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Judson Center's Autism Connections has begun a movement with over 30 official partners

During the month of April, Judson Center will be honoring National Autism Awareness month as we Bring Autism to Light for World Autism Day (officially on April 2). Judson Center’s main campus in Royal Oak (13 Mile and Greenfield Road), will be lit up blue beginning on Friday, March 31, and will continue to the end of the month. 
A movement has begun – Judson Center is teaming up with the City of Royal Oak to help Bring Autism to Light. During the next City Commissioners meeting, this Monday, March 27, Royal Oak Mayor, Michael Fournier along with the City Commissioners, will present an autism proclamation honoring National Autism Awareness Month and the life changing programs at Judson Center’s Autism Connections. Royal Oak is also urging all employees, residents and members of the business community to join the movement.
Many other partners, including the Royal Oak School DistrictTroy School Districtthe Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor (where Judson Center’s second Autism Connections program is located), Signs by Tomorrow, Medical Network One Health Solutions, Shrine Catholic Schools, Epsilon, Brooks Kushman, as well as over 20 other community businesses and organizations are joining the movement. 
Judson Center’s Royal Oak office is offering free blue light bulbs and lawn signs to anyone interested. You may also pick up lawn signs and light bulbs from Royal Oak City Hall as well as all three Royal Oak Fire Departments.  Companies can also participate and Bring Autism to Light by shining blue for autism, designating a day to wear blue for autism awareness, and making a donation to Judson Center’s Autism Connections.
“It is an honor to have the support of the community we serve.  At Judson Center’s Autism Connections, we understand that a diagnoses affects the entire family, not just a child and that is why this campaign is so important. To let our community know that you are not alone, Judson Center is here to help and support our community and families”, shared Judson Center CEO & President, Lenora Hardy-Foster.
Autism awareness is a part of Judson Center each day, as its Autism Connections program has been a part of Metro Detroit for over ten years, and expanded into Washtenaw County soon after, both providing comprehensive services to the entire family.  Currently, one in 68 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and in Michigan, there are over 50,000 individuals living with ASD. 

LTU's annual Cisler Lecture to feature UM President on advances in medicine

Lawrence Technological University’s 2017 Walker L. Cisler Lecture will feature the president of the University of Michigan speaking on the remarkable advances of modern medicine.

The lecture will be held Thursday, March 23 on the LTU campus, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road in Southfield.

UM President Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., will speak on “From the Discovery of DNA to the Modification of the Human Genome: How Basic Science Fuels Disease Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment.”

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Mary E. Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium, Room S100 of the LTU Science Building. A dessert reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. For location and directions, visit www.ltu.edu/map.

The Walker L. Cisler Lecture Series was founded at Lawrence Tech with a generous gift from the Holley Foundation. Well known for his leadership of Detroit Edison from 1954 to 1971, Cisler enjoyed a career that spanned a lifetime of personal, professional, civic, and business accomplishments. As an international ambassador for the American utility industry, and a tireless humanitarian, he strived to improve the quality of life for people everywhere.

Schlissel became the 14th president of UM, and the first physician to take the position, in July 2014. He previously was provost of Brown University, where he was responsible for academic and budgetary functions, as well as libraries and research institutes.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y, Schlissel earned a Bachelor of Arts in biochemical sciences from Princeton University in 1979, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in physiological chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1986. He did his residency in internal medicine at Hopkins Hospital and conducted postdoctoral research as a Bristol-Myers Cancer Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Schlissel joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1991, and earned several awards and fellowships for his research and teaching. He moved to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1999 as associate professor, advancing to full professor in 2002.

His research has focused on the developmental biology of B lymphocytes, the cell type in the immune system that secretes antibodies. His work has contributed to a detailed understanding of genetic factors involved in the production of antibodies and how mistakes in that process can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers and trained 21 successful doctoral candidates.

He was UC-Berkeley’s dean of biological sciences in the College of Letters & Science and held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry until his appointment as Brown’s provost in 2011.

About LTU:
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. The Brookings Institution ranks Lawrence Tech fifth nationwide for boosting graduates’ earning power, PayScale lists it in the top 10 percent of universities for graduates’ salaries, and U.S. News and World Report places 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 in Southfield, Michigan, include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Interactive TEDxOaklandUniversitySalon to highlight Connections

In the spirit of re-engaging the Oakland University community between large TEDx events and igniting discussions on issues of interest, TEDxOaklandUniversity will host its first Salon, Monday, March 27, 2017, 5:30-9 p.m., in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms on the campus of Oakland University. 

This independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature local voices focused on the importance of Connections.
Smaller than a formal TEDx event, a TEDx Salon hallmark is lively, interactive, focused discussions where attendees actively participate. Think of it as a gathering with the smartest people you know. At the OU event, attendees will connect with concepts focused on helping them live their best life, make the world a better place and strengthen their most important relationships.
“There will be something for everybody, an opportunity for everyone to connect, participate and learn,” says TEDxOaklandUniversity coordinator Amy Rutledge, special instructor, management information systems. “The Salon approach is a smaller gathering which allows for a lively, spirited exchange of ideas. By encouraging audience participation, there is more sharing of ideas, more opportunity for every person who attends to learn something and add something to conversation. Everyone benefits.”
Specifically, attendees of the TEDxOaklandUniversitySalon will get to know and exchange ideas with:
  • Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., also known as The Love Doctor?, is America’s most trusted relationship expert. This author, speaker, therapist and professor will build on her TEDxOaklandUniversity talk which received more than one million views. Dr. Orbuch's insights will help you evaluate and strengthen your relationships.
  • Lisa Jesswein, a two-time kidney transplant recipient, cancer survivor, divorcee and host of Positive Now on Empower Radio, will will help you build a plan to overcome fears and navigate setbacks.
  • Nicholas Kristock, an entrepreneur with a passion for service and founder of several non-profit ventures, believes the world needs pioneers to create solutions to everyday problems. His conversation will ignite your enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship.
To keep in the spirit of a Salon and create a greater sense of community, space is limited. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased after March 1 at the Oakland University Center for Student Activities service window, located on the lower level of the Oakland Center. Tickets are available by phone and will call pick up.  Call the CSA at (248) 370-4407. For more information visit www.TEDxOaklandUniversity.com.
This event is sponsored by the Oakland University School of Business Administration and School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Farmington Hills company "Ubering" the service industry


Breakdowns with home appliances is just something that happens in life. But they don’t have to be hard to deal with. A Farmington Hills startup company is looking to have “home repairs done in a snap.” Co-founder and CEO Sandy Kronenberg came up with the idea for Service.com to take care of home repair problems.

Read more.

Michigan startup awarded $700,000 grant

Alchemie, an education technology company based in Troy, Mich, today announced it has received a $700,000 Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] grant from the National Science Foundation [NSF] to expand its research and development efforts. This is Alchemie’s Phase II SBIR grant; it earned the initial Phase I award of $150,000 in January 2016 and a Phase IB of $30,000 in June 2016.

Alchemie began when Detroit Country Day School chemistry teacher Julia Winter transformed a white-board game into a mobile app to help her students grasp a tough concept. She is now the CEO of a startup poised to change the way students learn, starting with chemistry.
“The first two years of college chemistry have fail rates that can top 40 percent. These tough courses can be road blocks to careers in medicine and science,” said Winter. “This is a huge problem not only for students, but also for professors who are under increasing pressure to improve student retention in early college courses.”

“For more than three years, I have been singularly focused on taking methods of teaching developed in my classroom and transforming them into mobile apps for students,” the 25-year veteran teacher said.  “I felt that there HAD to be a way to reach students who could not afford a private school education. With Alchemie, students everywhere can have access to the immediate feedback necessary to be successful, while providing instructors with analytics from the apps to improve learning outcomes.”

In March 2016, CEO Julia Winter earned the James Bryant Conant Award for High School Teaching, the American Chemical Society’s highest teaching award. In November 2015, she received the Digital Innovation in Learning Award as the Teacher Trailblazer from EdSurge and Digital Promise. 

Established in 2015, Alchemie now has five different mobile applications for chemistry, tens of thousands of users, published research detailing learning efficacy, and a multi-school/1000-student pilot being structured for April 2017. The NSF grant will allow Alchemie to build out the machine learning platform, called Epiphany, to make the apps respond to individual student use and track their progress through learning standards. 

Alchemie is led by CEO Winter, COO Carl Rundell, and CTO Joe Engalan. It was part of Boulder, Colorado’s 2016 MergeLane Accelerator cohort. 
Alchemie creates learning technology for higher education, beginning with chemistry. By creating mobile-enabled, game-based learning tools, we are providing an innovative method for students to succeed in some of the toughest courses in college. Alchemie’s active learning through touch brings intuitive engagement to the learning of science.More information can be found at alchem.ie.

The programs represent the nation's largest source of early stage research and development funding for small businesses. The programs are administered by the SBA in collaboration with 11 federal agencies, which collectively supported more than $2.5 billion in federal research and development funding in fiscal year 2015. Companies supported by the SBIR and STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about each program can be found at www.sbir.gov.

Detroit area recruiting firm expands to meet the demands of Michigan's growing economy

Purple Squirrel Advisors (www.purplesquirreladvisors.com) announced today that the company is expanding to meet the demand of clients in Michigan’s growing economy. Founded in 2015 by Carrie Schochet and Amy Whipple, the company added two new employees to support its executive recruiting offerings.
Ali Gongos joins Purple Squirrel Advisors as a Talent Acquisition Specialist to support the company’s candidate search process. With a background in financial recruiting, Gongos offers experience developing and screening candidate pools in the Midwest. Gongos will help Purple Squirrel Advisors nurture its financial network while supporting new client searches.  
Melissa Hittle brings over 15 years of professional experience to her role as Purple Squirrel Advisors’ first Research Analyst. Her background as a seasoned marketing executive will help develop Purple Squirrel Advisors’ non-financial network as the company continues to focus on building its client’s executive teams including sales, operations, and marketing. 
“Michigan companies are hiring at an unprecedented rate,” said Schochet, Founder and President of Purple Squirrel Advisors. “We’ve added Ali and Melissa to our team to help expand our services while providing our clients the same consultative, hands-on approach that we pride ourselves on.”
Since launching Purple Squirrel Advisors, Schochet and Whipple have found a niche in their unique recruiting process. By focusing on culture and fit, the team has been able to fill 100% of its retained searches and have a 95% candidate retention rate within the candidate’s first 24 months at a new company. The new hires will help Purple Squirrel Advisors take on new clients while maintaining this high standard of placements. 
“We pride ourselves on being an extension of our client’s executive team,” said Whipple, Purple Squirrel Advisors’ Co-Founder and Vice President. “Our new hires will allow Purple Squirrel Advisors to continue to assist with on-site interviews and detailed candidate screenings. We’re thrilled to have two new team members who are as passionate about helping Michigan’s economy as we are.”
Gongos and Hittle will join Purple Squirrel Advisors in the company’s new headquarters based in Troy, Michigan.
Purple Squirrel Advisors
Purple Squirrel Advisors is an executive search firm that recognizes that finding a good “fit” goes beyond writing a job description or screening resumes. Chemistry and culture are everything. The team provides a consultative approach customized to meet the needs of each client. Their expansive and loyal network of industry connections results in candidate referrals not found through traditional sources. Every step of Purple Squirrel Advisor’s “white glove” recruiting process is designed to create a positive client and candidate experience. The team impacts businesses every day with their product – exceptionally matched talent. To learn more about Purple Squirrel’s executive search firm and speaking events, visit PurpleSquirrelAdvisors. com.

Medical students find their voice using acting techniques

The theatre program at Oakland University is designed as training for a professional life in the performing arts, but the skills theatre students build their proficiency on can be of value to anyone whose career path will involve communicating their ideas.

Recognizing this, last year Professor Steven Loftus of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine invited Associate Professor of Theatre Lynnae Lehfeldt to teach public speaking skills to medical students. The previous group of second year students had struggled with the capstone presentations they were required to make at the end of the winter semester.

Lehfeldt taught two workshops in 2016 and did so again this February. “I am able to utilize the same training methodology I use with my acting students,” she said. “Through a range of exercises I help the students unite their body, breath, and voice. The work combines Kristin Linlater's vocal work found in ‘Freeing the Natural Voice’ and Amy Cuddy's physical presence work found in her book ‘Presence.’ Amy Cuddy is famous for her TED talk where she describes power posing.”

The medical students found the workshops empowering. “"Life changer!  I took a stroll outside my comfort zone and I don't think I'm going back," said Moleca Shannan.

"I loved this class. It has a lot of practicality in life and Medical School,” said Gukam Sakthivul.

“This class is all about finding the presentation style that is most authentically you," said Daniel Yamane.

"I learned that there is another voice inside me and I need to let it out,’ said Shawn Miller.

"Assisting people to find to their vocal and physical presence allows them to tap into their personal power,” said Lehfeldt. “I am planning a workshop called ‘The Professional Female Voice’ for the School of Business.”

Michigan's newest advanced manufacturing stars will strut their skills at HFC, OCC showcase events

Student apprentices who are graduating from the competitive Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program will demonstrate their high-tech mastery of automated equipment by completing projects in front of live audiences during events in February and March at Henry Ford College and Oakland Community College.

Industry professionals are invited to attend the free presentations known as the MATMechatronics Capstone. MAT² is an innovative, industry-driven apprenticeship program that addresses two critical issues facing the manufacturing industry: a widening skills gap and an aging workforce. The 2017 Mechatronics Capstone Events Schedule is below.

During a course of three years, MAT2 students alternate between classroom instruction and on-the-job training, gaining the necessary hands-on skills and experiences to become a successful and productive member of their sponsoring company. Their employers pay their tuition and a stipend during their school periods and wages during their work periods.

“Industry representatives who attend a Capstone event will learn how they can train the next generation of skilled technicians with MATapprentices,” said Sophie Stepke, training manager at ZF North America Inc. in Northville and chair of the MAT2 strategic steering committee.

“The demonstrations are a crowning achievement for MATstudents and a wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand what MATapprentices have learned through their college coursework and at their sponsoring company,” Stepke said. “The highlight for spectators is that they can watch MAT² students completing the final projects that showcase their knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems as well as control devices and fluid power.”

The Mechatronics Capstone is divided into two components: project troubleshooting and the project build. The troubleshooting project can be viewed at Henry Ford College and the build project can be viewed at Oakland Community College. Upon successful completion of the Capstone, the students will receive their associate degree. In addition to the Capstone, MAT2 students must complete all required work periods to finish their apprenticeship. When the student accomplishes all program components, they will receive a full-time job offer from their sponsoring company.

Gov. Snyder, state lawmakers and educators across Michigan have hailed MATas one of the keys to an ambitious 2017 effort to spur more students toward pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing as well as address employer concerns about talent shortages.

“The cutting-edge MATapprenticeship 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,” said Deborah Bayer, dean of public services and CREST, and interim dean of engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology at Oakland Community College.

“In addition, MAThelps students avoid debt by earning tuition-free associate degrees while simultaneously getting paid to gain on-the-job experience in high-paying, high-demand manufacturing careers,” Bayer said.

Michigan employer demand for MAT2-type middle-skill workers – those with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree, such as largely technical jobs in manufacturing and health care – is soaring.

The need for advanced manufacturing employees is expected to remain strong as baby boomers retire, with more than 5,700 job openings anticipated in Michigan through 2018. Average wages for full-time jobs in this arena are $23.37 an hour, compared with the living wage of $17.08. State estimates show that there is a need for 15,000 new skilled trades workers annually through the next decade with average annual wages of $51,000, according to the Michigan Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives.

“Industries throughout Michigan have committed to sponsoring students in this program,” said Gary Saganski, Henry Ford College associate dean, corporate training office. “They know what a huge need there is for technically trained people who can install, troubleshoot and repair today's highly automated manufacturing equipment,” he added.

Many of the metro Detroit area’s largest manufacturers and industrial companies are participating in the MATprogram, including EMAG in Farmington Hills, New Center Stamping in Detroit; BorgWarner in Auburn Hills and Livonia; ZF in Northville; Brose North America in New Boston, Auburn Hills and Warren; and Durr Systems in Southfield.

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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