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Eaton Rapids : Innovation & Job News

36 Eaton Rapids Articles | Page: | Show All

Long-time restaurant manager opts for scraps

Todd Powell has always found the value in things meant for the scrap heap.
Got an old washing machine, baby swing, furniture, or even a furnace? He'll take it. Worn-out file cabinets jammed with office paper? He'll take that, too. Any yard waste, old lumber or firewood? Give him a call. He'll be there to haul it away for free.
Powell founded Scrap King in late December after eight years of scavenging scrap metal, junk, and the assorted things people pitch and toss aside in modern life. He collects junk curbside, from people's homes and basements, and from an occasional dumpster. He picks up and hauls daily, making the rounds in Eaton, Ingham and Clinton counties, in search of aluminum, steel, copper and other items and materials he can exchange for cash at scrap yards, recyclers and second hand stores.
"The best thing is I'm on the road," says Powell. "It's a different situation every day—a different job, a different location. You meet a lot of different people. That's another nice thing about it."
Powell swapped a full-time job managing a Panera franchise for life as a scrapper. It was a leap of faith, he says, but it was more than a fair exchange, giving him the time and flexibility to spend with his wife, Kelly, and two baseball-playing kids.
The Charlotte-dad says he draws daily on his 25 years of experience in customer service-related businesses to bring a personal, professional tone to his new enterprise. For the naturally-friendly Powell, that comes easy, even on the most demanding days.  And it's paid off, with referrals and word traveling fast among friends, neighbors and businesses looking to clean house.
Powell recently brought on two part-time staff to help with heavy lifting. His two sons sometimes ride along, providing a keen eye for the overlooked and unwanted.
"They think it's a treasure hunt," says Powell. "They absolutely love it."
Source: Todd Powell, Owner, Scrap King
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue readies new home in Dimondale

Sarah Vicary has helped thousands of cats, but each one is more than a number.
As the director of the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, Vicary personally commits to each and every kitty in her care. And sometimes, that can be up to 300 cats fostered on-site and in the homes of volunteers.
"We believe that all cats should be valued as individuals," says Vicary. "We make a lifetime commitment to always love them no matter what happens."
Established in 2003, the volunteer-run Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue has placed more than 6,000 cats with adoptive families. Now, Vicary says, it's time for the rescue itself to find a new home.
In early 2015, Vicary and her husband purchased a farm with 20 acres and a 2,000-square foot house in Dimondale. Her hopes are to build as many as 11 new buildings at the site on Michigan Road, and to offer on-site adoptions, vaccine clinics, and special and group events with other animal welcome organizations. Eventually, she would like to add a veterinary clinic, facilities for hospice and special needs care, a retail store and training center.
"We purchased the property for the cats," says Vicary of the property zoned commercial. "We believe in providing a colony setting and do not feel leaving cats in cages long-term is healthy for their mental and physical state."
Vicary is readying to move from her main base of operations and cat foster home on Tulip Street in Grand Ledge. She says volunteers have already packed up and moved some things, and that donations are helping to fund some of the minor repairs and renovations. She hopes to have everything up and running at the new Dimondale location by early- to mid-summer.
As a non-profit, the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue is funded solely by donations and is run by Vicary and about 200 volunteers. The rescue maintains a "no-kill" policy, and fosters cats for life. All cats and kittens receive basic veterinary care such as neuter, shots and medications. Other services include hospice and specialty care related to particular feline diseases or conditions.
The rescue partners with Petco and PetSmart for once-a-month adoption events, and adopts out between 500 and 600 cats a year. The organization maintains a feral colony of more than 80 cats and practices trap, neuter and release when possible.
Source: Sarah Vicary, Founder, Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

The Errand Man helps busy professionals reclaim leisure time

While everyone talks about the secret to work-life balance, it can sometimes be the little everyday tasks that threaten to tip the scales.
Enter The Errand Man—a man with a mission to help people reclaim and transform otherwise hectic hours into sensible leisure time.
"I know what's it like to be juggling so many things that you feel there's just not enough hours in the day," says Skip Lare, a retired career Coast Guard officer and human resource executive. "I used to feel that way, but now I'm here to help people with those everyday tasks that can eat up all your spare time."
Lare started his personal concierge service in August. His goal? To be the extra hands people sometimes need to keep up with the pace of modern life. He's there to pick up that bike at the repair shop, deliver garden mulch, and do weekly grocery shopping. No task or errand is too small or too large. He'll find a way, he says, to make it work.
"Wouldn't it be nice to be able to shoot me a text asking me to pick up eggs, bread and milk so you can avoid yet another trip to the store on your way home?" Lare asks. "I can do that."
Lare got the idea for The Errand Man from his daughter, and set out to model his business after concierge services he had seen in metropolitan areas like Detroit, St. Louis and D.C. He runs errands, shops, and provides pick-up and delivery services for both individuals and businesses. He's also there to help transport or do everyday things for the elderly. Lare is licensed, insured and bonded, and a mobile notary. Above all, he says, he's among one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs: senior citizens.
"I like helping people out because now I have the time to do that," says Lare. "I can do things last minute or at a scheduled time. If you need something done, I can help."
Source: Skip Lare, Owner, The Errand Man
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

ALIVE expands fitness center, increases membership and jobs

An inventive expansion of one of mid-Michigan's premiere fitness centers will ensure community members have even more space to make good on their New Year's resolutions.
In mid-January, the Charlotte-based ALIVE unveiled a new, reconfigured area in the MOVE fitness center that creates more areas for stretching, building strength, and working cardio routines. ALIVE invested $30,000 to upgrade training equipment, install a cardio theater sound system, and add several new programs like CrossFit, POUND, PiYo and high intensity interval training—or H.I.T.T.
Patrick Sustrich, CEO of ALIVE, comments that the 1,5000-square foot expansion of the fitness center represents ALIVE's commitment to be an experienced-based destination health park, operated by Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital.
"Back in 2009 when we were looking to expand key clinical areas of our hospital, it forced us to reflect on our role in the community," says Sustrich. "We realized our bigger purpose was to enhance the overall vitality of the community in addition to treating sick people."
Nearly 19,000 people visit Alive annually for various services and activities. By expanding MOVE, Sustrich says, the in-house fitness center can accommodate up to 250 people at a time. MOVE currently has 2,000 members.
"We are now the correct size for the volume of people using our facility," says Sustrich. "And we still have more than 13,000 unfinished square feet we can expand into overtime."
Located at 800 W. Lawrence Ave. in Charlotte, ALIVE draws guests and visitors from Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, South Lansing, Nashville, Potterville and Olivet. In total, he says, the health-focused destination attracts people from nearly 100 ZIP codes statewide.
"We're excited," says Sustrich. "Having so much group exercise space allows us to change with the trends in the fitness industry. As new, innovative classes come up, we can bring them here. It keeps things fun, mixes things up, and keeps things fresh."
ALIVE and MOVE are currently hiring full- and part-time fitness staff. Additional jobs are also being filled at ALIVE's cornerstone restaurant: The Big Salad.
Source: Patrick Sustrich, Executive Director, ALIVE
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Hatching contestant pitches Mini Maker Space

With the introduction of various Maker spaces in the area, inventors and creatives are getting more opportunities to bring their ideas to life. But, with all these opportunities, Melissa Rabideau Allen noticed a particular group that was being left out. “Kids are pretty much geniuses,” says Rabideau, “but their creativity isn’t always harnessed.”

As part of the team that brought us The Poochie Bowl, Rabideau presented her idea for a Mini Maker Space at last months’ Hatching and brought home the grand prize. The space will be open to kids ages 4-12, but Rabideau says they won’t exclude those older or younger that would like to participate. “A lot of the time kids have ideas, they just don’t know how to make them happen,” says Rabideau. 

The space will have hands on tools, technology and other inventors available to them that can help with the logistics of their idea. They will have access to 3D printers and scanners, motors, circuits and anything else that will help them take an idea and turn it into a product. 

The Mini Maker Space will have a flagship store in the Meridian Mall and will look to other Maker Spaces to connect with them. They expect to hire at least 10-12 people within the next 6-12 months. 

Source: Melissa Rabideau Allen, Founder
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Life Saving Technology introduced to Tri-County ambulances

In America, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every minute someone dies from the same ailment. Every second counts when a patient in cardiac arrest is en route to the hospital. “The quicker we can get those arteries open, the better,” says John Dery, Sparrow's Associate Director of Critical Care Transport and EMS, “But the systems we have now take a lot of time.” 

Funded through a partnership between Sparrow and McLaren Greater Lansing, the wireless LIFENET system allows first responders to send patient information and ECG readings from the field to the hospital. This allows the hospital to prepare for the patient, helps reduce time to treatment and improves efficiency. 

All the ambulances in the Tri-Country area have been outfitted with this technology, a major benefit to those who may not live close to a hospital or medical facility. “They are getting state of the art care, rather than being sent to a small facility that can’t treat them,” says Dery. 

With the introduction of this technology and the growth opportunities it will present, qualified people with a knowledge of technology will need to be hired. The opportunities this, and all future technology that spins from it, present are limitless. Dery says, “Integrating technology into medicine is a huge opportunity.” 

Source: John Dery, Sparrow
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs introduces app to share Michigan art

A project that has been in the works for a few years, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) has introduced an app that will send tourists and residents on an art tour of Michigan.

According to John Bracey, the Executive Director of the MCACA, there is art all across Michigan that even residents don't know about. He wanted a way to let people know about that art.  The building of the app was made possible because of funds provided by the Michigan Economic Development Cooperation, and they made a connection with Venturit out of East Lansing to build it. Bracey says they were excited to be able to hire a local company.

The app will allow users to input their location and then show them the locations of all kinds of art from fountains to sculptures.  They will be able to view individual pieces or build a customized art tour. "The idea is to show a different image of the state of Michigan," says Bracey.

Once the app has been in use for a while, Travel Michigan should be able to provide numbers to show the impact it is having on tourism. While it may be indirect, it will hopefully allow people to visit new neighborhoods and cities and then visit local businesses in those areas.
Source: John Bracey, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor 

Michigan-Florida Green Corridor gives access to alternative fuels

After five years in the making, the I-75 Green Corridor is in the final stages, offering a way for drivers of alternative fuel vehicles a way to fuel up between Michigan and Florida.

Funded by the Department of Energy and supported by the Clean Energy Coalition, and with assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Green Corridor is one of the world's longest biofuel stations corridors. In Michigan alone there are 12 biofuel stations along I-75. There are 26 E85 (a fuel with 85 percent ethanol) stations, and 9 B20 (a biodiesel blend) stations.

According to John Overly of the Clean Fuels Coalition in Tennessee, the biofuels industry quickly "Went from the thousands, to the billions."The more we can create these stations, the more jobs we can create and the more citizens we can help." The biodiesel industry alone has created 62,000 jobs and many of these jobs have a local impact during projects like this.

The corridor should be completed this summer, with only 40 stations left to install. Most of the work ahead comes with working to promote the stations and making people aware they are available. Overly is hoping that this project paves the way for many more like it, "Michigan has used state funding to support adding stations, and Tennessee is hoping to follow suit."

Source: Jonathan Overly, Clean Fuels Coalition
Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor 

Camp helps youth improve athletic movement

Young athletes between the ages of 6 and 10 will have the opportunity to improve their athletic movement through an expansion to the Speed and Athletic Enhancement camps offered by the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program (SNAPP).

SNAPP supports young athletes in the Lansing area by providing training, testing, sports nutrition expertise and a research library at Michigan State University.

“Physical education has been cut out of the public school curriculum in the last decade,” stated Joe Eisenmann, director of SNAPP and professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. “This program is in response to a call out from the community and parents of younger athletes who want to help their children develop fundamental motor skills.”

The FUNdamentals of Athletic Movement is scheduled for every Sunday from 6p.m. to 7p.m. starting April 27, 2014 and ending on May 25, 2014. The camp will be held at Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. For more information or to register, visit SNAPP.msu.edu or call 517-884-6133.

Source: Joe Eisenmann, Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Attracting wild bees to farms proves a good investment

Attracting wild bees to farms by investing in planting their natural habitat will provide higher harvest yields and will pay for itself in 4 years according to research studies out of Michigan State University.

Historically, wild bees would have had access to a more diverse range of wildflowers to sustain them throughout the growing season. Currently, beekeepers transport honey bees into the area incurring a nationwide expense of $14 billion. This practice will not replace that practice but may supplement the cost.

“It will take some time and patience to realize the return, said Rufus Isaacs, professor and extension specialist in the entomology department. “The Initial cost of planting can be covered by government programs that will help farmers see a return more quickly.”

The study was conducted in farms in western and northern Michigan because they are #1 in the nation for blueberry and tart cherry production. However, the research published in the study is useful for farmers across the state that grow fruits, vegetables and nut varieties that require the pollination of bees.

Blaauw was the lead author on the paper and is now at Rutgers University. Isaacs’ research is funded by the USDA and MSU’s AgBioResearch. 
Source: Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor 

Hunt for Points and discover culture in your community

A scavenger hunt app created to help community members discover culture in their own community will be releasing an updated version.  The concept for Pointillism was inspired by the Dirty Feet Adventure race whose tag line is ‘Never Stop Exploring’.

“We wanted to create a similar experience that people could do on their own time,” said Jeff Smith, CEO. “We wanted people to get out into the community and discover it in a fun way.”

 Smith and his team partnered with Lansing Give Camp to create the early stages of the app and eventually developed Pointillism into a mobile map where users could check in to unique local sites and earn points on a leaderboard.
The new version will allow users to create private scavenger hunts with as many points of interest as they want. The potential for commercial use is extensive. Michigan State University is interested in setting up a private hunt for incoming freshman to help them get familiar with the campus. This feature is available for a fee with a cost structure based on the amount of users able to participate.

Pointillism has already been utilized by participants of Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.

 “People may not know the awesome things in their own community. Pointillism works to provide users with an insider’s view on a new community while competing against others.” said Smith.
 Source: Jeff Smith, Pointillism
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

GTRI and Prima Civitas team up to enhance Michigan's talent pipeline

Global Talent Retention Initiative(GTRI) and Prima Civitas team up to expand Michigan’s talent pipeline in an effort to cultivate greater economic prosperity for the state.

“Our goal is attracting and retaining talent, whether it comes from within our borders or beyond.” said Prima Civitas CEO Arnold Weinfeld. “Michigan is in catch up mode when it comes to having a highly skilled labor force for the kinds of high wage jobs that are present in our economy today.”

Due to the lack of skilled labor in our country, this initiative is one that encourages an enhancement to our statewide diversity while creating a community that is attractive and welcoming to the immigrant population. This diversity is expected to also attract a younger generation that enjoys diverse surroundings and experiences. Additionally, attracting international students and helping employers sponsor them drives up wages in Michigan because of prevailing wages.

“You are losing half of your talent pool if you don’t consider international students,” asserted GTRI's Director, Athena Trentin. “We don’t have enough engineering students with Masters Degrees or PHDs in Michigan right now. “

Currently, 40% of engineering degrees are awarded to international students with 50% of the degrees earned at the PHD level. 

Source: Arnold Weinfeld, Prima Civitas and Athena Trenton, Global Talent Retention Initiative
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month in March with a goal of accepting 10,000 applications and hiring 1,000 people nationwide, 24 people in the Greater Lansing area.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the careers and potential for career advancement with Two Men and a Truck,” said President Randy Shacka. “It’s also a way to proactively plan for the busy season between May and September.”

Career Move Month began in 2013 with 1,000 applicants and 550 people hired nationwide.  The local business has seen impressive growth this year signing their largest number of new franchisees and hitting their highest revenues ever. As a system, their focus turned towards improving sales processes and finding the right people to help continue this growth.

“It was the perfect storm of people, processes and technology.  We had to ask ourselves what we could do differently to sustain our growth,” said Shacka, who originally started as an intern with the expanding company. “Companies do not make great companies. People do.”

The diverse positions available will range from movers and drivers to sales and management. The increase in staffing at the Lansing corporate office will require a 7 million dollar expansion of the Greater Lansing home office. 

In addition to the reinvestment in the economic improvement of the Mid-Michigan area, Two Men and a Truck will donate $5,000 to 5 different Dress for Success locations to support career advancement for low-income women nationwide.
Interested candidates can search for existing opportunities at careers.twomenandatruck.com.

Source: Randy Shacka, Two Men and a Truck
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

4-H Renewable Energy Camp introduces local students to innovative technologies

Local youth between the ages of 13 and 19 are invited to apply to attend the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

Starting June 23rd, students will reside in dorms to experience college life and participate in off campus tours around the state to learn about the unique role the state of Michigan plays in renewable energy.

Topics of study will include solar, wind and cellulose power sources. Instructors will show students the process of growing crops like soy beans, corn and sugar cane specifically for the purpose of converting them into energy that can be utilized by the community they live in.

“It will be a dynamic experience that exposes children to renewable energy and how they might be a part of it,” said Jacob Dedecker, Stem Program Leader for MSU Extension. “We provide youth with examples of what careers look like now and what they may be like in the future.”

There will also be a Teen Challenge component of the camp announced in the future.  Participants will work with leading researchers and industry leaders to find solutions to renewable energy problems and make their own experiments.

While creating awareness for the work that Michigan State University and local industries do within the different facets of renewable energy technology, the camp organizers seek to highlight successes and initial endeavors in the field for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.

The application for the camp is available online here. The cost of the camp is $190 for 4-H members and $200 for non-members. The fee includes meals, lodging and camp materials. 

Source: Jacob Dedecker, MSU Extension
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Cooley Law School supports legal writing competition

Students across the state will compete for prize money, publication and recognition through the Innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) Legal Writing Competition co-sponsored by the Intellectual Property Law Section (IPLS) of the State Bar of Michigan and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
“Across the world, the industries generating jobs are those based on new technologies,” emphasized Prof. Barry, “This is one strategy to create an environment statewide where those kinds of business can prosper.”
Professor David C. Barry is a Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a private, nonprofit, independent law school and director of the Graduate Program in Intellectual Property Law.
“Regardless of where Michigan students eventually practice, they will have more insight into IP and be better equipped to advise their future clients.” stated Barry.
Open to all students enrolled in a Michigan law school, the deadline to submit entries is May 15, 2014. The IPLS provides volunteer judges who review the papers and select a winner. In addition to winning prize money, awardees have their original work published in the IPLS Proceedings journal and are recognized at their annual IP seminar in March. 

Source: Professor David C. Barry, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor
36 Eaton Rapids Articles | Page: | Show All
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