Companies Get State Aid For $561M Investment, 1,500 New Jobs

LANSING — More than $561 million in new investment with 1,500 jobs and two community revitalization projects are among projects approved Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The projects include investments by Lear Corporation, LG Electronics and Penske Logistics that will generate a total of $158.8 million capital investments and create 1,130 jobs.

* Southfield-based Lear Corp. received a $4.35 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to help finance a new 156,000-square-foot, $29.2 million automotive seating systems plant in Flint. The project is expected to create 435 jobs. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Mexico. The city of Flint has offered property tax abatement in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with Lear should visit

* In addition, MSF approved a $300,000 one-time grant to the Evergreen Community Development Initiative for its literacy center in the city of Flint. Intended to support talent development, the center will house a complete virtual library computer lab and dedicated literacy coaches with a defined curriculum to increase adult literacy rates and job readiness. The funds were provided to MSF by the Michigan Department of Treasury through a memorandum of understanding.

* Korea’s LG Electronics received a $2.92 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to assist in the development of a new, 250,000-square-foot LG Electronics Vehicle Components USA plant in Hazel Park. LG will also expand its engineering and design center in Troy. The project is expected to generate capital investment of $25 million and create 292 jobs. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in the Midwest and China. The cities of Hazel Park and Troy will provide assistance in finding candidates for the new positions. For information on careers with LG US, visit

* Penske Logistics was awarded a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to assist in the financing of a new 606,000-square-foot distribution center in Romulus, creating 403 jobs. Penske Logistics and developer InSite Real Estate, LLC will be investing a combined $98.5 million in the project. Michigan was chosen over multiple sites in the Midwest. The city of Romulus and Detroit Region Aerotropolis will consider a 10-year property tax abatement in support of the project. Visit to learn more.

* Looney Moon, LLC recieved a $300,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to assist in a $1.7 million renovation of 204 E. Grand River in the Old Town district of the city of Lansing into a mixed-use development that will include retail, commercial, and residential space. The project is expected to create 20 full-time equivalent jobs.

* The Revival Commons Redevelopment Project received MSF approval for more than $1.4 million in local and school tax recapture to help alleviate brownfield conditions on 53.7-acres of contaminated property at the former Tecumseh Products site in the city of Tecumseh. The completed project will consist of a mixed-use development that will include industrial, office and retail space. Located within walking distance of downtown Tecumseh, the new development will bring an underutilized property back to productive use and is expected to generate increased foot traffic and economic activity in the downtown area.

* MSF also approved an increase to the State Essential Services Assessment Exemption to support Ford Motor Company’s expansion at its Livonia Transmission Plant. Announced in May, the expansion will add a new transmission to its lineup. The project will generate additional investment by Ford of $350 million, resulting in an increase from $1.2 billion to $1.55 billion to the company’s SESA exemption. The company evaluated locations in neighboring states as well as Mexico for the expansion. Allowing Ford to claim the additional investment under its existing SESA exemption will ensure that the project moves forward in Michigan.

* MSF also approved the University Technology and Commercialization Program Request for Proposals in the amount of $2.8 million. The purpose of the RFP is to solicit proposals from applicants that have received prior MSF funding and require additional funding to continue the programs. The UTACP, originally approved by MSF in 2011, was established to invest in university-business partnerships focused on mentors, interns, collaboration, commercialization, economic growth and job creation.

* Also, the MSF approved the appointment of Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Jeff Mason to the American Center for Mobility’s board of directors. In 2016, MSF approved resolutions that helped establish the Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership toward finalizing the acquisition of land at Willow Run, and facilitate the design, construction costs and operations for the completion of Phase I of the connected and automated vehicle center to be developed and operated by the American Center for Mobility. Per the by-laws of the ACM, the MSF is entitled to designate two members to the ACM board of directors and Mason will assume one of the two positions.

For more on the MEDC, the state’s marketing arm and advocate for business development, job awareness and community and talent development, visit Visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at for more information on Michigan’s online marketplace for connecting job seekers and employers.


LTU event to show how Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Immersive Reality affect business

SOUTHFIELD – From immersive virtual reality (VR) caves to head-mounted devices (HMDs) to augmented reality (AR) headsets and more, a program at Lawrence Technological University will give attendees a chance to learn about these new tools in a relaxed environment and discover the positive impact they may have on the way business gets done.

Join the LTU Collaboratory on Thursday, Sept. 7 for a symposium from 8 a.m. to noon in the UTLC Gallery on the LTU campus, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield, for a hands-on demonstrations of the DAQRI Smart Helmet, the Microsoft Hololens, the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and a demonstration of immersive cave technology.

Expert presenters will include:

  • Jeff Brum from Mechdyne, on applications of virtual reality from training firefighters to developing a virtual aquarium for a research institute
  • Simon Wealans from DAQRI on how the smart helmet they developed can use augmented reality to save lives on the battlefield, help first responders in cities, and train new workers
  • Steve Couchman from LivePicture on how virtual reality headsets can be used in a design or marketing workflow

Registration is $15 if booked online at, or $20 at the door. A continental breakfast is included.

The event is sponsored by the LTU Collaboratory in partnership with the City of Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

For more information on how the LTU Collaboratory can help your company innovate and grow, visit

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

AT&T Expands Gigabit Internet, 4G LTE Network Around Michigan

DETROIT — AT&T Inc. says it has expanded its 1-gigabit internet connection service to more locations of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Berkley, St. Clair Shores, Livonia, Pittsfield Township, and surrounding areas.

The company had already established gigabit service in parts of Canton Township, Lyon township, Novi, and Grand Rapids.

Next up for expansion, the company said, is parts of Warren.

AT&T said the service is available at 5.5 million locations across 57 metropolitan areas nationwide. The company said it plans to expand the service to 12.5 million locations by mid-2019.

“Our customers are increasingly interacting with their world in more data-intensive ways,” said Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan. “A growing number of people are streaming content directly from their devices, and interacting with family and friends through live videos. For these reasons, we’re continuing to expand the availability of our fastest internet speeds to more Detroit area communities.”

The gigabit service is available at $70 a month if bundled with other AT&T services or $80 a month as a standalone service. Equipment is included with a 12-month agreement.

A gigabit connection allows a user to download 25 songs a second, or an HD movie in about 30 seconds. The service also allows seamless telecommuting and video conferencing.

More about the gigabit service at

In other news, AT&T announced improvements to its 4G LTE high-speed wireless networks in the following locations:

* Alpena, near Long Lake Highway and Shubert Road
* Lake City, north of West Kelly Road, between South Blodget Road and South LaChance Road
* Sault Ste. Marie, near Sugar Island Road, west of McMahon Road

AT&T says it invested almost $1.4 billion in its wireless and wireline networks in Michigan between 2014 through 2016.

Ford exec tells LTU frosh: ‘You’re the right people at the right time in the right city’


A Ford Motor Co. executive told Lawrence Technological University’s incoming first-year students Friday that when it comes to their higher education, “It’s the right time, you’re the right people, and you’re in the right city.”

Klevorn spoke at LTU’s annual Convocation ceremony, held to welcome first-year students and their families. During the event, she received LTU’s fourth annual Global Citizen Award, presented annually to individuals who have shown great character and leadership in addressing global issues and promoting international understanding. LTU welcomed about 500 students at the event, held at its Ridler Field House.

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Whirlpool Wins Gold, Silver LEED Green Building Certifications

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp., the world’s No. 1 appliance maker, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for two of its recent building projects, both located in its headquartesr city, Benton Harbor.

Riverview Campus, the North American Region headquarters, is now LEED Gold certified for Phase 3 of its development, and the Global Headquarters is LEED Silver certified for the South and East wings of the building. LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. These are the 14th and 15th LEED-certified projects for Whirlpool since 2009, with all projects now totalling more than 9.4 million square feet.

“Being awarded additional LEED certifications is validation of our long-held belief that sustainability is not just important for our business, but a responsibility on behalf of our consumers,” said Lee Utke, Whirlpool’s senior director of global corporate real estate. “Each project represents a continuation of our commitment to designing, constructing, and/or remodeling buildings using sustainable practices.”

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is the foremost program for buildings that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. In the Whirlpool projects, restroom faucets with ultra low-flow valves and toilets were designed to reduce water usage. When compared to the minimum baseline established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the fixtures’ performance results in an estimated 40 percent water savings for both facilities — about 1.07 million gallons of water at the Riverview Campus, and 697,000 gallons at the Global Headquarters. Energy efficiency was also a priority, with the Riverview Campus taking an integrated, whole-campus approach. The building was designed around a central plant heating and cooling system with a building management system, and incorporates high-efficiency interior and exterior lighting.

A waste-reduction plan was enacted during construction of all three phases for each building, resulting in thousands of tons of waste diverted from landfills at the Riverview Campus and Global Headquarters — 94 percent and 57 percent of total construction waste, respectively. At the Riverview Campus, materials containing recycled content constitute 31 percent of the total cost of materials, which included drywall, carpet in the office, steel columns, and concrete in the floor slabs and exterior site.

Both buildings maximize open space, with more than 111,000 square feet of open space at the Riverview Campus, and nearly 284,000 square feet of outside vegetated green space at the Global Headquarters. Open space helps reduce heat island effect, increases stormwater infiltration, and provides individuals on the site with a connection to the outdoors, a feature proven to increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

Both facilities promote alternative transportation methods to reduce the organization’s overall carbon footprint. Bike stations and bus routes are available to employees, as well as several electric car charging stations. Whirlpool has also set aside several dozen priority parking spots for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Whirlpool’s commitment to sustainability continues beyond the completion of construction. The Riverview Campus will serve as an example of green building practices and as a tool to inform and educate consumers and other companies.

Whirlpool has 93,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world, with annual sales about $21 billion. The company markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air, Indesit and other major brand names in nearly every country throughout the world. More at

Record Growth for North American Robotics Market

ANN ARBOR — The Association for Advancing Automation, the trade association for robotics and related industries, reported that the North American robotics industry had its best opening six months ever in 2017.

The organization said records were set in all four statistical categories — order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue.

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CFI Group Says Freebies Like Shipping Drive Holiday Sales

ANN ARBOR — A new report from Ann Arbor’s customer experience analysts CFI Group and the King of Prussia, Pa.-based e-commerce company Radial Inc. finds that shoppers are willing to spend more online to get free shipping — but won’t stand for out-of-stock products or long waits for shipment.

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Altair’s Carriots Analytics Integrates with Candi PowerTools

TROY — The Troy-based engineering technology and software developer Altair announced a collaboration with Oakland, Calif.-based Cando Controls Inc. to offer a smart building software system.

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Powerley Pilots Energy-Driven Smart Home with BC Hydro

ROYAL OAK — Powerley, the Royal Oak-based home energy management software and services developer, announced that the Canadian utility BC Hydro has launched a consumer pilot of the Powerley platform to households equipped with smart meters.

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