Ari Weinzweig

Ari Weinzweig is the co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, along with his partner Paul Saginaw. Today, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses operates 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue.

Aside from his duties managing day-to-day operations for the businesses in Zingerman’s Community, Weinzweig is a writer. He is currently working on a six-book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading. He has also delivered keynote addresses for the American Society for Quality, Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, and the Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Weinzweig and his business partner have been awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. They have also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine and Weinzweig received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Cheese Society.

Walsh Honored for Architectural Design Excellence

TROY, Mich., Dec. 18, 2018 – Valerio Dewalt Train Associates announces that Walsh’s Troy location at 3838 Livernois Rd. has been awarded a Citation for outstanding design in Informa’s American School & University® 2018 Architectural Portfolio. The project is featured in the November/December 2018 edition of the magazine and also online at An annual competition honoring education design excellence, the Architectural Portfolio spotlights projects representing today’s most effective learning environments.

“We believe it’s essential to deliver a practical and progressive business education, and we also want to ensure that our students have an engaging environment that enhances their learning experience,” said Marsha Kelliher, president and CEO of Walsh. “We are honored to be recognized for the thoughtful and beautiful additions to our Troy location.”

A jury of American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education members and education administrators evaluated submissions from architectural firms, schools and universities across the country. One hundred sixteen projects were chosen for publication in AS&U. Awarded projects exhibited clarity of concept, innovation and creativity in response to the specifics of program, users, community, and site. Other considered criteria included: clarity of idea, sense of place/atmosphere, unique identity, healthful interior environment, anticipates user needs, security, flexibility/adaptability, pushing envelope, suited to community, and economy.

Founded in 1928, American School & University is devoted exclusively to education facilities/business administration. The authority for information about the educational facilities market, AS&U delivers an insightful combination of exclusive reports, special focuses and how-to articles. For more information about Walsh, visit


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, offering classes in several locations 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

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (

Nikolai Vitti

Nikolai Vitti was appointed as superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District on May 23, 2017 on a five-year contract.

In his first year Vitti worked closely with the Detroit Board of Education to implement a 100-day plan that culminated with the development of a new Strategic Plan that focuses on raising student achievement, transforming the district’s culture, improving staffing, developing the whole child, and ensuring financial responsibility

Before arriving in Detroit, Vitti led Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the 20th largest school district in the nation with approximately 130,000 enrolled students in 200 schools, and a fiscal budget of $1.7 billion. During his four and a half years at DCPS, the district ranked among the first to fourth highest performing urban districts in the nation on the National Assessment for Education Progress. Vitti was previously chief academic officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, assistant superintendent for the Miami-Dade district, and deputy chancellor at the Florida Department of Education. He also served children as a principal, dean of students, and teacher.

He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from Wake Forest University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Jason Vazzano

Jason Vazzano is CEO and co-founder of Vectorform, a global digital invention company. Under Vazzano’s leadership the company has grown to provide solutions that accelerate innovation and digital transformation for some of the world’s best-known brands. Vectorform was named Automation Alley Technology company of the year for 2016.

A serial entrepreneur, Vazzano has founded over a half-dozen successful companies. In 2013, he was recognized by DBusiness Magazine as one of Detroit’s 30 in Their 30s. He is also a TechWeek Detroit award recipient — a recognition of his contributions to Detroit’s burgeoning technology ecosystem.

In 2016, Endeavor Global, a nonprofit aimed at driving social change through entrepreneurship, selected Vazzano as an Endeavor entrepreneur during its 64th International Selection Panel in Madrid, Spain. A recognized thought leader, Vazzano is a speaker whose recent presentations include Harvard School of Business Executive Education sessions; DMEXCO in Munich, Germany; TEDx Detroit; and Futureland in Milan, Italy.

Arturo Vargas

Arturo Vargas is the CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, a national nonprofit organization that strengthens American democracy by promoting the full participation of Latinos in civic life. He also serves as the CEO of NALEO, a national membership organization of Latino policymakers and their supporters. Vargas has held these positions since 1994.

Vargas is a nationally recognized expert in Latino demographic trends, electoral participation, voting rights, the Census, and redistricting.

Vargas holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish from Stanford University.

Andy Van Kleunen

Andy Van Kleunen is the CEO of National Skills Coalition, which he founded in 2000 in collaboration with leaders from the workforce development and philanthropic communities. Van Kleunen has led the Coalition to become a nationally recognized voice on behalf of a variety of stakeholders who have come together to advocate for an America that grows its economy by investing in its people. Van Kleunen is a recognized expert on workforce and education policy issues, and is regularly invited to advise Congress, the federal government and state agencies.

Prior to founding the coalition, Van Kleunen was director of workforce policy for the national Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, where he worked with employers, unions, and client advocates to improve job quality and training for low-wage workers within the nation’s long-term care sector. Van Kleunen also spent more than 14 years in community organizing and development efforts within several of New York City’s low-income and working-class neighborhoods.

He holds a master’s degree in urban sociology from the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree in political science and honors studies from Villanova University. He is based in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

David Van Elslander

David Van Elslander serves on the board of directors for the A.A. Van Elslander Foundation, carrying forward the philanthropic legacy of his father, Art Van Elslander.

Van Elslander built his career in key roles with his father’s business, Art Van Furniture, leading teams in sales, merchandising, distribution, and customer service. He was the vice president of Art Van Pure Sleep until 2014 when he was named the president. Van Elslander held this title until the company was sold in 2017.

In addition to serving his father’s foundation, Van Elslander also served on the board of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. He and his family live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.

How Gov. Snyder’s ‘Relentless Positive Action’ Is Helping Detroit Win

With Michigan’s new governor and legislators poised to take office in the new year comes an opportunity to support Detroit in its continued growth and revitalization.

Three years after exiting bankruptcy and nearly a decade since the Great Recession, Detroit is coming back — the Detroit MSA labor force is up 6.2 percent, employment is up 15.9 percent, and per capita income is up 34.2 percent. It has been a remarkable turnaround, and so much of the success is attributable to the earnest work of Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration.

That he has been able to garner statewide support for Detroit’s transformation without criticizing others or resorting to the lack of civility that is so common in today’s public discourse is remarkable – and appreciated.

Gov. Snyder’s unique willingness to bring the business, community, government, nonprofit and the public and private sector together as “One Michigan” paid dividends for Detroit, our state and region during his tenure. His positive message that “when one community wins, we all win,” resulted in a city and region more unified than when he took office.

The results of the Governor’s collaborative spirit is evident in the work being done and the relationships forged between the business community and groups across the city and state in everything from economic development legislation, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and foreign business attraction to support for the landmark passage of the “Grand Bargain” facilitating Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Part of this success is the result of the Governor’s message that cities, of all shapes and sizes, play a role in fostering economic growth and talent attraction. Gov. Snyder’s leadership in the comeback of Detroit was not just critical to Southeast Michigan, but his “ignore the politics” approach resulted in a transformation that the nation is still talking about – and has made Detroit a city that once again makes all parts of the state proud.

Under the leadership of the Governor, Detroit has achieved more than anyone could have expected in 2010. You need look no further than the growth of our economy and the vibrancy of places like downtown.

There is still much left to do for Detroit to experience its full renaissance. It is paramount that Governor-elect Whitmer and the soon-to-be-sworn-in members of the state Legislature take a page from Gov. Snyder’s playbook and set aside their differences, avoid politically-charged attacks and come together on key issues like education reform, broadband access, transportation and mobility, and other economic issues that will allow our business community to thrive.

In his exit interview with the Detroit Economic Club the Governor said, “The greatest threat to our country is our lack of civility between one another. It’s not about who is on the other side and why you should insult them or call them a name or anything else. What’s the problem we are there to solve?”

Let’s show the world how Detroit and Michigan can disagree without being disagreeable, how we can debate without personal attacks, and how we can solve more problems together than we can apart.

Fred Upton

Rep. Fred Upton represents Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. In 2010, Upton was selected by his House colleagues to serve as chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, health care, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations.

Prior to his election to Congress, Upton worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Upton’s top priorities are job creation and economic growth in Southwest Michigan. Upton strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that puts a greater emphasis on domestic energy production, the advancement of breakthrough technologies, and the development of safe nuclear power. Upton has also worked to increase the deployment of telecommunications services as well as ensure that free speech and private innovation remain the hallmarks of this industry. Upton has pushed for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health.

Upton holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Amey, have two children.

Accelerating Our Electrified Autonomous World

By Claire Charlton and Glenn Stevens

Michigan has long been known as the global epicenter of automotive design, research and engineering. As the industry undergoes one of its most profound changes, companies large and small are leading the charge in developing next-generation technologies that are ushering in a new era of mobility solutions around connected, electrified and autonomous vehicles.

As major players in this space, global parts supplier Magna International and Ann Arbor startup May Mobility are changing the paradigm of industry collaboration, working together to bring electric, autonomous shuttles to the masses and contributing to Michigan’s mobility transformation. Each bring unique contributions to the industry and their partnership as providers of technology.

The Detroiter interviewed Swamy Kotagiri, chief technology officer for Magna International, and Edwin Olson, CEO and co-founder of May Mobility, on how they are leveraging the decades-old experience and know-how of a traditional supplier with the innovative prowess of a startup to forge solutions for today’s mobility needs with clear eyes on the future to help solve tomorrow’s global challenges.

How is Magna’s R&D expertise helping expand the global automotive industry’s commitment to electrification?

KOTAGIRI: There are a lot of bold predictions about the future of mobility. For Magna, we believe the future is, at least in part, electric and autonomous. If we look at the overall Magna product portfolio, we are addressing mobility as a whole including key areas of autonomy, electrification, connectivity and shared mobility.

On electrification specifically, Magna is engaged in not only hybrid and electric powertrain systems, but also with developing electric and electro-mechanical systems.

What was once six or so basic powertrain architectures will balloon to more than 50 by 2025. Magna is focused on the development of scalable building blocks to support such proliferation. Our deep understanding of vehicle system requirements helps us ensure these developed solutions support powertrain system level needs for all the different areas of mobility.

Magna is committed to innovative partnerships to bring technology to the market. What led Magna to partner on May Mobility’s automated, electrified shuttle?

KOTAGIRI: We are excited to support new mobility efforts like this one, which will ultimately help getting around crowded city centers easier. Partnerships like with May Mobility provide the opportunity to continue playing a role in the startup ecosystem and serve as cornerstones to Magna’s “open for business” mindset. Through this approach we look at all aspects of mobility, including privately owned vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and mobility as a service, and we consider how we can help build solutions for startups like May Mobility.

May brings a pure startup mentality to this partnership. Magna is an established global tech supplier. What are the challenges and opportunities of this partnership?

OLSON: Magna International is our manufacturing partner. While the vehicle design and autonomy stack is engineered by May Mobility, Magna helps bring our vision to life at scale, enabling us to retrofit hundreds, and eventually thousands of shuttles. Magna shares our high technical standards and excitement about servicing the growing demand for self-driving vehicles to meet today’s transportation needs. This deal demonstrates our commitment to scale operations with a partner who understands quality and reliability in the build process, and who can match the exacting process that makes us a trusted community partner.

Experts assert that low-speed, shared electric shuttles on a fixed route are the first widely-deployed autonomous vehicles. Why is this an appropriate beginning?

OLSON: Deploying low-speed electric shuttles on limited route networks is a practical solution to many existing transportation problems using technology that’s ready and safe now. By giving real people, not opt-in test subjects, a chance to experience self-driving vehicles in a controlled setting, we believe we will be able to scale the technology more quickly. And by easing people into the whole idea of self-driving cars in a way that helps them in their daily routine, we are also able to collect early-stage data and customer feedback.

For new technology partnerships to emerge and new mobility solutions to be brought to life, what are the critical success factors for Michigan? 

KOTAGIRI: Around the world, the next generation of mobility and the requirements for mobility as a service are being defined in part by a new class of service providers, like May Mobility. Large cities are beginning to dictate requirements for powertrain, especially EVs, full autonomous capability and vehicle use cases, such as no single occupants. Sharing of mobility and making it multifunctional are the next steps in improving city access, passenger movement and access to services. Partnerships will ensure there is support in place for implementing new solutions driven by mobility’s transformation.

What have you learned from your pilot programs in Detroit and Michigan and how will that data drive your decisions on EV shuttle deployment?

OLSON: The value of getting out to market as the first fleet of self-driving shuttles is immeasurable. From user experience to business models to corner cases experienced in the streets of Detroit, we’re learning something every day about how real people want to use and interact with self-driving vehicles in their everyday lives. We’re able to draw on years of experience with the talent that’s available in the Motor City, while drawing some of the best minds from research and academia to develop our cutting-edge technology.

Claire Charlton is a metro Detroit freelance writer and Glenn Stevens is executive director of MICHauto.