DBusiness Daily Update: Condado Tacos to Open 30th Company Restaurant in Ann Arbor, 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.
Condado Tacos uses local artists to decorate the interior or their establishments. // Courtesy of Condado Tacos
Condado Tacos uses local artists to decorate the interior or their establishments. // Courtesy of Condado Tacos

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.

Condado Tacos to Open 30th Company Restaurant in Ann Arbor

Ohio-based Condado Tacos will open its newest location at 401 E. Liberty in Ann Arbor on March 3. It will be the company’s fourth metro Detroit outlet.

The first 100 guests in line at the restaurant that day will receive a “Year of Yum,” one free taco every week for a year, and a Year of Yum limited-edition t shirt. All guests will receive a free taco with purchase and $5 signature margaritas all day long. Doors will open at 11 a.m. following a ribbon cutting and confetti cannons.

Guests who post to Instagram or Facebook that weekend using the hashtag #condadoannarbor will be entered to win a $1,000 Condado gift card. All guests who attend opening day and download the Condado Rewards App receive an additional free taco to be redeemed at a later date.

“The Condado Tacos team couldn’t be more excited to open our first restaurant in Ann Arbor, and bring crave-worthy tacos and margs to this artistic and vibrant community,” says Chris Artinian, president and CEO of Condado Tacos. “We often say Condado serves up ‘Enough Yum for Everyone’ and we feel that’s becoming truer in Michigan with the addition of our 30th restaurant (overall) in Ann Arbor next month, where our guests have embraced us since we first arrived there.”

A team of local Detroit and Ann Arbor artists — many extending their talents showcased at the Condado Tacos new Ann Arbor location — joined Condado artists in elaborate murals that fuse Condado’s signature characters with iconic scenes from Ann Arbor.

Condado Tacos expects growth in number of units, planning to double the size of the company by the end of 2023. It currently has 30 locations in 10 markets across six states.

MEDC Announces 320 High-wage Jobs from Business Expansions in Oakland County

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) announced 320 new high-wage jobs in Oakland County as a result of three new company expansions supported by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The expansions build on the growing momentum of economic growth across Michigan and further boost Michigan’s leadership position in automotive R&D and advanced manufacturing, according to MEDC.

The expanding companies are:

Electric Components International in Southfield, which is establishing a global Business and Engineering Solutions Center, highlighting Michigan’s leadership in future mobility and electric vehicle solutions. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $1.3 million and create 57 high-wage jobs, supported by a $760,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Individuals interested in careers with ECI should visit here.

Expert Technologies Inc. in Auburn Hills, previously known as Arrow Automation Inc., is a newly formed subsidiary of the Expert Technologies Group, headquartered in the U.K. The company provides industrial automation solutions to various industries. The location will serve as the Expert Technologies Group’s U.S. headquarters and will house C-suite executives, sales, engineering, assembly, and back-office support. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $2.7 million and create up to 43 high-wage jobs, resulting in a $250,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Individuals interested in careers with Expert Technologies Inc. and the wider Expert Technologies Group should visit here.

LER TechForce in Pontiac, a resident engineering and automotive engineering resource, will be expanding its engineering services and technician program in Michigan while also launching its new military division. This project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $8.4 million and create as many as 220 high-wage jobs, supported by a $1 million Jobs Ready Michigan Program performance-based grant. For information on careers with LER TechForce, visit here.

Karmanos Cancer Institute to Pilot Virtual Care Platform

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit is collaborating with Pennsylvania’s Lifeguard Health Networks to pilot a program that provides patients and trusted caregivers an integrated digital care platform to help them manage cancer care at home.

As the first cancer treatment provider partner for Lifeguard’s Virtual Care solution, LifeguardMobileT, Karmanos plans to launch the pilot program this spring with its Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team and will use the application to connect cancer patients, caregivers and Karmanos clinicians through its remote patient monitoring application.

“Lifeguard’s ability to virtually monitor our patients for reported vitals as well as symptoms experienced in real time means we will be able to further enhance our care coordination to the home and allow our staff to maintain clinical connectivity between patient appointments,” says Dr. Gerold Bepler, president and CEO of Karmanos Cancer Institute. “We look forward to enhancing the cancer journey through better care coordination using this novel at-home virtual care technology.”

Lifeguard’s Virtual Care solutions deliver remote physiologic monitoring and remote therapeutic monitoring, and integrate with more than 20 sensors and wearables to track medication adherence, symptoms and side effects, vital signs, and elements of wellness.

Based on clinical thresholds developed by Karmanos providers, the application has the ability to generate notifications when a patient exceeds a threshold or is trending toward a clinical event. Using secure communications technology, the Lifeguard platform will empower patients and caregivers to alert the Karmanos clinical team to consult via direct-to-mobile, messaging, or video. This feature can help prevent a potential clinical decline by allowing patients to have their care managed remotely by care team members in real time.

“This strategic partnership with Karmanos will improve patient experience and health outcomes using our technology,” says Danielle Guttman Klein, co-founder of Lifeguard Health Networks. “We created Lifeguard’s Virtual Care solution because our experiences as patients and caregivers told us there had to be a better way to bring the entire care team together. We look forward to a long and valued partnership with Karmanos to better serve patients, caregivers and providers on the journey to better health.”

DIA Announces Pilot Student Art Show, Issues Call for Entries

The Detroit Institute of Arts announced a pilot student art show that will feature artwork created by high school students from Wayne County. All students in grades 9 -12 who attend private, public, or home school in Wayne County are eligible to enter an art piece into the show, which will run from June 24 through July 31.

Interested students have until March 31 to submit their work. Artworks for the wall, including painting, drawing, prints, photography, and collage, are encouraged but small-scale sculptures and jewelry also will be considered. Digital artworks must be physically printed and delivered to the DIA. We are unable to print your digital photographs or illustrations. Artwork dimension should not exceed 36-by-36 inches.

The submission form is located here.

Entries will be juried by DIA educators and up to 70 will be selected for physical display at the museum, while additional artworks will be included in a virtual edition of the exhibition. Accepted artists will be invited to an opening event and be provided with a catalogue of the show.

“We are so excited to pilot this program and showcase the amazing work of high school student artists in Wayne County,” says Jason Gillespie, director of education programs at the DIA. “The Detroit Institute of Arts is a leader in education, and we are honored to be able to provide a platform for young artists to show their work.”

Farmington Hills’ Global Psychological Services Rebrands as Global Psychological

Global Psychological Services (GPS), a Farmington Hills-based educational services provider that uses positive psychology to deliver successful outcomes, academic growth, and positive mental health in students, has re-branded as Global Psychological and launched a new website that reflects the company’s strategic vision, growth, and future goals.

The company was founded in 2007 by Anthony Pendleton to provide expert educational services for special-needs and at-risk children to charter schools.

“I’ve always had a strong desire to do good in the community and help people who are disadvantaged realize their potential and create a better life,” says Pendleton. “When I recognized just how underserved the special education community is in particular, especially in low-income areas, I saw an opportunity to really focus my efforts and become an advocate for children with unique educational needs.”

Today, Global Psychological provides services that address key challenges at every stage of the education lifecycle. The company’s consulting practice delivers fully customized solutions to help schools improve their efficacy, develop, and evaluate curriculum, train their faculty, strengthen their operational foundations, and elevate their special-education programs. Global Psychological also provides high-quality staffing solutions at every stage of the academic hierarchy, including school district leaders, principals, K-12 teachers, special-needs educators, personal tutors, and guidance counselors.

The Global Psychological staff uses cognitive, neuroscientific, and behavioral practices to optimize learning in an individualized manner for every student.

UPS Selects FleetCross by Motor Information Systems for Parts Data

United Parcel Service (UPS), one of Troy’s Motor Information Systems’ longest-running FleetCross customers, has signed a new agreement with for FleetCross, the customized tool for enterprise fleets, helping them accurately maintain their vehicles, estimate labor, and find parts.

FleetCross provides the right medium- and heavy-duty information faster, saving fleets money and increasing their day-to-day efficiency, according to Motor, whose agreement with UPS enables the company to continue to access the correct parts information for maintaining UPS vehicles and keeping trucks on the road making deliveries.

“This agreement will help to enable UPS meet their customers’ expectations, which have increased greatly as our country contends with pandemic-related issues,” says Jeff Nosek, president of Motor. “This is a vote of confidence that FleetCross is the industry’s leading ‘go-to solution’ for parts cross-referencing, mechanical labor times and repair information.”

Plug Zen Launches Grassroots ‘Get Charged Up’ Campaign

Plug Zen, a Black-owned Detroit startup focused on delivering an adaptive, cost-effective EV charging solution to mitigate climate change, has launched its “Get Charged Up” campaign.

This multi-phased campaign begins with a crowd-funding goal of $250,000 and opportunities for early supporters to earn charging credits and participate in potential revenue streams. Future phases include creating an online Plug Zen community and adding partners from business, development corporations and municipalities.

“There are people everywhere who want to do more about global warming, who want to contribute and don’t know how,” says “Q” Kwabena Johnson, founder and CEO of Plug Zen. “Get Charged Up is providing regular people with real options to support electric car adoption at the community level and help build the EV infrastructure we need to advance global climate change goals.”

The campaign has three pathways for consumers, climate-change activists, and grassroots change agents to engage, as:

  • Investors, by way of WEFUNDER, can contribute to the company’s efforts to bring its singular multi-charging platform to cities, big businesses, and property managers throughout the United States. Investors earn charging credits for every dollar invested.
  • Early Adopters can purchase Plug Zen charge credits at Indiegogo for their community-based charging stations. Plug Zen is encouraging early adopters to connect the company with local property owners and large businesses.
  • Brand Ambassadors have the option to purchase custom NFTs, which Plug Zen will mint to a buyer-selected zip code. This innovative support provides a 15 percent commission to the NFT holder on all charges within the buyer’s identified zip code. Contact Q Johnson at info@plugzen.us for more information about NFTs.

Additionally, the “Get Charged Up” campaign will provide a variety of assets to help educate people about the benefits of EVs and available resources to adopt this increasingly popular technology. Johnson expects larger automotive and utility companies, along with municipalities, business development corporations and larger property owners to partner on the initiative and contribute educational materials.

Ann Arbor SPARK Hosts NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen at May 17 Annual Meeting

Ann Arbor SPARK will host its annual meeting on Tuesday, May 17, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center. Ann Arbor SPARK’s annual meeting is attended by business, government, and academic leaders from across the Ann Arbor region and delivers a unique networking opportunity.

Ann Arbor SPARK and members of its board of directors will highlight the organization’s progress in advancing the region’s economy over the past year. Ann Arbor SPARK also will present its annual board chair awards and present its updated strategic plan.

“We are thrilled to return to an in-person annual meeting this year, and acknowledging the resiliency of our local economy with business and community leaders,” says Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK.

The featured speaker at the event will be NASA associate administrator for the science mission directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen.

Registration for the meeting is required and costs $75 per person. For more information and to register, visit here.

Trinidad & Tobago Steelpan Artist Featured During Michigan Philharmonic Concert

It’s still winter in Michigan but music lovers everywhere can enjoy a warm evening of Caribbean sounds on Friday, March 11 as the Michigan Philharmonic presents a tropical adventure featuring the pulsating rhythms of dynamic steelpan soloist Josanne Francis.

Led by conductor and music director Nan Washburn, now in her 23rd season, the orchestra will perform a number of pieces featuring Francis and the steelpan, including Jan Bach’s unique “Concerto for Steelpan and Orchestra.”

This concert mixes all of the cultural sounds of Latin America and the Caribbean, including sultry themes galore, from Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “Symphony No. 1: A Night in the Tropics” to Morton Gould’s “Tropical.” Other pieces include George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture” and Arturo Márquez’s “Conga del Fuego Nuevo.”

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Plymouth and includes a side-by-side performance with the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Symphony during the Gershwin piece.

For tickets, visit here.

Detroit Foundation Hotel Makes U.S. News’ Best Hotels List

The Detroit Foundation Hotel, part of the Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group, has made U.S. News and World Report’s Detroit and Michigan lists of Best Hotels.

Regarded as one of the catalysts for Detroit’s resurgence and culinary prominence, Detroit Foundation Hotel was No. 4 in the Best Detroit Hotels and No. 7 in the Best Michigan Hotels.  The adaptive reuse combines the former Detroit Fire Department headquarters, built in 1929, and the neighboring Pontchartrain Wine Cellars into a 100-room hotel accented with finishes from local Detroit businesses and artisans. “With spaces designed for socializing, creating, eating, drinking, and relaxing, the hotel brings together world travelers and neighbors and showcases Detroit’s legacy and knack for innovation,” the magazine notes.

“Our philosophy has always been to build memorable stays and cultural connectivity in distinct yet underserved markets so it’s an honor to see our hotels recognized as being the best in their cities and states,” says Mario Tricoci, founder and CEO of Aparium Hotel Group. “It is a testament to the passion and dedication of our staff to provide one-of-a-kind experiences for our guests.”

WCC Showcasing Career and Technical Education Programs During February

Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor is recognizing Career and Technical Education Month by by showcasing its more than 100 Career and Technical Education associate and certificate programs that prepare students for high-wage, high-demand and high-skill jobs.

WCC’s wide array of CTE programs cover industries such as welding, automotive test technician and transportation technologies, construction management, mechatronics, business, computer science, human health, criminal justice, and more.

As part of CTE Month, WCC’s programs will be highlighted throughout campus next week. Current students and the public are encouraged to visit an information table or contact the college to learn more about the programs, salary data and occupations with the most openings in southeast Michigan.

Information tables will be on display:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 22, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the OE Building atrium
  • Wednesday, Feb. 23, 4:30-6 p.m. in the OE Building atrium
  • Thursday, Feb. 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the TI Building lobby

Additionally, current and prospective WCC students interested in a technical education and related careers are encouraged to attend the Career and Technical Education Month virtual panel sponsored by the state of Michigan at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. Click here to register.

For more information, visit here.

Dresner Foundation Provides Support to Winning Futures’ College Support Fund

Winning Futures announced that the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation is supporting its College Success Mentoring (CSM) program through a $108,000 grant to the College Support Fund (CSF).

The CSM program is for metro Detroit students who completed Winning Futures in high school who are now community college, university, trade school, or apprenticeship students. They are paired with a business mentor for monthly one-hour video calls. This topic-based approach supports students in staying in school, developing skills to help them on their career path, and addressing their emotional needs. Thanks to the support of the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation, CSM students are eligible to apply for up to $2,500 in direct aide through the CSF to help meet basic needs, address housing insecurity, assist with medical bills, school expenses, and avoid debt associated with unexpected expenses.

Within the first month of launching the CSF in January 2022, 18 students have requested a total of $25,000 in support.

“Many of our students who are now in their continuing education programs do not have the money they need to fully pay for school, housing, books, technology, transportation, and living expenses,” says Kristina Marshall, president and CEO of Winning Futures. “This past year we ran our pilot College Success Mentoring program and found that finances are a top worry for them. One emergency or one unexpected bill could cause a student to take a break from school or face becoming in debt. With this fund, we want to help prevent that. Our goal is to continually fundraise to make this a sustainable resource for our students.”