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Companies join forces to provide a la carte professional services

Four like-minded businesses in Lansing have merged their thought processes to form a new approach to delivering marketing and consulting services to nonprofits, small business and second stage companies.

In May, AKEA Web Solutions, CJBuck Consulting, Glow Social Media and UnoDeuce Multimedia unveiled 2nd Brain Collective—a collaboration of four partner companies. The collective offers clients the ability to engage with any or all of the four partner companies through a unique pay-only-for-what-you-need service offering.

"We witnessed a lot of agencies that have built their successes on an all or nothing bill," says Schmidt. "But a lot of the folks we work with aren't necessarily ready for full service."

Schmidt says 2nd Brain Collection takes a more a la carte style by offering clients the ability to pick the service or services they need from four providers. Each company maintains their independent operations but shares and refers clients based on perceived needs.

"Each of us has collaborated with each other in different ways in the past," says Schmidt. "The best analogy is we're now like The Avengers—each of us is an individual, but we come together to solve a major problem."

While focused on problem-solving, messaging and storytelling, the 2nd Brain Collective also concentrates on connecting businesses and building community. Among the methods and venues the collective devised are the networking event The Drinking Lunch and the information-driven 2BC Podcast featuring professionals and industry experts.

Source: Paul Schmidt, Communications Director, Meridian Township
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Meridian Township welcomes giant food truck rally this summer

Lovers of mobile cuisine will feel like they have reached Nirvana when Meridian Township brings its first-ever food truck rally to the area.

On July 1, 75 food trucks from Michigan and adjacent states will rally at Central Park Drive behind Meridian Mall from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The township's inaugural food truck rally will welcome purveyors of delicious cuisine such as barbecue, crepes, donuts, tacos, pizza and much more.

The township is working with Generation Entertainment—the holder of the largest food truck rally ever at 125 trucks as documented in the Guinness Book of World Records. Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township's communications director, says the rally is part celebration, part awareness building, as the township looks to strengthen it's image as a place to live, work and play on the eve of its 175th anniversary.

"I've seen how popular food rallies are," says Guthrie. "I knew that having a food truck rally would put the township on the map and in turn, benefit the community and help celebrate 175 years of history."

Food trucks will come from all over Michigan, as well as from adjacent states. Among some of the local trucks are Daddy's Little Grill, Pie Hole Pizza Truck, Good Bites, From Scratch Comfort CruZine, Fire and Rice, and MI Pops. Sponsors of the rally include The Harkness Law Firm, The Willows and Forsberg Real Estate Company.

The food truck rally is part of Meridian Township's 175th Anniversary Celebration and the annual Celebrate Meridian event. Celebrate Meridian will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Meridian Township Municipal Complex and include live music, kids activities, Meridian Heritage Festival, beer and wine tents and fireworks. Parking and admission is free. For more information click here.

Source: Deborah Guthrie, Communications Director, Meridian Township
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Creative community tells stories of area refugees through traveling exhibit

Communities across Michigan will have the chance to see and read the stories of refugees who have made Mid-Michigan home when a traveling exhibit winds its way from the capital through the state beginning this June.

Refuge Lansing: Stories of Resettlement in Mid-Michigan will debut at the Capitol on June 13th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as part of Refugee Awareness Week. The public is invited to view the stories of 12 refugee families who have lived, worked and called Greater Lansing home within the last 40-plus years.

The storytelling exhibit, book and website were created by professional writers, photographers and designers who donated their time and talent. Jeremy Herliczek is the originator and among several project producers. The idea, he says, came from a holiday gathering in which conversation veered to current events and the climate of fear and misinformation directed at refugees nationwide.

"We all had a sense of impotency of what we could do," says Herliczek, a local photographer. "Some people write letters. Some go to protests. As creatives, we decided to start a grassroots effort to tell the story of refugees here."

Word spread throughout the creative community, and within weeks, Herliczek assembled 12 teams of one photographer and one writer each. In total, 27 creative professionals volunteered with the Refugee Development Center, Samaritas, the Global Institute of Lansing, and St. Vincent Catholic Charities to help refugees share their stories.

The resulting traveling exhibit will showcase stories and photographs on easy-to-assemble displays—all of which can be transported in the back of a van. After the opening at the Capitol, the exhibit will go on the road to schools, businesses, faith-based groups, and community centers in the works.

"Our idea is not necessarily to tell the stories of how refugees got here, it's to tell the stories of how they are adding to our community by buying homes, starting businesses, and sending their kids to local schools," says Herliczek. "Hopefully, the project will create a sense of empathy and encourage residents to engage with refugees and connect with the agencies that support them."


A crowdfunding campaign through gofundme is underway to support printing costs, including a book with all stories and pictures. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to local agencies that support refugees. To learn more about the project or to donate, visit the Refuge Lansing gofundme page here. You can also visit the website at refugelansing.us

Capital Gains will also run a larger feature on Refuge Lansing: Stories of Resettlement in Mid-Michigan in an upcoming issue.

Source: Jeremy Herliczek, Producer/Photographer, Refuge Lansing: Stories of Resettlement in Mid-Michigan
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Michigan Creative commits to work-life balance with on-site daycare

Michigan Creative has brought in a new generation to add to the quality of work life. And right now, CEO Brian Town says the company's new team members are learning to walk before they can run.

In February, Town made good on his commitment to provide and pay for in-office day care when two members of his leadership team came back from maternity leave. He set aside a room in the company's new digs in REO Town, hired a nanny, and equipped the space with essentials for infant care and comfort.

Since then, Melissa Meschke and Jenn Putmon have been bringing their babies to work three out of five days a week. And while focusing on career, the two new moms can enjoy the assurance of quality day care and strive for the work-life balance essential in today's world.

"It's a way for me to give back more to the people who have got us to where we are today," says Town. "We eat lunch with the babies. We play with the babies. When we're having a hard day, they're a good distraction."

Town founded Michigan Creative six years ago, incubating his small marketing agency through the NEO Center on Lansing's north side. Then, as now, Town's guiding principle includes surrounding himself with great people who care about the company and clients, and providing for their happiness and satisfaction through the company's culture.

Michigan Creative moved to REO Town around the spring equinox. The goal, Town says, was to be part of the area's positive growth and creative energy. Town's staff regularly supports local merchants and food and beverage businesses as a means to re-energize their creative work that involves video production, web services, digital marketing and design. And with a location at 1149 ½ South Washington, it's never more than a block from their 1,500-square foot, second story office flat to small businesses like Blue Owl Coffee, Saddleback BBQ, Izzo's Pub, Vintage Junkies and The Nook.

"We wanted to follow the artists, follow the local businesses, and be part of a community," says Town. "We feel that if we can be a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the positive growth in REO Town, we'll be happy."

Michigan Creative has 10 employees, with half of those being added in the last 12 months.

Source: Brian Town, CEO/Owner, Michigan Creative
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Newspaper kiosks to serve as pop-up spaces for the arts come summer

Visual 2D and 3D art will add to the re-imagination of Lansing's downtown this summer as the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center launches the second year of pop up art displays and artful activities.

Pop Up Art: Special Edition II will redefine inactive public spaces through the creative reuse of newspaper kiosks. Executive Director Barb Whitney says the repurposed spaces will showcase Michigan artists, provide arts information, serve as demonstration sites, and offer the chance to purchase prints and reproductions.

Art displays and activities begin in June and run through August. Twelve artist will be featured through the kiosks, with five hosting demonstrations or interactive activities throughout the summer. Artists work in a variety of media, with some staging demonstrations that invite audience participation.

"This is another way we are making the arts accessible externally," says Whitney. "It's a way everyone can know the arts are for them and not just for an elite population. We believe the arts are for everyone."

Whitney says this year's pop up sites will feature a more robust print piece or "newspaper" that provides information on the artists as well as broad-based content on downtown events. Volunteers will be enlisted to distribute the print pieces as well as to help out during events and demonstrations.

Pop Up Art: Special Edition II is among various placemaking projects supported through funds raised through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity with support from Lansing's Sense of Place in the Arts Grant. Supporting partners include Downtown Lansing, Inc., Lansing State Journal, ASAP Printing, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"We know that the arts enhance the quality of life for all people," says Whitney. "Public art projects like these are a way we can grow our programming for everyone."

The campaign launched May 17 with the goal of raising $5,000 by June 8. Funds raised will support artist demonstrations, events, and activities throughout the summer, as well as free newspapers within the 12 kiosks in 2017 and into 2018. A kick-off party and community reception will be held at the Lansing Art Gallery on June 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., and will include refreshments and walking tour of the kiosks with gallery staff and volunteers.

Source: Barb Whitney, Executive Director, Lansing Art Gallery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Local rapper raises scholarship funds through artistic sessions in REO Town

Michael Austin set out on his musical journey the day his mother began writing gospel songs for him to sing at church. Even at 5 years old, he was moved by the persuasive power of music. Later, as a teen, Austin taught himself piano and guitar, and started writing his own songs, delivering messages of social justice and encouragement through soul-inspired rap.

Today, the Lansing Community College student records, performs and contributes to educational and artistic causes as MikeyyAustin—a rapper from the north side of Lansing. His music, while a form of self-expression, has also become his vehicle for raising funds for college scholarships for teens interested in the arts.

"When we were in school, we didn't have many art programs or initiatives," says Austin, a 2014 graduate of Lansing Eastern High School. "So this is my way of giving back to the city I love while supporting students who live here."

Austin's main venue for fundraisers is REO Town Sessions—a series of once-a-month events held in REO Town. He's closing out the first year of the events that highlight and connect local artists including musicians, dancers, poets and painters with the community. Sessions started in late fall, with the last few held at the Robin Theatre on South Washington. Admission is free with donations recommended to support the Arts Matters Scholarship.

As of early May, Austin and his artistic partners Darion Brown, Tymila Taylor and Elzie Cannon have nearly attained their goal of $5,000. The funds, Austin says, will be split five ways and presented as scholarships to an equal number of deserving seniors from Everett, Eastern and Sexton High Schools come May 22.

"For me, growing up in the environment I did I was lucky to have music," says Austin. "It kept me out of trouble, and gave me an escape which helped me out. I'm looking at the facts and see that a lot of people didn't or don't have the resources I had. That's the biggest influence for what I'm doing."

Austin says the idea for REO Town Sessions germinated from a leadership group he joined at LCC. That group, he says, showed him how to apply leadership principles and practices to his community initiative. Austin will apply those same practices plus lessons learned as he and his partners ramp up for the second season of REO Town Sessions to run next fall through May 2018.

"I think for me, at least growing up, it's kind of like we didn't see much outside our neighborhood," reflects Austin. "The world ended at the intersection at the end of our block. But as I got older, and as I started to explore, I saw things in Lansing that I didn't know about. That made me want to connect with more people and give back when I can."

MikeyyAustin's newest release L I F T E D examines universal themes of identity and social justice, and draws from his experiences of growing up in Lansing. His debut solo project T I N T E D explores issues of spirituality and self-discovery and was influenced by watching the day-to-day interactions of people on city streets.

Source: Mikeyy Austin, Founder, REO Town Sessions
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Michigan Avenue bridge begins transformation this summer

Some say the prep work can be the hardest part of painting. Lansing-based artist Brian Whitfield totally gets that as he readies four giant canvases made of concrete for the highly-anticipated Under the Bridge Project this spring.

About a year ago, Whitfield was commissioned by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership to create four murals on the slope-pavings underneath the US-127 overpass on Michigan Avenue near Frandor. His murals, he says, will draw connections between Lansing and East Lansing, with his "canvas" being the actual physical divide between the two cities.

"It's exciting to have been selected for such a big project," says Whitfield. "It's a little intimidating because it's so big, but I feel honored to be entrusted with something so visible."

Now, with permits, weather, and campaign funds in place, Whitfield is securing paint brushes, dozens of gallons of paint, and a few assistants to bring his vision to light. He also has his sketches in hand which he presented and modified during the selection process nearly two years ago. Those sketches depict a vision for colorful illustrated panels that celebrate the history, future and strength of the regional community.

Each of Whitfield's murals will be 50 feet by 25 feet, and keyed to a particular theme. The first, called "Work," will depict automotive scenes reflective of Lansing's history. The second, called "Play," will show people participating in sports or other forms or R&R within familiar Lansing settings. Whitfield's third panel, "Discover," will feature images that evoke the area's rich educational culture. The fourth panel, "Create," will showcase painters, musicians and other artists engaged in creative pursuits.

"My style ranges from everything," says Whitfield as he lists influences that include Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Wassily Kandinsky, Gustave Klimt, William De Kooning and Pablo Picasso. "This mural will be a combination of stylized figures, abstractions and bright colors. It's not so much realistic. I want to use shapes and stylized movement in the piece."

Whitfield's murals will be illuminated by 24 decorative LED lights installed by the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Funds for the project were raised through the Detroit-based online fundraising site Patronicity, which raised $107,000 between individual, corporate and matching donations by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Whitfield is a graphic artist with the Michigan Department of Transportation, and an award-winning fine artist. A graduate of Lansing Sexton High School, Whitfield studied illustration at Kendall School of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, and received his master's in fine arts from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He returned to his hometown after working at Alma College, Kalamazoo College, and meeting his wife who lived in Lansing.

"It feels really good to be a part of this," says Whitfield. "It's getting so much attention and it's a gateway. I live over in that area, and with all the things happening on the East Side, it's nice to participate and not be just an observer."

Source: Brian Whitfield, Artist, Under the Bridge Project
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Jackson Charitable Foundation advances financial knowledge among kids

A leading provider of retirement strategies with headquarters in Greater Lansing recently introduced a financial education programs for kids through their new charitable foundation that advances financial knowledge on a national scale.

Jackson National Life launched the Jackson Charitable Foundation in late 2016. Their first order of business was to rollout Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids during Financial Literacy Month. The financial education program teaches basic money concepts to kids 7-12 through a series of three-minute music videos cast with animated characters that make real-world decisions about money.

Lansing's Post Oak Elementary School served as the pilot for the Cha-Ching program in early spring. Coordinated through a partnership with Junior Achievement USA, the five-week "JA Our City" program for third graders combined watching videos with facilitated discussion on spending, saving and donating money; different forms of money like cash, debit and credit; and entrepreneurship.

"These videos and activities help kids see money concepts in real life and everyday situations," says Danielle Robinson, executive director of the Jackson Charitable Foundation. "Personal finance affects people at every stage of their life. We think it's important not to wait until people are on the verge of retirement, but to get people learning the basics at an early age."

Robinson says the Foundation hopes the free program takes off in a variety of school districts in the tri-county area, particularly those that work directly with Junior Achievement. The "JA Our City" classroom program will be funded for six years through the Foundation, and is anticipated to reach about 2.7 million students in 15,000 schools nationwide. The Foundation has also invested in partnerships with Discovery Education to distribute the Cha-Ching program through broadcast and web channels. Cha-Ching currently broadcasts to eight Asian markets through the Cartoon Network.

Source: Danielle Robinson, Executive Director, Jackson Charitable Foundation
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


The Runway signs five fashion start-ups, alumnus gains national recognition

Five new fashion start-ups have joined The Runway fashion incubator in downtown Lansing, with their designs set on achieving levels of success similar to a recent alumnus.

The five new tenants will bring a host of new services, products and innovation to the Greater Lansing Region. New designers include:

  • Jon Lewis, Project I: A Fashion venture capital firm from New York City
  • Ashton Keys of the Ninety6: A streetwear line that connects with creativity and energy
  • Tyler Mehigh of Northern Etiquette: A northern-themed prep apparel company
  • James Eisenbeiser: A line of totes and fashion accessories
  • Stephane Awuro of 4ace: A menswear line


"It's exciting to see so much new creative energy coming to downtown Lansing through The Runway," says Joe Carr, startup innovation manager at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and director of The Runway. "We are excited to work with these designers to develop and refine their brand and further solidify The Runway's reputation as the premiere fashion incubator in the State of Michigan."

Carr added that Project I will bring a new capital investment to the region, further positioning metro Lansing as a leader in the fashion industry. The Runway also reports that alumnus Lawrence Hunt has secured a second brand ambassador with New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shephard. The wide receiver joins Detroit Tigers James McCann in donating 200 Lawrence Hunt shirts to students and veterans who are preparing for new careers.

Launched from The Runway, Lawrence Hunt Dress Shirts is best known for designing high-quality professional dress shirts that keep the wearer cool in the heat or during high stress situations.

Founder Jeff Schattner says The Runway was a critical force in the development of the company.

"The Runway was such a great experience and really helped us get our footing and foundation in place," says Schattner. "I talk about it all the time as part of our development."

The Runway Lansing was created in 2014 as Michigan's premiere fashion incubator, and helps aspiring designers produce and move collections to market by providing essential resources like creative space, education and programming. The Runway is funded by the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and is located in downtown Lansing in the Knapp's Centre, 300 S. Washington Square, Suite 100.

Source: Joe Carr, Director of The Runway
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


East Lansing named flagship city for nationwide cycling event

East Lansing has become one of just 18 flagship cities nationwide promoting the benefits of cycling through the Life is a Cycle special bike event in mid-May.

My City Bikes included East Lansing in the group fitness event that will take place in metro-areas like Sacramento, California, Kansas City, Kansas, and Missoula, Montana. The beginner-friendly bike event will run throughout the month of May, which is National Bike Month.

The Life is a Cycle event will show community members where to bike commute as well as the need-to-know essentials for biking transportation. The East Lansing event is open to the public and starts at Patriarch Park at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Registration is $1.50 before the ride and $5 on the ride day. Proceeds for the ride benefit the American Heart Association.

"We're hoping the Life is a Cycle event will educate people who don't feel comfortable riding their bike for commuting and to show we are a bike friendly community," says Heather Surface, City of East Lansing special events coordinator.

Life is a Cycle gives local residents the chance to bike on area streets, paths and trails in the safety of a group. Organizers say the hands-on experience and confidence gained from pedaling around town will make a lasting impact on the physical activities of participants.

The East Lansing ride distance will be seven miles. Organizers anticipate the event will attract up to 200 riders to take a guided ride up Abbot Road toward campus, down Kalamazoo and Farm Lane, and along the Lansing River Trail. Riders will also take a portion of the Northern Tier Trail in East Lansing. Led by trained, local ride leaders, the Life is a Cycle event acquaints beginner bike commuters with bike lanes, paths and shared-use road.

"With the university being so close to us, and a main mode of transportation on campus being biking and walking, it's really important for the city to support that," says Surface. "That support isn't simply having bike racks on the street corner, but is through giving people a safe space to ride to school."

The League of American Bicyclists recognized East Lansing as a bike friendly community in the fall 2016. The city was one of 26 new communities receiving recognition, and earned a bronze ranking.

The Life is a Cycle event is brought to the community by My City Bikes, KIND snacks, and the City of East Lasing. To register or for more information, click here.

Source: Heather Surface, Community Events Specialist, City of East Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Doberman Technologies honored as top company, merges with Michigan firm

There are multiple reason that Doberman Technologies is being recognized by Michigan Celebrates Small Business as one of the 2017 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch." And while many of those reasons can be stated through facts and numbers, many trace to the culture that surrounds the managed-IT services provider based in Mason, Michigan.

Founded in 2005, Doberman has focused on delivering customer-centric, fixed rate IT solutions to solve business problems. Since 2010, the company has grown a minimum of 30 percent year over year, with 60 percent for top line revenue in 2016. Within that growth curve, quality has remained high, with the company reporting a 96.5 percent customer satisfaction rating.

"We're thrilled to have been named to the Michigan 50 companies to watch," says Ian Richardson, CEO of Doberman Technologies. "Recognizing those firms that hold to industry best practice and have shown sustainability and growth is a win for not only the company recognized, but for those organizations looking to partner with them."

Doberman's growth was recently reflected in an early April merge with Nonik Technologies. The merger with the Hillsdale, Michigan, IT-managed service provider brings the Nonik staff and operations under the Doberman brand.

In the past 12 months, Doberman has doubled its staff from seven to 14 full-time staff. In 2015, the company moved to a new headquarters that tripled the space from 1,250 square feet to 5,000 square feet. The company is located in a 80-year-old historic building in the Mason antique district—just a few miles from where Richardson grew up in Okemos.

With the recent merger, Doberman forecasts another 30 to 60 percent growth year, and expects to hire one to three full-time staff.

Doberman will be honored at the MCSB gala event on May 4. Companies making the watch list are second-stage enterprises with six to 99 full-time employees that generate $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investor or grants. Underwriters for the event are the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, PNC Bank, AF Group and Dynamic Edge, Inc.

Source: Ian Richardson, CEO, Doberman Technologies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


LCC ranked No. 1 in online programs offered by Michigan two-year colleges

Lansing Community College is No. 1. Again.
 

The Community for Accredited Online Schools recently released its 2017 list of best online college programs in Michigan, and ranked LCC first among 12 other two-year colleges that made the grade. The ranking positions LCC alongside 36 four-year schools deemed the best of online programs in the state, including Michigan State University, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.
 

This is the second No. 1 ranking for LCC in fewer than six months. The recent accolade from AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org—a leading resource for information on higher education—follows LCC's November 2016 ranking by Schools.com as the top community college out of 27 public two-year institutions in Michigan.
 

"Making back-to-back best lists demonstrates our commitment to student success and to innovative delivery methods for effective 21st century learning," says LCC President Brent Knight. "We are proud to be among the educational leaders providing access to quality education that leads to bright futures—both for our students and our state."
 

Colleges and programs on the list must be accredited, public or private not-for-profit schools. Each college is also analyzed and ranked based on data in areas like availability of academic resources, student-teacher ratios, graduation rates and financial aid opportunities.
 

"Students in Michigan have more options than ever for pursuing certificates or degrees on line," says LCC Board Chair Andrew Abood."LCC shows time and again that the best combination of quality education, academic resources and online programming is often right in your own back yard, so-to-speak."
 

Lansing Community College is Michigan’s third largest community college with nearly 15,000 students attending each year. LCC offers courses in general education for those interested in transferring to a university, career and workforce development, developmental education and personal enrichment. For more information, visit lcc.edu.
 

Source: Devon Bradley, Public Relations, Lansing Community College
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


THiNC.technology launches new apps tailored to customer need

No outsourcing. No prescribed platforms. One hundred percent customer focused.

 

For Craig Tucker, those are factors in the formula for success for a small business competing in the high-tech marketplace. And since 2014, Tucker and his partners have sustained a business that builds software, mobile apps, websites, and integrated solutions for sales and e-commerce—all to customer specifications.

 

"Everyone here is Midwestern--from Michigan or Wisconsin," says Tucker, CEO of THiNC.technology. "We like to keep it local."

 

Intent on keeping an agile mindset, Tucker and his nine-member team operate from a functional office within the University Center at 333 Albert Ave. in downtown East Lansing. Two recently engineered apps underscore the abilities of THiNC.technology to respond to customer challenges and devise solutions that meet both broad and specific needs.

 

The Judgment Interest Calculator, released in April, frees attorneys, law students, judges and other legal professionals from complex hand calculations. The app determines accrued interest on monetary settlements, and then compiles figures into a state-approved form for emailing.

 

A second app under development and set for release later in 2017 answers the need for some health organization to authenticate particular sales activities for compliance. Currently in rollout, the Validu app that will use biometric authentication for attendance when required by regulations affecting pharma, medical and security operations.

 

"We like to build things that solve problems," says Tucker. "They say necessity is the mother of invention. So, we can say we like to create things that are necessary."

 

The company's portfolio includes apps for distracted driving, American Sign Language translation, education and services. The veteran-owned company has also developed dozens of websites, e-commerce solutions and presentations.

 

"We will continue to expand," says Tucker. "We have clients all over the world—including China, New York and California. The vibrancy of East Lansing makes us want to always keep a presence here."

 

Source: Craig Tucker, Owner, THiNC.technology
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Burst Into Bloom waxes for the nomadic life with handcrafted bags

Leah Seelye moved to Michigan five years ago with her husband Cody. Relocating from Wisconsin, the two lived behind the Capitol in Lansing, and then resettled in Grand Ledge to build on their devotion to making mid-Michigan home.

All the while, Seelye stayed true to her passion for handcrafted items, determined to become a maker herself. She retaught herself to sew, and set out to fill a niche for attractive clutches, bags, purses and pouches made from waxed canvas.

In 2015, Seeyle equipped a home studio with a sewing machine and everything she needed to create products for contemporary nomadic life. She concentrates on the design and sewing. Her husband does the waxing. And in less than two years, husband-wife team behind Burst Into Bloom has sold about 1,500 waxed canvas items a year to customers as close as next door to as distant as the Pacific Northwest.

"While I was really invested in my day job, I just wanted to do something with a creative outlet," says Seeyle. "My first sale was a wholesale order, and it just blew up from there. I didn't expect it. I've been humbled."

Seeyle's bags and clutches are functional but funky, with colors and patterns inspired by the desert southwest. Made from printed canvas and then waxed, Burst Into Bloom products have the look and feel of leather and are stain and water resistant.

Seeyle says she started Burst Into Bloom with a $300 windfall buffeted by the support and encouragement of her husband, her family, and friends. She recently began full-time at the biz, and has her sites set on continuing to grow her line.

"We're passionate about making things and are committed to helping people make that hand-made connection," says Seeyle. "Our age is so digital. As human beings, we're always craving or creating something to hold, touch and connect with."

Burst Into Bloom purses, bags, clutches and pouches are available online, locally through Polka Dots in Old Town, and in several Michigan stores in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Source: Leah Seelye, Owner, Burst Into Bloom
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Mobile clinic expands range, takes health services to residents

The Lansing area's only Mobile Health Care Clinic that brought health care to residents last fall is en route again this spring, providing free basic health care to hundreds of residents in city neighborhoods and other sites.

Housed in a bus renovated by Dean Transportation, the mobile clinic was piloted in September 2016, and represents a partnership between Sparrow and the Ingham County Health Department. The clinic will make three visits to six Ingham County sites starting in early April—up from four sites during the pilot phase. The 2017 sites include the Allen Neighborhood Center, Baker Donora neighborhood, Edgewood Village Apartments, Capital Area Career Center.

"We want to try and spread ourselves out to cover as much of the footprint of this community as possible," says Stella Cash, Sparrow vice president of development and strategic partnerships. "Our common goal is to serve a group of our population that is very vulnerable and that might not receive health care until they end up in an emergency situation."

The clinic is open to anyone and provides adult and childhood immunizations, flu shots, education, diabetes checks, and screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, lead, glucose and more. While the primary goal is to provide access to care, mobile clinic staff also refer patients to community resources to address other needs like clothing, food and shelter. Expanded services this year may include mammograms and colon screening provided through Sparrow or the Ingham County Health Department.

"Healthy people make for a healthy community," says Linda Vail, chief health officer for the Ingham County Health Department. "But what we find with people who are in poverty or low-income or lacking insurance is that preventive care doesn't come to the top of the list when they're attending to basic needs like getting food on the table or getting to a job. Our question is how do we eliminate barriers and get health care to you on top of all the other things you have to do in your life."

Ted Glynn, Sparrow Health Systems vice president of medical education and research, was part of the team that helped develop the mobile unit. He is among nearly 10 physicians, trained medical staff and wellness specialists on the ground and delivering care through the various site visits.

Glynn draws on a depth of experience from having worked in emergency medicine for 20 years—both in Lansing and the southern U.S. One of the major frustrations, he says, was seeing the inequity of care across populations—particularly the uninsured or impoverished. He says that while the ER served as a safety net, he always felt there was a better way to help people sooner so they wouldn't be as sick as when they showed up for emergency care or in the ICU.

"It doesn't work anymore to just provide episodic care in silos," says Glynn. "Our hope is that we're upstream in delivering care right to the doorstep of those who need it—right in the heart their neighborhood—and to address the medical as well as the social determinants of health."

Glynn reports that 130 patients registered at the fall pilot program sites, with 16 percent of those being uninsured. The mobile unit is funded through partnerships as well as through donations to the Sparrow Foundation from businesses and individuals.

Source: Stella Cash, Vice President of Development and Strategic Partnerships, Sparrow Health Systems
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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