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DeWitt & Mason recipients of $20,000 public art award

Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP) awarded DeWitt and Mason with $10,000 each as part of the Public Art for Communities grant program. The communities will utilize the funds to commission a piece of public art, defined as a uniquely created piece of physical art work, such as a sculpture or statue that will permanently endure the site, activities and weather. ?
 
“This project is designed to strengthen economic development efforts in our region by enhancing the sense of place for residents, businesses, and visitors through public art,” explains LEAP Talent & Communications Director, Sara Graham. “Public art brings vibrancy to a community and translates to a private sector more strongly considering investment and job creation.”
 
Five communities submitted proposals to this pilot program to LEAP’s Placemaking workgroup last fall. Each community was required to put a public art policy in place before submitting their application. The first two pieces will be on display by fall of 2013.
 
“We are hoping this program will first require communities to think about the effects and long-term plans for utilizing public art in their communities,” says Graham. “Additionally, by continuing this program each year, we hope that in the future, each of the municipalities that make up our region as whole will have the opportunity to participate and ultimately create an arts and culture-rich region.”

Locally grown home healthcare providers, DRM Genesis, continue expansion and hiring

With a recent expansion to Warren and their eyes set on a new facility in Grand Rapids, DRM Genesis Home Healthcare Providers is poised for significant growth locally and across the state. Policy manager and academic advisor, Katreva Bisbee explains DRM’s purview: “We specialize in traumatic brain/spinal cord injury and Alzheimer’s/dementia care, and provide a variety of service that include In home services, wound care, skilled nursing and non-skilled duties, case management; as well as managing an educational training component – DRM International Learning Center.”
 
It was the learning center that actually inspired the home care agency. Re’Shane Lonzo started the International Learning Center in 1997 as a mentoring center for at-risk teens. A variety of life experiences compelled Re’Shane to found DRM Genesis several years later and the company has not stopped growing since. DRM currently has 55 employees, hiring 25 in just the past year and plans to hire at least 20 in the upcoming year.
 
Of the Lansing community, Bisbee says, “DRM Genesis has established and maintained various partnerships thorough out the Lansing area. Partnerships range from small facilities, to individual private homes to large hospitals. These relationships have resulted service referrals and contracts, business recognition for a quality service, and many other accolades. DRM Genesis thanks all of our partners that work with and support us.”

Redhead Design Studio announces new Account Services Director and expands print and digital design

Enthusiasm is just one of Redhead Design Studio’s many strong suits. “We're really excited about 2013!,” says Partner and Creative Director, Jen Estill. “Our client list continues to grow—we've embarked on some new projects for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Michigan Saves, and MI Air, MI Health, to name a few. We continue to work with a wide spectrum of clients such as Sparrow, Michigan State University, Fenner Nature Center, Educational Child Care Center, and VACANT, as well. This is poised to be our best year yet.”
 
The recent hiring of an Account Services Director brings the current count up to seven full-time Redheads and one part-time Redhead for a total of eight. They intend to hire another full-time creative in the next few weeks, as they’re expanding print and digital design staff and are also adding a part-time studio support position to assist with keeping the office environment up and running smoothly.
 
Estill attributes growth to the company’s recent move from the eastern portion of Old Town, to bigger digs at the western end.
 
“I can't say enough about the advantages of being in a Michigan Main Street neighborhood such as Old Town and the support that provides,” Estill explains. “As for Greater Lansing, the cocktail of state government, university, and private sector offer us broad and deep opportunities to do what we do best. And we love the mix—being able to work with and learn from each sector makes our work fresher and very fun each day.”

The Center for Optimal Health focuses on comprehensive healing, plans for continued growth

Okemos-based The Center for Optimal Health opened in 2006, and has experienced growth ever since. “I think there has been a shift, overall, in Lansing about the field of wellness,” explains Dr. David E. Pawsat, D.O. and director of The Center. “When I first started talking about wellness, people weren’t sure about the concept. Now we see patients embracing the healing methods and becoming excited about their health.”
 
A graduate of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pawsat spent many years in more traditional and emergency medicine, but became frustrated with the increasing number of patients on medication and with non-specific complaints. This frustration spurred him into pursuing a diverse education in wellness medicine, and he hasn’t looked back since.
 
“I started the practice with the concept that the body has an inherent ability to heal,” Pawsat explains, “and that a physician’s goal should be to put each patient’s body in a state where it can heal itself.” Dr. Pawsat offers a lecture entitled Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Your Business, the result of treating many business people over the years. He believes that the foundation to any business being successful is for the employees to be healthy and for the innovator to be healthy, energetic, and excited to be at work; his practice and the lecture help business folks do just that.
 
A variety of 10 medical and integrated therapy professionals currently staff the practice. Dr. Pawsat anticipates hiring at least 3 or 4 more employees, in addition to the 6 hired in 2012. 

Computer Science Academy for local students launches due to local partnerships

Mid-Michigan is a hub of hiring opportunities for job seekers in technology careers. The problem is, however, many of area companies are facing constraints in trying to hire enough talent with the right skill set and appropriate amounts of experience for their job openings. The tech industry specifically, faces long-term constraint in not having enough college graduates emerging with computer science degrees and training. Enter The Capital Area IT Council and friends.
 
“Before the launch of the Computer Science Academy,” explains IT Council Executive Director, Andrea Ragan, “there were simply no local opportunities for pre-college students to engage with computer science training opportunities at this level. In order to meet future workforce demands in IT, we as an industry need to promote the career opportunities of IT professionals and work with our local educational partners to ensure educational needs are being met to create the desired talent pool of interested candidates for careers in IT.”
 
Developed by the IT Council, Capital Area Career Center/Ingham ISD, and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the Computer Science Academy teaches technical skills to high school juniors and seniors in areas such as computer programming and robotics, as well as employability skills and numerous worksite experiences.
 
“Support and involvement from local organizations is critical to the success of the Computer Science Academy,” Ragan explains, “because a large portion of the curriculum is professional engagement with local companies. This effort is mutually beneficial for the organizations because they have an opportunity to help cultivate the talent pipeline of future IT professionals, as well as promote this career path to interested students.”

St. Vincent Catholic Charities plans for sustainable future, continued hiring

A beacon in the community since 1948, St. Vincent Catholic Charities (STVCC) has provided countless Lansing residents with services to help transform their lives for the better. “The combined expertise of our staff and the investment of our community is an essential part of empowering children and families, fostering housing stability, enhancing quality of life and advancing community health for the Greater Lansing Area,” says Community Relations and Marketing Director, Tamra Johnson. 
 
Services at STVCC include family preservation, adoption, foster care, children’s home, housing services for the homeless, refugee resettlement, immigration law clinic, counseling center, pregnancy counseling, volunteer opportunities and more. With nearly 200 staff members, 50 of whom were hired in 2012, and an eye on growth, STVCC plans to add at least 50 new employees in 2013.
 
Additionally, STVCC is working to create a system of sustainable funding that will allow them to forecast financial resources 5 years in advance.  Johnson explains: “Our hope is that instead of looking for ways to reduce cost, we can instead focus our efforts on improving services.  We want every child and family who comes to us in crisis to receive the necessary care and support they need.  We also do not want to see one child reach the age of 18 without an established family and a place to call home.  When our children and families are healthy, our community is healthy.”

Origami Brain Injury Rehab Center facilitates innovative partnerships

Catering to those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Origami Brain Injury Rehab Center focuses on returning individuals back to their homes, to work or school, and to driving. In their commitment to develop expertise solely in this area, Origami strives to keep on the cutting edge of innovation in brain injury rehabilitation. 
 
Eric Hannah, Director of Program Operations explains future goals for the organization: “First, we plan to continue to provide excellent care and treatment to our clients and families. We have two other priorities at this time: (1) the impact of TBI on Veterans: we are one of 21 providers in the nation who participate in a pilot program within VA specifically designed to provide care and rehabilitation services to Veterans with TBI; (2) youth sports concussions: we are actively working to educate coaches and families about the impacts of concussions as well as the importance of recognizing early signs & symptoms.” Origami also partners both with Michigan State University and Peckham.
 
Origami currently staffs about 80 individuals, all of whom are extensively trained to serve the needs of clients. They’re currently hiring for an LPN position, and anticipate continued hiring for qualified and passionate staff members throughout the upcoming year. “In addition to our staff,” says Hannah, “we provide a great learning experience for approximately 40 clinical and non-clinical internships through 33 agreements with colleges and universities nationwide. We help train and prepare the therapists and nurses of tomorrow with hands on learning opportunities.”

Getting Started Fellowship Program welcomes international students, receives $20,000 grant

The Global Lansing “Getting Started” Fellowship Program, led by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and supported by a coalition of partners including the Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF) recently received a $20,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to better connect the nearly 7,000 international students at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College with local businesses and entrepreneurs.
 
“We need to infuse these untapped talents into the community;” says LEAP Talent & Communications Director, Sara Graham, “we’re trying to get some of these qualified and driven people to stay in Lansing and create their lives and invest here.”
 
The “Getting Started” program allows international students in the Lansing community the opportunity to partner with businesses in an internship capacity, to align with their academic and professional interests. LEAP and partners have recently begun the interview process for applicants interested in opportunity. “Applicants included engineering majors, accounting majors, supply chain management majors, and more;” explains Graham, “we’re excited by the variety of applicants and for the diversity of niches we’re able make connections with.”
 
The grant will largely be used toward employing a program coordinator who will help bring both sides together over the upcoming semester, trouble-shooting issues, and identifying areas of internship focus. Partnering businesses so far include Message Makers, Allen Neighborhood Center, City of Lansing Emergency Management Office, among others determined once the applicant selection process is complete. 

ACD.net continues long history of consistent growth

ACD.net has provided cutting edge, locally grown technology services to the Greater Lansing area for over 20 years, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
 
“Our goal is to get fiber optic service and a gigabit connection speed to all of our customers,” says CEO Kevin Schoen. He adds, “We’ve been very busy providing the latest fiber technology to businesses and governments across the state and remain in a strong position to make investments in their surrounding communities.”
 
In the past 6 months, ACD.net staff has grown from 45 to 60 people; hiring, too, won’t be slowing down any time soon. Schoen anticipates hiring at least 4-8 staff in the next 12 months. Sales, design, construction, customer support, and engineering positions will all likely be available in the upcoming year.
 
Schoen attributes successfully competing with global and national companies to ACD.net’s philosophy on response. “We’re usually just up the street from someone, so we’re quick with repairs and in monitoring our customer support,” he says. “We understand the impact of when something breaks and respond accordingly; you’re not speaking to someone across the country or world.”  
 
ACD.net has been consistently profitable for years, something Schoen indicates is made possible by the fact they’re headquartered in the midst of a city with an indigenous tech base. ACD.net’s services are essential to the underground infrastructure that cultivates the business landscape looking for faster and more reliable ways to be connected.

East Lansing non-profit, LAP Respite Center, keeps eyes on expanding reach and services

LAP Respite Center has provided crucial relief to those in Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties caring for family members with disabilities, chronic illness, or age-related condition for over 20 years. Executive Director, John Stauffer explains: “We provide only well-trained care providers, so that the person who normally takes care of someone with a disability can have some much deserved time off and truly enjoy it because they are confident their loved one is in good hands.”
 
LAP is unique in the respite service industry in that it provides multiple programs, to serve a larger diversity of clients. “We have five different types of respite programs,” says Stauffer; “we have an after school program, which is very helpful for single parents who have a child with a severe disability; we have a respite house where parents can drop their child off for an entire weekend; we have in-home care for children with disabilities and also an in-home program for adults who are frail or chronically ill, and our most recent respite program is an adult day care program that we just acquired from the City of East Lansing called Active Living for Adults (ALFA).”
 
The East Lansing center currently employs 8 administrative staff and approximately 60 care providers. Stauffer is looking to hire at least one new supervisor over the next year, in addition to the 3 management team positions he is currently in the process of hiring. If his executive vision comes to fruition, he anticipates doubling the staff of LAP as the non-profit grows to include more respite houses and facilities across the area.

Dewpoint hires 15 in 2012, intends to hire 25 in 2013

2012 was a busy and productive year for Dewpoint, and 2013 promises to be even busier for this Lansing-based IT consulting and integration firm. Specializing in developing short- and long-term strategic technology plans, Dewpoint services many industries, including government, healthcare, financial services, biotechnology, manufacturing, and insurance.
 
“Dewpoint was founded in Lansing;” says Director of Marketing Communication, Kristine Buyers, “we are glad to be able to continue to support the growth of our community.”  She adds, “Lansing’s centralized geography and strong blend of commercial, education and government organizations make it an excellent location for our headquarters. Dewpoint’s team of experts averages 10-15 years of experience, and Lansing provides a large pool of talented people. We enjoy being part of this vibrant IT community.” 
 
Hiring 15 new staff members in just the past year, the company anticipates increasing their 65-person team by 25 new hires in 2013. Of other company goals, Buyers says, “We’re planning for continued development of both our Government Solutions and Commercial Solutions groups. Our additional staff will be supporting new and expanding projects. We are also launching a proprietary Total Cost of Ownership analysis tool to help organizations better optimize their entire database environment.” Dewpoint also looks forward to a brand refresh in 2013. 

Ingham County partners with Lean & Green Michigan™ for PACE program

A win-win for commercial, industrial, and multi-family property owners, Ingham County announces an innovative new partnership and program with Lean & Green Michigan. This partnership provides the County the opportunity to provide businesses located in the County a tool for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements for their buildings; the Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE program.
 
Ingham County Economic Development Coordinator, Sandy Gower, explains: “For many businesses energy costs are a significant operating expense. Energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to a building can have a significant impact on lower those operating costs. However, the upfront capital needed to install the improvements can be difficult to finance. The PACE program, through the use of voluntary special assessment, can assist the business owner to obtain the necessary financing.” 
 
Lowering operating costs for a business means better profitability for the company. That profitability may allow the business to expand, which could lead to additional jobs in the community. PACE also provides opportunities for the ancillary jobs in the companies that will build and install the new energy projects.
 
Gower says the County looks forward to this advantage in retaining and recruiting businesses, and mentions, “Because we are the only County currently offering this program, it give us a unique tool to offer businesses as they look to locate in Ingham County. It also is a great tool to assist with the redevelopment of existing vacant buildings by providing a means to make those facilities more energy efficient.” 

Len’s Carpet Care & Consultants seeks 3 new employees, on forefront of cleaning technology

There’s just something special about family-owned businesses. Len’s Carpet Care & Consultants is no exception. From the time Harland (Butch) Mingus, Jr. first opened the doors in 1975, to the now internationally known business providing training and innovation to an entire industry, family values have been at the core of the Len’s business model.
 
Vice President, Harland (Lenny) Mingus III explains, “We believe in mutual respect and creating relationships among competitors; if we can help improve the environment in this industry, and keeping everyone working and honest, it helps every one out. It comes down to ‘what goes around comes around.’”
 
Specializing in just about every type of cleaning and restoration project you can imagine, from hard surface cleaning to complete water damage restoration, Len’s operates with a dedicated team of 27. Currently, they are looking to hire 3 new support technicians that share their dedication to hard work and passionate customer service.
 
Once operating from a pick-up truck, the Len’s dynasty now resides in a 12,000 square foot facility in North Lansing. The team is made up of international leaders in the cleaning industry, with Lenny serving on the board of directors of the largest cleaning and restoration association in the world, the Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians.
 
“We are directly involved in developing cutting edge testing and research for the industry,” Mingus says. “We help bring those developments to our local cohorts through educational seminars at our facilities, which raises the bar all the way around.” 

MPHI plans for continued hiring in 2013

2012 has been another year of growth for the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI). The Okemos based 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, established in 1990, receives 100% of funding from grants and contracts. 
 
As a collaborative partner, the Institute often facilitates partnerships among community-based programs, researchers, governmental agencies, and advocacy organizations. All projects are driven by the Institute’s mission to maximize positive health conditions in populations and communities through collaboration, scientific inquiry, and applied expertise.   
 
MPHI employs 340 staff locally, from entry level administrative positions to Ph.D. research positions, there are local jobs for every level at MPHI. Further, the Institute prides itself on delivering quality services and actionable products through projects that utilize staff members’ expertise in health information technology, research and evaluation, planning and implementing change, and providing learning solutions.
 
CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Taylor explains, “MPHI follows the Servant Leader path, believing it is just as important for employees to have a great experience here as it is to perform high quality work. MPHI is unique. We ask our staff to grow as professionals becoming healthier, wiser, freer, and more autonomous.”
 
The Institute has hired approximately 100 staff this year with 20-plus positions still vacant. According to Taylor, “We anticipate that hiring will continue into 2013 and invite applicants to log onto our website to apply on line for open positions.” 

Lansing College Access Network recipient of grant to help Lansing students find cash for college

The term FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a familiar acronym for many college students, but sadly for the more than 850,000 low-income students who didn’t complete the FAFSA, discovering that they were eligible for a federal Pell Grant never occurred. 9-in-10 students who do file are motivated enough by the aid to go on to college. Lansing College Access Network (LansingCAN) is leading the effort locally to help Lansing students utilize resources and break down barriers in the college application process.
 
“We organize community leaders around a singular vision and goal:” says LansingCAN program director, Marcia Spivey, “increase the postsecondary educational attainment level in the Capital area to 60% by 2025 in order to lay the foundation for a vibrant economy, healthy community, and strong workforce equipped to compete in a 21st century global economy.”
 
It was for that vision and goal that recently won LansingCAN an in-kind grant award. EduGuide, a national award-winning nonprofit specializing in research and tools for thousands of programs, guides more than one million people to take measurable steps to success. The EduCash grant, as organized by EduGuide, will help LansingCAN in getting more Eastern, Everett, and Sexton High School students on the path to success. 
 
Spivey explains, “This award will provide us with resources and best practices to create a customizable financial aid plan to increase our student federal application completion rates for Lansing high schools. We are committed to removing barriers that prevent first-generation and low-income students from pursuing a post-secondary education.”
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