MICHauto Supports Student Entrepreneurs in Lear Open Innovation Challenge

By Daniel Lai

To continue to foster Detroit’s innovation community, Lear Corp. held an Open Innovation Challenge on April 1, which brought together six teams made up of students from three universities (University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University) for a tournament-style pitch competition.

Throughout the day, Lear executives, corporate and community sponsors, and venture capitalists heard 15-minute pitches on solutions for advance technology and manufacturing.

The winning team received a prize package including a summer internship from Lear; prototyping kit, wireframing workshop and mentorship from Universal Mind; cash cards from POCOLab; a Fern task chair and ideation workshop from Haworth; breakfast with automotive executives, courtesy of MICHauto; and a Shinola watch.

“We’re trying to build an innovation ecosystem in Detroit that can connect the dots with various essential components, including startups, universities, businesses and venture capitalists. We want these bright and talented students to become a part of the driving force that creates a sustainable economic engine in Detroit and Michigan,” said Staney DeGraff, CEO of Innovatrium, which helped organize the event.

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

Read more Lear Corp. related articles:

Cracking the Millennial Code

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

 

German Automotive Supplier Mahle Gets Up-Close Look at Michigan’s Automotive and Mobility Leadership

Showcasing Michigan as a major global automotive and mobility epicenter, MICHauto, in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), led a one-day tour of the region in March for 12 executives from Mahle, a leading global auto components supplier.

The tour highlighted the region’s research and development facilities, OEMs, advanced manufacturers, leading suppliers, education institutions and next-generation mobility testing assets.

“Working closely through the Michigan Mobility Initiative, this was the first opportunity to really leverage the Planet M campaign to tell the state’s automotive and mobility leadership story to a visiting group of executives,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto.

“It was an opportunity for us to establish the perspective and potentially change perceptions that not only is Michigan an automotive capital because of its vast resources, testing sites and development work, but also it is a leader in connected and automated vehicle innovation,” he added.

The tour included welcome remarks by Gov. Rick Snyder and a tour of the University of Michigan Battery Labs, Toyota North America Technical Center, MCity, Lear Innovation Center in Detroit, TechStars Mobility and Shinola.

The tour was preceded by a presentation by John Maddox, CEO of the American Center for Mobility, and Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president of the MEDC’s Automotive Office, who spoke on Michigan’s e-mobility economy.

Following the tour, attendees enjoyed networking during a strolling reception at the Detroit Regional Chamber, featuring remarks by Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility for the city of Detroit, and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

View photos from the tour here.

Education Advocates: Reform, More Training Opportunities Needed to Sustain Detroit’s Momentum

Research shows that education is a driving force to foster a vibrant and strong economy. Detroit is no exception. That was a key message education advocates and leaders expressed during a panel discussion moderated by Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent at the Detroit Regional Chamber during the Investor Briefing: Attracting and Retaining Talent in Southeast Michigan in February.

“For the first time in forever, Detroit has a global macro trend working in its favor,” said Ned Staebler, vice president of economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown.

“Studies show people are moving to the urban centers across the world faster than ever before,” Staebler added.

With that trend showing no signs of slowing, one area of concern echoed by the panelists is the lack of accessible quality education, specifically among K-12 schools in Southeast Michigan.

“We have a lot going for us now in Detroit but it won’t mean anything if we don’t do something about our regional education system,” said Richard Rassel, Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council co-chair and Butzel Long chairman. “Our standards (for education) have slipped and we really need to get back to where we were.”

Education reform has been a longtime priority for the Chamber. Through its top-rated advocacy work at the local and state level to its management and collaboration on the Detroit Promise, the Chamber is committed to providing quality education to all students, regardless of income level.

Addressing diversification beyond traditional college tracks for students, attendees voiced the need for alternative options such as more vocational training and career programs.

“We have had to re-engage with community colleges to build partnerships to create a pipeline,” said Mikel Slater, vice president of human resources for Comcast. “Eighty percent of our workforce is technical and the other portion is mostly sales, so everyone is not university bound.”

Comcast is not alone in its effort to promote technical and skill-based employment opportunities.

Detroit Sewn, Magna International, Shinola and UAW-Ford National Programs Center, among others, currently employ participants of Henry Ford College’s (HFC) Industrial Sewing, Multi-Skilled Manufacturing and Mechatronic dual enrollment programs. HFC’s programs train individuals for entry-level jobs within industrial sewing, mechanical and robot maintenance.

Rassel encouraged more businesses and colleges to work collaboratively to help address the region’s talent gap.

“The business community has a big piece in fixing education and we must be prepared to shoulder the burden,” he said.

Stay tuned to the Chamber’s website for information on the next Investor Briefing date and time.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

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.

Growing French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter announces new member opportunities for 2016

The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter (FACC Michigan), a not-for-profit business organization committed to the improvement of economic, commercial and financial relations between France and the United States and offering a variety of business, educational and social opportunities to its members, invites prospective members to consider joining the organization in 2016.

Cedric Ballarin, FACC Michigan president and a vice president in the Michigan headquarters of France-based Faurecia, commented on the overall appeal of the Chamber.

“Our Chapter is Michigan’s premiere organization for French-American businesses and professionals, providing members with access to educational corporate events, high-level speakers and exceptional networking opportunities,” Ballarin said. “While business-focused, we also attract individuals from a variety of nationalities who are drawn to the Chamber’s cultural activities and esprit de corps.”

The highlights of 2015 are noted on the FACC Michigan website as a year in review and include an event with the Chief Marketing Officer of Shinola, the FACC Michigan annual meeting, the annual gala and awards ceremony recognizing Olivier Francois, Fiat brand CEO and FCA Chief Marketing Officer, and numerous other networking and social activities held with other affinity groups, such as the Alliance Française de Detroit/French Institute of Michigan and the Alliance Française de Grosse Pointe, which joined forces with FACC Michigan in presenting the Nov. 19 Beaujolais Nouveau event in Birmingham.

The FACC Michigan website is updated regularly, keeping members apprised of French-American business and related community news as well as the many business, social and networking events sponsored by the Chamber. FACC Michigan Executive Director Stephanie Salvadero notes that membership growth in recent years has been swift.

“FACC Michigan now has 200 members, up from 120 in 2012,” Salvadero said. “As the Chamber’s reputation for outstanding programming grows, so does our membership.”

With a 2016 calendar of events currently in the works, FACC Michigan is looking forward to another dynamic year of unique events that continue to offer members access to distinguished speakers, quality business information, and fruitful networking forums, drawing together French and American decision-makers and professionals in the region.

Membership dues are:
• $1,400 – councillor ambassador
• $750 – councillor patron
• $250 –councillor corporate
• $100 – active retail
• $50 – active individual
• $25 – educator
• $25 – student

A complete list of membership benefits can be found here. For questions about FACC Michigan membership, please contact Executive Director Stephanie Salvadero at salvaderos.faccmi@gmail.com or 313.701.8294.

About the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter
The Michigan Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC Michigan) is a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce – the oldest bilateral chamber of commerce in the United States, comprised of 21 chapters in major cities across the nation representing more than 5,000 member organizations. The FACC is a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to the development of commercial relations between French and American businesses.

Learn more at www.faccmi.org.