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Deals of the Year Awards Highlight Ann Arbor Business Successes

Friday night, Ann Arbor‘s sixth annual Deals of the Year awards dinner (hosted by Business Review) brought area business leaders together. They noted that local successes are helping lead Michigan out of the recession. They were also optimistic that Ann Arbor will continue to serve as an example of economic vibrancy for the region, state, and country. The event highlighted business decisions that have had the most impact in the region over the previous year.

As he opened the awards portion of the program, Stephen Forrest, University of Michigan’s vice president for research, recalled how 18 months ago, the “economy of this nation was in a free fall.” He noted that in Michigan, the “economy was limping along, to say the least. Eighteen months later, we are seeing recovery here.” He credited local entrepreneurs as the primary drivers for that recovery.

“Michigan,” Forrest reminded the crowd, “really did build the American economy in the 20th century. “It can do it again, and I think it’s on this path.”

Celebration and optimism were personified by govern-elect Rick Snyder, appearing three days after successfully campaigning on a pledge to reinvent the state. Snyder, former president of Gateway Inc., said, “The Ann Arbor community has been very fortunate, and I’ve been very fortunate. That’s one of the things that drove me to run. This is our opportunity to give back.”

Ann Arbor office of law firm Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn managing partner David Parsigian introduced the award winner for Company of the Year – Zingerman’s – saying it exemplifies the Ann Arbor business success story: an idea born in Ann Arbor, and executed in a way that develops a national and international reputation for excellence. Zingerman’s, Parsigian said, “demonstrates the power of an idea.”

Executive of the Year Jeff Williams is an example of a CEO whose serial success keep powering business growth in Ann Arbor. Today, Williams is CEO of Accuri Cytometers, which previously won a Deal of the Year award for its technology. He also led HandyLab to its $275 million sale to BD in 2009.

The idea of taking risks and enjoying their payback was a common thread at the evening’s celebration. Many participants noted that risk-taking is important not just for Ann Arbor, but for the entire state.

As always, Ann Arbor leads Michigan – and the nation – in the introduction of new business ideas. Whether you are buying a new home, or selling your current residence, the Bouma Group can help you with your real estate needs in Ann Arbor, as well as keep you up to date about Washtenaw County and specific Ann Arbor neighborhoods. Check out our Condo Hotline to learn everything you want to know about the Ann Arbor condo market.

photo credit: Melanie Maxwell,

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