DBusiness Daily Update: Association for Corporate Growth to Host M&A All Star Awards Sept. 28, 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.
the exterior of the townsend hotel in birmingham
The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham will be the site of the M&A All Star Awards Ceremonies. // Courtesy of The Townsend Hotel

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.

Association for Corporate Growth to Host M&A All Star Awards Sept. 28

The Detroit Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth will host its fifth and sixth annual M&A All Star Awards Ceremonies from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The event will honor both the 2020 and 2021 honorees.

Recognitions for both years include:  Deal of the Year over $50 Million, Deal of the Year under $50 Million, Mega Deal of the Year, Deal Maker of the Year, Rising Star of the Year, Investment Banker of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ticket prices for members are $120 and $170 for non-members. The event includes the program, a strolling dinner, an open bar, and the opportunity to network with companies and professionals from across Detroit’s M&A community.

To register for the event, visit here.

2020 winners include:

  • NYX Inc.’s Acquisition of Beach Mold & Tool Inc., Deal of the Year Over $50 Million in Revenue.
  • HighGrove Companies Acquisition of All Star Driver Education, Deal of the Year Under $50 Million.
  • Merger of Chemical Financial Corp. and TCF Financial Corp., Mega Deal of the Year.
  • Cascade Partners, Dealmaker of the Year.
  • Steve Pacynski of Clark Hill, Rising Star of the Year.
  • Brian Basil of Doeren Mayhew Capital Advisors, Investment Banker of the Year.
  • John C. Carter of JPMorgan Chase, Lifetime Achievement Award.

2021 winners include:

  • Alta Equipment Group Inc.’s IPO SPAC Merger, All Star Deal of the Year Over $50 Million.
  • Peninsula Fund VI Limited Partnership’s acquisitions of Center for Computer Resources and Business Communications Systems, All Star Deal of the Year Under $50 Million.
  • Alexis J. Schostak of Dykema, All Star Advisor of the Year.
  • Jeffrey A. Hoover of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, All Star Advisor of the Year.
  • Alex J. Conti of UHY Corporate Finance, All Star Investment Banker of the Year.
  • Matthew B. Feldman of Cascade Partners, Rising Star.
  • O2 Investment Partners, All Star Dealmaker of the Year.
  • Justin G. Klimko of Butzel Long, Lifetime Achievement.

To read DBusiness magazine’s profile of recent winners, visit here for 2020 and here for 2021.

DMC CEO Gregory Leaving for Position at Florida Health System

The Detroit Medical Center has announced that Audrey Gregory will be leaving her position as CEO to become president and CEO at a health system based in central Florida. Her last day at the DMC will be Oct 22.

Brittany Lavis, DMC’s group chief financial officer, will serve as Interim CEO.

Gregory joined the DMC in October 2019 as the president of Detroit Medical Center and CEO of DMC’s adult central campus, which includes DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Heart Hospital, and DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital. She came to the DMC from Tenet Healthcare’s Saint Francis Healthcare System in Memphis, where she served as market CEO, and CEO of St. Francis Hospital – Memphis.

Prior to joining the DMC, Lavis she was the CFO at Placentia-Linda Hospital, part of Tenet’s southern California group. In addition to her responsibility for Placentia-Linda Hospital, she was also group CFO for all hospitals in Tenet’s Southern California Group, which includes seven hospitals.

Motor City Match Program Opens Applications for Round 18 of Funding

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) President and CEO Kevin Johnson announced Thursday that applications are open for Round 18 of funding through the Motor City Match program.

The announcement was made on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, nine of whose businesses has received Motor City Match support over the years. In total, MCM has assisted 130 businesses, most minority owned, women owned, and owned by Detroit residents.

“Over the past six years, the Motor City Match program has helped develop a new generation of entrepreneurs in our city,” says Duggan. “In addition to bringing more goods, services, and jobs to our neighborhoods, this program is helping reactivate vacant storefronts along many of our commercial corridors. With the opening of this new round of grant applications, this opportunity will now be available to more aspiring Detroit entrepreneurs.”

The program awards entrepreneurs a variety of resources to help them get from “idea to open.” On a quarterly basis, business owners may apply for financial and technical assistance through the four available MCM tracks: Business Plan, Space, Design, and Cash. A separate track is available for building owners.

“Small-business success is crucial to the overall prosperity of Detroit, including adding neighborhood jobs, building our city’s middle class and creating a culture of entrepreneurialism in the city,” says Johnson. “The MCM program launched as the first of its kind in the country in 2015. Fast forward to 2021, and we’re seeing increased small business density in our commercial corridors and new opportunities for residents to share Detroit’s prosperity.”

To apply for Round 18, business and building owners can visit here.

HUD Awards Nearly $5M to Help End Youth Homelessness in Detroit

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding nearly $5.2 million to the Detroit Continuum of Care, part of $142 million being distributed around the country to build systems to end youth homelessness in 33 local communities.

HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) supports a wide range of housing programs including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated nearly every crisis in our society, including the crisis of youth homelessness,” says Marcia L. Fudge, secretary of HUD. “Our society is judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us. We have a responsibility in our nation to care for all our children and with this funding, HUD is taking steps to make sure that every child under our care has a safe place to call home.”

James A. Cunningham, Midwest Deputy Regional Administrator for HUD, says, “This investment provides Detroit youth with a solid platform though stable housing and a genuine opportunity for success. This funding will help put young people on solid footing and on a path to success.”

YHDP recipients will use the funding to address youth homelessness that is specifically tailored to their needs, including funding for housing units, wrap-around services, and housing support. YHDP also will support youth-focused performance measurement and coordinated entry systems.

Over the next several months, selected communities will work with their youth advisory boards, child welfare agencies, and other community partners to create a comprehensive community plan to end youth homelessness. The awarded communities also will participate in a program evaluation to inform the federal effort to prevent and end youth homelessness going forward and will serve as leaders in the nation on the work to end homelessness among young people.

Michigan’s Online Sportsbooks and Online Casinos See August Increases

Volume at Michigan’s online sportsbooks ticked up in August to more than $192 million, pushing Michigan past $2 billion in online and retail wagering for the year.

The modest gain did not lead to more revenue, though, as sportsbooks set the stage for four of the busiest months of the year, according toPlayMichigan.com, which analyzes and researches the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

“August marks the beginning of the most important stretch of the year for sportsbooks,” says Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com. “It only takes a few college games, the NFL’s preseason and futures bets to show the importance of football to the industry. But the small number of games in August is merely a precursor for the next four months.”

Michigan’s online sportsbooks took in $192.3 million in bets in August, up 2.3 percent from $188.0 million in July, according to official data released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. With $16.3 million in retail wagering in August, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks accounted for $208.6 million in wagering, up 1.1 percent from $206.3 million in bets in July.

Gross gaming revenue from online betting fell 18.8 percent to $15.9 million from $19.6 million in July. With retail revenue included, the state’s sportsbooks combined to win $17.5 million for the month, a drop of 15.6 percent from July. Taxable revenue from online bets landed at $9.2 million, which generated $757,405 in state and local taxes.

The relatively modest bump in sports betting volume was enough to push past $2 billion in online and retail wagering all-time, and for the year.

“The hot start after launching online betting in January was the key in hitting $2 billion in wagering this soon, but it is remarkable growth, no matter how you view it,” says Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “Tax revenue has been somewhat underwhelming so far. As the market continues to mature, and promotional spends begin too slow, hopefully tax revenue improves.”

DraftKings took the online market lead with $61.4 million in wagers, up from $53.4 million in July. Gross gaming revenue rose to $4.4 million from $3.1 million in July. FanDuel fell to No. 2 in the state with $47.7 million in wagers, down from $54.5 million in July. The bets in August produced a market-best $4.8 million in gross sports betting revenue, down from $7.8 million in July.

BetMGM was third in the state with $43.7 million in wagers, up from $41.0 million in July. That total produced $3.9 million in gross receipts, down from $5.0 million in June.

“Football is not only the main draw for most existing bettors, it’s also the primary vehicle for each sportsbook to grow its customer base,” Schoch says. “The promotional offerings and seemingly wall-to-wall advertising that we’ve already seen shows how aggressive Michigan’s operators are and will continue to be over the next couple months.”

Gross gaming revenue at Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms rose to a record $97.2 million in August, up 5.3 percent from $92.3 million in July. August’s revenue was up to $3.1 million per day over the 31 days of August from $3.0 million per day in wagers over the 31 days of July. That total yielded $17.9 million in state taxes and $6.9 million in local taxes.

August marked the fifth time in the past six months that revenue topped $90 million. August also was the first full month of live dealer online casino games, which launched in late July, helping to boost revenue.

Since launching in January, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $672.6 million in revenue and $166.6 million in state and local taxes.

For more information, visit here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Contributes $5M to MHA Keystone Center

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is expanding its longstanding funding relationship with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center with a $5 million contribution.

Since the launch of the MHA Keystone Center in 2003, participating hospitals have made significant strides in increasing safety and quality and have been recognized nationally for their work to improve care statewide. This newest investment from Blue Cross, which will be paid in installments through 2024, adds to the $16 million Blue Cross has provided to the MHA Keystone Center since 2009.

The contribution will directly support new programs and hospital-led innovations related to women and children’s health, maternal care parameters, and the safety of both patients and health care workers. The funding also will support Blue Cross and the MHA Keystone Center’s work encouraging Michigan hospitals to offer medication assisted treatment for substance use disorders to help combat the opioid epidemic.

“Since its creation 18 years ago, the MHA Keystone Center has performed critical work that has positioned Michigan as one of the leading places to receive hospital-based care,” says Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Blue Cross and MHA have mutual interest in promoting hospital-based care that is not only safe, but that delivers the positive outcomes patients count on when they first arrive at their community’s hospital.”

MHA CEO Brian Peters says, “Delivering safe, high-quality care to every patient every time is at the core of every Michigan hospital’s mission. The investments from BCBSM for the ongoing quality and safety work of the MHA Keystone Center has allowed hospitals across the state to collaborate on issues that directly impact our patients and employees. Together, this work has led to lives saved and health care errors and costs prevented.”

Holocaust Memorial Center Presents Virtual ‘Stolen Voices’ Program Oct. 3

The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills will be presenting “Stolen Voices with Zlata Filipovic” at 3 p.m. on Oct. 3 via Zoom.

In this online discussion, Filipovic will speak about growing up under one of the longest sieges in modern day history in her native city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She will recount how her life suddenly changed at the young age of 11 from a peaceful existence to a war childhood. Filipovic shared her story through the publication of her diary as well as the lessons she learned through her survival of this horrific conflict. All of these experiences led Filipovic to become a human rights activist.

“Zlata’s courageous and inspirational story draws parallels to the ‘Diary of Anne Frank,’ detailing a child’s view of war and the day-to-day survival of her and her family,” says Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO, Holocaust Memorial Center. “We are honored to have Zlata join us to share her experiences and talk about her important work today.”

To register for the program, visit here. The suggested donation for the event is $10.

Pontiac’s Erebus Haunted Attraction Opens for 2021 Season Today

The Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, voted the No. 1 haunted attraction in the U.S., opens at 6 p.m. tonight for the 2021 season.

Visitors will traverse the four-floor, half-mile labyrinth, which includes the newly designed Attack on Area 51 and The Chop House, featuring Miss Patty’s Meat Pies.

In Attack on Area 51, aliens are secretly hidden away from the public eye and are the subjects of decades of gruesome scientific experiments, but they have escaped the top-secret compound Area 51 to Erebus to complete their mission…total destruction.

In The Chop House featuring Miss Patty’s Meat Pies, the dead, near-dead, and the living can’t escape the wrath of Miss Patty. Not for the faint of heart, Miss Patty painstakingly prepares another batch of her “world-famous” meat pies that may well contain mystery meat of questionable nature.

Erebus Haunted Attraction is located at 18 South Perry St. in Pontiac. All tickets including Speed Pass are available here, as well as the full schedule and hours of operation. There are no walk-ups or cash exchanged on site.

Salvation Army Recognizes Metro Detroiters for ‘Doing the Most Good’ 

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit honored businesses and volunteers who demonstrate “notable resolve” at its 14th annual Metro Detroit Advisory Board Civic Awards Dinner, conducted recently at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Longtime Metro Detroit Advisory Board member Jeffrey M. Sangster received the nonprofit’s highest honor, the William Booth Award, for being “a true advocate for local youth, the disadvantaged, and the metro Detroit community” as well as his leadership as Harbor Light Advisory Council Chair throughout the years.

This year’s Others Award, presented to those who live selflessly, was awarded to The FCA Foundation, which supports Salvation Army programming that empowers and builds resilience in local youth and generates societal impact. The company has supported the Bed & Bread program, which is dedicated to feeding the hungry throughout the streets of Detroit seven days a week, 356 days a year. It also provided a $150,000 combined grant for after-school programs for the Detroit Conner Creek and Warren Corps Community Centers.

The Salvation Army also presented four Doing the Most Good Awards to individuals and organizations that exemplify an extraordinary spirit of service and collaboration with The Salvation Army in times of need. Doing the Most Good Awards were presented to:

  • AT&T
  • Community Financial Credit Union
  • The Royal Park Hotel
  • Jim Webb, for his work with the Conner Creek Corps Community Center

Online Gifting Company Hosts ‘Bundled for Businesses’ Sept. 23

Bundled, a premier online gifting company based in Michigan, is hosting “Bundled for Businesses” on Sept. 23, where business professionals can network, meet the Bundled team, and get a sneak peek into the fall and holiday gifting collections, all of which boast Michigan-made products. The event also marks the opening of the company’s new headquarters in Commerce Township.

“Bundled for Businesses” is geared toward business owners, salespeople, and human resources

representatives, who invited learn how they can make their holiday corporate gifts unique and easy to send. Bundled also offers a completely automated gifting program, which helps corporations automatically send gifts or “bundles” of Michigan-made products to its employees and clients, no matter if they are working from an office or at home.

The event is free to the public and RSVPs are not required. For more information, visit here.

Cleary University’s Leadership Livingston Now Accepting Applications

The Leadership Livingston program at Cleary University in Howell ’s Leadership Livingston program is accepting applications for its 2021-22 season.

The program aims to expand leadership potential in Livingston County through monthly educational sessions that cover a variety of sectors including nonprofit, health, law enforcement, government, education, and more, led by industry leaders. It runs from mid-October through May, meeting monthly at different locations throughout Livingston County.

“As the program enters its 29th year, we are thrilled to continue to develop the next generation of leaders in Livingston County,” says Grace Farley, chief of staff at Cleary University.

Since its inception in 1992, Leadership Livingston has worked with more than 400 individuals, including existing leaders in county positions and emerging leaders who have since advanced into top roles within their organizations and communities. In addition to monthly sessions, participants work together to lead a strategic planning process with a local nonprofit organization.

“We believe learning is most effective when you apply what you learn,” Farley says. “This encourages participants to collaborate with others to achieve an outcome greater than what one could achieve alone.”

Applications are open to people ages 15 and older who live, work, or are otherwise interested in Livingston County. The $1,500 tuition is free to Cleary staff, faculty, and students.

Participants must attend all sessions to earn a certificate of completion. The program opens with a two-day immersion training and project orientation Oct. 15-16 and will continue one day a month through May 20, 2022. Sessions run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Session dates, details and application are available here.

Professor Behind Breakthrough Tools for Weather Data Wins U-M Innovation Award

University of Michigan professor Perry Samson has earned this year’s Distinguished University Innovator Award for developing a series of pioneering learning and weather-related tools and technologies and launching successful companies around them that serve millions of people.

Samson, a professor of atmospheric science, will receive the award Oct. 6. The Distinguished University Innovator Award honors faculty who have developed transformative ideas, processes or technologies, and shepherded them to market.

Samson’s list of innovations includes initiating the creation of the Blue Skies application for allowing K-12 students and later the public to access live weather data with rollover map functionality before the existence of the internet. That led to co-founding the Weather Underground, the first online commercial weather company, which was eventually sold to the Weather Channel and later IBM and used by millions of people daily.

He also led the development of the LectureTools learning platform that allowed students to ask and answer questions interactively via laptops and phones during class. This tool helped advance equity and inclusion in the classroom by allowing students to ask questions in a way that was anonymous to each other but not to the instructor.

This tool has been shown to produce dramatic increases in student inquiry during class. Moreover, students who self-report discomfort with asking verbal questions in class participate in inquiry at rates at or above the rest of the class, thus giving more students a voice, he says.

The software was bought by Echo360, for which he remains an adviser, and integrated into its Active Learning Platform. That platform now is used by 2 million students worldwide.

His latest, LearningClues, uses artificial intelligence to analyze and index what is said or visually presented in classes and identifies words it deems important to each class session. With this tool, students will be able to search videos from their courses to find specific moments related to their search. The system also will automatically create study guides for students for a time period of their choosing based on what was discussed and visually presented in those classes.

“While I totally understand colleagues’ reluctance to start or even get involved in the commercialization process, I have found there are many students who are interested and enthusiastic about entrepreneurship,” Samson says. “I consider the commercialization process a capstone laboratory both for the technology and for entrepreneurship, and my efforts have been buoyed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the students who have participated.”