| Follow Us:

Innovation & Job News

2991 Articles | Page: | Show All

Southfield-based Clayton & McKervey adds 10 jobs

Clayton & McKervey's recent growth has a bit of a foreign flavor to it.

The Southfield-based accounting and business advisory firm has grown its revenue by about 5 percent over the last year and is on target to do it again in 2014. That has allowed it to hire 10 people over the last year, including accountants, tax experts, and support staff. The firm currently employs 60 people.

Fueling that growth is rising demand for bigger companies to buy smaller ones.

"A lot more companies are looking at mergers and acquisitions these days," says Kevin McKervey, president of Clayton & McKervey. "A lot of clients are buying companies."

In many case those companies are foreign-owned corporations looking to establish a foothold in the North American market. Often the easier way to do that is to buy a locally-owned company in its space and turn it into the U.S. subsidiary for the multi-national corporation.

"There is a big interest in foreign companies establishing a presence in the U.S.," McKervey says.

Source: Kevin McKervey, president of Clayton & McKervey
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Action Wood 360 adds 6 staffers with help of new automotive work

When the automotive industry went down during the Great Recession, Action Wood 360 turned to a few other sectors to keep itself afloat. Now that the auto industry is rebounding, the Clinton Township-based company is reaping the benefits.

"Over the last year we have seen more automotive work coming," says Michael O'Connor, director of business development for Action Wood 360. "We had sustained ourselves on military contracts and we have even gotten a few more in. It's trending in the right direction."

Action Wood 360 manufactures wood-based packaging solutions for a variety of manufacturing industries, including automotive, aerospace and defense. The 30-year-old company has hired six people, expanding its staff to 25 to accommodate the increase in work. It has added 12 mostly automotive-based new customers in the last year.

One of its latest projects is helping LithFire-x, a fire-suppression company, to manufacture a specialty container designed to ship compromised lithium-ion batteries. LithFire is engineering the internal fire proofing, while Action Wood is responsible for the design of the dunnage and shipment hardware.

"We're going to be making the container for them since they're two guys in an office and we have 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space," O'Connor says.

Source: Michael O'Connor, director of business development for Action Wood 360
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Lotus Bank eyes 20% growth, plans to open new branch

Lotus Bank has its eyes on opening a new branch in Metro Detroit over the next year as it works to keep up with its recent growth.

It will be the third branch for the Novi-based bank, which also has branches in Novi and Farmington Hills. The location hasn’t been selected yet but is expected to become a reality in 2015. That would allow the 7-year-old financial institution to keep up with the growth it's been experiencing in recent years.

"2013 was an exceptional year for the bank," says Neal Searle, president & CEO of Lotus Bank. "We grew about 20 percent. We also surpassed $100 million in assets in April."

Lotus Bank is 80-percent owned by Indian-Americans and primarily serves that community in Metro Detroit. It grew by about 20 percent over the last year and is on track to repeat that number in 2014. Accordingly,  the bank has hired three people, including a credit administrator and client service professionals. It has a staff of 20 employees and one intern, and is looking to hire a commercial lender right now.

Searle points out that Lotus Bank's growth is entirely organic. He credits traditional community banking practices that stress customer service as the fuel for the bank's growth. It's why he is bullish on the bank’s expansion plans and hiring prospects.

"We intend to continue to grow our staff as the market demands," Searle says.

Source: Neal Searle, president & CEO of Lotus Bank
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Joe Cornell Entertainment rides rebound in event business

Conventional wisdom says the economy is good. Good enough to throw a party and enjoy some success, and Joe Cornell Entertainment actually has the numbers to prove it.

"It's a time to pull out the stops and do it," says Steve Jasgur, president of Joe Cornell Entertainment. "People are more secure with their finances."

The Southfield-based event-planning firm's work has increased by 25 percent over the last year. However, the real number that demonstrates the strength of the market is how far booked out the firm is. At the height of the recession events were booked up six months beforehand. Booking times are 12-18 months in a normal economy; Joe Cornell Entertainment has hit that sweet spot.

"We have events through 2016," Jasgur says.

Joe Cornell Entertainment is looking to hire right now to accommodate that growth. The firm has hired 11 people over the last year, mostly entertainers like DJs. It is currently looking to hire 20 people and is holding auditions on August 18th. For information on the job openings and auditions, call (248) 356-6000.

Source: Steve Jasgur, president of Joe Cornell Entertainment
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Gentry Partnership opens office in Berkley

Chicago-based Gentry Partnership is opening an office in Berkley to service the Metro Detroit market.

Gentry Partnership is a self-described independent third-party provider of cost savings solutions. For instance, it pools the buying power of several businesses and organizations to leverage lower prices for things like health-care plans or temporary labor.

"We help the companies negotiate these deals with the providers," says John Syvernson, managing partner with Gentry Partnership. "Our clients come to us and buy off of these programs and instantly get savings from what they buy."

The company is targeting local automakers and their tier one suppliers. The idea is to not only help them with combined purchasing but also to look at their internal business practices to see where efficiencies can be achieved.

"We bring a fresher, more up-to-date print of the labor market," says Mike Wehby, associate partner with Gentry Partnership.

Source: John Syvernson, managing partner with Gentry Partnership, and Mike Wehby, associate partner with Gentry Partnership
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Primetime Testing Laboratory expands facility, staff

It's a good time to be Primetime Testing Laboratory. The Clinton Township-based automotive-interior testing company is experiencing double-digit growth, is hiring a handful of people, and is about to finish a facility expansion.
 
The 16-year-old business specializes in mechanical and physical testing of automotive interiors.  Its services test the durability, fatigue, load and vibration of interior parts of cars and trucks. The company has experienced an uptick in demand for its services, including landing 27 new customers over the last year.

"We're becoming much more busy and growing a lot from it," says Jim Flachsmann, director of business development for Primetime Testing Laboratory.

Primetime Testing Laboratory is on pace to grow between 25 percent and 30 percent this year. Flachsmann credits that growth to the resurgence of the automotive industry, stricter regulations on the interiors of cars and trucks, and the integration of new technology.

"I think the technology came a lot faster than anyone was prepared for," Flachsmann says.

The company has hired three people over the last year, including Flachsmann and two technicians. It is also looking to hire two more technicians. The firm's staff currently stands at 20 employees and one intern.

Primetime Testing Laboratory is also in the process of expanding its facility. It is adding 1,200 square feet of storage space and is remodeling its front office and lobby.

"We hope to wrap it up by the end of the month," Flachsmann says.

Source: Jim Flachsmann, director of business development for Primetime Testing Laboratory
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

RIIS hires 18, moves to bigger offices in Troy

Change is afoot at RIIS, and that's an encouraging thing for the growing tech firm.

RIIS has hired 18 people so far this year, including a recruiter, sales professional, mobile developers, and software developers. It now has a staff of 54 employees and three summer interns. It plans to hire another 18 people over the next year to keep pace with its growth.

"We have had the two best revenue months we've ever had," says Godfrey Nolan, president of RIIS. "The growth is consistent, not explosive."

RIIS has done tech work (think custom software platforms and mobile apps) for the likes of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan since its start in 1998. It has since diversified its customer base, taking on larger clients like North American Bancard, Michigan First Credit Union, and DTE Energy. Often it has used its expertise in mobile to help land that new work.

"We're doing lots of mobile work and a lot more work with DTE Energy," Nolan says. "We have great salespeople and have done work there before."

RIIS also executed a move from its old office in Southfield to a newer, bigger space in Troy earlier this week. The new office has 1,500 square feet more than its previous space, adding up to a total of 5,000 square feet.

"One of the reasons we moved to Troy is for more space," Nolan says.

The new space is consolidated and open. Nolan points out that the cubicle workspace for software developers is dead and an open floor plan that encourages collaboration is what's making firms like RIIS competitive today. The company's new office not only lacks walls but has space for training and recreation for the company's growing number of employees.

"It's way better than what we had before," Nolan says.

Source: Godfrey Nolan, president of RIIS
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Livio Radio co-founders launch new tech venture, Tome

Fresh off a successful exit of tech startup Livio, co-founders Jake Sigal and Massimo Baldini are at it again, launching a new venture called Tome out of Ferndale.

"People like to say we're like an old married couple when it comes to business," Sigal says.

Sigal is shy to describe Tome in too much detail but would say its technology is focused on the "Internet of things," a newer term used to describe the movement to connect the power of the Internet with tangible objects. Specifically, Sigal says Tome’s principal product aims to merge mobile apps, devices and services.

"We're looking at the larger issues in the tech industry," Sigal says.

Sigal and Baldini launched Livio Radio in Ferndale, making physical radios that could play Internet radio stations in the late 2000s. The startup evolved to creating software that connected mobile devices with automobiles. Ford acquired the startup, later rebranded as just Livio, last year. Sigal and Baldini left the company soon after but stay connected with its staff and progress.

"We're excited about what Ford is doing with it now," Sigal says.

Tome now has a staff of three people after launching in April. Sigal says it's in "stealth mode" but he did describe it as a non-automotive play that focuses on software. The pair raised a $250,000 angel round that closed in June.

"Our mission right now is to build the right team and the right product," Sigal says.

Source: Jake Sigal, co-founder & CEO of Tome
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

HIROTEC AMERICA plans to expand Auburn Hills facility, add 140 jobs

HIROTEC AMERICA is making a sizable bet on Metro Detroit, investing $26 million into an expansion of its Auburn Hills facility. It’s a move the automotive supplier expects will create 140 new jobs.

"We added 37 jobs in 2013," says Jim Toeniskoetter, president & COO of HIROTEC AMERICA. "So far this year we have added 22 jobs. We will continue to add jobs as we continue to expand."

HIROTEC AMERICA is the North American arm of HIROTEC Group. The global automotive supplier manufacturers everything from body-in-white closures to exhaust systems. It has operations in Auburn Hills, New Haven, and two facilities in Chesterfield Township. The company employs 285 people between all four facilities.

Its current facility in Auburn Hills measures out to 170,000 square feet, which includes 20,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Toeniskoetter points out his firm is expanding in Auburn Hills because of its longstanding relationship with the city (it goes back to 1992), its central location in the region with easy access to I-75 and M-59, and close proximity to its existing employee base.

The first step in HIROTEC AMERICA's expansion plans in Auburn Hills included the purchase of 20 acres of land in the Oakland Technology Industrial Park earlier this month. It plans to construct a new building with 42,000 square feet of office space and 174,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The facility will also have room to expand its operations by another 125,000 square feet in the future.

"They will start moving dirt in August when we get our building permits," Toeniskoetter says.

HIROTEC AMERICA plans to keep its current facility when the new one is finished. It will have close to 400,000 square feet of commercial space when the project is completed in August of 2015. The 140 new hires are expected to take place over the next 2-3 years and will be on top of the current workforce of 285 people.

Source: Jim Toeniskoetter, president & COO of HIROTEC AMERICA
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Kimberly LED Lighting set to move into bigger facility in Clarkston

The LED lighting industry has been on an upward trajectory for years now as it becomes the go-to brand for energy-efficient lighting in the 21st century. Kimberly LED Lighting is riding that wave, expanding its sales and moving to a bigger facility this summer.

The 8-year-old company is putting the finishing touches on a new facility in Clarkston. A move-in is set for August. The new facility will be exponentially larger than its current office in Auburn Hills.

"We're going from 5,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet," says Doug Jenkins, managing partner of Kimberly LED Lighting. "It's a pretty big jump."

Kimberly LED Lighting specializes in changing out traditional incandescent bulbs for LED lighting in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Often LED lighting is up to 70-80 percent more energy efficient than traditional options.

The switch to LEDs has allowed Kimberly LED Lighting to double its sales each year, and nearly triple them in the last year. The company has also hired three people over the last year, expanding its staff to a dozen full-time employees handling everything from LED switches in houses to factories.

"The bread and butter of LEDs right now is in the commercial and industrial side," Jenkins says. "Businesses are getting payback on them within two years."

Source: Doug Jenkins, managing partner of Kimberly LED Lighting
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Sterling Heights mom turns art into a biz, A'peeling Fruit

Pam Pfropper's path through adulthood took a number of fairly typical turns. The Sterling Heights woman worked as a technical illustrator in the automotive industry for a decade before becoming a stay-at-home-mom to raise her two children.

Not long after that is when Pfropper started to take a road less traveled. She started a business, a fruit-carving business. A'peeling Fruit carves small pieces of art out of large pieces of produce, such as watermelon or carrots, and sells them to event organizers and other businesses looking to bring a bit of artistic flair to the table.

"I have always had an interest in food and gardening," Pfropper says. "It kind of progressed from there."

Pfropper noticed not many people were doing fruit carving, so she entered a couple of contests. One was a national competition that earned her an invitation to take her carving skills to the White House.

"I thought I might have something here," Pfropper says.

Not long after, Pfropper turned A’peeling Fruit into her full-time job. Her business allows her to work from home creating her pieces of art while her children are away at school.

"It fits in well with my lifestyle," Pfropper says.

Source: Pam Pfropper, owner & artist of A'peeling Fruit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Code ReConnect graduates first class of new IT pros

The first crop of graduates have been harvested from Automation Alley's newest IT development program, Code ReConnect.

Code ReConnect is a training program that helps people transition into careers in the IT and software sectors. The program, held at Oakland Community College's M-TEC building in Auburn Hills, includes courses on computer programming and web and app development. Graduates receive Microsoft Certified Professional certification after 120 hours of classroom instruction and 64 hours of hands-on lab time.

The first class graduated eight people. So far two of them have landed positions and the other six are interviewing for jobs. Automation Alley is working with Kelly Services to provide participants with access to employment opportunities with local tech companies through a six-month paid mentorship program. Among the participating companies are Digerati, CDH and Altair Engineering.

"It allows them to try out an employee before committing to permanent employment," says Alysia Green, director of talent development at Automation Alley.

The costs for the program are paid for by Automation Alley from funds received from a $5 million workforce development grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Automation Alley is looking at launching its second class for the Code ReConnect program in October. For information on it, contact Automation Alley Talent Development Specialist Karol Friedman at friedmank@automationalley.com.

Source: Alysia Green, director of talent development at Automation Alley
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Brooks Kushman expands office, staff in Southfield

Hiring is becoming an increasingly important word at Brooks Kushman this year. The boutique intellectual property law firm has hired 20 people so far this year, filling out new office space it acquired last year.

"We've been getting more work and hiring more people," says Mark Cantor, president of Brooks Kushman. "We need space for all the extra people."

The Southfield-based law practice currently employs 175 people and a handful of interns from a variety of local organizations, such as Challenge Detroit and Detroit's Cristo Rey High School. The 31-year-old firm took on an extra 8,000 square feet to its main office in Southfield last year, It now occupies more than 50,000 square feet.

"We took a whole second floor," Cantor says. "We have two continuous floors in the building."

Brooks Kushman specializes in intellectual property law, such as filing for patents that cover new technology. Cantor says the company is projecting a revenue spike of as much as 20 percent this year. That's up from 3 percent revenue growth the year before. Work from a number of different sectors, ranging from software to automotive, is prompting the current spate of growth.

"We have had growth in many areas," Cantor says.

Source: Mark Cantor, president of Brooks Kushman
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Bean & Tea Co opens third location in Clarkston

For 20 years Raymond Christopher Enterprises has made its way by running franchise eateries, such as Cinnabon and Mrs. Fields Cookies. This year it’s launching its own franchise, Bean & Tea Co.

The Plymouth-based coffee shop specializes in providing locally produced coffee, tea and snacks. It offers a handful of coffee options and offers 25 varieties of loose leaf tea selections including black, oolong, green, white, herbal and fruit infusions.

"This is the first time where it’s our concept from the ground up," says Jill Crawford, manager of the Michigan region for Bean & Tea Co.

Bean & Tea Co has taken over three locations that were once Caribou Coffee stores. It now employs 23 people at the stores. The franchises in Troy and Madison Heights opened earlier this year. A new one in Clarkston is opening this week, bringing another nine jobs into the fold with it.

"The Troy location is our hub location," Crawford says.

Bean & Tea Co is looking at adding more locations before the end of the year, but it's doesn't have definite plans as of right now. Crawford says the company takes advantage of opportunities as they present themselves and moves quickly when it does.

Source: Jill Crawford, manager of the Michigan region for Bean & Tea Co
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Resident Reach creates service that checks in on seniors

James Abraham and Steven Pikor are launching their third business together this summer, Resident Reach.

The serial entrepreneurs started and sold a marketing company and Christian social network. Resident Reach is a senior-oriented business that periodically checks in with senior citizens on behalf of family to make sure they are fine. The idea is to help busy young people close the gaps so the health of their older loved ones doesn’t fall through the cracks.

"I saw a lot of gaps with the people I worked with," says James Abraham, managing partner of Resident Reach. "Steven and I both grew up with grandparents living with us."

The two person operation is based in Sterling Heights and got its start at the Blackstone LaunchPad at Walsh College. It is looking to build up its clientele in Metro Detroit this year to establish itself. Abraham and Pikor expect Resident Reach will take hold as more and more families have to deal with aging loved ones who want to grow old in place.

"Our services are designed to create independence," Abraham says. "Hopefully, the longer we serve them the longer they can stay in their homes."

Source: James Abraham, managing partner of Resident Reach
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
2991 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts