Butzel Long attorney Craig S. Schwartz named a Fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Craig S. Schwartz is one of 32 lawyers who was recently named a fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation. A member can only reach fellow status by nomination from another member. Reaching fellow status recognizes a member’s charitable giving to the foundation and recognizes their commitment to its mission.

Schwartz practices in the areas of labor relations and employment-related litigation. He has broad experience in collective bargaining for employers in many industries, labor arbitration and union representation proceedings, and has represented employers in over one hundred fifty labor arbitrations.

He also has extensive experience representing clients in administrative proceedings and litigation before the National Labor Relations Board, Michigan Employment Relations Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and in state and federal courts.

Schwartz is admitted to practice in the States of Michigan and Minnesota, as well as several federal district and circuit courts. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association and the Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. He was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law teaching collective bargaining from 2006-2009.

In 2009, Schwartz served as a member of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s Crisis Turnaround team, focusing on labor relations and human resource issues. He has been named one of the top lawyers in Metro Detroit by DBusiness magazine, and a Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment Law by American Lawyer Media.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in the United States. It was founded in 1854, making this year its 160th anniversary of providing trusted client service. Butzel’s full-service 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. The firm is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com.

Brinks Gilson & Lione shareholder reappointed to legal task force of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association

ANN ARBOR – April 23, 2014 – James Cleland, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., has been reappointed to the legal task force of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). He has served on the task force since 2011, when the association was known as the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. SFIA, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a trade association representing sports and fitness businesses and works to build healthier, more enjoyable lifestyles in America.

At Brinks, Cleland represents large multinational corporations, as well as small corporations and individual clients. He specializes in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition litigation in a broad range of technologies including the chemical, materials science, mechanical and medical device arts, as well as in client counseling, opinion and licensing work in those same areas.

Cleland’s litigation experience includes trials, preliminary injunction hearings, Markman hearings summary judgment proceedings and all aspects of fact and expert witness discovery, spanning federal courts across the county. His patent prosecution experience includes preparation of patent applications in the United States and foreign countries.

Learn more here about the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

Brinks Gilson & Lione
Brinks Gilson & Lione has 160 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Based in Chicago, Brinks has offices in Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, N.C., Ann Arbor, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is at www.brinksgilson.com.

6 Tips for Small Employers Thinking about Workplace Wellness

When you think of wellness programs, what comes to mind? Some small employers might think that wellness initiatives are best suited for a large employer environment.  Still others might believe that workplace wellness programs are too expensive. Perhaps both small employers and their employees are concerned that such efforts could be overly personal, or even invasive.

So, what’s a small employer to do about workplace wellness?  Here are a few starter ideas:

  1. To the extent possible, use information which you know about your employees to tailor programs, rather than defaulting to off-the-shelf products.   Though it’s not universally true, small employers are often able to develop more personal relationships with—and therefore may know (or more easily learn)—about their individual employees than large employers.  Use this information to identify and/or create programs that are particularly relevant.
  2. Make it fun!  There has been a trend toward gamification of wellness activities over the past several years. Gamification aims to make activities reward-based, social, and encouraging. One example of a service using these techniques is Hubbub, which uses a web-based platform to help employees track exercise and healthy eating in a team-based atmosphere.
  3. Involve friends and family. Most health care happens at home—not in the doctor’s office, and probably not at work.  To truly impact individual employees’ wellness, behaviors which occur within an employee’s usual ecosystem (at home, in their neighborhood, within their family environment) must be a focus.  Making lasting, cost-saving change should logically involve the employee’s family and friends.  Some services, like Hubbub, offer opportunities to integrate employees’ social support systems at low/no cost.
  4. Re-think “pay-off”.  Behavior change (the basis of wellness programs) takes time.  Therefore, realizing a significant wellness ROI takes time.  With consistent commitment to wellness activities, the Altarum Institute estimates that, over time, medical costs fall by about $3.27 per person, and absenteeism costs drop by around $2.37.  Importantly, wellness initiatives improve employee morale as well as productivity. 
  5. Don’t be too quick to assume how to address a specific type of health issue.  Often, off-the-shelf products are designed for large work forces which might have a fair number of people who fall into their target audience.  Regardless of whether many others choose to opt out, those large employers are likely to be able to recruit an ample number of participants for, say, an after-work exercise program. The same might not be true for a business with 20 employees!  In fact, smaller employers might best improve employee health by looking to the work environment rather than employee behaviors.  According to Stanford organizational behavior professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, toxic work environments cause 125,000 employee deaths, and add $130 billion in excess health care costs, each year.  Assess whether your work environment is toxic.  If it is, work to change it.
  6. Understand how the ACA impacts wellness initiatives.  The ACA proposed rule regarding wellness includes several consumer protections, and increases the maximum allowable reward which employers can offer to employees for participating in certain wellness programs.  For example, employers can now offer rewards of up to 50% of the cost of health coverage for participation in programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use.  Read more about the details here

Interested in reading more about wellness programs at small businesses?  Here are a couple of additional articles:

From Employee Benefit News

From Marketwatch

Have questions?  Post them at www.mihealthanswers.com, or email them to advisor@mihealthanswers.com.

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

Announcement from BCBSM regarding small group plans

The following text is taken verbatim from a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announcement dated April 24, 2014:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are moving forward with offering ACA-compliant plans in the small group market and will not be extending legacy plans.
Small Group Market
Throughout 2014, Blue Cross will continue to work with small groups to move them into ACA- compliant products on their renewal date. We will not offer small groups an option to retain their 2013 plans beyond their renewal date in 2014. 
We are deferring our decision on extending the legacy plans for the 50-99 market for 2016 until later this year.
The decision to continue the transition to ACA-compliant plans for small groups was based on several factors:
  1. The framework and timing of the extension would not allow all group customers to extend their plan options, which we feel would not be a fair approach to our customer base. Roughly 50 percent of our small group customers already have transitioned into ACA compliant plans, and these customers wouldn’t have the option to return to their pre-ACA plans.
  2. Keeping legacy plans as options would increase rates in a time where customers are more cost-conscious than ever. As an example, one negative by-product would be additional rate increases on ACA and legacy plans of 3% to 5% abovewhat the rate adjustments would otherwise be.
  3. Continuing legacy plans adds additional complexity to our business. Extending legacy plans would essentially create two small group markets (non-ACA products and ACA products) and would significantly compromise the stability of the risk pool. Significant servicing complexity and cost would be added if we extended legacy plans.
  4. Extending legacy plans isn’t an effective solution for our customers to manage their ongoing costs. The ACA transition option does not allow any changes to benefit plans.  This therefore greatly limits the flexibility for groups looking to modify benefits each year to manage rate increases.
  5. With the new law just enacted that removes the $2,000 deductible limit, the small group product portfolio will now include higher deductible plans. This will alleviate one key concern of previous ACA limitations for many customers.
Groups with 50-99 Employees

Currently, the ACA defines a small group as having one to 50 full-time equivalent employees while in 2016, the definition changes to one to 100. 
Blue Cross will continue to assess whether to allow the extension to employers with 50-99 employees in 2016.  We anticipate making that announcement later this year.

Walsh College Appoints Fioravante to Marketing Faculty Position

Walsh College has appointed Dr. Philip (Phil) Fioravante as associate professor of Marketing, according to Dr. Michael Levens, chair, Marketing, Quantitative Methods, and Information Technology, and associate professor, Marketing.

Dr. Fioravante joins Walsh’s full-time faculty after 14 years as adjunct associate professor and most recently as clinical associate professor.

Dr. Fioravante holds three degrees: A B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from Michigan State University in 1984; a M.B.A. in International Business from Wayne State University in 1990; and a Ph.D. in Organizational Management – Strategy and Technology from Capella University in 2011.

He also attended the advanced executive program, Technology and Product Strategy, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management in 2002.

His academic experience includes a position on the board of the College of Engineering, Michigan State University. His areas of expertise include strategy, international market and product development, lean manufacturing and supply chain processes, and private equity and venture capital markets.

Dr. Fioravante has served in a variety of professional senior leadership roles for more than 30 years. Most recently, he was president, North America Region and Global Purchasing, Quality and Program Management, at The Woodbridge Group, an international manufacturer.

“Our students will benefit from the wealth of business experience Phil brings to Walsh,” said Dr. David Shields, executive vice president and chief academic officer. “His devotion to teaching is second only to his passion for business professionalism and for marketing.”

Dr. Fioravante’s honors include the MSU College of Engineering Applied Engineering Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and also its Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Original Equipment Supplier Association.

For more information about Walsh College, go to www.walshcollege.edu.

For a photo of Dr. Fioravante, go to http://www.walshcollege.edu/Upload/Images/Faculty/Phil%20Fioravante.jpg.

Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs. One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education, and consulting.

Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456) and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE, www.iacbe.org). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.

IPS Technology Services Completes a Comprehensive Website Development Project for a National Pharmaceutical Company

TROY, Mich., April 16, 2014 — IPS Technology Services recently developed and delivered a fairly complicated website for a Michigan-based national pharmaceutical company. In keeping with their commitment to provide quality work with a fast turnaround, IPS Technology Services crafted the entire website from the client’s proposed design in only three days from start to finish.

This project showcases the synergy that is present between Healthcare IT Solutions and Digital Marketing Services at IPS Technology Services. Through similar projects this year, the company will continue to position itself as a one-stop solution for companies in the healthcare industry.

About IPS Technology Services

IPS Technology Services provides end-to-end IT services to the Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) marketplace. IPS develops custom applications using state of the art tools such as .Net, C#, VB, SaaS, SOA, Oracle, SQL Server, and/or by using third party software. IPS provides IT services in the following six areas:

1. IT Staffing (SharePoint, Oracle, Java, Dot Net, SQL Server, SAP, PM)
2. Technology Consulting, SharePoint, Enterprise Architecture, Best Practices
3. Web based Enterprise and Mobile Application Development and Integration
4. Healthcare IT with EHR and Practice Management implementation
5. Engineering IT services
6. Website development, Digital Marketing, and Social Media

For more information on IPS Technology Services, please call 248-526-9000 or click www.ipstechnologyservices.com.

New York Times Article Debunks Myths from Common Core Critics

In a recent New York Times article, “When the Circus Descends,” David Brooksargues that Common Core standards are a positive step toward improving the national benchmark of educational achievement in the U.S., and touts them as a means to get U.S. students more competitive with their international peers.

Brooks’ argument backs the Chamber’s philosophy, which supports Common Core as an important piece of its key educational reform pillar. The Chamber is part of a coalition of like-minded organizations encouraging the incorporation of Common Core standards, as it would expand the Detroit region’s benchmarks for success and educational competitiveness with other regions around the world. To read Brooks’ article in The New York Times, click here.

April 22: Mackinac Policy Conference App Now Available for Registered Attendees; Rush Group’s Andra Rush Advises White House Officials at Business Forward Forum

2014 Mackinac Policy Conference App Now Available for Registered Attendees

The 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference app is now available for download on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Exclusive for registered Conference attendees, the app includes several new features, including Twitter integration, a Conference feed with news and agenda updates, and the ability to sync personalized agendas on multiple devices.

Register for the Conference and download the app to be the first to learn about new speaker announcements, agenda updates and offers exclusive to app users. The full Conference attendee list and messaging capability will be available to all app users in May. To view the full Conference agenda and to register, click here.

Rush Group Chairman and CEO Advises White House Officials at Business Forward Forum

Chamber Board member and chairman and CEO of the Rush Group family of companies, Andra Rush, joined national business leaders at the Business Forward Forum in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 17. She advised senior White House and Obama Administration officials on strengthening the economic competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

Just months after being recognized in President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Rush highlighted how public-private partnerships can use manufacturing jobs to rebuild some of the country’s most challenged communities. She also voiced the importance of helping people transition from public assistance and long-term unemployment to manufacturing jobs. To learn more about the Business Forward program, click here.

Business Attraction Joins Gov. Snyder’s Trade Mission, Promotes Detroit to Companies in Europe

The Chamber’s Business Attraction team, along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, championed the Detroit region to foreign business leaders during Governor Rick Snyder’s second European trade mission, from March 31 to April 4.

In addition to supporting the planning and execution of the trip, the Chamber attended 13 company meetings. Maureen Krauss, the Chamber’s vice president of economic development – business attraction, joined Alessandro Barberis, president of the Torino Chamber of Commerce, and Governor Snyder at a restaurant in Torino, where the Chamber sponsored a luncheon with 30 key executives.

In making the case for investment in the Detroit region, the Chamber translated its “Michigan is Auto” piece to Italian and German and distributed to all companies it met with on the trip to promote Michigan’s role as the global epicenter of the auto industry. To read more about the efforts of the Business Attraction team, click here.

New York Times Article Debunks Myths from Common Core Critics

In a recent New York Times article, “When the Circus Descends,” David Brooks argues that Common Core standards are a positive step toward improving the national benchmark of educational achievement in the U.S., and touts them as a means to get U.S. students more competitive with their international peers.

Brooks’ argument backs the Chamber’s philosophy, which supports Common Core as an important piece of its key educational reform pillar. The Chamber is part of a coalition of like-minded organizations encouraging the incorporation of Common Core standards, as it would expand the Detroit region’s benchmarks for success and educational competitiveness with other regions around the world. To read Brooks’ article in The New York Times, click here.

Nominations for Leadership Detroit Class XXXVI Due by May 23

The application deadline is fast approaching for Leadership Detroit Class XXXVI, a community leadership program led by the Chamber. Be sure to nominate emerging, high-potential leaders soon, as all applications are due by Friday, May 23.

With more than 1,800 alumni, Leadership Detroit strives to connect leaders through a 10-month program covering key issues such as educational preparedness, arts and culture, race relations, and health and human services. For more information, and to nominate a candidate for the program, click here.

MEDC Aims to Fill over 1,000 Jobs at Inaugural DREAM JOB Summit, June 13

The Chamber is partnering with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) program to host the inaugural Pure Michigan DREAM JOB Summit on Friday, June 13 at Ford Field. This unique event – the state’s largest matchmaking summit – will connect job candidates with over 100 of Michigan’s largest and fastest-growing companies, with the goal of filling over 1,000 jobs. Participating companies will include Ford, Chrysler, GM, Quicken, Whirlpool, Carhartt, Stryker, Shinola and many more. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 30.

Through an innovative matchmaking format, the Summit will pair qualified candidates with available job openings based on skills, experience and employer needs. The Chamber remains a strategic partner with PMBC, connecting leading-edge Michigan companies to the global supply chain to create business growth opportunities in the state. To learn more about the event and to apply, click here.

Tom Wegehaupt Joins Tanner Friedman as Account Manager

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications announced Tom Wegehaupt has joined the firm as Account Manager.

Wegehaupt brings a proven track record of developing, directing, and implementing a wide range of public relations and marketing communication strategies with a heavy focus on automotive and technology.

He joined Tanner Friedman from a full service digital agency, where he held the position of Project Manager and helped mainly automotive clients define their media presence online.

Previously, Tom served for nine years in the public relations department of the largest European automotive manufacturer. There, he developed and maintained relationships with a diverse range of national and international media professionals, served as a brand spokesperson, counseled executives, and possessed a strong voice in the development and implementation of the brand’s communication strategy.

Tom completed his business pre-core and general education courses at Oakland University, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Baker College.

About Tanner Friedman
Tanner Friedman is a strategic communications firm specializing in traditional and emerging media relations, adversity management and public relations counsel. Tanner Friedman is located in the landmark Tri-Atria Building at 32255 Northwestern Highway, Suite 298, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit tannerfriedman.com.

Mackinac Policy Conference adds events, speakers

From: Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Chris Gautz

April 17, 2014

The 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference agenda is starting to take shape, based around the three pillars of entrepreneurship, education and impact.

“We’re expecting a robust dialogue on creating a globally competitive and financially attractive business environment in Michigan,” said Jim Martinez, director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The chamber’s annual event on Mackinac Island May 27-30 is expected to bring about 1,600 attendees.

Gov. Rick Snyder will again kick off the conference, which will also include keynote addresses from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

Other speakers include author Malcolm Gladwell and Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana.

Joel Klein, CEO of the educational division and executive vice president for News Corp., and Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup Inc., are also scheduled to give keynote addresses.

More speakers and panelists are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Two events will require separate tickets to attend. The first is an event for the chamber’s political action committee that will feature the two U.S. Senate candidates, Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters. The second features CNN hosts Paul Begala and S.E. Cupp for a discussion on the national political scene, Michigan politics and the 2014 midterm elections.

New this year to the conference will be a series of “Mackinac Moments,” which will be short, inspirational speeches from influential people, Martinez said.

Several of the panels will focus on entrepreneurship, hiring veterans, and employers’ perspectives on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.

For more information on the conference, visit mpc.detroitchamber.com.