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Golf year-round at new downtown Birmingham business

Golf pro Bob Krause has turned a downtown Birmingham office space into a year-round place to learn and practice golf.

4-Seasons Golf, a members-only club inside Suite 21U inside the shorter of the two buildings at 555 South Old Woodward, is outfitted with two indoor golf simulators and three practice bays, one of which will be used for private lessons.

The business is in soft-opening mode after an open house last week that welcomed prospective members.

"We've had great feedback and we're signing up members now. We want to take our time so we can give members the best service possible," says Stephanie Krause, Bob's wife and acting general manager.

"It's a very unique business model," she says. "There's nothing else like it here."

The company's market is all golfers, especially those who can't go south to play during the winter and those who want something other than public golf domes and sports bar simulators to practice in the off-season.

"Golf is an important game to play all year long if you want to keep up your game," says Krause.

The 4,000-square-foot facility was renovated to give it a country club feel, including a pro shop, lockers, changing area, liquor lockers, and other amenities for members. Members can entertain guests for an additional fee or can play against fellow members on the simulators, which are in comfortably furnished rooms and offer a choice of 30 courses.

The practice bays are connected to a software that analyzes every ball hit into nets covering the ceilings.

Private lessons for members and non-members are available, and the entire space can be rented for special events and parties.

Source: Stephanie Krause, acting general manager, 4-Seasons Golf
Writer: Kim North Shine

Detroit area developer stoked to do condo for car buffs


This winter's snow and ice can't melt fast enough for Brad Oleshansky, Birmingham car buff and founder of the planned 87-acre M1 Concourse off Woodward Avenue in Pontiac.

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Automation Alley receives a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has received a multi-million dollar in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software to be used in hands-on training of individuals enrolled in classes at the Automation Alley Technology Center. The grant includes licenses of NX™ software, Solid Edge® software, Teamcenter® software and the Tecnomatix® portfolio — the same commercial software used to develop some of the world’s most sophisticated and innovative products. Trainees will learn how to use this software to design, test and manufacture products in a variety of industries. 

Located inside OU INC — a Smart Zone business accelerator on the campus of Oakland University — the Automation Alley Technology Center opened in February 2014 to address the need in Southeast Michigan for affordable training of local employees, students and individuals in product lifecycle management (PLM) technologies and processes. PLM is a set of software technologies and processes used to manage and execute every phase of a product’s development, delivery and service throughout its lifecycle, from conception and design, through manufacture, to customer support and disposal. In the fall of 2014, the center expanded its offerings to allow for the inclusion of additional technology resources and partnerships.

“I would like to thank Siemens PLM Software for their generous grant to the Automation Alley Technology Center. This software will allow us to equip the local workforce with the skills necessary to compete in today’s highly digital manufacturing environment,” said Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center. “Siemens is a valued partner in our mission to help make small and medium-size businesses become more competitive and keep manufacturing here in Southeast Michigan.”

“Siemens PLM Software is a proud supporter of Automation Alley and their efforts to provide local companies with access to new and emerging technologies,” said Gerald Deren, executive director of business development and consulting for Siemens PLM Software. “We believe the software we are providing, coupled with the efforts of Automation Alley and its partners, will help manufacturers optimize their digital enterprises and realize innovation.”

The Automation Technology Center is located on the campus of Oakland University at OU INC, off Adams Road, south of Walton Boulevard. 

For more information about available training, contact Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Technology Center, at 248-648-4701 or violassia@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper. 

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. 

Automation Alley provides a variety of exclusive benefits to its members to help them succeed, including networking opportunities, meeting space and public relations tools. Automation Alley also serves the general business community in five key areas: entrepreneurial services, talent development, international business services, emerging technologies and defense and manufacturing.

Automation Alley collaborates with regional partners to provide its members and clients with the best business resources available, to drive local economic growth, and to positively influence the stories being told around the globe about the people and businesses of Greater Detroit.

For more information, visit automationalley.com.

Speak-easy-style Rochester Tap Room opens this week; here's a look inside


After five months of preparation, Rochester Tap Room celebrated its grand opening Thursday.

As Crain's first reported last month, the Rochester Hills speak-easy-style restaurant will feature 60 craft beers on tap —more than any bar in Oakland County, according to its owners. The drink menu will also feature specialty wines and cocktails. It will be a full-service restaurant open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday brunch will also be offered.

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Beaumont breaks ground on $40M proton beam center in Royal Oak


Beaumont has broken ground on a $40 million single-room proton therapy center at its Royal Oak campus. When Beaumont completes its proton center in the spring of 2017, the two-story, 25,200-square-foot facility will be located next to its cancer center in the southeast section of the Royal Oak campus.

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Lotus Bancorp, Inc. shareholders approve merger with Level One Bancorp, Inc.

On February 17, 2015, the shareholders of Lotus Bancorp, Inc. (Lotus) approved the merger of Lotus into Level One Bancorp, Inc. (Level One). This transaction will create one of the largest, locally owned independent community banks in Oakland County. The announcement was made by Neal J. Searle, President and CEO of Lotus and Patrick J. Fehring, President and CEO of Level One.
The merger, which will include the consolidation of Lotus’ subsidiary bank Lotus Bank into Level One’s subsidiary bank, Level One Bank, closed February 28. The transaction received approval by federal and state regulatory authorities.  Upon closing, the two institutions will have combined assets of approximately $820 million, including nine banking centers in Southeast Michigan. 
“We greatly appreciate the confidence the shareholders have placed in Level One and look forward to welcoming Lotus clients to our Bank,” said Fehring.  “This acquisition allows us to continue our commitment to local community banking while providing new office locations and resources – including residential mortgage, Treasury Management and investment services – to their clients.”
“Our shareholders have demonstrated full support of this partnership,” said Searle.  “Joining forces with Level One will provide more opportunities and the infrastructure and resources necessary to continue to be competitive for our clients and communities.  Level One’s team and Board members have been exceptional to work with, a clear illustration of what the future holds for the combined organization.”
Founded in 2007, Level One has completed two prior acquisitions in the past five years, including Michigan Heritage Bank in 2009 and Paramount Bank in 2010.  Advisors for the latest acquisition to Level One include the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. For Lotus, Austin Associates, LLC served as financial advisors with Howard and Howard providing legal counsel.
About Level One Bank                  
Level One Bank is a full-service, 5-Star BauerFinancial rated commercial and consumer bank committed to connecting with unparalleled service and delivering outstanding financial solutions.  Owned and managed locally, Level One Bank is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan with assets of approximately $715 million.  It currently operates seven full-service banking centers, located throughout Oakland County and the surrounding communities. Level One Bank’s Commercial Division provides a complete menu of products including lines of credit, term loans, leases, commercial mortgages, SBA loans, Export-Import Financing and a full suite of Treasury Management services.  The Consumer Division offers personal savings and checking accounts, including free checking and competitive interest-bearing accounts such as Money Markets, IRAs, and CDs.  The bank also provides a complete array of consumer loan products including residential mortgages, home equity, auto, and credit card services.  Level One Bank offers the sophistication of a big bank, the heart of a community bank, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. For more information, please visit www.levelonebank.com.
About Lotus Bank
Established in 2007, Lotus Bank was founded by Indian-American business and medical industry leaders from southeast Michigan. Lotus Bank is a State chartered full service commercial bank headquartered in Novi, Michigan providing a broad range of commercial and consumer banking services to small and medium sized businesses, professionals and individuals including no-fee checking accounts, money market accounts, CDs, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and construction loans. Operating branch offices in Novi and Farmington Hills, Lotus Bank is one of the most well capitalized banks in Michigan. In 2013, Lotus Bank was ranked number 14 by the American Bankers Association (ABA) in its list of Top 100 community banks in the U.S. in its “Banks and Thrifts Under $100 Million” category. For more information, please visit www.lotusbank.com.

Three breweries, bars to open in Metro Detroit, Atwater plans expansion


Three breweries and bars are set to open in metro Detroit within the next few months, starting with HopCat Ann Arbor on Saturday, followed by the Rochester Tap Room in March and a yet-to-be-named Clarkston bar and restaurant in June.

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Lyon gets its own CrossFit, workout zealots find a home

Grand Trunk CrossFit is now open in New Hudson, a 5,500-square-foot facility that appeals to the zealous CrossFit crowd. 


It’s billed as a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport incorporating high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman and other exercises.

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Clinton River watershed gets $20 million over 3 years


About $20 million is expected over the next three years for 11 projects through the Clinton River watershed in southeastern Michigan.

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Diamond Jim Brady's celebrates 60 years


After 60 years of great food, service and memories, 2015 marks a momentous anniversary at Diamond Jim Brady's in Novi.

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Cardiologist, successful chef and author behind GreenSpace Cafe in Ferndale

Construction and hiring are underway for a downtown Ferndale restaurant that plans to offer a menu that pleases the palate without hindering good health.

GreenSpace Cafe is expected to open in March at 215 W. 9 Mile Road.

The cafe is the brainchild of restaurateur Daniel Kahn, cardiologist and heart health author, Dr. Joel Kahn. George Vutetakis, chef, healthy eating author and former proprietor of the long successful Inn Season vegetarian restaurant in Royal Oak is developing the menu, which will be plant based and oil free. He is known as the Vegetarian Guy and is director of product research and development at Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet. Dr. Kahn is a vegan and author of books about the benefits and implementation of plant-based eating.

The 1,700-square-foot restaurant will seat about 60 inside and about 40 on an expanded patio. The renovations are transforming the space that was Maria's Fine Italian Dining into a relaxed, rustic style eatery in the heart of downtown.

Daniel Kahn hopes not only to attract vegetarians and vegans who don't limited quality options for dining out in metro Detroit as well as meat eaters who may be looking to improve the way they eat and discover a plant-based diet does not equal deprivation.

Source: Daniel Kahn, owner, GreenSpace Cafe
Writer: Kim North Shine

New partnership offers connected vehicle technology credentialing program

SAE International, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA), and Mobile Comply have formed a partnership to jointly develop and deliver a three-course training and credentialing program in connected vehicle technology.

The program is aimed at IT professionals, software engineers, automotive engineers, information and vehicle technicians, insurance and telecommunications professionals, transportation staff, and service professionals who desire understanding of Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, and Vehicle-to-X connectivity inclusive to the rapidly advancing field of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Connected Vehicles.

Using a blended learning approach, the first course in the series, Connected Vehicle Professional I - Function, Protocols, and Architecture, will be offered in conjunction with SAE’s World Congress in April. Access to online course content will open April 13, followed by two half-day classroom sessions on April 20, 21 at the Penobscot building in Detroit. The class, totaling 26 hours of content, finishes with additional online learning modules and final learning assessment which concludes on April 29.

Learners who successfully complete the online learning assessment earn a Certificate of Competency, jointly awarded from SAE and CVTA. To learn more or register for the course, visit http://mobilecomply.com/sae-world-congress/.

The other two courses in the series include Connected Vehicle Professional II - Standards, Organizations, Programs, V2X and Connected Vehicle Professional III - Data, Markets, Policy and Regulations. All three courses combined total 100 hours of training.

Kevin Perry, Global Manager of SAE’s Professional Development program commented that, “This is an exciting opportunity for SAE to address the growing demand in automotive and allied industries to better understand connected vehicle technologies and the systems those technologies enable. Partnering with CVTA and Mobile Comply brings together a strong set of partners that can define training needs, deliver quality training, validate mastery of training content, and confer a powerful industry credential.”

CVTA Executive Director Scott McCormick explained that, “CVTA, SAE and Mobile Comply seek to provide a solid foundation of learning across the full connected vehicle ecosystem. Our goal is to provide a full understanding of the vision, purpose, uses, practices and implementations of vehicle communications so that the trainees may leverage this knowledge for their companies and projects. Business sectors typically outside of the automotive space will understand where the V2X environment is heading, and how to participate in that future.”

Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of Mobile Comply added, "With the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Connected Vehicle space in the next few years, and the growing participation of non-typical automotive industries such as insurance, IT, analytics and telecommunications, it become imperative to have a common frame of understanding, and a mechanism to establish competency in this field. Credentials are one important and universally recognized way to do this. With the structured and scalable training Mobile Comply can provide, the knowledge CVTA can impart, and the adjudication of that learning independently by SAE International we have a robust, consistent and multi-sector learning environment that is crucial for professionals entering into and working in this space."

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 137,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

Mobile Comply is an international leader in mobile training and curriculum development. Its training & certifications are recognized worldwide for excellence in mobile connectivity, mobile development, application security and connected vehicle curricula among others. Mobile Comply specializes in programs for mobile implementation, related policy and regulations and how to deploy mobile devices, applications, and proper security practices. We also partner with organizations to develop customized educational content and delivery strategies. Associates include writers, editors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and trainers.

The Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) is a non-profit business league established to facilitate the interaction, and advance the interests, of the entities involved in the vehicle communication environment. The Connected Vehicle Trade Association enables the collaboration of companies, organizations, and governmental bodies engaged in developing bidirectional vehicle communications. Membership is open to any corporation, public entities, standards and specification organizations, educational institutions and qualified individuals.



Rapid Global Business Solutions has new facility in Troy

The world headquarters of Rapid Global Business Solutions, Inc. (RGBSI), a global engineering services, staffing and software company, has moved to a newly completed facility at 1200 Stephenson Highway, Troy. 

The new facility was purchased by the company in 2013 and finished renovations in September 2014. It has approximately 25,000 square feet of space and can house over 110 employees. With expanded office space and conference rooms, employees and clients enjoy all new furnishings and state of the art technology. The building has been designed with collaborative areas to foster interaction and teamwork among employees.

RGBSI offers a range of engineering, human resources, and IT services to clients of all sizes around the world. The company will celebrate 18 years of business this year and is widely known for superior value and service. In addition to services, the company offers software products such as Empower QLM, a proprietary supply chain management software, and is a Dassault Systemes Commercial and Academic Business Partner.

The company has been recognized as one of America’s fastest growing private companies by Inc. magazine five times, and has received many awards on a national and local level recognizing its services and commitment to excellence. Most recently, RGBSI was named a Fast 50 Fastest Growing Private Company by Crain’s Detroit Business. 

For more information, visit: www.rgbsi.com or follow us on Twitter at @RGBSI or LinkedIn.

Southfield firm develops, releases new 3-D catalog technology


Southfield-based Onu headed to California last week to demonstrate its recently launched 3-D catalog technology to the medical manufacturing and sales community at a medical technology conference.

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New $4.9M OU athletic dome partners with private sports company


Oakland University’s students and sports teams aren’t the only ones benefiting from the school’s new 108,000-square-foot athletic dome.

As part of a public-private partnership, the $4.9 million facility will be leased to Total Sports Complex during off-hours, allowing the Wixom-based company to further expand its presence in Michigan.

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