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Ann Arbor SPARK FastTrack Awards Celebrate Impressive, Consistent Business Growth

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Ann Arbor SPARK presented its 21st annual FastTrack Awards to 14 Washtenaw County-based companies that have demonstrated fast growth. Several of the 2019 FastTrack Award recipients were multiple year winners.

Over two decades, Ann Arbor SPARK has presented 284 FastTrack Awards to 114 fast-growing companies from Washtenaw County, said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. This years class once again includes LLamasoft who has won a FastTrack Award for 12 consecutive years, which is an unprecedented achievement in the history of the awards.

FastTrack Awards are presented to companies with impressive records of growth. Recipients of this years awards were required to have revenue of at least $100,000 in 2015, with an annual growth of 20 percent for the following three years. UHY LLP is the 2019 Ann Arbor SPARK FastTrack Awards accounting partner and verified all of the award applications.

FastTrack Award winners were recognized on Monday, June 10, during an evening reception at the University of Michigan Golf Course Clubhouse and supported by presenting sponsor Northstar Bank. New for 2019, the FastTrack Award ceremony concluded a2Tech360, the week-long series of events promoting the Ann Arbor area and our ecosystem of innovation.

One-Year Awards Winners

Dog Might Games combines craftsmanship and thematic artistry to create truly unique pieces of functional art for tabletop gaming.

The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC) is a media company that helps people start their own business by providing simple guides and tools.

For 20 years, DaySmart Software has delivered business management and workflow automation solutions to small businesses around the world.

Ann Arbor T-shirt Company LLC is a retail apparel brand that screen prints and embroiders in-house, and also accepts custom contract work.

Supreme Metal Solutions Inc provides cladding and installation solutions.

TorranceLearning is a nationally recognized and awarded instructional design and development company, supporting workplace learning and professional education for the training industry.

 

Two-Year Award Winner

IndustryStar provides on-demand supply chain services through software technology.

 

Three-Year Award Winner

Torrent Consulting is a gold-tier Salesforce consulting partner with five hubs in two countries, delivering expert technology solutions.

 

Four-Year Award Winner

DocNetwork is the leading electronic health record system for camps, childcare and schools.

 

Six-Year Award Winners

InfoReady provides workflow automation and marketplace software to 150 colleges and universities to help them scale up their vital programs.

Human Element is an Ann Arbor-based eCommerce solutions provider that is focused on users, rooted in technology and leading brands to lasting success.

 

Seven-Year Award Winner

For more than 20 years, Oxford Companies has served Ann Arbor with a fully-integrated line of commercial real estate services.

 

Eleven-Year Award Winner

Caelynx provides engineering solutions and product development services to help clients establish and improve internal capacity, expertise and design optimization.

 

Twelve-Year Award Winner

LLamasofts supply chain optimization software helps organizations worldwide design and improve their supply chain operations.

 

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.

Ann Arbor SPARK
Jenn Cornell, 734-765-0174
[email protected]

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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