Building Momentum in Detroit: JVS Honors Young Business Leaders at Strictly Business

JVS is proud to recognize the passion, drive and creativity of a young entrepreneur and a local business at the 19th annual Strictly Business Networking and Awards Luncheon. JVS will present its 2016 Rising Entrepreneur Award to Zack Sklar of Peas & Carrots Hospitality and its Business Leadership Award to Detroit Labs. Strictly Business is a fundraiser for JVS programs that help metro Detroiters build their lives and careers.

Driven by a passion for food sparked in childhood, Birmingham-resident Zack Sklar dreamed of going to culinary school, becoming a chef and owning his own restaurant.  At 30 years old, Sklar has achieved those goals and more.

While attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Sklar launched a catering business, Cutting Edge Cuisine, with $9,000 of bar mitzvah money. After he returned to Michigan in 2008, his friendship with a catering client, Jim Bellinson, developed into a business partnership that helped enable Sklar to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant.

He and Bellinson launched Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham in 2012. They have since opened an eclectic mix of four more restaurants in metropolitan Detroit, one in Grand Rapids and two in Chicago, with more slated to open this year.

“With projected 2016 revenues upwards of $25 million, Zack obviously has a great recipe for success,” said Jeffrey Tischler, co-chair of Strictly Business. “JVS is excited to recognize Zack with our 2016 Rising Entrepreneur Award.”

Detroit Labs, a Detroit-based app development company, has experienced similar success since its launch in 2011. Co-founders Paul Glomski, Northville; Nathan Hughes, Dearborn; and Dan Ward, Grosse Pointe Farms, have earned work from national brands like Domino’s Pizza, Chevrolet and DTE Energy.

Glomski, who serves as CEO, describes the staff as a team of dreamers and doers. Hoodies for the entire staff proclaim “Free of Kings,” a message that underscores the value of every individual on the nearly 100-member crew. The company finds and develops its talented team members through a unique process that begins with a questionnaire instead of a resume. Everyone in the company participates in recruiting, interviewing and selecting new employees. Company founders say their inclusive hiring practice builds a strong sense of cohesion and teamwork among the staff.

New employees also come on board through an innovative paid apprenticeship program. Detroit Labs looks for smart, motivated, driven people who aren’t necessarily professional app developers. After three months of immersive hands-on training, successful participants often earn full-time positions with Detroit Labs or a partner company.

“Offering generous employee benefits, a hip workspace in Detroit and a collaborative environment that cultivates creativity, Detroit Labs is banking on people as its most important asset,” said Tischler. “JVS is proud to recognize Detroit Labs with the Business Leadership Award.”

Nearly 800 business and community leaders are expected to attend the Strictly Business luncheon, which will feature John Rakolta Jr., chairman and CEO of Walbridge, as keynote speaker. For sponsorship or ticket information, visit or contact Judy Strongman at or (248) 233-4213.