DBusiness Daily Update: Lawrence Tech Rolls Out New ‘Be Curious Make Magic’ Marketing Campaign, and More

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.
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Photo of boy/young man in dark with hands on a bike wheel
The theme of Lawrence Tech’s new ad campaign is “Be Curious. Make Magic.” // Photo courtesy of LTU

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.

Lawrence Tech Rolls Out New ‘Be Curious Make Magic’ Marketing Campaign

Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is rolling out a new advertising identity campaign built around a famous quote from futurist and writer Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

The theme of the university’s new campaign tells students that at LTU, they can: “Be Curious. Make Magic.” The first 30-second ad in the campaign is available here.

“LTU alumni designed the DeLorean, managed building the world’s tallest towers, invented keyless car entry, led the drive for electric and autonomous vehicles, and made components for Mars rovers and the Hubble Space Telescope,” says Tarek M. Sobh, president of LTU. “All of those things might have once seemed like magic. And we know our students today, and the students coming to LTU in the years ahead, will invent and perfect new technologies that will seem magical to us. This new advertising campaign simply tells students what they can expect in their LTU experience.”

The 30-second ad, to air on cable channels and over-the-top (OTT) spots on streaming services, starts with video of a baby staring wide-eyed at the wonders around her, then follows a diverse group of young people, centering on one who explores the workings of a bicycle — then designs a highly advanced model.

The campaign was produced by Yellow Flag Productions, a digital media agency with an office on LTU’s campus. Yellow Flag has been working on LTU sports marketing since the university reintroduced intercollegiate sports in 2011 and took over marketing of LTU’s academic programs last year.

“We’re proud to help LTU tell its story as the creative and innovative university of tomorrow,” says Louis Bitonti, founder and CEO of Yellow Flag.

Yellow Flag designed the new campaign in collaboration with the Milford creative agency TMV Group, whose founder and CEO, Bill Morden, worked with Bitonti when Bitonti was advertising manager at Jeep and Morden was a top executive at the global ad agency BBDO.

Auxo Investment Partners in Grand Rapids Acquires Saylor Technical Products

Private investment firm Auxo Investment Partners in Grand Rapids has acquired Saylor Technical Products in Ohio, which will operate under the Indianapolis-based Precision Products Group (PPG) platform and brand. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PPG is the parent company of Paramount Tube, Breyden Products, and Euclid Medical Products.

The acquisition, PPG’s second under Auxo’s ownership, advances Auxo’s and PPG’s plans to build a diversified platform of niche manufacturers with defensible market positions that unite ecofriendly solutions, mechanical strength, and material know-how under a collective focus on heat solvation, thermal control, and electrical insulation. The platform is seeking additional acquisitions with like-minded manufacturers focused on the electrical, defense, medical and consumer packaged goods sectors.

Saylor began as a manufacturer of a flexible, non-metallic, wire and hose protection (sleeving and loom) and has since expanded into specialty cords and tapes. Saylor primarily serves the antique auto, aerospace, wire and cable and electrical markets.

“Saylor’s core competencies of producing and selling products to the aerospace and motor and transformer industries will complement PPG’s aim of becoming a holistic solutions provider to its current customer base,” says Mike Zuber, owner of Saylor.

Chad Heathco, CEO of PPG, says: “We are excited to welcome Mike and his highly skilled team at Saylor to the PPG family. Their extensive expertise and strong track record of developing innovative and reliable technical solutions will further enhance PPG’s ability to meet its customers’ needs and bolster its current growth trajectory.”

Michigan State Receives Nearly $1.5M in Energy Efficiency Rebates from Consumers Energy

Michigan State University in East Lansing has received nearly $1.5 million in energy efficiency rebates from Consumers Energy, funds the university plans to use for future projects that advance its strategic plan goals of increasing sustainable practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Consumers Energy awarded the rebates for MSU’s new $17.75 million, more-efficient steam boiler that entered service in January and for additional projects that include installing LED lights in the university’s greenhouses and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and upgrading the HVAC systems of the Library, Owen Hall, and the Packaging Building, among other projects.

“These projects demonstrate the university’s strong commitment to achieving MSU’s ambitious climate goals,” says MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, who accepted ceremonial checks from Consumers Energy at MSU’s Simon Power Plant. “We will also use these funds toward future projects thanks to our strong partnership with Consumers Energy. I’m grateful for the teams at Consumers Energy and MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities for their efforts to make these projects and rebates happen.”

The projected energy savings from the new boiler and other projects reflects a total reduction of 36,800 thousand cubic feet (MCF) of natural gas or 4,400 megawatt hours of electricity annually — enough power to fully charge more than 629 million smartphones or the equivalent of removing more than 1,100 gas vehicles from the road. This reduction in carbon emissions equates to the carbon it would take 85,500 trees 10 years to absorb.

“Being able to deliver nearly $1.5 million in rebates to the university to reduce energy waste has been a pleasure for our team,” says Lauren Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Consumers Energy. “We are proud to provide energy solutions to the university, as we do with large and small businesses every day. We are grateful we were able to help them both save money and advance the Spartan goal of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

MSU’s new boiler, in combination with electrical generating engines installed last year, allows the plant to quickly respond to changes in campus’ electrical and steam demands in a more energy efficient way. The new equipment will allow the retirement of one or more boilers and steam turbines that are nearly 60 years old and reaching the end of their useful lives.

MSU’s 2030 sustainability goals can be found at the 2030 strategic plan website.

Detroit-based FÜL Beverages Now Available in Six Midwestern States

Detroit-based FÜL Beverages announced that its products will be distributed in 130 Meijer stores across Michigan plus five other midwestern states.

FÜL Beverages are an alternative to “quench any thirst any time” while at the same time giving you’re the body what it needs to relax, recover, or simply enjoy.

“We set out to create healthier, more refined, and refreshing alternative sports drinks and non-alcoholic beers crafted by a local provider,” says Mark Rieth, founder of FÜL. “However, sales success is always predicated on flavor and taste. Our public reception has shown that people enjoy our surprisingly refreshing products and plan to purchase them again. Now they’ll have the opportunity to do that at Meijer stores across the Midwest.”

For Rieth, partnering with Meijer represents an ideal partnership. “Meijer is a premier Michigan-based retailer with almost 100 years’ experience understanding the market and anticipating its wants and needs. The beverage space is hyper-competitive, so we’re proud that our craft drinks have earned valuable shelf space and that Meijer shares our enthusiasm for taking FÜL products to a wider market.”

Unlike most energy drinks, FÜL uses all natural flavors, no preservatives, and ditches unhealthy sugars in favor of natural coffee-berry caffeine. The drinks are lower in calories compared to their counterparts while including electrolytes and Vitamin B to help the body recover and provide a healthier and more hydrating way to replace lost water.

Meijer customers initially will see individual cans of pre-workout drinks Savage — Berry and Lit — Blood Orange with other products following.

FÜL also is targeting the non-alcoholic beer market, the fastest-growing beer segment in the industry, with its NA IPA and Feel Better Blonde. “NA beers are exploding — there’s a lot of customers who desire the crisp, full-bodied taste of a craft brew, but want to avoid the alcohol,” Rieth says. “Partnering with Meijer is a gigantic lead forward for FÜL. We’re expecting other regional and national retailers will follow its lead.”

For more information, visit here.

WalkerHealthcareIT Taps LUDWIG+ to Launch its First Brand Campaign

LUDWIG+, a woman-owned ad agency in Bingham Farms, has been selected as creative and media agency of record by WalkerHealthcareIT in Bloomfield Hills.

LUDWIG+ will oversee the company’s launch of WalkerHealthcareIT’s first integrated marketing campaign, which is scheduled to launch this summer. The agency also will focus on scaling the company’s brand power within the health care industry.

A fast-growing, minority- and woman-owned health care talent firm in business for more than a decade, WalkerHealthcareIT places the highest caliber technology consultants, travel nurses, and allied health professionals at performance-driven organizations. The company’s innovative business model aims to ensure the long-term success of both employers and employees of health care organizations.

“The health care industry is at a crucial crossroads coming out of the pandemic,” says Tifiany Walker, CEO of WalkerHealthcareIT. “WalkerHealthcareIT has a unique opportunity to pave the way forward with innovative talent solutions that empower healthcare professionals and organizations. LUDWIG+ understands the opportunity for a brand like ours in an industry ripe for disruption and is the perfect partner to amplify our impact.”

Barbara Yolles Ludwig, CEO of LUDWIG+, says: “We’re excited to tell the WalkerHealthcareIT story and be a part of their ascent to category leadership. Having scaled several leading health care brands, our team is thrilled to showcase a new, innovative side to WalkerHealthcareIT’s forward-thinking brand.”

ACG Detroit Partners with ACG Western Michigan to Host ACG Cup

ACG Detroit, ACG Western Michigan, and ACG Minnesota announced that students from the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University took home the top prize of $8,000 in the ACG Cup Competition, a day-long business case study competition.

Students from the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University earned the runner-up spot.

The 2023 ACG Cup competition welcomed 25 teams made up of more than 102 students. Offering an option to compete remotely, the event drew in students from several Michigan business, finance and accounting colleges and universities as well as competitors from Fordham University in New York and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Throughout the competition, teams used high-level financial and valuation analyses to arrive at their conclusions and deliver professional presentations. Stepping into the role of a consultant, students presented their recommendations in a way that would impress a board of directors.

Members of each school’s team are listed below:

Grand Valley State team members:

  • Justin Farrish
  • Ryan Gilmore
  • Griffin Jacques
  • Justin Quinn
  • Teddy Rounds

Western Michigan team members:

  • Kamola Makhmudova
  • Molly Ostrander
  • Nicholas Scherer

More than 40 volunteer judges from Detroit, Minneapolis, and West Michigan took part in the multi-round, hybrid business case competition. Judges come from a variety of industries and businesses including commercial and investment banking, corporate law, private equity, accounting, and valuation.

Nowincluded.com Offers Health Care Platform for Communities of Color 

Tiffany Whitlow and Del Smith have founded a platform for communities of color to share their health stories, journeys, and experiences. It’s called Nowincluded.com.

Whitlow and Smith understand that there is inequity in the American health care system, especially in Detroit. They hope Nowincluded.com can raise awareness about these disparities and shine a light on the unique health needs of Detroiters.

On Nowincluded.com, Detroiters can learn and discuss topics like health misinformation, clinical trial participation, vaccines, and much more. By providing a space for education and awareness, the platform can help ensure that communities of color in Detroit are informed and empowered.

It is hoped that with community involvement, participants can support each other’s well-being and stop the spread of infectious diseases.

Telemus Capital to Host Webinar on Navigating Personal Finances Amid Bank Failures

Telemus Capital in Southfield is hosting a webinar at noon on March 23 titled “Fallout from Silicon Valley Bank.”

The webinar will cover some of the most pressing questions the firm has heard recently from investors as banks are collapsing and need rescuing. Topics will include best practices and considerations investors should be making in managing their cash in the current climate, what bearing the recent bank failures will have on the economy and the market going forward, among others.

Matt Dmytryszyn, chief investment officer at Telemus, and a firm partner and senior financial life adviser Josh Levine will be participating in the program.

To register, visit here.

Kiplinger’s Names Genisys Credit Union’s Genius Checking Top High-yield Account 

Kiplinger’s has named Auburn Hills-based Genisys Credit Union’s Genius High Yield Checking Account the No. 1 Top High Yield Checking Account in the nation.

In order to give back to its members, the personal, high-yield checking account pays an annual percentage yield of 5.25 percent on balances up to $7,500 and offers debit reward points on purchases. Genius Checking has also been recognized by MoneyRates as a Best High Yield Rewards Checking Account.

“The effects of inflation are eating into every American’s wallet,” says Jackie Buchanan, president and CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “Genisys is fortunate to be in a strong financial position that allows us to give back to our members to make their lives a little easier. The credit union has experienced exponential growth and this is one way of saying thank you to our members for their continued trust and loyalty.”

The credit union believes financial health should be attainable for everyone, which is why Genius Checking is one of the easiest accounts to access: no initial deposit or minimum balance requirement, enroll in e-statements, and use a Genisys Debit Mastercard 10 times a month for purchases of $5 or more, excluding ATM transactions. Genius Checking is an additional way for members to save and earn while using their money on everyday needs.

“We operate to benefit our members,” Buchanan says. “It is our responsibility to keep a diversified investment portfolio and operate within conservative risk policies to ensure we can safeguard our members’ funds through various economic cycles. The trust placed in us by our members is at the heart of our operations. We deeply appreciate their support in choosing Genisys as their credit union.”

Michigan Science Center’s After Dark Returns April 15 with World Space Party

The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) in Detroit is once again hosting its After Dark event April 15 with a “World Space Party” theme. The evening features adults-only (21+) access to the museum, plus music, food, drinks, science demonstrations, and a Laser Lizzo light show.

The evening will feature two special speakers on the Science Stage. Paulette Epstein, Mi-Sci’s staff astronomer and a NASA/JPL volunteer solar system ambassador, will make a presentation about the James Webb Space Telescope and its research. Michael McConville, a professor and science communicator, will discuss all the ways that space can kill us — from the dramatic to the mundane — and how scientists are trying to ensure that humans truly become an interplanetary species.

The Tom Everett Experience will provide music for the evening, paired with drinks from the Lacy’s Mobile Libations bar cart. Tickets ($35 for members, $48 for non-members) include access to the museum, activities, the laser show, and one complimentary drink.

For more information and tickets, visit here.