'Deals of the Year' winners announced

November 11, 2007

Real-Time Business News

Saturday November 10, 2007, 12:27 PM

Robert Ramey / Ann Arbor Business ReviewAlbert Berriz, left, and David Canter.

David Canter is the Ann Arbor region's Executive of the Year, accepting the honor at the "2007 Deals of the Year" awards gala presented Friday night by Ann Arbor Business Review.

Canter's honor was the final award of the event, a black-tie gala that culminated in the unveiling of top honors in 11 categories, all of which are key drivers of the local economy.

Canter, senior vice president for Pfizer and site director of its Michigan laboratories, was chosen for his exemplary leadership after the drug giant announced in January that it would close its Ann Arbor campus in 2008.

Because of Canter, the community remained calm and focused after the announcement. Business leaders stepped up to strategize on how to fill the void, and Canter has been a key part of the transition - while never wavering in his advocacy for Ann Arbor.

Canter received his award from Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley and the 2006 Executive of the Year.

Robert Ramey / Ann Arbor Business ReviewNSF President Kevan Lawlor, right, and Michael Finney.
Also stepping to the stage in the grand ballroom of the Eastern Michigan University Student Center was NSF International, winner of the "Company of the Year" honor.

NSF was born decades ago at the University of Michigan, growing today into a $100 million global operation with headquarters in Ann Arbor Township.

The not-for-profit scientific research center is dedicated to public health concerns, such as water testing, food safety, regulatory issues and standards certification.

In the past year, NSF invested $23 million in a new 82,000-square-foot lab that doubled its capacity and will create 100 jobs over three years. It also continues to open offices across the globe, including through acquisition of international firms.

NSF President Kevan Lawlor accepted the award from Michael Finney of Ann Arbor SPARK.

Nine other winners earned honors from among 27 nominees. They were:

Finance: University of Michigan Tech Transfer office
The university signed a deal to give up future royalties for the nasal-spray vaccine FluMist in exchange for payments that could eventually total $35 million.

Commercial real estate: Domino's Farms
The landmark office building - the region's biggest - signed several key tenants in a down market, including Aastrom Biosciences, which took over space formerly used by Pfizer, and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., which opened an office.

Construction: O'Neal Construcion for First Martin Corp.'s 201 Depot St.
The Ann Arbor company finished the "Coal Car Building," a 25,500-square-foot speculative office structure with distinctive architecture.

Development: Plymouth Green Crossings
The suburban mixed-use project on the high-profile northeast Ann Arbor corner of Plymouth and Green roads started construction as it landed several key retail tenants.

Health Care: University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center
The university opened the $215 million, five-story, 350,000-square-foot facility at the former site of U-M's Old Main hospital.

Manufacturing: Aernnova
The Spanish aerospace firm announced plans to open a $10 million engineering operation in Pittsfield Township that could eventually employ up to 600 people and give the region a boost in attraction more advanced manufacturing-related firms.

Nonprofit: HelpSource
The social services organization placed more than 90 percent of its 932 clients, as well as most of its services, in alternative agencies when it ceased operations this summer. The leadership behind the smooth transition ensured that the agency's social services would continue.

Retail: McKinley Towne Centre
McKinley repositioned the Towne Centre as a multi-tenant building with street-level retail, creating a new "midtown" hub of activity between downtown and campus. New tenants include Bar Louie, Salsaritas and AT&T.

Technology: Accuri Cytometers
The life sciences firm secured $5 million in financing as it prepares for the commercial introduction of its Accuri C6 Flow Cytometer System. This product launch could alter the entire industry by bringing the cell testing devices to market with smaller and less expensive equipment.