Dickinson Wright’s Class Action Practice Named to BTI Litigation Powerhouses

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that the firm was named to the “Honor Roll of Litigation Powerhouses: Class Actions” in the latest edition of BTI Litigation Outlook 2017. Corporate counsel ranked Dickinson Wright in the top 15% of all law firms for Class Action.

Using sound strategic advice and expert litigation skills, Dickinson Wright class action litigators represent businesses across industries in the defense of a wide variety of class actions. We successfully defend class cases involving a wide range of underlying claims including antitrust, banking, consumer fraud, employment, environmental, insurance, product liability, securities and much more. Our team has the resources and talent to contain and manage class litigation, including in-house experts in e-discovery and expertise in the cost-effective management of mass data collections. We also participate in all of the major class action bar organizations, giving us insights into developing trends and approaches used by other law firms in the defense of class actions.

BTI’s 6th annual series on trends in the litigation market uncovers how client behavior – and spending – is changing in 2017. The firms included in the “Litigation Powerhouses” are the firms corporate counsel are turning to for their most pressing litigation needs.

BTI is the leading provider of strategic research to the legal community – performing more market research about law firms than virtually anyone. BTI has helped more than 200 law firms and professional services firms improve client service through compelling research and advice. They conduct the only continuous benchmarking market study in the legal services industry, now in its 16th year.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 425 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has seventeen offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and ten other domestic offices in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn. (2); Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Reno, Nev.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canada office is located in Toronto.

As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, the firm offers clients a distinctive combination of superb client service and exceptional quality. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Trifecta! Michigan sweeps all three ITS America Hall of Fame awards ahead of Melbourne World Congress

The State of Michigan will be well represented at the 23rd Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, this fall. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle, and General Motors Corp. were announced winners in all three of the ITS Americas Hall of Fame award categories. The winners were selected by the ITS Americas Board, and the awards will be presented at the ITS World Congress Oct 10-14.

MDOT was awarded the Local Government Hall of Fame Award for its connected and automated vehicle efforts, working in partnership with automobile manufacturers and suppliers, universities and local agencies. MDOT is a founding partner in the Planet M initiative designed to promote Michigan as the epicenter for developing and testing the technology that will be the crux of 21st century mobility. Additionally, State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle was selected by the Board of Directors Executive Committee as the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition and represent Planet M,” Steudle said. “The list of candidates up for this award epitomize the greatest innovators and champions for intelligent transportation systems.”

General Motors Corp. is being awarded for its revolutionary commitment to connected vehicle technology deployment across the United States.

The awards recognize individuals, industries and local governments that are pushing the envelope to ensure this emerging technology and its relationship to automotive research and development enhances safety, communities, and quality of life.

Michigan continues to lead the mobility effort with unrivaled assets and opportunities. In addition to the 32-acre Mcity test site at the University of Michigan, the proposed 335-acre American Center for Mobility at the former Willow Run Bomber Plant will be designed to enable safe validation and self-certification of automated and connected vehicle technology. Michigan is home to the largest vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) deployment in the U.S. with an expected 350 miles of public roads to be wired for V2I testing by the end of 2019, and has introduced recent legislation allowing for fully autonomous vehicles to operate on public roads. Michigan leads the nation in the number of patents relating to navigation and smart mobility, and has universities that groom engineering and technical talent in fields such as cybersecurity, big data and analytics, and next generation auto research.

Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative announces board of directors

The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI), a Mich.-based 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation established in 2015 and offering programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit business solutions to address the needs of urban communities, announces Reggie Barnett, Fred Hall, Karen Lopez and Maria Woodruff-Wright have been appointed to the UEI Board of Directors. The announcement was made by UEI founder and Board President, W. David Tarver.

“I am pleased to formally welcome these individuals, so accomplished in their respective fields of business and law, to the UEI board,” Tarver said. “We look forward to growing the organization through their continued guidance and appreciate the individual and collective knowledge and experience they bring to the table as we crystalize the mission of UEI.”

• Reggie Barnett, Treasurer, most recently served as president and owner of WRN Inc., a provider of business telecommunications networking solutions. He was previously a senior executive at IBM. Barnett holds a law degree and an MBA from Duke University and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame. He is a resident of Bloomfield Hills.
• Fred Hall, Vice-President, is concurrently president of H&P Protective Services and owner of NovaTech Computer Services, Inc. In addition to serving as UEI’s vice-president, Hall heads the board’s development committee. He is a lifelong resident of Detroit.
• Karen Lopez, Secretary, has a private law practice in Flint. She previously served as Vice President for External Affairs & Governance for Hurley Medical Center and Chief Legal Officer for the City of Flint. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Michigan State University and received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She is a Flint native and current resident.
• Maria Woodruff-Wright, Director, currently serves as CFO and Vice President of Operations for the Skillman Foundation. She holds a B.S. from Northwestern University School of Engineering and an MBA from the Ross School of Business – University of Michigan. After graduating from U-M, she founded and sold a company dedicated to providing culturally diverse products for children. Woodruff-Wright was also President of her family business, Expressway Ford, Inc. She is a native of Detroit.

W. David Tarver, a Birmingham resident, is a Flint native who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and also lectures in U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship. In October, Tarver will receive the 2016 University of Michigan College of Engineering Distinguished Service Award.

In 1983, at age 30, Tarver launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a telecommunications instrumentation business, and sold it in 1995 for $30 million. Working as group president for the company’s buyer, he then spearheaded development of a telecommunications group with a market value of more than $2 billion. Tarver left that business in 1999 to devote more time to family and community service, including founding in 2000 the Red Bank Education and Development Initiative (RBEDI) in Red Bank, N.J., a community-based non-profit creating new opportunities and increasing academic performance for the children of Red Bank. RBEDI was credited with helping to increase Red Bank students’ proficiency rate on the N.J. eighth grade performance assessment test from 25% in 2001 to 60% in 2004. He ultimately returned to Southeast Michigan in 2007 and started the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative in 2014, which was recognized as a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation in 2015.

Separately, under the direction of the board, UEI will hold its third annual Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium Oct. 19 to 21 in Flint, Mich. The 2016 Symposium (#UES2016) follows sold-out events in Detroit in 2015 and Ann Arbor in 2014. The Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium convenes entrepreneurs and thought leaders in business, academia, community organizations and government to facilitate business solutions that bring economic opportunity and quality of life improvements to urban communities. For information about the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016, please contact info@urbanei.org.

About the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded by W. David Tarver, a technology entrepreneur, Michigan native and author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit businesses that explicitly and intentionally address the needs of urban communities. Learn more here.

Andrew R. Highsmith, author of ground-breaking book about Flint, to speak at Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016

W. David Tarver, founder and president of The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI) and chief organizer of the third annual Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium, to be held in Flint from Oct. 19 to 21 in Flint, announced that Andrew R. Highsmith, author of Demolition Means Progress, will speak at the event on Oct. 20. The session will consist of an extended interview with Highsmith, conducted by Tarver.

Highsmith is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. A former Flint resident, he received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2009. His doctoral dissertation won the 2009 John Reps Prize for Best Dissertation in American Planning History from the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and the Urban History Association’s Best Dissertation Award for 2009-10. He is a specialist in modern American history, urban history and public policy. Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis, was published in July 2015 by the University of Chicago Press. The book won the 2016 American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Award. In addition to the book, Highsmith has published scholarly articles in the Journal of Urban History, the American Journal of Education, Environmental Justice, the Teachers College Record, and the Journal of Policy History. Highsmith currently resides in Irvine, California, with his wife and three children.

UEI founder Tarver first became acquainted with Highsmith earlier this year after hearing him interviewed about the Flint water crisis on WDET Public Radio in Detroit. He subsequently bought and read Demolition Means Progress and immediately felt compelled to invite Highsmith to speak at #UES2016.

“Demolition Means Progress should be required reading for anyone who aspires to do economic development work in Flint or other American cities that have experienced industrial decline,” Tarver said. “It’s an imminently readable book that conveys an understanding of how Flint became what it is today, and that history suggests the paths we might take to revitalize the city, or not.”

The Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium convenes entrepreneurs and thought leaders in business, academia, community organizations and government to facilitate business solutions that bring economic opportunity and quality of life improvements to urban communities. Sponsors for #UES2016 include Diplomat, SkyPoint Ventures, the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Mott Community College and several units of the University of Michigan, including Innovate Blue, The Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Social Impact at the Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management.

New to this year’s symposium are two business challenge competitions offering monetary awards and professional guidance to the winning teams: The Urban Infrastructure Challenge and the Urban Jobs Challenge. Details to apply for the business challenge competitions are available via the UEI website.

Details on Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016
 When: #UES2016 kicks off Wednesday Oct. 19 with an evening program, and runs through Friday, Oct. 21, 2016; the Thursday session will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end (following a business networking reception) at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s session will commence at 8:00 a.m. and end mid-afternoon.
 Where: work sessions, receptions and seminars will take place at several Flint venues: the Mott Community College Event Center, the Mott Community College Regional Tech Center, the University of Michigan-Flint Northbank Center and the Flint Farmers Market. Details are on the UEI website.
 Cost: The Wednesday night community reception is free (pre-registration required). Registration cost for the full Thursday work sessions is $25.00. Registration for access to all Friday seminars is $25.00.
 Registration: advance registration is required; purchase tickets online at www.urbanei.org.
 Sponsors: For sponsorship information, please call Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative at (313) 457-2050 or email info@urbanei.org.

 Event questions: for general questions about the event, please email info@urbanei.org.

About the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded by W. David Tarver, a technology entrepreneur, Michigan native and author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit businesses that explicitly and intentionally address the needs of urban communities. Learn more here.

Economic Developers Find Collaborative Solutions for Regional Investment at MEDA Conference

This past August, 160 economic developers from across the state came together to discuss key issues impacting business development at the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) annual conference in Detroit. The conference was chaired by Maureen Krauss, senior advisor of economic development for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Discussions revolved around aging infrastructure, repurposing real estate, the auto industry, and community development.

It’s at the conference where relationships among economic developers are often built and cultivated.

“When you can get a wide range of people with diverse projects and communities in one room sharing what works and what doesn’t work for potential investors looking to expand in Michigan, that knowledge is invaluable. Everyone wins,” Krauss said.

The Conference also offered the opportunity to showcase Detroit and the auto industry’s comeback, with tours of the city and keynote speeches by Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Economic Growth Corp. President Rodrick Miller.

“Whether you are from Troy or Marquette or Holland, inevitably you are asked about what’s happening in Detroit from investors and site selectors,” Krauss said.

As a regional convener, the conference is only one part of the Chamber’s collaborative work with developers, private and public partners, and government leaders. With the competition for talent, jobs and investment showing no signs of slowing, Krauss said the Chamber is often called upon to be the “go to” source for everything from labor statistics and graduation rates to available office and retail space. A large component of that collaboration also takes place at the local, state and federal level when key legislation impacts business development.

An example of this, Krauss said, was a recent advocacy effort between the Chamber, Grand Rapids-based The Right Place and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) that eventually led to the passage of a series of bills in the state Legislature that exempt data centers from sales and use taxes. The legislation helped pave the way for more high-tech job creation. Most notably, it was a key catalyst for Switch, a Las Vegas-based company, that announced plans to expand its operations in Michigan, adding $5 billion in investment and 1,000 new jobs.

“You are always impactful when you act with one voice,” Krauss said, adding that the Chamber is currently working with partners to address proposed changes governing state tax increment financing (TIF) regulations and brownfields across the state.

Another positive example is the collaboration with the MEDC and Gov. Rick Snyder on investment missions overseas. Krauss said the Chamber often serves as a lead partner due to the depth of knowledge and diversity of opportunity in Southeast Michigan. Last year alone, the Chamber and its partners helped attract over $80 million and over 500 jobs to the region. Notable projects included YFS Automotive Systems investment of $26.9 million in Wayne County.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.

Crestmark Closes 16 Transactions Totaling More Than $17.9 Million in the First Half of September

Crestmark secured a total of $17,945,000 in financial solutions for 16 new clients in the first half of September.

  • A $250,000 traditional factoring facility was provided on Sept. 1 to a distributor of footwear in North Carolina. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 1, a $415,000 SBA 7(a) term loan facility was provided to an independent insurance agency in Florida. The financing will be used for acquisition purposes.
  • A $200,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided on Sept. 1 to a startup trucking company in North Carolina. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 2, a $150,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided to a startup trucking company in Tennessee. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • A $1,730,000 SBA 7(a) term loan facility was provided on Sept. 6 to an independent insurance agency in North Carolina. The financing will be used to pay off an existing lender and acquisition purposes.
  • On Sept. 6, a $150,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided to a trucking company in Ohio. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • A $2,225,000 SBA 7(a) term loan facility was provided on Sept. 7 to a quality control service company in Michigan. The financing will be used for acquisition and working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 8, a $750,000 ledgered line of credit facility was provided to a granite importer and distributor in New Jersey. The financing will be used to pay off an existing lender and for working capital purposes.
  • A $4,875,000 SBA 7(a) term loan facility was provided on Sept. 9 to an independent insurance agency in Florida. The financing will be used for acquisition and working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 9, a $250,000 traditional factoring facility was provided to a distributor of women’s apparel in California. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • A $150,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided on Sept. 12 to a trucking company in Texas. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 13, a $100,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided to a startup trucking company in Illinois. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • A $2,000,000 accounts receivable purchase facility was provided on Sept. 13 to a trucking company in Michigan. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 13, a $3,750,000 asset-based line of credit facility was provided to a paper and packaging distributor in Texas. The financing will be used to pay off an existing lender and working capital purposes.
  • A $500,000 ledgered line of credit facility was provided on Sept. 15 to a maintenance service company for the oil and gas industry in Texas. The financing will be used to pay off an existing lender and working capital purposes.
  • On Sept. 15, a $450,000 ledgered line of credit facility was provided to a hospitality staffing company in North Carolina. The financing will be used for working capital purposes.

    About Crestmark 

    Crestmark is an FDIC-insured bank that provides innovative financial solutions for businesses nationwide. Financing solutions include asset-based lending, accounts receivable financing, lines of credit, term loans, factoring, machinery/equipment financing and equipment leasing. Crestmark has extensive experience in helping many industries including transportation, manufacturing, staffing, petrochemical, government contractors, apparel/footwear/furniture distribution/manufacturing, hospitality/hotels, insurance agencies, and technology hardware/software. Headquartered in Michigan, with additional offices in California, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, New York, and Illinois; and representatives nationwide. www.crestmark.com

Rehmann Principal Gray Tuttle to compete in USGA National Championship

Rehmann extends best wishes to Gray Tuttle — principal with the firm’s Healthcare Management Advisors — who is headed to St. Louis, Missouri, to compete in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, sponsored by the United States Golf Association (USGA). The competition begins on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

Tuttle is no stranger to the competition: This year’s event will mark the second time he competes in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship (the first time was in 2009) and the fifth time he competes in a USGA national championship. He competed twice in the U.S. Amateur Championship (1974 and 1982) and once in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship (1986).

Tuttle is one of only 156 golfers qualified to participate in the field — beating out more than 2,700 qualifying players.

“It feels like winning the lottery,” Tuttle said. “I have always loved competitive golf and having the opportunity to compete at the highest level of competition is quite an honor. Thanks to Rehmann for supporting my goals at the office and on the green.”

About Rehmann

Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services firm of CPAs & consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators dedicated to providing clients proactive ideas and solutions to help them prosper professionally and personally. The firm offers a cross-functional team approach that gives clients direct access to a professional in any available service. Rehmann is ranked as the 30th largest firm in the United States, with nearly 800 associates located in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach.

Online at rehmann.com.

Berry Moorman, P.C. Attorneys Named to 2016 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List

Nine attorneys from Berry Moorman, P.C. have been named by the 2016 Super Lawyers list.  Four of these attorneys are resident in the firm’s Birmingham office and five are resident in the firm’s Detroit office.  Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in Michigan are named to Super Lawyers and no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars List.

Berry Moorman, P.C. attorneys named to the 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers list are:

Donald F. Carney, Jr. – Birmingham office

Practice areas:          Alternative Dispute Resolution

                                    Estate Planning

                                    Estate and Trust Administration

                                    Estate and Trust Litigation

Sheryl A. Laughren – Detroit office

Practice areas:          Labor and Employment Law

                                    Commercial and Business Litigation

                                    Nonprofit Law

                                    Alternative Dispute Resolution

Robert W. Morgan – Detroit office

Practice areas:          Alternative Dispute Resolution

                                    Civil Litigation

                                    Labor and Employment Law

John J. Schrot, Jr. – Birmingham office

Practice areas:          Family Law

                                    Business Law

                                    Civil Litigation

Thomas W. Sullivan – Detroit office

Practice areas:         Business Law

                                    Mergers and Acquisitions

                                    Nonprofit Law

                                    Employment Law

                                    Real Estate

Harvey B. Wallace, II – Detroit office

Practice areas:          Business and Corporate Planning

                                    Charitable Trust and Foundations

                                    Compensation and Employee Benefits

                                    Estate Planning and Trust Administration

Randolph W. Wright – Birmingham office

Practice areas:          Alternative Dispute Resolution

Banking & Finance

Negotiation of Commercial Transactions

Real Estate Law

U.S. and International Business Law

Berry Moorman, P.C. attorneys named to the 2016 Michigan Rising Stars list are:

Randolph T. Barker – Detroit office

Practice areas:          Business, Corporate and Nonprofit Law

                                    Real Estate Law

                                    Labor and Employment Law

                                   Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

                                    Estate and Trust Litigation

                                    Municipal Law

Timothy E. Harden – Birmingham office

Practice areas:         Tax Planning

                                    Tax Controversies

                                    Business Planning and Formation

                                    Estate Planning and Administration

                                    Mergers and Acquisitions

                                    Real Estate

With offices in Birmingham, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Berry Moorman, P.C. is currently celebrating 90 years of providing our clients with commitment, quality and excellence!  Learn more by visiting www.berrymoorman.com.

Brown & Brown of Detroit Welcomes New Personal Lines Leader

Todd Piersol, Executive Vice President of Brown & Brown of Detroit, is pleased to announce that the office recently welcomed Susan Mitchell to the leadership team. Susan has taken on the important role of Personal Lines Leader.

In her new role, Ms. Mitchell will lead the entire personal lines division, which currently consists of over 10 teammates. She will be responsible for overseeing the account managers, customer service representatives, and producers. Susan stated, “Joining the Brown & Brown team is an exciting move for me. I look forward to a challenging and rewarding relationship.”

Piersol is also looking forward to the positive impact Mitchell will have on the division, stating “Susan has proven herself as a leader in the personal insurance industry. She will play an integral role in the growth of our personal risk management practice in the metro Detroit market. We are excited that she chose to join our team.”

Susan possesses over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. She honed her leadership skills by holding management positions at firms such as Mason-McBride and Hilb Rogal & Hobbs. Susan possesses her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

Brown & Brown of Detroit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States. Located in Sterling Heights, this office is the largest independent insurance agency in Macomb County.

Brown & Brown of Detroit Welcomes New Group Benefits Sales Executive

Todd Piersol, Executive Vice President of Brown & Brown of Detroit, is pleased to announce that the office recently welcomed Sherman Edwards to the team. Sherman will work as a sales executive trainee within the employee benefits department.

In his new role, Mr. Edwards will dedicate himself to helping businesses access comprehensive employee benefits solutions to attract and retain quality talent while growing their businesses profitably.

Piersol believes that Sherman will achieve great success, stating “Sherman is a bright young man who has shown the grit and determination necessary to build a career in our business. We are very excited to have him in our producer training program.”

Sherman earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, where he majored in economics and finance. Prior to joining Brown & Brown of Detroit, he gained valuable experience as a business development associate at Vanguard and as a health and group benefits analyst at Towers Watson.

Brown & Brown of Detroit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States. Located in Sterling Heights, this office is the largest independent insurance agency in Macomb County.