MSU Names New Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Chair

EAST LANSING — Donald Morelli, who has been interim chair of the Michigan State University Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science for almost two years, has been named chair of the department following a national search. His appointment is effective June 1.

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Michigan Sea Grant, Wayne State Host Freshwater Research Conference

ANN ARBOR — Freshwater researchers from the Great Lakes region and around the world are gathering at Cobo Center this week for the 60th annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research.

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123Net Expands Fiber Network in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — 123Net, the Southfield-based provider of network solutions, announced an expansion of its metro fiber data hub in Grand Rapids and vicinity.

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Roush Opens New Engineering Center in Troy

LIVONIA — The automotive firm Roush recently opened its first Oakland County technical center bringing expanded engineering design and development services dedicated to hybrid and electric vehicles, electric propulsion and battery systems, autonomous vehicles, advanced software development and data analytics.

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Michigan Tech Research: Solar Can Aid Military Security Affordably

HOUGHTON — Vulnerabilities in the power grid are one of the most prevalent national security threats. The technical community has called for building up the resiliency of the grid using distributed energy and microgrids for stabilization. Power production from multiple sources increases the difficulty of triggering cascading blackouts, and following an attack or natural disaster, microgrids can provide localized energy security.

In a new paper published in the academic journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2017.04.094), an interdisciplinary team of engineering and energy policy experts from Michigan Technological University says the first step is to outfit military infrastructure with solar photovoltaic-powered microgrid systems. Their results found that the military needs 17 gigawatts of PV to fortify domestic bases — and that the systems are technically feasible, within current contractors’ skill sets, and economically favorable.

Additionally, the paper’s lead author, Emily Prehoda, who is finishing her PhD in energy policy at Michigan Tech, says boosting bases’ energy independence supports local communities.

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Diplomat Buys Health Information Provider

FLINT — Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced it had completed its acquisition of WRB Communications Inc., a health care service center company based in Chantilly, Va.

WRB specializes in relationship management programs for pharmaceutical manufacturers and health care service organizations.

Under the terms of the agreement, Diplomat is paying WRB $24.5 million cash and $4.5 million of Diplomat common stock. Under the terms of a two-year contingent earnout, WRB can earn an additional payout of up to $1 million based upon achievement of earnings-based targets in the 12-month periods ending May 31, 2018, and May 31, 2019. In 2016, WRB generated $15 million in revenue and $2.2 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

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Mason County Sets Broadband Initiative

LUDINGTON — The Mason County Broadband Committee has partnered with the community engagement program of the nonprofit Connected Nation to develop a plan to improve access to high speed Internet in the county.

The initial step to developing a comprehensive, county-oriented plan will consist of a short survey for agriculture producers, business organizations and owners, healthcare facilities, schools, and residents. This will help the broadband committee members understand the unique needs in Mason County.

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Business Expansions Win State Aid, To Create 203 Jobs

LANSING — An animal health company is expanding in the Kalamazoo area with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

That expansion, along with four other business expansion projects that also received MSF approval, will generate a total private investment of more than $71.5 million and create 203 jobs in Michigan.

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Renaissance Venture Fund Opens Office In East Lansing

EAST LANSING – The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund  and the Michigan State University Foundation announced that Renaissance is opening its third office location at the  East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, 325 E. Grand River Ave., Suite 300.

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Texas Firm Invests In LLamasoft

ANN ARBOR — LLamasoft, the Ann Arbor-based developer of supply chain modeling and design software, announced an investment by TPG Group, a private equity firm with offices in Fort Worth, Texas and San Francisco, Calif.

LLamasoft’s technology includes Supply Chain Guru for supply chain design. The company also plans this year to roll out new applications in supply chain visibility, planning, and demand modeling.

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