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OCC dominates American Culinary Federation Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Awards

An OCC instructor, two alumni and one student were awarded top honors at the 39th Annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association’s Chef of the Year Awards Gala on September 29 at Oakland Hills Country Club.
OCC Chef Susan Baier, FMP (Food Management Professional), was voted Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Association’s2014 Educator of the Year. An OCC Culinary Studies Institute educator for 30 years, Baier has taught Culinary Skills, Garde Manger, Menu Development and Event and Catering Management. She also facilitates culinary internships. She has held the position of department chairperson and is the current program coordinator. She was part of the program’s curriculum revision, offering new courses and schedules providing greater accesses to working students and professionals wanting to hone their skills in cookery, international cuisine, certification, competition or pastry. Baier has a degree is in Restaurant Management. Her industry work experience includes the Somerset Hotel, St. Regis Hotel and Melting Pot Café in Detroit.
The following OCC alumni also received prestigious awards:
Andrew Sayes, CEC (Certified Executive Chef), Executive Chef of the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, received the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association 2014 Chef of the Year Award. Executive chef at The Townsend since November 2012, Sayes creates and executes the fine dining menu at The Townsend’s award-winning Rugby Grille. He also oversees menus associated with the hotel’s other dining operations, including room service, afternoon tea and catering. Prior to joining The Townsend Hotel, Sayes was executive chef at the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. He worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company at various property locations throughout the U.S., including Dearborn, Mich., Marina del Rey, Calif., New Orleans, La. and Buckhead, Ga. A metro Detroit native, Sayes received his formal training at OCC’s Culinary Studies Institute and honed his skills through cooking competitions and working with the area’s top chefs. While at OCC, Sayes was a member and coach of the OCC culinary team receiving two gold and silver medals in state and regional competitions. He is currently a coach for the culinary team. In August 2012, Sayes became a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation. Sayes takes pride in serving guests the finest quality products. He is an advocate of local farms and sustainable practices. He focuses on regional cuisine rooted in French technique with approachable, unpretentious flavors. Sayes enjoys giving back to the community through teaching and mentoring.
Amy Knoles, pastry chef at the Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms since 2010, received the 2014 Pastry Chef of the Year Award. Prior to the Country Club of Detroit, she was assistant pastry chef at Pine Lake Country Club for two years. After deciding to pursue her love of cuisine, she left her job as a test technician in the automotive industry and earned a certificate in baking and pastry arts from OCC in 2009. She launched Amy’s Chocolate Fountains and Desserts in 2005. Amy is an avid competitor in culinary events. As a member of OCC’s Ice Carving team, she competed in Zehnder’s Snowfest Ice Carving Competition, receiving National Ice Carving Association (NICA) gold and silver medals. She also earned gold medal at state level and silver at nationals in the Skills USA Commercial Baking Competition 2011. She won gold at the 2012 ACF Collegiate State Competition with OCC’s Hot Food Team. Amy is passionate about her love of pastry arts and enjoys competing. She lives in Flat Rock and is a member of ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.
Knoles and Sayes are now eligible to compete in the American Culinary Federation’s Central Regional Competition.
In addition, OCC student Rebecca Dubicki was named OCC’s 2014 Outstanding Student Culinarian. Dubicki was a leader and pastry member of the OCC American Culinary Federation’s Student Culinary team in 2012 and 2013, winning three silver medals in two state competitions and one regional competition in St. Louis, Mo.
Last year, OCC’s Doug Ganhs won the 2013 Educator of the Year Award.
About the OCC Culinary Studies Institute:
The award-winning OCC Culinary Studies Institute offers give programs in hospitality including degrees in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, restaurant management and hotel management. If also offers a variety of culinary events and dining experiences throughout the year. Visit our website to learn about our student success stories and newsmakers.
About OCC:
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. More than a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.

Ann Arbor-based OcuSciences, Inc. Named Medical Main Street's INNO-VATOR of the Year

An Ann Arbor-based medical device manufacturer that developed a technology to detect eye disease years earlier than current methods is Medical Main Street’s “INNO-VATOR of the Year.”

OcuSciences, Inc. is a medical diagnostic device company commercializing a rapid, non-invasive test for early detection of retinal disease. Physicians can use the device to screen patients for diabetes and early eye disease. Optometrists and ophthalmologists can use the device to diagnose and monitor disease progression and guide therapy.

“I stand in awe of the work done by OcuSciences and its new imaging techniques to measure damage to retinal tissue from diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This achievement in medical device manufacturing is indicative of the type of world-class research being conducted in the Medical Main Street region.”

The INNO-VATOR of the Year award honors the creators of a medical device which demonstrates the most dramatic change in the health care industry in Michigan. To be considered for the award, the device must have been developed in Michigan, achieved prototype development and validation, and incorporate a game-changing innovation.

The award was presented Oct. 22 during Medical Main Street’s INNO-VENTION 2014 conference at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. In 2013, Ann Arbor-based HistoSonics won for its Vortx Rx® device that uses sound energy to treat tissue inside the body without the need for traditional surgery. In 2012, Sentio LLC of Southfield and Ablative Solutions of Kalamazoo were each named co-winners. Sentio created a device to alert doctors when nerves are at risk during surgery and Ablative Solutions’ technology treats hypertension.
Based on technology licensed from the University of Michigan, OcuSciences has developed a proprietary, ocular imaging technique, Retinal Metabolic Analysis ™ (RMA), as a non-invasive, rapid biomarker for measuring the damage to retinal tissue due to diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. This new measure has been termed a new vital sign for patients – similar to blood pressure or body temperature.

The RMA technology provides a means to detect disease processes several years earlier than current clinical methods and before irreversible structural alterations due to cell death become visible in the retina.

OcuSciences has demonstrated that RMA is more predictive of diabetes than other tests, helping pharmaceutical companies develop ophthalmic drugs more rapidly and precisely.

With 57 million diabetics in the U.S. today, and eight percent of those as undiagnosed diabetics, diabetes is a rapidly growing epidemic, especially among children. The screening for diabetic retinopathy and early treatment can help prevent blindness in 24,000 patients annually and reduce the $174 billion costs associated with diabetes.
The Medical Main Street board includes Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Beaumont Health System, Beckman Coulter Molecular Diagnostics, Crittenton Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, Ferndale Laboratories, Henry Ford Health Systems, Housey Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories, McLaren Health Care - Oakland, MichBio, State Rep. Gail Haines, R-Waterford, Oakland Community College, Oakland University, Oxus Inc., Priority Health, Rockwell Medical Technologies, St. John Providence Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and Stryker Corp.


Technical Problem Solutions adds staff on growth in work abroad

Paul Rosko has one of those storybook careers in the automotive industry that starts on the factory floor and ends in a management office. However, Rosko's story isn't over yet now that he has his own company, Technical Problem Solutions.

Rosko worked as a machinist in a tool-and-dye shop for 20 years before he worked his way into the management at General Motors. That worked for a little while as Rosko solved technical problems in the corporation. But it didn’t take too long to see the writing on the wall.

"When you get to a certain age at a big company your career aspirations can become limited," Rosko says. "I was 50 and had gone about as far as I could at General Motors."

So he left and started his own consulting company, Technical Problem Solutions, in 2007. The Troy-based firm helps larger companies, primarily in the automotive industry, figure out better ways of doing business. Rosko says he named the company Technical Problem Solutions because that is what he is good at. He didn't realize at the time that the acronym for the firm would be synonymous with the hated reports from the movie Office Space.

"I didn't think about Toyota Production System either," Rosko says. "I wanted to name it something that I could sell in 10-15 years."

Prospects for a sale are looking up these days. Technical Problem Solutions doubled its revenue in 2013 and is on track for 25-50 percent revenue growth this year, thanks to increasing workload abroad.

"We've been doing a lot of work in Russia over the last two years," Rosko says. "That has helped us a great deal as we expand globally."

Technical Problem Solutions now serves markets in Europe and Asia. That has allowed it to hire two people over the last year, expanding its staff to seven employees and about 40 independent contractors.

Source: Paul Rosko, CEO of Technical Problem Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Nexlink hires in Auburn Hills on strength of mobile industry

Mobile technology is creeping into more and more parts of the everyday economy and Nexlink Communications is one of the players making that happen sooner rather than later.

The 10-year-old tech firm has doubled its revenue each year. That has allowed it to grow to 200 employees spread between two manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, three offices in Asia, and its headquarters in Auburn Hills. Thirty of its positions are in Auburn Hills, where the company has hired five people in purchasing and sales over the last year.

Today's growth is coming primarily from its business in the mobile sector. That includes supplying new and used mobile devices, software provisioning, carrier services, back-end service and product support.

"We have a bundled solution for companies that are getting into mobile," says Peter Schmidt, director of sales and marketing for Nexlink Communications. "The big areas are healthcare, transportation and hospitality."

For instance, Nexlink Communications will help truck drivers switch their record keeping from hand-written records to elecrtronic records entered on a tablet in the vehicle. Or providing a tablet at a table in a restaurant so patrons can pay without needing the server. In both cases Nexlink Communications supplies a preloaded tablet that can be mounted and used by the workforce or customer.

Source: Peter Schmidt, director of sales & marketing for Nexlink Communications
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

CureLauncher secures $500K Series B, signs 4 big clients

CureLauncher has closed on a Series B round of funding worth $500,000.

The Bloomfield Hills-based startup that likes to refer to itself as the Wikipedia of clinical trials also closed on a half-million-dollar Series A last year. The Series B was led by Birmingham-based early stage venture capital firm InkWell.

"It will help us grow fast," says Steve Goldner, chairman & CEO of CureLauncher. "It will add more talent to the team."

CureLauncher's software is a one-stop shop for people looking to participate in clinical trials. Tens of thousands of clinical trials are held in the U.S. each year but they are routinely delayed because of enrollment issues. CureLauncher's database cuts out the delay by connecting sick people with cutting-edge treatments.

"In the last year we have signed worldwide master service agreements with four of the largest pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations around the world," Goldner says.

That has allowed CureLauncher to hire five people over the last year, and it's currently looking to hire three more. The relationship managers help prospective patients calling into CureLauncher's offices to find the best clinical trials. The two-year-old startup now has a staff of 14 employees and two summer interns.

Source: Steve Goldner, chairman & CEO of CureLauncher
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

DBusiness recognizes '30 in Their Thirties' Detroit professionals

DBusiness magazine highlights 30 movers and shakers across metro Detroit nominated by readers for the 2014 30 in Their Thirties feature in the September-October issue.  The class of 2014 is advancing the region’s companies, industries, and communities by managing global businesses, overseeing major events, operating upscale restaurants and keeping up with the latest technological advances.

Roland N. Alix, partner of Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc.
West Bloomfield resident
Alix is recognized for his commitment to the civil engineering profession and his outstanding work at Hubbell, Roth and Clark.
Aaron F. Belen, president and CEO of AFB Investments
Bloomfield Hills resident
Belen is recognized for his role in managing more than 50,000 square feet of commercial real estate in metro Detroit.
Kathleen Borschke, senior account director for The Fulkerson Group
Troy resident
Borschke is recognized for managing multiple sponsorship partners for her high-profile clients, such as the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit Jazz Festival, and the Chevrolet Detroit Bell Isle Grand Prix.
Dwight D. Brown, director of features and technology planning for General Motors
Bloomfield Hills resident
Brown was recognized for his role and growth at General Motors, beginning with his internship while as an undergraduate at Iowa State University. Full-time since 2004, he and his team seek out new automotive technologies which help guide customers on purchasing decisions.
Robby Dhillon, founder and president of Rockstar Digital, Inc.
Rochester Hills resident
Dhillon is recognized for launching Rockstar Digital, Inc. and using his technological skills to create displays for his clients.
April Donaldson, executive vice president of Strategic Staffing Solutions
Royal Oak resident
Donaldson is recognized for her leadership skills at Strategic Staffing Solutions.
Brian Foster, co-owner of Stars and Stripes Kids Activity Center
Clarkston resident
Foster is recognized for owning and operating  the children’s activity center, which he borrowed money from family to start.
Niall Hay, brand director for Penske Automotive Group, Inc.
Birmingham resident
Hay is recognized for his leadership in promotions, performance, personnel, financing and customer service for Penske Automotive Group.
Ryan Hoyle, vice president of business development and talent acquisition for GalaxE.Solutions Inc.
Troy resident
Hoyle is recognized for overcoming GalaxE.Solution’s biggest challenge of cultivating the company’s market competitiveness.
Joshua Humphrey, chief operating officer of Peas & Carrots Hospitality
Clawson resident
Humphrey is recognized for climbing the ranks at Peas & Carrots Hospitality, and managing operations of three metro Detroit restaurants.
Jeff Lothian, executive vice president of Impact Management Services
Rochester Hills resident
Lothian is recognized for his role in the expansion of Impact Management Services which specializes in professional engineering staffing solutions to include light industrial job placements.
Brad Lott, senior vice president of corporate sales for Palace Sports and Entertainment
Oakland Township resident
Lott is recognized for his role in the professional sports industry, specifically with Palace Sports and Entertainment.
Dr. Carlos A. Ramirez, director, Lakeshore Center for Head and Neck, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery for St. John Providence Health System
Troy resident
Ramirez is recognized his work on more than 250 patients with head and neck cancer, congenital malformations and facial trauma.
Ryan Schram, chief operating officer of IZEA, Inc.
Novi resident
Schram is recognized for his marketing expertise, as well as operational excellence for IZEA.
Ted Serbinski, partner of Detroit Venture Partners
Birmingham resident
Serbinski is recognized for his technology background and involvement with Detroit Venture Partners.
Niki Serras, partner of Scavolini by Cucina Moda
Royal Oak resident
Serras is recognized for growing the Scavolini by Cucina Moda brand in Detroit.
Neil Sherman, president and managing partner of Best Homes Title Agency
Bloomfield Hills resident
Sherman is recognized for growth contribution of the company he co-founded with partner, Peter M. Schneiderman.
Lee Skandalaris, president of Quantum Digital Group
Clarkston resident
Skandalaris is recognized for his role at Quantum Digital Group in the visual communications market.
Vatche Tazian, founder and president of Envirolite, LLC
Birmingham resident
Tazian is recognized for the launch of his business which produces specialty foam and  serves a variety of industries including marine, industrial, recreational, appliance, flooring and packaging.
Jason Teshuba, chief executive officer of Mango Languages
Huntington Woods resident
Teshuba is recognized for the launch of his web development firm which specializes in language education products.
Andrea Trapani, partner, Identity 
Bloomfield Hills resident
Trapani is recognized for launching the consumer practice group at the Bingham Farms public relations firm, as well as her leadership and management skills.
For more information or to read the article, pick up a copy of the September/October 2014 issue of DBusiness magazine, available on newsstands now.   
DBusiness magazine is brought to you by Hour Media, publishers of Hour DetroitDetroit Home,Metro Detroit Bride, and numerous other magazines. Hour Media also publishes The Metropolitan Detroit Guest and Resource GuideThe Metropolitan Dining Guide, and a variety of custom publications. To subscribe toDBusiness, call 248-588-1851 or visit www.dbusiness.com.  Visit DBusiness on Facebook, Twitter @dbusiness and LinkedIn.

Jobs aplenty as skilled trades open up in Oakland County and region

More than 11,000 jobs in high demand vocations are expected to open up annually for the next five years in Oakland County and the region.
These jobs – including dozens that pay at least $50,000 annually – are predicted to have long-term growth and require less than a four-year college degree. These jobs are in manufacturing, health care, information technology, energy and agriculture. They were identified recently by Oakland County Michigan Works! and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget – Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.
“The baby boomers are starting to age out of the workforce,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “There are plenty of challenging and rewarding careers starting to open up. Our goal is to connect talented Oakland County residents with these jobs.”
For job seekers wanting to remain in the area, the list of job openings in the skilled trades helps narrow down career choices to those that offer the best job prospects. These occupations can be explored in more depth using the web portal MITradeSchool.org launched last year by Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.
Skilled trades are often overlooked when making a career choice even though there are many opportunities to consider. Most require some level of training beyond a high school diploma but in some cases the job seeker may get paid or supported in other ways while learning on the job. 

Registered nursing is projected to have nearly 1,400 annual job openings and tops the list with an average salary around $68,000 a year. Plumbers will make on average more than $63,000 and 268 new plumbers are needed each year. Electricians can expect 375 openings a year and are paid on average more than $63,000. Other high-demand, well-paying careers include electricians, dental hygienists and first-line supervisors.
Oakland County Michigan Works! can provide help such as determining eligibility for tuition assistance or training funds to learn new skills or upgrade existing skills. More information about Oakland County Michigan Works! is available at www.OaklandCountyMIWorks.com.

Walsh announces new leadership certification series

People get promoted every day, eager to make the ascent in their career. One thing that can help professionals move ahead more quickly, and stay ahead successfully, is proper leadership training, so that the transition between worker bee and manager of the hive is a smooth one. Walsh College addresses that gap in the workplace with a dynamic new leadership certification series, to begin January of 2015.
Leadership-YOU, taught by renowned leadership experts Dr. Lee Meadows and Diane Morrison, is ideal professional development for mid-level managers and recently promoted leaders from small and mid-sized companies. It’s perfect for companies that don’t have need for on-site custom training or which do not provide in-house leadership training, but whose leaders of today want to invest in grooming tomorrow’s leaders.

The 2015 course takes place on seven twice-monthly sessions beginning January 8, 2015 and concluding April 9, 2015.

Cost is $1,725 per person (with volume discounts for teams from the same company). Early bird discounts for registrants before December 15, 2014 are $1,595 per person. This course is produced through the Walsh Institute, Walsh College’s professional development arm.

For registration information, http://www.walshcollege.edu/leadershipyou.

“The practical success of leaders is rooted in their ability to blend knowledge and skills in a cycle of consistent results achieved through a highly, motivated team of committed players,” says Meadows.

"It has always been my personal vision to make the world a better place to work, one leader at a time,” says Morrison. “The most important relationship a leader has in the workplace is the one with his/her employees. This course will provide leaders with the practical skills and knowledge to improve how they motivate people and obtain results."
“The Walsh Institute excels in providing certifications and courses with practical application that our students can take back to their workplaces,” says Tara Miceli, Director, The Walsh Institute. “It is exciting to launch this new leadership course with Walsh College’s signature strategy for excellence in the academic sphere as well as in the marketplace. It is an opportunity that has not been offered quite like this locally, and today’s workplaces will certainly benefit from more informed, strategic and confident leaders.”
The course itinerary includes sessions on Delegation, Conflict Management & Resolution, Coaching for Performance, Emotional Intelligence, Giving and Receiving Feedback and Partnering for Performance.
Morrison and Meadows bring a wealth of experience and talent in leadership training to this endeavor. Diane Morrison is a Clarkston-based entrepreneur and owner of 2-Way Communications, LLC. Dr. Lee Meadows, a Walsh College Professor of Management.

Diane Morrison provides leadership training, coaching and consulting for small, medium, and large companies. She has designed and taught leadership courses for more than 100 companies and more than 30,000 leaders around the world. With a master’s degree in the Science of Management, Morrison has been working in the field of leadership and organizational development for 17 years, in the fields of manufacturing, administrative, health care, financial, automotive, furniture, food, retail, government and education.

Lee E. Meadows, PhD, is an expert in career change/makeover, management consulting and development, team-building, and performance management. Dr. Meadows joined Walsh College in 2001, where he teaches management and MBA courses. He is also a keynote speaker, training and development consultant, and motivational speaker for corporate and community groups and professional associations. In 2006, Dr. Meadows published Take the Lull by the Horns: Closing the Leadership Gap. With more than 30 years of teaching, working, and consulting experience in the field of leadership and management. Dr. Meadows has worked within the consulting and corporate environments at A.T. Kearney, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, General Motors, and Con-Way Transportation Services.

Dr. Meadows says, “I have never accepted the notion that people are limited in their capacity to excel, exceed and transcend the boundaries imposed by the actions of less informed and insecure people. Leaders look beyond self-imposed and organizational boundaries to show others the true potential that they fear.”

The Walsh Institute is Walsh College’s direct connection to the business community, offering education, networking, and skills enhancement with practical application. Providing professional education and certifications, customized training, and entrepreneurship guidance, the Walsh Institute seeks to empower entrepreneurs and businesses of every size with the knowledge, skills, and support to build business success. Learn at http://www.walshcollege.edu/professional_development.

Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs.  One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services  division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education, and consulting.

Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456) and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE, www.iacbe.org). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.

OCC connects students and businesses at the Work Zone

Oakland Community College (OCC) is holding its fifth annual student employment event “The Work Zone,” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, October 17, on the Southfield campus.
“The Work Zone is OCC’s only all-campus, college-wide, all-major employment event that invites employers with a real need to hire in the short-term. The event provides a great opportunity for community organizations to meet and interview potential students from more than 100 degree programs,” said OCC Job Developer Dawn M. Davis.
The college’s off-campus Work-Study program offers qualified organizations the option to receive reimbursement for wages paid to work-study students. This option provides organizations savings while offering valuable professional experience to students. Last year, five employers received 50-75% reimbursement of wages paid to eligible off-campus work-study student hires.
The Work Zone has received strong kudos from hiring companies, many of which found qualified candidates whom they hired immediately.
“OCC Placement Service’s department goal in providing this job fair has a tri-community effect, where students, business owners and the local economy benefit via increased revenue, efficiency, growth of programs/program knowledge and industry experience for the students,” Davis added.
The Work Zone is free to employers and students and accommodates organizations with verified openings only. Eighteen employers are currently registered to recruit with space for 40. Employers signed up include: St. John Providence, DTE Energy and Coastal Automotive. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m., on Thursday, October 16, for students and employers.
OCC’s Southfield campus is located at 22322 Rutland Drive, Southfield, MI, 48075. To learn more and to register as a student or employer, click here, or contact Dawn M. Davis, Job Developer at OCC, at dmdavis@oaklandcc.edu or (248) 232-4145.
About OCC:
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. More than a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.

Level One Bank named one of metro Detroit's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For

Level One Bank, a leading community bank in Southeast Michigan, has been named a 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™ recipient in Metropolitan Detroit by the Michigan Business & Professional Association (MBPA). Companies honored this year demonstrated a high level of innovative and thoughtful human resources approaches. 
“We are honored to recognize the efforts of this year’s 'Best and Brightest' companies. These companies have created impressive organizational value and business results through their policies and Best Practices in human resource management. This award has become a designation sought after by hundreds of Metro Detroit’s area companies and is a powerful recruitment tool in the drive to attract and retain exceptional employees,” said Jennifer Kluge, MBPA president.
“Our team members have done an exceptional job of building a unique culture that we can all enjoy and be proud of,” said Patrick J. Fehring, President and CEO of Level One Bank.  “I applaud our team for their continued passion towards making Level One a great place to work and a great place to bank.”
Company entries are evaluated by an independent research firm based on key measures in various categories, including: Compensation, Benefits and Employee Solutions; Employee Enrichment, Engagement and Retention; Employee Education and Development; Recruitment, Selection and Orientation; Employee Achievement and Recognition; Communication and Shared Vision; Diversity and Inclusion; Work-Life Balance; Community Initiatives; Strategic Company Performance and the Best of the Best Small Business. 
The winning companies will be honored by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) on Tuesday, September 23 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

Army ROTC coming to Lawrence Tech

Beginning with the spring semester that starts in January, Lawrence Technological University students can enroll in an affiliate Army ROTC program and take the full ROTC curriculum that can lead to a commission as an Army officer.
LTU is now an affiliate of the Army ROTC program offered by the Department of Military Science and Leadership at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. All the ROTC courses will be taught at EMU by Army instructors.
The LTU students will be able to earn a minor in military science and leadership at LTU.
The new ROTC program at LTU comes at a time when the Army is reducing its force and has cancelled more than a dozen ROTC programs around the country. LTU is bucking that trend because of its high proportion of students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects, according to Director of eLearning Services Richard Bush, the faculty advisor to LTU’s student veterans group.
“While the Army is becoming smaller, it is also becoming increasingly dependent on engineers, scientists and technologists to develop and operate sophisticated weapons systems that improve survivability on the battlefield for the warfighter,” Bush said. “LTU’s focus on STEM likely tilted the decision in our favor.”
The ROTC curriculum also supplements LTU’s own leadership curriculum that is required for all LTU undergraduate degrees. ROTC courses can be used to meet LTU’s leadership requirements.
“From an organizational standpoint, leadership training is extremely relevant to both managing corporations and defending our nation,” Bush said. “In many ways, an ROTC graduate is better prepared to lead in the corporate world.”
LTU already has an Air Force ROTC program.
Completion of the ROTC curriculum and some additional Army training programs may qualify an LTU student for a contract with the Army to become a commissioned officer following graduation.  Students who commit to four years of active duty and four years of reserve duty could have all of their tuition expenses paid for by the Army. After four years of active duty, an Army officer can expect to earn a compensation package of more than $78,000 plus health coverage.
“There are a wide range of options for students to participate in ROTC”, said Bush.  “Some of the options carry no obligation to join the Army, while others open up a range of career opportunities as an Army officer.” 
Lawrence Tech offers tuition discounts to veterans. It is certified for the GI Bill and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a federal initiative that helps veterans reduce the cost of higher education.
Last November LTU ranked first in Michigan in the inaugural ranking of the best colleges for veterans compiled by U.S. News and World Report. LTU is also on the latest Military Friendly Schools list compiled by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs magazine.
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 highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.

EO survey: local business leaders optimistic about economy, startups

More than 85 percent of Entrepreneurs’ Organization Detroit members — 129 business leaders who collectively generate $1.4 billion in annual sales and oversee more than 7,500 employees — would start a new business in today’s economic environment, according to a new survey.

Read more

State Champs Sports Network adds 12 new hires

State Champs Sports Network has come a long way in its first 10 years.

The Southfield-based company got its start when Lou Bitonti was working at Chrysler managing the Jeep brand. Shortly after he left he started the high-school sports-centric broadcast company as a way to highlight Michigan’s emerging highlights.

"I wanted a show that focuses on all of the sports," Bitonti says. "The kid that runs cross country or does swimming does as much as the kids that play football or basketball."

State Champs Sports Network broadcasts local sports and feature TV shows, series, programming, and radio shows. Among its offerings are the State Champs! High School Sports Show, a weekly, half-hour TV program providing a comprehensive look at the athletic events, lives and accomplishments of Michigan’s high school athletes.

Starting last month, State Champs Sports Network launched a radio program, called High School Football Report, that airs weekly on CBS Detroit’s WXYT-AM 1270 from 9 to 11 a.m. each Saturday. The company also expanded its audience when its four-time Emmy-award-winning High School Sports Show! began airing on FOX Sports Detroit each Sunday from 9 to 9:30 a.m. It is also debuting a new television program called Extra Point Football Show! on WXYZ-TV Channel 7. It will air weekly each Sunday during the area’s high school football season for 10 weeks.

"We just started growing and we have a lot of shows," Bitonti says.

All of this new programing has prompted a hiring spree at State Champs Sports Network. The company has hired a dozen people over the last year. It now has 14 full-time employees and another 15-20 independent contractors.

"We're spreading the word out there," Bitonti says. "We're trying to keep this on a positive note. There are a lot of positive things happening in Michigan."

Source: Lou Bitonti, founder of State Champs Sports Network
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Global LT lands private equity investment, adds 15 jobs

Global LT is making a big change as it positions itself to grow exponentially over the next few years.

The Troy-based firm specializes in language services, cultural training, expatriate destination services, and workforce training courses for international locales. It recently accepted a significant investment from Growth Equity Fund, an affiliate of the private-equity firm Vicente Capital Partners.

Hortensia Albertini started the company from her kitchen table in Metro Detroit in 1979. Albertini built Global LT into a multi-million-dollar company and eventually handed over control to her daughter, Lisette Poletes, who worked out the deal with Growth Equity Fund.

"It was a necessary step to in our path to get capital resources and technology to help us scale," says Tom Hanson, president of Global LT.

Between 2010 and 2013, Global LT clocked a 31-percent compound growth rate. It is aiming to grow 15 percent annually for the next few years. To accomplish that, Global LT's leadership is looking to expand its work with its existing customer base, land more contracts with the U.S. Dept of Defense, and penetrate the Asia-Pacific markets.

To do that, Global LT has hired 15 people over the last year, creating jobs in sales, operations, recruiters, and project managers. It’s also looking to add another six people to its existing staff of 103 employees, an intern, and several thousand independent contractors.

Source: Tom Hanson, president of Global LT
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

September and October business workshops offered by the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center

Business owners and entrepreneurs who need assistance are encouraged to attend seminars offered by the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center. Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

Oct. 8, 9-11 a.m.
Many small businesses face obstacles when trying to obtain a business loan. The recognition of the serious need for working capital for existing businesses, start-up or expansion, equipment purchases, and job creation is not the priority it once was. If you have a need for alternative financing consider the Microloan Program. Discover the requirements and process necessary to apply and obtain a microloan.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is requested.
Sept. 17, 9 a.m. - noon
Oct. 8, 6-9 p.m.
Thinking of starting a business and want to research your business idea? Do you want to identify market trends and opportunities to grow your sales? Are you looking for new customers or to diversify your market base? Business Research shows you ways to find your ideal customers, your competitors, perform competitive analysis and more. Presented by The Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, Oakland County Market Research Department and an Oakland County Public Library business reference librarian.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is requested.
Sept. 17, 9-11 a.m.
Learn about the benefits and process of becoming a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). Benefits include certification to private sector WBE's and access to procurement opportunities with major national companies.
Fee: $25 per person, pre-registration is requested.
Sept. 23, 9 a.m. - noon
This class provides an overview of QuickBooks®. It is designed for a person who is new to QuickBooks® or worked within the software in a limited capacity. It covers the basic areas within QuickBooks® so that you can generate financial statements. Additional support outside of the class is available upon request to help with specific company questions or areas of concern.
Fee: $40 per person, pre-registration is requested.
Oct.16, 9 a.m. - noon
Join ATD Solutions as we explore the possibilities within QuickBooks. Our QuickBooks for Business Owners class is recommended for owners and financial decision makers who would like to explore the options available within QuickBooks. ATD Solutions will review best practices to limit your exposure to embezzlement or fraud within your company, the best version to use, and which industry specific reports to use to make great business decisions. Further resources will be presented to help you after this introductory class.
Fee: $40 per person, pre-registration is required.
Know Your Numbers: Five Keys to Using Financial Statements
Sept. 23, 9 a.m. - noon
Business owners and key staff who need a better understanding of how to use their financial statements should attend. The ideal participant will have 2-3 years of financial history and be pursuing financing or having challenges with cash flow. Topics include how to:
Use your balance sheet and income statement in managing your business
  • Use break even analysis to improve your decision making
  • Find the source of your cash flow problems
  • Increase your company’s cash flow
  • Get the banker on your side
Location: Fifth Third Bank, 1000 Town Center, Southfield
Fee: $25 per person, pre-registration is requested.

SCORE® Small Business Loan Workshop
Sept. 30, 9 a.m. - noon
Getting a small business loan can be a challenging process. Learn the "5 C's of Credit," how to develop a winning loan proposal and what you need to know to position your business to be "bankable" before you meet with a lender.
Fee: $20 per person payable at the door to SCORE

Team SBA Financing Roundtable
Oct. 23, 9 a.m. - noon
Before you apply for a business loan, we recommend that you first attend the SBA Forum on Small Business Lending. This is a free loan orientation conducted by a business banker, a business consultant from the SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers, and an SBA representative. During the roundtable, we’ll debunk the myths and demystify the process of small business financing. You'll learn how the lending process works and what is expected of you and you'll understand how the SBA can assist with our SBA Guaranteed Loan Program. This session is best suited to those who have good credit, a solid business idea, and some money to invest in their business. Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for sale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtables.
Fee: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is requested.

Legal Business Basics
Oct. 28, 9 a.m. - noon 
Legal and Financial Basics outlines the key legal considerations for entrepreneurs operating Michigan businesses. Learn how to select the best legal entity given your management structure, potential liability and tax consequences, safeguard your proprietary interests while serving customers, and working with suppliers and contractors, and establish short and long term succession plans. 
Fee: $20; payable at the door. Pre-registration is requested.

Upcoming Workshops
Nov 6:   Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion (PM) at Novi Library
Nov 12: CEED Small Business Loan Orientation
Nov 13: Know Your Numbers: Five Keys to Using Financial Statements (at Automation Alley in Troy)
Nov 18: Create Your Marketing Plan
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