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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.”

Eaton Rapids' Loving Hands Homecare experiencing growth, accepting new clients

Catherine Dotts, owner and operator of Loving Hands Homecare Agency in Eaton Rapids, is passionate about providing care to those in need. After working in the homecare industry for over 20 years, Catherine made the big step to entrepreneurship almost 4 years ago.
“We are a small business,” Dotts says, “our employees are like our family, as well as our clients. Being a small business means we are capable of providing one on one personal care for our clients."
Dotts and husband James employ a staff of 26, all of whom are dedicated to helping clients lead independent lifestyles within their own homes. They anticipate continued growth over the upcoming year, and are currently seeking to make additions to their diverse caregiving staff.
“We have been welcomed into the Lansing area with open arms, we really have been able to grow to this point with Lansing's help,” Dotts explains. “Programs through the Tri-County Office on Aging are excellent, and is one organization we have had the pleasure of being able to partner with. We are grateful for all the wonderful opportunities Lansing has provided our company.”

Denny's Auto Diagnosis hiring new technicians, considering expanding services

A trusted source for a variety of auto service needs since 1969, Denny’s Auto Diagnosis is still going strong and evolving to keep with the latest industry technology.
“Our reputation was built by a ‘Test, Don’t Guess’ philosophy,” says service manager, Timothy Grinold. “Our innovation comes from accurately diagnosing a vehicle’s symptom using the latest techniques and the old ‘scientific method.’
That method is listening to the customer, the first source of information Denny’s has to go on. Grinold proudly claims Denny’s as the experts in questioning customers for information. They also take pride in providing innovation in the industry by being able to repair various expensive auto components rather than simply replacing them.
The company continues to grow as technology continues to evolve. Along with new diagnostic and air conditioning equipment purchases, they have recently invested in advanced alignment equipment in order to provide the quickest and most accurate vehicle alignments for late model cars. Denny’s is considering adding other types of auto services.
It’s a family affair at Denny’s; five of their seven employees are family members. They are currently looking to expand the Denny’s family by hiring two new auto technicians.
Of the Capital City, Grinold says, “The Lansing area is very diverse which keeps us busy. As some businesses and government entities have faded away, others have taken their place. This has kept area workers driving in and out, needing quality repair services.”

Digital Success Network plans to grow by 35 people over the next year

With four offices and 35 employees in the Greater Lansing area, Digital Success Network (DSN) has no plans of slowing down.
“We’ve hired about 10 employees this year, and are looking to add another 35 in the next 12 months,” says Vice President John Pittman. DSN is currently seeking to fill 8 sales/customer service positions, proudly stating on their MITalenConnect job posting ‘We are increasing our staff due to growth not turn over!’ Pittman adds, “We plan for many years of steady growth in the area and to exceed 100 employees in central Michigan.”
Digital Success Network provides satellite TV service in most of Michigan and offers DIRECTV and Dish Network for business and residential customers. They install technology and provide service to their customers using local technicians that work solely for DSN.
Both company and leadership have been nationally recognized as being industry leaders in great customer service. This dedication is also apparent in their philanthropic philosophy; to strive to give back to the community they call home. “We’ve donated several thousands of dollars worth of TVs and DIRECTV to Ronald McDonald House in Lansing,” Pittman says, “and we still pay their monthly bill.”

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan aims to hire 3 throughout upcoming year

Being a Girl Scout is a fond memory for many area women and a valuable life experience for the nearly 22,000 girls represented by the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan (GSHOM) Council.  
“Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place,” offers Jane Parikh, GSHOM communications specialist. GSHOM supports this mission through numerous programs and services they offer on a daily basis to area girls.
“The programming we offer is always developed to meet the current and future needs of the girls we serve,” Parikh explains. “Our ability to be nimble enables us to provide the most up-to-date and cutting edge programs and services to girls and the adult volunteers who lead them. Maintaining relevancy while remaining true to our core mission and principles is critical to our ability to offer programs and services which will help girls become leaders in whatever they choose to do.”
There are total of 18 staff members between the Lansing and Jackson regional centers, and a total of 100 employees throughout the entire Council, which includes additional regional centers in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, and Turkeyville.
To remain the premier leadership organization for girls, GSHOM will continue to build their membership base at both the girl and adult volunteer level. They’ll continue to innovate and seek opportunities to partner or collaborate with local businesses and organizations, on top of hiring 3 additional staff members in the upcoming year to help in achieving their mission. 

Granger Construction hires 16 employees, 11 interns in past year; forecasts additional growth

2012 has been a busy year for Granger Construction. The Lansing-headquartered company, founded in 1959, went through a re-branding process to solidify what innovation they can bring to their customers.
“Our new slogan is 'Advance the Art of Building',” says Human Resources Specialist, Emily White, “and we do this by providing customized solutions to our customers and partners, by utilizing building information technology, LEAN and green building techniques, and through consistent and effective communication.”
Granger has around 130 employees, from construction foremen, to CEO Glenn D. Granger, and employs between 100 and 125 (both Granger employees and union workers) in the field. In the past year, they have hired 16 new employees and 11 interns. 3 positions have been filled just since May; a preconstruction professional, project engineer, and marketing and communications assistant. Additionally, they are currently hiring for a full-time commercial construction driver/yard assistant.
Company goals are to continue to be a solution-focused partner and to use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to maximize customer return on investment. Granger plans to continue to hire additional employees as workloads increase and projects are won.
Of Lansing, White says, “Lansing is our hometown. We have been in business here for over fifty years! Our employees live, work and play in this area and in the great state of Michigan. Most of our work is done right here in Michigan. We value our customer relationships whether they are in energy, data centers, universities, k-12 buildings or hospitals.”

Accident Fund headquarters recipient of 2012 Global Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institu

A former power plant, an iconic punctuation along the Lansing River Trail is now the recipient of worldwide recognition. The new national headquarters for Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. was one of just 14 projects around the world chosen for a 2012 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Global Award for Excellence.
ULI has recognized and rewarded achievement of excellence in land use practice since 1979. Recipients must meet the criteria of leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnership, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial viability.
“Our headquarters has received 11 other awards in a variety of categories since the building’s completion in March 2011,” says Steven Reynolds, Vice President of Corporate Secretary and Services, “with this award being one of the most prestigious.”
The awards serve as a source of inspiration in the development industry, showcasing examples of ULI best practices and long-term impact. This project infused millions of dollars into the local economy; it employed 106 Michigan-based contractors and suppliers, which was 90 percent of the total hired to complete the job. Lessening environmental impact through building reuse (75 percent of existing walls, floors, and roof were maintained), construction waste management (nearly 97 percent of the construction waste was diverted), and green building practices (LEED Gold Certification) helped earn Accident Fund the award.
On the impact to the Lansing region, Reynolds says, “As people learn about awards the building has won, that only strengthens the attractiveness of both Accident Fund as an employer and of downtown Lansing as a potential location for new business growth.” 

Boys & Girls Club of Lansing GET City Program Wins $10,000 National Award

Offering 200 hours of programming for Lansing area youth from low-income and under-represented backgrounds, GET City students experience year-round science and engineering of energy sustainability at a hands-on level, using advanced information technology to make an impact in their community.
The result of collaboration between Michigan State University’s colleges of education and engineering and the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing, Green Energy Technology (GET) in the City began in 2007, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant. Since, GET City youth have been challenged with various energy projects, understanding how they can change their carbon footprint in their communities, and how they can get others to help create change.
“Some of our past participants provided our Boys & Girls Club facility with an energy audit, and staff has actually implemented their plan,” offers Boys & Girls Club President, Carmen Turner. “These children walk with their heads held high; they feel they have a voice, that they’re actually listened to.”
The Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation honored GET City in mid-October with a 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award for youth development in science, technology, engineering, math, and information technologies. One of only five afterschool programs in the country to receive the recognition, a check for $10,000 was awarded to help expand GET City’s work.
“I love being able to open children’s eyes to all the different aspects of engineering, to open up a whole new world of possibilities and to watch as kids investigate their interests; this award helps to ensure we can continue to provide that experience,” says Turner. 

IDV Solutions continues to grow, increases hiring

When we last visited IDV Solutions, they had just announced a major partnership with Microsoft. The Lansing-based data visualization company continues to appeal to industry top dogs, recently signing with Yahoo!, Launching new versions of their flagship data visualization software, Visual Fusion, and updating their signature Visual Command Center product, - all this no doubt, helping to spur growth.
Director of Marketing, George Siegle says, “From a business perspective, we’ll be working hard to ensure that we continue to grow profitably. More and more organizations are embracing the data they already have. And Visual Fusion can help them analyze, understand, and take action on all their big data challenges. We’ll be evolving Visual Fusion to deliver on our customer’s expectations for the product – as a market leader for data visualization.”
In response to the growth, IDV is looking to fill several software development and internship positions. Newly hired Executive Vice President of Global Sales, Scott Sieracki, will lead the company to more growth, which includes growth in partnerships and sales team. While they don’t have a set goal of new hires, Siegle explains that IDV will definitely try to land candidates they like on the team.
About finding developers, Siegle says, “It’s turning out to be a bit challenging to find developers right now. Information Technology is definitely a bright spot for Lansing – between the web companies, other software development firms, and our insurance companies – Lansing has a big base of IT, but the flip side of that is that many of them are hiring too, and it’s very competitive to find developers.”
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