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Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 5:15 a.m.

People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including Bankers Life and Casualty and the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors

By Staff


Jason Boggs

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

Jason Boggs of Charles Reinhart Company, Realtors in Ann Arbor has been named president of the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors. He was officially installed Jan. 16 and will serve a one-year term.

Bankers Life and Casualty Co., a national life and health insurer, has opened a sales office at 2309 Shelby in Ann Arbor. Ben Godfrey leads the office’s sales team, which will serve the insurance needs of residents in Washtenaw County and the surrounding counties, including Lenawee, Livingston and Jackson.

• The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association recently announced the 2012 Industry Award Winners, recognizing those in the green industry that have demonstrated excellence, professionalism and responsible environmental standards. Elemental Design LLC of Ann Arbor won a "grand award" in the category for Special Projects - Residential Over $30,000 for a project called "The Oaks," designed by Traven Pelletier.

• Ann Arbor physician Dr. Richard Solomon has been named vice president of medical affairs for Easter Seals Michigan. Dr. Solomon is board-certified in general pediatrics and developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Solomon is the Medical Director of The P.L.A.Y. Project at The Ann Arbor Center for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Ted Christiansen, a former resident of Saline, was named president of IntelliServ, a National Oilwell Varco company. National Oilwell Varco is a global manufacturer of drilling rigs and equipment in the oil and gas industry.

• Chi Solutions Inc., a healthcare consulting firm based in Ann Arbor, has hired Susan Dougherty as vice president of operations and outreach services, and the promotion of Mike Kachure to vice president of business development.

• Ann Arbor-based ergonomics consulting firm Humantech Inc. has released a new e-book, "Five Steps to Improve Ergonomics in the Office." It can be downloaded free of charge at

NSF International, an independent global public health and safety organization that develops standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and health sciences industries, has acquired the INASSA Group of Lima, Peru, which is comprised of three segments: technical analysis, laboratory and sanitation.

• Regional economic nonprofit organization Ann Arbor SPARK was awarded $1 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund to support its business incubator activities through the creation of the new Washtenaw County Incubator Collaborative. WCIC will focus on the medical device and defense industries as well as other high-growth industries in Washtenaw County.

• Researcher Jerome Johnston was appointed director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics, part of the U-M Institute for Social Research. Johnston began his three-year term as director Jan. 1 and succeeds L. Rowell Huesmann, who returns to his role as an ISR research professor.

• Ann Arbor-based ProQuest was chosen to digitize a dozen of China's English-language newspapers. The collection of papers includes North China Herald, The China Press, The China Critic and the China Weekly Review, capturing all editions published 1832 through 1953 from cover to cover. In related news, ProQuest has partnered with the Bibliotheque national de France in Paris to expand access to the French library's historical treasures. As part of its Early European Books program, ProQuest will digitize about 70,000 volumes from the library's collection of European books printed before 1700.

• The 13th Annual Celebration for Entrepreneurship will feature six Michigan companies, including one from Ann Arbor, in the Elevator Pitch Competition. Ornicept of Ann Arbor has developed an automated bird monitoring system for wind energy developers, military, natural resource managers, regulators and airfield controllers. The system collects data on birds by species as they move through various survey zones. The other five companies from around Michigan are ENT Biotech Solutions, Micro-LAM, TempoRun, Social2Step and cureLancher.

Joseph Dulin, former principal at Roberto Clemente High School in Ann Arbor, along with State Rep. David Rutledge and Eastern Michigan University Regent Emeritus and former administrator Roy Wilbanks, received Eastern Michigan University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award during EMU’s annual MLK Luncheon on Jan. 21.

ForeSee, an Ann Arbor company providing customer experience analytics, Jan. 24 was named a finalist in the Solutions Technology Partner of the Year category in the seventh annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. ForeSee will ultimately be named a gold, silver or bronze winner at an awards Gala Feb. 25 in Las Vegas.

• Four Michigan companies recently received investments from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, totaling $1 million: Fusion Coolant Systems, Local Orbit, New Eagle Products and Seelio.

• Several Ann Arbor-based students received awards at a recent 2012 Young Innovators Competition. A first place designation and $1,000 cash award in the new or improved product or service category went to the Skyline Design and Engineering Team from Skyline High School for designing a sustainable method of water purification. Team members were Andrew Burns and Densu Dixon. A first place designation and $1,000 cash award in the new social solution or enterprise category went to another Skyline project on blindness navigation. Team members were Jonathan Epperson and Swagat Tripathy. The advisor for both Skyline teams was Thomas Pachera. A second place designation and a $750 cash award went to the Good Food Fisheries project. Team members were Tim Ewen from the Eastern Michigan University Early College Alliance and Drew Glapa of the Dexter School District. The team's advisor was Diane Durance.

• The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees recognized Lisa Atkins as the 2012 Jaycee of the Year at their annual Inaugural Ball on Jan. 18. Atkins, a member since 2011, chaired several projects in 2012, including the chapter's first Mom 2 Mom Sale, Relay for Life, and Warm the Children. The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees also recognized projects and members that created impact in the community. The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees' Community Development Project of the Year was awarded to Senior Dinner, chaired by Randy Hall. Heather Dittmar was recognized with an Individual Development Project of the Year award for her course on cake decorating basics. Jennifer Vroom took home the Membership Development Project of the Year award for the project, Ypsi's Play Date. Management Development Project of the Year was awarded for the Business Tour of the Corner Brewery, chaired by Joe Auker. Project Chairperson of the Year was awarded to Kendra Middling, who, since joining in 2011, chaired several of the chapter's larger projects. Kaylee Towler was recognized as the 2012 Board Member of the Year. New Jaycee of the Year was awarded to Nosa Obaseki.

Mike Mahrle of Bridgewater Township was presented the “Walter Wolfgang Memorial” Conservation Farmer of the Year Award for 2012 at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Washtenaw County Conservation District Jan. 17. Mahrle was recognized for a number of conservation practices implemented on his farm, including: no-till; field borders; nutrient management, use of low-hazard rating pesticides for pest management; and other practices. Additionally, Gary Moore of Dexter Township received the 2012 Tree Conservationist award in recognition of his tree planting efforts. Also recognized at the meeting was retiring District Director Mary Beth Day who was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award for eight years of service on the organization’s board of directors.

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