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Posted on Thu, May 3, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including U-M Business Engagement Center and Hyundai America Technical Center

By Staff


Stella Wixom

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

• The University of Michigan Business Engagement Center's executive director Daryl Weinert has been appointed to the newly-created position of associate vice president for research - Sponsored Programs at U-M, effective May 1. In this role, he will lead U-M's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Stella Wixom, BEC’s director of corporate relations, became interim executive director on May 1. Weinert has served as executive director of the BEC since it was founded in 2007.

• The Michigan Economic Development Corp. on April 24 announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive for Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. to expand its operations in Michigan by building a Hot/Cold Weather Dynamometer Test facility at its Superior Township location, south of Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor SPARK was awarded Incubator of the Year by the Michigan Business Incubator Association on April 18. The award recognizes the excellence of services offered through SPARK Central. SPARK Central offers infrastructure and support services, including office and meeting space, administrative support, advanced communications technology, mentoring, networking and educational events, marketing, recruiting and legal support.

• Thomson-Shore, a book manufacturer based in Dexter, recently expanded its team with the addition of David Meacham as its new west coast sales manager.

Busch's Fresh Food Market will help Food Gatherers and other local food banks feed children and families struggling with hunger with their “All About Children Food Drive.” The drive kicked off Monday, May 7 and continues through May 16. Donations made at Busch's 15 Fresh Food Market locations in Washtenaw County will benefit Food Gatherers during this period. To find a complete list of stores participating, visit

Huron Valley Financial, a mortgage firm based in Ann Arbor, recently announced several personnel have been hired or promoted. Dianne Young joined Huron Valley as a senior underwriter, and Emily Elliott, a former HVF employee, rejoined the firm as a platinum processor. Additionally, Josie Allott and Lynda Chase joined the firm as loan officers. Megan Weber was promoted to closing administrator, and Sarah McLaughlin was hired as an administrative assistant.

• Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW) of Ann Arbor and Detroit recently announced the election of Bill Kingsley of UHY LLP to its board of trustees. Kingsley is a partner with licensed CPA firm UHY LLP .

• The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the venture capital fund-of-funds formed by Business Leaders for Michigan, announced on April 30 that it has formed a second fund with initial capital of $60 million, growing the RCVF to more than $100 million. When launched in 2008, the RCVF’s Renaissance I was the first fund of its kind in the U.S.; RCVF invested in 10 venture capital funds from around the nation under the condition that they actively look at Michigan opportunities, and investments so far are estimated to have created more than 200 local jobs.

• The Women's Caring Program board in April announced the formation of SPARK, a new collaborative program that combines child care scholarships with quality assessments. Beginning first in Oakland and Monroe counties, the SPARK program has at its core individual scholarships provided by the DTE Energy Foundation. The $300,000 worth of grant money funds scholarships that cover 75 percent of the cost of child care for one family for one year. As part of the program, the childcare provider agrees to a year-long quality assessment, funded by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. WCP is a public nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor that helps working families who make too much for state child care assistance but who don't make enough to afford quality, licensed child care and education programs.

• Bank of Ann Arbor recently announced that four local business people have joined the Arbor Bancorp Inc. and Bank of Ann Arbor Board of Directors: Jan Garfinkle, founder and managing director of Arboretum Ventures; Isadore King, president and CEO of Synergy Partners LLC; Michael Martin, vice president of First Martin Corp.; and Jeffrey S. Williams, chairman and CEO of Life Magnetics and chairman and CEO of Tangent Medical Technologies.

Fifth Third Bank is celebrating Thursday, May 3 (5/3 on the calendar) in Washtenaw County with special events and treats for customers during the entire week. A customer appreciation event was held April 30 with nonprofit partners Ann Arbor Art Center and the Ann Arbor Symphony. Also this week, donations and check presentations were made to 11 Washtenaw county nonprofit organizations, including March of Dimes, Saline Foundation, Ele’s Place, YMCA, Spark, Women’s Center, Washtenaw Literacy, SOS, Growing Hope, Jewish Federation and Food Gatherers.

Christoph Nolte, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, has been selected as the first recipient of the Marshall Weinberg Population, Development, and Climate Change Fellowship. Nolte is studying the economic tradeoffs of land conservation in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The award, which is jointly administered by SNRE and by the Population Studies Center at the U-M Institute for Social Research, supports research that is at the intersection of climate change, demography and development. See video of or read more about Nolte and his project here.

John Oberdick has joined First Arbor Advisors as senior vice president and division manager. Oberdick most recently served as president of his own registered investment advisory practice.

Eastern Michigan University's Office of Marketing is launching the second phase of its TRUEMU integrated marketing campaign this week. The first phase was introduced in August 2011, featuring current EMU students in TV, radio, billboard, print and online ads. The second phase will focus on faculty excellence, showcasing 20 faculty chosen by their deans on 80 light-post banners along major streets in Ypsilanti and on EMU's main campus. Faculty will also be featured on videos, billboards and other advertising later in the fall. Older EMU light-post banners are recycled and made into tote bags for giveaways.

• Ann Arbor-based information firm ProQuest has appointed Kellie Teal-Guess as senior vice president of human resources. As part of the ProQuest senior leadership team and reporting to CEO Kurt Sanford, Teal-Guess will be responsible for setting the strategy for development and management of the company’s global talent resources.

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