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EasyG technology looks to minimize lag time in ECG testing

Inspiration struck Tom Evans when he was going to school at Marquette University and working as an EMT in Milwaukee. He saw that there had to be a better way to apply electrocardiogram, commonly known as ECG, equipment to cardiac victims in their time of need.

"Time is muscle when it comes to heart conditions and heart attacks," Evans says. "I thought there was a better way to apply ECG equipment to patients."

So Evans came up with EasyG, a sensor that allows ECG equipment to work through clothing. Today medical professionals have to remove clothing to apply traditional ECG equipment. Sometimes they have to shave hair off chests or deal with sweat that can cause the sensors to come off.

The Beverly Hills-based startup is currently testing its product and working toward FDA approval. "Commercialization is our next goal," Evans says.

The startup and its team of two people recently made the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. It is currently looking to target ambulance companies and healthcare systems as its first customers. It is also considering military firms and home-healthcare companies as clients further down the line.

Source: Tom Evans, CEO of EasyG
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Lowest October jobless rate in Oakland County since 2008

Oakland County's October unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008 as the county continues to outperform the region and the state. The not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 7.8 percent in Oakland County. The Detroit MSA was 9 percent and the State of Michigan was 8.3 percent.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the numbers validate the county's economic diversification efforts in the knowledge-based economy through initiatives such as Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street and Automation Alley.

"I think that's great news," Patterson said. "It shows our programs are working and we intend to pour it on."

The last few October jobless rates in Oakland County were:
  • 9.0 percent in 2012
  • 9.5 percent in 2011
  • 11.6 percent in 2010
  • 14.0 percent in 2009
  • 7.6 percent in 2008
In an effort to diversify the economy, Patterson launched Oakland County's Emerging Sectors initiative in 2004 to identify the top 10 sectors that will attract and retain sustainable, high-paying jobs to the region in the 21st century. Companies in these emerging sectors are involved in such leading-edge fields such as advanced electronics & controls, advanced materials & chemicals, communications & information technology, robotics & automation, and Oakland County's Medical Main Street.

Since its inception, 253 companies have invested $2.6 billion creating 29,825 jobs and retaining 13,828. For more information about Emerging Sectors, go to AdvantageOakland.com

LTU awarded $150,000 grant to expand entrepreneurial education

The Chicago-based Coleman Foundation has awarded Lawrence Technological University a two-year, $150,000 grant to increase student participation in entrepreneurial education that is already occurring on campus.
 
The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grant-making organization that funds educational institutions that offer entrepreneurship training and support. This is the largest grant it has awarded to LTU.
 
LTU’s College of Engineering has an entrepreneurial education program for engineering students supported by a grant from the Kern Family Foundation. LTU is an active member of the Kern Entrepreneurial Education Network (KEEN).
 
The Coleman grant will make LTU’s entrepreneurial education program available to students pursuing degrees through LTU’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Architecture and Design, and Management.
 
“We want more students to be aware of the resources that exist on campus to help them advance an idea for a business,” said Senior Lecturer Karen Evans, who is co-director of the existing Coleman Fellows program. “We want students to get help going to the next step with a business idea they developed in class.”
 
The Coleman Foundation grant will increase the reach of LTU’s Entrepreneurial Collaboratory, a resource for entrepreneurs established in 2012 in the College of Engineering with the support of the Kern Family Foundation. Business consultant  and LTU alumnus Tex Criqui leads a team from Tech Highway that counsels students on how to take a product from conception to market.
 
 “We want to see increasing numbers of students realizing the possibility of self-employment through business ownership in their discipline, now or in the future,” Evans said. “This type of education also equips students to work in any business in their field. They’ll have greater appreciation of how their skill set can advance business goals when working for a large company.”
 
The grant will also be used to increase student participation in the college courses that have been developed by Coleman Faculty Fellows. This is the fourth year that three LTU faculty members have been named Coleman Fellows charged with creating learning opportunities in non-business disciplines that will fulfill the foundation’s mission to foster self-employment education and awareness. 
 
The new grant will lay the groundwork for a Coleman curriculum based on the courses developed by the Coleman Fellows.
 
The grant also includes coordination of the Lawrence Tech programs with Coleman Fellows at other universities and the development of an assessment mechanism to gauge student learning.
 
“We want to share strategic best practices and assessment tools and develop heightened communications and collaboration using social media,” Evans said. “We are confident that greater visibility for these programs will lead to additional support from other funding sources in the future.”
 
For more information on the Coleman Foundation fellowship grant program at Lawrence Tech, contact Howard Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations, at hdavis@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2316.
 
“This grant from the Coleman Foundation will increase the impact of entrepreneurial education at Lawrence Tech and give our existing programs much greater visibility. We anticipate that more support will be forthcoming as a result,” Davis said.
 
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 7 percent of 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.

YourSource Management Group rebrands, creates 6 new jobs

What is now YourSource Management Group rebranded and pivoted its business plan at the beginning of this year. Now as 2013 draws toward a close, the Auburn Hills-based business is starting to enjoy the fruits of that labor.

The 14-year-old business now focuses on three areas: consulting, outsourcing and management services for human resources.

"Those three models are 100 percent of our business at this point," says Todd Lancaster, president & CEO of YourSource Management Group.

This has allowed the company to expand its team to 20 people. It has hired two employees specializing in payroll and human resources over the last year, and currently has openings for four more in payroll, human resources, benefits and sales.

The expanded team and new business model has allowed YourSource Management Group to narrow its focus. "We focus on what the customers needs and customize the service to those needs," Lancaster says.

That sort of customization has led the company to double-digit revenue growth. Lancaster expects to hit 20-percent growth in revenue for 2013. "After 14 years, that is a pretty big bump," he says.

Source: Todd Lancaster, president & CEO of YourSource Management Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Innovative Corporate Solutions moves to first office in Wixom

For its first 10 years in business, Innovative Corporate Solutions was a virtually-based company, working from the laptops of its staff across Michigan.

That changed about five months ago when the company and its five employees and one intern moved to Wixom, taking an extra building of one of its customers.

"It's a great location at Beck and I-96," says Duane Hopkins, principal, security consultant & owner of Innovative Corporate Solutions. "I could probably walk to Novi."

Innovative Corporate Solutions specializes in data security services, such as digital forensics and investigations. It can both help businesses be pro-active in preventing digital security breaches and investigate what happened after a security breach. It also offers forensic services for mobile technology, which is such a new space the company doesn’t have many competitors in the private sector.

"We're probably the only mobile forensics lab in Michigan," Hopkins says.

Hopkins says the move to a permanent office has helped his firm grow over the last year. He hopes to add more people to his staff early in 2014.

Source: Duane Hopkins, principal, security consultant & owner of Innovative Corporate Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

4th Sector Consulting aims to bridge biz, non-profit worlds

Gary Dembs has spent nearly 30 years working in non-profits, helping them fundraise, creating marketing plans, and finding executive talent. Now he is trying to innovate in the space with a new company, 4th Sector Consulting.

The Southfield-based company company specializes in helping connect non-profits with businesses and governments to better maximize their impact. The 1-year-old company and its two employees are working to hit that trifecta of community improvement.

"It's a coming together of the non-profit, corporations and the government to create the fourth sector," Dembs says. "It's working for community solutions across sectors."

Metro Detroit, with an active non-profit and business community working to improve the region, is prime for that sort of collaboration, such as the Detroit Blight Authority's work or local corporate leaders banding together to purchase new first-responder vehicles.

4th Sector Consulting is currently working with a local health-insurance company on where best to give its charitable dollars. The idea is to maximize their impact by carefully thinking about where they are going.

"Is it the right strategy?" Dembs says. "Does it help them build their business?"

Source: Gary Dembs, CEO of 4th Sector Consulting
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Medical Main Street names Ann Arbor-based HistoSonics "INNO-VATOR of the Year"

HistoSonics and its Vortx Rx® medical device which uses sound energy to treat tissue inside the body without the need for traditional surgery is the Medical Main Street “INNO-VATOR of the Year.” The award was given to the Ann Arbor-based company during INNO-VENTION 2013 – a Medical Main Street conference.

“This incredible technology has the potential to change the way we view surgery,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The notion that doctors can use high intensity sound to perform procedures that until now could only be done using much more invasive methods is amazing. The implications for future uses are profound. I congratulate the HistoSonics team.”

Christine Gibbons, HistoSonics president and chief operating officer, said the Vortx Rx was approved for investigational use in clinical trials on humans in May by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. Clinical trials began in July to treat patients with urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate. The trial phase is expected to last several years. The discovery and development work on the technology was performed at the University of Michigan.

Six units were made, three of which are being used for clinical trials at sites in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. The hope is the device will be used for other clinical indications beyond urology.

“We are humbled and honored to have been selected for the award and that Medical Main Street has recognized the potential impact the Vortx Rx device can have,” Gibbons said.

INNO-VENTION 2013 was held that the Troy Marriott Hotel, November 6 through 8. It focused on how information technology is fueling changes in health care and its impact on the next generation of medical devices. For post-conference information and to learn about Medical Main Street, visit MedicalMainStreet.org.

Mortgage lender builds success on relationships

Troy-based United Shore Financial Services, LLC, (USFS) is one of the largest and fastest growing independent mortgage lenders in the United States.

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Strategic Energy Solutions adds 8 employees in Berkley

When it comes to growing Michigan’s green economy, companies like Strategic Energy Solutions aren’t the ones that normally stand in the spotlight.

That’s because the Berkley-based firm designs and implements the energy infrastructure in large commercial and institutional facilities. It figures out what type of core systems (heating/cooling, electrical) should go into a building, the best opportunities to integrate alternative energy sources, and the best combination of all of the above to maximize energy usage.

“It’s all the stuff people never see,” says Steve DiBerardine, president of Strategic Energy Solutions.

Strategic Energy Solutions has been doing a lot of work with architecture firm Kraemer Design Group, taking on redevelopment projects in downtown Detroit for Bedrock Real Estate Services. It is also handling more work for local school districts in Livonia and Waterford, among others.

“I think communities are again open to passing bonds,” DiBerardine says.

That is all adding up to revenue growing by 20 percent over the last year. Thus, Strategic Energy Solutions has hired eight people, randing from engineers to CAD professionals. It currently employs 28 people.

Source: Steve DiBerardine, president of Strategic Energy Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

IT firm Red Level Networks aims for staff of 50

Red Level Networks is riding a wave of growth coming from the industry-wide trend of demanding better IT services and a new partnership with computer-maker Dell.

The Novi-based company has hired 10 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 31 employees and the occasional summer intern. The new hires include engineers, technicians, help-desk support, sales associates and a COO.

"The demand for better services has helped propel our growth," says David King, president of Red Level Networks. He adds that many businesses cut back on IT during the recession. Now that the recovery is well underway, the demand for fast, reliable IT services has done nothing but climb.

Also helping fuel that is Red Level Networks' work with Dell. The 9-year-old IT firm is a channel partner with Dell. That partnership allows Red Level Networks to sell its services and other products directly to the end users of Dell products.

"We expect more business to come our way because of our partnership with Dell," King says.

King is optimistic that Red Level Networks will be able to cross the 50-employee threshold within the next year.

"We want to be that go-to company, so when people think of IT services they think about us," King says.

Source: David King, president of Red Level Networks
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

LinTech Global adds 18 IT/software jobs

LinTech Global is really racking up the award hardware, while enjoying the growth that comes with that recognition.

The Farmington Hills-based IT firm has made the Inc 500 and Crain's Top 50 Businesses to Watch in Michigan lists. The company has been growing through a combination of partnerships and attracting new clients.

"We try to make a lot of friends," says Michael Lin, president & CEO of LinTech Global. "Being on the Inc 500 and Crain’s Top 50 Businesses to Watch [lists] helps us get recognition."

That has helped the IT and engineering services firm expand its client list. Its customers now range from the U.S Army to Infor Global Solutions to Wells Fargo. The increase in work has enabled LinTech Global to expand its staff to 28 employees. The 6-year-old firm has hired 18 people over the last year, mostly IT technicians and software developers.

"They are hard to find and it's even harder to retain them," Lin says.

Source: Michael Lin, president & CEO of LinTech Global
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Automation Alley to host information session on the Technical Talent Development Program

Is your company looking for someone with specific technical skills but just can't find the right candidate? Automation Alley’s Technical Talent Development Program (TTDP) may be the solution you are seeking. Join Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, for a no-cost information session on the TTDP, including steps your company can take to access a portion of $5 million in training funds as an employer or training provider, Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 9-10 a.m. at Automation Alley Headquarters in Troy.

As the next phase of the innovative TTDP, Automation Alley has set up a Challenge Fund program to provide funding to its member companies that are looking to hire and train full-time, highly skilled and permanent workers, with priority being given to those employers committed to hiring new employees.

“After a successful first round that saw 13 Southeast Michigan companies train and employ 172 workers, Automation Alley is continuing its efforts to grow Southeast Michigan into the tech hub it envisions,” said Automation Alley Director of Talent Development Alysia Green. “We encourage companies to come to our next TTDP Information Session to learn how Automation Alley can help you build the skilled workforce your company needs.”

The TTDP model transcends traditional workforce development programs by letting companies identify the specific candidates they want to hire through their own application processes. Traditional programs train workers but re-enter them into a large pool of other candidates with similarly touched-up résumés. The TTDP allows employers to lead the way by targeting future trainees for positions they know are needed.
 
The TTDP is made possible through a grant awarded to Automation Alley by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Automation Alley applied for the grant in partnership with Oakland Community College (OCC) and the Oakland County Michigan Works! Workforce Development Division, with additional support provided by Sen. Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the Michigan delegation.
 
Member employers and training providers will use the funding provided by Automation Alley through its Challenge Fund to deliver flexible and employer-driven training to U.S. workers targeted to specific high-skill or specialty occupations in fast-growing industries.

James K. Riashi, business analyst for Southfield-based Secure-24, said the TTDP has created tremendous opportunity for his company.

“We have been able to leverage the depth and flexibility of the program. Being able to train close to 100 of our personnel over the course of nine months has allowed us to increase the knowledge base of our people and help provide more value to our customers,” Riashi said. “The program is also accelerating the knowledge of our new hires, thus curtailing their learning curves and increasing productivity.”

Automation Alley member companies receiving a portion of the Challenge Fund will be selected as a direct result of their immediate need for new local hires, coupled with their willingness to hire unemployed candidates, if properly trained. Training funds will be allocated for local unemployed candidates through collaboration between employer partners and Michigan Works! Agencies. Employee training will include industry-recognized vendor certifications. Training will be provided by local corporate training companies, workforce development organizations and educational institutions.   
 
The Challenge Fund was created to ensure that small and medium-sized technology companies are able to benefit by expanding their staffs with local U.S. workers. Training of incumbent employees is also allowed through the Challenge Fund.
 
The TTDP Information Session agenda includes check-in from 8:30-9 a.m. followed by the program from 9-10 a.m.
 
There is no cost to attend. Pre-registration is required, and walk-ins will not be admitted. This information session is for potential employers and training providers. Pre-registration ends Nov. 1 at close of business.
 
To pre-register, visit automationalley.com. For more information on the Technical Talent Development Program and the Challenge Fund, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at 800-427-5100 or info@automationalley.com.  
 
If you are a job seeker interested in training and employment opportunities, contact your local Michigan Works! Service Center by visiting www.michiganworks.org.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association driving the growth and image of Southeast Michigan’s economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives.
 
Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions and government entities from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration.
 
For additional information, visit automationalley.com.

Puppets more than child's play

Timothy Sëlberg and his team at Sëlberg Studios Inc. in Independence Township design, sculp, and produce puppets, "three-dimensional carved mechanized figures," for ventriloquists and collectors all over the world.

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Leaders & Innovators: Jason Vazzano

Jason Vazzano is president, CEO and co-founder of Vectorform in Royal Oak, a digital experience studio that develops digital products and experiences with a focus on mobile and emerging technology solutions that has done work for Microsoft and Xbox Kinect. 

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Bill Proctor and Assoc. focuses on finding truth in justice system

Searching out the truth might sound a tad cliché when it's used in the mission statement of a business, but these are words that mean a lot to Bill Proctor.

The recently retired TV news reporter has launched Bill Proctor and Associates in Farmington Hills. Proctor describes himself as "an activist for truth," and his company will focus on providing communications, investigative and legal services to individuals and businesses tangled in the U.S. legal system.

"I have found that the criminal justice system makes mistakes," Proctor says. "I am being kind. These mistakes ruin the lives of people, so for me the truth is very important."

Proctor worked for nearly 40 years in broadcast journalism before retiring in May. A majority of his career was spent at WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit. He also served as a police officer in the Federal Protective Service while attending the University of Maryland.

Bill Proctor and Associates is composed of two employees and 24 independent contractors. It is looking at adding interns in the not-too-distant future. That staff will provide communications services, such as marketing, public relations, media training, crisis management, and multimedia production. It will also provide investigative and legal services, which includes investigations, subject/video surveillance, witness location, vendor theft, and background checks.

"I literally have a courtroom under my umbrella for mock trials and trial prep," Proctor says.

Source: Bill Proctor, president & CEO of Bill Proctor and Associates
Writer: Jon Zemke

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