Attorney Lisa S. Gretchko Named to Crain’s Detroit Business 2019 Notable Women in Law

ROYAL OAK, Mich., November 5, 2019 – Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that attorney Lisa S. Gretchko was selected to Crain’s Detroit Business 2019 “Notable Women in Law.” The women featured were selected by a team of editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to their community, and mentorship of others.

Joining Howard & Howard in late 2003, Lisa provides informal direction, insight, and counsel to the attorneys in the firm’s Business Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group. As a highly experienced bankruptcy and creditors’ rights attorney, she consistently leads by example in her professional and successful representation of many clients, including large companies in the state and around the country.

Lisa has served a variety of professional organizations including the American Bankruptcy Institute where she is currently the Vice President-Publications, chair of the Publications Committee, and member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. She is a past secretary and council member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Real Property Law Section, and a current member of the Mediation Panel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Lisa is a frequent author and speaker

Recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer and named to The Best Lawyers in America©, among others, Lisa is a long-time supporter of Ferndale, Mich.-based Affirmations and the Michigan Autism Partnership.

An energetic and enthusiastic attorney, Lisa remains eager to learn and contribute to the legal profession in any way that she is able.

About Howard & Howard:

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice, providing legal services to businesses and business owners. With more than 160 attorneys, the firm has offices in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Royal Oak), Illinois (Chicago and Peoria), Las Vegas, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California.  For more information, please visit


Walsh President Marsha Kelliher Named to Crain’s Notable Women in Education

TROY, Mich., Sept. 23, 2019 — Marsha Kelliher, J.D, LL.M., President and CEO of Walsh, has been named to the 2019 Notable Women in Education list by Crain’s Detroit Business. The list highlights women in the education sector who are leaders in their workplaces and communities.

Since arriving at Walsh in 2017, Kelliher has led an ambitious strategic plan initiative and launched several new academic programs including the nation’s first multi-course concentration in automotive cybersecurity, the innovative Master of Arts in Business, a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management, Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management and the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.

Kelliher has championed the use of technology at all levels, leading to new software implementations for recruitment, advancement, advising, financial aid services and academics. In 2018 and 2019, she was named One of the Most Powerful Business Leaders in Metro Detroit in Education by DBusiness’ Detroit 500 and was an Honored Guest at the 2019 Inforum Inner Circle.

“Marsha Kelliher embodies the leadership and innovation that Walsh was founded on nearly 100 years ago,” said Michael Plotzke, Chairman of the Walsh Board of Trustees and CFO of Plastipak Holdings, Inc. “She challenges the entire organization to continually look to the future and embrace new technology and methodology. This recognition is well-deserved.”

Kelliher is a member of the Executive Committee of Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities and the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club. She is a member of the Army-Southeast Michigan Advisory Council and also serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

For more information about Walsh, visit

# # #

Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of Southeast Michigan’s largest graduate business schools, offering classes in several locations and online. Our nationally-ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, human resources, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (

Crain’s “40 Under 40” Recognizes 13 Chamber Members Among Class of 2019

The Detroit Regional Chamber congratulates 13 business leaders from Chamber member companies for being featured on the Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” list for 2019. These leaders are recognized for their connection to each other through their work on some of Michigan’s most pressing industries and issues: technology, inclusivity and opportunity for all.

  • John Barker, Managing Director, Kresge Foundation
  • Kate Baker, Executive Director, Oakland Housing
  • Aaron Burrell, Member, Dickinson Wright
  • Dandridge Floyd, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations and Labor Relations, Oakland Schools
  • Garlin Gilchrist II, Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan
  • Tina Kozak, President, Franco Public Relations Group
  • Luke Polcyn, Principal, Miller Canfield
  • Summer Ritner, Chief Operating Officer/Director, Belle Isle Conservancy/Belle Isle Aquarium
  • Tiffany Sanford, Chief Medical Officer, The Wellness Plan Medical Center
  • Alissa Sevrioukova, Public Affairs Chief of Staff and Corporate Citizenship Manager, DTE Energy
  • Gabrielle Sims White, Partner, Honigman LLP
  • Matt Walters, Deputy Group Executive, City of Detroit Mayor’s office
  • Dan Ward: Co-founder and president, Detroit Labs

Automation Alley Senior Director Cynthia Hutchison named to Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in STEM

TROY, Mich.— May 28, 2019 — Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, is pleased to announce that Cynthia Hutchison, senior director, has been recognized on the Crain’s Detroit Business list of Notable Women in STEM. This report salutes acclaimed women professionals who demonstrate excellence and encourage further professional development within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The distinguished visionaries on the list were selected based on their career accomplishments, involvement in civic and non-profit activities, and mentorship of others in the field. Crain Content Studio worked with advisors in STEM to review nominations and select the final honorees. Hutchison’s profile can be viewed here.

As Automation Alley’s senior director, Hutchison has spearheaded multiple efforts that have helped shift the organization from its Oakland County tech hub roots to a recognized global leader for Industry 4.0—or the Fourth Industrial Revolution of smart and connected factories that converge cyber and physical systems. Under Hutchison’s leadership, Automation Alley has become Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, convening thought leaders including the World Economic Forum and serving Michigan’s manufacturing ecosystem during this time of rapid technological advancement.

As senior director, Hutchison has helped to introduce several STEM-related programs to Automation Alley’s offerings, including the popular Tech Takeover event series, which provides Automation Alley members an opportunity to showcase their expertise on smart technologies for Industry 4.0 while preparing the supply chain for the digital revolution. Hutchison also helped introduce Automation Alley’s new MI Smart Factory Tour, which gives college students working towards STEM degrees the opportunity to tour Michigan smart factories and learn about new cutting-edge technologies while simultaneously giving manufacturers accessibility to potential future employees.

In addition to these programs, Hutchison also championed a new collaborative approach between industry, academia and government for Automation Alley’s signature Technology in Industry Report and brought in major sponsors for Automation Alley’s global Industry 4.0 conference, Integr8, which, now in its third year, will be moving to Detroit’s Cobo Center in November to accommodate skyrocketing popularity.

“Cynthia Hutchison brings a multi-faceted strategic focus to Automation Alley,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO. “At the heart of it, Cynthia is a STEM connector who maximizes her innate ability to identify issues and offer solutions. Through introductions and business partnerships, generating new Automation Alley programming, and commanding Automation Alley events and sponsorships, her creativity and strong business approach have helped elevate our organization within Michigan while bringing us to the global stage.”

In 2006, Hutchison was named one of 13 “Michiganians of the Year” by the Detroit News for her efforts on behalf of Band of Angels, an international advocacy and support organization she founded for educating, employing and providing inclusive opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other cognitive impairments. Hutchison started Band of Angels following the birth of her son, Jordan, in 1989, who has Down syndrome.

Hutchison holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa. She is a resident of Rochester Hills.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a nonprofit manufacturing and technology business association and Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, with a global outlook and a regional focus. We connect industry, academia and government to fuel Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. We offer programs, resources and knowledge to help our members grow and prosper in the digital age.

Our Mission
The mission of Automation Alley is to position Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and make strategic decisions during a time of rapid technological change.


Whitmer sets new higher-ed goal — with clearer message — 15 years after Cherry Commission

February 17, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

By Chad Livengood

“If Michigan’s residents, education systems and governments can work together to increase the share of the state’s population with credentials of value, Michigan will be a vanguard state for economic vitality and quality of life.”

That was one conclusion from a 143-page report authored by the commission that then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm empaneled in 2004 to lay out a strategy for Michigan to double the percentage of adults with post-secondary credentials within a decade.

The commission chaired by former Lt. Gov. John Cherry called for a sweeping new approach to developing the Michigan’s talent pool — from improving degree completion rates to breaking down the silos between the hundreds of K-12 school districts, 28 community colleges, 15 public universities and 25 private colleges.

For the most part, the Cherry commission’s primary strategies were never fully realized — for a whole bunch of economic and political reasons.

After the report was released, a multimillion-dollar gubernatorial election ensued, Michigan’s decade-long single-state recession ballooned into a near-depression, the national economy collapsed, two of the three automakers went bankrupt, people with bachelor’s degrees left the state by the moving van load, higher-education funding got repeatedly slashed — and we have spent the past decade crawling out of the hole.

Here we are nearly 15 years later, with a new Democratic governor who is, once again, calling for a focused approach to boosting the number of adults with college degrees or high-quality certificates.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of having a 60 percent higher-education attainment rate by 2030 is actually below the 64 percent rate Granholm challenged leaders in education, philanthropy, business and government to achieve by 2014.

As of 2017, 45 percent of Michigan’s adult population had a college degree or high-quality credential, ranking the Great Lakes State at 32nd in the nation, according to the Lumina Foundation.

“Had Michigan been able to implement some of the 2004 Cherry commission goals we would have a better-educated, more competitive and a more prosperous workforce today,” said Richard Rassel, chairman of the Butzel Long PC law firm and co-chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative.

To reach the 60 percent goal by the end of the next decade, Whitmer proposes establishing a new state scholarship that would make two years of community college free and allow the scholarship to be applied to the first two years of a four-year education at not-for-profit universities. She also wants to reconnect adults over age 25 with educational opportunities to earn technical certificates or associate’s degrees that also would be paid for by taxpayers.

“If you’re willing to put in the work, you will have a path to succeed,” Whitmer said Feb. 12 in her first State of the State address.

Whitmer’s proposed Michigan Reconnect program targets an entire generation of under-educated adults in their 30s, 40s and even their early 50s who have some college credentials, but never completed a degree or certificate program.

In the seven counties of Southeast Michigan, this subset of the potential workforce amounts to 691,000 adults, or nearly 7 percent of the state’s population, said Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent programs for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Southeast Michigan is 570,000 degrees or credentials short of meeting the Detroit chamber’s own goal of having 60 percent of adults in the region with a post-secondary credential by 2030.

“Southeast Michigan has a large pool of people with some post-secondary education, but no credential,” Handel said.

Statewide, an outsized portion of Michigan’s adult population lacks a higher-education credential of any sort.

Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in the percentage of adults — 20 percent — with just a high school diploma, said John Austin, director of the Michigan Economic Center and past adviser to the Cherry commission.

Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect program offers a chance to “upskill” these adults who have 10 to 30 more working years ahead of them, Austin said.

“If we’re serious about reaching the (60 percent) goal, with declining school-age populations, the best way we’re going to reach the goal is to help the adults who are already out there get a job,” said Austin, a former president of the State Board of Education.

Like any major shift in public policy, there are a lot of details to flesh out and challenges to making this goal a reality.

The first one, of course, is cost and how to pay for it.

During the campaign, Whitmer’s camp estimated both programs would cost a combined $100 million. That won’t be easy to come up with in a state budget under increasing strain after nearly two decades of stagnant growth.

Whitmer will detail the costs of these two programs in her budget presentation to lawmakers on March 5.

“That’s where the rubber hits the road,” said Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities.

The Cherry commission placed an emphasis on state taxpayer investment in scholarships that drove the desired outcome of having a better-skilled and educated workforce.

“Existing scholarship programs, including Merit scholarships, must continue to give access to higher education but also should be revised to create powerful student incentives for successful completion of a degree if Michigan is to maximize the economic benefit it reaps from its investment in higher education,” the Cherry commission wrote.

Whitmer’s challenge is not just getting the Legislature to agree to a new program during an economic boom time, but getting them to maintain it when the next recession hits, Cherry said.

The Michigan Merit Award scholarship was later replaced by the Michigan Promise scholarship, which got axed by lawmakers in the budget cuts during the recession.

“That was, unfortunately, Democrats (in the House) that unfunded it,” Cherry said.

The second challenge to meeting Whitmer’s new higher-ed attainment goal is public messaging.

“There’s a lot of messengers, but she is the most important messenger in the state,” Hurley said.

Granholm’s goal of doubling the percentage of adults with a degree or credential was undermined by “a messaging problem” that the goal was solely about doubling the number of bachelor’s degrees, Austin said.

“It’s not college vs. career technical and skilled trades,” Austin said. “It’s we need more of all.”

Cherry said Whitmer has better articulated how skilled trades and technical certificates should be part of the pool of post-secondary credentials to help Michigan achieve this new goal.

“She talked about that in clearer terms than we did and said that was legitimate and that it needed support,” Cherry said.

Handel said a “multi-dimensional” approach is needed to not only get high school graduates and adults enrolled in college or certificate programs, but also guide them to completion.

“There’s no simple solutions here,” he said.

View the original article

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Richard Rassel: Taking on the talent gap

February 10, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Richard Rassel

In a few days Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her first State of the State address. A major step in preparing for the state’s economic future is to ensure more residents complete postsecondary degrees and certifications.

In the heated competition with other states to attract private business investment, Michigan must elevate its profile as a talent pipeline to a range of industries in need of exceptionally qualified employees.

Yet before Michigan can boast a plentiful well-educated and highly trained workforce, there’s a pressing need to increase individuals with postsecondary degrees and high-skill job credentials. Degrees and credentials are prerequisites for advancement in a U.S. economy where 65 percent of jobs will require postsecondary credentials by next year.

By 2020, Michigan employers expect to need 176,000 more college grads to fill openings, and 126,000 skilled workers with a two-year degree or certificate, according to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. Of the current “Hot 50” high-demand, high-wage jobs in the state, 36 require at least a four-year degree.

The stark reality, however, is 72 percent of metro Detroit’s high school graduates enroll in a college or university within a year after graduation whereas only 27 percent of them earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

There’s work to be done.

Detroit Drives Degrees is a collaborative initiative undertaken by regional leaders in higher education, K-12, business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Led by the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, Detroit Drives Degrees seeks to increase postsecondary degrees or certificates to 60 percent of the population by 2030.

To improve job preparedness and the appeal of the regional workforce to regional, national and global employers, this plan calls for increasing access to education for high school students and adults; improving student success and removing barriers to degrees, and retaining and attracting talent to the region.

Currently, Michigan ranks 36th in the nation in college attainment with 28.3 percent of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Community Survey. Michigan falls below the national average of 31.3 percent.

But with Michigan having the fifth-highest share of population with some postsecondary education but no degree or credential, there is a timely opportunity to make significant progress toward the 60-percent target. Detroit Drives Degrees and its partners are actively seeking to re-engage the 690,000 adults in metro Detroit who enrolled in college but did not finish.

The appeal is straightforward: More education translates strongly into higher wages and stronger state economies. Indeed, the top 15 states ranked by higher education attainment are also states with the highest GDP per capita.

Postsecondary education isn’t strictly about economics. Odds are five times greater for the poorest Detroit residents, for instance, to advance economically from poverty with a postsecondary education, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.

Together, more credentials and college degrees will deepen and broaden the region’s talent pool, a necessary road to take as Gov. Whitmer formulates the next phase of the state’s economic development strategy.

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University, and Richard Rassel, chair/director of global relations at Butzel Long, are co-chairs of Detroit Drives Degrees leadership council.

View the original article here

New regional economic development nonprofit gets a name, starts meeting with leaders in 11-county area

January 10, 2019

By: Sherri Welch

Crain’s Detroit Business

The economic development nonprofit created by the “no-name” regional CEO group has a new name and has launched a monthlong “listening tour.”

Counties covered by Detroit Regional Partnership

Genesee County
Lapeer County
Lenawee County
Livingston County
Macomb County
Monroe County
Oakland County
Shiawassee County
St. Clair County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County

Led by CEO Barry Matherly, the newly named Detroit Regional Partnership is meeting with stakeholders across 11 counties in Southeast Michigan to learn more about economic-development programs and priorities in each.

Matherly has started out talking with community leaders in Washtenaw, Monroe and Lenawee counties and plans to meet over the next few weeks with their peers in eight other Southeast Michigan counties that mirror the Detroit Regional Chamber’s territory

Among them is Oakland County, which is set to meet with Matherly and the Detroit Regional Partnership in two weeks.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson will not participate in any initial meetings, said Bill Mullan, spokesman for the Oakland County executive.

But other county representatives will, including Deputy County Executive/Chief Information Officer Phil Bertolini, Chief Deputy County Executive Gerald Poisson, Deputy County Executive Tim Meyer and the county’s new director of economic development and community affairs, Michael McCread.

Patterson in August publicly criticized the no-name CEO group that formed the Detroit Regional Partnership, saying he’d “rather join the Klan” than pay dues to the business attraction group.

Within hours, he apologized for his “poor choice of words” but not for his statements that downtown leaders are trying to “poach” suburban businesses.

Patterson had lashed out after business leaders began trying to raise $4 million to $6 million from chamber members to stand up the new business attraction nonprofit.

Patterson told Crain’s at the time that his ire with the no-name CEO group began when it came out in support of mass transit last April, just as Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel were resisting a push from Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to put a transit millage on the November ballot.

The county’s willingness to meet with the Detroit Regional Partnership doesn’t indicate a shift in opinion, Mullan said.

“We’re going to examine if this group adds value to what we do in economic development for the county,” he said. “We’ll see what comes out of this meeting.”

Matherly, who led similar business attraction efforts in Virginia before coming to Southeast Michigan, is focused on the region’s potential rather than its political tensions.

“This region has so much potential, and I’m excited to build on progress to date and help take it to the next level,” he said in a release.

The Detroit Regional Partnership organization will build upon the people and assets of the business attraction group that was formerly part of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Operating autonomously from rented space in the chamber’s offices, it will focus on marketing the region to out-of-state and international companies to attract investment and jobs, with a team of eight employees, including five who came from the chamber.

The new nonprofit’s name is similar to the chamber’s former business attraction effort called Detroit Regional Economic Partnership, which evolved into Destination Detroit. That entity’s team is now folding into the new partnership, Carly Weedgetz, chief of staff, corporate communications for DTE Energy Co., said in an email, speaking on behalf of the partnership.

“Under Barry Matherly’s leadership of the Detroit Regional Partnership, the award-winning chamber program, Destination Detroit, will be taken to a new level of results with even more resources and a laser focus on growing jobs and investment that will enhance the economic outlook for all of Southeast Michigan,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, in an emailed statement.

Baruah will be among the new partnership’s board members, a spokesman for the chamber said.

Barry Matherly

The board will not mirror the “no-name” CEO group, Weedgetz said, noting board members will be announced when fully seated.

For its part, the Detroit Regional Chamber will continue work on other facets of economic development including MICHauto, an initiative to help promote, retain and grow the automotive industry in the region, and a talent initiative, in collaboration with the partnership, she said.

“Having an organization dedicated to marketing our region and attracting investment is such an important step forward in our region’s momentum and recovery,” Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Chairman and CEO and chair of the Detroit Regional Partnership, said in the release.

“This group is exactly what its new name reinforces: a partnership — by the region and for the region — to attract investment and jobs that will add vitality to our communities.”

Anderson was named among Crain’s 2018 Newsmakers, in part for his role in leading the no-name CEO group that launched the Detroit Regional Partnership.

At his invitation, a group of roughly 20 corporate and foundation leaders began meeting quarterly late in the fall of 2016 to discuss regional issues. The group worked quietly for a year and a half on issues including youth employment, career and technical education offerings in Detroit, workforce development and benchmarking of other regional, economic development efforts before making its presence known last April when it came out in support of putting a regional transit initiative on the November ballot.

Its plans to create an economic-development nonprofit came to light in June during the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Shortly after, the group began looking at the state of Detroit’s parks, trails and other public spaces — what exists and what’s planned and the resources needed and available to maintain them and the best practices around the country for doing so.

View the original article

Starfish Family Services Selected as a Crain’s Detroit Business ‘Best-Managed Nonprofit”

Starfish Family Services building master record system to consolidate client data
by Sherri Welch

Data is key to helping nonprofits measure and communicate their impact and to making strategic decisions about where best to invest scarce resources. But it’s not always easy to figure out how to measure intangible things like a child’s well-being, overall development and likelihood of succeeding in college. The co-winners of the 2018 Best-Managed Nonprofit contest are doing exactly that.

This year, judges chose to lift up both a larger-budget nonprofit and a smaller nonprofit for the steps they are taking to get their arms around their data and use it in meaningful ways to better meet their missions.

Midnight Golf has launched two new data systems over the past year. One is aimed at keeping track of the growing number of high school seniors and college students it’s supporting. The other helps track its donors and their interests, while also providing a source of internship possibilities for the students it serves. Starfish Family Services is bringing data from over 20 disparate systems into a single system that will provide a more complete view of all of the programs a child or family it serves is receiving, along with indicators of how those clients are doing overall.

Both efforts are aimed at finding the best ways to help those they serve. Crain’s will honor the two organizations in late February during its annual Newsmaker of the Year lunch.


  • It’s committed $2 million, 3-5 years to develop and roll out the new system
  • Will eliminate duplication, provide holistic view of children and family success
  • Expected to produce $2.5 million in cost savings, new revenue

One of Starfish Family Services’ core strengths is its ability to serve children and families through a variety of  early childhood, children’s mental health and family support programs. But that same breadth of service has also been its Achilles’ heel. Information on the clients in each of its programs lives in different, siloed systems. That creates stress and frustration for parents who are asked to provide the same information over and over again. And it prevents Starfish staff from linking things like a young child’s behavioral issues in the classroom with stress happening at home due to a pending foreclosure, something communicated to the agency by the child’s mom through a separate Starfish program.

“We end up with 20 different data systems we’re putting information in” on who’s served and their outcomes, President and CEO Ann Kalass said. “If we’re looking at the whole child … we want to be able to see everything (they) are getting from us in early childhood, in Head Start and mental health services,” she said.

“We may have a hypothesis that a combination of programs creates better outcomes … but we can’t prove it
until the data is linked.”

Starfish has set out to tackle the complex issue by bringing data from all of the disparate systems into a single, master record system that will enable it to see all of the programs a child or family is receiving through the agency, success indicators across them and family relationships. That, in turn, will enable it to better identify causative factors and gaps in service. It’s committed $2 million and three to five years to develop and roll out the new, child and family master record system, a data warehouse that will enable it to report out data to funders and dashboards to track sets of data.

Starfish, which is operating on a $46 million budget for fiscal 2019, is funding the costs of the
new system from its reserves and unrestricted operating funds. It expects to more than recoup its investment by the time it’s fully rolled out the new system in 2022.

“We see this as an investment in something we have to do in order to achieve our mission and
our family-centric view,” Kalass said. “As a sector, to have the impact we want, we need capacity investments that make our programs work.”

First and foremost, the goal with the new, master record system is to improve services to families and to make it easier for staff to provide those services, said Kirsten Mack, director of value acceleration. Starfish has contracted with Boulder, Colorado-based Global Data Strategy Ltd. to develop the new child master record system. It’s spent the past year and a half establishing data governance to ensure all data entered across the nonprofit and its programs will be consistent.

That includes everything from who will enter data and be able to access data to how it will be structured, Mack said. For example, it might mean designating someone’s race as “white,” for example, vs. “Caucasian,” or using numerical birth dates rather than spelling out months so that the system can read all data.

Starfish is also working to establish an organization wide data warehouse where it can report out on all of the data from the disparate systems. All of the data from the master record system gets put into the warehouse.

“That’s how we can see holistic data … and report out on it,” Mack said.

The agency has entered its first set of data, behavioral health information, into the data warehouse and is producing weekly updates that track completion of required documentation for clients or progress toward targets for clients through “dashboards” or visual representations of data that Mack and her team liken to a car’s instrument panel. The gas gauge, for example, might show progress toward an enrollment target for the number of children in an early childhood education program on a dashboard, she said. Staff are notified of weekly dashboard updates by email and can log into the system to access the latest progress reports. Data governance and the data warehouse will form the foundation for establishing the child and family master record.

“Our plan is by this time next year to have the master record system launched,” Mack said.

From that point, it’s expected to take another one to three years to be fully implemented where data is entered into the master system and pushed out to the other funder systems for reporting purposes.

Just a year and a half in to development of the new system, Starfish is already seeing cost savings as it changes how it manages data. The automation of some data management led to the elimination of one full-time position that’s expected to save about $100,000 a year, Kalass said.

More efficient data entry is also freeing staff up to spend more time working with clients, and that’s increased billable revenue, Mack said. And the weekly dashboard updates on required behavioral health documentation has increased the number of claims paid, which is starting to produce more revenue on that front. By the time the new system is fully online in 2022, cost savings and increased revenue from the more efficient system are projected to add up to $2.5 million, Mack said.

Clayton & McKervey Director of Marketing named to new Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Marketing List

Southfield, Mich.—Oct. 8, 2018—Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, is pleased to announce that Denise Asker, Director of Marketing, has been selected for inclusion in the Crain’s Detroit Business inaugural Notable Women in Marketing list, featuring acclaimed women marketing professionals from throughout Michigan working in the private and public sector, including professional service firms, non-profits, academia and utilities.

The women marketing professionals were selected based on their career accomplishments, involvement in civic and non-profit activities and mentorship of others in the field. Crain Content Studio worked with advisors in the marketing field to review nominations and select the final honorees. Asker’s profile on the list can be viewed here.

At Clayton & McKervey, Asker is responsible for ensuring that the firm’s leadership teams and their staff achieve their marketing goals. Since joining the firm in 2015, she has introduced multiple new marketing programs, including extensive use of video, social media, thought leadership PR and recruitment-focused marketing. She also leads the firm’s professional development efforts as it relates to marketing training, ranging from a progressively challenging curriculum for staff and formal sales training for the management team. She coordinates the efforts of multiple external marketing agencies on behalf of the firm, including a PR agency, graphics and social media agency, a website development agency and video studio; all but one of these relationships began under Asker’s direction. She also retained and manages the firm’s outside sales coach. Prior to joining Clayton & McKervey, Asker was the Director of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, which was named Michigan Outstanding Chamber of the Year in 2015 under Asker’s leadership.

Asker is active in civic and professional activities, including the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), where she serves on the strategic communications committee and on the planning committee for AAM’s Winning is Everything conference. She is also a member of PrimeGlobal’s marketing industry group. Asker holds a Master of Management from Walsh College and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Wayne State University. She is a resident of Grosse Pointe.

Asker joins Clayton & McKervey colleague Margaret Amsden CPA, on the Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women lists. In May 2018, Amsden was named to the Notable Women in Finance list. Her profile can be viewed here.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit


Butzel Long attorneys named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ ‘Notable Women in IT/Tech in Michigan’

Butzel Long attorneys Jennifer Dukarski and Angela Emmerling Shapiro have been named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ “Notable Women in IT/Tech in Michigan.” They are among about 25 women to receive this prestigious recognition.

Jennifer Dukarski

Dukarski focuses her practice at the intersection of technology and communications with an emphasis on emerging and disruptive issues: digital media, cybersecurity, infotainment, vehicle safety and connected and autonomous cars.

In her practice, she has negotiated contracts for autonomous vehicle components, reviewed contracts involving wireless updates to in-vehicle technology, assisted companies in achieving successful Petitions for Inconsequential Noncompliance with NHTSA and has addressed multiple vehicle component recalls. Dukarski has become a national leader in legal issues facing emerging automotive technology and is the leader of Butzel Long’s connected car working group. She also has spearheaded the reporting efforts for national data breaches and focuses on the threat vectors facing automotive component design.

A self-titled “recovering engineer,” Dukarski serves as Counsel to the OESA’s Product Development Council and has spoken on First Amendment issues ranging from newsgathering in the digital age to the impact of the FBI iPhone strategy. She has been a panelist at the North American International Auto Show for the last two years, covering a broad variety of legal concerns focused on the autonomous and connected car and most recently addressed the emerging regulatory scheme as a speaker and panelist at the Center for Automotive Research’s prestigious Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City.

Prior to joining Butzel, she gained automotive manufacturing and design experience as a result of high-level quality management and engineering positions. She has worked extensively on successful automotive product launches, managing vendors and Tier One manufacturing facilities. A Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Dukarski applies her experience to create innovative approaches to the protection of IP assets and disruptive technology.
Notably, Dukarski has attained the distinction of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Senior member status, the highest grade for which IEEE members can apply.
Further, she was named a “2016 Honoree for Michigan Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. She also is among Michigan Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” and DBusiness “Top Lawyers.” She is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). She is the IEEE Southeastern Michigan Vehicle Technology Society Treasurer and serves as a Working Group member with IEEE PAR 1912 (Privacy and Security Architecture for Consumer Wireless Devices) which is focused on setting standards for privacy and security protocols and IEEE P7011 which is focused on the trustworthiness of news sources. She also coaches and mentors’ women engineers.

At the same time, she is a co-Chair of the Women in Communication Law committee of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Forum on Communications Law and serves on the Forum’s Governing Committee. Dukarski is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law teaching “The Law of Emerging Mobility Technology.”

Angela Emmerling Shapiro

Shapiro is a litigation attorney with a focus on electronic discovery. She helps clients overcome the technological and legal challenges presented during civil litigation and governmental investigations where large volumes of potential evidence have been electronically created and stored.

Electronic discovery is a constantly-evolving field and companies face serious legal consequences when evidence is not adequately preserved or when preserved data is not defensibly collected and reviewed during the litigation discovery process. Shapiro works with clients to meet these challenges efficiently and cost effectively. She also works with multi-national clients to navigate complex data privacy laws that impact the preservation, collection and use of electronic evidence during U.S. litigation.

Shapiro was one of the first attorneys in the state to develop a deep practice in the area of electronic discovery. She is an advocate for using technology, including predictive analytics and artificial intelligence where appropriate, to efficiently and effectively assess Terabytes of data and to find the key records necessary for successful legal advocacy.

Notably, Shapiro has achieved the Certified Electronic Discovery Specialist certification. CEDS certification is earned by individuals who pass a comprehensive four-hour examination that provides a tough and objective measure of an individual’s mastery of all aspects of electronic discovery.

In addition to achieving her CEDS certification, Shapiro has been named a DBusiness Magazine “Top Lawyer” in the Information Management and eDiscovery category repeatedly since the category was first introduced in 2014. In 2018 she was also named a “Top Lawyer” in the Information Technology Law category.

Shapiro is actively involved with local politics in her community and has served on the boards of two community theaters. She serves as the chair of Butzel Long’s Women’s Leadership Committee and in that role has organized multiple fundraisers for Gleaners Community Food Bank, including a “PBJ & Wine” event that benefited Gleaners’ Hunger Free Summer Program.

Shapiro was a proud recipient of the 2015 Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC) “Volunteer of the Year Award” and just completed her final term as an MDTC board member. She is a member of the national and Detroit chapters of the Academy of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and serves on the Technology Committee for the Federal Bar Association in the Eastern District of Michigan. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, the Oakland County Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association and is admitted to practice in all Michigan state and federal courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

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 or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: