Business of the Year Awards

Recently, Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business (COB) held its second annual Business of the Year Awards luncheon.


The event, organized by COB students, nominated various 30 companies from different categories, selected three from each category and ultimately, picked the winners. Criteria used by the students included profitability, strategic execution and level of social responsibility, which carried on the college’s traditional focus on ethics in business.

The event was planned, developed and implemented by COB students and the luncheon itself had the flair of a major awards presentation–think, the Oscars. Attendees included the business, university and alumni community and represented a cross-section of companies. In fact, the historic McKenny Hall Ballroom, on EMU’s campus, was packed.

“We established the Business of the Year Awards to recognize firms that represent the best elements of our market-based economy while remaining socially responsible,” said Michael Tidwell, dean of the EMU College of Business. “Ceremonies like this are not unique, but what makes this event distinctive is that the award criteria were written by our student organizations, and the nominees and awardees were selected by our business students. This is a wonderful way for our students to recognize the great work and innovation occurring in some of Michigan’s best and brightest companies.”

It was an impressive display of thoughtfulness and professionalism. Each nominee was introduced by a brief video and the winner was announced by a COB student with a representative of the company providing an “acceptance speech.”

According to students in the Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, Talmer Bank and Trust, SPARK, and BlueWater Technologies are among the best-run businesses in Michigan, Those businesses and seven others were honored during the luncheon. Talmer Bank and Trust, led by CEO David Provost, an EMU alumnus, won in the Alumni-Owned Business category, SPARK won in the Social Enterprises category and BlueWater Technologies won in the Information Systems category.

“We are elated to be recognized by EMU students as a business of the year,” said Jeff Day, CEO of BlueWater Technologies. “EMU business students are exceptional, and I’m particularly impressed with their focus on social responsibility. Both the business world and companies like BlueWater look for and need people like EMU business school students.”

EMU alumnus and Detroit native, Jason Stoicevich, head of the FIAT brand in North America, was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. He shared Fiat’s “edginess” with respect to the company’s marketing and communication’s approach and discussed the successful Super Bowl ad and its impact on the FIAT brand. FIAT is one brand of FIAT-Chrysler Automobiles Company which is result of the merger between FIAT S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC.

He focused on being relevant in a competitive environment discussed why it’s important to be “edgy” in its overall strategic marketing approach.

“For us to be relevant, we have to take risks,” Stoicevich said of FIAT’s conscious decision to appear distinct and not a mere commodity. “We can’t be mainstream, or we lose.”

Congratulations on a job well done!

The 10 categories of awards, the winners and nominees include (winners are in bold):

Small/Medium Enterprise: Zingerman’s, The Taubman Centers, Yeo & Yeo CPAs

Social Enterprise: SPARK, Beyond Basics, SOS Community Services

Accounting: Deloitte, Baker Tilly, Rehmann

Financial Services: Comerica Inc., Fifth Third Bank, United Shore Financial Services

Human Resources: Enterprise Car Rental, Impact Management Services, Rapid Global Business Solutions

Marketing: Team Detroit, Onset Marketing, Lowe Campbell Ewald

Supply-Chain: Delphi Automotive, Universal Truck Services, RPM Freight Systems

Information Technology: Bluewater Technologies, Altair Engineering, Tata Technologies

Manufacturing: General Motors, BorgWarner, MASCO

Alumni-Owned Business: Talmer Bank and Trust, Menlo Innovations, Technology Solutions