P3 Wins Detroit Regional Chamber’s Inaugural Healthy Workplace Contest

In partnership with regional chambers of commerce across Southeast Michigan, Wellness Works, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan launched its inaugural Healthy Workplace contest this summer encouraging businesses to show how they promote a healthy workplace for a chance to win Detroit Tigers suite tickets. The judging criteria for the contest focused on three key factors: a multi-dimensional approach towards wellness, creative employee engagement, and the quality of the submission. Over 130 companies participated in the contest.

P3 North America won the contest and will watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 20 in the Chamber’s suite at Comerica Park.

P3 encourages a healthy workplace by offering wellness programs that focus on improving employee health in the following areas: physical, community and social, financial, and mental health. Participating in the Southfield Community Cup, offering a tuition reimbursement program, providing an employee assistance program for emotional/mental well-being, and stocking the office with complimentary healthy snacks are just a few examples of how P3 personifies the qualities of a healthy workplace.

Wellness Works strives to encourage workplace wellness by providing resources, support and engagement opportunities to business professionals and community organizations.

Stay tuned for the launch of the Wellness Works website for more stories about how businesses across the region create a healthy workplace for their employees. The website will launch this fall.

For more information, contact Sinziana Luchian.

About Wellness Works

In partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), Wellness Works is a new initiative that promotes workplace wellness strategies by improving employee well-being and community wellness in Southeast Michigan. Wellness Works provides resources, support, and engagement opportunities to business professionals and community organizations and encourages collaboration towards a healthier, happier region.

Miller Canfield Earns Mansfield Rule Certification for Diversity and Inclusion

Miller Canfield announced today that it is the only firm in Michigan to be named among 41 major law firms nationwide that have earned Mansfield Certification from Diversity Lab, the national incubator for innovative ideas and solutions to boost diversity and inclusion in law, and is one of just 27 to earn the Mansfield Certified Plus designation for 2018.

Law firms earning Mansfield Certification met or exceeded goals for law firm diversity and inclusion by adopting and complying with the Mansfield Rule, which was inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule and named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States. The rule was piloted in 2017 by more than 30 top firms nationwide, including Miller Canfield, and measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered women and attorneys of color—at least 30 percent of the candidate pool—for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and lateral positions. Those meeting the requirements for Mansfield Certified Plus successfully reached at least 30 percent women and minority lawyer representation in a notable number of their current leadership roles and committees.

“It’s not surprising that Miller Canfield is the only Michigan-headquartered firm to attain Mansfield Certification. We have always been leaders in fostering a culture of inclusiveness and have long benefitted from the leadership of women and minority attorneys,” said CEO Michael McGee. “The Mansfield Rule strengthens this aspect of our culture by ensuring that we are identifying a diverse group of emerging leaders, and actively taking part in helping them to achieve, succeed and lead.”

Law firms are increasingly being asked by clients to provide proof that their ranks are representative of the diverse communities in which they do business. More than 55 legal departments from large global companies, including Target, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and PepsiCo, signed on to support the Mansfield Rule and the law firms that piloted it. Saying that diverse companies—and the law firms that serve them—deliver better results, are more competitive, and are more innovative if they are more diverse, the companies stated that they are eager to work with firms that foster a culture of diversity and inclusion.

“Large law firms have struggled to move the needle to make meaningful culture changes regarding diversity and inclusion,” said Miller Canfield Diversity and Development Principal, Michelle Crockett. “Programs like Mansfield Certification take a firm’s efforts beyond training and planning and turn it into data-driven action. It’s just one of the initiatives the firm has implemented to advance diversity and ensure true inclusion of women and minorities.”

Mansfield Certified firms made significant progress in diversifying, following adoption of the Mansfield Rule, specifically:

*40 percent of the firms increased representation of women and diverse lawyers in leadership and governance roles
*33 percent increased the number of women and diverse senior associates hired
*35 percent increased the number of women and diverse partners hired
*38 percent increased the number of women and diverse lawyers promoted to partner

Miller Canfield is one of the 65 firms nationwide piloting Mansfield 2.0 through 2018, which expands on the Mansfield Rule to include LGBTQ attorneys.

Firm Expands Business Department with Addition of New Tax Attorney

Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, has added further depth to its business law department with the recent addition of tax attorney Alan Shamoun.

A member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Shamoun will serve as Plunkett Cooney’s Tax Law Practice Group Leader, working closely with attorneys in the business law and estate planning practice groups.

Shamoun focuses his tax practice primarily on tax planning, resolving tax controversies and assisting tax exempt organizations. His specific expertise includes white collar criminal defense, IRS audits and appeals, international tax issues, and tax matters related to estate, gift and trust planning. In addition, Shamoun works with clients on commercial real estate matters, corporate transactions and emerging areas such as crytocurrency.

Named a 2018 Top Lawyer in Tax by DBusiness magazine, Shamoun is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Michigan, as well as in the U.S. Tax Court. He is a member of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and the Real Property Law, Taxation and Young Lawyers sections of the State Bar of Michigan.

Shamoun received his law degree, cum laude, from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2012 and his undergraduate degree from Wayne State University in 2006.

The members of Plunkett Cooney’s Business Law Department provide legal services to clients in numerous industries, including automotive, banking, construction, foodservice and hospitality, healthcare, medical cannabis, nonprofit, real estate and many others.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is one of the nation’s oldest and largest law firms with approximately 300 employees, including 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 law firms in the United States.

For more information about tax attorney Alan Shamoun joining Plunkett Cooney, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

AT&T Michigan President David Lewis on Secrets of Good Leadership: “Listen and Engage”

As one of the top leaders in the technology and communication industry, AT&T Michigan President David Lewis cites much of his success to learning from others at every step in his career. Lewis participated in a Q&A with the Detroit Regional Chamber to discuss his personal leadership style and how he encourages adaptivity in an ever-evolving industry. Read the full Q&A below.

Hear more from David Lewis at the upcoming Inside the CEO Mind event Sept. 14 at Castle Hall in Detroit.

You previously served as the director of external and corporate affairs for AT&T. What is the biggest lesson you can share with aspiring organizational leaders that influenced your rise in the company?

I’ve spent my entire career studying, listening and engaging with exceptional leaders who have reached a level of success (at the time) I never thought I’d reach. Every time I’d reach a new level of success or growth, I’d always compare myself to someone who was at a much higher level. When I was hired by AT&T, my approach never changed. This approach helped me to develop my ability to understand the bigger picture and figure out ways to carve my own niche while working hard to climb the AT&T corporate ladder.

You are a native of Indianapolis and moved to Michigan for this job. What are you most looking forward to about living in Michigan?

Understanding, embracing and adapting to the Michigan culture. I like to call it my “Michigander Mission.” I understand that every state, county, city, municipality and township is different, so I’m looking forward to meeting the people who make Michigan great!

How has your background in public policy prepared you for this role?

I tell people all the time that I don’t sell mobile devices, install fiber, develop/build small cells or create innovative technology that will pave the way for 5G evolution. My job is to make sure that we can. My team is experienced in telling our story by creating, sustaining, solidifying and enhancing relationships with all levels of governmental, political, business and community stakeholders in the state. Understanding the public policy environment in this state is very important to our overall success.

How are you driving innovation and growth in the increasingly competitive market?

AT&T innovations have helped lead to new technologies, apps and services that improve lives at home, work and play across Michigan and the United States. Today, we continue to build on our 140-year heritage of breakthroughs and innovations, and our outstanding network is at the center of it all. We’re speeding up development, bringing innovative products and services to market, and creating the future. Investments of more than $1.6 billion in Michigan in recent years are improving and expanding our services and leading to new technologies like small cells, FirstNet, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the promise of 5G speeds. It is a very exciting time in our industry and for AT&T customers.

How does AT&T tackle the issues of attracting and retaining top talent? What can others learn from your success and/or challenges in that capacity?

AT&T is not unique among companies looking for highly skilled people for the high tech jobs we offer. We are unique, though, in the existence of our communications network, and we’re using the power of that network. By investing in new tools and solutions that leverage our unique technologies and capabilities, AT&T is personalizing and mobilizing the way all students learn. We’ve teamed up with Udacity to launch the Nanodegree program: online educational pathways to industry-relevant skills. Nanodegree courses are online, project-based, and taught by leaders in tech, with support by coaches. We are also joining with Udacity to provide scholarships to underserved students through multiple leading nonprofit organizations as well as collaborating with other innovative organizations to provide and support opportunities to foster skills that will meet the needs of the future workforce.

If you were to give your 20-year-old self some business advice, what would it be?


What are the most important strategic priorities for AT&T in the coming year? How will you gauge success?

In looking at the year ahead, I see three main priorities for AT&T and our team members in Michigan.

The first is the continued building and utilization of the FirstNet network.

The FirstNet platform represents a giant leap in communications capabilities for public safety organizations in Michigan that will benefit the communities and residents they serve. Communities across Michigan and the United States will experience improved wireless broadband coverage because of these infrastructure investments and our first responders will finally have a single dedicated network to help them communicate in times of emergency.

Second is the continued deployment of small cell technology. The Michigan Legislature is finishing up work on an important bill this fall that will facilitate bringing this new technology to communities in Michigan. Small cells help bolster network capacity, and better meet surging consumer and business demand for more data and faster connectivity, while preparing our network for the next generation of technologies and services — like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart cities. Bringing this technology to Michigan cities will be very important.

Third is my desire to build on the connection of our company and our employees to our communities. A unique thing to our industry about AT&T is that we have people, thousands of people, living and working here in Michigan. Your communities are our communities. I want to engage our employees in a way that connects directly with the needs of the communities we call home.

Hear more from David Lewis at the Inside the CEO Mind event Sept. 14 at Castle Hall in Detroit.

Opinion: Self-driving car bill provides opportunity to save lives

Aug. 26, 2018

The Detroit News

By: Glenn Stevens

Self-driving cars and smart infrastructure enable dramatic improvements in safety and hold incredible promise to decrease deaths and serious injuries from automobile accidents. They also offer enormous potential for our region’s economic growth. It is imperative that Michigan lead the way in the development and testing of this technology.

Our state and country’s global competitiveness depend on our ability to advance this technology. We are in a key position to guide this transformational change in mobility, just as Michigan led the way in the mass production of the automobile over a century ago. But we face tough competition from countries like China, Korea, Germany and Sweden that are already working to outpace us by prioritizing national policies for self-driving cars and giving domestic manufacturers a competitive edge in developing safer, advanced vehicles.

Michigan’s Legislature has already taken a leadership role — passing some of the nation’s most forward-looking state laws to support testing for self-driving vehicles. Congress must take action to create federal policy that will keep the United States — and Michigan — at the forefront of this new automotive industry.

Our state is fortunate to have U.S. Sen. Gary Peters leading the charge to advance self-driving technology at the federal level with the AV START Act — bipartisan legislation he introduced with U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

The Detroit Regional Chamber supports the bill’s common-sense approach to provide a clear oversight structure for the safe development of self-driving cars. The bill ensures vehicle safety is a priority in the short-term, while directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write the comprehensive safety regulations we will need as self-driving vehicles become increasingly prevalent. To aid that process, the bill also creates a technical advisory committee that will bring together policy experts from industry, government and the safety community, among others, to inform these new safety regulations.

Some organizations have raised critiques of the legislation, claiming it does not do enough to make self-driving cars safer. Nearly 40,000 lives are lost on our roads every year, and hundreds of thousands more are seriously maimed or injured in automotive accidents. In many ways, our society has come to accept this statistic as a fact of life, but self-driving vehicles have the potential to eliminate 94 percent of accidents caused by human error and save thousands of lives.

Our Michigan automotive manufacturers and suppliers know that nothing would hinder development or stop consumers from adopting this technology more than putting unsafe products on our roads. But in order to unlock the full lifesaving potential of self-driving cars, companies need the federal government to create the new rules of the road — like the framework established in Peters’ AV START Act — to give them certainty and consistency to advance their innovations.

The Chamber appreciates Peters’ efforts to ensure that our nation’s leadership role in the development of self-driving technology is a top economic, safety and national security priority. We must harness the opportunity we have to lead in the self-driving car race — starting with passing the AV START Act — or we risk losing the opportunity to achieve new milestones in vehicle safety and ceding Michigan’s foothold as the world leader in automotive innovation.

Glenn Stevens is the vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Chamber Board Leadership Heavily Represented Among DBusiness Magazine’s ‘500 Most Powerful Leaders’

As the voice for business in Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber prides itself in recruiting diverse and industry-leading executives for its Board of Directors. These talented men and women help shape the strategic direction and priorities for the Chamber. The Chamber congratulates the 66 former and current Board members who are featured in dBusiness magazine’s 2018 list of “500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Metro Detroit.” Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and Chief Operating Officer Tammy Carnrike are also included in the list.

Current and former board members include:

Linda Apsey, ITC Holdings Corp.

Dennis Archer, Dennis W. Archer

David Barfield, Impellam Group

Chris Brochert, Lormax Stern Development Co.

Dean Brody, Accenture

William Burgess, Dickinson Wright

John Carter, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Hank Cooney, Plunkett Cooney

George Corona, Kelly Services

Matthew Cullen, JACK Entertainment

David Dauch, American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.

Mark Davidoff, Deloitte

Brian Demkowicz, Huron Capital Partners

Ric Devore, PNC Bank

Alessandro DiNello, Flagstar Bank

Debbie Dingell, U.S. House of Representatives

Mike Duggan, City of Detroit

Matt Elliott, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

David Fisher, Suburban Collection

David Foltyn, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP

Frank Fountain, Walter P. Chrysler Museum Foundation

John Fox, Beaumont Health

Yousif Ghafari, Chairman and Founder, Ghafari Associates

Allan Gilmour, The Gilmour-Jirgens Fund

David Girodat, Fifth Third Bank

Paul Glantz, Emagine Entertainment

Kouhaila Hammer, Ghafari Associates

Rick Hampson, Citizens Bank

Chris Ilitch, Ilitch Holdings

John James, James Group International

Tricia Keith, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Justin Klimko, Butzel Long

William Kozyra, TI Automotive (TI Fluid Systems)

Wright Lassiter III, Henry Ford Health System

Trevor Lauer, DTE Electric

George Lenyo, Ernst & Young

Dan Loepp, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Ben Maibach III, Barton Malow Co.

Ryan Maibach, Barton Malow Co.

Florine Mark, The Weight Watchers Group Inc.

Kathleen McCann, United Road Services Inc.

Chip McClure, Michigan Capital Advisors

Michael McGee, Miller Canfield

Besty Meter, KPMG

Patricia Mooradian, The Henry Ford

Virinder Moudgil, Lawrence Technological University

James Nicholson, PVS Chemicals Inc.

Cynthia Pasky, Strategic Staffing Solutions

Sandra Pierce, Huntington Bank

Stephen Polk, Highgate LLC

Patti Poppe, CMS Energy, Consumers Energy

Jim Proppe, Plante Moran

John Rakolta Jr., Walbridge

Leon Richardson, The Chemico Group

Michael Ritchie, Comerica Bank

M. Roy Wilson, Wayne State University

Andra Rush, Rush Group

David Schostak, Schostak Bros. & Co.

Alan Schwartz, Honigman Schwartz Miller and Cohn LLP

David Segura, VisionIT

Ray Telang, PwC

Arm Tellem, Palace Sports & Entertainment

Chris Thomas, Fontinalis Partners

Dr. Tony Tedeschi, Detroit Medical Center

Frank Venegas Jr., Ideal Group

Alan Whitman, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

American Society of Employers’ (ASE’s) Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey results for second quarter 2018 see a decrease in the business outlook for manufacturing

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released its 2018 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Second Quarter results.

Highlights of ASE’s 2018 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Second Quarter:

• Although most employers (55%) see no change in their future business outlook, a closer look at the data shows a negative trend in the economic outlook. Specifically, 15% of participants report worsening forecasts, up from just 10% in the previous quarter.
• Much of the decrease in business outlook was seen in the manufacturing sector. 18% of employers in that group report that their business outlook is declining. This compares to just 11% from the previous quarter.
• 71% of employers expect hiring levels to remain the same over the next six months. The number of employers expecting hiring levels to stay the same saw a 7% increase from the previous quarter.
• Data from the survey shows that the Production / Maintenance job function experienced the most significant turnover this quarter followed by Engineering.
• The Engineering job family was rated (41%) as the top “in demand” job function, followed by Sales / Marketing (30%) and Production / Maintenance (29%).
• Most participants (55%) indicated that the Trump administration’s trade tariffs have had no impact on their organization. Just 16% reported a negative impact.
• However, when asked if the tariff will have some future impact, 51% of manufacturing organizations responded, “Don’t Know.”

The survey results were announced by ASE President and CEO, Mary E. Corrado. “The business outlook data among the manufacturing sector is concerning given its importance to our region. Hiring appears to be plateauing in the face of economic uncertainty,” she stated.

Background information on the ASE 2018 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Second Quarter

• 127 organizations from across Michigan participated.
• Organizations with one to 500 Michigan employees made up more than 83% of the survey sample, while organizations with 501 to 1,000 Michigan employees represented 10% of the sample. The remaining 7% of the sample comes from organizations with more than 1,000 Michigan employees.
• A variety of industries are represented, with manufacturing organizations representing just over 56% of the survey sample.

To obtain a copy of ASE’s 2018 Quarterly Economic & Employment Survey – Second Quarter, contact ASE’s Compensation and Benefits Surveys department at surveys@aseonline.org or 248.223.8051. This survey is available free of charge to ASE members and is $525 for non-members.

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.

Butzel Long attorney David F. DuMouchel elected to the first Board of Directors of the Federal Community Defender of the Eastern District of Michigan

Butzel Long attorney and shareholder David F. DuMouchel, who Chairs the firm’s Corporate Compliance, Internal Investigation and Criminal Defense practice, has been elected to the first Board of Directors of the Federal Community Defender of Eastern District of Michigan. The Board will provide oversight in the provision of indigent defense services in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

DuMouchel’s practice is limited to white collar criminal defense, defense of corporations and individuals in criminal and civil antitrust matters, professional licensure and criminal health care, IRS investigations of both taxpayers and professionals, SEC enforcement of corporate executives fraud, public corruption, as well as grand jury investigations, internal corporate investigations and compliance.

DuMouchel is a recipient of the prestigious Leonard Gilman Award from the Federal Bar Association as the outstanding criminal law practitioner in the Eastern District of Michigan. He has been named by Best Lawyers as the “2010 Detroit Criminal Defense: White-Collar Lawyer of the Year.” Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Notably, he has been listed in each edition of Best Lawyers in America since that publication began more than 30 years ago, including the most recent. Last year, he was one of two Michigan attorneys ranked Tier One in White Collar Crime & Investigations by Chambers USA 2017 — The Client’s Guide. DuMouchel also has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in the state of Michigan by DBusiness magazine and he’s also listed in Michigan Super Lawyers.

From 1978 to 1985, DuMouchel served as chairperson of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. He served as law clerk to Chief Justice Thomas Giles Kavanagh of the Michigan Supreme Court from 1975-1977. He was an adjunct professor of law at Wayne State University and is a frequent lecturer on criminal practice matters including “Ethics-Grievance Procedures,” Detroit-Wayne County Criminal Advocacy Program; “Subpoenaing Lawyers,” Criminal Justice Section, Federal Bar Association; “Plea Negotiation,” White Collar Crime Seminar, Federal Bar Association; “Grand Jury Practice,” Federal Bar Association; “Grand Jury Practice,” U.S. District Court, New Lawyer Seminar, 1986-present.

DuMouchel has often served as a panelist; he was featured at the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants Fraud Awareness Symposiums; the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s presentation on corporate misconduct entitled “Conducting an Internal Investigation: Legal and Corporate Issues;” and the State Bar of Michigan’s program “Compelled Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege for Businesses: Issues and Practices for Corporate Lawyers and their Clients.”

He has served on the faculty of the U.S. District Court, Advocacy Institute; ICLE: Attorney Grievance and Discipline Practice; ICLE: Health Care Law Institute; ICLE “Polygraphs”; ABA Health Care Fraud, 2005; ABA White Collar Crime Institute, 2006, 2007, 2008; State Bar of Michigan Program, “Compelled Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege,” 2006; Michigan Association of CPA’s, “Accounting Fraud,” 2006, 2007. He also is a frequent speaker on internal corporate investigations and federal criminal procedure matters.

In 2006, DuMouchel was appointed to serve on the American Bar Association’s White Collar Crime Committee for a two-year term as chair of the sentencing committee. He has served as a member of the Rules Advisory Committee, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan and was a member of the U.S. District Court Committee on Magistrate Program Evaluation, and chaired the Federal Bar Association Criminal Defense Committee.

He served as a member of the Advisory Committee which drafted the Restatement of Law Governing Lawyers of the American Law Institute, and is on the Member’s Consultative Group of the ALI Model Penal Code Sentencing Project.

DuMouchel has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan Criminal Code Revision Committee, U.S. Courts Committee, and Grievance Committee. In addition, he is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and was a Director in 1981. He is a Master of Bench emeritus, American Inn of Court Ch. XI. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and serves as a member of the Criminal Procedure Committee, and is a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers.

DuMouchel is a Member of Standing Committee on U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Planning Committee, he served as a member of the U.S. District Court Magistrate Selection Committee in 2014, and was a member of the Judicial Advisory Committee to evaluate applicants for the U.S. Attorney and federal judicial appointments in the Eastern District of Michigan in 2010 and 2012.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, whose membership is limited to one percent of trial lawyers in any state. DuMouchel also is a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers.

DuMouchel is a cum laude graduate of Wayne State University Law School (J.D., 1975) and the University of Detroit (M.A., 1972).

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in 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

Sequoia Financial Group Merges with LJPR Financial Advisors

Sequoia Financial Group, an award-winning wealth management firm serving private, institutional and corporate clients in the Midwest and Southern U.S., today announced that it will merge in LJPR Financial Advisors, a fee-only financial advisor and wealth management firm headquartered in Troy, Michigan.

“LJPR aligns perfectly with our strategy and culture, and complements our existing business exceptionally well,” said Tom Haught, President of Sequoia Financial Group. “This merger provides greater growth and innovative services to our clients, employees and partners, thus building a sustainable firm that can outlast any individual leader,” Haught states. “Sequoia’s advisors have the ability to engage in specialization and mastery in specific practice areas. We will attract the best people, develop and innovate with our technology, and find new and creative ways to make the lives of our clients and employees better.”

“The exceptional care of our clients is one thing LJPR and Sequoia have each prioritized in our respective 29 and 27 years before this merger,” said Leon LaBrecque, Managing Partner and CEO of LJPR Financial Advisors. “Tom and I are thrilled that our combined team will have the capacity and resources that allow us to continue that legacy and even to expand upon it, making us better together.”

With a deep capital structure, built to perpetuate the firm and strikingly similar cultures, Sequoia holds a competitive advantage, bringing the strengths of both firms together. Between nurturing an environment that attracts top talent and offering capacity to innovate with both client service and technology, Sequoia will forge the path as a leader in the RIA industry. With this merger, Sequoia Financial Group’s staff will grow from 66 to 91 employees.

Leon LaBrecque will transition from Managing Partner and CEO of LJPR Financial Advisors to Chief Growth Officer of Sequoia Financial Group. In this new role, Leon will be responsible for expanding the footprint and impact Sequoia has in the Midwest, while remaining dedicated to thought-leadership content for creative tax strategies and the complexities that surround them. Tom Haught will continue as President of Sequoia Financial Group, where he will lead the firm, set strategic direction for overall growth of the Sequoia brand and continue his commitment to client service.


About Sequoia Financial Group

Founded in Ohio in 1991, Sequoia Financial Group, LLC (www.sequoia-financial.com) takes a truly client-centered approach to providing comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services, including asset management, estate and retirement planning, fiduciary consulting, family wealth and institutional services. Sequoia is committed to exceptional client service by building and maintaining strong relationships that emphasize long-term planning to help their clients in reaching their financial and life goals. Today, Sequoia has more than 60 employees in offices throughout Ohio, Florida and Michigan.


About LJPR Financial Advisors

LJPR Financial Advisors (https://ljpr.com), headquartered in Troy, Michigan, is a fee-only financial advisor and wealth management firm that specializes in retirement planning, investment management, estate planning and tax planning. Founded in 1989, the firm’s mission is to help individuals, families, and foundations understand, manage and keep more money. The firm’s holistic approach, rooted in education, helps clients set priorities, reduce uncertainty and build confidence in their future.

Walsh Appoints Business Leaders to Board of Trustees

Walsh is pleased to announce the appointment of four business leaders to its Board of Trustees: Jackie Buchanan, Michael Davenport, Dennis J. Harder and Brian Pilarski.

“We are excited to welcome these outstanding professionals to our Board of Trustees,” said Walsh President and CEO, Marsha Kelliher. “Each of them brings a unique perspective and expertise, and they all have a strong commitment to Walsh.”

Jackie Buchanan, President and CEO of Genisys Credit Union, received her Bachelor of Accountancy from Walsh. Under her leadership, Genisys has grown to be one of the largest credit unions in Michigan and was named an S&P Top 50 Best Performing Credit Union. Genisys is known as one of the most technologically advanced credit unions in the country and has high customer satisfaction ratings because of its innovative online banking and award-winning mobile applications.

Michael Davenport is the Founder and Chief Security Consultant of TrilogySecurity, Inc., a cybersecurity consulting and managed services firm. Davenport attended Michigan State University and holds several industry certifications and professional licenses. With more than 25 years of cybersecurity experience, Davenport regularly speaks on cybersecurity and provides IT security strategic planning and risk management for various organizations. TrilogySecurity provides cybersecurity assessment, investigation, and advisory services to all industries including healthcare, financial, manufacturing, industrial and education.

Dennis J. Harder is the Managing Director & Detroit Region Head for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Harder holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Master of Science in Finance from Walsh and is a former adjunct assistant professor of Finance and Economics. He is the Vice Chair of the Walsh College Foundation Board, co-chairs Walsh’s Leadership Awards special events committee and is a member of the Archie Waring Society.

Brian Pilarski is a Business Insurance Advisor at Brown & Brown of Detroit. As a successful sales professional within the organization, Pilarski has been inducted into the Champions’ Club (a distinction only 8 out of 1000 share) and teaches technical and sales classes to other agents enrolled in Brown & Brown University. Pilarski holds a Master of Science in Management degree from Walsh, is a member of the Walsh College Foundation Board of Directors and in 2015 was named Graduate of the Last Decade. He has also created the Brian M. Pilarski Endowed Scholarship for Walsh, which will help graduate students complete their degrees.


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. For more information, please visit www.walshcollege.edu.

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