Harrington Communications Expands its Geographic Footprint with Animated Greeting Card Services

Harrington Communications, an award-winning Grosse Pointe Woods-based strategic communications and design firm, has successfully wrapped up another season of developing holiday greeting cards for its clients. The growing demand for custom, web-based digitally animated greeting cards has allowed Harrington Communications to grow its client base locally and across the country.

“2012 was an outstanding year for animated greeting cards,” said Jay Harrington, CEO of Harrington Communications. “As businesses continue to devote more of their marketing efforts and budgets toward digital marketing initiatives, we expect this growth to continue in the years ahead.”

Animated greeting cards have quickly become a popular option for many businesses and organizations looking to save time and money by eliminating printing and postage costs, reduce their carbon footprint, and incorporate unique messaging and branding into their holiday greeting. Animated greeting cards have been a specialty of Harrington Communications since 2008.

This year, Harrington Communications designed and developed animated holiday greetings for a wide range of clients, including, among others, Littler Mendelson P.C., one of the largest law firms in the country, Baker Tilly, one of the largest accounting firms in the country, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, based in Simi Valley, California.

About Harrington Communications
Harrington Communications is an award-winning agency that specializes in branding, website design and development, email marketing and content creation for law, accounting, consulting and other professional services firms. The agency, which is based in Grosse Pointe Woods, works closely with clients to learn their business and develop creative solutions to help them achieve their objectives. To learn more about Harrington Communications, visit www.hcommunications.biz.

Special Update: Chamber Advocacy Team Has Great Success in Lame Duck Session

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team has had a successful showing in the lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature, playing a key role in the passing of several pieces of legislation. The Chamber team has consistently made bipartisan progress on its pro-business policy agenda on behalf of its members and is seeing the fruits of those efforts now. Read on for more information on the state of the Chamber’s key policies.

Regional Transit Authority Headed to Governor’s Desk

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) legislation has passed in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate, and is on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for signature. The RTA will bring major investment to the city of Detroit through the coordination of city and suburban bus services, the creation of a bus rapid transit system, and will potentially bring in millions in federal and private dollars for the creation of a streetcar line.

This is a positive step for economic development in Michigan and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team played a key role in its passage. The creation of an RTA has been one of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s top policy priorities for decades and the Chamber is very supportive of the recent movement in the Legislature on this issue.

Personal Property Tax Passes in Both Chambers

The personal property tax (PPT) repeal on industrial property has passed in both chambers of the legislature and is waiting to be signed by the Governor. The House Tax Policy Committee voted to limit PPT on businesses and create a complex system to replace the majority of lost revenue for local government agencies. The phase out of this tax will begin in 2016.

BCBSM Legislation on Gov. Snyder’s DeskDetroit Regional Chamber-supported legislation that would modernize Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and convert it to a mutual nonprofit insurer accountable to policyholders has passed in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. The legislation is now on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk to be signed into law. This legislation frees BCBSM of regulations not imposed on other commercial insurers, makes the insurer liable for taxes for the first time and requires the creation of a $1.5 billion fund to promote health and wellness.

New Emergency Manager Law Passes

Critical Detroit Regional Chamber-backed legislation to replace Public Act 4, the emergency manager statute repealed in November, has passed in both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. The new law provides four routes for local governments in a state of severe financial emergency: emergency management, mediation, a consent agreement or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.


Legislation for Joe Louis Arena Replacement Passes

Both chambers of the legislature have passed legislation allowing for a new $650 million project in downtown Detroit to replace the Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Regional Chamber is supportive of this legislation, which would include a new home for the Detroit Red Wings. The proposed project is led by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who needs authority from the state to use the Downtown Development Act to gain Tax Increment Financing Authority funds for the proposed public-private project. The project is projected to generate $1.8 billion in economic activity.

Right-to-Work Bill Signed to Law

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation making right-to-work law in Michigan. These bills give workers the freedom to opt out of union membership, but the bills do not affect police and fire workers operating under a law giving them the right to collectively bargain. The Detroit Regional Chamber maintains its longstanding position of neutrality on this issue and will continue as such.

For more information on the Detroit Regional Chamber’s top policy priorities, click here.

CC Consulting Announces New Clients

Bloomfield Hills, Mi (December 7, 2012), CC Consulting, marketing, retail attraction and public relations firm based in Bloomfield Hills, MI announces two new clients-  Canterbury Village- the 21 acre entertainment venue located in Lake Orion, Michigan and Illuminating Concepts, the cutting edge internationally recognized commercial lighting company know for their patented systems in the architectural and retail industries.

Other existing CC Consulting clients include Olympia Development, Velmeir Companies, City of Southfield DDA, EPN Investment of Chicago, BrodyCo Inc of Greenville, North Carolina (upscale retail developer)- among others.

CC Consulting was incorporated in the summer of 2005 and over the past eight years has serviced many high profile companies from coast to coast.

Principal Cindy Ciura has been an expert in the retail industry for 20+ years including past experience as an executive for such companies as General Growth Properties, the Forbes Companies, and Schostak Brothers & Companies.  She is frequently quoted in trade publications as well as being guest speaker for many related industry functions.

Butzel Long attorney Robin Luce Herrmann named incoming Co-Chair of the ABA’s Women in Communications Law Committee

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Butzel Long attorney and shareholder Robin Luce Herrmann has been named incoming Co-Chair for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Women in Communications Law Committee of the Forum on Communications Law.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve in this key leadership role within the ABA,” said Ms. Herrmann. “The Women in Communications Law Committee offers outstanding networking and professional development opportunities for women attorneys both locally and nationally.”

Ms. Herrmann also leads the ABA’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee’s Diversity Outreach Subcommittee. She is a member of the ABA’s Woman Advocate Committee of the Litigation Section; a past member and Vice-Chair of the ABA Law and Media Committee; and, is active in the Media Law Resource Center.

Ms. Herrmann, a Practice Group Leader for one of Butzel Long’s two Business Litigation Groups, concentrates her practice in the areas of media law, particularly defamation and access issues; commercial litigation, including RICO; non-competes and trade secrets; and civil rights.
Ms. Herrmann also is general counsel of the Michigan Press Association.

In addition, Ms. Herrmann previously taught Law of the Press in the Journalism Department at Oakland University. She has been a guest speaker on Law of the Press at Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, and Oakland University.

In 2011, Ms. Herrmann was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Law and Media Committee.

Ms. Herrmann is a 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1993 graduate of the Detroit College of Law (J.D., cum laude), where she was a Managing Editor of The Law Review.

About Butzel Long

Established in 1854, Butzel Long is a leading law firm with offices in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as well as Alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. The firm is also a member of the Washington D.C. law firm, Butzel Long Tighe Patton. Butzel Long represents clients from diverse industries on regional, national, and multi-national levels and is a member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Visit the Butzel Long website at www.butzel.com.

Workforce training initiative IT in the D strengthened for 2013, beyond

IT in the D founders formally pledged their commitment to the high-tech training program through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, December 12 for 2013, also welcoming the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) as a new partner.

Representatives from Quicken Loans, Compuware Ventures, GalaxE.Solutions, Fathead and Marketing Associates gathered at the Qube, 635 Woodward Ave, Detroit, to sign the MoU and establish the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) as its fiscal partner. SEMCA’s involvement, through WIN, will allow for greater financial resources for IT in the D’s training and retraining efforts, including allowing the partnership to apply for grants and other funding, including those requiring 501 c(3) status.

A successful pilot program earlier this year established a proof of need and concept for IT in the D, with several graduates of the first class securing full-time employment in the IT field in Detroit.

The signing of the MoU occurred in conjunction with the first public meeting of the Southeast Michigan Technology Council, a group of nearly 40 IT companies formed earlier this year to promote and grow IT in the state.

For future registration and more information about IT in the D, please contact IT in the D at ITintheD@ITinDetroit.org.

Nemeth Burwell to Look at Michigan’s New Right To Work Law: What Does it Mean for Employers, Employees and Organized Labor?

Detroit, Mich. — December 12, 2012 — Labor law experts Patricia Nemeth and Cliff Hammond, attorneys at Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell, P.C., will present an overview on Friday, December 14th of the historic legislation signed by Governor Rick Snyder that makes Michigan a Right to Work state. The presentation and Q&A will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy.

“The rapid move to making Michigan a Right to Work state will have an immediate impact on the climate of labor relations in Michigan. Nemeth Burwell’s overview of the legislation will answer employer’s most pressing questions on what Right to Work actually means in the day-to-day operations of the workplace, even in non-union settings,” explains Patricia Nemeth.

Cliff Hammond brings an interesting background to the discussion, having represented private and public sector employer clients at Nemeth Burwell since 2007 and, prior to that time, serving as labor counsel for the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest service union.

Overview of Michigan’s Right to Work Legislation

What: Nemeth Burwell presents an overview of Michigan’s new Right to Work legislation and its impact on the workplace and employer/employee relations

When: Friday, December 14, 2012; 8.00 a.m. registration; 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. presentation and Q&A

Where: MSU Management Center; 811 W. Square Lake Road; Troy 48098; Directions available here.

Cost: $30.00 payable by cash or check at the door

To Register: Please pre-register by contacting Amanda Galletti at Nemeth Burwell; agalletti@nemethburwell.com or 313.567.5921

About Nemeth Burwell, P.C.: Celebrating 20 years in 2012, Nemeth Burwell (www.nemethburwell.com) specializes in employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation for private and public sector employers. It is the largest women-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.

December 11, 2012: Chamber Has Success in Lame Duck Session; Right-to-Work Moves Quickly in Legislature

Detroit Regional Chamber Makes Big Progress in Lame Duck Session

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s government relations team is playing a key role in the advancement of several pieces of legislation during the Michigan lame duck session.

The Chamber is seeing the fruits of several efforts with the recent movement on several Chamber-supported policy initiatives including the Regional Transit Authority, the personal property tax repeal, a new emergency manager law, legislation modernizing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to a mutual nonprofit insurer, and legislation allowing for a new $650 million project in downtown Detroit to replace the Joe Louis Arena. To read more on all of the Chamber-supported legislation seeing action during the lame duck session, click here.

Right-to-work Legislation Moves Quickly in Legislature

Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation establishing Michigan as a right-to-work state for private and public sector workers. The House must cast one more vote to finalize the process, which is expected to happen this week. Governor Rick Snyder has indicated his intent to sign both pieces of legislation.

As the Detroit Regional Chamber represents members on both sides of this contentious issue, the Chamber maintains a position of “no position” on these historic and controversial pieces of legislation. Right-to-work (also referred to as freedom to work) laws allow employees to opt out of financial support of a union as a condition of employment. Proponents of right-to-work legislation argue it protects workers from forced unionization and makes the state more attractive to business investment and job creation. Opponents of such laws claim right to work can depress wages and is too divisive of an issue to tackle.

Registration Now Open for 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference – Michigan’s Center Stage

Registration for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference is now open. The Chamber’s signature event to move Michigan forward is once again being held at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from May 29 to May 31. Registering now for the 2013 Conference is a great way to maximize year-end dollars at a reduced registration fee.

Register today to be a part of the state’s premier public policy event focused on culture, education and the 21st century global market. The 2013 Conference will feature national experts who will challenge influential decision-makers to work collaboratively to create a globally competitive, financially attractive business environment in Michigan. Remember, registration prices will increase in 2013 and island hotels will begin taking reservations on February 1.

Michigan Ranks Third in Nation for High-Tech Job Growth

According to Engine Advocacy, Michigan ranks third in the nation for high-tech job growth from 2010 to 2011. As reported by the Detroit News, the state’s number of technology jobs increased by 6.9 percent during that year behind only Delaware and South Carolina. This is more than twice the national average, with the U.S. only experiencing 2.6 percent growth. Lansing experienced 17.6 percent employment growth in high-tech fields, ranking 6th out of the top 25 metropolitan areas. To read the full story, click here.

Don’t Miss Opportunity Detroit, Chamber Holiday Meeting and Reception, Next Tuesday

The Detroit Regional Chamber is bringing business insiders together to share and celebrate opportunities in the Detroit region and define the role members can play in encouraging its continued transformation during a one-of-a-kind celebration. Join the Chamber next week for Opportunity Detroit, the Chamber’s membership meeting and holiday reception, taking place on Tuesday, December 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.

Attendees will have a chance to hear from the people making decisions to invest in Detroit and what they are finding when they do, including: John Fikany, vice president, U.S. commercial sector, Microsoft Corporation; Jason Raznick, co-founder and CEO, Benzinga; Jacques Panis of Shinola; Nancy Schlichting, CEO, Henry Ford Health System; and Mike Webster, executive vice president, Kelly Services, Inc. For more information or to register for this signature year-end event, click here.

Spread the Word and Participate in Transportation Planning with SEMCOG Public Engagment Opportunities

Southeast Michigan’s large and complex transportation system is key to improving the Detroit region. This system supports continued economic recovery, environmental health, community revitalization and quality of life. In June 2013, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments’ General Assembly will adopt a long range transportation vision. Do your part to help spread the word on the importance of the region’s transportation system and participate in the planning process by clicking here. There are several public engagement opportunities available for you to get involved. Start by visiting SEMCOG’s website, here.

Chamber Leadership Attend Michigan Chronicle’s Legacy in Motion GalaDetroit Regional Chamber leadership recently participated in the annual Legacy in Motion Gala, hosted by the Michigan Chronicle at the Detroit Roostertail. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Mike Finney were honored at the gala as news-makers of the year during the event highlighting those making important contributions to the community’s economic growth and social well being. The gala, celebrating a region in transition, honored several community leaders including Chamber Board Chair and Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting, who accepted the company of the year award. To read more, click here.

Q&A: Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber

From MiBiz.com
December 9, 2012

By Carl Dunker

Building off a career that included serving as the last administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration under George W. Bush, Sandy Baruah now serves as president and CEO of the 20,000-member Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. In his previous role, Baruah helped shape the response to the credit crisis of 2008 as well as administered the SBA’s $18 billion loan portfolio. Prior to joining the SBA, Baruah served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Baruah joined the Detroit organization in 2010. His focus at the chamber has been on fostering economic development, educational reform and regional collaboration, something he touched on at a recent breakfast event sponsored by the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business.

While people like to “slice and dice” the state, Michigan must look beyond divisions to come up with real solutions to the issues it faces, he told the audience.

“We are operating as one Michigan perhaps more than ever before. The collaboration and partnership between east and west Michigan is not only real, it is genuine and it is productive,” Baruah said. “I think we’re starting to realize that the differences between the east and west parts of our state actually make us stronger.”

Baruah spoke with MiBiz about the role both sides of the state play in Michigan’s economic future.

How is Michigan’s economy doing, from your perspective in Southeast Michigan?
Well, it is picking up. GDP growth is growing at a faster rate than it has in the past several years.

Do you see anything on the horizon that could slow down that growth?
Statewide, I don’t see a lot of storm clouds on the horizon that will slow things down – of course, depending on how things play out with the fiscal cliff negotiations. Some economists are saying that if we go over, we’ll go back into recession. That can definitely affect how things play out.

There have been many efforts in the last few years to better connect the eastern and western sides of the state. Have those efforts paid off?
The collaboration from the east to west side of the state has never been greater.

Is Michigan unique in having such dramatic cross-state differences?
Certainly there is nothing special about living in a state that has multiple cultures. Where I come from, on the West Coast (of the U.S.), you have L.A. and San Francisco. They’re less than 400 miles apart, and yet they might as well be on different planets. They’re still part of the same state.

What does each side of this state bring to the table?
West Michigan has a strong sense of purpose and has strong institutions like The Right Place, the (Grand Rapids Area) Chamber (of Commerce) and the (West Michigan) Policy Forum that are making a real difference in this state. Grand Rapids especially has the business community setting a positive agenda. East Michigan has a strong sense of cultural history. … These assets, I think, (are) greater than ever before, and I think they are the envy of the rest of the rest of country.

What keeps you up at night?
There’s always the storm clouds hovering over the the economic situation in Europe. Depending on how that goes, we could have some problems over here. Also worrying to me is the government of the city of Detroit. Will they allow the state to come in and help them with some of the problems they are facing?

What’s the state’s biggest challenge?
Infrastructure continues to be an issue here in Michigan. Obviously, that’s going to be helped by the New International Trade Crossing. The state dodged a bullet with the defeat of that proposal along with the other four that would have really put the brakes on Michigan’s recovery.

Level One Bank moves into new corporate headquarters in Farmington Hills

Level One Bank, one of Oakland County’s largest community banks, has moved into its new corporate headquarters, located at 32991 Hamilton Court in Farmington Hills (off 12 Mile Road east of Farmington Road). The newly renovated, 92,000 sq. ft. building brought together Level One team members from two separate corporate office locations in Farmington Hills.

The new office buildout, encompassing three floors, allowed Level One to create a unique workspace for its employees with an open floor plan designed to promote teamwork and enhance customer service. Level One teams were actively involved in the planning process and were entrusted to make decisions on furniture and finishes throughout the space, ensuring an employee friendly work environment. Some features of interest include collaborative meeting areas and conference rooms, many with floor-to-ceiling whiteboard/brainstorming walls, an exercise room and frosted glass applications in offices and workstations to optimize natural light.

“Joining our teams together has brought a new, positive energy to our entire organization, including new workplace dynamics that will ultimately improve productivity and service to our customers,” said Patrick J. Fehring, Level One Bank President and CEO. “Our goal was not only to create a space that would increase efficiencies and teamwork, but to create an environment that employees and customers can call home.”

Level One Bank’s new HQ features Zeeland, Michigan-based Herman Miller Systems Furniture, coordinated through Facility Matrix Group in Pontiac. Kraemer Design Group in Detroit handled the facility’s innovative interior design, while Metro Detroit’s Sachse Construction completed the office build out.
The headquarters move does not affect any of the Level One Bank branches. The branches at Level One’s two previous Farmington Hills office locations are continuing to operate as usual.

Doeren Mayhew Merges With Houston-Based CPA Firm MFR, P.C.

TROY, MICH. – Dec. 6, 2012 – In line with its commitment to continuously find new avenues for growth, Doeren Mayhew, a Michigan-based certified public accounting and advisory firm with locations
in Troy and Houston, today announced a merger with Houston-based CPA and consulting firm MFR, P.C. Effective immediately, the merged entity will operate under the Doeren Mayhew name.

Since its founding in 1988, MFR, P.C. has offered a comprehensive suite of assurance, business advisory and tax services to organizations in both the public and private sectors. The firm’s partners and associates will become Doeren Mayhew employees, while co-founders Roland Rodriguez and Gasper Mir will continue involvement as Doeren Mayhew advisory board members, providing strategic guidance. Both Rodriguez and Mir will also continue to own and manage MFR, P.C.-affiliated entities MFR Solutions and MFR Healthcare Solutions.

“Driving our decision to move forward with this merger was our strong commitment to provide a higher level of sophisticated expertise to our clients,” said Mark Crawford, Doeren Mayhew chairman and managing shareholder. “Combining these two groups of extremely talented and experienced professionals not only continues to increase our national reach and local presence in the Houston market space, but provides our clients across the nation with resources to grow with them as they look to expand.”

This year, INSIDE Public Accounting ranked Doeren Mayhew as the 71st largest firm in the nation. Operating for nearly 30 years, the firm’s Houston office – currently ranked as the 21st largest area accounting firm by the Houston Business Journal – will double in size as a result of this merger, for a total of nearly 100 employees, including 11 shareholders. MFR, P.C. currently ranks as the 11th largest Houston-area accounting firm.

“Through this merger, Doeren Mayhew continues on a pattern of sustained growth,” said Tim Moore, Doeren Mayhew managing shareholder in Houston. “We will work diligently to implement a seamless transition for clients while offering them access to additional senior-level experts and an enhanced portfolio of services.”

MFR, P.C. cofounder Rodriguez also cites the region’s favorable business climate, access to Doeren Mayhew’s international network of affiliated accounting firms through Moore Stephens, and the overall growth potential and positive impact on staff and clients among the reasons for the merger. “Gasper Mir

and I are extremely proud of the firm we have built during the past 25 years, and we feel strongly that we have found the ideal arrangement for it to continue to grow for the benefit of staff and clients alike,” he said.

The merger comes just after a new brand launch for Doeren Mayhew. Unlike traditional CPA firms that focus on hindsight reporting, an over-arching commitment to deeply understand, advise and bring forward vision to clients has been launched with a brand promise of insight, oversight and foresight. The firm is ranked on INSIDE Public Accounting’s annual “Best of the Best” list of best-managed firms year after year.

About Doeren Mayhew
Founded in 1932, Doeren Mayhew is a leading group of CPAs and trusted advisors who go beyond traditional accounting to help mid-sized businesses grow and prosper. The firm’s Troy CPAs and Houston CPAs serve industries such as manufacturing, construction, energy, financial institutions, service,
retail/restaurant, wholesalers/distribution with a full range of accounting, audit, tax, merger and
acquisition, and business advisory services. Combining a deeply rooted history with a progressive mindset, the firm offers insight into the business, oversight to ensure best practices and foresight for what’s ahead. Doeren Mayhew is an independent firm associated with Moore Stephens International Limited. Please visit www.doeren.com for more information.

About MFR, P.C.
For nearly 25 years, MFR, P.C. has been a premier full-service accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Houston, Texas, providing audit, assurance, tax, and internal audit services. The Houston Business Journal consistently ranks MFR as one of the largest accounting firms in the city, most recently achieving the rank of #11 on the 2012 list. MFR is the trademark under which MFR, P.C.
(www.mfrpc.com) and affiliated companies serve the business needs of clients in both the private and
public sectors.