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.
Duggan Names State Civil Rights Head as Interim Chief of Police
Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday that James E. White will be interim chief of the Detroit Police Department when James Craig retires at the end of the month.
White is a career police officer who rose through the ranks to become assistant chief of police before he was selected by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to lead the state Department of Civil Rights.
“The level of talent within DPD, and that has come through DPD, is extraordinary and each of the individuals I met with are deeply respected and would make outstanding interim chiefs,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “However, James White has the depth and breadth of experience that I feel have prepared him to lead this department forward. He has my full support as well as the full support of every member of City Council and Board of Police Commissioners.”
White, a 24-year veteran at DPD was born and raised in Detroit, served as assistant chief since 2012 and in leadership positions for the majority of his tenure. White led the Detroit Police Department’s efforts to be released from two decade-long federal consent agreements, which required the implementation of policies, training, and processes to protect the constitutional rights of citizens DPD officers engage or detain.
He also established a Civilian Advisory Committee to help bridge the gap between civilians and sworn members within the department. White worked to ensure that returning citizens had opportunities for employment within the Detroit Police Department in certain non-sworn capacities.
White left DPD in August 2020 when he was named director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
“Having grown up in the city of Detroit and in the Detroit Police Department, I am deeply honored and humbled to have been appointed as interim chief of Police for the great city of Detroit,” White says. “In the coming weeks, I will be assembling a team of tenured officers and executives to help with the transition. I look forward to working with the mayor, city, and community leaders, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the men and women of this great department in reducing crime while at the same time inspiring community support and confidence.”
Under the City Charter, the next step in finding a new permanent chief of police will be for the Board of Police Commissioners to conduct a search and generate a list of candidates, from which the mayor will interview and make his selection. The new chief must be confirmed by a majority vote of Detroit City Council.
Ford Fireworks Scheduled for June 28 as Broadcast Only Event
The Parade Co. and Ford Motor Co. announced the 2021 Ford Fireworks will take place on Monday, June 28 as a televised-only show on WDIV Local 4. The show will not take place in the traditional location of downtown Detroit and expects to return in 2022.
The Parade Co. has partnered with Huron-Clinton Metroparks at the Lake St. Clair Metropark location for this year’s broadcast-only show. The park will not be open to the public on June 28.
“We are proud to bring the Ford Fireworks to our community in a very special way,” says Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Co. “We have an unwavering commitment to this tradition, which has brought us together as one for over six decades. We are grateful for our many amazing partners who are joining efforts to make this possible including Ford, WDIV Local 4 and Huron-Clinton Metroparks who have stepped up as a good neighbor in a very big way.”
Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Co. Fund, says, “Ford is honored to be a longtime supporter of this annual event that celebrates and unites people and communities across southeast Michigan. During this year’s fireworks, we are planning a special salute to teachers and educators throughout metro Detroit who have done so much to help our youth get through this challenging year.”
Ford and Ford Motor Co. Fund plan to honor and thank teachers, professors, and school counselors who have gone above and beyond for their students and community throughout the past school year. Details of Ford’s special salute to educators will be available here beginning next week.
This year’s Rooftop Party presented by Ford will not take place. For details, visit theparade.org.
California Cannabis Real Estate Company Acquires Warren Property for $10.3M
California-based Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (IIP), which focuses on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry, has closed on a $10.3 million acquisition of a property in Warren.
Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease at the property with a subsidiary of Sozo Companies Inc. for continued use as a regulated cannabis cultivation, processing, and retail facility.
Sozo is expected to complete additional tenant improvements for the property, which has approximately 85,000 square feet of industrial space.
“We are excited to welcome Sozo as the newest addition to our premier tenant roster,” says Paul Smithers, president and CEO of IIP. “Aaron and his team at Sozo have created a strong operational platform in Michigan, and we expect this strategic transaction to unlock key capital for the Sozo team to significantly enhance their retail presence in the state, along with additional capital for the facility to drive cannabis production capacity.”
G2 Consulting Group in Troy to Open Fourth Office, Add 24 Employees
G2 Consulting Group, a geotechnical, environmental and construction engineering services, in Troy announced that it will open a new northwest Michigan office in Grand Traverse County and has added two dozen employees across its footprint.
The new office, located in Fife Lake, is G2 Consulting’s fourth location and will service new and existing clients in the region. G2’s new employees include recent full-time hires, plus at least a dozen summer interns who will be divided primarily between the firm’s Troy headquarters and its Ann Arbor office.
“Demand for our environmental and construction services is strong and is expected to continue growing, especially with the Biden Administration’s emphasis and planned spending on infrastructure improvements,” says Mark Smolinski, a principal at G2 Consulting. “Add to that Gov. Whitmer’s determination to ‘fix the damn roads,’ and we’re anticipating a very busy and challenging next couple of years, especially here in Michigan. We’re expanding our geographic footprint and staffing up to meet this continued demand.”
G2 has more than 25 years’ experience in underground material evaluations, environmental remediation and engineering services required for major infrastructure projects. The company is known for specializing in “everything below the ground” and has completed major projects on bridges, highways, dams, sewer systems, educational facilities, telecom, and other development and civil infrastructure projects in more than 35 U.S. states and in Canada.
G2’s northwest Michigan office, which will supplement the company’s offices in Troy, Ann Arbor, and Chicago, will be managed by Andrew Silverthorn, a senior field technician who has been with G2 for more six years.
G2 has completed several significant projects in northern Michigan, including at the Cheboygan Waste Water Treatment plant, Boyne City Public Schools, a Manistee MDOT bridge/river slope retention project, plus a number of other facility, alternative energy and telecom projects. G2 has established relationships with many of the state’s largest public and private construction firms and hopes that the new office will allow them to better service these clients on projects in the region.
Detroit Fintech Firm Autobooks Surpasses 100 Clients
Autobooks, the Detroit-based provider of embedded invoicing and payment acceptance for financial institutions, today announced they have crossed a milestone of partnering with more than 100 financial institutions.
The company partners with banks and credit unions to integrate digital invoicing and online payment acceptance directly within the financial institution’s existing digital banking channels.
“Enabling small and micro businesses to accept online payments directly into their checking account is similar to a consumer establishing direct deposit — it helps to ensure primacy,” says Derik Sutton, vice president of marketing at Autobooks. “We help financial institutions stay ahead of the competition, increasing engagement by becoming the back office for their customers.”
2020 represented a shift from accepting payments in person to online. Businesses have recognized the need to modernize the file cabinet by embracing online payments their customers pay them much faster.
Autobooks is designed to help financial institutions increase small business product mix, reduce attrition, and displace usage of challenger products. In addition to invoicing and online payment acceptance, Autobooks offers cash flow management, accounting, and financial reporting tools as part of its full product suite.
Forty-six financial institutions partnered with Autobooks in 2020 — 250 percent more than the previous year. Growth has further accelerated in 2021, as Autobooks is now being deployed into more than five financial institutions each month, including its 100th client, Susser Bank.
“Small businesses need solutions and ideas that will drive their success,” says Carl Cravens, chief lending officer at Susser Bank. “Our partnership with Autobooks is another opportunity to deliver real value and help solve what’s next for our clients. In addition to the technology being best in class, Autobooks has a great team in place that will help us launch this service in July, so our clients can focus on their growth.”
Matco Tools Launches Diagnostics Device Powered by Ann Arbor’s Opus IVS
Ohio-based Matco Tools is partnering with Ann Arbor’s Opus IVS, formerly known as Drew Technologies, to launch the ProAssist remote diagnostic system through the Matco Tools distribution network.
ProAssist delivers IVS 360 live vehicle diagnostic support, remote assisted programming, and a CarDAQ J2534 pass-thru interface, all in the same device.
The new ProAssist leverages the team of remote experts from Opus IVS to bring innovation to repair shops to quickly and accurately diagnose vehicles from any manufacturer. Through Opus IVS support centers, customers gain live access to more than over OE-brand specific master technicians, adding a differentiated service model to the diagnostics industry.
In addition to live diagnostic support, the ProAssist also delivers J2534 programming thru a remote assisted programming service and a built-in CarDAQ pass-thru device.
“This is truly an industry game changer,” says Hilda Shipcka, vice president of marketing and ebusiness at Matco Tools. “Matco is helping solve the biggest challenge facing shops today, expert vehicle repair support and programing. Now, Matco’s customers will have a factory-trained specialist for every brand at any shop.”
For more information, visit here.
Detroit’s Bedrock Partners with Local Property Owners to Shine a Light on NF
Detroit-based Bedrock will “Shine a Light” on neurofibromatosis (NF) this month by partnering with property owners to illuminate buildings across downtown Detroit in green and blue.
Shine a Light on NF encourages community awareness around the genetic disorder, which causes tumors to grow throughout the body and effects one in every 3,000 people around the world, by lighting buildings, bridges, and monuments during May.
In 2019, the Shine a Light campaign grew to more than 325 locations, including Niagara Falls, the Coliseum in Rome, and London’s National Theatre.
Participating buildings in Detroit include The Albert, Ally Detroit Center, Federal Reserve Building, Ford Field, The Griswold, Hamilton Midtown, One Campus Martius, One Woodward, Orchestra Place, The Press/321, The Scott at Brush Park, The Stott, and The Z Lot.
MedSupply in Troy and Taylor Stocked with FDA-Approved Nitrile Gloves
MedSupply, a Troy-based supplier of PPE, durable medical equipment, and prosthetics and orthotics in southeast Michigan, has ample supplies of medical grade nitrile gloves. The gloves are tested and safe for use with 32 chemotherapy drugs.
Nitrile gloves have been in short supply throughout the pandemic. The nitrile gloves MedSupply has secured are FDA approved, medical grade gloves, safe for those with latex allergies and comply with strict international quality standards. Providing dexterity and strength, these gloves are easy to put on and provide comfort and protection.
“Medical-grade nitrile gloves are durable and highly sought after in the health care industry for protection against disease transmission, infection, and contamination,” says Paul Bode, director of business development at MedSupply. “MedSupply is proud to have secured an ample supply of these high-quality gloves for sale to the general public. These gloves are proven to be strong and effective in providing protection from the COVID-19 virus.”
For more information on nitrile gloves or to order, visit here.
More Michigan Households are Eligible for Additional Food Assistance
The number of Michigan families eligible for additional food assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be increasing in May with everyone who is eligible now receiving an increased amount, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced.
An additional 350,000 families will receive the extra food assistance under approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, bringing the total in Michigan receiving extra benefits due to the pandemic to more than 700,000.
Beginning this month, all households that receive food assistance benefits, will be eligible for the additional amount. Previously families already receiving the maximum monthly amount of assistance were not eligible for additional benefits, while others received an increase bringing them to the maximum monthly allotment. Now all households will receive an increase of at least $95 monthly, even if they are already receiving the maximum payment or are close to that amount. Households that received more than $95 to bring them to the maximum payment for their group size will continue to receive that larger amount.
Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits (from $234-$1,408, depending on the size of the family) on their Bridge Card May 15-25. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.
More than 1.3 million people in Michigan receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program.
Oakland University Awards Honorary Degrees to Community Leaders
Kenneth Janke, Tom Kimble, Kathleen Ligocki, Dennis Pawley and Patrick Scoggin received honorary degrees from Oakland University in Rochester during commencement ceremonies May 13-15.
Aflac’s Janke received a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa. Civic leader Kimble received a Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa. Retired automotive executive Ligocki received a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa. Automotive industry veteran Pawley received a Doctor of Arts Honoris Causa. Scoggin, an automotive dealer who passed away in December, received a Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa.