Innovation & Job News

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Capital Imaging receives national design award, expands services

When Bo Noles learned that his company, Capital Imaging, had won the American Inhouse Design Award sponsored by Graphic Design USA out of more than 4,000 submissions, he was delighted.
"The award confirmed that our project and product really were good ideas, ready to be taken to our customers to provide them with a unique service," he says.
That project? An inhouse design piece called "Let The Ink Do The Talking" for their photobook product now available to clients. The branding book helps showcase the imaging services Capital Imaging provides while highlighting the quality and capabilities of the photobook.
Located in Lansing's eastside, Capital Imaging is a business document and graphics printing company that specializes in serving small to mid-sized businesses on a short run, quick turn basis.
"We stay current with innovation and technology so our clients don't have to," says Noles.
Capital Imaging will be launching two new services in October: Digital Décor Wallcoverings and Free Flow Publisher. The former takes digital images and transforms them into specially designed wallpaper for any room. The latter is a customizable newsletter or magazine service that allows for reader interaction and client understanding of how their publications are being used.
Source: Bo Noles, Capital Imaging   
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Martin Waymire receives Google Engage All-Star and Public Relations Society accolades

Recognition as a Google Engage All-Star continues Martin Waymire's award-winning streak in 2013. In June, the advocacy communications group took home the "Oscar" of the public relations profession, winning a national Silver Anvil Award in New York City. The Silver Anvil is the oldest and most prestigious award given in the nation for outstanding achievement in PR.
The Google Engage All-Star competition includes the top search engine optimization agencies in the world. Martin Waymire was among a relatively small number of firms from around the world - and the only Michigan firm -  selected as Google Engage All-Stars out of roughly 14,000 companies that are part of the Google Engage program.
"We received this prestigious recognition by outperforming thousands of competitors in online advertising this year using the Google Engage program, hitting certain benchmarks and helping clients achieve and exceed their campaign goals through Google advertising," says Andrea Ness, director of graphic and new media services.
Ness and colleague Naomi Burton received an all-expenses-paid trip to Google Headquarters  - known world-wide as the Googleplex  - in Mountain View, California to attend Google's All-Stars Summit this August. The two-day summit included exclusive workshops, advanced trainings and one-on-one consultations with Google experts.
"Having this expertise and knowledge in our tool chest allows us to provide this support to businesses and organizations the area. We're happy to help our current clients and all others that are interested in getting started with Google advertising, or to continue their successful online advertising campaigns using this great platform," says Ness.
Source: Andrea Ness, Martin Waymire
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Lansing Financial Empowerment Center launches TV show

The Lansing Financial Empowerment Center strives to give Lansing residents tools to improve their financial situation. With the new TV show, Money Power, the Center aims to increase awareness of their programming and help and even greater number of residents down the path of financial wellness.
"We hope that the show will be a fun way to both give people some extra tools to better their financial situation, but also to highlight the wealth of great resources that Lansing has to offer - many of them free," says Amber Paxton, director for the Center and Office of Financial Empowerment with the City of Lansing.
The Center is a grant-funded program of the City of Lansing and Capital Area Community Services, which offers free one-on-one financial counseling and is modeled after the Financial Empowerment Center model created by the City of New York.
"Because of the generous grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment fund through support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are honored to be 'tied for second place' in implementing this model," says Paxton.
The three-year, $1.5 million grant asks that the City provide in-kind support. The City of Lansing and the Lansing Public Media Center are contributing the production of 12 episodes per year of Money Power on an in-kind basis. Three shows are complete and available for viewing on Vimeo. Extreme Couponing, saving money by shopping at Farmers' Markets, and decreasing energy costs are examples of topics covered.
Source: Amber Paxton, Office of Financial Empowerment
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Wi-Fi and roll-on bike services come to Michigan Amtrak trains

Just as roll-on bike service is coming to Amtrak trains on the Blue Water line, adding Wi-Fi service on all Amtrak trains in Michigan will start in early 2014. AmtrakConnect will make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to bring this amenity to all its rail passengers.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing close to $1 million for Wi-Fi installation. MDOT anticipates broadening the range of amenities available to riders will also broaden potential ridership in the state.
"The addition of Wi-Fi service will make Amtrak rides more productive and comfortable, helping riders capitalize on some down-time to work on a report, catch up on e-mails or simply visit some favorite websites," says MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa.
As of September 6, bicycles are now accepted aboard the Blue Water line, which operates daily between Port Huron and Chicago via East Lansing and Kalamazoo. The modified railcars are unique to the Midwest.
"With Amtrak service available to some of Michigan’s large state universities, including Michigan State, this will be a great service for college students traveling between school and home or work," notes Schirripa.
Source: Nick Schirripa, Michigan Department of Transportation  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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LEAP launches Fund Lansing, crowd funding for local startups

Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) announced in late August a new program called Fund Lansing. Fund Lansing is aimed to assist companies and individuals in greater Lansing who are raising investment through web-based crowd funding platforms.
“The concept of crowd funding is quickly gaining momentum as a means for young companies to effectively raise funding while simultaneously gaining positive press on the web and social media," says Ken Szymusiak, Co-Director of the New Economy Division at LEAP.
Crowdfunding is a relatively young idea in which entrepreneurs utilize small sums of investment from a range of supporters often in exchange for a product before it is available to the public. Kickstarter and IndiGoGo are two of the more well known platforms.
The web service is free to join and serves as a way for local companies to easily promote their fundraising efforts to local investors. LEAP's objective with is to allow all companies in the region an additional platform to get the word out about their campaign and provide a service that allows local investors to easily find local companies seeking their support.
"By making the connections between local opportunities and capital we feel that we can provide an economic boost by making it easier to encouraging investment within our region," says Szymusiak.
Source: Sara Graham, LEAP
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Peckham Farms partners with Lansing-area Meijer stores

The Lake Lansing and Okemos Meijer stores are now featuring several Peckham Farms vegetables. Customers are able to purchase Peckham heirloom tomatoes and peppers, graffiti cauliflower, royal burgundy green beans and cucumbers.
The Peckham and Meijer partnership has been an ongoing effort for a number of years, beginning with an initial goal to place individuals with disabilities into employment opportunities at Meijer. The organizations have been working together by providing job training and skill development to create work environments that are more inclusive and accessible.
"The Peckham Farm products that are now in Meijer stores is just another extension of this partnership and speaks to our shared commitment to building local and sustainable communities," says Chris Wilson, Store Director of the Okemos Meijer.
"We are excited for Peckham Farms to be featured at local Meijer stores, and expand our reach into the community," adds Peckham Farms Manager, Rebekah Faivor.
Peckham Farms is in its third year of growing, and uses sustainable principles in its farming techniques. The farm is one of five social enterprises that focuses on providing paid job training opportunities in for persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
Source: Shavonne Singleton, Peckham, Inc.  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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LRN 101 wraps two years of educational programming

The award winning show LRN 101 wraps a two year run of programming in August. The show has been a pro-bono project of Such Video and Keep Learning…Our Future Depends On It and made possible through an equipment grant by the Lansing Public Media Center.
The gran program asked local organizations to create two years' worth of content, or 48 episodes, using equipment provided by the Public Media Center. As a result, Such Video and Keep Learning developed LRN 101, focusing on highlighting education in fun and engaging way, and stressing for viewers how important it is to always keep learning.
"It was amazing to see so many people come together to help tell the story of education in Lansing," says Karen Stefl, partner at Such Video.

As part of the 48 episodes, 294 individual segments were filmed in the news-style show, with 399 interviews. Twenty student interns and one full-time employee were added to the Such Video team to help with the project.
"Supporting the Lansing community is something we value at Such Video, and we embrace education development as economic development," says Stefl. "The collaboration that is Keep Learning helps our community to flourish." 
LRN 101 currently airs on Lansing City TV and WKAR-HD at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Full episodes are also available on Vimeo at
Source: Karen Stefl, Such Video  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News

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Michigan Farm Bureau plans for growth, for farmers and team

As a grassroots organization, Michigan Farm Bureau's future is in the hands of their more than 48,500 farming members. 
"We are more than an organization of farmers; we are a farmers’ organization. Our members set our policy and our member leaders provide direction; our board of directors is composed of leaders who make a living farming," says Scott Piggott, Michigan Farm Bureau chief operating officer.  
Farm Bureau goals include growing new opportunities to market and add value to farm products, to promote an environment where farming can grow responsibly and to grow member leaders in communities. 
In the past 12 months, the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies has added 84 established, full-time staff members. That includes both new blood from outside Farm Bureau and those who have transitioned from a temporary pool into established positions. Adding some key new positions, including a technology director, is anticipated.
Piggott says that beyond their talented staff is a grass-roots membership - the heart of the organization.
"They’re the real innovators, developing policy at the local level and passing it up to statewide delegates at our annual meeting for refinement and consolidation. That’s where our direction comes from, year after year," he explains.  
Source: Scott Piggott, Michigan Farm Bureau  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Lansing Habitat for Humanity teams with Little Caesars to fuel volunteers

Habitat for Humanity Lansing is building three green, geothermal, energy star homes on Wayne Street in Lansing. Each home will be unique and have between three and five bedrooms, a nice-sized front porch and a natural setting for the children to play in. Once the homes are complete, the homebuyers will take possession and pay an interest-free mortgage to Habitat for Humanity Lansing.
"Our homes are built in partnership with hard-working homebuyers who will put in 300-500 hours of sweat equity on their own home and other Habitat projects. We provide a hand up, not a hand out to individuals that are living in poverty housing and offer a chance to own their own home, build equity and have a safe, decent, affordable place to live," says Dena Vatalaro, Development Director for Habitat Lansing.
The Lansing Little Caesars franchise, Oak Point Partners, is proud to be partnering with Habitat Lansing this summer by donating pizzas for the volunteer crews. Due to budget constraints, Habitat Lansing is not able to offer a lunch to the volunteers, so this partnership significantly improves the volunteer experience.
"We believe this gesture by Little Caesars will set an example for other local business owners to do what they can to help their local non-profits through in-kind donations. Habitat Lansing relies on area businesses to donate materials, services and products to continue the mission to eliminate substandard housing here in the greater Lansing area," says Vatalaro.
Source: Dena Vatalaro, Habitat for Humanity Lansing  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Taste of Downtown tickled tons of taste buds, experiencing record attendance

Approximately 1,100 people enjoyed the 4th Annual Taste of Downtown on Saturday, July 20. Event attendees enjoyed an afternoon full of delicious food from 16 downtown restaurants, sampling over 100 different wines, and dancing to live music on Washington Square.
"We're thrilled - this is the highest attendance that the festival has experienced in its four year history," reports Cathleen Edgerly, Communications and Marketing Manager for Downtown Lansing, Inc.
The official after party was held at P Squared Wine Bar & Bistro, sponsors and a restaurant participant in the event. The establishment was full with Taste of Downtown attendees after the festival ended at 8 p.m.
The Downtown Lansing event, steeped in collaboration was majorly sponsored by Lake Trust Credit Union and showcased a diversity of participating restaurants, including AnQi Sushi, Wandering Waffles and Capitol City Grille.
"Our live entertainment was sponsored by Troppo, and attendees enjoyed the musical offerings from bands like Southpaw Isle Steelband, Avon Bomb, Root Doctor and The Squids," adds Edgerly.
Source: Cathleen Edgerly, Downtown Lansing, Inc.
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Capital Strategies growing team, growing impact

Capital Strategies, LLC is a comprehensive financial planning company residing in Lansing. Whether it's accumulation, distribution, or estate planning, they serve those in all phases of financial planning.
"Every person has a unique financial fingerprint, so every financial plan we design is tailored to meet individual circumstances," says Shannon Poynter, Business Development Director at Capital Strategies.
Capital Strategies helps to identify where clients are financially to help determine if they are positioned to sufficiently meet both current and future needs. They also assist in designing and implementing a plan based on client inputs and their professional recommendations and monitoring the plan once in place.
They recently moved to a new office after expanding their team. With a staff of five, Capital Strategies is looking to hire an executive assistant and an additional financial planner in the near future.
"The wealth of economic diversity in the area has definitely had a positive impact on our business. Greater Lansing has a diverse group of individuals with unique needs who we have been able to help with their financial needs and goals," adds Poynter.
Source: Shannon Poynter, Capital Strategies LLC  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Adopt A Spot labor of love keeps Downtown clean

With more than 155 flower gardens and 55 rain gardens within the downtown district, keeping all the debris and trash at bay could be a daunting task for any person. However, thanks to the countless volunteers who make up the 65 groups who annually adopt these gardens, downtown Lansing is a more beautiful place to be.
The seasonal Adopt a Spot Program runs annually from May-November. As one of the largest urban rain garden projects in the country, the program relies on the time and talent of volunteers to keep these areas clean and in shape. During the course of just a couple months, the program’s 65 adopting groups have logged over 170 hours removing over 3,400 gallons of debris, weeds and trash from entering the Grand River and city infrastructure system.
"The Adopt A Spot program began in in 2009 with a 45% percent adoption rate, which has grown to 73% at the end of the season in 2012. We are really pleased that the program is on pace to exceed last year’s adoption rate due to the continued increase of community volunteers," says Mindy Biladeau, Downtown Lansing, Inc. Executive Director.
A seasonal Adopt-A-Spot Coordinator oversees all of the volunteer groups. The coordinator’s tasks include recruiting volunteer groups to pick up litter, pulling weeds, and basic maintenance, along with many other tasks to keep downtown Lansing looking clean and green throughout the year.
"Adopt-A-Spot volunteers take great pride and ownership in their gardens, and we appreciate their personal contributions to maintaining these public spaces," adds Biladeau.
Source: Cathleen Edgerly, Downtown Lansing, Inc.
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Emergent BioSolutions anticipates 15 year anniversary, continues to set high goals

Emergent BioSolutions is a global specialty pharmaceutical company that seeks to protect and enhance life by offering specialized products to healthcare providers and governments to address medical needs and emerging health threats. This September, Emergent will celebrate its 15-year anniversary.
"It has been incredible to see how we have grown in the past 15 years and I couldn’t be more excited to watch as our organization strives to reach the high goals we have set for ourselves," says Adam R. Havey, Executive Vice President and President, BioDefense Division.  
With their Growth Plan Goals in place, Emergent BioSolutions is determined to reach three main objectives by 2015 - generate annual product revenue of more than $500 million, achieve a three-year net income compound annual growth rate of more than 15% and secure diversified revenues from at least three marketed specialty products.
The company has 437 Lansing employees, a large number of whom are active in community. A Corporate Social Responsibility program was recently implemented: Give, Invest, Volunteer in their Emergent Communities (eGIVE), which provides the opportunity for employees to direct charitable contributions to charities of their choice. eGIVE has four areas of focus - advancing global health, protecting those who protect us, educating tomorrow’s scientific leaders and improving the communities in which we live and work.

"Each full time Lansing employee is granted eight hours of volunteer time per year to volunteer in the Lansing area," explains Havey.
Source: Adam R. Havey, Emergent BioSolutions
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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Capital Area Restaurant Week partners 28 area restaurants to benefit Greater Lansing Food Bank

Local, independently owned restaurants will put their cuisine on display during this first ever Capital Area Restaurant Week (CARW) July 21-25th in the hopes that it will bring additional traffic to the restaurant during a traditionally slow traffic time. 28 participating restaurants have created 3-course meals for either $25 per person or $25 per couple, depending upon the restaurant.
"Customers can choose from their favorites and make reservations now. The restaurant will make a 10% donation to the Greater Lansing Food Bank for every restaurant week meal sold during this event," says CARW Treasurer/Board of Directors, Angela Padgett.
The organizers of CARW believe innovation breeds excellence and success in the hyper-competitive world of the restaurant business and that It is even more important to keep fresh ideas in front the customers and the community in this particular industry because of the its competitive nature.
"We plan to make this an annual event and feel like this first one is already a success because of the community support and visibility to the Greater Lansing Food Bank as well as the restaurants that are participating," says Padgett.
Participating restaurants and menus are posted at
Source: Angela Padgett, Capital Area Restaurant Week, Inc.  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
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PTD Technology grows staff, fosters self-reliant clients

PTD Technology is a technology solutions provider for businesses, the retail market, non-profit, higher education, and government entities. Their objective is to help customers capitalize on their technology, ultimately contributing to increased profitability, efficiency, and the ability to provide enhanced service to their clients. PTD specializes in custom applications, technological education, consulting, project management, technical writing and IT support.
"Since 1978, PTD Technology has ranked among the Midwest's premier providers of technical services to businesses, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and colleges of all sizes and types," says PTD VP of Finance, Jennifer L. Hogan.
The woman-owned company, located in East Lansing, has around 20 staff members. Two new full time positions were added this spring, in addition to being able to convert a part time employee to full time. 
"Our hope would be to consistently grow our staff by 5-10% per year," says Hogan.
PTD's goal is always to provide highly rated services as a partner to clients. 
"Our purpose is not to make our clients reliant on us, rather to be able to implement our services in order to make them more self-reliant," Hogan explains.
PTD strives to better innovation in their industry, combining a staff comprised of some of the best talent in the area, to provide better products and services to customers, allowing them to be innovators in their respective industries.
Source: Jennifer L. Hogan, PTD Technology
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.
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