| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feed

Emerging Sectors : In the News

74 Emerging Sectors Articles | Page: | Show All

Nearly 10,000 students to attend MiCareerQuest Southeast, region's largest career exploration event

Students from 107 southeast Michigan high schools are set to converge on the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi as MiCareerQuest Southeast – the region’s largest-ever career exploration event – connects 9,700 students with representatives from 114 companies and organizations.

The students, from schools in Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, will engage in a broad range of interactive, hands-on activities with more than 500 working professionals from 114 exhibiting organizations in four growing career quadrants: advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences and information technology. More than 125 of the most in-demand occupations in the state will be showcased. The day-long event is set for November 28.

“The Suburban Collection Showplace will be bulging at the seams with so much to see and do, as our young people explore so many exciting career opportunities,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who plans to attend. “I expect this event, which directly addresses employers’ calls for help in filling critical jobs, to be inspiring and engaging for all those participating.”

MiCareerQuest Southeast is coordinated by Michigan Works! and the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. The Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) is the presenting sponsor of the event.

During their visit, students and their chaperones will move between career quadrants over a two-hour period. The venue will host three separate sessions from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an average of 3,200 students in each. At least 150 school buses will transport the students and their 600 chaperones to the event. Advanced school registration was required.

Nearly 200 volunteers from Michigan Works! agencies across the state, the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, county government offices, local community colleges and other groups will be on-hand to assist.

“There has been a steady build-up of excitement for this event, among the schools, exhibitors and everyone who has volunteered to help,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, Oakland County’s manager of workforce development. “This is the first time an event of this nature and size has ever taken place in the southeast Michigan region. I’m expecting a great day.”

Macomb County’s Romeo High School plans to send its entire freshman class of 450 students. In 2019, as part of its transformation into the state’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community, the school will launch a special career academy for students in grades 10-12.

“Every student will be part of a career academy, preparing them with the more advanced skills they need to be successful in college, their careers and life,” said CTE Director Natalie Davis. “We believe MiCareerQuest Southeast is the perfect opportunity to expose our ninth-grade class to what career pathways are available to them prior to academy selection.”

According to Michigan Talent Investment Agency data, almost half of the companies the agency works with across the state indicate they struggle to find qualified people to fill their job vacancies. Wanda M. Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, said MiCareerQuest Southeast is a unique event to help address the long-term challenge of filling this talent pipeline.

“The Talent Investment Agency’s WorkShare program is proud to serve as the 2018 Presenting Sponsor of MICareerQuest Southeast,” Stokes said. “The unique, experiential learning approach that MICareerQuest takes provides students with hands-on exploration of high-demand, high-wage careers in their region. Immersion into hands-on learning is what ultimately helps students find their passion, so they can, in turn, discover their purpose. MICareerQuest understands that extending career exploration beyond the walls of the school and creating opportunities for students to engage with business professionals is critically important in providing students with a variety of career path choices.”

In addition to the Talent Investment Agency, major event sponsors include platinum sponsors Beaumont Health in health sciences and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in advanced manufacturing. Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, the Building and Construction Trades Council and MUST (Management & Unions Serving Together) are joint platinum sponsors in the construction quadrant.

Other major sponsors include Oakland Community College, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Michigan Works! Southeast, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Oakland County Michigan Works!, SEMCA Michigan Works!, Kelly Services, Automation Alley and Ascension Michigan.

Beaumont Health will showcase several occupations. Aaron Gillingham, chief human resources officer, said Beaumont is investing in the future for the region’s children.

“There’s no better place to be than in front of 10,000 students to highlight the great career options we have at Beaumont and across the medical sector,” he said. “MiCareerQuest Southeast will educate people on the types of opportunities available now, as well as the types of careers they can have in the future.”

A list of occupations to be showcased, including the organizations who are staffing exhibits, is attached. For more information, visit oakgov.com/micareerquestse.

Record number of students and companies participated in Manufacturing Day

Excerpt

Nearly 1,000 local high school students took part in a national program geared towards showcasing careers in advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, was celebrated locally, once again, at over 40 companies across Oakland County on Oct. 5. Since 2012, over 265,000 students have participated in Manufacturing Day events nationwide. 

Read more

Tigers debut custom Mahindra rig with souvenir-blasting turret

Excerpt: 

Comerica Park is set to see a boost in action by way of a Mahindra-made off-road vehicle blasting souvenir T-shirts and balls into the stands with a rotating turret.

Read more.

P3M chosen for pioneering connected-vehicle infrastructure project

Oakland County, Mich. and the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) have selected P3 Mobility (P3M) of Toronto through an open bid to launch a first-of-its-kind pilot program to test connected vehicle infrastructure and determine whether an innovative business model to monetize that infrastructure is viable. The business model will involve a public-private partnership. They made the announcement in conjunction with the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS America) of America annual meeting in Detroit.

“The pilot program has the potential to revolutionize transportation not just in Oakland County but for the world by seeing whether we can monetize connected mobility infrastructure,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “On an engineering and business level, this is our moon shot.”

In Patterson’s 2014 State of the County speech, he announced the formation of the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force whose job is to tap industry experts to develop a business model for implementing connected vehicle infrastructure throughout the county. P3M will help the task force take the next step on developing and testing a leading-edge business model.

“This is no small task. After all, Oakland County has 5,600 miles of roads and 1,600 intersections with traffic signals,” RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz said. “We in Oakland County, however, are visionary. We don’t view the magnitude of the task as an obstacle but a challenge to which to put our best and brightest minds to solve.”

P3 Mobility will install wireless smart intersection technology at 10-12 intersections and research the user experience to better understand the optimal pricing of various road services and their projected income potential. The exact location, dates of installation, and cost of the project will be determined.

“We are delighted to have been selected for this groundbreaking project in Oakland County,” P3M CEO Erin Milligan. “During the pilot, we will engage Oakland County residents at every level which will include conducting extensive market research to learn what they think about and want for future connected mobility in their community.”

RCOC is no stranger to connected-vehicle technology – including connected-vehicle infrastructure - and has a global reputation for its leadership in the field. It was the first local agency in the United States to introduce a connected-vehicle project in 1992 when it launched its FAST-TRAC adaptive traffic signal system. Since then, it has been a key player in numerous connected-vehicle technology tests and deployments, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration, Michigan Department of Transportation, all the major auto manufacturers, many tier 1 auto suppliers and many of the leading connected-vehicle companies from around the world.

“The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute published an article a few weeks ago that says implementing connected vehicle technology and infrastructure could prevent up to 8.1 million car crashes and 44,000 deaths,” Patterson said. “Taking another step closer to countywide connected vehicle infrastructure is another step closer to preventing automobile deaths and injuries.”

For more information go to OakGov.com/AdvantageOakland, select “Programs” and click on “Connected Vehicle”; RCOCWeb.org, and P3Mobility.com.

About P3 Mobility

P3M provides a software platform which enables secure and authenticated subscriptions to various smart road services. The "P3" in their name stands for public-private-partnership as they believe that intelligent road infrastructure can be built and funded through such a model. P3M has identified and formed partnerships with leading companies in the Connected Autonomous Vehicle, market research and consulting sectors to bring Oakland County a consortium of world-class expertise. The list of International and North American partner companies which provided support in their RFP response included: Marsh, WSP, Integral Blue, E-Scrypt, Miovision, Savari, Paxgrid CDN, IMG Rebel, Head Research, Giants and Gentlemen, Mobile Comply, Future Help Design, Veterans Life USA, Axcess Internet, Lease Web, Invest Stratford, and Stonebridge. P3M aims to engage the diverse expertise of its partner firms to demonstrate a level of success in the pilot phase which will pave the way for a full-scale roll-out in Oakland County, the State of Michigan and throughout North America.

Foreign investment is focus as economic development teams head to Washington D.C. and Germany

Oakland County economic developers are hoping to give the county’s sizable international business presence a boost as they head to the 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. and Germany in search of new businesses.


Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development, leads a team that is attending SelectUSA, a three-day event that promotes foreign direct investment in the United States beginning Tuesday. While Spanos and her team are in Washington, business development representative Charlene Page will be in Germany at Global Connect Stuttgart 2018 and later in Frankfort, selling auto suppliers and others on the benefits of landing in Oakland County.


“Oakland County has made a name for itself globally as a preferred business destination,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We’ve had direct foreign investment of more than $56 million from our relationship with SelectUSA and we’re working on 25 more leads. These are companies headquartered outside the United States and so far, this year, we’ve attracted nearly $47 million of foreign investment from eight countries, bringing more than 900 jobs. We truly have an international business community.”


Oakland County continues to be among the top destinations in the United States for foreign direct investment. More than $1.2 billion of foreign direct investment has been made in the county in the past four years, including $305 million in 2017. The hope is that more international firms will soon be coming, joining the 1,100 international firms from 39 countries having business locations here.


Spanos has 16 meetings scheduled with automakers; aerospace, medical device and robotics companies who have expressed an interest in meeting with Oakland County. The companies are from France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan and Switzerland.


SelectUSA attracts more than 2,000 attendees from economic development organizations as well as domestic and international firms from 42 countries, service providers, media and senior administration and government officials, including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross as well as other cabinet members.

President Barack Obama attended the summit in 2015 and 2016. President Donald Trump may attend this year, Spanos said.


More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oakland County is focusing on automotive, aerospace, information technology, medical devices and industrial machining/robotics. The Summit is described as the highest profile event in the country dedicated to promoting foreign investment in the U.S.


Spanos is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, which offers counsel to the secretary on ways to make the country more attractive for foreign direct investment.


In 2015, Spanos was appointed to the Foreign Direct Investment Frontlines Coalition – an economic development steering committee created by the Washington, D.C.-based Organization for International Investment.


Oakland County has gained national attention because of its foreign business footprint. About two foreign firms a month – on average – opened new business locations or expanded existing facilities in Oakland County in 2017.


On June 27, Patterson will be hosting a delegation from the Torino (Italy) Chamber of Commerce.


Meet 8 tech companies proving there's more to the Midwest

Excerpt

To those who see the Midwest as just a series of “flyover states” boasting little more than highways and cornfields, it may come as a surprise that this region is experiencing a tech revolution.

All across the heartland of America, tech startups are growing, drawn by gainful advantages like lower salary costs, higher standards of living for employees and less competition. Burnt out on the intensity of Silicon Valley? It seems the Midwest is the place to be.

Here are eight technology companies — all led by members of Forbes Technology Council — that are achieving success in the Midwest, including Ambassador in Royal Oak, Michigan. 

Read more

Oakland County improves IT security assessment tool

Oakland County has launched an updated version of CySAFE, a free information technology security assessment tool to help small and mid-sized organizations assess, understand and prioritize their basic IT security needs, Deputy County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini announced today. CySAFE 2.0 has five new controls: email and web protections, monitoring and review of third party services, physical and environmental security, penetration tests and red team exercises, and compliance.

“IT security threats are always evolving,” Bertolini said. “We’ve updated CySAFE so businesses and governments will have the latest from three well-known IT security frameworks when evaluating the security status of the apps they use to conduct business internally and externally.”

CySAFE 2.0 condenses and removes redundancies from three well-known IT security frameworks: NIST, CIS 20, and ISO 27001.

“CySAFE combines the 400-plus controls from all three frameworks into one condensed list, removing any redundant controls and assesses the controls against the organization's current IT security capabilities,” said Chris Burrows, Oakland County’s chief information security officer.

After downloading and completing an IT security evaluation form online, which takes 60-90 minutes, CySAFE 2.0 generates a priority list and trending graphs for an organization’s IT security needs. The most critical updates will be in red.

“The data an organization enters is private and only stored in Excel format,” Burrows said.

For more information about CySAFE 2.0, go to G2GMarket.com. CySAFE is a collaborative effort of five Michigan counties – Oakland, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne - and the state of Michigan.

Oakland County extends deadline for companies to bid on development of autonomous vehicle pilot

Providers who have the ability to plan, build, deploy and maintain a pilot connected autonomous vehicle network that would ultimately make driving safer have until Feb. 15 to submit proposals to Oakland County.

The county extended the deadline for interested providers – either individually or as a collaboration – to present a system including signals, equipment and software. The system would enhance traffic safety by sending instantaneous electronic messages to vehicles, warning motorists of potentially dangerous driving situations such as a vehicle running a red light or stop sign or dangerous road conditions ahead. The county, with support from the Road Commission for Oakland County, is seeking bids that would provide this service at no cost to taxpayers.

This first-of-its-kind request for proposal was issued in December but was extended because of the complexity of the request and to give interested companies additional time to complete their bids, said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development and community affairs.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson created the Oakland County Connected Vehicle Task Force to make recommendations on how to deploy the world’s first countywide connected mobility system. Connected vehicle are able to transmit data about the vehicle and its location to other vehicles and to road infrastructure.

The 16-page request for proposal spells out in detail what is required of potential bidders. It challenges interested providers to create a system of dedicated short-range communication that can be easily adopted throughout the United States and other jurisdictions. Oakland County has more than 5,600 miles of roadway and 2,000 intersections that would use the system. Nearly 75 percent of the automotive industry has research and development operations in Oakland County.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. Potential bidders with questions about the request for proposal should contact Scott Guzzy of the county’s Purchasing Division at 248-858-5484 or guzzys@oakgov.com.

Age-friendly in the future: Engineering contest has students thinking about seniors' needs

Excerpt: 

In Valdada, in the year 2065, senior citizens get help from Herbie, a robotic personal assistant that can cook, clean, have conversations and even use Braille to communicate with the visually impaired.

"It looks like us, but it's animatronic," said Joseph Waller, an eighth-grader from New Era Christian School, who explained Valdada — and Herbies — to visitors at Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace. "It's made by Apple, so you know it's good."

Read more
 

Multinational automotive company invests $22.3M in Oakland County facilities, creates 105 jobs

The North American subsidiary of India-based Mahindra, Mahindra Automotive North America Manufacturing, is expanding in both the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills. The company has invested $22.3 million in facilities in each city, creating a total of 105 jobs.

In Pontiac, Mahindra will lease and transform a former General Motors facility into a warehousing and parts distribution center.

In Auburn Hills, the company has announced that its pre-existing facility will be upgraded to become its North American automotive headquarters. The facility will also include an engineering center. Three of its off-road utility vehicles and prototypes will be manufactured there.

As a result of its investment, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has awarded Mahindra an $850,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. According to MEDC officials, Michigan beat out Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas in competing for the jobs and investment.

"When an international company with a reach like Mahindra chooses Michigan for the third time in four years, that is a statement about our state’s business attractiveness, talented workforce, and leadership in automotive manufacturing," Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, said in a statement. "We’re pleased to support this global powerhouse as it further expands in Michigan and brings high-paying jobs to Michigan residents."

The 105 new jobs created by the development brings its Michigan employment numbers to 250. What's more, officials from Mahindra say the company plans on creating an additional 400 jobs and $600M in investment through 2020.

This is the first new OEM operation in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years, according to a release from Mahindra.

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

Local businesses receive more than $2.1 million from the state to hire or train nearly 3,100 workers

A total of 86 Oakland County businesses were awarded $2,154,000 in Skilled Trades Training Funds this week from Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency.

Oakland County employers – with the support of Oakland County Michigan Works! – were awarded funds to hire and train 1,584 new employees, expand the skills of 1,538 existing workers and create 46 new registered apprenticeships over the next year.

“This is wonderful news for our employers and job seekers,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The first year we applied three businesses received awards. Now, four years later, 86 businesses qualified for funding to find and train new and existing employees, as well as launch apprenticeships. Our Michigan Works! team of trained professionals worked with a broad range of companies to design training programs aligned with their changing needs.”

Since 2013, Oakland County employers have received more than $7.3 million of Skilled Trades Training Funds from Oakland County Michigan Works! and the state of Michigan. Workers will be trained and receive industry-recognized credentials in advanced manufacturing, software programming, construction trades and robotic operations.

Area companies receiving grants include: P3 North America (Southfield), Rayconnect (Rochester Hills), Independence Commercial Construction, Inc. (Waterford), Marada Industries – Magna (New Hudson) and Northern Sign (Pontiac). An industry-led collaborative application of regional construction companies was also funded to pursue a joint training effort.

“Our goal is to help companies find the talent they need to be successful,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County. “This includes making them aware of such resources as the state’s Skilled Trades Training Fund and then assisting them with the application process. It’s very rewarding to see so many companies’ hard work pay off.”

Oakland County Michigan Works! provides talent attraction, management and retention services for businesses, and career management, training and placement for job seekers at eight locations in Oakland County.

Contact OaklandCountyMIWorks.com or 800-285-9675 for more information.

LTU event to show how Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Immersive Reality affect business

From immersive virtual reality (VR) caves to head-mounted devices (HMDs) to augmented reality (AR) headsets and more, a program at Lawrence Technological University will give attendees a chance to learn about these new tools in a relaxed environment and discover the positive impact they may have on the way business gets done.
 
Join the LTU Collaboratory on Thursday, Sept. 7 for a symposium from 8 a.m. to noon in the UTLC Gallery on the LTU campus, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield, for a hands-on demonstrations of the DAQRI Smart Helmet, the Microsoft Hololens, the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and a demonstration of immersive cave technology.
 
Expert presenters will include:
  • Jeff Brum from Mechdyne, on applications of virtual reality from training firefighters to developing a virtual aquarium for a research institute
  • Simon Wealans from DAQRI on how the smart helmet they developed can use augmented reality to save lives on the battlefield, help first responders in cities, and train new workers
  • Steve Couchman from LivePicture on how virtual reality headsets can be used in a design or marketing workflow
Registration is $15 if booked online at www.ltucollaboratory.com/events/ar-vr-ir-oh-my, or $20 at the door. A continental breakfast is included.
 
The event is sponsored by the LTU Collaboratory in partnership with the City of Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
 
For more information on how the LTU Collaboratory can help your company innovate and grow, visit www.ltucollaboratory.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.

County Executive's Emerging Sectors business attraction program tops $4 billion total investment

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the Emerging Sectors® business attraction and retention strategy he created in 2004 to diversify the county’s economy has surpassed $4 billion of total investment.

The strategy had four successes in June totaling $367 million of new investment, resulting in more than 1,700 new and retained jobs. When combined with figures since inception in 2004, the program has 450 business successes resulting in total investment of $4.3 billion; 44,562 new jobs and 29,920 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country. Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $915,000 every day for 13 years.

“The Emerging Sectors program has been an incredible success,” Patterson said. “It has changed the face of Oakland County’s economy.”

The milestone was reached 13 years after Patterson introduced the program to diversify Oakland County’s economy which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targets international companies that show an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as a possible business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, medical technology, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

“I wanted to wean us off our reliance on automotive, for which we paid such a heavy price during the Great Recession,” Patterson said. “I tried to balance my expectation with some realism about our likely success but I had no idea we would move so quickly.”

The most successful sectors have been health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $1.1 billion of total investment, and IT/communications (Tech 248), at $801 million.

The companies that put Emerging Sectors over the top in June, including country of origin if not U.S.-based, business sector and location of Oakland County facility, are:
  • Elektrobit: Germany, advanced electronics, Farmington Hills
  • Autoliv Electronics America: Sweden, advanced electronics, Southfield
  • Williams International: aerospace, Pontiac
  • Cynerge Consulting: communications/information technology, Pontiac
Oakland County aggressively seeks international investment, with about 1,100 foreign-owned firms from 39 countries having business locations here. The county attracted $371 million of foreign direct investment in 2016 – about 38 percent of the county’s known private investment of nearly $900 million for the year. Through June, 18 international companies from seven countries announced new investment totaling $162 million and more than 4,700 new and retained jobs.

Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb accompanied Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on a trade mission to Europe last month in an effort to attract companies to Oakland County. At the same time, Economic Development Director Irene Spanos was in Washington D.C. at the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The event attracted company representatives from more than 40 countries interested in establishing operations in the U.S.

Patterson lauded Gibb, Spanos and their team for attracting the new investment.

“Since coming together as a team less than five years ago, Matt and Irene have grown investment in the program by nearly $3 billion – a feat unmatched in the state,” Patterson said.

The success of the Emerging Sectors program has increased as it has matured. In 2008, Patterson hosted a celebration at the Cranbrook Institute of Science to honor the first 70 Emerging Sector companies whose total investment surpassed $1 billion. With the Great Recession at its peak, it took until 2013 for the program to reach $2 billion in total investment. More than 500 representatives from Emerging Sector companies and other guests were invited to a “What Goes into $2 Billion?” celebration on the arena floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The program reached $3 billion in 2015, which was marked by a celebration at Pentastar Aviation in an airport hangar at Oakland County International Airport. All of the celebrations were privately funded by sponsors.

Patterson said he would hold out until the program reaches $5 billion for the next celebration.

“This came on us too quickly,” he said.

LTU students demonstrate museum docent robot

A team of Lawrence Technological University robotics engineering students conducted a flawless test of a robot designed to give the world a chance to virtually visit a historic Detroit auto plant.
 
The students demonstrated the robot at the annual meeting of the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, the nonprofit that runs the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant as a museum.
 
The robot is designed to follow a strip of magnetic tape around the museum, following a docent. Cameras and microphones on the robot will allow people who log into a museum website to see and hear about the automotive displays at the Piquette plant. A screen on the robot will also allow those taking the virtual tour to type in questions they’d like to ask the docent.
 
Jerry Mitchell, a retired Wayne State University anatomy professor who chairs the Piquette plant’s board, called the LTU students “wonderful young people, an inspiration to all of us” who make him “more optimistic about the future of our country.”

The students built a custom-made steel chassis for the robot, which is powered by rechargeable batteries and uses wheelchair motors and wheels to get around. They named the robot H.E.N.R.Y., for “Historical Engineering Narrated Remotely for You.”

The nine students who worked on the project are Zachary Cowan of Rochester Hills, Matt DiMilla of Brownstown Township, Patrick Feliksa of Rochester Hills, Christopher Leclerc of Canton Township, Ryan Martin of Redford Township, Charles Morton of Muskegon, Luis Rodriguez of Valencia, Venezuela, Nicole Turkus of Grosse Pointe Woods, and Joey Yudasz, team captain, of Waterford Township. They started building the robot in November under the supervision of LTU robotics lab instructor James M. Kerns.

The Piquette plant was home to Model T production from 1904 to 1910. On Jan. 1, 1910, Henry Ford’s more famous Highland Park plant opened, home of the first moving assembly line. At Piquette, automotive assembly was still done the old-fashioned way – workers put an automotive frame up on sawhorses and bolted and welded the rest of the parts onto it, rolling it out the door when it was done.

While no model of efficiency compared to the moving assembly line, the Piquette plant did set records for its time, at one point churning out 110 Model Ts a day.  

The museum last year attracted 18,000 visitors from more than 50 countries. Sunday’s visitors, according to museum director Nancy Darga, included people from Cuba, Ecuador, Germany and Sweden. The museum is listed as an automotive heritage site with the Automotive National Heritage Area, part of the National Park Service system.
 
Since taking over the building in 2000, museum volunteers have been worked to restore its 355 windows, shored up its brickwork, and have created display cases of important automotive history objects. Henry Ford’s original office has been restored. Dozens of historic vehicles from the early 20th century are now on display in the museum. Volunteers also spent the past year and a half improving and standardizing the informational signs that stand in front of each vehicle on display.
 
Most recently, volunteers have worked on restoring the secret third-floor laboratory where Henry Ford and a small group of close associates designed and first built the Model T, Ford’s first car that truly met his vision of a practical automobile the average American could afford and properly maintain. The restored room will officially open on the Model T’s birthday in September.
 
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.

Into the lab with Pontiac's Exferimentation Brewing

For co-owners Eric Benton, Andrew Stamper, and Scott Boughton, it's passion that has them brewing beer until 3 a.m..long after their shifts in the automotive industry have ended for the day.

The three friends opened Exferimentation in July 2016, though they started working on their quirky signature beers for several years before that. The co-owners consider themselves the "mad scientists" of the brewing trade, eschewing the traditional ales and lagers for something more unique. Hence the name http://exferimentationbrewing.com/Exferimentation, from"Experimenting with fermentation."

There's Clownpocalypse, a toasted coconut cream ale born out of a conversation co-owner Eric Benton had about a zombie clown apocalypse. There's the Pink Tickler, a hibiscus wheat beer that's also the brewery's most popular. And there's a red ale with rosemary, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, a pineapple-rhubarb wheat beer, and a lemon-coriander sour beer, to name just a few. The trio is always working on other unique flavor combinations, testing them out on their all too willing loyalty program members, the Mad Scientist Club.

It all started out so innocently.

"We started homebrewing on my back porch and progressed from there to a small industrial space in Rochester," says Benton. "We had a club and brewed ten gallons at a time. We had that for 18 months, and by the time we got to the end of the 18 months, we had 30 people showing up and drinking all of our beer. They were drinking more than we could make," says Benton. "We figured that it was time to go pro."

Though it may seem like a current trend, homebrewing has been around for thousands of years. And like the many brewers before them, the Exferimentation crew learned how to brew beer through the trial-and-error process. Come up with an idea, see what works, let people try it, and proceed based on their enthusiasm for the product.

Keeping their focus on the beer, Exferimentation has spent the bulk of their money so far on brewing equipment. Work on the tasting room, a storefront in downtown Pontiac, was done themselves. The trio rehabbed the floors, installed the tile, and built the bar and tables all by hand. And this done in the evenings and weekends, working around their "regular jobs."

In searching for the right space for their bar, Exferimentation looked at a couple of locations before finding downtown Pontiac. The historic storefronts, walkability, and the potential for economic revival made it obvious that it was the city that Exerimentation was about to call home.

"We didn't know that we wanted Pontiac until we went into Pontiac to look. And then we absolutely knew that we wanted Pontiac," says Benton.

Benton's big on the city's future, saying that he thinks it's about two to three businesses away from a development tipping point, leading to it becoming a bustling destination for a night on the town.

The building where Exferimentation is located, 7 N. Saginaw St., is already abuzz. Directly across from the recently renovated Flagstar Strand Theatre, 7 N. Saginaw St. hosts a vintage clothing store and, not one, but two breweries. Five days after Exferimentation signed the lease on their storefront, Fillmore 13 Brewery signed theirs. The two breweries share a hall. But the competition doesn't irk the Exferimentation team one bit. All it means, says Benton, is that there are more people drawn downtown.

Part of that, he says, is that he knows craft beer fans are the type to try as many new beers as possible, and not settle into a single establishment. It's a "the more, the merrier" situation that creates the foot traffic a business desires. 
 
And in talking about beer towns, Benton has his eyes set on a certain city in west Michigan known for its dozens of breweries, which holds the title of Beer City, USA.

"Look out Grand Rapids, here comes Pontiac."

Name and title: Eric Benton, co-owner (other owners are Andy Stamper and Scott Boughton)

Year Exferimentation opened: Opened 7/21/16

One interesting job you had before running Exferimentation: I was the chocolate and frappucino buyer for Starbucks.

What's the best brewery soundtrack: Best soundtrack to me is Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons.

What's your favorite beer flavor of all time: We love citrus around here, especially grapefruit. It's becoming commonplace these days, but grapefruit with its slight bitterness fits just right with an IPA.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
74 Emerging Sectors Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts