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Kiplinger Names Lansing One of Nation's Top Ten Best Cities For Young Adults

Lansing is among the 10 best cities for young adults, according to a national financial news magazine. Kiplinger cited Lansing’s low rent and high-paying technology job opportunities in its list of cities, which also included Chicago, Austin and Portland, Ore.

According to excerpts from the article:

We began our search using the criteria we used to select our overall list of Best Cities for the Next Decade: healthy economies fueling new job growth.

We fine-tuned our search using other youth-friendly factors such as large percentages of people under 35, cost of living and rental costs, culture, nightlife, and the time you're likely to spend in traffic.

Home to five medical schools, two law schools and Michigan State University, Michigan’s capital is a little-known hotbed for young professionals. Granted, this Great Lakes community can’t quite compare to the larger cities on our list in terms of job prospects or things to do. But it has a relatively low cost of living. And its youthful population, downtown renewal projects, and emerging technology sector make Lansing a stand-out in mid-sized cities.

Read the entire article and view the slideshow here.


Neogen Corporation Looks to Expand, Redevelop Facility on Lansing's Eastside

A Lansing-based animal and food safety company is looking to expand. Neogen Corp. has an agreement with the city to buy the Oak Park Field Office at 717 E. Shiawassee Street for $200,000.

According to excerpts from the article:

If everything is approved, Neogen CEO Jim Herbert said he expects to take possession of the property by October or November.

"We've sort of specialized in taking older buildings and refurbishing them for newer technology uses," he said.

Those include the Oak Park School on Lesher Place and Allen Street School on East Kalamazoo Street.

"They've been great from an urban redevelopment standpoint," said Karl Dorshimer, vice president of the Lansing Economic Development Corp.

Read the entire article here.


Lansing Competes For $190 Million GM Plant Upgrade

Lansing hopes to entice General Motors to invest $190 million in a Lansing plant to ramp up for production of a new vehicle.

According to excerpts from the article:

The city of Lansing could end up offering General Motors Co. $9.8 million in tax incentives if the automaker picks a Lansing plant for a new vehicle.

That is the amount of a personal property tax abatement Mayor Virg Bernero wants the Lansing City Council to approve to help persuade GM to invest $190 million to add an unnamed vehicle — and about 600 jobs — to its Lansing Grand River assembly line.

The abatement would be spread out over 25 years — or about $390,000 a year.

GM isn't saying what other sites it's considering for the work.

However, GM has said it plans to bring the work to an existing factory. In addition to Lansing Grand River, GM currently has assembly plants elsewhere in Michigan as well as in Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas and Louisiana.

Read the entire article here.

Dowding Machining Affiliate Scores $7 Million Incentive for Green Technology

Astraeus Wind Energy Inc., an affiliate of Eaton Rapids-based Dowding Machining, received $7 million in federal stimulus funding to build machines for wind turbine production.

According to excerpts from the article:

Astraeus Wind Energy Inc. won the largest grant among five Michigan companies that received a total of $15.5 million Wednesday.

The grants are expected to allow the five companies to retain or create 713 jobs over the next two years, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Companies with 500 or fewer full-time employees were eligible to apply for the grants to get into the business of manufacturing renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.

Nearly 80 companies requested almost $198 million.

Read the entire article here.


Innovations and New Developments Mark Bright East Lansing Economy in 2009

2009 was a good year for the Capital region, which welcomed several important economic investments including the $550 million FRIB facility, the Technology Information Center (TIC) and IBM’s move to East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

While Michigan felt the pain of the highest unemployment in the nation, the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, a tanking housing market and a sharp slowdown in commercial sales, East Lansing could point to the following developments:

1.) FRIB, okay, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The $550 million Department of Energy-funded nuclear physics research facility will be a science facility dedicated answering complex questions about the structure of matter, about the stars, about basic elements on our plan, event how the planet came into existence.

Its practical benefits, as well: $1 billion economic impact over the first decade, 180 new jobs for scientists, 5,800 one-year construction jobs, 220 spin-off jobs.

Read the entire article here.


New Dowding Machining Partnership Set to Improve Wind Turbine Manufacturing

Dowding Machining is working with MAG Industrial Automation Systems to improve the manufacturing process for wind turbine components.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Lansing, Mich.-based venture, dubbed Astraeus from the Greek mythological "father of the four winds," will use a unique new machine design to dramatically reduce the production times of turbine hubs, the large castings to which the blades are attached, to about four hours — a process that now typically takes 20 to 24 hours on the best production lines.

In what will be the first implementation of MAG's Rapid Material Placement System (RMPS), the new company will bring integrated manufacturing, with automation and repeatable process control, to wind blade fabrication — a process that has historically been manual, making blades prone to imperfections and weight variations, and exposing wind turbine manufacturers to warranty and replacement costs.

The new business unites MAG, a world leader in machine tools and aerospace composites, and Dowding Machining, a large-component precision machining operation, in an effort to make wind energy more cost-competitive as an alternative energy solution.

"We've already seen significant interest in our capabilities from Asian and European companies," said Jeff Metts, president of Dowding Machining. Plans for Astraeus include opening global facilities to supply worldwide demand.

The management and organization of Astraeus will be announced by the end of the year, with production expected to ramp up very quickly. "We plan on producing some of the components by the middle of next year," said Roger Cope, president of the Strategic Business Development Group of MAG.

Read the entire article here.


$278 Million Sewer Overflow Project Improving Lansing’s Rivers

A $278 million combined sewer overflow (CSO) project has improved Lansing’s rivers, vastly reducing and nearly eliminating the amount of untreated sewage seeping into the Grand and Red Cedar rivers.

According to excerpts from the article:

Last spring, a foot of rain that nourished lawns across the city also imposed an environmental cost.

Nearly 200 million gallons of untreated water — murky with raw sewage — emerged from the city's antiquated network of underground pipes in March, April and May, according to city reports marking the progress of Lansing's combined sewer overflow project.

Where the most expensive public works project in the city's history has laid new pipes for sewage and converted old pipes to handle storm water, the spill off into the Grand and Red Cedar rivers is virtually clear of untreated sewage.

Read the entire article here.


Robotic Cow Milking at MSU Attracts Younger Generation of Dairy Producers

The Michigan State University (MSU) W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners is an innovative mechanical dairy farm that is expected to help the new generation of dairy farmers improve productivity.

According to excerpts from the article:

A former volunteer docent at the Kellogg Biological Station, Aylene Goddard, a 91-year-old Kalamazoo resident, said she was "very impressed" with the new system, which uses two robots to milk the farm's 100 lactating cows.

In a conventional dairy farming system all cows are milked at the same time, and the same number of times every day. With the new mechanical system, cows choose when to wander over to the milking robot when they want to be milked.

The system was introduced July 7 and each now yields an average of 70 pounds of milk a day, up from an average of 65 pounds a day before the transition.

"Since day one (milk yield has) steadily increased . . . so we think cow comfort is increasing," said Jackie Jacobs, an animal science graduate student studying animal behavior at MSU.

Read the entire article here.


New Website Touts FRIB Opportunities and Capital Region Assets

Michigan State University (MSU) and Capital region leaders recently developed a website to market the Capital region and help attract new employees to the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) project.

According to excerpts from the article:

“This Web site sends a clear message throughout the world that the Greater Lansing region is one of the most livable, affordable, culturally diverse and exciting regions anywhere,” said Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Web site uses the theme "Greater Lansing—Where it All Comes Together," and features detailed information on schools, transportation, housing, major employers, healthcare, and cultural attractions in the region. The Web site places special emphasis on growing sectors of the regional economy including cutting edge technology, advanced manufacturing and the financial and insurance sectors.

“For FRIB to realize its full potential as a world-competitive laboratory, we must be able to recruit the best scientists and researchers to test, build and operate the facility,” said Denyse Ferguson, president and CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc., which managed the design of the website. “This Web site gives potential FRIB employees and their families an opportunity to get a feel for what our region is really all about.”

Read the entire article here.


Dowding Industries Pushing Wind Energy Industry

Eaton Rapids-based Dowding Industries is encouraging area manufacturers to retool their business models to accommodate the growing wind energy industry in the state.

According to excerpts from the article:

Jeff Metts, president of Dowding Industries in Eaton Rapids, said those jobs and more could be replaced if Michigan becomes serious about fostering a wind energy industry. Those jobs would be created at places such as Dowding, where blades, turbines and other wind energy components would be engineered and manufactured.

And even though Metts was ready to move his company from Eaton Rapids to Iowa just two years ago, today he is pushing to create those jobs in Michigan.

Metts has met with the governor and government officials in Washington in an effort to get them to invest in Michigan's budding alternative energy industry. Currently, much of the wind energy industry is based abroad.

Read the entire article here.


Lansing Company Niowave Inc. Acquires Virginia-Based AMAC International

Niowave Inc. of Lansing will acquire superconducting radio frequency technologies and business from AMAC International Inc., a high-tech company based out of Newport, Virginia.

According to excerpts from the article:

AMAC International is a high-tech company founded in 1999, and has design and manufacturing expertise in superconducting radio frequency power couplers, magnetic levitation, and cryogenics. AMAC's customers have included the Cyclotron at Michigan State University, and the FERMI National Accelerator Laboratory.

The acquisition was finalized on April 30. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The acquisition of AMAC starts a new chapter for Niowave," said Terry Grimm, president of Niowave. "We have established a growing credibility within the accelerator community.

"AMAC also has a strong reputation in the accelerator community, and adding their technology and expertise enables us to take on larger and more complex projects."

Read the entire article here.

MSU Engineers Win Science Foundation Awards, $800,000 in Grant Money

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Engineering assistant professors Jongeun Choi and Jian Ren recently won National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development awards and a total of $800,000 in grant money.

According to excerpts from the article:

The CAREER award, one of NSF’s most prestigious and competitive awards for junior researchers, recognizes those who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

“These CAREER awards are tangible expressions of validation from Jongeun’s and Jian’s peers concerning their research goals and plans,” said Satish Udpa, dean of MSU’s College of Engineering. “I am delighted to see their peers confirm that they are on a very productive research trajectory.”

Each received a five-year $400,000 grant.

Read the entire article here.


MSU Students Trade Spring Break for Job Shadow Opportunity

Several hundred Michigan State University (MSU) students will spend their spring break job-shadowing businesses across the area as part of a March 10 event hosted by MSU’s Career Services Network.

According to excerpts from the article:

The effort is part of a larger program officials hope will connect area college students with entertainment and job prospects, helping to keep them in the area after graduation.

About 65 businesses had signed up for the event as of Monday, said Paul Jaques, internship developer for MSU's Career Services Network. That's a few more than last year, but Jaques figures there would be even more businesses if it weren't for the national recession.

Businesses have until Wednesday to sign up for this year's job shadow day.

"I want it to be a lot bigger," Jaques said. "I guarantee that I'm going to have more students than businesses."

Read the entire article here.


MSU Engineer Elected to Prestigious National Academy of Engineering

Michigan State University (MSU) engineering professor Percy Pierre has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which is among the highest professional distinctions in the engineering field.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Pierre is among 65 new members and nine foreign associates honored for outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education. He is recognized for his service as assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for research, development and acquisition, contributions to engineering education and leadership in creating the national minority engineering effort.

“We are very pleased to see Percy Pierre honored for his pioneering work in engineering education, specifically with under represented groups,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “This well-deserved honor brings distinction not only to Dr. Pierre, but to the College of Engineering and Michigan State University.”

In addition to this honor, Pierre also will receive the 2008 Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement this week from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, during its annual meeting in Chicago.

Read the entire article here.


$600,000 Lansing Solar Power Array Could Be Ready By Christmas

The Lansing Board of Water & Light is about halfway done installing a set of 432 solar panels behind the Stadium District development on Michigan Avenue at Larch Street. The array will produce enough electricity to light 50 homes.

According to excerpts from the article:

"The array is about halfway done," spokesman Mark Nixon said Monday.

The goal is to have the entire project plugged in and turned on by Christmas.

The array is located south of Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street and will cost less than $600,000.

Read the entire article here.


$18M Expansion to Create 150 Jobs at St. John's Plant

MAHLE Engine Components will spend $18 million to expand its St. John’s location, adding 30,000 square feet to the plant and creating 150 new jobs.

According to excerpts from the article:

The plant on State Street in St. Johns is a testament to the power of a simple philosophy.

"Making the good even better."

That's the motto adopted by the founders of the global auto parts manufacturer MAHLE nearly a century ago in Germany. And it's the motto still at work today as the company embarks on an $18 million expansion of the former Dana Corp. plant that MAHLE Engine Components USA Inc. bought in 2007.

The auto supplier is building on the good things that were already there: A skilled workforce, a dedicated community and a spirit of innovation that is transforming the entire Lansing regional economy.

The $18 million expansion will add 30,000 square feet to the existing 187,000-square-foot plant, but it will add a lot more than space:

Carroll told the State Journal that the addition will create 150 jobs to be phased in over the five years.

Read the entire article here.


East Lansing Woman Earns NASCAR Internship in L.A.

Mariel Moorer, a 19-year-old East Lansing native, will spend her summer internship working with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

According to excerpts from the article:

Through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program, Moorergot a 10-week gig at the company's Los Angeles office, where she does research and marketing for NASCAR's entertainment group. Her stint ends Friday.

"I really enjoy it and I have a passion for the sport so it makes it more enjoyable to come to work," said Moorer, an East Lansing High School graduate and a junior at University of Michigan. "It's different being in the office culture instead of just going to class every day.

"I've learned a lot about how things have to work, the steps you have to go through to get things done, why some things don't go as planned, challenges that might come up."

Read the entire article here.


Lansing Hosts Many Past and Future GM Innovations

Lansing is home to numerous vital components of General Motors’ auto technology, which has been evolving throughout the company’s 100-year history.

According to excerpts from the article:

There's a lot of Lansing tied up in that piece of machinery.

After all, the gas-powered engine, the automatic transmission, the front-wheel drive feature and the manufacturing process itself all trace their roots to technologies and processes developed at General Motors Corp.'s Lansing-area operations or the Oldsmobile operation it bought.

And as GM marks its 100th anniversary this year, the Detroit automaker continues to look at innovations that could find their way to Lansing assembly lines.

The area's two assembly plantsLansing Grand River and Lansing Delta Townshiphave won praise and sales by turning out six popular vehicles for GM. But the facilities also draw visitors who want to see how those vehicles are made.

That's because the two plants are among GM's most innovative, using new technology and unique processes and designs.

Read the entire article here.


Humane Society Considers Powering Up With Wind Turbine

The Watertown Township Humane Society is determining the feasibility of wind power with a 132 feet high wind turbine that would capture wind energy for its facility.

According to excerpts from the article:

Shelter President Stephen Heaven said Watertown Township has approved a zoning variance allowing the shelter to build the turbine, which could reach as high as 132 feet.

But first, officials plan to use an anemometer, or a wind gauge, for 13 months to test wind potential.

Locally, the trend of businesses and organizations installing wind turbines is "in its infancy," according to David Wilson, lead faculty member and coordinator of Lansing Community College's Alternative Energy Engineering Technology program.

Read the entire article here.


MSU Professor Suggests Designer Labels for Isotopes

Michigan State University (MSU) physicist, Bradley Sherrill, says the future of nuclear physics lies in designer isotopes, which are tailor-made to solve specific problems.

According to excerpts from the article:

“We have developed a remarkable capability over the last 10 or so years that allows us to build a specific isotope to use in research,” said Sherrill, who is associate director for research at the university’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. 

Sherrill outlined some of the possibilities and what it will take to get there in an article in the May 9 edition of the research journal Science.

Another new research area known as nanotechnology is getting a lot of attention for its astonishing abilities to build objects with individual atoms and molecules, Sherrill noted. But he argued that nanotechnology hardly is the last word in small. 

Read the entire article here.


Big Manufacturer Forms Relationship with MSU

After 47 years of manufacturing some of the world’s largest equipment, Metalist International Inc. Owner Ed Reeser finally has a gig with Michigan State University (MSU). This year, Reeser’s company will build a $450,000, 250-ton hydraulic press for MSU.

According to excerpts from the article:

The job has turned Metalist into a sort of poster child for area manufacturers and other businesses.

Many long have wanted to tap into a university with a $1.8 billion budget and $377 million in sponsored research last academic year. But few knew how or thought the university would want to do business with them.

"The climate is different out there now,"Reeser said. "They're really interested in opening up to their neighbors."

For Metalist, the opportunity to break into university work came last fall, when Reeser toured through a mechanical engineering lab with other members of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council, a trade group affiliated with work force development agency Capital Area Michigan Works.

Associate professor Farhang Pourboghrat showed off a press his research team uses to study new polymer composite materials. He mentioned he was working to get a much larger one.

Reeser saw an opportunity.

"He said, 'You think you could build it?' "Reeser recounted. "I said, 'No, sir. I know I can.' "

Until then, Pourboghrat figured a Minnesota firm that had done work for him in the past would get the job.

"It was totally serendipitous," Pourboghratsaid. "Once they sat down and we went through the design, I realized these guys were capable of handling the job."

So, he sought bids from both firms. Metalist won.

"The convenience and ease - we can work together and resolve issues or come up with better ideas," Pourboghrat said. "That is wonderful as opposed to trying to spend a lot of money to go to Minneapolis."

The work is a boost for Metalist, which has about 35 workers at its 100,000-square-foot plant near Potter Park in Lansing. The company once had more than 200 employees, Reeser said, but tough times for manufacturers and forge operators locally led to cutbacks.

Read the entire article here.


Motor Wheel Lofts Welcomes $50,000 “MW”

A five-ton, $50,000, 12-foot thick “MW” recently rose above Saginaw Street and took root next to the new Motor Wheel lofts. The steel MW is an impressive marketing tool for the loft development, which has been popular among the area’s young professionals.

According to excerpts from the article:

The free-standing logo features an M and a W, positioned in mutual reflection, boldly identifying developer Harry Hepler’s colossal Motor Wheel factory-turned-residential-complex.

Five tons of steel went into the sign, which cost Hepler $50,000.

It was the project of a lifetime for metal working wizard and Old Town-based developer Fred Hammond. He prefers to call it a“three-dimensional sculpture.”

If Hepler is ever hard up for cash, he can rent the sign out as an extra loft. Internal air ducts prevent condensation and vent heat.All the horizontal surfaces are slightly tilted for drainage.

“It’s considerably over-engineered,” Hammond said.“There’s a lot of little things you don’t see that are engineered into this to make it last forever.”

Chalk it up to the hubris of Hepler, who converted the derelict Motor Wheel factory, one of Lansing’s most conspicuous eyesores, into an office complex and wrap around residential block, completed in 2006.

Read the entire article here.


Big Three Automakers May Hire 36,000 New Skilled Workers

The Big Three are gearing up to hire roughly 36,000 workers over the next four years. The companies are primarily looking for a younger, more educated workforce.

According to excerpts from the article:

The three automakers will hire about 36,000 hourly and salaried workers in Michigan over the next four years to replace those who are taking buyouts or retiring, a study from Ann Arbor's Center for Automotive said recently.

The bulk of those Michigan jobs will be hourly production positions. But the new hires will need different skills than those who went before them, said Dan Flores, a spokesman for GM.

"Some of the key skills we look for are problem-solving ability, communication skills, having the ability to work with a team and collaborate," Flores said.

That's because GM's new manufacturing system, already in place at the Lansing Delta Township and Lansing Grand River plants and being rolled out internationally, relies on hourly workers to find solutions to production problems and inefficiencies.

Prospective new hires are tested for those skills by a third party, Flores said. And only those who demonstrate an aptitude for working in that environment can earn a spot on the work floor.

"Generally speaking, we have some of the best manufacturing jobs in the world," Flores said. "We need the best people available."

Taking additional colleges at a community college also might give job seekers an edge, said Bob Sherer, executive director of the Capital Area.

Skills such as computer aided design and engineering and a knowledge of manufacturing systems can be picked up at two-year colleges such as Lansing Community, he said. LCC also offers training in alternative fuels, a topic increasingly important to the auto industry.

New high school graduates could see the benefit of the hiring boom next year, researchers from the Center for Automotive Research said, largely because the new nonassembly production jobs will pay an average of $14 an hour, about half of the current average wage for hourly workers at GM.

Read the entire article here.


Lansing Manufacturing Co. Secures $450,000 Partnership With MSU Engineering

Lansing-based manufacturing company, Metalist, recently signed a $450,000 contract with Michigan State University (MSU) to build a 250-ton hydraulic press for the school’s mechanical engineering research lab.

According to excerpts from the article:

Metalist International won the contract with the help of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council.

Scheduled for delivery in July, the large press will help the College of Engineering learn about the advantages in the use of a revolutionary "thermo-hydro forming" process for metals and other materials. This process, which adds heat and fluid to the stamping process, produces better-formed parts, meaning fewer imperfections, greater strength and improved reliability.

"I am very enthusiastic about the research at Michigan State University and am pleased to work with the mechanical engineering department," says Metalist President and CEO Ed Reeser. "Building the 250-ton press is just one step in what I hope will be an ongoing relationship where my company can bring the fruits of cutting-edge research into the manufacturing marketplace."

The relationship between Metalist and MSU began when the Capital Area Manufacturing Council sponsored tours of the engineering research labs at the university last fall. The tours were designed to build partnerships between the university and local manufacturers.

Read the entire article here.


MSU Offers Only Program Addressing Predicted Railroad Executive Shortage

Michigan State University (MSU) is taking a preemptive approach to a predicted future railroad executive shortages. MSU’s new Certificate Program in Railway will train students in every aspect of railway operation.

According to excerpts from the article:

While some U.S. universities offer degrees in railroad engineering, or courses relating to specific areas of railroad operations, MSU has the only comprehensive educational program in the nation for railway executives, according to program and industry officials.

Dennis Gilstad, chairperson and CEO of Fenton-based FCM Rail, said the goal is eventually to broaden MSU’s program and offer master’s and possibly bachelor’s degrees.

“There’s not a program like this in the Western Hemisphere,” Gilstad said. “Our intent is for MSU to become the railway education and research center of the world.”

Gilstad donated more than $1 million to help establish the Edward A. Burkhardt Chair in Railway Management at MSU. The chair is named for Edward A. Burkhardt, president and CEO of Rail World Inc. and Rail World Holdings LLC, and a leader in railway management for nearly 50 years.

A search is under way for the Burkhardt chair; that person will serve as the curriculum leader of the Railway and Transportation Studies Program at MSU.

Due primarily to the growth of the railroad industry and the aging of its executives, the industry is expected to hire 80,000 people over the six-year period ending in 2012, according to the Association of American Railroads in Washington, D.C.

Read the entire article here.


Lansing-Made Cadillac Models Shine at Detroit Auto Show

Two Cadillac models, both of which would be produced in Lansing and could be rolled out as early as 2009, awed attendees of the Detroit Auto Show this week.

According to excerpts from the article:

The world's largest automaker showed off the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V - the high performance version of the redesigned CTS sedan that will be made at the Lansing Grand River plant - at the North American International Auto Show. The rollout had been expected.

But GM surprised the gathering of world media with a concept vehicle also based on the entry-level luxury car. The sporty CTS coupe concept would be made at Lansing Grand River, alongside the CTS, SRX crossover and STS sedan.

Also on display was the Cadillac Provoq, a fuel cell concept vehicle that will serve as the basis for the product that replaces the SRX, Cadillac General Manager Jim Taylor said.

An SRX replacement is expected for the 2010 model year. The Provoq made its debut last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The CTS-V is the only one of the trio that is certain to go into production. Workers will start building it in September, and it is expected to hit dealer lots later in the fourth quarter.

Read the entire article here.


Innovators Converge on East Lansing for Mid-Michigan Entrepreneur Day

Entrepreneurs from around the state took a trip to East Lansing last week to present their ideas to investors and other entrepreneurs during Mid-Michigan’s Entrepreneur Day. The eight presenters included Pardalis, Rapid Biosense and Cerious Technologies.

According to excerpts from the article:

"We're constantly looking for investment, but it's also for other kinds of contacts," said John Cunningham, chief executive officer of Lansing-based startup Rapid BioSense, which is working to produce a new type of test to quickly and inexpensively detect bacteria.

"We find these forums extremely valuable as a way to build our network of people."

Economic development officials say making those kinds of connections are integral to building a regional economy based on entrepreneurship and innovation.

That's why the Prima Civitas Foundation, with support from the Flint-based C.S. Mott Foundation, plans to spend $45,000 over the next few months to help bring inventors, entrepreneurs and investors together across a 13-county region, in communities such as Saginaw, Flint and Lansing.

"I'm quite energized at what I'm seeing around the region," said David Hollister, president and CEO of the Lansing-based nonprofit economic development organization.

Tuesday's event was the third Entrepreneur Day for Prima Civitas in the Lansing area. Hollister said the organization hopes to hold similar events about every other month in cooperation with other area economic development groups and educational institutions. He said the idea is to help create a better climate for small business startups by linking entrepreneurs with coaches, investors and each other.

Read the entire article here.


Investment in Eaton Rapids Enables Expansion and New Jobs

A $52,040 Community Development Block Grant from the federal government combined with a $13,010 donation from the City of Eaton Rapids will secure electrical upgrades enabling a local manufacturer add 25 workers and a 10,000-square-foot expansion to its facility.

According to experts from the article:

An electrical upgrade for the city's southern industrial park will allow a local manufacturer to nearly double its work force.

Precision Prototype and Manufacturing Inc., which makes specialized metal and composite parts for the military, aerospace, furniture and other industries, expects to hire 25 workers as a result of a 10,000-square-foot expansion to its facility at 500 Marlin Ave.

The plant, now at 20,000 square feet, employs 27, including 10 hired in the last three months, President Ron Taylor said Monday.The work will create a backup power source and allow Precision to expand its heavy metal fabrication.

"If the electricity goes down, I lose $5,000 an hour," Taylor said. "This makes it easier for us to add the building and the equipment."

Precision is buying $4 million in new equipment.

In all, the company is making a $5.3 million investment, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Workers at the plant make an average of about $12 per hour, with some workers making up to $17 per hour, Taylor said.

Read the entire article here.


Spartan Chassis Lands $52 Million Contract

Charlotte-based Spartan Chassis Inc. has received an additional $52 million contract to build chassis components for armored military vehicles, tripling its military contracts over last year. The contract is part of the military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) program, building vehicles with a V-shaped chassis more resistant to attack.

According to excerpts from the article:

Spartan Chassis Inc. has received a $52 million subcontract from Force Protection Inc. to supply and integrate chassis components for the Cougar armored military vehicle.

Spartan, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Spartan Motors Inc., so far this year has received subcontracts for $317 million related to the MRAP program, more than triple its military contracts in all of 2006.

Spartan this month opened a new production facility for its military work.

The specialty chassis and vehicle maker spent $8 million to buy and renovate two buildings in Charlotte with a combined 80,000 square feet of space. The expansion added 100 jobs.

"Spartan is once again primed to leverage our specialty chassis expertise, along with our increased production capacity, to assist Force Protection in providing high-survivability vehicles to our troops," Spartan Chassis President Richard Schalter said in a statement.

Read the full article here.


Talent Going For Systems Software Jobs


The state's high-tech talent pool is looking for jobs in innovative, software companies that offer good paying systems software positions.…read more.
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