Plante Moran receives Top Workplaces recognition

Southfield, Mich. – Nov. 18, 2013 – Plante Moran, 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 2013 “Detroit Free Press” Top Workplaces survey. The statewide survey looked at companies in small, midsize and large categories; Plante Moran was named number four in the large company 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 15 consecutive years. Plante Moran Managing Partner Gordon Krater, CPA shared the firm’s core belief.

“We thank the Detroit Free Press for recognizing our efforts to remain a top workplace,” said Krater. “Our culture is at the center of our client service focus, and we continue to invest in programs and policies that optimize the career satisfaction of our staff, who are then 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 Personal Tightrope Action, or PTA, 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
• Firmwide volunteer initiatives, including paid time off to support community efforts
• A diversity council and several affinity groups, including an LGBT resource group
• A Women in Leadership initiative to attract, retain, develop and advance women into leadership positions within the firm

The “Detroit Free Press” Top Workplaces survey was conducted by WorkplaceDynamics. View the Nov. 17 “Detroit Free Press” article and photos of Plante Moran staff here.

Plante Moran also announced that today is the official opening of its new Detroit office, which will house 50 staff. Detroit is the firm’s seventh office in southeast Michigan. Plante Moran’s other area offices are located in Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Clinton Township, Flint and two in Southfield.

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 21 offices throughout Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Earlier this year, the firm was named to FORTUNE magazine’s list of the “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” for the 15th consecutive year. Plante Moran was ranked #25 on this year’s FORTUNE list.

Health Management Associates Selects Brogan & Partners as Agency

BIRMINGHAM, Mich., Nov. 18, 2013—Health Management Associates (HMA), an independent, national research and consulting firm focused on publicly financed healthcare, headquartered in Lansing, Mich., has named Brogan & Partners as its agency. Ellyn Davidson, managing partner for Brogan & Partners, made the announcement.

“We are excited to work with HMA, leveraging our agency’s 29 years of healthcare industry experience to help elevate the HMA brand in the marketplace,” Davidson said.

Brogan & Partners will work with HMA to develop a more robust integrated marketing communications platform, with an emphasis on inbound marketing strategy, creative production and corporate branding. The work will begin immediately.

“Brogan & Partners has an exceptional track record of building brands in the healthcare industry,” said Kelly Niebel, Communications Director for HMA. We had repeated success with Brogan over the years at the Michigan Department of Community Health. They never seem to run out of fresh, strategic ideas to grow awareness and drive consumer use.”

About Brogan & Partners
Brogan & Partners creates and converges advertising, social media and mobile media with an emphasis on brand engagement and specialties in health care marketing and marketing to women. Since its start in 1984, Brogan & Partners has built a solid reputation on results-driven campaigns that build brands, transform opinions and deliver consistently excellent ROI for its clients. The agency is headquartered in Birmingham, Mich. and has a service office in Cary, NC. For more information, visit www.brogan.com.

BCBSM response to ACA individual health plan administrative change

The following is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s statement, as of 11/15/13, regarding the recently-announced administrative change pertaining to individual health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act:

“We monitored remarks by President Obama, but we will need to review and understand the changes he is proposing in the ACA regulations before we are able to let you know the impact of those changes on your coverage. We will be notifying all of our members of how this will affect them in the near future. We ask that you continue to monitor the media and our Blues blog at mibluesperspectives.com for more information. We will also notify all of our members of their options as outlined by the President.”

Click here to follow this discussion and explore the latest health care reform news from MI Health Answers.

Plante Moran’s new Detroit office opens Nov.18

Detroit, Mich., Nov. 15, 2013 – Nearly 50 eager staff members of Plante Moran, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, will call the firm’s new Detroit office home when it opens on Monday, Nov. 18.  One of FORTUNE’s 100 best places to work for 15 consecutive years, Plante Moran announced the opening of the Detroit office, located in the Compuware Building, last summer as part of its growth strategy and desire to help shape the future of the city’s business core.

“The firm continues to grow and was seeking additional office space, so settling downtown makes sense. There is incredible energy in Detroit and while challenges remain, good things are happening,” said Detroit Office Managing Partner Dianne Wells, CPA. “We believe Plante Moran can make a contribution to strengthen the city and its comeback efforts by having a stronger presence here.”

Plante Moran’s office, designed by SmithGroupJJR, complements the vibe of the Compuware Building and the surrounding business community. Glass walls, gleaming technology and open collaborative spaces abound, giving the office a decidedly downtown beat similar to the firm’s Chicago office.

Staff-wise, the Detroit office has a strong manufacturing, distribution, service and real estate group mix and a complementary balance of not-for-profit, government and employee benefit plan teams.

In addition to Wells, other Plante Moran staff taking a leadership role in their respective areas in the Detroit office include:

  • Bryan Welsh, CPA, partner, and Keith Piwko, CPA, senior manager, manufacturing
  • Christa LaBrosse, CPA, senior manager, service
  • Kellie Goines, CPA, senior manager, not-for-profit
  • Bill Brickey, CPA, partner, government and retail dealers
  • Dean Rocheleau, CPA, J.D., partner, real estate and office tax director
  • Todd McClain, relationship manager, Plante Moran Financial Advisors

“Our staff mix in the Detroit office is very well rounded when it comes to serving our private and public sector clients in Detroit and the surrounding areas,” said Wells.

Plante Moran Detroit Office by numbers:

  • 50 – Number of staff members
  • 15,000 -Total square feet Plante Moran will occupy on third floor of the Compuware Building
  • 1098 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  • 313.496.7200 – Phone number
  • 313.496.7201 – Fax number

The Detroit office is the firm’s seventh office in southeast Michigan. Plante Moran’s other area offices are located in Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Clinton Township, Flint and two in Southfield. Plante Moran CRESA, a fully integrated independent real estate firm affiliated with Plante Moran, brokered the lease deal between Plante Moran and Compuware.

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 21 offices throughout Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Earlier this year, the firm was named to FORTUNE magazine’s list of the “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” for the 15th consecutive year. Plante Moran was ranked #25 on this year’s FORTUNE list.

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BCBSM/BCN statement regarding President’s remarks pertaining to modifications to the PPACA regulations

The following is a statement released by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network regarding President Barack Obama’s remarks pertaining to modifications to the PPACA regulations:

“We monitored remarks by President Obama, but we will need to review and understand the changes he is proposing in the ACA regulations before we are able to let you know the impact of those changes on your coverage.  We will be notifying all of our members of how this will affect them in the near future. We ask that you continue to monitor the media and our Blues blog at mibluesperspectives.com for more information. We will also notify all of our members of their options as outlined by the President.”

The Townsend Hotel Continues Silver Anniversary Celebration with Second “Pay it Forward” Volunteer Recognition Contest

WHAT: As part of its ongoing Silver Anniversary celebration, The Townsend Hotel is hosting a second random-drawing entry contest designed to acknowledge and reward local community volunteers. The Townsend, in an effort to recognize and thank its patrons and the community for supporting the property for the last 25 years, and in honor of the great volunteer work done by so many area residents, is inviting anyone eligible to participate in its “Pay it Forward” volunteer recognition contest.

Eligible contestants will be entered in a random drawing to win a gift certificate for one of several Townsend Hotel experience prizes. Dubbed the “Pay it Forward” Contest, winning entrants may choose to either enjoy the prizes themselves as a “thank you” for their volunteer efforts, or pay it forward by donating the prize back to the non-profit organization for which they volunteer (to be used at a future fundraising event).

DETAILS: Anyone whom has volunteered at least 2.5 hours of community service anytime between June 1 and Nov. 25, 2013 is eligible to enter the “Pay it Forward” drawing. To enter, interested contestants must complete (including a signature from a volunteer supervisor) and submit a contest entry form. The form is available online at www.townsendhotel.com under the “Specials & Offers” section, or hard copies may be picked up at The Townsend Hotel Concierge Desk or The Townsend Bakery. Completed forms may be submitted to Tracy Fashing by email at tfashing@townsendhotel.com, by fax at 248.540.2390 or by mail at The Townsend Hotel/ATTN: Pay it Forward/100 Townsend Street/Birmingham, MI 48009.

Volunteer hours must be completed by Nov. 25, 2013, and entry forms must be received no later than Nov. 30, 2013. Complete contest rules and entry information are available at http://tinyurl.com/ncdsx9f.

Prizes, which can be kept or “paid forward,” will include gift certificates for a variety of Townsend Hotel experiences, including:
• A one-night stay in a Luxury King Room
• Dinner for two in The Rugby Grille (excluding alcohol)
• Afternoon Tea for Two
• A customized cake from The Townsend Bakery (up to a $50 value)
• Happy Hour appetizers for two in The Corner bar (5-7 p.m.)

WHEN: The “Pay it Forward” program is currently underway. Volunteer hours must be completed by Nov. 25, 2013, and entry forms must be received no later than Nov. 30, 2013.

WHO: Opened in 1988, The Townsend Hotel, celebrating its Silver Anniversary in 2013, is a AAA 4-Diamond luxury property located in downtown Birmingham, Mich. Travel + Leisure magazine ranks The Townsend among its, “World’s Best Hotels,” and the property also was recently named as a 2012 “best in the world” Midwest hotel by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, The Townsend is known for its exceptional service and amenities, including the Rugby Grille, The Corner bar, Afternoon Tea at The Townsend and a variety of bakery, banquet and catering services. For more information, visit www.townsendhotel.com or contact The Townsend Hotel at 800.548.4172

Auburn Hills recognized as Five Star Community by UM-Dearborn’s iLabs

Auburn Hills, Mich.—Nov. 15, 2013— Auburn Hills has once again been recognized as a five star community in the 2013 eCities study by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research. Auburn Hills and other winning communities were honored at a ceremony at UM-Dearborn yesterday for the work they do to foster entrepreneurial growth and economic development.

City Manager Pete Auger applauds the entire Auburn Hills team for continuing to develop the positive business environment that has earned the city eCities honors every year since 2007, when the award was first offered.

“The success of the city of Auburn Hills would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of our Building Department, City Council and Community and Economic Development teams,” said Auger. “We have always strived for positioning the city as a great place to do business and are pleased that eCities research recognizes our commitment to being progressive, responsive and entrepreneur-friendly.”

The eCities research surveyed 102 communities from 37 counties in Michigan that are home to 36 percent of Michigan residents and 40 percent of its college graduates. These communities count nearly one-third of the state’s entrepreneurs, with more than $3.2 billion in self-employed income as residents. These communities also had more than $1.8 billion in 2012 commercial construction and account for more than 48 percent of Michigan’s commercial property.

“This annual project makes the university part of the local leader’s toolkit for economic development. We are tackling a statewide concern and analyzing the parts that local leaders can directly impact,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs. “Participating communities can identify best practices and methods they can implement to aid in job growth, economic diversification and development of entrepreneurs.”

Support for eCities 2013 is provided in part by the DTE Energy Foundation, Point and Pay, Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs and UM-Dearborn’s College of Business.

About eCities
The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, uses data supplied by the participants, as well as other public records to assemble a six-factor, 32-item index of entrepreneurial activity, looking at such factors as clustering, incentives, growth, policies, community and education. The study focuses on entrepreneurship because of its importance to expansion and diversification of Michigan’s regional economies and the impact small businesses have on job creation. To date, 182 communities across Michigan have participated in the study.

About Auburn Hills
Celebrating 30 years as a city in 2013, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.

November 14: Special Edition; Governor’s Summit Makes the Case for Hiring Veterans

Governor’s Summit Urges Business Community to Hire Veterans, Completes 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do Item

Hiring veterans is not only the right thing to do – it makes business sense. That was the message that was delivered at the Governor’s Summit for Veterans Talent yesterday. Marking the completion of a 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List item, the Summit brought together business leaders and a dozen selected veterans to discuss veteran-hiring strategies and facilitate connections.

Governor Rick Snyder and Tammy Carnrike, the Chamber’s chief operating officer, challenged attendees to take the lead and make a difference by implementing and encouraging corporate veteran-hiring strategies. The agenda focused on Michigan becoming a national leader in hiring veterans and build better pathways from the barracks to the boardroom.

More than 150 corporate representatives attended the Summit, which was held at Masco Corporation Headquarters in Taylor, Michigan, to hear speakers and panelists from major companies and educational institutions in Michigan discuss the programs they currently have in place to connect veterans to opportunities and provide them with proper training. As Summit host and presenting sponsor, Masco Corporation Chairman Emeritus Richard Manoogian and President and CEO Timothy Wadhams spoke of strong commitment they hold for veterans employment and availability of housing.To watch video highlights from the Summit, click here.

Governor Urges Michigan Employers to Set National Standard for Veteran Career Placement

Governor Snyder gave the opening keynote speech of the Summit, calling for Michigan to strive to become the best at providing career opportunities for U.S. military veterans. He highlighted the abundance of Michigan veterans and the value they can provide employers, urging companies to adopt more concerted veteran recruitment practices in order to attract and retain the state’s great talent.

Governor Snyder invited five veterans on stage to pitch the executives in attendance on the skills they possess and the value they could provide employers. To watch video of the veterans’ pitches, click here.

Gov. Snyder Signs Legislation to Facilitate Veterans’ Career Search

Michigan representatives Gail Haines (R-Waterford Twp.), George Darany (D-Dearborn) and Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) accompanied Gov. Snyder on stage at the Summit to sign into law legislation facilitating the transition from military to civilian work for veterans. The legislation was written to fully recognize veterans for their service to our country and break down barriers to employment by ensuring that education and training acquired in the military meet the qualifications required by civilian jobs. To read more about the bill, click here.

Medal of Honor Winner Challenges Employers to Hire Veterans, Benefit from Their Leadership

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient, Salvatore “Sal” Giunta, challenged employers to hire veterans, provide them with a goal and then be impressed with how they succeed. Providing a riveting keynote address at the Summit, Giunta used his first-hand experience to explain how veterans’ skills provide unique qualifications to excel in the traditional workplace.

Giunta described skills that veterans possess, specifically the commitment to teamwork and achievement of group goals, the ability to go extend beyond comfort zones, and a strong sense of resilience and perseverance. Veterans also understand – more than anyone who has not served – the opportunity and privilege they have as individuals to give 100 percent effort, and can transfer that mindset to the achievement of organizational goals. To see video of Giunta’s keynote, click here.

MVAA Director Makes Business Case for Veteran Recruitment Programs, Introduces Web Portal

Recruiting veterans to join an employer or academic institution provides more than intangible personal traits that are often unmatched by typical employee candidates; it also presents valuable benefits to an organization’s bottom line. Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), spoke of several incentives for placing an emphasis on the recruitment of veterans. These incentives include:

  • Five years of free health care upon leaving the military, providing access to 23 Veterans Affairs medical facilities, health centers or clinics for treatments and wellness checkups.
  • Employer tax credits ranging from $2,400 to $9,600 per year, per veteran.
  • Relocation allowances provided by the military for a veteran’s last move after service.
  • G.I. Bill that allows veterans to pursue higher levels of education and certification.

The MVAA website includes a portal that provides companies with tools and resources to pursue a veteran-hiring strategy, pertaining to veterans’ employment, education, health care and quality of life. To learn more about what the MVAA is doing to facilitate veteran recruiting efforts, click here.

Obama to allow continued sale of cancelled plans

This morning (11/14/13), President Obama announced that he will permit health insurers to temporarily continue selling individual health plans which do not meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

Specifically, insurers will be able to continue selling existing individual plans through 2014. Carriers will be required to notify existing customers about alternatives available under the ACA, and educate them on existing plans’ shortcomings as compared to coverage required by the law.

These extensions will not be available to anyone who is not currently enrolled in a non-compliant plan.

For more detail, click here.

We are awaiting guidance on how this change will be implemented. The roll-out will differ by state, as well as by carrier.  For updates, please visit the thread on this topic on www.mihealthanswers.com.

This post was contributed by Shannon Saksewski (Health Education Program Manager, Detroit Regional Chamber).  Shannon can be contacted at ssaksewski@detroitchamber.com.

2013 DYKEMA AUTOMOTIVE INSTITUTE SURVEY: INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

Detroit – November 14, 2013 – As the automotive industry continues to move towards globalization, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and automotive suppliers face a number of complex legal issues across the world that may affect the productivity of their organizations and their bottom line, according to the 2013 Dykema Automotive Institute Survey: Industry Challenges.

Measuring the attitudes and perspectives of executives at OEMs and suppliers, the survey reveals that data privacy was chosen as the top legal challenge that U.S. automotive executives face when doing business overseas. With that in mind, the survey found that only about a quarter of respondents report their companies employ in-house experts who concentrate on privacy and security changes, while the majority of them do not. Indeed, 74 percent of respondents said their companies do not employ a chief privacy officer or other senior manager with “privacy” in his or her job title.

Navigating the complicated corporate bribery laws when doing business overseas was another notable challenge referenced by survey respondents, particularly as it relates to doing business in China. While U.S. OEMs and suppliers continue to expand into China to take advantage of its growing automotive marketplace, the country’s reputation for corruption in both the private sector and government business has not gone unnoticed. A wide majority of respondents chose China as posing the greatest compliance risk when doing business overseas.

“Following the financial crisis and recession, the automotive industry has taken strides over the last five years to reinvent itself,” said Aleks Miziolek, director of Dykema’s Automotive Industry Group. “The survey shows that while this transformation has put automotive companies in a strong position to compete globally, there are several key legal and compliance challenges—by data privacy, corporate bribery and international tax laws, to name just a few—that leave them at risk of liability.”

The survey also revealed legal issues not yet on automotive executives’ radars. Although automotive collaborations often raise legal and operational questions ranging from antitrust issues to the challenges that arise when collaborating with competitors, automakers are increasingly teaming up with competitors to share costs and brainpower as fuel efficiency and environmental requirements get tougher. Specifically, 44 percent of OEMs and 49 percent of suppliers plan to enter into a collaboration in the next 12 months. The desire to fund technological advancements was the top reason given for inspiring OEMs to collaborate, while the desire to expand into foreign markets was the top reason chosen by suppliers.

“Only automotive companies that are ahead of the game in addressing legal risks will truly remain competitive and prosper in the future,” added Miziolek. “We believe the findings of our survey present important opportunities for OEMs and suppliers to gain a better understanding of the top legal challenges facing their companies. Chief among these are matters regarding environmental compliance, intellectual property, corporate bribery laws, litigation, data privacy, international tax, regulatory issues and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It’s only by understanding these realms—and developing proactive solutions to them—that t automotive companies can ensure that their organizations remain at the forefront of this global industry moving forward.”

According to Dykema, the survey yielded a number of other prominent conclusions, including:

  • Court disputes. Litigation remains a top legal concern for automotive companies with some areas of litigation seeing more activity than others. Supply chain litigation (52 percent), IP litigation (46 percent) and warranty litigation (39 percent) were the top three types of litigation faced by respondents’ companies over the last year.
  • Counterfeit goods. Although the U.S. automotive industry witnesses an estimated $12 billion per year in trade of counterfeit automotive parts, only half of respondents have taken specific steps against counterfeiting, including customs enforcement and litigation, to protect their brand, and only a few plan to do so in the next year. While there are a number of steps a company can implement to fight against counterfeiting, this is an area of concern that is not getting needed industry attention.
  • Compliance deadlines. Respondents ranked conflict minerals lowest in terms of global compliance concerns. However, automotive manufacturers are seriously addressing near-term compliance deadlines to meet the standards of the Conflict Minerals Act (a rule that requires public companies to publicly disclose whether the sourcing of conflict minerals in their products benefited armed groups responsible for human rights violations). Sixty-eight percent of respondents would consider not sourcing a supplier if it indicated products contained or likely contained conflict minerals, and 64 percent would consider not sourcing a supplier if it did not comply with a conflict minerals request. At the same time, the response to the survey question regarding the percentage of their Conflict Mineral Act compliant suppliers reveals many suppliers are still not compliant and/or the OEMs do not yet know whether their suppliers are compliant.

In July 2013, Dykema distributed the survey via e-mail to a group of senior executives and advisors in the automotive industry including CEOs, CFOs and other company officers.

With more than 75 years of experience representing companies in the automotive industry, Dykema has one of the most extensive automotive legal practices in the U.S. Dykema lawyers regularly represent automotive companies headquartered throughout the world. The attorneys counsel suppliers and OEMs in multi-million-dollar mergers and acquisitions, in a broad array of automobile product liability, commercial and supply chain management litigation, in class action litigation in the most challenging jurisdictions, and before the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal and state departments and agencies. For more information on Dykema’s Automotive Industry Group, please visit http://www.dykema.com/services-industries-automotive-industry-group.html.

About Dykema

Dykema serves business entities worldwide on a wide range of complex legal issues. Dykema lawyers and other professionals in 13 U.S. offices work in close partnership with clients – from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies – to deliver outstanding results, unparalleled service and exceptional value in every engagement. To learn more, visit www.dykema.com and follow Dykema on Twitter http://twitter.com/Dykema.