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Jackson-Based Willis and Machnik Financial Services Expands to Kalamazoo

Local financial planning firm Willis and Machnik Financial Services recently announced an acquisition with Kalamazoo-based wealth management advisor, G. R. Young.

Willis and Machnik was founded in 1983, with the goal of assisting clients in every aspect of their financial lives. They provide the most personal service available, thus earning a reputation for excellence in the industry. Through this acquisition with G.R Young, Willis and Machnik Financial Services will establish its presence across southern Michigan.

“We knew this was an excellent match from the beginning and our client discussions only served to amplify that fact,” said G.R. Young. “On behalf of the entire Willis & Machnik family, we thank G.R. Young for honoring us with his trust and confidence.  We look forward to many wonderful years inspiring our new clients to fruitful financial conversations and complete wealth management services and solutions,” said Dan Machnik, managing partner of Willis and Machnik.

Willis and Machnik is based on the principle that education and understanding of your current financial situation is vital to make prudent decisions concerning your future financial condition successfully. The acquisition enables Willis and Machnik Financial Services to share innovative wealth management strategies to a larger geographical footprint.

CMS Energy Names Christopher Fultz Vice President of Gas Operations 

CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary Consumers Energy, announced today that Christopher (Chris) Fultz is named vice president of gas operations effective March 1. Chris will be responsible for overseeing the company’s gas compression, transmission and distribution functions and the integrity of our gas system.  

“Chris’s leadership during his tenure at Consumers Energy truly embodies our culture of caring for people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity,” said LeeRoy Wells, Jr, senior vice president of operations. “Chris will tap his project management expertise and deep partnerships with union representatives and company employees to improve safety performance to produce great results.” 

Chris previously served as the executive director of gas operations, transmission, storage and compression. He joined the company in 2014 and held increasingly responsible roles within the company’s project management department, where he rose from manager to executive director.  

Before joining Consumers Energy, Fultz worked for Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Black & Veatch. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and power systems from Michigan Technological University. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Oakland University.  

Lammer’s Announces Jim and Kathy Desy Scholarship for the Trades

The Jim and Kathy Desy Scholarship for the Trades will be awarded by Lammers Heating & Air Conditioning for the first time in 2022 to provide financial assistance to a Jackson County high school senior who will undergo further education to pursue a career in the trades. The $1,000 scholarship, named to honor the husband and wife who established Lammers Heating & Air Conditioning as a successful and trusted HVAC company in Jackson County starting in 1965, can be used for tuition, books and related fees.

Eligibility criteria

• Graduating senior who resides in Jackson County and/or is graduating from a high school located in Jackson County.

• Acceptance to an accredited/certified technology, trade school or community college.

• Desire to pursue an education and career in the skilled trades. (Priority will be given to those focused on an HVAC-related field, but those pursuing other trades are eligible and encouraged to apply.)

Scholarship award

• $1,000


The following must be returned to Lammers Heating & Air Conditioning via email or

postmarked on or before April 15:

• Fully completed scholarship application.

• At least one letter of recommendation from an adult other than a family member.

• Copy of your most recent high school transcript.

Emailed applications should be sent as a PDF to lammersheating@lammersheating.com and

have “Desy scholarship” in the subject line. Mailed applications should be sent to:

Lammers Heating & Air Conditioning

Attn: Desy Scholarship

2520 Lansing Ave.

Jackson, MI 49202

For more information, email lammersheating@lammersheating.com.

American 1 Credit Union Awarded Over $1 Million to Help the Underserved

American 1 Credit Union received a grant worth $1,025,000 from the U.S. Department of Treasury for a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The grant will assist low-income and underserved individuals and families in the communities they serve, including Jackson, Washtenaw, Lenawee, Monroe, Hillsdale, Calhoun, and Wayne Counties.

In 2020, American 1 Credit Union became a CDFI, a certification through the U.S. Treasury. This certification recognizes American 1 as a mission-driven organization serving the underserved through community engagement efforts, financial education, and accessible, everyday banking services.

“We are thrilled to bring over $1 million to the communities we serve,” said Martha Fuerstenau, President and CEO at American 1. “Our mission of creating financial wellness through personal everyday banking is important to us and impacts every decision we make. Becoming a CDFI and applying for grants takes a lot of time and resources, but it’s the right thing to do as we serve our members and future members.

Fuerstenau explained that American 1 Credit Union applied for two CDFI grants. The first grant is contingent on American 1 providing loans to those with an income at 80% or less than the median income in our branch counties. The second grant is specific to supporting those who have a disability of some kind.

“We know that many people face financial obstacles due to a variety of reasons,” Fuerstenau said. “We are a credit union for all, and again, our mission to provide financial wellness is not just something we say – we work hard to meet this mission every day – one member at a time.”

Of the categories American 1 pursued, they received the largest combined award amount of any credit union and the largest disability award nationwide.

American 1 Credit Union Announces 2022 Scholarship Availability for high School Seniors  

American 1 Credit Union pledged $16,000 to the Community Involvement Scholarship Program to 16 high school students in 2022.

Funded by American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, the scholarship program has been going strong since 2004. Skip-a-Pay allows credit union members to skip one month’s loan payment for a fee of $25, and a portion of the fee funds the scholarship program.

Last year, American 1 exceeded $200K in scholarships to 208 students.  

“It’s exhilarating that we crossed that $200,000 milestone with our scholarship program last year,” said Janelle Merritt, Vice President of Community Partnerships at American 1. “I’m looking forward to another year and seeing another group of hard-working recipients this year! We truly value giving back at American 1, and education and helping the youth in our community are especially exciting opportunities for us.”

Scholarship applications are due April 8, 2022. For more information and an application, visit www.american1cu.org/scholarships

Consumers Energy Powers Electric Vehicle Transformation, Adding 200 More Chargers Across Michigan in Next Two Years

Consumers Energy is accelerating Michigan’s electric vehicle transformation, committing to powering an additional 200 new EV charging stations across the state — including 100 fast chargers — by the end of next year. This is part of Consumers Energy’s commitment to powering 1 million EVs in the communities it serves by 2030.

The expansion comes as electric vehicle sales continue to soar in Michigan. The number of EVs in Michigan was up 58% statewide year over year — and 71% in communities that Consumers Energy serves – as of the end of last year, according to publicly available numbers from the Michigan Secretary of State.

“Michigan was the birthplace of the automobile, and now we’re the hub of the automobile’s next generation,” said Sarah Nielsen, Consumers Energy’s executive director for electric vehicle programs. “Consumers Energy is driving Michigan’s EV transformation, powering charging stations that make it easy to drive EVs across the state and promoting affordable, convenient charging at home that gets vehicles moving every day.”

Consumers Energy has already installed over 1,500 EV chargers for homes, businesses and along roads across the Lower Peninsula. Those include 35 fast chargers that can power an EV battery in a half hour. Learn more: ConsumersEnergy.com/PowerMIDrive

Consumers Energy also provides the lowest-cost options for EV owners who charge at home overnight through the Bring Your Own Charger program. The PowerMIFleet program, meanwhile, is helping over 50 Michigan employers that plan to electrify their vehicle fleets.

Electric vehicles will be powered by an electric grid that is moving fast to become carbon neutral. Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan calls for eliminating coal by 2025, eliminating energy waste and adding renewable energy sources. Learn more: MICleanEnergy.com.

“Michiganders and our state’s automakers are showing they’re ready for the next generation of vehicles. Consumers Energy is putting that transformation into high gear by providing clean energy and the resources to help homeowners and businesses make the easy, affordable and clean switch to EVs,” Nielsen said.

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