June 30: Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Summer Jobs Initiative Exceeds Goal of Employing 5,000 Youths

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Summer Jobs Initiative Exceeds Goal of Employing 5,000 Youths

As a lead partner in Mayor Mike Duggan’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) summer employment program, the Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates Mayor Duggan following his announcement last Friday that, in its first year, the program exceeded its goal of connecting more than 5,000 Detroit youths with jobs in order to prepare them for sustainable career pathways.

Following the Mayor’s announcement of the GDYT program at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Chamber made it a Conference To-Do List item. As a result, the Chamber hosted the Mayor’s kickoff breakfast this past January and partnered with the Mayor’s office and community organizations to help design a system that was as streamlined and simple as possible in order to maximize the number of participating businesses. Leading up to the enrollment deadline, the Chamber engaged with numerous member organizations, who pledged support through hiring students, making a donation, or both.

With the Mayor’s plan to expand the number of jobs to 8,000 in 2016, the Chamber is again looking forward to partnering on this important program. For more information on the GDYT program, click here.

‘Get Your Heart Racing’ Revs Up Donors at Henry Ford Hospital Vascular Research Fundraiser

The Detroit Regional Chamber proudly lent its support to the fifth annual Get Your Heart Racing fundraiser presented by Ford Motor Co. on June 11 to benefit the Edith and Benson Ford Heart and Vascular Institute at Henry Ford Hospital. The event, co-chaired by Chamber President Sandy Baruah and Gorno Automotive Group Executive Vice President Cindy Czarnik, raised $350,000, which will help fund innovative research at one of the oldest, most experienced and advanced cardiovascular centers in the nation.

More than 300 attendees enjoyed a private unplugged concert by country music star Toby Keith as part of the fundraiser. In addition, through a partnership with Michigan International Speedway (MIS), the fundraiser served as a kickoff to NASCAR weekend in Detroit. Click here to view images from the event.

Area Development Magazine Study Reveals Southeast Michigan Among Top Areas for Sustainable Economic Development

Southeast Michigan is among the top 100 regions leading the United States in economic development, according to a new report in Area Development magazine. Utilizing 21 economic indicators from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis, the report examines 373 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), ranking the city of Ann Arbor No. 30. The cities of Warren, Troy and Farmington Hills ranked 44th overall and were rated 14th for their “recession busting” attributes and business friendly climate, and 25th for economic strength. The positive results benefit businesses looking to expand or relocate to the region.

Earlier this year, the Detroit Regional Chamber and 11 economic development organizations representing Southeast Michigan signed a protocol agreement to continue to collaborate on business attraction efforts designed to bring increased national and foreign investment to the region. The protocol recognizes that regional messaging and coordinated outreach adds value and impact to business attraction efforts and strategies. Click here to read the full report in Area Development magazine.

Chamber Office Closed Friday in Observance of Fourth of July Holiday

The Detroit Regional Chamber will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, July 6. Have a safe and happy holiday!

American Society of Employers (ASE) looks at Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage as it impacts Michigan employers

Livonia, Mich. —June 29, 2015 —Employers in Michigan and around the country have already begun reviewing their benefit offerings and internal policies to ensure that none of them exclude same-sex marriage partners or divorced partners. So said Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of the American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations. Corrado’s comments came following the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 26 that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry, and any same-sex marriage must be recognized in all states.

“There are multiple employer practices that will be impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Corrado. “Examples include leave policies under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), dependent coverage in health insurance plans and survivor benefits under employer retirement plans.”

Corrado says the decision may provide administrative relief to employers who do business in multiple states, encompassing those states that already recognized same-sex marriages and those that did not. Further, employers who currently offer domestic partner benefits to unmarried same-sex and/or opposite-sex partners of their employees may choose to no longer offer such benefits. According to a benefits survey released by ASE earlier this month, more than 10% of survey respondents offered domestic partner benefits only to same-sex unmarried partners.

In a survey distributed by ASE this morning and completed by 60 member organizations (48% in manufacturing), 47% of respondents said they had policies that needed to be updated as a result of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. The policies were largely related to health plans, FMLA, life insurance and retirement plans.

“Many Michigan employers are going to be very busy over the next several months as they re-write and introduce new policies and practices that adhere to the new same-sex marriage law,” Corrado said. “At the same time, many other employers who have been watching the trajectory regarding the same-sex marriage debate in Michigan have been anticipating this ruling and are well positioned to make a smooth transition.”

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

New gun policy by Uber reignites discussion on whether its on-demand workers are independent contractors or employees

Detroit, Mich. – June 29, 2015 – With Uber’s new no-firearms policy prohibiting both drivers and riders from possessing a firearm of any kind in the vehicle, the network transportation service is facing more questions as to how far the company and other app-driven companies in the on-demand economy can go in controlling the behavior of independent contractors without running afoul of the law. Kellen Myers, an attorney with Detroit-based management side labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, P.C., says the key issue with Uber, already embroiled in a multi-front battle defending its classification of its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, is the new gun policy regulates a driver’s otherwise lawful behavior.

“The recent change by Uber was prompted, in part, by an incident in late April where an Uber driver in Chicago shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people,” Myers said. “The Uber driver’s actions were ultimately considered lawful because he had a concealed carry permit and acted in defense of himself and others.”

Prior to this incident, Uber did not have a weapons restriction policy of any kind.

“The new policy by Uber is noteworthy in how it regulates a driver’s otherwise lawful behavior. For example, under Michigan’s concealed handgun law, an Uber driver would be permitted to carry a concealed weapon if properly licensed,” Myers said. “With Uber’s policy change, the driver is now restricted from doing so or risk losing his or her ability to use Uber’s software platform.”

Generally, courts and government agencies look to the amount of control a company exerts over a worker to determine whether that worker is properly classified as an independent contractor or an employee. In essence, the more control exerted by the company the less the worker appears like an independent contractor.

“Improper classification of workers by employers can lead to significant liability and bring unwanted lawsuits or agency investigations,” Myers said. “Uber’s policy change and legal battles have brought more attention to employer use of independent contractors overall and in the on-demand worker economy. Employers need to be particularly aware of their use of these workers and craft an appropriate business strategy taking worker issues into consideration.”

Myers says companies that plan on using on-demand workers as a business strategy need to consider the following:
 The pros and cons of using an independent contractor/on-demand worker versus a full or part-time employee, including wages, benefits, taxes, insurance, the potential of misclassifying the individuals and, from a talent perspective, whether a company can grow and sustain itself and build value using an on-demand worker model.
 Conducting an audit to insure the individual is properly classified as an on-demand worker/independent contractor.
 Making sure the audit conducted looks at applicable classification tests the U.S. Department of Labor uses, as well as the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Michigan.
 Involving a corporate accountant, corporate attorney and employment attorney before adopting a specific employment model to insure all bases are covered.

About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.



(Sterling Heights) . . . Todd Piersol, Executive Vice President of Brown & Brown of Detroit and Brian Pilarski, Sales Leader, are pleased to announce that the office recently welcomed Tricia Godin to the team. Tricia will be taking on the role of Benefits Producer.

In her new role, Tricia will begin studying and preparing to take her state licensure exam, as well as training with Brown & Brown University to provide excellent service to her clients. “I am looking forward to becoming an expert in healthcare reform and serving as a valuable consultant and resource to my clients,” she stated.

Tricia possesses a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University. She got into outside sales right out of college, and has extensive experience in selling office products and telecommunications. Prior to joining Brown & Brown this week, she worked at Payroll 1 for ten years as a sales representative. Her payroll experience should translate well to working in the field of employee benefits.

Brown & Brown offices in Michigan comprise the third largest segment of insurance brokerage in the state, placing over $500 million in client premiums. The firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States.


(Sterling Heights) . . . Todd Piersol, Executive Vice President of Brown & Brown of Detroit and Brian Pilarski, Sales Leader, are pleased to announce that the office recently welcomed Jillian Nemeth to the team. Jillian has taken on the role of Sales & Operations Coordinator, a newly created position.

In her new role, Jillian will assist profit center leadership with operations. The rest of her time will be spent focused on marketing and creating and maintaining a consistent message in the community. Jillian strives to help Brown & Brown of Detroit capitalize on their excellent reputation in the insurance industry.

Jillian has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and journalism from Oakland University. She completed a journalism internship at The Voice Newspapers, then worked in the human resources field for four years, most recently at McLaren Macomb.

Brown & Brown offices in Michigan comprise the third largest segment of insurance brokerage in the state, placing over $500 million in client premiums. The firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance, the sixth largest insurance intermediary in the United States.

Forbes Highlights Chamber’s Business Attraction Efforts, Detroit’s Manufacturing Comeback

Detroit’s manufacturing industry is on the fast track for economic comeback, and the world is taking notice, a new Forbes article reports.

The article, “Made In Detroit: The Story Behind The Motor City’s Manufacturing Boom,” highlights how Detroit is adding manufacturing jobs and attracting new national and international companies as it reemerges economically following the Great Recession, while sharing the Detroit Regional Chamber’s role in business attraction efforts.

Forbes explores the new story of entrepreneurship and opportunity emerging from Detroit, which has added 55,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2009. Of those, 28,000 are automotive-related.

Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development for the Chamber, attributes much of the growing investment in Detroit and Southeast Michigan to the work of the Chamber’s Business Attraction program, along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber’s regional partners.

Whether it is attending trade shows, courting site selectors from across the nation, or hosting trade missions in China, Germany and Italy with Gov. Rick Snyder, Krauss said she is often inundated with questions about the automotive industry’s comeback. The region’s highly-skilled manufacturing workforce, automotive excellence and existing supply chain are key elements of the business attraction pitch to manufacturers and investors looking for an ideal site to grow their operations and compete in the global economy.

“When these companies hear about Detroit, they hear the region. They aren’t looking at borders between communities. They view all of Southeast Michigan and they are very curious about what’s going to happen here next.”

That’s why, Krauss said, it’s important to continue to market the region with one unified voice, develop a cohesive message and continue to invite foreign investors to explore Detroit’s comeback in person.

Click here to read the article in Forbes.

Nemeth Law attorneys discuss timely employment issues

Detroit, Mich. –June 24, 2015 –Attorneys with Detroit-based management side labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, P.C., have made several presentations during the second quarter of 2015. The discussions covered a variety of employment law topics:

  • Partner Terry Bonnette presented Managing Religion in Long-Term Care on May 6 at the Healthcare Association of Michigan (HCAM)/Michigan Center for Assisted Living (MCAL) conference in Marquette, Mich.
  • Patricia Nemeth, founder of Nemeth Law P.C., and partners Susan Koval and Thomas Schramm presented Litigating the Pregnancy Discrimination Claim to a large industry trade group on May 13 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • At the Nemeth Law Raising the Bar series on May 20, Terry Bonnette and attorney Erin Behler presented Employee Leave Policies that Work, highlighting new interpretations of the FMLA, PDA, ADA and other employment leave-related policies and practices.

In addition, Nemeth Law’s video series covering timely topics in employment law, such as employment classifications challenges in the gig economy and non-compete agreements for minimum wage workers, continues. Videos can be viewed on the Nemeth Law website and YouTube channel.

About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in arbitration, mediation, workplace investigations, employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation/training for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.


Michigan State University law student/patent holder joins Brinks Gilson & Lione’s Ann Arbor office as summer associate

ANN ARBOR – June 23, 2015 -Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announces Li Gao, Ph.D., has joined the firm’s Ann Arbor office as a summer associate. In this position, Gao will assist with researching various patent issues, conducting prior art and patentability searches and drafting letters regarding patent office actions.

Prior to attending law school, Gao worked at AFID Therapeutics Inc. in Lansing, Mich., where she was director of research and development, responsible for the development and commercialization of new chemicals. She began her career at AFID Therapeutics as a research scientist and also served as discovery chemistry group leader. Gao has published articles in a variety of scholarly journals, including the Journal of Organic Chemistry. She is admitted to the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and has three patents in the chemical field.

Gao holds a Ph.D. in chemistry with a 4.0 GPA from Michigan State University, where she served as a research and teaching assistant, and a Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, both from Nankai University, China. She is currently enrolled at Michigan State University Law School and is the recipient of jurisprudence awards in research, writing and analysis, advocacy and torts. Her expected graduation is May 2017.

Brinks Gilson & Lione
The attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents at Brinks Gilson & Lione focus their practice in the field of intellectual property, making Brinks one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world rely on Brinks to help them protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks attorneys provide counseling in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. More information is available at www.brinksgilson.com.

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Hitachi Business Finance Provides $750,000 Line of Credit to Michigan Staffing Firm

Rochester, MI, June 23, 2015 – Hitachi Business Finance today announced a $750,000 asset-based line of credit for a staffing company that provides IT, engineering, accounting and skilled and unskilled corporate staffing.

The company was in need of a new source of funding because they had outgrown their current bank loan and were looking at future expansion plans. With a new line of credit from Hitachi Business Finance, the company now has the working capital they need and are looking forward to securing new clients.

“Bank loans often have limitations on size and flexibility,” said President and COO Mike Semanco. “As is the case with this client, we were able to offer a larger loan with room to grow. That’s one of the primary differences and the benefit of asset-based lending – we can offer more borrowing power because we use your company’s A/R and inventory as collateral rather than just cash flow ratios and personal assets.”

For more information, visit www.hitachibusinessfinance.com.

About Hitachi Business Finance
Hitachi Business Finance provides business cash flow solutions to support a company’s continued growth and success. A division of Hitachi Capital America Corp., we offer commercial and government A/R financing and lines of credit. Based in Rochester, Michigan, with an office in Atlanta, we provide easy and flexible financing to companies of all sizes across the United States. Learn more by visiting www.hitachibusinessfinance.com or calling (248) 658-1100.

About Hitachi Capital America Corp.
Hitachi Capital America Corp. is an independent, diversified leasing and financial services company providing financing to Hitachi group companies and the commercial business sector in the United States and Canada. Hitachi Capital America offers a variety of asset-based financing solutions with a business focus on truck, vendor, trade, and medical equipment finance, as well as lease discounting and software financing. Learn more at www.hitachicapitalamerica.com.

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New Detroit Regional Chamber member!

FrontWest Customs Brokerage & Services LLC is a full service Customs brokerage firm, providing entry, consulting and training services to the Metro Detroit importing community.
We teach seminars -two upcoming in July- provide on site training tailor made to your company and can help with any import / freight forwarding need that you might have!