DBusiness Daily Update: CMS Energy to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Natural Gas System by 2050, and More

CMS Energy has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from the company’s entire natural gas production and delivery system by 2050. // Stock Photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

CMS Energy to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Natural Gas System by 2050

CMS Energy and its primary business, Consumers Energy, has pledged to protect the planet by achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from the company’s entire natural gas production and delivery system — including customers and suppliers — by 2050.

Achieving net zero emissions means eliminating the impact of emissions traced to the burning of natural gas by customers and greenhouse gas emissions caused by natural gas suppliers who produce and transport natural gas to Consumers Energy’s system.

“Natural gas is safe and affordable and now it can be even more clean,” says Garrick Rochow, president and CEO of CMS Energy. “We’re making historic, industry-leading changes to protect our planet. This commitment is another step in leading the clean energy transformation for Michigan.”

As a next step on our path to net zero by 2050, the company will partner with customers to reduce their emissions by 20 percent by 2030.

CMS Energy is already implementing industry-leading plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include:

  • Modernizing its natural gas system to achieve net zero methane emissions from its operations by 2030.
  • Ending coal use and boosting renewable energy fuel sources to achieve net zero carbon emissions from its electric operations by 2040.
  • Pledging to power 1 million electric vehicles in the communities it serves by 2030.
  • Pursuing a net zero goal for all emission sources, including those from customers and suppliers, aligns the company’s efforts with Michigan’s Healthy Climate Plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as well as the recommendations of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

For more information, visit here and here.

Michigan Regional Unemployment Rates Edge Up in February

Not seasonally adjusted jobless rates increased in 12 of Michigan’s 17 labor market areas during February, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

“Most of Michigan’s regional labor markets displayed only minor shifts in unemployment in February,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Payroll jobs rose seasonally in government as classes resumed at area schools and universities, and a few metro areas were impacted by layoffs or recalls in the auto sector.”

February labor market area unemployment rates ranged from 3.7 to 9.2 percent. Jobless rates moved up from 0.1 to 1.5 percentage points, with a small median increase of two-tenths of a percentage point. The largest over-the-month jobless rate gain occurred in the Monroe metropolitan statistical area (MSA), largely due to regional auto-related layoffs. The Lansing, Flint, and Muskegon MSAs recorded minor unemployment rate reductions over the month. Jobless rates were unchanged in the Battle Creek and Niles-Benton Harbor metro areas during February.

Unemployment rates fell in all 17 labor market areas over the year with a median decrease of 1.5 percentage points. The most pronounced over-the-year rate decline occurred in the Muskegon MSA (-2.2 percentage points).

Employment totals rose in 12 Michigan labor market areas during February with a median increase of 0.5 percent. The largest over-the-month gain occurred in the Lansing MSA. The Saginaw metro area was the only region with an employment decline over the month (-0.3 percent). The Northeast Lower Michigan region and the Bay City, Monroe, and Muskegon MSAs all registered no employment change in February.

Employment additions occurred in all 17 Michigan labor market areas over the year with a median increase of 2.3 percent.

Fifteen labor market areas had workforce increases between January and February with a median gain of 0.5 percent. The largest labor force hike occurred in the Lansing metro area (+1.6 percent). Workforce levels edged down slightly in the Muskegon and Saginaw MSAs.

Thirteen Michigan regions exhibited labor force additions over the year, led by the Detroit metro area (+3.7 percent).

Michigan not seasonally adjusted payroll jobs rose in February by 27,000, or 0.6 percent. The most pronounced over-the-month seasonal employment additions occurred in the government sector (+13,000) as local schools and universities resumed classes after the holiday break, and in the professional and business services sector (+11,000).

Payroll jobs advanced in all the state’s metro areas over the month, with a median increase of 1.0 percent. The sharpest job gain was in the Lansing metro area (+2.4 percent), due to recalls in the auto industry, although auto layoffs were registered in February in the Detroit MSA.

Since February 2021, total Michigan payroll employment advanced by 171,000, or 4.2 percent. All 14 metro areas recorded nonfarm job additions with a median over the year hike of 3.9 percent.

Alta Equipment Group Reports 38.8% Revenue Increase Over 2020

Material handling and construction equipment provider Alta Equipment Group Inc. in Livonia has released its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2021.

Fourth quarter net revenues increased 27.1 percent in 2021 from 2020 to $356.3 million leading to a full-year increase of 38.8 percent to $1.2 billion.

Construction and material handling revenue in Q4 was $217.5 million and $138.8 million, respectively. For the year, the segments brought in $745.3 million and $467.5 million.

Product support gross profit increased $4.8 million year over year to $37.1 million in the final quarter of 2021 and increased $85.9 million year over year to $344 million.

“Our strong organic growth and operating performance in the fourth quarter and full year reflects our flexible business model and our ability to produce strong financial results in a supply constrained market,” says Ryan Greenawalt, CEO Alta. “Both our construction and material handling business segments delivered consistent year over year revenue growth leading to a 44.6 percent increase in adjusted EBITDA.

“Our record level of new and used equipment sales in 2021 are expected to continue to drive future high-margin product support revenue. Looking ahead, we expect to see significant customer demand across all our business segments. The growth in our core markets combined with our expanded capabilities in our material handling business, our entry into the electric vehicle market, and our recent acquisitions position us well for increased profitability and continued success.”

Citizens Program Enables Corporate Clients to Offer Employees Early Access to Wages

Citizens has announced a solution that enables corporate clients to give employees on-demand access to their earned pay, along with financial health tools designed to help them feel more financially secure.

“Acquiring and retaining strong talent is more important than ever, and this program enables our clients to offer their employees a valuable benefit,” says Michael Cummins, head of treasury solutions at Citizens. “This solution also offers employees tools that can help reduce their financial anxiety.”

According to a 2019 Visa survey of 1,000 workers nationwide, 95 percent said they would be interested in working for an employer that provides Earned Wage Access. Citizens’ 2022 Payments Pulse survey of 200 middle-market treasury executives found 70 percent were already offering some form of earned-wage access and another 24 percent are expecting to offer it soon.

The Citizens solution funds the earned wages and then is reimbursed by companies during the traditional payroll cycle, which means employers can use it at no additional cost and with no impact to their working capital. Earned Wage Access connects with nearly all major enterprise human resource information and payroll systems, creating a seamless process that can be up and running in as little as 30 days.

Separately, Citizens plans to launch a new account feature, Citizens Paid Early, in the second quarter of 2022 allowing customers to receive their direct deposits up to two days early.

For more information, visit here.

Enterprise Announces $19M Program Allowing Older Adults to Age with Dignity at Home

Enterprise Community Partners in New York announced a three-year, $19 million grant program to allow older adults in Michigan and Maryland living in affordable communities to age safely and securely at home.

The Thome Aging Well program will award up to $4 million in grants this year to scale proven housing-based services and support programs with grants ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 to nonprofit affordable housing owners and operators as well as local public housing authorities and tribally designated housing entities.

“Housing-based services provide support to older adults with low incomes for many of the most critical issues they face, including physical, mental and financial health,” says Stephany De Scisciolo, vice president of impact and evaluation at Enterprise. “Over half of older adults in this country have at least one unmet social need, and there is a large evidence-base proving that in-home solutions work to close this gap.”

Funded by the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation and administered through Bank of America, the Thome Aging Well program will strengthen organizations dedicated to supporting adults aged 55 and older and help to incubate new and innovative programs and share knowledge across a vast partner network.

Enterprise intends to award more than $19 million in grants over the next three years to address many of the structural barriers that hinder the ability of older adults to age with dignity in their homes.

For the first round of grants to scale what’s working, selected grantees will receive the following in addition to the funding:

  • Participation in a multi-year learning collaborative that focuses on improving health equity, promoting collective problem-solving and sharing best practices based on the specific needs of the group.
  • Up to 15 hours of evaluation support.
  • Attendance at a convening to network with funders in the field to share their work and to make the case for continued support.

First-round applications are due May 16, and awards will be announced on June 30. An informational webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 19 at 3 p.m.

Visit Thome Aging Well for more information about eligibility, the webinar, and the grant process, or contact [email protected]

IKEA Makes Buy Back & Resell Service Permanent Starting Today

Following the successful national pilot program, the IKEA store in Canton Township will be offering the Buy Back & Resell service permanently starting on April 1.

IKEA says it is “passionate about making sustainable living easy and affordable” and this service will give IKEA customers the opportunity to sell their gently used IKEA furniture back in exchange for store credit. Details about the program can be found here.

So far, the Canton Township IKEA has handled 52,180 repackaged products. It also has installed three vehicle charging stations at the location.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Joins Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Effort

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is working with community partners across the state to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect this April in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

As part of that support, various activations will take place in all regions of Michigan, from building lights turning blue to 175 pinwheel gardens being installed by participating businesses and organizations.

From now through April the following Blue Cross-affiliated buildings will be turning blue:

  • Renaissance Center 500/600 Tower Tops
  • Detroit Headquarters
  • AF Group Building in Lansing
  • Lyon Meadows Conference Center Water Tower in New Boston

Community partner Downtown Detroit Partnership also will be illuminating Campus Martius Park blue throughout the month. Grand Rapids’ Blue Bridge also will be turning blue the third week of April (April 18-26). Various locations across Michigan will be displaying pinwheel gardens.

“Child abuse and neglect are urgent public health issues across the country and here in Michigan,” says Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM. “We at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan feel it is critical to bring awareness about child abuse prevention and to provide help and hope for children and families facing these experiences. As part of this effort, our company chose the Children’s Trust Fund as our charitable focus for 2022 and we are implementing a yearlong campaign devoted to the organization.”

Whitmer Appoints Sabaugh to the 16th Circuit Court Bench

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has appointed 37th Judicial District Court Judge Matthew P. Sabaugh to replace retired Judge Carl Marlinga on the 16th Judicial Circuit Court Bench. Sabaugh’s partial term will begin on April 13.

If Judge Sabaugh wishes to seek a full six-year term, he will be required to run for reelection in November.

Sabaugh was first appointed to the 37th Judicial District Court Bench by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2008. Prior to that appointment, he worked for eight years as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Macomb County.

Sabaugh earned a bachelor’s from Michigan State University in 1993, and a J.D. from Detroit College of Law in 1999, where he attended night classes while working full-time as legislative assistant for the 28th Michigan House District-representing the cities of Warren and Center Line.

During his time on 37th District Court, Sabaugh started the Macomb County Eviction Diversion Program and presided over the Warren-Center Line Treatment Court. The Treatment Court includes the Drug Court and Sobriety Court programs. He also produced the award-winning Warren TV program “Judges Corner,” and started a “Court in School” Program in 2008, where real court cases are seen by middle school and high school students.

Genisys Credit Union Named Outstanding Credit Union of the Year

Genisys Credit Union, headquartered in Auburn Hills, is the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Credit Union of the Year (Large Asset Size) award by the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL).

The award recognizes a credit union for outstanding contributions towards member services and community engagement.

“We are honored to be named Outstanding Credit Union of the Year by the MCUL,” says Jackie Buchanan, president and CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “The Genisys team is committed to upholding a sound financial and operational foundation in order to build an environment that best meets the needs of our members.

“This award validates and attests to the endless contributions the team makes for continued success. A big thank you to our members for making us their credit union of choice. We appreciate your continued support.”

Over the course of 85 years, the credit union has grown to become the fourth-largest credit union in Michigan serving more than 250,000 members across 33 branch locations.

Detroit’s Movement Festival Adds Hometown Hero Juan Atkins to Schedule

Detroit’s Movement Music Festival has announced that Techno icon and hometown hero Juan Atkins has been added as a special guest to its lineup and will be performing a 40 Years of Detroit Techno DJ set for the festival’s anticipated 2022 return.

The festival will take place Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30) at Hart Plaza on riverfront in downtown Detroit.

Widely known as the Originator and the Godfather of Techno, Atkins has been instrumental in shaping the foundations of electronic music through his work as Cybotron (“Clear,” “Cosmic Cars,” and “Alleys of Your Mind”), Model 500 (“No UFOs,” and “Night Drive”) and the founder of one of the Techno label Metroplex Records.

Atkins joins more than 110 previously announced acts, including headliners Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, and Adam Beyer, as well as Flying Lotus, Skrillex, Kevin Saunderson as E-Dancer, Carl Craig b2b James Murphy, Goldie b2b LTJ Bukem, 2 Chainz, ANNA, Jon Hopkins, The Blessed Madonna, Eris Drew b2b Octo Octa, Chris Lake, and more.

The full lineup, event schedule, and ticket information is available here.