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.
Ford Reimagines ‘Splash’ Package for Ranger Pickup
Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn is reimagining its popular “Splash” appearance package from the 1990s for the 2022 Ford Ranger pickup.
“Ranger customers love to personalize their trucks — more than 80 percent customize their Ranger with an appearance package — and with Splash, we’re giving them something exclusive,” says Chad Callandar, marketing manager for Ranger. “Every few months, we’re going to roll out another exterior color for Ranger that will be offered one time only and in very limited quantities.”
Splash will come in two styles, the Splash Package and Splash Limited Edition. The Splash Package will be available all model year and comes with body-side orange and black graphics and special 18-inch 12-spoke wheels finished in matte black. Ranger Splash includes orange grille nostrils, plus gloss black accents on the grille, bumpers, rearview mirror caps, wheel lip moldings, and fender vents.
The interior features exclusive seats with orange contrast stitching and carbon grain with tuxedo stripes — leather-trimmed in Lariat. Orange contrast stitching also appears on the steering wheel, gear shifter, and parking brake boot. Lariat models get orange accent stitching on front and rear armrests and on the dash top.
The Splash Package can be combined with the FX2 or FX4 Package to add more off-road capability to its distinctive looks.
Ford will reveal Splash Limited Edition trucks every few months in a series of one-time-only hues with just a few hundred vehicles available. It also features 18-inch matte black wheels and a unique combination of exterior and interior content and finishes. The Splash — Snow Edition kicks off the first batch.
Ranger Splash Package will be available for SuperCrew models optioned in XLT and Lariat trim series, priced at $1,495 with deliveries starting at the end of the year. Ranger is built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.
Texas Car Wash Company Opens Lansing Location, Will Expand in Michigan
Texas-based WhiteWater Express Car Wash opened a location in Lansing in early August and says it has plans to open or acquire four more in Michigan in 2021 through its development partnership with HyperShine Car Wash of Kentucky.
“Our recent acquisitions and grand openings are a great representation of the WhiteWater growth strategy,” says Henry Shine, chief financial officer and head of development of WhiteWater. “…Our grand opening in Lansing is another example of executing our greenfield strategy to help us grow in new markets. We are extremely excited to continue this growth through 2021 and beyond.”
WhiteWater is an express car wash platform headquartered in Houston. It will be onboarding all employees of its acquired companies and continue to offer its unlimited membership program, towel exchange program, vacuums, mat cleaners, and air guns at all locations.
Buddy’s Pizza Offers Hiring Incentives on National Cheese Pizza Day Sept. 5
Sunday is National Cheese Pizza Day and anyone who applies to work at Buddy’s Pizza that day will receive a free cheese pizza and receive a $500 sign-on bonus when hired.
The company says it offers a fun a flexible work environment and benefits. Interested candidates can apply here.
Eastern Michigan Unveils Autonomous Shuttles, American Center for Mobility Lab
The Eastern Michigan University GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology in Ypsilanti has announced plans to deploy autonomous shuttles later this year and to open a new research and development space at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township.
The university will be using two Ollis, an advanced car shuttle manufactured by Local Motors in Tennessee.
EMU’s vehicle laboratory at ACM will support ongoing research in the area of autonomous vehicle cybersecurity. EMU began moving into the space at the start of the fall 2021 semester.
In addition to growing its autonomous and connected vehicles work, the partnership supports a new incoming senior research engineer position and will help to secure grants and other projects with industry leaders like Perrone Robotics and others.
“These projects represent a dynamic step forward for the university,” says James Smith, president of EMU. “Having our students engaged and active in the world of autonomous vehicles, and the research that takes place on our campus and at the American Center for Mobility, will give them a distinct advantage as they pursue their future careers.”
Mohamad Qatu, dean of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology at EMU, says, “In order to remain a top tier engineering and technology college, commitments like these are necessary. Not only will the Ollis enable our students to receive hands-on experience working with autonomous vehicles, but they will also provide transportation for the greater campus community. The space at ACM offers a world class facility that will bring us closer to companies working on autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. This agreement will help to further establish EMU as a major educational institution on autonomous and connected vehicles.”
One of the shuttles that will be transporting students and faculty later this year will be on display tonight outside Rynearson Stadium for EMU’s first football game of the season.
Michigan Science Center Reopens with New Interactive MathAlive! Exhibit
The Michigan Science Center (MiSci) in Detroit will partially reopen Sept. 18 with a reboot of its all-new MathAlive! exhibit, an 8,000-square-foot, year-long experience that connects math to daily life and potential careers.
The reopening coincides with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Day, which offers free admission to Smithsonian-affiliated museums, like MiSci, around the country. MiSci also is offering reduced rates for all guests through September.
The MathAlive! installation is designed for families and students and brings to life the real math behind what kids love most — video games, sports, fashion, music, and robotics — to create interactive, immersive learning experiences. The program is made possible by Ford Motor Co. Fund, Axalta, and the Zatkoff Family Legacy Fund.
Due to the impacts of heavy rainstorms on the lower levels of MiSci’s facility this summer, the organization has been ensuring that all safety protocols are met before partially reopening its doors to the public.
“With many of the repairs and improvements in place, we are excited to welcome our audiences and communities back to the science center,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of MiSci. “We’ve truly appreciated the support we received from our community and sponsors during this time and I’m particularly proud of our team’s resiliency and perseverance in handling the unexpected and challenging circumstances the storms presented to our facility.”
MathAlive! is designed for students in grades 3-8 and provides interactive experiences like programming a Mars Rover, riding a snowboard, configuring a skateboard, engineering a model city, creating a sustainable skyscraper, and striking a pose in a 360-degree freeze-motion photo shoot. “Extreme Weather Alert” lets visitors analyze weather data and record their own weather telecast, which they can send to themselves. “Cyber Security” allows kids to step inside an online computer game where they are challenged to defend against invaders—like computer bugs and viruses — using computer passcodes, multi-factor authentication, and simple code sequences.
Each area is accompanied by stories and features from professionals and visionaries, highlighting how they apply math in their respective fields every day.
MathAlive!, which premiered at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., is a touring national program developed in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NASA, the National Society of Professional Engineers, MATHCOUNTS, the Society of Women Engineers, and MathMovesU.
MathAlive! is included in MiSci’s general admission price. Reserve tickets are available here. Located at 5020 John R. St. in midtown Detroit, the museum is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
SpartanNash, Customers Raise $350K During Companywide Milk Drive
Grand Rapids-based grocery retailer and distributor SpartanNash raised $350,000 during its recent milk drive, which includes an additional $20,000 donation from United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
From Aug. 15-29, SpartanNash partnered with the UDIM and store customers to raise the funds — equivalent to 127,465 gallons of milk — which will be donated to local food banks and pantries to support families in need.
“The majority of food banks report that they don’t have enough milk available for their clients, and SpartanNash is honored to have played a role in making nutrition more accessible to local families,” says Tony Sarsam, president and CEO of SpartanNash. “One hundred percent of the funds raised from this campaign will be used to purchase milk at cost for these food banks and pantries throughout the entire year.”
The milk supplied during and after the SpartanNash campaign comes from nearly 1,200 dairy farms throughout the region, 97 percent of which are family-owned.
“We are thrilled with the success of this SpartanNash milk drive,” says Sharon Toth, CEO of UDIM. “SpartanNash Associates and shoppers stepped up to assist local families in need, raising funds to supply over 2 million glasses of protein-rich, bone-building milk for their meals. The Michigan dairy farmers are proud they get to see their product nourishing the communities they serve.”
More than 145 SpartanNash-owned grocery stores participated in the milk drive.
Lake Trust Foundation Donates $40K to Michigan Housing Nonprofits
The Lake Trust Foundation, an independent entity of Lake Trust Credit Union in Brighton, awarded $40,000 in donations to four Michigan housing nonprofit organizations through the second annual Mortgage Giveback Program.
The organizations receiving donations were:
- Holland Rescue Mission in Holland.
- Lighthouse MI in Pontiac.
- Shelterhouse in Midland.
- SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti.
“Nonprofit organizations providing housing assistance throughout Michigan have seen a significant increase in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says David Snodgrass, CEO of Lake Trust and president of the Lake Trust Foundation. “As an organization committed to being an engine of financial wellbeing for our members and the communities we serve, Lake Trust will continue to support the advancement of Michigan communities, particularly as we work to overcome the immense challenges so many faced in the past year, together.”
As part of its effort to provide economic relief to businesses and community organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake Trust donated $100 for every completed home refinance to the mortgage program. As a result, a total of $40,000 was accumulated and distributed.
Since launching the program in 2019, Lake Trust members have made it possible to donate $95,232 to Michigan nonprofits supporting housing needs across the state. Funds have helped provide food, shelter, clothing, and rental assistance for individuals and families in need.
For more information on the mortgage giveback program and how you can participate, visit the Lake Trust home loan giveback page.
Allegra Plymouth Ranked Among Top Printers in North America
Allegra Marketing Print Mail in Plymouth Township recently ranked No. 10 in the Top 100 Quick and Small Commercial Printers list compiled by Printing News in its annual survey.
Printing News ranked companies based on maintaining high operational standards and sales volumes throughout the last year. Allegra, owned by Brian Tyll, appears on the list for the second consecutive year, moving up from No. 12 in 2020.
“While our print division continues to grow, our marketing service group (CORE Communications) is what has been driving our continued expansion, especially through the recent pandemic,” says Tyll. “Our team remains committed to helping our customers thrive and reopen during these unprecedented times, and we look forward to continuing to build upon our services while delivering the same high-quality experience our clients have come to expect from us.”
Allegra, located at 47583 Galleon Drive, is a full-service marketing and print communications provider with in-house capabilities that include marketing consultation, strategic planning, copywriting, graphic design, art services, and complete program implementation. Advanced printing technologies include full-color printing, digital color signs, posters, banners, complete finishing services, mailing services, variable data capabilities, promotional products, and print management solutions. Allegra also can help businesses with online storefronts, search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaigns, web-to-print solutions, warehousing, and distribution.
For more information, visit here.