DBusiness Daily Update: Golf Icon Jack Nicklaus to Speak at Davenport University Event May 25, 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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Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus will discuss his golf career, golf course design, and his philanthropic work at Davenport University May 25. // Photo courtesy of JackNicklaus.com

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.

Golf Icon Jack Nicklaus to Speak at Davenport University Event May 25

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus will be the keynote speaker and Pondera Advisors consultant Jacqueline Taylor the honoree at the Davenport University 24th Annual Excellence in Business Gala set to take place at 6 p.m. May 25 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

The gala will feature a conversation between Davenport’s President Richard J. Pappas Nicklaus, considered by many to be the greatest champion in golf history. Guests will have an opportunity to hear about Nicklaus’ professional golf career, his involvement in golf course design, and learn about his philanthropic work.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about his story and providing our guests with a unique perspective of one of the golf community’s greatest athletes,” Pappas says.

Taylor, a top business leader from the west Michigan community, will receive the Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award.

“Davenport is recognizing Jackie for her incredible leadership,” Pappas says. “She continually lends her talents to guide West Michigan leaders and the many nonprofit boards on which she serves. She is a valuable member of our community, and we are proud to recognize her incredible achievements.”

Taylor’s career spans 25 years as an executive-level leader in higher education. For 11 years, she led academics statewide and internationally for Davenport and helped lead development. Today, she chairs the M.E. Davenport Legacy Endowment Committee for Davenport.

To learn more about the event, visit here.

 In Related News: Davenport University has announced a $1 million gift from the Klingenberg Family, given specifically to fund a new wellness center on its W.A. Lettinga Campus in Grand Rapids and support the development of two new Mental Health degrees, available this fall.

The wellness center, which opened this year, offers students both physical and mental health services and employs two mental health counselors and a part-time nurse. This new staff provides support to students on the W.A. Lettinga Campus and online support for students from across the state.

“We see this as a critical investment in the health and wellness of the university community,” says Keith Klingenberg, founder and CEO of Presidio Insurance Solutions, an Acrisure Agency partner. “With this gift, we hope to improve access to the mental health services students need to achieve academic and professional success.”

Students also can access health services in the wellness center for non-emergency care treatment by a nurse employed by Corewell Health and contracted to serve the university.  Students can seek assistance with minor and non-life-threatening medical concerns or illnesses, first aid, educational resources, and general medication questions or consultation. There is no charge for these visits.

In addition to the mental health of Davenport students, the gift also helped the university launch two new mental health degrees delivered through Davenport’s Global Campus, including The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and Master of Science in Nursing, with a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration.

This gift is part of a large fundraising campaign — ELEVATE — Davenport launched in December. With the goal of raising $35 million, the campaign will provide critical funds to support students, university programs, and scholarships. The university has already been gifted nearly $25.6 million through the support of alumni and donors. To learn more, visit here.

Study: Cybersecurity Company Censys Provides $3.91M in Economic Benefits

 Customers of Censys, the Ann Arbor-based cybersecurity provider, benefit from a 444 percent return on investment, including $3.19 million in benefits and a $2.60 million net present value, according to a survey by Forrester commissioned by Cynsys.

With growing concerns of shadow IT, multiple cloud and SaaS providers, third-party and supply chain risks, and high labor costs to find and contextualize assets, organizations are eager to establish complete visibility into their attack surface. With its EASM platform, Censys says it’s solving several key problems that security teams are consistently grappling with, including streamlining processes for security teams, providing visibility in mapping external assets, and helping organizations find vulnerabilities during merger and acquisitions activity.

“This Total Economic Impact report from Forrester validates many of the direct benefits we’ve seen in real-time with our customers,” says Sarah Ashburn, CRO at Censys. “We are thrilled to see Censys continuing to help security teams improve productivity and be cost-effective. Our goal is to provide peace of mind, giving organizations the most comprehensive, accurate data to defend attack surfaces and hunt for threats.”

Forrester identified that in three years, organizations using the Censys EASM platform will benefit from:

  • 30 percent increased efficiencies in discovering and assessing assets, with a financial impact of $269,000.
  • 50 percent reduced the likelihood of a security breach by discovering vulnerable assets which were previously unknown and unaccounted for, with a financial impact of $557,500.
  • 6 hours of avoided downtime per employee across the entire organization due to a security breach, with a financial impact of $675,000.
  • Two months of time saved on required work on an acquisition or merger, with an impact of $267,000.
  • 70 percent reduction in false positives, with a financial impact of $763,000.
  • 15 percent time savings in remediation of incidents, with a financial impact of $649,000.

For full findings of the study, visit here.

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Index Falls Sharply Through December

The Comerica Michigan Economic Activity Index fell 3.9 percent annualized in the three months through December but was still up 0.5 percent from a year ago. Only three of the index’s nine components increased in December, while five fell and one was unchanged.

Employment rose in the month although the pace of hiring slowed materially in the second half of the year compared to the first. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell in December.

Auto and light truck assemblies declined slightly to 9.9 million units at a seasonally adjusted annualized pace after eight consecutive months around or above 10 million units, indicating supply chain issues are finally abating. Electricity consumption by the state’s industrial sector rose modestly in December but was down 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third.

House prices reverted down in December and were 1.9 percent below their May peak. Housing starts cratered again by nearly 15 percent in December from November and follow a 30 percent crash in November from the previous month.

Michigan’s economy will likely slow along with national and global economies in 2023. High interest rates will slow output and sales in credit-intensive sectors, such as housing and commercial real estate investment. The auto industry will likely outperform other sectors of durable consumer goods manufacturing as car dealers restock inventories, but even it is not impervious to a decline in demand from high interest rates and inflation.

For more information, visit here.

Texas Company Acquires Staffing Division of Livonia’s Full House Marketing Michigan

The Liberty Group in Houston has acquired the multifamily focused temporary staffing and direct hire placement services division of Full House Marketing Inc. of Michigan in Livonia. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Full House Michigan, led by Leah Brewer, will retain and continue to offer its training, consulting, mystery shopping, and lease-up services targeting the multifamily industry. Liberty is a portfolio company of The Halifax Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm that partners with management to invest in lower middle-market businesses.

The acquisition expands Liberty’s service offering into Michigan, a new geographic territory for the company. Full House Michigan’s temporary staffing and direct hire services team members, led by Chris King-Dye, have joined Liberty and will lead its Michigan operations under The Liberty Group brand.

“We are thrilled to expand our service offering into the key market of Detroit as well as the greater Michigan area,” says Matthew Smith, CEO of Liberty. “Full House Michigan has provided its multifamily clients with hands-on, customized service for over twenty-five years, and we’re excited to partner with its temporary staffing and direct hire services team at Liberty to continue to offer mission critical staffing solutions to multifamily clients in the region.”

Shapeways to Host Grand Opening for Livonia 3-D Printing Facility in Livonia April 18

 Shapeways Holdings Inc. is hosting a grand opening at 2 p.m. April 18 for the expansion of its Livonia additive manufacturing facility. The expansion will more than double the company’s manufacturing footprint.

“We are extremely excited to support customers that span from small businesses to large OEM partners with their diverse manufacturing needs,” says Aidan O’Sullivan, general manager of enterprise solutions for Shapeways. “Shapeways is dedicated to offering leading industries that encompass the automotive, medical, aerospace, and defense sectors innovative traditional and additive manufacturing solutions for prototypes, parts, and components for a wide range of specialized projects.”

Followed by brief comments and a ribbon cutting ceremony from 2-3 p.m., the Livonia facility (12163 Globe St.) will be open to guests for tours until 6 p.m.

CCS Student Wins Detroit Grand Prix Poster Design Contest

 College for Creative Studies (CCS) junior Adrian Keeler has won the 2023 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Official Poster Competition with design imagery reflecting the return of NTT IndyCar Series racing to the streets of downtown Detroit

The final judging took place on the CCS campus as a panel selected the design created by Keeler.

The final poster will be unveiled in early May and will be available for purchase online in advance of the June 2-4 race.

The 2023 design competition marks the 11th consecutive year that the Grand Prix and CCS have worked together to provide students at the Detroit art college the opportunity to create the official poster to represent the annual summer racing festival in the Motor City. Grand Prix fans also were included in the selection process as each of the top five poster entries were shared on the Detroit GP social media channels, with followers encouraged to vote for their favorite design. The fan vote was factored into the final selection process, along with the choices of the eight-person judging panel that evaluated each of the final designs.

“We are so proud to build on the tradition of the Detroit Grand Prix commemorative poster and we continue to be amazed by the creativity and artistic skills that we see every year from the students at CCS through this annual competition,” says Bud Denker, chairman of the Grand Prix, who served on the judging panel. “Adrian’s design was certainly one of the most unique poster designs we have ever seen. There was so much depth and thought put into his design. By combining the colors and vibrance of a floral theme with the sleek Indy Car racing toward the GM Renaissance Center, it will represent a great poster celebrating the inclusiveness of our event and its return to the streets of Downtown Detroit this summer.”

Keeler’s design helps illustrate the dawn of a new era for the Grand Prix in Detroit, with the event returning to the downtown streets for the first time since 1991.

“I was inspired by the art nouveau era, which features some structural line work with floral embellishments,” says Keeler, whose family recently moved to Dearborn from the west side of Michigan. “This was such a great experience and I am so honored to have my design selected as the winning poster.”

Amsted Automotive EV Driveline Technology to be Presented at 2023 SAE World Congress

 Southfield-based Amsted Automotive Group will present its “Novel Multi-Functional Clutch Technology for EV Disconnects” at the 2023 SAE International WCX World Congress Experience, April 17-20 at Huntington Place in downtown Detroit

John Jennings, director of innovation and eMobility at Amsted Automotive will discuss the company’s technology at 10:30 a.m. April 19 in the event’s Learning Lab. This technology is currently in volume production electric pickups.

The key to having a successful transition from internal-combustion engines to electrified drivetrains is with an efficient electric all-wheel-drive system, according to Jennings. The Dynamic Controllable Clutch (DCC), an electro-mechanical e-axle disconnect system, engages and disengages the drive axles, while also conserving energy and maintaining on-road and off-road capabilities, increasing an EV’s range by 10 percent. A white paper on this functionality can be downloaded at amstedauto.com.

 NextCycle Michigan to Showcase Innovation and Collaboration in State

 NextCycle Michigan Showcase, an initiative of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), will present its 2023 NextCycle Michigan Showcase from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Aprl 20 at the TechTown Detroit Industry Innovation Center (440 Burroughs St.) in Detroit.

Fifteen teams made up of businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, nonprofits, and community organizations will pitch recycling, recovery, and reuse projects ready for investment and implementation.

During the showcase, an audience of 130 business, recycling, government, nonprofit, and investment professionals will listen to project descriptions, funding plans, impact projections, and investment/support opportunities. Teams also will take questions from a judging panel, competing for monetary awards.

The events special guests include:

  • Julie Staveland, assistant division director of the EGLE Materials Management Division.
  • Matt Flechter, EGLE’s market development recycling specialist.
  • Jack Akinlosotu, director of the City of Detroit Office of Sustainability.

For more information and to register to attend, visit here.

State Ballet of Georgia to Perform at Detroit Opera House, April 29-30

The State Ballet of Georgia will make its Detroit Opera House debut with performances on April 29 and 30.

Since 2004, ballet superstar Nina Ananiashvili has been artistic director of the company, based in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Detroit program will include two works choreographed by the late George Balanchine — “Serenade” and “Concerto Barocco” — plus Yuri Possokhov’s neoclassical ballet “Sagalobeli.”

Guest conductor Gavriel Heine will lead the Detroit Opera Orchestra in live performances of music by Tchaikovsky and Bach in the Balanchine ballets. Possokhov’s Sagalobeli, featuring elements of Georgian folk dance, has become a signature work for the company since it was first performed in 2008; the Detroit performances will feature recorded Georgian folk music.

Pre-concert talks will take place at Detroit Opera House one hour before each performance.

Detroit Opera also will offer a ballet master class with State Ballet of Georgia from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 29. The class for intermediate-advanced level dancers ages 13 and up will take place at the Margo V. Cohen Center for Dance in the Ford Center for Learning at the Detroit Opera House. The class is free with a ticket to either performance, or $25 without a ticket. Pre-registration is required here.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here.

Detroit Lions’ Frank Ragnow to Host Skeet Shooting Fundraiser May 18

 Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions center and founder of The Rags Remembered Foundation, is hosting his first Skeet Shoot Showdown fundraising event at the Bald Mountain Shooting Range in Lake Orion from 2:30-6 p.m. May 18.

Ragnow and his Lions teammates will compete in a 14-station skeet shoot tournament starting at 3 p.m. Guests should check in between 1:30-2:30 p.m. for the safety briefing, welcome by Ragnow, and opening announcements, where the highest sponsored foursomes will get to shoot against their favorite Lions players.

Guests will enjoy special contests throughout the event, such as Beat the Pro Shoot-Off, archery, axe throwing, and a gun raffle.

An awards reception and dinner will follow the tournament. The reception will feature an all-Detroit-themed open bar with a pig roast, live and silent auctions, and mixing and mingling with Ragnow and his teammates. Local favorites such as Blake’s Hard Cider and She Wolf desserts will highlight the Michigan-made offerings of the reception.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the Rags Remembered Foundation’s outreach programs in Detroit: Frank’s Camp Huddle Up, scheduled for June 10, and Frank’s Huddle-at-Home program for grieving youth and their families.

To purchase tickets and/or sponsorships, visit here or frankragnow.org.

Van Andel Institute Researchers Discover Two Subtypes of Insulin-producing Cells

A team led by Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids and Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics scientists has identified two distinct subtypes of insulin-producing beta cells, or ß cells, each with characteristics that may be leveraged to better understand and treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

ß cells are critical guardians of the body’s metabolic balance. They are the only cells capable of producing insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels by designating dietary sugar for immediate use or storage.

In Type 1 diabetes, ß cells are attacked by the body’s own immune system, rendering them unable to produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes arises from insulin resistance; the resulting excess blood sugar from a person’s diet causes ß cells in the pancreas to work overtime. Eventually, ß cells can no longer keep up and blood sugar concentrations can rise to dangerously high levels.

Both diseases are treated by enhancing insulin action, either by providing insulin itself, or by augmenting its activity and release into the blood. Some people with Type 1 diabetes may elect to have a ß cell transplant, an experimental procedure in which functioning cells from a donor are implanted into the pancreas.

The new findings, published in Cell Metabolism, suggest several potential paths that could inform future diabetes treatments, such as adjusting the ratio of ß cell subtypes in transplants to ensure optimal function.

“All cells vary in some way, but these two ß cell subtypes are discretely and consistently different from one another. This indicates that they serve two different but necessary functions as insulin producers. They are specialists, each with their own roles,” says J. Andrew Pospisilik, Ph.D., a Van Andel Institute professor and senior author of the study. “We also see differences in the ratio of one subtype to another in diabetes. Understanding these two cell types — and their relationship to each other — gives us a clearer picture of diabetes and offers new opportunities for treatment.”

Intersport Announces Field for The John Shippen Cognizant Cup

Detroit-based Intersport announced the field for third edition of The John Shippen Cognizant Cup to be played at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J.

The John Shippen Cognizant Cup allows players to compete on the same course and enjoy the same experience as the participants in the LPGA Tour’s Cognizant Founders Cup played later that week.

The Cognizant Cup is an 18-hole stroke play competition, which will be played May 8, with the winner earning an exemption into the Cognizant Founders Cup, which will be contested May 11-14, marking a continuation of Cognizant’s commitment to supporting equal opportunity and diversity in the game of golf and beyond.

“We at Intersport are thrilled that our friends at Cognizant, in this third year, have continued their commitment to sponsoring exemptions to their LPGA Tour’s Cognizant Founders Cup through The John Shippen Cognizant Cup,” says Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “This continued support furthers our efforts to bolster access and opportunities for talented Black golfers.”

Among the notable players participating in this year’s event are:

  • Lakareber Abe, professional (University of Alabama)
  • Madison Barnett, professional (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
  • Paige Crawford, amateur (Montana State)
  • Janelle Johnson, professional (Nova Southeastern University)
  • Breanne Jones, professional (UC Irvine)
  • Amber Kuykendall, professional (Texas Southern)
  • Georgia Oboh, professional (Nigeria)
  • Mariah Stackhouse, professional (Stanford)
  • Allyn Stephens, amateur (Texas A&M)

Red Cross, Community Partners Sound the Alarm about Home Fires

The American Red Cross and its community partners in Michigan are sounding the alarm about home fires and how to keep families safe.

Home fires account for the vast majority of the 60,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to annually in the United States. After a home fire, Red Cross volunteers work with fire departments to connect with families for needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance, and emotional support. In 2022, the Red Cross in Michigan helped 7,542 people displaced by 2,088 home fires.

Home fires claim seven lives every day nationally, and most of them occur in homes without working smoke alarms. To address this daily threat, the Red Cross installs free smoke alarms in homes that need them year-round and amplifies that awareness with a smoke alarm installation and fire safety education drive called Sound the Alarm.

In Michigan, Sound the Alarm kicks off Saturday, April 15, and runs through May 6. Red Cross volunteers and employees will be joined by community partners in public safety, business, and government to install 1,800 smoke alarms in homes that need them in Detroit and throughout the state.

The Red Cross makes these recommendations for smoke alarms:

  • Place them on each level of a home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Test them once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year if your model requires it.
  • If they are older than 10 years, it is best to replace them. The components, such as batteries, can become less reliable. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

To schedule a smoke alarm installation appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit here.

Community Foundation’s Michigan Justice Fund Announces New Exhibit

The Michigan Justice Fund, a statewide initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University at Michigan, and MOCAD announced a new exhibition, Free Your Mind: Art and Incarceration in Michigan, showcasing inner worlds of incarcerated individuals and the fundamental issues that shape conversations around incarceration today.

The exhibit will be in Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead at MOCAD today through Sept. 3.

Working with a coalition of more than a dozen organizations, Free Your Mind features the work of artists and advocates with lived experience in the criminal legal system. The majority of these artists are either currently or formerly incarcerated.

It centers on four key topics of inquiry: Michigan’s length of sentencing and overcrowding in prisons; the impact of incarceration on women; youth incarceration; and the dangers of COVID-19. Free Your Mind is presented at MOCAD with support from the Michigan Justice Fund.

Free Your Mind also will debut a portrait series highlighting leaders working to address systemic issues of mass incarceration statewide. The exhibition seeks to stimulate imagination and activate bold, solution driven responses towards creating a more equitable and just world.