DBusiness Daily Update: American Speed Festival Names Peter Brock as Master of Motorsports, 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.
Peter Brock will be the 2022 Master of Motorsports for the American Speed Festival Sept. 29- Oct. at M1 Concourse. // Photo courtesy of evankleinfilms
Peter Brock will be the 2022 Master of Motorsports for the American Speed Festival Sept. 29- Oct. at M1 Concourse. // Courtesy of evankleinfilms

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.

American Speed Festival Names Peter Brock as 2022 Master of Motorsports

Officials at M1 Concourse in Pontiac officials today announced that Peter Brock will be the 2022 Master of Motorsports for the American Speed Festival Sept. 29- Oct.

The 2022 American Speed Festival will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Shelby American’s impact on sports cars. Brock was the first employee hired by Carroll Shelby, running Shelby’s race driving school before Shelby American existed. His presence paid immediate dividends when the burgeoning Shelby American car company was founded.

Brock took the Shelby Cobra roadster in 1963 and turned it into the slippery Cobra Daytona Coupe – the first American car to beat out the European regulars and grab the FIA’s GT World Championship in 1965, motorsports’ ultimate prize. He also created the Shelby “brand,” designing logos, creating ads, and race car graphics.

“As soon as we selected Shelby American as our featured vehicle class for this year, I immediately thought of Peter Brock,” says Tim McGRane, CEO of M1. “In addition to being Carroll Shelby’s only designer, Peter made great impressions in racing with other organizations as a racer, designer, and storyteller. Peter is one of a handful of special people who have a mastery of all angles of the motorsports industry. We are thrilled to be recognizing his great achievements this fall.”

Before his work with Shelby American, Brock made himself known as the 20-year-old General Motors designer who sketched what became the ’59 Stingray Racer and would later become the ‘63 Corvette Sting Ray.

“With all the roles I’ve had in the industry, I’m first and foremost a designer,” says Brock. “I can’t look at a design and not evaluate its racing capabilities and esthetics. It doesn’t matter what type of racing is involved because I’ve found that all racers are driven by the same desire to do something better than the next guy.”

Brock will be honored with the Master of Motor Sports Award at the Checkered Flag Ball on Saturday, Oct. 1 at M1’s Event Center.

A multitude of other cars representing super cars, endurance cars, stock cars, Indy cars, and more will join the Cobras and Shelbys at the American Speed Festival. Live music, premium food and beverages, plus interactive displays from sponsors and auto vendors will add to the festive, family-friendly experience.

Tickets will go on sale for the American Speed Festival and the Checkered Flag Ball in early March. More information is available here.

Grosse Pointe’s Hyer Partners to Extend Benefits to Independent Contractors

Hyer, a Grosse Pointe-based on-demand labor app connecting businesses to independent workers in the gig economy, is partnering with Catch, a personal payroll and financial services provider, to provide Hyer’s pool of independent workers with access to an easy-to-use platform for their health insurance and personal payroll, including automatic tax withholding, retirement planning and savings.

The pandemic spurred rapid growth in the gig economy. As independent work continues to accelerate, accessing benefits can be difficult. Addressing these challenges, this partnership allows Taskers, what Hyer calls its workers, to tap into modern benefits build for a new era of work.

“As we watch the massive shift taking place from the traditional 9 to 5 — our partnership with Catch enables us to support our Taskers in working the way they want — without the added stress,” says Dave Dempsey, co-founder and CEO of Hyer. “Through this winning partnership, workers get the flexibility they crave along with the benefits they need to thrive in their independent work.”

Hyer and Catch’s partnership allows Taskers to take advantage of free tax withholding and payments for their independent (1099) income, which takes much of the pressure out of filing taxes.

“Two major factors — technology and the pandemic — have impacted our relationship with work,” says Kristen Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Catch. “More and more individuals are entering the gig economy, whether passively or full-time, and need modern financial services that make the shift from traditional employer-employee work simple. The partnership between Hyer and Catch represents the decoupling of benefits from employment status and the movement towards personalized payroll.”

PSI Labs in Ann Arbor Expands Cannabis Testing Services

PSI Labs, an Ann Arbor-based ISO 17025 accredited Safety Compliance Facility that provides essential cannabis testing services, announced its expansion of services after a strong performance in 2021, including a strategic acquisition of pH Solutions in Monrovia, Calif.

PSI Labs’ increased service line will offer more environmental testing as well as research and development.

To support the company’s service expansion, PSI Labs has doubled the size of its central operations team in the past 18 months, most recently hiring Jeff Guyton as director of sales.

“We are continuing to build up our team across Michigan and California to offer the most consistent, superior service focusing on dependable high-value interactions with clients,” says Benjamin Rosman, co-founder and CEO of PSI Labs. “The new additions to our organization support the recent expansion of our services to include more environmental testing, research, and development, as well as ways to provide more collaborative support to our clients. This is all in an effort to continue focusing on our unrelenting commitment to accuracy in 2022.”

U-M Survey: Detroit Unemployment Rate Sits at 20% Showing Uneven Recovery

Detroit’s unemployment rate — the proportion of adults who are in the labor force but not currently employed — remains at 20 percent, virtually unchanged over the course of 2021, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

This is less than half the unemployment rate observed when unemployment peaked at 43 percent in June 2020, but twice the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of about 10 percent.

The most recent survey from the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study highlights significant disparities in who is most affected by unemployment in Detroit. Among those in the labor force, people of color, low-wage earners, and residents without four-year college degrees are more likely to be unemployed than other residents.

Lower-income Detroit residents stood out, with more than four out of 10 Detroiters who are in the labor force and have annual household incomes of less than $30,000 indicating they were not currently working.

Additionally, Black (23 percent) and Latino (23 percent) Detroiters in the labor force are nearly four times as likely to be unemployed as white (6 percent) Detroiters in the labor force. These ethnoracial disparities in unemployment rates have widened over time.

The unemployment rate among white residents fell from 14 percent to 6 percent between July and November 2021, whereas the unemployment rate among Black and Latino workers remained stable at roughly 23 percent. This suggests white Detroit residents are experiencing faster employment recovery than residents of color.

The wave of employees who voluntarily resigned from their jobs during the pandemic, often referred to as the “Great Resignation,” also was evident among Detroiters. About 38,600 Detroiters in the labor force said they had quit, resigned, or voluntarily left a job in the last year.

When asked why they left their job, the most common reason was to take a better employment opportunity. Many Detroiters also cited the pandemic as a reason they had left work, ​​including unsafe working conditions, unvaccinated colleagues, and uncertain work schedules.

“The pandemic has caused large shifts in Detroit’s labor market, from the types of jobs people are pursuing to who is willing and able to work right now,” says Elisabeth Gerber, one of the faculty research leads for DMACS, professor of public policy and research associate in the Center for Political Studies at U-M’s Institute for Social Research.

“The latest DMACS survey shows the uneven nature of the economic recovery, and Detroiters’ experiences suggest there is a need for both job training programs that prepare Detroiters for high-demand employment sectors as well as significant investment into the safety and quality of all employment opportunities.”

To review the full results of the survey, visit here.

RECARO Automotive Named Official Seating Partner of Sportscar Vintage Racing Association

RECARO Automotive has been named the Official Seating of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA).

“When you think about ultimate quality, safety, and ergonomics in the motorsports seating market, RECARO Automotive leads the industry,” says Tony Parella, owner of SVRA. “I’m thrilled to have them as a partner. Our team has spent the last several years developing relationships with premier partners who match our dedication to providing safety and quality to our drivers, and RECARO is another great example of that.”

The partnership with introduces RECARO Automotive to a wider audience – both inside the paddock and enthusiasts enjoying the racing action.

“Showcasing our brand on the track reinforces the merits of our world-class seating technology to both drivers and fans who are passionate about motorsports,” says Emil Kreycik, president and COO of RECARO Automotive. “The ultimate goal is to demonstrate to the fans that the same safety, comfort, and craftsmanship designed for race cars is available on the aftermarket and select OEM products for many of the vehicles on today’s roads.”

RECARO Automotive has a history of working closely with professional and amateur drivers, who race at high speed with high g-forces for hours at a time. Their feedback leads to improved technologies for RECARO Automotive’s passenger seats.

“We really view our involvement with motorsports holistically, rather than just a branding exercise,” Kreycik says. “We want to promote the safety, comfort, and security of our seats. If I’m a customer, I know that having RECARO Automotive seats in my vehicle means that there are years of rigorous testing behind the product.”

Deviate Brings Detroit to New York City via “Don’t Sleep on Detroit” Showcase

Deviate, a Detroit-based unisex fashion brand that intersects art and fashion, presented its inaugural Fall/Winter 2022 collection called A Bird Trusts its Wings this week in New York City.

Deviate was selected by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as one of the American production companies for emerging and established brands to support its sustainable manufacturing program.

Deviate says it not only strives to redefine the creative community in the city of Detroit, but the brand also is invested in cultivating local talent by empowering and educating its youth community in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan’s Fashion Industry Club.

The Fall/Winter 2022 collection is inspired by an original storybook written by Deviate Creative Director Kelsey Tucker. The story acts as an of-age metaphor for non-traditional artists whose ideas often go overlooked.

Deviate challenges this reality throughout their storybook and collection by collaborating with Ponyride and more than 50 non-traditional Detroit-based artists from their community. This is the most “artful” ready-to-wear collection Deviate has ever designed and presented via an immersive experience to showcase their Fall/Winter 2022 collection for the first time in New York.

“The goal of the exhibition is to push the non-traditional forward in the fashion industry and ignite a national conversation around Detroit’s artistic and creative talent,” Cassidy Tucker, co-founder of Deviate. “We’ve seen our city increasingly get more attention around fashion, especially within the last year; but, the voice of the local creative has been missing within this narrative. This exhibition is our platform to present one collective voice coming from a creative community that is ready to bring new dimension to fashion.”

For more information, visit here.

Re-inflated Lexus Velodrome Ready for Racing and More

The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, refilled with the air from its massive fans, is re-inflated and ready for riding, racing, skating, walking, disc golf, weightlifting, fitness classes, and more.

Felled by a power outage in December, the 64,000-square-foot air structure has been undergoing repairs and improvements ever since. It officially reopened for regular business Jan. 31 and will host its first 2022 bike race Feb 18-19.

The Re-Inflation 2 Day, promoted by the American Cycling League, will bring bike racing back to Lexus Velodrome with high-profile racers from across the nation, competing against the best from this region. Race tickets are available at LexusVelodrome.com.

During the collapse, the state-of-the-art 1/10th of a mile cycling track not only survived the deflation but was protected by the fabric of the dome as it draped over its 50-degree banked turns and 14-degree straightaways.

“When the dome came down our first effort was to protect the track from the winter elements – the snow, the ice, the water and, of course, to get it patched and re-inflated asap,” says Dale

Hughes, executive director of the Detroit Fitness Foundation, which owns and operates the facility. “Once re-inflated, we went into restoration mode, making the facility better than ever.

What we are most excited about right now is to be back to the business of offering unique fitness opportunities to everyone and getting our bike racers back onto the best venue in the nation.”

Besides the cycling track, additional fitness assets of the Lexus Velodrome include the Eddie Tolan Oval – a 1/8th mile run/walk/skate track; the 1,200-square-foot Detroit Fit Fitness Studio; the LV Weight Space, plenty of bikes and skates for first time users, and a full schedule of activities, most free to youth and seniors.