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Dr. Energy Saver of Lansing provides energy saving audits, experiences 92 percent growth

Built upon the expertise of the professionals at Ayers Basement Systems, is the home energy efficiency company, Dr. Energy Saver of Lansing. Established in 2009, the home energy audit network strives to help make homes comfortable, energy efficient, and affordable for Lansing residents.
 
Fully experiencing the growing green movement, Dr. Energy Saver of Lansing is riding a growth wave. "Dr. Energy Saver currently employs 25 staff members," says Marketing Manager, Cathy Burke. "At this time last year, we had a staff of 13." The growth doesn't stop there: Burke says the company anticipates building the staff to 35 by the end of 2013.
 
Dr. Energy Saver technicians are thoroughly trained, certified, and updated at the National Energy Conservation Center. Local partnerships are important, too, explains Burke. "We have a great relationship with the Alternative Energy program at LCC," she explains. "In fact, we've hired 20 people to date that have graduated from the program."
 
The company works closely with DTE, Consumers Energy, and the BetterBuildings for Michigan program, all helping to bring home energy efficiency and savings to Lansing area customers. 
 
Source: Cathy Burke, Dr. Energy Saver of Lansing   
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Holt's Music in the Garden program to benefit from state arts grant

The Holt Community Arts Council is the recent recipient of a $4,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. "This award will help us present our sixth consecutive season of free concerts without compromising the quality of the music," says Council president, Kara Hope.  
 
Families of all income levels can attend this free event. The location, Veterans Memorial Gardens, adjoins a senior apartment complex, so seniors are able to enjoy the shows without traveling too far. "Music in the Garden is really unique in that way: it's one place in Holt where you'll find a multi-generational audience," Hope explains.
 
The Holt Community Arts Council started as a grassroots effort to raise the arts' profile in Holt. Council members tapped into pent-up demand for family-friendly summer concerts, among other things. People wanted to hear music in their community in a setting that is comfortable for the whole family; Music in the Garden provides that. The Council emphasizes quality music from diverse genres.
 
Shows are July 11, 18, 25, and August 1. They begin at 7 p.m., and take place in Veterans Memorial Gardens, right behind the Delhi Township Hall, 2074 Aurelius Road, Holt.
 
Source: Kara Hope, Holt Community Arts Council  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
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LAFCU combines social media savvy and charitable giving in one scholarship

 One high school senior will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend Lansing Community College based on a one-page essay. LAFCU's "Write to Educate" Essay Contest focuses on the topic of social media and asks applicants to make some predictions as to the future of social media.
 
"We always want to encourage our youth to get the education needed to pursue their professional and personal dreams," says LAFCU's vice president of community and business development, Kelli Ellsworth-Etchison. With only one-third of Michiganders 25 years or older having an associate degree or higher, LAFCU strives to open doors for those who might not otherwise be able to attend college.
 
A unique facet of this program is that the winner selects which of four charity organizations will receive a $500 donation from LAFCU. "This community-giving component is part of LAFCU's long-standing 'people helping people' mission," Ellsworth-Etchison notes. It's a rewarding experience for the winner to help a charity and to feel the impact of bettering their community.
 
The deadline for applications, which can be submitted online or mailed, is March 29. Winners will be selected April 5. 

Source: Kelli Ellsworth-Etchison, LAFCU  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
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Pine Needle People looking to begin biomanufacturing, have eyes set on long-term hiring

Kevin Karpinski is dying to make things. As President and CEO of the Pine Needle People, an ambitious bio refinery and manufacturing company, Karpinski is ready to get his product in the marketplace for many reasons. "We can help the economy, help feed more people, and help farmers," Karpinski says.
 
The Pine Needle People, or PNP, are Karpinski, Waylon Sanford, Mansour Ashtiani, and Nader Ashtiani. By trade, they represent a variety of fields: chemical and manufacturing engineering, urban planning and infrastructure, and bio matter technology. The team has developed a number of products intended for patenting, the most prominent being the Cellulosic Residue Refinery for Advanced Manufacturing, or CRRAM.
 
"CRRAM essentially allows us to make products from agricultural scraps; we take corn stalks to carbon fiber," Karpinski explains. The refinery system allows PNP to create a Bio Energy Pathway system, which is a sidewalk system manufactured from biomaterials produced by the CRRAM. Karpinski hopes to have the pathway system in production soon.
 
Things are ramping up for PNP as they work with investors and industry. Karpinski anticipates being able to hire 30 to 50 employees over the next 2 to 3 years.
 
Source: Kevin Karpinski, Pine Needle People  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
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PNC Bank and Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy partner to open an in-school bank

Students at Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy (L3) can now add money management skills to their young resumes. In an exciting partnership between the Lansing Academy and the PNC School Bank Program, L3 students are getting hands-on banking experience with the grand opening of an in-school bank.
 
"L3's cutting edge approach to education offers a perfect fit for the PNC School Bank Program, which has several features aimed at developing good savings habits and money management skills," explains PNC Retail Market Executive, Jim Paul. The program is part of PNC's Grow Up Great initiative, which has served more than 1.5 million at-risk children nationally.
 
The bank will open twice a month during the school year. Five L3 students will staff the branch during lunch periods, opening bank accounts and taking deposits. The program provides an opportunity for students to establish their first bank accounts, as well as improve their math skills as they track their savings and calculate interest earned.  
 
"PNC offers leadership, advocacy, funding, volunteers and educational resources because we believe that an investment in our children now makes good economic sense and plants the seeds for the dynamic workforce of tomorrow," says Paul.
 
Source: Jim Paul, PNC  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Liquid Web increases staff by 260 percent in two years

When we last spoke with Liquid Web in March of last year, they had marked a milestone of doubling their staff. Growth appears to be on their permanent agenda, as evidenced by the addition of nearly 100 employees in the past 12 months.
 
"We're continuing to average about 10 new hires per month," says Public Relations Specialist, Cale Sauter. Liquid Web hopes to continue at that rate to accommodate their rapidly expanding services and data centers.

Sauter draws attention to a recent Pingdom study, which investigated the hosting locations of the world's one million most popular websites. The study revealed that Lansing hosted the 13th most of any city in the world, which puts the city squarely in the company of formidable world tech leaders. "These results illustrate the continued development of Lansing as a tech hub, which we feel has been significantly aided by Liquid Web's meteoric growth," he says. 

Recently expanding their services to Phoenix, Liquid Web has their sights set on international centers and additional centers throughout the US to remain close to their ever-growing customer base. That's not to slight Lansing, Sauter notes. On the contrary; "Having bright and talented individuals locally to support us has been crucial in providing the base on which we're able to grow."
 
Source: Cale Sauter, Liquid Web  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
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Lansing Symphony Orchestra polls public for free Summer Pops Concert

As one of the recipients of the City of Lansing's "Sense of Place" grants, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra will do something they've never done before: offer a free Summer Pops concert in downtown Lansing. The catch? The community will be able to vote for the theme of the concert through social media.
 
LSO Executive Director, Courtney Millbrook, is enthusiastic about the concert, which will feature the full Orchestra alongside a special guest artist in a program of popular music, as determined by the public. "It’s going to be great!" Milbrook says. "But you have to vote – Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones or the music of the 1980’s - you decide!"
 
The grant, which was awarded to a total of four Lansing area organizations, is given to increase the visibility, access, and celebration of the arts to the public while impacting the creation of a sense of place in the city.
 
Voting is currently open on LSO's website and closes April 8. The concert is scheduled for June 5 at Adado Riverfront Park. "We are proud to perform for everyone in the city," says Milbrook, "and hope that a lot of new people come out to hear their orchestra."
 
Source: Courtney Millbrook, Lansing Symphony Orchestra  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Lansing Lugnuts hiring 200 seasonal employees, ramps up 18th season offerings

The 2013 season is shaping up to be an exciting one over at Cooley Law School Stadium. With an impressive list of updated food options, renovations, new promotions, and entertainment highlights, the Lansing Lugnuts are pulling out all the stops as they inch closer to their 20th anniversary.
 
Fans can look forward to new Mediterranean and custom oven-fired pizzeria stands. The renowned Thirsty Thursday will now include $1 beer selections. And this is just the short list of updates. "The combination will feel like an entirely new food experience at Cooley Law School Stadium this season," Director of Marketing, Jeremy Smoker says.
 
With a full-time staff of 22, the Lugnuts provides employment for nearly 350 seasonal employees. They're currently hiring for a Special Events Development Manager with the goal of increasing non-baseball use of the venue, with the goal of helping downtown Lansing continue to grow as a destination for entertainment or recreation.
 
"As a community that takes such great pride in where they come from, the fans have been vital to the success of the Lugnuts organization," says Smoker. "We don’t take that lightly – it’s absolutely the reason we continue to listen, innovate and adapt to ensure that the fan experience here at Cooley Law School Stadium is second to none."

Source: Jeremy Smoker, Lansing Lugnuts 
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Publicom wins national creative awards, continues to experience growth

East Lansing based marketing communications firm, Publicom, Inc., has won six national creative awards at the 10th Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards competition. This, in addition to successive growth, has Publicom poised for an outstanding 2013.
 
The national awards included work for Lansing's Gateway Community Services and Peppermint Creek Theatre Company.
 
"Our growth is organic in that much of our business comes from client referrals," says Public Relations Specialist, Erin Incarnati. "Despite the down economy, each of the past five years has each been successively better than the previous year."
 
Publicom employs a total of 11 staffers and three paid interns, and anticipates hiring an additional two to three team members in the upcoming year.
 
Of building their staff, Incarnati says: "We've been able to attract some top talent to and from the Greater Lansing area. Publicom is always looking for talented people who fit well with our professional, high-quality culture."
 
Source: Erin Incarnati, Publicom, Inc.  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

MSU grad builds mobile app for area LGBT-friendly businesses

Recent master's degree recipient, Emily Brozovic, can't stand to not be learning something new at any given time. Pair that with creative problem solving, a knack for online development, and a passion for promoting the positives for the LGBT community, and you have an innovator with an itch to scratch. That itch is the mobile app, People Like Me.
 
"I feel as though we always hear about where we should boycott, but not as much about where we could take a date or grab a coffee or see a doctor that's LGBT-friendly," says Brozovic. The app will provide local, location-based business information to users and allow the LGBT community to rate and review these businesses based on their perspective as an LGBT individual. 
 
Currently in Kickstarter mode, funding would go mostly to the app developer. Brozovic will handle design. People Like Me could provide a go-to solution for this type of information in Lansing and help businesses to connect with the LGBT community. 
 
"I believe that if we focused more on those good places, dollars would naturally flow more in that business's direction, creating a positive outcome for them, as well as a positive experience/place for LGBT individuals," says Brozovic.
 
 
Source: Emily Brozovic, People Like Me 
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Student owned and operated cheese steak stand opens in East Lansing

It's not often you hear of a 19 year old and a 20 year old opening a business, and creating their own business plan to boot. But that's just what MSU students and long time friends Alex Lennard and Hunter Mowers did when they launched State's Cheese Steaks last week.
 
"We wanted to start our own business and had originally thought about opening a hot dog stand," explains Lennard. The City of East Lansing wouldn't grant a permit for that, which got Lennard thinking.
 
While in Panama City for Spring Break, the friends came across a cheese steak stand that had a line that lasted throughout entire day. Pair that inspiration with an entrepreneurial drive to provide something new in the East Lansing culinary scene, and you've got the recipe for a food stand.
 
Located on the corner of Abbott and Albert, the stand is open Thursday through Sunday. They hope to be able to hire 2 to 3 employees beyond themselves once business gets further off the ground.
 
A finance student, Lennard says "This is teaching us way more than the classroom could; we're dealing with real people and a real business."
 
Source: Alex Lennard, State's Cheese Steaks
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Williamston's Red Cedar Grill debuts new owners & management

As self-professed foodies, Mike and Amanda Luther always had the plan of opening a restaurant floating around in the back of their minds. The opportunity to make good on that plan came to fruition when they found out the Red Cedar Grill in Williamston was for sale.
 
"We wanted to breath new life into a restaurant people knew and loved," explains Amanda. "We're leaving some of the favorite menu items, like the carrot cake, but we're exploring some new options that will change seasonally and will offer some flavor experiences you can't get anywhere else."
 
With a focus on providing local fare and partnering with local vendors and farmers, the Luthers also keep their eyes on providing a value to their guests. They're happy to announce their daily Bar Bites menu, which offers entrees and drinks for $3 to $4, a la happy hour style from 3:00 to 6:00 during the workweek.
 
They anticipate hiring 5 to 10 new staff members for a variety of positions including servers and line/prep cooks, after promoting many of the existing staff to full time status. Their motto? "Big city tastes in a small town," says Luther.

Source: Amanda Luther, Red Cedar Grill
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here

Collaborative Art@Work installation debuts at Peckham

"Art@Work is a celebration - a celebration of a successful partnership and collaboration between Peckham, Inc. and MSU's Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) and College of Engineering," says Shavonne Singleton, Peckham Public Relations Specialist. The partnership brings together higher education, the arts, accessibility and technology to highlight the abilities and diversity of each individual artist.
 
With Peckham’s emphasis on diversity and therapeutic and creative self-expression through art, and RCAH’s focus on civic engagement, community, and experiential learning in the arts and humanities, the two realized this collaboration would be an excellent opportunity to create a visual representation reflecting innovation, and inclusiveness. Students from the College of Engineering worked specifically to develop a proposed solution to install the art display, and most recently, collaborated with RCAH students to develop viewing technology for the installation.
 
"For the artists," Singleton explains, "we hope the Art@Work is a source of pride – to be able to express themselves and their stories artistically, and also share that story with the community at large."
 
The unveiling will take place on Saturday, February 23, from 10AM to 1PM at Peckham and is a free event open to the public.
 
Source: Shavonne Singleton, Peckham, Inc.
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Great Lakes Capital Fund celebrates 20-year anniversary, $130 million in local investments

Situated in the heart of REO Town, Great Lakes Capital Fund  is celebrating 20 years of local and national service and investments; $2.6 billion across the Midwest and $130.3 million in the Lansing Tri-County area.
 
"Twenty years of operation means twenty years of building vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities," says GLCF advocacy specialist, Kelly Bernero.
 
GLCF is able to leverage private equity that otherwise would likely not be invested into local community development projects, through tax credits, mortgage and debt financing, grants, and other financing tools. Through $2.6 billion worth of investments, GLCF has supported 35,000 units of housing, 1 million square feet of commercial space, and in its 20 year history the Housing Credit has helped leverage 52,588 jobs.
 
Bernero says of GLCF and innovation: "As a full service community development finance institution, our organization is constantly seeking the most efficient, and flexible ways of doing things for people and communities."
 
In the Lansing Tri-County Area alone, GLCF has contributed $116.2 million to local incomes and $14.2 million in local government tax revenue. This amount of investment has leveraged 1,736 jobs in the Lansing Tri-County Area since 1993.
 
Source: Kelly Bernero, Great Lakes Capital Fund
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here

Wireless Developer Agency plans for doubling sales and expanding staff

Wireless Developer Agency (WDA) puts relevant information in front of the people at the right time and in the right way. The East Lansing based high-tech mobile marketing company believes that special technologies need to provide customers with a more enriched experience.
 
President and CEO, Konny Zsigo says, "Consumers are looking for a more enchanting experience with their personal devices as they gain more control over them; the world is going to demand advertising as less of an interruption and more of a presentation of valuable information."
 
WDA is managing toward growth with that demand in mind; they’re looking at doubling their top line of sales in 2013 and plan to expand staff in response. An anticipated 16 employees will be added to the existing staff of 40 by the end of the year.
 
A big part of the WDA story is that they don’t generally hire people who are in their industry; they hire local and welcome them to an incubative culture. Of the choice to remain in the Lansing area, rather than head to other tech hubs like NYC or LA, Zsigo says: "We’d rather provide the culture that makes the magic, not move somewhere that has the culture."


Source: Konny Zsigo & Brennan Hayden, WDA
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.
 
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