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Troy's Altair partners with the University of the Philippines on future urban design

Excerpt

Altair, a Troy-based company that focuses on the development and application of simulation technology, is partnering with the University of the Philippines. As part of the collaboration, Altair will provide licenses at no cost for its computer-aided engineering and design solutions software to the architecture faculty at the university’s new Design Lab.  

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Lawrence Tech, St. John Providence to launch new bachelor's degree in nursing

St. John Providence and Lawrence Technological University have received state approval to establish a nursing education program.
 
The program, which will open in the Fall 2017 semester in August, will have classroom instruction at Lawrence Tech’s Southfield campus, with clinical and laboratory instruction at six St. John Providence hospital locations around metro Detroit. St. John Providence is part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.
 
The new program will fall under Lawrence Tech’s College of Arts and Sciences as a major in the LTU Department of Natural Sciences, granting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
 
“Michigan and the nation as a whole are in the midst of a continuing shortage of qualified, well-trained nurses,” Lawrence Tech President Virinder Moudgil said. “We aim to help solve that problem with a nursing education program that will take full advantage of our 85-year history as a technologically advanced university. Our founding motto, ‘Theory and Practice,’ is a perfect description of the kind of nursing education we will deliver with our partners at Providence.”
 
“This partnership is part of our ongoing commitment to providing the training our future nurses need so they can deliver the high quality and compassionate care that patients expect and deserve,” said St. John Providence President & CEO, Jean Meyer.
 
The Michigan Board of Nursing approved the application for the new nursing program Thursday.
 
Lawrence Tech has hired Therese Jamison, DNP, ACNP-BC, as professor of nursing and director of the program. Jamison earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Vanderbilt University. Earlier, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Nursing from Wayne State University, as well as a post-master’s certificate as an acute care nurse practitioner from the University of Michigan.
 
A veteran nursing specialist, Jamison continues to work one day a week as a nurse practitioner in cardiovascular services at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren Campus.
 
The six St. John Providence hospital locations are: St. John Hospital & Medical Center, Detroit; St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren Campus; St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Madison Heights Campus; Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Southfield; Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Novi; and St. John River District Hospital, East China Township.
 
The new nursing program will admit an initial cohort of 32 students for the Fall 2017 academic semester, and 32 new students per year thereafter.
 
Jamison said the LTU-St. John Providence nursing program will be unique in that it will admit qualified students directly into the nursing program, and nursing classes will start in the curriculum’s first term. Most nursing programs admit students to a “pre-nursing” program for two years of prerequisite courses, then admit a smaller number of those students to the formal nursing program.
 
Also unique is the close academic-practice partnership between LTU and St. John Providence, Jamison said. Most nursing programs offer their clinical programs through a wide variety of hospital groups, creating barriers for students in navigating the healthcare system.
 
The LTU-St. John Providence program will conduct its courses year-around over 11 semesters, requiring 126 credit hours of study.
 
St. John Providence is one the largest providers of inpatient care in southeast Michigan. St. John Providence provides comprehensive prevention, primary care and advanced treatment programs with more than 125 medical centers and six hospital locations spanning five counties. 
 
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.
 

LTU prof gets two grants for robotics and entrepreneurial education

A Lawrence Technological University assistant professor of biomedical engineering has been awarded two new grants – one to explore touch-sensitive feedback in robots, and another to expand entrepreneurial education in biotech.

Mansoor Nasir is principal investigator on a $50,000 grant from the DENSO North America Foundation and a $25,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation.

The DENSO grant will be used to acquire laboratory instrumentation to help LTU students design, develop and evaluate haptics, the science of touch-based human-computer interfaces, for applications like auto interiors, medicine, and virtual reality.
“We want to introduce a sense of touch into robots to give them the ability to interact with objects,” Nasir said.

Working with Nasir on the DENSO grant are Eric Meyer, associate professor of biomedical engineering; James Kern, robotics lab instructor; Franco Delogu, assistant professor of psychology; and Nabih Jaber, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Meyer is also co-principal investigator on the Kern Family Foundation grant.

The focus of the Kern grant is broadening the scope of entrepreneurial education in engineering classes, making it more widely available through such digital media as web videos.

Earlier, in 2014, Nasir and Meyer received a grant through a Kern Family Foundation program, the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN), to develop course modules on entrepreneurship for engineering classes. In 2015, they received funds through KEEN to organize three half-day workshops on entrepreneurship for engineering professors.

The Kern Family Foundation, based in Waukesha, Wis., has as one of its goals building entrepreneurship into engineering education. More at http://www.kffdn.org/ or http://engineeringunleashed.com/keen/.

About the DENSO North America Foundation
A registered 501(c)3 corporate foundation, the DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping Students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs. Founded in 2001, the Foundation provides grants to colleges and universities throughout North America, helping our communities prosper through the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The Foundation also provides disaster relief grants through the American Red Cross to aid persons and communities in which DENSO Corporation operates. For more, visit http://densofoundation.org.

About DENSO in North America
In North America, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 30 consolidated companies and affiliates. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 15,000 people in California, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arkansas. DENSO’s North American consolidated sales totaled US$9.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. For more, go to www.densocorp-na.com or connect with DENSO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DENSOinNorthAmerica.

Detroit Grooming Company CEO keeps hands-on approach to business growth

In just three years time, Michael Haddad has gone from complaining about the itchy beginnings of a new beard to selling hundreds of handmade grooming products per week.

Haddad is CEO of Detroit Grooming Company and, along with co-founders Shaun Walford and Chad Buchanan, has grown the company from one handmade product to approximately 200 products. The company started in from a 300 sq. ft. self-characterized closet and has now grown into a 7,000 sq. ft. light industrial building on Wolcott Street in Ferndale. Detroit Grooming Company also has its own barber shop on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale and is building a second one in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.

Detroit Grooming Company didn't start with a grand vision but instead a genuine curiosity. In 2013, Haddad and Walford, both employees of Buchanan at a local jewelry shop, decided that they were going to grow their beards out for No Shave November, aka Movember, a grassroots movement to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. 
 
With the duo scratching their faces as their beards grew in, they purchased a beard oil to share, hoping it would alleviate the itchiness.

Displeased with the product, Haddad and Walford wondered if they couldn't make one themselves. Fast-forward three years later, and Detroit Grooming Company has launched the Black Label Collection, a limited line of grooming products that include beard oils, butters, and cleansers. Fifteen percent of sales from the Black Label Collection will go to No-Shave.org, which benefits a number of non-profit cancer organizations.

"It's crazy what a little bit of time and a little bit of research actually does," says Haddad. "Because you can be a complete novice at something and the Internet, although it's used for cat pictures and pictures of people's dinner, can also be used to actually make change in your life and affect the outcome of other people's lives, too, in a positive way."

After a period of research and trial-and-error, Haddad and Walford showed what would become their first product, Corktown Beard Oil, to Buchanan. Immediately taken by the tobacco and vanilla scent, Buchanan wanted in, and the three became business partners, launching what would become the Detroit Grooming Company.

Expanding from one product to 200 didn't just happen overnight. Much of what Detroit Grooming Company sells comes from either instances of personal need, customer suggestion, or wondering if they can do something better than their competitors. And it's the co-founders that test the products on themselves. Get an idea, see if it works, and adjust accordingly.

"It's accidental how some things happen, but you have to have deliberate actions afterwards," says Haddad. "Each one of us have contributed to the creation of these products."

Starting in that 300 sq. ft. closet, Detroit Grooming moved to a space on Fort Street in Detroit before outgrowing that and moving to a bigger space in Ferndale. They've since moved to the even bigger 7,000 sq. ft. space in Ferndale. 
 
A barber chair from the 1920s sits near the front, awaiting restoration and an eventual installation in the Corktown barber shop. One row of shelves has hundreds of finished products, awaiting shipment. Another row contains hundreds of ingredients. An enormous vat sits atop two table-top heaters (the vat too big for one heater to handle on its own).

The co-founders are heavily involved, making their products by hand, preparing packages to ship, the majority of which they do themselves. All this despite the fact that they've gone from selling 10 orders per week to selling over 100 orders per day. 
 
Haddad says that for all their success, the same desire to create back in 2013 is the same that drives them today. They're just creating a whole lot more.

"We're able to handle it," Haddad says of the company's growth. "You just scale. You move along with the trends. You don't fight anything. You go with what's flowing. That's how you find the best."

Walsh College MST and MAC programs receive national rankings in TaxTalent survey

Two of Walsh College’s graduate programs received prestigious recognition in the TaxTalent.com 2017 Top in Tax Educational Survey, which ranked the Master of  Science in Taxation (MST) program fifth and the Master of Science in Accountancy (MAC) program tied for sixth nationally.

The survey asked 321 tax employers to vote for the best U.S. undergraduate, graduate and legal programs from their perspective for the 2016-17 school year.

According to the survey, the respondents were U.S. tax hiring authorities from corporate in-house departments and professional service firms. They ranged from middle market to Fortune 10™ companies with tax functions and professional service firms based in the U.S.

In the Methodology section, the survey states, “One of TaxTalent’s long-term missions is to help bridge the gap between academia and the professional world of tax.”

“It is gratifying for those of us at Walsh College to know that the employer community recognizes that we are providing our students with a rigorous and relevant tax education that they find desirable when evaluating potential new hires,” said Richard Davidson, vice chair, Tax and Business Law Department, Walsh College.

Walsh is the only college in Michigan to appear in the top 10 on the Master of Science in Taxation (MST) list, joining the likes of Golden Gate University, Villanova University and DePaul University (Kellstadt Graduate School of Business), among others.

Joining Walsh in the top 10 of Master of Science in Accounting (MAC) programs are Brigham Young, University of Michigan (Ross School of Business) and University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business), among others.

Walsh College will hold an MST Open House for students interested in pursuing a Master of Science in Taxation (MST) from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Troy campus.

The Walsh MST degree program is designed for professionals seeking to gain comprehensive, practical knowledge of tax accounting, tax law, and tax research, while also achieving a deeper understanding of the broader concepts of tax methodology and tax procedure.

Graduates of the highly regarded Walsh MAC program benefit from a reputation for strong accounting skills earned over 90 years of placing accounting professionals with firms in Michigan.

 About TaxTalent.com: TaxTalent is the online career and leadership development portal for tax professionals. Membership includes free access to expert coaches, mentors, resources, content and valuable tools for both career and leadership growth.
 

ESG Automotive in Troy expands testing labs, will add engineers

Excerpt

In an effort to increase the amount of onsite projects at its facility, ESG automotive Inc., an engineering consulting company for automobile manufacturers and suppliers, has doubled the size of its Troy offices.

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Holly man starts up recruiting firm for skilled trades workers

Excerpt

Travis Neville of Holly started a business by request. As a recruiter at a construction company, he often received phone calls from outside contractors looking for skilled trades workers. Realizing the high demand, he started a recruiting firm, Contractor Placement. 

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Toys 'R' Us to carry Walled Lake-based Zollipops

Excerpt

Toys ‘R’ Us has announced that it will begin carrying Zollipops, a dental health-friendly lollipop manufactured by Walled Lake-based LOL, in its stores nationwide.

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Nonprofit leadership series has begun at Lawrence Tech

Lawrence Technological University’s Center for Nonprofit Management, in cooperation with Plante Moran, announced the start of this year’s “Executive to Executive” speaker series for leaders in the nonprofit sector.
 
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Nina Holden, vice president for institutional advancement at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, spoke on “Fundraising 101 to $101 million: proven approaches to successful development” at Lawrence Tech’s Southfield campus.
 
The Center for Nonprofit Management is part of LTU’s College of Management.
 
Executive to Executive is a series of presentations featuring prominent leaders who are making a difference in the social sector. Other partners in sponsoring the series include the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Blender Consulting Group, and the McGregor Fund.
 
Other presentations in the series are:
  • “Crisis communications: How to prevent and recover from bad news about your organization,” presented by Matt Friedman, co-founder, Tanner Friedman, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017
  • “Be the best board member you can be,” presented by Tom Wilson, president and CEO, Olympia Entertainment, Tuesday, March 14, 2017
  • “The community engagement imperative,” presented by Beth Chappell, president and CEO, Detroit Economic Club, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
All sessions in the series are held in the Mary E. Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium, Room S100, in Lawrence Tech’s Science Building. For directions and location, visit www.ltu.edu/map. Lawrence Tech’s campus is at 21000 W. 10 Mile Road in Southfield. Admission is $30 per session per person. Online registration is available at www.ltu.edu/management/executivetoexecutive.asp.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.
 

Clawson's Junk King spins trash into gold

As the adage goes, one person's junk is another person's treasure. It’s a lesson that the co-owners and employees of Junk King are taking to the bank.

Consider the recent case of a senior woman who had lived in the same house for decades. When she was ready to move out, she called Junk King of Detroit to help her remove some items from her home. Challenged with mobility issues, the woman hadn't even set foot in her basement for about fifteen years. When Joi McQueen, one of the co-owners of Junk King, went to the basement to see what sort of job they had ahead of them, she felt like she was stepping into a time capsule.

"It was like time had stopped in her basement. Cobwebs everywhere. Literally, no one had been down there," says McQueen. "There was stuff down there where I was like, I don't even know what this is."

"Some people get emotional sometimes when you're pulling stuff out of their basements, and they see things they haven't seen in a number of years," adds co-owner David Rzepecki.

McQueen, Rzepecki, and fellow Junk King of Detroit co-owner Kent Garibaldi have found themselves in a lot of interesting situations since first opening the Clawson-based junk removal business in January of 2016. There are the time capsule basements. There was the ghost arcade, a former business with over one hundred water-damaged arcade machines in the back. And then, of course, there are the hoarders. If there's one thing about modern America, it's that there's no shortage of stuff. That’s why McQueen, Rzepecki, a and Garibaldi figured a junk removal service seems like a pretty good bet for business.

It's hard work, removing a house full of stuff. Junk King's employees work three days on and get two days off; a standard five day work week is too physically grueling, says Rzepecki. And it's not like many of the houses are neatly packed up in boxes. Workers are often carrying out loads to the dumpster, a five-gallon bucket or two at a time. Bed bugs, too, are often the reason someone might call Junk King.

N job is too big or small; Junk King moves everything from a single television set to an entire house full of stuff. They recycle 60 to 65 percent of the items they haul away. Other items may go to the dump. Some items, say a nice couch still in good condition or a working piano, get donated to various organizations. Employees are allowed to take certain items that are otherwise destined for the trash heap, a perk of the job. One working hot tub stayed in the Clawson facility for months as the college-aged employees eyed it for the school year.

"I'm utterly amazed at the number of hot tubs we take out. It seems like we take one out close to one a day or every other day. It's amazing," says Rzepecki. "And half of them are in decent shape."

Co-owners McQueen, Garibaldi, and Rzepecki are old friends, having all worked in the medical equipment and pharmaceutical sales fields at various points over the years. Garibaldi, whose idea it was to buy into the Junk King franchise, still owns a medical equipment and pharmaceutical sales company today. Rzepecki works with him there. McQueen left the field to run Junk King full-time.

The transition from sales to entrepreneur was an easy one, says McQueen. Having to work on your own, manage a territory, and deal with customers prepared her for running Junk King. She says it's even more rewarding. She and her partners delight in seeing the joy on customers' faces after all the items have been removed.

Ten months into the business and the Junk King of Detroit crew is enjoying what they started.

"You get to meet so many people and hear their stories. I love it. I think it beats sales," says McQueen. "People are so happy; they're just ecstatic when you're done getting all of their stuff out. It's really enjoyable to see."

Logicdrop expands, set to launch new product

Earlier this year, technology startup LogicDrop was crammed in a tiny space in Berkley, its founders finding every which way to fit up to 15 employees and computers and work desks. 
 
Things are a little roomier now that Logicdrop has moved into a spacious second-floor space on the same block as popular nightspots Sneakers, the Loving Touch, and Woodward Avenue Brewers in Ferndale. And that's been a boon to the organization.

“We have a very close-knit team. We spend a lot of time working on the culture of our company," says Logicdrop co-founder KimJohn Quin. "We try to bring that startup mentality to our team."

Logicdrop co-founders KimJohn Quinn, John Shuell, and Jared Grabill met each other ten to twelve years ago, each coming from a long history of working at startups. They've been working on some form of their flagship technology product, Logicdrop Studio, for almost two decades now.

The technology has finally caught up to the vision they first shared nearly twenty years ago. It's a business rules platform that allows users to customize data analysis. They say their platform cuts weeks of computing time down to mere minutes.

Logicdrop is gearing up for the release of Logicdrop Studio and the bigger space is a reflection of how the company feels about its future. They've opened up their signature intelligence platform to a round of beta tests and expect to release a final version in the second quarter of 2017. The cofounders say that no matter their future growth, they want to maintain their startup mentality. 

The workplace culture is decidedly loose. There's no dress code, and there are no titles. Employees don't have to punch in and out, don't have to put in for vacation days; all that Logicdrop expects of its employees is that they complete the tasks they've been assigned.

Startups are trial-and-error enterprises, says Shuell, but they've worked it out to where Logicdrop is now growing. The team has discovered that while the Logicdrop Studio product is their goal, maintaining a service-based model to complement the development process of Studio allows them to keep the lights on. 
 
And it's their reputation that has carried them through; each of their clients have come to them, and not the other way around, says Shuell. Clients have included automotive companies, hospitals, law firms, banks, and Fortune 500 company Nestle.

Another way Logicdrop has kept the lights on is to hire college students. The company believes strongly in this practice; it allows them to keep costs down without having to outsource offshore talent. While it's not an official internship program, the company contends that the students it hires are better prepared for the workforce --  should they decide to leave the company after graduation, which is not often the case.

"We expect everyone to understand why they do something, not to go online and say, I found the solution, place in your code and say I'm done," says Quinn. "We want our developers to understand why they did that. And that's been a huge feather in our cap."

Though they first may be leery of the age of some of the developers, clients recommend and return to Logicdrop because of the team's successes, according to Quinn. With the pending official release of Studio and expected growth, Logicdrop is currently hiring.


 

Advanced manufacturing workforce training center opening in Madison Heights

A new training center designed to address the advanced manufacturing skills gap throughout the region is opening in Madison Heights. The Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Collaboration is now accepting applications for its first cohort in CNC mill certification training, which it anticipates will start this December. Officials say the first two or three groups to take the class will do so free of charge, a $3,000 to $3,500 value.

As MAMC grows, it will also offer welding and industrial maintenance programs. The cohorts will be available to adults -- especially veterans, officials say -- and will eventually expand to include high school students.

"We want what we're teaching to be life-changing for our students," says Dan Gilbertson, MAMC Director of Innovative Educational Programs and Strategic Partnerships. "These are good careers, good paying jobs."

MAMC got its start at Madison High School in Madison Heights. Gilbertson is a former principal at the high school. He and his partners anticipated an industry demand for a local advanced manufacturing workforce; a suspicion that has since been confirmed, he says.

FANUC, one of the world's largest robotics companies with its North American headquarters in Rochester Hills, brought robotic equipment to the high school to get students interested in careers in advanced manufacturing. MAMC will use equipment from FANUC, along with Rockwell Automation, Lincoln Electric, and Parker Hannifin, to teach its courses.

The MAMC facility is located in the same building as Wilkinson Middle School, having converted 12,000 sq. ft. into instruction space. Gilbertson says large areas are necessary for these types of programs.

While many manufacturing jobs have left the region, Gilbertson says that there is once again a demand for a skilled advanced manufacturing workforce. They are good jobs, he says, and much safer and cleaner than the manufacturing jobs associated with the twentieth century.

Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative is located 26524 John R Rd. in Madison Heights. People are encouraged to apply online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Oakland County's CISO captures top IT award

Oakland County’s Chief Information Security Officer Chris Burrows is Michigan’s IT Professional of the Year, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced today. That’s according to Michigan Government Management Information Sciences (MI-GMIS) who bestowed the award on Burrows. The award recognizes outstanding individuals who advance and support the use of technology within government to improve efficiency and customer service.

“Oakland County is consistently ranked among the most digitally-advanced counties in America by the Center for Digital Government,” Patterson said. “Chris is an integral part of the team that has helped Oakland County stay on the leading edge of developments in IT. He truly deserves this award.”

Burrows joined Oakland County in 2013 bringing more than a quarter century of experience from the private sector including in risk management, information security, and IT operations. In a few short years, he has created Oakland County’s first IT risk and security program. Plus, he helped implement CySAFE, a free IT risk assessment tool Oakland County makes available to other governments and businesses in the cloud. CySAFE has been downloaded in all 50 states.

Burrows also has provided leadership and guidance as a security advocate for other Michigan counties seeking to build or enhance their IT security including Washtenaw, Wayne, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe. He is working with local universities including Oakland University and Walsh College to help them identify relevant content for their cyber security programs. In addition, he is creating his own course called “Current Issues in Cyber Security” which he will begin teaching at Walsh College.

“Chris is an outstanding addition to our IT Department at Oakland County,” said Deputy County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini. “His innovative thinking, leadership, and willingness to help all those in the government, university and business communities make him worthy of this award.”

Burrows, 45, lives in Commerce Township with his wife Heather and two children. He holds a MBA from Lawrence Technological University, BSBA from Central Michigan University, along with numerous technical certifications including a CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional).

For more information about MI-GMIS and the IT Professional of the Year award, go to MI-GMIS.org.
 

Church helps indie businesses thrive with Greenhouse Ferndale co-working space

Excerpt

As the number of entrepreneurs and people able to work from home grows, so does the need for low-cost office space and drop-in shared work-spaces.  Renaissance Vineyard Church in Ferndale (1841 Pinecrest) has come up with a solution that, according to Rev. Jim Pool is intended to help “bless the businesses” with a place of community, privacy if needed, and reliable internet.

Read more.
 

Q3: Automation Alley announces key hires, invests in tech startups

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology business association, today announced its Q3 activities and results, which included attracting an international company to Southeast Michigan and two new investments to support growing technology startups in the region. In addition, Automation Alley saw major staff changes in Q3, including a new executive director and chief operating officer, as well as other key hires and promotions to support its shift towards helping companies navigate the changes involved with Industry 4.0.

Automation Alley international tenant company Cosworth Group, of Northampton, U.K., announced it is investing $30 million in a Shelby Township facility. The high-performance engine technologies firm recently moved on from Automation Alley’s International Business Center. The center, located inside Automation Alley Headquarters in Troy, Mich., provides 90 days of soft-landing space for foreign companies to use as a home base while exploring opportunities to do business in Southeast Michigan. Since 2011, Automation Alley has attracted 18 international companies to the region.

On the entrepreneurship front, Automation Alley made two significant investments in Q3, including $5,000 in TSP Enterprises, the Farmington Hills-based creator of a portable cargo management system, and $32,000 in Blackbourne Worldwide, a Sterling Heights-based hacking intelligence company. To date, Automation Alley has invested $9.09 million in 58 local high-tech companies. Now managing these investments will be Dom Holmes, who was recently promoted to manager of entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition to overseeing Automation Alley’s investment portfolio, Holmes is responsible for managing Automation Alley’s 7Cs™ program.

Automation Alley’s 7Cs™ is open to Southeast Michigan early-stage or second-stage advanced manufacturing companies seeking accelerated commercialization of their products, services or technologies. The program guides entrepreneurs through a customized seven-step process that includes intense coaching and a firm commitment from Automation Alley to invest resources and capital, taking companies from concept to commercialization.

Other key Q3 staff changes include the promotion of Tom Kelly from COO to executive director, replacing Automation Alley’s longtime leader Ken Rogers. Pavan Muzumdar was named as the organization’s new COO. Both moves are in line with the organization’s strategy to help local companies navigate Industry 4.0 technologies. Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, represents the convergence of digital and physical technologies currently disrupting the manufacturing industry, such as the Industrial Internet of Things, autonomous robotics, additive manufacturing, big data, cybersecurity, cloud computing and modeling, simulation and visualization, among others.

To begin that process, Automation Alley is launching a new committee structure, comprised of
members and regional thought leaders who will develop a strategy to help small and medium-sized manufacturers adopt these technologies.

“By joining one of our Industry 4.0 committees, individuals will have the opportunity to influence our programs, position their companies alongside other key players in our region and potentially shape the future of technology and manufacturing,” Kelly said.

Industry 4.0 and the changes ahead will be the focal point of Automation Alley’s 16th Annual Awards Gala, to be held Oct. 14 at the Detroit Yacht Club. Sheryl Connelly, Global Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Company, will keynote the event. To register, visit automationalley.com/awardsgala.

Also coming up is Automation Alley’s trade mission to Mexico, Oct. 16-21. Following that mission, Automation Alley will be seeking company participants for its trade mission to the Paris Air Show in June of 2017. For more information or to register, visit automationalley.com or call International Business Services Manager Lisa Lasser at 248-457-3283 or email lasserl@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading technology business association, connecting businesses with talent, resources and funding to accelerate innovation and fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit has grown to include nearly 1,000 tech-focused members in businesses, education and government. Automation Alley focuses its efforts in five areas: advanced manufacturing, defense, entrepreneurship, international business and talent development. For more information, visit automationalley.com.  
 
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