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Core3 Solutions adds 7 employees, looks to hire 5 more

Core3 Solutions is starting to find its fingers in a few more pies this year, but the digital marketing/IT company is accomplishing this by sticking to its knitting.

"We stick to our core focus," says Paul Chambers, CEO of Core3 Solutions. "There is digital marketing and managed IT. We stick to those two areas."

The Troy-based company recently announced a partnership with the Metro Detroit-based Custom Sock Shop to launch Random Socks, a sock-delivery service. Random Socks will ship random selected pairs of socks to its subscribers each month. The new venture prides itself on the randomness and affordability of the monthly service.

Core3 Solutions became a part of Random Socks by exchanging part of the cost of its services for a stake in the new venture. So the firm's focus on digital marketing and managed IT remains the same, but has led it to some new business opportunities.

"Our client base has continued to expand," Chambers says. "It's why we have added staff."

The 17-year-old business is also rebranding itself in a way. It has rebranded its IT division as Detroit IT and is gearing up to rebrand its digital marketing division. The company has hired seven people in the last year, including new positions in digital marketing and IT. It is also looking to hire another five people now. Its staff currently stands at 15 employees and an intern.

Source: Paul Chambers, CEO of Core3 Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Orion Test Systems hires 6 as it expands globally

Orion Test Systems crossed a major milestone in the last year. The 10-year-old automotive testing company watched its revenue spike 25 percent over the last year, hitting a new plateau.

"We went from $8 million to $10 million," says Bob Rogers, account manager for Orion Test Systems.

The Auburn Hills-based company specializes in advanced engineering services. Specifically, it does life test and end-of-line test systems for electronic and mechatronic devices for customers in a wide range of industries, but a majority of its work is in the automotive sector.

Driving a large part of Orion Test Systems's new growth is its global expansion, finding new clients in Europe and Asia. The company now has 75 employees, 15 of which are based abroad. The firm has also hired six people for its executive team and also for account management, design, and electrical engineering. It also has a couple of job openings now.

"We're going to continue to grow this business," Rogers says. "We want to become a global leader in test equipment."

Source: Bob Rogers, account manager for Orion Test Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

The Whole Brain Group moves to bigger office in Ann Arbor

The Whole Brain Group found a new home in Ann Arbor this summer.

The digital marketing firm moved from Tree Town's downtown to a new office near Briarwood Mall in May. The new space measures out to just under 5,000 square feet, which is double the size of its previous office.

"We were sitting on top of each other," says Marisa Smith, head brainiac at the The Whole Brain Group. "People were doing desk sharing or working from home. Our creative director was moving here from California so we needed a place to put everyone."

The 12-year-old company started off building websites and evolved into a full-service digital marketing firm. Among its offerings are consulting on inbound marketing and sales lead generation. Many of its new customers are gazelle firms that are growing fast. Smith has noticed they are looking for a more comprehensive help when they contract with The Whole Brain Group.

"I saw that these business owners not only needed marketing advice but business advice," Smith says. "We wanted to offer both things so we could be a one-stop shop."

And it's worked out for The Whole Brain Group so far. It's revenue is up 40 percent, allowing it to cross the $1 million threshold over the last year. It has also hired four people, expanding its staff to 13 employees.

Source: Marisa Smith, head brainiac at the The Whole Brain Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

New executive team positions Tegrit for growth in IT, software

There is a new leadership team in charge of Tegrit, and the company has its eyes set on some significant growth.

The Livonia-based firm had made a name for itself in software, specifically from software/IT services for the pension industry. Some of its marquee clients include the Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan, and the pension fund for Fresno County in California.

"We built ourselves up from $8 million from almost exclusively pension software," says Jeff Adair, COO of Tegrit.

Adair is part of a new trio of executives that has taken the reigns of the company this summer. He and Christian Curtis (the CTO) have worked at Tegrit for several years in leadership positions. They helped bring in Timothy McClure as the new CEO. He comes in with 10 new hires over the last year, all in IT positions. The firm now has a staff of 50 employees and four interns.

The new leadership team is aiming to grow the company's current tech focus. The firm is looking to expand its focus to other IT and software sectors to help diversify its customer base and grow its bottom line.

"We're looking to get a beachhead in new markets," Adair says. "Our objective is to become known as more than just pension software."

Source: Jeff Adair, COO of Tegrit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Moncur branding agency opens new offices in Miami, Austin

Moncur is rebranding and expanding its presence across the U.S.

The Southfield-based branding agency has been known as Moncur Associates for its 22 years until it dropped the latter part of its name this month. Moncur is also opening satellite offices in Miami and Austin.

"There is a lot of stability that comes with geographic expansion and a lot of growth opportunity," says David Moncur, principal of Moncur. "By my estimation Austin is the next Silicon Valley."

Moncur handles the digital and social media branding for the likes of Lear, Layne, Discovery Channel, the University of Michigan, Art Van, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. It’s revenue is up 50 percent over the last year and the company is on track to do it again.

The company has hired six people over the last year, primarily in creative and technical positions. Moncur currently has a staff of 27 employees and one intern. It also has four open positions for technical and creative staffers, including a director of digital marketing.

Moncur is looking to keep going by focusing on customers in the Metro Detroit, Miami and Austin markets over the next year. However, Moncur expects most of the growth to take place at its Southfield headquarters.

"That has never happened to us in our company’s history," Moncur says. "It's an exciting ride."

Source: David Moncur, principal of Moncur
Writer: Jon Zemke

Relium relishes opportunity to stay boutique in software scene

Not every new economy entrepreneur has the desire to build the next software giant. Some, like Eric Shapiro, just want to keep programing cool technology.

The president of Relium has been writing code since the 1980s and launched the Ann Arbor-based software firm in 1987. For most of its life the company has just been Shapiro and an independent contractor or two. In the last few years he added a handful of employees but doesn’t see his company’s staff getting bigger than that.

"I'm a tech guy," Shapiro says. "I'm a programmer. When we scale up to five or so (employees) I become a manager instead of a programmer. I don't like that as much."

So Relium's staff stays at a handful of people. Last year it was five employees. Today it’s three. Maybe next year it will be four. Maybe. Whatever the number Shapirio's team is focused on keeping the company’s current client list happy and its custom software projects done on time.

"I'm vary wary of becoming the pointy-haired boss making technical decision that I don't understand well," Shapiro says. "I would miss being the guys who understands it all."

That means keeping up with the technology curve, which is practically a full-time job itself. But it's what Shapiro and his team like doing. They are currently working on the latest iteration of Weather Underground’s mobile app. To them that is more fun working on something a lot of people will see compared to making something from scratch that will have to fight with a lot of competition for visibility.

"It's just fun that everyone can use our app because it's a free app," Shapiro says.

Source: Eric Shapiro, president of Relium
Writer Jon Zemke

826michigan expands Detroit presence with new hires

826michigan is sinking its roots deeper into Detroit, hiring more staff and expanding its presence in the state's largest city.

The Ann Arbor-based nonprofit supports K-12 students with creative and expository writing skills and helps teachers inspire their students to write. The organization started expanding into Detroit last year, helping connect volunteers, teachers, and students to create a more literate population of young people.

"We have a significant and growing student and volunteer population in Detroit," says Amanda Uhle, executive director of 826michigan.

826michigan currently employs 10 people and has hired four new staffers over the last year. It recently hired two new people to help augment its expanded programming and fundraising in Detroit.

"We are really growing at an accelerated pace," Uhle says.

About three people work in Detroit at any one time for 826michigan. She hopes to expand that by another two people over the next year, which should help 826michigan meet the demand for its services.

"The demand and desire for our programs is much greater than the supply," Uhle says.

Source: Amanda Uhle, executive director of 826michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke

Husband-and-wife team launches urban design firm, City Form Detroit

About a year ago, James Fidler left his job at a downtown Detroit-based architecture firm to launch his own urban design company, City Form Detroit. This summer, his wife is joining the growing business.

"It was time for us to have new challenges and pursue some projects we are interested in," says Virginia Stanard, co-principal of City Form Detroit. "The timing was just right."

Stanard worked as the director of urban design at the University of Detroit Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center until this month. Now she is leaving that post to join Fidler, her husband, as co-principal of City Form Detroit. The downtown Detroit-based company specializes in providing urban design services, such as strategic planning and design guidelines, among others.

City Form Detroit's early projects include design and implementation work on Grand Circus Park. Stanard, Fidler, and their one employee are working on other similar projects in both downtown and out in the Detroit’s neighborhoods.

"We want to continue to contribute to the growth of greater downtown and the neighborhoods," Stanard says. "We want to make the city a better place to live and play."

Source: Virginia Stanard, co-principal of City Form Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

SA+A Architects takes on more design work, expands client base

SA+A Architects, which is short for Stephen Auger + Associates Architects, worked its way through the lean times of the Great Recession and is now starting to reap the benefits of the recovery.

The Lake Orion-based architecture firm has hired two people over the last few weeks, including a project architect and an industrial designer. The 19-year-old company has a staff of a dozen employees and two summer interns handling a growing amount of work.

"We landed some big projects," says Steve Auger, president of SA+A Architects. "We struggled through the downturn like everyone else. We had some nice projects on the bench, and a couple of those came alive."

A lot of the new work is coming from faith-based organizations, specifically churches. SA+A Architects projects include an expansion of the Clarkston United Methodist Church and the building of a new mega church in Cincinnati called Rivers Crossing Community Church.

"That's converting a movie theater to a 1,500-seat church," Auger says.

SA+A Architects also got the green light from Oakland County to serve as one of its preferred contractors for architecture work. The approval puts the firm on the short list for architecture firms to do work on designing schools and other government buildings.

"We just won a blanket contract with Oakland County," Auger says. "We want to do some more government work. We want to be more diversified."

Source: Steve Auger, president of SA+A Architects
Writer: Jon Zemke

Dalton & Tomich creates new home in downtown Detroit

In recent years, lots of companies have scored easy headlines when they announce that they are moving to downtown Detroit. Dalton & Tomich is one of companies that made the move first and worried about making headlines later, if at all.

The 4-year-old practice, which specializes in business law, moved from Bloomfield Hills to downtown Detroit a year ago. The fledgling firm moved its five employees, four of which are attorneys, into the Chrysler House to be closer to its clientele.

"We were spending part of every day in downtown Detroit (before making the move)," says Daniel Dalton, founding member of Dalton & Tomich.

The firm hasn't looked back. It has hired one replacement worker since making the move and grown its workload. The firm has also established itself as an authority in RLUIPA law, which protects religious entities from discrimination in land use.

"We're at that point where we are really busy here," Dalton says.

That is part of the reason Dalton & Tomich made the move. One of the firm's other motivations to move downtown was to play a role in the city’s rebirth.

"It's just a great city," Dalton says. "There are a lot of opportunities, and it's a fun place to be. You can tell from the lack of parking and how it can be hard to find a place to get lunch."

Source: Daniel Dalton, founding member of Dalton & Tomich
Writer: Jon Zemke

HookLogic looking to hire 25 in downtown Ann Arbor

Walk into the Ann Arbor office of HookLogic and chances are you'll see a lot of people. Walk in there a short time later and chances are you will see even more people.

The tech firm has been steadily hiring since it moved into the old Leopold Brothers Brewery on South Main Street two years ago. The company currently has 55 of its 125 employees in Ann Arbor. It also hosted another 10 summer interns earlier this year. Those numbers are expected to grow over the next year.

"We're in the middle of hiring," says Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic. "We're adding about 35 people worldwide."

Most of those new hires are destined for Ann Arbor. The company has hired 10 people (mostly software professionals) over the last year and it looking to hire another 25 in Ann Arbor right now. When those positions are full the company will have filled out a majority of its space in the Ann Arbor office, but still have a significant amount of room to grow into.

"Ann Arbor continues to be our primary technology product office," Opdyke says. "It has just grown since we opened it."
 
HookLogic specializes in paid product listings on commerce sites. It partners with large retailers, online travel agencies, and automotive companies to give marketers direct access to bottom-of-funnel shoppers, as well as a clear view into resulting sales attribution. It works with a number of big companies, including Expedia and Target, along with a number of automotive companies. Opdyke sums up his company’s goal for future growth in one word.

"Bigger," Opdyke says. "We're doing a lot to grow our relationships. We work with a lot of auto manufacturers like Chrysler. We want to grow those relationships."

Source: Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic
Writer Jon Zemke

Craft beer store featuring taps to open in Cass Corridor

A specialty beer store is opening in Detroit's former Chinatown area. 8° Plato Beer Company Detroit will be the second location for the craft and import beer store. Co-owners Tim Costello and Brigid Beaubien are leasing the storefront at 3409 Cass Ave., the former site of Showcase Collectibles, an antique and curio shop.

Costello began to learn about craft beer during the 25 years he spent touring the country as a full-time stand-up comic, sampling the many small breweries throughout the United States. After spending some time working for Comcast, 8° Plato was set in motion after Costello was 'liberated,' as he puts it, from his job at the cable company. Vowing to never go back to the corporate world, Costello and wife and business partner Beaubien opened their first store in Ferndale in 2011.

Costello says that the focus of the Detroit store will be the same as their Ferndale location. Rather than having the biggest stock in town, the point is to have a well-curated selection that doesn't linger on the shelves. It's a quality over quantity approach that emphasizes freshness. Local cheeses, meats, and chocolates will also be available.

"The coolest part is the building's historical significance," says Costello. "We're not going to make radical changes. We'll take out the drywall to expose the brick but maintain the terrazzo tile floor and tin ceilings."

New for the company will be the addition of beer taps. Growlers, tap takeovers, and beer classes will be available. The taps also allow customers to enjoy a freshly poured beer while shopping for more beer. Costello's not looking to have a bar vibe, though, and he says they'll have similar hours to the Ferndale location, which closes by 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the night.

8° Plato Beer Company Detroit hopes for a late Noevember 2014 opening.

Source: Tim Costello, co-owner of 8° Plato Beer Company Detroit
Writer: MJ Galbraith

DFCU Financial breaks ground on Plymouth branch

DFCU Financial, Michigan's largest credit union, is opening a new branch in Plymouth.

Ground was broken in late August on a 4,583-square-foot facility that will open in the first quarter of 2015 at Ann Arbor Road and Main Street.

The branch will be the 25th for the credit union that formed in 1950, started by seven Ford Motor Co. engineering employees. President and CEO Mark Shobe says the Plymouth location will serve more than 4,000 families.

The branch, which will sit on about one acre of land, will have two drive-through teller lanes, a drive up ATM and full services inside.

DFCU currently has branches in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Source: Peggy Richard, spokesperson, DFCU Financial
Writer: Kim North Shine


EXO Dynamics gears up to test back-brace prototypes

EXO Dynamics is in the process of finishing the first commercially viable prototypes of its mechatronic back brace and begin testing on its first subjects this fall.

The Ann Arbor-based startup, it calls the Venture Accelerator in the University of Michigan's North Campus Research Complex, received a $50,000 state grant to create four commercially viably prototypes. EXO Dynamics is at the end of that process.

"We will have that finished by next month," says Mushir Khwaja, chief commercial officers of EXO Dynamics. "We will do the final assembly here to put some finishing touches on it."

EXO Dynamics and its team of four employees and one summer intern is developing an electro-mechanical back brace for medical professionals. The brace will be able to be worn by physicians under their lead vests in operating rooms.

"We will field test them with physicians in the fall," Khwaja says.

EXO Dynamics has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, which means the startup expects to receive its patent for the back brace later this fall. The company also recently took second in the New Business Idea category of the Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest business plan competition.

Khwaja plans to begin fundraising a seed capital round for EXO Dynamics later this year while field testing is going on. The company hopes to raise about $1 million in seed capital to commercialize its technology.

Source: Mushir Khwaja, chief commercial officers of EXO Dynamics
Writer Jon Zemke

Kraemer Design Group creates 10 jobs as Detroit work grows

Kraemer Design Group is returning to its core business over the last year by taking on more renovation design work in downtown Detroit.

"We have half a dozen projects in Capitol Park alone that we are working on," says Bob Kraemer, principal of Kraemer Design Group.

Among those projects are the rehabs of the Detroit Savings & Bank Building and the Farwell Building.

The 17-year-old architecture firm has made it mark doing design work for a number of high-profile renovations in downtown Detroit, such as the Broderick Tower and The Lofts at Merchant Row. The downtown Detroit-based firm took a hit during the recession and construction practically ground to a halt, forcing it to take on more out-of-state work in the hospitality industry, including designing hotels.

Kraemer Design Group has rebounded with the economy and taken on an increasing share of work in the Motor City’s center. Among its more recent projects are the David Whitney Building overlooking Grand Circus Park and The Auburn in Midtown.

"We definitely see ourselves incredibly busy for the next couple of years," Kraemer says.

The increase in conctracts has allowed Kraemer Design Group to grow its staff. The firm has hired six people over the last year, expanding its staff to 28 employees and two summer interns. It is also looking to hire four more design professionals right now.

Source: Bob Kraemer, principal of Kraemer Design Group
Writer: Jon Zemke
2923 Articles | Page: | Show All
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