OCC Counselor Named 2018 Diversity Champion

Oakland Community College’s College committee for diversity and inclusion awarded Pamela Micallef, a long-time counselor at OCC’s Orchard Ridge campus, as 2018 Diversity Champion. Micallef will be honored by the area Race Relations and Diversity Task Force, May 3, 2018, at the Birmingham Community House.

Micallef’s department colleagues at the Orchard Ridge department nominated her for her involvement promoting diversity and inclusion in and outside the college community. In her spare time, Micallef volunteers with substance abuse agencies and “Women of Tomorrow,” a mentor and scholarship organization helping at-risk girls in public high schools plan for a bright future.

An active college committee member, Micallef assists with collaborative planning among several student organizations and departments to provide awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion. Her efforts include hosting a Multi-Faith Panel program for student, staff and community members, coordinating an “Intimate-Partner Violence 101” awareness training, and Jewish Student Organization programs.

“In addition to serving as an active campus representative, Pam works with teams across the college to plan and implement several LGBTQ+ workshops as well as serving as emcee for the Orchard Ridge event,” wrote the Orchard Ridge counseling department. “We are fortunate to have her contribute to our department, college and community at large.”

With active programs and opportunities to provide input on issues, the college’s diversity and inclusion committee works to provide awareness of the themes that both distinguish and unify the world’s cultures. Students, staff and administration work together, “to broaden cultural horizons, with a better understanding of the world we live in.”

Other nominees for this year’s OCC Diversity Champion include Tony Baracco, history faculty, Orchard Ridge; Michelle Fether-Samtouni, sociology faculty, Auburn Hills; Bill Konkolesy, paraprofessional in the academic support center, Southfield; and, Kelly Perez-Vergara, associate executive director for institutional effectiveness, Auburn Hills.

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 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Talent? Infrastructure? Panelists to Tackle Key Areas for Michigan’s Future Prosperity

In recent years, Michigan has enjoyed a growing economy, increased investment, and job creation. Continuing that upward trajectory, however, involves creative collaboration to solve some of the state’s most pressing issues. On Thursday, May 31, the panel, Is Michigan Prepared? Challenges and Opportunities for Future Growth will feature top leaders from business and philanthropy to discuss the areas hindering Michigan’s competitiveness: an educated workforce, failing infrastructure, and a lack of reliable transit. These issues are critical to address now and in the long-term to position Michigan as a top 10 state.


  • Tonya Allen, President and CEO, The Skillman Foundation
  • Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place Inc.
  • Patti Poppe, President and CEO, Consumers Energy
  • Suzanne Shank, Chairwoman and CEO, Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. LLC

Moderator: Rick Albin, Political Reporter, WOOD TV

Gov. Snyder to Deliver Last Keynote Address on Michigan’s Center Stage

The Detroit Regional Chamber welcomes Gov. Rick Snyder to the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference lineup.

On WednesdayMay 30, the Governor will deliver opening remarks on how Michigan has evolved over the past seven years. On ThursdayMay 31, he will deliver a keynote address sharing insight on sustaining Michigan’s momentum against the backdrop of the Conference pillars: restoring trust in critical institutions; strengthening Michigan’s readiness for next-generation mobility disruption; and ensuring Michigan’s competitiveness for major business investment. Snyder’s keynote address is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

McGiffert Joins Firm’s Management Team as First Director of Diversity

Laurel F. McGiffert, a partner at Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms – has been appointed as the firm’s first ever Director of Diversity & Inclusion.

Plunkett Cooney President & CEO Thomas P. Vincent announced the appointment yesterday, indicating that McGiffert, who is a founding member of the firm’s Diversity Committee and a member of the Detroit office, will join his administration immediately.

“Laurel is an outstanding trial attorney who has been dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion within our firm and the Metro Detroit legal community for years,” Vincent said. “She understands our firm well and has great ideas about how we can continue to advance our efforts internally and on behalf of our clients.”

In her new role, McGiffert will be responsible for leading the firm’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. She will work alongside the firm’s management team, diversity committee members and administrative department leaders to accomplish this goal.

“I’m honored and excited to have been given this opportunity by Tom and the firm to focus on an issue about which I’m truly passionate,” said McGiffert, who is a member of several organizations focused on diversity, including the African American Partners Collaborative. “Plunkett Cooney has been a leader on diversity in the legal community for years. This new position will allow me to focus on helping to take that work to the next level.”

McGiffert, who graduated from Vassar College in 1970 and Wayne State University Law School in 1980, joined the firm in 1989 and became a partner in 1991. Her practice includes the defense of clients in civil litigation involving employment law, medical malpractice, general liability and municipal liability.

A member of the firm’s Medical Litigation, Employment Law and Governmental Law practice groups, she is active in several bar organizations, including the Wolverine Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan and American Board of Trial Advocates. She also serves as a member of the boards of directors for the Oakland Mediation Center and Power Company Kids Club.

McGiffert is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the 2017 Earl J. Cline/Sherwin Schreier Award for Excellence presented by the Negligence Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the 2012 Respected Advocate Award from the Michigan Association for Justice. She is an AV-preeminent rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, and she has been named for several years as a Best Lawyer in America, a Michigan Super Lawyer and a Dbusiness magazine Top Lawyer. Crain’s Detroit Business named McGiffert to its 2017 list of Michigan’s Notable Women in the Law, and she was named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly to its class of Women in the Law for 2015.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs nearly 300 employees, including approximately 150 attorneys in eight Michigan cities, as well as in Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm, which provides a range of transactional and litigation services, has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell. Fortune magazine has also named Plunkett Cooney among the top commercial firms in the United States.

For more information about Laurel McGiffert’s appointment as Plunkett Cooney’s first Director of Diversity & Inclusion, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.


Clayton & McKervey awards annual accounting scholarships to two Oakland University students

Rob Dutkiewicz, president of Clayton & McKervey, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace, is pleased to announce the recipients of two scholarships awarded through Oakland University’s School of Business Administration. The awards for the Clayton & McKervey Scholarship and the Dutkiewicz Family Scholarship were presented April 13 at the OU Accounting and Finance Department’s Spring Banquet.

The Clayton & McKervey Scholarship was awarded to Carolyn Schweiger, a senior at OU majoring in accounting and minoring in management information systems. A resident of Richmond, Mich., Carolyn is currently an intern at Lear Corporation. The Dutkiewicz Family Scholarship was presented to Kevin Doody, a Lake Orion, Mich., resident who graduates this spring with a Master of Accounting.

“Clayton & McKervey has a passion to help others succeed,” Dutkiewicz said. “It is our privilege to partner with Oakland University’s business school to recognize students who have made an extra effort to achieve success in many facets of their lives, and we look forward to seeing them thrive in their future roles in the accounting and finance profession.”

The Clayton & McKervey Scholarship is a $1,500 annual scholarship established in 2011 to be applied to OU tuition for an undergraduate student who:
• Exhibits an outstanding combination of academic performance and extracurricular activities
• Has declared an accounting major and achieved major standing
• Is currently enrolled in at least one accounting major course at OU

The Dutkiewicz Family established its $2,500 annual scholarship in 2014 for a student who:
• Is a declared accounting or finance major with major standing
• Is currently enrolled in at least one accounting or finance major course at OU
• Has exhibited an outstanding combination of academic performance and extracurricular activities

More information about the criteria is available on OU’s SBA scholarship page.

In addition to the scholarship awards, the OU chapter of Beta Alpha Psi—an honorary organization for financial information students and professionals—named Rob Dutkiewicz its Business Information Professional of the Year at the banquet. Beta Alpha Psi annually presents this award to an honoree who has contributed to the profession through his or her position within the accounting, finance and information systems professions and through involvement in professional affairs and associations. Dutkiewicz, an OU alum who received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, currently serves on the OU School of Business Administration Board of Visitors.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.


Snyder leads 8-day trade mission in Europe

April 20, 2018

Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Kurt Nagl

Gov. Rick Snyder is in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday for the first part of an eight-day trade mission in Europe focused on spurring investment in manufacturing, mobility and tourism.

The governor will attend a large technology trade fair in Germany and meet with dozens of business owners and government leaders in Austria, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The mission trip began Wednesday and runs through next Wednesday, according to a news release from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

From Vienna, Snyder will travel to the U.K., where he will visit mobility plants and attend the British Motor Museum to tout Michigan’s automobile culture and build awareness of the state as a travel destination. The museum will feature an exhibit on the life of auto pioneer Henry Ford.

Snyder will travel from Britain to Germany for the Hannover Messe — the world’s largest technology trade fair — where he will meet executives from global auto suppliers and manufacturers. The mission to Hannover starts Saturday and continues through April 27. It is sponsored by Automation Alley, a nonprofit tech and manufacturing association based in Troy.

During the Hannover Messe floor walk, the governor will visit about 30 companies’ booths, including KUKA, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, ABB Group, Faurecia, Andritz AG and Dassault Systems. “He will also meet with the 2018 partner country of Hannover Messe, Mexico, to solidify our relationship,” MEDC spokeswoman Kathleen Achtenberg said in an email.

Other company meetings and tours will be with Millbrook Group, Aston Martin and Austrian companies with a Michigan presence at a networking event in Austria, she said.

During the Germany leg of the trip, Snyder is joined by executives of companies including Duggan Manufacturing LLC, based in Shelby Township; LHP Engineering Studios, based in Pontiac; OPS Systems, based in Wixom; Managed Programs LLC, based in Auburn Hills; Material Handling Systems Inc., based in Rochester Hills; and Zero Gravity Filters Inc., based in Brighton. They will take part in the MEDC’s booth at the Hannover trade fair.

Business partners pay their own way for the trip and it is arranged by Automation Alley, said Lisa Lasser, international business services manager at the nonprofit.

OPS Systems is participating in the German trade fair for the first time since opening an office in Prague earlier this month, Bill Coe, vice president of regional sales for OPS Systems, said in an email.

“(OPS) will introduce our expanded presence while developing deeper relationships with our growing European customer base and look to develop additional opportunities,” he said.

The following MEDC officials are also participating in the trip: CEO Jeff Mason, auto sector Senior Vice President Kevin Kerrigan and Travel Michigan Vice President Dave Lorenz.

Others joining include Alan Weber, economic development director for the city of Novi; Rochelle Freeman, business and economic development director for the city of Southfield; Will Butler, business development representative of the Detroit Regional Chamber; Jack Johns, project coordinator for the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development department; and John Wolf-Meyer, business development manager for the Oakland County Economic Development department.

The local partners pay their own way, and their trip is not arranged by the MEDC or Automation Alley, Lasser said.

The MEDC news release cited four recent investments in Michigan from European companies as an example of the trade mission’s purpose: Infineon Technologies Americas Corp., NAVYA Inc., Siliconature Corp. and HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc.

Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have traveled to France, Ireland, Italy, Canada, China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Israel, Switzerland and India on trade missions.


View the original post from Crain’s Detroit Business here.

Trying Not to Become Another Statistic

By Vanessa Yates

I have been writing and telling stories my whole life. I have always had a quirky personality, and at 20 years old, I now cherish who I am. That wasn’t always the case. My family had very little money growing up. My torn clothes and “annoying” enthusiasm quickly turned me into a target for bullying. Today, I’m more confident in who I am, but I still fight against the odds for my education and well-being.

My name is Vanessa Yates. I am in my second semester at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) but I hope to transfer to a university soon. My interest in storytelling is the main reason I’m excited to write for Detroit Drives Degrees. Through this opportunity, I can share students’ experiences that tell the story behind the education data in Southeast Michigan. These stories will be shared with the goal to inspire students, business leaders and the greater community to prioritize education in our region. I am truly fascinated by the stories I hear every day from my peers and believe they deserve to be heard.

Goal to Graduate

I was 12 when I moved to Detroit and started middle school at Phoenix Academy in Southwest Detroit, which closed a few years after the state’s Education Achievement Authority took over. I was smart but made mediocre grades because it was hard for me to concentrate at school with bullying and having a shy personality.

At home, I spent afternoons driving to nicer neighborhoods with my mom and sister to look through garbage and find scrap metal. We junked the metal to feed my family; it is how we made ends meet.

My situation at home and bullying in school took its toll on my confidence until I did not feel like myself. This continued through high school, where I attended Western International High School. While at Western, I battled depression for the whole four years of my attendance. Most of my teachers saw potential in me, but my grades went up and down along with my emotions. I almost thought I would not graduate.

Finally, senior year came and I started to pull my grades up because I was determined to graduate and even attend college, I just had no idea how I was going to pull it off. Things were going great until halfway through the year my dad had a heart attack and lost his job. This left my family in a dire financial situation, but I still graduated on time in 2016.

My father’s recovery prevented me from starting college right away and I went to work full-time at a plastics factory to support my family. When my father finally recovered, I moved out, filled out my FAFSA and started college in fall of 2017.

Living Against the Odds

Today, I work 35 hours a week at Chipotle Mexican Grill and take four classes at WCCCD. I’m able to manage my bouts of depression and in between my classes, I walk the campus trying to spark conversations and collect stories.

I live with my sister, her boyfriend, their daughter, my best friend, and my girlfriend. We share one car and work around each other’s separate schedules for work, school, cheerleading practice, grocery shopping, doctor appointments, and other errands.

When I have free time, I either sit on the couch watching animation or explore Michigan’s natural parks. Lately, I have not had as much free time because my girlfriend is sick and we are constantly in and out of the hospital and missing classes because she is in pain. Life is tough so it is good that we have a house full of people to support us.

I’m determined to transfer to a four-year university and graduate with a bachelor’s degree, but I know I’m going against the odds. At Western University, only 6 percent of the 2011 high school graduates earned a four-year degree six years after graduation. I’m committed to being part of that six percent and I hope that efforts through Detroit Drives Degree and others can help increase that number. I’m really only beginning my college journey and I have a long way to go before I’m successful. Doing well in my classes is the easy part; it is the rest I am still trying to figure out.

When my friends and I left home, we built this support system and, in a way we built our own family. I did not have much support when I was younger and I made it through. I’m confident that my experience overcoming challenges and my new support will help me through this phase of my journey.

Life can sometimes feel like a beaver dam. As much as you want your river to flow easy, sometimes things can block your path and pressure can build. When the pressure is too much on me, I rely on the bonds of family and friends; sometimes just laughing and being there for each other is enough to get me through another week.

Butzel Long immigration attorney to discuss ‘Fact Checking the Immigration Process’ on April 22 in Troy

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder, Bushra Malik, will co-present a program titled, “Fact Checking the Immigration Process,” from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at St. Thomas More Church in Troy.

The other presenter is Rebecca Robichaud, assistant (clinical) professor, assistant director of externships, Wayne State University Law School. The program is sponsored by the South Oakland Vicariate Justice & Peace Committee and Neighbors in Faith.

Malik practices in the area of immigration law, focusing on the representation of multinational and domestic clients’ inbound and global migration needs. Her experience includes Employment-based (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher, Multinational Manager, and PERMs) and Family based Permanent Residence Petitions Non-Immigrant Petitions (H-1B/Specialty Occupation, J-1/ Exchange Visitor, L-1/Intracompany Transfers, O-1/Extraordinary Ability, TN/ NAFTA); Employer Compliance (I-9 Audits and H-1B Public Access File Audits); J-1 waivers; Compliance under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiate (WHTI); U.S. Passports; complex naturalization matters; and currency seizures.

She has extensive experience in securing work and residence permits for numerous countries around the globe, including: China, India, Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, and Belgium. Malik routinely represents clients at U.S. Ports of Entry, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District Office, U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, various Foreign Embassies and Consulates.

Prior to joining Butzel Long, Malik was a Vice Consul for the United States Foreign Service, Department of State in Seoul, South Korea. She also worked with the Executive Office of Immigration Review at the Chicago Immigration Court and had externships with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in New Delhi, India, and the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC.

Malik is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association, the Michigan Muslim Bar Association, and the Japanese Business Society of Detroit.

Malik is currently serving as a member of the Steering Committee of AILA’s Global Migration Section (GMS). She also currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA as the Vice Chair, and previously served on the Executive Committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA as the Treasurer and the Secretary. Malik previously served on the AILA Department of State National Liaison Committee; AILA Customs and Border Protection National Liaison Committee; Program Chair of the 2015 AILA Global Immigration Forum; and has presented at numerous AILA National, AILA GMS and AILA Rome District conferences. She also previously served as the Chair of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Liaison Committee for the Michigan Chapter of AILA. Malik speaks Hindi, Japanese and Urdu.

Malik is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 1998) and Michigan State University’s James Madison College (B.A. in International Relations with High Honors, 1996 and an additional major in Japanese and Certificate of Asian Studies). She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Immigration Law) and was named one of DBusiness magazine’s Top Lawyers in the field of immigration law.

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 and Shanghai. 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

American Society of Employers (ASE) Welcomes 16 New Members

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers for 115 years, announces 16 organizations joined ASE as members during the first quarter of 2018. The organizations are:

• CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region, a leader in children’s’ advocacy, located in Saginaw and Bay City, MI, working to address children’s and families’ needs and create a better community for children.

• City of Mount Pleasant, a city in central Michigan with over 26,000 residents and home to Central Michigan University.

• Flint Cultural Center Corporation, a nonprofit organization committed to making sure the Flint Cultural Center continues to be a vibrant and comfortable gathering place.

• Gerdau Special Steel, a manufacturer of engineered steel bars located in Jackson, MI.

• GNS – Merit Technologies Worldwide, a full-service supplier of metal formed parts and assemblies located in Canton, MI.

• Hollingsworth, a lead logistics provider to the manufacturing and distribution communities that is headquartered in Dearborn, MI.

• Hosco Holdings, a manufacturer and global marketer of smooth bore, “cavity-free” stainless steel fittings and accessories designed specifically for the use in manual or automated paint circulating and application finishing systems located in Wixom, MI.

• Ideal Contracting, a certified minority (MBE) General Contractor/Construction Manager headquartered in Detroit, MI.

• John N. Santeiu & Son, Inc., a family owned and operated full service funeral home in Garden City, MI.

• MacDermid Enthone, a division of MacDermid Performance Solutions that provides chemical process solutions and materials that enhance the products people use every day. They are located in Ferndale, MI.

• MidMichigan Community Health Services, a federally qualified rural community health center (FQHC) based in Houghton Lake, MI.

• Morpace Inc, a top 50 international, full-service market research and consulting firm located in Farmington Hills, MI.

• North American Interconnect, a designer and manufacturer of integrated connectivity solutions for Industrial Technology, Medical, Telecom and Data industries located in Troy, MI.

• Presbyterian Villages of Michigan – Southfield, a premier senior living provider located in Southfield, MI.

• SER Metro Detroit, a multi-service, multi-state corporation that serves as a direct link to gainful employment of diverse populations. They are located in Detroit, MI.

• Transtar Autobody Technologies, a provider of body shop solutions in the automotive aftermarket located in Brighton, MI.

ASE president & CEO, Mary E. Corrado, made the announcement and stated, “ASE welcomes our newest members in this first quarter of 2018. We look forward to working with them and providing services and information to help them be the best employers they can be.”

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
Celebrating 115 years, 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.


Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Manager, Communications, ASE, 248.223.8040, hnezich@aseonline.org

Rehmann honored as Vault Accounting 50 best accounting firms to work for

Rehmann, a fully integrated financial services firm of CPAs and consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators, ranked 24th overall— among other honors — in the latest Vault Accounting 50 rankings.

The Vault Accounting 50 report highlights the best accounting firms to work for. Rehmann landed among the best in the following additional categories:

• #13 in Work-Life Balance
• #16 in Hours
• #16 in Diversity for Women
• #20 in Firm Leadership
• #21 in Client Interaction
• #21 in Culture

“I strongly believe that employee satisfaction is one of the most critical factors for successful, stable growth.” said Katie Strehler, Rehmann’s chief human resources officer. “Rehmann would not be where it is today without the hard work and commitment of our associates. We are honored to be recognized by Vault for building and sustaining a positive company culture.”

The Vault Accounting 50 data is compiled using a weighted formula that reflects the primary issues that accounting professionals care most about, including quality of life rankings such as culture, satisfaction, work-life balance, and compensation in combination with overall firm prestige. The ranking is based on the following criteria: 35 percent prestige, 20 percent firm culture, 10 percent work-life balance, 10 percent compensation, 10 percent overall job satisfaction, 5 percent business outlook, and 5 percent formal training and 5 percent informal training.

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 over 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.