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A federal agency has charged Michigan’s largest egg producer with harassing a line worker and then retaliating against her for reporting the behavior.

Business advocates in Lansing panned Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to implement what she called “tax parity” by having small businesses pay the same 6-percent state income tax now levied on corporations in Michigan.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first budget proposal would raise Michigan’s gas and diesel fuel tax by 45 cents per gallon over 12 months to generate $2.5 billion annually to repair state and local roads.

Opus Packaging Group Inc. is continuing the expansion of its packaging facilities portfolio with the acquisition of a fourth company, Wabash Container Corp. of Illinois.

Cultivate(MD) Capital Fund II LP, a venture capital fund operated by Grand Rapids-based Genesis Innovation Group, invested in Embody Inc., a Norfolk, Va. company that developed a collagen-based micro-fiber implant for Achilles’ heel and rotator cuff repairs.

After three decades of running tribal gaming operations, Michigan-based Native American tribes have started to leverage their casino revenues to launch economic development corporations and diversify their economies. 

When the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians replaced the former Victories Casino with the new Odawa Casino in 2007, the tribe was left with a 22-acre site and a vacant building at the southern end of Petoskey.

Dowagiac-based Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, takes a familiar portfolio-based approach to its economic development enterprise. But rather than drive overall top-line revenue for its family of companies, Mno-Bmadsen is focusing on growing the combined earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of its holdings.

Over the next five years, CEO Tom Wilbur plans to build Grand Traverse Economic Development into a $100 million diversified portfolio of eight to 10 firms capable of capturing federal and state contracts.

A West Michigan marine transportation firm is significantly increasing its freight capacity in response to higher demand from a key customer. Port City Barge Inc. of Muskegon last month took delivery of the Commander, a 495-foot by 72-foot freight barge that it plans to use to haul cement for St. Marys Cement US LLC.

On a recent night in February, around 50 people attended a private dinner in Muskegon Heights featuring a 10-course tasting meal. The fine-dining plates included mussels and crab cakes made with fresh crab sourced from Fish Lads of Grand Rapids Inc. Michigan Cannabis Chefs LLC hosted the $35-per-person event, offering dishes infused with marijuana throughout the night.

Matt Emery felt ready to move on from the automotive industry after 15 years, so last fall he began looking around for a business to buy. After considering a contract manufacturer, machine shops, an HVAC business and others, Emery found the “perfect fit” in Think Chromatic LLC, a Comstock Park-based small company that does 3-D rendering and animation.

A proposed headquarters project in Cascade Charter Township could become the home for Acrisure LLC, a Caledonia-based insurance brokerage that’s been growing rapidly through an ambitious M&A strategy. 

West Michigan manufacturers have taken a disciplined approach to research and development spending throughout the sustained period of economic recovery and growth. 

Grand Angels’ formation of an affiliate investment group in Detroit brings more capital and investors into the field to support startup companies in Michigan. 

Two lakeshore communities are rethinking how former industrial sites will play a role in future development along their waterfronts. 

To help make Bronson South Haven Hospital more efficient, the owners are planning to shrink the facility’s footprint as part of a compact, contemporary health village design. Kalamazoo-based Bronson Healthcare, which acquired the former South Haven Health System in 2017, tapped Elzinga & Volkers Inc. to lead the $22 million project, which exemplifies a shift away from the inefficient designs of the past.

A San Diego firm’s proposed sale of its renewable energy assets will not affect plans for a wind energy project in West Michigan, company officials say. On Feb. 12, Sempra Renewables announced plans to sell its assets to a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co. Inc. for $1.1 billion. Sempra’s portfolio includes 724 megawatts (MW) of wind energy and battery storage across the U.S.

Over the past two weeks, Attorney General Dana Nessel has drawn attention to Michigan’s increasing electricity rates, pleasing consumer advocacy groups who say the issue has received little attention. Speaking to Michigan State University’s Institute of Public Utilities on Feb. 22, Nessel said in a statement she wants to “revive the legacy” of former Attorney General Frank Kelley in advocating for the public in rate cases before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

With the acquisition this year of a Charlevoix-based defense contractor, Grand Traverse Economic Development is executing on the initial steps of its investment strategy to diversify revenues for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians away from gaming. If all goes to plan for Traverse City-based GTED, the sovereign tribe’s non-gaming commercial investment arm intends over the next decade to build a $1 billion portfolio of companies, almost entirely focused in some way on government contracting.

Business entities owned by West Michigan-based Native American tribes face a surprising roadblock in gaining access to programs used to grow minority-owned businesses. While tribally-owned businesses often receive the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) disadvantaged business certification, they have not found similar success when it comes to getting “minority business enterprise” (MBE) certification through the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC).

West Michigan tribes may be relatively new to implementing economic development and diversification plans, but they’ve quickly established themselves as strategic partners for the local business community because of their focus on investing in companies and real estate. Moreover, many of the federally-recognized sovereign tribes are looking to engage with non-tribal businesses, spreading the opportunity beyond just tribal members into potentially powerful economic opportunities across the region.

Discussions about global warming often concern what could happen in the future, but West Michigan fruit growers are adapting to changes in the climate that have already been happening for decades. Jeff VanderWerff, a fourth-generation grower at Sparta-based VanderWerff Farms LLC, said he and his brother, Joe VanderWerff, spend more time than they care to admit watching changing climate patterns.

GRAND RAPIDS — Along with welcoming new leadership, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is preparing to launch a major initiative later this year to bring greater diversity to the region’s health care workforce. Micah Foster became executive director in January at GRAAHI, a 17-year-old nonprofit organization that works to promote parity and eliminate racial disparities in health care. Foster succeeded Shannon Wilson, who in December joined Priority Health as director of Medicaid outreach and quality after leading GRAAHI for eight years.

Emmanuel “Manny” Toribio has been chosen as the next city manager of East Grand Rapids following the retirement of Brian Donovan, who served in the position for 25 years. Currently, Toribio is the assistant director of facilities planning and management at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, he served for three years as city administrator for Prairie City, Iowa, and six years as city planner for Des Moines.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan earned $605 million on operations in 2018 across all of its businesses amid enrollment growth and continued moderation in premiums for small business health coverage.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. plans to acquire Kalamazoo-based Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, pending various regulatory approvals.

Industry trends increasingly are blurring the lines between philanthropy and business. As government funding to address issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and poverty continues to shrink, requests to funders are increasing as the nonprofit sector seeks to fill those service gaps. The result from this growing trend is perhaps most visible in philanthropic support of economic development efforts, often through significant investments.

Pabst Brewing Co. appears to be jumping into the spirits product category with the help of a West Michigan brewery and distillery.

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health launched the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program for patients with heart disease.

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