a ticket to Barley, BBQ & Beats and a ticket to the Kenny Chesney: I Go Back Tour with Kelsea Ballerini at Van Andel Arena. Special ticket packages start at $186.

All those who donate during the events will have the opportunity to double their generosity thanks to the Steve and Amy Van Andel Foundation. The “Make it a Double” Matching Gift will match all donations up to $250,000. Proceeds from Barley, BBQ & Beats support Hospice of Michigan’s Open Access Program, which helps ensure end-of-life care to all, regardless of age, diagnosis, or financial circumstances.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Megan Lacross at melacross@hom.org or Kim Streich at kstreich@hom.org.