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Oak Park : Innovation & Job News

6 Oak Park Articles | Page:

Oakland County Michigan Works! agency to consolidate two offices to improve services

A $12.7 million reduction in federal and state funding in the past five years – coupled with projected future budget reductions – prompted the Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency to consolidate two of its eight service centers.

The decision to close the Ferndale Service Center and consolidate it with the Oak Park Service Center was based on a recommendation from the Oakland County Michigan Works! Task Force. The task force evaluated operations, performance indicators, demographics and population data and proposed recommendations to improve overall efficiency and operations at the county’s eight centers. The closure is expected to take place within the next nine months. The Ferndale Service Center is operated in partnership between Oakland County Michigan Works! and the Ferndale School District.

“Since 2011, the Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency has faced $12.7 million in reductions to our formula allocation of federal workforce funds,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Oakland County Workforce Development. “Unfortunately, we are a victim of our own success. As Oakland County’s economy continues to grow and add jobs, our portion of workforce funds decreases. While we still have high demand for services from our businesses and many job seekers, the resources have become more limited. We remain committed to finding new, innovative strategies and technologies to deliver our services to businesses and residents.”

Llewellyn said the decision to close the center was based on budget and not a reflection on the center employees.

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the entire Ferndale staff and will be working with them to secure new positions within the Oakland County Michigan Works! network and the Ferndale School District,” Llewellyn said. “We expect the transition of services to the Oak Park office will be seamless and accessible to both businesses and job seekers.”

Oakland County has more service centers than any other county in the state. The task force was comprised of workforce development and business professionals and managed by EdEn Inc., a Rochester-based economic and workforce development consulting firm. It concluded after an extensive review there was a significant overlap of services in southeast Oakland County and that with persistent budget cuts, the current system could not be sustained with reduced funding.

The task force recommended the remaining seven Michigan Works! offices in Oakland County – Highland, Novi, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy and Waterford, as well as Oak Park – should rely more on technology to provide expanded services to clientele, which could include delivering more services virtually and social media, Llewellyn said.

Oakland County Michigan Works! helps more than 45,000 job seekers prepare for careers and conduct job searches each year. The Agency also provides services to businesses, including talent recruiting and retaining support, training support and labor market information. The agency has an administrative staff of four full-time staff, with a Michigan Works! service staff of approximately 103 people.

Oak Park firm creates custom medical exam tables for Detroit Zoo's penguins


Mopec, an Oak Park-based mortuary and pathology equipment manufacturer, has donated two custom medical exam tables to the Detroit Zoo’s new $30 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center. 

“The Detroit Zoo is right around the corner from our headquarters,” says Jane VanDusen, CEO of Mopec. “When we received the (request for quotation) from the zoo, our staff decided they wanted to customize and donate the tables.”

Read more.

3LG Tech Solutions spins out with new database technology

3Leaf Group got its start with audio books 19 years ago in a room full of tapes. This year it's spinning out a tech startup, 3LG Tech Solutions, that specializes in database management. Make sense? Trust us, it will.

The Oak Park-based firm has grown to include more comprehensive DIY education solutions, such as streaming instructional videos and training assets. That meant a bigger immersion in technology and a lot of information to manage. The next thing the company knew, it had what it took to create solutions for next-generation database technologies.

That prompted the spinout of 3LG Tech Solutuons six months ago. Today the company and its team of a dozen people are putting the finishing touches on the software platform and working to establish sales with big clients. It currently is running a pilot with a Big 4 accounting firm and installing its software at a shoe manufacturer in Florida. It is also targeting government contracts, including sales in the defense sector.

"There are so many needs," says Stuart Newman, president of 3LG Tech Solutions. "There are so many exit points. We believe there is a lot of value we can bring to the table."

3LG Tech Solutions is currently working to land a variety of customers across industries, ranging from automotive to professional services. Newman points out his firm is doing the hard work of making the long sell to big clients that take a long time to make decisions. But when he gets them to bite he expects to make a lot of sales progress quickly, as soon as next year.

"I'd like to have four signed deals by December 31st," Newman says.

Source: Stuart Newman, president of 3LG Tech Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

63 Oakland County businesses made Inc. 5000 list of "America's 5,000 Fastest-Growing Companies"

63 Oakland County companies made this year's list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., published by Inc. magazine this month. (Michigan had a total of 144 on the list.) At the top of the local group is SilkRoute in Troy, a retail merchandising and inventory apparatus designer whose revenue grew by 1,588% in the past three years.

Here are all of the local companies on this year's list:

229: SilkRoute, Troy
275: Mango Languages, West Bloomfield
278: PROLIM, Farmington Hills
450: PrizeLogic, Southfield
459: ProtectCell, Novi
504: Staffworks Group, Southfield
541: JobApp Network, Bloomfield Hills
618: Vigilant Technologies, Troy
693: PITSS, Troy
890: Detroit Trading, Southfield
999: Rapid Global Business Solutions, Madison Heights
1071: Kyyba, Farmington Hills
1076: MyInsuranceExpert.com, Troy
1113: Impact Management Services, Southfield
1132: Great Expressions Dental Centers, Bloomfield Hills
1199: Netlink, Madison Heights
1457: Zoup!, Southfield
1463: Nexcess.net, Southfield
1697: w3r Consulting, Southfield
1810: ICONMA, Troy
1919: Woodward Asset Capital, Southfield
2009: TTi Global, Rochester Hills
2186: Marvel Technologies, Novi
2273: Dialogue Marketing, Troy
2327: Red Level Networks, Novi
2427: Arrow Strategies, Bingham Farms
2433: National Food Group, Novi
2616: Preferred Data Systems, Farmington Hills
2638: BlueWater Technologies, Southfield
2662: Duffey Petrosky, Farmington Hills
2837: Creative Breakthroughs, Troy
2886: Diversified Industrial Staffing, Troy
3004: Alliance Technology Solutions, Orion
3128: Image One, Oak Park
3140: DGE, Rochester Hills
3206: JAWOOD, Bingham Farms
3239: Venteon, Troy
3248: i3Logic, Pontiac
3313: SunSoft Technologies, Farmington Hills
3564: Aleva Stores, Rochester Hills
3740: Portfolio Solutions, Troy
3774: ePrize, Pleasant Ridge
3792: Computerized Facility Integration, Southfield
3828: Paramount Technologies, Walled Lake
3879: Fisher/Unitech,Troy
3905: Ross Mortgage, Royal Oak
3918: One Source Talent, Troy
3962: DaySmart Software, Wixom
3873: HTC Global Services, Troy
4057: OpTech, Troy
4139: Natural Way Lawn & Tree Care, Lake Orion
4258: DSS, Southfield
4269: V2Soft, Bloomfield Hills
4290: ImageSoft, Southfield
4372: Eview 360, Farmington Hills
4391: ACE Tech, Auburn Hills
4556: PriveCo, Troy
4628: Human Capital Staffing, Bloomfield Hills
4641: McGraw Wentworth, Troy
4916: Airfoil Public Relations, Southfield
4953: Infomatics, Farmington Hills
4961: Multi-Bank Services, Southfield
4976: IdentityPR, Bingham Farms

RingSide Creative adds 6 positions, diversifies clientele

Diversification. It's the new gospel of doing business in Detroit, and one that RingSide Creative is vocalizing today to keep the fat lady quiet.

The Oak Park-based firm specializes in producing creative content for a broad range of media these days, specifically for ad agencies.
Where big accounts from large corporations once served as the firm's bread and butter, Ringside has broadened its client list with more small firms. It's also looking to take in more work from outside of southeast Michigan.

"We're really focusing on these areas to solidify our business," says Sara Gouin, marketing & branding director for RingSide Creative.

That has allowed RingSide Creative to expand its staff to 70 employees and a few interns and independent contractors. That's up from an employee base of 65 people in late 2009. Gouin expects the company to continue to add staff this year as it focuses on diversification.

Source: Sara Gouin, marketing & branding director for RingSide Creative
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Azure Dynamics' growth gets $4M thumbs up from Silicon Valley Bank

Azure Dynamics has received several votes of confidence lately, ranging from awards to growing sales for its Ford Transit Connect hybrid and electric vehicles. Now it's receiving one in its bottom line, thanks to a new $4 million line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank.

The credit line, available for the next two years, gives the Oak Park-based company more liquidity at all stages of its sales cycle. Borrowings against the facility are based on eligible accounts receivable, including certain foreign receivables, inventory, and purchase orders, making the facility scalable.

"The company is maturing," says Ryan Carr, CFO of Azure Dynamics. "Our business plan is one banks see as a secure place to lend money. It's a relatively small amount today, but it's scalable."

Silicon Valley Bank has a reputation for investing in promising young companies on the rise, making this a banking relationship worth taking notice of for Azure Dynamics. The 8-year-old company has grown to 150 employees, including 50 in Oak Park. It has added 50 people in the last year and expects to continue hiring and to more than double its revenues next year.

Source: Ryan Carr, CFO of Azure Dynamics
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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