Larry Weber

1-17-14W2GP00519 Larry jpegLarry Weber is the chairman and CEO of Racepoint Global, an advanced marketing services agency that he founded in 2002. An American entrepreneur and globally known expert in public relations and marketing services, Weber has successfully led a number of companies and authored five business and marketing books during his career.

Weber founded Thunderhouse, one of the industry’s first interactive marketing agencies, and has worked with several world-class clients. He also started his own public relations company, The Weber Group, in 1987, which became the world’s largest public relations firm within a decade. After selling the company to the Interpublic Group of Companies, Weber was named chairman and CEO of Interpublic’s Advanced Marketing Services. He also co-founded the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, the world’s largest Internet marketing association.

Weber has a bachelor’s degree from Denison University, as well as a master’s degree from Antioch College in Oxford, England.

Von Washington Jr.

Von Washington Jr.Von Washington Jr. is the executive director of community relations for The Kalamazoo Promise, a program that provides college scholarships to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools through anonymous donations. He serves as the spokesman for the program, including responsibilities to key community stakeholders, media relations, and focusing the Promise’s vision of becoming an education community.

Previously, Washington served as an associate vice president at Southwest Michigan First, with a concentration on business development by partnering with regional companies for job creation efforts. He was also responsible for developing collaborations between educational institutions and businesses in order to best prepare the region’s future workforce.

Von has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Western State College of Colorado, as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University.

Rick Warner

MSU Innvation Center staff environmental portraitsRick Warner is chief executive officer of TruckSmartParkingServices, Inc., a company providing real-time availability of parking along nation-wide transportation corridors to increase logistical productivity. He is a founder and veteran innovator of usable technology in the transportation industry, drawing on extensive knowledge from multiple industries and leadership roles over 25 years.

Successfully operating as an entrepreneur in both established corporate environments and lean start-up environments, Warner has aided the launch of new types of aircraft, new Class 8 trucks, high performance cars, user-friendly software, and renewable energy turbines. He was named a 2000 ComputerWorld Smithsonian Laureate for his efforts, along with colleagues at Action Engine, in developing a consumer-oriented mobile-services platform.

Warner has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Secrest Wardle Partners named to Superlawyers’ 2014 list of “Top Women Attorneys in Michigan”

Three Secrest Wardle attorneys have been named to SuperLawyers’ 2014 list of “Top Women Attorneys in Michigan”, as published in Hour Detroit magazine.

Kellie C. Joyce, Partner, is a member of Secrest Wardle’s Construction, Motor Vehicle Litigation and Premises Liability Practice Groups. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2006. She received her Bachelor of Arts with dual concentrations in English and Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2003. Ms. Joyce was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2006 and subsequently admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 2006. She is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association. Ms. Joyce has been named to the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Michigan Rising Stars lists by Michigan SuperLawyers.

Krystal D. Hermiz, Partner, is a member of Secrest Wardle’s Motor Vehicle Litigation and Premises Liability Practice Groups. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2004 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy, School of Law in 2008. Mrs. Hermiz was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in November of 2008 and subsequently admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in December of 2008. She is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan and Oakland County Bar Association. She is a former President of the Chaldean American Bar Association. Mrs. Hermiz has been named to the 2013 Michigan Rising Stars list by Michigan SuperLawyers.

Renee T. Townsend, Partner, is a member of Secrest Wardle’s Employment, General Negligence, Insurance Coverage, Motor Vehicle Litigation and Premises Liability Practice Groups. Ms. Townsend was admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, in 2010. Ms. Townsend earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2007, with a concentration in Legal Studies. She received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2010. She was recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges in 2010 and received several Excellence for the Future Awards from The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). Ms. Townsend has been named to the 2013 Michigan Rising Stars List by Michigan SuperLawyers.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and evaluations.

Secrest Wardle is a law firm specializing in defense litigation and counsel for insurance, municipal, and commercial clients with locations across Michigan in Troy, Lansing and Grand Rapids. To learn more about Secrest Wardle and our Superlawyers’ “Top Women Attorneys in Michigan” designees, please visit or phone (248) 851-9500 or click links for Kellie C. Joyce Krystal D. Hermiz Renee T. Townsend

Open enrollment deadline loosened

On March 26, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that those who were in line to purchase health coverage on the Federal Marketplace ( will have until April 15, 2014 to complete their transaction.

How will this work?

Essentially, consumers who are interested in purchasing individual coverage should log on to their account before April 15, 2014. Once there, in order to receive the extension, the request can be made by checking a box to indicate that an attempt to enroll was made before March 31, 2014, but difficulties were experienced with the process. These consumer attestations will not be verified by the government.

After April 15, 2014, consumers interested in purchasing coverage will be expected to call the Marketplace call center (800-318-2596) to make a request. After that date, the government will require proof that consumers qualify to purchase a plan outside of the open enrollment period.

Under what circumstances will individuals and families be able to purchase coverage after April 15? 

1. Qualifying Life Events. Some examples: Getting married, having a baby, a change in job status, and others. Here’s a list from

2. Complex Cases. Guidance was issued on March 26 regarding different complex scenarios under which individuals would qualify for a special enrollment period. For the Department of Health and Human Services list and descriptions, click here.

Want to read more?

Here are a few articles from March 26, 2014:

From the Washington Post

From the New York Times

From LifeHealthPro

Have questions?  Post them at, or email them to

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

Statement from Detroit Regional Chamber CEO on Congressman Rogers Not Seeking Re-election

DETROIT, March 28, 2014: Today, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah issued the following statement on Congressman Mike Rogers’ (R-Brighton) decision not to seek re-election.

“Learning on the Paul W. Smith Show this morning that Mike Rogers plans to retire from Congress after seven terms was like a punch in the gut. Mike has been a member of a dwindling cadre of members of Congress who have married substance, progress and civility. His retirement, coupled with those of Representative Dingell and Senator Levin, represents a tremendous loss for Michigan and the nation.”

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members.

Blaire H. Miller Joins The Hunter Group LLC as Partner

Executive Global Financial / Operations Retained Search Expertise

Bloomfield Hills, MI, – The Hunter Group LLC, Michigan’s premier executive search firm, is pleased to announce the addition of its newest partner, Blaire H. Miller, to its seasoned executive retained search team serving Michigan companies since 1995. Ms. Miller brings 25 years of global commercial banking, accounting and operations expertise as an accomplished executive with a history of identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities to expand business, outperform/displace competitors for market dominance, and drive revenue and profit growth. Diverse industry experience includes leadership positions with top global organizations such as LaSalle Bank/ABN Amro Group (Global Bank), Comerica Bank (Super-Regional Bank), Baker Tilly (Global CPA), Detroit Regional Chamber (largest non-profit U.S. Chamber), Daimler-Benz AG (Global Automotive) and Eaton Rapids Castings/URV USA and Swedish Biogas (Global Alternative Energy US Foreign-Owned Subsidiaries). She also currently serves in leadership positions on several business and cultural boards and business associations including the Financial Executives International, Inforum, British-American Business Council, the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, SE Michigan District Export Council, MSU Alumni Board of Trustees, and the Chamber Music Society of Detroit among others. She earned her MBA from Michigan State University, Summa Cum Laude.

Co-Founding partner of The Hunter Group, Sherry Irwin, adds that “Blaire has consulted with Michigan companies on strategic growth with superior teams for many years and now will leverage that expertise and network for our prestigious clients. “

Ms. Miller will focus on retained searches for financial services, global OEMs and suppliers, and non-profit organizations. For more information, please contact her at 248.645.1551, email:

The Hunter Group, LLC, Michigan’s premier executive search firm, was established in 1995 to serve the executive search needs of a variety of industries and is committed to identifying and attracting high caliber leadership and managerial expertise for its global client base through its international delivery network.

Doug Patton

Senior Vice President, Engineering Division, DENSO International America, Inc.

Doug Patton (2)Doug Patton is senior vice president of the engineering division of DENSO International America, Inc., overseeing operation of development facilities, testing and technical services, engineering administration and the company’s product engineering.

Patton originally joined DENSO in 1986. He has held several roles in the organization, including strategic business development for the U.S. in-highway truck market, senior manager of the General Motors account, and director of engineering, overseeing BMW North American business and directing DaimlerChrysler sales in the U.S. and Europe. In 2000, Patton became vice president of engineering, responsible for overseeing the powertrain, safety and engine electrical engineering groups.

Before joining DENSO, he was a release engineer and senior market analyst at Caterpillar, Inc. for nine years. Patton has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA, both from Bradley University.

How to build better schools in Detroit

From: The Detroit News

By Ingrid Jacques

March 27, 2014

Regina Hollis is determined to find the best schools for her kids.

The mother of three teenage daughters, who lives on the east side of Detroit, doesn’t care what category the school fits into — traditional public, charter, private. She just wants her children to attend a school that’s safe and academically sound.

But Hollis knows that’s not an easy task in the city right now. That’s why she has gotten involved, working with groups like Excellent Schools Detroit to grade the city’s schools and get the word out to other parents. “It’s kind of my passion,” she says.

She believes that if parents raise their expectations, the education landscape in Detroit will improve.

That sentiment is echoed by education reform groups striving to help parents maneuver an increasingly diverse set of school choices. Detroit is no longer dominated by Detroit Public Schools. More than half of students in the city are enrolled in charter schools.

So where should parents turn to learn about all these choices popping up? They now have a new option. At an event Tuesday hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, Dan Varner, who heads Excellent Schools Detroit, and Bill Jackson, CEO of GreatSchools, announced the launch of the resource

The website is a place where families can go to find data and in-depth profiles on a wide range of schools, from public to private. This allows parents to compare schools based on test scores, student academic growth and college readiness. And individuals can also read and write school reviews.

GreatSchools is a national organization with a wide impact. It estimates that half of U.S. families with children have used the site, and it’s one of the leading national sources for school performance information.

“It’s about fostering ever-growing, rising expectations,” Jackson said Tuesday.

But Detroit is only the fourth localized site for GreatSchools. Jackson, who is based in the San Francisco area, says other cities that have the local resource are seeing some positive impacts. For instance, in Milwaukee, Wis., Jackson says more families are applying to get their children into the best-performing schools.

Ike McKinnon, deputy mayor of Detroit, was on hand at the event; Mayor Mike Duggan was originally scheduled to speak. It was positive to see representation from the mayor’s office, as city-wide coordination of certain school services like transportation and enrollment could streamline how school choice works in Detroit.

As McKinnon notes, improving schools is “key to Detroit’s recovery.”

Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of the Detroit Parent Network, works with thousands of families in the city to help parents make smart education decisions for their children. Buckman spoke at the GreatSchools announcement and says she’s hopeful about this new tool. But she also acknowledged the “digital divide” in Detroit, explaining many parents still don’t have computers.

If parents can’t access this kind of information, it doesn’t do them much good. That’s why the grassroots work that Buckman does is essential.

More Detroit families do have smartphones, however, and the website is available on mobile and tablet platforms, too. “We have to have these tools,” Buckman says.

Good schools are a function of two forces, Jackson says. School and city leaders need to guide schools effectively, and parents must expect and demand a great education for their children.

Mothers like Hollis know that’s true. GreatSchoolsDetroit and other similar efforts are an important step to making better schools a reality for Detroit families.

Huntington Bank Named One of Nation’s best Business and Commercial Banks

Huntington recognized for customer satisfaction and treasury management excellence

COLUMBUS, Ohio  Huntington Bank has won eight awards of excellence for small-business and commercial middle-market banking from the financial services research firm Greenwich Associates. This is the second year in a row customers have recognized Huntington as a top bank nationally and regionally through Greenwich Associates.

This year’s awards praise Huntington’s continued commitment to overall customer satisfaction and the delivery of superior treasury management capabilities that help champion business success across the Midwest.

“We’re grateful to our customers for recognizing Huntington in the Greenwich survey,” said Huntington Chairman, President and CEO Steve Steinour. “As we continue through the economic recovery, we’re committed to helping their businesses grow and thrive. Small and middle-market businesses are a critical part of all of our communities. Together they create the most new jobs and make our economy strong.”

Specifically, Huntington received national awards of excellence in small-business banking for distinctive quality in “Personal Banking Satisfaction,” “Treasury Management Overall Satisfaction” and “Likelihood to Recommend.” In the commercial middle-market space Huntington received national awards of excellence for distinctive quality in “Online Services,” “Treasury Management Customer Service” and “Treasury Management Accuracy of Operations.”

Regionally, Huntington stood out from its Midwest peers with awards of excellence in small-business banking for distinctive quality in “Overall Satisfaction” and “Treasury Management Overall Satisfaction.”

Only 34 middle market and 43 small business of more than 750 banks evaluated in the Greenwich Associates study received national and regional recognition. Greenwich Associates determined the results based on interviews with nearly 14,000 businesses with sales of $10 million to $500 million and more than 17,000 businesses with sales of $1 million to $10 million across the country.

Greenwich Excellence Awards Methodology
Greenwich Excellence Award winners were determined at a national level and in four geographic regions: Midwest, Northeast, South, and West.

To qualify for consideration for the national awards, each winning bank had to have a minimum of 50 clients that responded to the study. To qualify for regional awards, each winning bank had to have a minimum of 30 clients responding in the region. To qualify for mid-corporate national awards, banks had to have a minimum of 30 clients responding to the study.

Greenwich Excellence Award selection is based on top box ratings on Greenwich Associates five-point evaluation scale. The banks selected must receive a statistically significant proportion of “Excellent” ratings relative to the overall mean (at a 95 percent confidence level.).

Greenwich Associates
Established in 1972, Greenwich Associates provides unique high-quality market data and strategic consulting that helps the world’s leading investment banks, commercial banks and asset managers, make smarter business decisions.

About Huntington
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ: HBAN; is a $59 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The Huntington National Bank, founded in 1866, and its affiliates provide full-service commercial, small business, and consumer banking services; mortgage banking services; treasury management and foreign exchange services; equipment leasing; wealth and investment management services; trust services; brokerage services; customized insurance brokerage and service programs; and other financial products and services. The principal markets for these services are Huntington’s six-state retail banking franchise: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The primary distribution channels include a banking network of more than 700 traditional branches and convenience branches located in grocery stores and retirement centers, and through an array of alternative distribution channels including internet and mobile banking, telephone banking, and more than 1,500 ATMs. Through automotive dealership relationships within its six-state retail banking franchise area and selected other Midwest and New England states, Huntington also provides commercial banking services to the automotive dealers and retail automobile financing for dealer customers.