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

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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.
 
About SEMEDC
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

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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

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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

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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

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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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