DBusiness Daily Update: Boblo Boat Documentary Sails into Select Emagine Theaters Today, 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.
Movie Poster
“Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale” is opening tonight at three metro Detroit Emagine Theaters. // Photo courtesy of Emagine

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.

Boblo Boat Documentary Sails into Select Emagine Theaters Today

A new documentary, “Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale,” is opening tonight at three metro Detroit Emagine Theaters.

For more than 85 years Boblo Island was visited by Detroiters and Ontarians by way of two sister steamships, SS Columbia and Ste. Clare — otherwise known as the Boblo Boats. In 1993 Boblo Island shut down and the boats were left to ruin.

The film brings together a doctor, a psychic, and an amusement park fanatic to save Detroit’s beloved Boblo Boat from the scrapyard in this documentary, which interweaves history and mythology. The film, which has won awards at multiple film festivals will be showing exclusively at the Emagine Royal Oak, Emagine Rochester Hills and Emagine Palladium locations beginning tonight.

Mirroring Detroit’s decline and resurgence, two teams of people attempt the restoration of these iconic vessels as the city stands in the midst of a grass roots renaissance. SS Columbia is presently owned by a New York-based nonprofit endowed with grants and employing experienced nautical preservationists. They are resurrecting Columbia into a traveling museum and event space in Buffalo, leaving Ste. Claire as Detroit’s last vestige of Boblo Island.

Claire’s fate rests in the hands of an unlikely band of heroes: a doctor, a psychic, and an amusement park enthusiast. The documentary walks an aesthetic and narrative tightrope, accommodating rosy memories of Boblo Island without neglecting the whitewashed history of segregation in America’s early amusement parks.

The film pays homage to the forgotten civil rights hero Sarah E. Ray who forced the integration of Boblo Island in 1945. Although her story has previously been omitted from Detroit history, it was part of the NAACP’s road to the seminal Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended the separate but equal doctrine in 1954. Due to the filmmakers’ efforts, her former home recently was chosen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic sites in America.

The documentary also unearths the buried tale of Sugar Island, a former amusement park directly neighboring Boblo Island. It was purchased in 1945 by African Americans to be a “park for their own race” in retaliation against Boblo’s segregationist policies.

“Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale” is written, directed, and edited by Aaron Schillinger and narrated by Grammy winner Martha Reeves.

For more information, visit bobloboatsfilm.com. To read Hour Media’s review of the film, visit here.

Novelis Opens $35M Automotive Market Customer Solution Center in Novi

Novelis Inc., a sustainable aluminum solutions provider, has opened a $35 million Customer Solution Center (CSC) for automotive customers in Novi.

The facility is part of Novelis’ global network of CSCs, which are designed to speed the development of aluminum solutions through collaboration between the company and its customers, as well as others in the value chain.

Through the centers, Novelis partners with automakers and Tier 1 suppliers to maximize lightweight, high-strength aluminum in the next generation of vehicle design. In addition to the facility in Novi, Novelis operates automotive CSCs in Stuttgart, Germany, and Shanghai, China.

“Novelis’ network of Customer Solution Centers is a centerpiece of our purpose, which is shaping a sustainable world together,” says Philippe Meyer, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Novelis. “As a leading automotive aluminum supplier, this investment will strengthen the partnerships we have with our customers and ensure that innovative, low-carbon aluminum adoption continues to grow across the world.”

The company’s 100 employees in Novi represent expertise in research and technology, technical development, and commercial support. The center’s high-tech equipment ranges from a hot stamping press to computer-aided design (CAD) software to visualization technologies that model vehicle safety scenarios.

These capabilities enable Novelis to develop new aluminum solutions and demonstrate their benefits for current and future vehicle applications. Customers and Tier 1 suppliers are using the center to see these benefits firsthand, which include lighter designs, greener lifecycles, and simpler, more cost-effective solutions.

DENSO to Exhibit, Participate in Mobility-themed Panels at ITS World Congress 2022

DENSO, a Southfield mobility supplier, will exhibit and participate in panels at ITS World Congress 2022 in Los Angeles, Sept. 18-22.

DENSO’s exhibit will feature displays centered on how the company’s future vision and product portfolio are powering its pursuit of its two great causes: green — achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 — and peace of mind — creating a safe and seamless world for all. Among the displays, one will outline how DENSO is using blockchain technology and advanced QR codes to increase the carbon footprint traceability of vehicle batteries. This helps build trust and reliability in supply chains and contributes to greater sustainability as electric vehicles become more prevalent.

Roger Berg, vice president of North America R&D at DENSO, will join two panels:

  • C-V2X for Safety Services, Sept. 19, 1-2 p.m. PT
  • Edge Computing and the Future of Connected Vehicle Services, Sept. 20, 2-3 p.m. PT

“DENSO is dedicated to creating a mobility future that’s sustainable, safe and efficient for all,” Berg says. “Participating in events like ITS World Congress 2022 enhances our efforts to accomplish this. It also strengthens our commitment to innovate in emerging areas and to collaborate with new partners so we can contribute to a better world. We look forward to connecting with attendees who share this same passion.”

Kettering University to Host 1K+ FIRST Robotics High School Students

More than 1,000 high school robotics students will flock to the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center at Kettering University in Flint this weekend for two Kettering Kickoff Championships.

Seventy-seven FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania are expected to participate Saturday and Sunday in the 2022 FRC Game, RAPID REACT. Pits open at 7 a.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 8 a.m. on both days. The event ends, and the venue closes, at 7 p.m. both days.

RAPID REACT is part of the 2022 season, FIRST FORWARD, which is inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 9 to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. To that end, FIRST FORWARD calls for students to overcome transportation challenges with forward-thinking technological innovations.

In RAPID REACT, robots start the competition on their respective tarmacs with preloaded cargo, then deliver the loads to specific points, where they collect additional cargo. The robots can receive assistance from players at the terminal and earn points for reaching various goals before the match ends.

Although the 2023 challenge isn’t announced until January, many teams use this event as a recruiting tool to expose interested students to a competition and the result of a six-week build season, says Kim Shumaker, director of the Kettering University FIRST Robotics Community Center.

Many teams also will tour campus and participate in Pizza and Professors, an event in which students enjoy pizza and conversation with Kettering professors.

“Kettering University values the skills and experience robotics students gain through the FIRST Robotics program and other programs like this,” Shumaker says. “Students learn to problem solve, innovate and work as a team — all while having fun.”

Area hotels also have offered teams special rates for their weekend stay in Flint.

“Bringing events like this to Flint has the additional benefit of contributing to Flint’s economy,” Shumaker says. “From hotel bookings to restaurants, these events are a great source for bringing visitors to Flint and the surrounding area.”

In addition to two FIRST Robotics workshops in October, Kettering will host nine VEX and FIRST robotics and aerial drone competitions through May, each bringing 24 to 80 teams to the area.

Categorized as vertical robotics, aerial drones are growing each year. Teams learn about drones, flight principles, programming, documentation, and communication skills as well as career opportunities in the drone industry. Recognizing the skills and experience students gain by participating in the Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics Competition, Kettering anticipates it will those competitions to its agenda in the near future.

Troy Chamber of Commerce to Host Top of Troy: Women of Influence Oct. 6

On Thursday, Oct. 6th, the Troy Chamber of Commerce will host Top of Troy: Women of Influence, presented by Consumers Energy, from 8-10:30 a.m. at Walsh College (3838 Livernois Road) in Troy.

This signature event, hosted by the Troy Chamber’s Women’s Business Forum (WBF), offers the chance to meet the area’s top female business leaders for breakfast and a panel discussion. Attendees will learn about the challenges they faced on their paths to success, the key tools they have used to remain focused along the way, the hard decisions they are faced with on a daily basis, and how being a woman has affected the choices they made to get where they are today.

The panel will be moderated by Sarah Harfield (Lady Sarah), actor, author, entrepreneur, and owner of the Magic Soiree and features:

  • Gina Coleman, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at The PNC Financial Services Group.
  • Mary Corrado, president and CEO of ASE.
  • Lee Padgett, founder and CEO, Busted Bra Shop.
  • Donna Tamburo-Wilson, president of Remco Storage Systems Inc.

“This is one of my favorite events,” says Sheila Denstaedt, vice president of the Troy Chamber. “The challenges and successes these women have experienced and overcome are absolutely incredible. They are true role models.”

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact Tara Tomcsik-Husak for more information on sponsoring at tara@troychamber.com.

Tickets are $30 for Troy Chamber members and $40 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased by visiting here.

Thriving Neighborhood Fund Seeks Detroit Nonprofits for $25K Grants

Applications close this Sunday, Sept. 18, for $25,000 grants from the Thriving Neighborhoods Fund, powered by the Gilbert Family Foundation and Strategic Community Partners.

The fund is looking for 20 nonprofit organizations that are improving the quality of life for Detroit residents by investing in public space activation and other programming that creates more vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods.

Organizations will receive a grant of $25,000 to scale and deepen their work in Detroit, as well as curated educational resources to strengthen their operations. The goal of the program is to empower our neighborhoods by uplifting the organizations and individuals who are already deeply invested in and connected to the needs of the community.

All applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Organizational Fit — Does the organization’s focus align with the priorities of the grant?
  • Organizational Effectiveness — Does the organization accomplish its mission and can demonstrate its impact on the community?
  • Organization Scalability — Does the program have a desire and clear plan to increase its impact?

To apply, organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Registered 501 (c)(3) organization.
  • Have an up-to-date 990 Form.
  • Headquartered in Detroit.

Programming primarily services residents of Detroit within the following areas:

  • Community events and programming.
  • Public space beautification.
  • Improving accessibility to community resources.

To apply, visit here.