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


The Quell Group Hires Charlotte Fisher as Director, Editorial and Content Development

TROY, Mich., July 30, 2013 — The Quell Group has hired Charlotte Fisher as director, editorial and content development, according to Mike Niederquell, president and CEO. Fisher will provide strategic communications support for clients in the financial services, law, automotive, manufacturing and health care industries.

“Charlotte’s keen understanding of business, expertise in brand communication and public relations, and practical knowledge of media will help our clients to develop more relevant content to support their business initiatives,” said Niederquell.

Most recently, Fisher managed her own public relations firm, where she provided strategic communications solutions, specializing in corporate reputation management, brand awareness, product publicity and media relations for clients in health care, financial services and global education. Prior to that, she served as communications director, global design, research and technology staffs at Ford Motor Company. Fisher also worked for nearly 20 years at General Motors where she held numerous communications positions.

Fisher earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. She currently resides in Pleasant Ridge, Mich.

As Michigan’s leading integrated brand communications firm, The Quell Group integrates strategic branding and positioning counsel with marketing and public relations services. Founded in 1994, the firm provides proprietary diagnostic tools to help companies unknot, align and market® their unique value.

# # #

Tanner Friedman promotes Lexi Cerilli to Account Coordinator

Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications has promoted Lexi Cerilli from Assistant Account Coordinator to Account Coordinator.

In her new role, Cerilli will execute a multi-platform communications approach to enhance clients’ strategic communications initiatives. In addition, Cerilli will coordinate the firm’s own marketing strategies, including internal and external communications while working as co-coordinator of Tanner Friedman’s internship program.

Prior to becoming an Account Coordinator, Cerilli supported the Tanner Friedman team and clients’ traditional and social media initiatives utilizing a wide range of marketing and communications platforms.

A previous Tanner Friedman intern, Cerilli graduated Cum Laude from Central Michigan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Public Relations and a minor in marketing.

She resides in Commerce Township, Mich.

About Tanner Friedman

Tanner Friedman is a strategic communications firm specializing in traditional and emerging media relations, adversity management and public relations counsel. Tanner Friedman is located in the landmark Tri-Atria Building at 32255 Northwestern Highway, Suite 298, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit

Butzel Long attorney Louis Theros named a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; Will become the 6th inductee from Butzel Long

DETROIT, Mich. – Integrity, dedication and excellence are key qualities that distinguish Fellows of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Notably, Butzel Long labor and employment attorney Louis Theros has been selected as a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an honor that less than one half of 1 percent of the attorneys who practice in the United States have achieved. Theros will be inducted later this year.

The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is a prestigious and highly limited national honorary of employment law practitioners who are leaders in the field.

Theros is the sixth Butzel Long labor and employment attorney to achieve this recognition. Other firm attorneys who are Fellows of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers include: Robert A. Boonin, John P. Hancock, Jr., James S. Rosenfeld, William M. Saxton and Daniel B. Tukel.

Theros is a shareholder, vice president and serves on Butzel Long’s Board of Directors. He concentrates his legal practice in the areas of employment litigation, labor, advising and counseling clients on statutory employment compliance and gaming law.

He has more than 24 years experience, including first chair trial and appellate responsibilities, in employment discrimination and harassment matters and large class action lawsuits, throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Theros has served as counsel on various traditional labor issues, including organizational campaigns and collective bargaining agreement negotiations and implementation. He also has extensive experience in handling arbitrations arising from collective bargaining disputes and unfair labor practice complaints.

Moreover, he is listed in Best Lawyers in America and is named in Michigan Super Lawyers, both since 2007. He has received an “AV Preeminent” peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Committed to his community, Theros actively participates in a variety of organizations. He currently serves on the Grosse Pointe Farms City Council (2001-present), where he was Mayor Pro Tem from 2005-2007. He also is vice president of the Michigan Ice Hawks Youth Hockey Club, and the treasurer of the Senior Citizen Housing Development Committee for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).

Theros is a former president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (2005-2006), and currently serves as a Trustee of the Association’s charitable arm, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Foundation (2006-present).

He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law (J.D., 1989), and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan (B.A., 1985).

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

Level One Bank honored as Export Finance Lender of the Year by United States Small Business Administration

Level One Bank has been recognized as the Export Finance Lender of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The honor distinguishes Level One as the only lender in Michigan fully utilizing SBA’s Export finance programs to help small businesses grow internationally.

During fiscal year 2012, covering October 2011 through September 2012, Level One Bank provided more Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) loans than any of the other 128 lenders using SBA loan programs in Michigan over that time period.

“While other lenders have access to the SBA export loan program, Level One is the only lender that demonstrated an on-going commitment to proactively seek out opportunities to provide them,” said Allen Cook, Assistant District Director for Lender Relations, Michigan District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “That is a vital differentiator; ensuring Michigan small business is able to take advantage of financial resources aimed at their success.”

“Our organization has developed unparalleled expertise in EWCP loans, enabling our bankers to support clients in their efforts to cultivate and expand sales abroad,” said Patrick J. Fehring, Level One Bank President & CEO. “We are proud of this accomplishment; in particular, what it means for Michigan small business and stimulating the local economy.”

The Export Finance Lender of the Year Award is not an annual award but, rather, an award presented only in years where a lender’s export loan performance is substantial and deserves this level of recognition.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration is a federal government agency that provides assistance to small business through its capital access, entrepreneurial development, and government contracting programs. Since its founding on July 30, 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

About Level One Bank

Level One Bank is a full-service, 5-Star BauerFinancial rated commercial and consumer bank committed to connecting with unparalleled service and delivering outstanding financial solutions. Owned and managed locally, Level One Bank is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan with assets of over $500 million. It currently operates seven full-service banking centers, located throughout Oakland County and the surrounding communities. Level One’s Commercial Division provides a complete menu of products including lines of credit, term loans, commercial mortgages, SBA loans, Export-Import Financing and a full suite of Treasury Management services. The Consumer Division offers personal savings and checking accounts, including free checking and competitive interest-bearing accounts such as Money Markets, IRAs, and CDs. The bank also provides a complete array of consumer loan products including residential mortgages, home equity, auto, and credit card services. Level One offers the sophistication of a big bank, the heart of a community bank, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. For more information, please visit

July 30, 2013: Expert Business Climate Panel Added for Michigan Automotive Summit; Detroit Primary One Week Away

Expert Panel to Discuss Moving Auto Business Forward at 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit
Join Michigan industry leaders and government officials at the 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit, held on September 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a panel discussion titled “Competitive Environment: Business Climate for Success.” This expert panel will weigh in on how changes such as the right-to-work law and the proposed elimination of personal property tax are impacting the automotive industry and the state’s automotive business attraction and retention efforts. 

Panelists include Daniel Domenicucci, senior manager, Ernst & Young LLP; Frank Ervin III, director, government affairs, Magna International Inc.; Steve Hilfinger, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; and Brian O’Connell, regional director, state government relations, General Motors Company. For more information or to register for the Summit, click here


Primary Election One Week Away: Meet Chamber PAC-Endorsed City Council Candidates

 The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) recently endorsed seven candidates for Detroit City Council and encourages all Detroiters to elect a pro-growth City Council for 2013. This year, only four of the nine incumbents eligible to run for reelection chose to seek another four years in office. Of those four current Council members, three earned the Chamber’s endorsement in 2009 and proved that they are excited about Detroit’s reinvention.

Saunteel Jenkins (At-Large)

Saunteel Jenkins was recently elected by her peers to serve as the new Council president. Council member Jenkins is a former Council staff member and social worker. She is running for one of the two at-large seats on the council in 2013. She has earned the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

Andre Spivey (District 4)

Andre Spivey has proven to be a positive and thoughtful member of the Council. Council member Spivey was recently elected to serve as president pro tempore, following the resignation of Council member Gary Brown. He is running to represent District 4 which encompasses much of the East Side of Detroit. He is the pastor of St. Paul’s AME Church in Detroit.

James Tate (District 1)

James Tate has been one of the bright lights on City Council for the past four years. He is running to represent District 1 on the northwest side of the city. Besides earning the endorsement of the Chamber, Council member Tate has the endorsement of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Prior to being elected to Council in 2009, Council member Tate served the Detroit Police Department as a second deputy chief.

In addition, the Chamber PAC decided to endorse four other candidates running for City Council hoping to serve their first term.

Scott Benson (District 3)

Developer and Coast Guard veteran Scott Benson is running to represent District 3 on City Council. Benson ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012 with the Chamber’s endorsement, and was narrowly defeated. Scott has the endorsement of both major newspapers as well as State Sen. Bert Johnson.

Rick Bowers (District 2)

Attorney Rick Bowers has been serving Detroiters for over a decade as a staff attorney for Council members Ken Cockrel Jr. and James Tate as well as a member of Mayor Cockrel’s team. Bowers is campaigning on his experience and longtime residency in District 2 to be able to effectively represent the District’s needs. Both major daily newspapers in the city have endorsed Bowers’ candidacy.

Adam Hollier (District 5)

Adam Hollier also narrowly missed winning a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives with the Chamber’s support in 2012. Hollier served as chief of staff to State Sen. Bert Johnson prior to his 2012 campaign and has been serving as Mayor Bing’s liaison to City Council since. Hollier also carries with him the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

Vince Keenan (District 6)

Lifetime Detroit resident Vince Keenan has been helping Detroiters influence there government for years as the founder of, a voter education website. Keenan was also one of the leaders of the effort to create a City Council that was elected by district as opposed to at-large. Keenan is taking that experience, along with several major endorsements, to attempt to represent District 6 on City Council. 

For more information on city council districts, visit

2011 Detroit Regional Chamber Supplier Summit Leads to $16 Million Contract with DEUTZ

DEUTZ Corporation recently awarded a $16 million contract to Farmington Hills-based automotive supplier PKC Group through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program. The two companies connected initially during a Detroit Regional Chamber Connection Point supplier summit in 2011. The Connection Point program has since merged with PMBC to put on a series of similar purchaser-supplier matchmaking engagements for Michigan vendors.

The Chamber continues to work with PMBC as a strategic partner for events in Southeast Michigan and recently partnered with PMBC to host amatchmaking event with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. To read additional coverage of the DEUTZ contract in Crain’s Detroit Business,click here.

Attorney Todd Pleiness joins Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione’s Detroit Office

Detroit – July 29, 2013 – Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announces Todd A. Pleiness has joined the firm‘s Detroit office as an associate attorney concentrating on patent prosecution in the mechanical arts. The announcement was made by Kelly Burris, Managing Partner of Brinks’ Detroit office.

“We are delighted to welcome Todd to the Brinks team,” said Burris. “He brings broad-based experience in patent prosecution and hands-on engineering to support many of our clients from the Detroit office.”

Immediately prior to joining Brinks, Mr. Pleiness was an Examiner with the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO-Detroit). Before joining the USPTO, he worked as a patent analyst at a research firm and as an IP attorney at a large commercial law firm and a boutique IP law firm. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Pleiness worked at General Motors as a manufacturing engineer, mainly in paint automation and application. He also worked at INA USA, gaining experience in the design and manufacturing of roller bearings for use in automotive components and powertrain.

Mr. Pleiness earned his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University. He is a member of the Michigan Bar Association and the Michigan Intellectual Property Association.

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 160 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Brinks has offices in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, N.C., Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is available at

Thomas Apostolos

President, Ricardo, Inc.

Thomas Apostolos_picThomas Apostolos is president of Ricardo, Inc. – the North American subsidiary of Ricardo plc, one of the world’s leading technical and strategic consultancies.

Tom joined Ricardo, Inc. in October 2012 after a 19 year career at Magna International.  Prior to becoming president of Magna Exteriors & Interiors Asia Pacific in 2007, he was global president of Magna’s Interiors’ Company, Intier Automotive Interiors.  Additionally, he has held general manager positions in a number of Magna divisions. Before joining Magna, Apostolos held engineering and management positions at General Motors.

Apostolos received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Western Ontario. In addition, he has completed leadership programs at Harvard, the Sloan School of Business at MIT and York University.

ITC Holdings’ Joseph L. Welch To Lead Chamber Board, New Directors Announced For 2013-2014 Program Year

DETROIT, July 25, 2013 The Detroit Regional Chamber has announced the election of Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp., as chairman of its Board of Directors for the 2013-2014 program year. Welch succeeds Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO, Henry Ford Health System, who remains on the Chamber’s Board as immediate past chair.

“I’m honored and humbled to be named chairman of this distinguished board and take great pride in the success of our region,” Welch said. “While there is a lot of work yet to do, there is great momentum under way. Like my colleagues on the Board, I’m excited to get to work positioning the Detroit region and Michigan for success.”

Most recently, Welch served as chairman of the Chamber’s 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, the state’s premier public policy event, where approximately 1,600 top business, political and community leaders from across the state gathered to focus on creating a more globally and economically competitive Michigan. Under Welch, the Conference featured many prominent regional change-makers and national speakers including: Governor Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee and “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The 2013 Conference focused on cultural change, education and the 21st century global marketplace.

With the announcement, Henry “Hank” B. Cooney, president and CEO of Plunkett Cooney becomes the Chamber’s first vice chairman who will chair the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, which will be held from Wednesday, May 28 to Friday, May 30.

In addition to announcing the new chair and first vice chairman, the Chamber welcomes the following new directors to the Board:

Carla Bailo, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Nissan Americas

Matthew Cullen, President and CEO, Rock Ventures, LLC

Matthew Elliott, Michigan President, Bank of America

Paul Glantz, President, Emagine Entertainment

Lydia Gutierrez, CEO, Hacienda Mexican Foods

Thomas Manganello, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

Kenneth Marblestone, President, Ohio and Michigan, RBS Citizens

Virinder Moudgil, President and CEO, Lawrence Technological Institute

Daniel Ponder, CEO, Franco Public Relations Group

John Rakolta Jr., Chairman and CEO, Walbridge

Michael Ritchie, Executive Vice President, Comerica Bank

Andra Rush, Founder, President and CEO, Rush Group, LLC

Ramesh (Ray) Telang, Greater Michigan Market Managing Partner, PwC

Alan Young, CEO, Alan C. Young & Associates, PC

David Zilko, Vice Chairman, Garden Fresh Gourmet

“Our region certainly faces challenges, including managing our way through the bankruptcy of Detroit, but our assets and opportunities far outweigh our challenges,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “I am pleased that many of Michigan’s top business leaders are actively supporting the Chamber’s work to drive more private sector investment and job creation.”

For a full listing of Chamber Board members, 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

# # #

PUSH 22 Takes Home Six 2013 IABC Detroit Renaissance Awards

Marcom agency PUSH 22 was recognized on June 27 with six 2013 International Association of Business Communicator (IABC) Detroit Renaissance Awards for the concept and design of its internal website as well as print and TV advertising work on behalf of Faurecia and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center. The accolade recognizes excellence in business communication to promote an organization’s image, marketing or programs.

“Winning these awards showcases the exemplary work that our team creates every day, and the collaborative relationships that we have established with our diverse client base,” said Michael Verville, partner, PUSH 22. “Our work with both Faurecia and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center has allowed us to explore new sides of our creativity and demonstrate our ability to meet and exceed expectations set for highly engaging, inspired brand development and creative execution.”

In addition to work on behalf of its clients, PUSH 22’s own brand redevelopment, website concept and design was honored during the ceremony.

“Being recognized in front of our peers for our own brand redevelopment and new website is an honor,” said David Sarris, partner, PUSH 22. “It is never an easy task to step back and review one’s own image and growth, and to know that we have done it successfully is a testament to the dedicated, highly creative team that we have built. Our team not only creates engaging work for our clients, but they also have the ability to look inside of our organization to strategically evaluate PUSH 22’s evolved brand identity and execute upon their findings.”

2013 IABC awards received include:

  •  Award of Merit: Website design PUSH 22 Website
  •  Award of Merit: Newsletter/Newspaper Faurecia Infos North America
  •  Award of Merit: TV Advertising Crittenton Hospital-ity
  •  Award of Merit: TV Advertising Crittenton Ortho “No Trophies”
  •  Award of Merit: Publications/Newsletters in Communication Skills Faurecia Infos North America/Mexico
  •  Award of Merit: Employee/Member Communication in Communication Management Faurecia FUELS 2012

IABC Detroit Renaissance Awards, which were this year administered and judged by partnering IABC chapters in Nashville, Columbus and Sacramento, recognizes excellence in business communication to promote an organization’s image, marketing or programs. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

Founded by David Sarris and Michael Verville, PUSH 22 employs 15 creative and account professionals, most under the age of 40. Since 2004, PUSH 22 has helped to establish and solidify its clients as leaders in their respective industries by combining strategic vision, creative thinking, technical know-how and an integrated approach to marketing communications. The firm has called downtown Pontiac home for over 10 years.

About PUSH 22
PUSH 22 is an integrated marketing communications agency that is focused on propelling clients ahead by offering original solutions to their marketing problems. The agency provides a unique blend of strategic thinking and creative implementation in the following industries: automotive/manufacturing, IT, residential and commercial building, healthcare, and professional and financial services. PUSH 22 provides branding, advertising, new media solutions, public relations, investor relations and more, to help clients move forward, thinking. For more information, call 248-335-9500 or visit