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Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including Peter Allen and Associates and Ann Arbor SPARK

By Staff


Peter Allen

Ryan J. Stanton |

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 Michigan Municipal League honored Ann Arbor area real estate developer Peter Allen with a 2012 Special Award of Merit during the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 4 at Mackinac Island. Allen, founder of Peter Allen and Associates, has also been a University of Michigan adjunct faculty member since 1981. He has chaired or founded numerous local and regional conferences highlighting public policy issues relating to development, transit options and the importance of local quality of life. Allen was recognized for his support of the League’s work around placemaking and the Center for 21st Century Communities. He has served as a presenter at several League events.

• Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO Paul Krutko was recently elected chair of the International Economic Development Council’s board of directors. Krutko will begin his new, one-year term in January 2013.

• Patients with Gaucher Disease saw significant improvement during Phase 3 clinical trials to investigate a therapy developed in the labs at the University of Michigan. The results were announced in early October by Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, which based the largest ever clinical program focused on Gaucher Disease on a concept created in U-M laboratories. The compound is capable of inhibiting the build-up of fatty substances in the cells of people with Gaucher Disease, an inherited condition that affects less than 10,000 people worldwide and, depending on the type, can lead to life-threatening damage to the spleen and liver and weaken bones. The molecule for the new therapy was developed with U-M nephrologist Dr. James A. Shayman, former associate vice president for research at the University of Michigan.

Merit Network Inc. announced Oct. 1 the installation of the first telecommunications hut as part of the REACH-3MC II broadband stimulus project. The hut was successfully deployed on the campus of Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba. Additional telecommunications huts will be installed in the following communities along the REACH-3MC II fiber route: Crystal Falls, Engadine, Iron Mountain, Ironwood, Manistique, Ashland, Marinette in Michigan and the town of Poplar in Wisconsin. The telecommunications huts will help Merit Network fulfill the REACH-3MC II goal of improved service to underserved communities. Merit Network Inc., a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan's public universities, is headquartered in Ann Arbor.

• Michigan Radio News Director Vincent Duffy has taken office as chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Duffy is the first public media news director ever elected to this position with the national organization. Vincent Duffy has been News Director at Michigan Radio, headquartered in Ann Arbor, since May 2007.

• The board of directors of the North Berrien Historical Museum has hired former Saline resident Tracy Gierada as executive director. Gierada is a 2002 graduate of Saline High School.

Synthetic Biologics Inc.., an Ann Arbor-based a biotechnology company, announced in early October that Charles B. Shoemaker joined the company's scientific advisory board. Shoemaker currently serves as professor of biomedical sciences at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Chelsea Community Hospital has opened a new urology practice. Dr. Howard Usitalo, board-certified urologist, and David Lutchka, certified physician assistant, will offer a full spectrum of urology services with Dr. Usitalo performing his surgeries at Chelsea Community Hospital. The office is located in the Village Professional Center, at the north entrance to the hospital campus, 515 S. Main St. An open house to introduce the practice and the staff will take place from noon-5 p.m. Dec. 9.

• Ann Arbor's Stop N Lock 1, located at 3570 E. Ellsworth Road, recently added U-Haul truck and trailer rentals to the storage business.

• The Waterloo Hunt Horse Show, sponsored by the Waterloo Hunt Club in Grass Lake, has been honored with the United States Equestrian Federation’s designation as a USEF Heritage Competition, the highest honor currently held by any Federation horse show. The designation of a USEF Heritage Competition is reserved for competitions that have been in existence for a quarter century or more, promoted and grown equestrian sport, and made a contribution to the community outside the gates of the horse show by achieving, maintaining and promoting the equestrian ideals of sportsmanship and competition. The Waterloo Hunt Horse Show was established in 1941.

Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Medicaid HMO, has been ranked the No. 1-rated Medicaid plan in the state by the National Council on Quality Assurance. It also was ranked the number four Medicaid plan in the nation out of 115 Medicaid plans. NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. Blue Cross Complete serves patients in Washtenaw, Wayne and Livingston counties.

Jan Davies McDermott, CEO of Ann Arbor-based Echo Enterprises LLC (a family of businesses which includes Guiding Light Business Consulting, Echo Education, and Davies House Properties), has been elected to the board of directors of Athena International Foundation. She will join other board members as well as women leaders from all around the world at the 18th annual International Leadership Summit of ATHENA International Oct. 15-16 in Chicago.

• Ann Arbor-based ProQuest and the New England Journal of Medicine are expanding their long-standing relationship to include more NEJM content of all types — including images, backfile and new journals — in ProQuest's medical and health products. In related news from ProQuest, the company has also released a new full-text version of the British Nursing Index, which was acquired last year. The move fulfills a promise ProQuest made to enhance the appeal of the BNI, making it more useful to a greater number of researchers. ProQuest is best known for digitizing academic and medical journals as well as creation of information and technology tools that support research.

Neil Weissman and Ronald Eppler, both managing directors of investments for Ann Arbor-based Weissman Eppler Showich Investment Group, Wells Fargo Advisors, attended the eighth-annual Barron’s Winner’s Circle Top Advisors Summit, meant to promote best practices in the industry and the value of advice to the investing public. The invitation-only conference was held Sept. 12-14 in Orlando.

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