Ford Releases Tool For In-Car App Developers

DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. Friday announced the release of a free tool the company says will make it easier for smartphone app developers to build in-car apps compatible with the company’s Sync 3 communications and entertainment system.

Downloadable from the Ford Developer Program website, SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator is a software program that helps developers create AppLink-enabled apps by allowing them to test how their app will look and work on a SYNC 3 interface – without access to an actual vehicle.

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Whirlpool Net Income Jumps Despite Lower Sales

BENTON HARBOR — The world’s largest appliance maker, Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR), reported net income of $320 million or $4.15 a share in the second quarter ended June 30, up from $177 million or $2.21 a share a year earlier.

That increase in profit came despite a slight decline in sales, to $5.2 billion in the quarter, down from $5.21 billion a year earlier.

For the six months, Whirlpool posted net income of $470 million or $6.06 a share, up from $368 million or $4.60 a share a year earlier. Revenue was $9.61 billion, down from $10.05 billion a year earlier.

The increase in profitability came thanks to a reduction in the cost of products sold, lower restructuring costs, and a sharply lower tax rate.

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Mitchell Plastics Expanding In Sterling Heights, Adding 122 Jobs

LANSING — The Michigan Strategic Fund has offered Mitchell Plastics a $427,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to support a new plant in Sterling Heights that will create 122 jobs.

The 200,000-square-foot plant represents a total investment of more than $20.5 million.

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Manufacturer A Pioneer In PACE Energy Financing

TROY — Lean & Green Michigan, the Detroit-based energy efficiency financial consultant, announced that Troy-based Heller Machine Tools has become the first manufacturing company in Michigan to use PACE financing to pay for a complete energy retrofit.

Heller is working with the Detroit energy efficiency consultant Levin Energy Partners LLC, Troy-based ABM Facility Services, and Austin, Texas-based Petro PACE Finance, a national PACE lender, on financing more than $978,000 of energy efficiency improvements.

The city of Troy established a PACE program in February. Heller’s project, to be completed this fall, involves networked building controls, lighting fixture replacement, server room cooling, partial roof replacement, HVAC improvements, and compressed air system upgrades.

The improvements will save the company $1.6 million over 15 yars, with a positive cash flow of $368,000 net of all closing costs and payments. The annual electric saving iwll be 460,000 kilowatt-hours, and the natural gas saving will be 658 therms a year.

Under PACE financing, energy projects can be financed through a special property tax assessment. Since the loan has the security of a tax bill, banks are more willing to extend long-term loans for energy efficiency project — up to 20 years, vs. a standard energy efficiency loan of 3 to 5 years. That allows the financing of energy efficiency projects with longer paybacks. And the debt passes on to a new owner in the event of the sale of the property, just like a tax assessment.

Heller, established in Germany in 1894, began its U.S. operations, headquartered in Troy, in 1982.

TM Group Joins Gravity Software Partner Program

SOUTHFIELD — Gravity Software LLC, the Southfield-based accounting software developer for the Microsoft CRM platform, today announced a partnership with The TM Group to provide consulting and implementation services to the company’s clients.

The TM Group, a Microsoft partner, has completed more than 1,000 implementations and has received more than 65 Microsoft partner awards. The company said the Gravity partnership will allow it to expand into the middle market.

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Borg Warner Expansion Gets State Aid

LANSING — An expansion in Auburn Hills by the auto supplier BorgWarner will get state financial support.

BorgWarner is planning to expand its existing operations in the Oakland County community, investing $27 million in new plant and equipment and creating 76 new jobs.

As a result, the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved a $750,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

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AT&T Expands Expands 4G Network

DETROIT — AT&T Inc. said it is now covering more of several areas of Michigan with improved 4G LTE service.

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MSU, Marathon Team Up To Help STEM Students

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University and Marathon Petroleum Corp. celebrated a new partnership and a $150,000 commitment for underrepresented and underprepared students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Marathon Petroleum’s support will strengthen the Engineering and Science Success Academy (ESSA) at MSU – a seven-week residential program administered by the Diversity Programs Office in the College of Engineering.

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FCA US Launches Bug Bounty Program For Vehicle Cybersecurity

AUBURN HILLS — FCA US LLC, the American arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has launched a “bug bounty” financial reward system for the discovery of potential vehicle cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Individuals will be paid up to a $1,500 bounty per bug discovered, depending on its impact and severity.

FCA also named the crowdsourced security testing firm Bugcrowd Inc. to manage the program.

For a video on how Bugcrowd works, visit  https://youtu.be/LEyYDwXJDMc.

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M2 TechCast Talks Mobile Apps, Data Centers, Consulting

ROYAL OAK –The Monday, July 11 M2 TechCast podcast is all about mobile and data centers.

Matt Roush and Mike Brennan, co-hosts of the hour-long weekly podcast on all things technological in Michigan, will interview Linda Daiscendt, CEO of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, about her organization, as well as a Mobile Monday Detroit program this evening about virtual reality devices connected to smartphones.

Other guests on the show, which begins at 3 p.m. Eastern time at http://www.podcastdetroit.com, are to include Robert Sanders, CEO of the Troy managed services provider ManagedWay, about the company’s latest data center, and Randy Richardville, former majority leader of the Michigan Senate, who has opened a new consulting business.

For more information, check out this link.

The M2 TechCast is hosted by Brennan, founder and publisher of Michigan Technology News, http://www.mitechnews.com, 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 http://www.podcastdetroit.com. Past podcasts are available on demand at http://www.podcastdetroit.com/artist/mi-tech-cast.

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.