Flashpoint 2/16/20: Sandy Baruah On Rethinking the electoral college; Overtax lawsuit

February 16, 2020

Click on Detroit  | Local 4 | WDIV


Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO, Sandy Baruah made an appearance on Local 4 News’s round-table discussion, Flashpoint, to help consider the need for our current electoral college and the class-action lawsuit against overtaxing in Detroit and Wayne County.

Editorial page editor of The Detroit News, Nolan Finley; Stephen Henderson, host of WDET’s show Detroit Today; Vince Keenan, special projects manager for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s Department of Neighborhoods; Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Read the full article here

OCC Appoints Dan Jenuwine Vice Chancellor for Advancement

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – January 11, 2020 — Oakland Community College has promoted Daniel Jenuwine to Vice Chancellor for Advancement. In his newly expanded role, Jenuwine will be responsible for philanthropy, alumni affairs, corporate and foundation relations, and community and government relations.

Jenuwine most recently held dual roles as executive director of the OCC Foundation and interim vice chancellor for marketing and communications. He will continue in his marketing and communications role until OCC names his replacement.

“Thanks to Dan’s expertise, the Foundation achieved three consecutive record years in fundraising, and his leadership helped the College pass its millage renewal last November with a resounding 72 percent approval,” said OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano. “Dan has a special talent for relationship building. OCC and our students will benefit from his expanded role in nurturing our connections to the communities we serve.”

Jenuwine joined OCC in January 2017 as executive director of the OCC Foundation, working with the Foundation staff and volunteer Board of Directors to advance OCC’s mission through philanthropy. He has led OCC’s award-winning marketing and communications team since May 2019, when he was named to his interim post.

“Our community partners are generous to the College in many ways,” said Jenuwine. “I look forward to working more comprehensively with them to empower our students to succeed and advance our community.”

Prior to joining OCC, Jenuwine spent ten years as a consultant with Richner + Richner, a nationally recognized fundraising consulting firm based in Ann Arbor. He also held leadership positions with the Michigan Colleges Alliance, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University.

Jenuwine is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, International Association of Business Communicators and National Council for Marketing & Public Relations.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State University, graduating summa cum laude, and Master of Science degree in Finance at Walsh College, where he distinguished himself with honors for academic excellence. He and his family live in Troy, Mich.


About the OCC Foundation
The Oakland Community College Foundation started in 1979 to raise private donations, increase opportunities for students, and enhance the quality of education through gifts that support students with scholarships, equipment purchases and program development. The OCC Foundation is governed by a board of directions made up of community leaders.

About OCC
With five campuses in Oakland County, OCC is Michigan’s No. 1 transfer institution, offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates. The College empowers academic and developmental experiences, allowing students to reach their potential and enhance their communities. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.


Rehmann Named a 2019 Best and Brightest Company to Work For

TROY, Mich., February 11, 2020 – Rehmann, a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm, has been named a 2019 Best and Brightest Company to Work for in the nation by The National Association for Business Resources, which released its rankings this week. The recognition marks the second consecutive year Rehmann has won the award.

The winning companies were assessed by an independent research firm that reviews a number of key measures relative to other nationally ranked winners, including human resource best practices in benefits and compensation, enrichment and engagement, employee development, recruitment, recognition, retention, and work-life balance.

“Our associates are at the heart of the work we do. At Rehmann, we are committed to prioritizing not only a top not client experience, but a best in class environment for our team as well.” Said, Katie Strehler, chief human resources officer at Rehmann. “We fuel our associates’ passion for what they do by providing opportunities for professional growth and development and creating a healthy work life balance.”

The 2019 Best and Brightest program honored 540 national winning organizations from across the country out more than 5,000 nominations. Part of the nomination process includes identifying best practices in human resources for companies to benchmark to ensure they continue to be leaders in employment standards.

“With the war on talent hitting the doorsteps of the Best and Brightest, this achievement means even more than it did a year ago. As we continue to raise the bar, these companies rise to the challenge through cultural innovation, maximizing their workforce potential,” said Jennifer Kluge, President and CEO, Best and Brightest Programs.

Rehmann has nearly 900 associates across locations in Michigan, Ohio and Florida.

About Rehmann
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm that provides accounting and assurance, comprehensive technology, accounting and human resource solutions, specialized consulting and wealth management services. For more than 75 years, Rehmann has provided forward-thinking solutions, making it our duty to anticipate our clients’ daily and future needs. Rehmann has nearly 900 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.

About the Best and Brightest Programs
The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® competition identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in operations and employee enrichment that lead to increased productivity and financial performance. This competition scores potential winners based on regional data of company performance and a set standard across the nation. This national program celebrates those companies that are making better business, creating richer lives and building a stronger community as a whole. There are numerous regional celebrations throughout the country such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Houston, Milwaukee, San Diego and San Francisco. Nominations are now being accepted for all programs. Visit www.thebestandbrightest.com to nominate your organization.

Scott A. Petz Appointed to Electronic Discovery Reference Model 2020 Global Advisory Council

TROY, Mich., February 12, 2020 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Attorney Scott A. Petz has recently been appointed to serve as an advisor on the Electronic Discovery Reference Model’s (EDRM) 2020 Global Advisory Council.

With presence in 113 countries, EDRM creates global practical resources and standards to improve e-discovery, privacy, security, and information governance throughout the world. EDRM is best known for its innovative and highly detailed reference model that is used as a global standard for e-discovery and the recovery of digital data.

“I’m honored to collaborate with other e-discovery thought leaders on EDRM’s 2020 Global Advisory Council, including judges, attorneys, in-house counsel, and other legal professionals, and I’m eager to continue to provide education in the field,” says Mr. Petz.

Attorney Scott A. Petz is a Member in the Firm’s Troy, Mich. office where he focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, class and collective actions, labor litigation, consumer protection, and condemnation and land use. Mr. Petz received his B.A. from Kalamazoo College, cum laude, and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, magna cum laude.


About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

UHY Strengthens Presence in the Middle East: New Member Firm in Kuwait Joins UHY Network

UHY Strengthens Presence in the Middle East: New Member Firm in Kuwait Joins UHY Network

Sterling Heights, Mich February 13, 2020 —We welcome Pillars Advisory, our new member firm in Kuwait, to the global accountancy network UHY, strengthening our representation in the Middle East. The firm has adopted the UHY branding and will be known as UHY Pillars with UHY Pillars Advisory as the full member firm and UHY Pillars Audit as its affiliate.

Pillars Advisory has both local and international clients across many sectors in over 20 countries with the top five sectors being real estate, non-profit, retail, services and contracting. The firm initially offered consultancy and accountancy reviews services but now also offers assurance services.

Managing partner Wael Arafa comments “Being part of the UHY global network underpins our commitment to deliver quality services and enhances the services and advice we can offer our clients. The global presence of the network combined with the expertise and knowledge shared among UHY’s 8,200 colleagues around the world strengthens our own market position, locally and internationally and will be of great value to our current and potential clients and their operations.”

Dennis Petri, chairman of UHY comments: “We are delighted to welcome Pillars Advisory and its affiliate firm Pillars Audit to the UHY network. The addition to our network of the two firms extends our coverage and capabilities in the Middle East. Kuwait has huge reserves of natural resources, a strategic location in the Persian Gulf and is part of the implementation of Gulf Gateway projects.”


UHY LLP is a licensed independent CPA firm that performs attest services in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities. UHY Advisors, Inc. provides tax and business consulting services through wholly owned subsidiary entities that operate under the name of “UHY Advisors.” UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP and UHY Advisors, Inc. are US members of Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, a UK company, and form part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms. “UHY” is the brand name for the UHY international network. Any services described herein are provided by UHY LLP and/or UHY Advisors (as the case may be) and not by UHY or any other member firm of UHY. Neither UHY nor any member of UHY has any liability for services provided by other members

About UHY
Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 300 major business centres across 100 countries. Our staff members, over 8,200 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org

UHY liaison office for Pillars Advisory
Contact Wael Arafa, Managing Partner on 965 966 26 663 wael@pillarsadvisory.com
W:: www.pillarsadvisory.com

UHY global press contact: Leigh Lyons, marketing & business development manager, on +44 20 7767 2624 l.lyons@uhy.com – www.uhy.com

Howard & Howard Donates $12.5k to South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless

ROYAL OAK, Mich., February 13, 2020 – Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, has donated $12,500 to the South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless (SOCH). The nonprofit SOCH has operated the Welcome Inn Day Center on W. 13 Mile Road since 2003.

The Welcome Inn Day Center is a “low barrier” wintertime day-center, which means that guests are accepted as they are with few stipulations or requirements. The Center also works with a group of local churches which provide overnight accommodations, enabling 24-hour sheltering at a time of year when a denial of care could result in dire consequences for vulnerable, homeless citizens.

The donation is part of the Howard & Howard’s “12 Months of Giving” initiative, a year-long charitable campaign involving all the firm’s offices and their respective communities. Through the initiative, which was part of the firm’s 150th anniversary celebrated over the course of 2019, Howard & Howard donated $150,000 to various community and charitable groups.

About South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless and Welcome Inn Day Center

Established in 2003, the South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless operates the Welcome Inn Day Center at 1717 W. 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak, MI. The Center is open mid-December through mid-March, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. With the participation of several area churches which provide overnight accommodations, 24-hour sheltering is made available throughout the cold winter months. Welcome Inn guests are provided three warm and nutritious meals per day. An onsite social worker and volunteer nurses provide all guests with basic health screening, clothing, personal items and referrals for additional help and support. More at sochwi.org.


About Howard & Howard:
With a history spanning over 15 decades, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice, providing legal services to businesses and business owners. With more than 160 attorneys, the firm has offices in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Royal Oak), Illinois (Chicago and Peoria), Las Vegas, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California. For more information, please visit howardandhoward.com.

TechTown Detroit Launches ‘TechTown Incubator’ Program To Help Entrepreneurs Jumpstart New Businesses

The intensive, 30-week business development experience kicks off March 14. Applications are now being accepted!

DETROIT, Mich. (February 12, 2020) – TechTown, Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub, dedicated to helping tech startups and local businesses launch and grow, is pleased to announce its brand new TechTown Incubator program. The intensive, 30-week business development experience is designed to help tech founders fortify their businesses into sustainable, investment-ready companies.

Applications for the incubator program are being accepted now through Feb. 21. Five startups will be chosen during a competitive process. Ideal candidates should have an existing team, be generating revenue, and be interested in preparing for a major funding event. For more information and to apply, visit: techtowndetroit.org/incubator.

“We are intentional about building a pipeline of tech entrepreneurs in the city of Detroit,” says Dr. Marlo Rencher, director of technology-based programs at TechTown Detroit. “Our new TechTown Incubator is an important step in that process. It’s for more mature startups as they transition into the types of companies that will employ Detroiters. We are here to support them through that journey.”

The incubator program is designed to help a small cohort of Detroit-based tech founders transform their startups from revenue-ready to recurring revenue businesses with a high degree of operational effectiveness. The program will be led by Racheal Allen, Chief Operating Officer at Marygrove Conservancy, a serial entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience leading startups, building high performance teams, creating operational infrastructure and scaling using lean methodologies.

The many topics to be covered during the program include:

• Organizational structure
• Leveraging known and unknown networks
• Pricing models
• Branding
• Technology assessment and review
• Key performance indicators
• And more

The TechTown Incubator program runs March 14 to Sat., Oct. 3 with a Demo Day scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 8.
# # #

About TechTown Detroit
TechTown empowers Detroit-based startups and local businesses to start, stabilize and scale by providing resources, collaborative workspace and education for entrepreneurs that will further accelerate inclusive economic development across Detroit. Since 2007, TechTown has supported 2,700 companies, which created more than 1,600 jobs and raised more than $160 million in startup and growth capital. For more information, visit techtowndetroit.org.

Brad Williams Testifies on Infrastructure Funding to Michigan House Transportation Committee

The following is testimony from Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams to the Michigan House Transportation Committee on Feb. 11, 2020. Watch the full testimony here. 

Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here to share the perspective of the Detroit Regional Chamber on this very important topic. Next month, will mark my twelve-year anniversary at the Detroit Regional Chamber, which means 3,132 workdays. I feel pretty confident in saying I have spent a portion of 3,000 of those days talking, educating, persuading, brainstorming, exasperating or spending some other portion of my day working on Michigan’s perpetual road funding crisis.

The Chamber, along with the majority of our friends in the business community, has consistently stood up and supported efforts to properly fund our transportation infrastructure. The Chamber applauded when Governor Snyder requested the Legislature increase taxes and fees by $1.2 billion in 2013. Since that time the Chamber has consistently stood up for plans that seriously addressed our road funding crisis. If the Gongwer archives are to be believed, we were the first major business organization to support Proposal 1 of 2015, which while imperfect and unpopular represented years of difficult legislative work and hard votes taken by legislators before you. That is how important we think this issue is to our economic competitiveness.

We did sit out the effort at the end of 2015 that resulted in some new road revenue, which was again a difficult legislative battle. The Chamber did not oppose the effort, but we were concerned with the reliance on general fund for road funding. We also correctly predicted that the insufficient funding would make voters less willing to support a real road funding fix at a future date.

You may have seen that recently, the Chamber released its public policy poll ahead of the Governor’s State of the State address. We do this on a regular basis to create a tool for policymakers to understand the issues that are on the minds of voters. We asked Michiganders an open-ended question about what they thought was the most important issue facing Michigan. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the condition of our roads and bridges was number one. It was identified by 29.5% of Michiganders as the top issue, jobs and the economy came in second at 18%. This cut across every demographic group we tracked, gender, race, geography, age, education, and partisanship. Also, a plurality of Michigan voters believe that the roads are getting worse (46.3%), or at least not getting better (40.2%).  But they think that you have enough money to fix it. As frustrating as it is, for someone who has spent the last twelve years trying to convince legislators that you need more money, 53.3% of your constituents believe you have enough money to fix the roads.

I think there are a few reasons this is true, beyond the fact that new taxes are never popular. First, as I alluded to earlier, previous Legislatures have consistently passed “solutions” that weren’t actual solutions to voters’ top concern, which feeds into their natural inclination to believe that government cannot get anything right.  The second reason is that our chronic underfunding leads to band-aid fixes on broken bones and voters are seeing the stretches of roads that were “fixed” last year with potholes popping up the next, leading them to understandably wonder if their tax dollars are being well spent.

There is some good news here though. Voters are more likely to support new revenue for roads if it is spent closer to home. When we asked voters who they would trust the most to spend new road revenue, 29.7% said their city or township, 29.7% said their county and 22.5% said the state.

So that leads us to where we are today. The Chamber supports the Legislature passing new dedicated revenue for transportation infrastructure at all levels of government.  We support a user fee-based model and are eager to explore new methods of revenue generation as we shift to new modes of transportation in the future. We are disappointed that the Legislature has failed to act on a comprehensive solution to our funding crisis that has been going on for decades, but more recently that the Legislature passed a budget in 2019 without a transportation funding solution. We believe that Governor Whitmer’s plan to strategically deploy the bonding capacity of the state to pull projects forward, to increase the life span of other fixes and create room on the five-year plan for still more projects is a prudent use of debt and that debt can should be used smartly even if new funding becomes available.

It has been noted here and elsewhere that bonding is not new funding. It is financing. Moreover, it is financing that does not address local road needs. We believe in a comprehensive funding solution that is user fee-based. We welcome ongoing conversation regarding House Bills 4963 and 4964 sponsored by you Mr. Chairman and your Vice-Chair as part of the mix. As I mentioned prior, voters in our poll affirmed what we already believed, that they are more willing to support new revenues for their roads closest to home. If giving voters assurances that they will have some control and that a portion of their taxes will stay home moves us forward we should seriously consider that conversation.

I appreciate the opportunity to share our views and am happy to take any questions you might have.

Legislators, auto industry leaders discuss supporting electric vehicle growth in Michigan


Contact: Rachel Perkins, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, (517) 333-1606

Video recording of event: https://youtu.be/la04WvKxuFE

ROCHESTER HILLS – Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe) gathered with automotive industry leaders Monday morning at a roundtable to discuss the future of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, what policies are needed to support EV infrastructure and how Michigan can support the advancement of the EV industry.

In June 2019, McMorrow introduced a bipartisan four-bill package that would support the growth of electric vehicles in Michigan and establish the nation’s first statewide charging network.

“Michigan built the American automotive industry, but it’s an industry that’s changing more rapidly now than any other time before,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “No other state has the history, talent and capability to design and build the next generation of electric vehicles, but we need to have the infrastructure in place to support that development. It’s critical that the legislature and the Governor work together to move forward on positioning Michigan to be a leader in the future of this industry.”

“These bills encourage our state to create a collaborative and coordinated plan, working with private companies, small businesses, utilities and various state departments to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, making Michigan the first fully networked state,” said Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe). “This electric vehicle legislation would preserve good automotive jobs as the industry continues to shift, reduce taxes on businesses and encourage those who stop to charge vehicles to put dollars back into our local economies while they wait. This bill gets it done for Michigan residents and our state as a whole.”

“Ford is committed to electrification and has announced plans to invest more than $11B by 2022 to deliver all-new hybrid and fully electric vehicles, including the all-new Mustang Mach-E and our best-selling F-150 which will be produced right here in Dearborn, Michigan,” Ford Motor Company said in a statement. “We need key stakeholders and government partners to work collaboratively to accelerate deployment of the necessary EV infrastructure to ensure successful consumer adoption of this important future technology.”

“GM believes in an all-electric, zero emissions future,” said Brian O’Connell, regional director of state government relations at GM. “We are committed to investing, incentivizing or working with companies to bring charging solutions to the market to best serve customers. We continue to collaborate on a holistic approach to EV infrastructure using a shared charging standard.”

“The next generation of the automobile is quickly evolving from concept to deployment. As electric vehicles begin navigating Michigan’s roads, we will require the sufficient necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, and vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “I deeply appreciate the commitment that Sen. McMorrow, Rep. Joe Bellino, and others in our Legislature have to addressing this issue and to maintaining Michigan’s position as the world’s center of mobility innovation.”

“The world is moving toward an automated, shared, and connected mobility future – and it is all going to happen on an electrified platform,” said Cory Connolly, vice president of policy at the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “Investments in charging infrastructure like those included in the package of bills led by Sen. McMorrow and Rep. Bellino are crucial to make this transition possible and to help unleash private sector innovation

The bipartisan package includes:

• Senate Bill 406 and House Bill 4786

Would create the Electric Vehicle Council within the Michigan Department of Transportation to create a statewide, comprehensive charging infrastructure plan to expand Michigan’s charging network in a cost-effective way.

Sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton)

• Senate Bill 408 and House Bill 4787

Would allow the state to install or lease space for EV charging stations at state park and rides.

Sponsored by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor)

• Senate Bill 407 and House Bill 4788

Would allow the state to install or lease space for installation of EV charging stations in state parks.

Sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) and Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson)

• Senate Bill 409 and House Bill 4789

Would create tax incentives for small businesses and multi-unit housing to install EV charging stations.

Sponsored by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township) and Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe)


Six Intellectual Property Attorneys Join Dickinson Wright Ann Arbor Office

ANN ARBOR – February 6, 2020 – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Jim Cleland, Gerlinde (Linda) Nattler, Steven Oberholtzer, and Michael Spink have joined the firm’s Ann Arbor office as Members. Keith Weiss, Ph.D. has joined the firm as Of Counsel and Sungwook (Sung) Lee has joined as an Associate.

“We are excited to welcome Jim, Linda, Steven, Michael, Keith, and Sung to the firm’s intellectual property team,” says Philip Rettig, Division Director of Dickinson Wright’s Intellectual Property Practice. “As businesses and the marketplace continue to change, our clients need lawyers who can help protect their intellectual property assets both domestically and abroad. The addition of these six extraordinary lawyers deepens the strength of Dickinson Wright’s national intellectual property practice.”

James Cleland (Member) litigates patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition cases in a broad range of technologies including the automotive, chemical, materials science, mechanical, electrical and medical device arts, and assists his clients with counseling, opinion and licensing work in those same areas. He brings substantial first chair experience in both federal district courts and the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, including trials, IPRs, preliminary injunction hearings, Markman hearings summary judgment proceedings and all aspects of fact and expert witness discovery. Mr. Cleland is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Legal Task Force, the Federal Bar Association, the American and Michigan Intellectual Property Law Associations, and the Washtenaw County Bar Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field by IAM Patent 1000 and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Mr. Cleland received his B.S. from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Gerlinde (Linda) Nattler (Member) has many years of international in-house patent prosecution experience and knows how important it is to view patent applications in the context of a client’s business and technology. While working in Europe, she was admitted to practice before the European Patent Office. The knowledge of different standards applied by different patent offices helps her draft patent applications that withstand international as well as domestic challenges. Ms. Nattler is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Vereinigung von Fachleuten des Gewerblichen Rechtsschutzes (VPP). She is recognized as a leader in her field by Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars and was named a “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Ms. Nattler received her University Diploma from Universität Bayreuth and her J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School.

Steven Oberholtzer (Member) focuses his practice on the development and implementation of corporate intellectual property policies, intellectual asset management, litigation, and technology licensing. He has decades of experience representing clients in the automotive industry, including current responsibility for the worldwide intellectual property issues of multiple automotive suppliers. He is familiar with a range of mechanical and electromechanical disciplines, including medical devices, lasers, fiber optics, optical devices and heavy industrial equipment. He is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Lawyers Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field as Lawyer of the Year for Ann Arbor in Patent Law by Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, IAM Patent 1000, DBusiness Top Lawyers, and IP Stars, and is recognized with the highest rating of “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Oberholtzer received his B.S. from General Motors Institute (Kettering University) and his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University.

Michael Spink (Member) helps clients effectively manage their intellectual assets, including in-house policies and procedures, procurement, licensing and opinions. He is skilled in portfolio management and support, including performing portfolio classification, mapping and analysis. By linking intellectual asset strategies to business and product strategies, his clients enhance intellectual property protection while reducing risk. He has extensive experience in complex transactions involving intellectual property, including due diligence, acquisition, disposition, and bankruptcy issues. Mr. Spink was recently Co-Chair of the Licensing Executives Society Michigan Chapter, and is a Certified Licensing Professional. He was awarded a position in the IAM 300 by his peers as a leading intellectual property strategist and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, and the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association. Mr. Spink received his B.S. from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.

Keith Weiss, Ph.D. (Of Counsel) has more than two decades experience in corporate research and development in material science, inorganic chemistry, and polymer science, leading him to be listed as an inventor on more than 30 U.S. patents. He has substantial experience with advanced materials, applications, and equipment used in multiple global industries, including automotive, aerospace, coatings, plastics, medical devices, and microelectronic fabrication. His experience also includes the integration of IP processes with R&D, marketing, and quality operations, as well as obtaining government funding for R&D initiatives and establishing joint R&D programs. Dr. Weiss focuses his practice towards patent prosecution, technology licensing, portfolio development/management, and trade secret analysis. He received his B.S. from Clemson University, his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Florida, and his J.D. from the Thomas Cooley Law School.

Sungwook (Sung) Lee (Associate) has experience in various aspects of patent practice including patent application preparation, patent prosecution and patent litigation. His practice focuses on mechanical and electromechanical structures such as automotive components, power systems, semiconductors, medical devices, and office products. He previously served as a U.S. patent attorney in Germany and has worked with the European patent system in addition to the United States patent system. With the knowledge and experience of different patent systems, he can help his clients apply their patent in both the United States and internationally. Mr. Lee is a member of the Korean Intellectual Property Professionals in Europe (KIPEU) and the Association of Korean-American Professionals in the Automotive Industry (KPAI). He received his B.S. from KAIST, his M.S. from the University of Michigan, and his J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.


About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.