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Lawrence Tech students getting loaded laptops; include up to $116,000 in software

College isn't cheap, but along with those tuition bills comes value -- the ability to pursue a personally rewarding and socially significant career, not to mention a lifetime of increased earning power.
And at Lawrence Technological University, that value starts the moment students sign up for their first classes.
Lawrence Tech was a pioneer in providing computers to all incoming undergraduates, starting a laptop program in 2000. And next month, new LTU students will get laptops loaded with software with an industry value of up to $116,000.
Charlene Ramos, director of help desk services at LTU’s Southfield campus, calculated the value of software on the three different kinds of laptop computers distributed to incoming students, depending on their academic program.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet distributed to students in most programs in the Colleges of Management, Arts and Sciences and Engineering is loaded with software that would cost someone in industry up to $116,081 to buy. Included on the tablet for engineering students is industry standard software such as AutoCAD, Matlab, Simulink, Siemens NX and Solidworks.
The HP Z-Book distributed to students in architecture, transportation design, architectural engineering, civil engineering and game art has software with a commercial value of $92,986. Matlab, Simulink, and analytical software for engineers called Maple are among the offerings.
Finally, the MacBook Pro distributed to students in LTU’s audio engineering technology, media communication and graphic design programs has software with a commercial value of $13,530. Matlab and Simulink software are the most expensive parts of this package.
Ramos added that most software companies deeply discount their software to college students, or offer it for free – but that offer is only good as long as you are a student, and frequently requires the college participate in a software program as well. The prices she researched were for professionals in industry who were buying the software at retail price.
In 2000, LTU became one of the nation’s first universities to distribute laptops to students. Today, Ramos said, “we’re distributing more than 2,700 laptops to students, faculty, and staff every year, and that number is growing, with enrollment growing.”
Ramos said her research also shows that LTU’s combination of top-quality hardware and industry-standard software is unique in higher education. “We haven’t been able to find anyone else putting together this kind of program,” she said.
What’s in it for the students, Ramos said, is the ability to get familiar with the exact same software they’ll be using in their careers, in a group setting.
“The students benefit because of the collaboration, the idea that every student has the same software that their peers and instructors have, and they are never without a laptop,” Ramos said.
Included in the LTU program is a 100 percent replacement policy, too: “If a laptop drops and breaks, they get a new one,” Ramos said.
LTU President Virinder Moudgil pointed to recent major software gifts from Dassault Systèmes and Siemens that have “enriched our academic experiences and the tradition carried in Lawrence Tech’s motto, ‘Theory and Practice.’”
Moudgil said Dassault’s Catia software is “used primarily in transportation design and architecture, and our students who become familiar with this software have emerged as young leaders in automotive design, winning many awards.” And Siemens’ Teamcenter product lifecycle management software is used in engineering, motor sports, industrial design, and operational engineering.
“What having access to fully functioning versions of this software does for our students is put them at the top of the list, enabling them to walk into work on their very first day and be productive,” Moudgil said. “They are using the same software here that they’ll be using in industry. They don’t need to be trained on the job. It’s like an apprenticeship here on campus.”
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 gets $100,000 state grant for business incubator services

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $100,000 grant to Lawrence Technological University to provide support and business advice to early-stage technology companies.

This is the second year that LTU has received a state Gatekeeper Grant to assist entrepreneurs and innovators. LTU provides services through the LTU Collaboratory and its Customer to Cash program.

The LTU Collaboratory is a hands-on resource center providing education, networking, mentoring and connections to funding. The Customer to Cash program, meanwhile, helps companies take product ideas to market through innovative design thinking and the proven Business Model Canvas program.

More about the programs at www.ltucollaboratory.com.

LTU has partnered with the City of Southfield to foster economic development through the city's SmartZone. Based on the results from the Gatekeeper Grant, Southfield has provided the LTU Collaboratory additional support over the past year to help foster small business success.

Through the Gatekeeper Grant, the LTU Collaboratory has also strengthened its collaboration and working relationships with agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Centers, Automation Alley, SCORE Detroit, and other organizations.

The new Gatekeeper Grant will continue the momentum established from the first year's award to assist the growth of early stage technology companies, especially in those companies focused on product design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing. Terms of the grant contract are still being

For further information on the programs, contact, Mark Brucki, executive director of the LTU Collaboratory, at mbrucki@ltu.edu.

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.

5 Michigan companies make Fortune's best workplaces for millennials


Oh, to be young again ... and gainfully employed.

United Shore is one of several companies in southeast Michigan that made Fortune magazine’s list of the nation’s top 100 best workplaces for millennials in 2016. The list was based on a magazine survey of more than 88,000 millennials (born 1981 or later) at more than 600 companies.

Read more.

West Coast work drives hires at HelloWorld in Southfield

For a long time, HelloWorld has been the tech company standard that most Metro Detroit startups aim for. Start in a garage, develop a cool technology (marketing software), land venture backing, hire hundreds of people, and become acquired for a large sum of money.

Today the Southfield-based firm is becoming the tech company multi-national brands wants to get to know better, specifically those on the West Coast. HelloWorld has been growing its workload with big companies all along the West Coast for the last year, including adding to its Seattle office to handle an increased work with Microsoft. Today, West Coast work makes up 20 percent of HelloWorld's revenue.

"We think there is a lot of headroom for growth there," says Peter DeNunzio, CEO of HelloWorld.

HelloWorld started as ePrize 17 years ago in Josh Linkner's garage. It rebranded a couple of years ago to convey its mission better as a digital promotions firm. HelloWorld's software platform helps enable brands to connect with consumers through a variety of experiences, including mobile marketing, live event activation, in-store activation and loyalty programs.

HelloWorld executed a move from Pleasant Ridge to Southfield last December. It has been on a hiring binge over the last year, bringing on close to 60 people. The staff now totals about 385 employees, most of whom work in Southfield. It hires a handful of people each week.

"We have three full-time recruiters on our staff constantly scanning the marketplace," DeNunzio says. "Most of the folks we have hired have been new add-ons to the staff."

HelloWorld has organically grown its revenue by 10-12 percent in each of the last three years. That growth comes from expanding its workload, primarily by adding more services and growing its relationships with existing customers. It's a plan that has worked so well that DeNunzio is optimistic about the company’s prospects this year and into 2017.

"We're on track," DeNunzio says. "We had the strongest first quarter we have ever had in the last three fiscal years. We have some nice, signed deals in the pipeline."

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

Oakland County employment higher now than anytime in past 15 years

More than 621,000 Oakland County residents held jobs in May - an increase of 8,555 from April – giving the county its highest number of employed residents in the past 15 years, according to federal statistics.

The number of county residents working increased by 36,633 over employment figures from the same period in 2015 – a 6.1 percent improvement, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase mirrors projections from University of Michigan economists Dr. George Fulton and Donald Grimes that the county is continuing to recover the employment foundation it lost a decade ago when the economy soured, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

“Having gone through a decade where Michigan lost a million jobs – and even as recently as seven years ago when Oakland County lost nearly 60,000 jobs in a single year – this is a significant achievement,” Patterson said. “Just two months ago, Fulton and Grimes predicted we would see an increase of 44,000 jobs over the next three years. Oakland County’s future is exceedingly bright.”

Oakland County’s unemployment rate in May actually increased marginally to 3.9 percent from April’s rate of 3.5 percent but the labor force grew by 11,099 people – the largest growth in terms of sheer numbers in the state. The county unemployment rate remains under the state and federal rates of 4.5 percent.

The county’s current labor force is 646,046 – the highest it has been since the summer of 2005. As of May, 25,000 county residents were unemployed while 31,452 residents were unemployed in May of 2015.

Fulton and Grimes predicted that 35 percent of the job gains (15,410 jobs) would be in high-wage industries (average annual wage of $75,000 or more) over the next three years. Many of those are likely to come from companies associated with Patterson’s Emerging Sectors® business attraction strategy, which began in 2004 to help diversify the county’s economy.

Since inception, 396 Emerging Sector successes – companies that are either new to Oakland County or were going to relocated to another state or country – have generated investment of more than $3.5 billion and created or retained nearly 63,000 jobs.

OU joins global consortium to engage students in study abroad programs

Oakland University is among the newest members of Generation Study Abroad, a global consortium of colleges and universities, educational associations, governments and other organizations seeking to increase the number of college and high school students who participate in study abroad programs. 
“One immediate consequence of our membership is that OU students will now be eligible to apply for tens of thousands of dollars of scholarships for study abroad, from governmental and external sources, that are reserved for members of the organization,” said Alex Zimmerman, director of OU’s Office of International Education. 
“We also hope in future years to secure grant funding which will make study abroad more accessible to Oakland students, while integrating it seamlessly into OU's curriculum so that students from any major can spend time studying abroad without jeopardizing their plan to graduate in four years.”
Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative of the Institute of International Education to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. To date, Generation Study Abroad has more than 600 global partners who have committed to helping boost the number of U.S. students studying abroad.
The organization’s mission dovetails with Oakland’s goal of tripling the number of its students who study abroad before graduating. Through the Office of International Education, Oakland offers students the opportunity to study abroad in more than 40 countries and study away at nearly 200 universities in North America.
To learn more about study abroad and study away programs, visit oakland.edu/ie or contact the Office of International Education at (248) 370-2889.

View this YouTube video chronicling student Jennifer Jacob's study abroad experience at Nanzan University in Japan.

Oakland hosts first Graduate Student Research Conference

A new tradition began at Oakland University with the inaugural Graduate Student Research Conference held on May 27.
The half-day event kicked off with a breakfast and plenary session that featured three interdisciplinary oral presentations. The assembled group heard about the School of Engineering and Computer Science’s Loon Copter, the School of Medicine’s Holistic Admissions Review Process and the School of Health Sciences’ presentation on the self-rated health of undergraduate OU students.
From there, the conference broke into smaller groups providing the opportunity for attendees to choose from 36 oral presentations held in a variety of Oakland Center rooms.
After a short break, the conference continued with attendees strolling through the Fireside Lounge to review and discuss the 25 poster presentations with their authors.

Birds eye view of poster presentations at the first Graduate Student Research Conference held at Oakland University on May 27, 2016.
A day of digesting a wealth of graduate research information culminated with a keynote presentation by Napoleon Harrington, MA, NCC, LPC. His talk inspired listeners to continue doing research after finishing their graduate studies, to incorporate it into their professional careers and encouraged them to continue their life journey by achieving their own personal success.
Harrington holds two degrees from Oakland University (2002 and 2004) and is the founder and CEO of the Ambassador Counseling & Research Group. His organization addresses the mental health and wellness of youth, individuals and families.
“We wanted to create an outlet to showcase the wide range of excellent research being done by our graduate students,” saidClaudia A. Petrescu, Ph.D., dean of graduate education. “That is why having an annual conference like this is so important. We can celebrate the current graduate research work being done and spark the next great idea.”

Petrescu said this year’s conference put the building blocks in place to grow the conference in the future. Arik Dvir, Ph.D., Interim Vice Provost for Research, also expressed the importance of showcasing students’ research.
The conference was organized by the department of Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning and the Office of Research Administration.
Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning is dedicated to academic excellence in graduate education at Oakland University. With approximately 130 graduate programs, the department opens the door to opportunity for its students.

More photos from the conference are below:
Dean of Graduate Studies Claudia Petrescu welcomed the group and opened the conference.

New Oakland University Ph.D. graduate Steven Meyer presented "An Analysis of University Academic Department  Chairperson's Resource Management Decisions."

Sinsery Gardner's oral presentation was on "Father involvement in Preschool Classroom."

Keynote speaker Napoleon Harrington, MA, NCC, LPC inspired the listeners.

Harrington inspired listeners to continue doing research after finishing their graduate studies, to incorporate it into their professional careers and encouraged them to continue their life journey by achieving their own personal success.

The program from the inaugural Graduate Student Research Conference.

County graphic artist honored by national design publication

Oakland County’s lead graphic artist was recently honored with four 2016 American Inhouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA, a New York City-based national design publication.

Pam Tremble, a graphic artist for the office of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, won design awards for economic development’s 2014 annual report; management & budget’s 2014 financial summary report; a marketing brochure for an event at Oakland County International Airport; and a full-page advertisement for Oakland County PROSPER®, the county’s electronic newsletter, which ran in the 2015 Somerset Collection holiday catalog.

“This is a special honor and well-deserved recognition for Pam,” Patterson said. “Her innovative ideas and designs continue to put Oakland County on the map in the state and across the nation.”

Tremble’s entries were among nearly 6,000 received by Graphic Design USA. The top 15 percent were recognized with a certificate of excellence. Past winners have included entries from AARP, Sallie Mae, MetLife, Pepsi, Office Depot, Fannie Mae, Kaiser Permanente, Raytheon and Hitachi.

Tremble, 46, has been a county employee since 2002 when she began as a secretary. She has been a graphic artist since 2011 after her graduation from Baker College. A Saginaw resident, she was also honored by Graphic Design USA in 2013 for designs for a celebration for the county’s Emerging Sectors® business attraction program, which had generated $2 billion of total investment.

“It’s nice to be recognized by your peers,” Tremble said. “I’m grateful I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to work with so many talented people on such interesting projects that benefit the residents and businesses of Oakland County.”

CycleBar to open locations in Troy, Northville Township


CycleBar, a national boutique fitness franchise that offers indoor cycling classes, will open two metro Detroit locations in Troy and Northville Township.

“Boutique fitness is exploding,” says Jeff Wayne, franchise owner of CycleBar Northville. “Some people are migrating away from big-box gyms. We describe our ride as communal, intoxicating, and fun. People like that environment.” 

Read more.

Milford brewery among those making world-class beer


The world’s top barley wine is crafted in metro Detroit, in a brewing area smaller than the average home’s garage.

Only one brewer works at Black Lotus Brewing in Clawson, where Ninja Pirate is made. The big, 13.2% alcohol-by-volume beer took the gold medal in the Old or Strong Ale category of the 2016 World Beer Cup, a prestigious international competition. And about 45 minutes west of Clawson, River’s Edge Brewing in Milford isn’t much bigger but has claimed two big awards — one national, the other international — in the past year.

Read more.

Walsh College opens Cyber Lab to advance student progress in cyber defense and IT

Walsh College has created a custom learning space for training future cybersecurity professionals that offers realistic, hands-on opportunities to experience the physical security countermeasures faced in information technology environments.

Part of the new addition and renovation at the College’s Troy campus, the Walsh Cyber Lab provides dedicated space for research and intellectual support to train students on various leading-edge technologies in the growing discipline of cyber defense. It has been designed in response to the growing demand for highly trained cybersecurity graduates.

The Walsh Cyber Lab includes workstations, virtualization screens, and threat maps pinpointing virus and malware infestations around the world. It provides a “cloud” environment to provide penetration testing and defense deployment from anywhere in the world.

In addition, the Cyber Lab offers modern infrastructure equipment where students can learn about the latest technologies used in business environments, as well as physical servers that can be used for virtualization.

Walsh College is designated as a CAE-CD – National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense (CD) – by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Effective through the 2021 academic year, the designation underscores the College’s commitment to high quality undergraduate and graduate information technology (IT) degree programs. Walsh has had a CAE designation since 2006.

“Companies, health care facilities, educational institutions, and other major users of information technology are demanding graduates who can provide sophisticated knowledge and the technical ability to defend systems from outside attack,” said Barbara Ciaramitaro, Ph.D., professor and chair, Decision Sciences, Walsh College. “We believe our Cyber Lab enhances and expands knowledge received in the classroom.”

She added, “It gives Walsh students a competitive advantage in the industry with practical, real-world experience that is both valued by students and demanded by employers.”

In addition to developing technical skills, communication skills are emphasized in Cyber Lab interactions, said David Schaefer, instructor, Decision Sciences. “Employers tell us they need graduates who can effectively and succinctly explain IT challenges and solutions in this area for their organizations. While the actual work is important, the ability to communicate clearly about emerging issues has become critical.”

Walsh teaches students both offensive and defensive strategies to guard organizations against cyberattacks, noted Schaefer. 

Walsh, one of five colleges or universities in Michigan to receive the NSA CAE-CD designation, offers four IT degrees: Bachelor of Science in IT (BSIT), Master of Science in IT (MSIT), Master of Science in IT Leadership (MSITL), and a dual Master of Business Administration (MBA)/MSITL degree. A concentration in cybersecurity within the graduate-level programs is offered as well.

In addition to ensuring that its programs meet the NSA CAE/CD requirements, Walsh College has also mapped its courses and programs to align with two other external standards: Department of Defense (DoD) 8570 and the Department of Homeland Security NICE Framework.

To support its efforts in providing leadership in cybersecurity education, Walsh established the Center for Cybersecurity Leadership (CCL). The CCL, one of four Walsh College research centers, was established in collaboration with the Management and Decision Sciences Departments of Walsh College, with strong support from business, military, and government leaders.

For more information on the Walsh College Cyber Lab, visit www.walshcollege.edu/CyberLab

Delphinus Medical Technologies lands in larger HQ in Novi

Newer, bigger and better offices often come to startups that lock down a multi-million-dollar venture capital raises. Add Delphinus Medical Technologies to that list now that it has moved on up to a newer, bigger and better headquarters in Novi.

The biotech startup has called Plymouth its home for most of its five years. Then it landed one of the largest rounds of venture capital in Michigan history last fall. The $40 million Series C round (led by Farmington Hills-based Beringea) will go toward developing and selling its whole breast ultrasound system, growing its team and finding a bigger place to house that team. At 21,000 square feet, the company's new home in Novi is three times larger than its previous office in Plymouth.

"It's just a fabulous facility," says Mark Forchette, president and CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. "It has a great, inspiring cultural vibe to it."

Delphinus Medical Technologies is creating a new way to detect breast cancer utilizing technology spun out of Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. SoftVue is a whole breast ultrasound system that allows physicians to image the entire breast, including the chest wall. The technology platform incorporates a circular ultrasound transducer, producing cross-sectional ultrasound cross-sections through the entire volume of breast tissue. 

The new headquarters will provide more space for research and development of SoftVue. Delphinus Medical Technologies has hired eight people so far this year, growing its team to just shy of 50 people.

Delphinus Medical Technologies signed a lease on its new office with the idea of providing enough room for R&D and also to act as a showcase for that technology. Forchette expects to host frequent visits from healthcare leaders, customers and vendors, so the company has added a dedicated demonstration room.

"We have room to grow," Forchette says. "We have a facility here that is multifunctional. We have lab space and office space and demonstration space."

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

Custom Home Health acquires hospice company, plans expansion

Custom Home Health recently acquired Advance Professional Hospice Care in Troy and is relaunching that business with an eye for broadening Custom Home Health's services and strengthening its bottom line.

The Royal Oak-based firm specializes in providing full-service, customized home health care services. The addition of a hospice sets the table for Custom Home Health to launch Custom Hospice and grow its operations.

"With the addition of hospice and the projected growth in health care, we are expecting between $2 million to $2.5 million in projected growth this year," says Chris Tillotson, president of Custom Home Health.

Custom Home Health raised its revenue by $2 million last year, crossing the $10 million milestone in 2015. It also hired 30 people in a wide variety of positions over the last year. The addition of Custom Hospice adds another dozen people to Custom Home Health's staff, which now stands at 135 employees. The company plans to hire at least 50 home health care and hospice clinicians and management staff in the next six months to support its growth.

"We are looking for the best people," Tillotson says.

Tillotson says his staff embodies Custom Home Health's competitive advantages. The firm looks for the right people that fit its company culture and work to achieve a high standard when it comes to performance. That translates to better outcomes for its patients.

"It comes down to outcomes and company culture," Tillotson says. "We hold our team to a higher standard."

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

Nexcess adds two more data center support facilities in Southfield

Nexcess is doubling down on its commitment to Southfield, adding two new data center support facilities this spring and making plans for a new data center.

The 16-year old company specializes in providing IT, data center, and managed hosting services to companies large and small. It is currently in the latter stages of building out two data center support facilities that would double its footprint in Southfield.

"We like having our data centers near our people and our people near our data centers," says Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess.

Nexcess has has data centers around the world, including in Dearborn, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands. While it's grown internationally, most of those jobs have been added in Metro Detroit. It currently employs 112 people and expects to add another 35 after it opens and staffs up its new facilities on Melrose Avenue in Southfield this spring.

Nexcess averages about 30 percent annual revenue growth. It has spent the last six years on the Inc 5000 list and the last three years on the Deloitte Fast 500 list. Because of this growth, its data center facilities working capacity has begun approaching its limits. 

"We're going to need to build a new data center soon," Wells says. "Our current Southfield data center is approaching 60 percent usage. It's starting to get a little tight."

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