Detroit's Henry Ford Health System has announced a partnership between Henry Ford Innovations and two universities to improve the quality of life for people who are undergoing physical rehabilitation or suffering from disabilities that limit their mobility and/or ability to perform daily tasks. Henry Ford Innovations will be providing support to work done by Carnegie Mellon University's Quality of Life Technology Center. That center, along with the University of Pittsburgh, is working to develop technology that will aid patient recovery and improve their everyday lives.
Some 430 employees of Teleperformance USA have lost their jobs at an Ann Arbor call center, and that call center is now closed. The layoffs, which occurred this month, resulted from the firm's loss of its contract with Google. Google whose name has become synonymous with Internet searches, confirmed that it is not renewing its contract with Teleperformance to provide customer service support. The representatives in the Ann Arbor call center handled technical support for Google products.
We've previously discussed Michigan-based businesses, and particularly those headquartered in and around Detroit, that are succeeding thanks to determined, savvy entrepreneurs with solid business plans. Now comes good news about two more such businesses. They are among just 12 companies chosen from almost 35,000 small businesses throughout the country to receive $250,000 from Chase. According to the "Detroit Free Press," the funds, which they can use any way they choose, were given as part of Chase's Mission Main Streets Grants program that rewards promising "homegrown companies."
A recent study conducted by the "Portland Business Journal" found that the University of Michigan and sportswear giant Adidas have the "most lucrative public apparel deal in the country." That may account for the many varieties of gold and blue uniforms worn by the school's various teams during the last year – some better than others.
Major appliances reportedly are the culprits behind some 150,000 house fires annually, hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage as well as thousands of injuries and some fatalities as well. Most people don't think of refrigerators when they picture an appliance catching fire. However, Whirlpool is facing a lawsuit from the widow of a man who reportedly was burned to death by his refrigerator. The fire that allegedly emanated from the appliance also destroyed a significant portion of the family's house, according to the suit.
When most people think of microdistilleries, they don't picture Michigan, let alone Detroit. However, thanks to a few motivated entrepreneurs and some changes to Michigan law, the area has some thriving distilleries, with more on the horizon. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission had nine applications for microdistiller licenses in 2013. One owner wants to make the state a "craft distillery epicenter."
The foremost computer technology corporation in Michigan, Compuware, has just announced that it will sell three of its business units to a private equity fund based in Los Angeles. According to a Compuware executive, the jobs held by employees of those business units are expected to remain in Detroit, where the company's world headquarters is located. That's good news after the 160 positions that were eliminated last year.
With basketball season getting into full swing, one player for the Detroit Pistons who is feeling the uncertainty of having a non-guaranteed contract is Josh Harrellson. The center has been in this position before. A year ago, when he was playing for the Miami Heat, he was denied a guaranteed contract and offered a 10-day one instead. He left the National Basketball Association for a Chinese squad, and then came to the Pistons, with a $884,000 contract – only $150,000 of it guaranteed.
A Detroit retailer that opened its flagship store this summer is attracting big attention and already has plans for expansion in other major cities in the U.S. and abroad. Shinola is already making a name for itself, rating a place in "Departures," American Express's magazine, as one of the 100 "people, places and things around the globe that matter now."
Although a federal judge in Kalamazoo has dismissed some families' suits against Birds Eye Food because the plaintiffs could not prove that their property was contaminated by Birds Eye's water from its Fennville, Michigan, plant, suits by three families are moving forward. Further, the company has been required to provide affected homes with access to the city's water system as well as bottled water. According to WSJM.com, Birds Eye also "agreed to build a wastewater treatment system" in 2010. It was not reported whether that has been done.