Innovation & Job News

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Auburn Hills-based Mahindra champions the art of local high school students, seeks to grow program

Paul Lowis looked to places like the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for art design inspiration at Mahindra Automotive’s North American headquarters in Auburn Hills,

But what he did with the north half of the building draws on talent here at home. 

Rather than find the works of established artists for that particular wing of the building, Lowis, Advanced Concepts Manager for the company, turned to the talented high school students of Oakland County. 

In doing so, he established the Mahindra Education Development Commission for the Arts, an organization that is currently benefiting the students and schools of Oakland County, but could soon include the entire state. There’s even a group in Ohio that is looking to replicate the success of the program.

Currently planned for every spring and fall, the MEDCA student competitions solicit submissions from area art students. MEDCA supplies a theme, style, and size. Twenty students are selected as winners, each receiving $100 gift cards to Amazon. Five of those students’ works are then selected as the top five, and the art departments of those students’ schools receive $500 gift cards to the arts and crafts supplies store chain Michael’s.

The first contest, which asked for works that feature shapes in a minimalist style, was held this past spring. The winners are now featured in the halls of Mahindra.

Lowis says that seven of the 20 pieces of art have already been purchased by Mahindra employees.

"It’s unbelievable how good this work is," he says. "If you walk through, you’re going to think you’re at an art gallery in New York City."

Following the success of the initial contest, Lowis has been looking to expand the scope and impact of the events. He’s working with sponsors to increase the amount given to schools, and he’s working with the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs to increase the number of schools involved.

Winners of the contest are featured on the MEDCA website. After six months, they’ll be moved from Mahindra and put on display at the headquarters of Oakland Schools, garnering even more exposure for the students, schools, and sponsors.

"Are you doing something or are you just sitting there? That’s the question. Programs like this give a company a soul," Lowis says.

"Having a philanthropic posture is one of the most important things you can do. It’s just as important as the job you work."

Visit MEDCA online to view the students' artwork.

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

Lawrence Tech business incubator wins NEI grant, looks toward expansion

The LTU Collaboratory, Lawrence Technological University’s business incubator and accelerator, is planning to expand its business and technology-based mentorship services, workshops, and events. The move is made possible thanks to a one-year $40,000 grant from the New Economy Initiative. It’s the first time NEI has awarded a grant to the Southfield-based university.

Small manufacturers and emerging hardware startups in Southeast Michigan stand to benefit most from the grant. The money will also be used to engage more high schoolers, college students, and young adults in product and manufacturing-related innovation challenges.

"As a leading resource to small and start-up companies developing innovative, engineered products, the LTU Collaboratory can now provide additional key resources for these companies to grow and scale up their operations, thanks to this NEI grant," said Mark Brucki, executive director of community and corporate partnerships at LTU.

"We are looking forward to getting more students involved in manufacturing as well."

It’s another improvement for the LTU Collaboratory. LTU is planning on a new 6,300 sq. ft. accelerator space for its Southfield campus by spring 2019.

NEI Senior Program Officer Maria LaLonde cites Southeast Michigan’s abundance of engineering talent, manufacturing expertise, patent research initiatives, and export activity in praising the deal.

"We are very excited to be partnering with LTU to offer small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs critical resources to keep them on the leading edge of innovation and growth," said LaLonde.

"As a university-based accelerator program, LTU is also a key partner to engage and develop the next generation of design, engineering and manufacturing talent in Michigan."

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

Ferndale hopes to improve downtown parking experience with new app

A fresh vegan and vegetarian dinner at GreenSpace Café. A round of drinks at the recently re-modeled Dino’s Lounge. A quick match of axe-throwing at Detroit Axe. Downtown Ferndale has a lot going for it these days.

And with all of the shopping, nightlife, and entertainment options that the city has to offer, that means that Ferndale has become a magnet destination, drawing in people from all over the region. With so many visitors comes the question of parking.

There are nearly 1,300 parking spaces available in downtown Ferndale, each available at 50 cents an hour. City officials say that paying for parking has gotten a whole lot easier, thanks to the roll-out of the city’s newest parking app, ParkFerndale.

Powered by technology company Passport, ParkFerndale replaces the previous parking app. It is free to download through both Apple and Android stores.

The improvements brought by the new app are numerous, according to the city. These include a customized design for Ferndale, the elimination of zone numbers, zero convenience fees when extending a session via phone, and parking validation codes from local businesses. Drivers don’t have to wait for a future parking session to use a validation code, which is also new.

"Ferndale is an innovative city with forward-thinking residents, business owners, customers and visitors," said Ferndale Assistant City Manager Joseph Gacioch. "The ParkFerndale app will provide a customized experience to help users better navigate their time spent in our city."

Also new is the website, complete with parking news and parking permit information. Residential and business parking permits can now be purchased online.

The developer of the app, the Charlotte, North Carolina technology company Passport, is the same company used for parking in the city of Detroit.

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

Highland Township glass fabricators to expand facilities and services, add jobs

A Michigan-based glass fabricating company has passed over a competing site in Kentucky to instead expand its current facilities in Oakland County’s Highland Township. The move has resulted in a state-backed grant for the company, all the while creating more jobs and millions in capital investment from the glass fabricator.

The family-owned Midwest Glass Fabricators, Inc. has announced plans to build an expansion onto its Highland Township facilities, complete with new equipment. The project is expected to create 62 jobs and generate $4.7 million in total capital investment.

Because of this decision, the company will receive a $186,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, as announced by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Highland Township has also offered incentives for the company’s growth: A 50 percent tax abatement in support of the project.

"This expansion is the next phase in our development as a company," owner and chief operating officer Pat Iaquinto said in a statement. "Our investment in Michigan will continue to grow as will our commitment to serve our partners with locally sourced products that meet their needs."

The expansion comes as the company experiences increased demand for its fabricated glass products and custom metal fabrication services. The 53,000 sq. ft. addition to its already 50,000 sq. ft. facility will allow the company to build a glass laminating line for safety and security glass.

Midwest Glass Fabricators was founded in 1989.

"Adding laminate to our line-up of products is a step towards providing safety to buildings nationwide at an affordable price without compromising security," said Midwest Glass owner and chief executive officer Jim Iaquinto.

"Building an addition to our existing plant will allow us to bring in local R&D and help establish Michigan as a leader in the arena of safeguarding the public."

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

Oak Park in the news: City attracts new R&D HQ, named 'Redevelopment Ready' by Michigan

The city of Oak Park has been making its way through the offices of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently, with not one but two big announcements to come out of the state’s business development and marketing arm.

First, it was recently announced that electric vehicle manufacturer Bordrin Motor Corporation will be opening a new research and development center in the city. The Chinese company has four locations worldwide.

The Oak Park location will serve as Bordrin’s new North American headquarters. The development is expected to create 62 jobs and generate a total capital investment of $3.4 million. As a result, the MEDC has approved a $496,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the company.

"I’m excited Bordrin Automotive is expanding its high-tech presence in Oak Park," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. "Much of the innovation and development of the electric vehicle happens in Oakland County and Bordrin is a key player in that global market.

"They are an important part of our international business community and join other Chinese companies who have chosen to make their North American homes in Oakland County."

That’s not all. It was also recently announced that the city of Oak Park has been certified as a Redevelopment Ready Community. According to the MEDC website, becoming a Redevelopment Ready Community formally recognizes that a city has both a vision for its future and a plan for how to get there. It demonstrates to the outside world that the community is worthy of private investment.

"Like a handful of other inner-ring suburbs, Oak Park is experiencing a revitalization, in part, because of our commitment to planning, pro-active zoning and community engagement," says Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan.

"The best practices provided through the Redevelopment Ready Communities program have promoted economic development and renewed interest in our community as a great place for investment, and an exciting place for families to grow."

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

Birmingham team takes home top prize at World Robofest Championship

Almost 100 teams from lands near and far, from Hong Kong to South Africa to the state of Illinois, descended upon the campus of Lawrence Technological University for the annual World Robofest Championship. But it was a team from Birmingham, Michigan’s own Roeper School that took home this year’s top prize.

On Saturday, May 19, Lawrence Technological University (LTU) hosted the 19th annual competition on its campus. The Southfield-based school has been hosting Robofest since C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU, founded the contest in 1999.

Each Robofest pits teams of students against each other as they work to build and program autonomous robots that aren’t remote controlled. Robots then must complete a series of tasks.

This year’s Robofest required the robots to complete the Autonomous Tennis Ball Challenge. Students had to program their robots to collect tennis balls off a table and deposit them in a box, all while knocking water bottles off the table.

Blood, Sweat and Gears, the team from Birmingham’s Roeper School, took home the top prize in the Senior Game division, made up of students from grades nine through twelve.

"Metro Detroit is in the automotive sector. Automotive technology is moving toward self-driving and connected vehicles. All the technologies learned in Robofest are connected to the development of future self-driving and connected vehicles," says Chung.

"This started in metro Detroit and has a strong impact on the world. Our area is leading the technology for the future by training young people first."

In the Junior Game division, made up of fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, Insele Solutions of Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, took home the gold, with teams from Aurora, Illinois, and Goyang, South Korea, as runners-up. Teams from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, and Seoul, South Korea, rounded out the top three in the senior circuit.

More than 23,000 students have participated in the World Robofest Championship since its founding in 1999.

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

Work of Troy-based engineering company featured in Canadian museum exhibit on biomimicry

A Canadian museum is showcasing innovative applications of biomimicry in vehicle design, and a Troy-based company is one of the key players involved.

The engineering firm Altair, headquartered in Troy, has several products featured in the temporary exhibition Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNOLOGY: Biomimicry and Transportation at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier in Valcourt, Quebec.

A vehicle frame structure showcased in the exhibit was designed using three of the company’s products, OptiStruct, RADIOSS, and Inspire. The frame structure utilizes biomimicry in its design, a practice that emulates patterns and structures found throughout the natural world.

According to the company, Altair’s optimization technology allowed designers and engineers to use the loads and forces the product is subjected to as inputs, generating innovative material layouts. Designers and engineers used the technology to investigate structurally-efficient concepts based on biomimicry principles, using natural designs to solve human riddles.

"It is a pleasure and an honor for Altair to have been invited to collaborate with the Museum of ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier to develop the cross-Canada exhibition on innovation from nature and biomimicry," said Bob Little, managing director of Altair Engineering Canada. "Altair’s solutions for simulation-driven design and optimization are having a real impact on the ability of our customers to develop innovative new designs with greater confidence and in less time."

The exhibition will stay at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier for a year before it travels cross-country.

"This exhibition showcases the work done by the Museum team and several partners whose collaboration has been most valuable," said Carol Pauzé, director of the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier.

"Did you know that nature rewards cooperation? As was the case with Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNO, it leads to amazing results."

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

Goldman Sachs small business program readies Royal Oak hot sauce maker for next phase of growth

The latest graduating class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit program let out recently, and among them is a Royal Oak hot sauce maker that is ready to take their business to the next level.

Don Button is the founder of the Royal Oak-based Smashing Empire, LLC, and its flagship brand, Hell Fire Detroit.

The line of fire-roasted artisan hot sauces won multiple Best of Show awards upon its launch at the Making it in Michigan food show and conference in November 2015, taking home the top prize in categories for flavor, quality, branding, and ability to go to market.

Now, with roughly 100 hours of 10,000 Small Businesses classes under his belt, Button is ready to take Hell Fire to the next ring.

"My background is on the creative side of business, so I’ve always made decisions based on theory and trends. While this approach has worked for me, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program gave me the tools to analyze my business ideas in methodical ways," said Button. "In addition to identifying my leadership style, their process forced me to focus on my next logical step for growth, conduct the research, and apply forecasting models to help determine return on investment.

"The results gave me the confidence to move forward with my next phase of growth."

This is the twelfth graduating cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses Detroit, a program that features experts from several colleges and universities, as well as Goldman Sachs professionals themselves. The Babson College-designed curriculum is taught by Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College faculty on the campus of Wayne State University.

Hell Fire’s Button is one of 30 entrepreneurs to graduate from this most recent cohort.

"Even if I only apply five percent of what I learned in the GS10KSB program, my business is going to be much better for it."

Click here to learn more about the application process.

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

Report: Michigan manufacturing must embrace Industry 4.0 to succeed

Automation Alley is working to prepare Michigan for the next industrial revolution. A new report should help Michigan manufacturers better understand their case.

The nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association is celebrating the release of its annual Technology in Industry Report, its eleventh year doing so.

The Oakland County-based organization believes that the world is in the midst of its fourth industrial revolution, or what Automation Alley refers to as Industry 4.0. Manufacturing is being disrupted by technology, and if Michigan is to remain a manufacturing center, it's going to have to embrace these technologies early on.

According to Automation Alley, there are eight transformative technologies changing the way we manufacture things: the Industrial Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing, cybersecurity, advanced materials and additive manufacturing, and modeling, simulation, visualization and immersion.

Among its findings, the Technology in Industry Report concludes that one key to succeeding in Industry 4.0 is Big Data, and using it to predict future trends by utilizing real-time intelligence to understand today’s trends, and not yesterday’s.

Other findings include:

  • While some jobs may be eliminated due to technological changes, other jobs will be created. It’s up to manufacturers to re-skill and up-skill its labor force to stay competitive.
  • North America is well behind both China and Europe in embracing Industry 4.0. Tier 2, Tier 3, and smaller manufacturers are especially behind.
  • Future workers must develop people skills, nurture conceptual and futuristic thinking, and embrace continuous learning in order to succeed in Industry 4.0.

Automation Alley isn’t new to Industry 4.0. In a 2016 profile, Tom Kelly, executive director of Automation Alley, told Metromode that Industry 4.0 should impact southeastern Michigan jobs even more so than autonomous vehicles.

The key is to embrace it now before it’s too late, according to Kelly.

"We are positioned well to win the next battle. Stop fighting the battle from yesterday. That's over. But now, with the digitization of everything, we can win. So let's run like crazy down that path," says Kelly. "We're in great shape to do that."

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

LTU Collaboratory engages in 'design thinking' during May 8 session

DESIGN THINKING. What is it, exactly? And more importantly, how can design thinking influence the way you work and solve problems?


On Tuesday, May 8, you'll have the chance to find out.


Lawrence Technological University's Collaboratory will host the third session in its "Innovation by Design" talk series. The topic, "Spotting Opportunity in Plain Sight," will explore how our perceptions affect our methods of innovation, and how we can overcome limitations to better understand our customers and their needs.


"Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that borrows from the toolkit of designers. There is a certain approach and process they use when they are designing," says Marc Bolick, managing partner of DesignThinkers Group USA, the Greenville, South Carolina based organization that runs the talk series.


Complex or simple, design thinking can be summed up as a purposeful way of creating a desired future state, Bolick says.


"The critical thing about design thinking is it is human-centered," he says. "It's about making sure you center solutions on the needs of the people you are designing for. It sounds obvious, but it's ironically not the way most people, teams, and organizations do their design."


It's about empathy for others


The concept of empathy is a core principle to design thinking, and in essence, flips the perspective to the customer's point of view very early in the design process. In this way, it's about providing solutions to problems customers aren't yet aware they have.


Design thinking can be applied to many customer-focused situations. It is effective, for example, for human resources professionals, whose customers are a body of employees or trainees, for government departments whose customers are citizens, and for large enterprises, whose customers are typical consumers.


Yet another aspect of design thinking is the concept of creating an early, low-resolution prototype of your product, getting feedback on it, and working collaboratively with your customers to improve the design to meet their needs. This is critical to those connected to the LTU Collaboratory, an accelerator specifically for those who manufacture usable products.


For LTU Collaboratory members specifically, design thinking overlaps with customer journey mapping and customer discovery, says Mark Brucki, LTU Collaboratory executive director.


"We piloted a couple of initiatives on design thinking and saw that it produced results," says Brucki. "So, we engaged the DesignThinkers Group to help facilitate more programming that we could offer through the Collaboratory for this region."


The series also served as a test ground to gauge interest in more in-depth future fee-based sessions. Brucki says the interest level is high enough to offer a full-day workshop, which they have planned for June 8.


"It's key that we provide tools to participants to be able to use on the following day when they go to work," he says. The philosophy fits well with the Collaboratory's goal of helping members accelerate business growth and facilitate opportunities for innovation. "Is this appealing to different industries and different sized organizations? We learned that the answer is yes."


Overall, design is critically important to Detroit as a region, says Brucki. He points out that in 2015, Detroit was named City of Design by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the very first U.S. city to earn this distinction. And it's a hat that fits, not just in the obvious automotive industry, but in architecture, interior, graphic, and product design, or design for manufacturability.


"I'm very excited about the collaboration with LTU," says Terri Burch, service manager with DesignThinkers Group. "As a Detroiter, I'm excited that it's been named the UNESCO City of Design, and happy to help LTU support the designation in our region and leverage what that means for all of us, as well as support LTU's target market of booming product-based manufacturers in the area, with tools that help achieve that goal and that mission."


"Once you decide to open your mind to [design thinking], it's fairly seductive," says Bolick. "It's a purposeful choice because it connects you with other people. We are social beings, and when people are able in their professional lives to connect what they are doing to others in a direct way, it's motivation and satisfying and profound."


Learn more about LTU Collaboratory, DesignThinkers Group, and register for the May 8 session.

Wixom augmented reality company opens European headquarters in Czech Republic

A Wixom-based augmented reality company is expanding its international presence with the opening of its European headquarters in the Czech Republic. OPS Solutions celebrated the grand opening earlier this month.

OPS Solutions is the maker of Light Guide Systems, an augmented reality tool used to improve manual assembly and manufacturing processes through error reduction. The company’s Light Guide Systems Classic, for example, projects a digital operating canvas onto the work surface and then provides audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing, and direction in assembling products.

In addition to the Light Guide Systems Classic is the Light Guide Systems Pro, ideal for smaller assemblies.

Founder and president of OPS Solutions Paul Ryznar and company believe that the new European headquarters in Prague will help OPS Solutions branch out and connect with companies throughout Europe, including companies in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain. The anticipated result will be more business partnerships and higher sales.

"In the last several years, we have experienced an increase in the demand for our AR technology for manufacturers across Europe and Asia," Ryznar said.

"The time is right to further expand our global presence and become a permanent part of the manufacturing landscape in Europe. We look forward to growing our partnerships with powerful manufacturers around the world to make factory floors smarter and safer with technology."

OPS Solutions and its Light Guide Systems technology are applicable to any number of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, heavy equipment, and medical.

OPS Solutions is located at 48443 Alpha Dr. in Wixom. Its new European headquarters is located in Prague, Czech Republic.

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

Southfield-based tech firm now offers around-the-clock on-site IT service at its data centers

123Net, the Southfield-based data center, network, and voice infrastructure services provider, has announced the roll-out of its new Smart Hands service.


With Smart Hands, 123Net guarantees customers IT support 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year at each of its four Tier 3, carrier-neutral data centers throughout Michigan. Three of the 123Net data centers are located in Southfield, with the fourth being located in Byron Center.


Rather than worry about staffing the data center, customers can now rely on 123Net's own in-house team of network operation center technicians to provide around-the-clock remote management, monitoring, and troubleshooting services. The company promises a 15 minute-or-under response time.


Smart Hands covers duties that include asset management, like audits of full or partial spaces for efficiency and engineering audit of power and network; logistics management, like escorting customer-approved vendors and consultants to and from the data center space; on-site support, like replacing device components and testing for basic network issues; and rack and stack duties, like consulting on design, cabling, setup and more throughout the installation process, as well as the actual installation and setup.


"Our Smart Hands service gives our colocation clients relief knowing they have our skilled NOC technicians on-site to address any requests in a timely manner," 123Net NOC Director Rocky Maynard said in a release. "This makes our clients' data center experience less stressful, saving not only time, but labor and travel costs as well."


123Net celebrated the hiring of its 100th employee in December 2017. The company has previously stated that it plans on growing its employee base by 30 percent every year.


123Net is located at 24700 Northwestern Hwy. in Southfield.

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

WABCO latest company to build North American headquarters in Auburn Hills

Auburn Hills is celebrating the announcement of the latest company to locate its North American headquarters within the city.

WABCO is consolidating its Troy operations and relocating sections of its Rochester Hills facility to build a brand new headquarters in Auburn Hills. The headquarters is currently under construction and estimated to open in the third quarter of 2018.


The headquarters, a newly constructed building built to spec, represents a $19.7 million investment for the company and will result in the creation of 87 jobs.


"This level of advanced engineering is the type of job creation and investment that fits perfectly with Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors initiative," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. "Oakland County has the third highest number of technical workers in the nation and more than 70 percent of Southeast Michigan’s top original equipment manufacturers."


The announcement represents a period of growth for WABCO, which got its start nearly 150 years ago as the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Today, the company services commercial vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators, and the aftermarket, developing technologies and services to improve the safety, efficiency, and connectivity of the commercial vehicle and heavy-duty trucking industries.


WABCO boasts nearly 15,000 employees in 40 countries and reported $3.3 billion in sales for 2017. Its investment in Michigan results in a $375,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund. It's reported that the Auburn Hills location beat out a competing site in Ohio.


"WABCO’s expansion in Michigan rather than another state means good jobs for Michigan residents and underscores the strength of the talent in the state’s mobility and technology sectors," said Jeff Mason, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the organization that administers the Michigan Strategic Fund.


"It is thanks to many public and private partners that this project is taking place, and we are pleased to support that collaboration."


The WABCO North American headquarters is located at 1220 Pacific Dr. in Auburn Hills.

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

Next leaders of Oakland County invited to information breakfeast on professional development course

Leadership Oakland, the Troy-based business and community leadership development non-profit, is spreading the word. The organization is hosting a free informational breakfast at the MSU Management Education Center in order for those interested to learn more about its principal program, the Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Program.

While the breakfast is free, pre-registration is required. Each year, 50 people are accepted into the Cornerstone Program, which seeks to advance the leadership skills of those enrolled in three arenas: Personally, professionally, and publicly.

Ranging in issues from education to government, the justice department to race and ethnic diversity, Cornerstone holds monthly sessions led by experts in each field and examines their impact on the region. On Oct. 10, 2018, for example, the curriculum calls for an Economy & Government Session, of which the website states: "This session looks at the economic forces and government structures that shape Oakland County and their impact on the region. Participants hear directly from business and government leaders on the opportunities and challenges they face on a daily basis."

 Beginning in September 2018 with a three-day retreat, Cornerstone enrollees graduate from the nine-month course in June 2019. According to the organization, Leadership Oakland alumni consist of business and community leaders throughout the region, and can be found on the boards of directors of a number of institutions around southeastern Michigan.

The Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Program informational breakfast will be held Wednesday, April 18, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the MSU Management Education Center, which is located at 811 W. Square Lake Rd. in Troy.


Registration is available online.

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

High score: Lawrence Tech ranks in the top 50 for game design programs for third straight year

Video game fans take note: Lawrence Technological University's game design program has now ranked in the Top 50 of undergraduate schools for game design for the third straight year. The Princeton Review, in a reporting partnership with the PC Gamer magazine, publishes the rankings.

LTU comes in at number 34 among schools to study game design in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

According to officials from the Southfield-based private university, LTU's program is different than most because of its focus on both art and design. Lawrence Tech offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a Game Software Development concentration.

"It is an honor being ranked among the best undergraduate programs in the world," Marshall "Mars" Ashton, assistant professor in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design and director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art program at the university, said in a statement. "Despite how young both the Game Art and Game Software Development programs are, we have seen an incredible amount of progress as we contribute to the field at large and the development of the Michigan game development community."

The Princeton Review created a 40-question survey to determine the rankings of 150 programs based on academic offerings, lab facilities, and more. Also taken into account are alumni achievements, like graduates' starting salaries and career achievements. They then generated and analyzed over 40 data points in academics, faculty, technology, and careers to create the rankings.

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