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Innovation & Job News

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King Media anticipates 10-20% job growth in 2013

King Media, a boutique, full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in East Lansing, "delivers the right message, at the right time, to the right audience every day," says marketing coordinator, Kerri Molitor.
The firm, founded in 1999, currently staffs 10, and intends to hire 1 to 2 people in the next year; a job growth of 10-20%.
Of being part of the Lansing area, Molitor says: "We are a woman-owned small business and we have always loved being rooted in the Greater Lansing community. Because of the State Capital and the University, the local economy has been surprisingly stable. It has been this economic stability and growth even in the recent economically challenged times that we have been grateful for.  In addition, we love the diversity of our great State of Michigan and as the capital; Lansing is the perfect example of that diversity."
King Media keeps focus on their customers and growing those businesses even more, knowing that if their clients are successful, they are successful. Additionally, they understand that technology has changed the way people shop, how they receive information, and how they communicate. Molitor says that continued education is mandatory for each member of the King Media staff in order to stay head of trends and to know where the market is going.

2012 a year of expansion for Michigan Creative, 2013 slated for the same

Over the past year, Michigan Creative has expanded quite a bit in both customers and in staff.  They have begun to expand their reach to both small and large Michigan businesses and are continually investigating and adding more services to better serve their customers. CEO Brian Town says: "we are working towards being a marketing company that anyone can come to for any business need."
Michigan Creative currently has a core staff of 5 in addition to 9 interns. The fluctuation of student interns is vital to the company, as it brings in new faces and new knowledge. Town says they’re looking to grow as much as they can, to as many people as they can.
Of the future, Town says: "We are always coming up with wild and crazy dreams and very lofty goals.  I have a team of very ambitious staff members that are always looking to help move us to that next step.  Long term, we want to turn Michigan Creative into a truly full service marketing company; video recording studios, photography studios, a large venue for company events, and so much more." Michigan Creative is also looking into a few different small business ventures of their own; which include a tie company as well as a food truck.  Short term, Town looks to hire full time staff and expand the intern program.

Lansing's MBI recipient of $2.5M U.S. Department of Energy biotech award

On January 3, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it has awarded Lansing's MBI International and Novozymes up to $2.5 million to develop new enzyme-based technologies to convert corn stover into sugars for subsequent conversion into biofuels.
"This award marks a significant milestone in MBI’s efforts to develop and commercialize our novel AFEX™ technology," says Allen Julian, MBI Chief Business Officer. "The collaborative effort with Novozymes made possible by this award will enable us to progress the technology needed to make efficient, economical cellulosic sugars available to biofuels and biochemical companies that are looking for non-food competing sugar sources."
The award will be used to further fund research and development needed to optimize the enzymes needed to extract fermentable sugars from AFEX™ treated biomass. Creating enzymes that are specifically engineered to work with AFEX™ treated biomass will reduce the cost of cellulosic sugars.
Julian explains the relationship between Novozymes and MBI: "There are two key challenges in converting agricultural biomass into bio-based fuels, chemicals, and other products: finding an economical way to handle, store and haul low density biomass from the farms where it is produced to biorefineries where it can be converted into useful products; the second involves technologies to efficiently break the biomass down into fermentable sugars. MBI’s AFEX™ technology addresses these challenges by providing a very effective and economical means to convert raw biomass into a stable, dense, pellet that can be produced close to the source of the biomass and readily shipped, using existing infrastructure, to biorefineries. Novozymes brings world-class enzyme development capability to the collaboration, enabling the development of an enzyme system specifically engineered to work with AFEX™ treated biomass to extract the maximum possible sugars at the lowest possible cost."

Hunter Park GardenHouse recipient of $60,900 grant for youth programming

Lansing’s Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC) will receive a $60,900 service-learning grant for a Health & Wellness service-learning community project from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. An innovative, youth-driven, community-oriented program housed within the ANC is the lucky recipient.
The Hunter Park GardenHouse Youth Program promotes food awareness, park stewardship, job and life skills development, and civic engagement. Program manager, Rita O’Brien says, “This grant will fund so many projects within the GardenHouse Program; our Youth Service Corps is busy with projects such as Garden-In-A-Box, Edible Park, and the Youth Food Cart.”
The Youth Food Cart was developed by the Service Corps group, made up of children ages 11-17, and comes complete with a business and marketing plan. The Garden-In-A-Box project gets the Corps building mobile gardening kits as well as relationships with their neighbors. The Edible Park provides harvesting opportunities to the neighborhood, and is managed by the Corps.
“The kids love it,” O’Brien says. “They love getting in the dirt, working with their hands and being active. There aren’t very many outlets for the youth in Lansing that want to do something for their community, and these kids are so excited to be able to serve their community.“

Center for Business Innovation sees continued growth, anticipates hiring for 2013

2012 was a year of growth and fine-tuning for the Center for Business Innovation (CBI). The technology service provider, headquartered in Lansing, experienced growth in their Cloud Computing and Managed Services offerings, as well as their Enterprise Wireless services. Because of this, CBI is continually expanding their storage and resources for their datacenter. 2013 is shaping up to be just as successful.
“One of our main goals this year is to continue focusing on mobility,” explains Marketing Coordinator, Katie Martz, “especially as tablets, mobile phones, laptops and other mobile devices are finding their way into organizations.” Another 2013 focus for the company is to continue educational events. “The technology world is quickly and forever changing. Our educational events are designed to keep our partners updated on the latest trends. Our partners can also learn of new ways technology can be implemented within their own organization,” says Martz.

The Lansing and corporate locations currently staff 46, and hired approximately 10 new staff members throughout 2012. CBI plans to hire an additional five to ten positions by the end of the 2013 as they expand their product and service offerings. The expanding CBI team will look at their partner organizations as a whole, beginning with building a relationship, understanding their everyday work styles and identifying their goals, in addition to looking for new ways to help optimize business operations through the use of technology.

Integrated Strategies provides world-class consulting while maintaining small-town values

Integrated Strategies CEO, Steve Trecha, perhaps explains it best: “Our focus is helping organizations identify, capture and sustain double-digit value creation.  Value is measured in price/cost reductions, revenue enhancement, asset utilization, business efficiencies and employee job enrichment.”
The Okemos-based supply chain, strategic sourcing, logistics, and warehousing company not only provides innovative solutions to companies in the likes of Georgia Pacific, John Deere, and Michigan State University, but strives for balance and always, always puts family first; something of an anomaly in the industry.
But, it’s not surprising, considering Trecha built the company based on the concept of balance and family almost 20 years ago. Those values shine through in Integrated Strategy’s guiding principles: Client Focus, Personal Dignity, WOW and Stakeholder value. This approach has garnered the company a variety of prestigious accolades and positions them as a fierce competitor with some of the largest and best known consulting firms in the world.
 “Innovation is achieving higher levels of value, quicker while continuing to get better at achieving higher levels of value, quicker and have fun doing it,” says Trecha. “This is how we think and what we deliver to our clients.”
Integrated Strategies operates with a core staff of 12, having hired 2 new members over the past year. Trecha anticipates hiring another 2-4 full-time staff in 2013. 

Lansing City Market receives grant to add to staff and expand programming

A grant from the Michigan Nutrition Network/Michigan Fitness Foundation has enabled the Lansing City Market to grow its staff. The grant covers the hiring of a Market Nutrition Specialist to help with the planning and coordination of nutrition education programming and to ensure educational services at the Market are optimally provided.
Heather Hymes, City Market Manager, shares this news with great excitement and anticipation, as staffing has been light since she arrived last May. “This grant will help us in reaching our goal of working to increase and improve upon our programming for the public and to provide superior customer service to our customers and the community we serve,” says Hymes. She also looks forward to hiring an AmeriCorps member over the summer.
“The new position is now allowing us to do some fantastic programming for children and their families through our Family Education Day and for adults who could use a nutrition intervention in their lives through our new program Today’s Special Program,” Hymes explains. Both of these programs will be taught and coordinated by the Nutrition Specialist and feature educational pieces in addition to food demos.
The City Market is open year-round, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-6pm and Saturdays 9am-5pm. Family Education Day is scheduled every Thursday at 4pm and the Today’s Special Program every Tuesday at 5:15 starting February 5. 

Courtland Consulting focuses on customer relationships, grows staff

Courtland Consulting is an equal opportunity employer based out of East Lansing. The consulting firm focuses on hiring exceptional people for both public and private sector contracts with a specialization in project management, project evaluation, system conversion and deployment, training development and delivery, and web design and programming. 
Relationships are important at Courtland. Director Sharon Pizzuti says, “We are proud to be based in Greater Lansing and we have maintained a strong community presence. Our outreach activities include: participation in community volunteer work, Lansing-based networking groups and local firm business partnerships. Working in Greater Lansing has provided us access to local high quality employees, and strong IT community partners.”
In addition to their existing team of 23, Courtland anticipates hiring 12 new staff members to work on anticipated contractual consulting work. In the last year, they have hired 8 additional resources from Michigan for Michigan-based jobs.
On innovation, Pizzuti explains, “For over 20 years, Courtland evaluates and contributes to technology and industry trends by continually building on our best practices while balancing contract work with ongoing training, research and development.”

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.”
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