DBusiness Daily Update: Automotive Hall of Fame Announces Inductee Class of 2022, 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 Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn will induct a new class of honorees July 21 at the ICON on the Detroit riverfront. // Courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame
The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn will induct a new class of honorees July 21 at the ICON on the Detroit riverfront. // Courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame

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.

Automotive Hall of Fame Announces Inductee Class of 2022

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn will induct a new class of honorees July 21 and it is one of the most diverse groups in the organization’s history. The induction will take place at the ICON on the Detroit riverfront.

“This year’s class of inductees continues to recognize the diversity of contributions to this industry,” says Sarah Cook, president of the Automotive Hall of Fame. “From manufacturing to racing, road travel to the rarest of luxury performance vehicles, this group tells some of the most interesting and important stories of the industry, and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize their achievements and welcome them into the Hall of Fame.”

This year’s inductees of this year’s class include:

  • Alma and Victor Green, authors and publishers of The Green Book, a travel guide for Blacks traveling America, published from 1936-1966.
  • Lu Guanqiu, a Chinese entrepreneur and trailblazer who used his creativity and wits to evolve Wanxiang from a local bicycle repair shop in the 1960s to a global supplier.
  • Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian entrepreneur who created the iconic Lamborghini line of luxury performance sports cars.
  • Taiichi Ohno, a Japanese engineer and former Toyota executive who helped establish the fabled Toyota Production System (TPS).
  • Lyn St. James, a pioneer in advancing women’s participation in the automotive and racing worlds.

General Dynamics Land Systems Adds GM Defense to Team for OMFV Competition

General Dynamics Land Systems, a provider of technology and next-generation ground combat solutions in Sterling Heights, announced today that GM Defense, a subsidiary of General Motors Co. in Detroit, is joining its project team for the U.S. Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) competition.

“Our team continues to grow stronger and gain momentum as we aggressively push to provide this important capability for the Army,” says Don Kotchman, vice president and general manager of U.S. Operations at General Dynamics Land Systems. “This collaboration with commercial powerhouse GM Defense brings together world-class capabilities from both companies to meet the future needs of the U.S. Soldier operating in a multidomain environment.”

Aligned with the Army’s phased philosophy for the OMFV competition, General Dynamics Land Systems has implemented digital engineering processes, artificial intelligence, and modular open electronic architecture into its concept for the program.

“We’re very excited to be joining General Dynamics Land Systems’ established and highly experienced OMFV program team,” says Steve duMont, president of GM Defense. “I see tremendous synergies as we seek to leverage our core capabilities in integrated vehicles, power and propulsion and mobility and autonomy to support the OMFV program.”

State Selects Texas Company to Design Inductive Charging System

Dallas-based Jacobs is part of a consortium selected by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to develop and implement an inductive vehicle charging pilot program — the first of its kind in the United States.

The project team will be led by Electreon, a provider of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles (EVs). NextEnergy, a Detroit-based clean energy accelerator, will head stakeholder and partner engagement. The pilot also will be supported by partners like Ford Motor Co., DTE Energy, and others.

As the engineering partner, Jacobs will provide project management and design services to successfully deliver this pilot project through to operation. The consortium will design and build a one-mile stretch of dynamic and stationary wireless EV charging technology in Detroit hosted by the Michigan Central mobility innovation district, which serves as an open platform for collaboration.

The technology, developed by Electreon, will enable inductive charging by placing embedded coils under the road pavement along with semi-dynamic charging stations at end point terminals to charge the vehicles while stationary in a queuing or parking lane. The system supports charging of equipped EVs and addresses several shortcomings in electrification related to battery limitations, charging needs, and vehicle asset utilization.

Dodge//SRT and Mopar Head to Pomona, Calif. for Start of NHRA Season

A new season, new team, new livery, new performance parts offerings for racers and enthusiasts, and a new track surface have Dodge//SRT (Street and Racing Technology) and Mopar brands ready to start the 2022 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series season this weekend at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

Dodge//SRT and Mopar recently announced their partnership with the NHRA’s newest team, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), which is set to make its competition debut in Pomona with Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection primary sponsorship of Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett and three-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan.

“Dodge//SRT performance enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to this NHRA season as we launch our new partnership with Tony Stewart Racing,” says Tim Kuniskis, CRO of the Dodge brand for Stellantis. “Fans will see the new Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection colors for us this year, and also have the chance to check out Direct Connection factory-backed performance products at the display in the Manufacturers Midway. It’s a brand new season, a brand new team with brand new Dodge programs we’re bringing to the NHRA.”

Additional Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers set to battle for national event wins and the Funny Car crown include two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon and reigning world champion Ron Capps.

Pedregon hopes this year to build on his Cruz Pedregon Racing team’s positive performance after driving his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the winner’s circle twice in 2021 and finishing fourth in the final standings. Capps will drive the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat into his 28th NHRA season of competition and also make his debut in the dual role of driver and team owner of Ron Capps Motorsports, all while looking to defend his second Funny Car world title.

Fans at the season-opening race, and at other select races throughout the year will have a chance to visit the Dodge//SRT and Mopar Manufacturers Midway Exhibit, a 4,800-square-foot display.

For a fourth season, the exhibit also will host Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) activations at seven NHRA national events, beginning at the NHRA Gatornationals in March. The Mopar CAP program is dedicated to recruiting, training, and placing the best service technicians in the industry in Stellantis dealerships. For more information, visit here.

Pleasantrees Re-opens Gibraltar Trade Center with Provisioning Center

Harrison Township-based cannabis company Pleasantrees will open its fifth retail location (curbside and medical only) Feb. 18 on the grounds of the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens. The location also will house the soon-to-launch beverage processing facility in partnership with Blake’s Hard Cider.

“The Grand Opening of Pleasantrees’ Provisioning Center is a major foundational piece of our successful expansion here in Macomb County,” says Randy Buchman, founder and CEO of Pleasantrees. “This location is most certainly a flagship for Pleasantrees and will ultimately become a major destination for cannabis consumers far and wide.

“While I am proud of, and grateful for, each of Pleasantrees’ facilities, this location is particularly important to me because I grew up right at I-94 and 21 Mile Road. It is fair to say that turning Gibraltar into a cannabis facility has been my Mt. Everest summit, and now I am nearly to the top.”

Pleasantrees will occupy more than 25,000 square feet of the 250,000-square-foot former indoor weekend flea market that closed in 2017.

The company currently operates four Michigan retail establishments: Hamtramck (recreational), Houghton Lake (dual-licensed), East Lansing (dual-licensed), and Lincoln Park (dual-licensed).

For more information, visit enjoypleasantrees.com.

Bank of America Donates $50K to Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners Food Bank

Bank of America has donated $50,000 each to Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank, worth approximately 400,000 meals to address food insecurity in the region.

Bank of America is supporting its employees’ health and safety while addressing one of the local communities’ most critical needs. Earlier this year, the company announced it would make a $100 donation to local hunger relief organizations and food banks for each employee in Detroit who received a COVID-19 booster shot or vaccine and notified the bank before the end of January. The company made an additional contribution to address the increased need experienced by hunger relief organizations across the country.

For every $100 donated to Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners, 300 to 400 meals are provided to local neighbors in need.

Last year, Forgotten Harvest rescued more than 45 million pounds of food by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from more than 800 locations, including grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors, and other Health Department-approved sources.

Since 1977 Gleaners Community Food Bank has been a vital link between available food and those who need it most, providing food to hundreds of food pantries, shelters, and other agencies across southeastern Michigan. At the height of the pandemic, Gleaners provided more than 6 million meals each month to a food-insecure population estimated at more than 650,000 people in southeast Michigan.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the largest food crisis in Gleaners’ history. An outpouring of philanthropy and community support enabled Gleaners to quickly broaden food distribution partnerships and create emergency distribution hubs.

“Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank address poverty by working to ensure food security for individuals and families throughout southeast Michigan, and we share that common goal,” says Matt Elliott, president of Bank of America Michigan. “This program is a dual investment in our community and employees, doing our part to support the health and wellness of our region.”

The company has encouraged its staff nationwide to get COVID-19 vaccinations since summer 2021 and has offered incentives such as paid time-off and $500 credits towards health benefit premiums. In partnership with local nonprofits, Bank of America also distributed more than 38 million masks, 41,000 cases of hand sanitizer, and 11 million gloves in local communities as part of its ongoing efforts to address health-related disparities accelerated by the pandemic.

Finally, as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continues to be an essential component in the fight against coronavirus, Bank of America also will be donating more than 100,000 face masks, 60,000 gloves and 50 cases of bottled hand sanitizer to support the work of both nonprofit organizations.

Inn at St. John’s Associates to Present $50K to Area Charities

The Pulte Family Foundation and associates at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth Township have nominated five area charities to receive their annual associate-directed donations of $10,000 each.

The presentation ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. March 3 in the lobby at The Inn at St. John’s.

Existing Pulte Family Foundation partner charities receiving the $10,000 donations are:

Capuchin Soup Kitchen – Inspired by the life and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, Capuchin Soup Kitchen tends to people’s basic needs, especially the need for food; strives to stimulate minds and nourish spirits; and works to understand and address root causes of social injustice in the community.

Covenant House Michigan – Covenant House Michigan’s doors are always open to all young people who need housing and help, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Trauma-informed services help bridge the gap between potential and progress while advocating for systemic change through public policy and promoting awareness of critical issues related to youth homelessness.

Mother and Unborn Baby Care – Mother and Unborn Baby Care is dedicated preventing abortions by helping mothers continue their pregnancies through Christ- centered peer counseling, ultrasound, and significant material support.

Associate-directed recipients are:

The Living and Learning Enrichment Center – Whose vision is to be the nation’s model in equipping people who have autism with the developmental skills they will need to be contributing members of society. We offer various training programs, summer camps and more

Hope Clinic – Which partners to make lives better by providing free care for the whole person with medical, dental, food, and behavioral health care.

Lawrence Tech Physics Students Win Grant, National Recognition

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield has been awarded the Outstanding Chapter Award for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The award recognizes the dedication of the chapter to events intended to promote physics and science education, including guest lectures, social events, meetings, interactions with LTU alumni, and its members’ participation in professional meetings, including the American Physical Society’s Inclusion Diversity and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA).

LTU was one of 10 chapters recognized in the SPS’ Zone 7, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

LTU SPS recently created a Women in Physics Committee to further its diversity and inclusion efforts. The Women in Physics Committee of SPS at LTU has been awarded the 2021 American Physical Society’s Women in Physics Group Grant (APS-WiP). This $1,000 grant will be used to support the chapter’s efforts to make physics more accessible to the LTU community and recruit and retain more undergraduate women in physics.

The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the national physics organization congratulated the LTU student committee on receiving this prestigious award.

“We are excited to use this funding to support our outreach goals and help us maintain our group,” says Andrea Houck, an LTU senior, co-president of the LTU chapter of SPS, and leader of the Women in Physics Committee. “We will continue working closely with SPS to ensure the success of our events, as well as encourage participation of women in other STEM fields through our collaboration with other student organizations on campus, including the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).”

The Women in Science Seminar series was initiated in the Fall 2021 semester. Two guests have presented their work and career pathways. The chapter invites all interested persons to participate in its next event, via Zoom, at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22. Sophia Domokos, assistant professor of physics at the New York Institute of Technology, will speak on “The Many Languages of String Theory — And How They Teach Us to Think About the World.” Participants can join in at the Zoom link here.