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Free-spirited brothers launch vodka company


Michael and Adam Kazanowski found success in a bottle of spirits.

The 25-year-old twin brothers from Birmingham just launched their own vodka company called Gypsy Vodka. The vodka is produced at a distillery in Colorado and distributed in Michigan through Great Lakes Wine & Spirits. It’s already on the shelves at Kakos Market, Hills Fine Wine & Spirits and other locations in the Birmingham area.

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Baker College of Auburn Hills offers new welding programs in Pontiac

Baker College of Auburn Hills will launch two new welding programs beginning 2015 fall quarter. One is for a certificate; the other is for an associate degree. Classes begin Monday, Sept. 28.

Those interested are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as enrollment may be limited. Classes will be held in the welding lab of Oakland Schools in Pontiac.

The new programs are intended to help meet the needs of area employers, according to Peter W. Karsten, Ph.D., CPA, Baker College of Auburn Hills president.

“Though there is an increasing demand for trained welding specialists, employers are telling us they can’t fill current available positions,” he said. “The Baker College programs will provide training for those who have interest in becoming a welding engineer, welding inspector, structural ironworker, custom vehicle designer and metal art sculptor, among other welding professions.

“The basic skills of welding are the same across industries, so welders have a wide range of opportunities, and can easily shift from one type of work to another.”

The two welding programs are already offered at Baker College campuses located in Flint, Owosso, Cadillac and Cass City. Karsten believes that Baker’s established welding curriculum will provide superior training beginning on the first day of classes.
“Another ‘Baker benefit’ of having five campuses in the state offer the same programs is that if students need to relocate before completion of their program, they can easily transfer to another campus.”

Graduates will have acquired the skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level employment in the welding industry — skills such as oxyacetylene welding, cutting and brazing, shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding and destructive weld testing methods. The curriculum will meet or exceed the requirements set by the American Welding Society.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the 2014 mean annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers was $40,040.

For more information about the welding programs, contact Nicole Chirco in the Baker College of Auburn Hills admissions office at 248.340.0600 or nicole.chirco@baker.edu., or visit www.baker.edu. Financial assistance opportunities are available.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It serves more than 28,000 students on multiple campuses and online. Baker grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 150 programs across diverse academic fields, including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, education and human services. An impressive 97 percent of available graduates are employed. Every Baker graduate receives Lifetime Employment Assistance—free and forever. Baker is a pioneer in distance education and offers students the option of completing a degree 100 percent online, without ever visiting a campus. For information, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bakercollege.

Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak earns nine U.S. News & World Report 'Best Hospitals' national rankings

Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak earned national recognition by U.S. News & World Report in nine medical specialties in the “Best Hospital” rankings released today. The Royal Oak hospital ranked No. 2 in Michigan and in Metro Detroit in its 21st consecutive year of national recognition by U.S News.

Less than 3 percent of the nearly 5,000 hospitals analyzed for Best Hospitals 2015-16 earned a national ranking in even one specialty. This is the 26th year U.S. News & World Report has ranked hospitals.

Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak is nationally ranked in the following nine medical specialties for 2015-16:
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery - #22
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology - #17
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery - #18
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Geriatrics - #23
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Gynecology - #40
  • Nephrology (Kidney) - #37
  • Neurology &  Neurosurgery - #25
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Orthopedics - #16
    Top-ranked in Michigan
  • Pulmonology - #22
In addition, Beaumont - Royal Oak received a “high-performing” regional ranking in Urology. Beaumont Hospital - Troy earned “high-performing” regional rankings in eight medical specialties: Diabetes & Endocrinology; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery; Geriatrics; Nephrology; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; Pulmonology; and Urology. It is ranked No. 8 in Michigan and No. 5 in Metro Detroit.

Beaumont Hospital - Grosse Pointe earned “high-performing” regional rankings in Orthopedics and Pulmonology and is ranked No. 16 in Michigan and No. 9 in Metro Detroit.

Oakwood Hospital - Dearborn, now part of Beaumont Health, earned a “high performing” regional ranking in Nephrology and is ranked No. 23 in Michigan and No. 13 in Metro Detroit.

“This recognition reflects the ongoing work and dedication of the Beaumont team to constantly improve quality, safety and service for the benefit of the patients and families we serve,” says John Fox, president and CEO, Beaumont Health. “It also demonstrates our Board’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art technology and facilities for our team members to deliver the highest quality care.”

”We are proud to be part of an elite group of hospitals that have been nationally ranked by U.S. News for 21 consecutive years,”  says David Wood, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, Beaumont Health. “This is a credit to our medical leadership, our medical staff and to our nurses and other team members who are all focused on providing extraordinary, compassionate care every day.”

U.S. News evaluates hospitals in 16 adult specialties. In most specialties, it ranks the nation’s top 50 hospitals and recognizes other high-performing hospitals that provide care at nearly the level of their nationally ranked peers.

U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition, or added risk because of other health problems or age. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, the adequacy of nurse staffing levels and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.

The specialty rankings and data were produced for U.S. News by RTI International, a leading research organization based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Using the same data, and the new “Best Hospitals for Common Care” rating published in May, U.S. News produced the state and metro rankings.

The rankings are published at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will appear in print in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2016 guidebook, available in August.

About Beaumont Health

Beaumont Health is a not-for-profit organization formed by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide patients with the benefit of greater access to the highest quality, compassionate care, no matter where they live in Southeast Michigan. It consists of eight hospitals with 3,337 beds, 163 outpatient sites of care and about 5,000 physicians. Beaumont Health is Southeast Michigan’s largest health care employer with nearly 35,000 employees. In 2014, the combined organizations had 174,675 inpatient admissions, 16,213 births and 492,073 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumonthealth.org.

Computing Source launches full-service court reporting division

Computing Source, an all-in-one legal technology and support firm, announced the launch of the company’s new court reporting division, which will be incorporated into its existing video deposition service. Computing Source Managing Director and CEO Mark St. Peter made the announcement.

An important component of Computing Source’s presentation and trial services branch, the court reporting division provides attorneys on-demand, around-the-clock access to court reporters equipped with real-time tools allowing lawyers to review and annotate their depositions concurrently. Additionally, the added convenience of online scheduling and a secure repository will accommodate the fast-paced needs of the legal industry and allow clients to easily book a deposition and receive their transcripts quickly.  With the company’s video deposition services, they can also access the video portion on their computer or tablet via secure proprietary streaming software. The division will be led by Computing Source’s Director of Trial Services Erik Schwartz, and is rapidly recruiting and hiring qualified court reporters.

“Our mission from day one at Computing Source has been to build a seamless, sustainable and all-inclusive model that offers a solution for every single need an attorney will have at every step of their case’s lifecycle,” said St. Peter. “With the launch of our court reporting division, along with the opening of one of the Midwest’s largest secure data centers in our Madison Heights, Mich. headquarters, I am proud to say our “all-in-one, A to Z” vision is fully realized. With his extensive courtroom experience and presentation expertise, Erik is the perfect person to lead this division.”

Schwartz, who initially partnered with Computing Source as a trial presentation consultant before eventually joining the company and being promoted to his current role, is responsible for launching the court reporting division in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Chicago, as well as driving its day-to-day operations. Schwartz has more than 10 years of experience working in the litigation support field, is an NCRA credentialed trial presentation consultant, and holds a paralegal certification from Boston University. He has participated in more than 75 trials in over 25 courthouses across the country.

“The court reporting division has been in the works for a long time at Computing Source, and today, we are thrilled to announce that it is ready to go,” said Schwartz. “With the addition of this service, Computing Source is the only company in the Midwest region who gives our partners one number to call for every vendor need they will have during the lifecycle of their case.”

In addition to court reporting, Computing Source’s team offers an extensive variety of services for the Midwest legal community, including investigative and forensics, production and discovery, professional services and presentation and trial support. As a result of its commitment to building an “all-in-one” model, Computing Source has experienced incredible growth throughout the last two and a half years, including the hiring of more than 100 professionals, the opening of new offices in Chicago, Grand Rapids and now Indianapolis, the doubling of services, and the acquisitions of both Evidence Express, a demonstrative evidence and trial graphics firm, as well as MuniDeals, a company that supports the needs of municipal finance attorneys.

For more information, please visit Computing Source’s new website at www.computingsource.com.
About Computing Source:
Madison Heights, Mich.-based Computing Source is a trusted, all-in-one legal technology and support solution for law firms in the Midwest, with additional locations in Detroit, Birmingham, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Chicago and Indianapolis. The company specializes in everything a legal professional needs from file to trial, including electronic discovery, computer forensics, copy/scan/print services, expert testimony, trial technology services, demonstrative evidence and trial boards, paralegal on-call support, high-tech court reporting, fixed price meet and consulting, and more. CEO and Managing Director Mark St. Peter is a leading computer expert with more than three decades of experience, specializing in computer fraud, spoliation and more. For more information, please visit www.computingsource.com.

LTU's civil engineering program ranked fifth nationally

Lawrence Technological University’s civil engineering program is ranked fifth nationally among universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report survey of best colleges for 2016.
Ranked ahead of LTU for civil engineering are Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and Bucknell University.
In addition, for the second year in a row LTU is ranked in the top half, at 23rd nationwide, for all its undergraduate engineering degree programs.
“The strong performance of our engineering programs in this prestigious national survey reflects our ongoing commitment to enhance our engineering curricula,” said LTU President Virinder Moudgil. “It is gratifying that LTU’s efforts are being recognized.”
Enrollment in engineering programs at LTU has surged 22.7 percent this year, reflecting the increased demand in industry for highly educated professionals.
LTU has utilized a multi-year grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop curriculum modules designed to prepare engineering students to be problem-solvers who can take an entrepreneurial approach to the decision-making process in business. Problem-based learning and active and collaborative learning are two teaching concepts that help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
In the latest U.S. News annual survey of universities, LTU also remains ranked in the top half of the top tier of the 12-state Midwest Regional University category.
Once again Lawrence Tech has made the U.S. News’ Midwest Regional University list of “A-Plus Schools for B Students,” which the news magazine calls “great colleges for non-superstars” who have “a decent shot at being accepted and thriving; where spirit and hard work could make all the difference to admissions offices” and where a “broad and engaged student body” is sought. 
LTU is also on the U.S. News list of universities offering the best online college degree programs.

Welding robot now a sentinel at Southfield gateway


An Italian company hopes that one of the products it makes — a giant robotic arm — will become a symbolic landmark for Southfield, where the company has its North American headquarters, and help visitors see the Detroit suburb as a leader in automation and technology.

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Billhighway focuses on employee career development to fuel growth

Billhighway is a tech company that knows it can't just hire its way to a steeper growth curve. It has to look inside, too.

The Troy-based firm, which provides software for member-based associations and nonprofits, is hiring, but not with just an eye for putting bodies behind desks. It's looking to find people who can grow their careers along with the company.

"We focus on career development for our entire organization," says Brenda Gallick, director of team member services for Billhighway. "It's a tough market out there, and we want to be engaged."

Billhighway got its start in 1999, providing software that helped people divvy up expenses, such as dues or dinner costs. Today it specializes in cloud-based automation software for nonprofits and other similar organizations. That software platform integrates payment processing, banking, and accounting with existing systems and provides a transparent, holistic view of an organization’s finances so it can work more efficiently.

Over the years, Billhighway has added more and more staff, and it is consistently hiring people today. Gallick says that the company's team now numbers in the "high double digits" and is growing. Billhighway now utilizes an employee career development program with a goal of promoting from within. Often people who are hired as a member of the client care team end up working in other areas of the business. Over the last year, five people working in client care transitioned to other parts of the business after receiving technical training and other opportunities to grow their skill set.

"When we recruit people we look for people with skill sets who would fit in other areas," Gallick says.

Software developers have become a hot commodity in today’s economy, a reality Billhighway is acknowledging by hiring more young developers fresh out of college or a few years removed. The hope is as these employees grow professionally they will help grow the company in a number of ways.

"As we bring in new talent we provide them with training and opportunities to grow into other parts of the business," Gallick says. "We want them to bring fresh perspective and ideas."

Source: Brenda Gallick, director of team member services for Billhighway
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Export sales from Automation Alley trade missions reach $507 million

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced that the total amount of export sales made by local companies as a result of participation in Automation Alley trade missions is now more than $507 million. 

“This figure represents the hard work of our team and our past trade mission participants,” said Noel Nevshehir, Automation Alley’s director of international business services. 

“Our goal is to demystify the exporting process for small and medium-sized companies. We’ve experienced great success in that area to date, and we expect similar success in the years to come. With less than one percent of our nation’s 30 million businesses exporting, there is an enormous opportunity for local companies to grow by expanding their business abroad, ultimately leading to economic growth and job creation here in Southeast Michigan.”

As a result of the $507 million in export sales by local businesses, 2,817 American jobs have been created or supported. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2014, every $1 billion of U.S. exports supported nearly 5,800 jobs. 

Since its first trade mission in 2001, Automation Alley has led a total of 24 trade missions to regions around the world, including the Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.   To date, representatives from 170 local companies have participated in Automation Alley missions.
Upcoming trade mission destinations include:
  • Mexico: Sept. 20-25, 2015
  • Dubai Airshow: Nov. 6-13, 2015
  • Hannover Messe (Germany): April 25-29, 2016
  • Cuba: Fall 2016
Automation Alley staff handle all mission-related planning and details before, during and after the mission. All Automation Alley trade missions include five-star accommodations, internal transportation, matchmaking meetings, business briefings, welcome receptions and cultural tours. Trade mission prices are discounted for Automation Alley members.

Automation Alley works with organizations such as the U.S. Commercial Service and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to arrange in-country matchmaking meetings with potential business partners, buyers and end users of the participating companies’ products, services and technologies.  

A previous trade mission participant, Cheryl Goin of Vantage Plastics, had this to say about her experience: “This mission was so productive and stress-free. It was a wonderful luxury to just show up at the airport and put yourself in their capable hands! I also really appreciated the high quality of the meetings that were arranged for us in Mexico. We met decision makers with a high level of interest in our products.” 

Prior to each mission, Automation Alley holds country-specific workshops to inform interested companies about the challenges and opportunities of doing business abroad.

Automation Alley has twice been honored by the White House for its significant contribution to increasing American exports, first in 2008 with the “E” Award for Export Service and again in 2013 with the “E Star” Award for Export Service. The “E” Awards are the highest honor presented to exporters and the organizations that support them. 

Pontiac's Erebus haunted attraction hosts open casting call

Think you might have what it takes to scare with the best and work inside one of the most horrifying and largest haunted houses in the country? Erebus Haunted Attraction, the world renown haunted attraction located in downtown Pontiac, is hosting an open casting call to find and hire the area¹s scariest people for the 2015 season. Auditions will be held on Saturday, August 29th and Sunday, August 30th from Noon to 4 p.m. each day.
Auditions will take place at Erebus in downtown Pontiac, located at 18 South Perry Street. While it is not a requirement to dress up in your scariest garb for the audition, it is absolutely encouraged.
To audition and apply, you must:
  •       Be at least 18 years old to apply
  •       Have reliable transportation
  •       Be willing and able to stand for long periods of time
  •       Some jobs require more strength than others
For more information about Erebus Haunted Attraction or its open auditions, please visit www.HauntedPontiac.com or call 248-332-7884.
Erebus Haunted Attraction, previous Guinness Book of World Records holder for being the largest walk-through Haunted Attraction, opens its doors for the 2015 season (its 16th year) on Friday, September 18.
Erebus Haunted Attraction
Opened in 2000, Ed and Jim Terebus have built Erebus into a fear empire in downtown Pontiac. Named for the Greek god of primordial darkness, Erebus is a four-story playground of fear. With a staff working year-round, Erebus Haunted Attraction¹s engineers create designs to thrill all five senses every year.

How Internet of Things could drive Michigan's economy


Jay Adelson was born in Detroit, raised in Southfield, high school at Cranbrook, college at Boston University, became a serial Internet entrepreneur, CEO of Digg, and at age 37, appeared on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

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Report: Troy one of the best small cities to start a business


Nerwallet.com recently named Troy, Mich. the fourth best small U.S. city to start a business in.

The list looked at 463 cities with populations of 50,000 to 100,000 people.

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Gerry Weinberg & Associates consolidates growing staff into larger office

Gerry Weinberg & Associates is consolidating its home office in Southfield, going from two suites in the office building at 29201 Telegraph Rd. to one larger one.

"Now we are all in one suite," says Alana Nicol, president of Gerry Weinberg & Associates. "It's a much better layout for our offices."

Gerry Weinberg & Associates, a Sandler Training Business company, provides executive sales, management, and leadership training. The 22-year-old firm employs a staff of five an intern. It is looking to hire a sales associate right now.

The company moved to the larger office because it offered a better layout without making a major move to a new home. It was also a time to refresh its surroundings by investing in its home environment.

"We are positioned for growth over the next few years," Nicol says. "Sometimes you need to make investments like this to make it work."

The company hopes to add to its growth curve over the next few years, expanding its bottom line and adding staff.

"I would like to see us grow 15 percent over the next two years," Nicol says.

Source: Alana Nicol, president of Gerry Weinberg & Associates
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Triune Specialty Trailers grows through client diversity

Triune Speciality Trailers relied on a select number of clients for revenue during most of its first decade in business. More recently, the Madison Heights-based firm made a conscious effort to expand its clientele, which has resulted in it tripling in size over the last three years.
"We have a much more diverse client base that we used to have," says Harry Kurtz, president & CEO of Triune Specialty Trailers. "We also have a lot of business in Canada, which is exciting to us."

The 10-year-old company specializes in making state-of-the-art specialty trailers. It products now include designing and building trailers for mobile marketing, educational outreach, and custom trailers.

Triune Specialty Trailers' growth has allowed it to hire three people over the last year, expanding its staff to 15 employees and an intern. Its new hires include a couple of office administration workers and a welder.

"We would hire more if we could find more welders," Kurtz says.

One of Triune Specialty Trailers’ biggest successes over the last year is its Fab Lab mobile education and training vehicle. The Fab Lab is a mobile training classroom for training students in high-tech machining careers, such as computer numerical controlled programmers. Triune Specialty Trailers designed and created the Fab Lab for the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and North Central Michigan College to help create more skilled professionals to fill openings for skilled machinist positions.

"It's a big issue, especially in Michigan," Kurtz says.

Source: Harry Kurtz, president & CEO of Triune Specialty Trailers
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

More MSU medical students heading to Southfield


Michigan State University will expand one of its two medical schools to Southfield, teaming up with Providence-Providence Park Hospital to train up to 60 third- and fourth-year students each year, the school announced.

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Wixom's Kiekert AG to produce brake system for car doors


Kiekert AG, a global developer of vehicle locking systems with its U.S. headquarters in Wixom, plans to introduce an innovative brake system that will prevent car doors from bumping into parked cars, garage walls, or other obstacles.

Read more.
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