Science, Technology Leaders at Heart of New Economy

With a well-deserved reputation as a center of heavy manufacturing, Michigan is perhaps less known as being well-equipped to prosper in the new economy powered by science and technology.

Corp! acknowledged cutting-edge companies with headquarters or a strong presence in the state at its inaugural Business of Science and Technology Awards breakfast on April 20, 2010.

Fifty-seven organizations -” ranging from software companies to research and development (R&D) firms, consultants and schools -” were honored for their contributions in Michigan.

It is an important time to recognize the innovations occurring within the state as an indicator of a brighter future. A recent University of Michigan economic forecast predicted that the state’s unemployment rate will exceed 15 percent for most of 2010 and remain high into 2011 after heavy job losses in the manufacturing, construction, trade and utilities industries.

Yet, Michigan has one of the world’s largest concentrations of educated and highly experienced engineering and technological workers, as well as the infrastructure and facilities in place to accommodate emerging industries, notes Nabil F. Grace, interim dean of Lawrence Technological University’s College of Engineering. LTU is one of the award winners.

“The task is to seek out and encourage those industries and attract more here, and to retool that work force as needed to take advantage of new opportunities before this workforce goes elsewhere,” Nabil says.

There is a range of opinions by the science and technology award winners on the future -” such as whether to move away the automotive industry which traditionally built Michigan up or to continue embracing it while working on new solutions -” but all seem to agree that the state needs to harness its immense talent and resources to correct the current problems.

“Despite the recent economic turmoil and the resulting bad press, Acro is very positive about the future of Michigan and its suitability for science and technology fields,” says Ron Shahani, chief executive officer of Acro Service Corp., a Livonia information technology and engineering services business. “Michigan is blessed with world-leading educational institutions -¦ technical manpower -” including thousands of engineers -” and a strong industrial base.”

Ron Harwood of Illuminating Concepts

When WWII broke out, Michigan “retooled” itself in a matter of weeks to provide 20 percent of all the war materials needed to preserve democracy, noted Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts of Farmington Hills.

“Michigan can again retool itself and in fact, is retooling itself to be the leader in alternative energy production and storage,” Harwood said. “We have one of the most experienced and educated populations in the fields of manufacturing and medical research as well as environmental preservation at our core. Coupled with one of the world’s greatest water supplies and vast natural resources, Michigan only needs to collaborate more with companies within its borders to find the additional resources necessary to emerge as an industrial and scientific leader. Companies need to be more aggressive at pursuing relationships.”

Southeast Michigan is not only the headquarters and R&D hub for our nation’s domestic automotive industry, it is also where many of the world’s preeminent science and engineering minds come to study and develop intellectually at the state’s universities, said Dr. Grace M. Bochenek, director of the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s (RDECOM’s) Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren.

“At a time when Michigan is looking for ways to diversify commercially and attract technology leaders, pairing military ground vehicle systems and the automotive industry is a logical approach,” Bochenek said. “Developing a defense industry corridor allows access to vast amounts of automotive and engineering expertise, and offers the potential to continue developing advanced technologies to support war fighters for years to come.”

Manufacturing will return to the U.S. as new technological innovations allow the company to compete, added Alain Piette, president of SpaceForm Welding Solutions Inc. of Madison Heights. His company, a spin-off from automotive supplier Delphi, offers an inexpensive and rapid method of welding tubular steel to other tube or sheet metal structures. Such a technology promises automakers a new way of building stronger, lighter cars in the future that are cost-competitive to manufacture.

“I do not see big leaps in technology but a continuous refinement and improvement,” Piette said. “Only if we return to a producing nation will the U.S. be prosperous. Science and technology therefore need to stay on the forefront to make this possible.”

The science and technology award winners are:

Accumed Systems, an Ann Arbor medical supplier, was founded by one of the world’s leading interventional cardiologists -” Dr. William O’Neill, director of cardiology at William Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak -” to develop and commercialize innovative medical tools. Accumed provides devices that simplify medical procedures, increase patient comfort and save clinician time. Currently, the company markets two types of devices -“ intra-luminal measuring devices and trans-radial catheterization accessories. The company commercializes its products through regional distributors and multi-national companies specializing in medical devices. Supported by an investment from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Accumed has launched an aggressive program to develop a system for detecting vulnerable plaque. The technology being developed employs a catheter and measures temperature variations within the cardiac vasculature. Elevated temperature has been shown to exist in lesions that pose a potential risk of acute myocardial infarction.

Acro Service Corp. of Livonia supplies the XRM Solutions workforce management program that streamlines the process of procuring, administering and paying for contingent employees from various staffing agencies. Started in 1982 as a privately-held staffing firm servicing clients in the Detroit area, Acro provides a Web-based service -“ Acro’s XRM Solutions -“ that manages nearly $1 billion in transactions for more than 15 clients while reducing costs and hiring time and improving the quality of new hires. Acro’s business and sales professionals are tuned in to contract services procurement industry developments by tracking customer feedback and monitoring regulatory changes. “Within the information technology space, we expect to see major developments on the user interaction features of business applications using some of the lessons we’ve learned from the consumer space such as social media, use of video clips and other graphic intensive files, privacy, security, mobility, and more,” said Ron Shahani, Acro’s CEO. “These developments will ensure that business users have secure and on-demand access to content rich information about their customers, partners, suppliers, transactions and history to make more informed decisions. This will help for-profit or nonprofit organizations to dramatically innovate their customer service.”

AFID Therapeutics of Lansing is a privately-owned corporation that produces advanced chemical and biochemical technologies used for new drug development. The company has an extensive number of synthetic chemistry patents and the expertise to prepare very advanced small molecule drugs and new advanced materials for use in their delivery to patients. In particular, it is investigating anti-microbial and anti-coagulation treatments. AFID Therapeutics’s founder Rawle Hollingsworth developed one of the most extensive suites of general carbohydrate-based chemistries in use today. Starting from substituted pentose and hexose sugars, Hollingsworth discovered routes to large families of compounds that led to the development of advanced chemistries with a much broader stretch of applications. These developments are detailed in hundreds of publications and issued patents aimed at treating diseases such as bacterial and viral infections, cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. Drug targets include kinases, phosphatases, nucleases, glycosidases, glycosyltransferases, ribosomes, cell membranes and nucleic acids.

Michael Kelly, CEO/president of Allied PhotoChemical Inc.

Allied PhotoChemical Inc. of Kimball makes ultraviolet light-curable inks, coatings and paints that benefit its customers by increasing production speed and reducing energy and quality costs, while eliminating volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants and trimming carbon dioxide emissions. UV technology can be implemented by manufacturers in the cosmetics, consumer products, hardware, medical, automotive, electronics and architectural industries while providing significant return on investment. “Allied has implemented a process called primary development where all R&D and engineering is performed as a chargeable event,” said CEO Michael Kelly. “This process captures all the relevant data from the customer from a technical and economic content and we use it in a cooperative and consultative approach with our customers to deliver competitive manufacturing solutions. Not only do our customers receive leading sustainable and economic manufacturing solutions, we gain knowledge that can be used to create even more faster, smaller and cleaner technologies.”

Arbor Photonics of Ann Arbor uses a proprietary fiber-platform technology to manufacture high-powered lasers for industrial and defense applications. Using an optical fiber structure called Chirally-Coupled Core Fiber or 3C fiber, Arbor Photonics expands the performance limits of single-mode lasers to hundreds of watts of pulsed power and multi-kilowatts of continuous wave optical power. The 3C fiber significantly improves the capabilities of industrial manufacturing lasers, which is a $2 billion market that is growing at an average rate of about 14 percent annually. The 3C fiber lasers can dramatically improve throughput and processing speed for microelectronics manufacturing, solar cell and industrial materials-processing applications. “We’re developing some very advanced technology,” said Phillip Amaya, Arbor Photonics CEO. Arbor Photonics began manufacturing this year and by mid-decade the company hopes to have $50 million in sales while boosting its workforce to 136 employees.

Avalon Laboratories, a California-based company produces the Elite line of catheters at its Grand Rapids plant. The Elite catheters are extra-corporeal (outside the body) lung-support devices that give critically ill lung cancer and cardiovascular patients increased mobility. The life support device withdraws oxygen-depleted blood from a patient’s body, re-oxygenates it and returns it to the patient. Previously this type of technology was only available in pediatrics. Most recently the Elite catheters were used to help critically ill H1N1 influenza patients survive. Avalon uses polymer chemistry formulation, spring engineering, and medical tooling and machining to produce hundreds of types of cannulae (flexible tubes). Avalon chemists formulate dozens of different proprietary formulations of vinyl, urethane, and urethane blends to create the thinnest wall, highest flow, and best performing cannulae.

The Beaumont Commercialization Center of Royal Oak is a Beaumont Hospitals for-profit venture that works with the hospitals’ staff and medical device manufacturers to create new medical equipment. The BCC influences equipment design, quality and performance to improve patient care. By integrating the experiences of one of the nation’s prominent and busiest hospitals, and working with virtually every clinical segment of the industry, the BCC provides a major hospital’s prospective on virtually every aspect of medical product development and commercialization. “Our overall benefit to society comes from our ability to support and influence the quality of medical device design and performance that ultimately directly affects patient care,” said Director John Shallman. “We play a large role in conveying a hospital’s nuanced requirements that if incorporated into medical device designs can significantly lower system costs and improve patient safety. Secondarily, our activities contribute to the diversification of Michigan-based health care and medical device industries. We work with manufacturers from all over the world and introduce them to Michigan.”

Billhighway of Troy offers a Web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) system for membership-based organizations such as professional associations, social clubs, athletic groups and Greek organizations to process billing and collect and track group finances. Billhighway combines a variety of what are normally outsourced services -” such as membership retention and collection-rate software -” into one system to save clients time and cut expenses. Billhighway increases accountability in an entire organization because officers can log-in at anytime from any location and see specific account activities from each member as well as financial statements. “We at Billhighway know that efficient, well-run businesses lead to growth and financial stability for company, stakeholders and employees,” said Kellee Montgomery, the company’s marketing coordinator. “We prioritize new product developments based on market insights and return on investment, while staying true to our customers and their individual needs. Although we have dedicated a percentage of our time to focus on understanding and familiarizing ourselves with innovative projects and future technologies, our customers continue to reign as our main focus as we continue our advancements and growth.”

BioPhotonic Solutions Inc. is an East Lansing, Michigan State University spin-off venture that began in 2003. Working closely with the university -“ which has some of the world’s most advanced lasers laboratories -“ BioPhotonic Solutions markets its MIIPS (Multiphoton Intrapulse Interference Phase Scan) technology for ultra-fast lasers. MIIPS enables scientists to push the frontiers for biomedical imaging, ophthalmology, proteomics, machining and even the defense industry applications. BSI has received several awards and honors for the MIIPS including the PhAST/Laser Focus Innovation Award in 2009 -“ along with honorable mention in 2007 for this award -“ and was a finalist for the 2008 Prism Award for Photonic Innovations. Starting production in 2009, BioPhotonic Solutions’ revenues are already approaching $1 million, noted MSU Professor Marcos Dantus, company CEO. “Michigan is a great place to be for several reasons,” Dantus said. “Michigan has lower real estate costs, especially when compared to other notoriously high-tech areas like Silicon Valley, and a number of colleges and universities turning out highly qualified students who would love a chance to work in their home state. There is ample room for improving the whole process of technology transfer and funding for start up businesses here.”

CCS Robotics of Lapeer manufactures mobile service robots that can perform mundane, repetitive or dangerous work in hospitals or laboratories while employees will be able to focus on tasks only skilled humans can address. With on-board autonomous navigation, the robots travel to and from various locations and are able to select alternative routes if a primary route is blocked. Tony Diodato, founder of CCS Robotics, has built robots since he was six years old. Recognized as a pioneer in the field of service robots, and a leader in the worldwide robotics industry, Diodato’s life-goal to create useful, cost-effective autonomous mobile robots resulted in the company developing robotic applications that enhanced functionality by using low cost, low power-consumption components. CCS Robotics recently established a strategic alliance with Swisslog, a major multi-national corporation with the sales, installation and service resources so it can expand its market reach in North America.

Center for Computer Resources of Oak Park helps clients transition from outdated systems to current technologies. Founded in 1981, CCR maintains clients’ current systems while developing plans to minimize IT crises, maximize efficiencies and consolidate resources. CCR has a Microsoft Small Business Specialist Certification and Gold Certified Microsoft Partner status, recognizing its ability to deliver industry-proven solutions and services. “We provide affordable cutting edge technology to the small/medium business owner,” said Curt Hicks, president and CEO. “We focus on providing affordable technology that small businesses need to compete. Our solutions cut costs, putting our customers in position to prosper. We also are a certified gloStream partner (gloStream is a Michigan-based electronic medical records company). Coupled with our extensive background in information technology services, CCR now installs, trains and supports a cutting edge electronic medical records program for ambulatory practices in Michigan.”

The Cranbrook Educational Community of Bloomfield Hills, one of the world’s leading centers of education, science and art, is expanding its presence in Detroit’s newly designated Creative Corridor. Through a partnership with the Arts League of Michigan, Cranbrook wants to lay a new economic foundation for the city. In 2009 Cranbrook and the Arts League received a $1.08 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation aimed at strengthening the city’s creative sector, while increasing job training and expanding public Internet access. “Investments in the Creative Corridor will help create a new identity for the city while buffering Detroit against the swings of economic cycles,” said Rick Nahm, Cranbrook CEO.

Creative Foam Corp. of Fenton serves the automotive, medical and wind-energy markets. With four plants in Michigan, and facilities in Indiana, Tennessee and Colorado, the company has earned the highest ratings for quality from Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, Ford, GE Healthcare, Johnson Controls and other leading tier one suppliers. CEO Wayne Blessing said, “Our diversity has enabled Creative Foam to consistently show profitable growth. While we continue to supply the automotive industry, we are contributing to the non-automotive growth in the state through our support of medical and wind energy businesses.” As the world economy drives technology to invent better solutions, such as alternative energy from wind and solar, or electric vehicles, the biggest challenge is having an educated workforce that can integrate technology with customer driven solutions, material suppliers and a practical, cost effective delivery of products, he added.

CytoPherx Inc. of Ann Arbor develops treatment devices for patients suffering from renal disease and to prevent inflammation caused by cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Founded in July 2007, CytoPherx is a venture-backed, clinical stage medical device company that looks at treating inflammation-based diseases and conditions with its proprietary selective cytopheresis system. CytoPherx’s products are custom, patent-protected configurations of commercially available hollow fiber dialysis filters that are used to sequester and deactivate leukocytes (white blood cells) in the patient’s blood system. CytoPherx’s products are initially focused treatments for acute renal failure, end-stage renal disease, and acute inflammation that is a possible side effect of cardio pulmonary bypass surgery. The company raised about $6.5 million since its inception, according to regulatory filings, including a $2 million investment in 2009.

Danotek Motion Technologies of Canton manufactures a diverse line of electromechanical devices including compact, lightweight magnetic generators and power electronics. The company’s simplified wind generator turbine design harvests up to 20 percent more energy from the same wind conditions when compared to competitors and delivers power to the utility grid in a more reliable and consistent manner. Founded in 2001, Danotek is ISO-9001 certified and uses lean processes and management tools. “We use Six Sigma tools which requires us to follow a process that starts with understanding the customers’ specific needs and delivering products that are designed for Six Sigma quality standards and meet financial performance targets,” said Daniel Gizaw, founder, president and CEO. “Alternative energy is certainly driving technical innovation, as we create new cost effective, high efficiency products.” Ten percent of Danotek’s workforce are Six Sigma blackbelts and by the end of 2010 it expects more than 90 percent of all employees will be either black, green or brown belts. of Troy provides residential appraisal management services, directing nearly 6,000 state-licensed appraisers. When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created the 2009 Home Valuation Code of Conduct Agreement (HVCC), it changed the mortgage lending marketplace. According to the code, mortgage brokers can no longer directly pay for or order appraisals. Instead, appraisals must be ordered and paid for by the mortgage loan provider. In response to the code, created a new online service designed to provide mortgage brokers with a comprehensive and seamless solution to ordering and receiving an HVCC-compliant appraisal. “In 2009 we launched DartExpress on our Web site,” said CEO Darton Case. “It provides a quick and easy online system to initiate an appraisal order, pay for and track the progress of the order, and finally deliver a copy to the mortgage broker and lender in full compliance with the HVCC and other appraisal guidelines. The system is unique to the marketplace, resolving compliance issues seamlessly for brokers nationwide.”

The Detroit Science Center is Michigan’s largest hands-on science museum and one of the top science museums in the country. To inspiring future engineers, the science center provides a multimedia experience combining hands-on exhibits, live theater presentations, IMAX films, planetarium shows, science demonstrations, and outreach programs. The Detroit Science Center is the official home of First in Michigan, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and University Prep Science & Math Middle School (a charter school). Its wholly owned subsidiary, Detroit Science Center Design & Exhibits, creates exhibits, traveling attractions and displays for museum and corporate clients. In June 2010 the Science Center will re-open the Detroit Children’s Museum, the nation’s third oldest children’s museum. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a shortage of 160,000 engineers by 2016,” said Kevin F. Prihod, president and CEO. “However, fewer and fewer young people are pursuing careers in engineering. The Detroit Science Center is addressing this challenge head on by providing an informal learning environment designed to spark an interest in science, engineering and technology, and inspire young people to study and pursue careers in these fields.”

Phil Hagerman, president & CEO of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy.

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy of Swartz Creek ensures that seriously and chronically ill patients have access to the prescriptions they need. Working directly with hospitals, health plans and large retail pharmacies, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy serves patients who need highly specialized and often expensive drugs to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease and other chronic conditions. Diplomat accommodates patients by reaching them in their homes at times convenient to them. Diplomat’s specialty patients average better than 90 percent adherence to their medications which is better than the national average of 50-70 percent. “We don’t just supply the pharmaceutical component though; our 385 employees include nurses and patient advocates who interact with patients to answer questions, offer support, ensure medication compliance and even try to find funding sources for those who can’t afford their prescriptions,” said Phil Hagerman, CEO and president. “In 2009, Diplomat’s staff obtained an industry-leading $12 million in funding (known in the industry as co-pay assistance) for patients who were seeking assistance.” As a registered pharmacist, Hagerman added that a number of new drugs will be coming on the market to treat the nation’s most serious life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Many of these drugs will require additional counseling and oversight between pharmacist and patient and will expand the already changing role of the pharmacist. “In general, the pharmacist is becoming a more hands-on, integral part of a patient’s health care team because the greater health care community is recognizing the vast knowledge and skill that a pharmacist possesses,” he continued. Diplomat created an award-winning patient care software system called eNavigator so pharmacists can regularly contact patients to provide health coaching. eNavigator expands the continuum of patient care to connect the pharmacist with nurse clinical reviews, provide access to complete medication history, offer disease education, injection training and side effect monitoring, along with adherence and compliance assessment, depression and quality of life screening, and even connect patients to funding assistance.

DiverseNote of Detroit offers in-person and online services to link career development and coaching while providing networking opportunities for job seekers and employers in a simple and low cost manner. One of its priorities is helping minorities, which are overrepresented in unemployment (more than 40 percent in some communities). DiverseNote uses technology for job seekers so they can strengthen their professional networks. “We offer professional development and career networking in nontraditional and innovative ways that are relevant, provide career improvement, and are traceable,” said DiverseNote CEO Tekisha Lee. “Michigan is consistently developing the tools and resources needed to assist science and technology companies with business growth. Connecting small and large companies within the same industry and with similar business milestones will present even greater economic and industry growth within Michigan.”

Draths Corp. of Okemos produces bio-based chemicals, made from renewable feedstocks, that can be used to replace petroleum-based products. Draths’ proprietary bacterial organisms transform sugars into the chemical intermediates that are used to manufacture nylons, resins, plastics, paints and a host of other materials. It uses environmentally friendly and economical processes, allowing reduced carbon footprints without absorbing the higher costs generally associated with renewable initiatives. Draths is focused on manufacturing bio-based materials used in everyday products and covers the entire benzene value chain rather than targeting other parts of the carbon-based chemical value chain (e.g., C-2, C-3 materials).

Kyle Schwulst founded ElectroJet in 2003. The Brighton company makes devices that trim pollution in small engines.

ElectroJet Inc. of Brighton supplies low-cost solutions to trim pollution while improving fuel economy and performance for small engines used in motorcycles, recreational vehicles, industrial equipment, generators, lawn mowers and scooters. Air-quality standards are forcing significantly cleaner emissions from all of these motors. “Small engines are terribly polluting,” said Kyle Schwulst, CEO. “Low-cost motorcycles are a staple for global transportation needs and have annual sales that are twice that of the automobile industry. These heavily polluting machines must meet new air quality regulations, but the market is very cost sensitive. Customers must see tangible benefits to emissions reducing technologies.” The Asian-Pacific market is the largest for ElectroJet products, where more than 40 million motorcycles are manufactured annually. Historically, these vehicles have been unregulated and pollute more per mile than four U.S. cars. Vehicles fitted with ElectroJet products show up to a 90 percent reduction in emissions while boosting fuel economy by 15 percent.

EnerWatch Systems Inc. of Sterling Heights conducts energy audits, locates waste sources and advises clients how to conserve, reuse and implement green, economical and sustainable business practices. An energy watchdog, EnerWatch Systems helps its customers save money while bringing in a quick return on investment. “We pick up the crumbs of energy waste that the competitors cannot and do not collect,” said Dominic R. Pizzo, president and CEO. “At the end of the day those crumbs equal an exorbitant amount of money that our customers weren’t aware of and benefits our customers and society as a whole by having a smaller carbon footprint.” EnerWatch listens to customers needs and identifies and implements strategies to create new energy efficient systems. “Bottom line, you need the value to supersede cost especially in today’s market,” Pizzo continued. “In Michigan, it’s all about ROI and how fast that return is. So listen to your customers, develop innovative systems to cut down on energy waste, and always keep your stakeholders at the forefront of any movement…that’s how we do it.”

Philip L. Fioravante, president & CEO
Enterprise Electronics, LLC.

Enterprise Electronics of Troy supplies proprietary electronic products such as vehicle electronic-entry keypads. This feature offers drivers the option of opening their vehicles while still carrying their keys in a pocket, purse or briefcase. Established in 2002, Enterprise Electronics balances the needs of its stakeholders by originating ideas that solve problems, said Philip L. Fioravante, president and CEO. “Then we develop a strategic marketing plan that encompasses internal and external analysis including but not limited to, market receptiveness, revenue opportunities across multiple industries, and develop a R&D budget with an acceptable ROI. We are not simply a product development firm -“ we focus on commercialization of the products we seek to design.” Electronic technology continues to move at a “clockspeed” rate. Inventions across industries are integrating more and more household, office and automotive goods. “Wireless products seem to be re-emerging as a technology of choice -“ whether in your vehicle, at your home or at your workplace,” Fioravante added. “Technologies for tracking and monitoring of people, places, and things such as tools, medical devices are on the cusp of an exploding market.”

Evigia Systems of Ann Arbor manufactures the EV3 product family of high-performance radio-frequency-identification (RFID) sensors, active transponders, interrogators, tags and accessories that can significantly improve supply chain management and trim costs. At the heart of its RFID products, Evigia integrates digital control logic and memory structures along with the analog interfaces and radio components. Its electro-mechanical sensors give customers cost-effective capabilities that are superior to other approaches. “We use integrated sensor and ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) technologies judiciously to improve sensing and other value-added capabilities across the family of products, while still improving the size and power consumption,” said Karl Ma, vice president of sales and marketing. “With this EV3 product line, it will be easier and more cost-effective to dramatically increase visibility of assets in-transit through a complex supply chain, monitor security breaches, and provide a more reliable and timely supply network.”

Dr. Michael E. Graham, podiatric surgeon and CEO of GraMedica.

GraMedica of Macomb makes the HyProCure sinus tarsi stent system, a device that stabilizes misaligned feet in individuals who are three years old and older. It cures individuals with flexible flat feet or overpronation -” an extremely common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. HyProCure straightens feet, restores the natural arch to the foot and eliminates excessive strain to the knees, hips and back. It is a permanent yet completely reversible solution. “We continue to challenge the status quo and dare to ask why,” said Dr. Michael E. Graham, GraMedica founder and a podiatrist surgeon. “We have open communication with foot and ankle surgeons all over the world… The biggest leap has to be in eliminating the root cause of problems. Currently, the medical establishment is purely focused on symptomatology instead of the cure. We need to reduce pain but we must eliminate the source of the pain in the first place. This will help to reduce health care costs and provide a better quality of life.”

Ron Harwood of Illuminating Concepts

Founded in 1981, Illuminating Concepts, headquartered in Farmington Hills, is one of the world’s largest lighting design firms, providing full service design and implementation of award-winning lighting systems for architectural, retail, environmental and theatrical applications worldwide. Broad experience creating stimulating, impactful and memorable experiences for some of the world’s most recognized brands has evolved the firm’s range of services to incorporate multimedia systems, audio systems, interactive features, special effects, water features and all-encompassing control solutions. The company’s most recently patented invention is Intellistreets, an innovative product that combines energy conservation, homeland security, emergency alert and response, environmental audio control, digital signage and advertising, and wayfinding applications into one inconspicuous, but familiar urban environment mainstay: the ordinary light pole. Other divisions within the firm have provided design, implementation and procurement services for some of the largest and most prestigious projects in the world, including the recently completed MGM CityCenter in Las Vegas and the Wembley Arena in London. The company extended its reach to Asia with the opening of three major projects: The Chinese Museum of Film, The Museum of Science and Industry, and mixed use retail developments.

Indratech of Auburn Hills produces advanced fiber materials that are safer, more eco-friendly and recyclable than traditional polyurethane (PU) foams. The Indura Performance Fiber System is a polyester fiber product that is 100 percent green, non-toxic and recyclable. Unlike PU foam, it self-extinguishes when exposed to flame and won’t produce airborne particles from mold or bacteria. “Polyurethane foam -“ that most ubiquitous of cushioning products used in everything from the beds we sleep on and the cars we drive in, to the pillows, furniture and virtually every seat we rest our heads, backs and backsides on -“ is spread far and wide across our planet but has significant shortcomings,” said Dr. Surendra Khambete, co-founder and president of Indratech. “The additives and chemicals that are integral to the manufacture and processing of polyurethane foam render the product difficult to recycle and potentially dangerous to your health.”

Lawrence Technological University in Southfield offers more than 100 undergraduate, masters and doctoral degree programs while providing a number of applied research services and community enrichment programs throughout the region. “LTU aims to be a preeminent private university producing leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit and global view,” says Nabil F. Grace, interim dean of Lawrence Technological University’s College of Engineering. “To reach this goal requires continuous investment in equipment and facilities, in recruitment and retention of top faculty and students, in providing scholarship assistance, and in being innovative and agile in developing new academic programs that meet the needs of the changing global economy. Partnership with the private and public sectors and the professions the university serves are key.”

The Linux Box of Ann Arbor was founded in 1999 and specializes in open source software technology for a broad range of customers including financial service providers, government agencies, life science companies and utilities. A founding member of Open Source for America, The Linux Box commits 20 percent of its budget to research and develop open source software and also directly funds select open source projects to create new software and ideas. “Giving back to the open source community helps others to expand and create new software and ideas, which in turn supports The Linux Box in its continuous quest to improve and expand its technology,” noted CEO Elizabeth Ziph. “SixthSense-like technology will make interaction between the digital world and the physical world simpler and prevalent. A SixthSense device can be worn by an individual and uses that person’s gestures and motions to allow them to interact with information. It’s the merging of the physical and digital -“ similar to the effects in the movie ‘Minority Report’ with Tom Cruise where he uses his hands to move screens and information around to complete his work as a police officer.” SixthSense technology allows the user to copy and paste information that appears in a book onto a computer screen and combines it with information created internally within a business. A true merging of the physical and the digital, the technology will help the environment as people and businesses use less trees and natural resources in their everyday routines.

LLamasoft of Ann Arbor provides supply chain planning technology, software applications and technical services to many of the world’s top organizations including Intel, General Mills, Conoco Phillips, Pepsico, the Department of Defense and the World Bank. Its technology allows clients to leverage the most out of their resources. “Our technology helps organizations make better decisions, enabling them to leverage and make the most out of their scarce resources,” said CEO Donald A. Hicks. “Second, LLamasoft’s culture and services are focused on helping people make decisions more clearly and rationally. We’ve found that, in order to think more clearly about supply chain problems, we often have to help our clients think about problems in a more generally structured way, identifying and questioning their implicit assumptions, becoming more aware of their own biases.” Another benefit of LLamasoft’s business strategy is that it has a lasting effect that influences all aspects of problem solving in other, non-supply chain areas, he added.

Logic Solutions Inc. of Ann Arbor specializes in Web application and Web site development, mobile development, eLearning solutions and social networks. With offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing, China, Logic Solutions has a global reach to provide its customers with custom IT support. Access to a wide array of global resources allows Logic to provide a comprehensive suite of services, including IT staffing and systems support for facilities in China, business development strategies for clients entering the Chinese market, a help desk for North American companies, and supplier management and sourcing of Chinese manufacturing. “The proliferation and development of mobile devices has — and will continue to -“ changed how the world both communicates and does business,” said Jimmy Hsiao, founder of Logic Solutions. “Mobile applications will become increasingly sophisticated, allowing users a continually improving means of cultivating and enriching professional, charitable and personal relationships.”

Paul Bourget of LumenFlow.

LumenFlow Corp. of Middleville designs, engineers and prototypes optical devices. The supplier provides customers with product-launch support and builds optical subassemblies for original equipment manufacturers. Its products are used in laboratory, life science, machine, vision, military and automotive applications. LumenFlow’s products help fight cancer and support our troops. “The next big push in technology is the use of photonics in the life sciences, especially in the medical diagnostics field,” said CEO Paul Bourget. “The current optical technology is making ‘vision’ within the human body readily available to practitioners.”

Menawat & Co. of Saline offers the ProFIT-MAP Business Dynamics and Workflow Dynamics software that serves the operational planning, management and optimization needs of manufacturing and services organizations. This program allows Menawat’s clients to prioritize ideas and projects for bottom-line impact. The first in a new class of predictive analytical software, ProFIT-MAP can help a business restructure operations, improve customer satisfaction and financial performance, plan for new ventures and more. “The goal of ProFIT-MAP software is to quickly make holistic decisions that create the best possible operational and business environment for success,” said Anil Menawat, company founder.

Adam Garfein and Anil Menawat of Menawat & Co.

“It helps guide the configuration of efficient and effective processes to sustain and grow the business while minimizing risk. Rather than embarking down a path of costly and uncertain experimentation to improve operational performance, which is typically directed at the low hanging fruit, ProFIT-MAP analytics creates a realistic path for performance optimization.” Analytics will play a huge role in decision making, he added, permeating all parts of society and becoming more important for effective business decision making. The current generation of analytic software finds patterns in historical information. “We expect a shift from historical to future oriented analytics to drive operational and financial decision making,” Menawat said.

Robert A. Beardsley, CEO of Metabolic Solutions Development Co.

Metabolic Solutions Development Co. of Kalamazoo is a drug development firm with a portfolio of drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. The company’s lead candidate, which is in the middle stages of clinical testing, offers Type 2 diabetics the benefits of the best current oral drug therapies without the side effects (i.e., weight gain, edema, bone loss, increased risk of congestive heart failure). “Type 2 diabetes and the other diseases associated with metabolic syndrome -“ cholesterol disorders, hypertension, obesity, etc. — are the most rapidly growing health care problems both in the U.S. and globally,” said Robert A. Beardsley, president and CEO. “Our drugs will provide a better approach to treatment of type 2 diabetics, as well as for the other components of metabolic syndrome. This clearly is important to the individual patient. It is equally important, however, to society which must deal with the enormous medical and social costs of metabolic disease and the resulting complications.”

Ming Scientific LLC of Auburn Hills provides thermal infrared inspection and other thermal management services so its customers can cut energy costs. The company was founded by Dr. David V. Tsu and his wife Mrs. L.C. Tsu in May 2007 as a response to the high cost of heating and cooling their house. David Tsu is an internationally recognized expert on infrared spectroscopy and formerly was the chief spectroscopist for Energy Conversion Devices where he helped develop fundamental understanding of thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaic (solar cell) materials, and developed original numerical methods and software for optical measurements of materials. The business of “MingSci” is infrared management. Along with its thermal infrared inspection service, MingSci develops new thermal management products. Its goal is to “Ming-Empower” customers by measuring, quantifying and mathematically modeling energy use. Ming Scientific can tell its residential, commercial and industrial customers exactly how every kilowatt-hour or Btu (British thermal unit) of energy is used and the best way to reduce overall consumption.

The NAVCoM -“ Navistar Advanced Vehicle Communication Module.

Movimento Inc. of Plymouth supplies engineering services and products for advanced control systems, network communication, diagnostics, infotainment and telematics to the transportation industry. Its advanced dealer diagnostic product NAVCoM, released in partnership with Navistar, brings immediate benefits such as improved quality, fuel economy and reduced costs. “Movimento leverages strong OEM and Tier 1 collaborative development relationships to bring innovative new products and services to market,” said CEO Benjamin Hoffman. “The widespread application of our in-vehicle software update technology would benefit society through improved fuel economy, reduced harmful pollution and increased safety.” Movimento’s technology provides the transportation industry with a way to implement the critical software updates for ever increasingly complex on-board electronics. There are real and significant costs to develop, test and validate the software and electronics required to move the transportation world from analog-based technology to digital. “The big leap in science and technology as it applies to the transportation industry is already under way with the electrification of everything,” Hoffman noted. “The next five years will only bring a continued acceleration of this trend and along with it the amplification of software and electronic controls.”

my1HIE (my 1 Health Information Exchange) of Bingham Farms is Automation Alley’s Emerging Technology Company of 2009 and the largest independent e-prescribing network in Michigan, with more than 3 million e-prescriptions to date. (A national report on e-prescribing ranked Michigan number three in the country, up from number five in the prior year’s report.) The company has secured agreements from seven physician organizations representing more than 7,000 doctors to participate in the health information exchange in southeastern Michigan. Multiple hospital systems also joined the exchange to share clinical information and connect with their physicians. my1HIE is evolved from efforts started in 2005 to increase adoption of health information technology and connect physicians that are part of United Physicians, P.C., the largest independent physician organization in Michigan and one of the largest in the country. my1HIE was spun off and officially incorporated in 2008. “While some of the providers using my1HIE connect through an online physician portal, there are other existing access points to exchange information with other partners utilizing our backbone to access vital clinical data,” said CEO John Vismara. “my1HIE is integrating additional entry points to the health exchange including another existing physician portal, EMR (electronic medical records) systems and a patient-based portal.”

NanoBio Corp. of Ann Arbor is a bio-pharmaceutical company that makes products for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Founded in 2000 as a spin-off from the University of Michigan ‘s Center for Biologic Nanotechnology, NanoBio’s lead product candidates target treatments for herpes labialis (cold sores), onychomycosis (nail fungus), acne, cystic fibrosis and mucosal vaccines for influenza, pneumococcal, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). To date more than $90 million has been invested in the company’s NanoStat technology platform through research grants and equity investments, including $45 million in private equity financing from Perseus, LLC. These investments have enabled extensive studies supporting the expansion of the company’s dermatology, anti-infective and mucosal vaccine programs. “Our organization currently employs 18 high value pharmaceutical professionals many of whom would have relocated outside of Michigan with the closure of the Ann Arbor Pfizer facility,” said Dr. James R. Baker Jr., executive chairman and CEO. “We have attracted leading recognized pharmaceutical and research executives from both the East and West coasts. NanoBio has awarded high value contracts to Michigan based contract research organizations. The company is positioned for significant expansion following results from key clinical trial.” Dr. Baker conceived and developed the NanoStat nanoemulsion nasal vaccine technology at the U of M Medical School with grants from the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency.

Nanocerox Inc. of Ann Arbor makes nanoscale exotic ceramic oxide powders for a range of potential applications, including better armor for military vehicles, more accurate missile-guidance systems and more precise industrial lasers. The company works with the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to develop a lightweight, transparent ceramic armor that can be applied in both military and commercial settings. Current ballistic glass adds hundreds of pounds to military vehicles and poses other problems including distortion and glare. This ongoing project is working to solve these issues through the development of nano-engineered armor materials for transparent and opaque armor systems. Nanocerox’s process involves baking rare earths at temperatures of at least 900 degrees centigrade and results in powders with diameters from 20 nanometers to 75 nanometers (the average human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide). It works with customers to develop nanostructured materials in the form of dry powders, liquid dispersions, coatings and multi-functional ceramics.

NeuroNexus Technologies of Ann Arbor provides advanced brain interface devices for neurological and scientific applications. Its technology enables placement of sophisticated microelectronic and fluidic components on the surface of miniaturized brain probes that can be used to “map” brain function, to record or transmit information, to stimulate or modulate functions in specific regions where the brain’s natural abilities to do so are compromised, or even to deliver drugs to precisely where they are needed.

Oakland Schools Technical Campuses -“ Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest -“ are extensions of Oakland County’s high schools. By attending high school half of the day and the technical campus the other half of the day, students receive a full academic education. Offering educational and training opportunities called “clusters,” the school’s programs are designed around broad occupational areas to give students many career-training options. The clusters facilitate learning -“ not just deliver a sequence of instruction -“ so students can manage their education, work cooperatively with other students, and progress at their own pace. Oakland Schools Technical Campuses’ cluster programs provide students up to two years of instruction and cover the following areas: Biotechnology and Environmental Science; Business, Management, Marketing and Technology; Culinary and Hospitality; Engineering and Emerging Technologies; Health Science; Transportation; and Visual Imaging. Oakland Schools serves 28 public school districts, 17 public school academies and 112 nonpublic school buildings that in turn serve approximately 228,000 students -“ about 204,000 from public schools and another 24,000 from private schools.

Online Tech of Ann Arbor owns and manages secure and reliable multi-tenant data centers in Michigan. Business leaders are realizing their critical assets and records are now in an electronic format. Now “they realize they need to house their servers and data storage in a secure, reliable data centers,” said Mike Klein, President and COO, adding that Online Tech can house clients’ servers and data storage in secure, reliable location. With a full range of managed dedicated server offerings, the firm’s clients dramatically reduce IT data center costs, operational risks and downtime. “Industry leaders trust Online Tech’s SAS70 certified data centers to insure their servers are always on, always online, and always safe,” Klein said. “The world around us is becoming digital -“ from movies to music and even medical records and dental x-rays. Online Tech provides the underlying infrastructure for the digitization of businesses. Online Tech houses and manages our customers’ servers to assure that they are always on and always available online.”

OST (Open Systems Technologies) specializes in IT and business-process services in the health care, manufacturing and distribution, and finance and insurance industries. OST is an employee-owned, $34 million company with offices in Grand Rapids and Minneapolis. Since 2003, the company has logged 30 percent compounded growth in revenue and in the number of employees. “OST provides product and consulting services for hospitals and physicians groups who are using Epic electronic medical records software nationwide,” said Dan Behm, president. “About one out of four physicians in the U.S. will use Epic software to improve patient care in 2010.” Providing IT security assessments for hospitals, credit unions and banks, OST helps secure patient records and financial information from hackers and inside data thieves. The firm invests 2 percent of its gross margin annually into R&D for new products and services.

Keith A. Zendler, CEO & president of of Detroit is an online network for people and organizations to work together and impact their communities. “Businesses, nonprofits, churches, associations, governments and individuals can create profiles, share news and events, collaborate on initiatives, post job openings and network for business opportunities,” said Keith Zendler, founder and CEO. “Organizations create their own customized Web sites for free that allow them to strengthen their own internal member, customer and employee relationships while also connecting with other organizations. The overall purpose of the network is to strengthen businesses, organizations, people and their communities by facilitating better communication and cooperation.” Social media is a start in a process that facilitates interpersonal communication and relationship-building, but Zendler added that the next wave of social media technology may see people looking for ways that build more purposeful relationships with people where they live, work and play.

Pixel Velocity CEO Eric Sieczka shows off the high-definition display of Pixel’s Video Fusion surveillance system, now in active use at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and University of Michigan’s football stadium.

Pixel Velocity Inc. of Ann Arbor manufactures video surveillance and threat-detection equipment to maximize site security and operational continuity for large, complex sites with strategic national and local importance. Pixel Video Fusion is a video acquisition system with the powerful capability to sift through the video collected and extract and present the most relevant portions, thus creating a concentrated but highly visible data set. Formed in 2001 with an initial focus on defense research, the company transitioned to the video security market in 2006. “We have a simple mission -“ to make commercial surveillance video more effective,” said Eric J. Sieczka, president and CEO. “Video is one of the most powerful resources in the world for making critical decisions, but it is underutilized because it is not humanly possible to absorb the entirety of the volume collected.” Since increasing video coverage of events does not improve decision-making, Pixel Video Fusion’s analytical software sifts through surveillance data to deliver the most important and actionable intelligence to its customers, Sieczka continued.

Plex Systems Inc. of Auburn Hills developed Plex Online, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for manufacturers. Plex Online offers industry-leading features for virtually every department within a manufacturer, including manufacturing operations management (MOM) and quality management systems (QMS) for the shop floor, customer relationship management (CRM) for sales and marketing, supply chain management (SCM) for procurement, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) for finance and management. Delivering a “shop floor to top floor” view of a manufacturer’s operations, Plex Online enables management to run its business at maximum efficiency, noted Mark Symonds, president and CEO. Founded in 1995, Plex Systems initially delivered traditional software systems, but came to the realization that many projects were too costly, time consuming and difficult for both the firm and its customers. “The entrepreneurial team felt that the time would come when the traditional approach would not be practical or competitive,” Symonds said. “Plex Online is a complete, comprehensive state-of-the-art system serving manufacturers in automotive, aerospace/defense, industrial, medical devices and food/beverage industries.” The company added a user-friendly customization tool, VisionPlex, in late 2008 with a subscription-only pricing structure and disaster recovery capabilities. “With other enhancements in 2009, Plex Online has emerged as a breakthrough technology innovator helping manufacturers of all sizes, in all industries, meet the challenges of today’s economic and business environment,” Symonds said. Web-hosted Plex Online is always up to date, with new opt-in enhancements available every day.

RazorThreat Inc. of Pontiac creates leading-edge malware-detection software and services that protect its clients’ intellectual capital and personal, financial and health information from known and yet-to-be-discovered threats that get through existing firewalls and intrusion detection, intrusion prevention and other security software. “RazorThreat’s products and services benefit society by protecting the personal, financial and health identity of individuals, the intellectual capital and trade secrets of businesses and the intelligence and military information of our federal government,” said Greg Guidice, CEO. “RazorThreat plays an active role in our country’s defense against cyber crime and cyber warfare.”

The Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance oversees the finance and investment component of entrepreneurial studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The center contributes to entrepreneurial education and programs -“ as a part of the school’s Samuel Ell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies -“ while disseminating its core knowledge of entrepreneurial finance, venture capital and private equity investment to the business community. Established in 1994 under the direction of Professor David J. Brophy, CVP connects the school’s entrepreneurial network to the financial community through its annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. “From early fur traders to Henry Ford today’s startups, Michigan is rooted in entrepreneurship,” Brophy said. “Our state is now on the cusp of dramatic transformation to a knowledge-based economy and is welcoming in every way to companies engaged in applications of science and technology to the demands of a growing world population. Our strong educational institutions, strategic logistical position, and our population’s core of tacit knowledge in engineering and manufacturing are gaining market recognition and making the state an attractive place for new and established businesses to locate.” The state has attractive resources for technology-based entrepreneurs, from events to business plan competitions, to lab and incubator space, he added. For instance, Ann Arbor SPARK in Southeastern Michigan, and Lakeshore Advantage on the west side of the State provide office space, services and resources to entrepreneurs.

Sawka Enterprises of Waterford analyzes and implements manufacturing solutions, including lean manufacturing techniques and customized computer programs, to reduce waste and boost profits. The company’s founder and president, Jeff Sawka, was trained at U of M’s Tauber Manufacturing Institute and worked in the automotive, furniture and management consulting industries. “Our customized computer solutions such as Master Scheduler reduce complexity and thereby the costs of manufactured products,” Sawka said. “Reducing costs allows products to be marketed at a lower price and a lower price means that everyone has more purchasing power and therefore a better standard of living.” Sawka’s software can be implemented in any manufacturing environment. Sawka Enterprises also can provide its customers with lean production solutions. “We listen to our customers needs and then design customized solutions so that their enterprise can achieve a more lean process,” Sawka said. “We are constantly developing new and innovative and highly customized solutions while improving upon ‘off the shelf’ or previous solutions already created by our company.”

SciTech Development of Detroit partners with Wayne State University and The Karmanos Cancer Institute to create anti-cancer drugs and drug-delivery technology. It has developed the nanoparticulate intravenous drug-delivery platform for Fenretinide, an experimental anti-cancer drug. SciTech’s initial therapeutic product, ST-001, will first enter clinical trials to target B-cell malignancies such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. “There are 400,000 people in the U.S. with some variant of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Earle T. Holsapple III, president. “The National Cancer Institute estimated that 66,120 people -“ 35,450 men and 30,670 women -“ are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma while some 19,160 people died of the disease annually.” Once the efficacy of ST-001 is shown in testing, SciTech hopes to pursue additional cancer fighting applications. “Pancreatic cancer treatments are of substantial interest to us,” Holsapple said. “Only 19 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive one year while only 4 percent survive five years. Longer term, we are considering use of ST-001 in treatment of other cancers, including head and neck, bladder, breast, renal cell, leukemia and neurological tumors.” Although, SciTech is a privately held, independent company, its close proximity with Karmanos and Wayne State encourages significant synergy from each organization. SciTech benefits from being located at WSU’s TechTown, a business incubation community with state of the art infrastructure that reuses some of Detroit’s landmark buildings in the Detroit’s Cultural/New Center area.

Solidica of Ann Arbor is an award-winning supplier of advanced vehicle telematics, network sensing systems and advanced materials with innovative solutions for military, specialty vehicles, aerospace and industrial customers. In combining embedded prognostics and diagnostics capabilities with wired and wireless smart sensors, Solidica enables customers to improve operational efficiency by reducing fuel and maintenance, increasing vehicle up-times and optimizing asset utilization.

Somanetics Corp. of Troy pioneered the INVOS (In-Vivo Optical Spectroscopy) System that noninvasively measures changes in site-specific blood-oxygen levels during surgery to protect adults, children, infants and neonates against brain and vital organ-area damage or even death. INVOS acts as a vital-sign monitor to help clinicians detect and correct evolving brain and tissue oxygen deficits that can lead to complications and poor outcomes. “With 700-plus clinical references, the INVOS System is the clinical reference standard in cerebral/somatic oximetry (a method of monitoring the oxygenation of a patient’s blood),” said Bruce J. Barrett, president and CEO. “INVOS System has one job: to measure blood oxygen levels beneath the sensor to protect the brain and vital organ areas from damage. The device uses near-infrared light-based technology to monitor oxygen levels in the brain and body noninvasively.”

SpaceForm Welding Solutions of Madison Heights is developing and marketing new welding technologies -“ including Deformation Resistance Welding (DRW) and SuperMig -“ that are rapid and inexpensive way to weld tubular steel components. The DRW technology is a spin-out from automotive supplier Delphi and allows for the very fast welding of tubular components. It reduces the cycle time as compared to Mig (metal inert gas) and Tig (tungsten inert gas) welding by 80 percent and uses no consumables. The SuperMig technology is a plasma-Mig hybrid technology that is twice as fast as conventional Mig and allows for deeper penetration. This technology is under license from an Israeli welding company named PLT Inc. The processes are automated and highly reproducible without having to employ highly trained welders, permitting customers to overcome the labor-cost advantage that is presently enjoyed by lower-cost countries, noted CEO Alain Piette.

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren develops technological solutions for all manned and unmanned Department of Defense (DOD) ground vehicles and combat-support systems to improve current military effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for the future. “Our mission is to develop, integrate and sustain the right technology solutions for all manned and unmanned DOD ground vehicle systems and combat support systems to improve current force effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for the future force,” said Grace M. Bochenek, director. “TARDEC serves as the ground systems integration lead for the entire DOD ground vehicle fleet. We strive to be the first choice of technology and engineering expertise for ground vehicle systems and support equipment -“ today and tomorrow. Whether it has wheels or tracks, a driver or not, and no matter how it is powered, our engineers, scientists and technicians have played a role in its development.” TARDEC strives to guarantee the safety and security of the brave men and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard who defend America and our freedom.

Tellurex Corp. of Traverse City delivers high-performance thermoelectric products to both large- and small-volume customers, including the defense industry. Its thermoelectric knowledge benefits from its association with Michigan’s 315 global automotive R&D, engineering, and tech centers. Performing primary research in chemical metallurgy in collaboration with major universities and laboratories including Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Michigan Technological University, and University of Michigan, Tellurex turns laboratory advances into production-ready thermoelectric products and contributes to Michigan’s key role as a defense research center.

Tolera Therapeutics is a Kalamazoo-based firm with an immune-modulating technology that is useful for transplantation surgery and the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases including Type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. The technology is based on a monoclonal antibody drug that targets immune cell subsets, permitting safe and targeted modulation and creating an opportunity for immune tolerance. Current therapies often result in broad immune system suppression and lead to serious adverse events and toxicities with limited opportunity for immune modulation or tolerance.

Vestaron Corp. of Kalamazoo is developing insecticide products based on the molecular architectures inherent within spider peptides. This molecular architecture is potent against insects, but is harmless to vertebrates. To date the company has identified and characterized three unique lead insecticide peptide ingredients that are active at entirely novel molecular targets (sites of action) within the insect pest. And each peptide can be exploited by multiple means of delivery including: as a peptide insecticide, as a pharmacophore for developing synthetic chemical mimics, and as a genetic material for the modification of crop plants. Insecticidal characteristics can be developed in plants, representing a $4.4 billion market for insect-resistant genetically modified (GMO) crops that are kind to the environment but useful against a broad spectrum of insect pests. “Vestaron possesses an extensive core technology platform that allows the rapid development of innovative products that address significant and currently unmet market and regulatory needs,” said John L. McIntyre, president and CEO. “Our proprietary, biologically-inspired products will effectively compete with currently marketed insecticides based on cost, efficacy and environmental safety. Our offerings will include a spectrum of insecticide products that will be introduced worldwide into agriculture, animal health, public health and consumer retail markets that currently represent total sales of $14.0 billion at the manufacturer level.”

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