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Rochester-based company debuts 'Uber-like' marketplace for movers

Most of the time when someone talks about ride-sharing, they’re talking about people. But an enterprising college student recently expanded on the peer-to-peer service-sharing model to help people ride-share their stuff, so to speak.

It’s called Herculeze and it’s the work of Oakland University student and Business Administration major Connor Darrow. With the help of Oakland University’s OU INC business incubator, Darrow recently launched the Herculeze marketplace platform.

Basically, it works like this. Users post their requests on the Herculeze marketplace, typically people in need of moving larger pieces of furniture and other items but without the truck to do so. Local pick-up truck owners than log-in and put bids in, competing with other pick-up truck owners to win the job.

"Think of it as the Uberization of delivery," Darrow says.

"It’s Uber-like, but for stuff."

The Rochester-based company has utilized the help of OU INC to take it to the next level. The Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center OU INC provides resources and strategy-based solutions to entrepreneurs, helping bring ideas to market.

The business incubator works with a range of companies, though focuses on the energy, medical device, and information technology sectors. A previous Metromode story highlighted the work of another OU INC member, Wave Water Works, and its clean energy device that converts water waves into electricity.

Ryan Tsivitse helps manage the Herculeze business operations.

"We all have really enjoyed working at OU INC, where we have an environment that allows us to collaborate with each other every day," Tsivitse says.

Visit Herculeze online to learn more about its services.

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


State OKs tax capture for Aptiv's creation of advanced-safety engineering center in Troy

Excerpt: 

Aptiv PLC will get to keep up to $30.7 million of its employees' tax withholdings by creating 500 new jobs at its Troy headquarters.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the 10-year Good Jobs for Michigan tax capture for the autonomous-vehicle technology supplier, allowing the company to keep the income tax withholdings for 500 new engineers, support staff and electronic labs technicians as part of the relocation. Aptiv is expected to invest between $20 million and $30 million on the project.

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Technosoft Corp. adding tech jobs in Michigan

Technosoft Corporation (Technosoft), founded in 1996 and headquartered in Southfield, MI, combines strategy, technology, and creativity to help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys. Technosoft offers solutions for data science, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, application lifecycle management, CRM-ERP (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle), and IT infrastructure management. The company has more than 4,400 employees globally.

Technosoft recently announced plans to create a Digital Transformation Center of Excellence at its Southfield facility. From this center, Technosoft will deliver projects to help companies transform how they do business using digital technologies such as Blockchain, robotic process automation, and data science. The initiative is expected to generate a total private investment of $878,000 and create 104 high-paying jobs. To support this ambitious expansion, Technosoft has been awarded an $800,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Texas. “Southfield is business-friendly and Southeast Michigan has the talent we need to grow. We’re able to find bright, young technical talent by tapping into technical universities such as Lawrence Tech, UM, MSU, and other strong Michigan universities.”, said Radha Krishnan, President and CEO of Technosoft. The city of Southfield has offered expedited permitting in support of the project.

Mark Adams, Oakland County Sr. Business Rep. said, “Technosoft is an outstanding technology firm with visionary management and a talented workforce. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has worked with many partners to create a diverse business community through the County’s emerging sector program. These jobs represent the type of high paying skill talent that makes up the Oakland County workforce. This success story was a result of teaming with Southfield and the MEDC to partner with Technosoft.”

About Technosoft 
Technosoft Corp. (Technosoft) combines strategy, technology and creativity to help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys. We help our customers gain insights from data that others can’t see and we provide bold ideas for innovation. Technosoft offers solutions for digital transformation, data science, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, Blockchain, cloud management, application lifecycle management, quality assurance and testing, CRM-ERP (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle), and IT infrastructure management. Technosoft has extensive domain knowledge of the manufacturing, banking and financial services, healthcare, retail, and high tech industries. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, Technosoft has 4,400+ global employees and is trusted by more than 35+ Fortune 1000 customers in North America and India. Learn more at http://www.technosoftcorp.com

Aptiv creates new jobs through expansion of mobility technical center

Michigan entered in to the final four with high hopes and emerged the victor, beating out three other states in the process.

This isn’t college basketball we’re talking about but instead a tournament of jobs. While there isn’t a trophy to hoist--that we know of, at least--there are approximately 500 new jobs and $20 million in private investment to tout.

The global technology and mobility company Aptiv recently announced that it will be renovating its facilities in suburban Troy, Michigan, creating 500 new jobs in the engineering- and software-related fields. The Troy technical center will serve as a mobility research and development facility for the company.

As a result of the investment, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a 100 percent Good Jobs for Michigan tax capture for up to 10 years valued at $30.6 million.

“[Michigan] Governor [Rick] Snyder met with Aptiv executives last year and made the case that there is no better place in North America for high-tech companies to expand and succeed than Michigan,” says Jeff Mason, chief executive officer of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

“Aptiv’s investment is a catalyst for attracting other technology companies and underscores the strength of the state’s high-tech automotive assets.”

The Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Aptiv has approximately 150,000 employees across 14 technical centers, as well as manufacturing sites and customer support centers in 45 countries.

Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber, characterizes Aptiv’s decision to invest in Troy, “A tremendous win for the region,” and, “A testament to our ecosystem’s continued strength as a global center for leading mobility companies.”

Those interested in careers at Aptiv can view opportunities online.

OU's Environmental Health and Safety degree program ranked among top in nation

Oakland University’s Environmental Health and Safety online degree program has been ranked as one of the top 25 Best Value Occupational Safety and Health degree programs in the nation for 2019 by Value Colleges (VC), an online ranking system that compares the most affordable colleges with the best return on investment.

“Oakland University’s place in the VC Best Value ranking tells students that they can trust OU’s program to provide not only an education, but an entry to a rewarding career,” Rhonda Corey, media manager for Value Colleges, said in an email.??

Oakland University ranked No. 13 on the list, between the University of Central Missouri and Purdue University at West Lafayette. The top 10 included: University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of North Alabama, Grand Valley State University, Utah State University, John Hopkins, the University of Texas at Tyler, Ohio University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.??The ranking is based on several factors, including reputation (based on U.S. News & World Report), return on investment (based on Payscale data), and cost (based on online tuition as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics).

“I appreciate this recognition,” said Kevin Ball, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Sciences. “The universities and programs described ahead of us are of good quality, and the EHS field serves an increasingly important role in public and environmental wellness, so we are complimented by appearing in this good company.”

Environmental Safety and Health (EHS) is a relatively new, and still emerging, career field compared to other professional studies at universities across America. None of today’s safety-related baccalaureate degree programs existed before the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This act represents the first national legislation directed at ensuring the safety and health of America’s working men and women.

The Oakland University Occupational Safety and Health baccalaureate degree, established in 1978, was one of the first such programs to respond to this national demand for increased safety and health in the workplace.??“Formal occupational safety and health codes have been one of the most important developments in the modern workplace,” Corey said. “Quality of life for the day-to-day desk jockey or food-service worker is important, but in fields like mining, construction, or laboratory science, occupational health and safety may literally be a matter of life or death.”

Oakland University’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and Safety degree program produces graduates who can function effectively as safety professionals on multidisciplinary teams that include occupational health physicians, occupational nurses, industrial engineers, environmental engineers, union representatives, hourly workers and corporate managers.

This degree provides a strong health sciences core curriculum and general education component coupled with technical and professional knowledge required by individuals pursuing professional careers in accident prevention, loss-control management and supervision, inspection and control of industrial hazards, and industrial hygiene.

“Oakland University has an environmental health and safety degree online program that meets the needs of busy professionals and adult learners who require flexibility,” according to the VC report. “The online format does not require students ever to step foot on campus, and most of the learning is delivered asynchronously, except for some classes that will be scheduled far in advance and therefore, will be easy to put on the schedule ahead of time.”

To learn more about the EHS program at Oakland University, visit www.oakland.edu/ehs.

FCA Foundation awards $50,000 grant to Winning Futures student workforce prep mentoring program

Winning Futures announced a one-year $50,000 grant from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US LLC. Funding from the FCA Foundation will support core expenses for local tenth graders who are participating in Workforce Prep – an in-school mentoring and leadership skills development program for challenged high school students. This program addresses the critical need to better prepare students for life and careers after high school.
 
Workforce Prep is a four-year program that starts with students in the tenth grade and continues through the student’s first year of continuing education. Through in-class mentoring and leadership skills development, job shadowing, and internships, students gain critical workplace skills and hands-on experience, empowering them with the tools, knowledge, and motivation they will need to realize a meaningful career and upward mobility.
 
“The FCA Foundation’s support of youth development and education is truly outstanding,” said Winning Futures President and CEO, Kristina Marshall. “Their support enables us to carry out our mission, preparing students to be self-reliant, successful adults.”
 
“We are very pleased to partner with organizations like Winning Futures, who are highly effective at giving young people the skills and support needed to succeed in school, at work and in life,” said Emeel Ajluni, Vice President – FCA Foundation. “We also believe that empowering and educating our youth is key to building strong, resilient communities.”
 
Winning Futures’ Workforce Prep program supports 500 students at 7 metro-Detroit high schools; and engages 150 mentors from the community including nine FCA US employees. Programs are currently held at Warren Mott High School (Warren, MI), Community High School (Sterling Heights, MI), Pontiac Academy for Excellence (Pontiac, MI), Mumford High School (Detroit, MI), Cass Technical High School (Detroit, MI), Harper Woods High School (Harper Woods, MI), and Madison High School (Madison Heights, MI).
 
Stephen Hatfield is a FCA US employee and has mentored through Winning Futures since 2012. Stephen has dedicated more than 375 volunteer service hours helping more than 35 students become self-reliant, employable, and productive adults. He was honored by Winning Futures earlier this year as Mentor of the Year at Pontiac Academy for Excellence and recently recognized by FCA for his outstanding community service.
 
“I love making a connection with the kids and being an adult they can rely on and learn from,” said Stephen. “We never have enough people we can learn from.”
 
  • Click here to watch a FCA US video recognizing Stephen’s community service.
     
About the FCA Foundation
The ?FCA Foundation? is the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US LLC, a member of the ?Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.?(FCA) family of companies. The FCA Foundation invests in U.S. charitable organizations and initiatives that help empower people, build strong, resilient communities and generate meaningful and measurable societal impacts. In support of these objectives, the FCA Foundation focuses on the following foundational pillars: youth development, education, support for military, veterans and their families, and community service.

About Winning Futures
Winning Futures (www.WinningFutures.org) is an award-winning nonprofit organization that empowers youth to succeed through mentoring, strategic planning, and workforce preparation. The organization partners with metro-Detroit high schools to deliver weekly in-class life skill and workforce preparation sessions that are facilitated by local business professionals. A recent recipient of the National Quality Member designation from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Winning Futures has positively impacted more than 47,000 students and awarded $1.9 million in scholarships.

Advanced manufacturing lab coming to Milford High School

Excerpt: 

The Huron Valley Schools District wants to help fill the region's critical skilled trades talent gap. 

In partnership with SME Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education, an initiative focused on closing the skills gap, and regional business partners, the district is seeking to build a $315,000 advanced manufacturing lab in Milford High School. 

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Serra Donovan Law of Rochester merges with Birmingham's Lippitt O'Keefe Gornbein

Excerpt

Rochester’s Serra Donovan Law Group is merging with the Birmingham law firm of Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein, and William Donovan is joining the latter as senior counsel. Reese Serra will serve as a special advisor to the firm.

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Walsh named gold-level status veteran-friendly school

Walsh has been recognized by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for its commitment to helping student veterans succeed in college. 

This is the eighth consecutive year that Walsh has been named a Veteran-Friendly School and the third consecutive year that the college has received Gold-level status -- the agency’s highest distinction. 

“Veterans represent an important talent pool for our state,” said Dr. Michael Rinkus, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Walsh and U.S. Army veteran. “About 7.5 percent of Michigan adults are military veterans, according to the last U.S. Census. Our goal at Walsh is to provide personal, dedicated support to veterans so they have a clear pathway from education to successful careers.”

Walsh is committed to helping veterans transition from military service to a college degree to successful career. The college waives the application fee for veterans and offers personalized assistance to help with education benefits. Walsh also has licensed professional counselors on staff to assist during the transition process. 

“The hard work and sacrifice you put in for this country make you incredibly deserving of an education,” said Kyle Richardson, a 2017 Walsh accounting alumnus who served in the military. “Many veterans believe there is not enough time, they have to go back to work full-time after starting a life based on full-time military pay, or they do not know how to utilize their benefits. Walsh helps you with all these areas to ensure you are set up for success.”
 
While at Walsh, veterans have access to veteran-specific scholarships, extended payment due dates for GI Bill® users and personalized help with education benefits. Walsh’s Troy location also has a dedicated space for veterans. 

“Walsh made me feel like I was more than just ‘another student,’ Richardson said. “Since I served four years in the military, I was older than most college students. I knew I wanted a college program that I could finish efficiently, and Walsh's four-semester school year made this a reality.” 

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency recognizes academic institutions of higher learning committed to supporting the needs of student veterans and dependents. The program awards Gold-level, Silver-level or Bronze-level status to institutions that offer veteran-centric services and programs.  

To learn more about Walsh’s veteran services, visit www.walshcollege.edu/veterans

About Walsh 

Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of the region’s largest business schools, offering classes in several locations as well as online. Our nationally ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

FCA Foundation awards $50,000 grant to Winning Futures student Workforce Prep mentoring program

Winning Futures today announced a one-year $50,000 grant from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US LLC. Funding from the FCA Foundation will support core expenses for local tenth graders who are participating in Workforce Prep – an in-school mentoring and leadership skills development program for challenged high school students. This program addresses the critical need to better prepare students for life and careers after high school.
 
Workforce Prep is a four-year program that starts with students in the tenth grade and continues through the student’s first year of continuing education. Through in-class mentoring and leadership skills development, job shadowing, and internships, students gain critical workplace skills and hands-on experience, empowering them with the tools, knowledge, and motivation they will need to realize a meaningful career and upward mobility.
 
“The FCA Foundation’s support of youth development and education is truly outstanding,” said Winning Futures President and CEO, Kristina Marshall. “Their support enables us to carry out our mission, preparing students to be self-reliant, successful adults.”
 
"We are very pleased to partner with organizations like Winning Futures, who are highly effective at giving young people the skills and support needed to succeed in school, at work and in life,” said Emeel Ajluni, Vice President – FCA Foundation. “We also believe that empowering and educating our youth is key to building strong, resilient communities.”
 
Winning Futures’ Workforce Prep program supports 500 students at 7 metro-Detroit high schools; and engages 150 mentors from the community including nine FCA US employees. Programs are currently held at Warren Mott High School (Warren, MI), Community High School (Sterling Heights, MI), Pontiac Academy for Excellence (Pontiac, MI), Mumford High School (Detroit, MI), Cass Technical High School (Detroit, MI), Harper Woods High School (Harper Woods, MI), and Madison High School (Madison Heights, MI).
 
Stephen Hatfield is a FCA US employee and has mentored through Winning Futures since 2012. Stephen has dedicated more than 375 volunteer service hours helping more than 35 students become self-reliant, employable, and productive adults. He was honored by Winning Futures earlier this year as Mentor of the Year at Pontiac Academy for Excellence and recently recognized by FCA for his outstanding community service.
 
“I love making a connection with the kids and being an adult they can rely on and learn from,” said Stephen. “We never have enough people we can learn from.”
  • Click here to watch a FCA US video recognizing Stephen’s community service.
About the FCA Foundation
The FCA Foundation is the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US LLC, a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. The FCA Foundation invests in U.S. charitable organizations and initiatives that help empower people, build strong, resilient communities and generate meaningful and measurable societal impacts. In support of these objectives, the FCA Foundation focuses on the following foundational pillars: youth development, education, support for military, veterans and their families, and community service.

About Winning Futures
Winning Futures (www.WinningFutures.org) is an award-winning nonprofit organization that empowers youth to succeed through mentoring, strategic planning, and workforce preparation. The organization partners with metro-Detroit high schools to deliver weekly in-class life skill and workforce preparation sessions that are facilitated by local business professionals. A recent recipient of the National Quality Member designation from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Winning Futures has positively impacted more than 47,000 students and awarded $1.9 million in scholarships.

LTU sophomores improve the lives of persons with disabilities through innovative products

Lawrence Technological University sophomore engineering students once again spent the fall semester designing products to help developmentally disabled people improve their lives.

Students worked with the Dearborn-based Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), which finds and manages job placements for the disabled, and ConnectUs, a Livonia-based nonprofit that provides quality programming for individuals with severe multiple disabilities.

The students are part of a course, EGE 2123, Entrepreneurial Engineering Design Studio, that is required in most LTU engineering programs. Students meet with the nonprofit agencies and their clients, witness, first-hand, the clients’ challenges, and design and build physical products to help solve those challenges.

"Creating a product for a real person - and in particular, a person with a disability - and seeing directly the impact that they can have on that person's life, really resonates with the students,” said Heidi Morano, director of LTU’s Studio for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design (SEED), who teaches the course with Susan Henson, SEED project engineer. “We often have former students return to the studio to ask if their STEP client is still using their product. The empathy that the students develop for their customer really shows."

This week, the students presented their products in open houses to LTU faculty, staff, and students, as well as working professionals in engineering and related fields. Those who attended cast votes to name first- and second-place teams in both sections of the EGE 2123 course.

Winners in the afternoon class that worked with STEP were:

  • First place, Ramp It Up, who produced a 3-D printed magnetized bracket to aid the production of roller assemblies used to transport cafeteria trays. Team members were Joe Daszcz of Allen Park, Chris Langston of Farmington Hills, Devin Morrison of Madison Heights, Maurice Rivers of Chicago, and Matthew Wenzel of Howell.
  • Second place, tie, Gasket Smashkit, who produced a board with cones affixed to it to help workers punch holes out of gaskets without damaging the gasket. Team members were Lauth Aljida of Novi, Dillon Tierney of Highland Township, and Meshal Alharbi of Kuwait.
  • Second place, tie, InspectTech, who designed a device to incorporate inspection into the manufacturing process of a component in automotive bumpers. Team members were Samantha Khon of Dearborn, Alyssa Downs of Southgate, and Miguel Sanchez Munoz of Spain.
     

Winners in the evening class that worked with ConnectUs were

  • First place, AMTF, a team that designed a table with jacks and actuators that raised and lowered to accommodate the height of a client’s wheelchair. Team members were Garrick Beaster of Romulus, Ethan Harrington of Shelby Township, Aidan Nolan of Clarkston, and Joel Trend of South Lyon.
  • Second place, Ticket Masters, which designed and built a new ticket dispenser for ConnectUS. Team members were Emily Gandolfi of Falmouth, Tyler Gregory of Livonia, Matthew Luckow of Dearborn, and Matt Quigley of Rochester.


Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


Inteva products wins Best of MichBusiness award

Inteva Products, a leading global Tier One automotive supplier of engineered components and systems, announced that it was selected as a 2018 Best of MichBusiness winner. 

This annual award commemorates the most unique, innovative and successful companies in the State of Michigan and is testament to Inteva’s efforts to invest in the future while simultaneously promoting an innovative culture for its employees. The Best of MichBusiness Awards honor and celebrate heroes throughout the statewide business community that are blazing trails of their own on their journey through business. 

Inteva was one of 10 companies honored in the “Manufacturing Marvels” category during the annual Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala at the MGM Grand Hotel in Detroit on November 29, 2018. This category recognizes companies that have filled a niche and created the products that we love and use every day. For more information on the event, visit https://michbusiness.com/event/2018-best-michbusiness-awards-gala

About Inteva Products 
Inteva Products is a leading global automotive supplier providing automakers with innovative, reliable, environmentally friendly products that enhance vehicle quality, safety and performance. Inteva has global resources for engineering, manufacturing and customer service for Closure Systems, Interior Systems, Motors and Electronics, and Roof Systems. Formed in 2008, the tier-one supplier is focused on achieving sustained global growth, providing excellent customer service and driving innovation. Inteva was founded on innovative solutions and the use of applied technology to drive value-based solutions. The company employs more than 12,000 people in 50 sites on five continents and maintains its World Headquarters in Troy, Michigan USA. For future company updates, please visit the Inteva Products website, or the company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram pages. 

Thousands of Michigan students attend region's largest career exploration fair

Excerpt

Over 9,000 high school students packed the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on Wednesday, November 28. 

MICareerQuest Southeast, the largest career exploration fair in the region's history, featured over 90 companies showcasing the opportunities available to the area's youth in the healthcare sciences, construction, information technology and manufacturing sectors. 

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Samsung building $62.7 million manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, creating 461 jobs

Excerpt

A major investment is being made in Auburn Hills. 

Samsung SDI America, which manufactures rechargeable batteries for the automotive industry, is planning to expand its current facility, located at 3201 University Drive, and build a $62.7 million high-volume battery pack manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in The United States. The investment is expected to create 461 jobs by the end of 2024, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

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When drones light up the night, will they replace fireworks?

Excerpt

In the night sky near Interstate 75 in northern Oakland County, 60 drones moved with precision.

Their preprogrammed electric dance lit the early evening October darkness with a changing, blending palette of red, green and blue as they outlined many forms — a rotating cube, a tornado ripping a roof from a house, a pair of eyes gazing.

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