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Barron Industries wins 2016 investment casting of the year

Barron Industries has received the Investment Casting Institute’s Defense Casting of the Year Award for a low-alloy steel fabrication conversion part the company makes for an armored personnel carrier. The award, presented at the Institute’s 63rd Technical Conference and Expo, recognizes manufacturers which produce parts and components that best illustrate and promote the benefits and flexibility of the investment casting process, or which demonstrate problem solving techniques for the customer.

Barron’s award-winning casting was converted from two separate welded fabrications totaling 12 pieces. It now serves as both an engine mount and an alternator mount for a power pack used on a new generation armored personnel carrier. Barron Industries also machines the casting in-house using a 5-axis CNC machining center, performing all machining in one setup.

“Barron Industries’ winning entry exemplifies the benefits offered by this specialized process,” said Joseph Fritz, Investment Casting Institute Executive Director. “Cast as a single piece component, Barron’s approach to this engine mount eliminated fabrication and assembly costs, while at the same time reducing OEM production cycle time and logistics costs, resulting in better than a 60% savings to their customer.”

“The finished casting is manufactured at 1/3 the total cost of the original fabrication,” said Bruce Barron, president and CEO of Barron Industries.

“The Barron Industries investment casting process provides distinctive advantages over sand and other casting methods,” said Barron. “Our process turns out precision castings with greater dimensional accuracy, higher consistency, superior product integrity and improved surface finish. It is often the only way a part can be manufactured economically.”

Investment casting is one of the oldest manufacturing processes in which molten metal is poured into an expendable ceramic mold. The mold is formed by using a wax pattern - a disposable piece in the shape of the desired part. The pattern is surrounded, or "invested", into ceramic slurry that hardens into the mold. Investment casting is often referred to as "lost-wax casting" because the wax pattern is melted out of the mold after it has been formed. Since the mold is destroyed during the process, parts with complex geometries and intricate details can be created.

For more information about Barron Industries go to www.barron-industries.com.
 

Par Sterile Products receives Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant

Par Sterile Products, LLC, a subsidiary of Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., located in Rochester, was recently named the recipient of a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant designated for an upgrade to the Par Sterile Products facility in order to accommodate a new line of high tech filling equipment as well as the training and qualification of its valuable workforce.  As a result, Par Sterile has committed to invest $58.4 million at the site to expand operations and to hire up to 30 new employees.
 
“This is a very exciting time for our Rochester facility and our local community,” said Mike Rutkowski, Par Sterile’s Senior Vice President and General Manager. “We want to thank the city of Rochester, Oakland County, and the state of Michigan for all of their support. We believe the grant will help us create more jobs and build a long-term sustainable business in the Rochester community, where our site has proudly operated for 108 years.”
 
For more information or career information regarding Par Sterile Products please visit http://www.parsterileproducts.com.

Oakland County launches open data initiative

Oakland County is making a rich source of information available to the public through its new Access Oakland Open Data Portal, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced. Individuals will be able to find data ranging from property information including addresses and boundaries to how to find parks and trails and locate floodplains. All data on the portal, accessoakland.oakgov.com, is free of charge and free of use restrictions.

"The county has hundreds of data sets which can become meaningful information in the hands of people," Patterson said. “When put to good use, these data sets can ultimately improve the quality of life for Oakland County residents. Making these data sets available to the public also improves government transparency.”

Oakland County maintains a mature Geographic Information System (GIS) comprised of more than 350 datasets that together with other non-spatial data provide a rich source of information that is used in the performance of its governmental duties, responsibilities, and provision of services.

Benefits of the Access Oakland Open Data Portal include:
  • Fostering civic engagement through data sharing between government agencies, residents, businesses, and other community organizations
  • Increasing the trust and improving the relationship among residents, businesses, and government agencies
  • Enabling businesses and other enterprises to make use of government data to promote economic development and increase investment
  • Reducing cost and saving time in obtaining data
"Our mission is to provide a progressive, location-based solution that promotes informed decision making, improves citizen services, and encourages collaboration across all levels of government," said Oakland County Deputy Executive & CIO Phil Bertolini. “Making these data sets widely available benefits both the private and public sector by reducing costs, reducing the time involved in obtaining the data, and providing agencies with the most accurate, up to date information for use in their business processes and decision making.”

The Open Data Portal includes ready-to-use applications that will help residents find fun locations such as cider mills or campgrounds and functional locations such as where to dispose of expired or unneeded prescription medications. Data behind key Oakland County initiatives such as Tech248 and Medical Main Street are also highlighted with interactive maps. In addition, people can dive further into the data, and explore or download it to use in their own maps or applications.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s open data policy on Oct. 6 at the request of county executive administration.
 

New yoga studio in Ferndale started by long-time teacher

Caren Paskel, a well-known figure in the local yoga industry, is striking out on her own with a new yoga studio in downtown Ferndale.

Paskel long held a leadership position at the local chain Yoga Shelter, which is co-owned by her brother Eric. She's calling her new venture EnSoul Yoga. It opens Saturday, October 8. An official grand opening won't be held until the first week of November, when Paskel will celebrate with DJs and vendors.

For those familiar with Paskel's style of teaching, EnSoul will be an extension of what she taught in the past. Paskel believes in a style of yoga that stretches the mind as well as the body, and not just during the class period. She says it's a yoga that keeps working well after a session is over.

Whatever nerves Paskel had when considering starting her own yoga studio have dissipated leading up to EnSoul opening. Originally planning on a now-scrapped Royal Oak location a year ago, she's since had that time to promote EnSoul as she readies the new Ferndale space. She's well known in the local yoga scene and has been offering pre-opening specials and Groupons leading up to the opening, all of which have been going fast, she says.

"We're off to a really good start," says Paskel. "This is pretty invigorating and exciting for me. It tells me I'm doing the right thing. People are coming."

She believes that the move to Ferndale has been the right thing, too. She says the downtown stretch of Nine Mile Road is very community-driven, with lots of neighboring business owners stopping in to say hello. "The vibe there is really awesome."

EnSoul Yoga is located at 210 W. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Moceri Cos. to Invest $1.2B in senior luxury communities in Southeast Michigan

Excerpt: 

Moceri Cos., an Auburn Hills-based custom home builder, is investing more than $1.2 billion over 10 years to add new luxury living communities to The Blossom Collection — a group of living spaces across southeast Michigan for those 55 and older.

Read more.
 

Buyers flock to Milford in booming housing market

Excerpt

With its restaurants and retail shops, parks, recreation and community events, downtown Milford might be a nice place to visit — but many are deciding it’s an even better place to live.

Houses are selling quickly in the village and values are going up. According to numbers provided by Oakland County Equalization, Milford’s residential market values have increased, on average, about 17.3 percent since 2013 and are projected to head up an additional 4 percent in 2017.

Read more.
 

Pasta and pedicures: New business thrives in Birmingham

Excerpt

Zharko Palushaj has plenty of experience when it comes to running a fine Italian restaurant.

His wife, Dalis Chan Palushaj, knows all about mani-pedis.

Bingo. A business is born.

La Strada Dolci e Caffé and Adore Nails & Spa share 5,000 square feet of subdivided space inside the Merrillwood Building in downtown Birmingham.  The two businesses opened late last year and are creating a positive vibe in the city’s central business district.

Read more.
 

Orion Township Public Library Adult Services renovation kickoff

A few years ago, the Orion Township Public Library asked the Orion community what they wanted to see in their Library, and many who responded said they wanted the Library to update their physical space. As a result, that became a priority in the Library’s current Strategic Plan. As readers may remember, a couple years ago the Library renovated the Lobby and Youth Services areas. The Library is now starting to renovate the Adult Services area this fall!
 
Contractors will be removing wallpaper and painting, replacing the carpeting, adding some electrical outlets, and replacing the furniture. In addition, there will be a new 6-foot opening into the library from the back storage area. The Library plans to remain open during the renovation, which will likely last for a few months. However, there will be times when access to areas of the space will be limited or unavailable to patrons. The Library asks that patrons please be patient as the project progresses, just as they were a couple years ago.
 
Library Director, Karen Knox, said, “We will do our best to provide access to library materials as much as possible during the renovation. We are excited about how things will be early next year when the project is complete. We look forward to providing you with space that we hope will better meet your needs.”
 
The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  Additional library information can be found at orionlibrary.org or by calling 248.693.3000.

Olga's Kitchen to expand across Michigan, remodel existing restaurants

Excerpt

Livonia-based Olga’s Kitchen plans to expand across Michigan, with up to 10 new locations across the state, including possible sites in northern Oakland and Macomb counties, southern Wayne County, and in the Lansing and Grand Rapids markets.

Read more.
 

American Expedition Vehicles completes move to new Wixom headquarters

Excerpt

American Expedition Vehicles, a company that designs and manufactures Jeep accessories and vehicle packages, has completed its move from its Commerce Township facility to a new 110,000-square-foot headquarters in Wixom. 

Due to its fast growth trajectory, the new facility, located at 51960 W. 12 Mile Rd., is the third building the company has been in within the past five years.

Read more.
 

Flagstar plans $10 million economic development program for Pontiac

Excerpt

Flagstar Bancorp Inc. announced a five-year $10 million economic development program for the city of Pontiac.

The program includes customized home loans for Pontiac residents and veterans; $2.5 million for small businesses, startups and business attraction; $1.5 million for the previously announced naming rights for the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts; and $1 million for financial literacy.

Read more.
 

Kingsley Inn owners plan new brand, look, restaurant

Excerpt: 

The owners of a local landmark hotel, the Kingsley Inn in Bloomfield Hills, have a new flag, look and restaurant in the works for the site long known as a meetup spot in the tony suburbs.

Read more.
 

New Highland Feed store to offer new products, services

Excerpt: 

Construction of the new Highland Feed & Supply is underway and the store promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Read more.
 

Community Choice Credit Union announces new Royal Oak location

Passersby will notice a transformation on the corner of 12 Mile and Crooks in Royal Oak, as Community Choice Credit Union breaks ground on a new member center. When completed, Community Choice will move to this new location from the current one across the street.
 
The parcel of land was formerly a gas station and has been vacant since January 2016. Community Choice has actively worked together with city officials and community leaders to rezone the property and prepare the site for the new build.
 
“The city is excited to see a new, beautiful building going up to add some much needed curb appeal to this busy corner,” said Mayor of Royal Oak Jim Ellison. “With two other gas stations at this intersection, transforming this corner into a member center is an upgraded benefit for the entire community.”
 
The member center will have a unique architecture based on the shape of the parcel. The building will be triangular in shape, with sides that will face both Crooks and 12 Mile Roads.  It will add pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with a garden terrace and bench seats at the intersection.
 
On the inside, visitors will be welcomed into a café-like atmosphere without traditional teller lines. This new member center design focuses on relationship building between the credit union and members, and enhances the financial services experience. In 2015, Community Choice renovated member centers in Northville, Livonia and Milford, all featuring the new design.
 
“This fall, we’re not only breaking ground on a new member center, but also a new era in serving our Royal Oak members,” said Rob Bava, president and CEO of Community Choice Credit Union. “Community Choice Credit Union has been a part of the Royal Oak community since 1972 and we’re looking forward to adding beauty to this corner and creating a place where the entire community can get together to create healthy financial futures.”
 
The new Royal Oak Member Center is slated to open in spring of 2017. For more information on Community Choice Credit Union visitCommunityChoiceCU.com.
 
About Community Choice Credit Union: Established in 1935, Community Choice Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services for both consumers and businesses. Any individual who lives, works, studies or worships in the following counties is eligible to become a member of Community Choice Credit Union: Allegan, Genesee, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne County, Michigan. Since 2008, Community Choice has invested more than $992,623 and 17,294 volunteer hours into its charitable Give Big efforts throughout Michigan. If you’re looking for an experience that’s different from your current banking relationship, let’s get together. For more information, visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.
 

Nexteer Automotive opens new world headquarters, celebrates global growth and innovation

Nexteer Automotive, a global leader in intuitive motion control, today opened its new World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The strategically located headquarters provides a strong platform for increased industry presence and expanded reach for skilled talent.

To commemorate the event, Nexteer held a grand opening ceremony attended by domestic and foreign government dignitaries, customers, suppliers and industry partners. The event highlighted the company's global growth and its dedication to innovation not only in its steering and driveline systems, but also in how employees work on a daily basis. It also previewed the headquarters' application of numerous collaborative technologies to increase operational efficiency and create a seamless global workflow. "Since the acquisition five years ago, we have established Nexteer as neither a Chinese company, nor an American company.  We see ourselves as a model global company with deep roots in the global automotive industry," said Guibin Zhao, chairman, executive board director and chief executive officer, Nexteer Automotive, during the event.  "Because we are a global company, we have made a deliberate choice to setup our new smart home among our customers, peers and thought-leaders in the heart of the global automotive industry right here in the State of Michigan in Oakland County and in the City of Auburn Hills."

The facility houses all corporate functions that are global and strategic in nature. The headquarters' team broadens its industry involvement through its proximity to customers, suppliers and industry partners. In addition to its geographic location, the new facility features collaborative tools to enable real-time collaboration among team members located around the world. 

"In Auburn Hills, we are afforded an enhanced strategic opportunity with our customers and partners. We've engrained ourselves in industry discussions and look forward to taking on an even greater role in shaping the future of mobility," said Mike Richardson, senior vice president, executive board director and chief strategy officer, Nexteer Automotive.

Part of Nexteer's active role in embracing future mobility technology is rooted in its commitment to Michigan. In addition to its Auburn Hills World Headquarters, Nexteer operates a Global Technology Center in Saginaw, Michigan. This engineering center is focused on the company's core technology advancement and global support of its regional product teams. Saginaw is also home to Nexteer's North America Division administration and U.S. manufacturing. Since 2010, Nexteer has invested nearly $500 million in its Michigan production facilities and currently employs a Michigan workforce of over 5,000.

The 52,000-square-foot headquarters houses 150 Nexteer employees and features a full-service cafe, ergonomic workspaces, recycled and renewable building materials, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems. In addition to advanced collaboration tools, the facility showcases digital signage with interactive company information and current news, weather and traffic reports.
 
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