Next Michigan designation, business projects gain state apprroval

LANSING — Nearly $85 million in new private investment with up to 878 jobs, and an authorization to the city of Detroit to use incentives to further develop manufacturing and transportation districts, are among projects approved Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. administers programs on behalf of MSF, and serves as the state’s marketing and business attraction agency.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the MSF board approved:

* City of Detroit–Next Michigan Development Corporation (D-NMDC):  Detroit has received MSF approval as the state’s seventh and final Next Michigan Development Corporation. In ithis role, D-NMDC will seek to attract eligible businesses to key employment districts within the city, which have the greatest potential for growth in the industries of manufacturing, transportation, distribution and logistics. The NMDC designation grants the authority to offer tax incentives such as renaissance zones, real and personal property tax exemptions, and local development financing.

* FEV North America Inc., a subsidiary of German’s FEV Group, received a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to support a $27 million tech center in Auburn Hills that will create 250 new jobs. The company currently employs about 500 people. FEV, founded in 1978 in Germany, is a powertrain and vehicle design engineering company. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in South Carolina. Auburn Hills is offering a property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in career opportunities with FEV should visit and select “USA.”

* Holland-based JR Automation Technologies LLC received a $2.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to build a $5.6 million new plant in Holland Township, creating 250 new jobs. JR designs and manufactures automated machinery to the  automotive, medical, pharmaceutical, aerospace, construction, furniture, and food processing industries. Michigan was chosen as a result of a national search. Holland Township has offered support in the form of 12-year property tax abatement. For career opportunities with JR Automation, visit

* The Hazel Park Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $5,751,200 in local and school tax capture for the redevelopment of approximately 36 acres of land at the Hazel Park Raceway complex. Tri-County Commerce Center LLC plans to construct a 575,000-square-foot building on the site that will be designed to serve industrial tenants. The project is expected to generate $36 million in total capital investment and create 175 full-time equivalent jobs. The tax capture will be used toward the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site, including demolition activities, lead and asbestos abatement, site preparation, and infrastructure improvements.

* River’s Edge Partners LLC received a $750,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to support a $10.4 million project that will convert a former steel fabrication plant and foundry on East Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo into office and collaborative work-incubator space. The completed project will include offices, retail space, a restaurant, fitness center, collaborative area, and an outdoor terrace facing Portage Creek. The project is expected to create 118 full-time equivalent jobs. In addition, the Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval for $742,930 in local and school tax capture for the project. The funds will be used alleviate brownfield conditions at the site and prepare it for construction, including asbestos removal, demolition, site preparation activities and infrastructure improvements. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is also supporting the project with tax increment financing in the amount of $47,030, a grant in the amount of $191,750 and a loan in the amount of $193,935. To view a video on the River’s Edge project, visit this link.

* The city of Adrian was awarded $2,866,446 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Strongback Four Corners Redevelopment Project in downtown Adrian. Strongback Properties LLC plans to redevelop three historic properties into commercial space, residential rental housing, and parking. The project is expected to generate more than $4.7 million in total capital investment and create eight to 10 full-time equivalent jobs. MSF also approved $392,375 in local and school tax capture for the Adrian Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site and prepare it for redevelopment.

* River Parc Place II LLC received a $636,860 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to support a $4 million renovation of an existing four-story building at 80 Washington St. in downtown Manistee into a mixed-use development. Built in 2006 as a residential condominium project, the building was never completed and is considered blighted by the city. Once completed, the building will consist of a mixed-use development with residential rental units and commercial space. The lakefront space will also be renovated to allow lake access boat slips for both public and private use. In addition, Manistee Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval for $2,980,685 in local and school tax capture to be used toward alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site as well as six adjacent parcels and prepare them for redevelopment.

MSF also approved the following:

* Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Ag Bio Innovation Hub – $1 million in MTRAC funding to Michigan State University to serve as the MTRAC Ag Bio Innovation Hub supporting technology transfer from Michigan’s institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers and hospital systems for the commercialization of competitive edge ag bio technologies.

* Gatekeeper Business Incubator grant – $100,000 to Lawrence Technological University to provide support services and business advice to early stage technology companies in the Southfield and Troy areas.

* Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Program grant – $100,000 in funding to the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce PTAC to provide government contracting support to businesses in the city of Flint.

* Private activity bond financing – Approval of an inducement resolution for private activity bond financing of up to $4.5 million for the construction of a new building and acquisition of equipment in Bay County’s Monitor Charter Township for the F.P. Horak Co. and H & J Realty Co. LLC. The project is expected to create up to 71 jobs over a three-year period.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check, where more than 99,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.

New Plan Aims to Boost Clean Energy Employment In Michigan

LANSING — The Michigan Agency for Energy Tuesday has issued a
Clean Energy Manufacturing Roadmap, a collaborative effort of the state of Michigan and officials in northeast Ohio to boost jobs in the “energy efficient building technology” industry.

“For Michigan, this roadmap demonstrates the opportunities that lie in strengthening clean energy manufacturing to diversify and strengthen the economy,” said MAE Executive Director Valerie Brader.

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SME Launches New Website for Manufacturing Professionals

DEARBORN —  SME’s Advanced Manufacturing Media, which provides manufacturing news and technology information, has launched a new website,

The new website features content from all of Advanced Manufacturing Media’s products. Aside from original and live news reports about manufacturing, the site includes content from:
* Manufacturing Engineering, SME’s monthly magazine focused on manufacturing technologies
* Smart Manufacturing, a recently launched quarterly magazine focused on digital manufacturing
* Advanced Manufacturing Now, a recently launched podcast for manufacturing professionals
* SME’s Industry Yearbook series, focused on Aerospace & Defense, Motorized Vehicle, Energy and Medical manufacturing; and
* Highlights from SME’s scholarly journals

The new website continues to offer specific channels covering key topics such as machine tools, tooling and workholding, automation, controls and software, quality and metrology, and 3D printing, as well as channels for specific industries, such as aerospace and defense and motorized vehicles.

The 30 Under 30 channel appeals directly to young professionals in manufacturing, or those considering a career in manufacturing, sharing their personal stories about career development and highlighting a broad range of career paths. A new Expert Opinions channel gives thought leaders a place to share ideas.

The website logo is a large “M” with a wireless symbol emanating from the center — an image that captures the new digital era of manufacturing, in which machines, tools, manufacturers and their suppliers can communicate digitally with one another and share critical data to optimize performance. That symbol now serves as the icon for all of Advanced Manufacturing Media’s content on social networks.

For advertisers, the new website is more SEO- and mobile-friendly, and offers lead-generating tools such as white paper downloads and

Michigan Teachers To Be Trained In Dow, Smithsonian Program

MIDLAND — Six Michigan teachers are among 34 from five states who have been selected for the 2016 Dow-CH2M Smithsonian Teacher Scholar Program.

The six-day program, part of the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers, will be held in Washington, D.C. and is designed to heighten STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers’ ability to inspire and enlighten their students.

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Japanese Firm Opens Lubricant Tech Center

WIXOM — Idemitsu Lubricants America has opened a new, 13,000-
square-foot laboratory space in Wixom.

The company says the new technology center will concentrate on product development in automotive lubricants and industrial fluids. It will also offer technical services to a full range of businesses, including automotive companies and industrial manufacturers.

The company was founded in 1991 as Apollo America Corp., a subsidiary of Idemitsu Kosan, a Japanese lubricants company founded in 1911. It changed its name to Idemitsu Lubricants America in 2006.

The company has a blending plant in Jeffersonville, Ind.

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AT&T Boosts Network Speeds In Clare, Grand Traverse, Saginaw Counties

DETROIT — AT&T Inc. announced an upgrade to bring faster speeds to five cell sites in Clare, Grand Traverse and Saginaw counties.

The upgrades were made to four cell sites in the areas of Frankenmuth and Reese in Saginaw County and Clare in Clare County, as well as a site near Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.

People using those towers will be using an expanded band of radio frequencies. That means greater speeds and additional capacity.

AT&T says it spent nearly $1.65 billion on upgrades to its wired and wireless networks in Michigan between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015, providing improvements in reliability, coverage, speed and performance.

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M2 TechCast: Ken Rogers Retiring, Drone Rules, Social Media, CEO Search

ROYAL OAK — On the Monday, June 27 edition of the M2 TechCast, co-hosts Mike Brennan and Matt Roush will offer a wide-ranging look at high-tech news with a Michigan perspective.

The show will include:

* A look at Automation Alley, the 1,000-member manufacturing and technology trade promotion group, with Ken Rogers, who has announced his retirement from the organization he helped found 17 years ago.

* Traverse City attorney Enrico Schaefer on new FAA rules for the operation of commercial drones.

* A look at social media strategies for business from Dale Keipert, CEO of Flint-based 3Sixty Interactive.

* Patrick Anderson, chairman of Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, talking about his search for a new top executive to run a company that has developed a pioneering software applications that lies at the intersection of decision analytics and artificial intelligence.

The M2 TechCast is hosted by Brennan, founder and publisher of Michigan Technology News,, and Roush, director of the university news bureau at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield. Both have covered high-tech in Michigan as journalists for more than 20 years. The M2 TechCast airs live on the internet at 3 p.m. Eastern time Mondays at Past podcasts are available on demand at

The M2 TechCast is part of Podcast Detroit, a network of more than 40 locally produced podcasts on a wide variety of topics, anchored by IT in the D. the nation’s No. 1 tech podcast, which regularly draws more than 500,000 listeners a week. IT in the D airs live Monday nights from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time.

10 Automakers Headlining CAR Seminars In August

ANN ARBOR — Officials at the Center for Automotive Research announced Monday that 18 executives from 10 automakers will join supplier executives and policymakers to discuss critical issues, including impacts of new mobility and autonomy, fuel economy policy, implications for the midterm review and more, at CAR MBS 2016.

The annual Management Briefing Seminars will be held July 31-Aug. 4 at Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City.

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Dow Sustainability Report Shows Progress

MIDLAND — Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) Monday released its 2015 Sustainability Report, culminating Dow’s decade-long 2015 Sustainability Goals, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines, the most widely used framework for sustainability reporting used globally by businesses, governments and other organizations.

Dow’s 2015 goals resulted in significant, quantifiable improvements for the company in personal safety, environmental performance and economic value creation. Dow also renewed its commitment with the launch of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, the company’s third set of 10-year goals.

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LLamasoft CEO Hicks Named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

ANN ARBOR — The supply chain design software developer LLamasoft announced that its co-founder, president and CEO, Don Hicks. was named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 in the technology category for the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region.

This is the 30th anniversary of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award program, which recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Hicks was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a gala event at the Detroit Institute of Arts on June 23.

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