Tech Leaders, Chamber Make Case For Detroit During Detroit Startup Week

Building on its work to position Southeast Michigan as a welcoming hub for tech startups, the Detroit Regional Chamber participated in several relevant panel discussions on the region’s impact during Detroit Startup Week. The event serves as a five-day celebration of entrepreneurship in the city by and for Detroit’s small business owners. From tips on connecting corporations with startups, to showcasing the region’s next-generation mobility ecosystem, read highlights from the sessions here.

Corporates and the Startup, Working Together

During this panel, MICHauto Executive Director Glenn Stevens led a discussion on navigating strategic partnerships between large corporations and startups. The conversation addressed the difference in culture and experience between the two entities. The panel included Bedrock’s Kevin Bopp, Lyft’s Eliot Darvick, GM Venture’s Rohit Makharia, and SPLT’s Kristin Welch.

Key Takeaways:

  • Employees with corporate experience can help startups grow strategically.
  • Networking is key to strategic partnerships. Companies don’t just come to events like Detroit Startup Week to have a presence, they come looking for the next innovative idea. You never know when opportunity will come knocking.
  • Be authentic. Many partnerships don’t pan out because one side is trying too hard to appeal to the other. Don’t change your values based on who you’re trying to impress.
  • Corporations should identify champions within the organization that truly believe in the startup a company is partnering with. This maximizes opportunity for both sides.

Understanding Detroit’s Mobility Startup Ecosystem

As Detroit continues to establish its reputation as a hub for global mobility startups, it’s important that entrepreneurs navigate and utilize the variety of world-class services and opportunities available in the region. Chamber Entrepreneurship and Detroit Engagement Manager Devon O’Reilly joined the American Center for Mobility’s Soraya Kim, Bodman PLC’s Michael Melfi, Fontinalis Partners’ Chris Thomas, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Seun Philips in a discussion on attracting startups to Detroit.

Key Takeaways:

  • The mobility ecosystem is deeper than just automotive. With connected technology, myriad industries have an opportunity to expand and innovate.
  • Michigan’s four seasons are a key advantage for companies that test and deploy automated vehicle technology.
  • It’s important to look at the way other places are innovating to improve Michigan’s ecosystem, in addition to finding potential partnerships. No one can lead the technology race alone.

Detroit Solving Global Mobility Problems

During this session, industry leaders that are solving some of the world’s most pressing transit issues came together to explore the world-changing power of smart mobility. The panel, moderated by Chamber Business Attraction Vice President Justin Robinson, included May Mobility’s Alisyn Malek, Detroit Economic Growth Corp.’s Kevin Smith, Ford Motor Company’s Andy Palanisamy, and Chamber Marketing Director Nick Mattar, who spoke on behalf of Condor Detroit.

Key Takeaways:

  • The issues the city faces from a mobility perspective are wide-reaching and diverse. The city is approaching each issue like a startup, creating several pilot programs.
  • Lowering insurance rates is key to continued innovation. New technologies will present unique regulatory challenges and insurance companies will need to evolve.

Infrastructure improvements go together with the rollout of innovative technology. As improvements go, innovation goes.

PVS Chemicals Announces Leadership Changes: Jim M. Nicholson Elevated to Co-Chairman of Board, David Nicholson to President and CEO

PVS Chemicals Announces Leadership Changes: Jim M. Nicholson Elevated to Co-Chairman of Board, David Nicholson to President and CEO.

As part of a planned succession transition, the board of directors of PVS Chemicals voted to make two leadership changes in the management of the 73-year-old family-held global firm headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

Effective July 1, 2018, Jim M. Nicholson, 51, elevates from president and CEO of PVS Chemicals to Co-Chairman of the Board. James B. Nicholson, 75, will continue in his role as Co-Chair. David A. Nicholson, 48, takes on the role of President and CEO of PVS Chemicals after serving as Group CEO for PVS manufacturing assets.

During his 23-year tenure, most recently as President and CEO, Jim M. Nicholson presided over top-and bottom-line growth, a workforce increase of over 30 percent, and the largest acquisition (ISSI) in PVS Chemicals’ history. PVS teams enhanced and upgraded the firm’s IT infrastructure, and expanded the PVS footprint with additional facilities and capabilities around the globe.

“It’s been an honor to lead the PVS Chemicals team in managing ever greater complexity over the past several years,” Jim M. Nicholson said. “Thanks to strong board guidance, our organization is well positioned for new growth. I am confident David and the PVS team will execute our strategies and manage the market opportunities inherent in our dynamic industry.”

David Nicholson joined PVS in June 1999 after beginning his career in banking and private equity. He oversaw the expansion of the PVS Minibulk distribution business from three Midwest markets to 12 markets nationally. He also restructured PVS European businesses in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany before moving to the company’s corporate headquarters where he leads the teams focusing on manufacturing as well as mergers and acquisitions.

“I look forward to leading PVS and working with my brothers Tim, as COO, and John, as Executive Vice President,” David Nicholson said. “We plan to build on the successes forged by our father and our brother Jim, as we focus on delivering growth and shareholder value while staying true to our vision, especially our commitment to safety.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of the success we’ve earned under Jim M. as president,” James B. Nicholson said. “I’m looking forward to sharing the chairman’s role with him, and we both have great expectations as David takes the reins as President and CEO.”


About PVS Chemicals, Inc.

PVS Chemicals, Inc. was founded in Detroit in 1945. Today the company has more than 1,300 employees worldwide working in 13 companies and subsidiaries. PVS has facilities and operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. PVS holds multiple world-class certifications, and follows Responsible Care® and Responsible Distribution® chemical safety and sustainability codes. For more information, visit www.pvschemicals.com.

Sallie Smith-Brown promoted to CEO of Assured Family Services

Assured Family Services (AFS), a Wayne County-based mental health organization providing assessment, counseling, drug screening and psychological services to youth and their families, announced that Sallie Smith-Brown, LLPC, has been named the organization’s new CEO effective June 18. Smith-Brown will be taking the reins from retiring CEO Cynthia J. Smith who had been at AFS since 1993.

Prior to her promotion to CEO, Smith-Brown served as the Chief Operating Officer of AFS since 2015, responsible for ensuring the delivery of quality services, data coordination and outcome measurement. She was also COO from 2006-2014 when the organization was known as the Juvenile Assessment Center. With her 18-year history with AFS, Smith-Brown brings deep knowledge of policies and procedures of several systems with which the organization is involved, including the juvenile justice system and Detroit schools.

In addition to her roles at AFS, Smith-Brown was appointed to Deputy Director of Wayne County Department of Children and Family Services in 2014. She worked on a number of reform efforts in juvenile justice when she was employed at the Wayne County Department of Community Justice, and has experience structuring new departments to address emergency agency needs. She also has held positions at the Michigan Department of Social Services and the College of Education at Wayne State University, Detroit.

Smith-Brown received both her M.A. in Counseling and her Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University. She has also completed post-graduate course work in non-profit sector studies.

“Assured Family Services is an organization well known for its dedication to service delivery that reaches across systems to ensure that the children and families of Wayne County, as well as other stakeholders, receive accurate information and competent services which are uniquely fitted to them,” Smith-Brown said. “I look forward to continuing that level of commitment in my new role as CEO.”


About Assured Family Services
Assured Family Services (formerly known as the Juvenile Assessment Center–JAC) was founded in 1993 as a collaborative of child welfare and juvenile justice agencies focused on better services and continuity of care for Michigan’s children and families under court jurisdiction. AFS aims to be the source of accurate information and competent recommendations that identify the unique needs of referred youth and families in Wayne County, and enable community organizations to restore successful living, increase healthy development and promote safer communities. For more information, visit http://the-jac.org/.

 

Rehmann recognized among 2018 Best CPA Firms for Women

In its sixth consecutive year of inclusion, Rehmann was once again named by the Accounting MOVE Project as one of the Best CPA Firms for Women.

The list, released by the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, recognized 12 firms that provide:
• Consistent, measurable progress in advancing women
• Proven and continually evolving programs that retain and advance women
• Clear and compelling integration of the business case for advancing women with business results.

The 2018 MOVE Project theme, “Expanded Vision. Rising Results” discussed specific strategies and programs designed to advance women and propel them to success.

The 2018 Accounting MOVE Project found that women comprise 25 percent of the management committees at participating firms—a huge advance from the 19 percent reported in the 2014 report. Still, progress is incremental overall, with women remaining at 24 percent of partners and principals at CPA firms.

In addition to having two robust leadership development programs that pair sponsors with protégés — allowing for development at both the individual and firm levels – Rehmann has a dedicated Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) that focuses on the development of female associates and women’s career advocacy across the firm.

“Rehmann is proud to continually be recognized as a leading firm for women,” said Katie Strehler, Rehmann chief human resources officer. “We strongly believe in supporting the women at our firm and place emphasis on the programs, culture and mentoring relationships that encourage our women to succeed.”

For information about career opportunities with Rehmann, visit Rehmann.com/careers.


About the MOVE Project
The Accounting MOVE Project is based on the MOVE methodology, developed by research partner Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which investigates the factors proven to be essential to women’s career success: M – Money: fair pay practices; O – Opportunity: advancement and leadership development; V – Vital supports: work-life programs that remove barriers; E – Entrepreneurship: operating experience for managing or business ownership.

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 more than 800 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach.

Walsh Leads Cyber Day Camp for Girl Scouts

Walsh hosted and facilitated Cadette Cyber Day Camp for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan from June 18-21 at its main location at 3838 Livernois in Troy. A second session of Cyber Day Camp will take place on August 13-16 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at Walsh’s Troy location.

Scouts grades six through eight participated in workshops and activities led by faculty from Walsh’s IT/Decision Sciences Department. Workshops covered safe online behavior and “netiquette,” the Internet of Things, encryption, networking basics, how to conduct accurate online research, and more. Other activities included Raspberry Pi coding with handheld computers, an escape room exercise and a session on career paths in the field of technology.

“We were pleased when the Girl Scouts approached Walsh to lead Cadette Cyber Day Camp,” said Dave Schippers, CISSP, Assistant Professor and Chair of Walsh’s IT/Decision Sciences Department. “We encourage young people’s curiosity in technology and welcomed the opportunity to teach the girls skills that will help them make safer choices online today and give serious consideration to the field of technology as a career path in the future.”

Scouts completing the camp will earn their Netiquette badge as part of the Girl Scouts’ expanded STEM-(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related programs. For more information about Walsh’s IT/Decisions Sciences programs, please visit https://www.walshcollege.edu/bachelors-bs-degree-information-technology.


ABOUT WALSH

Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of the region’s largest business schools and Michigan’s third largest graduate business school. Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron, as well as online. Our nationally ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, management, marketing, taxation and other fields.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

ABOUT GIRL SCOUTS OF SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN

The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. There are currently 1.8 million Girl Scouts across the United States.

Former Diplomat Leon Fuerth Speaks at Walsh Commencement

Leon Fuerth, a former diplomat who was the national security advisor to Vice President Al Gore and is the Founder and Director of The Project on Forward Engagement, spoke to Walsh graduates about the importance of critical thinking at the 111th commencement ceremony on June 23 at Zion Christian Church in Troy, Michigan.

Fuerth’s keynote address focused on the challenge presented by radical, swift-moving change in areas such as technology, artificial intelligence and climate change, and how our inability to quickly and accurately evaluate facts and react is a threat to American democracy. “When government can’t keep up with the speed of change, executive action becomes an attractive alternative to democracy,” said Fuerth. “Americans need to demonstrate tolerance, show respect for diverse opinion, and reject fact on the basis of authority alone.”

Fuerth also stressed the importance of expanding our areas of thought and considering on a deeper level what the future can bring. “Challenge doctrine. Question authority. Seek the truth. Part of your Walsh education is based on critical thought and the analysis of fact,” said Fuerth. “Our future and our democracy depend on your ability to use these skills in your endeavors. As I look out at you graduates, I am encouraged to believe that the American Dream is alive and well.”


ABOUT WALSH

Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of the region’s largest business schools and Michigan’s third largest graduate business school. Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron, as well as online. Our nationally ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, management, marketing, taxation and other fields.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

Attorney Lisa Gretchko Named to Two-Year Term as Vice President-Publications of the American Bankruptcy Institute

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Lisa Gretchko was recently named to a two-year term as Vice President-Publications of the American Bankruptcy Institute (“ABI”).  With headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, the ABI is the country’s premier bankruptcy organization with more than 12,000 members from various professions including lawyers, judges, financial advisors, lenders, auctioneers, turnaround specialists, and claims agents.  Since 2014, Lisa has been an Executive Editor of the ABI Journal, the organization’s monthly publication of scholarly articles on a wide range of bankruptcy-related topics. She has been an ABI member since 1992 and was co-chair of its Unsecured Trade Creditors Committee in 2013-2015; Lisa was honored as the ABI’s 2014 “Committee Person of the Year” for that service.

Lisa is a shareholder in Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC and works in the firm’s Royal Oak, Michigan office, where she focuses her practice on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.  She has represented nearly every constituency in bankruptcy cases both locally and nationally.  Lisa has lectured and written extensively for several organizations and publications on a variety of creditors’ rights issues. She taught bankruptcy and creditors’ rights as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School from 2001-2003. Lisa also served as a council member, then secretary (September 2001- September 2002) of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.  She has been designated a Michigan Super Lawyer every year since 2006, and named in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2012. In 2011, Michigan Lawyers Weekly recognized her as a “Woman in the Law” honoree.


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.  For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.howardandhoward.com.

Thirty Howard & Howard Attorneys Named to Michigan Leading Lawyers 2018

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that 30 of our attorneys have been named to Michigan Leading Lawyers 2018.

Leading Lawyers is a rating service of top lawyers from more than 100 practice areas who have been recommended by their peers. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, research and review by the Leading Lawyers Advisory Board. Less than five percent of the attorneys in each state are named Leading Lawyers.

The Howard & Howard attorneys who are listed in Michigan Leading Lawyers 2018 are as follows:

Gustaf R. Andreasen; Michael J. Beals; Michael M. Bell; Daniel H. Bliss; Brandon J. Booth; Henry J. Brennan, III; Mark A. Davis, President & CEO; Joseph J. DeVito; Robert E. Graziani; Lisa S. Gretchko; Andrew (Jake) Grove; Sam J. Haidle; Jeffrey A. Hoover; Wayne C. Inman; Michael V. Kell; Rodger A. Kershner; Bradley J. Knickerbocker; Henry P. Lee; Patrick M. McCarthy; Gerald E. McGlynn, III; Richard M. Miettinen; Susan E. Padley; Gary A. Peters; Mark W. Peyser; Brad A. Rayle; Jeffrey A. Sadowski; Michael F. Wais; Thomas H. Walters; John A. Wise; and Timothy M. Wittebort.  


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.

Butzel Long attorney Claudia Rast featured during the 2018 Sustainable U! Women Girls’ Development Leadership Empowerment Institute

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Claudia Rast will be a featured speaker during the 2018 Sustainable U! Women & Girls’ Development & Leadership Empowerment Institute on June 30 at Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills.

The topic for her presentation is, “Cyber Security: Sustaining U & UR Enterprise.” Participants will discover the impact of cyber threats, the risks these threats pose, and the security measures needed to implement to keep businesses and personal information safe and sustainable.

Based in Butzel Long’s Ann Arbor office, Rast blends her expertise in law, business, and science to assist companies in their strategic use of technology, counseling clients in the areas of privacy, cybersecurity, data theft, intellectual property licensing and registration, and the forensic preservation and analysis of electronically stored information.

With the rise of cyber events in recent years, her background in forensics, IT environments and security has proved invaluable in working with clients to both defend against and respond to pervasive cyber attacks and to conduct cybersecurity awareness and response training sessions. Similarly, over the past several years, she has worked within both the IT entrepreneur community and the automotive supplier network to negotiate contracts covering innovative technologies associated with autonomous and connected vehicles, to address security, privacy, IP ownership, and new and potential regulations.

Most recently, Rast is completing an American Bar Association (ABA) Presidential appointment to a one-year term on the Cybersecurity Legal Task Force and has been re-appointed to serve another one-year term. To date, Rast has served five one-year terms. Task Force members are charged with examining risks posed by criminals, terrorists and nations that seek to steal personal and financial information, disrupt critical infrastructure, and wage cyberwar.

Notably, Rast co-authored a chapter to the second edition of The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook that was published in 2017.

Rast also is an experienced environmental lawyer, focusing on alternative energy and sustainability practices, including work on the development of a global Rule of Law Index for environment and energy with the World Justice Project.

Rast is a frequent national speaker on matters ranging from cybersecurity, privacy, data breach, eDiscovery, and social media. In addition, she has published numerous articles including an online course for CPE credit, CPA’s Guide to Privacy (Bisk Education 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016 & 2018), a chapter on Privacy & Data Breach for Thompson Reuters’ “Inside the Minds” Aspatore Book series (April 2013), a chapter entitled “Confidentiality and Security in a Modern World” in the ABA publication Ethics and Environmental Practice: A Lawyer’s Guide (July 2017), and co-authored a chapter in the ABA Cybersecurity Handbook, Second Edition (November 2017), entitled “Best Practices for Incident Response: Achieving Preparedness through Alignment with Voluntary Consensus Standards.”

Her memberships include the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, where she has been involved in the leadership of the Section since 1999, including Chair of the Section in 2008-2009, Ann Arbor’s New Enterprise Forum Board of Directors (2008-2017), the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Board of Directors (2008-2013), ICLE’s Technology Training Advisory Board (1998-2017), and the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan Board of Directors (2017-present). In 2001, she was the only lawyer named as a Technology Industry Leader in Crain’s Detroit Business, and in 2003 the Ann Arbor Chapter of American Women in Computing named her as one of twenty “Top Michigan Women in Computing.” In 2015, she was named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a “Leader in the Law.”

Rast is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.S., Natural Resources) and cum laude graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Detroit Law Review. In 2014, she successfully completed the four-week online program, “Tackling the Challenges of Big Data,” developed and taught by the faculty of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in collaboration with MIT Professional Education.


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

Butzel Long attorneys featured during Startup Week; Geaneen M. Arends, Mark R. Lezotte and Paul M. Mersino will highlight organizational and tax considerations during June 19 panel program

Butzel Long attorneys Geaneen M. Arends, Mark R. Lezotte and Paul M. Mersino will be among several attorneys participating in the fourth Small Business Legal Academy Detroit in conjunction with Startup Week June 18-19. Mersino will moderate a panel on June 19 featuring Arends and Lezotte discussing organizational and tax considerations for small businesses.

Geaneen Arends
Arends concentrates her practice on general business law and commercial real estate. She assists business clients with general business planning, entity formation and maintenance, mergers, acquisitions, private placements, woman-owned/minority-owned/disadvantaged business certification, insurance and risk management issues and general business contracts. She also has advised business clients on a variety of real estate transactions, including acquisition, development and leasing of multi-family residential, retail, office and industrial properties throughout the United States.

Mark Lezotte
Lezotte has substantial experience in corporate, health care, tax, and exempt organization matters, including start up tax and legal issues, corporate and nonprofit governance, board duties and responsibilities, regulatory investigations, tax aspects of business acquisitions and dispositions, and a wide range of business and commercial transactions.

Paul Mersino
Mersino is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group where he represents companies in a number of areas including complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, and non-competition and trade secret disputes. He also represents and advises a number of Startup companies, assisting them with their legal needs and matching them with potential venture capital funding, and has represented and been on the Board of Advisors for a Venture Capital fund.


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