French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter, to host his Excellency, Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States, at April 28 networking reception in Auburn Hills

The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter (FACC Michigan), a not-for-profit business organization committed to the improvement of economic, commercial and financial relations between France and the United States and offering a variety of business, educational and social opportunities to its members, is pleased to host his Excellency, Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States at a networking reception on Thursday, April 28 in Auburn Hills. Mr. Araud will be in Auburn Hills to visit France-based automotive suppliers Faurecia and Valeo. The networking reception is open to both members and non-members.

Mr. Araud, 63, a career diplomat, was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in September 2014. He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, notably Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009) and, most recently, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014).

Over the course of his career, Mr. Araud has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: the Middle East and strategic & security issues. Regarding the latter, he was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2006 to 2009. In New York, at the Security Council, he contributed to the adoption of resolutions on Libya (#1970 and #1973), Côte d’Ivoire (#1975), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic, and participated in debates on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.

Cedric Ballarin, FACC Michigan president and a vice president in the Michigan headquarters of France-based Faurecia, is eager to welcome Mr. Araud.

“France is Michigan’s fourth largest trading partner; it is an honor for FACC Michigan to host Ambassador Araud and better acquaint him with the advances French companies are making with technology, manufacturing and autonomous vehicle support here in Southeast Michigan,” Ballarin said.

Information
What: The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter (FACC Michigan) networking reception with Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States
When: Thursday, April 28; 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Noah’s event venue; 3390 Cross Creek Parkway, Auburn Hills 48326
Cost: $40
Register: register online here.

For questions about FACC Michigan or the networking reception, contact Executive Director Stephanie Salvadero at salvaderos.faccmi@gmail.com or 313.701.8294.

About the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter
The Michigan Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC Michigan) is a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce – the oldest bilateral chamber of commerce in the United States, comprised of 21 chapters in major cities across the nation representing more than 5,000 member organizations. The FACC is a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to the development of commercial relations between French and American businesses.

Learn more at www.faccmi.org.

Plante Moran hires consulting veteran to lead its strategy practice

Southfield, Mich. — Oct. 17, 2013 — Plante Moran, one of the nation’s largest public accounting and business advisory firms, announces that Daron Gifford, a management consultant and professional service provider with more than three decades of experience, has joined the firm as a partner to lead its strategy consulting practice.

“We are pleased to welcome Daron to Plante Moran. His versatile experience in manufacturing and the automotive sectors translates into high level strategic insights for our clients. He is an important addition to Plante Moran’s strategy consulting group, which serves clients seeking targeted options for future growth and diversification,” said Craig Thornton, Plante Moran group managing partner.

Gifford’s extensive experience in the automotive and manufacturing industries includes both operations and strategic management consulting with OEMs, suppliers, dealers and aftermarket service providers. His additional areas of expertise include commercial market and operational assessments, due diligence, restructuring, and business strategies for technologies in advanced vehicles, energy and environmental applications. Immediately prior to joining Plante Moran, Gifford was Managing Director and Treasurer of the Stellar Alliance Group in Troy, Mich., where he served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Energy on the automotive industry. He was a partner in the global automotive consulting practice at A.T. Kearney from 2008 to 2011.

Gifford’s previous work experience also includes serving as a partner at KPMG from 2006 to 2008, where he led the firm’s automotive industry practice and focused on audit, tax and advisory services to OEMs, suppliers and dealer organizations. He was a partner at Deloitte from 1995 to 2003, where he led the global automotive consulting practice. Gifford began his career at General Motors, where he held roles of increasing responsibility in manufacturing management, process and industrial engineering.

Gifford holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Administration from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Engineering Society of Detroit, the Turnaround Management Association, the Association for Capital Growth and the Society of Automotive Analysts. Gifford also serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy in Pontiac, Mich.

About Plante Moran
Plante Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting, and wealth management services. Plante Moran has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals in 21 offices throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work. For more information, visit plantemoran.com.

The City of Auburn Hills announces GKN will be first corporate tenant at former Showcase Cinema site

Auburn Hills, MI—July 31, 2013—Following up on its June 7 announcement that Novi-based Amson Dembs Development, Inc. has purchased the site of the former Showcase Cinema at 2150 North Opdyke Road from National Amusement, the city of Auburn Hills announced today that GKN will be signing a 15-year lease for the property.

GKN Driveline and GKN Sinter Metals will be relocating its Americas Regional headquarters from its current site in Auburn Hills at 3300 University Drive, adjacent to the Auburn Hills municipal campus, to the new site, which had been vacant for 11 years prior to the sale to Amson Dembs. The new building is 168,056 square feet and will be situated on 11.2 acres zoned for technology and research. GKN’s current Auburn Hills’ office has more than 300 employees; an additional 50 employees or more are expected to be hired at the new location over the next three years.

GKN has been located in Auburn Hills since 1986. GKN’s parent company is based in Redditch, UK and operates four divisions: GKN Driveline, GKN Powder Metallurgy, GKN Aerospace and GKN Land Systems. Approximately 50,000 people work in GKN companies and joint ventures in more than 30 countries. GKN Driveline is the world’s leading producer of automotive driveline components such as CVJ systems, AWD systems, Trans Axle Solutions and eDrive systems. GKN Sinter Metals is the world’s largest producer of precision powder metal products.

The Auburn Hills City Council approved the new site at its July 1 meeting. Altogether, the project between Amson Dembs, GKN and the city of Auburn Hills was approved from start to finish in just 35 days, a process that typically takes six months or more with most city governments.

“We are pleased that GKN’s next growth phase will continue in Auburn Hills. The swiftness of this project reflects why businesses like GKN choose Auburn Hills as their corporate business address. We work with our corporate and state government partners to fast track business developments that strengthen our community through jobs and good corporate citizenship initiatives,” said Auburn Hills City Manager Pete Auger.

Auburn Hills Community Development Director Steve Cohen noted GKN’s investment is just the beginning for the 21+ acre razed site.

“GKN is the first project in the redevelopment and will encompass only the north half of the site. We anticipate another significant facility will set up shop right next door, so it’s a very exciting time for Auburn Hills,” said Cohen.

Robert Willig, president, GKN Driveline Americas, commented on GKN’s renewed commitment to Auburn Hills.

“We are excited to continue to call Auburn Hills home and be a part of the community. Our new Americas regional headquarters signifies our continuing commitment to the region. We would like to thank the Auburn Hills City Council for the expeditious way they continue to work with us to make our plans a reality,” said Willig.

About Auburn HillsCelebrating 30 years in 2013 as a city committed to innovation and growth, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.

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Auburn Hills Welcomes Faurecia’s North American Headquarters to the City

Oakland Technology Park continues to spark new development

Auburn Hills, MI—April 2, 2013—The City of Auburn Hills, a dynamic community committed to innovation and growth, is pleased to announce Faurecia, the world’s sixth largest automotive supplier with business groups in automotive seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems and automotive exteriors, will make its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills.

A longstanding corporate citizen of Michigan, Faurecia currently has five Oakland County locations, including three offices in Auburn Hills. Upon completion in the first quarter of 2014, two of the Auburn Hills offices and a technical center in Troy will relocate to the new headquarters building. The third Auburn Hills office of Faurecia at 2500 Executive Hills Drive will continue to house more than 300 employees.

The new Faurecia North American headquarters will be a 278,000 square foot, three-story building located on High Meadow Circle in the Oakland Technology Park, near the intersection of I-75 and University, and will ultimately house up to 700 employees. Oakland Technology Park was formed in 2010 following the purchase of 211 acres by Southeast Michigan-based developers General Development, L.L.C. and Premier Equities from the former Chrysler Corporation. General Development is serving as the developer and general contractor on the Faurecia project.

Other recent developments in the Oakland Technology Park include US Farathane’s World Headquarters, a high-tech 250,000 square foot plastic injection mold facility servicing numerous customer segments, including the automotive industry, and Henniges Automotive’s 55,000 square foot world headquarters/research and design center. Henniges is a leading supplier of sealing and anti-vibration systems to the global automotive industry.

Auburn Hills City Manager Pete Auger said continued development of the Oakland Technology Park reflects the City’s attraction to auto suppliers and other global businesses.

“Auburn Hills is thrilled to add Faurecia’s North American headquarters to our roster of leading national and international manufacturers headquartered here,” said Auger. “Companies like Faurecia, Henniges and USFarathane are terrific corporate citizens and bring tremendous value to Auburn Hills, solidifying our reputation as the premier global manufacturing address in the Midwest.”

Stacy Fields, Asset Manager of General Development, looks forward to completing another project in Auburn Hills.

“The City’s ability to process projects with speed and efficiency is outstanding and the renewed availability of the Oakland Technology Park has sparked an increase in build to suit activity, representing a new era of future development for Auburn Hills,” said Fields.

Faurecia North America President Michael Heneka expressed enthusiasm about expanding the Company’s footprint in Auburn Hills.

“As the auto industry has reinvented itself over the past few years, Faurecia has been a notable success story,” said Heneka. “We have grown substantially and now we are ready to extend our technical centers and headquarters operations to further support that growth. Our new location presents a distinctive opportunity to build from the ground up in a way that most suits our needs and to centralize our technical teams and administrative functions.

Faurecia has called Auburn Hills its home for 10 years, and we enjoy an excellent relationship with the city’s leadership team,” Heneka continued. “They have been a strong partner in the momentum we have generated, and we are pleased to be expanding our presence in the city.”

About Faurecia
Faurecia is the world’s sixth-largest automotive supplier with four key Business Groups: Automotive Seating, Emissions Control Technologies, Interior Systems and Automotive Exteriors. In 2012, the Group posted total sales of $22.5 billion. At December 31, 2012, Faurecia employed 94,000 people in 34 countries at 320 sites and 30 R&D centers. Faurecia is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange and trades in the U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Faurecia North America had sales of $6 billion in 2012. The Group has 37 production sites, six technical centers, two customer centers and a shared services center in the United States, Canada and Mexico and employs more than 20,000 people in the region. For more information, visit: www.faurecia.com.

About General Development Company
Southfield-based General Development Company has been in business since 1983 as a full service real estate developer. GDC offers construction management, general contracting, property management, distressed asset management, and design and build-to-suit development services for all industrial and commercial requirements. Learn more at www.gendev.com.

About Auburn Hills
Celebrating 30 years as a city in 2013, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.

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