DBusiness Daily Update: Great Lakes Design and Construction Expo Slated for February, 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.
Nice single-family bungalo with garage
Great Lakes Design and Construction Expo 2022 will take place Feb. 16 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. // 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.

Great Lakes Design and Construction Expo Slated for February

The Construction Association of Michigan and Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan are again joining forces to present Michigan’s largest construction industry event, the Great Lakes Design and Construction Expo 2022.

Scheduled to take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, the one-day statewide event will bring together residential and commercial designers, contractors, suppliers, and service providers, offering networking opportunities, educational workshops and special events designed to support the continued success of Michigan’s building industry.

Thousands of industry professionals are expected to attend. They will have the opportunity to learn about innovations in technology, products, supplies and services from more than 150 exhibitors. Industry-specific educational workshops and safety training will be offered, as well, sessions designed to maximize their skills, competency, and professionalism.

CAM and HBA partnered in February 2020 to present the Expo and was precluded from doing so in 2021 due to the pandemic.

“We are pleased to be working with HBA once again to create this event that offers exceptional opportunities to both the commercial and residential sides of our industry,” says Kevin Koehler, president of CAM.

Michael Stoskopf, CEO of HBA, adds, “There are differences between those who work in residential construction and those who work in commercial construction, and there are even more areas where our interests intersect. By combining our efforts to present the Expo, we provide value and opportunity that exceeds the scope of what CAM and HBA could offer separately.”

Registration and additional information is available here or by calling Ron Riegel at CAM at 248-972-1110 or Brian Starrs at HBA at 248-202-7300.

Ford Previews Special Items from FY2021 Results

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn has outlined several large special items that it intends to report in early February as part of the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 financial results in February.

The special items are included in Ford’s reported GAAP net income and earnings per share, but are excluded from its non-GAAP adjusted earnings before interest and taxes and adjusted EPS.

On a preliminary basis, the special items are expected to include:

A fourth-quarter gain of $8.2 billion on Ford’s equity investment in Rivian, following Rivian’s Nov. 10 initial public offering of common stock and a mark-to-market revaluation of the holdings. Additionally, Ford will reclassify its $900 million first-quarter 2021 non-cash gain on the Rivian investment as a special item — a step Ford said in October it would take after Rivian’s IPO.

The reclassification means the gain from first-quarter 2021 will not be included in Ford’s full-year adjusted EBIT or adjusted EPS. When Ford last provided full-year adjusted EBIT guidance with its third-quarter results on Oct. 27, 2021 the $900 million gain was included in the forecast range of $10.5 billion to $11.5 billion. Going forward, mark-to-market revaluations to account for changes in Rivian’s stock price could result in related gains or losses each quarter reported as special items.

A second special item is an annual revaluation of Ford’s global pension and other post-retirement employee benefits — resulting in a non-cash, pre-tax accounting re-measurement gain of about $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter and about $3.9 billion for the full year. Overall, the remeasurement gain is mostly attributable to higher discount rates and asset returns.

Another special item is recording about $1.7 billion in costs associated with Ford repurchasing and redeeming more than $7.6 billion in high-cost debt in the fourth quarter. The repurchases and redemptions were made to further strengthen the company’s balance sheet and reduce ongoing interest expenses.

The last special item is reporting a $3.6 billion tax special item — a non-cash benefit — primarily resulting from changes in Ford’s global tax structure and its effect on deferred tax assets.

Southfield Firm Publishes Property Damage Insurance Claim E-book for Michigan Attorneys

Globe Midwest Adjusters International in Southfield has published “What You Don’t Know Might Hurt Your Client,” an educational e-book designed to help Michigan attorneys better assist clients who have filed a property damage insurance claim.

“Most clients have insurance policies to cover risks associated with owning a home, commercial property and/or operating a business; but ‘having insurance’ and ‘using the insurance policy’ — the process of what happens when a property damage insurance claim is made — are two completely different things,” says Stuart Dorf, senior vice president of business development for Globe Midwest Adjusters International.

“What You Don’t Know Might Hurt Your Client” contains information attorneys can share with clients to assist them in navigating the complicated and often confusing property damage insurance claim process. Important information contained in the e-book includes:

  • Understanding the different component parts of a property insurance policy.
  • An overview of some of the affirmative client obligations and potential legal issues and exposures that may come up during the property damage insurance claim process.
  • The resources and professional insurance claim advocates and experts available to a policyholder who is making a property damage insurance claim.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Popcorn Co. Commemorates National Popcorn Day with Free Popcorn Today

Detroit Popcorn Co. is celebrating National Popcorn Day today by giving anyone who stops by and mentions “popcorn day” free popcorn from noon-4 p.m. or while supplies last. Patrons can pick up their free popcorn at Detroit Popcorn headquarters at 14950 Telegraph Road in Redford Township with no purchase necessary.

“We wanted to gift a smile,” says Ken Harris, owner of Detroit Popcorn Co. “There’s a lot going on and we wanted to give back to the people of the community with popcorn on National Popcorn Day.”

Detroit Popcorn Co. is a full-service concession company that will be making its debut in local delis and retailers across metro Detroit in 2022. It occupies a 13,000-square-foot showroom where it sells popcorn, as well as sells and rents supplies. The company also has a 22,000-square-foot manufacturing space where it makes popcorn, cotton candy, and other snacks.

For more information, visit here.

Tickets for 2022 Detroit Grand Prix on Sale Today

Tickets for the final Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, June 3-5, go on sale today.

Fans can purchase tickets for the annual celebration of speed here or by calling the Ticket Hotline at 866-464-PRIX (7749).

Tickets start at $40 and spectators will have more viewing options and flexibility. All Grand Prix ticketholders will have access to the Fifth Third Bank Paddock throughout the weekend. The paddock provides a unique experience for fans as they watch their favorite drivers and teams working in their garage areas as they compete at the Grand Prix all weekend long.

All fans who purchase 2022 Grand Prix tickets before Feb. 28 will be afforded reduced pricing across all viewing options, along with the best seat locations. Also new for 2022, all reserved seat locations can be purchased as a reduced-price two-day ticket with specific savings dependent on the seat location.

Children 15 and under will be admitted free of charge to the general admission areas, including the GA grandstands, with an adult ticketholder.

All Grand Prix ticketholders will have access to the historic James Scott Memorial Fountain. Fans also can experience the excitement and celebration at the fountain following each race at the Autotrader Winner’s Circle. New for 2022, the Fountain Fan Area will feature an entertainment stage with music all weekend long, with premium food and beverage options, tailgating games and more.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit is One Four Sites for Verizon’s 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength

Verizon and AWS are now offering mobile edge computing in Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Charlotte, N.C.

Verizon 5G Edge AWS Wavelength is a real-time cloud computing platform that brings AWS compute and storage services to the edge of Verizon’s wireless network. The combination minimizes the latency and network hops required to connect from an application hosted on the platform to the end user’s device.

Launched in August 2020, the companies currently offer mobile edge computing via AWS Wavelength Zones in 17 locations in the U.S. Using 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength allows developers and businesses to build and deploy a variety of applications such as machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and video and game streaming.

Using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength for drone and energy management applications

Fermata Energy, a Verizon Ventures company, and Easy Aerial are among the innovators who participated in the 5G Studio, a collaboration between Verizon and Newlab, to develop transformative technology solutions leveraging Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network technology and Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength at Newlab.

Fermata Energy’s Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology turns electric vehicles (EVs) into mini power plants by discharging energy services from EVs’ batteries to the home, building, or energy grid. Using a bidirectional charger connected both to an EV and a building’s energy load, Fermata Energy’s cloud-based software, running on Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, reacted to changes in the grid and, as a result, load-balance data in near real-time with very low latency, according to Fermata Energy. This allows Fermata Energy to dispatch an EV as a valuable energy resource providing near real-time response to the state of the grid.

Report: Commercial Truck Market Closed 2021 with Higher Volume

Commercial Truck auction volume increased in December, likely due at least in part, to a substantial increase in new truck deliveries, according to analysts from J.D. Power Valuation Services in the Troy-based company’s January 2022 Commercial Truck Guidelines Industry Update.

Companies taking delivery of long-awaited new trucks were most likely eager to offload their older inventory. The retail channel was generally higher in December, breaking records yet again.

“Looking ahead, January is not typically a very useful month for price or volume insight, since there are few auctions on the calendar,” says Chris Visser, commercial truck senior analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services. “Overall, the market will continue to quickly absorb any increased inventory as long as buyers remain confident of strong freight rates.”

Major findings in the free monthly report note:

  • 2021 saw the highest Class 8 pricing in the modern era.
  • Sleeper tractors brought 96.3 percent more money year-over-year at auction, 40.7 percent more at retail.
  • Surprisingly strong new truck deliveries in December led to higher auction volume.
  • Despite the volume increase, a market shift is not yet evident.

To read the full report, visit here.

Canadian Cannabis Company Begins Operations in Warren

Toronto-based Red White & Bloom Brands Inc., a multi-state cannabis operator, has closed on a lease for a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing/processing and distribution facility in Warren and has been issued both medical and adult use licenses.

Operations at the facility commenced this week. RWB will immediately begin manufacturing medical and adult use cannabis products with all necessary equipment already installed and inspections completed.

“This Warren facility allows us to centralize distribution for our ‘house of premium brands’ in Michigan and finally report all of our Platinum Vape wholesale sales on a much less confusing and straightforward basis,” says Brad Rogers, chairman and CEO of RWB. “We will be expanding the wildly popular Platinum Vape brand to include gummies and chocolates to capitalize on the existing brand equity we command in Michigan. The facility provides the production capacity to expand sales of our award-winning brands from the 250 plus Michigan dispensaries that carry them to the state’s more than 400 dispensaries.”

RWB Michigan says it will begin hiring 30 full-time employees in the coming weeks, with intentions to grow the workforce in Warren to 50 in 2022.  A wide variety of positions are available including many higher-paid, skilled positions ranging from frontline employees to PhDs specializing in product formulations. To apply, email inquiries and credentials to careers@redwhitebloom.com.  In addition, visit here for more information and the job fair links once they are available.

Pope Francis Center to Honor Dr. Asha Shajahan, Vinnie Johnson at 2022 Gala

The Pope Francis Center in Detroit will honor two people who have dedicated themselves to serving others and creating a better world at its 2022 Building Bridges Gala on April 29.

The 2022 honorees are Dr. Asha Shajahan, director of Community Health at Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe and associate professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and former Detroit Pistons star Vinnie Johnson, who now is founder, chairman, and CEO of Piston Group.

“We are immensely proud to call attention to the selfless work that Dr. Shajahan and Vinnie Johnson have done for our community,” says Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, executive director of the Pope Francis Center. “These two individuals exemplify our values that every person deserves to be treated with love, dignity and respect.”

The honorees will receive the Zito-Brender Legacy Award, established in honor of Mark Zito and Kristin Brender to recognize people who share Pope Francis Center’s values of serving and empowering others, especially the poor and marginalized.

Grand Rapids Airport Launches FLITE to Develop High-tech Air Travel Solutions

With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Southwest Airlines, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority in Grand Rapids has introduced the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship, or FLITE, which provides grants and testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel technology solutions to market.

One of the first airport-based initiatives in the nation, FLITE provides funding to encourage design, development, and pilot testing of new products and services in a live airport environment.

Today, FLITE unveiled the first round of grants, providing $150,000 to three companies, including:

  • Aurrigo: Auto-Sim software platform to create a “digital twin” of airside operations.
  • WHILL: Autonomous mobility device.
  • Sunflower Labs: Remote autonomous drone-in-a-box security system.

“The Ford International Airport has long been an economic catalyst for West Michigan,” says Tory Richardson, president and CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. “FLITE enables us to harness that power and partner with entrepreneurs and established companies focused on developing innovative new products and services to improve air travel and foster a statewide ecosystem for innovation, entrepreneurship and tech-sector growth.

“We can now offer this select group of companies the invaluable opportunity to test their products in the real-world airport environment. Successful products, as we saw last year with the UV disinfecting robot, can scale up to meet the demands of larger airports while improving the overall experience for our guests.”

Grand Rapids-based Seamless, an innovation facilitation organization with vast experience aiding global enterprises in maximizing projects and partnerships with leading startups, is providing proof of concept coordination for grantees.

The MEDC is committing an initial $150,000 to FLITE through the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, which is working closely with Ford International Airport officials to ensure a successful launch. More than 20 businesses submitted grant applications for the first rounding of funding. A second round of grants will be awarded in June.

Ford International Airport officials say they hope to expand the financial support of FLITE by adding sponsors and other supporters, including venture capital firms, interested in investing in the technology being developed.