Debbie Dingell

Rep. Debbie Dingell serves Michigan’s 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she has made it a priority to be a voice for the Midwest on issues that matter most to working families.

A member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dingell is a leader on efforts to grow manufacturing, improve access to quality affordable health care, support seniors and veterans and protect the Great Lakes. Recognized as one of the 25 Hardest Working Members of Congress, Dingell is focused on forging bipartisan solutions that support Michigan’s families and economy, including improving long-term care and ushering in the future of the American auto industry.

Before being elected to Congress, Dingell worked in the auto industry for more than three decades, where she was president of the General Motors Foundation and a senior executive responsible for public affairs. She was also chairman of the Wayne State University Board of Governors and continues to fight to make education more affordable and accessible in Congress.

Daniel G. DeVos

Daniel G. DeVos is the chairman and CEO of DP Fox Ventures LLC. DP Fox is a diversified management company with interests in transportation, real estate and sports and entertainment. It currently employs over 1,825 people in Michigan, Chicago, and New York.

Along with his position with DP Fox, DeVos is a partner in CWD Real Estate Investment LLC.  CWD projects include commercial ventures in the growth and revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids and outlying areas.

DeVos is the majority owner and CEO of the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. DeVos also owns DP Fox Sports & Entertainment LLC, a sports management company that oversees venues such as Griff’s Ice House, Griff’s Ice House West, and Griff’s Georgetown.

DeVos and his wife are also involved in philanthropy efforts through the Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art National Committee, DeVos Children’s Hospital, Frederick Meijer Gardens, and Northern Michigan University. DeVos currently sits on the boards for Hope Network and Grand Valley University Foundation.

Richard L. DeVore

Richard L. DeVore is executive vice president and regional president of PNC Bank in Detroit and Southeast Michigan. DeVore, with more than 40 years of financial services experience, serves as PNC’s lead banker in the region and chairs the local PNC Foundation.

Prior to being named to his current position in 2010, he served as credit executive for Commercial Lending and oversaw credit training for all of PNC. Since joining PNC in 1991, DeVore has held several leadership positions, primarily in the credit and marketing groups. During the integration of National City Bank, he served as chief credit officer with the overall responsibility for the credit risk management organization. In 2001, he was named executive vice president.

DeVore serves on the board of directors of Business Leaders for Michigan, Oakland University, Cranbrook, Detroit Economic Club, and Detroit Regional Chamber.

DeVore holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in business from Wayne State University, where he taught banking and finance courses for four years.  He completed the Wharton School of Advanced Risk Management course in 2008.

Melanie D’Evelyn

Melanie D’Evelyn is the director of education and talent initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. D’Evelyn contributed to the early development of the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative and now oversees the initiative’s college access and success work. She is passionate about improving educational outcomes for Detroit students.

Prior to joining the Chamber, D’Evelyn served as an independent education policy consultant for nonprofit clients such as Excellent Schools Detroit and the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) for Southeast Michigan. She has 10 years of experience in Washington D.C., working in government advocacy and program management.

D’Evelyn earned a Master of Public Policy degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from Principia College. She and her husband are foodies, enjoy road biking, and currently reside in Ann Arbor.

Legislative Update: Top Six Proposals the Chamber is Pushing Before End of the Year

The midterm elections are over, but Lansing is still buzzing as legislators work on key issues before the end of the year. The Detroit Regional Chamber is actively engaging on pro-business legislation and is working with bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate to educate them on how the bills may impact Southeast Michigan’s economy.

Regulatory Climate

  • Minimum wage and paid sick leave: During summer session, the Legislature adopted two ballot proposals to increase the minimum wage and require businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees. These bills are expected to be amended during this year’s lame duck session to address concerns raised by the business community. The Chamber is engaging as part of a broad coalition of stakeholders to make recommendations on how the state can best enact these proposals without unduly burdening Michigan’s businesses and embracing national best practices.
  • Small cells: The Chamber is supporting legislation (SB 637) that would create a new, standardized regulatory scheme for small cell wireless facilities in both urban and rural communities. These new facilities would improve wireless connections throughout dense urban areas where cell towers struggle to keep up with the increasing need for fast, wireless connectivity. Additionally, rural communities would benefit as small cell technology would keep businesses in these communities competitive. The legislation has been introduced in the Senate and is expected to be scheduled for a committee hearing in the coming weeks.

Tax Environment

  • Federal and state tax decoupling: Michigan’s taxable state income is defined by reference under federal law. The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the amount of interest expenses that may be deducted from corporate income, unintentionally raising state income tax liabilities for Michigan businesses. To counteract this increase, the Chamber is supporting legislation (SB 1097) that will decouple the state’s definition of taxable income from the Internal Revenue Code and revert to the definition prior to the passage of the new federal statute.

Education

  • A-F Grading in Schools: The Chamber has been longstanding supporter of letter grades for school buildings. Recently introduced legislation (HB 5526) provides multiple letter grades in the following areas: proficiency, growth, growth of ESL students, graduation rate, absenteeism and participation. This much-needed reform provides transparency and clarity for parents and the community about the performance of local schools. The Chamber is working to get this legislation passed out of the state House and into the Senate.

Health Care

  • Prescription drug pricing transparency: The Chamber supports legislation (HB 5223) introduced in the House that requires reporting on costs associated with certain prescription drugs. This pricing clarity helps customers make informed decisions and helps lower costs for employers and purchasers.

Corrections

  • Raise the Age: The Chamber supports a package of bills (HB 4607, 4653, 4662, 4664, 4676, 4659, 4685) that will raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18. Under these changes, 17 year olds would be subject to the juvenile justice system instead of state prisons. This proposed legislation changes Michigan statute so that minors currently entrapped in the penal system can instead receive age appropriate rehabilitation and then participate in Michigan’s workforce without the disadvantage of a criminal record.

For updates on the Chamber’s advocacy work, visit www.detroitchamber.com/advocacy.

DeLorenzo appointed to State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners

Josephine A. DeLorenzo, a partner at Plunkett Cooney – one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms – has been appointed commissioner-at-large of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) Board of Commissioners.

A co-leader of the firm’s Appellate Law Practice Group, DeLorenzo was recently appointed to the post by the Michigan Supreme Court. Commissioners serve three-year terms commencing each year upon adjournment of the SBM annual meeting.

The SBM Board of Commissioners provides oversight to the State Bar on finance, public policy, professional standards and member services and communications.

DeLorenzo, who graduated magna cum laude from University of Notre Dame in 1991 and summa cum laude from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2008, joined the firm in 2011 and became a partner in 2017.

A former law clerk to the Honorable Kurtis T. Wilder when he served on the Michigan Court of Appeals, DeLorenzo focuses her practice in the areas of appellate law, insurance coverage and governmental law.

Named a “Michigan Rising Star” in appellate law by Michigan Super Lawyers magazine, DeLorenzo is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Michigan, as well as in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.

Plunkett Cooney is one of the few law firms in the Midwest with a dedicated team of appellate attorneys, who routinely handle cutting-edge appeals involving issues of first impression and seek to reverse adverse judgments. In addition to representation before state and federal appellate courts, the firm’s appellate attorneys provide a broad range of specialized services, including counsel during trial designed to optimally position cases for possible appeal.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs nearly 300 employees, including approximately 145 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 Josephine DeLorenzo’s appointment as commissioner-at-large of the SBM Board of Commissioners, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

Howard & Howard Ranked Among Nation’s 2019 “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers

Royal Oak, Michigan, November 13, 2018: Howard & Howard has been named to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list in the following areas:

METROPOLITAN TIER 1
• Ann Arbor
o Litigation – Intellectual Property

• Las Vegas
o Construction Law
o Franchise Law

• Troy
o Commercial Litigation
o Energy Law
o Litigation – Intellectual Property
o Litigation – Patent
o Patent Law
o Trademark Law

METROPOLITAN TIER 2
• Ann Arbor
o Commercial Litigation

• Las Vegas
o Arbitration
o Commercial Litigation
o Employment Law – Management
o Labor Law – Management
o Litigation – Construction
o Patent Law

• Troy
o Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
o Labor Law – Management
o Trusts & Estates Law

METROPOLITAN TIER 3
• Las Vegas
o Litigation – Labor & Employment
o Real Estate Law
o Trademark Law

• Troy
o Corporate Law

Firms included in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The 2019 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client votes received on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer recognized first in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Over 16,000 lawyers provided more than 1,125,000 law firm assessments, and almost 12,000 clients provided more than 107,000 evaluations.

About “Best Law Firms”
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a 2019 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty.

About Howard & Howard
Founded in 1869, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice that provides legal services to businesses and business owners. The firm has offices in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Royal Oak); Illinois (Chicago and Peoria); Las Vegas, Nevada; and Los Angeles, California. Howard & Howard’s major areas of practice include: bankruptcy and creditors’ rights; business and corporate; commercial litigation; employee benefits; environmental; estate planning; franchising; intellectual property; labor, employment and immigration; mergers and acquisitions; real estate; securities; and tax. Our distinguished backgrounds provide us with a solid understanding of the industries we serve, including, automotive and industrial; cannabis; commodity futures; construction; energy and utilities; financial services; gaming; healthcare; and hospitality. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.howardandhoward.com.

Butzel Long attorney Mark Lezotte will moderate panel during Automation Alley’s Integr8™ Conference on November 14 in Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. – Mark Lezotte, a leading southeast Michigan health care attorney with Butzel Long, will moderate a panel program during Automation Alley’s Integr8™: The Industry 4.0 Conference on Thursday, November 14, 2018 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The focus of the panel discussion is: “Big Data and Artificial Intelligence’s Impact on Health Care.”

Panelists for the session include: Kevin Lasser, CEO, JEMS Technology; Gloria Jen, Director of Clinical Operations, Clinical Development, SRI Biosciences; Brian Crutchfield, Vice President and General Manager of Materialise; and, Dr. Ryan J. Nelson, Michigan Institute of Urology. The panel will discuss technology and medical innovation, and the effect on improved health outcomes, quality, and cost containment.

Lezotte has substantial experience in corporate, health care, tax, and exempt organization matters, including healthcare ventures, business transactions, regulatory investigations, corporate and nonprofit governance, , and tax-exempt issues. He also has served in leadership roles on many other civic and nonprofit boards.

He has been active in numerous bar and professional organizations. He has been recognized in “The Best Lawyers in America” (health care law), published by Woodward/White, Inc. since 2013; and has been selected to Michigan Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, since 2008.

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

Patterson faces Democrat-majority on Oakland County commission for first time

November 11, 2018

Crain’s Detroit

By: Bill Shea

While the pundits and partisans debate the national scope of the so-called Blue Wave in Tuesday’s election, in Oakland County the reality is clear: Democrats will assume the majority of seats on the county commission for the first time since the mid-1970s.

And that may accelerate the county government’s participation in regional issues such as mass transit and economic development.

The current 14-7 Republican majority flipped on Tuesday to an 11-10 Democratic majority that begins Jan. 1. The only other Democratic majorities in the board’s history were 1972-1974 and 1976.

Tuesday’s result means longtime Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson will face an opposition majority on the county commission since being elected to his role in 1992.

None of the four Democrats elected to formerly GOP seats campaigned as economic radicals, so there appears to be little worry of anything upsetting Oakland County’s business-friendly reputation.

The clashes may come if the Democrats push regionalism. Patterson prefers to concentrate on the county’s internal economic development and endorses regional issues only when the direct benefits to Oakland County residents and businesses are clear.

Patterson issued a statement the day after the election: “The results of Tuesday’s election were not unexpected. My administration has always reached across the aisle, especially at budget time, to pass a bipartisan, balanced, three-year budget. We will continue to do so.

“I look forward to working with the new board to continue my administration’s priorities of protecting Oakland County taxpayers with a balanced, multi-year budget, a AAA-bond rating, and a healthy fund balance. In addition, driving job creation in Michigan through diversification in the knowledge-based economy and supporting small businesses, investing in technology to improve government efficiency and services, and to enable our residents to experience a premiere quality of life through active and healthy lifestyles.”

Crain’s requested a chance to talk to Patterson directly about what he sees at potential conflicts with the new board of commissioners, but his office didn’t make him available.

Regional cooperation is the chief area that’s likely will be a source of tension between the commission majority and the county executive, said Oakland County Commissioner David Woodward, a Democrat whose 19th District represents Berkley and a portion of Royal Oak. He was first elected to the commission in 2004.

“When it comes to a lot of regional issues, Oakland County has been a barrier to progress, and that’s going to change,” he said.

Regional transit is especially a potential showdown. Patterson undercut the 2016 tax initiative that would have funded a system of high-speed buses and other transit options across Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties. Its narrow failure at the polls — it lost by just 1,109 votes in Oakland County out of 586,000 cast — set back any effort at regional transit by years and left the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan gutted.

Patterson, long hailed by supporters and even some detractors for his stewardship of the county’s finances, also has staked out opposition to a new regional economic development effort, Woodward said.

Some of the region’s CEOs formed a loose coalition two years ago to back the regional transit effort, making it one of the rare occasions Patterson and Oakland County government found itself at odds with the larger business community. His objection to the tax was that Oakland’s participation wasn’t justified by the level of service its residents would get under the plan.

That nameless group of regional CEOs and organizations, during this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, announced its plans to launch a regional economic development nonprofit public. Patterson hasn’t joined the group and in August drew condemnation when he said he’d “rather join the Klan” than pay dues to the new business attraction group. For him, the organization appears to represent a threat to county autonomy and its ability to lure companies. Phil Bertolini, Oakland County’s deputy executive and CIO, did join in an advisory role.

Longtime transit advocate Marie Donigan, an Oakland County political observer and former state representative from Royal Oak, predicts that any squabbling likely will come over the next effort to gin up regional support for mass transit along with economic development efforts that cross county borders.

“I’m sure the new Democratic leadership will be more eager to participate in regional efforts to bring businesses and jobs to the region while fighting for what’s best for Oakland County,” she said via email. “I think the Democrats will push the Regional Transit Authority to develop a vibrant public transit plan that meets the needs of those with no other choices while giving everyone else the choice to get where they want and need to go without having to rely on a car.”

Patterson appoints members to the RTA board and has veto power over any plan it proposes. He used that power in 2016 to carve out more benefits for the county before allowing it to go in front of voters.

Economic issues within Oakland County are likely to be more politically harmonious for the board of commissioners and the executive. Woodward said he’s optimist there largely will be bipartisan cooperation between the new board majority, the GOP, and Patterson.

“Democrats and Republicans in Oakland County government share a lot of the same priorities,” he said. Democrats on the commission campaigned on investing in people and infrastructure, and protecting the water, Woodward said. Roads are a priority for the incoming board, Woodward said.

“Frankly, those should be bipartisan issues,” he said.

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said he’s not concerned that the board’s control change will have much affect on Oakland County’s business hospitality.

“Oakland County has such a strong and growing base of businesses, it’s reputation for attracting business is so strong, that I don’t think changes in the county commission are going to impact that,” he said. “The change in control doesn’t mean Democrats don’t share similar goals to increase the tax base and make Oakland County a prosperous place.”

Baruah also said he believes Patterson is genuine in his pledge to seek bipartisan compromise because he’s done it when Democrats were the minority, and it’s in the best interest of the county overall.

“Brooks is a pragmatic guy. He’ll find a way to work with the new commission,” he said.

That pragmatism and rhetoric about bipartisanship on county issues will be tested when it comes time to carve out spending priorities next year.

Oakland County does budget forecasts on three-year cycles, and in September approved a balanced spending program totally $2.1 billion through 2021. The fiscal 2019 budget alone is $893.4 million. The county’s 5,100-plus employees serving a population of 1.25 million residents.

Oakland is the state’s second-most-populous county after Wayne, and is one of the most affluent in the nation. The 2010 U.S. Census ranked Oakland County seventh amount U.S. counties by median household income at $99,198. Tops was Loudoun County, Virginia, at $115,574.

Oakland County’s top employment sectors are health care and social assistance (102,419 jobs); professional, scientific, and technical services (102,348); retail trade (79,622); manufacturing (66,792); and administrative and support services (65,653), per stats provided by the county.

Baruah isn’t surprised the board flipped after so many years because demographic changes with the Democratic Party, which he said increasingly includes highly educated wealthy people that might once have been Republicans. Being business friendly isn’t just a GOP attribute.

“We’ve seen the purple-ing of Oakland County over the last decade and this is the year it finally flipped in a significant way,” he said.

The one constant for more than a generation of Oakland County politics has been Patterson, 79, who won his seventh four-year term in 2016. He was elected county prosecutor in 1976, a role he held until his county executive election 16 years later. He was badly injured in a 2012 traffic accident and hasn’t decided if he’ll seek re-election when his current term ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

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