DBusiness Daily Update: Billy Sims BBQ Expands to Wisconsin, 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.
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Former Detroit Lions running back Billy Sims is opening his second Billy Sims BBQ restaurant in Wisconsin. // Courtesy of Billy Sims BBQ
Former Detroit Lions running back Billy Sims is opening his second Billy Sims BBQ restaurant in Wisconsin. // Courtesy of Billy Sims BBQ

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.

Billy Sims BBQ to Open Second Restaurant in Wisconsin

Former Detroit Lions star running back Billy Sims is opening his second Billy Sims BBQ restaurant in Wisconsin this week.

Sims, who won the 1978 Heisman Trophy as a junior at the University of Oklahoma and was NFL rookie of the year with the Lions in 1980, has more than 40 locations in seven states including a restaurant in Troy at Crooks Road and South Boulevard.

“Opening the new Franklin (Wisconsin) location, especially during unprecedented times, with such community support is something I’m very excited about,” says Sims. “We’ve got a fun, family oriented, tailgate kind of atmosphere here and some of the tastiest and most tender brisket and ribs around.

“It’s truly a celebration of good food and good football — a place to kick back and enjoy yourself. The brand is seeing tremendous success in smaller underserved markets such as our first (Wisconsin) location in West Bend and this new location in Franklin.”

The Wisconsin franchisee is Clay Covert, a marketing executive who grew up in Detroit watching Sims play football for the Lions.

“We are looking forward to bringing a second location to Wisconsin and sharing our passion for southern-style barbecue,” says Covert. “Despite all the changes we have all experienced over the past year during the pandemic, local officials and residents of Franklin have shown us a lot of support and enthusiasm to forge ahead with a new location. They have been incredible, and we are looking forward to being a continued partner in the local community.”

For more information, visit here.

Chevrolet, Emelia Hartford to Host Virtual Fan Experience

The Chevrolet brand of General Motors Co. in Detroit is teaming up with well-known automotive influencer and content creator Emelia Hartford to host its second annual Cruisin’ the USA in Your Chevrolet weeklong virtual fan experience Aug. 16-21.

This year’s event will focus on the minds behind some of Chevy’s most prized models and the fans who have loved and supported the brand over the years.

“The inaugural Cruisin’ the USA in Your Chevrolet originated as an alternative space for car enthusiasts to celebrate automotive’s deep-rooted history when it couldn’t be done in person,” says Steve Majoros, vice president of marketing at Chevrolet. “This year, we’re celebrating by sharing stories through the eyes of our customers, fans and employees from around the world — because people are the heart of everything we do at Chevy.”

The week’s activities include daily themes and activities, trivia, special guests, and inside looks at Chevy’s iconic vehicles, alongside current models. The schedule includes:

  • 16 – History of Heroes Trivia: Emelia Hartford challenges fans on Chevy’s history of heroes, including some of the engineers and designers behind the major innovations that helped shape the brand.
  • 17 – An EVolution: Ride along with Emelia Hartford in the new, all-electric 2022 Bolt EUV and catch a glimpse of Chevy’s E-10 concept vehicle.
  • 18 – For the Love of Trucks: Join Emelia Hartford for another trivia challenge covering all things Chevy trucks.
  • 19 – A Salute to our Fans: Discover how lifelong fan Pinky Randall earned the right to be called “Mr. Chevy.”
  • 20 – The Thrills of Performance: Tour former Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser’s jaw-dropping Chevy Cave with Emelia Hartford.
  • 21 – Spread the #ChevyLove: Experience Chevy with those who love the brand most alongside their most prized possessions.

Chevrolet fans can download a second edition collectable high-resolution printable poster featuring a mix of some familiar classics and today’s favorite vehicles here.

MOT Marks Return to Performance, 50th Season with “BLUE” Sept. 11-12

Michigan Opera Theatre is presenting its first fully staged opera in nearly two years when it performs Tazewell Thompson’s opera, “BLUE” for two performances at 7 p.m. Sept. 11-12 at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre on Detroit’s riverfront.

In addition to “BLUE” being the company’s first full opera performance since the pandemic struck, it will mark the company’s 50th year, the first full season under the artistic leadership of Yuval Sharon, and MOT’s first production at the amphitheatre.

“BLUE” is a new American opera that tells the story of a loving family struggling against increasing odds, as a father (and member of the NYPD) watches his son grow socially aware. Caught between them, the mother endures her own struggles as a peacemaker. Even with her family’s beauty, talent, and success, she can never escape the painful knowledge that, every day, their lives are at stake.

It features a cast including Aaron Crouch, Kimwana Doner, Camron Gray, Edward Graves, Gordon Hawkins, Christopher Humbert Jr., Kenneth Kellogg, and Krysty Swann.

Single tickets for MOT’s fall opera season, which includes “BLUE” and “BLISS,” an immersive performance piece scheduled for Sept. 25, are on sale now and may be purchased here or by calling the MOT box office at 313-237-7464.

At the center of “BLUE” is an African American family with a father serving as law enforcement and a son, involved with social justice, that is killed by police. MOT has curated a series of discussions with law enforcement, policymakers, and grassroots organizations on what community policing can look like in the wake of social unrest. The discussions, which will be released on social media, include:

  • 17 – Safe Communities Conversation #1 with Policymakers: Sen. Stephanie Chang and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib
  • 25 – Safe Communities Conversation #2 with Law Enforcement: Detroit Police Department Interim Police Chief James White and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans
  • 30 – The Evolution of “BLUE” Moderated by Naomi Andre with Tazewell Thompson (librettist), Jeanine Tesori (composer), and Kaneza Schaal (director)
  • 31 – Safe Communities Conversation #3 with Community Advocacy Organizations: CEOs of Neighborhood Service Organization and Southwest Solutions
  • 7 – Safe Communities Conversation #4: Gen-Z and Visions for the Future: with youth from Detroit Heals Detroit and 482Youth

In addition to MOT’s efforts to facilitate necessary conversations surrounding Blue, Detroit visual artist Sheefy McFly has also been commissioned to create an original piece incorporating the themes of the opera.

Detroit Fall Beer Festival Slated for Oct. 23

The Michigan Brewers Guild is planning its two major beer festivals, The U.P. Fall Beer Festival in Marquette and the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at Eastern Market.

The U.P. event will take place Sept. 11 at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. The Detroit event is scheduled for Oct. 23. Tickets for both are available at MiBeer.com.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for the return of the Detroit Fall Beer Festival as we make plans to see our thirsty friends in October at Eastern Market,” says Scott Graham, executive director of the guild.

Formed in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild represents nearly 300 member breweries. Its mission is to promote and protect the Michigan beer industry with an overarching goal to help locally brewed beer attain 20 percent of all beer sales in the state by 2025.

Michigan’s brewing industry contributes more than 21,000 full-time jobs and $914 million in labor income, with a total economic impact of over $2.5 billion. Michigan ranks sixth in the nation in the overall number of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs.

WCC Summer Campers Get New Laptops Through $60K State Grant

Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor has received a $60,000 technology grant to provide new laptops and family digital literacy training for youth attending its summer camp in Ypsilanti.

WCC at Parkridge Community Center in the city of Ypsilanti, where the summer camp is hosted, will serve as a technology support resource for student and community learning.

The grant ushers in a new focus on teaching, connecting underserved youth and parents with technology, and bridging the gap in essential digital literacy skills. WCC also has received funding from other resources totaling $130,000 that allows for focused and intentional training and programs to support academic and career readiness.

“We are committed to supporting our community families by creating pathways for learning and success and are proud to announce this new grant thanks to the advocacy work of (state) Sen. (Jeff) Irwin and (state) Rep. (Ronnie) Peterson,” says WCC President Rose B. Bellanca, president of WCC. “Our programming efforts have shown a big need for basic digital literacy skills both for children in school and for adults in the workplace.”

Each student camper will be eligible to receive laptops when they and their family members attend basic computer skills training at Parkridge Community Center.

The orientation will provide an overview on fall programming as well as obtain information from community members regarding their digital literacy needs. The collected information will assist in determining the content of the training modules.

The new focus at both of WCC’s Ypsilanti community locations, Parkridge and the Harriett Street Community Center, will include programming sharply focused on college and career readiness.

“For over two decades we have provided programming at these two locations,” says Brandon Roderick Tucker, associate vice president for workforce and community development at WCC. “Our new focus is being initiated after hearing from community members and local leaders that more was needed to help individuals and families on their pathway to education and careers.”

Career Fair Bringing Jobs to Detroit Veterans and Military Spouses

DAV and RecruitMilitary will host the Detroit Veterans Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Ford Field in Detroit. Registration is free and available here for all transitioning military, veterans, military spouses, and dependents.

“Our mission is to empower veterans with career opportunities and the return of our face-to-face events allows us to serve our community of 1.5 million job seekers in the most effective way possible,” says Tim Best, CEO of RecruitMilitary, a former Army special operations attack helicopter pilot. “While our virtual events provided a way for us to connect with our job candidates and employers throughout 2020, we’re ready to turn the page and bring veterans and employers together in person for meaningful career opportunities.”

Autocam Medical Aims to Fill 40 CNC Positions at Aug. 18-19 Hiring Event

Autocam Medical, a contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices in Kentwood (south of Grand Rapids), is conducting a hiring event specifically for CNC machinists and secondary operators on Aug. 18.

The job fair will take place at Autocam Medical’s global headquarters (4152 East Paris Ave. SE) from 8 a.m. to noon on Aug. 18 and from 1-5 p.m. on Aug. 19. The company says it is looking to hire 30 full-time CNC machinists and 10 secondary operators at its Kentwood location. Same day offers will be made to qualified applicants.

“While there may be other jobs out there, the positions that we are filling are career opportunities,” says Kristy White, HR director at Autocam Medical. “We are committed to investing in our employees and providing them with learning opportunities that facilitate career growth. The training that we provide coupled with the work environment and benefits that we offer is what really sets us apart from other companies.”

Those applying for CNC machinist positions are required to have two or more years of CNC experience. They also must be capable of setting up and operating single or multiple spindle machines as well as monitoring and controlling the quality of machining practices by utilizing process control tools. Proficiency in maintaining production processes and working within the expected quality standards and established efficiencies are also necessary.

Secondary operator candidates must possess attention to detail and manual dexterity skills. In addition to taking part in continuous improvement activities such as quality management, concurrent engineering, and tool tryouts, they also will be responsible for performing data collection and various communication tasks.

“While both of these positions require special skill sets, aspiring apprentices with a strong work ethic, mechanical aptitude, and analytical abilities are also urged to apply,” adds White. “Our business has grown exponentially over the past five years, and we anticipate that this trend will only continue as plans for our new facility fall into place. Our expansion is expected to create 250 jobs, so we will be looking to fill many more positions in the coming months.”

Those interested in attending Autocam Medical’s hiring event are encouraged, but not required, to register and reserve an interview time in advance here.

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