DBusiness Daily Update: Rebelle Rally in Western Desert to Showcase New Jeep Wrangler 4xe, 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.
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One of three The Rebelle Rally Jeep factory teams, 4xeVenture, consists of Nena Barlow (right) and Teralin Petereit (left). // Courtesy Jeep
One of three The Rebelle Rally Jeep factory teams, 4xeVenture, consists of Nena Barlow (right) and Teralin Petereit (left). // Courtesy 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.

Rebelle Rally in Western Desert to Showcase New Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Nearly one-third of the field of the sixth annual Rebelle Rally through the Nevada and California deserts Oct. 7-16 will be counting on a Jeep 4×4 will get them to the finish line.

Eighteen of the close to 60 teams, all comprised of women, will be driving either a Wrengler or Gladiator during the 1,400-mile, eight-day contest.

“The Jeep brand has proudly supported the Rebelle Rally since day one,” says Jim Morrison, vice president of Jeep Brand North America. “Freedom, adventure and capability are core to the Jeep brand’s values, and the Rebelle Rally is the epitome of adventure and capability. It’s the perfect venue to showcase our Jeep 4xe capability along with the capabilities of our female teams.”

The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally in the U.S. It’s a demanding event, based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, time and distance, using maps, compass, and roadbooks. Use of GPS, cell phones, and internet is strictly forbidden. Instead, competitors must rely on their driving, map, and compass navigation skills and vehicle capability to achieve checkpoints in some of the most punishing terrain in America.

“We refer to the Rebelle Rally as the ultimate authentic proving ground for people, products, and vehicles,” says Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle Rally. “When we started this event in 2016, we had two goals: to create the ultimate, women-only, off-road competition and adventure, and to create an event that showcases just how capable stock vehicles can be.”

The three Jeep factory teams in this year’s field will be driving the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, which deliver 49 MPGe and 21 miles of all-electric range with no range anxiety.

As the Jeep brand works toward its ultimate goal of zero emission freedom, events like the Rebelle Rally are key to prove and showcase both its industry-best 4×4 capability, as well as its class-exclusive, off-road 4xe powertrain.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe’s propulsion system combines two electric motors, a 2.0-liter I-4 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission for nearly silent propulsion and enhanced 4×4 off-road capability, without EV range anxiety. This arrangement enables the trail-rated Jeep Wrangler to retain running gear that includes solid front and rear axles, full-time two-speed transfer case, a fully articulating suspension and 30 inches of water fording capability.

U-M Student-run Investment Fund Targets Early-stage Climate Tech Firms

Students and faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have launched a student-run investment fund targeting early-stage climate tech companies that aim to make a real difference on climate change.

The fund is the centerpiece of the Michigan Climate Venture, a first-of-its-kind, multidisciplinary program at the intersection of climate technology and venture capital at U-M. The program is designed to provide a hands-on learning experience that will prepare students for impactful careers addressing climate change.

It was developed by faculty and MBA students at the Ross School of Business in partnership with U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) and the Erb Institute.

“MCV seeks to be a signature educational experience at a top public research university: issue- and action-based, rigorous and data driven, multidisciplinary, technology-enhanced, and co-created and managed by students,” says Gautam Kaul, the fund’s faculty director and professor of finance at U-M.

“MCV is based on the success of the Social Venture and the International Investment funds, which I also oversee at Michigan Ross, and is in partnership with the Erb Institute and SEAS, and focused on the most pressing and challenging global societal issue we face: climate change.”

The MCV fund is the first student-run fund outside of Michigan Ross at U-M, Kaul says. It is open to full-time graduate students from schools across campus to leverage the expertise that can be found at the university. The fund also is embracing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in its recruiting, fund experience, and operations.

This year, about 20 students have been accepted into the fund, including Ross’ full-time MBA students as well as those from SEAS and the College of Engineering. Throughout the academic year, the members will collaborate to source, screen, vet, and ultimately invest in and support deals aligned with the fund’s mission.

Kroger to Hire 1,200 in Michigan

Kroger will be conducting its second hybrid hiring event, including virtual and on-site interviews, from 2-5 p.m. on Oct. 13. The grocer’s mission is to hire 1,200 associates by finding talent for retail, e-commerce, and pharmacy roles.

“Kroger is eager to welcome new associates to our organization as we prepare for an incredible holiday season where customers are planning to return to larger family gatherings and celebrations,” says Stephanie Spangler-Opdyke, human resources leader for The Kroger Co. of Michigan. “It’s an exciting time to work in grocery retail, and as one of the leading retailers and employers in Michigan, we’re committed to offering associates a culture of opportunity and career with purpose, competitive pay and benefits, and flexible schedules.

“We truly want our associates to have a rewarding and uplifting experience while meeting our customers’ needs and delivering on our promise to be in-stock, fresh, and friendly.”

Kroger offers resources, benefits, and training, to support and develop associates and make their lives easier including:

Wages and Benefits: Kroger provides comprehensive compensation packages, including competitive salaries and wages, health care, and retirement.

Continued Education and Tuition Reimbursement: Kroger’s tuition reimbursement program, offering up to $21,000 for both part-time and full-time associates, covers a GED to PhD. Since inception, this program has benefitted 6,789 associates nationally, with hourly associates making up 88.4 percent of those who have taken advantage of the offering so far.

Training and Development: Kroger offers on-demand, role-specific training and resources through FEED desktop and mobile and modern learning platforms like Axonify as well as leadership, career advancement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

Health and Wellness: Kroger continues to further support associates’ safety, health, and well-being by coaching managers to lead with compassion and empathy and through resources like The Well-Being Assistant powered by Magellan Health that is available 24/7 and offers free counseling sessions as well as BetterHelp, another mental wellness resource. The organization also encourages use of Whil, a wellness platform that encourages activities like mindfulness, yoga, and sleep. Additionally, the organization continues to award a one-time payment of $100 to associates who become fully COVID-19 vaccinated.

Perks and Discounts: Kroger provides flexible scheduling, an advance pay option through partner DailyPay, as well as discounts on groceries, electronics, streaming services, travel, and more.

“We know that a career looks different for everyone, so we strive to provide the tools and support associates need to create their own path to success,” says Spangler-Opdyke. “No matter where your journey begins, we have fresh opportunities for everyone.”

For more information and the register for the hiring event, visit here.

MIOSHA Offers $250,000 in Grants to Small Businesses to Protect Workers

Michigan small businesses with 250 employees or fewer can apply for a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) matching grant up to $5,000 to make improvements to their workplace safety and health.

“To supplement the great economic development work our state already does, we need to focus on creating and growing more Main Street businesses and protecting our workforce,” says Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Supporting small businesses through these ongoing grant opportunities and our continued work through the MI New Economy plan is critical to Michigan’s long-term economic success and the safety and well-being of the hardworking men and women in our state.”

The grants are available through the Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) grant program and enable employers to purchase safety and health-related equipment and related training that will provide a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan.

“With $250,000 in grant funding, MIOSHA’s goal is to help more Michigan companies step up to enhance their workplace safety and health programs,” says Bart Pickelman, director of MIOSHA. “We encourage all eligible employers to take advantage of these grants while funds last to further safeguard their employees from injury and illness.”

Preference will be given to employers in high-hazard industries identified in MIOSHA’s 2019-2023 strategic plan. All projects will be evaluated based on the specific hazards addressed. The grant period will continue until grant funding is expended.

For more information, visit here.

ASE Announces 2021 Michigan HR Executives of the Year for 2021

Troy-based employer association ASE has announced its four Michigan HR Executives of the Year for 2021.

Through a nomination process overseen by ASE, candidates are recognized for work that distinguishes them in the field of human resource management. The 2021 winners are:

For-profit Organization – Large Employer

Jenifer Zbiegien, vice president of human resources and marketing, Aludyne Inc., Southfield

For-profit Organization – Small Employer

Deanna Cain, head of human resources, RPT Realty, Southfield

Non-Profit Organization – Large Employer

Justin Walworth, chief human resources officer, Peckham Inc., Charlotte

Non-Profit Organization – Small Employer

Chantale Stevenson, director of human resources, Archdiocese of Detroit

“The dedication to the HR profession is prevalent in each of the 2021 HR Executives of the Year,” says Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE. “This past year was probably one of the most challenging in their careers and they showed exemplary leadership throughout a very challenging time.”

For more information, visit here.

William Davidson Institute to Present Virtual Roundtable Nov. 5

The Ross School of Business and the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in collaboration with the U.S.-Mexico Foundation (USMF), will host a virtual roundtable from 2-4 p.m. on Nov. 5.

The goal of the event, focused on opportunities to strengthen U.S. and Mexico collaborations in the auto industry, is to share perspectives from diplomats and industry leaders with the university community, U.S. and Mexico business communities, and the public.

Participants are expected to come away from this event with insight on the current state of the automotive industry’s collaboration in the U.S. and Mexico, areas of investment, and best practices for OEMs and suppliers to maximize relationships on both sides of the border.

The event will consist of two panel discussions:

Panel 1: U.S.-Mexico Automotive Supply Chain Integration: Trends and Opportunities

Panel 2: Powering Mobility: Implications of the Energy Transition

Each panel will feature a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, a former Mexico ambassador to the U.S., automotive OEM and Tier 1 supplier representatives. To register, visit here.

Detroit City Distillery Presents Live Concert and Halloween Party Oct. 28

Detroit City Distillery and The Suicide Machines are collaborating to host a live Halloween concert and party at The Whiskey Factory at 1000 Maple St. in Detroit, in the former Stroh’s Ice Cream factory at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, rain or shine.

The event is for those 21 and older and will feature special guests Mephiskapheles and Bars of Gold.

Additionally, a limited-edition Well Whiskey Wishes single-barrel bourbon made in collaboration with The Suicide Machines will be released. Cocktails and food will be provided by DCD and the Imperial Food Truck, respectively.

“All the owners at Detroit City Distillery grew up together, most of us having known each other since we were three years old,” says Michael Forsyth, co-owner of DCD. “During our angsty teenage years, we listened to a lot of punk rock and idolized The Suicide Machines. Somehow, all our shenanigans turned into a real distillery. Then one day, The Suicide Machines came out to The Whiskey Factory, and we decided to make a whiskey together and host a show like Detroit has never seen.”

Tickets to the party ($30 each) and spirits can be purchased here.

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