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Innovation & Job News

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Royal Oak-based Powerly expands energy-driven smart home experience


Powerly, a Royal Oak-based utility-led smart home technology company, introduced their updated energy conservation platform at the annual DistribuTECH conference in San Diego.

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Auto lighting firm to invest $35M, add 362 jobs


An automotive lighting company plans to invest $35 million and add 362 jobs in Oakland County over the next five years.

Automotive Lighting LLC will produce “high-technology, full LED headlamps” at the facility in Independence Township, according to Gene Spektor, vice president of sales for NAFTA at Magneti Marelli, the supplier’s Italian parent company.

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Troy Chamber launches young professionals network

The Troy Chamber is excited to announce the launch of the Troy Young Professionals Network, which creates and implements programs to assist professional members 35 years of age or younger. Their goals are as follows:
  • To create an environment where members can connect with individuals in the same stage of their career
  • To help early career professionals transition and thrive in the work force through educational programs and mentorship opportunities
In addition to planning social & educational programming, the Troy Young Professionals Network recently launched a mentorship program that matches young professionals with more experienced professionals to exchange resources, provide insights and learn new skills. The goal of the mentorship is for participants to create a foundation of trust, to be professionally and personally rewarded by their conversations, and to establish connections.

 “It’s exciting to be part of this network,” says Moe Moua, Committee Chair of the Troy Young Professionals. She explains, “Often times our generation finds it hard to make meaningful connections with other professionals. We also seek professional development and growth that may not always be so easily accessible. The Troy YPG will strive to build these networks and make professional development more accessible.”

The group’s next event, entitled “Quarter Life Crisis,” will be held at Northwood University’s Troy campus on March 23, 2017. Beth Bryce, Northwood University’s Director of Career Advancement, will provide strategies to create a realistic quarter-life crisis action plan.

For more information on the Troy Young Professionals Network, call 248-641-8151 or e-mail theteam@troychamber.com.

The Troy Chamber exists to help create long-term economic vibrancy, vitality and stability for Troy's business community. Representing nearly 700 businesses, the Troy Chamber serves as Troy's primary business information resource. By responding to members' needs, the Chamber is able to help businesses get connected and stay connected. With hundreds of meetings and programs each year, it's easy for members to make a connection!

New LTU chapter of DECA scores big at biz competition

Lawrence Technological University started its chapter of Collegiate DECA only a few weeks ago.
Over the weekend, LTU proved that it’s already a force to be reckoned with in the collegiate business world, as four of its business administration majors scored top places in the Michigan Collegiate DECA State Career Development Conference, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.
LTU sophomore Max Sabo from Washington Township, placed first in the Executive Job Interview competition, a mock job interview for an entry-level management post, and third in the Banking and Financial Services competition, in which students analyze a real-world banking and financial services situation. Josh Dirlam, a junior from Spring Arbor, finished second in the Corporate Finance competition, in which students analyze investment and corporate finance opportunities.
A team of Sabo and Garrett Vonk, a sophomore from Grand Rapids, finished third in the Business Ethics competition, in which students analyze a business situation containing an ethical dilemma, then present a resolution of the dilemma to an expert judge. And Kirk Markowski, a junior from Dryden, Ontario, was a finalist in the Retail Management competition, in which students analyze a real-world situation, develop solutions, and role-play their strategy with an expert judge. Vonk was also a finalist in Corporate Finance.
Also competing for the LTU team was Chanz Harris, a sophomore from Garden City.
Merissa Hudnall, coordinator of undergraduate and graduate student services in LTU’s College of Management, said she was “proud of these students for representing LTU and the College of Management so well this weekend.”
In their performance at the state competition, Sabo, Dirlam and Vonk earned the right to attend the International Collegiate DECA Career Development Conference April 19-22 at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel in Anaheim, Calif.
DECA, formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship. LTU started its chapter at the end of the Fall 2016 semester as an extracurricular opportunity for students to take on leadership roles, and experience more opportunities in attending educational conferences, participating in competitive events against other students at universities within the state and internationally, as well as getting more involved in their career preparedness. More than 3,500 high school chapters and 275  collegiate chapters involve more than 215,000 members in activities sponsored by DECA and its corporate partners.
A total of 189 students from 11 universities competed over the weekend in Grand Rapids.
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.

Local entrepreneur named to Forbes 30 Under 30, expands business


When Dave Chmielewski began making his toffee recipe eight years ago, he took homemade and handmade literally, making small batches in his kitchen for friends and family. Though his toffee is now sold in 5,000 stores nationwide and made at a facility in Harrison Township, Chmielewski and his son, Andrew, who runs Dave’s Sweet Tooth, still take the original philosophy to heart.

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DTE Energy awards grant to Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association


The DTE Energy Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association, demonstrating the foundation’s continued investment in the hands-on science, technology, engineering and math learning initiative.

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Oakland University partners with DCT Aviation for sUAS Remote Pilot Certification Program


In response to new federal guidelines regarding routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS or “drones”), Oakland University’s School of Engineering, in collaboration with Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), has partnered with DCT Aviation of Waterford, Mich. to develop a new, two-course sUAS Remote Pilot Certificate Program.

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Walsh College invites area employers to "Internship Connection" on February 8

Walsh College will host over 30 area employers seeking candidates for student internships at its 2017 Internship Connection, scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the College’s Troy Campus, 3838 Livernois Road.

The event will give students the opportunity to network face to face with employers offering internships in professional careers, including accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, cybersecurity, sales, and general business.
Employers wishing to participate should contact careerservices@walshcollege.edu or call 248-823-1237.

“During the Internship Connection, students and employers can connect with each other in order to discuss internships and to explore employment opportunities,” said Brenda Paine, director of Career Services, Walsh College. “Internships can provide insight into one’s career field and also provides a way for students to evaluate companies and positions related to their career goals.”

Students planning to attend the event should dress professionally, bring résumés, and research the attending companies that interest them in advance of the event.

For a list of attending companies and more information on this event, visit www.walshcollege.edu/InternshipConnection.

The region's largest one-day human resources conference will take place March 16 in Novi

The  American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, will hold its 14th annual Human Resource Conference and Workshops (formerly known as People, Profit, Progress Conference and Workshops) on Thursday, March 16 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The event attracts more than 350 attendees and is the region’s largest one-day Human Resources conference.

“This year’s conference is about empowering HR,” Corrado said. “We have developed a wide variety of sessions that are fitting across the HR profession including topics in HR innovation, compliance, organizational strategy, and talent acquisition.  I am very excited about the top-notch line-up of speakers we have secured.”

Keynote speakers are Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt, Founders, Talent Anarchy and John U. Bacon, Best-Selling Author, Public Speaker, Radio Commentator & Teacher.

The Talent Anarchy keynote is not for the faint of heart. They will provoke, entertain, educate, and inspire.  Jason and Joe share a passion for public speaking and began speaking together as a team in 2006. They found speaking to be a great platform to promote change. In 2007, they chose the name Talent Anarchy to represent both the style and purpose of their work.  In time, speaking alone wasn’t enough to satisfy Jason and Joe’s desire to drive real change. In 2011, they published their first book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships, which is also the title of their keynote.

Bacon has authored or coauthored eight books on sports and business including Walgreens: America’s Corner Store, Cirque du Soleil: The Spark, and Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership.  In 2011, the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International (MMPI) named him “Speaker of the Year.” John Bacon teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and at the University of Michigan.  His keynote is entitled “Doing HR Better and Liking it More.”

Conference topics and breakout sessions include:
  • Metatrends in Human Resources
  • Surviving an Organizational Restructure
  • Trends, Tools, and Techniques of Recruitment
  • He Said, She Said, Who is More Credible?
  • Hacking HR: Pursuing Progress Through Deviation
  • Employee Recognition – The Most Underutilized Tool in Employee Engagement
  • Pre-Employment Testing – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  • What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for Employers?
  • Delivering a More Strategic HR Function
  • Creating High Leverage Organizations
  • Building Your Talent Pipeline – 10 Practical Tools
  • Accommodate What? A Human Resource Perspective on Managing the ADA
For a complete conference agenda and registration information, please visit the ASE website.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

Metro Detroit manufacturers can apply for new apprenticeship training grants

Metro Detroit manufacturers can benefit from a new grant program designed to reduce training costs and increase the number of apprentices in the Michigan Advanced Technician Training program.
The Michigan Talent Investment Agency is hosting a webinar at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, to explain the benefits of the program.
“Michigan employers have the opportunity to invest in the next generation of skilled technicians by offering training designed to meet their company’s unique needs,” TIA Director Wanda M. Stokes said.
“The cutting-edge MAT2 apprenticeship program has a proven track record of success, including providing a wide array of employer benefits such as increased productivity and knowledge transfer, a skilled talent pipeline and enhanced retention.”
The MAT2 Employer Training Grants are $5,000 per student and are for employers who have students enrolled at a MAT2 college, which in southeast Michigan are Oakland Community College and Henry Ford College. Employers must also register their student with the U.S. Department of Labor.
MAT2 is the state’s effort to address Michigan’s skills gaps in manufacturing by partnering with community colleges and local employers to offer free student apprenticeships.
MAT2 helps students avoid debt by earning tuition-free associate degrees while simultaneously getting paid to gain on-the-job experience in high-paying, high-demand advanced manufacturing careers.
Employers have said recruiting young people into the trades and training them in their company’s way of operating is a key value of the MAT2 program. There are now 122 MAT2 students and 44 companies across Michigan.
To make the MAT2 grant application process easier, business services staff with local Michigan Works! agencies partner with employers and will submit grant applications to the TIA on their behalf. Applications for MAT2 Employer Training Grants may be submitted through Sept. 30, 2017.
Eligible companies that team with their local Michigan Works! agency will need to submit a copy of their MAT2 Employer Training Plan, proof of tuition payment and a copy of their firm’s USDOL Certification Letter. The grant is a one-time award of $5,000 per student.
TIA’s Jan. 26 webinar will focus on the excellent return on investment that MAT2 delivers as an industry-developed, dual-education training program.
The goal is to enlist more metro Detroit businesses into the program and recruit more students who recognize the importance of apprenticeships as the way to transfer knowledge and skills from retiring workers to new workers.
Keynote speakers in the Jan. 26 webinar include:
  • Harold Snyder, test lab supervisor at FTE Automotive USA Inc., who will explain how FTE has successfully applied for MAT2 Employer Training Grants and how FTE is closing the skills gap with MAT2 apprentices.
  • Jennifer Llewellyn, Oakland County Michigan Works! director, who will discuss the importance of workforce development and apprenticeships in the metro Detroit region.
  • Denise Van Hee, Oakland County Michigan Works! business services manager, who will guide prospective employers on how best to utilize the MAT2 Employer Training Grants.
To register for the webinar and learn more about the MAT2 Employer Training Grants email wda-mat2@michigan.gov.

Magnet Consulting introduces The Mettle Foundry featuring The Forge

Professional, career development has taken on an exciting new twist at Magnet Consulting’s ‘The Mettle Foundry,’ now open in Rochester Hills. 

The Mettle Foundry is a professional development center built on the idea that true leadership is unfinished, rough, and beautifully flawed. The goal at TMF is to examine professional strengths and weaknesses in a fun, productive setting to refine and fortify authentic mettle as an individual or team.

The Mettle Foundry features ‘The Forge’, a problem solving room similar to the escape rooms that are growing in popularity across the country. Unique to The Forge is that it is staffed by trained behaviorists and psychologists who observe and evaluate team and individual behavior. 

Each Forge session will include pre-consultation with one of Magnet Consulting’s behavioral experts, an onsite post-Forge class on whatever was the biggest concern for that team, and behavioral reports for the team and each individual. Teams walk away with tools for better communication, problem solving, conflict management and success. 

“We believe that better people equals business success,” said Sandy Fiaschetti, Ph.D., Magnet Consulting Co-Founder. “The professionals at Magnet Consulting have spent decades assisting companies with their employee selection, team and leader development, and corporate culture. It was a natural flow for us to create a dedicated space for our clients and the community to sharpen their talents and develop more tools for success.”

In addition to The Forge, The Mettle Foundry will also offer career development workshops, internship training and bootcamps, staff retreats and individual on-site coaching. 

“Based upon the response of the community as we have previewed The Mettle Foundry, I’m excited to launch Intern Bootcamp this summer. Intern Bootcamp is the last, and possibly most important, camp a parent will send their high-school senior or pre-college student to 17-22 to and the first place an employer will send a new intern,” said Nicole Lentz, Magnet Consulting Co-Founder. “Here, students will have a week simulation of ‘real work’ and receive real-time feedback on their performance. They will also learn the practical aspects of work that so often are overlooked, like office etiquette, scheduling conference calls, how to talk on that call, and much more.” 

Sandy Fiaschetti, PhD and Nicole Lentz, MSF founded Magnet Consulting in 2012, bringing together both organizational psychology and financial experience from automotive, international, and regional industries to clients across the country.

Magnet Consulting works with businesses and municipalities helping them achieve their goals through proven scientific methods of workplace selection and development. Magnet Consulting’s passion is to engage each individual within an organization from the time of hire through the entire career.

The Mettle Foundry, Magnet Consulting’s onsite development facility, is located at 455 South Livernois Road Suite C12 in Rochester Hills, MI. For more information, visit www.themettlefoundry.com.

Bloomfield Hills marketing firm expands services


Rain BDM of Bloomfield Hills, a business development and marketing consultancy for attorneys and law firms, has expanded its digital services. John Reed, ESQ, Rain BDM founder and chief consultant, made the announcement.

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Oakland University professor examines evolution of infectious disease with NIH grant


The National Institutes of Health has awarded Fabia Battistuzzi, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biological Sciences at Oakland University, a $417,286 grant that will allow her to examine the evolution of infectious diseases while laying the groundwork for the development of new drug-based treatments that could help to save thousands of lives. 

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OU/WSU partnership expands to include political science students pursuing bachelor's, law degrees


Political Science majors at Oakland University can now earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years through the university’s existing partnership with Wayne State University Law School.

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Oakland County CISO garners national award

Oakland County’s Chief Information Security Officer Chris Burrows received national recognition for making a difference in cybersecurity. He was among a handful of 2016 “Difference Makers” whom the SANS Institute honored at its Defense Initiative Training Event in Washington D.C. The Difference Makers award “celebrates those individuals whose innovation, skill and hard work have resulted in real increases in information security.”

“This is a banner year for Chris,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Back in October, the Michigan Government Management Information Sciences (MI-GMIS) organization named him Michigan’s IT Professional of the Year. Now, he is among a dozen individuals recognized nationally for advancing information security. We are proud to have him as a member of our team.” 

The SANS Institute said in a press release that “Burrows drove improvements in basic security hygiene, including elimination of unneeded administrative privileges and resolving all critical vulnerabilities within 48 hours. In addition to his CISO duties, he volunteers as a Team Leader in the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, which is a group of experienced cybersecurity experts who individually volunteer to provide assistance to the state of Michigan in times of emergency. Burrows has CISSP and GICSP certification and has served on international IT Security Standard Boards.”

“It is gratifying to have our hard work recognized both on a state and national level in the same year,” Burrows said. “But this award is the result of a lot of initiative and innovation by our IT Department team.”

Burrows joined Oakland County in 2013 bringing more than a quarter century of experience from the private sector including in risk management, information security, and IT operations. In a few short years, he has created Oakland County’s first IT risk and security program. Plus, he helped implement CySAFE, a free IT risk assessment tool Oakland County makes available to other governments and businesses in the cloud. CySAFE has been downloaded in all 50 states.

Burrows also has provided leadership and guidance as a security advocate for other Michigan counties seeking to build or enhance their IT security including Washtenaw, Wayne, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe. He is working with local universities including Oakland University and Walsh College to help them identify relevant content for their cyber security programs. In addition, he is creating his own course called “Current Issues in Cyber Security” which he will begin teaching at Walsh College.

“Chris’s leadership in the IT Department has transformed the way we think about cyber security,” said Deputy County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini. “Not only is he having an impact on Oakland County, but he is also sharing his insight and best practices around the region.”

Burrows, 45, lives in Commerce Township with his wife Heather and two children. He holds a MBA from Lawrence Technological University, BSBA from Central Michigan University, along with numerous technical certifications including a CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional).

About SANS Institute 
The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 50 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates employee qualifications via 30 hands-on, technical certifications in information security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (http://www.sans.org)
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