DBusiness Daily Update: Jeep Performance Parts Introduces New Half Doors for 2021 Gladiator, 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.
Mopar’s Jeep Performance Parts is introducing new half doors for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator. // Photo courtesy of Jeep
Mopar’s Jeep Performance Parts is introducing new half doors for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator. // Courtesy of Jeep

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.

Jeep Performance Parts Introduces New Half Doors for 2021 Gladiator

Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar, the aftermarket arm of Auburn Hills’ Stellantis, is introducing new half doors for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator that offer an enhanced open-air experience.

“Open-air freedom is a hallmark of the Jeep brand,” says Jim Morrison, vice president of Jeep brand North America. “Following our introduction of new half doors for Jeep Wrangler earlier this year, we are now giving passionate Gladiator owners an opportunity to let even more of the outside in.”

Engineered, tested, and backed by the factory, the new half-door option is designed to enhance the driving experience with production styling, security, and occupant protection.

“We work closely with our friends at Jeep to create and properly engineer new accessories,” says Mark Bosanac, North America vice president at Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “Across the entire Jeep vehicle lineup, we offer more than 500 quality-tested, factory-backed parts and accessories.”

The new Jeep Gladiator Dual-Door Group includes both full and half doors and is available on all Jeep Gladiator models through the Mopar Custom Shop as part of an original new-vehicle purchase in the U.S. Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors are installed on the vehicle while matching body-color, aluminum half doors are conveniently packaged within the vehicle.

With production-level materials and build quality, new half doors are designed to work when equipped with any of the following features: power mirrors, blind-spot detection, passive and non-passive entry handles, and power locks. A quick and easy swap from full doors to half doors is accomplished within minutes using the existing hinge locations and the exact same wiring connections.

New upper-window assemblies create a weather-tight seal and feature zippered plastic windows for quick, easy removal. Two materials are offered for the assemblies: base-model vinyl that matches the production soft-top roof or premium acrylic that matches the premium soft-top roof. Each upper-door frame section uses an easy, tool-free, dual-guide post feature for easy installation and removal.

New Jeep Gladiator Dual-Door Group factory-option pricing (U.S.), which includes factory full doors and new half doors:

  • Dual-Door Group with base-model upper-window assemblies: sales code AJB, $4,590.
  • Dual-Door Group with premium-model upper-window assemblies: sales code AJS, $4,990.

Warranty coverage for each Dual-Door Group option is included as part of the new-vehicle warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

VMX International Selected to Participate in Major Waste Supply Chain Accelerators

VMX International, a Detroit-based environmental waste management and recycling company, announced today it was selected to participate in the new Apple Impact Accelerator and NextCycle Michigan.

“Participating in these technology initiatives means VMX International is at a point of both company and industry inflection,” says Vickie Lewis, founder and CEO of VMXI. “We are pooling our 20 plus years of technical expertise with others in the high-growth area of sustainable, environmental waste management, and investing in new technologies to prepare for major industry growth, particularly as we work toward solutions for electric and hybrid automotive battery recycling.

“Further, the selection of VMXI to the Apple Accelerator program provides us the necessary credentials to solidify our position in the environmental waste supply chain so important to the growing high-technology device sectors.”

As part of the three-month Apple Accelerator program, VMXI will participate in courses, live sessions, and one-on-one meetings with Apple team members to identify opportunities aligned with Apple’s environmental goals. With ongoing mentorship from Apple and an expanding Impact Accelerator network, VMXI will have access to continuous growth and networking opportunities with alumni companies that share a commitment to the environment.

NextCycle Michigan is the first of its kind initiative in Michigan that leverages public and private investment in Michigan’s recycling and waste recovery system so that materials that once were destined for the landfill instead circulate within Michigan’s economy, creating jobs, protecting the environment, and improving the quality of life for all who call Michigan home.

VMXI says it plans to be a major part of the anticipated growth of the sustainable environmental waste management supply chain, particularly in automotive electric battery recycling solutions, where Michigan has a major commitment.

“Our participation in NextCycle Michigan means that we are playing a key role in the growth of environmental waste management supply chain technologies, growing this industry,” says Lewis. “Recycling and repurposing of materials are more important than ever as major players in the communications and automotive industries look for solutions to reuse materials for parts like batteries in all our high-tech devices, including electric vehicles. Through our participation in NextCycle, we hope to lead and attract the very best talent and thinking in sustainable technology solutions.”

Orchard Labs Offers Assistance to Companies Navigating New COVID-19 Testing Rules

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread and President Joe Biden directing the U.S. Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to have workers vaccinated or be tested weekly for the virus, Orchard Laboratories in West Bloomfield Township says it has capacity to perform more than 10,000 tests per day, 24 hours per day.

“Companies are scrambling to navigate the new rules and we are here to help,” says Sami Ahmad, co-founder and president of Orchard Laboratories. “As a high-quality laboratory, we can help companies logistically implement testing for COVID-19 and arrange vaccination and testing programs to comply with the new mandate.”

In April 2020, soon after the pandemic started, Orchard Laboratories says it was the first private laboratory in Michigan to provide rapid testing for COVID-19 with state-of-the-art equipment using the Emergency Use Authorization protocol for the ThermoFisher TaqPath Covid 19 assay.

Since then, the company has been open seven days-a-week, added new technology, and continues to receive samples from throughout the state as well as from other Midwestern states such as Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The laboratory provides testing for residential nursing homes, doctor’s offices, urgent cares, municipalities, schools, and hospitals. In December 2020, Orchard Laboratories opened a facility in New Jersey to service medical facilities in the East Coast.

Orchard Laboratories has more than doubled its number of employed staff since March 2020 and is a CLIA/COLA Accredited Facility meeting federal clinical laboratory standards.

For more information, visit here.

Great Lakes Impact Investment Platform Nears $4B in Sustainability Projects

Great Lakes Impact Investment Platform features 34 environmental sustainability projects totaling nearly $4 billion across the region.

Platform projects have reduced and stored nearly 2 million tons of carbon, protected more than 4,000 acres of forest and farmland, saved 14 million kilowatts of energy, and saved 45,000 gallons of water.

The platform positions the Great Lakes region as a global destination for investments that increase climate resilience, reduce emissions, and deliver positive, long-term social impacts and aims to reduce regional nutrient inputs to sensitive watersheds by 20 percent, increase energy efficiency by 10 percent, and reduce emissions by 10-15 percent.

“As Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes region grapple with the impacts of climate change, the Great Lakes Impact Investment Platform is an important new way for our companies, public agencies, and other organizations to align their investment decisions with critical environmental improvements,” says Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

David Naftzger, executive director for the Chicago-based Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers (GSGP), says, “The platform seeks to attract more impact investment in the region by highlighting successful projects. With more than $17 trillion in assets under management in the U.S. being directed to sustainable, responsible, and impact investing — and $30 trillion being similarly invested globally — the platform aims to highlight the abundant opportunities to make globally significant environmental impacts by investing in our region.”

Detroit projects include DTE Energy’s subsidiary, DTE Electric Co., completed its third green bond in March, bringing its total in green-bond issues to $2 billion. The bond is being used to finance clean energy projects including the construction of solar and wind farms and strengthening energy-efficiency programs that help Michigan residents and businesses save energy and reduce bills.

Additionally, the Detroit, MI-PACE-financed Green Roof for Belt Line Center at 1111 Bellevue across from the Beltline Greenway is another project financed in Detroit. The building was designed by Albert Kahn as Standard Motor Truck Co. CounterpointeSRE’s financing of the project marks the first use of commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for a green roof in Michigan. The green roof will provide the building with energy efficiency and stormwater management, and extend the life of its roof while integrating the property into the planned, city-wide greenway and bike path that will pass directly behind the property.

Applications Now Open for the Coalition to Back Black Businesses 2021 Grant Program

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington, D.C. announced that the Coalition to Back Black Businesses is now accepting applications for its 2021 grant program, which will provide $5,000 grants to more than 400 small business owners to help them meet critical business needs.

Eligible Black small business owners can apply for the grant online here through Sept. 22.

Two grant recipients from last year’s grant program, who also were awarded a $25,000 enhancement grant this summer, were Michigan-based.

One was Sean Harness who founded Detroit-based Harness Innovation, a micro-business that uses Fortune 500 best practices to provide impactful wealth-based strategies to help the everyday professional thrive mentally, physically, and financially.

The other was Tiffany Nordé, owner of Lansing-based Dancing with the Nordés, a business that offers urban-style line-dancing, Detroit-style ballroom, and Zumba classes that allow people to express their culture while drawing attention to their health.

“This program showed us how strong and resilient Black small business owners are, and how much more they can accomplish with critical support like financial grants and mentorship,” says Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “We are proud of our first cohort of grantees and the incredible work they’re doing in their communities. As America’s recovery continues, we look forward to working with the coalition partners to help more Black-owned small businesses grow and thrive.”

The coalition is a multi-year initiative launched by the U.S. Chamber Foundation and American Express in September 2020 to support the long-term success and resilience of Black-owned small businesses. The program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the nation’s four major Black chambers, including the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., and Walker’s Legacy.

In addition to the $5,000 grants, the coalition will provide longer-term resources, such as mentorships, trainings, and additional enhancement funds. In partnership with Ureeka, each grantee will be paired with an industry specific mentor to help them further grow their business. Selected grantees also will have the opportunity to apply for $25,000 enhancement grants in Spring 2022 to help take their business to the next level.

For more information on eligibility and the application process, visit here.

Great Lakes Business Credit Moves to Expanded Troy Headquarters

Great Lakes Business Credit in Troy has moved its headquarters to a new expanded location.

The company’s new headquarters, 900 Wilshire Drive, will accommodate its growing team and the expansion of its footprint to serve business clients beyond the Midwest, now covering the nation east of the Mississippi, according to CEO Rhett B. Rowe.

“Our new location puts us on the growth path to expand our financing capabilities to more businesses seeking to regain financial stability and return to conventional financing,” Rowe says. “Great Lakes Business Credit, through a major recapitalization project, is now more than ever strategically positioned to provide businesses the help they need in this extremely challenging economy.”

As part of its business expansion, Great Lakes Business Credit announced the appointment of Thomas R. Fisher as the company’s new controller.

Fisher has more than five years of accounting and auditing experience with a background in public auditing, management, and internal auditing at a $2 billion credit union. He has an extensive background in internal control implementation, including Sarbanes-Oxley internal control testing and reporting, and a demonstrated track record of process improvement. Fisher is a registered CPA in Michigan and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oral Roberts University.

Actor Hill Harper Joins the 2021 Reach for Hope Suicide Prevention Benefit

Three local organizations are teaming up to present the Reach for Hope Benefit to raise funds for suicide prevention from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.

The event is being staged by A Single Soul, a suicide prevention and training program housed at Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit; Black Family Development, a Detroit nonprofit dedicated to the health and wellbeing of Black families; and L!FELeaders Inc., a  youth leadership and career development program. It is co-chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The benefit will feature a performance of the play “Right Before I Go,” written by Southfield native Stan Zimmerman, starring actor Hill Harper. The play brings to life the last words of those lost by suicide. This surprisingly light production invokes a raw and authentic approach to storytelling to help broaden public perspective of suicide, eliminate the stigma associated with depression, and strengthen the relationships between survivors and those struggling every day.

“I am so honored that Amy Nederlander and Rabbi Dan Syme chose my play to raise money and awareness for such an important cause,” says Zimmerman. “This fits perfectly in with my personal mission, as I have been moving more toward marrying art and advocacy in my theatre, film and TV work. It will be an especially emotional evening for me since I have not appeared on a Detroit stage since my days as a senior at Southfield High School.”

The evening will include a message from Detroit native and Cass Tech grad Lily Tomlin and will be hosted by author and Fox2 anchor Lee Thomas. Every $10,000 raised will support Black Family Development and A Single Soul in their efforts to offer free suicide prevention training to the community.

Each training helps both laypeople and professionals identify people who are at risk and learn how to effectively connect them to crucial support before it’s too late.

Tickets for the 2021 Reach for Hope Benefit range from $10 to $100. Tickets can be purchased here.

Global Health Charities Plans ‘The Glow’ Fundraising Event

Global Health Charities, which works to improve infant mortality rates worldwide, is planning its “The Glow” outdoor fundraising event from 6-11 p.m. on Oct. 1 at its headquarters in downtown Farmington.

“The Glow” will feature music, international street food, an open bar, a silent auction, and an outdoor Clean Birth Kit assembly. There also will be a mystery suitcase raffle in which participants can win a trip to an international destination to deliver Clean Birth Kits.

The event also will feature Michigan fall favorites like cider and donuts and a bonfire with a s’mores bar Cart.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 4.5 million infant deaths per year, 99 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. Almost 303,000 mothers die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, the majority in developing countries. A leading cause of death is infection, and GHC Clean Birth Kits provide items that decrease that risk and provide a clean birthing environment.

Since 2015, GHC and their partners have assembled more than 17,000 kits and distributed them in 16 countries. GHC partners with hospitals, health care providers, faith-based and academic institutions, individuals, and corporate partners to gather items and assemble Clean Birth Kits for women and infants in under-resourced countries.

Funds raised at this event will support the assembly and distribution of clean birth kits and the training of birth attendants and midwives throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America with the goal of reducing preventable maternal and infant deaths.

For tickets to the event ($45 per person of $80 per couple) or to make a donation, visit here.