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Innovation & Job News

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Broadsword Solutions hits 30 percent growth, hires more staff

Broadsword Solutions scored some big wins in 2014, setting the stage for the Waterford-based firm to consolidate a lot of those gains this year.

The technology consulting company grew its revenue by 30 percent in 2014. That enabled it to hire two more people, including a senior consultant and a director of strategic solutions. It is still looking to hire another senior consultant. The 10-year-old firm currently employs 10 people.

"Last year was our biggest year ever," says Jeff Dalton, president of Broadsword Solutions. "We have grown into new states. We're currently in 12 states now."

Broadsword Solutions got its start providing tech consulting to local automotive and manufacturing industries. It has transitioned to doing more work with the federal government. It spent much of last year doing work with the likes of NASA and the U.S. General Accounting Office.

"Now we are focusing on the clients we have, and make what we do with them even better," Dalton says.

Source: Jeff Dalton, president of Broadsword Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

IPS Technology Services adds 5 new staffers, looks to hire 3 more

Revenue increases have become par for the course for IPS Technology Services since its launch in 2009.

Back then the Troy-based tech firm had revenues in the five figures. Those have risen sharply each year since. Revenues crossed into six figures within three years and into seven figures within four years.
"Now the challenge is to maintain it," says Pradip Sengupta, president of IPS Technology Services.

IPS Technology Services works primarily in technology spaces, such as software, IT and staffing. It has made significant gains in sending new employees to other companies in the IT and engineering fields. That has allowed the company to hire five people over the last year in IT, business analysts, and software development. It currently has a staff of 30 employees and is looking to hire three more in software development right now.

"We try to hire the best," Sengupta says.

Sengupta credits the company's rise to its ability to deliver on its services and please its customers. He expects that philosophy to carry the company's growth trajection this year.

"We would love to cross the $2 million mark," Sengupta says. "Our goal is $2.5 million. We want to hit $20 million in 2020."

Source: Pradip Sengupta, president of IPS Technology Services
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

GM will build Chevrolet Bolt at small-car plant north of Detroit


The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept unveiled by General Motors last month at the Detroit auto show will reportedly not be just a concept much longer. 

Citing two anonymous supplier sources, Reuters reports that GM plans to begin production of the vehicle - or at least an electric vehicle akin to it - in October 2016 at GM's Orion Township plant where it currently assembles the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano. 

Read more.

OUWB receives full accreditation from the LCME

Founding Dean Robert Folberg, M.D., was notified that the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has been granted full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

This five-year accreditation fulfills a promise Oakland University and Beaumont Health System leaders made six years ago to build an innovative new medical school in Oakland County committed to providing exceptional training for new physicians.

"We are grateful to many people from Oakland and Beaumont and to our faculty, staff and students for having the vision and drive to reach today's announcement of full accreditation," said Dr. Folberg.

The LCME, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association, is the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to a medical degree in the United States and Canada.

"Medical education has been a part of Beaumont's mission throughout its 60-year history and is a commitment that is shared by Oakwood and Botsford, our partners in the new Beaumont Health," says Gene Michalski, president and CEO, Beaumont Health. "We congratulate Dean Folberg, his staff and the OUWB faculty, including 1,405 Beaumont physician faculty members, for attaining this important milestone for our medical school."

"We couldn't be more delighted by today's LCME news of full accreditation," added Oakland University President George W. Hynd. "We are proud of the work done by Dr. Folberg and his team, including our partners at Beaumont. We know our medical students will appreciate this validation that their medical education is rated among the very best in the country."

OUWB is now preparing for the school's first residency Match Day on March 20, when students will learn where they will attend their residency programs. The school will graduate its inaugural class of 47 students on May 15. 

Interviews are currently under way for its fifth class where 125 students will be accepted into the new class from more than 6,100 applicants.

OUWB now joins allopathic, M.D.-granting, medical schools in Michigan at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University with full accreditation.

About Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is a collaborative, diverse, inclusive, and technologically advanced learning community, dedicated to enabling students to become skillful, ethical, and compassionate physicians, inquisitive scientists who are invested in the scholarship of discovery, and dynamic and effective medical educators.

About Beaumont Health
Beaumont Health is a not-for-profit organization formed by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide high quality, efficient, accessible services in a caring environment for Southeastern Michigan residents and beyond. It consists of eight hospitals with 3,337 beds, 153 outpatient sites, 5,000 physicians, more than 33,000 employees and about 3,500 volunteers. In 2013, the combined organizations had 168,047 inpatient admissions, 15,997 births and 492,677 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumonthealth.org.

Birmingham inventor's grip-on sunglasses begins retailer rollout


Birmingham’s Nancy Oram’s innovative idea to keep sunglasses or reading glasses from falling off your head or getting lost, will be hitting the shelves of select stores and boutiques nationwide later this month.

Read more.

Metro Detroit on par with Silicon Valley in tech jobs


The southeast Michigan region is on par with famed Silicon Valley when it comes to jobs and employers working in the tech industry, according to a report released Thursday by Anderson Economic Group.

Read more.

Reliance One hires 15 as it expands across Midwest

Reliance One has become a staple in the staffing business in Michigan over its 16 years.

The Auburn Hills-based company is now working toward expanding that reputation, opening a new office in Chicago this winter.

"We have clients in that market and clients we currently have locally have offices in Chicago," says Jim Beath, co-founder & chairman of Reliance One. "We need to continue that relationship with our clients."

The company has grown significantly over the last few years, notching a double-digit revenue gain in 2014. It’s on pace to do it again this year. That growth has allowed the company to hire 15 people over the last year, including recruiters, administrative, and back office support staff. It now has a staff of 65 employees and an intern. It is also looking to hire four more recruiters and promote more people internally.

"We added a lot of great people that have learned a lot about our company and our industry," Beath says.

Source: Jim Beath, co-founder & chairman of Reliance One
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

App firm jacapps adds voice-recognition technology to arsenal

Bingham Farm-based jacapps recently signed a deal to partner XAPPmedia to bring new voice recognition technology to its line of mobile apps.

Radio stations have been leveraging jacapps mobile apps for years, giving the company enough credibility to expand its client base into other industries, such as automotive. XAPPmedia provides an interactive audio advertising service, utilizing voice recognition technology. That way people listening to an ad on the radio can respond to a cue on the advertisement to make an order with just their voice. No buttons needed.

"We think this is a huge leap forward," says Bob Kernen, COO of jacapps. "You can see how it can be a big driver with ads."

The 6-year-old company also recently launched a new product platform that allows it to streamline the creation of its apps.

"It allows us to work in a much more efficient way," Kernen says. "We don't need to build each app from scratch. We can configure them to our clients needs."

Which has allowed the company to grow its revenue by 20 percent over the last year. That in turn has prompted jacapps to hire two people (software developers), rounding its staff out to 10 employees and an intern.

"We have had really strong revenue growth over the last few years," Kernen says.

Source: Bob Kernen, COO of jacapps
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Clicktivated Video turns watching videos into revenue events

Chris Roebuck started a company out of frustration while trying to relax. The founder & CEO of Clicktivated Video wanted more when he was watching a video on a small, mobile screen, so his Metro Detroit-based company is tackling it.

"There was no way of satisfying the urge to dive deeper into the online video while you’re watching it," Roebuck says.

Clicktivated Video, which has offices in Birmingham and downtown Detroit, has developed a software platform that allows viewers to click on items in a video. The click creates a small bookmark that allows the viewer to make an online purchase or find out more information on it. The company's team of six people is still working on enhancing the technology.

The 1-year-old startup launched its service midway through las year. It has signed on a couple of mid-sized players in video, such as the Home Shopping Networking.

"We are starting to work with a few major networks," Roebuck says.

Source: Chris Roebuck, founder & CEO of Clicktivated Video and Ben Hatala, director of operations for Clicktivated Video
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Battery maker leases former GM space in Pontiac, bringing more than 300 jobs


An advanced battery technology company is moving to a former General Motors facility on Pontiac’s Centerpoint Campus, bringing more than 300 manufacturing jobs to the city.

Energy Power Systems announced that it has leased 150,000 square feet of space from California-based Industrial Realty Group, which purchased 154 acres of former General Motors property near South Boulevard and Opdyke Road in December.

Read more.

February business workshops offered by the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center

Business owners and entrepreneurs who need assistance are encouraged to attend seminars offered by the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center. Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

CEED® Small Business Loan Orientation
Feb. 11, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Many small business owners face obstacles when trying to obtain a business loan. If your business is in Oakland County and you need alternative financing, consider the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED) Small Business Loan Program (formerly CEED MicroLoan program). Discover the requirements and process necessary to apply and obtain a CEED small business loan.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

Starting a Business
Feb. 12, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. It will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company, as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products/services. Start-up costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with necessary steps to getting started.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion
Feb.18, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Thinking of starting a business and want to research your business idea? Do you want to identify market trends and opportunities to grow your sales? Are you looking for new customers or to diversify your market base? Business Research shows you ways to find your ideal customers, your competitors, perform competitive analysis and more.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required. 

Government Contracting 101
Feb. 19, 9 a.m. – noon
Find out what it takes to sell your goods and services to the federal government and the state of Michigan. What makes a successful government contractor? What services and resources are available to a small business pursuing the government market? If your company is considering government contracting, this seminar will give you the insight you need. Management and key players who will support and facilitate government contracting within your company should attend. Presented by Alexander Masters, PTAC of Schoolcraft College
Fee: $45 per person

Team SBA Financing Roundtable
Feb. 26, 9 a.m. – noon
What’s the secret to getting a business loan? Attend this free Financing Roundtable and find out how banks look at your application, what you can do to improve your chances for a loan, and how SBA loan guarantee programs can help you get the financing you need. This session is best suited to those who have good credit, a solid business idea and some money to invest in their business. NOTE: Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for resale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtables.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required

Upcoming Workshop Calendar

March 2015
05: Get a Grip on Your Business
10: Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion 11: CEED Small Business Loan Orientation
12: Starting a Business
12: Break the Rules, Close More Sales
17: Capital Raise
25: WBE Certification Orientation
26: Introduction to QuickBooks
31: Legal Business Basics

April 2015
08: CEED Small Business Loan Orientation
08: Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion 09: Starting a Business
30: Create Your Marketing Plan 

Assets International sharpens focus to expand company

Assets International isn’t just about doing more work. The Southfield-based firm is about taking on the most profitable work it can do.

"We're just a little bit more picky about the work we’re doing," says Michael Zwick, president of Assets International. "Let's be a leaner, stronger company."

The 14-year-old company got its start helping regular people find and claim property that rightly belongs to them, such as inheritances. It has recently expanded into the oil-and-gas industry, helping property owners capture idle royalties from oil drilling and exploration. Assets International has only been doing that for a few years but today that line of work now makes up 25 percent of its bottom line, and that percentage is growing.

"There is a lot of money that is sitting there waiting for people to claim it," Zwick says.

Assets International currently employs 17 people. It has hired two people (a paralegal and office administrator) over the last year. That staff is also working to help create more revenue streams, such as helping corporations find money owed to them and create efficiencies in their workplace.

Source: Michael Zwick, president of Assets International
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

McClary Bros. delivers on new taste for craft vinegar

Vinegar is much more than the standard base of garden-variety salad dressings, or even balsamic. Here's an artisan maker that's using fruits and vegetables to craft gourmet, drinkable vinegars, soon to be found in stores around the country.


"While craft beers and spirits are gaining much of the buzz, craft cocktails are also seeing a rise in consumer interest. With bars like  Sugar House  and  Punch Bowl Social  in Detroit and The Oakland in Ferndale wowing their customers with craft cocktails, there is also a DIY movement for those looking to change up their at-home imbibing. 

That’s where  McClary Bros.  drinking vinegars come in.

Farmington-based McClary Bros. uses locally grown fruits and vegetables to create drinking/culinary vinegars. These vinegars are not like the ones you use to clean out the coffeepot. These are considered “colonial-era drink mixers” in that these recipes are formulated using unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with added natural ingredients...

A semifinalist in the 2014 Comerica Hatch Detroit  business competition, McClary Bros. expects to have distribution for its infused vinegars in 13 or 14 states soon, thanks to word-of-mouth among high-end retailers operating in several states."

More here.

BorgWarner sees growth in industry change


A walk across the auto show floor means one thing to BorgWarner Inc. CEO James Verrier: opportunity.

The Auburn Hills-based maker of engine, transmission and driveline systems boasts components in roughly 70 percent of the 750 cars and trucks on display at this week's North American International Auto Show.

Read more.


Continued growth drives expansion and hiring at Chase Plastics

Chase Plasticsa leading stocking distributor of more than 6,400 specialty, engineering and commodity thermoplastics, grew its total revenue to $217 million in 2014, a nine percent year-over-year increase, and is on pace to exceed $260 million by 2016. This growth is fueled in part by the company’s continued expansion in Canada, where Chase Plastics increased year-over-year revenue by 21 percent and its total customer base by more than 18 percent.
“As we continue to expand our capabilities and sales presence across North and Central America, we’re committed to continuing to elevate the ‘outrageous’ levels of customer and technical service that have gotten us to where we are today,” said Alan Arduini, vice president, sales, Chase Plastics. “We take a lot of pride in the fact that we’re growing with our customers in emerging markets — particularly in the automotive segment — and we look forward to continued shared success in 2015 and beyond.”
Since January 2013, Chase has hired four technically skilled sales professionals to serve processors across the United States and Mexico and has bolstered its administrative support team with the addition of six new hires.
“From the day a processor chooses us as its distribution partner, it receives the support of dedicated account teams — comprising sales, customer service, credit, engineering and supply chain management professionals — with the skills and expertise to meet its needs and help its business become more efficient,” said Kevin Chase, president, Chase Plastics. “We put tremendous effort into attracting and retaining high-quality professionals to help our customers reach their business goals, and our company’s growth is validation that customers, especially those in emerging markets such as Canada and Mexico, are responding positively to the brand of ‘outrageous’ service we provide.”
Chase Plastics currently employs 100 plastics professionals, serves more than 2,700 customers and is trending to exceed its goal of doubling total revenue between 2013 and 2020.
Strong increases in business in Ontario (12 percent) and Quebec (67 percent) contributed to Chase Plastics’ nine percent revenue growth between 2013 and 2014. The company recently hired a bilingual customer service representative to provide additional support for French-speaking customers served by the company’s bilingual sales team in Ontario and Quebec. Sales revenue in Ontario is expected to rise by 25 percent in 2015, while Quebec sales revenue is expected to rise by an additional 65 percent. 
Chase Plastics recently signed a distribution agreement with DSM Engineering Plastics, which enables the company to distribute additional high-quality, cost-effective materials to Mexican processors serving the automotive and electronics industries, as well as general industries. Additionally, Chase recently added bilingual sales support and assigned one of its technical service and application development engineers to the sales team serving the region, further elevating the level of service it provides customers in this fast-growing market.
Chase Plastics is a stocking distributor of more than 6,400 varieties of specialty, engineering and commodity thermoplastics from the industry’s leading manufacturers and global suppliers. In addition, Chase delivers engineering expertise, technical service, application development support, blending, repacking, inventory management and logistics services via a network of distribution centers, warehouses and sales locations throughout North and Central America.
Chase Plastics is Redefining Resin Distribution® with an approach to business that puts customer needs first. Formed in 1992, Chase Plastics has built its business on its ability to respond with the flexibility and urgency that plastic processors require. Based in Clarkston, Michigan, Chase Plastics was founded by Kevin and Carole Chase, who serve as the company’s president and vice president, respectively. Find more information at ChasePlastics.com.
1013 Articles | Page: | Show All
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