Duly Noted

Warner Norcross partner, client honored by Association for Corporate Growth



A partner and a client of Warner Norcross will be honored Thursday by the Association of Corporate Growth for their excellence in mergers, acquisitions and dealmaking over the past year.

Warner Norcross partner Michael J. Jones will be recognized as “Dealmaker of the Year” for his leadership and creativity in completing key transactions between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Firm client Crystal Flash will receive the “Top Deal” award in the middle-market category for its transition to an employee stock ownership plan, which was led by Warner Norcross partner Justin W. Stemple. (Stemple and the Crystal Flash project were the subject of an article in the June 3, 2016 Grand Rapids Legal News.)

During his 12 years with the firm, Jones has led or assisted with more than 100 transactions involving billions of dollars in a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, automotive, energy, technology, software and furniture. He co-chairs the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group and represents both large, publicly traded companies as well as privately held businesses. After attending University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree, Jones graduated from Wayne State University Law School magna cum laude. Jones is known for learning in-depth about clients’ businesses and understanding the importance of quick responsiveness in M&A matters. 

Crystal Flash is being recognized for its establishment of an employee stock ownership plan to ensure the long-term future of the organization. After three generations of leadership, the family-owned energy company decided to transition its interest in the company to an ESOP model. 

“Research has shown that employee-owned companies perform above industry averages,” said Crystal Flash President Tom Olive. “Knowing our team members, that will be an easy standard for them to continue.”

Warner Norcross provided counsel for establishing the ESOP. Stemple, whose practice focuses on compensation planning with an emphasis on ESOPs, incentive programs and equity compensation, served as the lead attorney. The Michigan-based energy distributor’s 250 employees became beneficial owners through the ESOP in 2016.

The ACG event took place Oct. 20 at Studio D2D Event Center.