DBusiness Daily Update: Iron Fish Distillery Launching Limited Re-release of Mad Angler Whiskey, and more

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies.
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Whiskey bottle
Michigan’s Iron Fish Distillery is re-releasing its Mad Angler bourbon, rye, and bottled in bond estate whiskies as part of its seventh anniversary celebration. // Photo courtesy of Iron Fish

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message here.

Iron Fish Distillery Launching Limited Re-release of Mad Angler Whiskey Brand

To mark its seventh year, the Iron Fish distillery in Thompsonville just south of Traverse City will re-release the Mad Angler bourbon, rye, and bottled in bond estate whiskies.

Iron Fish just completed a $1 million investment in new equipment and facility improvements to triple production capacity of its estate whiskey. The seventh Anniversary Party over Labor Day weekend, Thursday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 3.

The Mad Angler line of bourbon, rye, and bottled in brand whiskies are 100 percent distilled and aged at Iron Fish Distillery. As Michigan’s first distillery operating on a fully functioning farm since prohibition, its goal from the beginning has been to return spirit to its origin, on the farm. The spirits of the Estate Series are meant to embody the water, land, and agricultural bounty of northern Michigan.

The Mad Angler bourbon is an all-Michigan mash, consisting of 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, 9 percent malted barley, and 5 percent rye. The distillery’s rye whiskey is 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley. Its bottled in bond whiskey is 51 percent Iron Fish Farm winter wheat, 34 percent Upper Penisula rye, 10 percent Michigan corn, and 5 percent north Michigan malted barley.

To learn more about the distillery and its anniversary celebration, visit ironfishdistillery.com.

Automation Workz CEO Ida Byrd-Hill Finalist for National Black Chamber of Commerce Competition

Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz in Detroit, was named a finalist in the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative, a national pitch competition awarding three $50,000 grants to Black small business owners.

Along with capital, winners will receive resources and tools provided by the NBCC to help develop sustainable growth and success. The grant awards $50,000 to the three winners.

Byrd-Hill and her business Automation Workz was one of 10 selected by HBCC. It assists front-liners acquire “Skills to Pay the Bills” with the goal of helping Black residents into middle-skilled tech jobs as these careers pay a median annual salary of $70,000 – $110,000, enough to move a Black family out of poverty. While the US Census Bureau shows the US poverty rate is 11.6 percent, the poverty rate is 37.4 percent for single Black woman with children.

Currently, Automation Workz offers certification training programs that upgrade learners from beginners to experts in Internet of Things (IoT) tech support, network engineering, tech project management, and cybersecurity operations.

Automation Workz puts its clients through Cisco training, and some of its graduates are earning $130,000. The average graduate salary is $67,250,

“To see learners move from an average hourly wage of $17.74 to $62.50, solidifies why Intelligent.com designated Automation Workz as a top cybersecurity boot camp two years in a row,” says Ida Byrd-Hill. “I so am excited to be a finalist in the National Black Chamber of Commerce Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Pitch Competition for an award of $50,000. It is awesome our value is being recognized during this AI and Electric Vehicle age.”

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is the largest Black business association in the world and is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Black Chamber of Commerce has more than 200 chambers across 40 states and 50 nations serving 200,000 businesses.

Quantron Reports Successful First Seven Months of Globalization Strategy

Quantron AG, a specialist in sustainable passenger and goods transport, presented the first prototype of its hydrogen-electric Class 8 truck through its U.S. subsidiary Quantron USA at the recent Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) show in Anaheim, Calif.

The vehicle is engineered to have a of approximately 750 to 850 miles with a tank capacity of 100 kg of hydrogen. The truck will be developed and manufactured at Quantron’s facility in Auburn Hills.

This action is part of a larger effort by Quantron to keep up with rapid developments in the industry as the international demand for zero-emission mobility solutions is increasing.

Solor Storage, Planet Detroit Work to Education Homeowners on Solar and Battery Storage

Stellar Solar, a solar and battery installer in Michigan, is providing sponsorship support and educational content on solar and battery storage for Planet Detroit, the independent nonprofit local news organization whose mission is to inform and educate on environment and public health issues in Michigan.

This helps homeowners explore how they might benefit from the heightened profile of both solar and battery storage in Michigan due to the extension of the 30 percent tax credit for both solar and batteries, the electrification of the auto industry, and the proliferation of battery production in the state.

“Given Stellar Solar’s 25 years in business, A+ Better Business Bureau ranking, and educational approach to presenting homeowners with all their options, we felt they would be the perfect partner to help Planet Detroit provide valuable content for people new to solar and battery storage in Michigan,” says Nina Ignaczak, founder of Planet Detroit.

“Stellar Solar has built our business over the past 25 years by educating homeowners on the benefits of solar and battery storage, presenting them with all their options, and guiding them through the process, rather than a hard sell,” says David Boylan, vice president of marketing and business development for Stellar Soar. “That approach is reflected by our number one source of new business coming from customer referrals. We seek the same qualities in our industry partners and Planet Detroit certainly fits that bill given the valuable content and reporting they provide.”

Stellar Solar offers virtual residential solar and battery quotes for Michigan homeowners interested in solar and battery storage. The company is headquartered in Oceanside, Calif. and Royal Oak.  It has offered residential and commercial PV solar and battery storage design and installation company since 1998 with over more than 15,000 installations across southern California and Michigan.

Learn more at www.stellarsolar.net.

Stoneridge Asia-Pacific Earns 2023 Greater Suzhou Best Employer Award

Stoneridge Inc. in Novi announced that its facility in Suzhou, China is the recipient of a 2023 Greater Suzhou Best Employer Award.

The awards, sponsored by the Suzhou Industrial Park Human Resource Development Co., recognize outstanding companies in the region for their achievements in employer branding, workplace culture, and employee engagement.

Stoneridge Asia-Pacific was ranked in the Top five of more than 300 competing companies to earn the “Best Employer Award” distinction. The evaluation included expert review, public voting, an employee engagement survey, and brand recognition.

“We are extremely proud of our team in Suzhou. Every day, they truly demonstrate Stoneridge’s values in creating a workplace with motivated, talented individuals who work together to deliver world-class products for our customers,” says David Chen, managing director of Stoneridge Asia-Pacific. “It is a new level of achievement, and we share this success with them and our entire organization.”

In 2020, Stoneridge Asia-Pacific was named a “Best Working Environment” winner in the Greater Suzhou Best Employer award competition. Stoneridge’s Suzhou facility employs more than 500 people and produces a range of electronic systems and components for the automotive, commercial vehicle, and off-highway markets, including sensors, canister vent solenoids, actuators, instrument clusters, and switches.

Carhartt Continues Support of Skilled Trades with Labor Day Donation to Rubicon Job Training Program

Through its “For the Love of Labor” program – a bi-annual initiative that supports nonprofit organizations as they educate, train and place workers into meaningful skilled trades – Carhartt in Dearborn is donating all sales from Carhartt.com and Reworked.Carhartt.com on Labor Day, Sept. 4, and dedicating its Fall 2023 grant to support veteran-led nonprofit Team Rubicon and its forthcoming TRades Academy program.

The demand for skilled workers across the U.S. is increasing – and the industry at large expected to grow 10 percent by 2028 fueled by emerging technology, changing infrastructure, $18 billion-per-year climate disasters and other factors.

Expected to continue developing over the next five years, Team Rubicon’s TRades Academy seeks to train military veterans transitioning to civilian life – as well as other workers – in disaster-standard licensed contracting skills like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning so they can help rebuild homes in the communities that need it most.

“As the skilled labor shortage persists and much of the country is increasingly impacted by natural disasters, the task of rebuilding requires hard work and ‘heart’ work,’” says Todd Corley, senior vice president of inclusion, sustainability, and community at Carhartt. “By investing in necessary job training for those who have served their country and have a passion for serving others, we’re helping to bridge the skilled trades gap, empower military veterans transitioning to civilian life and invest in stronger individuals, families and communities – both now and for years to come.”

The inspiration behind the TRades Academy came from one of Team Rubicon’s missions to rebuild safe and resilient homes in communities affected by disasters.

With a highly skilled volunteer force of 150,000 individuals and counting, Team Rubicon works to give military veteran volunteers the opportunity to continue service alongside first responders and civilians, as well as provide avenues towards a renewed sense of purpose, community and identity.

Founded in August of 2022, Carhartt’s For the Love of Labor grant program has received over 350 applications to-date, with 16 grants awarded thus far to eligible U.S.-based 501©3 designated organizations in recognized apprenticeship industries that serve at least 100 individuals annually.

With Carhartt’s funding, recipient organizations have been able to provide participants with gear, tools, childcare, and transportation. Many organizations have also added new programs, instructors, resources, recruitment strategies, partner connections, and ultimately, graduated more apprenticeship students seeking work in the skilled trades.

For more information on Carhartt’s Labor Day campaign or Team Rubicon’s TRades Academy program, please visit Carhartt.com/every-day-is-labor-day and TeamRubiconUSA.org.

Modern Wealth Management Appoints Danny Henneghan to Partnership Development Team

Modern Wealth Management, a national registered investment advisory (RIA) firm that Detroit-based Danny Henneghan is its new vice president.

Henneghan brings over 10 years of mergers and acquistion and wealth management experience to Modern Wealth, He was most recently a vice president at First Republic Bank and prior to that was a part of the partnership development team at Focus Financial. Based in Detroit, Henneghan will lead Modern Wealth’s RIA mergers and acquistion and onboarding activity in the eastern region, complementing Besikof’s efforts in the western region and furthering Modern Wealth’s efforts to support high-potential RIA firms nationwide.

“As Modern Wealth looks to bring its personalized service model to RIAs across the East Coast, I’m eager to activate on the acquisition strategy and to incorporate prospective firms into the Modern Wealth framework,” says Henneghan. “The partnership development team is ready to escalate Modern Wealth’s growth by partnering with and acquiring RIAs with a shared commitment to excellent client service.”

Also joining is Casey Harrison as manager and Shad Besikof as managing director. These new appointments are meant to strengthen the firm’s partnership development team and are part of the firm’s national expansion strategy by acquiring RIA firms across its western, eastern and other key regions.

Detroit Grand Prix Earns Gold from Council for Responsible Sport

The 2023 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear was recognized as the first event in Michigan to achieve gold-level event certification through the Council for Responsible Sport.

The recognition also distinguishes the Detroit Grand Prix as the first-ever motorsports event worldwide to earn gold level Responsible Sport certification.

The Council for Responsible Sport recognizes and certifies events that meet a set of criteria for social and environmental responsibility objectives to make a positive impact in their communities.

Since 2007, the organization has certified more than 200 events worldwide. Through its increased sustainability efforts, significant economic impact and numerous community outreach programs, the Detroit Grand Prix was able to earn gold-level certification.

“Reaching gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport is a tremendous honor for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear and a true testament to our event’s commitment to being a positive force in Detroit and across Southeast Michigan,” says Michael Montri, president of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. “With the help of our event partners, we are proud of how the Grand Prix has emerged as a leader in effecting environmental and social change in our community, now and into the future.”

With a structured certification process, the Council for Responsible Sport provides a clear path for events and venues to measure, implement, validate, and improve their social and environmental sustainability efforts.

Certification is accomplished through planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access, equity, and community engagement. In 2023, the Detroit Grand Prix joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway as NTT INDYCAR SERIES events and venues to apply for Council for Responsible Sport certification.

Key community partnerships and programs helped the Detroit Grand Prix achieve its watershed gold-level certification. Grand Prix partners worked collaboratively with event organizers to create unique community engagement, sustainability, youth enrichment, small business empowerment, and arts, culture, and entrepreneurship opportunities across the city of Detroit this year.

Focused on making a positive environmental impact, the 2023 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear worked with its partners at Priority Waste to implement a waste diversion and recycling program to become the most sustainable Detroit Grand Prix in the event’s 41-year history.

With support from Penske Truck Rental, this year’s Grand Prix also became the first-ever motorsport event to offset 100 percent of fan travel carbon emissions by investing in nature-based programs in Michigan and across the Midwest.

Thanks to Community Partners American Axle & Manufacturing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Delta Air Lines, Delta Dental, DTE Foundation, Henry Ford Health, Huntington Bank, Lear Corporation, and PNC Bank, the Grand Prix featured more accessibility than ever before and created some unique and engaging opportunities for neighborhoods and communities in Detroit to connect with the event.

Community partnerships also helped the event incorporate multiple viewing platforms along the racing circuit that provided access and free viewing for fans over more than half of the event’s footprint, all weekend long.

With the support of the key Grand Prix Community Partners, students from the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan also designed eight unique art murals honoring local communities across Detroit that were displayed trackside for the world to see during the June Grand Prix weekend, hosted on the downtown Streets of the Motor City for the first time since 1991.

Partner support also allowed the Grand Prix to create opportunities for neighborhoods and businesses across the city to benefit from the event. The Small Business Straightaway hosted in Cadillac Square in Detroit during the Grand Prix gave nearly 30 locally owned and operated Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) businesses from each district in Detroit an opportunity to shine and benefit from a big weekend for commerce across the region.

With approximately 150,000 people attending the Grand Prix over the course of the three-day weekend, the event also injected millions of dollars of spending into the local economy following its relocation to the 1.7-mile street circuit in downtown Detroit this summer.

Yunion Celebrates 20 Years with New Youth Recreational Facility

After 20 years, The Yunion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and uplifting youth, has moved into a new modern recreational facility at 1129 Oakman Blvd. in Detroit.

The $700,000 newly renovated 15,000-square-foot building, a former charter school, allows The Yunion to expand its renowned initiative, The Cave of Adulluam Transformational Training Academy (CATTA), and other programs and services to metro Detroit youth and families and house its dedicated staff and volunteers.

“After two years of renovations, we are proud and excited to finally open the doors to our new facility and continue our mission to positively impact the lives of even more youth in metro Detroit,” says Nicole Wilson, executive director at The Yunion. “The Oakman Boulevard community is the perfect location for our headquarters and will allow us to support 800 young boys on CATTA’s waitlist and make a lasting impact.”

For two decades, The Yunion has been dedicated to helping youth. Its mission is to counter negative cultural influences that misdirect the lives of youth by raising awareness and strengthening families through prevention programming, education, parental engagement, mentoring, and counseling.

Founder and CEO Jason Wilson, who is also a best-selling author, first created The Yunion record label in 2002 with the goal of producing music that countered the potentially harmful influences of hip-hop culture. Wilson soon realized that even when the music stopped the negative pressures continued for youth, which led to him establishing The Yunion as a nonprofit to expand mentoring services beyond the reach of music.

Today, The Yunion has reached more than 17,000 youth via innovative prevention programming, engaging workshops, assemblies, and conferences, and has collaborated with dozens of schools, community organizations and churches in empowering youth and families. Its globally acclaimed initiative, CATTA, which specifically aims to help young boys thrive, is the subject of an ESPN Film documentary, produced by famed actor Laurence Fishburne, that premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and won Best Documentary.

To welcome youth and families it serves, friends, community partners, and the media to its new facility, The Yunion will host an invitation-only open House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy youth performances that highlight the talents and achievements of the youth served by The Yunion.

Guided and self-guided tours of the renovated facility will also be made available, providing attendees a closer look at the innovative programs that have made a lasting impact on countless lives. Supporters of The Yunion’s new facility include The Kresge Foundation, Ralph C Wilson Jr. Foundation, Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Carls Foundation, and generous donors.

Two Documentaries to Show at Royal Starr Film Festival at Emagine Royal Oak

Visionalist Entertainment Productions selected two documentary films to be show in the Royal Starr Film Festival at the Emagine Royal Oak Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The first film, “Detroit: The City of Hot Rods & Muscle Cars,” will be shown at 5 p.m. It will be followed by “Chromosomally Enhance: What’s Your Superpower?” at 7 p.m. Director and producer Keith Famie will introduce each film, and there will be a question-and-answer session at the end.

“Detroit: The City of Hot Rods & Muscle Cars” is a tribute to the city’s past, present, and future. It looks at how Detroit affected the American hot rod and muscle car era as well as looking at the city’s current generation of “gearheads.”

“Chromosomally Enhanced: What’s Your Superpower?” examines what life is like for people with Down syndrome and their families. The film features Michigan residents of all ages and stages of life with Down syndrome, as well as the community organizations that aid them and their families.

To order tickets and learn more, go to boxoffice.royalstarr.org.

Rebel Nell and Belle Isle Conservancy Join Forces to Unveil New Collection

The Rebel Nell jewelry brand in Detroit is committed  to helping  women with barriers to find employment through creativity, collaboration, and community, and has entered into a partnership with the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit.

This collaboration is meant to offer a blend of environmental stewardship, artistic ingenuity, and natural beauty. The collection launched on Aug. 24.

The partnership represents a unique opportunity for these two institutions to collaborate in an endeavor that bridges creativity, sustainability, and philanthropy.

The centerpiece of this collaboration is a collection of jewelry items crafted from repurposed glass collected during the renovation of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle.

Each piece is meant to encapsulate the essence of Detroit’s history while embodying Rebel Nell’s blend of artistry and social impact. The glass, once a part of the conservatory’s architectural heritage, has been transformed into stunning, wearable art that tells a story of transformation and revival.

Rebel Nell’s designers have drawn inspiration from the blooms and foliage of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory’s gardens, incorporating floral motifs into the jewelry pieces. The result is meant to be a harmonious marriage of repurposed glass and blooming beauty, symbolizing the interconnectedness of art and nature.

“Belle Isle is my favorite place in the city. We are thrilled to partner with the Belle Isle Conservancy in this monumental collaboration highlighting the history and importance of the Conservatory to this community,” says Amy Peterson, co-founder and CEO of Rebel Nell. “Together, we’ve embarked on a journey that not only breathes new life into discarded materials but also celebrates the splendor of nature and history. The collection we’ve created is a testament to the boundless possibilities of sustainable craftsmanship.”

This Limited Collection will only have 225 pieces available. Each one will be engraved on the back with its unique serial number making them truly one of a kind.

The collection was designed to contain something for everyone, including necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, bottle stoppers, cufflinks, and more. A portion of the proceeds from the collection’s sales will directly benefit both organizations, reaffirming their shared commitment to helping women, promoting sustainability, and preserving Detroit’s cultural and natural heritage.

Like other collections from Detroit landmarks such as Joe Louis Arena, the Belle Isle Conservatory Collection is made from repurposed material and transformed into wearable art. Each piece is unique.

For more information about Rebel Nell and the upcoming collaboration with the Belle Isle Anna Scripps Conservatory, please visit www.rebelnell.com.