Wayne State University to launch Innovation Hub to maximize student success, strengthen community connections and streamline business partnerships

As one of the nation’s preeminent urban research universities, Wayne State consistently generates important innovations and ground-breaking research. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Student Center Ballroom, the university will launch the Wayne Innovation Hub to coordinate and enhance its programs for entrepreneurship education, technology commercialization, and community partnerships, and to enhance the university’s overall culture of innovation.

The Wayne Innovation Hub is an element of the university’s five-year strategic plan, Distinctively Wayne State, which identified innovation and entrepreneurship as strategic focus areas. This strategic focus is driven by rapid technological advances that impact all university disciplines and strongly influence where jobs for students will be in the future.

The Innovation Hub will work with all university units to ensure that students, faculty and staff have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to achieve career success, drive economic development and improve their communities. These efforts include expansion at TechTown Detroit, Wayne State’s community-facing venture incubator and accelerator; innovative programming at Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute; educational offerings such as entrepreneurship certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels from the Mike Ilitch School of Business; strengthened support for student ventures, projects, and organizations; and enhancement of the university’s technology commercialization and business partnership practices.

“To achieve success in this world of accelerating technology, we must prepare our students with innovation and entrepreneurship skills, strengthen our community connections, and enhance technology transfer and business partnerships,” said Provost Keith E. Whitfield. “Our strong Detroit roots, world-class academic and research programs, and thriving, diverse campus culture make us exceptionally well positioned to produce needed innovation and play a leadership role in the revitalization of the Detroit region.”

W. David Tarver, recently hired senior counselor to the provost for innovation and entrepreneurship, will administer the Innovation Hub and provide guidance and strategic direction. Tarver brings experience as a successful technology company founder, author, urban business development advocate, and entrepreneurship educator. He aims to play a key role in making Wayne State University an innovation and entrepreneurship powerhouse.

“Wayne State is one of the nation’s leading urban research universities, and considering the current Detroit resurgence, the time is right to grab hold of the talent and ideas that exist here to produce the groundbreaking innovations, new ventures and community partnerships that will improve the quality of life here and around the world,” said Tarver.

The Innovation Hub launch celebration will remind people on campus and throughout the region that Wayne State has a strong track record of innovation and entrepreneurship and showcase how it is taking its commitment to an even higher level. The event will include music; a series of short, entertaining “IDO” (Innovation, Disruption, Opportunity) talks; and the kickoff of a student-led community engagement project in which participants produce one-minute video profiles to highlight the innovations produced by everyday Detroiters. Attendees will also be encouraged to connect with the many innovation and entrepreneurship resources that exist on campus and around the community, and representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

A reception with food and beverages will follow the program. This free event is open to the public. Please register by visiting http://go.wayne.edu/innovation-hub. Wayne State students need not register in advance.


Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.

LIFT and The Center Launch “LIFT Off” Webinar Series to Highlight Small Company Innovations

Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) today announced the launch of a new webinar series, “LIFT Off.” Held on the third Thursday of each month at noon EST, “LIFT Off” will highlight a small to medium-sized manufacturer and the newest technologies being developed to advanced lightweighting or manufacturing processes.
“LIFT Off” webinars are designed to showcase valuable innovations that can positively impact lightweight manufacturing, design and implementation in the region and beyond.

The speakers and topics scheduled to-date are:
• August 17: Multi-Material Riveting – Dan Radomski, Optimal Inc.
• September 21: Breakthroughs in Low-Cost ADHSS Heat Treating – Gary Cola, Flash Bainite
• October 19: Lightweight Metals Enabling Software – Ravi Kunju, Altair

“These are people who have a great idea and have taken the risk to begin their own business because they believe so passionately in what they are doing and the difference it will make,” said Larry Brown, executive director, LIFT.

Future webinars will cover topics such as Multi-Material Friction Stir Welding, Cryogenic Machining, Morphing Software, Smart Virtual Prototyping, and Lightweight Metallurgy.

“Our goal is to give these innovators a platform to share their work with the rest of the industry and showcase some of the breakthroughs taking place at small companies,” said Gregg Peterson, The Center’s Principle Materials Engineer who works on-site at LIFT’s Detroit headquarters as part of a pilot program to propel the use of lightweight materials in manufacturing.

Manufacturing industry members, small company innovators and all others interested in lightweighting technology and innovation are welcome to join the webinars.

For more information on the webinars and LIFT’s technology work, please visit www.lift.technology/liftoff.


ABOUT LIFT
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit www.lift.technology to learn more.

ABOUT THE CENTER
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is an organization dedicated to supporting Michigan manufacturers to work smarter, to compete and to prosper. The Center offers personalized consulting services to meet the needs of clients in virtually every aspect of their businesses. The Center is affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is part of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP Program). The Center also is closely affiliated with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with the shared goal of making Michigan businesses vibrant, driving GDP growth and creating new and lasting jobs. For more information, visit the-center.org.

Contact:
Joe Steele
313-309-9132
jsteele@lift.technology

Adapting to Disruption: Fortune Magazine’s Geoff Colvin Assesses Michigan’s Leadership in the Technology Race

By Paul Vachon

Page 38-39

Geoff Colvin writes and speaks on matters related to the economy and American competitiveness with a laser-sharp focus rivaled by few.

The Fortune magazine senior editor leverages his well-developed relationships with top influencers in business and government, providing keen observations for companies seeking a foothold in today’s competitive market. Colvin’s business prowess is laid out in his best-selling books, including “Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everyone Else” and “Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will.

In a recent interview with the Detroiter, Colvin said he maintains an optimistic view of Michigan’s economic future, especially its cornerstone industry. He sees the automotive industry crisis of 2008 and the industry’s subsequent restructuring as foundational to much of the progress that has been made. While he does believe other options beyond bankruptcy for both General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler (FCA US LLC) could have been pursued, he is quick to point out that “bankruptcy doesn’t mean death.”

“All of the three major U.S. airlines have been through bankruptcy — some of them more than once and today they’re thriving,” he said.

Still, Colvin said the automotive industry is so economically vital to America that some government intervention was inevitable.

Colvin also said he believes the northern Rust Belt states and their manufacturing bases can survive and even thrive, but must be willing to adapt to a fundamental new reality, one which most likely will not include added employment.

“Policymakers know this, but many others don’t, and the real challenge is accepting this reality and moving on,” Colvin said. “In June of 1979, the U.S. employed 19.5 million manufacturing workers, an all-time high. Last June, the number was 12.2 million. Yet that far smaller group of workers made 78 percent more stuff in constant dollars. The trend isn’t going to reverse: more stuff, fewer workers.”

“Manufacturing towns can revive spectacularly — just look at Pittsburgh. The revival must be based on information, services and technology. Much of those things can be sold to manufacturers,” Colvin added.

But the transition can be a rocky one. Will all this transformation be so jarring as to cause another major economic downturn? Colvin says no.

“There’s no reason to think technological disruption will cause any kind of economic downturn,” he said. “Just the opposite: The lesson of history is that disruption hurts some industries — makers of slide rules and photographic film, for example — but bene­fits the overall economy. In fact, it’s the greatest driver of economic growth. The lesson for disrupted industries — a very dif­ficult lesson — is to adapt before it’s too late.”

It is this coming synergy of manufacturing driven by technological innovation and ef­ficiencies that presents the automotive industry with perhaps its greatest opportunity. While self-driving vehicles are an inevitable reality, Colvin sees this as a culmination of earlier research and as a component of a greater technological revolution — one in which Michigan can play a leading role.

“Most of us use GPS guidance when driving an unfamiliar route and take it for granted, yet it relies on astounding achievements in computing power, algorithms, connectivity, speech recognition, synthetic speech and more,” he said. “In the same way, autonomous driving is happening in small steps. Elements of it are around us already, and we scarcely notice. The Internet of Things (IoT) is here now. Jet engines, for example, report data to far away computers every time they land. The only way to appreciate such technology trends is periodically to think back on what your life was like 10 years ago.”

But Colvin is acutely aware of big data’s limitations. In his 2015 book, “Humans are Underrated,” he argues that even the cutting-edge technology of the foreseeable future will be incapable of performing the most quintessential human tasks.

“As long as humans are in charge of the world and truly indistinguishable humanoid robots don’t exist — which means for quite a long time, I believe — then skills of deep human interaction will be increasingly valuable in the economy,” he said. “It’s happening already. Major employers say what they need most now are people who can communicate effectively, collaborate creatively and lead culturally diverse teams.”

Developing these skills will involve educational curricula that might seem counterintuitive in today’s technology driven world. Skills of thoughtful creativity, effective communication and cultural awareness are typical of those gained through a liberal arts program.

Paul Vachon is a metro Detroit freelance writer.

TechTown named Detroit host for Erie Hack water innovation competition

TechTown Detroit has been named the Detroit host for Erie Hack, an international, tech-driven water innovation competition and accelerator program. TechTown will launch the months-long series of events with an Erie Hack Challenge Kickoff on February 23 from 5-8 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, Detroit.

Erie Hack will bring together coders, developers, engineers and water experts to generate creative solutions to challenges facing the Lake Erie watershed. The competition focuses on creating publicly accessible mobile apps, open data and new technology to elevate the value of clean water and leverage its potential to drive the economic vitality of the Great Lakes region. Other participating cities are Buffalo, Cleveland, Erie, Toledo and Windsor.

The Challenge Kickoff will provide details on the competition and acceleration process. The Kickoff and additional meetups will provide opportunities to form teams of up to five, who will then work to create innovative hardware or software technology through a series of day-long Hacking Events in each city.

On April 13, teams will convene at TechTown for the Erie Hack Semifinals, where a panel of judges will select the top eight teams from all participating cities to advance to the finals in Cleveland. After two weeks of intensive iteration, the finalists will compete for $100,000 in prize money as they present their solutions at the Erie Hack Water Innovation Summit on May 2 and 3, 2017.

“There is a meaningful role for tech entrepreneurs to play in the blue economy,” says Paul Riser, TechTown’s managing director for technology-based entrepreneurship. “Erie Hack will enable TechTown and our partners in New York, Ohio and Ontario to support some of the best and brightest ideas out there, both during the event and after, as we support teams in moving promising solutions forward.”

Each team will address one of six challenge statements or water-related problems, which were developed during regional ideation sessions and are described in detail on the Erie Hack web site:

1. Mitigate Nutrient Loading and Its Environmental Impacts
2. Reduce and Remediate Urban Pollution
3. Cultivate Resilience in Water Infrastructure Systems
4. Manage Aging Water Infrastructure Systems
5. Connect Communities to the Value of Water
6. Drive the Creation of Meaningful Data

“We’re looking forward to officially launching this competition, which we believe will spark brilliant ideas around water innovation that can be implemented throughout the Lake Erie basin,’’ says Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance, which is managing the event in collaboration with DigitalC. The Detroit events are presented in partnership with Wayne State University and supported by a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

For more information, to register and to view the full schedule of events, visit eriehack.io.

To register for the Detroit Kickoff Challenge event, visit challengekickoff.eventbrite.com.

Michigan Business Delegation Explores Israeli Startup Ecosystem, Cybersecurity Innovation

By Daniel Lai

The Detroit Regional Chamber recently joined 15 organizations across the state for a five-day fact-finding mission on Israel’s booming startup culture and cyber innovation hosted by Deloitte and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

The mission is part of an ongoing effort to build relationships with key government leaders in the country while also connecting Michigan companies with startups and business accelerators in order to develop collaborative technology solutions to strengthen the state’s leadership in connectivity and next-generation mobility.

In addition to the Chamber, the delegation included representatives from AT&T, ChoiceTel, Consumer Energy, Cornerstone Schools, Crain’s Detroit Business, Downtown Detroit Partnership, General Motors Co., Henry Ford Health System, ITC Holdings Corp., Michigan State Police and The Right Place.

Highlights from the week included:

  • Attending the 2017 CyberTech Conference in Tel Aviv to hear from industry experts in cybersecurity
  • Touring AT&T’s latest innovation center in Raanana, GM’s Advanced Technical Center in Tel Aviv and Israel’s Startup Nation Central, a nonprofit focused on getting innovation in front of leading companies around the world
  • Meeting with Avi Hasson, Israel’s chief scientist
  • Hosting meetings with decision-makers from more than 12 technology companies

Israel has the highest density of tech startups in the world cultivated by highly trained graduates from the military establishment, robust government investment in innovation and STEM education. That public and private synergy is ripe for entrepreneurial growth.

“It is very clear that Israel is a market Michigan must have a close relationship with not only because of the volume, but also the quality of innovation taking place. They have a culture that asks partners, ‘bring us your problems’ – and there are no shortage of challenges in delivering autonomous driving to the world,” said Justin Robinson, the Chamber’s vice president of business attraction.

“The Chamber and MICHauto are committed to further enhancing the connections between our established automotive industry and venture capital community with the technology ecosystem in Israel. Doing so will be a win-win for both of our communities,” he added.

Daniel Lai is a communications specialist and copywriter at the Detroit Regional Chamber. 

How Building Inclusive Community Fosters Innovation

By Amanda Lewan 
Co-founder & CEO, Bamboo Detroit

At Bamboo Detroit we started off just like anything else: an idea. The idea was simple, providing flexible workspace Downtown. We also started with a diverse team and open arms welcoming all to join us starting up in the city. Three years ago when we opened we were the first co-work space in Downtown Detroit. Now we’ve expanded into a brand new hub at 1420 Washington Blvd that inspires growth to 150 entrepreneurs of all ages, stages, and ethnicities.

What we learned most over the years is that focusing on an inclusive culture will foster innovation. An inclusive culture builds a stronger community. Bamboo Detroit

But, why is this? There are pages of data and research that shows us more diverse teams lead to innovation, and often more successful startup companies. Having a woman co-founder on your team or board can lead to an investor’s greater return on investment. If you want to build a product that reaches everyone, a diverse team helps you build a product for everyone with everyone. An inclusive culture makes sure you’re inviting and bringing top talent of all backgrounds.


Want to hear more from Bamboo Detroit? Be sure to register for the Detroit Policy Conference to talk to a Bamboo team member.


But how do you do it? What if you need technical talent? In an industry that’s suffering horribly at bringing in women and minorities in the workforce, how do you build a diverse team? Or what if you are limited on resources? Or what if you just don’t know that many people and need to open up your network? How do you build your own community or culture that drive inclusiveness?

Here are a few tips for building an inclusive culture that have worked for our Detroit co-working space, Bamboo Detroit.

Be Open to Others

Through many free or low-cost events, we’re always welcoming new people to our space and our city. We have to start with a welcoming environment first to inspire collaboration. New people coming in brings in new ideas, connections, and collaborations for our members too. Are your doors open? Are you inviting others in? Are you going to them? Sometimes this can be the first step to opening new connections. Just start with something simple, coffee and invitations.

Listen Before Creating

Take time to listen to your customer, to your coworker, to the people around you. When you’re entering any new or established community, recognize its strengths and opportunities. You do this by listening first. Listening leads to stronger collaboration and helps everyone to feel as if they are seen, heard, and included. This is how we started and this is our key pillar to community engagement and community building.

Support Each Other

One thing that makes Bamboo special is that we’re entrepreneurial led. We are entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs. We’re all in it together. Starting or growing a business is hard work. We recognize this and create a culture of peer-to-peer support that helps you out anytime you need it. From events, to resources, to random questions for the whole community – we’re in it together. This makes others feel comfortable to share their ups and downs. How do you foster a culture of support? We believe if you feel supported, and surrounded with other talent, you will be willing to take risks and innovate further.

Speaking of invitations, we invite you to see us at our new location 1420 Washington Blvd anytime and check out our upcoming events for business and creativity.

Bamboo Detroit is a promotional partner for the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference. Register for the Conference today.

Cracking the Millennial Code

Metro Detroit businesses shifting culture, workspaces to attract younger talent

By Daniel A. Washington

With a proven track record of innovation and career advancement, the region’s auto industry, suppliers and service providers are becoming leading destinations for millennial talent.

Companies such as Lear Corp., TI Automotive, P3 and Tweddle Group have invested greatly in Southeast Michigan and are leading the way in reinventing themselves to appeal to a new generation.

Lear Corp. has invested in a unique office space design that appeal to top talent among millennials.

Lear Corp. has invested in a unique office space design that appeal to top talent among millennials.

“Design and creative talent is exceptional in Detroit and the opening of the Lear Innovation Center will help us gain a competitive advantage within the industry,” said Dave McNulty, vice president of human resources and global talent acquisition at Lear, regarding the recent $10 million investment in Detroit’s Capitol Park.

Creating a place and space dedicated solely  to creativity, the Innovation Center will  focus on next-generation automotive battery  charging, seating designs and technology  integration and non-automotive projects for  clients such as Shinola, Nike, Under Armour  and New Balance.

The Southfield-based global supplier  of automotive seating and electrical  systems’ latest investment is just one of  the many examples that auto suppliers  and service providers are taking to  retain a competitive edge ahead of others  seeking to poach talent.

“We love metro Detroit because it is a talent-rich area and is where grit and ability go  hand-in-hand, which results in a pool of local people who have the vision to see the  future and the guts to get us there,” said Paul Arnegard, vice president of creative services at Tweddle Group.

Tweddle’s new office, focused on  connected car software in downtown Detroit, is currently home to more than 30  employees. The 65-year-old automotive communications and publishing firm has plans to add up to 20 more employees in  the upcoming year.

“Tweddle Group isn’t going anywhere,” said Arnegard about the company’s commitment to Detroit and the region. “Our focus is on creating a culture where millennials want to be.”

Simply put, Michigan and the region is a proven testing ground for millennial talent  looking to develop and contribute to an  emerging field of connected mobility and  technology.

P3's open workspace allows creative minds to work together without the confines of cubicals.

P3’s open workspace allows creative minds to work together without the confines of cubicals.

P3’s new facility in Southfield serves as the  company’s automotive headquarters in the  Americas and includes open collaboration  spaces and a 10-car, full-vehicle workshop  with prototyping capabilities.

The center also houses multiple labs  to provide cutting-edge insights on  connectivity, autonomous vehicles, eMobility, cybersecurity and other in-vehicle telematics and mobility solutions.

“In a time when top talent is in high demand,  P3 realizes the need to set ourselves apart from all of the competition,” said LaToya Palmer, head of human resources and legal at P3.

Palmer expressed P3’s commitment to further advancing millennials’ skill sets and providing advancement opportunities to  increase employment value.

“We are dedicated to helping our employees build a meaningful career, which for many millennials is critical to job satisfaction, and  we pride ourselves on offering opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects for  big clients that help shape the future of  mobility,” she added.

Home to a number of world-class universities  and schools, the region offers auto and tech companies the opportunity to train and work closely with a robust educational  talent pipeline.

TI Automotive’s new corporate offices located in Auburn Hills are home to a collaborative floor-plan and one-of-a-kind architectural design.

TI Automotive has invested in a unique office space designs that appeal to top talent among millennials.

TI Automotive, located in Auburn Hills, has invested heavily in its offices to attract millennial talent.

“We engage university students as a first  step in attracting young professionals to  the company,” said Domenic Milicia, chief human resources and communications  officer at TI Automotive. “We do this in  two ways: by sponsoring various technical projects in local universities and offering our extensive co-op and internship programs to 20 to 30 students each year.”

The automotive fluid storage and delivery systems supplier is leading the way with others in the region in creating opportunities and environments for talent to thrive and forward-thinking culture and career succeed. The uptick in talent investment placement.

Daniel A. Washington is a marketing by companies is a telling sign, pointing and communications coordinator with the Detroit to the region as a haven for technology, Regional Chamber.

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

By Daniel Lai 

“Innovation is a key ingredient for leaders to scale their business and sustain growth,” Jeff DeGraff, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, said during his keynote address at the annual Middle Market CEO Summit.

“If you seek growth, innovation isn’t your best friend … it’s your only friend,” DeGraff said.

Drawing on examples from his past clients, such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, the self-professed “dean of innovation,” said successful leaders are ones who understand the importance of:

  • Finding, developing and connecting the best people
  • Establishing a sustainable high-performing culture
  • Engaging a wide array of expertise and capability
  • Creating a collaborative learning environment

In order to accomplish those goals, oftentimes leaders must adopt a “prismatic” way of thinking, DeGraff said. The prismatic model divides innovation into four areas: collaborate, create, control and compete. Watch DeGraff’s presentation on prismatic thinking and how it can spark innovation.

Following the keynote, panelists John Fikany of Quicken Loans, Wright Lassiter III of Henry Ford Health System, and Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) discussed how culture is driving innovation in their respective organizations.

“Two of the biggest issues in health care right now are preventable medical errors and the overall expense of care. Innovation is a way to solve both of these issues,” Lassiter said. “At Henry Ford we celebrate those who not only have the forethought for an idea, but also help to bring it to market.”

Pointing to the success of Henry Ford Health System’s patented Model G patient gown, Lassiter said innovation is often spawned by collaboration, adding that the hospital is currently working with a tech startup to redesign the traditional hospital bed.

Fikany said innovation is such a critical component of Quicken Loans’ success that the company gives employees a half-day weekly to follow their passion, which has led to the creation of numerous product ideas such as the high-speed internet service, Rocket Fiber, serving Detroit.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

By Daniel Lai

In today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification, innovation is not always easy but it is necessary if businesses are going to succeed in the marketplace. That was the message that kicked off the annual Middle Market CEO Summit hosted by Bank of America, Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber last Thursday.

“Innovation is not born from freedom, it is born from constraint,” said Jeff DeGraff, professor of business administration at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The worst growth strategy for any business is to have an increasing share of a decreasing market. The risk-takers who reimagine their industry, who anticipate and feel their way towards the future will be the ones who survive and thrive in new environments.”

Regardless of size, DeGraff said business leaders can spark innovation among employees by following a few simple steps:

  • Find, develop and connect the best people
  • Establish a sustainable high-performing culture
  • Engage a wide array of expertise and capability
  • Create a collaborative learning environment

The message resonated with the audience of more than 60 CEOs and C-level professionals who gathered at MotorCity Casino Hotel for a half-day Summit focused on issues and solutions for the middle market. Topics ranged from cybersecurity and protecting data from both inside and outside the organization, to the importance of cultivating a strong CEO and CFO relationship.

“(The Summit) is about creating a lasting and influential conversation amongst our middle market leaders on what is needed to grow their companies and the obstacles they may face on that journey,” said Mark Davidoff, Michigan managing partner for Deloitte and Chamber Board member.

Other topics throughout the day focused on the national water infrastructure crisis and how Michigan can lead the way in building healthy communities through public and private collaboration, as well as the 2016 presidential election and its potential impact on business.

In addition to DeGraff, keynote speakers and panelists included: Quicken Loans’ John Fikany, EHIM Inc.’s Mindi Fynke, Deloitte’s Frank Friedman, George Hawkins of D.C. Water, Henry Ford Health System’s Wright Lassiter III, Nexcare Health Systems’ Mike Perry, Walbridge’s John Rakolta Jr., Paul Rodgers of TARDEC, Joan Rose from the Center for Water Sciences, Kelly Rossman-McKinney and John Truscott of Truscott Rossman, Rush Group’s Andra Rush, and Bank of America’s James Scopis.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

Lear Innovation Center, Detroit’s Latest Automotive Design Incubator, Opens Downtown

 

By Daniel A. Washington 

After a little more than eight months of renovations, a former cigar factory in Capitol Park is now home to Detroit’s newest example of renewed spirit: Lear Corporation’s Innovation Center located at 119 State St. The space is expected to house nearly 100 employees and will serve as an incubator for automotive and nonautomotive projects in design and research.

“We are very excited to be opening a new innovation and design center in downtown Detroit,” said Lear Corp. President and CEO Matt Simoncini at the grand opening on Tuesday. “We plan to leverage the rapidly developing infrastructure in the central business district as well as the concentration of arts, science and technology assets in the Capitol Park area.”

With Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and College for Creative Studies President Rick Rogers in attendance, Simoncini announced a new partnership between the two schools and Lear to develop next-generation vehicle interiors and connected and alternative energy vehicles.

“We are honored and happy to be positioned to help give our students the chance at gaining real-world experience by working with an industry leader such as Lear Corp.,” said Rogers.

As of now, close to 25 employees work in the six-story building, each school will be granted the chance to provide 10 paid interns to learn alongside full-time Lear employees.

“Lear’s investment in this new center is another example of how Detroit is building on its history of innovation in automotive design,” said Duggan. “Thanks to their partners at Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies, Lear will be able to provide young Detroiters with practical hands-on experience to prepare them for careers in this cutting-edge field.”

View photos of the Lear Innovation Center here.