Notable News for March 2020

Grannemann Wins ATHENA Leadership Award

Karen Grannemann, CEO and general manager for the University Club of Michigan State University, will be recognized March 24 as the recipient of the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award.

The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented annually in over 500 communities internationally. It recognizes individuals for professional excellence, providing valuable service to the community, and actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

“When I look at the amazing women who have received this award, as well as the many others who wholeheartedly deserve it, being named the 2019 ATHENA recipient is both humbling and affirming,” said Grannemann. “The true reward has been working with amazing people to achieve meaningful outcomes, both at the University Club and in service to our community.

“However, knowing that my colleagues have noticed the efforts and appreciate the results is uplifting beyond description. It’s also a call to continue giving my all, and I will certainly do my best to earn the recognition as well as the trust with which it was given.”


Hamilton to Lead Lansing Chamber Board

Wendy Hamilton, CEO of TechSmith, has been tapped as chairwomen of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors for 2020. She will succeed Patrick Dean of Dean Transportation, who will remain on the board as past chair. Mike Zamiara of Niowave will serve as chair-elect and is in line to serve as board chair in 2021.

In addition to Hamilton, Dean and Zamiara, 2020 chamber board officers include Patricia Scott of Foster Swift Collins & Smith as legal counsel; Andrew Rose of Rehmann as treasurer; and Tim Daman, chamber president and CEO.

The board includes seven newcomers: Andrew Rose  of Rehmann, Lisa Ellen Smith of Inverve Marketing, Todd Surline of Hiring Solutions, Keith Granger of Granger, Roger Graff of Farm Bureau Insurance Co., Jim Farrell of Dart Container and Tina Brumley of Auto-Owners Insurance Co.


GM’s Purty and Fonville Receive Honors

General Motors  announced that Marcos Purty, executive director of Lansing Delta Township Assembly, and Eric Fonville, development engineer for propulsion structures, sealing and fastening, have won one of industry’s most important honors in science, technology, engineering and math.

In February, Purty received the Career Achievement Award and Fonville received the Research Leadership Award during the Black Engineer of the Year Awards in Washington, D.C.

“Driving the future of mobility will depend on a deep and diverse talent pool that can bring their whole selves to work,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “As our industry continues to evolve, leveraging our diverse talent and empowering employees to infuse unique perspectives into all we do will position GM to shape the future of mobility and achieve our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

For more than 30 years, awards presented at the BEYA STEM Conference have honored excellence in STEM and underscored the serious under-representation of minorities in STEM and at senior levels in all disciplines. Employers committed to inclusion have chosen the BEYA STEM Conference to exchange best practices and strategies on how to promote and retain diversity in scientific and technical fields.


Ackerson Receives Shiawassee Chamber Mission Award

LAFCU’s Julianne Ackerson received the 2020 Mission Award from the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner and awards night Feb. 6.

Chamber representatives brought balloons to the LAFCU Corunna branch in January to surprise Ackerson with the good news. She is the assistant vice president of branch operations and is responsible for managing the credit union’s Owosso and Corunna branches.

The Mission Award recognizes a member who has helped chamber staff meet the organization’s mission of advancing economic success in Shiawassee County. Staff members nominate an individual who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the chamber and gives generously of his or her time and talent.

“Julianne is a great influence upon our chamber staff,” said Jeff Deason, chamber president and CEO. “She always gives thoughtful consideration in her roles as a board member and a member of the many event planning committees on which she has served and currently serves.”


Mason Public Schools Foundation Gifts $110,000 to Mason Public Schools

Over the 2018-19 school year, the Mason Public Schools Foundation (MPSF) gifted $110,000 to Mason Public Schools for instructional programming.

One example of the support provided by the MPSF includes the upcoming addition of an afterschool Language Arts and Math Enrichment Program. Courses are available for students in grades 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8.

“Thanks to the generous $8,000 grant from the Mason Public Schools Foundation, there is no cost for these afterschool courses to families,” said Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki, Ed.S. “The MPSF is a wonderful asset for the Mason community. The founders of the organization and those who continue to run it truly value education and the future of the community.”

“The Mason Public Schools Foundation is happy to provide funding and support to our school district. Without these funds, raised by the community, students’ exposure to opportunities like the Wharton Center and 3D printing may not be possible,” added Patrick Meyers, President of the Mason Public Schools Foundation.


Maner Costerisan Named to VAR Stars

Maner Costerisan Business & Technology Solutions was selected to be a member of the Bob Scott’s VAR Stars for 2019, a group of 100 organizations honored for accomplishments in the mid-market financial software field.

Members of the VAR Stars were selected based on factors such as growth, industry leadership, and recognition and innovation. Selected firms represent a wide range of sizes, as well as many different accounting software publishers.

“Being named a VAR Star is a high honor for Maner Costerisan,” said Dave Feenstra, director of the business solutions and technology department at Maner Costerisan. “We focus on enhancing our services and strengthening client relations by providing technology solutions as part of our client services. Receiving recognition as a technology leader encourages us to continue advancing our solutions expertise because they truly move the needle for those relying on us for their technology needs.”

Scott has covered this market for nearly 28 years through print and electronic publications, first as technology editor of Accounting Today and later as the editor of Accounting Technology from 1997 through 2009. He has covered the traditional tax and accounting profession during the same time and has continued to address that market as editor of Progressive Accountant.


Tomlinson Retires as Peckham CEO

Mitch Tomlinson, Peckham’s president and CEO since 1994, will retire after 43 years of service at Peckham. He has passionately led the organization toward a mission-focused vision of empowering individuals with disabilities to succeed.

Tomlinson began his career at Peckham in 1976 as its second employee. Over the years, he has led the award-winning organization toward best practices in vocational rehabilitation and superior business operations.

During his tenure, Tomlinson effectively led the overall operations of five social enterprises in apparel manufacturing, environmental services, supply chain solutions, contact center solutions and Peckham Farms, while overseeing a human services division that provides myriad wraparound support services and life-enhancing activities for more than 2,500 individuals each day.


Maner Costerisan Names New Manager

Maner Costerisan named Cortney Plowman as a manager in the firm. Plowman has worked for five years for the Lansing-based certified public accounting firm and will serve in the audit department in her new supervisory role.

In her managerial position, Plowman will be organizing and overseeing audits to help identify risks within client organizations and foster management plans to address those risks. In addition, she will assist in the career development and professional advancement of apprentice-level staff within department teams. It’s the people she interacts with, both inside and outside the firm, who make the work Plowman performs so rewarding.

The certified public accountant began working at Maner Costerisan as an associate in 2015 after earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Central Michigan University, where she majored in accounting.

“I was always good at math and liked working with numbers, but I also knew that I wanted to work with people,” Plowman said. “The fact that accounting allowed me to not only work with numbers, but also to help people — it was a perfect fit.”


Burcham Hills Breaks Ground on Development

Officials from Burcham Hills and community supporters donned hard hats and grabbed shovels Jan. 8 for the official groundbreaking of the new StoneBriar at Burcham Hills development, a $29 million expansion that will feature 44 independent living apartment homes with underground parking for residents.

About 100 local businesspeople, Burcham Hills board members and future StoneBriar residents gathered to drink a toast to the official start of construction and hear how it will impact the community.

“Our goal throughout the process has been to raise the bar on senior living,” Burcham Hills Executive Director Kari Rennie said. “StoneBriar will inspire exploration and discover and provide a fresh, contemporary approach to senior living.”

StoneBriar at Burcham Hills recently completed a renovation that included new amenities, such as a dining venue with outdoor seating, wellness and activity spaces, a salon and spa, group exercise areas with fitness and strength equipment, and a multipurpose space for residents. The 44 independent living apartment homes are part of the 65,000-square-foot expansion in contemporary living options.

The StoneBriar at Burcham Hills expansion is scheduled to be completed in summer 2021.


Tropic Like It’s Hot Announces New Hire

Tropic Like It’s Hot Airbrush Tanning in Okemos recently announced the addition of Charlee Zimmer to the team. Zimmer is a resident of East Lansing.

“Charlee is an amazing cosmetologist, esthetician and certified airbrush artist with a life dedicated to beauty and fashion,” said owner Allie Pratt. “I interviewed 20 candidates for this position, and Charlee is the best of the best.”


Martin Assists EDL in Lease of Site

Martin Commercial Properties, a leading privately owned real estate services and development company, has assisted Energy Development Limited in signing a 10,430-square-foot office lease at 2501 Coolidge Road in East Lansing. EDL will occupy a portion of the 100,000-square-foot building with Biggby Coffee corporate as its co-tenant.

The building is situated on the east side of U.S. 127 and is approximately 3 miles northwest of downtown East Lansing. The building is currently owned and managed by Sam Eyde Management Co.

“We are ecstatic that EDL is relocating their North American headquarters to East Lansing,” said Thomas Jamieson, senior associate and office adviser at Martin Commercial Properties. “We were honored to represent them in their search for space. We recognize the importance of EDL’s move, and we believe it will further solidify East Lansing as a top growing city for professionals and bring jobs to the community. We are delighted to create this partnership with EDL, and we look forward to assisting them with any future needs.”


Heller Honored As Numismatic Ambassador

At the Florida United Numismatist convention in Orlando on Jan. 10, Liberty Coin Service Communications Officer Patrick A. Heller was honored as one of five new Numismatic Ambassadors. He is now one of just over 200 people so honored by the hobby and industry since 1974.

“There are only a handful of Michigan residents who have received this honor, which is akin to a lifetime achievement award,” said Liberty CEO Tom Coulson. “Pat was not only an owner of Liberty Coin Service for 33 years, he also devoted a significant time as a volunteer to further the numismatic hobby and industry. He has worked with Scouts and 4-H; made presentations in more than 100 school classrooms; served as an officer or on committees for multiple numismatic organizations; served as a numismatic exhibit judge; has given speeches to senior citizens, service organizations, churches, coin clubs and investment conferences across the country; authored more than 1,000 articles and newsletters; produced almost 1,000 radio commentaries; and has helped gained sales tax exemptions on retail sales of rare coins and precious metals in Michigan and 16 other states. On top of that, he also calls himself the ‘unofficial artist’ of the 2004 Michigan statehood quarter, where he was the primary author of the written instructions supplied to the U.S. Mint’s engraver to create the coin’s design.”

Liberty Coin Service, founded in 1971, is Michigan’s largest rare coin and precious metals dealership. Liberty Coins, as it is known locally, has been located in Lansing’s Frandor Shopping Center since 1975.


MiDEC Welcomes New Members to Committee

The Michigan Diversity Education Center announced the appointment of two new members to the Michigan Disability Advisory Committee. Dr. Sharon Bland-Brady and Calvin Kennebrew Jr. were appointed Jan. 9 at the first MDAC meeting of the year.

“MiDEC continually strives to be a voice for the underserved, oppressed and marginalized here in the Greater Lansing region and throughout the state, and the work MDAC does is critical to our mission,” said Gina Pons-Schultz, chair of the MiDEC board of directors.

MiDEC, a Michigan based 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit organization, was created to serve as a strong voice and global change-agents for those who are being marginalized, underserved or experiencing barricades that are preventing them from full access to a high-quality of life.


DTE Director Elected to Habitat Board

The Habitat for Humanity of Michigan board of directors unanimously elected Rodney Cole Jr., director of state government affairs for DTE Energy, to join the board.

Cole was identified as an ideal candidate because of his extensive experience with legislative activities and managing relationships with government officials, focusing on strengthening relationships with Michigan’s public sector leaders to create and implement policy. Cole also serves on the board of directors for the American Association for Blacks in Energy Michigan, Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan, Connect Detroit, Midnight Golf and the Wayne State University Press Board of Visitors. Cole serves as a member of Teen Hype’s advisory board and co-chair of the Children’s Trust Fund of Michigan advisory committee.

“Habitat for Humanity is far more than building homes,” said Sandra Pearson, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. “Our No. 1 priority is to advocate for quality housing for all that is achieved within limited family budgets. Rodney has the skills, experience and passion to help us put a voice to the needs of Michiganders, both in the realm of housing people can afford and in achieving energy efficiencies to keep utility costs down, which means money for other important household needs. We look forward to working with Rodney and building up our DTE partnership.”


Le Joins Martin as Marketing, Communications Manager

Martin Commercial Properties has welcomed Samantha Le to its marketing team. Le will serve as the marketing and communications manager and will be responsible for all property-specific and institutional marketing aspects of the company including brokerage, property management, project management, investment services and corporate services.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Samantha to Martin Commercial,” said Van Martin, president and CEO of Martin Commercial Properties. “Her experience in marketing combined with her transacting commercial real estate knowledge makes Samantha the optimal hire. We couldn’t be happier that she has chosen to bring her talents to Lansing.”

Prior to joining Martin Commercial Properties, Le was as senior leasing associate at Sterling Organization from 2014 to 2019 and was responsible for leasing over 3 million square feet of retail in Chicagoland and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). During Le’s tenure, she signed over 400 leases with independent and national operators. Prior to that role, Le worked in luxury student housing development at CA Ventures as a regional leasing and marketing director. Le joined CA Ventures after two years with Pierce Education Properties. She received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Michigan State University.


Peak Performance Opening New Clinic

Peak Performance Physical Therapy is expanding its services with a new clinic location opening in summer 2020 at 132 S. Cedar St. in Mason.

“We are so excited to expand our services to the Mason area,” said Jill Marlan, CEO and founder of Peak Performance Physical Therapy. “Our commitment to excellence, combined with our mission to deliver outstanding physical therapy, has earned our company the excellent reputation it holds today.”

Peak Performance Physical Therapy currently has three clinical locations in Lansing, Okemos and DeWitt with two athletic training locations at Lansing Community College and Great Lakes Christian College. For more information about Peak Performance Physical Therapy, visit


Martin Arranges Sale in Mason

Martin Commercial Properties, a leading privately owned real estate services and development company, recently brokered the sale of an 8,604-square-foot office building at 210 State St. in Mason.

The building was purchased by Smart Places LLC, a technology company specializing in smart technology for the home and office. The company is owned by John Gilluly, who will be relocating his business to Mason from its current space in Okemos. Martin Commercial Properties Senior Associate Thomas Jamieson represented the buyer.

“We are very happy we could assist Mr. Gilluly in his search for space,” said Jamieson. “Smart Places LLC has been searching for new office space for several years. We were glad we could help them find the perfect fit.”


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