Notable News in the 517 Region

Professional highlights from the region

7 Figure Studios Offers U-Haul Trucks

The Grand Ledge-based 7 Figure Studios has signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer.

The business at 902 W. Jefferson St. will offer essential services like U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, pre-tow inspection, moving supplies and in-store pickup for boxes.

U-Haul has teamed with independent dealers to offer moving equipment since 1945. With the COVID-19 outbreak creating challenging times for small businesses, more than 20,000 dealers across the United States and Canada are creating supplemental income through their U-Haul partnership.

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CP Financial Named Among Top Workplaces

CP Financial Credit Union has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2020 honor by the Detroit Free Press. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization, including alignment, execution and connection.

“We are so humbled to receive the award of Top Workplace for mid-size organizations for the seventh year in a row,” said Chrissy Siders, CEO of CP Financial Credit Union. “Attaining this honor during a year such as this is a true testament to our commitment to value people over profit, process and product. Our team is driven by purpose, and their resiliency has been on full display as they inspire the pursuit of a life well lived for our members and communities alike.”


Stokosa Receives Health Care Award

East Lansing resident Jan Stokosa, clinical director at Stokosa Prosthetic Clinic and fellow in the American Academy of Prosthetics, received the Crain’s 2020 Health Care Hero award.

Several patients nominated Stokosa for the recognition, including one who wrote: “Over the past 26 years, Jan Stokosa proved to me over and over that he clearly understands human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics when it comes to mobility. He has demonstrated that his skills and talents in creating a prosthesis appears to have no limits. He is very committed to finding the right solution for each patient.”

Stokosa credited his father as his mentor and hero who guided his path. He helped create the University of Michigan Hospital’s Prosthetics Department. He has practiced the past 46 years in the Lansing area. He cofounded the Institute for the Advancement of Prosthetics in 1978 in Lansing, later opening his clinic in Okemos in 1989.


Martin Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

Martin Commercial Properties hired Susan Simpson as the company’s new chief financial officer. Simpson joined the executive leadership team in mid-November. She will oversee the finances and financial strategy of Martin and its affiliates and will lead core administrative functions related to human resources, information technology and insurance.

Simpson comes to Martin with 18 years of progressive experience in coordinating executive financial activity and capitalizing on market opportunities. Her most recent experience includes six years with the Jack Doheny Co. in Northville.

Chris Buck, senior managing officer and chief operating officer, said Simpson’s impeccable qualifications and exceptional skills in strategic planning, communication and business negotiation will further strengthen Martin’s position as a premier commercial real estate company in Michigan and beyond.

“Susan is going to bring a level of leadership, partnership and strategy to the Martin brand that we haven’t seen before,” Buck said. “I value this role immensely and the right person in this position is critical for the future of our company.”


First National Announces Executive Promotions

The board of directors of First National Bank of Michigan recently announced the promotion of two key members of the bank’s executive team, Cindy Kole and Steve Piper.

Kole was promoted to executive vice president, following her accomplishments as senior vice president and chief operating officer. She has more than 30 years of experience in banking, including wealth management, private banking, human resources and retail banking. During her nearly four years at First National, she has helped oversee the growth and efficiencies of the bank. Kole represents the bank serving on several community boards and committees.

Piper, with over 30 years in the banking industry, has been promoted to executive vice president, following his leadership and contributions as senior vice president and chief operating officer since 2016. His experience and leadership helped the bank remain a strong commercial and consumer lending institution. Piper currently serves on the board of Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services.

“At First National Bank of Michigan, we have a foundation of experience with a talented team of employees in place,” said Daniel Bitzer, president and CEO. “These promotions reflect the incredible leadership and hard work of both Cindy and Steve.”


Babbitt Recieves Certificate in Forensic Psychology

Sally D. Babbitt of Babbitt Legal Group  has completed a post-graduate certificate in forensic psychology from San Diego State University. Babbitt will use her credentials in her litigation practice as well as expanding into jury and litigation consulting and in pursuing her writing in true crime. Babbitt’s practice focuses on estates, trusts and probate litigation as well as mediation services. She has been practicing in the Greater Lansing area for 20 years and currently is located in Delta Township.


Farmers Insurance Agency Opens in Haslett

Matt Starkweather opened a new Farmers Insurance Agency on Feb. 1 at 1640 Haslett Road, Suite 120, in Haslett.

Starkweather graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2005 and moved to the Lansing area working in health care sales and management before becoming an insurance agent in 2014.

“Being a staff member wasn’t the goal, but helping protect customers’ assets and the future of their families was something I certainly wanted to do,” he said. “So after seven years of working for an insurance agent, I’m finally ready and able to start my own agency. I’m really excited to be in a position to serve the community and have the opportunity to make sure my clients have the insurance coverage they need when life happens.”


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