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Many changes coming to the Southfield campus of Lawrence Tech

As reported last week, Lawrence Technological University is planning to open a 6,300 sq. ft. space for its business and manufacturing accelerator the LTU Collaboratory. The new space is scheduled for a spring 2019 opening.

That development, however, is just one of many upgrades planned for the private university’s Southfield campus.

According to LTU University Architect Joe Veryser, the university "always tries to minimize impact and inconvenience to our students--thus, we try to do all our major renovation work between mid-May and mid-August."

There are several changes currently underway or scheduled for Lawrence Tech:

  • LTU’s fourth residence hall will open this August, introducing housing for 300 more students on the Southfield campus
  • The South Residence Hall is currently undergoing a $2 million renovation
  • The Real Food on Campus cafeteria is expanding to accommodate the influx of on-campus residents, with renovations overtaking the LTU bookstore
  • The bookstore moves to the second floor of the Buell Management Building, pushing LTU’s Marketing and Public Affairs and University Advancement offices to 21311 Civic Center Dr. across campus. That building will be renamed the University Services Building, also adding LTU’s IT department to its list of tenants
  • Current tenants of the soon-to-be-renamed University Services Building include the offices of Marketing and Public Affairs and Advancement, Campus Facilities, Human Resources, and eLearning Services
  • New medical laboratories are being added to the Science Building, which are scheduled to be completed by summer 2019
College sports fans will be especially interested to learn that the inaugural season of Lawrence Tech’s football season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 1, at LTU’s athletic field. The stadium has received a $1 million expansion to add seating and lighting for fans of the first-ever Lawrence Tech Blue Devils football team.

Click here to learn more about the LTU Collaboratory expansion.

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

Goldman Sachs small business program readies Royal Oak hot sauce maker for next phase of growth

The latest graduating class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program let out recently, and among them is a Royal Oak hot sauce maker that is ready to take their business to the next level.

Don Button is the founder of the Royal Oak-based Smashing Empire, LLC, and its flagship brand, Hell Fire Detroit.

The line of fire-roasted artisan hot sauces won multiple Best of Show awards upon its launch at the Making it in Michigan food show and conference in November 2015, taking home the top prize in categories for flavor, quality, branding, and ability to go to market.

Now, with roughly 100 hours of 10,000 Small Businesses classes under his belt, Button is ready to take Hell Fire to the next ring.

"My background is on the creative side of business, so I’ve always made decisions based on theory and trends. While this approach has worked for me, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program gave me the tools to analyze my business ideas in methodical ways," said Button. "In addition to identifying my leadership style, their process forced me to focus on my next logical step for growth, conduct the research, and apply forecasting models to help determine return on investment.

"The results gave me the confidence to move forward with my next phase of growth."

This is the twelfth graduating cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit, a program that features experts from several colleges and universities, as well as Goldman Sachs professionals themselves. The Babson College-designed curriculum is taught by Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College faculty on the campus of Wayne State University.

Hell Fire’s Button is one of 30 entrepreneurs to graduate from this most recent cohort.

"Even if I only apply five percent of what I learned in the GS10KSB program, my business is going to be much better for it."

Click here to learn more about the application process.

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

RedLine Athletics set to open multiple youth athletic training centers in Michigan


RedLine Athletics, which operates youth athletic training centers that includes coaching from former professional athletes, announced it will open 12 locations in Michigan, with the first opening next month in Farmington Hills.

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LTU gets $100,000 state grant for business incubation

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved a one-year, $100,000 extension to fund the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory Gatekeeper Business Incubator.

The grant runs from April 1 through March 31, 2019, and was part of $1.7 million in state grants to support entrepreneurial resources. 

This is the third year LTU has received the grant to assist entrepreneurs and innovators in Southfield and throughout Southeast Michigan with a variety of programs, services, and events. 

The mission of the LTU Collaboratory is to help small manufacturers and hardware enterprises scale up for success. More about the programs and events available through the Collaboratory at www.ltucollaboratory.com

LTU has partnered with the City of Southfield to foster economic development through the city’s SmartZone. Based on the results from the Gatekeeper Grant, Southfield has provided the LTU Collaboratory additional support over the past year to help foster small business success.

Through the Gatekeeper Grant, the LTU Collaboratory has also strengthened its collaboration and working relationships with agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Centers, Automation Alley, Pure Michigan Small Business Connect, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and other organizations.

The new Gatekeeper grant will continue the momentum established from the first two years’ awards to assist the growth of early stage technology companies, especially in those companies focused on product design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing.

For further information on the programs, contact, Mark Brucki, executive director of the LTU Collaboratory, at mbrucki@ltu.edu.

“Collaboration resources such as those available through Automation Alley, TechTown and SmartZones across Michigan are essential in providing our state’s entrepreneurs the necessary support needed to spark innovation and spur the business economy,” said Fred Molnar, vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the state’s chief marketing and business attraction agency. “The continued funding of these programs demonstrates their impact in not only building and growing startups in Michigan, but in attracting out-of-state talent.”  

Gatekeeper business incubators assist early-stage companies in accessing various services and programs administered by Michigan SmartZones, including mentoring, incubator and wet lab space, technology assessments, market analysis, product development and entrepreneurial training. Under the grants they’ve previously received, Michigan SmartZones have helped 231 companies form, served 1,695 companies, created 730 jobs, retained 4,223 jobs, and assisted companies in raising over $286 million with an additional $125 million in sales.

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 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Oakland University offering automotive contractor safety course

Oakland University is now offering a Lockout of Hazardous Energy Control Course (Green Lock Training). This is a safety training course for first, second and third tier automotive industry contractors. 

The course provides the knowledge and skills needed to safely perform lockout for energy sources while working in a typical modern automotive manufacturing facility. It includes a hands-on lab scenario and student manual.

Attendees can select from several dates to take the one-day course throughout the fall.  The next two available dates are Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, November 9, 2017.  Courses will be held in room 1053 of the Human Health Building located at 433 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester, MI 48309. The course is offered at a fee of $250.   

“We developed this course to meet the training requirements of OSHA, MIOSHA and other state programs,” said Patrick Frazee, M.S., M.A., CIH, CSP, director of Environmental Health and Safety program. “We also built it with automotive industry input and collaboration to fulfill the contractor training requirements for automotive companies.”
Highlights of the program include: 
•       A six-hour course developed to meet the needs of engineers, contractors, technicians who perform lockout during work activities.
•       Course materials that cover OSHA requirements as well as specific requirements and methods used at General Motors including Safety Control Systems and MPS.
•       Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certificate and Green safety locks will be provided upon request. 
•       Course instructor(s) have extensive real world experience in automotive and construction/contractor activity.
•       The course is delivered on OU’s campus and includes lab exercises at an MPS robot cell. 
To register for either course date, visit the website.
For questions about the course, email the instructor, Rob Hart at rhart@oakland.edu.

Flagstar Bank and Oakland University partner to Deliver actionable economic data to broader audience

Flagstar Bank and the Southeastern Michigan Economic Data Center (SEMEDC), a unit of Oakland University’s business school, have teamed up to expand SEMEDC’s analysis of key economic trends and bring its insights to a broader audience.
As the presenting sponsor of the SEMEDC, Flagstar will share the center’s data through its own customer relationships, social, and other media. Flagstar’s sponsorship includes support for research by the university’s undergraduate business students.
“Flagstar serves a large and growing base of commercial customers,” said Drew Ottaway, Michigan Market president and managing director of lending for Flagstar. “We’re excited to bring these customers easy access to powerful economic data that they—and the entire business community—can use to drive growth in our local economy.”
The economic data center was started by OU Economics Professor Jonathan Silberman, Ph.D., who has developed indices to measure key trends specific to Southeastern Michigan. The SEMEDC looks at trends in the labor market, building permits, vacancies, consumer prices, population, and other categories. Silberman and his students just rolled out a new index focusing on the economic vitality of the region.
“The economic vitality index taps into the heartbeat of the economy by combining job growth, unemployment rate, real wage growth, and housing price changes into a single measure of economic vitality that directly impacts households,” Silberman said. “The most recent EVI for metro Detroit shows positive momentum led by housing price gains and a reduction in the unemployment rate. The EVI is available for 19 other cities and a 20-city average.”
Through the SEMEDC, Silberman also provides insights on the automotive industry, including timely topics such as Detroit’s lead ranking in autonomous technology patents.
About Flagstar
Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) is a $16.0 billion savings and loan holding company headquartered in Troy, Mich. Flagstar Bank, FSB, provides commercial, small business, and consumer banking services through 99 branches in the state. It also provides home loans through a wholesale network of brokers and correspondents in all 50 states, as well as 85 retail locations in 26 states, representing the combined retail branches of Flagstar and Opes Advisors mortgage division. Flagstar is a leading national originator and servicer of mortgage loans, handling payments and record keeping for $87 billion of home loans representing 402,000 borrowers. For more information, please visit flagstar.com.
The Southeastern Michigan Economic Data Center (SEMEDC) provides state-of-the-art information and analysis on economic, demographic and business trends in Southeastern Michigan. Data compiled from a wealth of sources is available all in one convenient site. As the real-world data changes, the data and displays are updated automatically, so the information provided is always current. The SEMEDC is part of the School of Business Administration at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

Pontiac Notre Dame to open $7.5M science and technology wing in 2018


Notre Dame Preparatory Academy (NDPMA) broke ground on a new $7.5-million science, art, and technology wing at its Pontiac campus.

The addition, designed by Bloomfield Hills-based TMP Architecture, will span 26,000 square feet and will open in fall 2018. The one-story facility will connect to the present shared middle and upper division wings and offer science-laboratory facilities, collaborative-learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

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Aqua Tots opens Farmington Hills location


Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, a leader in swim instruction since 1991, is making a splash in Farmington Hills May 1 with the opening of a brand new indoor facility. The newest Aqua-Tots Swim School, the fifth in Michigan, will be located at 14 Mile and Orchard Lake Road, next to Orange Theory Fitness & Office Max.

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OU INC hosting nationally acclaimed MEDTECH+ intensive workshop

Calling All Technology-Based Entrepreneurs - OU INC is hosting an intensive workshop for public and university entrepreneurs April 7-9.  

This program, MEDTECH+, has been featured by the National Science Foundation and at leading tech centers around the world and has served over 2,000 teams. 
“This weekend event is equally valuable to growth companies looking to tighten their go to market strategy as well as teach researchers, students, and innovators looking to learn, create, or even join a new technology startup,” said Neil Sheridan, Principle of SVPI and creator of the program.  “I am excited to team up with OU INC and its partners to bring this program to the region”. 
The three-day innovation workshop weekend is designed for researchers, students, and innovators starting a new tech-focused company or growing an existing one.  The skills also apply to those people developing innovation within their companies. 
The agenda includes developing a workable business model, attracting talent to the company and making effective investor and customer presentations. The participants will work with expert business and technology coaches learning to sell technology solutions, conduct market research and act on customer feedback with many hands-on activities.
The weekend will culminate with teams pitching their ideas to guest judges. There will be in-kind services available for the winning presentation.  Judges, coaches, and stakeholders in the medical and technology fields will join the participants in a reception after the pitches.
“This program is a continuation of several key activities this year in commercializing medical device and digital health technologies.  The skills also apply to other technology-based companies.  We are offering this opportunity to attract the many talented people in the area with the ability to create innovations,” said Amy Butler, the executive director of OU INC. “Our program will help attendees understand how to reduce their risk, speed up their launch and make important network connections.”
Irene Spanos, director of Economic Development & Community Affairs for Oakland County said, “Programs like this exist to help our growing Medical Device Cluster here in Southeast Michigan known as Medical Main Street. With over 4,300 life science businesses in Oakland County, these boot camps allow them to get the knowledge they need to compete globally.” 
“With funding support by the New Economy Initiative, we’re offering this startup accelerator program for free because we want to reach out to more potential innovators and founders in our region and strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” Butler added. “A program of this caliber typically costs as much as $1,500. We also want to be able to give participants real feedback and an opportunity to meet companies and stakeholders.”
"Helping new startups launch and expand is a great example of how OU INC helps support entrepreneurs with access to key resources and expertise," said Maria LaLonde, a senior program officer at the New Economy Initiative. "With the new Innovation Weekend, local companies can build a successful path to growth as suppliers and employers within our region.”
Partners contributing to this opportunity include: New Economy Initiative; Medical Main Street Powered by Oakland County; the MedHealth Cluster; the Small Business Association of Michigan; JKY Legal, and SVP, LLC. 
Participants can register for the event at medtechplus.eventbrite.com where a full program schedule and a welcome video explain the content of the event.  Meals are included in the weekend.
About OU INC
OU INC is a Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and strategic industry partners. With a focus on the medtech, energy, mobility, and information technology sectors, OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures and accelerating ideas to market. OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility through the International Business Association for international companies. For more information go to http://www.oakland.edu/ouinc.

Lawrence Tech to build fourth residence hall

The Lawrence Technological University Board of Trustees approved construction of a new, 95,000-square-foot residence hall on its Southfield campus, to open in the fall of 2018.
The new residence hall will be four stories tall and include space for 300 students, along with 22 resident assistants and housing administration staff, according to Michael Guthrie, a partner at inForm Studio, the Northville architecture firm that is designing it.
All four principals at inForm are Lawrence Tech architecture alumni – Guthrie (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1995), Corey Lavigne (Bachelor of Architecture, 1996), Ken Van Tine (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1985, Bachelor of Architecture, 1986), and Gina Van Tine (Bachelor of Science in Architecture, 1989, Bachelor of Architecture, 1994).
“This project will continue the transformation of Lawrence Tech from a commuter-only school to a residential campus, and will offer our on-campus students the latest in amenities designed to enhance their total educational experience,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said.
The new residence hall will be built between two existing residence halls – the Edward Donley Residence Hall, which opened in 2002 and houses 210 students, and the Lloyd E. Reuss Residence Hall, which opened in 2015 and houses 150 students. (Lawrence Tech’s first residence hall, University Housing South, is a nine-story high-rise on 10 Mile Road that houses 390 students. It opened in 1977.)
Guthrie said the project is designed to connect the two major areas of Lawrence Tech’s campus – the main academic Quadrangle to the south, where Donley Hall is located, and North Campus, home to LTU’s Ridler Field House, Reuss Hall, the Art and Design Center, the Applied Research Center, and several office buildings.
“We have two guiding principles for this project,” Guthrie said. “One is the unification of the entire campus to create a very walkable environment, and the other is to create a housing district within the campus.”
Added Joseph Veryser, LTU university architect: “It has been the university's objective to aggregate or cluster undergrad housing in the heart of the campus to better enable entering freshmen to become part of a community and a part of campus life. The principle is one of closeness to one another and closeness to campus activity and core support areas such as food service, bookstore and library. The placement of the building is in line with LTU’s Campus Master Plan that is structured around that philosophy.” 
Guthrie said the building would be designed with two four-story towers linked by a bridge on the second, third and fourth floors. The first floor of the west tower will feature “a lot of communal space,” including a fitness center, coffee shop, and a commons area. Common spaces will also be scattered throughout the building, he said, including study areas, lounges, and music practice rooms.
More about inForm and its work at www.in-formstudio.com.
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 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Beaumont Hospital Children's Center opens new facility in Southfield


Children with autism now can receive treatment at the Beaumont Hospital Children's Center in Southfield, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Ted Lindsay Foundation.

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Business Aviation Expo soars higher

Corporate executives can learn how to make their businesses soar at the Business Aviation Expo on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Oakland County International Airport’s (OCIA) modern LEED Gold-certified airport terminal. At least 20 business aircraft will be on display and available for tours along with 19 aviation vendors to demonstrate the vast benefits of business aviation. OCIA, the Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA), and media partner Crain’s Detroit Business are hosting the event.

“The expo is an opportunity for c-suite executives to learn about how business aviation can boost their bottom lines,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Private air transportation enables both businesses and individuals to reach 5,000 U.S. airports, 10 times as many as commercial airlines.”

Corporate Eagle, Pentastar Aviation, and Royal Air Charter will be among the OCIA businesses on hand next to original equipment manufacturers Dassault Falcon Jet, Bombardier, Embraer Executive Jets, Gulfstream, and Textron.

There will be four break-out sessions designed to educate both veterans of and those who are new to business aviation. These sessions are “Getting Started in Business Aviation” by Brad Bruce, vice president of sales for Pentastar Aviation and Roger Salo, chair of the MBAA; “The Ins and Outs of Fractional Ownership” with Rick Nini, president and CEO of Corporate Eagle; the “Aircraft Transactions and other Hot Topics” with Clifford Maine, chairman of the aviation law group at the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg; and “When Cash is King, Leasing may be the Answer” by Greg Babcock, vice president - central USA sales region for Global Jet Capital.

OCIA hosted Michigan’s first business aviation expo last year. Participants wanted to see the event grow, so OCIA and its sponsors are making the event bigger and better this year. For more information or to register, go to www.OakGov.com/Aviation and click on the expo link. To join the conversation, use #MichAirExpo.

The Business Aviation Expo is made possible by its sponsors. At the Gold Level are Corporate Eagle, Pentastar Aviation, and Royal Air Charter. At the Silver Level are Dassault Falcon Jet, Satcom Direct, and Sidock Group, Inc.

Walsh College celebrates $15 million expansion

Walsh College is celebrating the grand opening of a $15 million, 55,000 sq. ft. addition to its main campus in Troy this Friday, May 20. 
A two-story Success Center is the academic focus of the investment made by the business college. Renovations to existing facilities are also among the improvements. They include more classroom spaces and improved electrical access for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

The addition is designed to enhance students' business communication skills, including written communication, public speaking, and executive presence. On the second floor, a modern open office-style area with collaborative spaces and meeting rooms will be available.

The new features are many. There is a Mother's Room for nursing students and staff, a Veteran's Room for active duty and veteran students, and ten new student study rooms. There's a new space for Student Services, an Alumni Room, and a Student Organizations Room. A 40-seat auditorium, Cyber Lab, and Testing Center have also been added. The new Fireside Student Lounge and a cafe offer students places to unwind.

"Students and employers expect high quality from our programs. These outstanding facilities reflect that quality," Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO Walsh College, says in a statement. "We look forward to building our legacy for excellence well into our second century."

The improvements occurred on Walsh College's main campus in Troy, in which it occupies 30 acres at the intersection of Livernois and E. Wattles roads. The business college was founded by accountant Mervyn Walsh in Detroit in 1922, where it operated out of the Capitol Theatre Building—which is now the home of the Detroit Opera House. Walsh College left Detroit for Troy in 1970, where it has been located ever since. The school now has additional locations in Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron.

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

Oakland University Board of Trustees approves designs for Southern Student Housing Complex

The Oakland University Board of Trustees today approved the schematic designs of the university’s new Southern Student Housing Complex project. The project completion date is planned for August 2018.

The Southern Student Housing Complex project will consist of approximately 750 beds primarily for sophomore and junior students and include dining options and academic spaces.

The overall size of the facility is estimated at approximately 290,000 square feet with a total project cost of $78M. The building is being designed to meet LEED Gold Standards.

Prior actions by the Board of Trustees on this project include:

September 28, 2015: A Student Housing Planning Update is presented to the Board’s Facilities Committee and the Facilities Committee directs university administrators to issue an RFP for design services for the project.

December 2, 2015: The Board of Trustees approves Neumann Smith as the project’s architectural firm.

February 22, 2016: The Board of Trustees approves Frank Rewold and Son, Inc. for construction management services

Demand for student housing on campus at Oakland University continues to rise. Overall student enrollment has grown, student recruitment is now from a wider geographical area and there has been a significant population expansion among Honors College students whose scholarships allow them to live on campus.

In 2014, when Oak View Hall (Oakland’s most recent student housing addition) opened, it was filled to capacity less than 24 hours after the student housing application process opened. 

This latest construction initiative is intended to help build Oakland’s offerings as a residential campus. The project also promises to boost student retention and graduation rates.

Abundant research points to enhancement of campus life supporting greater levels of institutional success, primarily because students who live or spend greater amounts of time on campus have a greater sense of community and become more fully engaged in academic, cultural and social engagement activities. 

The project has also been planned in alignment with Oakland University's newly adopted Strategic Plan, which includes a mission statement identifying the institution as "a preeminent metropolitan university that is recognized as a student-centered, doctoral research institution with global perspective."

With more than $200 million invested in campus facilities over the past five years, Oakland continues to address the substantial need for infrastructure upgrades, the addition of housing options and the need for additional classroom and academic support space.

LTU sustainability project in Detroit is finalist for global award

A project to turn a school on Detroit's west side into a learning laboratory for sustainability is in the running for a global architecture award.

The project, called the [sw]LAB NZE Hybridized Ecosystem, was designed by studio[Ci], a Lawrence Technological University architecture and design laboratory, a team of more than three dozen LTU students, and four LTU professors in both architecture and engineering.

The project site is the Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy at 4700 Tireman Ave. in Detroit, a pre-K-through-8th-grade school in the Detroit Public Schools.

The award is a finalist for the Architizer A+ Awards in the category “Landscape and Planning – Unbuilt Masterplan.” To vote for the LTU system, visit http://awards.architizer.com/public/voting/?cid=101. The deadline for voting is April 1.
The Architizer A+ Awards, now in their fourth year, are sponsored by New York City-based Architizer, an online database for sourcing architectural services and building products.

Since fall 2013, studio[Ci] has offered LTU expertise through faculty and students to design and build a Net Zero Energy canopy structure to be part of an outdoor classroom at the academy. To test the long-term vision for the school and the neighborhood, a prototype structure will be installed to generate electricity from photovoltaics and collect water to irrigate gardens at the school site, in an area that will be used as part of an outdoor classroom.

The structure will be a solar and water collection array mounted on a pole, with eight photovoltaic panels and a rainwater transport, storage and irrigation system. The outdoor classroom – designed by sixth graders at the school, with guidance from studio[Ci], the DPS Go Green Challenge and Garden Collaborative programs -- will provide hands-on learning and training in net zero energy technologies, food production, composting and recycling. Included will be six raised garden beds and a raingarden.

LTU professors leading the design project are Associate Professor of Architecture Constance C. Bodurow, who founded studio[Ci] in 2008; Civil Engineering Professor Donald Carpenter; Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Fletcher. And Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Keith J. Kowalkowski. College Professor of Architecture Charles O'Geen participated in 2015. Significant technical and design support has been donated by Ruby + Associates, SME, and Roncelli Inc.

Primary funding to design and install the prototype has been provided by a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) grant, which also funded the initial neighborhood-wide NZE project in 2010-12, with additional support from the deans of Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design and College of Engineering, the Coleman Foundation, and Michigan State University’s University Center for Regional Economic Innovation. DPS has served as primary partner and has provided support through lead teachers and administrators.

Eventually, a larger project is planned at the academy, including a large photovoltaic and geothermal energy farm, extensive stormwater management installations, more gardens, and more outdoor classrooms. The ultimate vision, Bodurow said, is not only to achieve net zero energy, but to generate educational and training opportunities through collaboration with the community, as well as creating new economic opportunities, and restoring the school as the hub of the neighborhood. The long-term plan is to make the school – and, eventually, the neighborhood itself -- net zero energy, meaning it produces all the energy it needs through renewable sources, manages its water resources, and produces zero waste, including zero stormwater runoff. The LTU team has developed a monitoring system in collaboration with the school which could form the basis for a curriculum that will engage students in STEAM lesson plans about sustainability using the installed technologies.

Other partners in the project include the office of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the Detroit Department of Neighborhoods District 6, Detroit Future City, It Starts At Home 48204, and the residents, parents, and businesses of the Tireman neighborhood.

Birmingham-based Goldfish Swim School Franchising named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch

Goldfish Swim School Franchising LLC, which has grown into a multistate franchise network since it was founded in 2006 with a single location in Birmingham, has been named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.
The prestigious annual list, sponsored by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, honors growth-oriented, Michigan-based businesses that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace or exhibit innovative products or processes.
“We believe this recognition is further validation that the Goldfish Swim School network is built on a solid foundation and is well-positioned for continued expansion,” said company CEO Chris McCuiston, who with his wife, Jenny, founded Goldfish Swim School 10 years ago this month at 2388 Cole St., Suite 101, in Birmingham.
Goldfish Swim School, Michigan’s first aquatic facility dedicated entirely to indoor swim classes, provides water safety education and swim lessons to children ages 4 months through 12 years. Its confidence-building curriculum was developed by Jenny McCuiston, a state championship swimmer at Birmingham Seaholm High School and 17-time Collegiate All-American at the University of Arizona, where she earned her degree in early childhood development & family studies. 
When exploring how to expand the concept beyond the Birmingham location, the McCuistons opted to create a franchising program that resulted in the first franchise location opening in 2009 in Farmington Hills.
Today, more than 55 schools are open or in development in more than 17 states, including nine in Michigan. The McCuistons still own the school in Birmingham, where they also maintain Goldfish Swim School Franchising’s nearby corporate headquarters.
Their future expansion plans include the goal of increasing their franchise network to 130 locations by 2024.
It’s that growth that was recognized by the judges who selected Goldfish as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. The competition is open to what are known as “second stage” companies that are past the startup phase and facing issues of growth, not survival. They must also demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, sustainable competitive advantage or other notable successes.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished during our first 10 years in business, and we look forward to further spreading our Michigan-made learn-to-swim program throughout the country,” Chris McCuiston said. “Much of the credit for our success to date goes to our members – families who understand the various ways swimming lessons benefit their children – and our dedicated and passionate franchisees.” 
Each franchise has a significant economic impact in its community. Development costs $1.4 to $3 million per location, on average, and each school employs approximately 50 workers.
“We also sincerely believe that we’re making a difference in the lives of the more than 40,000 students we teach each week who are learning to swim and be safer in and around the water,” McCuiston said. “Children at Goldfish are learning safety skills that will stay with them forever.”
Classes are taught by professional, trained and certified instructors in a safe, kid-friendly setting.
Colorful murals and faux palm trees create a tropical decor in each location. Goldfish pools, which are custom-built for teaching, are 4½ feet deep at their deepest. To create a shiver-free environment, water temperatures are kept at a comfortable 90 degrees while the ambient air in the pool area is always 92 degrees. Parents can observe lessons from an air-conditioned viewing area.
The concept was designed to eliminate the anxiety and chill that often accompany traditional swimming lessons by providing a warm-water pool, small class sizes (maximum 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio) and a focus on perpetual learning that allows children to progress naturally.
Safety is also a constant theme. In addition to focusing on water safety skills in each swim lesson, Goldfish staff members regularly visit schools to give water safety presentations to students in their community.
Michigan Celebrates Small Business consists of organizations that support and celebrate entrepreneurs in Michigan: Chris Holman, small business advocate; the Edward Lowe Foundation; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; the Michigan Small Business Development Center; the Small Business Association of Michigan; and the U.S. Small Business Administration – Michigan.
More information about Goldfish Swim School is available at www.goldfishswimschool.com

Oakland FlexTech Academy opens state-of-art makerspace


Oakland FlexTech Academy announce the launch of its state-of-the-art makerspace. Community members of all ages are invited to tour the space, experiment with the new tools and technology, participate in hands on activities, and enjoy light refreshments.

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OCC receives grant to continue Goldman Sachs "10,000 Small Businesses" initiative

Oakland Community College (OCC) received tangible recognition of its role in the Goldman Sachs “10,000 Small Businesses” initiative with a two-year grant partnership renewal.

The program currently operates in select markets across the U.S. The initial grant provided to OCC and area partners, was implemented as a five-year commitment. The new contract provides an opportunity to continue with the program.

To graduate, participants have to complete more than 100 hours of study offered by a consortium consisting of Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Wayne State University and Babson College in Massachusetts.

The Detroit market is deemed most successful.

“We’re proud of the fact that the Detroit-area program is outpacing others in two notable areas: revenue growth and job creation,” said Danielle Love, OCC program manager. She adds the program is a true regional partnership.

Faculty are trained to deliver national curriculum to participants – small and medium-sized business owners who have a business poised for growth. OCC provides the lead faculty member, Kent Snyder, for the program.

“The dynamic of this group is very different from a typical business classroom. These entrepreneurs are taking time from their businesses, not pulling in income when they attend these sessions,” explains OCC’s Tony Racka, one of the original program faculty members. “They are not looking for a traditional MBA or the theory behind larger corporate strategies. They want practical and implementable curriculum with a focus on small and medium business. The tone is refreshing, with a nervous tension in the room, in a very real environment.”

“People forget that big companies started small. These business owners are taking big risks and working the American dream. It’s exciting to see the successes. Our graduates are ambitious, hustling entrepreneurs,” Racka and Love added.

One of the largest deliverables of the program is a five-year growth plan. The case study is the participants’ own business, reviewed by business analysts.

Access to capital is a significant piece of the program as well. Several graduates are recipients of Goldman Sachs capital loans and many receive alternative sources of funding as part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI).

“It’s great to see past participants including the owners of McClure’s Pickles, Walker-Miller Energy Services and McClary Bros. Vinegars take off. They are passionate about business growth and creating jobs in our communities,” said Racka.

The next cohort (sixth in the program), begins November 6 and ends March 5, 2016. All classes are taught by OCC and MCC faculty and held in Detroit at WSU or TechTown.

Recruiting for the next cohort begins early 2016; applications are due June 2016. Program eligibility includes businesses who are in operation for at least two years, poised for growth with revenues of more than $100,000 in the most recent fiscal year and want to really dig in. Owners or co-owners of the business are accepted and the business must have at least two employees (including the owner).The type of business does not matter.

For more information, visit: http://10ksbdetroit.com.

About OCC
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences that allow each student to reach their full potential and enhance the diverse communities they serve. More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC and more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit oaklandcc.edu.

Automation Alley opens $10.5M Innovation Lab at Oakland University


Troy-based Automation Alley, a non-profit technology business accelerator, today showed off a $10.5 million laboratory designed for product demonstrations at its technology center on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills.

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Ulliance announces new business partnerships

Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) recently secured several new and renewed business partnerships offering one or more of its human resource service lines to metro Detroit companies and organizations. 
College for Creative Studies and Marywood Nursing Care Center will utilize Ulliance’s training programs for staff and leadership. This training is designed to strengthen employee skills to help them become more effective and efficient within their organizations.
Terumo Cardiovascular interns will benefit from Ulliance’s Career Transition Services, which offer training and coaching on how to effectively search for a job.
Additionally, Ulliance has been selected to provide Life Advisor Employee Assistance Programs to the City of Troy, the City of MidlandCLAW LogisticsCreative Foam CorporationGÜDEL and Oakland County.
“After 25 years, Ulliance continues to build and grow strong relationships with our clients,” said Kent Sharkey, president and CEO of Ulliance. “We are proud to offer our services to organizations and companies, helping them make a positive difference in the lives of their employees.”
For more information about Ulliance and its service lines, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.
About Ulliance, Inc.
Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) is celebrating 25 years as an international service company headquartered in Troy, Michigan. Ulliance provides human resources services including employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, training programs, organizational and leadership development, coaching, career transition services, and crisis management to more than 260 organizations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe serving nearly one million people. Since 1990, Ulliance’s team has assisted organizations of various sizes to greatly reduce behavioral healthcare costs while increasing employee productivity and retention. For more information about Ulliance, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.

Wixom-based Kidpreneur to open second location in Madison Heights


Kidpreneur, a Wixom-based program that offers technology and programming-focused classes for kids, will open its second classroom location near Oakland Mall in Madison Heights in September.

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Oak View Hall gets LEED Gold certification for green building

Oak View Hall, Oakland University’s newest 500-bed student housing complex, recently struck gold in green building certification.

Oak View Hall’s unique architecture and design has captured LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Gold certification status.

To reach LEED status from the U.S. Green Building Council, building projects have to earn points based on their ability to save money and resources and have a positive impact on its residents, while promoting renewable, clean energy, according to the building council.

Oak View was awarded 63 points in green energy building categories such as sustainability, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Only Platinum certification is higher than Gold, which is between 60 and 79 points out of 100.

Oak View, which offers bike racks, preferred parking for low-emission vehicles and shielded light fixtures, hit many green building requirements that helped it achieve its LEED Gold status. It also features dual-flush toilets, low-flow bathroom fixtures and showerheads, and an enhanced refrigerant management system that consumes 18 percent less energy than a typical dorm building.

The building’s project managers also thought green during the construction process, recycling more than 95 percent of the construction waste generated by the project and using about 15 percent of recycled materials. Twenty percent of the construction materials were sourced regionally, as well.

The student hall has also received the Masonry Institute of Michigan's President Award for its use of masonry throughout. 

The 164,724 square-foot, $30 million facility was officially opened in August 2014. University officials broke ground on the project in 2013. The residence hall was constructed due to a nearly 40 percent increase in housing rental agreements in the previous four years.

Supply Chain Summit highlights innovation and state's logistics resources

In today's competitive global economy, Michigan businesses are searching for ways to strengthen the backbone of their enterprise - logistics and supply chain. Effectively managing warehousing, distribution, inventory and production are at the core of profitability and the driving force behind the state's newly created logistics and supply chain strategic plan.

That strategy along with the emerging challenges facing small- and medium-size businesses will be among the topics at the "Michigan Supply Chain Innovation Summit," Aug. 30-31 at the Henry Ford Event and Conference Center in Dearborn.

A New Emphasis
"There's a new emphasis in economic development strategy on the significance and priority on the state's supply chain network," said Steve Arwood, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which co-hosts the supply chain summit along with Prima Civitas.
"At the MEDC, our role is to serve as a catalyst and facilitator, bringing together the private sector, distinguished academic minds, public sector resources and a strategic approach to meld knowledge with economic opportunity," said Arwood. "The summit is a major step in making the state's logistics and supply chain strategy a reality."

"We are excited to bring together thought leaders and innovators in the supply chain industry," said Arnold Weinfeld, CEO of economic and community development catalyst Prima Civitas. "The Summit will be all about pushing the boundaries of today's best practices."

Located at the heart of the NAFTA corridor, Michigan's supply chain and logistics network combines global know-how and on-going innovation, according to Arwood. The state's strategy focuses on providing key logistical support to a range of small-to-midsize manufacturing and agricultural businesses.

Be Inspired
With the opening session set amid the dramatic landscape of The Henry Ford's exhibits of some of the nation's greatest industrial innovations, the summit brings together today's leading supply-chain-and-logistics thinkers who will offer insight into successful integrated and tailored supply chain solutions, talent development and leadership, along with managing revenue, risk and complexity. By 2020, trade with Canada is expected to further increase with the creation of a new international trade crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

Summit sessions include a critical examination of current supply chain practices, innovations on the horizon, and advice on how to take advantage of Michigan's tactical logistical assets and "knowledge resources."

For details and online registration for the Michigan Supply Chain Innovation Summit, please visithttp://www.michigansupplychainsummit.com 

 Early Bird Discount applies before July 1.

LTU's new academic complex is taking shape

Now that much of the steel structure for the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Life Sciences, and Architecture Complex has been put in place in the past few weeks, it is easier to envision how LTU’s Quadrangle will look once the project is completed.

Joseph Veryser, Lawrence Tech’s campus architect, said that the project remains on schedule. The building should be ready for occupancy by the end of May 2016. It will take another two months to get the academic facilities ready in time for the fall semester that begins in August 2016.

Detroit-based Albert Kahn Family of Companies is the architect of record, and the DeMaria Building Company of Detroit and Novi is the general contractor. Pritzker Architecture Laureate Thom Mayne of Morphosis is the design architect.

The building is named after retail developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, who died in April after contributing the lead gift in support of the structure.

Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center at Providence-Providence Park Hospital opens

A new highly advanced surgical training facility is now open at Providence-Providence Park Hospital in Novi. The Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center provides specialized surgical training to surgeons from throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

VESIC is designed to foster collaboration with leading-edge medical device manufacturers to provide training courses on innovative surgical techniques and procedures. The 9,000-square-foot, $3.5M facility features a 14-station training lab where surgeons will learn and perfect surgical procedures and techniques. There is also a 50-seat auditorium to that allows doctors to view live surgeries. This type of direct visualization is critical to the training experience.

”This new hallmark training center will continue to build on the regional and national reputation of St. John Providence as clinical leaders,” says Peter Karadjoff, president of Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Novi.

VESIC’s creation was envisioned by Providence-Providence Park Hospital neurotology surgeons, Drs. Dennis Bojrab, Michael LaRouere and Seilesh Babuand made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from Mr. Art Van Elslander.

“This center is a flex-designed, multi-disciplinary training center capable of hosting innovative surgical training and other ground breaking medical courses. Some of the first training sessions in the center will be temporal bone and skull-based courses,” says Bojrab.

St. John Providence has partnered with Platinum Training to provide their exceptional management ability in building centers and attracting physicians from around the world to train here. Platinum has an established network of integrated surgical training and education centers in seven locations across the country and offers extensive relationships in the equipment and anatomical tissue market.

VESIC will be an integral component to linking medical education and training throughout Michigan and eventually through the other Ascension Health ministries across the United States.

Providence-Providence Park Hospital, Novi is part of St. John Providence. SJP is comprised of five hospitals plus more than 125 medical facilities in southeast Michigan. Every year at St. John Providence, we touch thousands of lives in southeast Michigan through services such as heart, cancer, obstetrics, neurosciences, orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, behavioral medicine, surgery, emergency and urgent care. St. John Providence is part of Ascension Health, the largest non-profit and Catholic health system in the country. Ascension (www.ascension.org) is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care.

Birmingham-based Goldfish Swim School making a splash nationwide


About 10 years ago, the husband-and-wife team of Jenny and Chris McCuiston founded Goldfish Swim School at 2338 Cole St. in Birmingham with a simple goal: improving on the age-old practice of teaching kids to swim.

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OCC nets cash for skilled trades equipment


Oakland Community College will receive $4.5 million to purchase equipment for training in auto servicing, collision repair, medium/heavy truck and commercial driving.

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Automation Alley receives a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has received a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software to be used in hands-on training of individuals enrolled in classes at the Automation Alley Technology Center. The grant includes licenses of NX™ software, Solid Edge® software, Teamcenter® software and the Tecnomatix® portfolio — the same commercial software used to develop some of the world’s most sophisticated and innovative products. Trainees will learn how to use this software to design, test and manufacture products in a variety of industries. 

Located inside OU INC — a Smart Zone business accelerator on the campus of Oakland University — the Automation Alley Technology Center opened in February 2014 to address the need in Southeast Michigan for affordable training of local employees, students and individuals in product lifecycle management (PLM) technologies and processes. PLM is a set of software technologies and processes used to manage and execute every phase of a product’s development, delivery and service throughout its lifecycle, from conception and design, through manufacture, to customer support and disposal. In the fall of 2014, the center expanded its offerings to allow for the inclusion of additional technology resources and partnerships.

“I would like to thank Siemens PLM Software for their generous grant to the Automation Alley Technology Center. This software will allow us to equip the local workforce with the skills necessary to compete in today’s highly digital manufacturing environment,” said Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center. “Siemens is a valued partner in our mission to help make small and medium-size businesses become more competitive and keep manufacturing here in Southeast Michigan.”

“Siemens PLM Software is a proud supporter of Automation Alley and their efforts to provide local companies with access to new and emerging technologies,” said Gerald Deren, executive director of business development and consulting for Siemens PLM Software. “We believe the software we are providing, coupled with the efforts of Automation Alley and its partners, will help manufacturers optimize their digital enterprises and realize innovation.”

The Automation Technology Center is located on the campus of Oakland University at OU INC, off Adams Road, south of Walton Boulevard. 

For more information about available training, contact Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center, at 248-648-4701 or violassia@automationalley.com.

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, emerging technologies 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 automationalley.com.

New partnership offers connected vehicle technology credentialing program

SAE International, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA), and Mobile Comply have formed a partnership to jointly develop and deliver a three-course training and credentialing program in connected vehicle technology.

The program is aimed at IT professionals, software engineers, automotive engineers, information and vehicle technicians, insurance and telecommunications professionals, transportation staff, and service professionals who desire understanding of Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, and Vehicle-to-X connectivity inclusive to the rapidly advancing field of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Connected Vehicles.

Using a blended learning approach, the first course in the series, Connected Vehicle Professional I - Function, Protocols, and Architecture, will be offered in conjunction with SAE’s World Congress in April. Access to online course content will open April 13, followed by two half-day classroom sessions on April 20, 21 at the Penobscot building in Detroit. The class, totaling 26 hours of content, finishes with additional online learning modules and final learning assessment which concludes on April 29.

Learners who successfully complete the online learning assessment earn a Certificate of Competency, jointly awarded from SAE and CVTA. To learn more or register for the course, visit http://mobilecomply.com/sae-world-congress/.

The other two courses in the series include Connected Vehicle Professional II - Standards, Organizations, Programs, V2X and Connected Vehicle Professional III - Data, Markets, Policy and Regulations. All three courses combined total 100 hours of training.

Kevin Perry, Global Manager of SAE’s Professional Development program commented that, “This is an exciting opportunity for SAE to address the growing demand in automotive and allied industries to better understand connected vehicle technologies and the systems those technologies enable. Partnering with CVTA and Mobile Comply brings together a strong set of partners that can define training needs, deliver quality training, validate mastery of training content, and confer a powerful industry credential.”

CVTA Executive Director Scott McCormick explained that, “CVTA, SAE and Mobile Comply seek to provide a solid foundation of learning across the full connected vehicle ecosystem. Our goal is to provide a full understanding of the vision, purpose, uses, practices and implementations of vehicle communications so that the trainees may leverage this knowledge for their companies and projects. Business sectors typically outside of the automotive space will understand where the V2X environment is heading, and how to participate in that future.”

Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of Mobile Comply added, "With the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Connected Vehicle space in the next few years, and the growing participation of non-typical automotive industries such as insurance, IT, analytics and telecommunications, it become imperative to have a common frame of understanding, and a mechanism to establish competency in this field. Credentials are one important and universally recognized way to do this. With the structured and scalable training Mobile Comply can provide, the knowledge CVTA can impart, and the adjudication of that learning independently by SAE International we have a robust, consistent and multi-sector learning environment that is crucial for professionals entering into and working in this space."

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 137,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

Mobile Comply is an international leader in mobile training and curriculum development. Its training & certifications are recognized worldwide for excellence in mobile connectivity, mobile development, application security and connected vehicle curricula among others. Mobile Comply specializes in programs for mobile implementation, related policy and regulations and how to deploy mobile devices, applications, and proper security practices. We also partner with organizations to develop customized educational content and delivery strategies. Associates include writers, editors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and trainers.

The Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) is a non-profit business league established to facilitate the interaction, and advance the interests, of the entities involved in the vehicle communication environment. The Connected Vehicle Trade Association enables the collaboration of companies, organizations, and governmental bodies engaged in developing bidirectional vehicle communications. Membership is open to any corporation, public entities, standards and specification organizations, educational institutions and qualified individuals.



New $4.9M OU athletic dome partners with private sports company


Oakland University’s students and sports teams aren’t the only ones benefiting from the school’s new 108,000-square-foot athletic dome.

As part of a public-private partnership, the $4.9 million facility will be leased to Total Sports Complex during off-hours, allowing the Wixom-based company to further expand its presence in Michigan.

Read more.

Sea Life Aquarium ups metro Detroit's tourist draw

More than 5,000 sea creatures, from sharks and stingrays to octopi and jellyfish, have settled in to their new home inside a Auburn Hills shopping mall as opening day for the Sea Life Aquarium arrives.
Sea Life Michigan, which is owned by United Kingdom-based Merlin Entertainments, opens today inside a massively overhauled space that was previously a Gameworks.

The attraction at Great Lakes Crossing is expected to draw tourists from across the region and become a new thing to do for families and lover of ocean life, who will find an interactive touchpool, animal feedings, presentations from ocean life experts and more than 30 other tanks. Freshwater fish are part of Sea Life Michigan and will be a part of a Great Lakes education component.

Sea Life is also expected to be a destination for school field trips and other educational endeavors. With its combination of fun, education and conservation/rescue it is expected to be a boon for the mall as a whole and for nearby hotels.

Sea Life Michigan is one of eight U.S. locations and dozens more worldwide.

Source: Steve Berlow, general manager, Great Lakes Crossing
Writer: Kim North Shine

Oakland U building first fire science lab in Midwest

Oakland University wants to build the first fire-science lab in the Midwest.

Manufacturers have already donated $275,000 of equipment that would go into the Fire Science Lab, which would be a classroom for OU's Occupational Safety & Health students, a training site for employees who work in fire and safety for private manufacturers, the government and a range of workplaces. It would also be a field-trip site for companies wanting to prepare their employees for fire emergencies.

Inside the lab, real fires can be set, sustained and extinguished for an up-close understanding and analysis of the operation and effectiveness of fire suppression equipment, devices and systems.

Fire code enforcement agencies, government agencies, safety consulting firms, insurance companies and a multitude of manufacturers large and small can use the laboratory to provide training, demonstrations and certifications.

While donations for equipment have been given, there is still a need for donations to build the lab, and OU is looking for sponsors. Once the construction costs are covered, the lab could be operational within four to six weeks, says Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director of OU’s Occupational Safety and Health program. For more information on sponsorships, click here.

The lab would be the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of about a dozen nationwide, he says.

“The addition of the new Fire Safety Laboratory will give our graduates the advantage of experiencing first-hand the capabilities of various fire suppression systems and devices," he says.The training will also lead them to jobs that are in short supply in the fire safety industry.

"Today’s safety professionals play an essential role helping companies maintain profitability while ensuring safe, healthy workplaces and environments," he says. "We are driven to continuously improve, keeping pace with ever-changing needs of the market -- the future industries and employers of our graduates," McGlothlin says. "The Fire Safety Laboratory is a tremendous resource which we intend to put to use to benefit the greater community, state and region."

Source: Brian Bierley, spokesperson, Oakland University, and Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director, Occupational Safety & Health program at Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Chamberlain College of Nursing expands with first campus in Metro Detroit

Filling a critical and growing need for nursing education in the metro Detroit area, Chamberlain College of Nursing is opening a new campus in Troy, Michigan, and is now accepting applications for admission to spring semester classes, which begin Jan. 5, 2015. The Troy campus is Chamberlain’s first in Michigan and 16th in the nation.
“The city of Troy has good reason to be proud of its quality educational opportunities,” said Troy Mayor Dane Slater. “Chamberlain College of Nursing, moving into Troy, adds to this fine tradition, and we welcome Chamberlain’s nursing students. I am glad that Troy attracted a regionally-accredited college that educates students for a high-demand field, such as nursing.”
Michigan is one of many states currently facing an impending nursing shortage, with a projected shortfall of 18,000 nurses by 2015. Several factors are driving demand for primary care services: the rapidly growing population of baby boomers age 65 and older, who constitute 20 percent of the population and have more chronic healthcare needs; 1.5 million newly insured patients entering the healthcare marketplace by 2015; and the anticipated retirement of more than 40 percent of the state’s registered nurse (RN) workforce within 10 years.
“Healthcare is adding more jobs than any industry in Michigan to meet the shortage of health professionals in Detroit,” said Susan Groenwald, PhD, RN, ANEF, national president of Chamberlain College of Nursing. “Chamberlain looks forward to educating the future nursing leaders who can respond to the state’s healthcare needs and care for Michigan’s diverse and aging population.” 
Despite rising demand for healthcare services and personnel, 2,154 qualified applicants were turned away from Michigan nursing programs in 2013 due to insufficient capacity. In addition to helping fill this need, the new Chamberlain campus provides baccalaureate-level education opportunities for future nurses. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. However, in Southeast Michigan, less than half of RNs hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Located 21 miles north of Detroit at  200 Kirts Blvd., Chamberlain’s new Troy campus offers an on-site Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN) degree program that can be completed in as few as three years of year-round study instead of the typical four years with summers off. The campus features Chamberlain’s SIMCARE CENTER™, which provides high-tech simulated patient care in clinical learning environments, and a Center for Academic Success, which delivers comprehensive academic resources and support for students. The education experience is grounded in Chamberlain Care, an approach that includes a unique student academic success model. Through extraordinary student care, students are empowered to achieve their career goals and to deliver exceptional patient care.
The campus dean, Jaime Sinutko, PhD(c), MSN, RN, has more than 14 years of experience as an RN and a decade of experience as a nurse educator. Sinutko was previously the inaugural director of nursing and an associate professor at Rochester College School of Nursing in Michigan. She earned BSN and Master of Science in Nursing degrees from Oakland University, where she is currently working on a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership.
Open houses for prospective students will be held at the Troy campus on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 4-7 p.m., and Friday, Oct. 24 from 4-7 p.m. For more information about Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Troy campus or to RSVP, visit chamberlain.edu/troy.
About Chamberlain College of Nursing
For 125 years, Chamberlain College of Nursing has been at the forefront of excellence in nursing education. Chamberlain is increasing access to nursing education nationwide with campuses offering the three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program and flexible online programs such as the RN to BSN option, Master of Science in Nursing degree program, Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program and Graduate Certificates.
Chamberlain College of Nursing is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (ncahlc.org). HLC is one of the eight regional agencies that accredit U.S. colleges and universities at the institutional level. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program and the Master of Science in Nursing degree program at Chamberlain College of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202.887.6791). The Associate Degree in Nursing program at the Columbus location is accredited with conditions by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404.975.5000). Accreditation provides assurance to the public and to prospective students that standards of quality have been met.
Program/program option availability varies by state/location. Chamberlain reserves the right to update information as it becomes available. Information is current at the time of posting. For the most updated accreditation information, visit chamberlain.edu/accreditation. Comprehensive consumer information is available at chamberlain.edu/studentconsumerinfo.
Chamberlain College of Nursing, LLC is a part of DeVry Education Group (NYSE: DV), a global provider of educational services. All rights reserved. chamberlain.edu.


New markers tell history of downtown Clawson

Visitors to downtown Clawson can take a glimpse into the past while shopping for the home at Leon & Lulu, dining on Vietnamese at Da Nang or sipping suds at Black Lotus Brewery.

The history lessons come through a series of permanent markers erected in August to tell the story of Clawson's past and add an element of interest to the downtown center that conveys and old meets new appeal.

Seventeen History Walk plaques are spread through four sections of downtown, says Joan Horton, director of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority.

The DDA and the Clawson Historical Museum worked together on the project sponsored by Talmer Bank.

The object, says Horton, is for downtown visitors "to take a stroll to enjoy the downtown of today while learning about the one of the past."

The plaques are installed on posts along sidewalks and on buildings such as the Black Lotus Brewery (formerly the Clawson State Savings Bank), Leon & Lulu (where the Ambassador Roller Rink once operated), and the closed Clawson Theater, which is under renovation.

"Overall, using text and photos, they help to tell the story of Clawson -- the steam powered mill that was in the northeast corner, the interurban train, horses and cars sharing dirt roads downtown and on through to the process of paving in 1928 and glimpses of life into the 1950s," says Horton.

Printed rack cards showing marker locations are available at City Hall, the historical museum, the library, Black Lotus and Leon & Lulu.

Source: Joan Horton, director, Clawson Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Walsh College breaks ground on $15 million addition

Walsh College will break ground for the $15 million addition and renovation to its Troy campus at 3838 Livernois at a special ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday, September 5, 2014. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must register at www.walshcollege.edu/groundbreaking.

Originally announced last April, the project will include a two-story, 27,000 square-foot renovation and addition to Walsh’s original Troy campus building, built in the 1970s, and a 28,000 square-foot renovation to existing interior spaces.  Construction is anticipated to take 18 months. 

The addition will encompass distinct pavilions with a business-communication focused student success center, a student lounge, and a “one-stop” student services center.

“Along with recently announced enhancements to our graduate business programs, the groundbreaking underscores the bright future we envision for Walsh, our students, and the community,” said Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO, Walsh College.

“New and updated facilities offer a contemporary learning and teaching environment ideally suited for students and faculty, and also present a modern face to the community,” Bergeron added.

The technologically advanced student success center will focus on the development of business-communication skills critical
to leadership roles.  The student lounge will have an interactive meeting space ideal for collaboration, as well as additional study areas.

The student services center will house departments ranging from admissions to career services.  It will provide efficient, “one-stop” service and private spaces for academic advising, support, and corporate recruiting.

Walsh’s student body now totals more than 4,000, nearly evenly divided between men and women.  More than 91 percent attend part-time.  About 83 percent of the College’s 26,000 alumni live in Michigan.

Other recent building renovations at Walsh College’s Troy campus have included the 37,000 square-foot Jeffrey W. Barry Center, completed in 2007; the Blackstone LaunchPad for entrepreneurs in 2010; a Barnes & Noble bookstore in 2012; and a Finance Lab in 2013.

The architect for the current project is Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Chicago.

With the impending start of construction, about 80 Walsh staff personnel have moved to temporary quarters at the Sheffield Center, Troy.  Most direct student services and faculty, however, remain at the main campus on Livernois.  In all cases, phone numbers, email, and mailing addresses are unchanged.

For more information about Walsh College, visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Walsh College plans $15M expansion

The Walsh College Board of Trustees has formally approved a $15 million improvement to the college’s original campus building on Livernois Road in Troy, enhancing business student learning experiences and strengthening their success potential in the global marketplace.

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Ferndale's Go Comedy! improv artists take stage as workplace consultants

Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale has found another stage for its performers' quick wits, teamwork, and senses of humor in workplace workshops.

It's a sideline to its main business of nightly, rotating shows and one of several ways that the theater's improv artists have added to their repertoire. The workshops, which can last an hour or two or a full day, can "train your group to function as a well-oiled machine," says Go! Comedy Improv Theater's Andy French.

The workshops can go to the workplace or the workers can come to the workshop at the Go! Comedy Improv Theater at 261 E. 9 Mile in downtown Ferndale.

“We use hilarious improv games to teach people how to be a crucial part of the team. Learn to cooperate and create together and have a great time doing it,” French says.

Skills to be learned through comedy, quick thinking, and performing include team building, listening and communication, and leadership skills. French says improvisation teaches listening, agreement, cooperation, supporting the ideas of others, give and take, and conflict resolution.

“We use hilarious improv games to teach people how to be a crucial part of the team, learn to cooperate and create together, and have a great time doing it."

Go Comedy! also teaches improv and other classes related to improvisational skills at its studio and rents its space for weddings and special events.

The team, which consists of 25 improvisers and writers, can also be hired to perform at special events. This week the team headlined the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority's monthly B2B Networking Meeting.

"The Go! experts know that the tenets of improv often parallel the ingredients of being solid in business," says the DDA's Chris Hughes. "By using what they teach to developing improvisers, the Go! team helps businesses owners and employers learn how to be better listeners, cooperate with each other, feel more comfortable on the sales floor and succeed, with a bonus of enjoying life."

Source: Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Entrepreneurs win with the opening of the Clawson Business Resource Center

Local and easy access to resources for entrepreneurs is the goal of the Clawson Business Resource Center (CBRC). Located in the Blair Memorial library, it provides easy access to materials and expertise. Although open to everyone, the program targets entrepreneurs and small businesses whether their status is pre-startup, startup or growth and expansion. 

By sharing resources, the CBRC offers support to Entrepreneurs by providing research and business development tools locally, within our own city. 

The Clawson Business Resource Center offers: Business related books, magazines, periodicals and hard copy resources; Internet based resources, Business Counseling and Business seminars.

The project began as part of the yearly workplan of the DDA’s Economic Committee – part of our Main Street program – to provide support to businesses. A partnership ensued between the Blair Memorial Library, Clawson Chamber of Commerce, the Clawson Downtown Development Authority and the Oakland County Small Business Center to provide our many resources in one location and with a unified online presence. 

There are so many resources available and our goal was to create awareness of the many resources and to make them easily accessible. The library became the ideal location – the hard copy resources are already in place, computers are available to access the online resources, and it offers a location with access beyond the typical 9-5 business hours.

The flexible - and evening – hours of the library widens the reach of our resources. Business counseling will be offered on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Michigan Works (MI-Works) respectively. 

Lawrence Tech to start construction on $11 million residence hall in spring

Construction will start in the spring on the third residence hall at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). The $11 million project is scheduled for completion in time for fall classes in 2015.
The Southfield City Council has approved the university’s plan, and LTU’s Board of Trustees gave the green light for the project at its Jan. 30 meeting.
The 47,545-square-foot, two-story building will have a capacity of 160 students. It will be located north of LTU’s current North Housing residence hall and will face the university’s largest parking lot and the Northwestern Highway service drive. The building will have a 4,000-square-foot partial basement for mechanical systems and storage.
Lawrence Tech currently has capacity for 600 students at its two residence halls.
University Housing Solutions and Adena Corporation, both of Mansfield, Ohio, are the developer-design-builder and construction manager for the project, respectively. JPRA Architects of Farmington Hills developed the plans and are the architects of record.
The new residence hall will have five pods with 16 double-occupancy units. Each pod in the new building will have its own common lounge with fireplace and kitchenette space complete with range, refrigerator, and microwave appliances. Amenities include cafe/retail space on the first floor, central laundry on both floors, a multi-purpose room, a game room, and two conference-type spaces.  
“The building is designed to encourage students to be out of their rooms with plenty of space for interaction and collaboration.  One of the goals is to get new students involved in campus life by fostering collegiality on a regular basis,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said.
Lawrence Tech’s addition of varsity athletic programs and more student activities has created a greater demand for on-campus housing. During the current academic year, LTU is leasing residential suites for 80 students at Arbor Lofts located near campus on Civic Center Drive in Southfield.
“We anticipate 100 percent occupancy when we open our new residential hall in 2015,” said Dean of Students Kevin Finn. “We look forward to having more students living on campus.”
The building will be completely funded by the housing fees charged to its occupants.
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.

Great Lakes Culinary Center opens in Southfield

The Great Lakes Culinary Center opened last month in Southfield and has already become a draw for chefs, food business entrepreneurs and party planners.

The 20,000-square-foot culinary center was designed to be a treat for the eyes -- and mouth and nose -- with its massive stainless steel kitchens surrounded by marble, natural wood, chic industrial light fixtures, all of it surrounding chefs and students that come here to hone their craft and test the latest in kitchen equipment and restaurant supplies.

The Great Lakes Culinary Center is on 9 Mile Road and connected to Great Lakes Supply Company, a provider to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

The idea is to be a launching pad for food business entrepreneurs as well as a spot for cooking classes for pros and non-pros. The center can also be rented for parties and events, and if founder Marc Israel's vision is successful it will lift up metro Detroit and Michigan's food and hospitality businesses.

Successful metro Detroit chefs are on board, creating a menu of classes for everyday folks and culinary students and connecting with the chefs and others food business entrepreneurs to connect them with the latest in kitchen design, supplies, resources, cooking methods and much more.

Source: Rachel Wolff, event coordinator, Great Lakes Culinary Center
Writer: Kim North Shine

OU, Chevron partnership to advance green energy use goals

Oakland University has partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions to install a combined heat and power (CHP) co-generation system designed to reduce campus utility costs, provide necessary infrastructure upgrades and support educational resources. 

The 4,600 KW natural gas turbine co-generation system, to be located in OU's Central Heating Plant, will supply hot water and electricity to campus. The public-private partnership will allow OU to retain ownership of the project while a private entity, Chevron Energy Solutions, builds the system. With no capital cost to OU, a projected 15-year capital lease will be used to finance a $12 million outlay by Chevron. 

Along with increased energy efficiency, the partnership will result in a number of financial and operational advantages, according to OU officials overseeing the project. 

"In today's economy, higher education must find creative financing ways or partnerships to fund new endeavors," said Siraj Khan, director of engineering for OU Facilities Management.

"(Public-private) partnerships are a unique way to structure, negotiate and implement the finance, design, development, construction and operation of development projects at a faster pace with guaranteed savings, higher return on investment and increased cash flow in the long-haul, with a minimum risk that will be transferred to the private sector, leaving the university in a win-win situation."

Khan added, "The co-generation system will generate savings that will exceed the operation, maintenance and project financing costs, and will not increase the university's annual utility budget expenditures."

In addition to cost-savings, the project also promises educational enhancements, such as a live dashboard, new clean energy courses and internships in support of OU's Clean Energy Research Center.

"CHP is a proven technology, and is becoming more and more popular in the wake of sustainability culture on higher education campuses all around United States to reduce carbon footprint and to produce clean energy," Khan said.

"The operation of the CHP, real time energy monitoring, data for energy savings and reduction of emissions will be a learning tool for students and a valuable educational experience."

For additional information on sustainability efforts at OU, view the Facilities Management website at oakland.edu/facilities. To learn more about OU's Clean Energy Research Center, visit oakland.edu/cerc.

Lawrence Tech shows small biz the ways of digital manufacturing

A new partnership is forming at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield with the goal of making access to digital manufacturing more accessible to small- and medium-sized manufacturers.

The university has paired up with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences to open a 1,200-square-foot facility where manufacturers will have access to software, hardware and training that teaches them how to incorporate typically cost-prohibitive digital manufacturing, modeling, simulation and visualization technology.

NCMS is described as the largest cross-industry collaborative research-and-development consortium in North America. It is dedicated to driving innovation in commercial, defense, robotics and environmentally sustainable manufacturing industries.

The new training facility is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2014 in LTU's General Services Building at 21301 Civic Center Drive.

"This collaboration will truly help Michigan SMMs become more competitive on a national and global scale,” says NCMS President Rick Jarman.

Organizations such as the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Aerospace Association of Michigan will identify manufacturers and publicize the program.

“As a nation, we suffered a great deal when we shifted away from manufacturing," LTU president Virinder Moudgil says in a statement. "Now we have an opportunity to make manufacturing strong once more by helping the small and mid-sized companies that are the backbone of the U.S. economy.”

Source: Eric Pope, spokesperson, Lawrence Technogical University
Writer: Kim North Shine

New business focuses on helping students

Exceptional teacher in South Lyon uses quick and effective ideas to make learning fun. The following is a Q&A with teacher, consultant and founder Lisa Rotenheber. 

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Lawrence Tech wins $50,000 Denso grant for new bio-robotics lab


The Denso North America Foundation has awarded $50,000 to Lawrence Technological University to help create a new multidisciplinary bio-robotics lab that will benefit students in two growing bachelor’s degree programs in biomedical engineering and robotics engineering.

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Oakland County and Walsh College pair-up to help seniors

Registration is now open for Oakland County’s senior residents who want to empower themselves to make sound financial decisions. The Oakland County Senior Advisory Council and Walsh College will host two free financial seminars for seniors and their families in October. Topics will include: how to avoid scams; what are the “must have” legal documents when estate planning; how to determine whether a reverse mortgage is the right choice for an individual; and how to reconcile accounts, hidden fees and automatic bill pay on savings and checking accounts. 

“Knowing financial do’s and don’ts helps to protect our senior residents,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Walsh College’s independent experts will offer great financial advice without the pressure that sometimes goes along with it.”

There are no sales pitches with the seminars, just independent experts. The next seminar is 10 a.m. – noon, Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Walsh College’s Troy Campus, 3838 Livernois.

“Walsh College’s experts blend business theory and real-world experience,” said Tara R. Miceli, director of the Walsh Institute. “They will deliver practical advice based on years of know-how.”

The Oakland County Senior Advisory Council determined the topics from surveys it sent to seniors at senior care organizations throughout the county. The council encourages early registration since seating is limited to 150 people per seminar. For reservations or more information, call 248-858-4902 or click on www.oakgov.com/seniors.

About Oakland County Senior Advisory Council
Seniors are an important part of the Oakland County community. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson formed the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council to ensure Oakland County is a place where seniors have a high quality of life enriched by volunteering and other activities. The council consists of 25 members, one from each Commissioner district and four members-at-large with special expertise. The group meets monthly. As part of its strategic plan, yearly goals include providing resources and opportunities to Oakland County’s growing senior population. Accomplishments include a workshop for senior center coordinators & staff, where community partners were available to answer questions and promote services. In partnership with the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, SAC provides information for older adults and caregivers in the ACCESS quarterly newsletter.

About Walsh College
Walsh College blends business theory and real-world experience to deliver educational programs that boost career success. Its faculty are not only dedicated teachers, but also business professionals who integrate their experience into what students learn in class. Administrative staff deliver personal service in a professional learning environment. Founded in 1922 and celebrating more than 90 years of business education, Walsh offers 17 business and related technology degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels that are responsive to student, employer, and community needs. Walsh is a private, not-for-profit institution offering courses and services at locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, Harper Woods, Port Huron, and online.

Business Improvement Team Speakers Bureau adds new speakers and new topics

Business Improvement Team (BIT) is a consortium of outstanding independent consulting firms who utilize their synergies, announced a speakers bureau to provide presentations on a variety of leadership and business topics by offering dynamic, professional speakers for events, conferences, and trade shows. Business Improvement Team is an organization of providers of high quality consulting services to all types of organizations.

"We created the Business Improvement Team Speakers Bureau to promote an understanding and appreciation of business topics for management and leadership, to help to develop leaders and to provide organizations, business and government with a variety of a professional speakers for their events," said Curt Petterson, of the Business Improvement Team. “Our speaker’s bureau features experts, and professional leaders from many facets of business.”

Each one of the speakers is an accomplished speaker with professional career expertise and has a strong interest in helping others. The bureau professionals offer topics that include leadership, sales and marketing, information technology and other key presentations. They are available to provide keynote presentations, serve on a panel discussion as a participant or lead a workshop on leadership.
The Business Improvement Team (www.BizImpTeam.com) is an interdisciplinary network of trusted providers of high quality consulting services to all types of organizations. They are a consortium of equals that is stronger by far than the individual components. By partnering with clients they rapidly realize desired results by leveraging their collective energy, knowledge, skills and shared values. Expanding our expertise and critical mass allows for specialization, enhanced client services, and a larger offering of capabilities, which is a goal of the Business Improvement Team. The Business Improvement Team is a group of outstanding local consulting firms who have come together to facilitate solution delivery to provide excellent full service to businesses. The member firms are:
·      Absolute Engineering & Consulting (Curt Petterson)
·      Clear Vision Strategy, LLC (John Schamante)
·      Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) (Wes Thompson)
·      Franklin CIO Services, LLC (Spencer Silk)
·      Glass Retirement Strategies (Herbie Glass)
·      Hennessey Capital (Joe Romeo)
·      Marsalese Law Group (Michael Marsalese)
·      Taligence, Inc. (Kirk P. Radford)
·      Tobias, Vandeputte & Skulsky, PC (Craig Skulsky)
·      Virtual Interactive Agency (VIA) (Joey Silvian)

OU business analytics program answers demand for strategic insight

In order to find success in the 21st century, businesses are relying on cutting-edge technologies to collect, sort and analyze data related to customer and client needs, their competitive environment and key performance indicators to support data-driven decision-making and business planning. This data is often voluminous, originates from a broad array of sources and can be overwhelming to companies not fully prepared to manage it.

Corporate decision makers looking to get a handle on this potentially transformative business practice are contributing to a tremendous demand for highly skilled, knowledgeable and strategic IT professionals who are well prepared to harness the power of data analysis.

Looking to help American businesses answer this demand, the Oakland University School of Business Administration offers a one-year, half-online Master of Science in Information Technology Management/Business Analytics degree program.

"The demand for people with business analytics expertise in this country will be on the order of 100,000 to 150,000 through 2020," said Mohammad Dadashzadeh, Oakland University professor of Management Information Systems and chair of the Department of Decision and Information Sciences.

"Companies have been collecting immense amounts of data they might need to inform their business strategies and move forward, and now the time has come to get the return on the investment they've made."

Dadashzadeh noted that the most successful American companies in recent decades – corporations such as Amazon, Netflix and Walmart, among others – have built empires by understanding the broad scope of data they collect, using it to accurately anticipate consumer behavior and developing business plans to effectively meet evolving consumer demand.

In addition to offering a rigorous curriculum focusing on data warehousing, business intelligence, Big Data management, predictive and prescriptive analytics, and application systems analysis and design, the MSITM/BA program offers students a hands-on educational approach that engages real-world business partners that seek analysis of their own collected data or that of clients, as well as sound direction on what it means to develop and implement agile business plans.

MSX International – a Warren, Mich.-based, global automotive retail network consulting services and business process outsourcing provider – has been pleased to work with MSITM/BA students anxious to use real-world data and cutting-edge data analysis strategies to best serve the company's OEM client base.

"Our clients turn to us to refine data into actionable information. We welcomed the opportunity to partner with Oakland University's MSITM/BA program," said Brendan Walsh, vice president and chief information officer of MSX International.

"By providing internship opportunities for the program's students and helping our clients innovate, we're proud to contribute to the success of the program and, by extension, the regional economy."

Dadashzadeh said the MSITM/BA program is now expanding partnerships with area businesses and corporations to include student work projects not just during their capstone project in the fourth quarter of study, but throughout the educational process.

Students new to the MSITM/BA will begin work on a corporate project as soon as they step foot into the program, and the data analysis deliverables they are expected to produce for partner businesses will grow in scope with the completion of each academic term.

"With this kind of exposure to the work they'll eventually be doing, students know this is a tough program that is going to prepare them well," Dadashzadeh said. 

"They also know that when they complete the program, they're going to be able to take the skills they've gained just about anywhere they want to, and they know they're going to have opportunities to build great careers with them."

Businesses partnering with the MSITM/BA program stand to gain a great deal of insight related to questions that may have been thwarting potential growth. Individualized, thorough and expertly guided MSITM/BA-led project is made available on a quarterly basis in return for nothing more than a modest commitment of time necessary to provide students with collected data and a list of strategic planning questions the partner business would like to see answered.

To learn more about business analytics research available through the MSITM/BA program at OU, prospective business partners should contact Dadashzadeh at dadashza@oakland.edu or (248) 370-4649. Prospective students can learn more about the program at oakland.edu/MSITM-BA.

Kresge Foundation supports new Lawrence Tech design center in Detroit

The Kresge Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to Lawrence Technological University to consolidate four programs that it already has in Detroit and add additional programs at a new design center in Detroit’s Midtown area.

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Oakland Comm. College completes $6.3 million renovation

Oakland Community College  has completed a $6.34 million restoration and renovation of its Student Center on the Farmington Hills campus.

Besides making repairs to prevent years of leaks in the building, the renovations entailed new ceilings and lights and an overhaul of the campus bookstore. New study spaces were created, as was a new office for the Student LIFE programs.

A new theater and performance hall with a separate entrance were added to the building.

"We now have an ideal gathering space for our students, one that is inviting, promotes fellowship and has good study spaces," says OCC President Jacqueline Shadko.

The new student center also has display areas for students art work and graphic designs.

"It is our firm belief that an attractive campus environment not only enhances, but positively fosters the quality of the quality of the education experience for our students," Chancellor Timothy Meyer says in a statement. "Maintaining and improving our facilities would not be possible were it not for the confidence and support shown to OCC by the citizens of Oakland County, who have voted three times over the past 18 years in favor of providing OCC with the additional millage funds that make these types of projects possible.”

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Selvia Hines, marketing and communication, Oakland Community College

Oakland Comm. College completes $6.3 million renovation

Oakland Community College  has completed a $6.34 million restoration and renovation of its Student Center on the Farmington Hills campus.

Besides making repairs to prevent years of leaks in the building, the renovations entailed new ceilings and lights and an overhaul of the campus bookstore. New study spaces were created, as was a new office for the Student LIFE programs.

A new theater and performance hall with a separate entrance were added to the building.

"We now have an ideal gathering space for our students, one that is inviting, promotes fellowship and has good study spaces," says OCC President Jacqueline Shadko.

The new student center also has display areas for students art work and graphic designs.

"It is our firm belief that an attractive campus environment not only enhances, but positively fosters the quality of the quality of the education experience for our students," Chancellor Timothy Meyer says in a statement. "Maintaining and improving our facilities would not be possible were it not for the confidence and support shown to OCC by the citizens of Oakland County, who have voted three times over the past 18 years in favor of providing OCC with the additional millage funds that make these types of projects possible.”

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Selvia Hines, marketing and communication, Oakland Community College

New dance school goes back to basics in downtown Rochester


A former professional dancer and classically-trained dance teacher is opening a studio this month in downtown Rochester with hopes of replacing the competitive, reality TV twist of some dance studios with one that's focused on classical education and performance.

Cindy Raffel, 27, will bring her experience as a dancer and choreographer with companies around the country and as a certified K-12 dance instructor to her 2nd Street Studio of Dance. It will open with a ribbon-cutting on May 17th, with three days of free classes that day through the 19th. By July, classes for ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance and hip hop and other forms of dance will begins.

The studio at 100 E. 2nd Street is 5,600 square feet of space with three dance studios and classes for children and adults.

She plans to keep prices low, partly by eliminating the competitive dance aspect that can come with so many costs. Classes themselves will be affordable, she says.

Raffel, who's danced with ballet and theater companies in places such as Virginia, where she is from, and Florida, where she was with the Tampa Ballet, moved to Michigan in September after her husband, Tom, received a tenure-track position at Oakland University. They bought their home in Rochester and really dug downtown, she says. They loved Rochester and after hearing about the vacant RARA building -- Rochester Avon Recreation Authority -- she decided to open the studio she's dreamed about for years.

"Obviously with dance I started as a kid and I always wanted to have a dance studio…As an elementary schooler I was making up a show, picking out a costumes and showing my parents my choreography," she says. "It was always in the back of mind because I didn't know how far my professional career would go. When we decided to move here, we bought a house really quickly. I thought, this is going to be where we're settling down. I should for it. Lo and behold there was this vacant building waiting for me.

The studio "is literally steps away from Main Street," she says. "For me it's a great location only because it is a great area…but for all that's going on. You can walk out the door and be at a parade. Amazingly enough the house that we bought in August is exactly halfway between the university and the studio."

Before finding a place to open, she had been researching what was missing in the local dance scene.

"It's kind of hard as an outsider looking in…The dance world is so much word of mouth," she says, "But I think people are looking for something kind of different. something that's not competitive…I want dance to be a fun, happy experience. I want it to be enjoyable for everyone, including the parents."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Cindy Raffel, owner/instructor, 2nd Street Studio of Dance

Cosmetology school L'esprit Academy adds Royal Oak location

L’esprit Academy, a cosmetology school, is opening a second education center in downtown Royal Oak, a move that helped the company double its workforce over the last year.

The 9-year-old business now employs 20 people after hiring 10 over the last year. It also has about half a dozen open positions now, mostly for administrative areas. It currently has six people working in downtown Royal Oak and expects to double that staff there by the end of the year.

The Livonia-based business choose downtown Royal Oak because of its location in Oakland County and because its urban setting is a nice contrast to its suburban-style headquarters. Plus, downtown Royal Oak is attractive because it has lots of energy, is a trendsetter and is home to a large concentration of creatives.

"It seemed like a natural fit on an aesthetic level," says Stacy Wells, CEO of L’esprit Academy.

L'espirit Academy has enjoyed high growth in recent years because of the staying power of the industry (hair stylist jobs can't be outsourced to India) and the flexibility it provides to its workforce (working moms can do this part-time on their schedule). Wells also points out cosmetology can be a more cost-effective career compared to getting a professional degree at a traditional university.

"People are getting four-year degrees and $150,000 in debt and still don't have a job," Wells says. "We find a lot of people who have either done a year or two of college or have graduated and can't find a job."

Source: Stacy Wells, CEO of L’esprit Academy
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Main Street Oakland County and Main Street Franklin present historic preservation workshop in May

Main Street Oakland County is sponsoring a day-long workshop to explore new trends in historic preservation, how historic preservation can be used as an economic development tool and how to integrate green infrastructure into historic downtowns.

The workshop, entitled "Preservation in the 21st Century," is set for May 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Franklin Community Church, 26425 Wellington Road in Franklin. The goal is to help community leaders, volunteers and preservationists understand how historic downtowns can become the inspiration for the future. 

Registration for Franklin residents and students is $35. Non-residents are $50. Lunch and snacks are provided. Those interested can register online at Msf21cPreservation.eventbrite.com or pay by check at the workshop. 

Speakers include Kelly Larson of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, Mike Jackson of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Nick Kalogeresis of The Lakota Group, and Patrick Judd of the Conservation Design Forum. For a full description, see www.mainstreetfranklinmi.com/21st-century-preservation.

For more information, call 248-505-6923 or email Vivian@MainStreetFranklinMI.com. Main Street Franklin is co-sponsor of the event. 

Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) is a unique economic development program with a historic preservation philosophy and an emphasis on "sense of place" that was created in 2000 by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. The 17 unique MSOC communities have established 773 new businesses, created more than 7,600 new jobs and generated more than $632 million in economic investment. The nation's first county-wide Main Street® program, MSOC helps local governments develop their downtowns as vibrant, successful districts that serve as the heart of their communities. Learn more at MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.

Northwood University expands Troy campus

Midland-based Northwood University has renovated a Troy office building into a new campus that will be a hub for metro Detroit. The renovations provided more space, updated technology and programs and planned-for opportunities for business collaborations with students.

Dr. Matthew Bennett, director of admissions for Nothwood University's adult degree program, says enrollment and interest in the Troy and other southeast Michigan campuses and their business programs have steadily increased and the new, updated campus is a response to that.

It is located at 1500 West Big Beaver Road, just down the road from the old campus.

Classes, meeting areas and event space fill 8,000 square feet on the first floor of an office building where the Rehmann Group operates on the second floor.

"There's an openness here, and more opportunities for engagement with students," he says. "It's as high-tech a facility as you can imagine."

The Troy campus will offer several adult degree programs and be a hub for the DeVos School of Management. It will also serve as a regional admission center and offer advising for traditional students.

"The new Troy campus is a response to market demand for business leadership and to our state's need for business leadership," he says. "Northwood's mission is to develop the future leaders of a global free enterprise society. The goal is to be very entrepreneurial, very capitalistic, but student centered."

Classes officially began in mid-January. A grand opening and ribbon cutting is planned for March 21.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Matthew Bennett, spokesperson, Northwood University

Approval of enhancement projects to transform OU campus in 2014

Maintaining its commitment to providing students distinctive and engaging educational experiences, the Oakland University Board of Trustees has approved a $65 million investment in campus expansion and improvement projects.

These projects, scheduled for completion by the fall of 2014, promise to significantly transform Oakland's 1,443-acre campus in Rochester, which is home to exceptional academic and student life programs that have stimulated a 37 percent increase in student enrollment over 15 consecutive years of growth.

Among projects included in Tuesday's board action are:

  • construction of a nearly $30 million student housing complex;
  • dramatic enhancement of outdoor recreation and athletic fields;
  • construction of a 1,240-space parking structure, and;
  • construction of new headquarters for facility and grounds maintenance operations.
Approval of the new facilities comes quickly after the completion of Oakland's nearly 172,825-square-foot Human Health Building last fall, groundbreaking for a 127,000-square-foot Engineering Center in October, and recent approval of plans for a 151-foot carillon tower made possible by a generous gift from longtime university benefactors Hugh and Nancy Elliott.

"We believe that what southeastern Michigan and the state as a whole need most now is renewed investment in the resources that will enable us to thrive in the 21st century," said Oakland University President Gary Russi.

"Our most valuable resources are the young people who will soon assume leadership of our collective future. We believe the investment we're making today will inspire them to work toward great successes that will undoubtedly be of tremendous benefit to all of us in years to come."

Approved in concept by the Board of Trustees last December, the new student housing complex will welcome more than 500 resident students. It will also incorporate the Honors College and classrooms, a small cafe, and space for student meetings and private and group studying.

The new outdoor recreational and athletic facilities will accommodate NCAA Division I athletic events including tennis, and track and field meets; club and intramural sports competitions, and a variety of fitness and recreational activities welcoming university students, faculty, staff and community visitors. 

Oakland's second parking structure will include four levels and provide a net gain of 930 spaces conveniently located near seven academic buildings. In total, the project will result in a better-than 10 percent boost in available parking on campus.

"Offering students a welcoming, engaging and inspiring setting in which to pursue their college studies will motivate them to fully immerse themselves in the learning process," said Mary Beth Snyder, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

"A college education should be a life-changing experience for students, and I'm confident that addressing their needs and aspirations with these new facilities will make attending Oakland even more rewarding."

To learn more about the Oakland University, its diverse array of quality academic programs, and its facilities and grounds, visit oakland.edu.

OUCARES adds new location to help meet needs of autism community

Oakland University's Center for Autism Research, Education and Support (OUCARES) is opening a second location in which its highly regarded quality of life programs will be provided.

Meadows School, located at 1435 West Auburn Road in Rochester Hills, has already welcomed an expansion of programs currently offered on the Oakland University campus. OUCARES Director Kathy Sweeney said that without cutting or relocating any of the programs available on campus, OUCARES will continue to expand offerings at Meadows School.

"We've demonstrated success with our parents and with the community, and we've had a tremendous response to the autism programs we offer," Sweeney explained. "This opportunity allows us to open more quality of life programs and serve even more people in our community.

As roughly one out of every 88 children born is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), demand for programs, services and support has been growing steadily. In fact, Sweeney estimates that there currently about 2,100 students of age 5-26 in Oakland County alone who have been diagnosed with ASD. This, of course, does not include adults with the disorder or others yet to be diagnosed.

OUCARES serves individuals with ASD and also offers families a wide array of resources, services and support to create the highest quality of life possible for the family as a whole.

Sweeney predicts that as OUCARES continues to widen its community outreach efforts, benefits of the organization's work will extend far beyond individuals with ASD and their families.

"We're working to bring the community more autism awareness and acceptance – through volunteer opportunities, by taking advantage of our programs or just coming in to learn more about autism spectrum disorders," she said

"This opens up more learning experiences for everyone involved. It improves the overall community's quality of life because it improves our collective awareness and acceptance of people impacted with ASD."

To learn more about OUCARES programs offered both on the Oakland University campus and at Meadows School, visit oakland.edu/oucares or call (248) 370-2424.

Local foundation supports OU efforts to promote urban gardening

Oakland University's Student Organic Farming Program (SOFP) has been awarded a $20,400 grant from the Americana Foundation – a Novi-based agriculture advocacy and education organization – to pursue its educational and local food production sustainability goals in coming years.

The funding, which will be matched by Oakland University, will support the hiring of a farm manager to oversee farm production; coordinate and work with student volunteers; assist with community outreach programs designed to improve access to fresh, local produce; and pursue the farm's goal of moving toward a self-sufficient business operation through sales of produce on campus.

"We're looking to establish a long-term, sustainable campus and community gardening program that has educational advantages as well," said Fay Hansen, an associate professor of biological sciences and faculty advisor to the SOFP. "This grant will go a long way in helping us to move toward that goal."

Presently, the SOFP maintains successful service-learning collaborations with the Baldwin Center and the Kennedy School, both in Pontiac, as well as with young adults from OU's Center for Autism Research, Education and Support. Not only do these partnerships create opportunities for youth and adult participants to learn how to grow healthy foods locally, but also why doing so is so important to overall community health and welfare.

"This grant moves us toward our mission of being a regional hub for training and resources to building a strong, sustainable, local food system in OU's service area – both on and off campus," Hansen said.

Meanwhile, students in Oakland University academic programs ranging from biology to writing and rhetoric have an opportunity to enhance their education through community service experiences.

"We see the farm as a great resource on campus, one that can help get people thinking about a number of important issues – anything from the availability of fresh foods to protecting environmental health," Hansen said. "Students here are really beginning to learn where their food comes from and what it means to their health. We'd like to see that kind of learning happening on an even wider scale as we move forward."

The farm program was initially created as a student club at OU in 2008, but has since evolved into a multi-faceted, wide-reaching operation that teaches more than 50 students and student interns the methods of organic gardening during summer classes that emphasize hands-on participation.

Students also help organize efforts to help improve community access to fresh produce and to advocate for the development and expansion of sustainable, organic farms and urban gardens throughout the region, particularly in and around Pontiac.

In addition to expanding its educational and community outreach goals, OU's organic farm plans to expand its cultivation area to roughly one acre, create a greenhouse for year-round production and broaden data collection, tracking and reporting in order to help advance organic gardening advocacy. The latter goal will also help the SOFP pursue its goal to become a USDA certified organic farm.

New student housing to answer strong demand for OU programs

The Oakland University Board of Trustees passed a resolution allowing administrators to begin the process of designing and constructing a $30 million student housing facility that will accommodate up to 550 students starting in the fall of 2014.

The action comes in response to considerable demand for housing on Oakland's nearly 20,000-student campus. Fifteen consecutive years of student enrollment growth has fueled this demand and boosted student housing rental agreements by 37 percent over the last four years.

"We've known for some time that as the quality and value of Oakland's academic programs have grown, more and more prospective students have wanted to become part of our campus community," said Oakland University President Gary Russi.

"The university is now in an excellent position to begin implementing its strategic plan for housing development and answer the strong demand we're hearing from students both locally and across the region."

University administrators will now negotiate with Southfield-based Neumann/Smith Architecture and Rochester-based Frank Rewold & Son construction managers to oversee the design and construction of the new housing.

Planners anticipate that greater availability of on-campus living will enhance both the academic and extracurricular experience of Oakland's students – a prospect bolstered by recent survey results indicating that 84 percent of the university's student body endorse expansion plans.

"We've paid great attention to enhancing student life on campus, and I believe a great deal of the demand we're seeing can be attributed to prospective students wanting to dive into the college life experience we offer," said Mary Beth Snyder, Oakland's vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

"We're excited to welcome more students who want to live on campus, especially when they come from the farther corners of our expanding geographic reach. The addition of this new housing for freshmen and sophomores will make campus life at Oakland more inviting and interesting for everyone here. "

Maintaining a focus on energy efficient and environmentally friendly design, the Board of Trustees asked that administrators pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new housing facility. Oakland has incorporated these principles in the design of its recently opened Human Health Building, as well as its soon-to-be constructed Engineering Center.

In coming months, university administrators will return to the Board of Trustees for approval of housing facility design and financing.

To learn more about the academic programs, student life experiences and on-campus housing Oakland University offers, visit oakland.edu.

Mango Languages now helps start fruitful conversations on the go

Mango Languages now has an application for Android and iPhones for its Passport Journey lessons called Mango Passport Mobile. The Farmington Hills-based company creates self-study language-learning tools that simulate the way a person would naturally learn an additional language by being immersed in the environment. Mango Passport Mobile is available in 16 languages including Japanese and Mandarin.

Read more

Children's swimming school Aqua-Tots dives into metro Detroit market

Aqua-Tots is an Arizona-based swimming school franchise for children. They recently opened their first Michigan location in Troy and already have six future locations planned for the area.

Read more.

Children's swimming school Aqua-Tots dives into metro Detroit market

Aqua-Tots is an Arizona-based swimming school franchise for children. They recently opened their first Michigan location in Troy and already have six future locations planned for the area.

Read more.

Dwtn Rochester's school of rock grows

Rochester Musician's Academy in downtown Rochester is expanding to keep up with local desire to strum guitar, beat a drum, play a piano, sing a song.

Some in the music education industry say TV shows like Glee, American Idol and the numerous, melodious Disney creations, are spurring the interest.

Rochester Musician's Academy, formerly J.C.'s Drum Store, moved to its 119 S. Main Street address about five years ago, and since then has added staff and students, up four instructors from one and adding more classes, lesson space and a studio. The remodel is expected to be completed in May.

The Academy calls itself the fastest growing music school in Oakland County and credits the growth to the fun classes it offers: Rock Band, Pee Wee Percussion, Steel Band Camp among them.

"We strive to be the most complete musical education in the greater Detroit area,"  onwer Joe Chila says on his website. "Our students come from as far away as Grosse Pointe on the east and Southfield on the west."

Source: Rochester Musician's Academy
Writer: Kim North Shine

OCC opens medical wing on Southfield campus

A $20-million health wing has opened on Oakland Community College's Southfield campus, and it goes into operation as the school experiences triple digit enrollment growth in health-related studies.

The new campus facility - along with building changes and improvements - is an attempt to keep up with increasing demand for skilled health care workers.

The Southfield campus is the smallest of OCC's five campuses, and it is the site of many of OCC's health and science programs, including health care administration, nuclear medicine, various medical therapies, nursing, surgical technology and other health and medical specialties.

Many of the courses are taught in tandem with courses at the Royal Oak campus. With 78,000 undergraduates enrolled on OCC's five campuses, it is Michigan's largest community college system.

 The Southfield campus was designed for a capacity of 2,500 students, but in the winter of 2012 there were 4,912 students attending. The new wing adds more than 69,000 square feet to the Southfield campus, or an increase of 75 percent.

Ground for the new health sciences wing was broken in 2009, and in that time enrollment soared college wide, most especially in health studies at Southfield and Royal Oak. In the area of allied health, there has been 131 percent increase in enrollment during the past 10 years.

“These are exciting yet challenging times for the college [as] we continue to keep our promise to provide learning for all who enter our doors.  We are committed to maintaining an institution that serves the future of the community and also aids the economic recovery of our region.  The Southfield Campus expansion is a large step in this direction,” OCC chancellor Timothy Meyer says in a statement announcing the opening.

The health wing, a $20 million project originally priced at more than $25 - was mostly paid for by a millage approved by Oakland County voters in 2010.

Aspects of the new wing include additional biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology labs, bringing the campus total to eight, a surgical technology lecture lab, where surgery is replicated. There are also new double classrooms, nursing labs and new rooms for studying as well as a new student activities center, physical education classes and workforce development workspaces where students can learn about internship, co-op ed programs and other workplace opportunities.

Source: Selvia Hines, administrative assistant, marketing and communications department, Oakland Community College
Writer: Kim North Shine

Guitar smashes through ribbon at Farmington School of Rock

The Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce ditched the traditional big scissors in the "ribbon-cutting" ceremony to introduce the new School of Rock on Orchard Lake Rd. in Farmington; instead owner Dale Smigelski smashed an electric guitar through the ribbon and onto the sidewalk outside the school's front door.

Read more

Michigan leads the world in V2V mobile technologies

The emerging field of Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) is a low-cost mobile technology that is expected to quickly become mainstream.
V2V communication is being touted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as being the next big step in vehicle safety, and the agency believes it has the potential to prevent 80% of crashes. It wirelessly sends safety messages to other cars on the road using embedded wireless technology, and provides information on speed, direction of travel and location to help the car itself avoid accidents.

The tie to Michigan is obvious, Michigan is the global leader in the automotive industry and the companies based here are investing substantial funds in R&D efforts tied to the technology. In fact, the University of Michigan is working directly with the NHTSA on research in this area tied to real-world scenarios. Learn more about it on MTAM's Michigan Mobile Musings blog.

Further, Michigan is the home of two global events tied to the automotive industry's use of mobile techologies, and as a partner in those events, MTAM has obtained registration discounts for our followers and members. The first event is 'V2X for Auto Safety and Mobility USA 2012' taking place on March 20 - 21st and 'Telematics Detroit 2012' taking place on June 7 - 8th, both in Novi. Click here to learn more about these events and how you can take advantage of MTAM registration discounts for the events.

LTU students re-imagine a struggling suburban shopping center

A project by students at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield has focused on how to revive one struggling corner of a major intersection at 8 Mile and Grand River, just one of many examples of shopping centers that have gone dark as population and business has shifted to outlying suburbs. The intersection is a meeting point of Detroit, Livonia, Farmington Hills and Southfield.

In conceptualizing how the corner would be best re-used, the students working under the direction of Ralph Nunez and Mark Nickita decided to connect a new development to Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills. They also decided to make the river that runs west of the property one focal point, rather than a hidden, missed opportunity.

"The shopping center there has basically gone dark," except for one restaurant, the Nibble Nook, Nunez says.

Along with Nickita, who is also mayor of Birmingham and an architect and urban planner, Nunez took suggestions for sites to redevelop from the 8 Mile Boulevard Association, a nonprofit focused on revitalizing the mile road that splits Detroit from the suburbs. The university and the association have worked together in the past, bringing students real-life situations to learn from and giving the community a potential real-world revitalization.

Ideally, such projects could be put into practice, eliminating the ramp-up time and expenses of pre-planning for professional redevelopment. James R. Smith, corporate director of planning & business development for Botsford Health Care, was among the jurors who critiqued the final concepts designed by the 12-14 students.

The students, playing architects, city planners, market researchers and more, had to determine whether to demolish what's there and start over, to completely renovate and work with the building now there or redevelop the property with a combo of demolition and renovation. They chose the last approach. They designed plans with consideration for pedestrian use, parking, amenities to attract workers from the hospital or nearby businesses, and more. They decided to dedicate a portion for senior housing and make the rest professional offices, retail, and physical therapy practices. In addition, they wanted to build on the work of nearby cities to make the river more of a useful attraction, Nunez says.

Tami Salisbury, executive director of 8 Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA), says the proposals, which included reconfiguring roads to join the property to the medical center, were impressive. Salisbury and Smith, from Botsford, were jurors on the proposals. 8MBA provided potential project locations for the students. The organization has also worked with other universities.

"We're a nonprofit so the price is right," she says. "And what's nice is students come to us with a fresh perspective and new thinking."

While development money is tight, she says, "the next step is to put our heads together so we can make the students' vision a reality."

Source: Ralph Nunez, adjunct professor, Lawrence Technological University, and Tami Salisbury, executive director, 8 Mile Boulevard Association
Writer: Kim North Shine

New health and science facility helps OCC meet demand

In January, Oakland Community College opened a new health and science wing at their Southfield campus. Other renovations will be completed by the end of February. The Southfield campus offers health career training in nursing, allied health, surgical technology and more. With 500 students enrolled in the nursing program in Southfield, it is the largest program in the state.

Read more.

Business workshops offered by Oakland County

Business owners and entrepreneurs who need assistance are invited to attend seminars offered by the Oakland County Business Center.  The workshops are held in the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, Waterford.
For more information and to register please visit our website, or call 248-858-0783.
Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business
February 1 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Marketing is an essential of business success. All products/services must be sold to well-targeted audiences with a wide-ranging marketing mix. Our staff/SCORE counselors can guide you through successful techniques and marketing principles helping you to promote your products and services to the most promising customers-your target audience. Presented by The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC). The fee is $40.
CEED Microloan Orientation
February 8 - 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Many small business owners face obstacles when trying to obtain a business loan. The recognition of the serious need for working capital for existing businesses, start-up or expansion, equipment purchases, and job creation is not the priority it once was. If you have a need for alternative financing consider the MicroLoan Program. Discover the requirements and process necessary to apply and obtain a microloan. Program presented by the Center for Empowerment & Economic Development (C.E.E.D.) This workshop is free & pre-registration is required.
Pre-Business Research
February 8 - 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Are you thinking of starting your own business and want to research your business idea? Are you a business owner who wants to understand which research sources to use for your business plan and where to find the information you need? Presented by The Oakland County Business Center, The Entrepreneur’s Source, Oakland County Market Research division, and a business reference librarian.
This workshop is free & pre-registration is required.
Twitter for Business – Beginner
February 15 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Millions of people are using Twitter and social media for fun, but it is also a powerful business tool that can connect you with your customers, potential customers and the world. You will learn how to leverage these conversations and relationships to: increase brand visibility and reach, be established as a thought leader and expert in your field, give real time customer service, stay on top of industry trends and conduct competitive research, build brand advocates, and yes - you can see a measurable ROI-even sales!   You will learn how to sign yourself and/or your business up for Twitter, set up your account and profile and choose the best Handle (user name), navigate Twitter, Twitter lingo, how to find (the right) people and business to follow, use lists to manage who you follow as well as your followers, how to Tweet, ReTweet, Mention, and Direct Message other users, use of Hashtags, Twitter Privacy, how to protect yourself and your brand on Twitter, establish and  track your digital footprint, and how to stay on top of social media and Twitter trends. The fee is $40.
Fundamentals of Starting a Business
February 15 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
This is a seminar for anyone thinking about going into business. Participants examine their entrepreneurial skills, learn how to implement their ideas and receive a list of pitfalls to avoid when starting a business. The fee is $30.
Team SBA Financing Roundtable
February 16 - 9:00 a.m. to Noon
This session is best suited to those who have good credit, a solid business idea, and some money to invest in their business. Before you apply for a business loan, we recommend that you first attend a Financing Roundtable. The roundtables are a free loan orientation conducted by a business banker, a business consultant from the SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers, and an SBA representative. During the roundtable, we’ll debunk the myths and demystify the process of small business financing. You'll learn how the lending process works and what is expected of you and you'll understand how the SBA can assist with our SBA Guaranteed Loan Program. Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for sale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtables. Presented by: Small Business Administration (SBA) Representative, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) Consultant, and Business Banker. This workshop is free & pre-registration is required.
Twitter for Business – Intermediate*
February 22 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Create your Twitter Strategy - In this Intermediate session of Twitter for Business you will establish your social media objectives and goals for Twitter, create your Twitter social media marketing strategy and schedule, integrate Twitter into your marketing strategy. You will learn core strategies and tactics businesses are using to get customers talking through Twitter, how to use social media management tools, schedule tweets in advance, use social media search tools for optimizing the timing and reach of your tweets, use social media monitoring tools and leverage them for your Twitter strategy, use social media search tools to find and track people talking about your company/product/industry, respond ethically and effectively to brand supporters and detractors, and manage your digital footprint-connecting Twitter with your website and other social media platforms. The fee is $40.
  *Prerequisite for this class is Twitter for Business Beginner.
Women's Business Certification Orientation
February 22 - 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Learn about the benefits and process of becoming a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). Benefits include certification to private sector WBE's and access to procurement opportunities with major national companies. Presented by the Michigan Women's Business Council. The fee is $25.
Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan
February 22 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
A workshop for small business owners who are developing a plan to serve as their road map to success. Workshop participants learn what elements are commonly found in effective plans and work on developing each of these for their own business. Assistance in the process as well as information on resources is provided. Fee: $30.
Twitter for Business – Advanced*
February 29 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Create and Launch your Twitter Campaign - In this Advanced Session of Twitter for Business you will establish your objectives and goals for a Twitter campaign, create and launch a Twitter campaign, learn advanced strategies for reaching influencers and building a long-lasting online community and explore ways to take Twitter beyond social media marketing. You will also build a complete multi-channel, social media-enabled marketing strategy, integrate Twitter and traditional marketing channels to deliver a competitive advantage, establish a social media Twitter timeline, grow your base of followers and engage participants, learn how to advertise with Twitter-Promoted Tweets, ensure a reasonable rate of return on your social media investment and acquire the tools you need to deputize your employees for organization-wide Twitter engagement. The fee is $40.
  *Prerequisites for this class are Twitter for Business Beginner & Intermediate workshops.
Future Workshops
1:            Pre-Business Research Workshop
14:          CEED Microloan Orientation
15:          Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan
29:          QuickBooks Essentials Part I
29:          QuickBooks Essential Part II
4:            CEED Microloan Orientation
4:            Pre Business Research
4:            Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business
5:            Small Business Loan Workshop
10:          Facebook for Business - Beginner
11:          Fundamentals of Starting a Business
13:          Oakland County Venture Forward Series
17:          Facebook for Business - Intermediate
18:          Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan
24:          Legal & Financial Basics for Small Business
24:          Facebook for Business - Advanced

Graduate housing, downtown parking and retail complex coming to Auburn Hills

A four-story, 97-apartment-unit, 279-parking space mixed-use development with room for 6,150 square feet of retail on the bottom floor is moving toward the start of construction and a completion date of January 2013.

The project in the Auburn Hills downtown area about two miles from Oakland University and Cooley Law School will be designated a preferred residence for the schools' graduate students. As many as 130 students could live there.

City officials see potential to transform the city's developing downtown at Auburn and Squirrel roads.

The $14 million development is a public private partnership with the city's Tax Increment Financing Authority owning the parking structure and putting in about $4.5 million and the building being developed, owned and operated by Lansing-based Prescient Growth LLC, which is committing $9.5 million.

“With Oakland University, Cooley Law School, Baker College, Oakland Community College and an extension of Central Michigan University located here, Auburn Hills is visited by more than 20,000 college students on most week days. With the addition of this new residence, we will add a critical mass of students who bring energy and vibrancy and want to create a sense of place in downtown Auburn Hills,” City Manager Pete Auger says in a statement announcing the groundbreaking.

The building and parking structure will be done in a wrap style, where the housing wraps around and is attached to the parking structure. It masks two sides of the structure from view.

Amenities for the student residents will be plentiful and ideally the businesses in and around the building will be their go-to spots, says Stephanie Carroll, coordinator of community relations and legislative affairs for Auburn Hills.

That's more in line with what comes to mind in a college town.

"We're not trying to be an Ann Arbor at all," she says, "But we thought what better way than to capture that student population but give them a place."

Source: Stephanie Carroll, coordinator of community relations and legislative affairs, city of Auburn Hills
Writer: Kim North Shine

OCC's solar power education mobile hits the road

Oakland Community College is taking what it knows about solar and wind power, putting it in a mobile trailer and taking it onto campus and into the community so that students and the public can learn about renewable energy.

The 10-foot-by-20-foot Mobile Renewable Energy Center has a working solar cell system that converts solar energy to DC and AC electricity that can run household appliances and power tools. There also is a working solar water heater and space center. The wind energy generator is also on board as are educational displays of information on renewable energy and energy conservation.

“The function of our center is to show students, the general public and businesses interested in green technology how we can use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to reduce bills, enjoy cleaner air and grow a green economy while increasing energy efficiency,” says Debra Rowe, OCC professor of sustainable energies and behavioral science. Rowe is also president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, and an advisor to the Higher Education Association’s Sustainability Consortium.

The mobile alternative energy lab is located at the Auburn Hills campus and will be used as a teaching tool for OCC's sustainability program. It will go off off campus to county school districts and other public places upon request.

Source: Debra Rowe, professor of sustainability energies and behavioral sciences at Oakland Community College
Writer: Kim North Shine

Baker College of Auburn Hills Hosts Conference to Help Women Get Ahead

Baker College of Auburn Hills will host the eighth annual Women in Transition conference on Friday, November 4. “Everything you ever wanted to know about getting ahead,” is designed to assist and support women.  The guest speaker is Kiesha Speech, executive director and chief navigator of Future Focused, a non-profit organization that helps foster care youth and young adults in their personal and professional development.

Attendees will learn about recognizing skills and interests, choosing and preparing for a career, getting into college, and obtaining financial and study skills assistance.

The Women in Transition conference runs from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Baker College of Auburn Hills, 1500 University Drive. The $15 enrollment fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, all sessions and handouts. Scholarships are available for those unable to pay the enrollment fee. For information and to register, please call Baker College at 248-340-0600 or 888-429-0410. Registration deadline is October 28.

For more information about Baker College, go to www.baker.edu.  

Ideas to Business

Students, faculty and staff at Oakland University and Cooley Law School are participating in a new venture called Ideas to Business (I2B), a lab that teams students from a variety of academic backgrounds. They are gaining access to support and expertise they need to move ideas for new businesses, products and services from inspiration to implementation.

     The I2B initiative also provides resources including office equipment, meeting space, product testing support and access to a broad network of business professionals.

     Wayne Blizman, I2B coordinator, noted that a National Business Incubation Association study reports that 87 percent of incubator startups are still in business after 10 years, compared to a survival rate of only 44 percent of non-participants after four years in business.

      "This program allows the person to take his or her idea from the dream stage to reality," he explained. "It will increase the odds a new business will become a sustainable, contributing member of a strong economic community."

     The initiative also promotes the value of collaboration in nurturing new business ventures.

For more information, visit here.

Student housing proposed for downtown Auburn Hills

Downtown Auburn Hills, following the approval of a new student housing complex with parking and retail space  (the largest development of its kind), is celebrating the openings of at least six new businesses in the last three months.

The downtown business openings leave only one small vacant storefront. The openings are the joining of a deliberate effort of economic development and Chamber of Commerce officials and entrepreneurs looking for new ways of life in a changing economy, says Tom Tanghe, assistant city manager and director of human resources and labor relations.

"It's sort of a big deal in this economy," Tanghe says, "to have this many businesses opening at the same time."

The openings were becoming so regular that the city and the Chamber of Commerce tried a twist on the usual ribbon-cuttings by holding them on the same night at an event called a strolling ribbon cutting.

He says groundwork, mainly in the way of streetscape projects, was laid back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

"We had some pretty good activity around 2002, 2003 and 2004. Residential condos, townhouses, office, retail," he recalls. "Around 2006, 2007, everything came to a screeching halt. We had a number of vacancies. Of course when the market crashed in '08 everything just stopped."

What changed, he says, was the arrival of "a lot of people with the entrepreneurial spirit. In some cases they have given up hope on the private sector and decided they'd seek out a different destiny," he says.

There are no franchises among the bunch of new businesses on Auburn Road: YourSource Management Group, HomeCrafters Home Improvement, Sound-Wave Music & Arts, Walker Self Defense Academy, Edge Men’s Grooming and the Pampered Pooch LLC, which grooms nearly 30 dogs a day.

In addition to the infrastructure being in place and entrepreneurs striking out on their own, newcomers were attracted by investments and grants from TIFA (Tax Increment Financing Authority), which captures taxes in designated areas to be used for economic development.

One program grants up to $30,000 in matching funds to help businesses build out their spaces. Facade improvement grants are also available.

“The city makes a strong case for new businesses to open their doors downtown,” says Denise Asker, executive director of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce. “With an appealing mix of architecture, restaurants, shops, recurring community events, and access to free Wi-Fi, the commercial climate here couldn’t be better, whether companies are established entities or emerging enterprise.”

Source: Tom Tanghe, assistant city manager and director of human resources and labor relations; Denise Asker, executive director of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Kim North Shine

OCC Orchard Ridge approves $6.2 million renovation

One year from now, Oakland County Community College Orchard Ridge Campus' J Building is projected to be at the halfway mark in a $6.2 million repair and renovation project.

The restoration will address interior issues and waterproof the concrete plaza surrounding J Building, also called Tirrell Hall or the Student Center. While water leakage hasn't become a major problem in throughout the structure yet, the restoration is intended to prevent the issue from worsening.  The work on the interior will focus on renovation of study spaces and classrooms as well as improvements to the bookstore and cafeteria.

"It’s actually the largest building in the entire college," said Orchard Ridge President Jacqueline Shadko.

Funding for the project comes from 0.8-mills tax approved by county voters in 2010 which directs the resulting funds toward building restoration, technology upgrades, scholarships and new academic program development.


"If the timeline goes according to plan, construction will overlap the end of the winter semester, the summer semester and the always big fall semester.

'It will be a disruption, and we have a communications plan set up,' Shadko said, to alert those on campus about what areas to avoid during the project’s phases. The college’s website,www.oaklandcc.edu, will spread the word about what areas members of the public who come to the college for activities should avoid."

Read the whole story here.

City of Rochester plants children's garden

Rochester's organic community garden in Scott Street Park is expanding to include a designated area for children's gardening.

Organized by Dinosaur Hill, the new garden received $14,000 worth of supplies from Home Depot's Lake Orion, Rochester, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Troy, Commerce Township and Sterling Heights locations. Home Depot employees also volunteered their time to assist Dinosaur Hill with constructing the new space Oct. 13.

Created in May, the Rochester community garden is approximately 80 feet by 100 feet and houses 42 plots. The new Children’s Garden is 30 feet by 80 feet with room for several planting beds, an area with benches for gardening and nutrition classes, rain barrel and composting demonstration areas and a small storage shed for tools and other supplies.

"It’s really going to be a very functional space, and it also should look very nice," says Sue Nea, executive director of Dinosaur Hill.


"The Rochester Community Garden was the first project for the newly reactivated City Beautiful Commission, which decided to create the garden in what it felt was an underutilized Scott Street Park. Since the organic garden opened in May, people have leased spots in the garden -- which is managed by Dinosaur Hill -- at a fee of $30 for Rochester residents and $35 for nonresidents."

Dig in here.

Lyon Township partners with U of M-Dearborn

Lyon Township has partnered with iLabs, the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Innovation Research, to tighten the focus on the city's economic development efforts.

The township and iLabs have worked to create a 3-minute business survey for businesses in the township. The partnership was facilitated through the annual project eCities, which aims to benchmark the economic efforts and achievements of local governments.

The survey will help to communicate the needs of each business to Lyon's municipal government. That way, the township can help support the growth and development of each business -- as well as the community as a whole.
All businesses in Lyon Township are invited to take the survey on the township’s website. Click the Economic Development tab at the top of the page and scroll down to the eCities Business Survey icon.

Heritage Conference focuses on preserving the past

Oakland County will host their 2011 Planning Heritage Conference, Sept 21 at the Silverdome.

This year, the conference will focus on "white elephant" local and regional areas that have experienced demise, abandonment and re-purposing. The gathering will also provide guidance to communities seeking to save and promote their own forgotten "white elephants."

A registration fee of $35 includes breakfast, lunch, sessions and tours.

For more information, email the Planning Group or visit the Heritage Conference website.

Solar farm coming to Farmington's Mercy High School

DTE Energy's fifth solar farm will be fired up this fall at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills.

The roof-top photovoltaic system will be installed on 125,000 square feet of rooftop at the all-girls Catholic school on 11 Mile and Middlebelt Roads, within view of passersby. The cost of the project is $2.5 million and is part of DTE's SolarCurrents program, which promotes the use of alternative energy. DTE plans to spend more than $100 million on the SolarCurrents program, which has several facets.

The program aims to meet a state mandate for "ten percent of our generation to come from renewable sources by 2015," says DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons.

"We're pleased that Mercy High School will be the first private high school to participate in SolarCurrents, which is one of the largest distributed solar programs in the country," Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy's vice president of marketing and renewables, says in a statement. "We're seeing that the program has encouraged the development of new renewable energy projects by providing financial incentives to nonresidential customers interested in solar energy."

Mercy, which has been designated a Green School, joins other solar farms at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ford Motor Corp, General Motors Corp., and Monroe Community College, Simons says. They all are expected to participate in the program for 20 years. In return they receive discounts on their utility bills and payment to cover the inconvenience of construction.

Besides solar, DTE is building wind farms and creating sources of biomass and other forms for power. The utility is expecting to spend nearly $2 billion to do that.

The power generated will go into DTE's grid for all its customers to use, he says.

Source: Scott Simons, spokesman, DTE Energy
Writer: Kim North Shine

This article previously appeared in Metromode.

Lawrence Tech to build more campus housing

Lawrence Technological University plans to open a third dormitory by next fall. As more international students at the university would prefer to bike or walk rather than drive, the university has commenced planning for the new energy-efficient dormitory.

The dorm must still be approved by Lawrence Tech's university architect, Joseph Veryser, who said that sustainability must be more "than a tack-on" for the new structure. School officials have begun meeting with the Southfield Planning Commission to discuss zoning issues, land use and the site plan review for the 51,600-square-foot dorm before it goes on to Southfield's City Council.


Veryser, who is also the associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design, said the building would house only freshmen, both males and females, and would attempt to create a sense of community at the university. He said the dorm, which he anticipated would cost more than $30,000 per bed, would be about half-full the first year, then gradually reach capacity as the university's on-campus presence grows.

Read more here.

Lawrence Tech to get $55 million expansion

A $55 million academic complex is coming to Lawrence Technological University thanks to a major contribution from one of its former students, noted philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman.

The donation will pay for the construction of a building and expansion and physical connection of a complex where engineering, architecture and life sciences are taught, creating the Taubman Complex. The combined structure would also provide additional space for the College of Architecture and Design and growing biomedical programs within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Taubman, who studied architecture at the Southfield-based university in the 1940s, sees the gift as a way to thank the school that helped him become successful and also as a door opener for future students and graduates.

"Lawrence Tech made a big difference in my life, as it has for generations of young people working to build successful careers and fulfilling lives. I am immensely proud of my Lawrence Tech affiliation, and am delighted to provide support for the exciting new Engineering, Architecture and Life Sciences Complex," Taubman says in a statement announcing the gift, one of many to the his alma mater.

"With Mr. Taubman's generous support, we will be able to move forward with expanding and enhancing Lawrence Tech's academic programs in engineering, architecture and life sciences," Lawrence Tech President Lewis Walker says in an announcement. "This new building will greatly improve our facilities and open up new opportunities for faculty and students."

The gift was given in two parts: $1 million for the planning and development of the building construction and $10 million that comes with a challenge grant to be matched by $20 million in new contributions in three years. Construction of the building should be complete within 24 months.

Source: Eric Pope, spokesman, Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Kim North Shine

This article previously appeared in Metromode.


Royal Oak schoolkids win OakGreen Challenge

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson issued a challenge to Oakland County residents, businesses and schools in 2010 -- work together to reduce energy consumption 10 percent by 2012.

Over 190 schools competed in this year's OakGreen Challenge -- but  the principal of the winning school, Helen Keller Elementary School in Royal Oak, says they've been "living and breathing green ideas" for the past four years. The students work to maintain more than 15 environmental initiatives throughout the school, from bringing waste-free lunches on Wednesdays to recycling and adopting endangered animals.


"We started (in 2007) with a mentality of being green, and at that time we were a candidate to become an International Baccalaureate Primary Years School," Houghton said. That program includes a unit about sharing the planet and the finite resources on the planet.

"Right from the beginning we were working on that thematic unit in kindergarten through sixth-grade," Houghton said.

Find out more about the OakGreen Challenge winners here.

Oakland Community College invests $1.3 million in campus improvements

As enrollment hits record levels at Oakland Community College, it is investing in improvements to campus facilities.

The latest project, $1.3 million, will pay for improvements at the Orchard Ridge campus in Farmington Hills and the Royal Oak campus.

In Farmington Hills, exterior sealant and glazing on bricks will be replaced while the other project will replace lintels and brick masonry supports above doors at three buildings.

In Royal Oak, a shower is being converted into a science lab and multipurpose classroom and one of two parking structures on the edge of downtown will receive a new payment system on the first floor.

"We have in excess of 29,000 students enrolled, the highest we've ever registered," says George Cartsonis, director of communications for OCC.

Oakland Community College has five campuses and is the largest community college in Michigan -- 25th largest in the U.S., Cartsonis adds.

Source: George Cartsonis, director of communications, Oakland Community College
Writer: Kim North Shine

A version of this story appeared in Metromode.

$150,000 in grants available through Oakland County Parks and Rec

Cities, villages, townships, community parks and recreation departments, DD and schools -- all are welcome to apply for outreach programming support from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The Commission approved $150,000 to support the 2011 Recreation Assistance Partnership program. As an element of the Commission's Strategic Master Plan, the R.A.P. Program
helps serve all areas and citizens of the County of Oakland, and to create community through people, parks and programs.

Programming and bus transportation are just a few of the ways the R.A.P. Program brings parks to the people. In 2011, R.A.P. Program will offer support in outreach programming (Get Outdoors! Cache, GO! Bike and GO! Fish Clinics, Festival II, Bouncer and Mini Festival), day camp and program assistance, community collaborations and recreation collaborations.

Interested in applying for a grant? Want to find out more? Visit destinationoakland.com

The story at Ferndale Public Library is about going green

The biggest story going on right now at the Ferndale Public Library has nothing to do with the books, but with the building and the eco-minded, money-saving features that went into making it an award winner.

The library, which reopened two weeks ago after the green renovation was completed only to be followed by a destructive flood, has won an Honorable Mention as Green Project of the Year from the Construction Association of Michigan and is expecting to receive the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The hope is to earn the highest LEED ranking of gold. The changes to the library are expected to save $13,000 a year in energy costs. "Green Library" is a distinction that more and more libraries are pursuing.

Architects Seth Penchansky and Dan Whisler, of Penchansky Whisler Architects in Ann Arbor, handled the design and Frank Rewold & Son was the construction manager.

The green construction features include the planting of eight varieties of sedum on two roofs of the library, a summertime sight that sometimes generates phone calls about weeds growing on the rooftop.

On the library grounds, under one grass and garden area near the entrance, and around an outdoor garden near the children's area, are a total of 16 bores 400 feet into the ground. They form the geothermal energy system that will heat, cool and ventilate the building.

In addition, the library has a rainwater reclamation system that filters the water and subjects it to UV light to be used for flushing toilets and for sprinkling plants.

There are also motion detector lights in places such as bathrooms. Low voltage fluorescents are deployed and coatings on the glass keep cold out during winter and warmth out during the summer.

"Most of these things you would never see," Sterritt says. "You have to know they're there."

Ferndale's is one of at least seven libraries to have received LEED certification, according to the Green Libraries Directory.

Harper Woods was the first to earn LEED certification in 2005, and the city of Hastings' was the first Michigan library to achieve LEED Gold certification in 2008.

City planners and librarians say as cities look to make municipal facilities more earth-friendly and money-wise, the number will increase.

Source: John Sterritt,  president of the Ferndale Library Board
Writer: Kim North-Shine

Chabad Yeshiva to build new student campus in Oak Park

Two Jewish learning academies in Oak Park will be expanding their campus from the current 12,000 square-foot building to a spacious 50,000 square-foot Yeshiva. Alan and Lori Zekelman of Bloomfield Hills will be underwriting the entire project.

The campus houses around 120 middle and high-school aged students that focus their studies on the Chabad Lubavitch form of Orthodox Judaism. Oak Park is within walking distance to many Jewish families in the area.


"In the early 1970ís, there were three hundred Orthodox Jewish families in Detroit; today there are one thousand. Throughout its rich history, Jewish life in Detroit has grown steadily," says Cohen. The new Yeshiva building will raise the numbers "of people who want to live in the main Jewish area. Itís a win-win, it helps cement the community."

Read the whole article here.

New middle school for girls opens at Cranbrook schools

Cranbrook recently completed construction on its first new campus building in decades, a 47,000 sq. ft. middle school for girls costing $16 million.

The state-of-the-art school has Smart Boards located in each classroom, as well as classrooms dedicated to sciences and the arts. It also features a gymnasium, library, dining hall, workout facility and athletic field.

"Clusters" for each grade provide the girls with their own classrooms, laboratories, commons areas and creative spaces for dance, choral music and drama.


Designed specifically for girlsí education, the building was intentionally located next to Cranbrook Institute of Science to give girls greater exposure to science. The green brick structure was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver criteria using rain collection, recycled materials, Michigan-made construction products and furnishings, and art created by Cranbrook-educated artists.

Check out the new school here.

Rochester is poised for new growth, opportunities in 2011

The Rochester community has the lowest unemployment rate in Oakland county and its business growth has a lot to do with it. Mayor Bryan Barnett said the city welcomed 27 new tech companies in just the past year, which, coupled with the recent launch of the OU William Beaumont Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Oakland's Eye Research Institute, help position the city as the educational anchor of the county's Medical Main Street initiative.

Continuing the theme of growth, Oakland University will introduce its first class of med school students this upcoming fall. They will reap the benefits of the new $62 million Human Health Building.


Crittenton Hospital Medical Center has been designated as one of only five centers in for robotic surgery by Intuitive Surgical System, maker of the da Vinci surgical robot, which can maneuver beyond the limits of the human hand.

Find out more here.

State funding will help break ground for new OU Engineering Center

A $30 million grant provided by the state of Michigan will help finance the new 127,000 sq. ft. home of Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science, which will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and research space.

The funding comes from Michigan's FY 2010-2011 capitol outlay bill, which will provide $383 million in state funding to support over a billion dollars in capitol projects for the state's colleges and universities.

Construction of the building will help OU respond to its 13 straight years of record enrollment numbers, while enhancing the school's global competitiveness and reputation.

"We are extremely grateful that funding for the Engineering Center is included in the capital outlay bill, as we believe it will help expand our highly skilled workforce, advance research and foster technological innovation that will fuel the development of a 21st century economy in Michigan," says OU President Gary Russi.

Find out more about OU here.

Developer plans eco-friendly improvements for former Birmingham schools admin building

West Bloomfield-based developer Jeff Surnow is tackling another project, now that he's about wrapped up the renovation of the old Birmingham post office.

His next project is a former Birmingham schools administration building, at 550 Mills St. He's not quite as far along with that building -- after receiving site plan approval from the city, he then goes through the planning stages, and expects that will take a little bit of time. He's also looking for tenants to commit to moving in.

The older buildings are a little harder to convert energy efficiency, Surnow says, but he'd like to do more of them when the economy picks up. "We're taking old structures and giving them the modern, green technology to bring them up to date," he says.

Surnow would like to make some of the same improvements in the old school administration building that he did in the former post office -- new heating, high-efficiency and low-energy lights, additional insulation, skylights, and more.

Source: Jeff Surnow, The Surnow Company
Writer: Kristin Lukowski

Solar, wind systems added to Oakland Schools Technical Campus

The Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Clarkston is going for a twofer in alternative energy, installing both a solar- and a wind-power system.

Over the last year, Oak Electric has been working with the school to get approvals for permits and to sort out engineering issues. The foundations for the solar panels and the wind turbine have been poured and installation of the actual equipment will begin next week. Both systems should be up and running by the end of May.

The school district is spending $36,000 to install a two-kilowatt ground-mount solar system, which will be installed first. Next is a 2.4 kilowatt Skystream wind turbine that will stand 45 feet tall.

Both systems will be used to power the campus. They will also be used as teaching tools for students to learn about the ins and out of alternative energy.

Source: Gary Pipia, president of Oak Electric
Writer: Jon Zemke

Wind turbine goes up at Birmingham Covington School

Birmingham's Covington School has cut the ribbon on a new wind turbine that will serve as not only an alternative energy generator but an education tool.

The Windspire, manufactured in Michigan, is not your normal wind turbine. It stands 30 feet high and is shaped like a vertical cylinder. It's made to harness winds at speeds of about 10 mph in urban areas.

It will supply electricity for the school, which is actually on Covington Road in Bloomfield Hills. At its engineering technology lab, students will be able to monitor activity and use that information as part of its curriculum.  

A number of local organizations helped make the installation happen, including Mariah Power, Centerline Electric, Rauhorn Electric, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Fence, TMP Associates, Peter Basso and Associates, and GreeningDetroit.com.

John Carlos, CEO of TechTown-based GreeningDetroit.com, is a parent at Birmingham's Covington School. He is also part of the school's Proud Dads organization, which harnesses parents' abilities to improve the school. That was an easy task for Carlos to determine.

"It was an easy match to find the niche to help out the school," Carlos says.

Source: John Carlos, CEO of GreeningDetroit.com
Writer: Jon Zemke

Tri-counties join forces on Green Schools Initiative

Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties are finding ways to not only be sustainable with the Green Schools Initiative but also to be more regional.

The three counties have formed the Southeast Michigan Green Schools Initiative, which works to implement more sustainable practices in Metro Detroit's schools. The new initiative also is adding more levels for schools to achieve beyond the regular green certification. They can also go for the high levels of emerald and evergreen.

"We know to really get local people involved with sustainability you need to get students involved in the process," says Paul Gieleghem, chair of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. "This is a great way to connect your people with the direction we need to go to develop a green and sustainable economy for the 21st Century."

Source: Paul Gieleghem, chair of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners
Writer: Jon Zemke

Cranbrook lands $181M for renovations, improvements

Cranbrook has surpassed its $150 million fundraising goal one year early, bringing in $181 million that will be used for a combination of projects, including major renovations to the school's campus.

About $75 million will be spent on new construction or renovation projects at the Bloomfield Hills school. Among those projects are the construction of a new Girls Middle School and the renovation and expansion of the Boys Middle School. The Quads and Kingsford copper roofs will also undergo a restoration.

The Cranbrook Art Museum is scheduled for a complete renovation, including the addition of a new Collections Wing to will provide public access to the museum's entire collection.

The Cranbrook Institute of Science will receive a new group entrance and parking structure. The Planetarium will receive a technology upgrade while classroom space is renovated and two new anthropology halls are added.

More than 28,000 people gave to the fundraising campaign. For information, click here.

Source: Cranbrook Schools
Writer: Jon Zemke

Oakland renovates technical schools and curriculum

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. That's when the doors open on the newly renovated Oakland Schools Technical Campuses in Royal Oak, Pontiac, Wixom and Clarkston.

The new state-of-the-art facilities and an updated curriculum will provide advanced educational opportunities for high school juniors and seniors. They will focus on such high-tech disciplines as engineering, emerging technologies, biotech, transportation technology, health sciences and environmental sciences.

The students attend classes at the campuses for about half a day before returning to their home districts to finish the school day at their local high school.

An open house will be held between 2-5 p.m. Sunday. For information, click here or call (248) 209-2194.

Source: Automation Alley
Writer: Jon Zemke
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