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.
Sonar Discovers 150-year-old Shipwreck Off Coast of Lake Superior
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) has discovered the 144-foot Barquentine Nucleus under 600 feet of water around 40 miles northwest of Vermilion point on Lake Superior.
The Shipwreck Society discovered the Nucleus using a Marine Sonic Technology side-scan sonar in the summer of 2021, and positively identified the wreck in 2022 using the organization’s ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).
“The stern was intact,” says Darryl Ertel Jr., director of marine operations at GLSHS. “It had a straight back stern and then the port side also was intact. And so, I was more excited about it because at first, I thought it was totally in pieces on the bottom.”
The Nucleus sank Sept. 14, 1869, when it was downbound from Marquette carrying a load of iron ore. The Nucleus was no stranger to accidents though. It already had sunk twice, and in 1854, rammed and sank the side-wheeler S.S. Detroit in Lake Huron.
On that September day in 1869, the Nucleus was caught in a bad storm on Lake Superior and started to take on water. The leak became so bad the crew had to abandoned ship and took to their lifeboat. The Nucleus sank shortly afterward.
The Nucleus is one of the oldest ships to go down along Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast.
“This is a pretty significant shipwreck considering its age, the fact that it is a barquentine, and we can’t overlook the vessel’s checkered past,” says Bruce Lynn, executive director of the GLSHS. “The wreck site is littered with shovels and a few dinner plates, which speaks to their work and shipboard life.”
National Real Estate Company Acquires Lansing Industrial Building for $11.8M
A national real estate investment management company has acquired a 147,258-square-foot industrial building in Lansing that is leased to a national credit tenant for $11.8 million.
Financing was arranged by California investment banker Schelin Uldricks & Co.
“This deal was challenging to finance due to uncertainty in the capital markets as well as unforeseen delays in completing a parking lot expansion for the tenant,” says Ethan Schelin, a managing partner at Schelin Uldricks & Co. “We were able to complete CMBS execution for the transaction and lock an interest rate for our client that minimized interest rate risk while in escrow.”
Derek Uldricks, another managing partner at the firm, says: “The transaction took several months to complete after going under contract and our client was concerned with capital markets volatility. The Federal Reserve announced several rate hikes during our term of engagement so finding a lender that was willing to lock the corresponding index was important to our client.”
Lee Industrial Contracting Gets $423K Going PRO Talent Fund Grant
Lee Industrial Contacting in Pontiac has received a $423,000 Going PRO Talent Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity — Workforce Development, the largest in Oakland County and the eighth largest grant in the state.
The Talent Fund makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing, and retaining employees. Training funded by the Talent Fund must fill a demonstrated talent need and must lead to a credential for a skill that’s transferable and recognized in the industry.
The grant will allow Lee Contracting to expand its in-house customized, classroom, and on-the-job training, as well as offer apprenticeships for eligible positions. Lee’s employees are expected to benefit from training courses in everything from machine repair, tube bending, and HVAC installation, to blueprint reading, project management, and estimating.
“Developing skilled tradespeople is essential to the success of many industries within Michigan,” says Krista Fish, chief administrative officer at Lee Industrial Contracting. “At Lee Contracting, the continuous training and development of our team members is vitally important to the quality work we perform, and it helps us to maintain a safe work environment. It not only enhances the skills and experience of existing employees, but helps us attract, retain, and grow top talent. This, in turn, allows us to better serve our clients and customers.”
Detroit Hospitality Industry to Gather at Grand Trunk Pub Feb. 27
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) along with the Detroit Restaurant and Lodging Association (DRLA) will host a Detroit Hospitality Industry Mixer from noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Feb. 27 at Grand Trunk Pub (612 Woodward Ave.) in Detroit.
Sponsored by Sysco Food Services of Michigan, this free networking event is open to any owners, operators, or leaders in the industry regardless of membership status.
“We encourage local professionals to come out and join us for our first mixer event of the year,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “We’re hosting two different time slots so more Detroit-area hospitality professionals have the opportunity to grow their networks and meet with our MRLA and DRLA leadership teams.”
The informal mixer will bring hospitality leaders together to learn about MRLA resources, discuss upcoming challenges and solutions for the industry while enjoying drinks and appetizers. Registration is required here.
KeyBank’s Key4Women Program to Host Free Webinar on Grit and Grace March 1
KeyBank’s Key4Women will present “Grit and Grace,” a free one-hour virtual event at noon on March 1.
The webinar will start Women’s History Month with guest speaker Cheryle Jackson, founder of Grit and Grace, The Movement and current CEO of MyOwnDoctor, a telehealth company.
The webinar will discuss why practicing grace along with grit is the answer to not only sustaining success but walking in your brilliance to live a life you desire.
Jackson’s career has been marked by her ability to break barriers. She has served as a C-suite executive at a global aviation company, CEO of the Chicago Urban League, a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, communications director for an Illinois governor, and a vice president at National Public Radio.
In 2018, Jackson founded Grit and Grace, The Movement, a women’s empowerment, coaching, and media company. In 2020, she became CEO of MyOwnDoctor, a telehealth company that offers culturally specific care with platforms Black Telehealth and LatinX Telehealth.
To participate, register online here by Feb. 28.
Howard & Howard Attorneys Invest in Future of Detroit Student Inventors
For a third consecutive year, Howard & Howard Attorneys in Royal Oak is partnering with Detroit Public Schools to support student inventors by volunteering their time and donating resources to the Inventors Club.
The Inventors Club is an afterschool program developed in 2021 by attorney Dan Chojnowski, chairman of Howard & Howard’s intellectual property team, that takes place at the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) Brewer Academy. It provides fifth- through eighth-grade students the opportunity to experience the different stages of creating an invention and seeking financial investment to launch their product.
The nine-month program runs from September to May, is based on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts, includes identifying a problem, conceptualizing a solution, and building a prototype with supplies that Howard & Howard provides. The experience culminates with students pitching their invention to a group of judges in the annual Invention Convention organized by The Henry Ford. Previous student inventions have included a color-changing coat, a custom dog kennel that allowed for efficiently clipping a dog’s nails, and a cell phone case modified to integrate solar panels.
Seven members from Howard & Howard’s intellectual property team, all of whom have STEM backgrounds, volunteer with the Inventors Club on a weekly basis. The attorneys lead the program with two DPSCD teachers to discuss all aspects of inventing, share inventor “war stories,” and serve as engineering consultants to assist students with identifying and overcoming design challenges during prototyping.
The curriculum includes weekly lessons that guide students through the invention and design process, and ultimately covers topics that include market research, business planning, and public speaking.
“The opportunity to mentor Brewer Academy students in the Inventors Club has been such a rewarding process for our entire team,” Chojnowski says. “It’s incredible to see how the kids advance throughout the year, embrace the invention process, and develop a true sense of ownership over the project. It’s fun to watch them grapple with how to make their ideas a reality and watch them navigate the downstream challenges associated with bringing an abstract idea to life.”
Over the course of the year, Howard & Howard attorneys volunteer more than 200 hours to run the Inventors Club. To date, they have invested more than 450 collective hours in the program and have mentored nearly 100 students since the program’s inception.
Last year, Inventors Club took 22 Brewer Academy students to the Regional Convention of the Invention Convention at Wayne State University; three students advanced to the Invention Convention Michigan, where they competed against students from across Michigan at The Henry Ford Museum.
This year’s Invention Convention takes place on April 29 at the Dearborn institution.
“The Inventors Club provides a unique platform for our students to experience real world STEM applications in a fictional business environment,” says Debra Carr, a special education teacher at Brewer Academy. “The overall complexity and multidiscipline nature of Inventors Club is intended to be challenging, and there is nothing better than watching our students rise to conquer it.”
Chojnowski adds, “Math and engineering knowledge are critically important subjects for intellectual property lawyers as we need to understand the products our clients have created to help them secure patents for their work. Our sincere hope is that by working with the students at Brewer Academy, they see how valuable and interesting applying STEM subjects can be in helping them become anything they want to be, from an engineer to a doctor…and yes, even a lawyer.”
Former U-M Athletic Director Bill Martin Gives $100K for Honduran Water System
Bill Martin, entrepreneur, business leader, philanthropist, and former University of Michigan athletic, made a $100,000 gift to International Samaritan (IntSam).
The gift will go toward providing clean water to people in Honduras who live and work in garbage dump communities.
“For people living in the United States, who can typically turn on the faucet and get fresh water, it’s difficult to imagine that 2,000 people live near the garbage dump in Tegucigalpa (the capital of Honduras) without access to clean water,” Martin says. “This gift of water honors Dr. Kenneth Coleman for his commitment to partnership and improving the world.”
Coleman is the husband of the former University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman.
The Buen Samaritano community resides on the edge of one of Central America’s largest dumps. Water is collected in rain catchers or transported and stored in used and unsanitary bottles. The IntSam team in Honduras studied the community’s water and found that it contains high amounts of chemicals, feces, parasites, and other severe pollutants.
Construction of the 20,000-gallon tank began in 2022. In addition to Martin’s gift, the project was supported by the generosity of many donors who raised $150,000 in the organization’s IntSam Global 5K run, including student scholars International Samaritan supports in Tegucigalpa. Water from the tank will be piped to each of the 400 homes. Construction is expected to be completed in early summer.