DBusiness Daily Update: Comerica Bank Free Prix Day Returns to Streets of Detroit May 31, 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.
Grand prix race cars on track
Comerica Bank will bring back Free Prix Day at the Detroit Grand Prix May 31. // Photo by Tim Keenan

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.

Comerica Bank Free Prix Day Returns to Streets of Detroit May 31

On Friday, May 31, Comerica Bank will continue its sponsorship of Free Prix Day for the 2024 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.

By doing so, Comerica will help ensure the community has a chance to experience the first day of the Grand Prix free of charge.

The Grand Prix will once again offer an inclusive experience for fans as more than half of the event’s footprint will be open and accessible for free throughout the course of the three-day weekend.

On Comerica Bank Free Prix Day, visitors will be able to watch all the Friday on-track action from two coveted viewing locations – in Grandstands 1 and 9 – at no cost. Seating in these grandstands overlooking pit lane and the start/finish line on the 1.7-mile downtown street circuit will be general admission and available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

No tickets will be required for fans to sit in either of these grandstands on Free Prix Day. Access to the paddock area is not included with Free Prix Day seating. Fans also may purchase tickets in other viewing areas for Friday, May 31 at the Grand Prix and paddock admission is included in all purchased tickets.

“With the support of Comerica Bank for the 11th consecutive year, we are proud to build on the Free Prix Day tradition at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear,” says Michael Montri, president of the Detroit Grand Prix. “When we brought the Grand Prix back home to the streets of downtown Detroit last year, we wanted to ensure that everyone in our community had an opportunity to enjoy this special event. Fans enjoyed free access to more than half of the venue and we are excited to once again provide that complimentary experience in 2024. On Comerica Bank Free Prix Day, our guests will enjoy even more access with enhanced viewing opportunities and seating in two of our premium grandstands, completely free of charge.”

To learn more and to purchase online, visit DetroitGP.com/tickets.

Dodge to Introduce All-new, Next-gen Dodge Charger March 5

The Dodge brand of Stellantis in Auburn Hills will unveil its all-new, next-generation Dodge Charger on March 5.

The reveal will take place online at dodge.com at 11 a.m.

Headlands Research in Southfield Acquires Maryland Clinical Trial Site

Headlands Research, a San Francisco-based multinational network of clinical trial sites including one in Southfield, has acquired PharmaSite Research, a Maryland clinical trial site dedicated to research in mental illness and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).

PharmaSite Research brings more than 20 years of clinical research expertise in two of Headland Research’s core competencies: mental health and CNS. As Headlands Research continues to expand and bring clinical research to a more diverse, representative population, PharmaSite’s location extends the site network’s reach in the Mid-Atlantic region. Headlands Research now includes 18 sites across the United States and Canada.

Roush in Livonia Joins News Wireless EV Charging Industry Partnership

Livonia-based Roush has joined forces with InductEV in Pennsylvania, Miller EV Solutions in Florida, and WB Engineers+Consultants in Texas to help accelerate the adoption of high-power, on-route inductive charging technology and AI overlay for energy management.

Each company will provide InductEV with mechanical and electrical engineering services to ensure a one-stop-shop design and deployment of InductEV wireless charging system to help meet growing demand from commercial fleet owners and operators, as well as intermodal facilities and ports.

Roush will provide supplemental integration engineering design and post-deployment servicing of vehicle assemblies to ensure continued operation and power delivery. The company’s size and scale enable the deployment of resources and service to fleets in days instead of weeks.

“Commercial fleets are the biggest contributor to GHG emissions worldwide in transportation,” says Barry Libert, chairman and CEO of InductEV. “We are therefore pleased to announce today three new strategic partners, all of which possess the technological know-how and services to help implement our vision for wireless EV charging in the commercial and industrial transport sectors. We look forward to working with them to reduce the carbon footprint of these fleets and, in doing so, create considerable cost savings for our customers.”

Triumph Gear Solutions in Macomb Township Gets MD Helicopter Contract

Triumph Geared Solutions in Macomb Township has landed a contract from MD Helicopters to manufacturer and assemble main rotor gearbox transmissions for the MD500 platforms.

“Triumph Geared Solutions is pleased to be extending our long-standing relationship with MD Helicopters, supplying main rotor transmissions and spare transmission parts in support of their fleet of 1,700 MD500-series helicopters,” says Pete Gibson, president of Triumph Geared Solutions. “The growing demand for helicopter orders is evidence of the leadership and operational performance at MD Helicopters, and we are proud to be partner with them as they increase production rates up to 30 per year.”

For more information, visit triumphgroup.com.

Report: Ford Leads Way in Supply Chain Equity and Sustainability

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn is the top global automaker in the Lead the Charge Coalition annual Leaderboard report, which evaluates the efforts of major automakers to ensure their supply chains are equitable and sustainable.

Moving up from the No. 2 total overall ranking last year, Ford scores improved across the board, demonstrating the impact of the company’s continued strong investment toward a sustainable and responsible global supply chain.

In this year’s report, Ford gained the No. 1 overall ranking, and was top scorer in several categories outlined within the Lead the Charge report, specifically around human rights.

“As we continue to advance our commitment to a carbon neutral future, our global supply chain is a critical part of the equation, and working with credible third parties help us drive continuous improvement globally,” says Bob Holycross, vice president and chief sustainability, environment, and safety officer at Ford. “We’re honored to be recognized by Lead the Charge Coalition as the top global automaker for our efforts to build a supply chain that is good for people and the planet, reflecting Ford’s purpose to help build a better world.”

GLWA Keeps Service Charges Below Rate of Inflation for 2025

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Board of Directors, at its Feb. 28 meeting, unanimously approved the organization’s Fiscal Year 2025 and FY 2026 biennial budget, as well as the corresponding FY 2025 water and wastewater service charges for its member partner communities.

The system-wide service charge increase is 3.25 percent for the water system and 3 percent for the wastewater system. This is the result of an overall FY 2025 budget increase of four percent, offset by increased investment earnings. The service charge increase is below the most recent 2023 consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) for all items in the United States, which is 4.1 percent. Highland Park bad debt expense is not included in the FY 2025 charges.

“As in previous years, the main force guiding our budget and charge development has been our promise to do everything within our power to balance the regional system’s budgetary needs with overall affordability concerns,” says Suzanne R. Coffey, CEO of GLWA. “No decision is made today without understanding how it impacts the future, the environment and those we serve. I am grateful for everyone involved, including our team members, our member partners and our Board of Directors for their ongoing collaboration.”

GLWA’s eight-year annual average systemwide service charge adjustment for the water system is 2.3 percent, and 1.2 percent for the wastewater system. It is important to note that GLWA’s combined average annual service charge adjustment over this eight-year period is 1.7 percent, which is half of the CPI-U benchmark over the same period.

The total budget for GLWA for fiscal year 2025 is $906 million, which is approximately $35 million above fiscal year 2024.

“By far the biggest challenge in preparing this year’s budget is continuing to absorb cost increases over many years that exceeded revenue increases,” says Nicolette N. Bateson, chief financial officer and treasurer of GLWA. “This has been especially impactful since the pandemic with the significant rise in the cost of chemicals used in our treatment processes, as well as building materials such as iron, steel and cement, and electrical equipment used in the delivery of our capital projects.

“Despite these economic challenges, there is not one area of the utility that is not advancing resiliency and effectiveness initiatives. Our bottom line is a future focused on wholistic resiliency.”

For more information on GLWA, please visit glwater.org.

QSR Magazine Names Redford Township-based Beef-A-Roo to the 2024 40/40 List

Beef-A-Roo, the Redford Township-based restaurant franchise, has been recognized by QSR magazine’s 2024 edition of “The 40/40 List.”

QSR highlights America’s hottest fast-casual food concepts and works to benefit the industry by celebrating the brands that are leading in innovation. Beef-A-Roo and its brand partner responsible for its franchise rollout and growth, NEXT Brands and Development, a family-owned strategic manager and growth accelerator of impactful food franchise brands, were both commended for the brand’s growth and future expansion projections of more than 50 units in the next three to five years.

Beef-A-Roo and NEXT Brands also were praised for their container concept aimed at high-traffic locations and a cost-effective prototype for operators.

“We are truly honored to be recognized by QSR magazine and included in the prestigious 2024 40/40 List,” says the Megan Rosen, chief development officer at NEXT Brands. “This acknowledgment validates our commitment to innovative growth strategies and the success of Beef-A-Roo. As we look ahead to 2024, we are enthusiastic about building on this momentum, expanding our footprint, and continuing to provide fresh, affordable meals to our loyal guests.”

For more information about Beef-A-Roo, visit beefaroo.com. To learn more about NEXT Brands or its franchise opportunities, visit nextbrands.com.

Detroit Building Among Winners of First Biennial Construction Awards

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees federal real estate, announced the winners of the new biennial GSA Construction Awards, including one in Detroit.

Alterations to the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, by The Christman Co. in Grand Rapids, received a Merit in Capital Project award.

The levin building was one of 18 winners honored during a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Recipients were recognized with either “Honor” or “Merit” level awards, and one project was determined to be the “Project of the Year.” The event was attended by more than 180 representatives from dozens of construction companies and other organizations active in the federal real estate industry.

GSA’s Construction Awards were created to honor outstanding achievements in construction, with a focus on quality and craftsmanship, collaboration and team dynamics, sustainability, innovation, and technology. These awards will continue to be presented in years that alternate with the longstanding GSA Design Awards.

“Federal buildings play important roles in the communities they inhabit, providing vital government services and serving as civic cores that catalyze economic development and growth,” says Robin Carnahan, administrator of GSA. “When it comes to the award-winning work we’re celebrating – and the talented Americans who worked on them — these buildings will accomplish all of that and serve the American people for years to come.”

Washtenaw Community College Hosting Pharmacy Tech Boot Camps Starting March 16

Washtenaw Community College’s next Pharmacy Tech Boot Camp begins March 16 and continues through April 13. Classes run on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another boot camp will be scheduled in early spring.

Pharmacy technicians are medical professionals who work alongside pharmacists to ensure quality patient care. Multiple placement opportunities include settings such as community and hospital pharmacies, compounding pharmacies and insurance companies.

The boot camps are taught by WCC faculty and include 170 hours of hybrid didactic sessions and 230 hours of on-site clinical experience.

WCC partners with a diverse group of employers for clinical rotations throughout Southeast Michigan, including Michigan Medicine, Trinity Health-St. Joseph Hospital, various community pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, and non-traditional settings.

Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to take the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which will allow them to work throughout the United States and apply for Michigan licensure.

For more information, email workforcedevelopment@wccnet.edu or call 734-390-9675.

City of Pontiac to Conduct Town Halls on Mobile Food Vendors and Temporary Events

The City of Pontiac Planning Division is conducting a series of Town Halls for local food truck vendors, event organizers, and property owners in March. The town hall meetings will focus on an upcoming ordinance proposal set to amend regulations for mobile food vendors and temporary events in the city.

“Our goal is to adopt clear and consistent regulations for food trucks and other mobile food vendors in order to better support local entrepreneurs and protect the public’s health and safety,” says Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel. “These town halls are an opportunity for stakeholders to hear about the proposal, provide feedback, and ask questions.”

The Town Halls will provide accurate information about new opportunities the city wants to provide to vendors through the strength of the intended ordinance. Speakers will also give insight on:

  • Introduction of a “Mobile Food Parklet” as a land use.
  • Establishment that mobile food vendors must operate as part of a zoning permit and review of different regulations per zoning district.
  • Review of regulations and clarifying what qualifies as minor and major temporary use for a special event.

The Town Halls will take place on the following days:

  • March 4, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Pontiac City Hall (47450 Woodward Ave.)
  • March 5, 10-11 a.m., Centro Multicultural La Familia (91 N. Saginaw St.)
  • March 7, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Robert Bowens Center (52 Bagley St.)

Williams & Co. Financial Services Donates $25K to Michigan Schools

Williams & Co. Financial Services in Grandville, southwest of Grand Rapids, is celebrating 25 years in business in 2024 and has made 25 donations of $1,000 each to programs in school districts throughout Michigan.

Founded by Richard Williams in 1999, Williams & Co. Financial Services is an independent PlanMember Financial Center. It was chosen as one of the core providers to the state’s public schools many years ago by the Michigan Retirement Investment Consortium (MRIC}. The company’s services are available to all Michigan school districts to provide retirement and financial education, planning assistance, and guidance to educational employees.

“I am honored to lead a company dedicated to empowering individuals from all backgrounds to achieve their financial aspirations. Our commitment to supporting Michigan educators underscores our belief in fostering not just personal wealth, but also the growth and prosperity of our communities,” Williams says.

Washtenaw Community College Presenting ‘Family Foundations’ Exhibit

The “Family Foundations: Four Stories of Black Washtenaw County Community Building, 1850-1950,” exhibit will be hosted at The Gallery (4800 E. Huron River Drive) at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor March 1-May 31.

The interactive exhibit features the origin stories of four historic Black families from the area, the Jewett and Asher-Aray families from Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township, and the Kersey and Bass families from Ypsilanti.

An opening reception for the show will be tonight from 5:30-8 p.m. and will feature a talk with descendants. The public is invited to the reception.

Family Foundations is a collaboration between the University of Michigan Bentley Library, the African American Art and Cultural History Museum of Washtenaw County and Washtenaw Community College. The project is supported by a grant from the University of Michigan Humanities Collaboratory.

Schoolcraft College Expanding Dual Enrollment Pilot Program

High school students in five additional school districts are eligible for a new pilot program expanding dual enrollment at Schoolcraft College.

The program, which began earlier this year with $1.2 million in funding from the state, now will allow for students at several districts to dual enroll at Schoolcraft College at no cost to their local school district while still attending high school. The program first launched earlier this year with Clarenceville Community Schools. The following districts now are eligible:

  • Livonia Public Schools
  • Garden City Public Schools
  • Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
  • Northville Public Schools
  • Novi Community School District

For more information on dual enrollment at Schoolcraft College, visit here.