April 2022 - Sachse Construction

Construction set to begin on new Michigan State football building

EAST LANSING – Shovels will be in the dirt soon as Michigan State is set to begin work on its new football facility.

The school’s Board of Trustees on Friday authorized work to begin on the first phase of the renovation to the Skandalaris Football Center.

The first phase of the project will cost $11 million and is scheduled to be finished in October, 2023. It includes moving the current weight room, demolition and installing temporary walls and utilities to prepare the site for the full renovation to come.

The athletic department is scheduled present a budget for the full project in June. No timeline for full completion of the building, which will be called the Tom Izzo Football Building and be funded entirely by donations, has been presented.

Mat Ishbia, the former Michigan State basketball walk-on turned mortgage billionaire, gave $20 million toward the project last year as part of a $32 million donation to the school overall. Greg Williams, who co-founded a Grand Rapids insurance brokerage, and his wife added a $10 million donation later in 2021.
When finished, the building will eventually have a new entrance on its south side, along Chestnut Road, plus new player lockers, meeting spaces, recovery areas and areas for dining, nutrition and health and wellness. The weight room will also be expanded and the football team auditorium will be renovated.
The board also approved two improvements to Spartan Stadium for this year: $2.5 million in maintenance and structural repairs to the lower bowl and a new $1.6 million sound system at the facility to be completed this spring and summer in time for the fall 2022 season.

The Latest Construction Technology Reshaping the Industry

As the need for construction is growing tremendously, companies have to keep pace properly. Construction companies are handling expansion by embracing new technology in construction. There are numerous technologies available at present. New technologies persist in forcing construction companies to grow.

And with time, the construction industry is changing the way you do business. Moreover, technology is touching almost every aspect of your operations. Read on to know more about the transformations technology brings to the industry.

Introduction of New Materials and Methods

Technological advancements in construction have been transforming the way almost everything is done. One of the most prominent areas of change is the materials used. New technologies are allowing for creative phases like recycling concrete. Even scientists are also tricky at work creating more eco-friendly materials. Carbon fiber is showing its power as a construction material.

Tech devices are also transforming how construction companies work with these materials. In the present scenario, prefabrication is not something unique for construction professionals, but 3D printers are becoming new to them. Creative businesses are testing 3D printing whole constructed space with the same. As you print the design, the sections can be transferred to the jobsite and built.

Transforming Jobsites

Technology is also changing the construction jobsite itself. Drones, for instance, are being embraced on a vast scale. These tools allow more accurate surveying, even from a distant location.

Drones and mobile devices have other advantages for the construction site as well. With these devices, it’s more manageable to keep track of what materials you require and what quantity you should order. This capability can save companies a massive amount as it decreases material waste.

Safer Jobsites

Enhanced safety is another advantage of technical advances in construction. Drones and mobile devices make it more effortless to overlook the jobsite from remote locations. Workers can be informed of hazards sooner. You can provide instructions on how to deal with these troubles efficiently.

Technology can even assist your employees in staying safe by giving them forewarnings. Helmets are compulsory safety equipment, but they’re now evolving into wearable tech. Prime lenses and augmented reality have the ability to deliver warnings before any danger in the location.

Wearable tech also helps to track the time of your team smartly and see how much time each individual is actually spending on the jobsite. Frequent breaks are essential. Because tired workers are more inclined to commit mistakes, leading to damage.

Artificial Intelligence & Predictive Analytics

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have permitted numerous industries to integrate this technology. The construction industry continues to embrace AI in stride. One of the most notable instances is driverless vehicles. No construction company has adopted these vehicles at a pace yet. Driverless vehicles will likely substitute drivers soon.

AI has numerous other uses for construction companies. These technologies need extensive amounts of data to “learn.” You can also assemble this data for your company analytics.

Predictive analytics uses this data to decide what’s most likely to happen. Some AIs may be able to anticipate when you need to order individual materials. Others will help you determine issues around the jobsite and make suggestions for avoiding them.

Success is Waiting for You!

Technology in construction is transforming virtually every aspect of the business. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to embrace some of the new technologies driving your construction business forward. As the construction industry extends in the coming years, you should adopt the latest tech. They’ll assist you to keep pace as your business benefits from industry growth.

Tesla service center, charging station coming to vacant space in Montrose

MONTROSE, Ohio — Telsa is expanding throughout Northeast Ohio.

A former Toys ‘R’ Us location in Montrose will soon become the new home to a Tesla service center and charging station.

The building, which was the site of the toy store before it closed in 2018, will be used by Tesla to offer customers “floor diagnostics/service and vehicle charging stations,” according to a project report.

The plan also notes that the company will be investing $750,000 into the property.

“It’s really nice to bring someone into the space and bring life into the area,” said Loudan Klein, economic development director with Copley Township.

Klein said it’s challenging to find a tenant to fill buildings with a large footprint.

“Filling a building of this size with one tenant is really unique and you kind of have to think outside the box.”

He said the building had been sitting vacant with only some retailers using the space seasonally

Klein said Tesla’s arrival is welcomed news since it not only provides new life to a vacant building, but also brings more opportunities to the area.

“I think it’ll bring people to the community and people will spend some time in the Montrose area and Copley community, said Klein. “And hopefully we can expand our network of EV charging.”

There is no word yet on when Tesla will open its doors at the Montrose location. 3News reached out to Tesla but did not hear back from the company as of Wednesday evening.

Detroit City Council approves revised recreational marijuana ordinance

Detroit — Two years after the city opted to allow recreational marijuana, Detroit’s City Council approved a new, more-inclusive ordinance in an effort to award licenses for recreational-use dispensaries in Michigan’s largest city.

The development follows a longstanding disagreement among leaders and residents over how much opportunity should specifically be given to longtime Detroiters. The city’s initial attempt was discouraged last year after a federal judge ruled its first ordinance approved in 2020 was “likely unconstitutional” for providing too much preference to legacy Detroiters.

On Tuesday, the council voted 8-1 on the latest ordinance following two hours of discussion. At-large Councilwoman Mary Waters voted against it, citing a “broken licensing system” in the ordinance.

“This ordinance is not a perfect ordinance,” Mayor Pro Tem James Tate said. “There is an opportunity beyond today to make advancements.”

Tate introduced the latest ordinance in February using the same language as the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s social equity program. That language opens benefits to all residents from 184 communities in the state that were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, rather than just Detroiters.

“As (Councilman Scott) Benson says, these are etched in butter, not stone. … I encourage everyone to continue moving forward and not be discouraged by how challenging this process has been thus far,” he said.

The ordinance goes into effect on April 20; however, the city’s Civil Rights, Inclusion, & Opportunity Department has to provide the council with a recommended date of when licenses can begin being issued, and then, the City Council is required to vote to approve that date. CRIO officials said they will need 90 days to hire a third-party scoring firm for the license applications and to identify a program to host the lottery for any remaining licenses should the scores come to a tie.

Entrepreneurs who obtain a license from the city must also obtain a state license.

City Council President Mary Sheffield said she supported the ordinance because voters overwhelmingly wanted the legalization of recreational marijuana which will “create generational wealth, create revenue for Detroiters, the opportunity for our residents to purchase and consume safe and regulated cannabis within our city limits.”

The 2018 ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was supported by 68% of Detroit voters.

“It was a long time coming to the finish line, and I’m glad we’re here today,” Sheffield said.

Meanwhile, Waters said in a statement she voted no because the ordinance “took away protections for community members.”

“The (ordinance) created a licensing system that opens our city up to exploitation from out-state big-business interests,” Waters said. “I will continue to stand with the community and will work to ensure that, despite this broken licensing system, longtime Detroiters have a fair shot at owning the marijuana businesses in our city.”

Waters also called on the federal government to ensure that marijuana businesses have access to banking services nationwide. Currently, businesses can only accept cash or debit as the plant is not federally legal.

How ordinance works

The new ordinance provides options for provisional licenses, adding social equity and non-equity tracks and creating rounds of distributing 110 total licenses. The licenses, including designated consumption and microbusinesses, will be awarded over three phases that will be spaced out three months apart.

The 2018 ballot proposal required state regulators to implement a social equity proponent in communities, including Detroit, that “have historically been excluded from ownership opportunities in the legal marijuana industry due to the disproportionate impact of marijuana prohibition, enforcement, the lack of access to capital, land, and resources,” according to the city ordinance.

Longtime Detroit residents, who own at least a 51% stake in a business, can be certified by the city as a “Detroit legacy” applicant and still benefit from city assistance with business plans, reduced costs and fees, networking and discounted zoned city properties.

The ordinance does not limit the number of licenses that may be issued for growers, processors, secured transporters or safety compliance.

In the first round, there will be 20 retailer licenses, five microbusiness licenses and five consumption licenses available for both social equity and non-equity applicants.

In the second round, there will be 15 retail, five microbusiness and five consumption licenses available for each track of applicants.

The highest-scoring applicants out of a 100-point rubric will be put into a lottery for the first licenses.

The system judges applicants’ business plan, site control and ability to pay taxes. It requires a “good neighbor” plan — that businesses show how they are committed to hiring Detroiters, purchasing from local businesses, don’t overcharge consumers and plan to invest in the surrounding neighborhood to leave a positive impact.

Separately, applicants have the opportunity to score up to 27 additional points by giving away portions of the business to a longtime Detroiter for social-equity certification.

Tate said city officials are in the process of reducing the zoning restriction for dispensaries from 1,000 feet to 750 feet and potentially increasing city funding assistance from $500,000 to $1 million.

Real estate concerns

More than a dozen public commenters joined Tuesday’s discussion advocating for more funding for legacy applicants to secure commercial real estate in a “price-gouging market.”

In late March, the state announced the distribution of $42 million to 163 local and county governments with licensed adult-use cannabis businesses. Those payments were a share of more than $1.1 billion in recreational marijuana sales reported last fiscal year.

Detroit has 30 medical marijuana facilities within the city limits, but no recreational business due to the ordinance’s hold-up.

“I am thankful that Detroit will finally join the 23 municipalities in Michigan that have allowed adult-use cannabis licensing within its borders,” Tate said later Tuesday. “But the goal has never been to simply have licensing within the city, but to create policy that works to address the inequities that so many Detroiters have experienced trying to pursue an opportunity in this industry.”

Google invests $9.5B in US offices and data centers

Dive Brief:

  • Google plans to invest $9.5 billion in offices and data centers in the U.S. this year, according to a company blog post.
  • The scope includes existing office developments in Austin, Boulder, Cambridge and Pittsburgh, a new office project in Atlanta and data center development in Tennessee, Virginia and Oklahoma (pictured), among other regions in the U.S.
  • While the data center sector is booming with increased investment and frenzied construction activity, on a national scale, the office sector has struggled to welcome back employees in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dive Insight:

Google is just the latest technology conglomerate to increase its investment in data centers. Its recommitment to office space, however, is a bit more surprising.

“It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work,” wrote Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in the blog post. “Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses.”

Google asked in March for its San Francisco Bay Area employees to return to the office at least three days a week starting this month. That reportedly frustrated some employees who wanted to move outside of the high-cost region, according to Bloomberg.

On the other hand, the data center sector was expanding even before the pandemic, but stay-at-home mandates and work-from-home trends accelerated the trend.

For example, Meta, parent company of Facebook, recently launched two new data center projects in Texas and Missouri, pushing its total investment in U.S. data center construction and operations past $16 billion.

Relatively cheap land and power, coupled with record tax incentives are fueling the developments, especially outside primary markets, according to a CBRE report on North America data center trends.

Google plans to build data centers in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska and Nevada. Its office market focus runs from Seattle to New York (see map), according to the blog post.

The $9.5 billion investment is expected to create about 12,000 new full-time jobs at Google by year-end, according to the company statement.

This latest investment brings Google’s total spend on offices and data centers to more than $37 billion in 26 states over the last five years. That’s in addition to the more than $40 billion in research and development in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, according to the company.

Deloitte sheds large RenCen office for smaller WeWork space downtown

Consulting firm Deloitte LLP is substantially downsizing its prime downtown Detroit office footprint.

An employee confirmed Thursday morning that the London-based company is moving next week from the Renaissance Center into the Dan Gilbert-owned 1001 Woodward Ave. high-rise.

Deloitte’s RenCen office spans six floors — the 24th, and the top 35 through 39 — totaling approximately 102,000 square feet in the 200 tower.

The company is taking WeWork space in 1001 Woodward, although the precise square footage is not known. WeWork has about 44,000 square feet there.

Deloitte’s lease in the RenCen tower expires at the end of the month.

Emails and phone messages were left with Deloitte, WeWork, Gilbert’s Bedrock LLC real estate company and CBRE Inc., which is the listing brokerage for the General Motors Co.-owned office towers on the Detroit River.

It’s not known how many employees are impacted or whether Deloitte was using all of its 102,000 square feet prior to moving out.

The move is a big hit for the 39-story skyscraper, which is 593,000 square feet and only about 53.5 percent leased, according to the annual JLL Skyline report released in September. Deloitte vacating will only make those numbers worse.

The Renaissance Center as a whole has suffered mightily during the pandemic.

Before COVID-19, the Detroit-based automaker had 5,000 employees in the buildings but has adopted a so-called “Work Anywhere” work model, leaving the towers largely empty.

Last month, Crain’s surveyed more than 40 of the largest employers in the region and found that most of them remain in either work-from-home or hybrid schedules.

Gilbert bought the 23-story 1001 Woodward building in 2013 and brought WeWork on as a tenant, ultimately taking four floors totaling about 35,000 square feet, according to a source. WeWork has about 44,000 square feet there.

WeWork also took seven floors at 1449 Woodward Ave. and 91,000 square feet in the TechTown area building at 6001 Cass Ave., owned by Detroit-based The Platform LLC.

Deloitte has also taken WeWork space in the U.K., occupying 35,000 square feet in Manchester.

Cultural Lead – The Inaugural DBusiness Top Corporate Culture Awards

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, employers large and small were faced with difficult decisions to keep their businesses afloat. Decisions resulting in job loss, increased workloads for the remaining staff, and pay cuts were among the more drastic.

The future is improving, but it’s a step-by-step process. Employers can expect a continuation of the Great Resignation, more remote and hybrid work, and talent shortages in 2022, according to the Emeritus Institute of Management in Boston.

To get a picture of how metro Detroit businesses are handling these important employer-employee issues, DBusiness invited workers at small, medium-size, and large companies to fill out a survey with questions about their work experience. The best-performing small and medium-to-large companies overall have been recognized as Corporate Culture Awards honorees. The top-rated firms in each category survey also are recognized.

Another part of the Emeritus Institute of Management report says that in 2022, employee well-being will be a priority for employers. The companies being honored in this inaugural DBusiness award program appear to be at least one step ahead of the trend — and, in many cases, several steps ahead.

The overall champions are Detroit’s Sachse Construction in the medium/large segment and the Darden Wealth Group in Ann Arbor in the small company segment.

“We’re very team-member-centric because, ultimately, it’s our reputation,” says Myra Ebarb, director of people and perks at Sachse Construction. “When I hold my Apple watch or my Apple phone, that’s the reputation of Apple, not the person who built it. Here, at Sachse Construction and Broder & Sachse Real Estate, our reputation is based on our team members and their interactions with clients. Being team-member-focused creates the exceptional experience with our company.”

The office is designed to make everyone, including company executive officers, accessible to other members of the team. The corner office with the best view is a conference room.

At Darden Wealth Group, the overall champion in the small company category, the enterprise’s five employees are led by CEO Andrea Darden, a former collegiate and professional basketball player at the power forward position.

“I think culture is very important,” says Darden, who started her business in 2018. “I’m all about having an environment where you’re catering to your people’s strengths and giving them an environment where they can flourish. Being in finance, it’s always been a culture of ‘conform or get out.’ When I formed my own firm, I wanted to do something different. Part of the reason I’m so passionate is that I was in an environment where I felt undervalued.”

Darden says she gets her passion for maintaining a good corporate culture from being on past teams where either a coach or another player contributed to a toxic team culture. She says hiring the right people is the key to maintaining a top-flight corporate culture.

“When we bring people in, it’s important that we hire for culture. It’s very important for us to keep that culture — which includes a commitment to your family, the community, and personal growth.”

Darden says it’s not necessarily easier to maintain a positive corporate culture with a smaller group of people.

“It goes both ways,” she says. “One bad employee in a small group cannot be hidden. You can quickly destroy a culture with one person in a small group; in a larger corporation, you can hide them. When you have a larger organization, you have to make sure you’re promoting the same culture through all the layers of your organization.”

Part of her company’s culture is that she considers herself as part of the team, rather than the team’s owner or even its coach.

“I see myself in the role of a captain,” Darden says. “I tell my team that I’m part of the team. I bring certain things to the table, but my job is also to hire people who are smarter than I am. As a power forward, there were players who could dribble the ball down the court better than I could. I want to empower my people, especially those who are more on the front lines than I am.”

Diversity and Inclusion

Darden Wealth Group also placed highly in the Diversity and Inclusion category of the DBusiness Corporate Culture survey. Strategic Staffing Solutions in Detroit was the winning medium/large company in the category.

“We focus on working with women (as clients), business owners, and professors,” Darden says. “We try to have our staff representative of our clients. Right now, we have three women and two men on staff, and one of our vendors is an underrepresented minority. I believe in diversity. You have to look at your constituents and make sure your staff represents your constituents. Our constituents are a majority of women, so our staff represents that.”

Tracey Kenty, senior vice president of human resources at the 290-employee Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3), which has its headquarters in the historic Fisher Building in Detroit and operates 25 offices in the United States and three in Europe, says the company’s focus on diversity and inclusion starts at the very top of the company.

“Our owners (Cindy Pasky and a board of shareholders) are just amazing people,” Kenty says. “They care about people. The overall culture starts there. We believe that any and everybody has the opportunity to add value and be a part of this great team. One of our pillars is changing people’s station in life.”

Workplace Décor and Amenities

Sachse Construction and Emerge Consulting in downtown Royal Oak were the survey leaders in the Workplace Décor and Amenities category.

The 130 team members of Sachse Construction and Broder & Sachse Real Estate have occupied the fifth floor of 3663 Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit since October 2020. The space is wide open, ceilings are high and painted white, all offices feature glass walls, and the view outdoors is nearly uninterrupted.

A common area is equipped with table tennis, foosball, and pinball games; a dart board; a video arcade game; and seemingly more televisions that one can count. There’s a fully stocked eatery where team members can partake of fresh fruits and vegetables, a cereal bar, healthy snacks, and flavored sparkling water free of charge. Team members can find a specialty coffee maker, beer on tap, and wine and spirits available for after-hours decompression at the Sachse Café, complete with a neon sign.

“You don’t get hungry working here,” Ebarb says. “We need our team members to be happy, and happy team members create an exceptional experience and they’re so much more productive.”

Elsewhere in the office are giant chess and checker boards. On another counter, a jigsaw puzzle is in progress.

“We have an open-door policy,” Ebarb says. “We can bust in on the presidents at any time.”

The Sachse office also is designed to facilitate collaboration. It has several conference rooms — named for various Detroit landmarks — and other lounges specifically intended for relaxation and casual conversation. There’s a wellness room for mothers, and part of the company’s wellness program includes 15-minute chair massages for every team member every other Friday.

“Just the other day I went out to lunch for the first time since we’ve been here,” says Lou Goldhaber, chief of staff at Sachse Construction and project manager of the site. “I never feel the need to leave the floor. There’s so much action.”

At Emerge Consulting, the small business category winner, managing partner Joe Bamberger says one key attribute for his six colleagues is working in downtown Royal Oak.

“One of our biggest amenities is the city itself with all the food, drink, and shopping options within walking distance of our office,” Bamberger says. “To make it even better, we have free, on-site parking — a rarity for offices on Main Street in Royal Oak.”

Although work takes Emerge’s consultants around the country, Bamberger says he wants to provide them with a collaborative space that offers a variety of work environments. There are desks, an in-office bar, high-top tables, and a second story deck for working outside, weather permitting. “Our team works from the space that works best for them in the moment,” he says.

To get employees through the day, Emerge offers a variety of complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and snacks. The refrigerator and bar are stocked with alcoholic beverages for after-hours unwinding. There’s also a small library being amassed to help employees grow intellectually.

“To compete against all of the snacks and candy in the office, our team also receives $200 per year to use toward any wellness or health purchase of their choice, be it a gym membership, workout clothing, massages — whatever helps you stay mentally and physically healthy,” Bamberger explains.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he adds. “We constantly review our space, benefits, and perks of being a team member for Emerge. If our team can think it, we can implement it. The good news is our business specializes in helping other businesses attract, develop, and retain talent, so we always see what other companies are doing to engage and retain employees, and we’ll happily borrow ideas that we think our team will like.”

Career Advancement

Strategic Staffing Solutions and Growth GPS in Novi are the headliners in the Career Advancement category of the inaugural DBusiness Corporate Culture survey.

Kenty, of S3, is a living example of the upward trajectory possible at the staffing company. She started as a part-time employee 16 years ago and now is a senior vice president.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here for improvement and growth,” Kenty says.

The same is true at Growth GPS and its nine-member team, according to Keith Helfrich, founder and managing director.

“We don’t have a policy, per se. Policies aren’t how we work,” Helfrich says. “Our mindset and practice gives everyone the opportunity to participate in areas outside their expertise. We believe strongly in teamwork and growth through opportunities taking place in real-time.”

Since education and training programs are what Growth GPS provides, the company’s team is made aware of “all sorts of opportunities for growth and development,” Helfrich says.

“We provide company-wide training as a matter of course, with at least one ‘major’ event quarterly,” he explains. “We support teams working on special projects with training they identify as important to success for the project, and we support individuals with 100 percent reimbursement (up to $2,500 annually) for training of any type they deem meaningful for their personal growth.”


The Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) and Trion Solutions, both in Troy, are the winners in the Teamwork category for small and medium/large companies, respectively.

“Generally speaking, all of our positions have touchpoints with each other; no persons are siloed,” says Paul Chambers, co-founder and CEO of SUBTA, explaining how teamwork functions with his 10 workers. “As a business that’s in the growth phase, we consistently work cross-departmentally to implement new and innovative ideas together.”

As a result, the team at SUBTA has worked to develop and hone their communication skills.

“One of our initiatives is monthly development training,” Chambers says. “Here, we devote company time for the teaching and learning of new hard and soft skills. We’re also in the middle of another company-wide team-building initiative. Each month a person gets 10 minutes to 15 minutes to tell their life story, and answer questions from the team. It’s so much fun to learn more about each of our team members, thus building deeper connections with each other.

“Another ongoing initiative we encourage is personal goal-setting. Every two weeks, each team member meets with their accountability partner (another team member) to help them meet the personal goals they set for the year.”

Another element of SUBTA’s synergy is its “culture of caring.”

“Our teamwork is awarded, in large part, through the kudos and compliments of our co-workers,” Chambers says. “Each person has also mapped out their individual goals that are tied to achieving the company metrics. Each quarter our metrics are reviewed, and the progress of each of member’s contributions are updated. This is the largest extrinsic motivation we employ. Otherwise, our teamwork is intrinsic and baked into our processes.”

Lauren Vihtelic, director of workers compensation at Trion Solutions, which has 147 employees, says teamwork is essential at that company, too.

“Each of our departments interacts and works together for successful day-to-day operations,” Vihtelic says. “We continuously have interoffice training to ensure each team is collaborating and using our resources to the best of the company’s abilities. We encourage various team events, especially through the holiday seasons, with our two main events: a department Halloween contest and department gingerbread house contest.”

The Halloween contest includes Trion’s offices in Michigan, Florida, and Arizona. Each department decides on a theme, and employees are encouraged to dress up, decorate, and theme their work areas accordingly, which the company says enhances teamwork and department growth and cooperation.

The gingerbread house department competition was a new event in 2021 and encouraged creativity, teamwork, cooperation, and compromise, according to Vihtelic.


Oakpoint, a dental support company with 13 employees in Birmingham, was the Leadership category frontrunner in the small business category. Financial planner Northwestern Mutual–Troy, with its 250 employees, led the way for medium/large companies.

Oakpoint CEO Mick Janness explains that his company’s leadership team is comprised of seven people, all representing a wide range of professional experience. “The varied backgrounds and dedication to the greater good is what drives the strength (of our team) — the nucleus of which is rooted in certain philosophies that drive collaboration and ultimate throughput,” Janness says. 

The leadership team’s core values include: be transparent, own your attitude, deliver a WOW experience to customers, commit with energy, and act with compassion.

“This set of core values guides us in everything we do,” says Janness, who describes his leadership philosophy as “open-book management” supported by the Entrepreneurial Operating System, developed by Michigan native Gino Wickman.

“E.O.S. drives a completely transparent culture coupled with accountability throughout the entire organization,” Janness says. “Everyone is accountable to one another in a bottom-up — not a hierarchical or top-down — approach. We host quarterly Town Hall events, whereby financials are shared, and an open forum of questions and answers are then shared.

“The term ‘employee engagement’ is desired by so many,” he continues. “Our philosophy is simple: If you want team members to be engaged, you need to engage them in the business.  Further supporting this belief, we’re deeply passionate about discussing our shortcomings and where improvement needs to be addressed. We never tell ourselves we’re great at something when we know it’s not fact.”      

Mark Smith, chief marketing officer at Northwestern Mutual–Troy, says his company’s leadership is based on admiration and understanding.

“Our whole business model, our whole industry, is set up out of mutual respect,” Smith says. “We’ve got a lot of folks who are staff and a lot of folks who are 10-99 (contract workers). As they’re taking care of clients, you need to put them in an atmosphere that’s very nurturing, educational, and supportive.

“We’re very good at setting a plan and letting people know where they fit into that plan. We’re very strategically communicative. Everybody knows every week what’s going on. We’re all servant leaders. It is truly open-door; we’re here to support and make you better.”

Community Engagement

Northwestern Mutual–Troy also excelled in the Community Engagement part of the DBusiness Corporate Culture survey, as did Sentinal Benefits and Financial Group in Bingham Farms, representing small businesses with its 30 employees.

“We support three childhood cancer charities: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Camp Casey, and the Children’s Foundation,” Smith says. “Everyone really got behind doing things for these programs. We’re all hands on deck. It gets all of us together for one cause.”

Northwestern Mutual–Troy, which provides personalized financial plans for individuals and families, also put on events for children with cancer, along with their siblings and parents, and started a fundraising golf outing in 2021 that it hopes will be an annual event.


Emagine Entertainment in Troy, with 650 employees — and the largest organization taking part in the survey — scored well in the Gratitude category. Harbor Computer Systems in Royal Oak has seven employees and topped the small business segment in this category.

“We show our gratitude in various ways,” says Shelby Langenstein, chief people officer at Emagine.

She says the company recognizes employees of the month; presents on-the-spot rewards from senior leaders, who hand out gift cards to high performers; sponsors holiday parties and bonuses; and celebrates birthdays and anniversaries. It has a Senior Leadership Incentive Program for theater general managers, which incentivizes the GMs to align business goals with building operations and financially rewards them for doing so.

“Beyond all of these programs, I think the most important aspect of what we do at Emagine is take care of our employees,” Langenstein says. “A prime example of this is when our business was completely shuttered in 2020 and we were forced to lay off over 90 percent of our staff. Even though our hands were forced in the layoffs, we continued to pay health insurance for anyone who was laid off, covering the entirety of their benefits while they were laid off. Since our inception, we knew that if we took care of our team, our team would take care of our guests — and that’s the heart of our business.”

Compensation and Benefits/Flexibility

InvestNext, a Detroit company with eight employees that’s working to transform the process by which investment firms raise and manage capital, was the small business winner in the Compensation and Benefits, as well as the Flexibility categories of the inaugural DBusiness survey. Southfield-based 123Net, Michigan’s largest provider of telephone, internet, and colocation services, which has 200 workers, was tops in the medium/large business segment in the same categories.

“We offer our team market-rate salaries in addition to equity,” says Lucas Traikoff, head of marketing at InvestNext. “We offer full coverage benefits including unlimited vacation, 99 percent employer-paid insurance (health care, vision, and dental), and 3 percent match 401k.

“We’re a flexibility-first company. Our team members can choose to work from home, in a coworking space, or a blend of the two.”

Mentorship Champion

Film director Steven Spielberg once said, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” This could describe one of the many mentoring philosophies of Jennifer Cline, DBusiness magazine’s inaugural Mentorship Champion.

As director of marketing at SUBTA, the Troy-based Subscription Trade Association, Cline manages a team of seven people. “They know they can come to me at any time,” says Cline, who didn’t have access to many mentoring opportunities at her previous employer.

To fill the gap, she reached out and established her own network of leaders. “That’s one reason it became a priority for me to make sure that as I’m growing my team, there’s a close resource for everyone to grow their careers, and I can be that person for them,” says Cline, a mother of three children under 8 years old.

She even promotes her own mentoring philosophies, many of which are captured in catch phrases like “feedback is a gift” and “hone it in.”

“Mentorship is being an active listener and encouraging people to step outside their comfort zone a little bit when they’re not confident they can do something and I’m confident they can,” she explains.

She says the key to mentorship is working together. “Creating a collaborative environment is going to help us all succeed. It’s going to help us grow more effectively together.”

One of Cline’s mentees is Nadine Ghiran, a junior marketing assistant at SUBTA. She credits Cline for being a critical part of her professional development.

“She has helped shape me into the marketer and content writer I am today,” Ghiran says. “Daily, she offers moments of recognition for a job well done, even if it’s the smallest of tasks. Her constructive feedback goes a long way and has been crucial to my growth in the company.”

The Winners

Overall Champions

Small — Darden Wealth Group, Ann Arbor
Darden Wealth Group is a wealth management company. Its mission is to take the burden of wealth management off its clients’ shoulders and turn their visions into reality.

Medium/Large — Sachse Construction, Detroit
Founded in 1991, Sachse Construction has built millions of square feet of commercial, retail, multifamily, and institutional space throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Diversity and Inclusion

Small — Darden Wealth Group, Ann Arbor
Darden Wealth Group takes the time to hire people that fit its culture, which includes a commitment to family, the community, and personal growth.

Medium/Large — Strategic Staffing Solutions, Detroit
Strategic Staffing Solutions is a global IT consulting and business services corporation that delivers staff augmentation, total workforce management programs, outsourced solutions, and direct-hire recruiting, with in-depth expertise in several industries.

Workplace Décor and Amenities

Small — Emerge Consulting, Royal Oak
Emerge Consulting partners with businesses to develop long-term workforce strategies by helping them attract, develop, and retain talent.

Medium/Large — Sachse Construction
Sachse Construction has built multiple projects for Whole Foods, as well as the Nike Community Store, The Madison, and One Woodward in downtown Detroit, the International Market Place in Honolulu, and more.

Compensation and Benefits

Small — InvestNext, Detroit
InvestNext says it’s on a mission to transform the process in which investment firms raise and manage capital.

Medium/Large — 123Net, Southfield
123Net is a telephone, internet, and co-location provider working to make Michigan communities and businesses the best-connected on the planet.

Career Advancement

Small — Growth GPS, Novi
Growth GPS works with organizations seeking transformation to help them hire, develop, and manage an unstoppable workforce.

Medium/Large — Strategic Staffing Solutions
Strategic Staffing Solutions operates 25 offices in the United States and three in Europe. The company has industry expertise in financial services, health care, energy, and more.


Small — Harbor Computer Services, Royal Oak
Offers award-winning IT services and demonstrated leadership. Specializes in client companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Medium/Large — Emagine Entertainment Inc., Troy
Emagine Entertainment is a movie theater chain operating 25 cinemas: 13 in Michigan, nine in Minnesota, and one each in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.


Small — SUBTA, Troy
The Subscription Trade Association provides a comprehensive and reputable library of news, knowledge, and resources.

Medium/Large — Trion Solutions, Troy
Trion Solutions is a professional employer organization offering human resources outsourcing solutions for HR administration.


Small — InvestNext, Detroit
InvestNext says it’s on a mission to transform the process in which investment firms raise and manage capital.

Medium/Large — 123Net, Southfield
123Net is a telephone, internet, and co-location provider working to make Michigan communities and businesses the best-connected on the planet.


Small — Oakpoint, Birmingham
Oakpoint is a dental support organization that provides nonclinical support services under business service agreements. Their affiliated practices maintain ownership while leveraging the Oakpoint operating platform to achieve growth.

Medium/Large — Northwestern Mutual-Troy, Troy
Northwestern Mutual-Troy offers financial planning, and suggests insurance and investment strategies.

Community Engagement

Small — Sentinal Benefits & Financial Group, Bingham Farms
Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group has become a trusted financial adviser and employee benefits administration service provider to businesses and individuals.

Medium/Large — Northwestern Mutual-Troy, Troy
The company’s team of advisers creates personalized financial plans for individuals and families. The plans include insurance and investment strategies.

10 of the largest multifamily starts to watch in 2022

The multifamily sector is in the midst of a new construction boom, with $116.4 billion in new project volume started in 2021 — up 25% from 2020, according to Dodge Construction Group. This boom corresponds with spike in demand for market-rate apartments, as well as rapidly rising rents.

Nearly half of these new projects were built in the country’s 10 largest metropolitan areas for commercial and multifamily starts. Many of these cities are also home to the largest and most expensive projects to break ground last year, although that balance is beginning to shift, according to Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Construction Group.

Last year’s 10 largest apartment starts exemplify this shift, with two projects in Atlanta, one in Alexandria, Virginia, and one in Winter Garden, Florida.

“The top end of the list is always going to be dominated by megaprojects in Miami and New York City,” Branch said. “What we saw in 2021 is that this spread out a little bit more. You’re still seeing Miami and Chicago and Boston, but it’s not as concentrated in New York City as as we saw prior to the pandemic.”

Below are the 10 largest new apartment projects that broke ground last year, as tabulated by Dodge:

1 Southside Park

Started: December 2021
Cost: $1 billion

Developed by JDS Development Group with SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations, the 64-story mixed-use tower at 1 Southside Park will feature a mix of facade structures divided into sections, with landscaping across the exterior. “If you look at the architectural renderings of this, it actually looks a little bit like a tree house,” said Branch.

Fittingly, the property will include the first U.S. location of Starwood Capital Group founder and CEO Barry Sternlicht’s Treehouse Hotel, 1,200 residential units, office space, commercial and event spaces and a variety of green spaces, including the redevelopment of the nearby Southside Park. The ground level will also offer new facilities for Miami’s Fire Station No. 4.

“I don’t think in my 12 years at Dodge I’ve ever seen, in a high-end project like that, especially in a place like Miami, a fire station built into the ground floor,” Branch said.


625 Fulton Street

Brooklyn, New York
Started: May 2021
Cost: $500 million

Following some years of inactivity, excavation work began in May at the future site of 625 Fulton Street, developed by the Rabsky Group.

The 79-story mixed-use tower is set to offer 739,000 square feet of office space, 60,547 square feet of retail space, an elementary school, a quarter-acre public plaza and 902 residential units, of which 25% will be designated as affordable.


Flamingo Crossings Village – Phase 2

Winter Garden, Florida
Started: August 2021
Cost: $485 million

Flamingo Crossings Village, developed, owned and operated by American Campus Communities, is a purpose-built development exclusively for students in Disney Internships & Programs. The first phase of Flamingo Crossings Village opened for students in the summer of 2021. It currently offers 1,600 beds across two- and four-bedroom apartments, as well as a fitness center, community center, swimming pools and a fitness center.

The second phase is set to be completed in 2023, bringing the property’s total occupancy up to 10,400 beds. The community will also include meeting spaces, study rooms and a 25,000 square foot education center.


1018 West Peachtree Apartments

Started: August 2021
Cost: $350 million

1018 West Peachtree, developed by Toll Brothers, will consist of two separate high-rises: a 35-story tower with 264 student apartments and a 37-story tower with 376 market rate rental units. Both towers will sit on a shared parking deck with space for 664 cars.

The property is located within commuting distance of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University. The first phase of construction, currently underway, includes the 37-story market-rate rental tower as well as site landscaping, underground utilities and approximately 5,000 square feet of street-facing retail space.


Victoria Place

Started: August 2021
Cost: $341 million

Victoria Place will mark the latest residential addition to The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Ward Village, a 60-acre master-planned community in Honolulu. The 40-story tower will be located on the Pacific oceanfront, and will offer 350 residential units and two levels of residential amenities.

Ward Village includes seven other residential developments — five complete and two in development or under construction — as well as existing shopping, dining and entertainment venues.


High Street Atlanta – Phase 1

Started: November 2021
Cost: $300 million

The first phase of GID Development Group’s High Street Atlanta master-plan, known as the Green District, will situate 600 luxury residential units, 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 90,000 square feet of new office space and 225,000 square feet of existing office space around a new, ¾-acre public park.

At full buildout, High Street Atlanta will cover 8 million square feet of development across 36 acres, with 3,000 residential units, 400,000 square feet of retail, 672,000 square feet of office space and 400 hotel rooms. The projected cost for the project is over $2 billion, according to a press release.


Islablue Apartments and Condominiums

Long Beach, New York
Started: September 2021
Cost: $300 million

The start of construction on Engel Burman Group’s Islablue Apartments and Condominiums marks the end of over 40 years of stalled development projects at the six-acre parcel known as the “Long Beach Superblock.”

The site’s development plan includes a total of 438 residential units and 6,500 square feet of retail space. The 238 rental units will make up a 10-story building known as The Breeze, and the remaining 200 condo units will be split across two nine-story buildings known as Isla Blu.


1629 Market Street Mixed-Use

San Francisco
Started: March 2021
Cost: $284 million

The mixed-use development at 1629 Market Street will consist of five new structures across a two-acre parcel in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. Kennerly Architecture and David Baker Architects are responsible for the site’s design, while Strada Investment Group will serve as the owner and operator.

The development plan calls for:

  • A new residential addition to an existing retail structure, adding 198 residential units and 6,600 square feet of retail space
  • Two new market-rate residential structures with a total of 214 residential units
  • An affordable housing community with up to 107 units
  • The demolition and redevelopment of the UA Local 38 building currently located on the site
  • The rehabilitation of the existing Civic Center Hotel into 65 residential units.


Archer Towers – Phase I

Jamaica, New York
Started: October 2021
Cost: $274 million

Archer Towers, designed by Studio V Architecture and developed by BRP Companies, is set to be the tallest structure in Queens upon its completion, according to Sebastian Morris of New York YIMBY. The development will offer 605 mixed-income apartment units — 424 market rate and 181 income-restricted — as well as 20,000 square feet of amenity space and 14,000 square feet of retail space.

The building will be located within walking distance of the Jamaica Terminal transit hub, and is slated for completion in 2024.


1900 Crystal/1851 S Bell Apts

Arlington, Virginia
Started: June 2021
Cost: $267 million

The upcoming 1900 Crystal/1851 S Bell Apts will be built within walking distance of another active construction site for developer JBG Smith — the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2.

The development’s 808 units will be split between its two towers — the South Tower, with 471 units across 27 stories, and the North Tower, with 337 units across 26 stories. The site will also support approximately 40,000 square feet of retail and over 1,500 parking spaces.