Q3: Automation Alley announces key hires, invests in tech startups

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology business association, today announced its Q3 activities and results, which included attracting an international company to Southeast Michigan and two new investments to support growing technology startups in the region. In addition, Automation Alley saw major staff changes in Q3, including a new executive director and chief operating officer, as well as other key hires and promotions to support its shift towards helping companies navigate the changes involved with Industry 4.0.

Automation Alley international tenant company Cosworth Group, of Northampton, U.K., announced it is investing $30 million in a Shelby Township facility. The high-performance engine technologies firm recently moved on from Automation Alley’s International Business Center. The center, located inside Automation Alley Headquarters in Troy, Mich., provides 90 days of soft-landing space for foreign companies to use as a home base while exploring opportunities to do business in Southeast Michigan. Since 2011, Automation Alley has attracted 18 international companies to the region.

On the entrepreneurship front, Automation Alley made two significant investments in Q3, including $5,000 in TSP Enterprises, the Farmington Hills-based creator of a portable cargo management system, and $32,000 in Blackbourne Worldwide, a Sterling Heights-based hacking intelligence company. To date, Automation Alley has invested $9.09 million in 58 local high-tech companies. Now managing these investments will be Dom Holmes, who was recently promoted to manager of entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition to overseeing Automation Alley’s investment portfolio, Holmes is responsible for managing Automation Alley’s 7Cs™ program.

Automation Alley’s 7Cs™ is open to Southeast Michigan early-stage or second-stage advanced manufacturing companies seeking accelerated commercialization of their products, services or technologies. The program guides entrepreneurs through a customized seven-step process that includes intense coaching and a firm commitment from Automation Alley to invest resources and capital, taking companies from concept to commercialization.

Other key Q3 staff changes include the promotion of Tom Kelly from COO to executive director, replacing Automation Alley’s longtime leader Ken Rogers. Pavan Muzumdar was named as the organization’s new COO. Both moves are in line with the organization’s strategy to help local companies navigate Industry 4.0 technologies. Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, represents the convergence of digital and physical technologies currently disrupting the manufacturing industry, such as the Industrial Internet of Things, autonomous robotics, additive manufacturing, big data, cybersecurity, cloud computing and modeling, simulation and visualization, among others.

To begin that process, Automation Alley is launching a new committee structure, comprised of
members and regional thought leaders who will develop a strategy to help small and medium-sized manufacturers adopt these technologies.

“By joining one of our Industry 4.0 committees, individuals will have the opportunity to influence our programs, position their companies alongside other key players in our region and potentially shape the future of technology and manufacturing,” Kelly said.

Industry 4.0 and the changes ahead will be the focal point of Automation Alley’s 16th Annual Awards Gala, to be held Oct. 14 at the Detroit Yacht Club. Sheryl Connelly, Global Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Company, will keynote the event. To register, visit automationalley.com/awardsgala.

Also coming up is Automation Alley’s trade mission to Mexico, Oct. 16-21. Following that mission, Automation Alley will be seeking company participants for its trade mission to the Paris Air Show in June of 2017. For more information or to register, visit automationalley.com or call International Business Services Manager Lisa Lasser at 248-457-3283 or email lasserl@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading technology business association, connecting businesses with talent, resources and funding to accelerate innovation and fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit has grown to include nearly 1,000 tech-focused members in businesses, education and government. Automation Alley focuses its efforts in five areas: advanced manufacturing, defense, entrepreneurship, international business and talent development. For more information, visit automationalley.com.