DBusiness Daily Update: Front Runner Films Expands Operations to Michigan, 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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Idaho-based video production agency Front Runner Films has expanded its operations to Ypsilanti. // Courtesy of Front Runner Films
Idaho-based video production agency Front Runner Films has expanded its operations to Ypsilanti. // Courtesy of Front Runner Films

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.

Front Runner Films Expands Operations to Michigan, Helps with Gervin Documentary

Boise, Idaho-based video production agency Front Runner Films has expanded its operations to Ypsilanti giving it three hubs including its hometown and Los Angeles.

Founded by L.A. native Tyler Nimmons and kickstarted by CapStone Holdings Inc. in 2016, Front Runner began working out of L.A. and Boise, specializing in corporate video storytelling. The agency has produced projects for companies and organizations globally and offers a full suite of video services.

In recent years, Front Runner has done projects further east of Boise, particularly in Michigan, with more than 20 total projects in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area. Some clients include Center Rock Capital Partners, MNP Corp., Pro-Tech Group, and The United Green. Front Runner also has also built a portfolio in higher education through its work with the Eastern Michigan University alumni-led group GameAbove and the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology.

“Stories aren’t bound by place,” Nimmons says. “Stories move, grow, and change. Our story is no different. We have roots on the West Coast. Now we’re bringing our vision and production style to Michigan.

“We have ongoing commitments with several clients in the region and more projects developing regularly. It was important for us to find ways to improve our project delivery across the country while reducing costs for our clients.”

The agency recently announced its collaboration with Mandalay Sports Media, the production company behind ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” on a documentary depicting the life and success of one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time and Hall of Famer, George “Iceman” Gervin. “Detroit is a huge part of George’s childhood. When it was time for production to head there, our team was able to support Mandalay on the ground.”

For more information, visit here.

Eaton’s Vehicle Group Introduces New ePowertrain Business Unit

The Vehicle Group of power management company Eaton, based in Galesburg, east of Kalamazoo, today announced has formed a new ePowertrain business unit that will focus on products from Eaton’s electrified vehicle (EV) transmission, reduction gearing, and differential portfolios.

Combining the product lines into a new ePowertrain business unit creates synergy among Eaton’s powertrain and EV experts and allows the Vehicle Group to offer its global customers solutions for commercial and light-duty EVs, the company says.

“Automakers face many challenges when developing an EV powertrain, such as optimizing efficiency, weight, and noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), and dealing with packaging constraints,” says Anthony Cronin, product director for EV gearing and differentials at the Eaton Vehicle Group. “Eaton can help manufacturers overcome these challenges by utilizing our many years of experience and in-house capabilities in design, validation and manufacturing of high-precision, high-quality gearing, transmissions and differential solutions.”

Eaton’s portfolio of multispeed transmissions includes 2-, 4-, and 6-speed electrified commercial vehicle transmissions are based on proven layshaft architecture typical of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and shifting is synchronized without a clutch using a traction motor.

Leveraging its expertise in producing transmissions and contract-manufactured gear-sets for passenger and commercial vehicles, Eaton’s Vehicle Group is a leader in the global design, development, and supply of EV reduction gearing.

Eaton’s Vehicle Group offers a wide range of specialized differentials for EVs with performance comparable to differentials designed for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. As the passenger vehicle market increasingly transitions to EVs, Eaton says it has the capability to provide the solutions manufacturers need.

“Our new ePowertrain business unit can provide our customers with an optimized, integrated EV powertrain, which will help simplify their engineering development process,” Cronin says. “We will work with our global customers to determine the ideal combination of transmission, gearing and torque solutions that best meet their EV needs.”

For more information, visit here.

Comcast Expands Network Coverage to Armada Township

Comcast completed a 114-mile infrastructure build to bring fast, reliable internet service to Armada Township, northeast of Romeo. The company will provide up to 1.2 gigabits-per-second (gbps) internet to more than 1,100 total households.

This infrastructure build is part of the state of Michigan’s Connecting Michigan Communities (CMIC) Grant Program intended to bring high-speed broadband service to unserved areas across the state.

Residential customers in this area will be able to take advantage of Xfinity’s full suite of internet products. These include Internet Essentials, which brings broadband into the home for low-income families for $9.95 per month plus tax; speeds up to 1.2 gbps; advanced WiFi technology capable of delivering speeds faster than a gig to support the ever-increasing number of connected devices in their homes; xFi, a digital dashboard to control their home WiFi network that includes Advanced Security protecting every device on the network from malware and security threats; and Flex, a free 4K platform for internet-only customers that seamlessly delivers their streaming content.

The expanded network also will reach businesses in Armada Township. Comcast Business offers a suite of connectivity, communications, networking, cybersecurity, wireless, and managed solutions to help organizations of different sizes prepare for what’s next.

Comcast’s Xfinity Gigabit Internet service is delivered using the company’s existing network architecture and the connections that are already in most customers’ homes. In the last three years, Comcast has invested more than $850 million in technology and infrastructure in Michigan, including upgrades to its broadband network.

Sparrow Clinton Hospital in St. John’s Launches New Wound Care Program

Sparrow Clinton Hospital in St. John’s, north of Lansing, has launched its new wound care program, an outpatient setting that offers a comprehensive approach for patients who need wound care.

The Sparrow Clinton Wound Clinic team includes nurses and technicians with advanced training in wound care.

“Between five and seven million Americans annually experience at least one form wound that requires advanced care, and the incidence of these wounds is increasing by approximately 10 percent each year,” says Dr. Mark Weismiller, medical director for the Sparrow Clinton Wound Clinic.  “Many of these individuals suffer from wounds that refuse to heal despite conventional treatment. These wounds seldom involve a simple answer.”

Patients are examined by clinical staff and each patient is evaluated for all possible related conditions, such as diabetes, that could interfere with proper healing. The care team follows evidence-based clinical pathways to determine why wounds are not healing, then develops individual treatment plans based on the most effective technologies available to provide maximum healing and relief.

For more information about wound care or to schedule an appointment, call 989-227-3345.

Winter Blast Royal Oak Draws 80K People, Raises $36K+ for Community Causes

Winter Blast Royal Oak presented by the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, which took place Feb. 18-20, in downtown Royal Oak attracted approximately 80,000 people and raised more than $36,000 for community causes.

“We are pleased to see Royal Oak carry on metro Detroit’s annual winter tradition with excellence,” says Jon Witz, festival producer. “Royal Oak citizens and visitors from all over metro Detroit responded well to the festival and played a huge part in supporting our community causes, which is reflected in our numbers.”

Winter Blast Royal Oak included winter-themed experiences, family activities, live entertainment and more.

Royal Oak debuted a new outdoor ice rink sponsored by M3 Investments, which was built from the ground up specifically for the festival in the western parking lot of the Royal Oak Farmers Market. Thanks to Oakland County, more than 3,500 festivalgoers laced up and enjoyed the popular winter pastime for free.

The M3 Rink can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike through March 13. Hours of operation are 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under, seniors 59 and older and military/first responders. Skate rental is $5. More information can be found online.

For the first time since 2016, Winter Blast featured a snow slide, thanks in part to Mother Nature and snow cannons. The 15-feet high and 200-feet long ROMI Snow Slide proved to be a crowd favorite, with 4,500 participants enjoying the exhilarating fun down the snowy hill.

The Giant Slide, presented by Soaring Eagle Waterpark & Hotel, also returned to the festival. Approximately 5,000 people went down the pitch-black tubes at a 40-degree or 30-degree angle, depending upon the preference of the participant.

Thanks to eventgoers, who braved jumping into a pool of freezing cold water as fundraising participants of the Winter Blast Polar Plunge, the festival raised $22,900 for Special Olympics Michigan, a total that surpasses the previous Winter Blast record by nearly triple the dollar amount. The activity, sponsored by Howard & Howard, will help fund year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Howard & Howard, along with the Royal Oak Police Department, were the top two fundraising teams from the plunge.

More than 1,300 thrill seekers at the festival enjoyed a ride on the zip line, which took them soaring 34-feet high and 300-feet above the ground, courtesy of sponsor Baker College. A portion of the sales from this high-flying activity, totaling $3,000, will benefit United Way’s 2-1-1 program, a 24/7 crisis hotline that connects local families to resources of need.

Lastly, proceeds of $10,700 generated from beverage sales at Winter Blast Royal Oak will support local community organizations.

Neway Works Co-hosts Surviving Youth Financial Illiteracy Program

Neway Works, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is an advocate for improving the mental health and overall wellbeing of youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds, will co-host a financial literacy simulation at Mount Clemens High School, Feb. 24, that reflects “real world” life challenges that people face every day.

In partnership with Detroit based nonprofit Do It Big Institute, Surviving in the Real World (SITRW) is the First Mobile Micro-City that can be brought into schools and youth organizations.  It is a pop-up, scenario-based, financial literacy curriculum that mirrors real-life experiences in a fun format so creatively orchestrated, that teens want to go through it again and again with the hope to change the outcome of their “simulated lives.”

Research found that two out of three families lack emergency savings, 78 percent of adults live paycheck to paycheck, and three in five adults do not maintain a monthly budget.

“Today’s school curricula are missing financial literacy, which is a crucial component to under-standing and managing finances,” says Laketa Dumas, founder of the Do It Big Institute.  “The goal of the SITRW simulation is to prepare students for the world outside of the classroom and become money smart.”

Sponsored by Comerica Bank, the SITRW simulation will provide Mount Clemens High School students with a real-world perspective on how their choices affect their livelihood.

“I am thrilled to partner with my alma mater and bring an event to Mount Clemens High School that has the ability to impact student’s lives,” says Shane Gianino, founder of Neway Works.  “Our goal at Neway is to help students step into their purpose, think big, and live the very best life they were destined to live. The fulfilling feeling of living purposefully, serving your community, and making an impact in society is unparalleled.”

Michigan Reconnect at WCC Can Turn Dreams into Reality

Nearly 1,300 students have enrolled in their first classes at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor via Michigan Reconnect, a state program that pays the cost of in-district tuition for eligible adults wanting to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at any of Michigan’s public community colleges, including its three tribal colleges.

Since the Reconnect program’s launch one year ago, more than 12,000 scholarship participants enrolled at schools statewide in a degree or skills certificate program, according to the state.

To be eligible, Michiganders must be at least 25 or older, not have a college degree and have lived in the state for one year.

WCC’s Financial Aid Office serves as a resource and starting point for many incoming students, and the college’s success coaches and career counselors support students throughout all aspects of their educational journeys, including assisting with applications and transfers.

Reconnect information sessions are offered weekly for prospective students who want to learn more about the state tuition program and enrollment in the summer or fall semesters.

“We are so proud of our Reconnect students, many of whom are balancing families and full-time jobs,” says Rose B. Bellanca, president of WCC. “They’ve chosen to enroll at Washtenaw because they have big goals for themselves and their families and know this is the next step to their dream job.”

Black Catholic Ministries’ Art Show Comes to Loyola High School This Week

Loyola High School in Detroit is hosting the Black Catholic Ministries Traveling Art Show, Feb. 22-28.

The traveling art portfolio showcases depictions of Black Catholic heroes, as interpreted by student artists from around the Detroit area, including the College for Creative Studies. The exhibit is part of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s efforts to promote art in the Church that features more minority cultures and figures — while also prompting conversations about greater inclusion within the Church.

“Inclusion and representation are more important than ever in all aspects of life, and that’s exactly what this visually thought-provoking exhibit offers,” says Dave Smith, president of  Loyola High School.

“Loyola is very proud to host this exhibit for our students and their families, and the Metro Detroit community at large. Thanks to the Archdiocese and the talent of some very gifted young, local artists, visitors will see different faces and cultural perspectives that make our community and world a much better, more inclusive place.”

The exhibit is available for viewing Feb. 22-28, during school hours, in the Loyola High School Prayer Room. To view the art exhibit in person, interested parties should first call Therese Schueneman at 313-861-2407.

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