Featured Speaker: Matt Stephens

Matt Stephens is a trainer, speaker and consultant with more than 16 years of experience in the areas of sales, sales management and business development. Through his extensive past roles, he has found great success in the automotive, information technology and construction industries.

Now an accomplished associate with Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Stephens has been the recipient of numerous awards for his sales production, training and coaching. As a Sandler associate, he has helped a number of his companies develop a process for hiring sales people and obtain more qualified prospects and opportunities, in addition to becoming a trusted and valued partner to his clients.

Stephens lives with his wife and four children in Lake Orion, Mich., where he may be found running, biking or swimming almost every day.

Featured Speaker:Small Business: Unlocked – Lessons Over Lunch
November 28, 2012

Artserve Michigan Seeks Attorneys For Newly Launched Program Supporting Creative Industries

ArtServe Michigan, the leading statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization in Michigan, has announced its new statewide initiative Lawyers for the Creative Economy (LCE). The program is recruiting attorneys from Southeast Michigan, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor to launch the statewide program.

The LCE program was launched to ensure valuable resources for understanding such legal areas as copyright, trademark, patent, licensing and contracts are available to all levels of the creative industry through knowledgeable legal professionals, workshops and online.

Attorneys who are willing to provide free or low-fee intellectual property advice and related support are paired with professionals and organizations seeking affordable legal services. Those served by LCE would include practicing artists; creative practitioners and independent entrepreneurs; entrepreneurial and start up businesses; and/or non-profit organizations in arts and culture, design, architecture, film/video, software, games and electronic publishing.

“Not only is Clark Hill’s involvement with LCE good for the community by increasing access to quality legal service for creative professionals, but it also enriches our practice because of the meaningful exchanges between attorneys and artists the program facilitates,” said Joseph L. Voss, attorney at Clark Hill and LCE Advisory Council member. “It’s a perfect match for our Entertainment Industry Team, but attorneys across the firm will find opportunities to engage with the arts through LCE, and we are a proud supporter of its efforts throughout Michigan.”

An information session will be conducted at the office of Miller Canfield at 150 W. Jefferson, 25th floor, in Detroit from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. During the event, attorneys will receive detailed information about participation in LCE and how to join. Attendees also will have the opportunity to meet other attorneys who have already committed to the program.

“Michigan is undergoing a creative renaissance. The intersection of the arts, technology and entrepreneurial energies will ultimately be a critical driver of the local economy and the area’s quality of life. Many of the individuals involved in these areas need legal counsel and guidance they can’t yet afford,” said John Willems, attorney at Miller Canfield and LCE Advisory Council member. “I can’t think of anything more exciting and rewarding as a lawyer than assisting the creative sector and helping to shape the future cultural and financial landscape.”

“Attorney participation is critical to the success of this initiative and building Michigan’s reputation as an innovative place to live, learn and work,” said Jennifer Goulet, president and CEO for ArtServe.

Recent statistics support the importance of successful creatives to the state. ArtServe’s 2012 Creative State Michigan report showed that 211 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations contributed nearly half a billion dollars in expenditures alone to Michigan’s economy in 2009. Of those expenditures, $152 million went to salaries for more than 15,000 jobs, and from 2006 to 2010, the number of arts-related jobs increased by 4 percent in Michigan, while arts-related businesses increased by 43 percent.

“Though participating attorneys would start out with pro bono or low-fee services for creative clients, as these artists and organizations grow, attorneys have the very real opportunity to benefit from the relationship they’ve established early in the creative process to help them gain momentum,” said Goulet.

LCE also will provide professional development seminars across the state for artists and other creative practitioners to help them develop essential knowledge about creativity-related areas of law. Attorneys participating in the program may have the opportunity to help lead those seminar discussions.

Associate Attorney Chanille Carswell of Brooks Kushman, Managing Partner Lawrence Jordan or Jaffe Raitt Law Firm and Attorney Matt Bower of Safford & Baker will lead a two-hour seminar on Thursday, Dec. 6, familiarizing creative practitioners with the basic issues of intellectual property, including licensing, contracts, branding and negotiation.

Participating attorneys are asked to designate a number of legal service hours, number of clients or number of matters they are willing to commit to on a bi-annual basis. Attorneys must be licensed to practice in the State of Michigan and be covered by malpractice insurance. Attorneys retain the right to refuse or decline any legal matter referred through the LCE initiative, but if the matter is accepted, the attorney is responsible for apprising the client of any and all charges or fees and tracking billable hours devoted to the client. ArtServe Michigan facilitates intake of all clients seeking legal assistance and assigning them to volunteer attorneys.

Attorneys interested in the LCE should contact Marcia Goffney, LCE project consultant at lce@artservemichigan.org or 248-912-0760, ext. 5 or Cezanne Charles, director of Creative Industries at cezanne@artservemichigan.org or 248-912-0760, ext. 7.

The program was developed by ArtServe Michigan with support from the Arts, Communications, Entertainment and Sports (ACES) section of the State Bar of Michigan, several major Michigan law firms and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Seminars are supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the General Motors Foundation.

VisionIT Celebrates Expansion of Global Headquarters With Open House Ribbon Cutting Event

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing served as guest of honor as VisionIT professionals and guests celebrated the company’s newly expanded and updated global headquarters in Detroit’s New Center One Building.

With VisionIT CEO David Segura, President Christine Rice and the company’s Executive Team, the mayor provided remarks on VisionIT’s history and commitment to the city before participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

“It is quite rewarding to spend such a special evening with our clients, collaborators and team members ,” said Segura. “They have powered our success and growth. We have a showcase facility to operate from that serves our clients across the U.S. and Latin America.”

Entertainment was provided by legendary Motown session guitarist and Funk Brother Dennis Coffey who has played on more than 100 gold records including with: Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Four Tops.

ABOUT VISIONIT
VisionIT, Inc. is a global leader in the areas of Information Technology (IT) Managed Services and Talent Management Solutions. For nearly 16 years, VisionIT has combined focus, agility, streamlined operations and the most talented IT professionals to deliver unmatched services to many Fortune 500 corporations and large government agencies. With 20 U.S. offices, personnel in 38 U.S. states, and global operations in Latin America including Puerto Rico and Mexico, VisionIT operates FAST. To learn more about this growing technology leader visit www.visionit.com.

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Baruah pushes message of collaboration across divisions

From MiBiz.com
November 28, 2012

By Joe Boomgaard

GRAND RAPIDS — The key to solving Michigan’s problems and moving the state forward can be described in one word: collaboration.

That theme of coalescence as a corporate and individual citizenry was at the heart of a presentation Sandy Baruah, president of the Detroit Regional Chamber, delivered today in Grand Rapids.

Baruah, who spoke at a breakfast event sponsored by the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business, said while people like to “slice and dice” the state, Michigan must look beyond divisions to come up with real solutions to the issues it faces.

“Our assets in Michigan are greater than ever before and are the envy of the nation,” he said. “We have so much to build on if we can crack this code of both corporate and individual citizenship.”

Baruah said the combination of the “non-partisan” Gov. Rick Snyder, the state’s higher education system, its hub of auto industry talent and capabilities, and the portfolio of strong Michigan-based brands all have the state pointing in the right direction. He also credited the electorate for rejecting the ballot proposals earlier this month that he said would have taken the state back 50 years.

“We are operating as one Michigan perhaps more than ever before. The collaboration and partnership between east and west Michigan is not only real, it is genuine and it is productive,” he said. “I think we’re starting to realize that the differences between the east and west parts of our state actually make us stronger.”

However, the division between cities and suburbs, black versus white, county versus county, and east versus west “continues to haunt us,” Baruah said. “Like a family, we have more that unites us than divides us.”

Speaking in front of a decidedly West Michigan crowd of business leaders, GVSU administrators and students, Baruah lauded West Michigan for the strength of its business institutions, for the business community’s role in setting a regional agenda and for the successful transformation of downtown Grand Rapids “into a destination place.”

“By working together, the entire state of Michigan can learn from this example,” he said, referring to the efforts in West Michigan. “If we can crack this code of what it means to be good citizens of the 21st century global marketplace, we will own the next century as Michiganders.”

But Baruah was far from Pollyannaish about the hard work the state – and the nation – has in front of it. Getting people to work together is hindered by the deep, polarizing political divisions that are commonplace today, he said.

He blamed extreme partisans on both sides of the aisle as well as “columnists or partisans masquerading as news people” for fueling that divisiveness.

“We now have the ability to tailor our news exactly to our liking. We access news today as a society in the same way we order coffee from a Starbucks,” he said. “We get exactly what we want.”

The country, in general, has moved away from the shared national experience it once had. People watched their news from the same sources and went to work the next day and discussed the issues at the water cooler, he said.

But not all hope is lost that such collaboration and dialogue will occur. Even in deeply divided Southeast Michigan, Baruah said he is seeing signs of hope. He praised Detroit Mayor Dave Bing for being “as honest as the day is long,” Gov. Snyder’s commitment to urban areas, and the rejection of the statewide ballot proposals as evidence that the state is moving forward.

“Our country has huge challenges. Our state has huge challenges,” he said. “We can only solve these challenges if we’re able to talk to each other. That is an art, that is a skill that our nation is losing. … We need to realize what we’re doing to ourselves.”

Marvel Technologies Makes Lead411’s Tech 200 List

Company Ranked at 94 in the List of Fastest Growing Technology Companies

NOVI, Mich., November 28, 2012 – Marvel Technologies Inc., provider of IT services and solutions, today announced that it has been named to Lead411’s third annual Technology 200 list. The company is ranked at 94 with a 107 percent two-year revenue growth. The list issued by Lead411, information services company, identifies fastest growing privately held tech companies in the United States.

“This is the first year we have been named to the list,” said Bala Rajaraman, chief executive officer and president of Marvel Technologies. “We have experienced steady growth with strategic partnerships, proprietary solutions and expanded service offerings. We are happy to be recognized for our growth.”

In its third year, the Tech 200 list ranks tech companies with the highest percent of revenue growth from 2009 to 2011. Lead411 calculates revenue growth by percentages vs. dollar growth.

Founded in 2006, Marvel Technologies provides services and custom solutions to SAP applications. Launched in 2012, SAP-certified CompEz and FormsEz add value to SAP software by expanding its potential and saving resources. More at http://www.marveltechus.com.

About Marvel Technologies Inc.

Marvel Technologies Inc., founded in 2006 and based in Novi, Mich., is a privately held, minority-owned technology company that develops and delivers professional services and solutions in support of SAP applications. The company is also certified by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). It is an SAP software solution and technology partner in the SAP PartnerEdgeTM program and a SuccessConsulting partner with SuccessFactors, an SAP company. The company’s solutions complement and further enhance SAP solutions by focusing on increasing efficiencies and maximizing profits for customers. More information is available at www.marveltechus.com. Follow Marvel Technologies @MarvSales in Twitter and at LinkedIn.

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SAP, SAP NetWeaver, ABAP, PartnerEdge and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries.

All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

November 27, 2012: Campaign to Fix the Debt Launches in Michigan; Don’t Miss Opportunity Detroit: Annual Holiday Reception

Campaign to Fix the Debt Launches Michigan Chapter, Urges Attention to Fiscal Cliff and Long-Term Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt, a national nonpartisan coalition of business leaders, elected officials, community leaders, academics and individual citizens, has launched a state chapter in Michigan to bring together concerned individuals to call on lawmakers to address the ballooning national debt.

“There is no doubt that our national debt issue is a difficult one, but the size of the challenge should spur our nation to action – rather than shrink from it,” said Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO, and Co-Chair of the Michigan chapter of Campaign to Fix the Debt Sandy K. Baruah. “Resolving this issue will take a smart combination of spending restraint, revenue enhancements and a robustly growing economy. Any one of those goals alone is challenge. Achieving all three simultaneously is daunting, but absolutely necessary.”

For more information or to sign the campaign’s citizen petition, click here. Click here to hear Baruah discuss the campaign with WDET’s Craig Fahle.

Don’t Forget to Register for Opportunity Detroit, Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting and Holiday Reception
Registration is now open for Opportunity Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual membership meeting and holiday reception, on December 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gem Theater. As the landscape of the Detroit region continues to transform, companies of all types and sizes – large and global, entrepreneurial and growing – are investing and creating jobs in Southeast Michigan. Confidence is increasing among business decision-makers and global site selectors believe business opportunities are made in Detroit.

During this event, you will have a chance to hear from the people making decisions to invest in Detroit and what they are finding when they do. From talent, resources and quality of life, to one of the best business tax structures in the nation, the Chamber is bringing business insiders together to share Detroit’s story and define the role you can play in encouraging its continued transformation. Click here to reserve your spot.

Reminder: Help Michigan Build a Stronger, Healthier and More Business Friendly Economy with Short Survey 
The Detroit Regional Chamber is participating in the first Michigan 2013 Economic Outlook Survey along with more than 70 organizations who have joined together from around the state to gain a better understanding of how to accelerate business and job growth in Michigan. This venture will help the participating groups in the Michigan business community to better understand your business priorities and determine what services will be valuable to your business in 2013.

Please take a few quick minutes to fill out a short survey, here, and share your business insight. By providing your feedback in this survey, you are part of a statewide collaborative effort to help Michigan become a stronger, healthier and more business-friendly economy in 2013.

Brinks Attorney Named Co-Chair of ABA Subcommittee on §102(b) Issues under Patent Reform

ANN ARBOR – November 27, 2012 – Eric J. Sosenko, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Chicago-based Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., has been named co-chair of the American Bar Association’s subcommittee on §102(b) Issues, a subcommittee of the Ex Partes PTO Affairs – Patents committee, which examines new implementation rules relating to prior art under patent reform (the America Invents Act).

Sosenko chairs the patent reform committee at Brinks. His intellectual property law practice focuses on the procurement, enforcement and licensing of patents and trademarks in all industrial fields, including the mechanical, electro-mechanical, medical and material arts. He counsels on the strategic implementation and management of domestic and international intellectual property portfolios for various multinational clients and deals with a wide range of intellectual property issues. In addition to his U.S. practice, Sosenko has an extensive international practice with significant experience in international protection, both directly with all major foreign intellectual property offices and under various multinational treaties, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and has presented at seminars in both China and Japan.

In addition to serving as co-chair of the ABA subcommittee on §102(b) Issues, Sosenko is active in other professional associations and serves as Secretary/Treasurer and council member for the Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Learn more about the American Bar Association at http://www.americanbar.org.

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with bachelors and advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. In addition to Ann Arbor, Brinks has offices in Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is available at www.usebrinks.com.

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Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione to Present Webinar on GreenTech IP Strategies and Opportunities on December 5th

Detroit – Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announces that Kelly Burris, managing partner of the firm’s new Detroit office, will host a webinar on Wednesday, December 5th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EST) to provide an in-depth look into the state of Green Technology from the past year and ahead into 2013.

Burris, chair of Brinks’ Green Technology Practice Group, will discusses trends, strategies and approaches to establishing and growing a GreenTech IP portfolio as part of Brinks’ ongoing CLEar Knowledge Now V-panel series.To register for the webinar, please go to http://greentechip.eventbrite.com/#.

At Brinks, Burris focuses her practice on the preparation and prosecution of U.S. and foreign patent applications in the mechanical, materials science and electrical arts. She is also involved in due diligence with mergers and acquisitions, transactional matters, management and administration of corporate intellectual property portfolios and policies, and strategic competitive intelligence.

Brinks is an accredited MCLE provider in Illinois and the GreenTech program is worth 1.0 hour of general CLE credit. CLE credit in Michigan and other states may be available on request. Following the live presentation on December 5th, the presentation will be available for viewing at http://www.brinkshofer.com.

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with bachelors and advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Brinks has offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is available at www.usebrinks.com.

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Plante Moran Names New Office Managing Partner for Firm’s Southfield Office

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., — November 27, 2012– Plante Moran, PLLC, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, is pleased to announce that Sue Novak, CPA, has been appointed office managing partner of the firm’s Southfield office. With more than 600 staff members, it is the firm’s largest office.

Ms. Novak replaces Plante Moran Partner John Bebes, who served as Southfield’s office managing partner since 2005 and recently assumed leadership of Plante Moran’s firm-wide Not-for-Profit (NFP) practice. As Southfield Office Managing Partner, Ms. Novak will oversee the day to day administrative activities of the office. She will also continue as assurance partner and leader of Plante Moran’s benefit plan audit practice.

Ms. Novak began her career with Plante Moran more than 25 years ago. In addition to leading the benefit plan audit practice, a practice that includes audits of more than 1200 benefit plans annually, she has other significant client service experience in audit and tax engagements and consultations for non-profit organizations and religious congregations.

Ms. Novak is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, and Inforum and is a graduate of Leadership Oakland. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Oakland University and is a board member of Leadership Oakland.

About Plante Moran
Plante Moran (www.plantemoran.com) is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting and wealth management services. Plante Moran has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals in 22 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work.

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Plante Moran Receives Top Workplace Recognition

Firm Also Receives Standout Award in “Training” Category

Southfield, Mich. — November 26, 2012 -Plante Moran, PLLC, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, was named one of the top five workplaces in Michigan in the 2012 Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces survey. The state-wide survey looked at companies in small, midsize and large categories; Plante Moran was named number three in the large companies category.

Plante Moran has a tradition of workplace success and has received numerous workplace awards through the years, including the coveted national award from FORTUNE magazine, which has named the firm one of the country’s best places to work for 14 consecutive years. Plante Moran Managing Partner, Gordon Krater, CPA shared the firm’s core belief.

“We thank the Detroit Free Press for commending our efforts to remain a top workplace,” said Krater. “Our culture is at the center of our client service efforts and we continue to invest in programs and policies that optimize the career satisfaction of our staff, who then in turn are motivated to provide outstanding service to our clients.”

Highlights of Plante Moran’s workplace policies supporting individual and team development include:

• The assignment of a team partner and experienced staff member to serve as a “buddy” beginning on the first day of employment to encourage and sustain long-term relationships among staff and promote professional development and personal satisfaction
• A nationally recognized professional training program that includes social media to help ensure effective networking and relationship building with current and future clients and friends of the firm
• A PTA (Personal Tightrope Action) Committee that researches and recommends programs and policies that address and support balance of life issues; examples of PTA programs include a PTA buddy program for first-time parenting staff and on-site child care on Saturdays during tax season.
• Firm-wide volunteer initiatives, including paid time off to support community efforts

As part of the Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces award, Plante Moran received a special award as a Top Workplace Standout in the Training category. The training award was given to Plante Moran based on staff responses to the following statement: “I get the formal training I want for my career.”

The Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces survey was conducted by WorkplaceDynamics. To view the Detroit Free Press article about the awards, which was published on November 18th, please visit http://tinyurl.com/bbr565c.

About Plante Moran
Plante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting and wealth management services. Plante Moran has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals in 22 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work.

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