Automation Alley announces speakers for April 29 Technology in Industry Reveal, plans to unveil 2019 report on Industry 4.0

TROY, Mich.— April 12, 2019 — Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, is set to release its 2019 Technology in Industry Report, a guide to Industry 4.o implementation, at the Technology in Industry Reveal at the Detroit Institute of Arts the morning of Monday, April 29. All attendees will receive a copy of the 2019 report during the event, which includes a strolling breakfast and the opportunity to network with hundreds of the region’s technology and manufacturing professionals. The event will also feature a Smart Technology Expo showcasing the latest Industry 4.0 innovations and insights from corporate and academic experts highlighting trends in the Industry 4.0 space.

Speakers and topics for the Technology in Industry Reveal will include:

• Welcome: Tom Kelly, Executive Director & CEO, Automation Alley
• 2019 Technology in Industry Report Key Findings: Cynthia Hutchison, Senior Director, Automation Alley
• The State of Industry 4.0 in Education: David Pistrui, Ph.D., Industry Liaison, Director of Graduate Recruiting, Clinical Professor of Engineering, College of Engineering & Science, University of Detroit Mercy
• Clash of the Titans—Industry 4.0 vs Hacking 4.0: Daimon Geopfert, Principal, National Leader of Security and Privacy Risk Consulting, RSM
• Equipment Condition Monitoring with Acoustics and AI: Chris Martin, Ph.D., Director, AI Development Group, Bosch (USA)
• The New Black Box: Using Data Models to Prevent Major Catastrophe: Brian Gilmore, Chief Technology Advocate, Splunk
• Big Data and the Managerial Decision-making Process: Debasish Chakraborty, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Central Michigan University
• Additive Manufacturing: Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges: Anca Sala, Ph.D., Dean, College of Engineering, Baker College & Peter Wawrow, Ph.D., Director of Applied Research and Development, St. Clair College

Titled “From Vision to Implementation,” Automation Alley’s 2019 Technology in Industry Report combines research from Michigan and Canadian universities with corporate partner insights and is designed to help manufacturers keep pace with rapid technological change. It includes case studies of Industry 4.0 adoption strategies, emerging trends, opportunities, action items and workforce implications based on a survey of 500 Southeast Michigan engineering students. New to the report is the Velocity Index™, which illustrates the maturity of each Industry 4.0 technology and its expected rate of growth to determine the risks associated with investment. Report research centers on the eight core technologies of Industry 4.0, including the Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing, cybersecurity, advanced materials and additive manufacturing, and modeling, simulation, visualization and immersion.

Academic research partners include the University of Detroit Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, Central Michigan University, Oakland University, Baker College, Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College, Walsh College, Henry Ford College and Windsor’s St. Clair College. Corporate partners providing insight include Ford Motor Company, Bosch, Intel, Dow Chemical Company, PTC, Altair, Splunk, Configit, Marco, Ghafari Associates, TTI Success Insights, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Plante Moran and RSM, all providing guidance through peer review and industry-specific feedback.

“Automation Alley’s mission is to lead the charge for Industry 4.0 in Michigan and beyond, both for our members and our state’s strong manufacturing ecosystem. The 2019 Technology in Industry Report is an actionable example of that,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO. “This report is a collaborative effort between industry and academia that should be mirrored in the Industry 4.0 ecosystem. In order for Industry 4.0 to work, companies of all sizes must explore partnerships and look at this revolution holistically.”

Automation Alley’s 2019 Technology in Industry Reveal is Monday, April 29, from 8-11:30 a.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts. To register, visit For information on exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kristin O’Neill

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a nonprofit manufacturing and technology business association and Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, with a global outlook and a regional focus. We connect industry, academia and government to fuel Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. We offer programs, resources and knowledge to help our members grow and prosper in the digital age.

Our Mission
The mission of Automation Alley is to position Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and make strategic decisions during a time of rapid technological change.

September 2012: Capital of Defense

The high tech defense industry shifts into overdrive

By James Amend

Pages 8-9

For more than a century Detroit has been known as the capital of the global automotive industry, but in recent years its reputation as a high-tech hub for the defense industry has shifted into overdrive.

Armchair historians know well the role Southeast Michigan played during World War II, when car and truck factories were retooled to build tanks and planes, and the acknowledgment it received at the time from President Roosevelt when he coined it “The Arsenal of Democracy.”

But the region’s modern contribution to America’s defense and homeland security sectors no longer centers solely on nuts-and-bolts production; rather, the focus lies on delivering the latest battlefield technologies to save lives and support warfighters around the world.

“It is a multi-billion-dollar industry for Macomb County and Southeast Michigan,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “It is incredible. We are now known as the Arsenal of Innovation.”

Known as the Michigan Defense Corridor, several dozen defense contractors occupy a stretch of six square miles along the Mound Road and Van Dyke Avenue corridors in Macomb County, anchored by the U.S. Army’s sprawling TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren.

Hackel estimates at least 500 businesses surrounding the corridor now do some measure of defense business.

Consider Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township and the corridor widens to some 58 square miles. Add in Camp Grayling in Crawford County and businesses in Grand Rapids and the state stands as a hub of defense business activity.

Companies in the Michigan Defense Corridor aren’t supplying mop handles, either.

They are involved in providing military products like the highest-security information technology solutions and construction services not only here in Michigan, but as far abroad as Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps most significantly, they are devising new, energy-saving ideas that trim the reliance of our armed forces’ wheeled vehi

cles on foreign oil and allow them to do more with less on the battlefield.

Brigadier General Mike Stone serves as assistant adjutant general for installations for the U.S. National Guard, tasked with bringing more military training to the 145,000-acre and nearly 100-year-old Camp Grayling in Northern Lower Michigan.

As such, he’s had a front-row seat to watching the corridor grow over the years and only expects it to accelerate, ironically, because government is undergoing the same belt-tightening the automotive industry went through three years ago.

“We’re interested in delivering more firepower with fewer people, so we have to embrace technology and the government can no longer do it by spending millions of dollars on its own,” Stone said. “We need to collaborate with industry.”

The government’s new spending habits open the doors for businesses across the nation, big and small, who are jostling for a share of the U.S. Department of Defense’s $90 billion annual research and development budget.

Defense businesses have good reason to set up shop in Michigan, given Warren-based TACOM’s mission to conduct research, development and purchasing to support the Army’s readiness. Its annual contract budget approaches $15 billion and its sister unit in Warren, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, spends 70 percent of its budget with Michigan companies.

The combination has led defense industry giants such as BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems to locate in the region.

But Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of weapons systems at BAE Systems, which recently opened a new $60 million office complex in Sterling Heights housing 600 staffers, said there is more to the story.

“In that (defense) corridor, I can find any capability I need to execute a program,” Signorelli said.

Signorelli says the corridor puts services such as rapid prototyping, three-dimensional modeling and advanced simulation tools within steps of BAE’s doorstep. He also cites the availability of contract engineering houses, such as Livonia-based Roush Industries and Pratt & Miller Engineering of New Hudson.

As home to the auto industry for more than 100 years, the region also contains a wealth of mechanical, electrical and software engineering talent, he said, ranging from longtime veterans of the Detroit Three and Tier One suppliers to those newly graduated from the region’s excellent engineering schools.

“The skills we see in the auto industry complement what we need in defense,” he said.

Business friendly groups are also getting more active in wooing the defense industry to the region.

For example, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded BAE Systems a tax credit valued at $22.1 million over 14 years, plus a $460,000 job training grant for new hires. The city of Sterling Heights also threw in a 12-year tax abatement worth $4.6 million.

BAE Systems didn’t start from scratch, either. The company took an industrial site formerly occupied by an automotive supplier.

In addition, the corridor sits within an MEDC Smart Zone focused exclusively on accelerating entrepreneurial talent and infrastructure in the area of defense, homeland security, alternative energy and advanced manufacturing. It’s a federal HubZone, too, which means small businesses operating there are eligible for preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

Perry Mehta, founder, president and CEO of FutureNet Group, a Detroit-based provider of environmental, construction and technology services to the military and mainstream commercial customers, typifies the sort of business leader envisioned for the Michigan Defense Corridor.

Mehta started FutureNet Group in 1994 on a shoestring budget and today the business boasts 100 employees with four offices across the country and defense contracts around the globe. He conducts 90 percent of his business with the federal government, taking advantage of opportunities such
as HubZone qualification.

Mehta’s advice to small business owners seeking federal work is simple: Find a good mentor to help guide you through the red tape of the federal procurement certification, exercise financial discipline by reinvesting in your company and stay focused on your small business’ expertise.

“Figure out what your small business is good at and keep working at it,” says Mehta, the 2011 recipient of the Small Business Administration’s Small Minority Business Person of the Year. “I’m a great example of that.”

A good start for any small business would be to contact the local Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which helps businesses compete in the government marketplace. Two other key resources include the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which provide funding awards to engage in federal research and development projects.

The task ahead of the Michigan Defense Corridor is to get the word out about the resources the region has to offer.

“It may not be known nationally that we are a nexus of defense activity, but that is changing,” said Dan Raubinger, director of defense and manufacturing at Automation Alley, Southeast Michigan’s technology business association.

For its part, Automation Alley organizes two domestic trade missions each year, hosting between 10 and 20 local defense companies at a pair of defense industry trade shows boasting 30,000 attendees. That’s almost three times the number of industry experts attending the annual Society of Automotive Engineers’ World Congress in Detroit.

“We’re branding Michigan as a place to do defense business,” Raubinger said.

James Amend is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.

MEDC and Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Support Michigan’s Auto Industry

DETROIT, August 6, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced a Memorandum of Understanding between the organizations to collaborate as strategic partners in promoting and growing Michigan’s automotive cluster as a driver of economic growth and diversification in the 21st century.

“Through this partnership the MEDC and Detroit Regional Chamber are stepping up to enhance Michigan’s position as the epicenter of the auto industry,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah, who serves on the MICHauto Advisory Board. “Working with the MEDC, MICHauto will sharpen statewide efforts to promote Michigan’s auto industry to capitalize on its potential to drive innovation and economic growth, as well use our state’s world-class auto assets to spur economic diversification. The Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with the MEDC to move the economic needle in our region and across the entire state.”

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, MICHauto and the MEDC will work together to share intelligence on automotive prospects and collaborate on select global business attraction efforts. MICHauto will also convene a series of roundtables to develop an automotive strategy for the state of Michigan and host an annual event for MEDC leadership and executive branch officials to meet with automotive executives.

“The MEDC continues to seek opportunities to work with key partners such as the Detroit Regional Chamber to drive economic development across the state,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney, who signed the MOU along with Baruah. “As the global economy becomes more competitive, we must increase efforts to leverage Michigan’s assets to attract investment and talent. We look forward to working with MICHauto to develop a statewide strategy that embraces the automotive industry as a driver of economic growth.”

Through the partnership, the MEDC and MICHauto will partner to address key economic development issues affecting the auto industry, such as expanding Michigan’s talent advantage as well as initiatives and events to promote awareness about Michigan’s auto industry. The MEDC will also serve on the MICHauto Economic Development and Awareness committees.

MICHauto looks forward to working with other entities like Original Equipment Suppliers Association and the Center for Automotive Research to access expertise and resources to increase collaboration.

About MICHauto
As a key economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, MICHauto is dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. It serves as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive industry convening various stakeholders and fostering collaboration on advocacy, economic development and talent issues. MICHauto is a private sector funded organization with leadership by an advisory board consisting of: Allan Gilmour, president, Wayne State University; Rick Hanna, partner and global automotive sector leader, PwC; Thomas Manganello, partner, Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP; Timothy Manganello, chairman and CEO, BorgWarner, Inc.; Rodney O’Neal, president and CEO, Delphi Corporation; Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO, R.L. Polk & Co; and Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber.
To learn more visit

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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