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 Marketing Group Brings LinkedIn Coach, Author to March 16 Webinar
The March installment of the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit’s monthly webinar series will feature Brenda Meller, marketing professional, author, and LinkedIn coach.
The free webinar will take place March 16 from noon to 1 p.m., and mark one year since many businesses shut down, scaled back, laid off, worked remote, or otherwise shifted to the “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“DMAD’s mission has always been about helping elevate the careers and well-being of our members,” says Cristina Cecchetti, president of DMAD. “Often that has taken the form of the networking that is so crucial to our business. Typically, that has been about the ongoing education we can provide, or the thrill of our annual Target awards show. A lot of these are coming together in Brenda’s presentation and we’re thrilled to be able to offer it not just to our members and guests but to everyone.”
Meller says, “All networking is virtual in 2021, and your online brand is now even more important than ever. My goal in this presentation is to help people focus on expanding their presence and getting better results on LinkedIn. I’ll demonstrate specific tactics and provide rationale and explanation on screen. For example, I’ll talk about the new(er) ‘Featured’ section and how and why you should be using this as a marketing tool for your business.”
Other topics Meller will cover in the presentation include:
- What should I post? How often should I post?
- How do I use LinkedIn to find clients?
- How can I find a job using LinkedIn, without making it obvious (I’m working and I don’t want my boss to know)?
- What is a hashtag and should I be using them on LinkedIn?
- Should I pay to upgrade to LinkedIn premium?
To participate in the webinar, visit here.
Douglas Marketing in Troy Forms Partnership with Canadian Agency
Douglas Marketing Group in Troy today announced a new affiliated partnership with Agence Rinaldi – Maestro Communications in Quebec, Canada.
As a result of the partnership, Douglas Marketing Group’s clients will have direct access to Rinaldi-Maestro’s French adaptation services as well as its trading desk. The independent trading desk provides DMG with enhanced access to campaign data points that will support targeting and evaluating their clients digital, programmatic campaigns.
The full scope of agency services the team at Agence Rinaldi – Maestro offers will complement DMG’s existing offering through bilingual creative, media planning and buying, digital audits, programmatic, branding to SEO, SEM, social media, translation and adaptation, and video production.
Further collaboration will expand both agencies’ performance portfolio, combining existing strengths in omni-channel programmatic advertising with strategic support around brand building, content, French and English creative, as well as proprietary software for campaign management.
“The team at Agence Rinaldi – Maestro and their proven experience and performance-based results in both French and English bring a depth of expertise and passion-based performance that we welcome for our clients and our joint teams,” says Kay Douglas, president of DMG. “The agencies combined bring an energy and experience that will benefit both our teams and ultimately our clients’ on both sides of the border. As a fellow tCAN member and longtime colleague we are excited about the opportunities that await us.”
First Shipment of Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Coming to Oakland County
Oakland County has learned it will receive its first shipment — 6,700 doses — of the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson today or tomorrow.
“These Johnson & Johnson doses arriving this week are another ray of hope,” says David Coulter, Oakland County executive. “Our challenge is supply that does not meet our demand, and a third effective vaccine helps. We look forward to getting more doses into arms of Oakland County residents so we can emerge from the heavy cloud of the pandemic.”
Oakland County Health Division will be working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to determine the guidance for administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.
“We now have three vaccines that are effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” says Dr. Russell Faust, medical director of Oakland County. “It is important that people follow medical advice — get whatever vaccine you are offered.”
This week, Oakland County Health Division received 16,380 doses from Pfizer, of which 9,360 are first doses; and 4,400 doses from Moderna, of which 900 are first doses. Oakland County is hosting 15 COVID vaccination clinics by appointment only in Holly, Madison Heights, Novi, Pontiac, Rochester, Southfield, Waterford, and West Bloomfield. In addition, Oakland County’s public health nurses are administering second doses at seven long-term care centers.
Rancho to be Official Suspension and Shocks Company for Jeep Jamboree USA
Southfield-based Rancho performance suspension and shocks, a brand from Tenneco’s DRiV division, has partnered with Jeep Jamboree for the sixth consecutive year as “The Official Suspension and Shocks Company,” and a primary sponsor of the 2021 event.
At select 2021 JJUSA events throughout the spring, summer and fall, a Rancho-outfitted Jeep Wrangler JL and Jeep Gladiator JT will be available for participants to experience Rancho products firsthand, both on and off the Jeep Jamboree event routes, as Rancho showcases its latest suspension technologies. Rancho team members will be on-site at the Jeep Jamboree Outdoor Garage, where attendees can view product displays and ask questions about Rancho suspension parts and shocks. Rancho kicks off the JJUSA season beginning with the 17th Texas Spur in Llano, Texas, March 18-20.
“Since its creation as a custom 4-wheel-drive business and a seller of Jeep parts and accessories in the 1950s, Rancho has been developing innovative, quality products to give Jeep owners and enthusiasts the ability to modify their vehicles for the most rigorous off-road excursions,” says Michael Sype, brand manager for Rancho. “We are thrilled to be a presenting sponsor of Jeep Jamboree USA this year, and we can’t wait to show attendees just how our products can amplify the performance of their Jeeps and provide a sound, fun and exciting off-roading experience.”
For more information, visit here.
GreenPath and eGain Launch Anytime-anywhere Virtual Financial Coach
GreenPath Financial Wellness, a Farmington Hills-based national nonprofit that provides financial counseling and education, and eGain, a leading customer engagement platform provider, have launched the Virtual Financial Coach, a turnkey solution for financial counseling automation.
Deployable by banks and credit unions in minutes, the secure digital tool offers personalized financial advice 24×7 to people on any smart phone or computer. It uses eGain’s digital engagement automation technology, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, to deliver GreenPath’s trusted and empathetic financial guidance at scale.
“Now more than ever, people need tools that meet them where they are in their financial journeys,” says Kristen Holt, president and CEO of GreenPath. “The Virtual Financial Coach offers individuals flexibility to pursue discreet, judgment-free financial guidance at any time, in any place.”
Ashu Roy, CEO of eGain, says, “This partnership combines eGain’s AI and ML technology with GreenPath’s proven advice to offer consumers a unique digital financial coaching experience. Users receive empathetic coaching to help them establish financial goals and identify actions they can take to reach them.”
The solution reduces the stigma associated with seeking financial advice with discreet and secure digital communication. Users can stop engaging with the coach at any time and pick up where they left off later. At the right time, the coach offers opportunities for users to connect directly with a GreenPath expert for one-on-one personal assistance with credit, housing, or debt management issues.
Epsilon Imaging Partners with Siemens Healthineers on Cardiac Imaging
Epsilon Imaging, a visualization and analysis software provider in Ann Arbor, is partnering with Siemens Healthineers, a developer of medical imaging and information management solutions, to offer syngo Dynamics users EchoInsight visualization and analysis with strain imaging.
With this partnership, Siemens Healthineers is an official global reseller of Epsilon Imaging’s EchoInsight. This syngo Dynamics integration enables clinicians to gain quick and easy access to EchoInsight strain imaging with automated cardiac function measurements based on ASE guidelines for improved quality, standardization, and efficiency in echo interpretation and management.
“This partnership with Epsilon Imaging aligns with the Siemens Healthineers vision to expand precision medicine into routine care by integrating a vendor-neutral tool for strain imaging into cardiovascular clinical practice,” says Christian Zapf, head of the syngo business line for Siemens Healthineers. “As part of our syngo Dynamics cardiovascular enterprise imaging and reporting solution, this partnership offers clinicians a simple to use and robust strain analysis package to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce unwarranted variations. We are looking forward to bring this solution to the market together with Epsilon Imaging.”
Eric Sieczka, CEO of Epsilon Imaging, says, “This partnership with Siemens Healthineers is a testament to our common vision to deliver innovative and efficient solutions to customers for improved quality, standardization and efficiency in the way patients are managed. We are looking forward to working with the Siemens Healthineers Team to bring greater access to strain imaging in clinical practice.”
M1 Concourse Names New CEO, Building New Garages
In a year that will see completion of two major expansion projects, and three new automotive events for the Detroit area, veteran automotive and motorsport executive Tim McGrane officially started as new CEO of M1 Concourse on March 1.
M1 Concourse is in the midst of construction of 70 private garages expected to be completed soon, giving the track 243 private garages and making it the largest private garage community in the world.
The 87-acre facility, featuring the 1.5-mile Champion Motor Speedway road course, also is constructing a new, 28,500-square-foot event center and full-time restaurant, that will overlook the track and be able to host major events, like the recently announced Motorsports Hall of Fame of America induction dinners in September.
McGrane, a native of England, comes to the Detroit area after serving as CEO of the Sports Car Association of Monterey Peninsula in California. The group oversees Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and orchestrated the return of the IndyCar Series to Laguna Seca. Before that, he was executive director of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in California.
“I am excited to be starting at M1 and to be part of the vibrant car culture of Motown,” says McGrane. “This is going to be an amazing year for the facility with the new construction projects and the new events that are coming later this year.
“Our plan is to create unique and memorable experiences for our garage community and also for the automotive media and enthusiasts who will be coming to our events for the first time this year. M1 is a world-class facility, and we want to provide world-class experiences for those who will be visiting us.”
McGrane replaces Jordan Zlotoff, who was M1’s CEO for two years.
M1 will be the site of the inaugural Motor Bella, the outdoor re-imagined North American International Auto Show for 2021, Sept. 21-26.
The facility also will host two new major automotive enthusiast events this year – the Woodward Dream Show, Aug. 19-21, and the American Speed Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Both events will feature the best in automotive vehicles and innovation, while offering consumers high-end experiences with food, spirits and luxury lifestyle.
For more information, visit here.
Flowserve Supports Pfizer in the Production of COVID-19 Vaccine
Flowserve Corp. in Dallas, a leading provider of flow control products and services for the global infrastructure markets, is providing pumps, valves, and seals to Pfizer in Kalamazoo to support production of its COVID-19 vaccine.
During the engineering runs of vaccine production, Pfizer needed immediate support to replace a mechanical mixer seal on its COVID-19 vaccine production line. Flowserve understood the urgency of the situation and the Flowserve Kalamazoo team expedited the rebuild of this critical equipment.
“Pfizer has been a Lifecycle Advantage customer since 1997, and now more than ever, we were pleased to be given the opportunity to let the experience and commitment of our associates support Pfizer’s immediate needs as they developed and deployed a COVID-19 vaccine,” says Scott Rowe, president and CEO of Flowserve.
Additionally, Flowserve through its channel partner, Corrosion Fluid Products, is providing Pfizer with a cryogenic valve application to support their expanded production capabilities of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Flowserve Cookeville, Tenn. facility will supply Pfizer with more than 200 Worcester cryogenic ball valves that can handle the rigorous temperature requirements needed in supporting the mass production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Flowserve’s Chesapeake, Va. and Itzehoe, Germany pump manufacturing facilities are providing pumps to Pfizer for both their North American and European vaccine production.
Develop Detroit Acquires West Boston Apartments to Preserve Affordable Housing
Develop Detroit has purchased the West Boston Apartments and will renovate and preserve them as affordable housing thanks to the Detroit Housing for the Future Fund.
The West Boston Apartments, located at 3220 W. Boston, just west of Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, have 27 apartments divided among 18 one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom units with Section 8 HAP contracts, which will be renewed in 2021. The building was listed on the market and at risk of being bought by another developer and turned market-rate housing.
The redevelopment assures that the building will remain affordable housing for at least the next 25 years.
After the renovation, the units will be offered at rents at 50 percent area median income or below. Though contract rents range from $823 to $946, residents who qualify will pay an average of just $150 to $200 a month.
Develop Detroit purchased the building at the end of November 2020. Its purchase and redevelopment were made possible by a $1.83 million DHFF loan and an additional $350,000 in funding from the National Housing Trust Community Development Fund. The $560,000 in renovation work includes common areas, hallways, HVAC, landscaping, parking lot, a new roof and lighting. Five units require immediate and complete renovations, but those residents will not be displaced during the work. Construction is expected to be completed by September.
“This is an important project for Develop Detroit because it preserves long-term affordability in the neighborhoods,” says Sonya Mays, president and CEO of Develop Detroit. “The West Boston Apartments build off our work in the nearby North End neighborhood and bring us deeper into the neighborhoods, where we are intending to do a lot more projects just like this, preserving affordability for Detroiters and bringing them the quality housing they deserve.”
Priority Health Extends $0 Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine
Priority Health in Grand Rapids announced that it will continue to waive all copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for medically necessary treatment of COVID-19 through Sept. 30. This means that all of the company’s nearly 1 million members across fully funded commercial, individual, Medicaid, and Medicare plans can get the treatment they need for COVID-19 with no out-of-pocket health insurance costs. Covered treatment may be inpatient or outpatient from an in-network provider. Priority Health will also continue to offer $0 cost share coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“When the pandemic started over a year ago, Priority Health made the commitment to put the health and wellness of our members first,” says Praveen Thadani, president of Priority Health. “We are staying true to that commitment, and that includes making sure that our members have affordable access to the coverage and treatment that they need. We are still in the midst of this health crisis, and we encourage community members to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it is made available to them.”
U-M Survey: Improved Job Prospects Top Concern of Consumers
The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may be nearing its end, but few consumers anticipate the type of widespread and persistent economic growth that will improve employment conditions to their very positive prepandemic levels, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
The relatively small recent loss in consumer confidence was concentrated among households with below median incomes, and focused on future economic prospects, says Richard Curtin, a U-M economist and director of the surveys.
The recent data reaffirms the growing divide between households who retained their jobs and those that lost jobs and incomes, he says. The recent revival in spending mainly reflects declines in precautionary savings, which were predominantly held by households who had retained their jobs and incomes.
It is a common occurrence that groups that had suffered the least in a recession are the first to propel the economy forward, Curtin says. Moreover, those who have lost jobs were largely employed by those service sectors that will be the slowest to recover. Renewed financial aid to reduce hardships is needed by those with less than median household incomes, he says.
To view the full results of the survey, visit here.
LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator Launches New ‘Clean Tech’ Program
The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield has launched a new program called the C3 Accelerator for green technology companies working in the clean tech, climatech, and circular economy industries.
The new accelerator, funded in part by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), New Economy Initiative (NEI), and the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), will offer a total pool of $275,000 in funding including grants, no equity interest-free investments, and services to support product development and scaling of clean tech, climatech, and circular economy technologies.
In general, these technologies have a positive impact to energy efficiency, generate renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, replace non-renewable materials, preserve clean water, and promote recycling, upcycling, and the circular economy.
Accelerator services include free or discounted product design, engineering, prototyping, testing, and validation, along with pilot and demonstration project cost sharing, assistance from experts-in-residence, design for manufacturability assessments, and supply chain development support. The Accelerator will also offer assistance in applying for federal grants and connections to universities, national laboratories, customers, strategic partners and investors.
C3 is a growth stage accelerator focused on proven technologies that need help with customer adoptions for specific applications and scaling. Individual grants will range from $5,000 to $10,000 per client. Equity free, zero-interest $15,000 investments also will be available, with a success fee added if a product achieves market success. Thanks to funding provided by EGLE, NEI, and IN2, a portion of these investments will be dedicated to support ventures led by women, people of color, veterans, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs.
The accelerator also plans an annual C3 Accelerator Business Showcase Pitch Event, tentatively planned to begin Aug. 26, allowing companies to present to a large group of potential customers, partners, and investors.
The deadline to apply to become a client of the C3 Accelerator is Monday, May 31. To apply to the program, visit here.
An informational webinar is scheduled for March 16 from noon to 1 p.m. To register, visit here.
Baker College Appoints Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officers
Baker College in Owosso has announced the appointment of three diversity, equity, and inclusion officers.
Effective immediately, Dana Clark, Lesa Louch, and Kristina Marshall assume leadership for Baker’s DEI initiatives, serving as a point of contact for employees and students and responsible for elevating and accelerating the college’s commitment to inclusive excellence.
In addition to their new titles as DEI officers, Clark, chief human resource officer; Louch, president of Baker College Online and Center for Graduate Studies; and Marshall, director of human services, will retain their current roles and responsibilities with Baker.
In their new roles, the DEI officers will work closely with Bart Daig, president of Baker College, the provost, academic deans, faculty, staff and students to ensure that Baker’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion are embraced across all campuses. They will coordinate and advise the development, integration and articulation of Baker’s commitments to a more diverse and inclusive community.
Applications Open March 3 for Binc Foundation Scholarship Program
Applications will be accepted March 3 through April 15 for the Binc Foundation’s annual higher education scholarship program.
The 2021 scholarship program supports bookstore and comic book shop owners and employees, and former Borders Group employees by helping their dependents, spouses, and partners pursue their higher education goals.
Binc will award seven $3,500 scholarships to the dependents of bookstore and comic shop employees and one Karl Pohrt Tribute Scholarship award of $5,000 will be granted to an independent bookstore or comic book shop employee who has overcome a learning adversity or is a nontraditional student.
Binc’s Scholarship Program seeks to make a lasting impact in the lives of bookstore and comic book shop employees and former Borders Group employees by offering scholarships to their dependents and spouses/partners based on financial need, academic performance, and community involvement.
These scholarships can help make a college education more affordable for families. Scholarships are offered for full or part-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice.
Students and their families can find out more details and apply here. Applications must be completed by 4 p.m. on April 15.