By Joseph Cabadas
March 29, 2012
That spirit of innovation is alive and well in the Great Lakes state.
To recognize the Michigan companies and individuals who are pushing the boundaries of science, technology - even in the digital world - Corp! magazine inaugurated the Business of Science and Technology Awards in 2010 and added a separate Digital Award category the following year. For the third annual “DiSciTech” awards, 20 companies were honored at a March 20, 2012, breakfast at the Michigan State University Management Education Center in Troy. On the Digital side, these award winning firms promote, improve or enhance enterprises. The leaders in Science and Technology have produced innovations or conducted research and applied science to improve life in general.
The Digital winners are: Consumers Energy, Dynamic Advisory Solutions, FamilyMint, Illuminating Concepts Inc., JacApps Inc., MosaicMedia, and Mymentalspace.com. The Digital category included firms that have conducted website design, digital marketing, search engine optimization, written blogs, hosted webinars and more.
The Science & Technology Award winners are: ArtJen Complexus USA LLC, Asterand, AzulStar, Beaumont Hospital System, Budco, BullsEye Telecom, Future Help Designs, GalaxE.Solutions, Genome Dynamics International LLC, Highway T, InfoReady Corp., Online Tech, and Phillips Service Industries (PSI). This category includes companies or educational organizations whose work has advanced sectors such as alternative energy, advanced electronic and controls, advanced manufacturing, software, life sciences, telecommunications and many more.
Michigan’s people traditionally are known for being innovative - being able to build products better, faster and smarter - that is the state’s competitive advantage, noted Sci-Tech honoree Dr. Joseph Artiss, co-founder of ArtJen Complexus USA, which markets a unique weight loss pill called Mirafit fbcx. Part of that has to do with America’s university educational system versus that of other countries.
“Not only do we have kids memorize facts, we show them how to apply those facts - to think about what they can do with the facts,” Artiss said. “That is a major development that leads to development and innovation. We have a simple choice, we either ignore science and technology developments and research and the last factory here closes.”
Science and technology is critical for the future of the state, agreed Ryan Hoyle, director of global recruiting for GalaxE.Solutions of Detroit. “Technology is rapidly turning over in the software development languages, industry trends, you name it. Michigan needs to capitalize on the opportunities and not be a one job shop.”
While it is important to see continued success in the automotive industry and to keep the state’s core of highly skilled engineers and science-related professionals, Michigan can be a hub for information technology such as mobile computer applications development and related customer services, Hoyle said.
GalaxE has created its “Outsource to Detroit” campaign in April 2010 bring work back to the United States.
“When you look at the big picture of turning downtown Detroit into an IT hub, I would be amiss if I did not mention the efforts of Compuware and Quicken Loans, who are across the street from us,” Hoyle added. “We share a vision to keep our top students in Detroit by making IT a very attractive career path to them and also working closely in the training efforts. We are collaborating with them in an initiative called ‘IT in the D’ where the companies are taking a lead role in doing the training instead of following the lead of the workforce agencies.”
The whole world is moving toward digital with the attention and information economy, noted Jeff Eusebio, CEO and co-founder of FamilyMint, a Digital award winner whose online tool teaches children the value of saving and investing money.
“There’s a lot of good content out there as far as financial education is concerned, but that content but doesn’t necessarily translate into behavior,” Eusebio said. “That’s where digital tools help.”
A synopsis of each award-winning organization follows.
One of the nation’s largest utilities providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.5 million people in Michigan, Consumers Energy changed how it interacts with customers by giving users a voice through social media networks. The utility has Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn accounts to engage people in conversations. Its company blog, “In Your Community,” also reaches out to the community. “Social media allows us to communicate more often with our customers and also gives us the opportunity to share a variety of information, ranging from energy efficiency tips and energy safety education programs to how employees are volunteering in the community,” said Jodie Burditt, a Consumers Energy social media analyst in a company press release. “People can begin to see Consumers Energy and its employees in a new light.” Consumers Energy’s Digital Care Team monitors and responds to social media posts about the company. On its social media sites, the utility posts advice on how to save energy and save money, safety tips about electricity and natural gas usage, along with power outage information and company updates while gauging customer reactions.
Dynamic Advisory Solutions
Dynamic Advisory Solutions’ (DAS) team of certified public accountants and former chief financial officers help clients achieve their profit and growth goals through financial and strategic integration, strategic planning and tax services. Analyzing its customers’ financial management needs, DAS professionals can supplement any business’ existing accounting staff. “We diagnose the current state of a business and develop a time and action plan to achieve customer objectives,” said DAS President and Founder Ren Carlton. DAS uses digital technology to present its clients’ financial information in a detailed and easy-to-understand way. Its new Web-based application streamlines this communication to deliver up-to-date metrics. “We help businesses understand their financial performance, meet reporting requirements, and make better business decisions,” Carlton added.
Many parents have struggled to teach their children the value of saving money. The concept of the parent acting as the banker and the child tracking inflows and outflows with a check register has been around for decades, but the idea of having it available on the Internet and accessible via a smart phone app is new thanks to the efforts of FamilyMint co-founders Jeff Eusebio, CEO, and Bob Masterson, president. “We think of FamilyMint as the modern replacement of the piggy bank (or online version of Quicken for kids) where the kids are in charge,” Eusebio said. “The reason (Masterson) and I created the company was we had children who were getting older-¦ and no matter how much we talked to them, it didn’t make a difference-¦ My oldest son’s money was burning a hole in his pocket.” Sometimes the only way to change a child’s behavior is for him or her to learn by experience. That’s the basis for the formation of the company that is aimed at teaching children ages 6-14 to figure out how to set goals for saving and investing a portion of their money. The FamilyMint, however, is not a financial institution; the parents act as the banker for their children. “We have a free online version where the child can do such things as record deposits, set up goals, transfer money around (but) it’s not directly linked to any banking account,” Eusebio said. “For children, they can visualize what they want to do with their money. At the same time it instills great, though simple, fundamental financial behaviors such as delayed gratification, budgeting, paying yourself first, and more.” With FamilyMint’s program, children learn to save a portion of their money to save for college or long-term objectives, while having cash available for things such as a video game or roller blades or an Xbox. The FamilyMint launched its free online program in 2010 and then added a premium subscription version in 2011. This premium version does link to a savings institution and includes features such as giving parents an option of paying their children interest on their money or “dollar matching” for any money set aside for college or charities. The premium version can be co-branded and offered by banks and credit unions to their customers. Currently the FamilyMint has 8,000 users and Eusebio imagines that it can be greatly expanded beyond North America. “We get requests for different versions of FamilyMint for adults and teen entrepreneurs,” he noted. “I think the opportunity is definitely out there to make money management simpler for the masses.” A version available for schools to teach children about money matters may be launched by the end of the year. The idea for FamilyMint came to Eusebio when he used to commute to a job in Midland. “I had a lot of thinking time in the morning, pondering the different challenges that I had in my life — the intersection of technology and the Internet and the problems in my life,” he said. “Necessity is the mother of invention. That was the genesis behind FamilyMint.”
Illuminating Concepts Inc.
Illuminating Concepts’ diverse portfolio of lighting and multimedia designs have enhanced the energy and grandeur of stadiums and arenas, and have complemented historic districts and retailers for more than a quarter century. The company’s recently patented invention, Intellistreets, is manufactured in Michigan. With the potential of transforming municipalities throughout the United States and around the world, Intellistreets uses ordinary light poles to combine energy conservation, homeland security, emergency alert and response, environmental audio control, digital signage and advertising, and way finding applications. “In the years after tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the need for inventive urban technologies such as this has never been more apparent; the technology has never been more ready to deliver on the promise of creating safer, securer and more immersive urban environments,” said Ron Harwood, president and founder. Intellistreets can be deployed in a downtown, a shopping center, a college campus or a sports arena. Operated wirelessly, it will radically reshape how pedestrians and drivers interact with and are informed by signage and also features controllable illumination, emergency beacons, and audio systems. “Old landscape and street lights will be overshadowed very soon by multimedia systems that can inform, secure and entertain city visitors and residents,” Harwood added.
JacAPPS is a strategic mobile application development company that is a division of Jacobs Media, one of the leading media consulting firms in the United States and Canada. After recognizing how smartphones such as the iPhone and Android would alter communications, Jacobs Media formed jacAPPS in October 2008 to provide mobile applications for the radio industry. jacAPPS is the largest mobile application developer in Michigan, having developed 540 apps for major brands including Virgin Radio, public radio’s “Car Talk,” The Ann Arbor Art Fairs, Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Loveline,” WRIF and WCSX, and many others. “We conduct research as well as consult on the optimal approach,” said Paul Jacobs, vice president and general manager. “We help clients worldwide determine the optimal mobile strategy and help implement through the creation of their mobile application.” Its development process begins with a comprehensive review of each client’s goals. Because the company has its roots in research and marketing, its apps are created with the end user and the client in mind. “Our work has been featured at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, but most importantly, is reviewed every day by the more than 13 million people who have downloaded our apps,” Jacobs added. “We will look back on today’s smartphones like they are Model T’s. The phones of the future will be smaller, because all of their memory will be stored outside of the phone.” Future smart phones will become the digital hub of a person’s lives - always with them, always on, always receiving, and always sharing information.
Founded 20 years ago in 1992 by Mark Rottenberk, MosaicMedia initially produced promotional and training videos. Realizing that its customers needed other services, the company added photo design and began creating corporate identity packages including banners plus signs for trade show booths. By 1997 MosaicMedia launched into websites design, while its videos shifted from tapes to CD-ROMs and DVDs. “Seven years ago we moved in with Cadillac Loose Leaf Products, a binder and packaging manufacturing facility that was 80 years old,” said Rottenberk, president. “We can create a soup to nuts package where these events use all aspects of event management and sponsorship sales. We can write press releases, build a website, create a blog, use social media, create brochures, posters, and promotional material, run hospitality tents, print banners, tickets, press passes, and all things of that nature. At the end we can produce a TV show.” For example, last year MosaicMedia created the press releases and then a TV program for Comcast to show the highlights of the North American Lacrosse Invitational, an international high school tournament that included the best teams from the Midwest and Canada and held at Brother Rice (Catholic) High School in Bloomfield Hills. In a new joint venture with LD3 Communications and the Detroit Sports Commission, Mosaic is helping to promote the Prep Kickoff Classic. A two-day high school football event, formerly called the Big Day Prep Showdown, will be held at Wayne State University’s Adams Field on Aug. 24 and 25, 2012. “It used to be done in Ypsilanti but we are bringing it back to Detroit and will feature the first games ever played under the lights at Adams Field,” Rottenberk said. “We will help do all the sponsorship advertising and promotion for the event.” A third program that Mosaic recently created a media kit for was Brother Rice’s annual Warrior Classic, a football clash between the high school and one of its traditional rivals. “The spiral bound media kit had a built-in pocket for a flash drive, with logos on it. When you popped the drive into a computer you saw a three minute promo video plus a sponsorship video,” Rottenberk added.
Mymentalspace helps people understand how technology impacts their mental well-being. Through onsite training and consulting, the company educates people on the importance of disconnecting from the Web so they can re-connect with themselves. “We’ve developed a free technology to help people accomplish this,” said Mark Ostach, CEO and founder. “The Mentalspace Manager, a plugin for your Web browser, allows people to manage their time online and block websites which have a negative impact on productivity and emotional well-being. We help put an end to procrastination on the Web.” Located in Wayne State University’s TechTown, the mymentalspace team has combined fundamental principles of behavioral psychology with innovative software development techniques to engineer a forward thinking Web-based application. “Additionally, we’ve begun an outreach program called Project Disconnect,” Ostach said. “We are speaking to students at high schools and colleges throughout Michigan on the importance of disconnecting with technology in order to stay focused on school work, personal goals, and their overall health.” According to Nicolas Carr, (author of “The Shallows - What the Internet is doing to our brains”), the average person consumes 300 percent more information today than 40 years ago. Moreover, recent research has cited that some teenagers are connected to digital devices upward of 16 hours a day. “We hope the next big leap in science and technology will be an awakening of human consciousness to say ‘We need to balance technology consumption,'” added Ostach. Mymentalspace challenges individuals to understand trends in their Web behaviors and how certain things can impact their emotion and productivity. Its application allows a person to block websites that are non-productive or emotionally harmful. When someone tries to access a blocked site, mymentalspace displays a positive quote, image or video to derail the impulse and shift your thoughts toward something positive. It is behavioral modification for the Web.
ArtJen Complexus USA, LLC
One of the newest companies on the Science & Technology awards list is ArtJen Complexus USA, which created a new weight loss pill called Mirafit fbcx. The abbreviation “fbcx” stands for fat binding complexer, which describes how the pill works, noted Dr. Joseph Artiss, co-founder of ArtJen. “Simply stated our weight loss pill is the only one that works without a diet program,” Artiss said. “All other products on the market require a diet program. If you follow the diet, you’ll lose weight with or without using their pill.” Essentially, the fbcx in a single Mirafit pill binds up to nine grams of fat in a person’s stomach, encapsulating it so it cannot be digested in the small intestines or broken down by microbes in the large intestines. An analogy would be to think of an M&M, Artiss said, “Imagine the chocolate in the center as being the fat, the shell around it is our fiber. Our fiber coats the droplet of fat in the stomach. Therefore it cannot be digested.” By taking two tablets per meal, up to six per day, the Mirafit pills can bind up to 500 calories per day or the equivalent of 25-30 percent of the calories in a typical American diet. “That equates to 3,500 calories a week which is a pound to pound and a half of body fat,” Artiss said. “What we are doing is putting you on a diet but you don’t notice it because you are enjoying all of the pleasures of eating - the sensuousness. We eat not because we are hungry we eat because we love to eat.” The genesis of the Mirafit fbcx pill goes back to the early 1980s when Artiss, a clinical chemist by training, helped publish what was then the state of the art method for measuring triglyceride (fat) in a person’s blood stream. One of the components of that procedure became the “fiber” - the fbcx - of Mirafit. Fast forward to 2001 when Artiss was listing to a lecture about type two diabetes and a particular condition involving free fatty acids. That talk spurned Artiss to consult others at Wayne State who were involved in diabetes research and that led him to talk with the university’ chair of Nutrition and Food Science, Dr. Catherine Jen, who became a co-founder of ArtJen. Studies indicate that the fbcx compound lowers cholesterol and triglyceride problems dramatically. The pill may provide a benefit for type two diabetes patients. “Initially they are producing all sorts of insulin but the body is not recognizing it,” Artiss noted. “For some reason that we do not pretend to understand, we seem to be increasing the sensitivity to their own insulin so they are responding to it better.” Artiss and Jen began marketing the Mirafit pill as a food supplement in 2005; it is available as an over the counter product. So far no adverse reactions have been reported by consumers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Wayne State continues to conduct studies on the pills’ effects. The National Institutes of Health is also studying it. Mirafit is produced by a Michigan-based contract manufacturer, FuturePak of Wixom.
Asterand supplies high quality human tissue and tissue-based services for pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic companies that work on drug discovery and development. Asterand was founded in 2000, and six years later merged with Pharmagene, a human tissue-based drug discovery company. In 2010, Asterand acquired BioSeek has its BioMAP technology to bridge the gap between in-vitro and in-vitro testing to create a more predictive human-based model to accelerate the discovery of new drugs and validating results. At the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology in San Francisco in March 2012, BioSeek announced its findings of work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency providing insights into the toxicology of nanomaterials, failed drugs and environmental chemicals on human health. In a press release, the company said that in conjunction with the EPA, various nanomaterials were tested for toxicity in various human cell types at concentrations equivalent to exposures of 24 hours to 45 years. Analysis showed that nanomaterial cores are critical to bioactivities and their effects, said Ellen Berk, general manager of BioSeek. “In addition to helping meet the goals of the (EPA’s) ToxCast Program, which are aimed at developing high-throughput screening methods capable of predicting chemical toxicities, this information is continuing to enrich our BioMAP database,” Berk said. “We view that resource as an increasingly valuable tool that can be mined to better understand the activities and potential safety of our pharmaceutical partners’ compounds in the context of human biology, prior to undertaking costly human clinical trials.”
Established in 2003, AzulStar is a niche wireless broadband Internet and communications provider for commercial, government and multi-tenant unit (i.e. apartments) customers in Michigan and New Mexico. Leveraging open standards wireless technology and an all IP wireless architecture, AsulStar is a pioneer for wireless broadband access and has won awards for its innovation and service reliability. Its goal is giving people access to high speed communications at a low cost. Tyler van Houwelingen, founder and company CEO, recently told Business Update Publication, based in Grand Rapids, that the improvements of wireless Internet technology have provided great value to customers. “Our goals are 2 percent of the market,” van Houwelingen told the magazine. “I know in one apartment complex we did, they immediately dropped their prices and increased their speed-¦ We’re offering 50 megabits per second at an extremely good price.”
Beaumont Health System-¨
The Orthopaedic Research Laboratories at Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak serve the research interests of more than 40 attending orthopedic surgeons. The lab is responsible for basic science and translational research covering the orthopedic subspecialties of adult joint reconstruction (for example hip and knee replacement), foot and ankle reconstruction, hand and microvascular surgery, shoulder and elbow reconstruction, spine, sports and trauma medicine. The laboratories are staffed by graduate-trained research engineers who specialize in biomaterials, biomechanics, cell and molecular biology, material-level failure analysis, tissue engineering and tribology. “Our research program serves as a teaching mechanism for orthopedic surgeons in training (residents and fellows) and is geared primarily toward generating publications in medical journals,” noted Kevin Baker, director of Beaumont’s Orthopaedic Research Laboratories. “The overarching goal of our research program is to develop new materials, devices and methods of enhancing the care of orthopedic surgery patients at our institution and to share this knowledge with other institutions.” Focusing on the development of next generation technologies that will promote rapid tissue healing, Beaumont’s Orthopaedic Research Laboratories seeks to improve functional outcomes and ultimately, better the quality of life for its patients. The Joint Wear Simulation section of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories evaluates novel technologies that will enhance the longevity of total joint replacement devices. “Our research engineers have developed testing methodologies, which allow for the characterization of material-level performance from both a mechanics and biocompatibility standpoint,” Baker said. “This testing allows for the evaluation of novel materials that will, hopefully, allow patients undergoing a total hip or total shoulder replacement to function at a level commensurate with the daily requirements of their life.” Within orthopedics, the next big advancement is tissue engineering techniques. Tissue engineering is a field of medicine that seeks to regenerate tissues using things like growth factors, stem cells and scaffold materials. The Orthopaedic Research Laboratories are currently engaged in several new projects investigating and developing new tissue engineering-based techniques to enhance fracture healing, promote new cartilage formation, heal ruptured ligaments and regenerate intervertebral disc tissue. Beaumont Health System is a three-hospital regional health system with a total of 1,726 licensed beds, more than 14,000 full-time equivalent employees and 3,700 physicians. It operates numerous community-based medical centers in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, family practice and internal medicine practices, five nursing centers, a research institute, home care services and hospice.
Founded in 1982, Budco is a direct marketing company that helps clients build strong relationships with business and consumer audiences by facilitating ongoing, two-way communication. Using a suite of in-house resources to develop and execute innovative, end-to-end business solutions, Budco delivers results that drive client success. Its in-house competencies include contact center operations, creative services, variable digital printing, production and fulfillment operations, application development and database management, reporting and analytics, shipping, logistics, warehousing and inventory management. “Technology is definitely at the core of everything we do and helps drive continuous improvement, but we certainly do not view technology as the answer to everything,” said Terry Niles, president and CEO. “We view technology as something that enables creative, innovative thinking, which ultimately drives us to design and implement better solutions for our clients.” Marketing communications will continue to be significantly affected by technological advancements. The methods and channels by which people consume information will continue to evolve. “We believe that the trend of moving away from the more traditional offline methods of communicating, like print to newer digital or online channels and social networks, will continue,” Niles noted. “However the real challenge over the next few years will be to ensure the right mix of both offline and online channels are used in order to most effectively reach a wide-ranging audience with very different needs and expectations.”
BullsEye Telecom is one of the nation’s largest telecommunications and Internet providers with a complete portfolio of nationwide services for small, medium and large enterprises. BullsEye’s offerings include traditional voice, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications, wireless, Primary Rate ISDN (PRI), conferencing solutions, multiple flavors of broadband and Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) services, managed network security solutions, PCI compliance solutions, business continuity/disaster recovery solutions, and other enhanced products. According to William Oberlin, BullsEye Telecom’s CEO, “Our clients choose us because we help them eliminate the hassles of managing multiple providers and all the finger-pointing that is inherent to the process.” As a single accountable partner, BullsEye ensures that all solutions are completely compatible. “In many cases, the real market potential lies not in the development of new technology, but in skillfully combining existing technologies,” Oberlin explained. Trimming clients’ operational costs along with addressing current and future technology requirements, BullsEye recently deployed a package solution to an insurance agency that included 19 Cisco IP phones, a managed router, Web and Internet access, firewall and network security solutions and analog lines for redundancy. The new communications and security package was designed to secure credit cards processing while cutting costs and reducing hardware hassle. “When everything is bundled together, you get a redundant system for phone, Internet and network protection, including a way to monitor or eliminate unwanted Web surfing as well as other threats or cyber-attacks,” Oberlin said.
Future Help Designs
Future Help Designs (FHD) is a Michigan-based company co-founded by Apple Mac fanatics Christian Marcillo, creative director, and Glen Konopaskie, president, to design and develop software applications (apps) for mobile devices such as smart phones. FHD soon began making independent and corporate apps, plus contributing to larger enterprise level apps and training development teams. Its customers are in the education and health care fields. In 2012 FHD is launching a collaboration tool for classrooms as schools start using iPads or iPhones as education tools. “Our new platform will help a classroom collaborate from within their own devices as a group much as the chalkboard did in the past and the whiteboard does now,” Marcillo said. The company’s complete mobile solutions include mobile roadmap strategy, design storyboarding, proofs of concept, development, and post-launch updates. “As the interface becomes more and more intuitive it allows patients, students, health care givers, and teachers to do their jobs, without having to learn a new skill,” Marcillo added. “It is our job to ensure that this happens with every customer we deal with today and tomorrow.” FHD can pass along its knowledge to customers’ internal teams through its “Mobile Developer Training” program as well as developer and user workshops. Intuitive software design removes barriers so users can easily interact with the technology. “The next big leap in technology is the ability to place tools such as the Internet and mobile software in the hands of people that a year ago never even had a computer,” Marcillo said. “Look at the number of nations that are embracing communication infrastructures such as cell towers that bring Internet access and technology to homes, villages, and businesses. That level of infrastructure for many was previously non-existent.” Another trend is that as educational software becomes more intuitive, infants and children can use software without a keyboard.
GalaxE.Solutions is a custom software developing firm that works for some of the largest pharmaceutical and health care companies plus serves automotive clients. Incorporated in 2002, the firm designs, develops and implements computer applications that run on internal networks and over the Internet. “We handle mission critical business systems including high volume transaction processing,” noted Ryan Hoyle, director of global recruiting. “In the health care space that is working on all the systems responsible for getting prescriptions from the drug manufacturers, through the entire process such as dealing with claims and into the hands of patients. There’s a lot of ‘paperwork,’ security, (privacy) and validation involved.” GalaxE serves Fortune 100 companies primarily in the health care field but it also serves other business sectors including retail, financial services and manufacturing. Other IT offerings include tactical engagements to full project lifecycle solutions so clients can expand the reach and range of their systems. Some of its recent developments for health care clients allow them use DNA coding for personalized medical care. It’s been a challenge to find the right talent with a shortage of IT trained professionals in the U.S., so in 2010 GalaxE began its “Outsource to Detroit” campaign to bring jobs back to America. “We collaborate with the community colleges and workforce development agencies in Detroit to provide the proper training programs to put unemployed people back to work and put underemployed people into high-paying skilled positions so they can have a new career path,” Hoyle said. “Traditionally IT work was going offshore because foreign countries offered lower salary or hourly rates. But with IT becoming more and more complex and requiring more innovation, we are seeing the best work and highest quality work was being done here in the U.S.” After factoring in the embedded costs in doing work overseas - such as managing team members in different time zones, currency changes, and political distress - outsource isn’t quite as an attractive proposition as it first appears, Hoyle noted. GalaxE has some 2,000 employees worldwide in five different countries. The Outsource to Detroit campaign does not take away from the value of its other employees, but represents an opportunity to do positive things in Detroit. “We have 150 employees in our development center in Detroit and have plans to continue to grow rapidly,” Hoyle added. In January 2012, GalaxE Chairman and CEO Tim Bryan met President Barack Obama at the White House Insourcing Forum. “We have established Detroit as a competitive IT hub. From a price standpoint we are on par with the offshore destinations and from a quality standpoint we are winning,” Bryan said at the time. The president noted in a company press release that, “GalaxE.Solutions-¦with their Outsource to Detroit program (is putting Americans) back to work.” The Insourcing Forum at the White House is emblematic of the efforts being made to revitalize the nation’s economy and iconic cities such as Detroit, Hoyle said, “where we can bring work back to the U.S. where we feel we can get the best quality.”
Genome Dynamics International LLC
Genome Dynamics International (GDI) identifies and develops new blood tests to help diagnose and monitor treatments for diseases. One such representative disease is overactive bladder, which is often subjectively described with urinary concerns by the patient and treated by the doctor in a trial and error fashion with different front-line drugs. Traditionally the only definitive diagnosis of overactive bladder is through a very invasive and often uncomfortable procedure called urodynamics that must be performed by a urology specialist. “This disease poses an enormous health care burden. It also has psycho-social impacts where patients often remain reclusive for fear of involuntarily voiding or staining their clothes in a public setting,” noted Genome Dynamics co-founder Dr. Martin Bluth. Overactive bladder disease costs the U.S. economy nearly $26 billion annually. GDI has developed an experimental method that can objectively diagnose the condition through an inexpensive blood test that can be performed at any physician’s office. “Our revolutionary approach is becoming highly sought after by venture capital and established pharmaceutical companies as a means to facilitate effective diagnosis of the patients,” Bluth said. GDI still needs to petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve its new blood test. But once approved, Bluth expects the new test could eliminate other invasive tests and costly therapeutic trials, and allow physicians to make early diagnosis of the disease so they can provide efficient and timely treatment for patients.
www.highwayt.orgHighway T is a program of the Michigan Nonprofit Association that provides information technology consulting and support to nonprofits organizations in the state. From setting up a network environment, to improving efficiencies, to software installation and training, Highway T serves the nonprofit sector. “A lot of nonprofits can’t afford to hire tech support so they outsource their technology support services to us and we maintain their computing environment,” said Director Leon Wilson. “Depending on their size and needs, we can be a nonprofit’s IT team.” Highway T’s origins were in the late 1990s when Microsoft and other technology firms created an umbrella organization to enable the nonprofit sector to make better use of computer programs. After a few years, the Michigan Nonprofit Association decided to become a statewide IT provider to better accommodate the needs of state organizations. In January 2012, Highway T partnered with Google’s Ann Arbor office and the Hands on Network/Points of Lights Foundation to run a new IT program in the Detroit area. “Called ‘Hands on Detroit,’ this program-¦ provides free tech training to nonprofits servicing low income communities that are small and community based,” Wilson said. “We teach basic computing skills, how to use the Internet and social media. We want to reduce the digital separate between community members and the greater audience.” Detroit is one of seven pilot cities with grants from Google, Wilson added. The other metropolitan areas include New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco Bay, and Pittsburgh. In another new program, Highway T is partnering with IT firms to provide discounted software to Michigan Nonprofit association members. “I always joke that technology doesn’t care about your IRS designation - technology is agnostic; it operates the same way,” Wilson said. “Small and medium sized nonprofits’ technology needs are no different than a small business whether it is a small corporation or LLC but because it is not-for-profit, their funding is from donations that are more earmarked toward their programs rather than expanding their operations. So they struggle with trying to master the balance that the bulk of funding goes toward their social missions and not so much on the administrative aspects of the operations.”
InfoReady Corp. built an online platform so computer users can find, match and share information along with keeping track of all their actions in a “cloud-based” information/community workspace. “We live in a vibrant, connected planet with people using more computing power from their palms than they do at their desk at work,” said CEO Bhushan Kulkarni. “Classic enterprise information management software cannot keep up with delivering solutions. We create customer-driven applications to bring people and information together for high value business results - quickly, securely and easily - without long implementation, training or complex administration.” Making it easier for people to get their jobs done, InfoReady’s “Action Platform” matches people instantly with the right information, creates new collaboration communities and delivers on-demand results. For example, InfoReady built several products and customer-driven applications for the Research Collaboration Market, where users find funding opportunities, publications, patents, and other relevant content while communicating with fellow research collaborators. InfoReady’s “Resource Matchmaking Market” tool allows users to easily connect with talent and business partners. Future information workers “will be demanding information based action and not (corporate) process based action,” Kulkarni said. Such an information-driven world will include the ability to connect and collaborate quickly and easily without administration or setup. Long waits for long implementation and training schedules will be eliminated. Users can just log in and get started. InfoReady expects to be the forefront of this change with its social media based products and solutions, Kulkarni added.
Owning and operating three data centers and more than 60,000 square feet of data center space, Online Tech is the largest multi-tenant data center operator in the Michigan. Its product offerings range from colocation, where companies house their servers in Online Tech’s data centers, to cloud computing, where the entire server operation is entrusted to Online Tech. “Cloud computing was the fastest growing segment of our business through 2011 and we expect that trend to continue through 2012,” said Mike Klein, president and chief operating officer. “Cloud computing is driving major changes in the way businesses think about and deploy their IT (information technology) disaster recovery plans. Believe it or not, the hosting business is actually a people business. Beyond the technology components required to deliver a high availability data center, our most crucial success factor is the affinity our team has for customer service.” HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant cloud computing are transforming the health care, retail and e-commerce industries with flexible, cost-effective computing solutions designed specifically for those markets. As the speeds of Internet connections increase while costs are expected to decrease during the next five years, the ability of companies to leverage cloud computing is going to jump exponentially. “The faster and cheaper the connection to the Internet, the easier and more cost-effective it is to put crucial IT functions into the cloud and move away from the day-to-day management of the systems internally,” Klein noted. “We’re just at the early stages of seeing how cloud computing is going to transform corporate information technology.”
Phillips Service Industries
Phillips Service Industries (PSI) oversees a number of technology-based subsidiaries with customers in the automotive, aerospace, defense, energy, security, and semiconductor industries. Established in 1967, PSI’s products and services help reduce costs and maximize efficiency for many Fortune 500 companies, as well as the U.S. military. One of PSI’s subsidiaries - Sciaky Inc. - recently entered a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Mentor-ProtÃÂ©gÃÂ© Agreement with Lockheed Martin. Sciaky has developed an innovative manufacturing process to build or repair metal parts called electron beam direct manufacturing, which combines additive manufacturing principles, computer-aided design (CAD) and electron beam welding technology. Starting with a 3D model from a CAD program, Sciaky’s moving electron beam gun deposits metal, layer by layer, until the part is ready for finish machining. Depending on the part being manufactured, deposition rates can range from 15 to 40 pounds of metal per hour. To date, it stands as the only commercially-available, large-scale, fully-programmable means of achieving near-net shape parts. Under the Mentor-ProtÃÂ©gÃÂ© Agreement, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will help Sciaky expand the manufacturing capacity and management infrastructure to deliver affordable, high quality, innovative titanium raw material pre-forms in quantities that will support future DOD and prime contractor needs. The initial focus of this agreement will be on manufacturing titanium structural components for the F-35 aircraft program. “The DOD and major defense contractors have identified Electron Beam Direct Manufacturing technology for repair and discrete part production as a ‘game changer,’ meaning it could redefine and advance the current state-of-the-art in aerospace manufacturing,” noted President and CEO Scott Phillips. Meanwhile, Brian Rosenberger, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ affordability lead for improvements and derivatives added, “While the early focus is going to be F-35, we ultimately plan to implement Electron Beam Direct Manufacturing technology across the breadth of our aircraft product lines to improve affordability and lead-time for titanium structures.”