DBusiness Daily Update: The Henry Ford Opening Nelson Mandela Exhibition Oct. 31-Jan. 15, 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.
Nelson Mandela
Mandela: The Official Exhibition focuses on the life of one of the world’s most iconic freedom fighters and political leaders — Nelson Mandela. // Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

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.

The Henry Ford Opening Nelson Mandela Exhibition Oct. 31-Jan. 15

Mandela: The Official Exhibition, a new global touring exhibition focusing on the life of one of the world’s most iconic freedom fighters and political leaders — Nelson Mandela, is coming to The Henry Ford Museum on American Innovation Oct. 31-Jan. 15.

The exhibit is produced by Round Room Live in partnership with The Royal House of Mandela (RHoM) and RHoM Investments.

An immersive and interactive experience, the exhibition features previously unseen footage, photos, and the display of more than 150 historical artifacts and personal effects on loan from the Mandela family, museums, and archives worldwide.

Mandela: The Official Exhibition is designed to educate, entertain, and inspire using many personal belongings and objects never previously seen outside of South Africa.

The items include the suit Mandela wore for the opening of the South African parliament in 1996; a traditional head dress gifted to him by The King of Xhosa people, King Xolilzwe Sigcawu, as he awarded Mandela the ancient tribal warrior honor of the Isithwalandwe Sesizwe, for the first time in two centuries; his presidential desk and chair, and his much loved iconic beige trench coat.

The artifacts are combined with immersive media presentations and scenic re-creations to enable visitors to actively engage with, and experience, key moments in Mandela’s life.

Through a series of immersive zones — each one a different experience — the narrative of the exhibit in a journey through a remarkable life, according to the curators.

Visitors will learn about Mandela’s beginnings in the rural Transkei, steeped in Xhosa tradition and experience the turbulent struggle against apartheid — and why it had to be defeated.

“The Royal House of Mandela is delighted to endorse this exhibition honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as it truly captures the spirit of our global icon whose name has become synonymous with international solidarity, justice, and peace,” says Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela.

“It succeeds in quintessentially depicting the man and the legend whose struggle and sacrifice has captivated the hearts and minds of millions around the world. This exhibition is truly an inspiration and an inspired effort; I believe that everyone who sees it will agree that the legacy lives on and that the dream will never die.”

For more information about The Henry Ford, visit https://www.thehenryford.org/.

Sterling Bancorp Plea Agreement with DOJ Receives Final Court Approval

Southfield-based Sterling Bancorp Inc., the holding company of Sterling Bank and Trust, announced that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan approved the plea agreement previously entered into by the company with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section.

Under the agreement, the company pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud primarily relating to disclosures with respect to the company’s former Advantage Loan Program contained in the company’s 2017 IPO Registration Statement and its immediately following Annual Reports on Form 10-K filed in March 2018 and March 2019.

Consistent with the plea agreement, the sentence issued by the court requires the company to pay $27.2 million in restitution for the benefit of non-insider victim shareholders; further enhance its compliance program and internal controls with respect to securities law compliance; and provide periodic reports to the DOJ with respect to compliance matters.

The restitution amount will be administered by a special master to be appointed by the court. This resolution releases the company, as well as the Bank, from further prosecution for securities fraud and underlying mortgage fraud in the Advantage Loan Program. The company and the DOJ entered into the plea agreement on March 15, resolving the DOJ’s investigation focused on the bank’s Advantage Loan Program and related issues.

Detroit’s Bankjoy Integrates with Plaid to Enable Seamless Business Account Management

Bankjoy, a digital banking provider based in Detroit, is partnering with Plaid, a San Francisco open finance provider powering the digital financial ecosystem.

Institutions on the Bankjoy platform now will be able to offer their customers API access to Plaid’s network of more than 8,000 fintech apps and services.

Through the partnership, businesses can securely and seamlessly add accounts from other financial institutions and fintechs to Bankjoy’s platform with Plaid’s account connectivity tool, giving business account holders a centralized place to view and manage their finances.

Bankjoy’s Business Banking platform is designed to deliver a superior digital banking experience for business and commercial account holders. By partnering with Plaid, financial institutions using Bankjoy’s Business Banking platform make it easier and more secure for businesses to connect multiple accounts from different financial institutions and third-party apps within Bankjoy’s digital platform.

Business account holders can also manage user permissions and securely add new users directly through the digital banking platform. Bankjoy’s partnership with Plaid transforms the way financial institutions engage the businesses within their local communities by giving account holders one place to access multiple accounts and manage their entire financial footprint via online and mobile banking.

With Plaid’s account connectivity capabilities, Bankjoy empowers banks and credit unions to position their organization as the preferred financial service provider for the business and commercial account holders they serve.

“Amid the economic uncertainty, 95 percent of Americans say they feel some type of economic stress, according to Plaid’s 2022 Fintech Effect Report,” says Michael Duncan, CEO of Bankjoy. “Consumers and businesses alike are looking for financial institutions that provide them with the tools necessary to support them through this time.

“At the same time, today’s account holders often use multiple apps and financial institutions to manage their finances, which makes enabling multi-account connectivity crucial. Bankjoy’s partnership with Plaid supports this and we look forward to helping more financial institutions enhance the digital banking experience for their business customers and members.”

Jeep Performance Parts Announces Upgraded 2-inch Lift Kit Featuring Bilstein Shocks

The Jeep brand of Stellantis in Auburn Hills says it’s taking its 4×4 capability to a higher level for current Wrangler (JL) and Gladiator (JT) vehicles with an upgraded Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) 2-inch lift kit from Mopar that includes specially tuned Bilstein 46-millimeter monotube shocks with remote reservoirs.

The new Bilstein shocks complement increased ground clearance and larger wheels and tires by offering consistent, fade-free performance in all conditions. In addition, a self-adjusting, deflective-disc valve reacts instantly to surface changes, giving the driver maximum control.

Remote reservoirs increase oil capacity for greater heat dissipation, while a unique swivel banjo fitting allows for a 360-degree rotation of the flex hose for direct fitment while protecting the reservoir oil line from contact. The new bolt-on JPP lift kit is easily installed in stock mounting locations with no extra drilling needed.

“Our Jeep Performance Parts team at Mopar is always looking for innovative ways to improve performance for off-road enthusiasts,” says Mike Koval, head of Mopar North America. “With more than 500 quality-tested, factory-backed performance parts and accessories across the Jeep lineup, our customers win with new options to upgrade and personalize their vehicles.”

Included in the new JPP lift kit are four springs, four Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, front lower control arms, front and rear stabilizer links, front and rear bump stops, assorted fasteners and the JPP badge. The kit is specially packed in a custom, reusable wooden crate branded with the JPP logo.

The new JPP 2-inch lift kit is available for 2018 model-year and newer Jeep Wranglers (JL) and 2020 model-year and newer Jeep Gladiators (JT). U.S. manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $2,095.

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Pistons to Host DETalent Search at Wayne State Fieldhouse

The Detroit Pistons will conduct its third annual DETalent Search presented by Snipes on Aug. 13 at Wayne State Fieldhouse, the home of the Motor City Cruise, giving Detroiters the chance to be selected to perform at Detroit Pistons or Motor City Cruise games and events.

Those auditioning will showcase their talents in front of a panel of judges to be considered to perform at Pistons and Cruise games and event across three performance categories: DJs, National Anthem Performers (vocalists or instrumentalists) and Halftime Performers (instrumentalists, vocalists, choirs, jugglers, bucket drummers, variety acts, contortionists, balancing acts, etc.).

Those interested in auditioning must register here by Aug. 1. Halftime acts must submit an audition video of their performance and selected acts for halftime performances will be notified of invite by Aug. 9.

“DETalent Search returns for the third consecutive season, providing opportunity for aspiring performers to be discovered and showcased at Detroit Pistons and Motor City Cruise games and events,” says Chelsea Powell, senior director of game presentation for the Pistons. “Detroit features some of the most talented, creative, and passionate performers — many who have become staples at Pistons and Cruise games — and we look forward to finding the next round of talented acts at our auditions in August at Wayne State Fieldhouse.”

Oakland Township’s Dutton Farm Focuses Efforts on Creating a More Inclusive Experience

Dutton Farm in Oakland Township, an organization devoted to empowering individuals with disabilities, broke ground this week on its latest initiative to provide an enhanced educational environment, foster inclusive community relationships, and support vocational training.

These initiatives, grounded in the belief that every person deserves opportunities for learning, relationship-building, and empowerment in a supportive setting, reflect the farm’s commitment to inclusivity and equity.

“Inclusion has always been at the heart of Dutton’s mission,” says Jaymes Vettraino, chair of the Dutton Farm board of directors. “These new facilities enable us to expand our engagement with the community while enhancing our adult education program.”

Among the features at Dutton Farm is an enriched adult education program, offering a diverse array of learning opportunities tailored to the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. Through these experiences, participants actively engage with their community, fostering a sense of connection and belonging.

Dutton Farm is expanding its inclusive community spaces by hosting a variety of events and activities open to the public. These gatherings will not only strengthen the bonds within the community, but also provide a broader network of support for the farm’s participants.

Additionally, Dutton Farm’s Workforce Development program continues to equip participants with the necessary skills for successful employment outcomes and increased financial independence. This includes access to job placement and the ongoing supports necessary for long-term success.

“At Dutton Farm, we’re committed to creating a space where all individuals can build upon their unique abilities and strengths,” says Jenny Brown, co-founder and CEO of Dutton Farm. “We’re thrilled about the potential this initiative holds. With the support of our community, we can welcome more of the community to our space, positively impact more lives, and continue to allow our farm to be a foundation for empowerment, equity, inclusion, and independence.”

Dutton Farm wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to its supporters, partners, and the wider community for their steadfast commitment and generosity, without which these new initiatives would not be possible.

For more information about Dutton Farm and its programs, visit duttonfarm.org.

Butzel Hosts July 25 Webinar on Recent Michigan Supreme Court Opinion

A recent Michigan Supreme Court opinion on supply chain contracts clarifies uncertainty on terms and conditions. What does it mean, however, for the industry moving forward?

The Butzel Global Automotive Industry Team will discuss MSSC v. AirBoss: Will it Change the Automotive Supply Chain? during a free webinar from 8-9 a.m. on July 25, 2023.

In MSSC v. AirBoss, the Michigan Supreme Court redefined the boundaries of requirements contracts governed by Michigan law, ruling that: (1) a contract in which the buyer promises to purchase the goods for which it issues releases, but does not promise to issue releases, is not a requirements contract but is instead a “release by release” contract which only requires the seller to supply the quantities in accepted releases; and (2) the label “Blanket Order” is not sufficient to create a requirements contract. MSSC creates new risks and opportunities for buyers and sellers that are parties to such contracts, which are not uncommon in the automotive supply chain.

In this one-hour briefing, attorneys from Butzel’s Global Automotive Industry Team will explain the significance of MSSC, discuss the practical steps that suppliers should be taking to assess whether and how it affects their supply contracts, and how to best remediate the risks that it creates for buyers and to take advantage of the opportunities that it creates for sellers. Butzel attorneys also will be available to answer questions.

Featured speakers include the following Butzel attorneys: Cynthia J. Haffey, Sheldon H. Klein, Daniel R.W. Rustmann, and James C. Bruno.

For more information and to register, visit here.

Grand Rapids’ Burke Porter Group Creates New ADAS Calibration Division

To address the industry-wide need for advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration in the automotive aftermarket, Burke Porter Group (BPG), a Grand Rapids-based supplier of OEM end-of-line testing solutions, has created a new aftermarket business unit, expanding market opportunities for its ADAS calibration business.

The company has appointed industry veteran Doug Kelly as president of the new division, responsible for leading its development, growth, and ongoing support. Kelly will report to CEO Jeffrey Moss.

“We have been calibrating and verifying ADAS at factories around the world for decades, and we recognize that the automotive aftermarket needs the same tools and technology,” says Moss. “We are entering the aftermarket as a B2B supplier supporting dealerships, collision shops, auto repair shops and other businesses to properly validate critical safety systems as part of the repair and resell process. I’m thrilled to welcome Doug to the executive leadership team to spearhead this new market opportunity.”

For more information, visit here.

Report: Petroleum Refineries May Find New Markets Amid EV, Energy Transition Trends

U.S. fuel demand and refinery activity remains robust in spite of the push toward electric vehicles and alternate forms of energy, according to a report by Industrial Info Resources in Texas.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, reported that refineries were operating at 92.2 percent of their peak capacity during the seven-day period ending June 23, churning out an average of 10.1 million barrels of gasoline per day.

In terms of demand, the total amount of refined petroleum products sent to the market, a proxy for implied demand, averaged 20.2 million barrels per day (BBL/d), while the figure for gasoline was 9.3 million BBL/d. Both figures were above year-ago levels.

Both figures, however, are about 500,000 BBL/d less than during the same period in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic. When adjusted for inflation, retail gasoline prices today would be about 30 cents per gallon more than 2019 levels, helping to explain some of the demand falloff.

The rest may be due to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which are backed by heavy tax incentives. Industrial Info estimates EV sales will jump 35 percent globally this year from 2022 levels to reach 14 million.

By 2030, that could lead to a reduction in crude oil demand of 5 million BBL/d, suggesting the downstream sector will have to adjust to an emerging reality in road fuels.

Hillary Stevenson, a senior director at the energy division of IIR, found billions of dollars in new investments are going toward projects related to the energy transition in the downstream sector this year. The bulk of her data show that refinery conversions are dominating activity downstream.

All told, there could be as much as $7.7 billion going toward downstream projects related to the energy transition, though around $6.5 billion is considered low probability.

Conversely, Michael Bergen, an executive vice president of analytics and marketing at IIR, says 159 projects worth $105 billion are going toward EV battery plants. Among the largest is BlueOval, a joint venture between Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. and South Korea’s SK Innovation (Seoul), which is investing some $5.8 billion at a battery plant in Kentucky.

Ford in 2021, at the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, said it was committed to investing at least $22 billion globally to deliver all-electric vehicles across its lines, including popular Mustang and F-150 models.

Meanwhile, General Motors Co. in Detroit in January announced plans to invest heavily in four plants to build the next generation of its block V-8 engine as well as EV production across its various assembly lines.

Those investments in EV batteries look to overshadow transition-related overhauls at U.S. petroleum refineries. And what’s expected downstream is targeting renewable diesel rather than the cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline.

“Renewable diesel leads the pack in terms of investments related to the energy transition,” Stevenson says.

Meanwhile, Chris Egby, a refining and licensing manager at Shell plc in London, said that most refineries can already co-process feedstocks to make cleaner road fuels, but the industry is changing and the transition will be slow.

Comments from the front office at British energy company BP, also in London, suggest investments will target the fuels that are necessary today as the energy of tomorrow evolves. Meanwhile, Shell’s head of renewables, Thomas Brostrom, left after CEO Wael Sawan dialed back on the company’s energy transition goals.

Fossil fuels are not going away. But as investment trends suggest, conventional refinery operations, and the big companies that back them, may struggle for relevancy as the energy transition accelerates.