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State OKs tax capture for Aptiv's creation of advanced-safety engineering center in Troy


Aptiv PLC will get to keep up to $30.7 million of its employees' tax withholdings by creating 500 new jobs at its Troy headquarters.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the 10-year Good Jobs for Michigan tax capture for the autonomous-vehicle technology supplier, allowing the company to keep the income tax withholdings for 500 new engineers, support staff and electronic labs technicians as part of the relocation. Aptiv is expected to invest between $20 million and $30 million on the project.

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Technosoft Corp. adding tech jobs in Michigan

Technosoft Corporation (Technosoft), founded in 1996 and headquartered in Southfield, MI, combines strategy, technology, and creativity to help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys. Technosoft offers solutions for data science, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, application lifecycle management, CRM-ERP (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle), and IT infrastructure management. The company has more than 4,400 employees globally.

Technosoft recently announced plans to create a Digital Transformation Center of Excellence at its Southfield facility. From this center, Technosoft will deliver projects to help companies transform how they do business using digital technologies such as Blockchain, robotic process automation, and data science. The initiative is expected to generate a total private investment of $878,000 and create 104 high-paying jobs. To support this ambitious expansion, Technosoft has been awarded an $800,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Texas. “Southfield is business-friendly and Southeast Michigan has the talent we need to grow. We’re able to find bright, young technical talent by tapping into technical universities such as Lawrence Tech, UM, MSU, and other strong Michigan universities.”, said Radha Krishnan, President and CEO of Technosoft. The city of Southfield has offered expedited permitting in support of the project.

Mark Adams, Oakland County Sr. Business Rep. said, “Technosoft is an outstanding technology firm with visionary management and a talented workforce. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has worked with many partners to create a diverse business community through the County’s emerging sector program. These jobs represent the type of high paying skill talent that makes up the Oakland County workforce. This success story was a result of teaming with Southfield and the MEDC to partner with Technosoft.”

About Technosoft 
Technosoft Corp. (Technosoft) combines strategy, technology and creativity to help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys. We help our customers gain insights from data that others can’t see and we provide bold ideas for innovation. Technosoft offers solutions for digital transformation, data science, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, Blockchain, cloud management, application lifecycle management, quality assurance and testing, CRM-ERP (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle), and IT infrastructure management. Technosoft has extensive domain knowledge of the manufacturing, banking and financial services, healthcare, retail, and high tech industries. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, Technosoft has 4,400+ global employees and is trusted by more than 35+ Fortune 1000 customers in North America and India. Learn more at http://www.technosoftcorp.com

Aptiv creates new jobs through expansion of mobility technical center

Michigan entered in to the final four with high hopes and emerged the victor, beating out three other states in the process.

This isn’t college basketball we’re talking about but instead a tournament of jobs. While there isn’t a trophy to hoist--that we know of, at least--there are approximately 500 new jobs and $20 million in private investment to tout.

The global technology and mobility company Aptiv recently announced that it will be renovating its facilities in suburban Troy, Michigan, creating 500 new jobs in the engineering- and software-related fields. The Troy technical center will serve as a mobility research and development facility for the company.

As a result of the investment, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a 100 percent Good Jobs for Michigan tax capture for up to 10 years valued at $30.6 million.

“[Michigan] Governor [Rick] Snyder met with Aptiv executives last year and made the case that there is no better place in North America for high-tech companies to expand and succeed than Michigan,” says Jeff Mason, chief executive officer of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

“Aptiv’s investment is a catalyst for attracting other technology companies and underscores the strength of the state’s high-tech automotive assets.”

The Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Aptiv has approximately 150,000 employees across 14 technical centers, as well as manufacturing sites and customer support centers in 45 countries.

Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber, characterizes Aptiv’s decision to invest in Troy, “A tremendous win for the region,” and, “A testament to our ecosystem’s continued strength as a global center for leading mobility companies.”

Those interested in careers at Aptiv can view opportunities online.

LTU sophomores improve the lives of persons with disabilities through innovative products

Lawrence Technological University sophomore engineering students once again spent the fall semester designing products to help developmentally disabled people improve their lives.

Students worked with the Dearborn-based Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), which finds and manages job placements for the disabled, and ConnectUs, a Livonia-based nonprofit that provides quality programming for individuals with severe multiple disabilities.

The students are part of a course, EGE 2123, Entrepreneurial Engineering Design Studio, that is required in most LTU engineering programs. Students meet with the nonprofit agencies and their clients, witness, first-hand, the clients’ challenges, and design and build physical products to help solve those challenges.

"Creating a product for a real person - and in particular, a person with a disability - and seeing directly the impact that they can have on that person's life, really resonates with the students,” said Heidi Morano, director of LTU’s Studio for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design (SEED), who teaches the course with Susan Henson, SEED project engineer. “We often have former students return to the studio to ask if their STEP client is still using their product. The empathy that the students develop for their customer really shows."

This week, the students presented their products in open houses to LTU faculty, staff, and students, as well as working professionals in engineering and related fields. Those who attended cast votes to name first- and second-place teams in both sections of the EGE 2123 course.

Winners in the afternoon class that worked with STEP were:

  • First place, Ramp It Up, who produced a 3-D printed magnetized bracket to aid the production of roller assemblies used to transport cafeteria trays. Team members were Joe Daszcz of Allen Park, Chris Langston of Farmington Hills, Devin Morrison of Madison Heights, Maurice Rivers of Chicago, and Matthew Wenzel of Howell.
  • Second place, tie, Gasket Smashkit, who produced a board with cones affixed to it to help workers punch holes out of gaskets without damaging the gasket. Team members were Lauth Aljida of Novi, Dillon Tierney of Highland Township, and Meshal Alharbi of Kuwait.
  • Second place, tie, InspectTech, who designed a device to incorporate inspection into the manufacturing process of a component in automotive bumpers. Team members were Samantha Khon of Dearborn, Alyssa Downs of Southgate, and Miguel Sanchez Munoz of Spain.

Winners in the evening class that worked with ConnectUs were

  • First place, AMTF, a team that designed a table with jacks and actuators that raised and lowered to accommodate the height of a client’s wheelchair. Team members were Garrick Beaster of Romulus, Ethan Harrington of Shelby Township, Aidan Nolan of Clarkston, and Joel Trend of South Lyon.
  • Second place, Ticket Masters, which designed and built a new ticket dispenser for ConnectUS. Team members were Emily Gandolfi of Falmouth, Tyler Gregory of Livonia, Matthew Luckow of Dearborn, and Matt Quigley of Rochester.

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, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of 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.

AM General lands $210M in contracts for new military vehicles and services


AM General, which operates a technology and engineering center in Auburn Hills, announced it has received an order to provide 740 new M1152A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to the U.S. Army National Guard.

The $89-million contract joins a recently awarded five-year contract for Systems Technical Support services for the family of HMMWV with a value of approximately $121 million. The STS services contract will support government task orders for engineering, logistics, and quality assurance projects among other orders.

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Troy's Laser Eye Institute the first in Michigan to perform SMILE with astigmatism surgery


Michigan’s first SMILE with astigmatism laser corrective eye surgery was scheduled at the Laser Eye Institute in Troy. 

Zeiss, a global manufacturer of optical systems and creators of the Laser Eye Institute’s technology, announced on Oct. 5 that SMILE with astigmatism was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The company also announced the successful completion of 1.5 million procedures globally.

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Two high-tech companies move operations, jobs to Oakland County

More than 150 new jobs and nearly $6 million in capital investments are coming to the cities of Auburn Hills and Southfield.

Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. has been making car stereos for decades. Now the Torrance, California-headquartered company is moving closer to the automobile industry.

The manufacturer of high-performance mobile electronics Alpine is moving its headquarters to Auburn Hills. The move puts the company closer to the autonomous vehicle industry, allowing it to develop technology and products for the automakers jointly.

The move will create 100 jobs for the city and generate a total capital investment of $5.1 million. As a result, the state has awarded the company a $650,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Auburn Hills is offering a 50 percent property tax abatement, too.

"This new investment will allow Alpine to continue developing technologies for work in the autonomous vehicle industry," says Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel.

"Our City Council and staff have worked diligently to support this exciting project, and we are looking forward to their continued success."

Also in the news is Danish company Configit, which makes configuration technology for leading manufacturing companies. With offices all over the world, the company is opening an office in Southfield for its U.S.-based software product development team.

The move will create 51 high-tech and administrative jobs and generate a total capital investment of $803,000. As a result, Configit has been awarded a $365,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, and the city of Southfield plans to expedite the permit process.

"We’re pleased Configit has chosen Southfield as the location for its software product development team in the United States," says Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"Oakland County is connecting many of its 2,000+ IT companies operating here through our Tech248 initiative and a global company such as Configit fits perfectly into the strategy."

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

Out of state circuit court celebrates going paperless thanks to local company

Southfield-based ImageSoft, Inc. is celebrating the five-year anniversary of one of its earliest circuit court customers adopting the company’s custom paperless caseflow software.

ImageSoft provides paperless document and process management solutions to a variety of industries, though its focus is on the courts.

Virginia’s Arlington County Circuit Court was one of the first circuit courts in the nation to go paperless, digitally transmitting case files to higher courts. The court has been enthusiastic in its adoption of ImageSoft’s paperless technology over the years, wearing shirts and putting up banners promoting the practice.

To celebrate five years, Arlington County held a public raffle and commissioned four sheet cakes with phrases in frosting like, "Project Paperless: Where Less Is Really More!" and "Forests are green, oceans are blue, we went paperless for the earth, me and you!"

"ImageSoft is really excited to have been a part of Arlington County’s transformative five years," says Scott Bade, ImageSoft President.

The Clerk’s office in Arlington had great vision and courage in undertaking this initiative, and we’re proud of everything they’ve accomplished, ultimately providing improved service to Arlington County residents."

According to ImageSoft, there has been a roughly 20 percent increase in filings at Arlington County Circuit Court since adopting the paperless system.

The circuit court has also announced that it will further its paperless mission by adopting ImageSoft’s CaseShare, a cloud-based Appeals Automation solution. CaseShare functions include assembling the digital appellate records, automatically merge PDF files, create tables of content and bookmarks, and apply optical character recognition for full-text search capability, among others.

Clerk of the Arlington County Circuit Court Paul Ferguson says that going paperless has increased efficiency for court users and staff.

"Our goal was to provide the easiest access to court records while maintaining robust security, and ImageSoft’s solution and support has achieved this."

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

LTU professor puts community mapping into the hands of the people with mobile mapping cart

A Lawrence Technological University professor is leading a community mapping project in Detroit. And though he may be Principal Investigator of Mapping + Humanities, Dr. Joongsub Kim, Ph.D., has designed it in a way that makes the community members themselves the true leaders of the project.

Dr. Kim, Professor, and Director of LTU’s Master of Urban Design program, and his team have designed a mobile mapping cart to allow community members of Detroit’s West End neighborhood to map and document their neighborhood and tell their own stories.

The mapping cart is attached to a bicycle, and local high school students ride it around the neighborhood. Drawings, pictures, and infographics are then created to be incorporated into maps. Captured are things that affect people’s daily lives, vacant buildings but also historically significant buildings and other community assets.

The spectacle of a bike-pulled mapping cart is also meant to draw crowds, facilitating conversations and the sharing of stories between neighbors.

"We’d like to make sure that the community is able to design and build their own maps so that they have ownership and want to use them rather than have outside planners coming in and saying, Here’s a plan for you, here’s a map for you, now use it," says Dr. Kim.

"This is to give people a sense of voice and empowerment."

Mapping + Humanities is a multi-tier program. Following a November exhibition, the first mapping cart will be given to the community in December. In the meantime, planning sessions are being held with local high school students. A manual will then be put together, and the high school students will be helped in making their own mapping cart.

Mapping + Humanities is a collaboration between Urban Design and Humanities programs at LTU and West Grand Boulevard Collaborative in Detroit’s West End neighborhood. A Michigan Humanities Council Grant funds it.

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

Bloomfield Hills' Karamba Security introduces automotive cybersecurity protection platform


Bloomfield Hills’ Karamba Security, a provider of end-to-end automotive cybersecurity prevention solutions, has announced ThreatHive, which provides automobile OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers a view of actual, online attacks on their engine control units (ECU) during development.

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LTU Self-driving champs

Lawrence Technological University has once again established itself as a leader in the field of autonomous vehicles.

The Southfield-based university won the Self-Drive Challenge contest at the 26th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), which was held June 1 through 4 at Oakland University in Rochester. It’s the second year in a row that LTU has won the contest.

The team of LTU students created ACTor, or Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, a self-driving campus shuttle bus. The vehicle was judged on a range of tasks, including lane-following and -changing, obstacle avoidance, reading traffic signs, detecting potholes and avoiding them, and more.

C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU and the winning team leader, says that contests like the IGVC both prepares students for the workforce while simultaneously advancing the fields of technology. Students are solving real-world problems while applying lessons learned.

“Driving at night, or in the fog--there are so many unknown environments that self-driving cars can be driving in,” Chung says.

“To be a real product, reliability needs to be 100 percent.”

The contest allowed companies the ability to get a sneak peek of what’s coming down the talent pipeline. It’s a talented future workforce, says Chung, and one upon which the industry relies.

Since winning the competition, students are now reprogramming ACTor to serve as an actual autonomous taxi on the LTU campus.

LTU’s competitors in the contest included University, the University of Detroit Mercy, the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, and New York University. The winning team received $3,000 and a plaque.

“Detroit is the automotive hub. We should work hard to be the leader in this industry of self-driving vehicles, as well,” says Chung.

“Universities need to provide a talented workforce in order to do that.”

Visit Driven and learn how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Capture 3D innovation conference coming to Troy in October


Capture 3D, a technology company specializing in 3-D measurement, inspection, and digitization solutions, will hold its Innovation Conference and Expo Oct. 2-4 at the Marriott Hotel in Troy. The biennial event focuses on how optical noncontact 3-D metrology can be used to quickly solve quality issues, eliminate unforeseen costs, optimize the manufacturing process, and improve product quality.

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Lawrence Tech business incubator wins NEI grant, looks toward expansion

The LTU Collaboratory, Lawrence Technological University’s business incubator and accelerator, is planning to expand its business and technology-based mentorship services, workshops, and events. The move is made possible thanks to a one-year $40,000 grant from the New Economy Initiative. It’s the first time NEI has awarded a grant to the Southfield-based university.

Small manufacturers and emerging hardware startups in Southeast Michigan stand to benefit most from the grant. The money will also be used to engage more high schoolers, college students, and young adults in product and manufacturing-related innovation challenges.

"As a leading resource to small and start-up companies developing innovative, engineered products, the LTU Collaboratory can now provide additional key resources for these companies to grow and scale up their operations, thanks to this NEI grant," said Mark Brucki, executive director of community and corporate partnerships at LTU.

"We are looking forward to getting more students involved in manufacturing as well."

It’s another improvement for the LTU Collaboratory. LTU is planning on a new 6,300 sq. ft. accelerator space for its Southfield campus by spring 2019.

NEI Senior Program Officer Maria LaLonde cites Southeast Michigan’s abundance of engineering talent, manufacturing expertise, patent research initiatives, and export activity in praising the deal.

"We are very excited to be partnering with LTU to offer small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs critical resources to keep them on the leading edge of innovation and growth," said LaLonde.

"As a university-based accelerator program, LTU is also a key partner to engage and develop the next generation of design, engineering and manufacturing talent in Michigan."

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

How can Pontiac's tech economy grow? Sustain the momentum, entrepreneurs say

Enthusiastic. Scrappy. Upcoming. Those were just a few of the words used to describe Pontiac and its tech economy at the June 6 High Growth Happy Hour: Pontiac’s Tech Economy, held at the Paissa Building in downtown Pontiac.
The event was the second in the Comcast High Growth Happy Hour series, and was co-sponsored by the New Economy Initiative and Metromode.
Panelists were Matt Russell, Elaina Farnsworth, and Mark Hillman, with moderator Glen Konopaskie. Konopaskie is a consultant in the area on connected vehicles and a former director of Main Street Pontiac.
Russell leads several tech startups in Pontiac, including Cynerge Consulting, where he leads a team in enterprise-grade application development, cloud migration, and data center support. Elaina Farnsworth is CEO of The NEXT Education, a company focused on preparing talent for the new mobility economy. Hillman is CEO of Lenderful, one of the Pontiac-based high-tech software startups under the umbrella of MadDog Technology.
Read on for three takeaways from the event.
Pontiac has an image problem and an identity crisis.
All three panelists, as well as the moderator, agreed that Pontiac has an image problem. Since coming out from under emergency management, the downtown is looking better, vacancy rates are falling, and the city is safe, but the public at large doesn't perceive it that way.
"Pontiac is the safest city in Oakland County in terms of crime per capita and has been for the last eight years," Konopaskie says.
Coupled with the image problem is an identity crisis. Hillman says the city needs to do a better job of picking a focus and branding itself.
"There are a million things the town can be, and I have advocated specifically that business leaders and government at whatever level pick an identity and focus for the area," Hillman says. She suggested that technology and the arts could create a strong synergistic identity for the city, one that makes it feel "funky and cool."
Russell agreed that the combination of tech and art make Pontiac a cool place, along with its beautiful historic buildings.
"I think we could build around those two anchors, bring different vibes in, a youthful, creative energy," Russell says. Russell added that he has used photos of the Riker building where his business is located to draw in talent and show off what downtown Pontiac has to offer.
"We can use that as a recruiting engine, and bring in people who want to live here," he says.
Location is one of Pontiac's strongest assets.
Konopaskie says that Pontiac is exactly the place where a "small company can make a big splash" in a way they couldn't in a bigger city like Detroit.
He also notes that Pontiac is a natural hub, being the seat of Oakland County and located at the end of Woodward Ave., which is the site of the first mile of concrete road ever built in the entire nation.
Hillman says Pontiac is a place where companies can "bring the jobs to the people instead of bringing the people to the jobs."
Most people would prefer not to commute for an hour or more, but many do, because the well-paying tech jobs they want are in Ann Arbor or Detroit, Hillman says. But with Pontiac being so close to major highways, a commute from a nearby metro Detroit suburb could be only 10 or 15 minutes.
Farnsworth notes that a major paradigm shift in transportation is coming up in 2020, and the city needs to be ready for it. The next two years, she says, are the time for Pontiac to establish a plan for being a connected vehicle hub.
"We can't let this chance pass us by," she says. "We have two years before we have to have a plan in place or let another area get this. If we drag our feet like we have been, we won't be able to see the fruits."
Pontiac is poised for explosive growth — if the right collaborations happen.
All the panelists and the moderator agreed that public-private partnerships and buy-in from city government will be important to support and grow the tech economy in Pontiac.
Entrepreneurs won't keep coming to the city with cool ideas if they keep getting tripped up by bureaucracy, Russell says.
In addition to her work in Michigan, Farnsworth also works and does speaking engagements in Silicon Valley and says that, instead of competing, companies there want the whole region to succeed.
"That vibe is here in Pontiac," she says. "The challenge is that it seems like we can't get out of our own way. We have the vibe, we want things to move, but the execution isn't there yet. We need to talk about what we're doing, pick a strategy, and do it, even if it's not perfect. We've got the energy, but the follow-through is not there yet."
She adds that Pontiac already has much of what it needs to be a hub for the mobility and connected vehicle industry.
"We need to look at leveraging the assets we have here, take what's already in place and grow that," Farnsworth says.

Work of Troy-based engineering company featured in Canadian museum exhibit on biomimicry

A Canadian museum is showcasing innovative applications of biomimicry in vehicle design, and a Troy-based company is one of the key players involved.

The engineering firm Altair, headquartered in Troy, has several products featured in the temporary exhibition Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNOLOGY: Biomimicry and Transportation at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier in Valcourt, Quebec.

A vehicle frame structure showcased in the exhibit was designed using three of the company’s products, OptiStruct, RADIOSS, and Inspire. The frame structure utilizes biomimicry in its design, a practice that emulates patterns and structures found throughout the natural world.

According to the company, Altair’s optimization technology allowed designers and engineers to use the loads and forces the product is subjected to as inputs, generating innovative material layouts. Designers and engineers used the technology to investigate structurally-efficient concepts based on biomimicry principles, using natural designs to solve human riddles.

"It is a pleasure and an honor for Altair to have been invited to collaborate with the Museum of ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier to develop the cross-Canada exhibition on innovation from nature and biomimicry," said Bob Little, managing director of Altair Engineering Canada. "Altair’s solutions for simulation-driven design and optimization are having a real impact on the ability of our customers to develop innovative new designs with greater confidence and in less time."

The exhibition will stay at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier for a year before it travels cross-country.

"This exhibition showcases the work done by the Museum team and several partners whose collaboration has been most valuable," said Carol Pauzé, director of the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier.

"Did you know that nature rewards cooperation? As was the case with Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNO, it leads to amazing results."

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

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