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John Wiegand

John Wiegand

Staff writer

jwiegand@mibiz.com

Bill Melvin grew up around motorsports, so it seems only natural that being a gearhead would translate into his professional life. Melvin owns and operates Liquid Asset Partners, a Grand Rapids-based asset liquidation firm. The company specializes in selling assets of distressed companies, healthy companies looking to offload old equipment and inventory and business owners looking to transition out of their business. Lately, Liquid Asset Partners has taken a slightly different path, acquiring two iconic names in motorsports: motorcycle manufacturer Eric Buell Racing, headquartered in East Troy, Wis., and most recently Braselton, Ga.-based Skip Barber Racing School. Melvin spoke with MiBiz about his company’s decision to acquire these organizations as well as his business model and future plans.

HOLLAND — A West Michigan startup hopes to drive down costs and increase consumer safety for electric vehicles with new technology it plans to bring to market next year.

Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP recently launched a formal practice group focusing on the rapidly growing autonomous vehicle industry. The firm, which maintains offices in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing, recently hired Steve Wernikoff to co-chair the practice with Tom Appledorn, a partner in the firm’s intellectual property group. Wernikoff formerly served as an enforcement director for the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation. MiBiz spoke with Wernikoff and Appledorn about the firm’s goals with the new practice group, the matters it plans to work on and the future of autonomous vehicle technology.

HOLLAND — Before you put pen to paper in any transaction, experts say it’s important to vet the parties with whom your company does business.

MUSKEGON — KL Outdoor LLC plans to establish a new global headquarters for its operations in downtown Muskegon.

Fox Motors Group LLC has entered the mid-Michigan market with its acquisition of Ann Arbor Automotive Inc.

The company behind a popular West Michigan snack brand must pay up after it failed to chip away at its debts to a key supplier.

While manufacturers have avoided the attention of hackers in past, the industry has risen to near the top of cyber criminals’ hit lists. As such, many manufacturers are finding their organizations woefully underprepared to combat the ominous threat of cyber attacks. Ryan Bonner works with Brighton-based Brightline Technologies Inc. to educate manufacturers on I.T. matters ranging from cloud management to regulatory compliance and security. Last week, Bonner participated in a cybersecurity webinar hosted by MiBiz and Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West. [Editor’s note: Visit mibiz.com/cybersecurity to view the webinar.] After the webinar, he talked about new cybersecurity regulations from the Department of Defense and manufacturers’ exposure to cyber threats.

GRAND RAPIDS  Alliance Beverage Distributing LLC plans to expand into the northern Lower Peninsula by acquiring another wholesaler’s beer distribution rights, MiBiz has learned.

PORTAGE — Isaiah Erskine has faced tough odds for most of his young life.

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