Detroit Regional Chamber’s Connection Point Joins MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect to Create Opportunities for Michigan Businesses

DETROIT, January 31, 2013 Today, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that the Chamber’s Connection Point program has officially joined the MEDC as part of the Pure Michigan Business Connect portfolio. The new agreement will bolster the state’s efforts to create opportunities and business growth by connecting leading-edge Michigan companies to the global supply chain.

“The Detroit Regional Chamber deserves our thanks for joining us in Pure Michigan Business Connect,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “This commitment will significantly add to the bid opportunities available to Michigan companies.”

Pure Michigan Business Connect is a more than $8 billion public-private initiative that provides Michigan businesses with new ways to buy and sell, raise capital and connect with each other through an alliance of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., state agencies and major Michigan companies and organizations.

Connection Point, founded in 2009 with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, has made more than $200 million in bid opportunities available to Michigan businesses across 24 industries. The program has facilitated millions of dollars in opportunities from companies headquartered outside Michigan including The Boeing Company, Deutz and ManTech International Corporation.

Since December 2011, MEDC and the Detroit Regional Chamber have collaborated through the two programs at various events, including the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference.

“In less than two years, these programs have been extremely successful generating hundreds of millions of dollars in increased procurement opportunities and contracts for Michigan suppliers with new customers, both within and outside of Michigan,” said Benjamin Erulkar, senior vice president of economic development at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “As the programs grew along parallel paths, it became clear to both organizations that a greater degree of collaboration could amplify their successes across the state and throughout the global economy.”

The new agreement ensures the work of Connection Point will now continue as part of the state’s economic development efforts through Pure Michigan Business Connect.  Moving forward, the Chamber will continue to serve as a strategic partner with MEDC on Pure Michigan Business Connect and support Connection Point programming in Southeast Michigan.

About the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
The MEDC markets the state with a focus on business, talent, jobs, and helping to grow the economy. For more on MEDC and its initiatives, visit:

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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Crestmark Now Offers Equipment Financing

(TROY, MICHIGAN, January 30, 2013) Crestmark is pleased to announce that we have expanded our services to include equipment financing. Not only is this a value-add to the innovative working capital solutions we currently offer, but it emphasizes Crestmark’s significant effort and continued focus to provide superior service to our customers. The opportunity includes various methods for lending on a businesses’ stand-alone manufacturing equipment; and looks to include options for financing rolling stock in the future.

“We are excited to be able to expand our available financing solutions. Over the last several years, we have undergone growth from a geographic perspective, and expanding our product line seemed like a natural step for us as we continue to help our clients,” said W. David Tull, Crestmark Founder and CEO. “As a company that started in Michigan over 16 years ago and who weathered the challenges of a changing economy, we are proud to be an American company, supporting businesses nationwide and in Canada.”

Crestmark is a nationally known and respected FDIC-insured bank that provides innovative financial solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses. Financing solutions include asset-based lending, accounts receivable financing, lines of credit and factoring. Crestmark finances most business-to-business companies, and has extensive experience in helping many industries including transportation, manufacturing, staffing, government contractors, apparel and furniture manufacturing. Headquartered in Michigan, with offices in Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, New York, Alabama, California, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas.

TTi Global Poised to Debut New Corporate Brand: “People Driving Change”

TTi Global will launch its new corporate branding and the opening of their new world headquarters on January 31st, 2013.

In keeping with their new world headquarters in Rochester Hills, TTi Global will be unveiling their new image and branding campaign at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 31st.

“In the past five years, our company has grown by an unprecedented 263%,“states Kevin Dever, Corporate Marketing Manager for TTi Global. “ We now have operations in over 25 countries and our total employee base exceeds 1700 people. Our rapid expansion demanded additional space, so it became the perfect time to evolve our image to reflect our company’s truly global footprint.”

TTi Global retained Push 22 of Pontiac, Michigan to develop its new corporate branding and image campaign. Debuting this month will be the company’s new logo, website and collateral materials. Dave Sarris, partner at Push 22 remarked, “The concept behind the development of the branding reflects the core mission and driving force behind TTi Global’s international success. Through our branding expedition process we were able to articulate how effectively TTi Global creates change within an organization through its staffing and training programs.”

“People driving change” underscores how TTi works. Clients learn how to change the way they do things through TTi’s learning and training programs. Their staffing expertise helps clients change the way they staff positions, while technical people learn to change the way they think about their employment. The ability to successfully manage change in an increasingly volatile business world is the key behind TTi Global’s success.

TTi Global continues to receive recognition for corporate achievement. In 2012, TTi Global earned a position on the coveted Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list for the second time. Also in 2012 President/CEO Lori Blaker received the “Leader of Leaders” Award from Leadership Oakland. Additionally she was a part of the first ever US Department of Commerce trade mission to Afghanistan.

TTi Global was ranked as one of Michigan’s fastest growing privately-held companies (as recognized by Crain’s Detroit in 2010 and 2011) and ranked as one of the fastest growing private companies in America (according to Inc. Magazine). TTi Global also ranks consistently among the “Top 25 Woman-Run Businesses in the USA” as recognized by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

TTi Global provides workforce development solutions to industries across various sectors with automotive as a core focus. TTi Global oversees operations on five continents with offices spanning the globe, which include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela, UK and most recently Afghanistan.

With a staff of over 1,700 employees in international operations, they offer a wide range of services, tailor made to drive business goals, including business consulting, research, staffing, workforce development and learning solutions. TTi Global world headquarters are located in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Nemeth Burwell Partner Named Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment

Detroit, Mich. —January 29, 2013 —Anne Widlak, a partner at Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell, P.C., has been named a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media, a leading provider of news and information to the legal industry, and Martindale-Hubbell™, a highly regarded legal peer review organization. American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell joined forces on this rating effort to highlight the “Top Rated Lawyers” in the February issue of The National Law Journal. Ms. Widlak is included in the listing as a result of achieving the AV Preeminent® peer review rating, the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.

As a litigator and counselor, Ms. Widlak successfully defends cases in state and federal courts involving a comprehensive array of claims, including workplace harassment; discrimination based on age, disability, sex, race, national origin and other protected categories; retaliation; violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act; wrongful discharge; and intentional interference with an at-will employment relationship.

Active in the legal community, Ms. Widlak has been a volunteer hearing panel member of the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board (ADB) since 1998 and was appointed a panel Chairperson in 2006, a position she continues to hold. The ADB is the adjudicative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court for discharge of its exclusive authority to supervise and discipline Michigan attorneys. The hearing panels conduct trial-level hearings to review evidence in connection with a complaint of ethical misconduct filed against an attorney with the Attorney Grievance Commission. Additionally, Ms. Widlak was the first female chair of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, serving from 2002 to 2003. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a trial lawyer honorary society comprised of less than one-half of one percent of lawyers in the United States.

Ms. Widlak is the fourth generation of lawyers in her family to have been prominent members of the legal community in the City of Detroit and is the first female in her family to have practiced law in the City as part of that long tradition. She was named one of Michigan’s 25 Leaders in the Law in 2012 by legal trade publication, Michigan Lawyers Weekly and has also been named a Michigan Super Lawyer each year since 2008. She serves as a volunteer attorney at a Detroit warming center for the homeless as part of Project H.E.L.P. (Homeless Experience Legal Protection), which partners with local homeless service programs to offer clinics that provide free legal advice and assistance to homeless individuals.

Ms. Widlak holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English from Georgetown University. She earned her law degree from the Wayne State University School of Law.

Nemeth Burwell ( 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.

Misclassifying Workers Now to Avoid Healthcare Reform Mandates in 2014 Can Backfire on Employers

Federal Government Soon to Reach Out Directly to Employees about Job Classification

Detroit, Mich. —January 29, 2013 —While the Affordable Healthcare Act doesn’t go into full effect until 2014, the employee count to determine which employers meet the 50 full-time employee threshold will be based on 2013 numbers. That has some employers scrambling now to find ways to stay below the 50 person mark, a number which actually includes employees working 30 or more hours per week. According to Patricia Nemeth of Detroit-based employment law firm Nemeth Burwell, P.C., it’s one thing to legitimately change employee hours, but another to misclassify workers from employees to independent contractors.

“The goal for employers to keep their staff count below 50 is to avoid being bound by healthcare reform mandates they consider prohibitively expensive, but the liability exposure for misclassifying workers is also significant,” said Nemeth.

Even prior to the passage of health reform, difficult economic conditions were the impetus for employers to use more independent contractors, consultants and contingent workers to meet tighter budget guidelines. As a result, the Department of Labor, the IRS and a number of state agencies have been questioning the classification of workers in every type of industry for the past several years – and levying fines and ordering back pay reinstatement for misclassified workers. Such financial penalties can cost a single employer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With the addition of employee insurance mandates, employers may view health reform as one more reason to reclassify, and sometimes misclassify, employees as non-employees. At the same time, it’s another reason that federal and state agencies will continue scrutinizing employee classification – and now they are bringing in reinforcements.

“Government agencies are no longer going to rely solely on employer provided information. A new federal law is pending that directly asks employees to describe their job duties to ensure the daily tasks and responsibilities are being properly categorized under the exempt/non-exempt classifications defined by the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL is also working to enforce Right to Know regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that would require employers to explain each employee’s exempt/non-exempt or independent contractor classification. These efforts by the DOL are directly in line with the department’s five year plan to plan/prevent/protect employees from employer violations,” said Nemeth. “Additionally, agencies such as the EEOC and the IRS are working more closely with each other to address workplace issues in general.”

According to the IRS website, an employee is one who performs services where the employer controls what will be done and how it will be done. Conversely, an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. Nemeth says other indicators for employees and independent contractors are:

  • Independent contractors generally set their own hours and schedules, while employees follow employer schedules and work hours
  • Independent contractors follow their own methods and processes, rather than those of an employer
  • Independent contractors may and often do perform services for more than one company
  • Independent contractors generally use their own equipment and supplies
  • Employers who use a staffing agency or referral agency can also be liable as a joint of co-employer.

“There are no shortcuts to properly classify workers. It should be at the top of the 2013 to-do list for employers regardless of health reform or how close companies are to the 50 employee mark,” concluded Nemeth.

Learn more here about the definition of an independent contractor according to the IRS.
About Nemeth Burwell, P.C.: Nemeth Burwell 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.

Classic Turning, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Great Lakes Metal Finishing, Inc.

Classic Turning, Inc., one of the Midwest’s largest and fastest growing CAD/CAM design and CNC machining companies, recently announced the acquisition of Jackson based Great Lakes Metal Finishing, Inc. For more than 30 years Classic Turning has been serving a multitude of industries including the aerospace, medical, precision automotive, industrial machine building and military industries.

Great Lakes Metal Finishing, Inc. (GLMF) specializes in quick turn, small lot size anodizing and chemical conversion coating of aluminum and has been in business since 2002.

Philip J. Curtis, Classic Turnings’ Chairman said, “The acquisition of GLMF positions the company for growth particularly in the aerospace and medical markets. It qualifies Classic Turning to supply parts complete with all special metal finishing operations done in house with greatly reduced cycle time. Further, it gives us the needed floor space to continue to expand and to be responsive to the needs of our customers.”

Various made to print fully machined fittings, adapters and valves will be processed at the newly acquired plant for Classic Turning’s aerospace, medical and high performance industrial customers.

“With GLMF, Classic Turning plans to build upon the company’s strong reputation for quality and customer service to benefit our customers and employees as well as our community with new employment opportunities,” said Alex Webster, President and CEO of Classic Turning. “We anticipate hiring 5 to 10 new employees in the next 18 months and will be expanding the metal finishing capabilities offered by GLMF.”

Webster said, “As GLMF joins the Classic Turning team, we will continue to deliver the high quality products and service to our customers. GLMF’s senior management will join Classic Turning with John Spencer as Chief Executive Officer and Dennis Zdanowitz as Chief Operating Officer of the Great Lakes Metal Finishing Division of Classic Turning.”

Classic Turning has facilities at 3000 E. South Street and 4905 James McDevitt Street. GLMF is located at 120 S. Dwight Street. All are located in Jackson, Michigan.

To request a quote for your machining or anodize work simply e-mail Alex Webster at Classic Turning at

New Detroit Inc. Elects New Officers and Board Members

DETROIT — New Detroit, Inc., the nonprofit race relations coalition, elected two new officers and eight new board members at its annual meeting. New officers include: Cheryl P. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) as Vice Chair; and Kevin Prokop, Partner of Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC as Vice Chair.

Additionally, several officers were re-elected: William S. Taubman, Chief Operating Officer of Taubman Centers, Inc. as Chairman; Hassan Jaber, Executive Director of ACCESS as Secretary/Treasurer; and Shirley R. Stancato, New Detroit’s President and CEO.

“The blend of experience, expertise and passion the new officers and members bring to the board will be important as we pursue our mission of addressing issues related to race relations in the region,” said Shirley Stancato, New Detroit’s President and CEO.

The eight new Board Members include:

  • Antoine Garibaldi, Ph.D., President, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Ken Harris, President and CEO, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
  • Sylvia Morin, Senior Vice President and Regional Business Manager, Charter One/RBS Citizens
  • Blair Person, President and CEO, Lewis & Munday, P.C.
  • Eric E. Peterson, Vice President, General Motors Company
  • Todd Sachse, President, Sachse Construction Company
  • Prasanna Vengadam, Founder & President, South Asian American Voices for Impact (SAAVI)
  • Randal E. Williams, Regional Vice President, AAA of Michigan

New Detroit, Inc. is a coalition of leaders from civil rights and advocacy organizations, human services, health and community organizations, business, labor, foundations, education, media and clergy. It is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization.  New Detroit’s mission is to serve as the metropolitan Detroit leadership organization working to identify and eliminate racial disparities in the region by building economic equity, social justice and racial understanding. For more information, visit

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January 29, 2013: Ex-Im Bank to Open in Detroit; WJR’s Paul W. Smith Broadcasting Live from Lansing, Jan. 31

State Leaders Announce Opening of Export-Import Bank of the U.S. in Detroit

Governor Rick Snyder joined Senator Debbie Stabenow, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah and Congressmen John Dingell and Gary Peters to announce the opening of the new regional office of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg made the announcement yesterday at the Chamber offices. The new office will provide enhanced access to Ex-Im Bank services.

“The presence of the new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and today’s announcement of the opening of the Ex-IM Bank’s regional office in Detroit highlights Michigan’s central role in the global marketplace. This further reinforces that our state continues to drive innovation sought after around the world,” Baruah said.

Tune in for Live in Lansing with Paul W. Smith, This Thursday

Tune in for a special broadcast of WJR’s Paul W. Smith Show live from Lansing this Thursday, January 31 from 5:30 to 9 a.m. on WJR 760 AM. Members of the state government and special guests, including Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah, will join Smith to discuss what’s happening in the capital and what to expect moving forward. For more information on Smith’s show, click here.

Michelle Rhee to Keynote 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference; Hotels Open Feb. 1

Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst and former chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), is joining Michigan’s Center Stage at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference. Rhee will offer a keynote address followed by an interactive question-and-answer session on the second day of the Conference, sponsored by PNC Bank. Rhee has been recognized for her efforts to successfully turn around DCPS, one of the nation’s worst performing school districts, before forming the bipartisan StudentsFirst organization in 2010. This year’s Conference, once again taking place from May 29-31, will spur a comprehensive dialogue on culture, education and the 21st century global market.

Mackinac Island hotels will begin taking room reservations on February 1 and you must be registered for the Conference to book a room. Click here to register for the Conference or for more information on speakers, Mackinac Island or the Conference agenda.

Get ‘Inside the Mind’ of Nissan’s Carla Bailo, Feb. 5

Join the Detroit Regional Chamber for this special presentation of Inside the CEO Mind featuring Carla Bailo, senior vice president of research and development for Nissan Americas, on Tuesday, February 5 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Nissan Technical Center North America. Attendees will once again be invited to tap into the mind of one of the region’s most influential executives and gain exclusive insight into Bailo’s experience directing vehicle engineering and development operations during this session.

Bailo is one of Nissan’s top executives and was recently featured in the January issue of the Chamber’s Detroiter magazine where she discussed the automotive assets in Southeast Michigan. For more information on this event or to register, click here.

Impacting Local Political Perception at 2013 Detroit Policy Conference

Don’t miss the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2013 Detroit Policy Conference on Thursday, February 28 at MotorCity Casino Hotel. One of the Conference sessions, “Impacting Change: Local Political Perception in 2013,” will provide insight on what businesses and residents will expect from candidates in the coming months. Panelists for this session include Nolan Finley, editorial page editor, The Detroit News; Mildred Gaddis, host, WCHB’s “Inside Detroit;” Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor, Detroit Free Press; and Vince Keenan, founder and president,

This year’s Conference will showcase Detroit’s continued transformation by inviting public and private sector leaders to share their expertise and inspire innovative solutions that encourage urban revitalization. For more information on speakers, the Conference agenda or to register, click here.

University Research Corridor Responsible for $15.5 Billion in Statewide Economic Impact

The University Research Corridor (URC) – made up of the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University – is responsible for $15.5 billion in economic impact statewide, exceeded $2 billion in annual research expenditures and awarded more than 31,600 degrees in one year according to an economic impact report released last week. The URC’s research and development spending grew by 43 percent from 2007 to 2011, topping six other major university research clusters across five states.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroiter magazine recently highlighted the impact the URC has made on Michigan in its January edition. To read the full article, click here. For a copy of the full economic impact report, click here.

Register Today for Automation Alley’s IMPACT 2013, Feb. 21

Don’t miss the annual IMPACT business conference on February 21 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Sterling Inn Conference Center in Sterling Heights. The conference explores what it means to have an impact in today’s business environment, how to take advantage of key resources for business growth and how to connect with clients, colleagues and customers. During this half-day event, attendees will learn new strategies for building business, connect with local businesses to benefit the regional economy and grow resources for success. For more information or to register, click here.

Chamber CEO Talks Auto Industry with Frank Beckmann; NAIAS has Highest Turnout Since 2004

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah spoke with WJR’s Frank Beckmann during the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to discuss MICHauto and the automotive industry in Michigan. The 2013 NAIAS hosted a total of 795,416 visitors through its two-week run, making attendance the highest it’s been since 2004.  Click here to hear the full interview. For more information and additional coverage of the 2013 NAIAS, click here.

Register Now for Detroit Regional Chamber’s Membership Maximizer, Feb. 13

Join the Detroit Regional Chamber next month for a Membership Maximizer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13 at Airea, Inc. and discover the power of your Chamber membership. Membership Maximizers are new member orientations designed to exhibit the ways Chamber resources have helped take member businesses and careers to new heights. To learn more or to register for this free, Chamber-member exclusive event, click here.

Don’t Miss Leadership Detroit Class XXXV Informational Breakfast

Don’t miss your chance to learn about the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit program, the application process and program benefits during an informational breakfast on February 21 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Detroit Zoo Ford Education Center. Attendees will hear from Leadership Detroit alumni on how the program has sharpened their own leadership skills. For more information or to register, click here.


Export-Import Bank opens regional office in Detroit’s Techtown

From the Detroit Free Press

January 28, 2013

By Zlati Meyer

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has opened a regional office in Techtown, the bank announced this morning.

The expert finance center, one of 11 around the country, is designed to help local businesses of all sizes export their products to oversees markets.

“This is an area that makes things sold around the world,” Ex-Im Bank chairman and president Fred Hochberg said at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Global Access Forum in downtown Detroit, adding that in Michigan, 30% of the companies the banks work with are small businesses, as opposed to the 20% nationwide.

Helping Michigan companies reach out to overseas buyers is expected to translate into millions of dollars and many new jobs. The bank, an independent federal agency, helps companies with working capital guarantees, expert-credit insurance and financing to help those overseas buy American products and services.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who attended the conference, recalled that when he was running a business, he found getting letters of credit “not an easy exercise.”

Every $1 billion of exports translates into 7,000 new jobs, according to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“We want to export out products, not our jobs,” she said.

Contact Zlati Meyer: 313-223-4439 or Follow her on Twitter @ZlatiMeyer