DBusiness Daily Update: EV Charging Stations Coming to Michigan State Parks, 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.
The Michigan DNR is installing 30 charging stations in parks along the Lake Michigan this summer. // Stock photo
The Michigan DNR is installing 30 charging stations in parks along the Lake Michigan this summer. // Stock Photo

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.

EV Charging Stations Coming to Michigan State Parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that 30 charging stations will be installed in parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline beginning in June and continuing throughout the summer. State Parks in the Upper Peninsula will introduce charging stations next year.

Installing the EV charging stations will revisit a collaboration between Michigan’s state parks and the automobile industry and by increasing access to EV charging stations it will continue to bring new leisure travelers to the state.

“The ability to link some of our state parks with electric vehicle travelers will provide a win-win for both parties,” says Ron Olson, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division. “The Enhancement will no doubt increase the number of visitors at these parks while providing convenience and significantly increasing the range for EV motorists.”

The tentative list of installations includes:

  • Two EV charging stations at Warren Dunes (Berrien County)
  • J. Hoffmaster (Muskegon County)
  • Charles Mears (Oceana County)
  • Ludington (Mason County)
  • Orchard Beach (Manistee County)
  • Leelanau (Leelanau County)
  • Young (Charlevoix County)
  • Petoskey (Emmet County)
  • Wilderness (Emmet County)
  • Interlochen (Grand Traverse County)
  • Four stations at Holland (Ottawa County)
  • Four stations at Grand Haven (Ottawa County)
  • Two stations at the Oden State Fish Hatchery (Emmet County)

“These EV charging stations are a tremendous way to encourage sustainable travel across our state, while sharing the tremendous beauty and recreation offered by our world-class state parks here in Michigan,” says Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “As we encourage travelers to Pursue their Pure this summer, ensuring easy, reliable access to EV charging helps us continue to share these amazing opportunities with new travelers, without range anxiety.”

Intertek Expands Offerings at North America EV Testing Lab in Plymouth Township

Intertek, a Plymouth Township-based Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, is expanding the services and capabilities at its Transportation Technologies lab to meet the automotive industry’s increasing demand for safe and reliable testing for evolving electric vehicle (EV) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) technologies.

With EV production expanding a growing need exists to support and promote the EV industry’s development. This includes the need ensure the safety, performance, and functionality of EVs, battery packs, and their related components. Intertek says it offers some of the most extensive EV battery and EVSE testing capabilities in North America to assist automotive OEM and Tier Suppliers.

“Advances in electrification technologies in the automotive industry and the accelerated global adoption of EVs has led to an increase in both industry vehicle development and consumer demand,” says Gavin Campbell, president of Intertek Transportation Technologies. “As an early adopter of and pioneer in EV testing, Intertek’s continued investment in the Plymouth location to bring in additional state-of-the-art equipment and innovate our offerings underscores our commitment to deliver best-in-class testing and certification services to our automotive customers as their needs evolve.”

The laboratory expansion doubles the facility space to 200,000 square feet, making it one of the largest laboratories in Intertek’s network. Additional testing capabilities and equipment include:

  • The installation of a 55,000-pound shaker, one of the largest in North America, for use with large automotive and EV component testing.
  • Battery Cycler capability to 1200V/600kw.
  • A new EVSE emulator for IEC 61851-24 certifications.
  • Multiple reach-in and walk-in environmental chambers.
  • Bunker/safety expansion.
  • A dedicated area for full vehicle work.
  • Specific areas for salt, dust, and BSR testing.
  • Expansion for vibration and fixturing.
  • Establishing dedicated areas for expansion of performance work.

For more information, visit here.

Madison Reed Opens Hair Color Bar at Village of Rochester Hills

Madison Reed has opened a Hair Color Bar in The Village of Rochester Hills, the company’s forst outlet in Michigan.

The company’s Hair Color Bar concept gives clients access to salon-quality hair color, applied by a licensed professional at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional salons. Madison Reed offers clients services like root touch-ups, all-over color services, balayage highlights, ammonia-free foil highlights, and more.

Madison Reed provides natural-looking color and color-care offerings with Smart 8-Free and Leaping Bunny Certified formulas – free of PPD, ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, phthalates, gluten, SLS, and titanium dioxide – made in Italy with ingredients like keratin, argan oil, and ginseng root extract designed to deliver brilliant shine.

“I started Madison Reed with a simple mission: to provide the best, most luxurious hair color made with ingredients you can feel good about,” says Amy Errett, founder and CEO of Madison Reed. “Our company is founded on the belief that we all deserve better. Better hair color made with better ingredients, and better care for not only our hair, but for our clients and community.

“We are thrilled to open our doors in Michigan and welcome clients to experience our signature color services, from root touch-ups to all over color, and ammonia-free foil highlights. We warmly invite you to stop by for a complimentary consultation with our team of licensed colorists for your best hair color ever.”

Ann Arbor’s Micro-Tech Endoscopy Partners with Wision A.I. to Distribute Software

Micro-Tech Endoscopy USA, the Ann Arbor-based U.S. subsidiary of the global medical device company Micro-Tech (Nanjing) Co. Ltd., is partnering with Wision A.I., a startup in the field of artificial intelligence-assisted diagnostics for optical medical imaging.

Micro-Tech will be the U.S. GI endoscopy distributor of EndoScreener, an AI-assisted polyp detection software used during colonoscopy procedures.

Wision A.I. gained FDA-clearance for EndoScreener in November 2021 following a U.S.-based clinical study of 232 patients demonstrating that artificial intelligence-assisted colonoscopies with the Wision software resulted in fewer missed polyps. The technology was able to identify approximately 32 percent more adenomas than standard colonoscopy procedures.

“We believe that every patient deserves access to the best technology available in order to have the best chance for an optimal outcome — and our partnership with Wision does just that,” says Chris Li, president of Micro-Tech Endoscopy USA. “Together we are able to advance the early detection of more polyps and improve patient outcomes. More than 106,000 new cases of colon cancer are anticipated in 20222. This technology will ensure that more patients have early, accurate diagnosis so they have the best possible result. We see artificial intelligence playing a major role in increasing the detection of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon. This collaboration highlights Micro-Tech’s commitment to innovation that will serve patients and their health care providers.”

For more information, visit here.

Survey: Companies Increasingly Consider Layoffs to Make Up for Lost Earnings

As the prices of goods and services across the country skyrocket, largely driven by overseas conflict and disruptions to the global supply chain, consumers have become more conservative with their money. The recent shift in spending habits has ultimately hurt companies’ bottom lines — and many are considering layoffs to compensate for their losses, according to a new survey by Employment BOOST, a full-service resume writing, corporate outplacement, and career services company.

The retail, hospitality, and entertainment industries have taken the biggest financial hits as gas prices reach an all-time high, leading Americans to cut back on travel. Higher gas prices have changed consumers’ dining habits in particular, with 40 percent of survey respondents reporting dining out less, and 43 percent reporting spending less on food. Similarly, most consumers report they don’t have excess funds to participate in leisure and entertainment activities. As a result, affected companies have seen a significant dip in their quarterly earnings and are considering layoffs to pull back on costs.

“As businesses continue to cut jobs due to mounting economic struggles, they have a responsibility to transition and support their former employees by providing outplacement opportunities,” says Ryan Miller, career services executive at Employment BOOST. “By taking advantage of outplacement packages like what Employment BOOST offers, current and future workers, as well as customers, will take notice that the business values its team, even during tough transitionary periods.”

The Employment BOOST survey also found that as the cost-of-living increases, 58 percent of female respondents have retained a second job to make ends meet, as they earn an average of 82 cents for every $1 men earn. More than half of respondents also reported that rising gas prices influenced their decision to work from home, with 62 percent saying they work remotely at least occasionally.

For more information on this report, visit here.

Flint’s Kettering University Closes Boldly Forward Campaign with Record $155M

Kettering University’s Boldly Forward Capital Campaign has concluded after putting an unprecedented $155 million into the Flint university’s coffers.

Supporting student scholarships, new and existing programs, faculty, and the construction of the Learning Commons, Boldly Forward ushers in a new era in transformative education, according to Kettering President Robert K. McMahan.

“This campaign is a real testament to the university and how much people believe in it,” he says. “From the volunteers on the campaign committee and hardworking University Advancement team to over 6,200 generous and committed donors. What it has already made possible has been a game-changer.”

Central to the Campaign and to the future of Kettering is the 105,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Learning Commons, the physical embodiment of the university’s vision of cooperative and collaborative education. Scheduled to open this summer, the Learning Commons’ open and flexible floor plan represents a new paradigm in how space is used in academic settings and provides a new model for the way education is delivered.

The other changes and innovations made possible by Boldly Forward have been equally transformative:

  • Doubling the number of endowed and expendable scholarships.
  • Increasing the university endowment from $63 million to more than $110 million.
  • Adding other important facilities, including the GM Mobility Research Center, the Harris Mobility Research Annex, and the FIRST Robotics Community Center.
  • Renovating Atwood Stadium for high-profile university and community events
  • Endowing precollege programs, such as Academically Interested Minds (AIM) and Lives Improve Through Engineering and Science (LITES), for high school students interested in STEM fields.

For more information about the Boldly Forward Capital Campaign and its impact, visit here.

Lawrence Tech’s Robofest Crowns World Champions in Online Event

Lawrence Technological University in Southfield crowned teams from Hong Kong, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan, as well as the United States champions in the 2022 Robofest Online World Championship Saturday.

While many qualifying and world championship competitions were able to take place in person for Robofest 2022, judging for the world championships, and the award ceremony itself, was done online due to continuing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and international travel restrictions.

Robofest was created in 1999 by C.J. Chung, Professor of Computer Science at Lawrence Technological University. In Robofest, teams in the Junior (grades 5-8) and Senior (grades 9-12) Divisions compete to design, build, and program robots to accomplish a variety of tasks.

“Unlike other robot competitions, Robofest features low cost and few barriers to entry — a basic robot kit can be purchased for $400, the entry fee is just $75, and teams can compete online if they can’t travel,” says Christopher Cartwright, director of Robofest and associate professor of mathematics at LTU. “Also, Robofest robots are completely autonomous, controlled only by software just like robots used in real-world applications, from factories to satellites.”

This year’s game was called OceanBots, in which robots had to rescue “turtles” (blue blocks) and move them to a designated area, while moving “trash” (red blocks) to a different area. The game also includes tasks and factors that aren’t disclosed until competition day, meaning students must be creative and flexible in their robot programming.

Overall Winners of 2022 Robofest Online World Championship events were:

  • Senior Exhibition: Team Cornhole Rail Gun, SMART Labs, Rochester.
  • Junior BottleSumo Time Trial: Team Leo, Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills.
  • Junior Game: Team Absolutely Famished Raccoons, SMART Labs, Rochester.
  • RoboParade: Team Magic Tree of Techabrick, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Junior RoboArts: Team Tai Po Old Market G3 of the Tai Po Old Market Public School, Hong Kong.
  • Senior RoboArts: SRLE Team E of Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School, Macau.
  • Junior Unknown Mission Challenge: Team Chingshin C of the Chingshin Academy, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Senior Unknown Mission Challenge: Chang Yi Senior High School, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
  • College RoboMed, EE Team, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Senior RoboMed: Team VERUM, Preparatoria #3 UAEH, Pachuca, Mexico.
  • Junior Exhibition: Team Tai Po Old Market G2, Tai Po Old Market Public School, Hong Kong.
  • Senior Unlimited BottleSumo Time Trial: Team RIHK BSC_A, Robot Institute of Hong Kong.
  • Senior Classic BottleSumo Time Trial: Team Arabots of Arabots Robotics, Toluca, Mexico.
  • Senior Game: Team LH, Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College, Hong Kong.

In all, 190 teams comprised of 560 students from 12 countries participated in the 2022 Robofest Online World Championship events.

MCHS Family of Services Receives Funding from Abhi Shah Foundation

MCHS Family of Services (MCHS), a 105-year-old Wayne County-based nonprofit formerly known as Methodist Children’s Home Society, hosted the Abhi Shah Foundation Annual 5K Walkathon for the first time on its main Redford campus on May 22.

The Abhi Shah Foundation (ASF) presented the first $50,000 installment of a $150,000 gift to MCHS in support of My Friend’s Place, MCHS’s transitional living and workforce development campus in Detroit.

The donation will support renovation efforts and programs at My Friend’s Place in Detroit. My Friend’s Place is a model program and facility supporting young people aging out of foster care and into adulthood with the resources, training, and tools necessary to build successful futures. The program provides housing, job and life skills training, financial literacy, and workforce development partnerships to build lifelong stability. My Friend’s Place is located on MCHS’s newly acquired four-acre campus at 20775 Pembroke in northwest Detroit, just south of Eight Mile and east of Lahser.

“At MCHS we advocate tirelessly on behalf of our community’s most vulnerable – youth in peril and their families – in the public, private, and political sector to ensure their voices are heard,” said Roach. “With our recent organizational rebrand, we brought a vision to life by designing a comprehensive approach of often overlapping services, with individualized care to support our local youth and families in their greatest time of need. Supporting youth now will prepare them with what they need to carry them into their lives and impact future generations.”

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with MCHS,” said Shah. “We value any opportunity we get to come together and make an impact on our community. The programs and tools My Friend’s Place provides are critical for teens and families and it is a program we are honored to support.”

Discover all MCHS programs, services and how to get involved at MCHSMI.org.

Blood Cancer Foundation Hosting Scavenger Safari and Walk at Detroit Zoo June 4

The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan (BCFM) is hosting its annual Scavenger Safari and Walk starting at 7:30 a.m. June 4 at the Detroit Zoo.

Participants have the option to participate in a scavenger hunt or enjoy a walk around the zoo at their own pace. The day includes admission to the zoo, raffle, giveaways, lunch, and free parking. Participants can register as a team or as an individual. For children ages 5-13 registration is $35, for participants ages 14 and up, registration in $50. Children under five are free. Additional fundraising beyond the registration fee is encouraged, and prizes are available at various fundraising levels.

BCFM is a statewide nonprofit organization that empowers patients and families to navigate and overcome the immediate and ongoing burdens resulting from any type of blood cancer diagnosis — through information, resources, and wrap-around support.

For more information or to register for Scavenger Safari, visit here.

Advancing Macomb Hosts 6th Annual Summer Soirée Networking Event June 14

Advancing Macomb in Mount Clemens will host its sixth annual Summer Soirée event at 5 p.m. June 14 at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

Attendees will learn about the organization’s vision while networking with Macomb County business, government, and nonprofit leaders. Dinner and cocktails are included.

“The upcoming year is particularly critical for Advancing Macomb as we work to mobilize philanthropic investment in our county and drive transformative change,” says Diane Banks, executive director of Advancing Macomb. “We invite the community to join us on June 14 to learn how they can support our bold vision for the future.”

Individual tickets for the Summer Soirée are $110 and may be purchased at advancingmacomb.com.

Families Against Narcotics’ Run Drugs Out of Town 5K Run/Walk Slated for June 18

Families Against Narcotics (FAN) in Clinton Township will host its 14th annual Run Drugs Out of Town 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at 9 a.m. June 18 at Fraser High School (34270 Garfield Rd.).

The event is expected to draw more than 2,000 people to help increase awareness of addiction and raise money to fund the many compassionate programs FAN provides to individuals and families who have been affected by the disease.

“It was great to be able to go back to an in-person run last year after having to do a virtual run because of the pandemic,” says Linda Davis, executive director of FAN. “We had a great turnout in 2021 and are hoping to have an even bigger crowd this year. Run Drugs Out of Town is our favorite FAN event and means so much to so many people, including people in recovery, parents and family members who have lost loved ones to addiction, and those who are still struggling.”

Run Drugs Out of Town participants can walk or run the 5K either individually or as a team, and FAN gives recognition to the Top Fundraising Team and Top Fundraising Individual, as well as to the Largest Team.

To register or for information on how to become a sponsor, visit here or call 586-438-8500.

Monkeypox Q&A from U-M School of Medicine

Monkeypox is a virus that causes pus-filled blisters and has been detected in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and some European nations.

Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, is an infectious disease epidemiologist. She is an investigator with the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response with the National Institutes of Health, director of U-M’s Michigan Center for Infectious Disease Threats, and currently leads several studies on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and immunity.

How concerned should we be about monkeypox?

We’ve seen a number of cases of monkeypox pop up in multiple countries, and that is concerning. It’s definitely something that has to be monitored at this point. The good news about monkeypox is that it isn’t as transmissible as something like SARS-CoV-2. So, it should be able to be controlled. We do have existing vaccines that work against monkeypox, however, currently only one is licensed for that purpose in the U.S.

The emergence of something like monkeypox, which we’ve had cases pop up before, is something that’s probably going to happen more and more often in the future. One of the reasons is that monkeypox is actually related to smallpox. If you’re over a certain age, you probably have a scar from getting a smallpox vaccine, which prevented smallpox and was responsible for us being able to eradicate smallpox, but it also prevented cases of monkeypox.

Now we have a large population that hasn’t gotten the smallpox vaccine because the virus was eradicated and because there are risks that come with smallpox vaccination. So, people are becoming susceptible or are susceptible to these other pox viruses, including monkeypox.

How is it transmitted?

Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox has been relatively uncommon. When it does occur, however, Monkeypox is typically transmitted through close contact, either through large droplets or through direct contact with another person. Basically, you need to have contact with their saliva or pus from lesions.

One of the unique features of this particular outbreak is that it does appear that, at least in some people, it is probably being transmitted through sexual contact. There’s a lot of work going on right now to figure out how it’s being transmitted and what specific groups of people are at risk and who may have already been exposed to the virus.

Do you think we’ll see a wide spread of this virus?

Because it doesn’t transmit that easily, because we have a vaccine that works for it, and because it’s relatively easy to recognize cases due to the characteristic skin lesions, it should be a lot easier to control it.

That’s one of the things that you look at for diseases in general, like when we think about diseases and you think about whether you can eradicate or eliminate. Eradicate is getting rid of it completely. Smallpox is an example of something that we’ve eradicated; there haven’t been any human cases since the 1970s. Eliminate is if you get rid of it in an area or region of the world but it may still be around in other areas of the world.

Smallpox was a huge success, and there are many different reasons why we were able to eradicate it. Smallpox is incredibly transmissible but people are not typically contagious until they have symptoms. It’s not like SARS-CoV-2 where you are highly infectious before you get symptoms or if you never develop symptoms. And it is very easy to identify smallpox, unlike respiratory illnesses like SARS-CoV-2. And there was a very good vaccine.

These things together, made it possible to control smallpox, eventually leading to its eradication. Since monkeypox also has these same features and is less transmissible between people, we should be able to control it as well.