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Automation Alley welcomes four new companies to its International Business Center

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, recently welcomed four new companies to its International Business Center. The companies – from Germany, France and Canada – are expected to create about 80 new jobs for the region.

Tenants of Automation Alley’s International Business Center can use the Troy facility as a home base for up to 90 days while exploring opportunities to do business in Southeast Michigan. Since 2011, Automation Alley has assisted 11 foreign companies in establishing their operations in Southeast Michigan, creating 433 jobs for the region.

Peter-Lacke USA, a Germany-based company specializing in the development and manufacture of coatings for plastic, glass and wood, is one of the four new tenant companies. Joe Sanchez, accounting manager at Peter-Lacke USA, said the purchase of a building in the Detroit area will provide the infrastructure to support paint customers both locally and throughout the U.S.

“Additionally, this will provide excellent proximity to North American OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” Sanchez said. “The staff at Automation Alley has provided fantastic service and support.”

Paul Lester, president of North American operations for new tenant company Bmax, agreed.

“Our U.S. startup has been made easier with the assistance received from the Oakland County economic development team, the state of Michigan and Automation Alley. We look forward to exciting and sustained growth in the U.S,” Lester said.

Bmax is based in France and is a world-leading provider of magnetic pulse systems for metal processing.

“Our expansion into the U.S. is a vital step to our worldwide strategy of introducing clean, highly efficient and groundbreaking technologies to established as well as emerging industries,” Lester added.

Automation Alley’s 3,200-square-foot International Business Center includes three meeting rooms with state-of-the-art communications technology, three private offices, an open office area and convenient access to Automation Alley’s International Business Services staff.
 
In addition to temporary office space, tenants of the International Business Center receive assistance with site selection and introductions to potential business partners, clients and employees to jump-start their business.

“Automation Alley has a track record for attracting technology and manufacturing companies from around the globe to our region, helping to diversify our economy and create jobs,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers. “On behalf of our association, I’d like to welcome our new international tenants and wish them the best of luck as they seek permanent locations in Southeast Michigan.”

For more information about Automation Alley’s International Business Center, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at 800-427-5100 or info@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper.

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region.

Automation Alley provides a variety of exclusive benefits to its members to help them succeed, including networking opportunities, meeting space and public relations tools. Automation Alley also serves the general business community in five key areas: entrepreneurial services, talent development, international business services, product lifecycle management and defense and manufacturing.

Automation Alley collaborates with regional partners to provide its members and clients with the best business resources available, to drive local economic growth, and to positively influence the stories being told around the globe about the people and businesses of Greater Detroit.

For more information, visit automationalley.com.

Song of Duo Security named Leader & Innovator of the Year by Lawrence Tech and WWJ

Dug Song, the founder and CEO of Duo Security based in Ann Arbor, has been named the Leader & Innovator of the Year by Lawrence Technological University and WWJ Newsradio 950.
 
The award was announced at a May 15 reception at Lawrence Tech. Song was chosen from nearly 50 nominees profiled during the past 12 months in the WWJ Newsradio 950 Technology Report.
 
The Leaders & Innovators program was developed in 2005 by Lawrence Tech to recognize Michigan business executives who are engaged in cutting-edge professions and industries expected to be key to Michigan’s economic future.
 
Song has a history of leading successful products and companies to solve pressing Internet security problems. He spent seven years as founding chief security architect at Arbor Networks, protecting 80 percent of the world’s Internet service providers, and growing annual revenue to $120 million before its acquisition by Danaher.
 
Before Arbor Networks, Song built the first commercial network anomaly detection system – subsequently acquired by NFR/Check Point – and managed security in the world’s largest production Kerberos environment at the University of Michigan.
 
Song’s contributions to the security community include popular open-source security, distributed filesystem, and operating system projects. He co-founded the USENIX Workshop On Offensive Technologies (also called WOOT).
 
His firm’s hosted, two-factor authentication service brings strong, scalable security to organizations of any size. The unique, high-availability architecture provides centralized management, self-service enrollment, and interactive secondary login through an intuitive web interface, eliminating the high costs, complexity, and confusion associated with traditional two-factor systems. Every day, over 1,000 organizations in over 80 countries around the world rely on Duo for their security.
 
Duo Security is a privately held company whose investors include Google Ventures, True Ventures, Resonant Venture Partners, and Radar Partners.  
 
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 return on undergraduate tuition investment, 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.

Grow your business - become a 10k Small Business Scholar

Oakland Community College is hosting a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10kSB) information session for small business owners wishing to gain a competitive edge and boost their business’s performance.
 
The information session is 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 3, in the Student Center, G Building, Room 240, at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills Campus, 2900 Featherstone Road, one mile east of the Pontiac Silverdome.
 
“OCC is proud to host the 10kSB information session to help local entrepreneurs grow their business and create jobs in our community,” says Julie Jurmo, OCC Business Services Manager and the liaison between OCC and the Detroit 10kSB team.
 
Across the U.S., 10,000 Small Businesses graduates are increasing their revenues and creating new jobs in their communities:
·         63% of participants reported an increase in revenues
·         47% reported creating new jobs
·         76% are doing business with each other
·         The program also has a 99% completion rate
  
As a 10kSB scholar, business owners will be given access to the tools and resources to develop a strategic and customized growth plan for their business. The curriculum was designed by Babson College, one of the country’s top-ranked schools for business and entrepreneurship. It is available at no cost to selected applicants. To qualify, participants must be the owner or co-owner of a business in operation for at least two years, have a minimum of two employees and show revenue of more than $100,000 in the most recent fiscal year.
 
Current Detroit-area 10kSB scholars will discuss how the curriculum has impacted their businesses. Attendees will have the opportunity to register for the fall 10kSB training program, which begins in October. OCC partnered with Goldman Sachs, Babson College, the Initiative for Competitive Inner City (ICIC), Wayne State University and Macomb Community College to bring the 10kSB program to Detroit. Space is limited and reservations are encouraged at wfdev@oaklandcc.edu. Light appetizers will be provided. 
 
With five campuses throughout Oakland County OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. OCC offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. Nearly a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.

ITC establishes power-engineering scholarship at Lawrence Tech

ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, based in Novi, has donated $250,000 to Lawrence Technological University to establish the ITC Power Engineering Endowed Scholarship in LTU’s College of Engineering. 
 
It will provide a fulltime student with half tuition each year. ITC will also offer a paid internship each year to the student who is awarded the scholarship as a way to increase the recipient’s hands-on experience.  
 
Power engineers develop, maintain, and modernize “the Grid,” the vast network of transformers, generators, motors and electronics that supply electrical power. 
 
“This expanded relationship with ITC will benefit our students and help us develop the top talent that the power industry requires,” said Phil Olivier, chair of LTU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
 
The new scholarship fund expands the ITC-LTU partnership. “As a corporation, we’re also hoping to engage with Lawrence Tech in areas like academic programs, research initiatives, and industry collaboration as we look to provide students with real-world experience,” said Joe Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC, who recently joined the board of trustees at Lawrence Tech. “A highly skilled workforce is the cornerstone of America’s economic competitiveness today, and engineers comprise a significant segment of our industry and ITC’s workforce. Supporting and encouraging top students to pursue power engineering as a career will only serve to strengthen and improve our company and our industry.”
 
ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve system reliability, expand access to markets, lower the overall cost of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. ITC’s regulated operating subsidiaries include ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains. ITC also has been a leader in preparing more American students to pursue STEM degrees to build the 21st century economy.  
 
The ITC Endowed Scholarship adds to the financial aid at LTU for qualified students pursuing degrees in electrical and power engineering. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, LTU also offers 10 scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for two years to community college graduates to complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a power engineering concentration.
 
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 return on undergraduate tuition investment, 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.

Novi Business Briefs: Job fair for female veterans planned for OCC on May 16

The Women’s Advisory Board for Oakland County will hold a free Women Veterans Job and Networking Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 16, at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills campus.

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'ISRA 88' approved for Michigan film incentive

The Michigan Film Office announced the feature film ISRA 88 has been approved for a film incentive from the state. The project will film in Oxford and Romeo, Michigan and is a sci-fi thriller that reaches to the ends of the universe.

ISRA 88 will showcase Michigan locations, while harnessing technology that producer Larry Zellen first encountered working in the automotive industry,” said Margaret O’Riley, director of the Michigan Film Office. “This project is also tapping into studio space here in Michigan and is committed to hiring the talent we have here in the state.”

ISRA 88 was awarded an incentive of $110,357 on $392,971 of projected in-state expenditures. The project is expected to hire 49 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of four jobs.

The film follows scientist Abe Anderson after he volunteers for a high profile mission aboard the ISRA-88 to reach the end of the universe. After leaving behind his family and his responsibilities to pursue fame and glory, Abe’s journey becomes seemingly endless, taking a toll on his belief in the mission itself. When the ship crashes through the end of the universe, Abe is forced to perpetually relive his 13 year mission. Carrying only a subconscious memory of his past travels, Abe must find a way to stop the cycle and return home.

The project will be directed by Thomas Zellen, and co-produced by Lawrence Zellen and Thomas Zellen.

“Even early in the writing process, co-writer Jordan Champine and I really wanted to capitalize on what Michigan has to offer,” said Thomas Zellen.  “The movie was scripted around who is available right here in Detroit. We have the ability to make amazing films in fantastic worlds, that’s why all these big Hollywood films come back to Michigan year in and year out.”

In Fiscal Year 2014, nine projects have been awarded $43,307,528 on $162,389,029 of approved production expenditures for the year. These projects are expected to create 1,017 hires with a full time equivalent of 825 jobs.

The Michigan Film Office was created in 1979 to assist and attract incoming production companies and promote the growth of Michigan’s own film industry. The Film Office also administers the incentive program for film, television and other digitial media production in Michigan. For more on the Michigan Film Office, visit: MichiganFilmOffice.org
 

OpTech repeats national, state honors for growth, diversity efforts

OpTech, a Troy, Michigan-based information technology and engineering talent and solutions firm, has been named as one of the “Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses in the U.S.” and one of the “Top 50 Woman-Owned Businesses in Michigan” by DiversityBusiness.com as part of the organization’s 14thAnnual National Business Awards program.
 
Judging for the program is based on a company’s annual gross revenue, along with a review of its business profile, according to DiversityBusiness.com President Kenton Clarke.
 
OpTech was chosen for the awards based on the company’s tremendous growth over the course of its 15-year history, its successful business operations, and its commitment to diversity in employee hiring, development, and promotion, according to Ronia Kruse, OpTech CEO. “We are pleased to be honored, in both categories, for the third year in a row.” said Kruse. “Our focus on creating a diverse business culture has allowed us to attract top talent who bring innovative solutions to our clients.”
 
OpTech and other award winners were honored at the annual National Business Awards Ceremony and Conference April 24-26 at the Wynn Resort, Las Vegas.  To see the full list of winners, visit www.DiversityBusiness.com.
 
About OpTech
 
OpTech is an award-winning workforce solutions firm specializing in connecting Fortune 500 and government clients to top information technology and engineering talent from coast to coast. Based in southeast Michigan with offices located in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Hawaii, OpTech’s innovative solutions address the critical needs of clients in the banking, manufacturing, insurance, utility, healthcare, mortgage, and government sectors. OpTech offers its employees outstanding career opportunities supporting innovative companies with cutting-edge technology. Visit www.optechus.com to learn more about OpTech.
 
About DiversityBusiness.com
 
Diversity.Business.com is the nation’s largest multicultural business website and association of privately owned businesses throughout the United States that provides goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. Each year, DiversityBusiness.com collects and compiles the “Top Business List” on a state and national basis. The data is used to determine the top businesses and the most successful entrepreneurs across the United States. Companies recognized represent the nation’s top companies and challenge the unfair notion that women-owned businesses are small or insignificant.

iDashboards hires 18, looks to add 6 more positions

Troy-based iDashboards has been a growing business on the move in recent years. The software firm moved to a new 20,000-square-foot office last summer and is expanding its space by another 7,500 square feet.

"We have moved three times since I have been here," says Jenna Ryberg, human resources manager for iDashboards. "Now we're in a space where we can expand quickly."

Which means more hires. Lots of hires. The 10-year-old company has hired 18 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 67 employees. Four more employees are set to come onboard in early May and the firm has six open positions right now.

"We want to continue adding people," Ryberg says, continuing, "by the end of the year we should have 100 employees at the Troy location."

IDashboards creates real-time interactive computer dashboards for businesses. The personalized dashboards analyze, track and organize a wealth of data into critical informational tidbits for companies.

The firm's cloud and enterprise divisions have spearheaded its overall growth of 15 percent in the last year. It is aiming for a 25-percent revenue increase this year.

Source: Jenna Ryberg, human resources manager for iDashboards
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Mango Languages adds 12 jobs, looks to expand into new sectors

Mango Languages is taking on new sectors after it cornered the first market it aimed for, meaning more hires at the Farmington Hills-based business.

The 7-year-old business develops language education courses. It started out making sales to libraries and became a leader in that space over the last year. It now has a catalogue of products that teach 60 languages, ranging from Spanish to Biblical Hebrew to Pirate.

"Pirate is genius," says Roberto Valdez, marketing director of Mango Languages. "It gets kids excited about learning a second language."

The company has hired a dozen people over the last year, including professionals in marketing, human resources, computer programing and product development. It currently employs 50 people and has three open positions in entry-level marketing and customer advocacy.

"We're growing exponentially now," Valdez says. "We are hiring quite a bit. We are averaging a hire a month."

And Mango Languages is working to expand into new sectors, such as higher education and corporate education.

"It's a very exciting time," Valdez says. "We have had a good amount of success in the library sector and now we’re looking for some new areas to grow."

Source: Roberto Valdez, marketing director of Mango Languages
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Lawrence Tech receives $697K grant for entrepreneurial project studio

The Kern Family Foundation is giving nearly $700,000 to Lawrence Technological University as part of an effort to make the university’s curriculum more entrepreneurial in nature.

"We want to transform the educational experience of our students," says Maria Vaz, provost at Lawrence Technological University. "We want our students to have an entrepreneurial mindset."

The Kern Family Foundation is giving Lawrence Tech a $697,000 grant over three years, which is the final in a phase of $2.4 million worth of giving from the Wisconsin-based foundation that started in 2003. The grant is focused on incorporating the entrepreneurial mindset into undergraduate engineering education at Lawrence Tech.

For instance, the grant helped infuse entrepreneurial aspects into 50 courses throughout the college. It also helped to establish a freshman studio for engineering students that is project-based and focused on creating an enterprising attitude in students. The latest installment of the grant will help create a sophomore version of that studio.

"We want to institutionalize even more of the changes we made to the curriculum," Vaz says.

Source: Maria Vaz, provost at Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Cambridge Consulting Group launches healthcare exchange, adds 10 jobs

The bureaucracy that has come with the Affordable Healthcare Act has sent a lot of entrepreneurs scrambling to adapt. Cambridge Consulting Group is growing by running to these businesses with an answer.

The Troy-based company is launching its own healthcare exchange, Cambridge Exchange Solutions, that offers a defined contribution model. It enables the user to set an overall budget for benefits and employees.

"It creates a nice solution for a lot of groups that were thinking of getting out of offered benefits plans," says Cam Kennedy, partner & CFO of Cambridge Consulting Group.

The 29-year-old business offers insurance and financial consulting services, ranging from employee benefits to risk management to wealth strategies. It started to move toward offering the exchange as part of its services when it saw the market shift after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Cambridge Consulting Group has hired 10 people over the last year, mainly analysts and consultants. It now has a staff of 60 employees and five interns. It also has three open positions for analysts and a client services representative.

Source: Cam Kennedy, partner & CFO of Cambridge Consulting Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Arab-American youth focus of Oakland U nursing school grant

A grant awarded to Oakland University's School of Nursing will test the effectiveness of community health education of Arab-American youth.

A nearly $80,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation will pay for a program that will pair Arab-American students from Dearborn with teen mentors who guide them through healthy eating and lifestyles. The students' responses, lifestyle changes and health will be compared to the effects of similar lessons given to them by teachers in a classroom setting. The effect of parental involvement will also be measured.

The grant is part of BCBS Foundation's program called Improving Health Behaviors in Arab American Youth.

“This project has a special emphasis on obesity prevention and is targeted at reducing the number of chronic illnesses for young Arab Americans,” says Dr. Suha Kridli, the grant’s principal investigator. “We are going to offer specific guidance and provide practical tools that can improve students' overall health while lowering health care costs."

Dr. Kridl says Type 2 diabetes and obesity in Arab-American youth is increasing, while preventive programs are not.

The program begins this month in Dearborn, where the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S. live, and will be administered in partnership with Wayne State University, Dearborn Public Schools and the Dearborn Board of Education.

Sources: Brian Bierley and Suha Kridli, Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Giffels Webster helps communities obtain $3.5M in grant funds

Giffels Webster may have moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit a few years ago, but the civil engineering firm isn’t leaving the rest of Metro Detroit behind.

The 62-year-old firm has helped three suburban communities in Metro Detroit score $3.5 million in grants from the state of Michigan over the last year. Those grants include $2 million for the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District to complete a wastewater asset management plan, $994,410 for Washington Township to a create a wastewater assessment management plan, and $515,700 for Lyon Township to design the township’s wastewater treatment plant expansion.

"That $3.5 million is more than what we normally get for communities in a year," says Jason Mayer, senior project manager at Giffels Webster.

Giffels Webster employs 69 people, including 22 in its Macomb office and 18 in its Birmingham office. The remainder are in the company's headquarters in downtown Detroit. The firm has hired 18 people over the last year, with a dozen of them working in the offices in Macomb and Oakland counties.

Source: Jason Mayer, senior project manager at Giffels Webster
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Telemus Capital adds 4 positions, $100M in new clients

Telemus Capital isn't trying to make its clients rich. It's trying to keep them wealthy. That’s part of the reason why the Southfield-based financial management firm has been growing so much in the past year.

The 9-year-old firm has watched its revenue increase by 20 percent over the last year. That’s due in part to strong performances from stock markets. It also is due to an infusion of new customers.

"Our new clients that have come to us have exceeded our expectations," says Lyle Wolberg, partner & senior adviser at Telemus Capital. "We have brought in $100 million in new clients to the firm in the last year."

Telemus Capital acquired Concentratic Capital in Los Angeles earlier this year. The new acquisition will serve as Telemus Capital’s new LA office. Telemus Capital has also hired four new people, including a new partner and a few research analysts.

"We have done quite a bit of hiring," Wolberg says.

Source: Lyle Wolberg, partner & senior adviser at Telemus Capital
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Walsh College launches online program for aspiring entrepreneurs

Walsh College has always prided itself on being a friend of small business through education, but now its Troy campus is trying to make that help easier to access.

The Walsh Institute is debuting its new Business Launch program, an online guide focused on helping aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their business dreams into reality.

"We took everything we do and centralized it," says Tara R Miceli, director of Walsh Institute. "We put it online and put it out there."

Business Launch can walk budding businesspersons through the steps of growing their ideas and give them access to Walsh College's resources, mentors and faculty. The idea is to streamline the business-creation process so new entrepreneurs go through less of a learning curve.

It costs $195 per idea to use the program, which includes filling out a questionnaire and receiving customized feedback. Users of the program will have access to a variety of business resources, including articles, blogs and case studies featuring small- and family-owned business success stories.

"It just makes more sense," Miceli says. "We want to give the real-time answers to what a business needs at that time."

Source: Tara R Miceli, director of Walsh Institute
Writer: Jon Zemke

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