Foster Swift Welcomes Litigation Attorney to Southfield

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. —Foster Swift welcomes associate Kathrine A. Ruttkofsky to the firm’s Southfield office as a member of the litigation practice group. Kathrine joins Foster Swift as a lateral hire from her previous Troy-based law firm.

Kathrine’s practice is primarily in insurance defense, toxic tort defense and personal injury litigation.

Kathrine graduated cum laude with her Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2013.

Amanda Martin Joins Foster Swift


Amanda Martin Joins Foster Swift

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Foster Swift welcomes attorney Amanda Afton Martin to the firm’s Southfield office in the Trusts & Estates Practice Group. Bringing over 20 years of legal experience, her practice includes the areas of estate planning and administration, taxation, business law, and real estate.

Martin earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Eastern Michigan University and her Master of Laws degree in Taxation from Wayne State University. She graduated with her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law.


Know Before You Vote: Michigan’s Primary on Tuesday, Aug. 4

Next week, Michiganders will head to the polls, or their county clerks office to submit absentee ballots, and cast their votes in Michigan’s primary election. To prepare for the upcoming election, view the Chamber’s Aug. 4 primary endorsements and review the below resources to ensure you are prepared to cast your ballot.

Michigan Primary Election Tuesday, August 4

Michigan Absentee Ballots

Michigan’s top election official is urging people with an absentee ballot to return it to their local clerk’s office or dropbox instead of using the mail to ensure it’s counted in the Aug. 4 statewide primary. Read more.

 A ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Night to be counted.

  • In-Person: Received 1 day before Election Day.
  • By Mail: Received 4 days before Election Day. Didn’t mail it in time? No problem! You can drop them off at your city clerks office.
  • Online: N/A
  • Due: Election day Tuesday, Aug. 4
  • Rules: Any registered Michigan voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

How to Get an Absentee Ballot in Michigan

  1. Use our Absentee Ballot Tool to prepare your application.
  2. Sign and date the form. This is very important!
  3. Return your completed application to your local election office as soon as possible. We’ll provide the mailing address for you.
  4. All Local Election Offices will accept mailed or hand-delivered forms. Your Local Election Official will also let you fax or email the application.
  5. Double-check the deadlines and be sure to cast your voted ballot on time to be sure it is counted.
  6. Please contact your local election office if you have any further questions about the exact process.

Once You Receive Your Absentee Ballot

  • Once you receive the ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  • Sign and date where indicated.
  • Typically you could mail your ballot in, but the date to do so has past. Return your ballot to your local clerk’s office or dropbox instead of using the mail to ensure it’s counted in the Aug. 4 statewide primary.

Offsite links

View Chamber Aug. 4 primary endorsements. 

Walsh’s Online MBA Retains Tier One Ranking by CEO Magazine

TROY, Mich., April 9, 2020 — For the second consecutive year, Walsh’s online MBA program has been ranked a Tier One Global Online MBA by CEO Magazine. Data was collected from 161 schools across 27 countries and programs were ranked based on criteria including quality of faculty, international diversity, accreditation, faculty to student ratio and cost. Walsh ranked 25 and is the only school in Michigan to make the Tier One Global Online MBA list.

The Walsh Online MBA is identical to the school’s traditional MBA. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all academic programs are being delivered 100 percent remotely for the spring semester, currently in session.

Walsh was an early adopter of online education, offering its first online course in 1998.

This is not Walsh’s first recognition for excellence in online education. Other recent distinctions include one of the Best Online MBA Programs in the U.S., a Top Five Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, one of the Best Online Colleges in Michigan and one of the Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity.

The complete CEO Magazine 2020 Global MBA Rankings can be viewed at

For more information about Walsh degrees, visit


Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of Southeast Michigan’s largest graduate business schools, offering classes in several locations and online. Our nationally-ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, human resources, 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 (

Walsh Receives Honor for Transfer Pathways and Student Support

TROY, Mich., March 27, 2020 — Walsh was one of three schools in Michigan and 122 institutions across the United States to be named to the 2020 Transfer Honor Roll by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK). The award recognizes colleges and universities committed to providing the pathways, resources and support community college transfer students need to be successful.

Recipients were selected based on the Transfer Friendliness Rating determined by each school’s Transfer Profile created in PTK Connect, an online tool designed to help students find relevant school data and make informed transfer decisions. Schools with ratings in the top 25 percent are named to the Transfer Honor Roll.

PTK recognizes the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.

Walsh has partnered with other schools for more than 50 years, first offering courses for students who had completed two years at community college or a four-year institution in 1968. Today, Walsh accepts up to 91 transfer credits and has built a reputation for providing a seamless and affordable transfer process.

“Walsh is committed to providing an efficient and supportive transfer process from community colleges and four-year institutions,” said Patti Swanson, Vice President, Chief Marketing and Enrollment Officer. “We value our transfer partner relationships and are proud to receive this recognition.”

For more information about transferring to 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 (

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S. and cases in Michigan increase, it is important to remain calm and informed on the status and threats. Over the past week, Gov. Whitmer has declared a state of emergency, confirmed cases in Michigan have increased to 12, and state and local officials are recommending social distancing – limiting events and gatherings and closing schools. Read the latest updates for Michigan.

Preparedness, awareness, and education are key during these uncertain times to avoid panic. COVID-19 is not slowing anytime soon, but there are ways to contain the virus.

These are the top 10 things to know, sourced from The Conversation:

1. We know what it is

The first cases of AIDS were described in June 1981 and it took more than two years to identify the virus (HIV) causing the disease. With COVID-19, the first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019, and by January 7 the virus had already been identified. The genome was available on day 10.

We already know that it is a new coronavirus from group 2B, of the same family as SARS, which we have called SARSCoV2. The disease is called COVID-19. It is thought to be related to coronavirus from bats. Genetic analyses have confirmed it has a recent natural origin (between the end of November and the beginning of December) and that, although viruses live by mutating, its mutation rate may not be very high.

2. We know how to detect the virus

Since January 13, a test to detect the virus has been available.

*Note, health professionals and officials in Michigan have access to conduct 1,300 tests. They are actively working with the CDC to obtain additional testing.

3. The situation is improving in China

The strong control and isolation measures imposed by China are paying off. For several weeks now, the number of cases diagnosed every day is decreasing. A very detailed epidemiological follow-up is being carried out in other countries; outbreaks are very specific to areas, which can allow them to be controlled more easily.

4. 80% of cases are mild

The disease causes no symptoms or is mild in 81% of cases. Of course, at 14% it can cause severe pneumonia and in 5% it can become critical or even fatal. It is still unclear what the death rate may be. But it could be lower than some estimates so far.

5. People recover

Much of the reported data relates to the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but most infected people are cured. There are 13 times more cured cases than deaths, and that proportion is increasing.

Recoveries per day. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

6. Symptoms appear mild in children

Only 3% of cases occur in people under 20, and mortality under 40 is only 0.2%. Symptoms are so mild in children it can go unnoticed.

7. The virus can be wiped clean

The virus can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just one minute. Frequent handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.

8. Science is on it, globally

It is the age of international science cooperation. After just over a month, 164 articles could be accessed in PubMed on COVID19 or SARSCov2, as well as many others available in repositories of articles not yet reviewed. They are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, clinical aspects, etc.

These articles were written by some 700 authors, distributed throughout the planet. It is cooperative science, shared and open. In 2003, with the SARS epidemic, it took more than a year to reach less than half that number of articles. In addition, most scientific journals have left their publications as open access to the subject of coronaviruses.

9. There are already vaccine prototypes

Our ability to design new vaccines is spectacular. There are already more than eight projects underway seeking a vaccine against the new coronavirus. There are groups that work on vaccination projects against similar viruses.

The vaccine group of the University of Queensland, in Australia, has announced it is already working on a prototype using the technique called “molecular clamp”, a novel technology. This is just one example that could allow vaccine production in record time. Prototypes may soon be tested on humans.

10. Antiviral trials are underway

Vaccines are preventive. Right now, the treatment of people who are already sick is important. There are already more than 80 clinical trials analyzing coronavirus treatments. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, which are already approved and that we know are safe.

One of those that has already been tested in humans is remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral still under study, which has been tested against Ebola and SARS/MERS.

Another candidate is chloroquine, an antimalarial that has also been seen to have potent antiviral activity. It is known that chloroquine blocks viral infection by increasing the pH of the endosome, which is needed for the fusion of the virus with the cell, thus inhibiting its entry. It has been demonstrated that this compound blocks the new coronavirus in vitro and it is already being used in patients with coronavirus pneumonia.

Other proposed trials are based on the use of oseltamivir (which is used against the influenza virus), interferon-1b (protein with antiviral function), antisera from people who recovered or monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus. New therapies have been proposed with inhibitory substances, such as baricitinibine, selected by artificial intelligence.

The 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks. Could something similar happen now? Probably not; we have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.

Content for this blog post is from The Conversation, by Catesby Holmes, global affairs editor.

The Future of Michigan’s Booming Cannabis Industry      

View the full video playlist from this event: 

Last week, the Chamber’s “The Business of Cannabis: Impact and Opportunities” showcased the potential of Michigan’s already booming cannabis industry. Speakers shed light on the future of drug testing in the workplace, economic opportunities in the industry, and workforce development through criminal record expungement. 

“It’s not just a medicine, it’s always been a business,” said Denise A. Pollicella, founder and managing partner at Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan. “It is on pace to bring in more revenue than that of the national football league.” 

Since Michigan voters moved to legalize the adult use of cannabis last year, businesses have begun to revise their hiring and management procedures when it comes to drug testing and criminal records. Eric Mahler, assistant general counsel at Meritor Inc., said the automobile components manufacturer may consider revising their policy on cannabis. 

“There’s a struggle in our company whether or not to keep the zero-tolerance policy when we need workers,” said Mahler. “Are we going to sacrifice workers that we really need?” 

For the people who served time behind bars for cannabis-related crimes, most still face the repercussions even with the legalization of adult use.  

Most people formerly incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes are not taking advantage of expungement laws, said Maurice Morton, managing partner of The Morton Law Group. This hinders their ability to obtain jobs, which is why law firms like The Morton Law Group offer expungement services for free. 

“There’s talk of automatic expungement which is what is needed,” said Morton. “It’s necessary to make it easier for them because jobs in this state are great, they’re high paying.”  

The industry’s growth is also generating new job opportunities in Michigan. One in-demand job is as a “budtender” which are salesclerks who guide buyers with their cannabis purchases, explained Allison Ireton, founder of cannabis dispensary Bloom City Club. 

“These are $20 an hour jobs that aren’t going away,” said Ireton. “They’re revitalizing retail. You can’t order this on Amazon.” 

Michigan’s Talent Shortage Requires Preparing All Types of Citizens

To ensure we are building the future workforce that the economy demands, the Detroit Regional Chamber is focused on supporting smart policy that will empower and prepare all types of Michiganders to fill the talent demand for employers across the region and state that tell us their top issue is a talent shortage.

The Chamber has advocated in the education and workforce space for decades with a focus on increasing postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid, among other focuses on K-12 education.

There is a significant opportunity for the nearly 700,000 people in Detroit that have started college but “stopped out” before receiving a degree or credential to connect with the required education or training businesses need in their talent pool.

To get more of Michigan’s citizens into the workforce and continue to grow the economy, the Chamber supports:

  • Michigan Reconnect, to help connect a large portion of the adult population without degrees or certificates on a path towards continued education. This policy work is supported by the Chamber’s education and talent strategy program work that is already reengaging adult students with some or no college experience in the Detroit region to get them on a track to a degree or training certificate.
  • Going Pro in Michigan, to upskill and rescale adults who find themselves left behind in our rapidly changing economy.
  • Criminal Justice Reform, to reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation. Currently, the Chamber is advocating for a six-bill expungement reform package is going through the Michigan House of Representatives that will open up the expungement process to many Michigan residents who struggle to find a job because of past criminal records and open up eligibility for a number of low-level offenses such as traffic offenses that are ineligible under the current expungement law.
  • Immigration Reform, to fix the broken immigration system and provide businesses with global talent that will help keep our economy competitive.

The data shows that getting our high school graduates into the right universities or skilled trade programs is not enough to produce the workforce pipeline needed to be competitive in a 21st-century economy and beyond. By engaging all kinds of populations, Michigan can meet the talent demands businesses require and be an economically competitive state.


Detroit Regional Chamber’s Core Principles on Auto Insurance Reform

With auto insurance debates heating up in Lansing, the Detroit Regional Chamber is highly involved in the discussions working with bipartisan legislators and the governor’s office. The Chamber membership and Board are united in the recognition that the high cost of auto insurance is a critical issue that impacts our state’s economic development, talent attraction, and citizen well-being, and must be addressed.

The Chamber is eager to support legislation that meets the following criteria:

  • Result in a statewide and quantifiable reduction in auto insurance rates.
  • Recognize that rate reduction must be even greater in urban areas. Even a 20% reduction in urban areas leaves auto insurance unaffordable for low-income residents.
  • Reduce the number of uninsured drivers through rate reduction and increased mobility options for low-income residents.
  • Maintain Michigan’s high-quality health care delivery system.
  • Reduce insurance related fraud.

Detroit Regional Chamber Reform Vision

Auto insurance is a statewide issue that demands to be addressed. While our membership does not have a consensus view regarding detailed solutions, the Chamber supports the following core principles.

  • Reform should provide additional oversight of attendant care, particularly when delivered by relatives of the injured.
  • Michigan should pursue insurance fraud at all levels through a strong fraud authority or another enforcement mechanism.
  • Any proposed regulation of reimbursement rates should consider:

– The impact on motorists requiring catastrophic care, particularly care in trauma centers.

– The ability of health care providers to provide quality care.

– The need to lower rates for drivers across geographic, socioeconomic, and other demographic factors.

– Michigan’s insurance rates are high across the state, however, drivers in urban areas are disproportionately impacted. Reviewing the factors that cause high rates should be a special focus of policymakers.

  • Uninsured drivers in high-cost areas, like the city of Detroit, are left with few alternatives to driving illegally because of the region’s lack of effective and efficient public transportation. The number of uninsured drivers is a key component of insurance costs and the region’s consistent failure to provide mobility options has exacerbated the problem.

The Chamber Board endorsed these principles in 2017. The Chamber’s Government Relations team urges that all impacted parties must be at the table and compromise equally – there is no one single aspect of this challenge that can solve this problem – or can escape reform.

Marsh & McLennan Agency Welcomes Geoff Brieden as Vice President, Health & Benefits

Troy, Michigan – February 11, 2019 – Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) recently appointed Geoff Brieden as a vice president with the health and benefits practice in Troy, Mich. In his new position, Brieden identifies best practices and strategic solutions that optimally fit his clients’ group benefit needs.

Prior to joining MMA, Brieden owned Kane Atwood Group Services for over ten years, assisting employers with their benefits strategies. During this time, he developed a particular affinity for and understanding of the unique needs of the health care industry. Before starting his own firm, Brieden garnered thirteen years of experience with a third party administrator.

As a vice president of health & benefits with MMA, Brieden will leverage his extensive background to help employers design strategic benefits plans that meet their business management goals as well as help achieve their talent recruitment and engagement goals.

“We are honored to welcome Geoff to our team: his entrepreneurial spirit and thoughtful approach are a great addition to MMA. Geoff understands the complex and changing needs of mid-size and larger employers and takes a thorough approach to addressing those challenges,” said Rebecca A. McLaughlan, president & ceo of Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC’s Michigan Health & Benefits operations.

“I chose to join MMA because of the energy and intelligence of the people, and the resources that MMA brings to the table. I am excited for what the future holds,” added Brieden.

Brieden received his BA in Business & Economics from Kalamazoo College and an MBA in Business & Finance from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business. A competitive sailor, Brieden is also an active supporter of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Wreaths Across America, and the LivLife Foundation.

If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Ryan Bowers at (248)822-6231 or