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.
Chevrolet Unveils Special Edition 2022 Corvette Stingray
The Chevrolet brand of Detroit’s General Motors Co. took over the Raceway at Belle Isle Park Wednesday to unveil the 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition.
In left-hand drive markets, Chevrolet will release just 1,000 of these distinctively styled Corvettes, which resemble the No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette C8.R race cars. These special edition supercars were designed to commemorate the mid-engine Corvette C8.R’s inaugural season. In 2020, Corvette Racing swept IMSA’s sports car championship series, taking the manufacturers, drivers, and team titles.
Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia drove coupe and convertible No. 3 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Editions across the MacArthur Bridge and onto the track. Teammate Nick Tandy led on track in a Corvette Stingray convertible, the official pace car of the 2021 Detroit Grand Prix. Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner followed the group in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R race car.
“Racing has been part of the Corvette’s DNA from nearly the beginning,” says Laura Klauser, sports car program manager at GM. “Both the Corvette Stingray and C8.R have seen tremendous success capitalizing on the benefits of a mid-engine platform — and we’re just getting started.”
During IMSA’s 2020 sports car championship series, Corvette Racing captured six victories and seven pole positions, and set the fastest class race laps in six events. During the 2020 series, Chevrolet won the GT Manufacturers title – its 13th since 2001. Taylor, Garcia, and the No. 3 Corvette C8.R crew won the GTLM Drivers and Team championships.
The 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition is based on the 3LT trim with Z51 Performance Package. Each car includes Corvette Racing-themed graphics packages. Accelerate Yellow No. 3 editions feature gray graphics and Hypersonic Gray No. 4 editions feature yellow accents.
Additional exterior content (varies by market):
- High-wing spoiler in Carbon Flash
- Yellow brake calipers
- Black Trident design wheels, with the “Jake” logo on the center caps, and black lug nuts
- Exterior mirrors in Carbon Flash
- Black side rockers
- Splash guards
Inside, the Special Edition features a Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray cabin that mimics the exterior yellow and gray racing theme, with standard GT2 seats (Competition Sport seats are available), along with yellow seat belts and a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque.
Each car comes with a custom-fitted indoor car cover rendered to the appearance of the No. 3 or No. 4 Corvette C8.R race car, per each Special Edition’s color and graphic scheme.
The IMSA GTLM Championship Edition package starts at $6,595 excluding tax.
U-M Economists: Oakland County Economy Recovering Slightly Faster than State
Oakland County has been weathering the pandemic storm, with forecasts calling for the jobless rate to decline — and jobs to recover — slightly faster than the rest of the state, according to economists at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Oakland, one of the most populous and prosperous counties in Michigan, is expected to return to its pre-COVID-19 employment level by early 2023, a mark the state is not thought to reach until late that year. The county is expected to spend 2023 with unemployment well below 3 percent, near the record low seen in 1999.
In its annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, the U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics predicts the number of jobs will grow by 4.1 percent in 2021, 4.6 percent the next year and 2.5 percent in 2023. The county had recovered about 60 percent of its initial pandemic job losses by the first quarter of this year, putting it roughly in line with the state’s job recovery, the report says.
Oakland’s unemployment rate had jumped to 18 percent during the second quarter of last year amid the depths of the pandemic. The economists expect Oakland’s jobless rate — 2.3 percent in April — to nudge back up over the coming months as residents come back into the labor force (the official unemployment rate excludes people who have stopped looking for a job). It then edges back down to 2.4 percent by the end of 2023.
The relatively rapid rebound was anticipated based on high education levels, strong family incomes and large share of managerial and professional jobs in the county north of Detroit.
“Oakland County is well on the path toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession,” says Donald Grimes, a regional economic specialist with RSQE. “The county’s unemployment rate is already near record-low levels, although that is partly a reflection of people exiting the labor force during the pandemic. If people don’t rejoin the labor force as we are expecting, finding new workers to hire will become even harder than we currently expect.”
Employment in Oakland County’s blue-collar industries will exceed the pre-pandemic level by 6 percent at the end of 2023, and higher-education services industries will exceed their previous peak by 3 percent. In contrast, employment in the county’s lower-education services industries will remain 3 percent lower than the pre-pandemic level even by the end of 2023.
“We think the environment is favorable for Oakland County’s economy to make a strong economic comeback, led by production and professional industries that tend to pay high wages,” says Gabriel Ehrlich, director of RSQE. “The major cloud on the horizon is that we expect the recovery in lower-wage jobs to be slow, with lower education services industries not making a full recovery in our forecast.”
Both the county and state overall saw a big jump in average real wages during last year’s recession, growing by a little over 6 percent in Oakland and just under that statewide. But the economists note the wage spike “represented the disproportionate loss of lower-paying jobs relative to the higher-paying jobs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” and “few individual workers experienced wage increases of that magnitude.”
Weiss Distilling Planning Summer Opening in Clawson
Weiss Distilling Co., owned by Dennis Weiss, is planning to open this summer at 34 E. 14 Mile in Clawson, next to Sabbath Coffee, where Weiss is a partner.
Weiss Distilling Co. and Sabbath Coffee are the first two projects Weiss’ Tech & Mortar hospitality collective.
The 5,300-square-foot distillery, retail shop, Weiss Ice creation area, speakeasy, and theater/event space will open to the public gradually, starting with the retail annex.
The space is designed to offer guests an “intimate spirits experience” with low and neon lighting, wood tones and brass, and copper and gold assets. Many of the design elements, including custom liquor lockers were envisioned by Weiss and his wife, Amanda.
New York distiller John LaDuke is the operation’s master distiller and is spearheading the creation of Weiss Distilling Co.’s proprietary gin, absinthe, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other spirits.
Health Emergency Lifeline Programs (HELP) Rebrands as Corktown Health
Launched 35 years ago as a pioneering AIDS service organization focused on meeting urgent financial and end-of-life needs for individuals with HIV/AIDS, Health Emergency Lifeline Programs (HELP), has completed a major rebranding effort to Corktown Health.
The decision comes following the opening of its Corktown Health Center in 2017, the state’s first medical home dedicated to providing high-quality, affirming health care to the LGBTQ community, and in recognition of the significantly expanded service offerings.
“Treatment for HIV has advanced dramatically in the decades since HELP was founded,” says Anthony Williams, president and CEO of Corktown Health. “People with HIV today can live healthy, long lives, and their needs have changed to more long-term access to medical care and supportive services.
“We are doing much more now to assist people in managing a chronic illness and addressing the social determinants of health as they relate to HIV, hypertension, diabetes, mental health, and other health disparities that affect the LGBTQ community. Rebranding our organization to Corktown Health brings all of our services under a single umbrella encompassing what we do today and what we will do tomorrow for our patients and community. It’s an exciting time for our entire team as Corktown Health reflects the ongoing growth and evolution of the organization.”
A new, modern logo has been unveiled as part of the rebranding effort, representing the organization’s approach to improving health care for the community. The graphic features concentric circles that symbolize diverse individuals working, living, and thriving in harmony. The rebrand to Corktown Health also features a new Corktown Health website, social media presence, and plans for additional health and wellness services in upcoming months.
Located at 1726 Howard St. in Detroit, the organization provides HIV prevention, behavioral health services, medical case management, early intervention services, housing and emergency financial assistance, food and nutrition programs, education, and advocacy.
It also provides a wide range of medical services including comprehensive primary care, gender affirming care, STI testing and treatment, HIV care, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), PeP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis), behavioral health services, cancer screenings and gerontology/aging services. Insurance navigation and enrollment assistance is also available.
New areas of service planned for the upcoming year and beyond include a Corktown Health dental clinic, which is scheduled to launch this fall, a second site in Oakland County and broader education and advocacy work with its Corktown Health Institute. The Institute will provide expanded education and training to health care providers, organizations, and municipalities, equipping them with the tools, resources and insight to effectively and compassionately treat all patients in an affirming and inclusive manner.
HAP Ranks Highest in Michigan in J.D. Power 2021 Member Satisfaction Study
Health Alliance Plan in Detroit ranked highest in member satisfaction among commercial health plans in the Michigan region, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study. This marks two out of the last three years that HAP has been ranked No. 1 according to this study.
The study measures satisfaction based on six key factors: billing and payment; cost; coverage and benefits; customer service; information and communication; and provider choice, as well as other key aspects of member engagement. HAP received the highest regional score among eligible health plans and excelled in overall customer satisfaction. HAP was the top regional performer on coverage and benefits, information and communication, billing and payment, and cost.
The Member Health Plan Study is the result of responses from 32,066 members of 150 health plans in 22 regions throughout the U.S. The study is based on member responses between January and March 2021, with respondents being asked to evaluate their experience over the past 12 months.
“We are thrilled with HAP’s most recent J.D. Power honor,” says Dr. Michael Genord, president and CEO of HAP. “One of the most gratifying things about this award is that it measures member satisfaction. HAP’s primary goal is to put the member at the center of everything we do, so it’s encouraging to know our members are pleased enough to rank us highly.
“Equally gratifying is the fact that we achieved such high scores during a year that saw Michigan hit especially hard by COVID-19. Recognition during such difficult times is a testament to the hard work, dedication and creativity shown by the HAP team in supporting our members when they need us the most.”
Parade of Homes 2021 Blue Ribbon Winners Announced
Parade of Homes 2021, the 32nd annual exhibition of new model homes located across southeast Michigan that runs throughout June, has announced its Blue Ribbon winners.
The Blue Ribbon-winning homes are:
- Cedar by Robertson Homes, priced under $325,000
- Upton by Singh Homes, priced over $325,000 to $420,000
- The Pinehurst II by Silverado Homes, priced over $420,000 to $500,000
- Silverleaf IV by Healy Homes, priced over $500,000 to $600,000
- Edinburgh by MJC Companies, priced over $600,000 to $800,000
- Waltham Craftsman by Toll Brothers, priced over $800,000 to $1 million
- Terra by Cambridge Homes, priced over $1 million
“We are proud to be featuring the Blue Ribbon winners and all the Parade of Homes models in this program that offers potential homebuyers a unique opportunity to see the area’s finest newly built homes,” says Michael Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan. “The homes are available to view in person, based on the hours shown for each individual home, and on the program’s website at www.ParadeHBA.com.”
Included in the Parade of Homes are condominiums and single-family homes, affordable housing, and estate-sized homes. The program provides an opportunity to see the latest trends in energy efficiency and green building, architecture, interior design, amenities, and materials.
The 38 models, under-construction and pre-construction homes, and condominiums range in base price from the mid-$200,000s to more than $1 million.
Saucy Brew Works Offers Free Pizza to Detroit Tigers Fans
Saucy Brew Works in Detroit announced that it is running its specialty pizza promotion for the remainder of the Detroit Tigers season. The eatery will be offering free, small, one-topping pizza to all Tigers fans who attend games at Comerica Park. The stadium is near Saucy Brew Works location at 2671 John R. St.
Throughout the 2021 MLB Season, fans who attend the home games can bring their ticket to the bar and receive their free small pizza (limit: one per person per day, dine-in only).
The brewpub has recently become a go-to place for Tigers fans and locals alike. Guests can meet before or after each game and try any of more than 20 beers on tap as well as New Haven-style Apizza, wings, and shareable apps. The Detroit location also features the third coffeehouse, a full-service café offering signature coffee drinks and house roasts, seasonal offerings, and bakery items. A breakfast menu is expected to launch sometime this summer.
“As the Craft Beer Partner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, we wanted to bring our love for sports and sports-enthusiasts to our new location in Detroit,” says Shelby Nicholson, marketing man-ager. “This is the first of many offers we plan to promote related to Detroit’s home teams and we hope our new neighbors will seek out Saucy Brew Works as their new pre- and post-game destination.”
Altimetrik Opens Office in Mexico to Support Global Growth
Altimetrik, a digital business enablement company based in Detroit, has opened a new office in Mexico to meet customer demand and support global expansion.
“Establishing a technology hub in Guadalajara, Mexico was a strategic decision that will service our growing client needs,” says Raj Sundaresan, CEO of Altimetrik. “Our emphasis on digital business, innovation, product, and data engineering are a good fit with the technology talent pool in Mexico, and it is another step in expanding our global footprint to hire the best talent available.”
Mexico’s information technology industry in the Guadalajara area, also known as the Mexican Silicon Valley, has been an active tech hub since the early 1970s. The exponential growth of the nearshore model has helped to develop a high-quality talent pool of software developers and engineers who have been enmeshed in a Silicon Valley-like culture, making Mexico an ideal location to expand the company’s operations and find talent, according to the company. The country has more than 600,000 IT professionals with 11 percent average growth rate adding 115,000 technology and engineering graduates a year, from more than 110 universities.
Altimetrik’s Mexico office will look to expand the company’s focus in product and data engineering and digital transformation skills. In addition, there will be a focus on customer-facing roles like engineering leaders, user experience specialists, and product managers/owners.
A large number of U.S.-based companies across banking, financial services, and technology already have a business presence in Mexico. This will give Altimetrik the human capital needed to extend its business in product and data technologies for the growing demand of digital businesses, and increase the company’s global footprint as it supports a global delivery model and engineering culture.
“We will maintain Altimetrik’s incredibly high bar for attracting and selecting engineers, and our goal is to have a team of 150 employees in place by year end with additional hiring through 2022,” says Omar Arana, head of Altimetrik’s Engineering and Technology Center in Mexico.
IPG Launches Motor City Marketing and Communications Fellowship Program
Interpublic Group has introduced the Motor City Marketing and Communications Fellowship, a jobs program associated exclusively with IPG’s Detroit-based communications and marketing companies that support General Motors Co., including Weber Shandwick, MRM, McCann, Jack Morton Worldwide, and Commonwealth//McCann.
The Motor City Marketing and Communications Fellowship recruits applicants solely from two Detroit-based schools: Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies.
“As we create campaigns and experiences that connect with GM’s diverse customer base, we also want to build inclusive agency teams that reflect these customers,” says Bill Kolb, chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup. “We’re fortunate to have these great universities in Detroit, and they will be a terrific source of talent.”
Different from an internship, the two-year fellowship program provides broad and deep experience across multiple disciplines and expertise, giving recruits a chance to understand the full spectrum of communications, marketing, creative, experiential, and relationship marketing that bring the automaker’s campaigns to life.
Fellowship candidates will have the opportunity to support multiple vehicle brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac, and adjacencies like GM Customer Care and Aftersales and OnStar.
How the Motor City Marketing and Communications Fellowship works:
- The two-year program structure: Candidate(s) will work at four different agencies over the course of two years; each rotation at an agency is six months in duration.
- Each agency has a specialty, and the candidate could participate in communications, design, data analytics, relationship marketing, copy writing, PR, marketing, experiential programs, video and film production and related creative fields; wherever their skills apply or in the discipline they’d most like to gain experience.
- Candidate(s) will participate in agency-related client meetings and client programs.
- Candidate(s) will partner with an agency mentor.
- Candidate(s) must be near graduation or have recently graduated from undergraduate or graduate school.
- The fellowship offers competitive pay and full benefits.
Application portal is now open here.
New Day Foundation Eases Emotional Impact of Cancer Diagnosis
New Day Foundation for Families, a Rochester Hills-based nonprofit dedicated to reducing the financial burden and stress caused by cancer, has expanded its Emotional Support Program to serve more families who may be eligible.
The nonprofit also has added grief consultant Jenny Perez to its staff as program coordinator.
“Grief happens for the family at the moment of a cancer diagnosis,” says Perez. “It’s important that we start talking and recognizing it at that point. Our goal is to offer emotional support, guidance, and action steps to help families cope.
“Our therapists can also be a third party in challenging conversations that need to happen. The sessions can be an outlet for things that a parent, spouse, or child need to discuss but can’t talk about with the person facing cancer.”
New Day is partnering with licensed therapists to provide mental health services for qualifying families across Michigan in a caring, confidential environment. Families who have a member in active cancer treatment and are facing financial toxicity as a result of the diagnosis may be referred by their individual oncology social worker at their respective hospital. Sessions may take place in the location where the therapist sees patients as well as through HIPAA-approved telehealth programs.
For more information, visit here.
SBN Detroit to Host First Event June 16
The Sustainable Business Network of Detroit (SBN Detroit), formed earlier this year by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, is hosting its first event on June 16, Detroit’s Moment: Accelerating the Sustainable Business Revolution.
The free event, which will be available via Zoom, will take place from noon to 1:15 p.m. A link will be sent to registered participants 24 hours before the event. Visit here to register.
Detroit’s Moment: Accelerating the Sustainable Business Revolution will focus on how businesses and organizations of all sizes can mobilize to make southeast Michigan a global leader in sustainability, economic inclusion, and social justice. Speakers and panelists will include Andrew Hoffman, professor of sustainable business enterprise at the University of Michigan; Bob Holycross, vice president of sustainability, environmental. and safety engineering at Ford Motor Co.; Amy Peterson, co-founder and CEO of Rebel Nell; and Carla Walker-Miller, founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services.
For more information, visit here.