DBusiness Daily Update: Novi’s The Shyft Group to Invest $16M in Charlotte Facility, 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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The Shyft Group’s Blue Arc EV Solutions brand trucks will be built in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing. // Courtesy of The Shyft Group
The Shyft Group’s Blue Arc EV Solutions brand trucks will be built in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing. // Courtesy of The Shyft Group

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.

Novi’s The Shyft Group to Invest $16M to Charlotte Facility

Novi-based specialty commercial truck manufacturer The Shyft Group has announced plans to invest $16 million to expand its facilities in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing.

The expansion will enable production of commercial electric vehicles for its Blue Arc EV Solutions brand, launched last year.

“We’re extremely proud to invest in EV production here in our home state of Michigan where our company has been headquartered for nearly 50 years,” says Daryl Adams, president and CEO of The Shyft Group. “We are thankful to be part of the Charlotte community and look forward to bringing the future of fleets to our operations there.”

The Charlotte campus, with seven facilities, currently is home to multiple Shyft product lines, including walk-in delivery vans, motorhome chassis, and work truck chassis. The addition of Blue Arc EV production will help support the company’s previous commitment toward employment levels on the Charlotte campus, with Blue Arc bringing a wide range of engineering, manufacturing, and technical jobs to Charlotte.

With the expansion, upgrades to facilities, and installation of new equipment, Shyft will have the capacity to produce up to 3,000 EVs per year in Charlotte. The company previously announced an initial customer pre-order for 2,000 Class 3, 4, and 5 all-electric delivery vehicles.

The expansion is being supported by co-investment and business incentives from the city of Charlotte, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).

DTE Energy Customers Experienced 21% Fewer Power Interruptions in 2022

DTE Energy in Detroit says its investment of more than $1 billion in its electric grid last year helped improve reliability for more customers in 2022 with customers experiencing 21 percent fewer power interruptions in 2022 than in 2021 and the average outage duration time was down more than 40 percent.

In communities where DTE completed focused work on the grid’s most challenged infrastructure, customers experienced a 40-70 percent improvement in reliability, the utility reports.

“We’re pleased to report that we continue to make solid strides in improving reliability for our customers,” says Matt Paul, executive vice president of distribution operations at DTE Energy. “2022 was a record year for investment in our grid and the result was stronger reliability for our customers. In addition, with fewer severe weather events in 2022, our field crews were able to focus more consistently on grid resilience. It’s clear that as we invest in the grid, our customers benefit with improved performance and more reliable power.

“Over the past year we trimmed thousands of trees and upgraded equipment, keeping power flowing more consistently to our customers,” Paul says. “Continuing this work across our 7,600 square miles of infrastructure will take time, but we’re committed to providing all of our customers with the power they need and the reliability they deserve.”

DTE says it trimmed more than 6,500 miles of trees, performing equipment inspections, and completed associated upgrades on more than 8,500 miles of circuits across its service territory.

Among the work completed:

Wayne County – DTE trimmed more than 1,200 miles of trees and inspected and upgraded nearly 600 circuit miles in Wayne County. Reliability improved by 58 percent in areas where DTE focused its work. Within the city of Detroit this work contributed to a 68 percent improvement in reliability.

Oakland County – DTE completed more than 1,600 miles of tree trimming in 2022 and performed inspections and equipment upgrades along more than 900 circuit miles, contributing to a 65 percent improvement in reliability for those Oakland County customers.

Macomb County – More than 300 miles of trees were trimmed in Macomb County last year, along with over 350 miles of equipment inspections and upgrades. On those circuits where work was completed, power reliability improved by approximately 45 percent.

Washtenaw County – DTE completed tree trimming along nearly 600 miles in Washtenaw County in 2022, in addition to 207 miles of equipment inspections and upgrades. The result is a 69 percent reliability improvement on the circuits where work was completed in 2022.

“We have more work to do, which is why we’re continuing to invest more than ever in infrastructure upgrades in order to build the grid of the future,” Paul adds. “We are committed to working tirelessly to ensure that the power our customers need is as reliable and affordable as possible.”

Wolverine Worldwide in Rockford Sells Keds Brand to Designer Brands

Wolverine World Wide in Rockford announced today that it has sold the Keds brand to Designer Brands (DBI), the parent company of footwear retailer DSW.

In addition, the company announced that it intends to grant an exclusive license to DBI for Hush Puppies footwear in the United States and Canada, where DSW has been the exclusive retail partner for Hush Puppies since last year.

“Selling Keds and licensing the Hush Puppies brand for the United States and Canada is an important step as we continue to advance our strategy to simplify the portfolio and direct resources to our growth brands,” says Brendan Hoffman, president and CEO of Wolverine Worldwide. “We are confident this will place Wolverine on an accelerated path to improved profitability and long-term shareholder value creation.

“Combined, these transactions will generate total cash of over $90 million, including the monetization of working capital. The proceeds will be used to pay down debt and strengthen our capital structure.”

The Keds brand sale closed effective Feb. 4 and the Hush Puppies license is anticipated to be effective as of July 1.

Honigman and Warner, Norcross + Judd served as legal advisors to Wolverine Worldwide. Solomon Partners served as financial advisor to Designer Brands Inc., with Thompson Hine as legal advisors.

First Brands Group in Plymouth Completes Acquisition of Horizon Global Corp.

First Brands Group in Plymouth has acquired all issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Horizon Global Corp., also in Plymouth, for $1.75 per share.

As a result of the acquisition, Horizon Global became a wholly owned subsidiary of First Brands and Horizon Global’s common stock will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Madison Heights’ Lumenore Partnership with iQ Innovation Hub in India

Lumenore, a Madison Heights firm that markets a platform that develops AI-powered advanced analytics and business intelligence solutions, is partnering with iQ Innovation Hub, an integrated consulting technology supplier in India.

The move is expected to help Lumenore increase business momentum and expansion into the U.S., the European Union, and Indian markets.

Lumenore is conceptualized to make analytics simple and flexible to help organizations achieve more with data with faster access to actionable business insights. The platform’s features, like NLQ-powered conversational analytics (AskMe Anything), AI-recommended insights (Do you Know), self-service solutions, and building a data universe have helped enterprises around the globe accelerate their data transformation journey and empower data-driven decision-making across industries, the company says.

Under the agreement, Lumenore has authorized iQ Innovation to purchase and/or license products and to grant access to resell them in the regions. iQ Innovation provides end-to-end support in intelligent automation, cloud solutions, cloud migrations, web development, mobile development, API development, ETL and automation testing & blockchain in industries like healthcare, automobile, and e-commerce.

Through this partnership, Lumenore expects to add more than 10,000 users in the IT and healthcare sector in the next two quarters.

“Brands are looking to access the availability of near real-time data for analytics,” says Naren Vijay, executive vice president of growth for Lumenore. “At Lumenore, we have the expertise and have changed how organizations of any size in any industry do things.

“We are happy to partner with iQ Innovation, which strives to build intelligent business solutions like us. With their strong presence in the healthcare and technology sector, we are looking forward to further accelerating our go-to-market strategy and reaching new organizations in India, U.K., and U.S. region.”

Lumenore is making its entire dashboard and conversational analytics available to end users to help them make better use of the data collected. Using Lumenore’s BI platform could help organizations reduce their overall reporting and dashboarding cost by 30 percent while improving the efficiency of reporting operations by 50 percent.

Emagine Entertainment Makes Move to Walsh College Campus

Troy’s Emagine Entertainment Inc. has made the previously announced move of its corporate headquarters to the second floor or Walsh College, also in Troy.

The new co-location of office space for Emagine Entertainment is part of a broader collaborative partnership between it and Walsh College, one the partners say exemplifies the best of both business and higher education.

The partnership focuses on the idea of Innovation In Action providing Emagine staff access to ongoing higher education and professional development opportunities and the Walsh College community with internships, full-time positions, and real-world business and educational synergies with Emagine.

“I wanted to express my gratitude to our CEO, Anthony LaVerde, who worked with Suzy Siegle, Wash College’s President and CEO, for having the foresight to proceed the opportunity to not just occupy the space but to collaborate with the Walsh community,” says Paul Glantz, co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, and a Walsh graduate.

“Being in an academic environment, having the privilege of being surrounded by young people who are striving to enhance their skill sets, and to learn so they too can enjoy a better role in society, a better social economic outgrowth, compared to where they are today, that’s really a privilege for us. We are delighted and thrilled to be here.”

Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel Earns a Fourth Place Ranking on U.S. News List

The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham has been named the fourth-best hotel in Michigan by the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Travel Rankings.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Hotel Walloon in Walloon Lake (south of Petoskey), and the H Hotel in Midland placed ahead of The Townsend.

“The Townsend Hotel team works very hard to ensure that each and every guest has a memorable experience at our property, for all of the right reasons,” says Steven Kalczynski, managing director of hotel. “It’s always rewarding to receive confirmation, through recognitions like this ranking, that our efforts are hitting the mark.”

This year’s Best Hotels were calculated based on the aggregate opinion of travel experts and guests expressed through awards.

To view the entire Michigan list, visit here. The overall list can be found here.

Coach Foundation Partners with Pensole Lewis College to Provide Opportunities

Pensole Lewis College (PLC) in Detroit, in partnership with the Coach Foundation, has announced the debut of the Coach Dream It Real x PLC Masterclass, a new, virtual six-week program for aspiring accessories and footwear designers.

The masterclass is designed to remove socioeconomic barriers for traditionally underserved communities and communities of color by offering them a unique course of study within Coach’s New York City design studio. It’s inspired by the Coach Foundation’s Dream It Real initiative and its mission to create opportunities and remove barriers for the next generation who have the courage to dream it real.

“Coach is an iconic and legendary brand in American fashion, known for timeless style and long-lasting quality,” says D’Wayne Edwards, founder and president of PLC. “This masterclass was created to build a community of creative talent that may one day become a member of the Coach design team. Our goal with this program is to provide Coach talented, diverse designers who will bring new perspectives to an already esteemed brand.”

The program will feature up to 10 aspiring designers, whose tuition will be covered by the Coach Foundation, who will participate in a six-week, accelerated online accessories and footwear design masterclass from March 6-April 14, with final presentations and in-person mentoring at Coach’s headquarters in New York City on April 21.

Students will receive weekly instruction, but the program will function more like a design studio. This format allows students to experience what it is like working at a brand while developing their time management, professionalism, and leadership skills.

Registration is open here.

WWE’s SummerSlam Headed to Ford Field in Detroit Aug. 5

Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced that Ford Field in Detroit will host SummerSlam on Saturday, Aug. 5. On the same night, Madonna will be performing at Little Caesars Arena, while the Detroit Tigers will host the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park (6:10 start).

SummerSlam marks the first WWE event to take place at Ford Field since WrestleMania in 2007 and the first SummerSlam to take place in the state of Michigan since 1993.

“We are excited for Ford Field to host WWE’s biggest event of the summer and look forward to the WWE Universe converging on Detroit to celebrate SummerSlam’s long-awaited return to Michigan,” says Dan Ventrelle, executive vice president of talent at WWE.

“Landing WWE SummerSlam at Ford Field is a signature win for Detroit and continues the momentum of the Detroit Sports Commission in attracting major sporting events to the region,” says Dave Beachnau, executive director of DSC. “Metro Detroit enjoys a special place in WWE history and has produced many iconic moments. Thank you to the entire WWE family for entrusting us with this incredible opportunity, and we look forward to delivering a first-class experience.”

Tickets for SummerSlam will go on sale April 14 via Ticketmaster.com. To learn more about registering for presale opportunities, visit here.

In addition, official SummerSlam Priority Passes will be available soon through exclusive partner On Location, giving fans the opportunity to purchase ticket packages before they go on sale to the general public. SummerSlam Priority Passes will offer fans the chance to be ringside, all-inclusive pre-show hospitality with WWE Superstar appearances, ringside photo opportunities, exclusive merchandise, and more.

For more information, visit here or call 855-346-7388.

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