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.
Detroit Grand Prix to Welcome Full Grandstand Seating
As a result of last week’s announcement lifting the restrictions on outdoor seating capacity in the state of Michigan on June 1, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will welcome full seating in its grandstands for race weekend on Belle Isle, June 11-13.
Following the previous state and local health and safety protocols, the Grand Prix had planned for socially distanced seating for next month’s event, reducing its grandstand capacity to approximately 20 percent. With the new guidelines allowing for full attendance at outdoor venues beginning in June, the Grand Prix now will be able to accommodate seating for a few thousand more fans in its grandstands for each day of the Friday-Sunday event.
The additional reserved grandstand seats go on sale today here.
“We are so excited that we will be able to welcome more fans back to Belle Isle to experience the Grand Prix June 11-13 with the restrictions on outdoor venues being lifted in the state of Michigan,” says Michael Montri, president of the Grand Prix. “With vaccinations continuing and positivity rates improving across the state, this is another strong indication that we are moving in a positive direction in Michigan.”
The Grand Prix will continue to follow the current health and safety guidelines in place in Michigan and total attendance still will be reduced in 2021 as organizers remain focused on hosting a safe and entertaining event this summer.
“Our top priority has always been to provide a safe and fun experience on Belle Isle for our fans,” adds Montri. “As we followed the protocols that were in place throughout our planning, and with the build out for the Grand Prix entering its final stages, many of the fan activities and attractions that were featured at our event in the past — like live music — will not be included in 2021.”
For more information, visit here.
Bank of America to Increase U.S. Minimum Hourly Wage to $25 by 2025
Bank of America announced last week that it will raise its U.S. minimum hourly wage to $25 by 2025. In March last year, the company raised its U.S. minimum wage to $20 per hour.
In addition, Bank of America announced that all its U.S. vendors are now required to pay their employees dedicated to the bank, at or above $15 per hour. Today, more than 99 percent of the company’s more than 2,000 U.S. vendor firms and 43,000 vendor employees are at or above the $15 per hour rate, as a result of the implementation of this policy.
“A core tenet of responsible growth is our commitment to being a great place to work which means investing in the people who serve our clients,” says Sheri Bronstein, chief human resources officer at Bank of America. “That includes providing strong pay and competitive benefits to help them and their families, so that we continue to attract and retain the best talent.”
Small Business Association CEO Fowler to Retire, Calley Assumes Presidency
After more than 20 years with the Small Business Association of Michigan, CEO Rob Fowler will retire at the end of the year. As a result, the SBAM Board of Directors voted to appoint Brian Calley as President and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
“SBAM is the voice for small businesses in our state,” says Lorri Rishar, SBAM board chair and CEO of Edge Partnerships. “This is a testament to Rob and Brian’s efforts, working side by side for the good of all small businesses. The bipartisan support that SBAM provides its members is unmatched and has become essential to small businesses, especially as they navigate operations during the pandemic.”
Fowler joined SBAM in 2000 as the vice president of insurance services and has served as president and CEO since 2003. Calley joined SBAM as president in 2019 after serving as Michigan’s lieutenant governor.
“Serving Michigan’s small businesses for the past two decades has been my honor,” Fowler said. “While retirement is bittersweet, I’m extremely proud of what SBAM has become and the work we have achieved on behalf of small business owners. I have no doubt that SBAM’s influence and effectiveness will continue growing under Brian Calley’s leadership.”
Calley’s vision for SBAM builds on the association’s commitment to bipartisanship and inclusivity.
Calley says, “It has been a privilege to dedicate my career to the success of small businesses. I’m proud of how our team rose to the challenges of the pandemic and provided critical services to our members when they needed us most. I look forward to continuing this work at SBAM as president and CEO upon Rob’s retirement and appreciate the board’s confidence in me.”
Butzel Long Forms Digital Asset and Blockchain Specialty Team
Detroit’s Butzel Long law firm has established a Digital Asset & Blockchain Specialty Team to address the increasing use of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and other digital assets.
Butzel Long is one of the first law firms in Michigan to create a team specializing in this area.
This multidisciplinary team is comprised of attorneys with experience in distributed ledger technology and diverse backgrounds in intellectual property, litigation and governmental investigations, financial regulation, emerging technology law, cybersecurity, and corporate law.
The team includes:
- William J. Kraus, who focuses on legal and regulatory issues related to digital assets and blockchain technology.
- Arthur Dudley II, who specializes in mergers and acquisitions, representation of emerging growth companies, general corporate representation, securities law, and executive compensation.
- Jennifer A. Dukarski, focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues.
- Aaron Kamlay, an intellectual property lawyer.
- Claudia Rast, chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, and Emerging Technology Group.
For more information, visit here.
Black-owned Cannabis Facility Breaks Ground in Inkster
Michigan Agricultural Services, a black-owned cannabis company, has broken ground for a 25,500-square-foot indoor commercial cannabis and infused cannabis grow and processing facility in Inkster.
The company was founded by Detroit natives Mark Stockdale and Sahir Al-Salam, a veteran. The new facility will be accessible to patients who desire the highest quality medical cannabis products year-round at competitive pricing.
“We believe that in order for the cannabis industry to survive it has to be diversified,” says Stockdale, CEO of MAS. “It’s time for everybody to grow economically, and cannabis is a pathway for us to build wealth and invest in our communities.”
Al-Salam says, “Generational wealth and having access to the roadmap to economic mobility is key to the progression of the Black and brown community. We have the opportunity to help create jobs and partnerships for our communities to thrive in this industry. Let’s work together and build something great.”
MAS received its initial application approval by the city of Inkster on Feb. 2, 2018 for processing and for grow license. Additionally, MAS will operate as both a medical and recreational facility. The city council approved of the project in December 2020.
Anyone interested in working at the new facility can visit here.
In Related News: The Cannabis Center of Excellence at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie announced its first $1,200 cannabis chemistry scholarship.
The center provides more financial help for its students through an endowed annual scholarship fund of $25,000 held in perpetuity that results in an additional $1,200 award each year for a deserving cannabis chemistry major. Both $1,200 cannabis chemistry scholarships go into effect for the fall 2021 semester.
Wheelhouse Cannabis Co., based in nearby DeTour Village, underwrote the $25,000 endowed scholarship fund and related monies for it. Applicants for this nonrenewable grant must be full-time sophomores or higher, major in cannabis chemistry, maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, demonstrate financial need, and be graduates of a Chippewa, Mackinac, or Luce County high school. Preference will be given to first-generation and underrepresented students.
SALTA Direct Primary Care Opens Sixth Southeast Michigan Location
SALTA Direct Primary Care, a Troy-based provider of near-site and on-site primary care services, recently opened its sixth location, in Auburn Hills.
SALTA of Auburn Hills joins existing locations in Clarkston, Pontiac, Troy, and Ann Arbor.
Employers can sign up for the SALTA platform, which allows their employees to select a primary care provider at any location. Some employers choose to build an on-site location to provide care more conveniently and efficiently. A membership covers unlimited in-person visits, calls, and emails with their personal provider, as well as in-office medications and some diagnostic testing.
“With corporate health care costs spiraling out of control, combined with the financial challenges in the approaching post-pandemic world, many CEOs and CFOs are looking to make a change,” says Dr. Daniel Seidman, senior medical director at SALTA. “SALTA brings a high-quality primary care solution that can improve access, quality, and decrease health care costs by 20 percent or more.
“We constantly hear that corporate leadership wants their health care to be affordable, accessible, and exceptional. We work hard to do what is right by our patients and corporate clients, while maintaining a trained eye on the cost, quality, and experience of care. I’m elated to be in this new role, determined to bring this game-changing concept to the rest of our community.”
SALTA Direct Primary Care is the largest Michigan-based provider of near-site and on-site health care services. It was launched in 2016 as a pilot program with United Wholesale Mortgage.
New Samaritas Partnership with 1Minuut to Ease Burden on Dementia Caregivers
Grand Rapids-based Samaritas and 1Minuut in the Netherlands are partnering to introduce assisted reality to care for older adults with dementia.
With the partnership, the Samaritas Caregiver Accessible Resources Education Services (CARES) program is delivered for the first time using Glass Enterprise Edition 2 together with 1Minuut’s Genzõ app, to securely connect caregivers at home with specially trained professionals and increase dementia care skills for elder care providers to improve health and quality of life and ease the day-to-day care stress. Genzo will run on Google Cloud.
Glass is a small, lightweight non-medical wearable device with a glanceable display for hands-free work.
The Michigan Health Endowment Fund provided a grant of nearly $500,000 to support training, program operation and purchase of technology to offer professional and family caregivers access to the C.A.R.E.S. program at no cost during the pilot phase, which is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021 in Grand Rapids before expanding to other cities throughout the state. The Health Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors.
To learn more about Samaritas and its services, visit here.
Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City Set to Reopen June 18
Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City is set to reopen June 18. In line with its Paw Pledge Program, the resort will reopen to guests with a focus on disinfection and sanitization, social distancing, personal protection, and minimizing surface interactions in all guest areas across the resort.
Ahead of its reopening, the resort is hosting an in-person job fair on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with more than 100 positions available locally. For more information, visit here.
The resort will be hiring for all positions, with lifeguard, housekeeping, and food and beverage roles being the greatest need. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be scheduled by texting the phrase “GREATWOLFEVENT” to 25000. Additionally, a small number of walk-up appointments will be accommodated.
The Pink Fund Offers $250K Available in Financial Assistance for Breast Cancer Patients
The Pink Fund in Bloomfield Hills has announced its 2021 applications are open and the organization plans to distribute $250,000 to qualifying breast cancer patients throughout Michigan.
Individuals who qualify for assistance could receive up to $3,000 over 90 days for non-medical expenses ranging from housing, transportation, utilities, and insurance. Payments are made directly to patient’s creditors.
“It was from my own personal experience with breast cancer that I realized how badly an organization like this was needed,” says Molly MacDonald, founder of The Pink Fund. “I’ve met so many incredible women over the years who suffer from financial hardship while undergoing treatment. Not only are these women fighting to stay alive, but they are fighting to stay afloat.”
Patients applying for support from The Pink Fund must currently be in treatment for breast cancer. For more information on applying for financial assistance from The Pink Fund, visit here.