DBusiness Daily Update: Friday’s Sunset at the Zoo Fundraiser Makes the ‘Mission Possible,’ 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.
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“Mission Possible” is the theme of Friday’s Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser for which tickets are still available. // Courtesy of The Detroit Zoo
“Mission Possible” is the theme of Friday’s Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser for which tickets are still available. // Courtesy of The Detroit Zoo

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.

Friday’s Sunset at the Zoo Fundraiser Makes the ‘Mission Possible’

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) will host its annual Sunset at the Zoo gala fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and tickets are still available.

With the theme of “Mission Possible,” this year’s event is designed to highlight how the support of donors makes the society’s mission of “Celebrating and Saving Wildlife and Wild Places” possible.

Presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions, Sunset at the Zoo will feature live entertainment from Bluewater Kings Band, a selection of zoo-inspired drinks, and food from a variety of metro Detroit restaurants and more than a dozen food trucks.

Guests are encouraged to dance the night away and will have the opportunity to bid on live and silent auction items, including a conservation trip to Peru with DZS staff, a chance to mingle with the macaroni penguins at the Detroit Zoo, and a ticket package to the PGA championship in Rochester, N.Y. Additional auction items include signed sports memorabilia, event tickets, and packages featuring local businesses.

Guests also will enjoy complimentary tram and carousel rides, storytelling by David Gakure, a Kenyan naturalist and DZS education specialist, animal feedings, and the opportunity to explore the zoo’s 125 acres until twilight.

“We are thrilled to announce that this year’s event will support high-impact projects that will not only benefit the animals who call the Zoo home, but also the community and the world at large,” says Hayley Murphy, CEO and executive director of the DZS.

Advance tickets for Sunset at the Zoo can be purchased online starting at $225 for supporters. Patrons and benefactors are invited to a special VIP reception before the gala opens. To purchase tickets, visit sunset.detroitzoo.org.

The Detroit Zoo will be closed Friday in preparation for Sunset at the Zoo.

Sunset at the Zoo also is supported by VIP sponsor DTE Foundation, along with Suburban Subaru of Troy, Grays Outdoor Services, IBEW Local 58, the Cotton Family, and Vivacqua Crane Intellectual Property Law.

U.S. Grain Shipments Up 39% Through Great Lakes Waterways

U.S. grain shipments via the Great Lakes-Seaway system totaled 312,000 metric tons from March 22 to May 31, up 39 percent compared to the same period in 2021.  Much of the increase is due to exports of corn and soybeans out of the Port of Toledo and some new trade starting at the Port of Oswego this shipping season.

The rise in shipments, which are predominantly heading to Europe and North Africa, are in part due to shifting global grain trading patterns as the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine — both major grain exporters — continues.

“The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system is proving its worth as a reliable trade gateway for the U.S. agricultural sector amidst continuing global transportation disruptions,” says Bruce Burrows, president and CEO, of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “U.S. ports and their grain company partners are continuing to up their transportation and trade game with new container capability and investments in shore-side grain storage and handling.”

In May, the Port of Monroe loaded its first bottom ash vessel of the season. The material was unloaded at the Lafarge cement plant in Alpena and is used to create more sustainable cement mixtures. The port also has received more than 91,000 short tons of steel products from Canada for regional automotive manufacturers.

Starting in late June and early July, the Port of Monroe will begin moving wind tower sections on U.S.-flagged vessels outbound in support of wind energy projects within the Great Lakes/Seaway region.

The Port of Toledo had a successful month of May with total tonnage for the season surpassing 3.2 million short tons.  Strong grain and iron ore shipments propelled tonnage to eclipse 2021 totals by nearly 18 percent.

“Agricultural products seem to be big movers so far this year,” says Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We are seeing robust corn, soybean, wheat, oats, DDGs, and fertilizer shipments moving through the port fairly early this year as global trade patterns continue to shift. With a good 2022 harvest, we can expect that these agricultural products will continue to be among the leading commodities for the Port of Toledo throughout the year.”

Overall, activity through the St. Lawrence Seaway improved in May after a slower start due to ice conditions in Lake Superior. Total cargo tonnage shipments (from March 22 to May 31) via the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 7.6 million metric tons, down 10.8 percent compared to 2021 but gaining ground in comparison to April. Other system-wide highlights include an increase in shipments of project cargo such as wind turbines, road salt to replenish winter reserves, and coke exports to Europe for cement production.

Automate 2022 Sets Record Attendance and Exhibitor Count Ever

The Automate 2022 Show and Conference had the most successful event in its history, setting new records for registrants, exhibit booths, and online engagement during its four-day run June 6-9 in Detroit, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

“Automate 2022 exceeded our most optimistic expectations,” says Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “The excitement in the hall was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. People loved being back in person and seeing all of the latest advances in robotics, machine vision, AI, motion control, and more. This was the largest and best attended trade show we’ve ever had.”

Automate, North America’s largest robotics and automation trade show, featured more than 24,000 registrants, 600 exhibitor booths, over 250,000 square feet of exhibit space, and 2 million virtual views of its digital content.

Exhibitors showcased the latest innovations in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine vision, motion control, and smart automation. Nearly 200 speakers from many of the biggest names in the industry offered insights on the trends and best practices behind the emerging technology in keynotes and conference sessions.

Burstein says he expects next year’s event to be even bigger with nearly three-quarters of an expanded show floor already booked for Huntington Place on May 22-25, 2023.

Automate 2022 highlights:

  • Visual inspection software company Covision Quality won $10,000 startup prize.
  • Engelberger Foundation awarded Labrador Systems a $25,000 grant for its pioneering work on a new generation of human assistive robots.
  • The foundation also presented awards to Michael P. Jacobs of Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) for leadership in automation; Oussama Khatib of Stanford University for education; and Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics for technology.
  • Keynotes speakers included “SharkTank’s” Daymond John, General Motors Co’s Douglas Stanguini, and Rachelle Focardi, who talked about the future of work in the multigenerational post-COVID workplace.

Summer Detroit Historical Museum Offering Free Day June 25

The Detroit Historical Museum is offering a day of free admission this Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The museum brings Detroit’s history to life in “fun, innovative, and interactive ways,” starting on the ground floor taking a stroll through the streets of old Detroit. Shops like Stroh’s and Kresge show what life was like more than 100 years ago. There’s also a large model train display.

The lower level also houses a temporary exhibit space, where currently guests can experience “Boom Town Detroit life in the 1920s.” The main level of the museum takes guests on specific journeys to Detroit’s past: the “Frontier,” “Underground Railroad,” “Arsenal of Democracy,” and the civil unrest of the 1960s. There also are displays and interactive exhibits featuring the things (cars) and people (Temptations), for which Detroit is most known.

The Gallery of Innovation explores scientists and engineers who shaped the world. The Electronic Music Festival tribute features displays and music for a family dance party in the community gallery.

Free Family Fun Day at the Detroit Historical Museum is sponsored by the Michigan House of Representatives Detroit Caucus. The day includes free raffles and light refreshments. No pre-registration is necessary.

Grand Valley Engineering Students Can Earn Master’s Degree at Ferris State

The Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) in Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State University in nearby Allendale have signed an articulation agreement that establishes a pathway to degree completion for GVSU interdisciplinary engineering students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from KCAD.

The articulated curriculum will allow students to develop knowledge in the disciplines of architecture and engineering, which is essential for effective collaboration and success in the built environment industry. The agreement also provides students with an accelerated timeline to degree completion and reduced costs.

Beginning in the fall semester, students who participate in the articulated curriculum will be able to complete KCAD Master of Architecture requirements as electives to fulfill their undergraduate degree requirements at GVSU, allowing them to complete both degrees in six years rather than the typical seven-year timeline.

“By collaborating with KCAD, this agreement will provide uniquely effective preparation,” says Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at GVSU. “This collaboration by two regional institutions is a great example of working together to answer the interests of our students and employers in a high-demand field.”

Students who pursue this curriculum will have the opportunity to develop a thesis within the architecture program that has an engineering component, supported by engagement with a GVSU engineering faculty advisor.

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