BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL
Partnership brings StartupNation to a national PBS audience.
Special to the Jewish News
eff and Rich Sloan, Detroit
Public Television and Lisa and
Hannan Lis of West Bloomfield
have joined forces to bring the
Sloan brothers' expertise in entrepre-
neurial mentoring to a national Public
Broadcasting Service audience. The
Sloans' program, StartupNation: Open for
Business, was taped locally and airs at 8
p.m. Tuesday, March 16, on DPTV (PBS).
Originally from Flint, the Sloan broth-
ers, who are Jewish, are inventors and
entrepreneurs with a reputation for being
passionate and committed in their mis-
sion to foster business success stories.
In high school, the Sloans had already
stepped into the business arena, buy-
ing and selling U.S. Housing and Urban
Development homes. A few years later,
they successfully developed, patented
and promoted products like the Battery
Buddy, which was licensed by Masco
Corporation in Taylor.
Brothers Jeff and Rich Sloan share
their entrepreneurial expertise on a
March 16 PBS show.
Through the years, the Sloans contin-
ued to launch businesses that drew upon
Michigan innovation. One they're par-
ticularly proud of is VetGen, a leader in
veterinary genetic disease research and
diagnostic services. The company has
helped breeders literally eradicate genetic
diseases in certain breeds of dogs. They
Special to the Jewish News
ilat picture do you conjure
up when you hear the
term "mergers and acqui-
sitions?" It's probably
not a successful local businesswoman
acquiring the company of another equal-
ly successful businesswoman.
But Margery Krevsky, owner and CEO
of Productions Plus
Agency, did just that
late last year. She pur-
chased the Talent Shop
from Jacqueline Kagan,
its owner. Kagan was
ready to retire and this
merger suited both.
The expanded corn-
pany now operates as
Productions Plus—the Talent Shop, with
Krevsky as full owner. The transaction
March 11 2010
resulted in an international company with
offices in Bingham Farms, Chicago and
With current revenues of $20 million, it
is the largest full-service talent manage-
ment agency in Michigan and one of the
biggest nationwide. By adding the Talent
Shop's holdings and seasoned perform-
ers, a 20 percent growth is anticipated.
Krevsky of Bloomfield Hills, a former
fashion industry executive, co-founded
the company in 1981 with Harriett Fuller
and became sole proprietor in 2000.
The consummate entrepreneur, Krevsky
launched Purely Pro Cosmetics, a line of
mineral and classic makeup products for
models, acting talent and the film indus-
try, in 2006. She is the award-winning
author of the book Sirens of Chrome:
The Enduring Allure of Auto Show
The Talent Shop was founded in
1982. Kagan owned it with her husband,
Edward, and ran it by herself for the last
created Sloan Ventures, a development
firm focused on launching technology-
based companies, in the mid-'90s.
Founding StartupNation in 2002, the
Sloans began to focus their mission in
earnest. They have reached out to the
public through their Web site, www.
StartupNation.com , through articles in
the Wall Street Journal and the New York
Times as well as their nationally syndicat-
ed radio show. They have guided poten-
tial and existing business owners through
the fears, questions and complexities of
starting and growing a successful busi-
During their PBS program airing in
March, the Sloans share the inspirational
stories of people who've changed their
lives for the better by starting up. They
also walk through step-by-step startup
advice designed for anyone with a great
Beginning with "Life Planning," Jeff
and Rich make an instant connection
with the audience by tapping into a cru-
cial yet often overlooked aspect of creat-
ing a successful and lasting business:
"Be true to you." A sea of heads nod as
the audience agrees that to know your-
self, your passions, your talents as well
as those tasks that don't "call to you"
lays the foundation for a dream business.
The intensity rises as the Sloans get
"personal" with audience members dur-
ing their exhilarating "Two-Minute Drill"
By listening and asking targeted ques-
tions, they give quick-hitting guidance
about business models: brick and mortar,
Web-based, home-based or a combina-
They prompt audience members to
define their role in their business: Will
you be on the front lines or behind the
scenes? The brothers advise on game-
changing marketing strategies that could
transform the kernel of an idea into a
dream business. All of this is dispensed
rapid fire within a two-minute countdown.
Local sponsors Lisa and Hannan Lis
are recognized supporters of entrepre-
neurship and innovation.
16 years. The Orchard Lake resident and
professional businesswoman is retired.
Productions Plus is SAG (Screen
Actors Guild) certified and Michigan's
largest SAG-franchised talent agency.
The company has more than 10,000 indi-
viduals in its nationwide and Canadian
talent database, with plans to aggres-
sively market its exclusive talent on the
East and West coasts.
"Positioning Productions Plus for
future growth and maximizing our poten-
tial is what this acquisition is about,"
explained Krevsky. "With three regional
offices, our talent now has an agency
with a broader scope of contacts and
wider professional opportunities. Our
talent experts know the business, have
industry credibility and are well thought
of by our clients."
Since the Michigan film industry began
flourishing approximately two years
ago, Productions Plus has been a major
source of talent. The agency has secured
roles for its exclusive talent in major
studio films shot in the state, including
Alleged, America, Flipped, Gifted Hands,
Intent, Stone, Up in the Air, Crave,
Vanishing on 7th St., Domino Effect,
Little Murders and What If. The company
plans to expand its film division.
"This is such an exciting time for the
movie industry in Michigan and we are
the leading source for high-caliber talent
for Hollywood producers and casting
directors," said Krevsky. "Our base of
professionals here rivals Hollywood."
Productions Plus also provides talent
for auto and trade shows, conventions,
promotions and product demonstrations,
automotive marketing and dealer meet-
ings, It specializes in talent for voice-
overs, runway, print, film, television and
Krevsky added, "For more than 28
years, Productions Plus focused on
doing business on national and interna-
tional levels and the Talent Shop con-
centrated on Detroit and Michigan. Now,
we're one of the strongest contenders
in the Midwest for film, print, TV, com-
mercials, voice-over, auto shows, events,
staffing and fashion. We wanted to do
more to help local talent."
Kagan said, "Productions Plus is the
only agency I would consider selling my
company to. I miss working with all the
talent and my wonderful staff, but it is
good for Michigan to have a powerful
Robyn Gorell is vice president of Marx,
Layne & Co., a Farmington Hills market-
ing and public relations firm.