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Eberspaecher expands locally, to add 100 jobs in Brighton

A global exhaust system company is making a big investment in Michigan, to the tune of $122 million.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The first phase of expansion will begin in Brighton, Michigan, where the company will nearly triple the size of its current 110,000 sq. ft. plant. A minimum of 100 jobs will be added to support the manufacture of exhaust systems and catalytic converters for commercial vehicles in the short term. The search for additional manufacturing capabilities in Michigan is underway and further expansion is anticipated."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Lyons Consulting Group adds 19 to Ann Arbor office

Lyons Consulting Group is well on its way of meeting its goal of creating new jobs one year into the expansion of its office in Ann Arbor.

The Chicago-based firm specializes in digital marketing and its Ann Arbor office focuses on e-commerce.  Last year it announced that it wanted to create 30 jobs at the office as part of a $1.1 million investment. Today Lyons Consulting Group employs 19 people in Ann Arbor, up from just five a year ago.

"We have been able to hire a core group of people and build around them," says Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group. He adds, "That office is scheduled to be at 24 people by the end of the year."

The Michigan Economic Development Corp struck a deal with Lyons Consulting Group last year, giving the company $300,000 in incentives in exchanges for the $1.1 million expansion. The Ann Arbor office now serves 40 customers from around the world.

Lyons Consulting Group choose Ann Arbor in part because of its deep talent pool. It has hired a number of recent graduates from the University of Michigan and other local universities, while also working with the state of Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK to fill out its staff.

"The state of Michigan has been very helpful for us getting set up there," Alesi says. "Ann Arbor SPARK has also been very helpful."

Source: Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

McClure's Pickles fills out production space with new sales

McClure's Pickles had more than enough elbow room in its new production facility on the Detroit/Hamtramck border two years ago. Today the slow-food business can barely squeeze its operations into the place.

"We have it filled," says Joe McClure, co-owner of McClure’s Pickles, who adds that the firm is looking to add an auxiliary warehouse within the next year or two. "It's filled to the gills. The whole warehouse and production areas are jam packed."

It makes sense. The 7-year-old pickle company has grown its revenue an average of 30 percent over the last few years. It’s aiming to hit 50 percent revenue growth in 2014. The firm hired a new production person over the last year, expanding its staff to 22 people.

One reason behind the growth is the company's distribution footprint. McClure's Pickles expanded into the Denver metro market and a few new markets in Ohio over the last year. It's also adding to its production portfolio, bringing in a sweet-and-spicy pickle and more potato chip flavors. McClure’s Pickles is also aiming to become licensed to sell its own alcoholic drinks (a combination of its blood mary mix and a high-end alcohol) by the end of this summer.

"We're going to start with a white whiskey," McClure says. "We want to be a little bit different."

Source: Joe McClure, co-owner of McClure's Pickles
Writer: Jon Zemke

U-M researchers develop Entrain mobile app to reduce jet lag

A professor and graduate student at the University of Michigan, both mathematicians, have launched a mobile app focused on minimizing the effects of jet lag.

Entrain helps its travelers leverage shortcuts to getting their internal clocks on pace with their new time zones quickly and efficiently. The app is named for entrainment, which is the scientific term for synchronizing circadian rhythms with the outside hour. Entrain’s technology is based on new findings by U-M Matt Professor Daniel Forger and former U-M undergraduate student Kirill Serkh. Olivia Walch, a PhD student at U-M, created the mobile app, which launched last week.

"I took the results from the research paper and put it into app form," Walch says.

Forger and Serkh’s research focused on the impact of light on the average person. They identify it as the strongest signal to regulate circadian rhythms. Short disruptions to light exposure from things like jet lag can cause fatigue and lowered performance. Entrain provides shortcuts to eliminating these symptoms by providing custom schedules of light and darkness, boiling down to one block of time each day when the user should seek the brightest light possible and another when you should put yourself in the dark, or at least in dim light.

"Some of the schedules are pretty easy to follow," Walch says.

And the app has proved popular so far. "We have already had 50,000 downloads," Walch says.

Source: Olivia Walch, co-founder of Entrain
Writer: Jon Zemke

State earmarks $6.6M to seed tech startups

The state plans to invest a whole lot of simoleans in up and coming tech firms, seeding Michigan's entrepreneurial ground with promising startups.
 
Excerpt:
 
"As with the state’s first Pre-Seed Fund, which is fully invested and managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, the money for the fund announced today has been allocated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Paula Sorrell, the MEDC’s vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, will take a seat on Invest Michigan’s board along with Martin Dober, a former MEDC exec and current vice president of business development at Invest Detroit; Mark Bennett, an attorney and serial entrepreneur; Marianne Fey, an advertising executive, entrepreneur, and angel investor; and David Gregorka, a partner with Baird Capital in Ann Arbor and advisor on technology transfer to state universities."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Corrigan Moving Systems looks to hire 200 people this spring

Career opportunities at Corrigan Moving Systems will abound this spring as the moving firm begins to go on a hiring spree.

The Farmington Hills-based company is hiring 200 people this spring to help with the moving season this summer and fall. Most of the hires are for laborers and drivers who work on a part-time basis. Think college students or young people fresh out of high school.

"Every summer we hire a lot of part-time people," says David Corrigan, president of Corrigan Moving Systems. "That's what we’re doing again this summer."

Those part-time positions are often just summer jobs for young people. However, Corrigan says about 10 percent of those people who take the summer jobs parlay those into full-time gigs for the moving company. In years past that meant about a dozen jobs, but the company's recent growth spurt means there are even more opportunities for advancement this year.

"Our business has been growing so we need more than we used to," Corrigan says. "We only needed 100-110 a year ago. This year we need every one of 200 people."

For information on the new positions, click here or email a resume to jobs@corriganmoving.com.  

Source: David Corrigan, president of Corrigan Moving Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Esperion Therapeutics moves growing staff back to Ann Arbor

Esperion Therapeutics is moving its headquarters back to Ann Arbor, taking space in the Valley Ranch Business Park on the city’s south side.

Esperion Therapeutics relaunched out of Ann Arbor six years ago when Roger Newton and a group of investors bought it back from Pfizer. They moved the company to the Michigan Life Sciences Innovation Center in Plymouth a few years ago before bringing the company’s headquarters back to its roots in Ann Arbor this week.

"We're keeping our labs out there (in Plymouth)," says Tim Mayleben, CEO of Esperion Therapeutics. "We have added approximately 8,000 square feet in Ann Arbor."

Newton made his name in pharmaceuticals by co-discovering Lipitor at Pfizer before he went on to co-found Esperion Therapeutics, which was acquired by Pfizer. Esperion Therapeutics is now working on a new drug, ETC-1002, for patients with hypercholesterolemia and other cardiometabolic risk factors. ETC-1002 is a small-molecule metabolic regulator of imbalances in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and inflammation. It is being developed to address the underlying causes of metabolic diseases and reduce multiple risk factors associated with them.

ETC-1002 completed a Phase 2a program which consisted of seven clinical trials for the drug last year. It is currently conducting a Phase 2b program of two clinical trials for the drug and is set to begin a Phase 3 program launch in 2015.

"We're in the middle of this large Phase 2b program, which totals approximately 500 patients across the country," Mayleben says.

Esperion Therapeutics has raised $110 million in seed capital over the last year to push its commercialization efforts forward. The firm raised $80 million in an IPO and another $30 million in mezzanine financing.

"We have money to take us through next year and into 2016," Mayleben says.

Esperion Therapeutics has hired 10 people in the last year and is looking to hire a clinical researcher right now. The staff currently stands at 18 employees and 10 independent contractors.

"We're really taking advantage of the wealth of talent and expertise here, especially after Pfizer closed (its Ann Arbor office)," Mayleben says.

Source: Tim Mayleben, CEO of Esperion Therapeutics
Writer: Jon Zemke

Lawrence Tech receives $697K grant for entrepreneurial project studio

The Kern Family Foundation is giving nearly $700,000 to Lawrence Technological University as part of an effort to make the university’s curriculum more entrepreneurial in nature.

"We want to transform the educational experience of our students," says Maria Vaz, provost at Lawrence Technological University. "We want our students to have an entrepreneurial mindset."

The Kern Family Foundation is giving Lawrence Tech a $697,000 grant over three years, which is the final in a phase of $2.4 million worth of giving from the Wisconsin-based foundation that started in 2003. The grant is focused on incorporating the entrepreneurial mindset into undergraduate engineering education at Lawrence Tech.

For instance, the grant helped infuse entrepreneurial aspects into 50 courses throughout the college. It also helped to establish a freshman studio for engineering students that is project-based and focused on creating an enterprising attitude in students. The latest installment of the grant will help create a sophomore version of that studio.

"We want to institutionalize even more of the changes we made to the curriculum," Vaz says.

Source: Maria Vaz, provost at Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Jon Zemke

Northville's Gentherm acquires Global Thermoelectric

Gentherm has acquired Global Thermoelectric in a deal to bring new technology to the Northville-based firm’s portfolio.

Gentherm, which develops thermal management technologies, was interested in Global Thermoelectric's industrial thermoelectric generator systems, specifically their remote power generation. Global Thermoelectric, which is based in Calgary, makes systems that can operate in remote industrial areas.

"We like that concept very much," says Daniel Coker, president & CEO of Gentherm. "We're experts in thermal electrics."

Gentherm has hired 30 people in the last year, expanding its headquarters and research-and-development facility in Northville to 150 employees. It has plans to add more soon.

"We're trying to hire more people as we speak," Coker says. "We hired three people last week."

Gentherm grew its revenue by 19.2 percent last year and 10 percent two years ago. The 23-year-old business expects a double-digit revenue increase this year.

"Our goal is to grow 10-15 percent a year, and we achieve our goals," Coker says.

Source: Daniel Coker, president & CEO of Gentherm
Writer: Jon Zemke

City Commons CSA gains footing with growing membership

A group of six young people got jobs working in urban agriculture for the Greening of Detroit via the Americorps program a few years ago. Today that group has launched the first CSA (community supported agriculture) in Detroit and turned their urban farms and City Commons CSA into their jobs.

"We were all interested in agriculture," says Minehaha Forman, co-founder of City Commons CSA. "We all had backgrounds in agriculture. We thought if we compiled our land and our resources we could make more money. If we did a CSA model we would have more time to farm."

Community supported agriculture, also known as community shared agriculture, programs are a confederation of local farmers who support each other by assuming the risks and benefits of combined food production. City Commons CSA consists of Buffalo Street Farm, Singing Tree Garden, Food Field, Vinewood Knoll, Farnsworth, and Fields of Plenty.

City Commons CSA has added a new farm and co-owner in the last year, growing its team to seven people. It also expanded the number of shareholders who buy produce from the CSA to about 50 full members.

"Last year we made more money than we ever had," Forman says. "Some of us are focused on expanding our farms and some of us are focused on growing the CSA."

Source: Minehaha Forman, co-founder of City Commons CSA
Writer: Jon Zemke

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology adding 100 jobs in Brighton

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology plans to hire hundreds of people in Metro Detroit, starting with a 100-person expansion of its Brighton facility.

"They're being hired right now," says Doug Swick, president of Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology. "We're well into the hiring phase."

The Novi-based company has filled a majority of those 100 new positions in Brighton. It has also hired 125 people at its Novi facility in the last two months. The global Tier 1 automotive manufacturer is sinking $122 million into expanding its Metro Detroit operations. The investment is expected to create 545 jobs over the next five years.

The company specializes in the development and manufacturing of exhaust systems. It is currently working to expand its Brighton operations, tripling the square footage to 110,000, as part of an expansion brokered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp and Ann Arbor SPARK.

"It will be a one-stop shop for commercial vehicle exhaust design," Swick says.

Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology is also evaluating potential locations for a new manufacturing facility in Michigan. Swick expects his firm to make that determination within the next 60-90 days.

"We are also looking at consolidating two facilities into one facility in Michigan," Swick says.

Source: Doug Swick, president of Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology
Writer: Jon Zemke

Enlighten hires 10 as it expands marketing work

Last year Enlighten started to make the transition from digital marketing to developing software. That change is still ongoing but the Ann Arbor-based business finds itself succeeding in both worlds.

"The focus has been a little bit more on developing software platforms," says Steve Glauberman, CEO of Enlighten. "But our work is still marketing based."

Enlighten is growing its revenue at an average rate of 20 percent a year. The 30-year-old company has hired 10 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 85 employees and five interns. The new hires include professionals specializing in interactive design, software development, project management, and IT infrastructure. It's also looking for five more people now in strategy, account management, engineering and IT architecture.

Enlighten has released two photo-oriented software products in 2012 , WhatWasThere.com and YearlyMe.com, along with OffersNow last year. OffersNow is a coupon and marketing software program aimed at helping small businesses.

"It's going well," Glauberman says. "We're still slowly introducing it into a few test markets. The reception has been great so far."

He adds that Enlighten's digital marketing work is moving toward catering to people who communicate on multiple devices. Think people who use laptops, tablets and smart phones.

"There is a lot of strategic work based around how to connect with these people," Glauberman says.

Source: Steve Glauberman, CEO of Enlighten
Writer: Jon Zemke

Giffels Webster helps communities obtain $3.5M in grant funds

Giffels Webster may have moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit a few years ago, but the civil engineering firm isn’t leaving the rest of Metro Detroit behind.

The 62-year-old firm has helped three suburban communities in Metro Detroit score $3.5 million in grants from the state of Michigan over the last year. Those grants include $2 million for the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District to complete a wastewater asset management plan, $994,410 for Washington Township to a create a wastewater assessment management plan, and $515,700 for Lyon Township to design the township’s wastewater treatment plant expansion.

"That $3.5 million is more than what we normally get for communities in a year," says Jason Mayer, senior project manager at Giffels Webster.

Giffels Webster employs 69 people, including 22 in its Macomb office and 18 in its Birmingham office. The remainder are in the company's headquarters in downtown Detroit. The firm has hired 18 people over the last year, with a dozen of them working in the offices in Macomb and Oakland counties.

Source: Jason Mayer, senior project manager at Giffels Webster
Writer: Jon Zemke

Cambridge Consulting Group launches healthcare exchange, adds 10 jobs

The bureaucracy that has come with the Affordable Healthcare Act has sent a lot of entrepreneurs scrambling to adapt. Cambridge Consulting Group is growing by running to these businesses with an answer.

The Troy-based company is launching its own healthcare exchange, Cambridge Exchange Solutions, that offers a defined contribution model. It enables the user to set an overall budget for benefits and employees.

"It creates a nice solution for a lot of groups that were thinking of getting out of offered benefits plans," says Cam Kennedy, partner & CFO of Cambridge Consulting Group.

The 29-year-old business offers insurance and financial consulting services, ranging from employee benefits to risk management to wealth strategies. It started to move toward offering the exchange as part of its services when it saw the market shift after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Cambridge Consulting Group has hired 10 people over the last year, mainly analysts and consultants. It now has a staff of 60 employees and five interns. It also has three open positions for analysts and a client services representative.

Source: Cam Kennedy, partner & CFO of Cambridge Consulting Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Wolverine Venture Fund scores win with Silverpop exit

The Wolverine Venture Fund, an investment vehicle run by students at the University of Michigan, is celebrating a win now that it has recorded its fourth profitable exit with the IBM's acquisition of Silverpop.

Silverpop is a software company offering marketing automation and real-time personalization technology services. The Wolverine Venture Fund invested $200,000 in 2000. The size of the return hasn’t been released yet besides the managing director of the fund saying the exit "makes us very happy."

"What's nice about this one is that it's a company that was founded during the Dot Com boom," says Erik Gordon, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund. "Very few of these companies were standing three years later. This is one of the few Dot Com companies that was able to survive and pivot a few times."

The Wolverine Venture Fund got its start in 1997 with $2 million donated by supports of U-M’s business school. It has since grown to $6.5 million, recording four successful exits. The fund specializes in making early round investments in startups of around $100,000 to $200,000. The fund currently has about a dozen active portfolio companies.

The students who run the Wolverine Venture Fund number about 25 each year. About a dozen students sign up for a two-year stint of managing the fund each year. Most of those students are MBA students at the Ross School of Business but a few others are often graduate students in science and technology fields of the university.

"It's a huge commitment," Gordon says. "You come in and do it for two years, including through the summer. This is a real deep dive. They become real venture capitalists."

Some of the Wolverine Venture Fund’s recent alumni include Jake Cohen, a partner with Detroit Venture Partners, along with Michael Godwin and Jason Townsend, co-founders of Resonant Venture Partners.

"That's the fund's real accomplishment," Gordon says. "We are training our students to get up and make it happen."

Source: Erik Gordon, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business
Writer: Jon Zemke
2463 Articles | Page: | Show All
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