Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced the winners of its 13th Annual Awards Gala Friday at The Henry hotel in Dearborn.
Automation Alley’s Annual Awards Gala is the region’s most prestigious event honoring technology organizations and their leaders. The event celebrated the accomplishments and continued growth of the individuals and companies moving Southeast Michigan’s technology economy forward.
This year’s Awards Gala featured remarks by special guests Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
The award winners were selected through a public online vote and exemplify the best among the region’s technology community.
“A renaissance is coming in Southeast Michigan and in the state. As someone who’s been part of the business community here for more than 50 years, I can say that there’s an energy and a confidence in this region driven by an economy on the rebound. At Automation Alley, we believe that energy will continue to grow into something great. Thank you for being a part of it,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers.
The 2013 award winners are:
Automation Alley Member of the Year: Rochelle A. Black, Oakland University
Rochelle A. Black is the vice president for government and community relations at Oakland University. She is also a member of the university president’s administrative cabinet. Rochelle is charged with managing government and community relations activities at the local, state and federal levels. Prior to joining Oakland University, Rochelle served as communications and marketing director for the Michigan Department of Public Health; deputy press secretary for Michigan Governor John Engler; vice president and media director for Bailey, Klepinger, Medrich & Muhlberg; and senior media planner for W.B. Doner Advertising. Rochelle previously served on Automation Alley’s board of directors and chairs the organization’s Government Affairs Committee.
Educational Program of the Year: Central Michigan University New Venture Competition
Over the past three years, more than 250 aspiring entrepreneurs from Central Michigan University (CMU) and Michigan Technological University participated in the CMU New Venture Competition. The New Venture Competition is a forum for identifying, nurturing and showcasing emerging entrepreneurs and their businesses. It provides early-stage, student-led startups with experience, guidance and a platform to launch their venture. The competition awards more than $65,000 in startup capital and in-kind services to get companies off the ground and running. The students learn startup skills, which enable them to differentiate themselves from others through experience and increase their chance of successful business creation.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Bill Coughlin, Ford Global Technologies, LLC
Bill is the president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, where he is responsible for protecting and leveraging the intellectual property for Ford Motor Company and its subsidiaries worldwide. Bill is also a member of the board of directors for the Intellectual Property Owners Association and an adjunct professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he teaches e-commerce law and trade secret law. Prior to joining Ford, he was the chief intellectual property lawyer for DaimlerChrysler, and prior to joining Chrysler, he was a partner at Harness, Dickey & Pierce.
Global Trader of the Year: Fluxtrol, Inc.
Fluxtrol, Inc. is a global provider of innovative composite materials for magnetic flux control in induction heating systems, induction coil design, commercial electromagnetic computer simulation, technical consulting, cooperative technology development, prototyping and experimental validation. More than 65 percent of the company’s revenue is generated from international sales, and products and services are sold in more than 50 countries. Automation Alley’s trade missions and support services enabled Fluxtrol to generate $4.8 million in export sales, 40 percent of Fluxtrol’s $12 million in total overseas sales. Fluxtrol was founded in 1981 by Robert S. Ruffini. Ruffini is a member of Automation Alley’s International Business Services Advisory Council.
Technology Company of the Year: Pratt & Miller Engineering
Pratt & Miller Engineering provides innovative engineering solutions for clients in the motorsports, automotive, defense and commercial industries. The company’s robust engineering capabilities include design, modeling and simulation, manufacturing, testing and development. The company differentiates itself among industry leaders by providing complete integrated-solution services and products to customers through the application of sophisticated computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computational design tools, rapid manufacturing technologies and accelerated test and validation methods. The results are the creation of innovative ground vehicle technologies with a high degree of quality, performance, robustness and production readiness in an accelerated time frame that is often unmatched.
The Awards Gala was emceed by master of ceremonies Bill Proctor, former reporter for Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation was the premier sponsor of the Awards Gala. Individual award sponsors included:
• Clark Hill PLC: Automation Alley Member of the Year
• Kelly Services, Inc.: Educational Program of the Year
• Foster Swift Collins & Smith: Entrepreneur of the Year
• Detroit Regional Chamber: Global Trader of the Year
• TechTown: Technology Company of the Year
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.