Automation Alley celebrates 15th Anniversary

This year, Automation Alley celebrates its 15th anniversary as a critical driver of economic development and technology innovation in Southeast Michigan. To recognize this milestone, Automation Alley will play a special video, featuring important figures from the organization’s history, during its 14th Annual Awards Gala, to be held Friday, Sept. 12 at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit. 
“Automation Alley has been on a growth spurt these past 15 years,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers. “As we reflect on our organization’s landmark achievements and look ahead to our region’s continued accomplishments, we remain dedicated to improving the economy of Southeast Michigan by enhancing the region’s reputation as a leader in technology innovation around the globe.”
Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations across the eight-county region of Southeast Michigan. 
Now in its 15th year, Automation Alley’s positive impact on the economy of Southeast Michigan can be seen more than ever before, as it continues to create jobs, generate growth opportunities for companies of all sizes and serve the business community in five key areas: entrepreneurship, international business services, talent development, product lifecycle management and defense and manufacturing. 
“Automation Alley has become a regional powerhouse that showcases Southeast Michigan’s strength as a globally-recognized hub for technology and innovation in order to attract more talent and investment,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, founder of Automation Alley.
In 1998, members of the local business community approached Patterson with concerns about a shortage of technical workers in Oakland County. In response, Patterson hired the Anderson Economic Group to conduct a study that revealed there were about 127,000 technical jobs in Oakland County alone and 300,000 in Southeast Michigan, numbers that compared favorably to Silicon Valley and other national technology hubs at the time. 
Patterson traveled to Silicon Valley to better understand the business of technology and how it impacted the surrounding region. That visit confirmed his desire to create Automation Alley.
“Congratulations to Ken Rogers and his staff for 15 years of programs and services that have been recognized by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama,” Patterson said. “It’s initiatives like the Technical Talent Development Program, international trade missions and so many more that are creating economic prosperity for our region and state.” 
Here’s a look at Automation Alley through the years: 
1999: Automation Alley officially established as an organization
2001: Trade mission program created
2001: Automation Alley hosts first Annual Meeting and Awards Gala
2004: Headquarters opens in Troy
2005: First annual Technology Industry Report released
2008: Awarded the President’s “E” Award for Export Service
2009: Executive Director Ken Rogers represents Automation Alley at President Obama’s Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth
2010: Defense office in Sterling Heights opens
2011: Troy headquarters expanded to include a state-of-the art International Business Center
2012: Senior Director of Business Development Charles DeVries invited to represent Automation Alley at a Detroit Business Leaders’ Briefing at the White House
2012: Awarded the National Business Incubator Association’s Soft Landings International Incubator designation
2013: Detroit office opens in the historic Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit
2013: Awarded the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service
2014: Product Lifecycle Management Center opens at Oakland University
For more information about Automation Alley’s programs and services, or to become a member, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at 800-427-5100 or To purchase tickets for the 14th Annual Awards Gala, visit www.automationalley.comawardsgala.
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