AAM Appoints Simonte President, May CFO

DETROIT — American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AXL) Friday announced the appointment of Michael K. Simonte as president and Christopher J. May vice president and CFO effective Aug. 1.

David C. Dauch will remain as chairman and CEO. Simonte and May will report to Dauch.

AAM is an ESD corporate member.

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iDashboards Launches Free Academic Edition

TROY — The business intelligence dashboard software developer iDashboards has launched a new academic edition that will be available to graduate level students through universities’ graduate program professors.

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TechSmith Improves Analysis In Coaching Video App

OKEMOS — The visual communications software developer TechSmith announced Thursday it had expanded its Coach’s Eye app to include video analysis capabilities to entire teams as well as individuals.

The company says the ability to record, distribute and review every practice and every game will further improve the performance analysis of players.

With Coach’s Eye + Teams, coaches and team players can track the actions of individuals in motion via their smart device to perfect techniques — whether that’s a golf swing, a soccer kick, or a tennis serve.

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Gentherm Profits, Revenues Rise

NORTHVILLE — The thermal management technology developer Gentherm Inc. (NASDAQ: THRM) Thursday reported net income of $19.5 million or 53 cents a share for the second quarter ended June 30, up from $16.4 million or 46 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue was $213.4 million, up from $206.2 million a year earlier.

For the six months, net income was $39.3 million or $1.08 a share, up from $33 million or 92 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue was $420.4 million, up from $400.1 million in the first half of 2014.

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AT&T Hosting Hiring Event Saturday

DETROIT — AT&T Inc. will host an open house and walk-up testing event to recruit nearly 50 new technicians Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The event will take place at AT&T’s Detroit main office, 444 Michigan Ave.

The union positions available are responsible for installing AT&T U-verse service in homes and businesses.

Applicants should have strong people skills and be eager to interact with residential customers, small business customers, and multiple online systems to provide quality service. Applicants should bring a valid driver’s license and resume. The testing process will take two to three hours.

Applicants are advised to apply before the event at http://attlinks.com/MichiganTechnicians.

Technicians are needed in the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Royal Oak, Wayne, Commerce Township and Roseville.

Ann Arbor Firm Finds Social Media Satisfaction Up; News, Search Sites Dip

ANN ARBOR — Only a year ago, the American Customer Satisfaction Index from the Ann Arbor-based consumer metrics analyst ForeSee ranked social media among the worst industries in the index, right down there with cable TV and airlines.

But a year later, social media rose 4.2 percent to a score of 74 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale — well below the index standard of excellence of 80, but still a significant rise.

Other scores on the ACSI’s annual barometer of e-business included internet news and opinion websites, which fell 1.4 percent to 73, and search engines and information websites plunged 5 percent to 76.

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Comerica Bank’s Michigan Index Sees Strongest Gain in a Decade

DETROIT — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index continued to grow in May, increasing 3.3 percentage points to reach a level of 124.8, its strongest monthly gain in more than 10 years.

The index averaged 117.4 points for all of 2014, three and three-tenths points above the index average for 2013.

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More Good News For Ann Arbor Firm’s Cholesterol-Buster

ANN ARBOR — The Ann Arbor pharmaceutical developer Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ESPR) Tuesday announced positive results from a Phase 2 study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of its lead candidate for cholesterol reduction, ETC-1002.

The company says the six-week study of 142 test subjects met its primary goal of reducing low-density lipoprotein, the so-called bad cholesterol, by 21 percent from the starting point, and a 24 percent reduction compared to patients treated with a placebo, which the company called “statistically significant and clinically meaningful.”

The company said the reduction occurred within the first two weeks of initiating therapy and continued throughout the treatment period.

The test also showed a 25 percent from baseline and 44 percent vs. placebo reduction in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), an important marker of inflammation in coronary disease.

The company also said ETC-1002 produced a neutral effect on blood pressure, appeared to be safe and well-tolerated and produced no muscle-related adverse events.

“This exploratory study is another important milestone in the development of ETC-1002, demonstrating its ability to safely lower LDL-cholesterol in a group of patients with both hypercholesterolemia and hypertension,” said Tim M. Mayleben, Esperion president and CEO. “We are pleased with these results, and with the whole of our phase two program, which continues to demonstrate the potential for ETC-1002 to provide an effective once-daily, oral treatment option for a broad range of patients with hypercholesterolemia.”

The test was designed to measure ETC-1002’s ability to reduce cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The company said ETC-1002 has demonstrated consistent LDL-cholesterol reduction throughout its Phase 2 development program:

More at http://www.esperion.com.

State Aid OK’d For Business Expansion, Community Projects

LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of a business expansion, two community improvement projects, and other actions expected to generate $83.3 million in new investments and create 510 jobs.

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MTU Researchers Designing Speakers Of Carbon Nanotubes

HOUGHTON — Troy Bouman reaches over, presses play, and the
loudspeaker sitting on the desk starts playing the Michigan Technological University fight song. But this is no ordinary loudspeaker. This is a carbon nanotube transducer — and it makes sound with heat.

Bouman and Mahsa Asgarisabet, both graduate students at Michigan Tech, recently won a Best of Show Award at SAE International’s Noise and Vibration Conference and Exhibition 2015 for their acoustic research on carbon nanotube speakers. (The presentation is pictured above.) They work with Andrew Barnard, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, to tease out the fundamental physics of these unusual loudspeakers.

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