OCC’s Workforce Leadership Training Goes to the Dogs

The Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) at Oakland Community College (OCC) and Leader Dogs for the Blind are hosting a new leadership training on Sept. 12, 2017.

“Designed for HR and training directors, Harness the Power of Leadership demonstrates how a Leader Dog is trained and the trust that is built between guide dogs and clients,” shares Joe Bommarito, OCC’s business development manager of Economic and Workforce Development. “We then translate this training for business application.”

Harness the Power of Leadership is an employee development program, offered at OCC by Leader Dogs for the Blind, teaching practical leadership, management and teamwork concepts pertinent to the professional community.

“People learn better when they are engaged in the learning process. This program challenges participants to learn the Leader Dog model and its related leadership concepts which helps teams become more productive and cohesive by working together,” explains David Bann, corporate engagement manager for Harness the Power of Leadership.

Bann says the training is both powerful and memorable. “People call me all the time, often months after taking the program, to tell me how impactful working with the dogs has been in everyday business application.”

A mix of highly trained Labradors and Golden Retrievers will participate in the training along with their clients. Program attendees will work directly with a Leader Dog under blindfold and shown new business techniques by a person who is blind. These Leader Dog clients have demonstrated professional success utilizing their experience and the program’s methodology.

“The standard to become a Leader Dog is extremely high. Dogs that graduate are capable of keeping our clients safe regardless of the situation they encounter. The capabilities, intelligence and commitment of each Leader Dog is simply amazing,” said Bann. “We are excited to share this learning with the business community and show them how these same principles can be used to advance people through their careers.”

OCC’s leadership training is September 12, 2017, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Auburn Hills Campus. Pre and post-event networking opportunities and a full breakfast will be provided. To reserve a spot or for more information, email Joe Bommarito at jjbommar@oaklandcc.edu.


About OCC
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve. More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Butzel Long attorney Ira E. Hoffman appointed to CyberUSA Advisory Board

Ira E. Hoffman, an attorney based in Butzel Long’s Washington, D.C. office, has been appointed to the CyberUSA Advisory Board.

Established in 2016, CyberUSA is a national platform for collaboration in economic development and innovation. The group, chaired by Governor Tom Ridge, the nation’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, coordinates public and private efforts across different states and communities to ensure American leadership in cybersecurity by shaping the education, innovation and policy landscapes at both the state and federal levels.

Hoffman focuses his practice on government contracts, international law, commercial litigation and cybersecurity law and policy. He has more than 30 years’ experience in international contracting, and his cybersecurity practice focuses on liability for security breaches, M&A due diligence, government investigations, and strategies for mitigating cyber risk.


About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long

M-STEP Results: More Work Needed to Improve Reading Scores, Accountability

Following the release of the M-STEP assessment results in August, the Detroit Regional Chamber is renewing its call for state leaders to stay the course with the rigorous assessment, which is aligned with Michigan’s high academic standards. The Chamber, along with other business organizations such as Business Leaders for Michigan, are concerned that policymakers will focus on changing the M-STEP rather than improving its outcomes. The 2017 results show that less than half of third graders are proficient in reading, a key area of focus for the Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy.

While test results are disappointing, they offer an honest look at student performance against rigorous standards and are an indication of Michigan’s progress toward its stated goal of becoming a top 10 state academically. This goal is a priority among investors looking for a well-educated workforce. The 2017 scores demonstrate the need to maintain high academic standards and a well-aligned assessment and to double down on developing strategies that better support student achievement while also committing to a more honest and meaningful accountability system.

Read more about the M-STEP results here.

Howard & Howard Named to State Bar of Michigan

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC has been named to the State Bar of Michigan’s 2017 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence at the Excellence Level.

The award honors lawyers’ contributions of pro bono service and the firms whose lawyers have demonstrated compliance with the Pro Bono Voluntary Standard set by the State Bar. Howard & Howard was recognized at the Excellence Level. This distinction is reserved for law firms/corporations of two or more attorneys with 100% aggregate contributions at the Bro Bono Voluntary Standard level of 30 hours or $300 per attorney average in financial donations. These contributions support access to justice efforts for low-income individuals and families in Michigan.

Founded in 1869, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice that provides legal services to businesses and business owners.  The firm has offices in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Royal Oak); Illinois (Chicago and Peoria); Las Vegas, Nevada; and Los Angeles, California.  Howard & Howard’s major areas of practice include: bankruptcy and creditors’ rights; business and corporate; commercial litigation; employee benefits; environmental; estate planning; franchising; intellectual property; labor, employment and immigration; mergers and acquisitions; real estate; securities; and tax.  Our distinguished backgrounds provide us with a solid understanding of the industries we serve, including, automotive and industrial; cannabis; commodity futures; construction; energy and utilities; financial services; gaming; healthcare; and hospitality. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.howardandhoward.com.

Previewing Digital Summit Detroit: Why Your Social Media Ads Are Useless

Nick Mattar is the director of marketing at the Detroit Regional Chamber and will be speaking on social media advertising at Digital Summit Detroit on Sept. 13. You can register for the Summit at the Chamber’s discounted rate using the code DRC50 at checkout. Visit http://www.digitalsummitdetroit.com to register.

The Detroit Regional Chamber hosts a multitude of events every year, marketing constantly to member companies and individuals. As a result, it can be difficult to ask the same people to attend several events over the course of the year.

This is where social media advertising can be helpful. Since 2012, the Chamber has run more than 100 social media advertising campaigns, largely centered around events. And since I have been the point person on most of them, I have witnessed the best and the worst, assembling a concrete list of positives and negatives that help dictate social media advertising success. It should be noted that I still face the ups and downs that are inevitable with any ad campaign.

First, a quick word on some other forms of online advertising. Banner ads are a form of advertising that I do not believe will ever give a company the return on investment they are hoping to see. They can be costly, limited in content, and have existed for so long that “banner blindness” has substantially weakened their effectiveness. On the other hand, sponsored content is a great way to drive brand awareness and conversions. But, they are much more expensive and require additional resources to develop compelling content.

Social media advertising is a happy medium between sponsored content and banner ads. Most social media ads require both text and imagery while driving users to a final destination URL. At the same time, it is a form of native advertising designed to fight “banner blindness” by inserting the content directly into the traditional social feed. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and others allow users to publish their own versions of advertising, varying in format and key performance indicators (KPIs). But the major statistic for all them is the number of resulting conversions.

Some typical headlines that you might encounter on social media:

  • “REGISTER TODAY”
  • “Only ’90s kids will understand this”
  • “Millennials are killing [insert anything here]”

The one thing these three headlines all have in common is that they are too obvious to the end user that advertisers want money or cheap website visits. If the end user is going to click on your ad, he or she needs to feel compelled to continue reading. But these headlines are exactly why many social media ads are useless.

In my travels across the digital marketing landscape from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat, I failed at social media advertising enough to develop a list of reasons why my ads failed. Thankfully, I noticed I was not alone in this endeavor, as many others failed the same ways. Social media advertising is still new enough that there is no definitive “best practice” and every social media site operates its advertising platform differently. I maintain my own list of best practices, but to better communicate the ebb and flow of social media ads, I have assembled a list of reasons why your social media ads are useless:

  • Your ads are not noticed
  • Your ads tell people rather than show them
  • Your ads fail to connect original content with the final goal
  • You don’t monitor your KPIs
  • You don’t learn from your ad mistakes

Interested about these five points? I will dive more into them all at the Digital Summit Detroit, Sept. 13 at 4:40 p.m.

Dickinson Wright’s Real Estate Practice Ranked as #3 in the “2017 Best of the Best”

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that the firm’s real estate practice has been ranked as the #3 law practice in the “2017 Best of the Best” published by Midwest Real Estate News.

Over 60 commercial real estate law practices in the Midwest participated in the rankings. Rankings were calculated based on the total dollar volume of transactions completed in 2016, according to Midwest Real Estate News. Dickinson Wright has been ranked in the top three for the past three years.

“We are honored to be named the number three law firm practice in this year’s Midwest Real Estate News 2017 Best of the Best,” says Harlan W. Robins, practice department manager for real estate, environmental, and energy & sustainability. “For three years in a row, we’ve been among the top three law firms and that is a testament to our outstanding team of real estate attorneys that work alongside our clients, day in and day out, to provide them with superior client service and expertise.”

Dickinson Wright’s real estate practice is sophisticated and varied. More than 60 lawyers are actively involved in real estate matters, regularly representing a wide variety of clients in all aspects of real estate investment and development. Many of our clients have portfolios that span North America, and they rely on our significant experience in nearly every U.S. state and Canadian province to help them maximize value and increase management efficiency. With offices in Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, Ontario, we serve clients wherever they need us.

To learn more about Dickinson Wright’s real estate practice, please click here.

To see the complete list of the “2017 Best of the Best” according to Midwest Real Estate News, please click here.


About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 450 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. 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 for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Gord Advisors Small Business Unit Hires a New Manager

Gordon Advisors, a leading CPA and consulting firm, welcomes their new Small Business Unit Manager, Gregg Roberts to their team. Gregg will be replacing Cheryl Bida, Manager of the highly successful Small Business Unit upon her retirement.

Ms. Bida’s dedication, hard work and innovative spirit is the reason for her success and the expansion of the Small Business Unit of Gordon Advisors. Jeff Farrington, Gordon Advisors’ Chief Operating Officer says “Cheryl Bida has done a tremendous job for our small business clients over the past 20 years. She will be missed when she retires but it will provide an opportunity for Gregg Roberts, who has extensive experience with financial statement preparation, tax filings and heading a group of dedicated Accountants and Bookkeepers. We are excited to have Gregg on the Gordon Advisors Team”.

Mr. Roberts brings to the Small Business Unit 17 years of public accounting experience with a background of taxes and accounting focusing in the franchise, retail and service industries. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Business with a major in Accounting from Walsh College and went on to earn his CPA license in 2003. Mr. Roberts is excited for this opportunity to be a part of a company voted one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work for.

Ms. Bida joined Gordon Advisors in the 90’s, as a staff accountant and worked her way to become the leader of the Small Business Unit at Gordon Advisors. Ms. Bida is retiring to chase her dreams of traveling, something she has always been fond of, volunteering and most importantly grandparenting. She is pleased knowing someone as experienced and competent as Gregg will be taking over the sector she’s worked so hard to grow. Ms. Bida was a great asset to Gordon Advisors; her devotion, bubbly personality and her knowledge will be missed greatly.


Gordon Advisors, P.C. (www.gordoncpa.com) is a full-service certified public accounting and business consulting firm that maintains an office in Troy, Michigan. Ranked as the 17th largest CPA firm in Michigan, they specialize in personal and business income tax, accounting, auditing, strategic planning, business valuations, litigation support, fraud, forensic and risk services, as well as business consulting.

Dickinson Wright Attorney Michelle Alamo Reappointed Chair of DRI’s Intellectual Property Litigation Committee

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Michelle L. Alamo has been reappointed Chair of DRI’s Intellectual Property Litigation Committee. She was originally appointed Chair in 2016 and her second one-year term goes into effect on November 1, 2017.

Ms. Alamo is a Member in the firm’s Detroit office where she focuses her practice on intellectual property and patent litigation, complex commercial and business litigation, and eDiscovery. She counsels clients in a wide range of industries including automotive, insurance, telecommunications, technology, and construction. She also assists clients in litigation matters involving antitrust, trade secrets, RICO, False Claims Act, supplier contracts, tortious interference, business defamation, and more.

Ms. Alamo is a member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the State Bar of Michigan, the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Litigation Counsel of America. She is recognized as a leader in her field by Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers in America, National Academy of Jurisprudence (formerly the American Academy of Trial Attorneys), Michigan Super Lawyers, and Dbusiness Top Lawyers. She received her B.S.E.E. from Kettering University and her J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

DRI’s Intellectual Property Litigation Committee is dedicated to meeting member needs relating to substantive law issues in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation as well as professional and business development. The Committee will particularly focus on issues related to IP litigation and will provide the defense practitioner with the skills and tools needed to thrive in this competitive market. The Committee welcomes both full-time IP litigators as well as those whose practice includes IP litigation only on occasion. To learn more, please click here.


About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 450 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. 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 for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Rehmann Announces Cornerstone Partnership with Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena

The Detroit Red Wings and Rehmann have several things in common: a dedication to teamwork, long-standing success in their respective industries and a commitment to the Metro Detroit region. Maintaining this trend, Rehmann today announced its Cornerstone sponsorship of the Detroit Red Wings at the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena.

As a Cornerstone partner, Rehmann receives naming rights to the West Club within Little Caesars Arena, as well as on-ice and digital advertising. The newly-coined “Rehmann Club” is an exclusive area that will feature more than 400 premium seats located in the arena bowl, providing a memorable experience for attendees.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Rehmann and debuting the ‘Rehmann Club,’ an exciting social-gathering space within Little Caesars Arena,” said Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “In addition to an upscale atmosphere and high-end food options, the ‘Rehmann Club’ features easy access to VIP parking, making the club extremely convenient to sports and entertainment fans attending Little Caesars Arena.”

Little Caesars Arena will open in September 2017, and will also host the Detroit Pistons along with other world-class sporting and entertainment events.

“We are excited to announce our renewed partnership with the Detroit Red Wings during this historic moment of transition,” said Rehmann CEO Randy Rupp. “Our relationship with the Red Wings has been rewarding at every turn, and we’re honored to continue our affiliation with such an outstanding organization.”


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 has nearly 800 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at rehmann.com.

About Little Caesars Arena
Home to the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and other sports and entertainment events, concerts, family shows and community functions, the new Little Caesars Arena will feature a dramatic arena bowl, proximity to the action and great sight lines. Rich with the tradition of the Original Six™ Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Pistons and Detroit’s incredible musical heritage, Little Caesars Arena will also feature state-of-the-art technology and fan amenities.

American Society of Employers (ASE) Releases 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey Findings

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released its 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey. The annual survey, covering Michigan employers, examines the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays of employer-sponsored health plans as well as wellness benefits and cost control measures.

Highlights of the ASE 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey:
• Participants are reporting an average annual premium increase for the 2017 plan year of 5%. This adjustment represents the increase to premiums after plan design changes and is up slightly from 4.5% in 2016 and 4.25% in 2015. Projected increases for 2018 are anticipated to be flat at 5%.

• At 84%, the most widely used plan type among non-union organizations continue to be Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, these plans offer employees greater provider options. Just 38% of surveyed non-union organizations offered a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan.

• The median employer premium percentage among non-union organizations for PPO plans for employee only and employee plus family coverage has remained constant at 80% for both Consumer Driven Health Plans and Traditional plans.

• In 2017, the median in-network PPO plan deductible (in high deductible plans) for employee-only coverage among non-union organizations was $1,775, down from $1,875 in 2016. Median deductibles for employee plus family coverage decreased to $3,300 from $3,750 in 2016. In-network deductibles among traditional PPO plans increased for employee only and employee plus family coverage. Increases for those plan types were $100 and $200 for employee-only and employee plus family coverage respectively.

• More significant increases to plan deductibles (among PPO plans) were seen in out-of-network coverage. Increases to those deductibles were as high as $1,500 year-over-year, suggesting employers are making greater efforts to encourage plan participants to stay in-network where costs can be better managed.

• Median annual contributions to Health Savings Accounts were flat. Median employer contributions in non-union organizations for employee only coverage was $500 in 2017 and 2016. Similarly, median annual contributions to employee plus family coverage was $1,000. Contributions at the 75th percentile of all firms were $700 and $1,300 respectively for employee only and employee plus family coverage.

Employers continue to take steps to control costs:
• Most significantly, 48% of organizations surveyed have either implemented or plan to implement telemedicine services in 2017.

• 46% have increased, or plan to increase, employee education around plan features and costs.

• Other notable cost containment strategies include implementing or expanding wellness programs (31%), implementing a Consumer Driven Health Plan (30%), and making generic prescriptions mandatory (28%).

The ASE 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey findings were announced by ASE President and CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“Plan design changes as a means to control costs continue to be the norm. However, we are seeing strong evidence that employers are looking more long-term and are working to change the behaviors of their employees through increased education, wellness initiatives, and by implementing and offering consumer driven health plans,” stated Corrado. “It’s also interesting to see how technology is playing a role in healthcare cost control with the rise of telemedicine.”

Background information on the ASE 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey:
• 236 organizations from across Michigan participated.

• Organizations with 50 to 499 employees nationally made up more than 56% of the survey sample, while organizations with more than 500 employees nationally represented nearly 27% of the sample. The remaining 17% of the sample come from organizations with fewer than 50 employees nationally.

• A variety of industries are represented, with manufacturing or goods producing organizations representing 50% of the survey sample. The remaining 50% are represented by trades and services organizations.

To obtain a copy of ASE’s 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey, contact ASE’s Compensation and Benefits Surveys department at surveys@aseonline.org or 248.353.4500. This survey is available free of charge to ASE-member survey participants, $225 to ASE member non-participants, and $1,350 for non-members.


About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.