Ricardo Defense Systems and LIFT Join Forces to Mitigate Risk to Armed Forces Personnel

Ricardo Defense Systems, LLC, and LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA institute, announced today the launch of a $7.5 million joint project to address persistent rollover issues related to the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The initiative’s goal: to limit risk to soldiers’ wellbeing and ensure mission successes by identifying and deploying a new, robust, reliable alternative to documented braking and stability problems in the current HMMWV configuration.

To this end, Ricardo has developed a modified commercial off the shelf (COTS) ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)/ ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system for the HMMWV. The system includes ABS/ESC functionality and improved brake calipers, pads and rotors – the system may reduce fatal rollovers by up to 74 percent. LIFT will help support further development of the Ricardo system while also examining lightweighting system components with advanced casting techniques and metal matrix parts. Every pound saved equates to improved mobility performance, fuel economy and logistics trail.

“Ricardo has done tremendous work in developing these systems aimed at solving a critical problem,” said Alan Taub, chief technology officer, LIFT. “Lightweighting a military platform is of vital importance to our military forces.” The Ricardo system is currently being piloted in 10 vehicles with the Michigan National Guard. The project will expand the National Guard pilot program to include production grade components and processes developed. The leadership of the Michigan National Guard as well as other States are taking the rollover threat seriously.

“Solving the rollover issue and saving lives is mission critical,” said Chet Gryczan, president, Ricardo Defense Systems. “We’re pleased to be working as a team with LIFT, investigating opportunities for lightweighting while taking the system forward to production.”

GKN is one of the technology partners on the project while Michigan Technological University and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute are participating as research partners.

“We are proud that this is a Michigan project providing a national solution to this ongoing problem,” said Lawrence E. Brown, executive director, LIFT. “Our goal is to bring our team to the table and enable creative solutions for problems across a range of manufacturing sectors, including defense.” Going forward, training and additional workforce development will be conducted during integration of the brake kits onto Michigan National Guard HMMWVs. The project team is also working toward building additional test-dedicated HMMWVs to conduct shake, roll and abuse tests and road durability evaluation at the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich. and limited operational review at Camp Grayling, Mich.

Ricardo Defense Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ricardo Inc. established as a separate limited liability company in 2015 and structured under a Defense Security Service ‘Special Security Agreement’. Ricardo Defense provides engineering, technology, product innovation, sustainment, and field support services for our customers in the defense industry. We are committed to providing outstanding value through quality engineering solutions focused on class-leading product innovation and robust strategic implementation. We are guided by our corporate values of respect, integrity, creativity & innovation and passion. Ricardo, Inc. is the US subsidiary of Ricardo plc. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.

LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit www.lift.technology learn more.

Hitachi Business Finance Expands to the Northeast; Hires Thomas Bayer as Origination Leader

Hitachi Business Finance announces that Thomas Bayer has joined their team as an Origination Leader. Bayer will concentrate his efforts on asset-based lending and syndicated credit deals locally in the Northeast region and across the United States.

“Tom is a great addition to our team. He has an extensive background in the banking industry that will prove to be instrumental as we work to bring awareness to the Hitachi Business Finance name in the Northeast,” states Mike Semanco, president and COO.

In his role, Bayer is responsible for managing and expanding relationships with financial institutions, regional banks, and other lending institutions in syndicated transactions, with typical hold positions ranging from $5 – $25 million. Additionally, he will be working with entrepreneurial business owners looking for asset-based financing solutions.

The addition of Bayer furthers the company’s plans to expand its senior-secured financing capabilities. As an alternative to traditional lending institutions, Hitachi Business Finance provides flexible cash solutions including factoring, asset-based lines of credit, lender finance, and syndicated credit opportunities.

Bayer represents Hitachi Business Finance, which is part of the Commercial Finance division of Hitachi Capital America Corp. (HCA). He is based in HCA’s Norwalk, CT corporate headquarters and can be reached at tbayer@hitachibusinessfinance.com or (203) 956-3249.

He brings more than 30 years of experience in asset-based lending with growing companies. Most recently, he was with UBS Investment Bank, where he served as an Executive Director. Bayer also worked at Royal Bank of Scotland Business Capital and Webster Business Credit Corporation. Bayer has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from New York University.

About Hitachi Business Finance
Hitachi Business Finance is a source of opportunity and information for entrepreneurs seeking solutions beyond traditional lending. Backed by the global power of Hitachi Ltd., and with more than a decade of proven success, we offer asset-based financing designed to help improve a company’s cash position.

Visit us at www.hitachibusinessfinance.com for more information.

About Hitachi Capital America Corp.
Hitachi Capital America Corp. is an independent, diversified leasing and financial services company providing financing to commercial businesses and other Hitachi companies in the United States. We offer a variety of asset-based financing solutions with a focus on truck, trailer, and floorplan financing; trade financing; medium/small ticket financing; structured financing; vendor financing; and asset-based lending.

Learn more at www.hitachicapitalamerica.com.

How to attract and retain young professionals in a competitive economy

By Whitney Griffin
President and Board Member, Detroit Young Professionals

Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is the premier networking organization for young professionals and entrepreneurs in metro Detroit. DYP provides opportunities for young professionals and entrepreneurs to grow personally and professionally, connect with each other, and give back to the community. DYP is dedicated to making metro Detroit a better place and developing this region’s next generation of leaders. Started in 2007 as a grassroots organization to attract and retain top talent in a climate of serious brain drain, DYP has remained a mainstay amongst young professionals as the premier networking and development organization for millennials.

Since inception, DYP has evolved into a 501(c)3 organization with a focus on providing personal and professional development opportunities through events-based programming and has amassed a highly engaged digital following of over 35,000 individuals. DYP has also increased its member base by 400% within the past 3 years. This level of engagement has been obtained through a series of initiatives that cater to young professionals and entrepreneurs, including an inclusive business model.

If you’re looking to attract and retain young professionals in this competitive economy, here are three tips to assist you in doing so:

Leverage access to thought-leadersBecause young professionals are career oriented and primed to invest in furthering their professional pursuits, DYP created opportunities to interface with locally (and sometimes globally) renowned thought leaders to provide insight on their journey. Historically, this was accomplished through DYP’s Behind the Scenes: Speaker Series and, more recently, through relevant panel discussions. Such events provided DYP’s network with unrivaled access to leaders to direct questions or source council on burning career questions. Companies can host a series of events, that provide similar access through “lunch and learns” or their own “Behind the Scenes: Speaker Series” with company executives or appropriate partners.

Recognize their efforts and create a platform for spotlightWhile most young professionals do not strive for awards to validate their achievements, many admit that it still feels amazing when being recognized for their efforts. DYP regularly honors outstanding metro Detroit young professionals and entrepreneurs who are excelling in their respective fields at our annual Vanguard Awards ceremony. Honorees are collected through a peer-nominated process and are ultimately finalized internally. DYP Members are also recognized through the Member Spotlight initiative, which highlights an outstanding member on DYP’s blog, social media, and newsletter. Executive Team Members have also been spotlighted for their professional achievements and attributed a deeper appreciation for the organization for such recognition. Regularly recognizing their achievements provides young professionals with a sense of purpose, which is often cited as one of their core attributes in job satisfaction.

Foster opportunities for personal innovationYoung professionals are constantly seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth and will invest time and resources in their enrichment. Upon discovering a gap in available opportunities, DYP moved to produce programming that fostered personal and professional innovation. Moreover, DYP’s brand attracts a pool of career-driven members who are more than happy to connect with like-minded individuals. To retain young professionals, look for ways to foster professional and personal growth. Suggestions include: mentoring, guided 1:1 sessions, relevant workshops, and access to resources for continuing education. Survey your network to discover desired areas of growth and build programming that fills reported gaps to attract and retain young professional talent.

If you’re interested in growing personally and professionally or would like to enrich your employees, we encourage you to join us on Wednesday, March 8 for Networking 101: The Art of Relationship Building with Dale Carnegie Training.

Detroit Young Professionals is a promotional partner for the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference. Register for the Conference today.

MICHauto Student Forum Offers Glimpse of Exciting, In-Demand Careers

By Daniel A. Washington 

Helping to debunk common myths about the auto and mobility industry, MICHauto, in partnership with Ford Motor Co., Oakland University and Planet M, hosted its “Opportunity Auto.Mobility” student career forum on Feb. 16 that included a keynote and networking reception for more than 70 students. The event aims to better engage prospective talent with auto industry experts and employers.

“Auto manufacturers are looking for people who will bring a fresh perspective to the table,” said Jessica Robinson, director of city solutions (Ford Smart Mobility) for Ford, during her keynote address.

Robinson shared her journey leading up to her current role at Ford that included stops at Zipcar, one of the first ride-sharing companies in Detroit, and startup accelerator Techstars.

Robinson reiterated that in today’s industry, anyone with an interest can find a niche for their skills to thrive.

“Starting my career with Zipcar helped me understand the number of opportunities the auto industry can provide,” said Robinson.  “Who would have ever thought an anthropology major would work in the auto and mobility space?”

In addition, a panel of former Oakland students who currently work in the automotive industry discussed the possibilities of international travel, positive work culture and upward career mobility that their jobs offer.

“The autonomous tech space is exploding right now and is offering a number of opportunities to those in a number of fields to work and thrive in a creative and innovative way,” said Robinson.

The panel was moderated by MICHauto’s Rob Luce and included panelists: Mike Dudek, manager of commodity purchasing for Faurecia North America Inc.; Samantha Roberts, communications co-op for Yazaki North America Inc.; Elise Smith, manager of human resources and business partner for American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.; and Cassandra Traynor, manager of human resources for Brose North America Inc.

Following the presentations, students discussed employment opportunities with 16 auto-related companies at the networking reception. Companies in attendance represented a number of counties across the region showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of the industry.

Daniel A. Washington is a marketing and communications coordinator at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Dickinson Wright to Receive Three Honors at the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that it was involved in three deals that are being recognized at the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards presented by The M&A Advisor. The deals being recognized are: Dianne’s Fine Desserts for the Divestiture Deal of the Year (over $100 million); Vinnie Johnson/Irvin Automotive Acquisition for the Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year (over $100 million); and the restructuring of Gilbert & Florence Hospital for the Healthcare/Life Sciences Deal of the Year.

The Divestiture Deal of the Year, Dianne’s Fine Desserts: Superior Capital and management invested $5.1 million of permanent capital to acquire the distressed, non-core dessert subsidiary of Heinz. The sale in June 2016 to Geneva Glen Capital yielded $81.4 million of net equity proceeds, more than 15 times Superior Capital and management’s invested capital and an IRR of 93% over a four year period. At the time of the sale, Dianne’s had become recognized as the new product innovator and had grown to become the market leader of private-label, gourmet desserts due to the Company’s No. 1 supplier position in its product categories to Sysco, US Foods, Performance Food Group and Gordon Food Service, which represent the four largest foodservice distributors in the country.

The Dianne’s acquisition and recent sale was led by Dickinson Wright Attorney Andrew MacLeod (Member, Detroit), the M&A team, along with the due diligence expertise of numerous Detroit-area firms. In addition to Superior Capital and the five firms utilized as direct advisors on the sale transaction, several other Detroit-area firms contributed to the tremendous success of the Dianne’s investment.

The Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year, Vinnie Johnson/Irvin Automotive Acquisition: The Detroit entrepreneur Vinnie Johnson has acquired Irvin Automotive Products, creating one of the largest privately-owned automotive supplier groups in Michigan. Dickinson Wright represented Irvin Acquisition LLC as the buyer in an acquisition of the stock of Irvin Automotive Products Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of TK Holdings, Inc. (Takata). Other companies in the group include Piston Automotive, Detroit Thermal Systems and AIREA, Inc. The acquisition of Irvin Automotive is part of the company’s ongoing plan for further expansion as a global supply-chain leader.

The Dickinson Wright team that was involved in the acquisition was led by Jim Plemmons (Member, Detroit) and Rick Bolton (Member, Detroit), and included Zan Nicolli (Member, Troy), William Shield (Member, Detroit), Cynthia Moore (Member, Troy), John Perkins (Member, Detroit), Colleen Shevnock (Member, Ann Arbor), Andrew MacLeod (Member, Detroit), and Adam Wallace (Associate, Detroit).

The Healthcare and Life Sciences Deal of the Year, Restructuring of Gilbert & Florence Hospitals: Gilbert Hospital is a small emergency hospital located in Gilbert, Arizona, a metropolitan suburb of Phoenix. Florence Hospital at Anthem is a small emergency hospital located in Florence, Arizona, a rural community located 60 miles from Phoenix. The two hospitals were founded by the same physician but were run entirely separate with different management and vendors. They did have a common secured lender. Each hospital suffered from lack of capital, competition, lack of leadership and poor collections. Each filed separate Chapter 11 bankruptcies a year apart.

In an extremely unprecedented move, Gilbert Hospital and the secured creditor proposed a plan of reorganization joining the two essentially unrelated hospitals. However, under their plan, the secured creditor would receive additional collateral and ultimately be paid in full while unsecured creditors would receive a cents-on-the-dollar recovery.

Dickinson Wright Attorney Carolyn Johnsen (Member, Phoenix), representing the unsecured creditors’ committee in the Florence case, countered with a Committee plan and then orchestrated a series of negotiations among all the factions that included the lender, the hospitals’ landlords, the United States Trustee and the Court-appointed patient ombudsman. The result was a full payment to all creditors. This case ultimately was a successful and creative solution to merge a rural and a suburban hospital and combine their respective strengths and reduce their respective weaknesses. Ms. Johnsen serves as the Trustee for the payments to creditors and will achieve the 100% mark.

The 11th Annual Turnaround Awards will take place on March 23, 2017 at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. To see the complete list of honorees for the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards, please click here.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 450 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has seventeen offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and ten other domestic offices in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2018 Detroit Policy Conference

Feb. 27, 2018

Detroit Public Television

In today’s polarized environment, is it possible to instill civility in Detroit as a necessity in all that we do, and not simply a response in times of crisis?

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2018 Detroit Policy Conference will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit. More than 60 speakers will take the stage, offering insight on the need for civility in public discourse, communities and the workplace. Sessions will highlight examples of people and projects that have put differences aside and moved Detroit forward through civility. The Conference will also help define what it means to be civil and examine the role traditional and social media play in driving incivility.

Since it began in 2012, the Detroit Policy Conference has brought together 800 urban and suburban leaders annually from business, civic and government organizations to spend a day discussing Detroit.

Watch live ThursdayMarch 1st from 7:30am-4:30pmLearn more >


World Congress 13th Annual Rewarding Health Behaviors Forum Recap

Jonathan So SpeakingJonathan So, senior director of health care initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber, presented at the World Congress’s 13th Annual Rewarding Health Behaviors Forum on Feb. 7 – 8.  The event, targeted to employers and health plans, provided a broad overview of various strategies to get consumers and employees more engaged in their health.

So presented in a workshop on the first day, covering millennial engagement in health care. This session focused on how the millennial cohort respond differently to the navigation of the health system and the relationship they have with employers. The presentation utilized research collected from the Chamber’s research study completed with member organizations that involved focus groups of millennial employees. A final report of this study will be available later in 2017.

The second day, So presented on the Chamber’s work in promoting the Diabetes Prevention Program, a CDC-recognized lifestyle intervention. Diabetes is a serious chronic condition that represents a significant cost driver to employers as well as tremendous health complications for those afflicted. The DPP is intended to target those most at risk for progressing to type II diabetes. The Chamber has been working with its employer members to educate businesses and their employees on pre-diabetes and the benefits of the DPP.

Grease Sing-Along Fundraiser

Grease is the word, and “Grease” will be the theme of our annual fundraiser Friday, March 24, to benefit the Michael A. Guido Theater. We’ll screen a specially subtitled version–with words to the songs appearing on the screen–of the 1978 iconic film in the theater, beginning at 8 p.m., and everyone is invited to sing along. Patrons are also encouraged to dress for the occasion–poodle skirts and blouses for the women and jeans with turned up cuffs and leather jackets for the men–and enjoy a nostalgic 1950s evening, featuring after-the-movie food, a cash bar, a costume contest and much more.

Join us for this one-of-a-kind experience that benefits the Michael A. Guido Theater. Tickets are available by calling (313) 943-2354, visiting dearborntheater.com, or stopping by the Theater Box Office, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

One of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” Takes Michigan’s Center Stage

Darren WalkerHear from Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, on Thursday, June 1 during the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference.

For more than two decades, Walker has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. He led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy in 2013. Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, he served as vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed the Rebuilding Together New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, Time magazine named Walker as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2016.

An expert on a range of social justice issues, Walker will discuss how to shrink the opportunity gap and enhance quality of life for all Michiganders by promoting economic inclusion strategies.

Butzel Long attorneys featured during Walsh College’s Eighth Annual Human Resources Summit; Attorney Rebecca S. Davies co-chairs event for the eighth year

Butzel Long attorneys Rebecca S. Davies, Linda J. Armstrong and Bushra A. Malik will be featured speakers during Walsh College’s Eighth Annual Human Resources Summit on March 3, 2017 at its Troy campus. For additional information, visit http://www.walshcollege.edu/hrsummit

Davies, an adjunct faculty member, is again a co-chair of the event. She will present a program titled, “Legal Updates: New Horizons for Labor and Employment Law.” Notably, Armstrong and Malik will co-present a program titled, “Changes with the Trump Administration – An Immigration Perspective.”

Rebecca S. Davies

Rebecca S. Davies is based in Butzel Long’s Detroit office. She concentrates her practice primarily in the areas of employment law and commercial litigation. She represents employers in federal and state court litigation and before state and federal administrative agencies. She regularly counsels employers regarding compliance under federal and state employment laws (including FLSA, FMLA, ADA and Title VII), drafts policies and procedures, and advises on preventative strategies.

Linda J. Armstrong

Linda J. Armstrong is based in Butzel Long’s Detroit office. She concentrates her practice in the area of business and family immigration law, including all aspects involved with the international movement of personnel; immigration consequences of corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions; employer and workplace compliance issues, including I-9 and H-1B public access file investigations; inbound and outbound work-authorized immigrant and nonimmigrant matters; and labor certification. Armstrong is a member of the Firm’s Paralegal Committee and the Firm’s Global Automotive Industry Group.

Bushra A. Malik

Bushra A. Malik is a shareholder practicing in Butzel Long’s Bloomfield Hills office. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University’s James Madison College. Malik practices in the area of immigration law, focusing her practice on the representation of multinational and domestic clients’ inbound and global migration needs; including employment based and family based permanent residence petitions and non-immigrant petitions; employer compliance; complex naturalization matters; and currency seizures. Prior to joining Butzel Long, Malik has worked for the DOS, EOIR, UNHCR and INS. Malik holds leadership positions with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a frequent speaker at AILA conferences.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as alliance offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City and Monterrey. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long