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Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including United Methodist Retirement Communities Inc. and West Washtenaw Business Association

By Staff


Wendy Brightman

From new hires and promotions to industry awards, here’s a roundup of achievements by businesses and individuals in the greater Ann Arbor area:

• United Methodist Retirement Communities Inc., a provider of senior residential and healthcare services, hired Wendy Brightman as the executive director of its charitable arm, the UMRC Heritage Foundation. Brightman will lead fundraising efforts and oversee the Foundation’s staff's mission to raise funds to support the benevolent care program for residents in need of financial assistance to remain in their UMRC home and to support additional operating needs of UMRC. Previously, Brightman was managing director of Ele's Place in Ann Arbor. She resides in Saline.

• The West Washtenaw Business Association recently honored two award-winners at the association's Year Ender event. Todd Bailey is the 2012 West Washtenaw Business Association member of the year and the Business Development Center Manager of Dunning Toyota. With a family business on Jackson Road, Todd became a member of the Scio Township Economic Development Corp. in 2010 and was elected chairman in 2011 to promote commercial and industrial expansion along the boulevard. As a classic car aficionado, Bailey is also chair of the Jackson Road Cruise. Tim Patino, the general manager of the Quarter Bistro and the Original Cottage Inn, is the recipient of the 2012 WWBA Community Service Award. Patino volunteers his service in his Plymouth home community as the president of the Rotary Club of Plymouth AM and president of the Great Lake Rabbit Sanctuary. In Ann Arbor he is a board member for West Washtenaw Business Association.

• Ann-Arbor based commercial real estate private equity fund Promanas Group recently closed on the purchase of two buildings to be held in the company's Commercial Real Estate Private Equity Funds. One acquisition, a 22,000-square-foot, Class A high-tech research and development building in Novi, is currently leased to Critical Signal Technologies Inc. a company in the business of monitoring personal emergency response systems (medical alarms) and TeleHealth equipment deployed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The second acquisition, a 185,000-square-foot light manufacturing building in Livonia is being leased to Quality Metal Craft, a prototype and low-volume production automotive supplier.

• During its annual holiday party Dec. 7, Ann Arbor-based Domino’s handed over a check for $100,000 to Food Gatherers, to be used towards Food Gatherers capital campaign for warehouse expansion. Food Gatherers is a nonprofit food bank program serving Washtenaw County.

Washtenaw Literacy announced Dec. 4 that it has been honored with a 2012 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, a provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations. The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on a large number of positive reviews Washtenaw Literacy received; the reviews were written by volunteers, donors and clients. Additional reviews of Washtenaw Literacy can be seen at

• An executive order signed in early December by Gov. Rick Snyder establishes within the state Department of Human Services the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board to help better protect victims and prevent future crimes. Among those appointed to the board was Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, the chief district court judge of the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, and James Fink, an attorney with Fink & Valvo in Ypsilanti.

• Hundreds of Ford volunteers stepped away from their jobs Dec. 7 and went to work in soup kitchens, food banks and shelters on a Ford Accelerated Action Day. More than 600 Ford employees teamed up with nonprofit hunger relief partners in southeast Michigan communities to feed people in need. Among the organizations receiving funds and volunteer hours was Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, where volunteers packed 720 food boxes, each with 25 meals.

• Energy efficiency and water purification projects earned top University of Michigan honors in the 2012 Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award. Teams of master's students representing the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the College of Engineering and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business won first and second prizes for U-M. Graduate students from 17 universities on five continents participated in this year's event. The competition concluded on Dec. 6 with a global webcast and live chat among all participating universities and winning students.

• Washtenaw Community College computer security student Jesse Reets is one of three finalists in Michigan to advance to the national finals in the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders Competitions. He was one of 22 students from various Michigan community colleges and universities that made it to the last round of state competition. Reets will compete against students from all 50 states and Canada in the final round. The top U.S. and Canadian finishers win a study trip to Cisco headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

• When members of the public buy something in local Barnes & Noble stores from Friday, Dec. 14 through Thursday, Dec. 20, they can give the Lost Voices code at the register, and a percentage of the purchase price goes to help Lost Voices. Lost Voices is a Michigan-based group of songwriters and musicians founded by humorist and folk singer Mike Ball, dedicated to changing the lives of incarcerated and at-risk young men and women. The Book Fair is also available for online shoppers at through Christmas Eve. To kick off the Bookfair, three of the Lost Voices artists will be performing free concerts in the Ann Arbor, Brighton and Northville Barnes & Noble stores on Friday, Dec. 14 from 7 to 9 PM. Josh White Jr. will be at the Northville store on Haggerty Road, Celtic singer/songwriter Kitty Donohoe will be in the Ann Arbor store on Washtenaw Avenue, while Ball, along with singer/songwriters Sharon Tse and John Finan, will be at the Brighton store at Green Oak Village Place. More details and the check-out code are available at

• Ann Arbor-based architectural firm Hobbs + Black Associates Inc. recently had an article featured in the AIA Academy Journal of Architecture for Health. "A Sustainable Model: Creating Facilities with a Future" was featured in the 14th edition of the Academy Journal, published this year. The article highlights Hobbs + Black’s groundbreaking design of the Dearborn Town Center, a mixed-use ambulatory care center located in Dearborn.

• Colorado-based Vail Resorts Inc. recently announced that it has entered into agreements to purchase two premier urban ski areas in the Midwest, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for total cash consideration of $20 million.

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