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Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:15 a.m.

People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including Tecumseh Products and Weichert, Realtors - Ehman & Greenstreet

By Staff


Bill Merritt

From new hires and promotions to business-led charity drives, read on to learn about achievements by businesses and individuals in the greater Ann Arbor area:

Tecumseh Products Co. on Dec. 6 announced the creation of a consolidated North America region for operations, sales, marketing and engineering functions. Company officials also announced the appointment of former company executive Bill Merritt as president of the new business group. Merritt will lead Tecumseh’s United States, Canada and Mexico initiatives, which collectively form the new region. He will to report to Jim Connor, president and CEO.

• The sales team at Weichert Realtors - Ehman & Greenstreet in Ypsilanti recently added two new members: Villson Veseli, a resident of Ann Arbor, and Michael Webster, a resident of Ypsilanti. The agency, owned by Broker Clark Brown, has additional offices in Ann Arbor and Farmington Hills.

• Last summer, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved a name change for the natural history museum to University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. The change drops the word “exhibit” from the name, which was an old reference to the fact the museum was the “exhibiting” museum in a building of non-exhibiting research museums. Museum staff celebrated the facility's new name on Saturday, Dec. 3, during Dinosaur Discovery Day, with cake, punch, and giveaways. The museum also has a new website:

Tomoko Wakabayashi was recently named director of research of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. Wakabayashi is an educational researcher with expertise in assessment and program evaluation. The HighScope Educational Research Foundation, with headquarters in Ypsilanti, is an independent nonprofit organization that focuses on curriculum development, child and program assessment, publishing, professional development and research for early childhood education.

Brian J. Sabb, recently joined the medical staff at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills. The practice of this board-certified diagnostic radiologist is hospital based through Botsford Medical Imaging P.C. Dr. Sabb’s specialty is as an orthopedic radiologist, diagnosing disease and injury of the musculoskeletal structure. He is a researcher and published author on a variety of orthopedic imaging. Sabb also serves as a team physician to the University of Michigan and the Eastern Michigan University Athletic Departments. He is a resident of Ann Arbor.

• IHA, a regional physician group practice with headquarters in Ann Arbor, recently promoted Janice Queener to the position of director of Family Medicine Division. Queener, a resident of Brighton, joined IHA in February 2009 as the practice manager for IHA Brighton Family Care. In January 2012, Queener will assume the operational and organization management duties for all eight of IHA’s family medicine practices across Lenawee, Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties.

• The Ann Arbor SPARK Foundation recently presented the winners of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition with their cash awards. The competition's grand prize of $500,000 in cash was awarded to DeNovo Sciences, and the competition's $150,000 prize was awarded to Fusion Coolant Systems. DeNovo Sciences and Fusion Coolant Systems plan to use the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition prize monies to further their business development goals, including attracting additional capital investments and ramping up commercialization efforts. Officials at DeNovo Sciences said they would use the funding to test their prototype so that they would be ready for a round of venture capital fundraising in 2012. DeNovo Sciences is developing an instrument system and reagent kit that allows for the separation, detection and retrieval of circulating tumor cells from peripheral whole blood, creating an alternative to traditionally painful and invasive biopsies. Fusion Coolant Systems will use the $150,000 award to invest in marketing and sales materials, as well as product development design initiatives. Fusion Coolant Systems provides an advanced coolant and lubrication system for use in manufacturing.

• The Arts Alliance, an arts and cultural nonprofit headquartered in Ann Arbor, recently announced nine mini-grant awards for arts and cultural projects located in Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties. Mini-grants provide up to $4,000 for locally developed, high quality arts and cultural projects. Washtenaw County recipients and amounts awarded are: Phoenix Ensemble, Ann Arbor, $1,250; Dexter Community Orchestra, Dexter, $2,000; Ozone House Inc., Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, $4,000; Youth Dance Theatre of Michigan Inc., Chelsea, $2,500; Ann Arbor Teen Center, Ann Arbor, $2,500; Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor, $2,270; and City of Saline's Saline Celtic Festival, $3,000.

• Realtor Ed Surovell has offered his office lobby as a drop-off location for a holiday book drive to benefit children in low-income families in Washtenaw County. For the past five or six years, patrons of local Borders book stores purchased and donated thousands of books to nonprofit Family Book Club each holiday season to be donated to local low-income families with young children. Although Borders book stores are gone, book lovers are encouraged to continue to shop locally and to donate a book to the Family Book Club, which distributes the books throughout the year to children in the community in partnership with such organizations as Head Start, SOS, Avalon Housing, Perry Nursery School, HOPE and Packard health clinics. The Surovell drop-off location is at 1898 W. Stadium Blvd. in Ann Arbor. For more information, call 734-645-1320 or email

David White and Jalal Tauhidi recently joined the sales team at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. White will be a part of the David Mueller Team.

• The Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor’s recent 20th annual Festive Affair raised $154,000 to support The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County Staples Family Center, a 35-bed emergency shelter for homeless families. More than 260 people attended the Oct. 21 fund-raising event at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor.

• The Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business has joined forces with Michigan State University's Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Broad College of Business to create the Michigan Entrepreneurship Education Leaders Forum. The forum brings entrepreneurial educators from the top MBA programs across the state together to identify opportunities for improvement and collaboration, with the ultimate goal of advancing entrepreneurship among students and alumni in Michigan.

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