DBusiness Daily Update: Finland’s KONE Acquires Detroit Elevator Co. in Ferndale, Rochester Hills Leather Supplier Changes Name to Pangea, 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.
COVID-19 update chart
Courtesy of Bridge.

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.

Finland’s KONE Acquires Detroit Elevator Co. in Ferndale

Detroit Elevator Co. in Ferndale has been acquired by KONE, a leading global elevator and escalator company based in Finland. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition includes Detroit Elevator’s service and repair business and operations in metro Detroit.

“KONE welcomes the Detroit Elevator employees and looks forward to continuing to deliver outstanding service for our customers,” says Ken Schmid, executive vice president for KONE Americas. “The acquisition of Detroit Elevator both strengthens our market position and increases our ability to offer innovative smart building solutions and industry expertise to an even larger customer base.”

Rochester Hills Leather Supplier Changes Name to Pangea

GST Seton AutoLeather, a global supplier of automotive leather components in Rochester Hills, announced today that it has renamed the company Pangea and established a new brand identity, reflecting its commitment to be the world’s most trusted automotive leather company.

“Our goal in the reinvention of our company was to select a name that embodies connectedness,” says Randy Johnson, president and CEO of Pangea. “The literal translation of Pangea is that we are all connected — reinforcing our philosophy that our name and product connects to the earth and to our global team of artisans who make it.

“Our strategy is to continue building on that theme as we partner with our customers and suppliers to drive the future of mobility interiors — creating immersive surface materials that are innovative and sustainable, while still retaining the inherent beauty and genuineness of leather.”

In addition to the name change, the company also has created a new logo and brand identity, showcased throughout all of its communications channels.

“The new brand identity is modern and reflects the true ethos of Pangea,” says Johnson. “The craftsmanship behind making beautiful leather products continues to evolve and so has our organization. But while the look of our company has changed, our commitment to helping our customers create luxurious interior solutions that truly define their vehicle brands remains.”

Pangea supports the world’s leading original equipment vehicle manufacturers with automotive leather interior components for seats, interior trim, and accessories. The company recently relocated its global headquarters and corporate development center to Rochester Hills. It’s 62,000-square-foot facility houses 85 employees that support product design, engineering, and virtual prototyping. The company plans to complete its build-out of the facility later this year.

Wayne State to Anchor Detroit’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in Corktown

Wayne State University in Detroit will be working with the city of Detroit to provide economic development initiatives to the greater Corktown neighborhood as the city deploys the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deployment.

“Wayne State University is pleased to serve as an anchor institution for the city’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the transformation of Clement Kern Gardens and the Greater Corktown Neighborhood,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “Wayne State has been a critical partner in the planning process and is excited to continue working with the city during implementation of the grant by providing evaluation services and committing $3.7 million of leverage to support neighborhood residents.”

The city engaged the community around creating a framework for the grant beginning in March 2019. At that time, Wayne State’s Center for Urban Studies was selected through a competitive process to serve as the resident needs and evaluation partner. The center’s staff designed and implemented an in-depth needs assessment and then worked with the city to use the survey’s results to design strategies that would meet residents’ existing needs. The team also worked closely with the city to identify baseline metrics and goals for the implementation period and created an evaluation plan to track progress toward those outcomes.

“The HUD grant will be transformational for the Clement Kern Gardens and Greater Corktown region,” says Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management at Wayne State. “Wayne State is an anchor institution in Detroit and is committed to serving our community. We look forward to working closely with the city of Detroit over the life of the grant period on fulfilling the vision of greater Corktown as an inclusive, mixed-income community that meets the needs of all residents.”

The center will support the city throughout the initiative by collecting data and assessing progress toward key metrics based on the evaluation plan. Wayne State has also committed to providing comprehensive support services to current residents of Clement Kern Gardens. Where capacity allows and as programs are available, opportunities will also be extended to all residents living in the Detroit Choice Neighborhood.

Services include free tuition for all Clement Kern Gardens youth who qualify for admission to Wayne State University through the Heart of Detroit Scholarship program; summer enrichment program scholarships; access to live performances on campus; and on-site programming in spaces created through the Choice Neighborhoods transformation plan, including financial aid nights, after-school tutoring, and financial literacy education.

Residents of Clement Kern Gardens also will receive access to the Wayne State Food Pantry and Warrior Wardrobe.

For more information, visit here.

Automotive Hall of Fame Joins DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower Program

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn has become the first museum to enroll in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program.

By doing so, the AHF will attribute 100 percent of its energy use to Michigan wind and solar projects. Additionally, the museum has enrolled in Charging Forward, DTE’s electric vehicle charging incentive program and now has two charging stations in the parking lot available for visitors with EVs.

DTE also performed an energy audit at the museum and as a result is working with the museum to achieve cost savings by installing energy-efficient lighting and implementing other measures to reduce energy.

“While the Automotive Hall of Fame celebrates our industry’s past, we also showcase its future,” says Ramzi Hermiz, chairman of the Automotive Hall of Fame Board of Directors. “Embracing clean energy and doing our part to reduce emissions goes hand in hand with the evolution we are seeing in the automotive and mobility markets. We appreciate the support and guidance we’ve received from DTE Energy toward becoming a carbon-neutral institution.”

Among the top three voluntary renewable energy programs in the country, DTE’s MIGreenPower program provides customers with a flexible and affordable way to reduce their carbon footprint and support more local renewable energy development.

Since the program’s inception, MIGreenPower subscribers have supported 1.8 million megawatt hours of clean energy, avoiding more than 1.4 million tons of CO2 or the greenhouse gas emissions from 277,400 passenger cars driven for a year.

“The Automotive Hall of Fame is an important cultural institution in the metro Detroit area,” says Brian Calka, director of DTE’s Renewable Solutions team. “We are excited to welcome them to our growing list of MIGreenPower subscribers, which now includes several automotive manufacturers and suppliers.”

New Altes Detroit Lager Continues its Return at Meijer Stores

Altes Original Detroit Lager, a craft brewed Bavarian-style beer re-crafted and re-introduced two years ago by Detroit National Brewing Co., is now available at most Meijer stores throughout Michigan.

Altes is independently owned, craft brewed in Michigan, and features barley malt and Nobel hops imported from Germany.

“Craft beer drinkers like supporting a quality product that is locally produced and owned,” says Eric Stief, partner at Altes. “Altes was Michigan’s best selling beer for decades but waned in the ‘90s. We re-tooled the recipe and turned it into a great tasting Bavarian-style craft lager and the public’s reaction has been very positive.

“Many of our customers 40 and up love to drink it for nostalgia reasons and younger beer enthusiasts enjoy it because it’s very drinkable, with less hop bite than an IPA, and has a smooth and crisp finish. Both demographics also want to support Michigan craft brands and this is a great way to do that.”

In 1910, the Tivoli Brewing Co. started brewing Altes Beer — a true Bavarian-style beer — in Detroit for European immigrants who worked in Detroit’s booming auto industry. By the mid 1940s Altes was Michigan top-selling beer and stayed a Michigan favorite for decades, sponsoring the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions.

But as the big brewers became national and eventually global companies, they lost interest in local brands. As a result all brewing in Detroit stopped, and the Altes brand was eventually retired. Ten years ago, three friends, Eric Stief, Carl Erickson, and Pat Kruse, who all grew up in the Detroit area and loved Altes, discussed creating a new craft beer that would capture the Bavarian style of brewing and honor Altes’ important place in Michigan beer history.

After some research, Stief discovered that the Altes trademark was available and acquired it. The trio decided to revive the Altes name by developing a craft lager recipe that would pay tribute to Altes’ history as a great Michigan brand, but as a premium craft Lager, that could also compete with today’s burgeoning craft beer market, which includes more than 7,500 brewers nationwide. As a result, Altes is back and is being sold in more than 1,500 stores, restaurants, bars, and other locations all over Michigan.

“We are working on placing Altes for sale at other big box stores, as well, and hope to know more sometime later this year,” says Stief. “Being craft brewed with local and independent ownership means our lager is not mass produced by a multi-national conglomerate, like so many American and Canadian lager and pilsners, even those that often claim roots in local Michigan communities. We are truly committed to maintaining Altes as a Michigan brand. That is one of our strong selling points.”

For more information, visit here.

Ann Arbor’s APITech Launches New Cryo Attenuators for Quantum Computers

API Technologies Corp. in Ann Arbor has launched its new line of cryo attenuators, optimized for cryogenic refrigeration systems used in quantum computing installations.

APITech’s proprietary thin film cryo attenuators are available in frequency ranges from DC to 40 GHz, and with 2.92mm, SMA, and SMPM connectors.

“Our new cryo attenuators have been tested to four milliKelvin,” says Norm Hansen, product line director at APITech. “Using our in-house resistor fabrication process, we are able to optimize the resistor material and substrate, as well as the mechanical design needed to deliver a thermally quiet attenuator solution that works at cryo temperatures.”

Available now, APITech’s cryo attenuators will also be showcased at the upcoming IMS 2021 in Atlanta.

For more information, visit here.

Rocket Mortgage Adds Lexi Thompson to Pro Golfer Roster

Rocket Mortgage in Detroit announced a partnership with LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson, adding to the company’s roster of brand ambassadors on the PGA Tour, Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.

As part of the sponsorship, Thompson will display the lender’s logo on her left sleeve during tour play, as well as represent the company.

“Lexi has been dominant on the women’s tour ever since she qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Open at only 12 years old — and has grown her legend as one of the most elite golfers in the world ever since,” says Casey Hurbis, chief marketing officer of Rock Central, the marketing arm of Rocket Mortgage. “It is an honor to have Lexi on the Rocket Mortgage team and use our partnership to demonstrate the value that women bring to both the game of golf, our company, and the mortgage industry.

“She is a great representation of true professionalism and a role model for girls across the country who can draw inspiration from Lexi’s dedication and drive — from a young golfer winning events to now one of the most dominant players on the tour.”

Thompson has 11 tour wins in 11 years, including her first major win at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and an additional three worldwide wins. Thompson also is planning to represent the United States in Tokyo, Japan at the 2021 Summer Olympics.

“Joining the Rocket Mortgage team is a great honor, and I can’t wait to get to work on shining a spotlight on our shared passions of innovation, breaking records, and creating positive change in our local communities,” says Thompson. “Rocket Mortgage is obviously a leader in helping people achieve the American dream, but I’m even more impressed with how they’ve used their position in golf to have a real and lasting impact on the city of Detroit through their Changing the Course initiative. It’s an honor to represent a company so passionate about its clients and community.”

CareBuilders at Home Launches Wellness Program for Seniors

Detroit-based CareBuilders at Home, a private duty home care agency providing non-medical comprehensive home health care solutions, announced the launch of its subscription-based Wellness Program for senior citizens.

Designed to take a more proactive approach to client care through the use of a voice-activated, cutting-edge technology, the program can turn a clients TV into an on-demand video call with family, friends, and their care team at CareBuilders at Home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the way we engage with the world and seniors have become even more isolated than ever before. To help seniors avoid loneliness and the medical pitfalls that can accompany it, CareBuilders at Home’s Wellness Program offers task orientated solutions that address the most common needs for someone considering home care services including: personal care visits, housekeeping visits, and transportation services that include attending physician appointments, running errands, or shopping.

The foundation of the Wellness Program is the daily “Check-in and Chat” calls. These calls provide a window into the daily lives of clients and allow the company to monitor for changes in condition, patterns, or behavior that could impact the client’s overall health and wellbeing, notify appropriate parties, and coordinate additional services if needed.

For more information, visit here.

Grand Haven’s First Cannabis Provisioning Center Opens

A new medical cannabis provisioning center is open in Grand Haven (west of Grand Rapids), New Standard Grand Haven, making it the fifth New Standard cannabis provisioning center in Michigan.

Located on the shopping strip of Beacon Boulevard (US 31) New Standard Grand Haven is the first medical marijuana provisionary in the city of Grand Haven.

“We expect that people in Grand Haven will be pleasantly surprised at how New Standard will fit in and become part of the community,” says Howard Luckoff, co-founder and CEO of New Standard. “Our team brings cannabis and community together to create a thoughtful, curated, and comfortable environment where the cannabis connoisseur, the cannabis curious, and everyone in between is able to come into our store or shop our website and feel like we’re here for them.

“Early on we were featured nationally as setting that new standard for cannabis culture in Michigan and we continue to make that our goal.”

The retailer opened its first provisioning center in Hazel Park in April of 2020.

“New Standard has had an incredible year of expanding our retail operations across the state of Michgan,” says Luckoff. “We are thrilled to be opening our fifth location in Grand Haven and look forward to meeting our new neighbors. As a part of our commitment to being a positive impact on each community we do business in, New Standard creates nonprofit give-back initiatives each quarter to allow us to give a portion of our proceeds to different projects in need. If you have a nonprofit that would like to partner with us in the future, please reach out to our team.”

First Players Commit to Play in The John Shippen Golf Invitational

The first round of players has committed to compete in The John Shippen National Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage, featuring the nation’s top amateur and professional Black golfers June 27-28 at Detroit Golf Club.

The tournament, designed to showcase Black collegiate and professional golfers, is named after John Shippen Jr. who was the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black golf professional.

The Women’s Division will feature a 36-hole competition with a two-player team format. The winning duo will earn an exemption into the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland (July 14–17), which also is played as a team event.

The Men’s Division will compete in a 36-hole individual stroke play event, with the winner receiving an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 1-4).

To ensure that any financial barriers are removed, The John Shippen will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players.

A one-hour TV special about THE JOHN SHIPPEN will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 4.

“Intersport is proud to announce that we have been attracting highly talented Black golfers from around the country to play in our inaugural event,” says Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “We believe that The John Shippen provides a platform on which these deserving players will compete, in order to impact the unbalance of access, opportunities and equity for Black golfers that has long-existed in the golf industry.”

Among the players committed to play in the inaugural tournament are:

  • Amari Avery (age 16), 2021 U.S. Open qualifier.
  • Zoe Slaughter (19), 2021 AAC All-Conference Team
  • Sebastian Crampton (24), three-time All-PAC 12.
  • Kamaiu Johnson (27), two-time APGA Tour winner

Intersport collaborated with Woods and Watts Effect to design The John Shippen as a vehicle to fundamentally increase diversity in golf and to create opportunities for young men and women of color in sports on a national scale.

“We are excited for the women and men who have been invited and have accepted our invitation, to participate in the inaugural The John Shippen National Golf Invitational,” says Sommer Woods, co-founder of Woods and Watts Effect, tournament lead for The John Shippen and volunteer vice chair of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Our hope is that The John Shippen provides them with an opportunity to advance their golf careers in a way that has previously not existed for them.”

Major Events Returning to Kalamazoo this June

Kalamazoo is gearing up for an action-packed weekend, June 17-20, with cars, dogs, Juneteenth celebrations, and of course, Father’s Day.

The first Micro/Mini World Meet in 11 years will take place at the Gilmore Car Museum on Saturday, June 19, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Two trophies will be awarded at June’s World Meet: A People’s Choice Award, which will be determined by the general public, and an Exhibitor’s Choice Award, which will be decided by the exhibitors.

In addition, a panel of kids (age 6–14) will participate in the Hagerty Youth Judging program and evaluate a handful of cars in five “best of” categories: electrical, interior, design, paint, and engine compartment. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three cars selected.

A preview event featuring some of the micro/mini cars along with live music and activities will take place the day before, starting at 5 p.m. on Bate’s Alley in Downtown Kalamazoo. All are invited to attend the free preview event.

The United Kennel Club Premier Nationals will be run June 17-20 at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. The 2019 and 2020 Top Ten and All Stars qualifiers will be invited to compete for top honors on Thursday, June 17. UKC-licensed Conformation (regular and altered), Obedience, Rally Obedience, Dock Jumping, Agility, Weight Pull, Precision Coursing, Drag Racing, Nosework, and Lure Coursing events will be offered on June 18, 19, and 20. The Total Dog competition will take place on Saturday, June 19, and a special Best of the Best competition on Sunday, June 20.

Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, and many Kalamazoo organizations are planning celebrations. Soul Artistry is hosting a virtual Celebration of Freedom Event that will feature all youth participants in a family-friendly event. Riddle Promotions is hosting a new event, the Juneteenth Basketball Playoffs at Wings Event Center, which will include a Dunk Showcase and 3 Point Contest. Youth and adult teams are invited to participate and registration information to participate in that event can be found at riddlepromotions.com.

For more information, visit here.