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Posted on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 5:15 a.m.

People & Achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including Butzel Long and Special Tree Rehabilitation

By Staff

Claudia Rast.jpg

Claudia Rast

The following is a list of achievements by businesses and individuals in the Ann Arbor area:

• Attorney Claudia Rast has joined Butzel Long as a shareholder in the firm’s Ann Arbor office. Rast has extensive experience counseling both start-up and well-established clients on emerging legal issues related to business and technology, particularly online and web-based companies. She is also a board member for Ann Arbor’s New Enterprise Forum where she coaches technology start-ups in their efforts to connect with management expertise, venture capital and business partners.

• The Michigan Quality Council, which is headquartered on the Ann Arbor campus of Cleary University, recently announced that Special Tree Rehabilitation System is the 2010 Quality Leadership Award recipient. The Michigan Quality Leadership Award is the highest honor for organizational performance excellence in the state. MQC officials said that Special Tree's leadership model kept employees at all levels informed and aligned on client-focused goals and called the nonprofit "a role model for other organizations in Michigan and for brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation everywhere.”

Verizon Wireless has activated two new cell sites in Whitmore Lake and South Lyon that improve voice and data coverage in portions of Washtenaw and Oakland counties. Coverage is improved in areas of Whitmore Lake, including Horseshoe Lake and Independence Lake, and portions of US-23, 6 Mile Road, Lafayette Street and 10 Mile Road.

• Drs. Brian and Betsy Meade have established specialty dentistry practices in the Ypsilanti area. Both attended the University of Michigan dental school and postgraduate schooling in Minnesota. Dr. Brian Meade also served as a dental officer in the U.S. Army, serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. Despite the economic crisis in Michigan, they both returned to their home state, with Dr. Brian Meade opening a new endodontic practice and Dr. Betsy Meade an orthodontic practice, both in the same office complex on Packard Road in Ypsilanti.

Adaptive Materials, a company that develops and manufactures solid oxide fuel cells, has been acquired by UK-based Ultra Electronics Holdings plc. Adaptive Materials will continue to develop and manufacture its propane-powered fuel cell systems from its current Ann Arbor facility.

• Several Michigan companies recently received investments from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, including three from Washtenaw County: Current Motor Co. of Ypsilanti, InfoReady Corp. of Ann Arbor and Tangent Medical Technologies of Ann Arbor. The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a collaborative effort of Michigan’s SmartZones, is an equity fund that invests in technology-based companies to support business formation and acceleration. Ann Arbor SPARK serves as the Fund’s administrator.

• The University of Michigan Health System took top honors in the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction, a biennial scientific competition to test protein structure and function prediction methods developed by laboratories all over the world. The U-M lab of Yang Zhang was ranked No. 1 in both protein structure and function prediction among more than 200 groups.

• Ann Arbor State Bank has added Toni R. Rodgers to its board of directors. Rodgers owns four McDonald's stores in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area.

• Ann Arbor-based digital marketing agency Ingenex Digital has hired Kai Blum as director of search engine marketing.

Albert M. Berriz, CEO of Ann Arbor-based real estate investment firm McKinley, has been named to the Midwest Real Estate News Hall of Fame. The announcement was made in a recent edition of Midwest Real Estate News. To read more about the honor and about Berriz's career, visit

• The Eastern Michigan University College of Business has maintained its accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is a global accrediting body for business schools. Less than 5 percent of business schools worldwide (607) have earned the accreditation. To maintain accreditation, a business program must undergo an internal review every five years and demonstrate continued commitment to the 21 quality standards relating to faculty qualification, management of resources and interactions of faculty and students.

• Two employees of R&B Plastics Machinery, based in Saline, have been promoted. Phil Smith was promoted to plant supervisor, responsible for all shop employees specializing in mechanical, hydraulic and electrical service. Additionally, Dave Kohler has been promoted to service and aftermarket sales manager. In his new role, Kohler will direct R&B’s field-service activity and aftermarket parts sales.

Gerlinda (Linda) Nattler has joined the Ann Arbor office Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, a national intellectual property law firm, as an associate. Nattler focuses her intellectual property law practice on patent prosecution and IP portfolio management.

• Japanese automaker Toyota recently announced it would spend $50 million over five years to establish an auto safety research center under the umbrella of the Toyota Technical Center, which employs 1,000 workers in York Township and Ann Arbor Township. Toyota also said the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute would be one of three "charter partners" in the new Collaborative Safety Research Center, which will involve a collection of universities and outside researchers working together on various safety issues. Chuck Gulash, a senior executive engineer at the Toyota Technical Center, will serve as director of the Collaborative Safety Research Center.

• The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has added five new members to its board of directors and has hired two new staff members. The new board members are Mary Margaret Cornish, teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools; Paloma Jalife, retired assistant dean of the School of Business at SUNY Oswego in Oswego, N.Y.; Priayanka (Priya) Menon, Youth-on-Board member and student at Skyline High School; Dr. Sumer Pek, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan Medical School; and Steven Pierce, investment planner and vocalist. The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra's two new staff members are Lindsay Blackwell, front-office administrative assistant, and Jonathan Tyman, operations manager.

Affinia Group Inc., a company headquartered in Ann Arbor that focuses on design, manufacture, distribution and marketing of industrial grade products and services, has received a first place ranking by Information Week Brazil magazine for IT innovations in Brazil. Information Week Brazil annually publishes a list of "The 100 Most Innovative Companies in the Use of IT", basing its rankings on the degree of maturity of information management processes. Affinia ranked first in the automotive category and 13th in a general ranking of 261 companies.

• Ann Arbor-based Genetics Squared, a prognostics company focused on developing gene-based molecular assays for the prediction of cancer recurrence, announced Jan. 10 that it will change its corporate name to Everist Genomics. Additionally, the company has appointed Prasad Sunkara as its new president and CEO.

• Ann Arbor's ProQuest has acquired e-book pioneer ebrary. The agreement will merge both companies' inventive, user-centric technologies and add a growing pool of a quarter-million e-books to ProQuest's content offerings. The combined collection will enable users to search across multiple formats - books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, video, and more - and across eight centuries worth of archived material.

Adeona Pharmaceuticals Inc., a developer of medicines for serious central nervous system diseases and based in Ann Arbor, recently announced that James S. Kuo, the company's CEO, was to present at the 2011 OneMedForum in San Francisco on Tuesday. A replay of his talk will be archived and accessible on Adeona's website at

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