DBusiness Daily Update: MML and MEDC Team Up to Increase Michigan Housing Options, 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.
Pattern Book Homes for 21st Century Michigan uses a two-part approach to help speed up housing development across the state. // Stock Photo
Pattern Book Homes for 21st Century Michigan uses a two-part approach to help speed up housing development across the state. // Stock Photo

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.

MML and MEDC Team Up to Increase Michigan Housing Options

The Michigan Municipal League (MML) and Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) have reached back into the past to develop new strategies to help communities add more housing options to their existing neighborhoods.

The plan is dubbed Pattern Book Homes for 21st Century Michigan, and it uses a two-part approach to help speed up housing development across the state.

First, the plan offers free construction plans for multi-family homes using designs modeled after popular kit homes built during the state’s housing boom in the early part of the 20th century. Home builders can choose from two-family homes and fourplexes that use architectural themes designed to fit into existing Michigan neighborhoods. The second part of the Pattern Book provides a toolkit to help communities modernize their zoning codes to allow for more multi-family construction like the homes envisioned in the Pattern Book.

“The free plans offered in the Pattern Book Homes are similar to the home styles built in classic neighborhoods across the state like the Old West Side in Ann Arbor, the Heritage Hill Neighborhood in Grand Rapids, the Mechanic Street Neighborhood in Bay City, or the Westside Neighborhood in Lansing,” says Melissa Milton-Pung, program manager with the MML. “These home plans fit seamlessly into the existing fabric of our communities. And when builders use these plans in coordination with local officials, they can save on costs and reduce approval timelines, which will allow communities to increase the housing they so desperately need even faster.”

Michigan’s Statewide Housing Plan estimates that 75,000 new homes need to be built every year just to keep up with demand. Yet, the Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) estimates only 17,000 new home construction permits will be issued by the end of this year.

Between January 2013 and October 2021, the average sales price for a home in Michigan increased by 84 percent. During that same period, the asking rent for a Michigan apartment increased by 20 percent, with the highest increases registered in mid-market properties most likely to contain affordable units.

By using the home plans in the Pattern Book, builders will save costs and time in having to design new units themselves. The Pattern Book also encourages local planning officials to pre-approve the designs for specific neighborhoods that meet the appropriate zoning and lot dimension standards to further speed up the development process.

Key features in the Pattern Book Homes Project include classic architectural styles popular of the kit homes of the 1920s and 1930s. The home plans call for separate HVAC systems, individual washers and dryers, and sound buffering systems between units. Based on current construction costs, The Michigan Municipal League estimates that Pattern Book homes can be constructed at $500,000 per duplex and $900,000 per fourplex.

Detroit’s Vehya Expands Presence in Latin America with Brazil Launch

Vehya, a Detroit-based electric vehicle industry digital platform, has expanded its operations into Brazil.

Vehya’s platform provides AI-driven technology to ensure that the electrification of things is on time, on budget, and adequately serviced. With more than 400,000 electricians on the network, 20,000 EVITP-certified, and more joining Vehya’s platform daily, it says it provides complete coverage for all major cities in the U.S. and Canada.

With more than 100 million vehicles driving in the streets of Brazil, the expectation of the EV market is very positive, with double-digit growth in the following years.

“Vehya is expanding operations outside North America into Brazil as part of our strategy to support the electrification of things,” says Wiliam McCoy, co-founder and CEO of Vehya. “Brazil just reached 100,000 EVs on the road, and Vehya is here to support the country to scale up faster in the following years with a streamlined platform for installation and service of EV infrastructure.”

The focus of the expansion will be on the infrastructure of EV charges. Vehya is a member of the Brazilian Association of Electrical Vehicles (ABVE).

“Becoming a member of ABVE is a great opportunity for Vehya to strategically help lead the development of electromobility with the other member companies. Also, advise public policies regarding infrastructure, education, and workforce development to support the growth of the EV market.”

The company’s subsidiary officially started in August 2022 and is licensed to operate in the national territory. The Brazilian headquarter is in São Paulo, located in the modern corporate district near Faria Lima Avenue.

Emagine is New Presenting Sponsor for Parade Co.’s Distinguished Clown Corps

The Parade Co. has announced that Emagine Entertainment in Troy is the new presenting sponsor of the Distinguished Clown Corps (DCC), a group of 200 business and community leaders who march in America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner White.

“We are excited to welcome Emagine Entertainment to The Parade Company family,” says Tony Michaels, president and CEO, of The Parade Co. “This amazing Michigan-based company is the perfect partner to bring magic to our Distinguished Clown Corps and we look forward to a very special partnership.”

Paul Glantz, co-founder and chairman of Emagine, says: “We are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful tradition in the city of Detroit. Community is very important to us and we know how important this event is to our entire community.”

Anthony LaVerde, CEO of Emagine, adds: “Partnering with The Parade Co. and the Distinguished Clown Corps is an exciting moment for our organization. We look forward to enjoying this cherished event with our Emagine teammates and guests.”

The DCC will be honored tonight at a private Grand Jester’s Reception at the Detroit Athletic Club. The event will be hosted by 2022 Distinguished Grand Jester Longine Morawski, a 28-year DCC member.

DCC annual membership is $1,000 per person with all proceeds benefiting the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation. For nominations, contact CarolAnn Barbb at cbarbb@theparade.org.

Dickinson Wright Ranked in Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment 2022 Edition

The 2022 edition of Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment has recognized Detroit-based law firm 2022 Dickinson Wright for its labor and employment practice and its attorneys.

Benchmark Litigation’s rankings are based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews with labor and employment practitioners and their clients to identify the leading practitioners and firms. Firms in all 50 states, plus District of Columbia, are recognized for the gravitas of their case matters during 2021, including potential precedent set or verdicts with notably higher dollar amounts at stake.

Benchmark Litigation recognized the firm’s labor and employment practice as “highly recommended” in Michigan and named attorneys Timothy Howlett, William Thacker, and Kathryn Wood as “Labor & Employment Stars.”

Barton Malow Among ‘Metro Detroit’s Best + Brightest Companies to Work For’

For the 18th consecutive year, Barton Malow in Southfield has been named one of “Metro Detroit’s Best + Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR).

This award honors organizations committed to excellence in human resources and putting team members first. Last year, Barton Malow also was named one of the Best + Brightest Companies to Work For in the nation.

Winners of Metro Detroit’s Best + Brightest award were scored on compensation, benefits, and team member solutions; team member enrichment, engagement, and retention; team member learning and development; team member recognition; communication and shared vision; diversity, equity, and inclusion; work-life balance; company performance; and more.

“These 2022 winning organizations have stood out during unpredictable times and have proven they are an employer of choice,” says Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO of NABR and The Best and Brightest Program. “They keep their employees’ needs first and provide perks that include development, well-being, work-life balance, rewards, and recognition. In addition, these winning companies offer a fantastic work culture and workplace environment that attracts and retains superior employees.”

Visit here to see the full list of “Metro Detroit’s Best + Brightest Companies to Work For.”

Kosches Donate $1M to Help Fund Detroit Public TV’s New Center for Educational Media

With the beginning of a new school year, Detroit Public Television and the Michigan Learning Channel are poised to expand their offerings to children and their parents from birth through 12th grade, made possible by the support of generous donors like Donald and Mary Kosch, who have committed $1 million dollars to DPTV’s work in education and mental health.

The Donald and Mary Kosch Center for Educational Media has been established to emphasize the importance of addressing the needs of the whole child. By focusing on the holistic needs of young children, families and teachers will be empowered to improve learning and life outcomes.

“We are very excited about the holistic approach that Detroit PBS is taking,” says Mary Kosch. “DPTV considers the child, parent(s), caregivers, educators, and collaborates with other community partners to understand and inform what’s happening from ages zero to eight — these are formative and significant years for learning.  We are very excited about the holistic approach at DPTV.”

Donald Kosch says: “I feel education is building the skills and learning that can serve us throughout our lives; we know our gift will provide a great value to the community and are de-lighted to establish the Center for Educational Media.”

Detroit Public TV President and CEO Rich Homberg says he believes the Center for Educational Media will revolutionize how families receive support and information.

“We are so deeply grateful for the transformational gift from Don and Mary,” he says. “Partnering with them for the past eight years has allowed us to develop a sense of just how special they are. Their gift will allow DPTV and the Michigan Learning Channel to impact families across the state from birth through the working years.”

The Donald and Mary Kosch Center for Educational Media will be focusing on DPTV’s education work in three areas: Early childhood, the Michigan Learning Channel, and support for mental health.

DID Returning to Detroit for its Second ‘Designed By’ Youth Design Fest

The Diversity in Design (DID) Collaborative will host its second “Designed By” youth design fest at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit on Sept. 29.

Designed By aims to foster awareness of design as a viable career path for high school students by presenting them with influential speakers, small group discussions, and design work across different typologies.

New to this year’s program is a hands-on design challenge where students will choose from a variety of real-world issues and use design to find possible solutions to these problems, bringing design in the abstract to a tangible, relatable part of their lives.

The day’s festivities will begin with a design exhibition where students can explore and interact with design concepts — form, space, identity, culture, and experience. From there, students will participate in a series of round-table discussions and workshops led by a majority of Black design leaders from the collaborative and the Detroit community representing a wide variety of design practices. Students also will hear from spotlight speaker Akil Alvin, CEO and global chief officer of Digital Detroit Media.

Following Designed By, DID will present a new program called Beats+Bites+Backgrounds for Black design professionals, also on Sept. 29 at the College for Creative Studies. The networking experience aims to provide a safe space for community-building, learning together, and sharing authentic experiences among Black creatives based in Detroit and beyond. These explorations of backgrounds will take place while enjoying refreshments and great music in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Pistons to Honor Legacy of Bob Lanier Throughout Coming Season

The Detroit Pistons will honor the life and legacy of former team great Bob Lanier during the 2022-23 NBA season by will wearing a 16 stripe on the upper-right section of their jerseys throughout the season.

In addition to the season-long wearing of the commemorative stripe, the Pistons will host a Bob Lanier tribute night on Jan. 23 as they host the Milwaukee Bucks at Little Caesars Arena.

Drafted out of St. Bonaventure by the Pistons with the No. 1 overall selection in the 1970 NBA Draft, Lanier became one of the best centers in NBA history. The Buffalo, N.Y. native earned seven of his eight career NBA All-Star selections with Detroit while spending the first nine-plus of his 14 NBA seasons in a Pistons uniform.

Lanier made the NBA All-Star team each season from 1972-75 and 1977-79 and was named Most Valuable Player in the 1974 NBA All-Star Game. He ranks as the Pistons all-time leader in scoring average (22.7 ppg) and double-doubles (442) and ranks among the career leaders in franchise history in numerous total categories, including third in points (15,488) and rebounds (8,063), second in field goals (6,276), fourth in blocks (859) and seventh in games played (681).

Known as one of basketball’s great representatives on and off the court, Lanier won the 1978 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. He was a global ambassador for the NBA, traveling the world on behalf of the league and making a positive impact across the globe. Lanier was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Annual Men’s Health Event Returns to Ford Field Oct. 8

The MIU Men’s Health Foundation is hosting the 12th annual Men’s Health Event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 8 at Ford Field in Detroit.

Metro Detroit-area men 18 years and older, with or without health insurance, are encouraged to take advantage of this free event focused on preventative health care. Services will include vital screenings, bloodwork, flu vaccinations, COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, HIV testing, oral cancer and dental checks, vision and glaucoma screenings, skin cancer screenings, vein dopplers, diabetic foot checks, heart status monitoring, colorectal cancer FIT kits, Hepatitis A vaccines, and mental health evaluations.

“Far too many men delayed or skipped routine health check-ups during the pandemic, which can be critical to saving lives,” says Dr. Michael Lutz, president and founder of the MIU Men’s Health Foundation and a urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology. “This is a great opportunity to get back in the game and take charge of your health. It’s been a tough couple of years, and we encourage area men to come to this event, get screened, and then kick off a healthier lifestyle. There will be an incredible number of resources in one place to help you do that.”

An assessment of current health and screenings for some of the most treatable diseases will be provided at the event. Since many illnesses are preventable, the event also offers a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle, information about men’s health topics and increased awareness about advances in health care.

The free health screenings and tests will be provided in partnership with Beaumont Health, Trinity Health, Ascension and are comprehensively valued at more than $2,000. In addition to standard vital measurements, blood screenings will test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), testosterone, glucose, and cholesterol.

The event will also include free lunch for attendees, yoga, the opportunity to kick a field goal, haircuts for men provided by the Michigan Barber School, manicures and massages for women who bring the men in their lives to the event, and inflatables for kids. A job fair will include multiple educational and vocational opportunities for skills-based training to assist with reentry into the workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic. A half-time show at noon will help men “get back in the game” and feature an in-depth discussion of health and nutrition.

Black Health Movement will host exercise on the field as part of its Second Saturday Fit Fest, and Gospel Against AIDS will be offering prayer partners.

Advanced registration is available online at TheMensHealthEvent.com. Email questions to info@miumenshealthfoundation.org. Detailed descriptions of all blood tests and screenings are available here. Men who choose to participate in the blood screening tests will receive a copy and explanation of their results by mail.