A different focus: Japan-based photographer shares communication expertise through TrineOnline

Trine University faculty bring a breadth of experience to the classroom, and the advent of high-speed internet has allowed the university to increase the expertise available to students through TrineOnline.

One faculty member literally teaches from halfway around the world.

Ben Weller, an adjunct faculty member with TrineOnline, is a journalist who has lived and worked in east Asia for 15 years. Based in Nagoya, Japan, since 2015, Weller has had recent work published in National Geographic Traveller (UK).

“Japan is a beautiful country, and I’ll never tire of exploring here, camera in hand,” he said.

Weller grew up in North Manchester, Indiana. He spent a few years teaching in South Korea after finishing college, then returned to attend graduate school in journalism at Indiana University, intending to become a writer.

“A visual communication class really inspired me and I changed trajectories, putting the focus more on photography,” he said. “By the time I finished grad school, I was shooting regularly for a magazine in Bloomington, and had shot assignments for The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education.”

He worked for a while as a communication intern for an energy cooperative in Bloomington, shooting photos and writing for several of its publications. While it was valuable experience, he said he was “itching for travel.”

He moved back to South Korea, where he taught photography, image editing, film studies, business communication and English conversation at a university.

At the same time, he was building his freelance portfolio, shooting photos for Reuters, the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and multiple travel and trade publications.

He met his wife, a college professor, while both were living and working in Busan, South Korea. After they married, they moved to Nagoya for her work.

Besides photography, his loves include teaching, and when he moved to Japan, Weller wanted to continue working with students. Teaching through TrineOnline provided the flexibility he needed to grow his journalism career while teaching classes that align with his education, work experience and interests.

“Keeping one foot in the teaching world and the other in the media world is synergistic,” he said. “Through my teaching, I’m able to keep up with trends, topics and theories in the world of media and communication. My work as a journalist enhances my skills and provides real-world experience that I can take back to the classroom to share with students.”

A typical day sees him up at 5 a.m., starting a pot of coffee and checking email.

“Student emails get priority, and I flag other important emails for follow-up later in the day,” he said.

He is currently taking a Japanese class, so he tries to get an hour of study in before his kids wake up. From 9 a.m., he’s in the office grading, checking discussions, recording videos and working on course development.

Any hours left in the afternoon are spent working on story pitches, editing and research. In the evening, once his children are asleep, he goes through emails again and watches a movie if he has time.

“I teach Film Appreciation through TrineOnline, so watching movies is a job requirement,” he said.

He noted this schedule “goes out the window” during midterms and finals, and that he may work out of a hotel or on the train when he’s on assignment.

“I’ve recorded weekly videos for my students from Seoul, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo,” he said.

Though he may be in a far different location than many of his TrineOnline students, he said he has much in common with many of them.

“As a working parent, I understand the challenges that come with raising kids, holding down a job and going to school,” he said. “Having lived and taught overseas for close to 20 years, I’m familiar with diverse learning and communication styles. I understand that all our students have strengths and face challenges, and I think my experiences help me identify those and work with each learner to help them succeed.”

Through his own experiences learning online, he is conscious of being responsive to students. Although he initially worried about the time difference between Japan and the U.S., he said it has been an asset.

“I’m typically settling into my office in the morning,” he said. “That’s the evening back in Indiana, when a lot of my students are getting home from practice or work, and they’re just logging into Moodle. I’m able to answer any of their emails in real time or jump on a Zoom call to talk them through a question or an assignment.”

He appreciates the investment TrineOnline makes in its faculty.

“I’ve taken the Online Faculty Certification Course (OFCC) and the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop, both of which increased my value as an educator and benefited my students,” he said. “We have faculty development meetings on Zoom, which are a great source of ideas for increasing student engagement, getting the most out of Moodle, etc. I’ve worked at other universities where there isn’t this focus on continual growth. Trine invests in its educators, and I feel valued here.”

HELLA further expands its positioning as a leading supplier of steering control modules

Scalable fail-operational modules from HELLA pave the way for automated driving functions

Lippstadt, July 23, 2019. In the last twelve months, the lighting and electronics expert HELLA has been able to acquire important new business in the area of steering control modules. On this foundation, the company is further expanding its position as major supplier of steering control modules. Especially demand for modules for semi-automated driving (from Level 2 of driving automation) increased. Around half of all new orders are for these kinds of modules now. “We are offering our customers a scalable product – from Built-to-Print products to the fully assembled modules,” says Frédéric Laure, Vice President Head of Program Management Steering at HELLA. This customized approach allows HELLA to already develop steering systems which are suitable for highly automated driving according to Level 4 today.

HELLA has been producing steering control modules (Electronic Control Units, ECUs) since 2010. These not only form the basis for electrical power steering (EPS) and fuel efficiency, but also enable functions for automated driving, such as lane keeping assistance and automated parking. According to the definition of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 4 (highly automated driving) does not require driver interaction in certain scenarios. The HELLA control modules are available in a fail-operational version to address these application scenarios. This means that in the event of a fault in the electronics, the system is not switched off, but the power steering assistance continues to function. “A reliable fail-operational control unit is essential to meet requirements in the field of automated driving in the future. In this respect, HELLA is already well positioned today,” says Ralf Kuhl, Head of Product Center Electric Power Steering at HELLA.

The control unit in the fail-operational version also enables the implementation of steer-by-wire systems, in which the transmission of steering commands takes place by means of electrical impulses instead of a steering rod. This enables several functions such as a retractable steering wheel during automated driving mode. But other individualization functions are also possible. For example, the steering behavior could be individually adjusted to meet the driver’s preferences.

HELLA has further expanded its production capacities this year in order to fulfil the increasing customer requirements even faster. HELLA intends to produce the steering control modules not only in Germany and China, but also in Romania, Mexico, Brazil and India.

Clayton & McKervey shareholders to participate on ACG Detroit panel about Navigating Cross-Border Transactions on June 7

Southfield, Mich.—May 15, 2019—Clayton & McKervey, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping growth-driven companies compete in the global marketplace, announced that two of its CPA shareholders, Tim Hilligoss and Margaret Amsden, will be participating in an upcoming panel hosted by ACG Detroit about “Navigating Cross-Border Transactions.” The program will take place on Friday, June 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Mich.

The event is designed to help business owners understand the legal, business, banking and accounting issues that surface in a cross-border transaction. The panel will present a description of steps that business owners can take to prepare their companies for successful cross-border transactions, in addition to discussing practical concerns, common issues and best practices.

Hilligoss, who will be a speaker on the panel, provides leadership to Clayton & McKervey’s growing Transaction Service practice. He was recently named Advisor of the Year by the ACG Detroit and was honored at the organization’s fourth annual ACG M&A All Star awards.

Amsden, who will serve as a moderator on the panel, specializes in partnership and Limited Liability Corporation structuring; transaction consulting, structuring and compliance; and mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations. She is a board member for ACG.

For more information about the event as well as a complete list of panelists, please visit https://www.acg.org/detroit/events/navigating-cross-border-transactions.

About ACG
Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global organization with 59 chapters. Its membership is comprised of 14,500 professionals from private equity firms, corporations and lenders that invest in middle-market companies, as well as from law, accounting, investment banking and other firms that provide advisory services. For more information, visit https://www.acg.org/.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.


ClaytonMcKervey Names Julie Killian, CPA, a Shareholder

Julie Killian, CPA, has been name a shareholder effective July1 at Clayton & McKervey, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The announcement was made by Clayton & McKervey President Rob Dutkiewicz, CPA.

Killian joined Clayton & McKervey in 2012 as a Principal in the assurance department. She was named Director of Assurance in 2016. As a shareholder, she will continue to lead the firm’s audit practice. Working with owners, CFOs and controllers of closely held companies with operations in the United States, as well as international companies in Europe, Asia and Mexico, Killian is focused on the technical and compliance aspects of reporting, including audits and reviews of corporate financial statements and audits of employee benefit plans. She also offers assurance services such as review of internal controls and performance reporting. Additional areas of expertise include U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), AICPA Financial Reporting Framework for Small and Mid-sized Entities (FRF-SME) and the updated revenue recognition standard released by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 2015.

“I speak on behalf of all of our shareholders in welcoming Julie to partnership,” Dutkiewicz said. “Her guidance and oversight in the assurance area, as well as her mentorship of our staff and client-driven focus, represent significant contributions to the firm overall.”

With the addition of Killian as the tenth shareholder, Clayton & McKervey’s percentage of women shareholders is now 50%. Long a leader in creating meaningful career opportunities for women, the firm founded its Women’s Network in 2016 to reinforce and build upon its already high percentage of women shareholders and principals. This is in contrast to most professional firms, who create women’s
leadership-focused groups because of a dearth of women in firm leadership roles.

Prior to joining Clayton & McKervey, Killian worked as a senior manager of audit and assurance for MRPR Group in Southfield, Michigan and as controller for Colliers International in Bingham Farms, Michigan. She began her public accounting career as an auditor in the Detroit office of Ernst & Young (EY).

Killian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University and IFRS certification from the American Institute of Public Accountants. She is active in other civic and professional groups, including the French American Chamber of Commerce, the German American Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) Employee Benefits Task Force and the MICPA Audit Committee.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.

Clayton & McKervey shareholder named vice chair of Automation Alley’s International Business Services Advisory Council

Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, announces that Shareholder Tim Finerty has been appointed vice chair of Automation Alley’s International Business Services Advisory Council.

Long active in Automation Alley’s international initiatives, including annual trade missions to Mexico, Finerty was selected as vice chair for his ongoing contributions to Automation Alley and his keen insights on global business issues. He is the practice leader for the Systems Integrators practice at Clayton & McKervey with specialization in Mexican and Latin American tax and accounting issues, including entity structure, IC-DISC analysis, Research & Experimentation tax credits, lean accounting, and improved systems and controls. He also advises small and midsized growth-driven businesses on achieving their global expansion plans.

Finerty is a founding board member of the newest chapter of the United States – Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC), the Great Lakes Chapter, based in Detroit and is also involved with a variety of other professional organizations, including ProMexico & Consul General of Mexico, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Association for Advancing Automation, Robotics Industries Association, National Tooling & Machining Association, Controls Systems Integrators Association, and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Manufacturing Task Force. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Michigan State University.

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has sought to enhance the global competitiveness of small and mid-sized enterprises interested in expanding their markets overseas. In addition, it markets and promotes Southeast Michigan as a high-tech powerhouse and global center of innovation to companies exploring investment opportunities here. The member-driven International Business Services Advisory Council (IBSAC) represents a cross-section of business leaders and economic development experts who are well-versed in identifying trends in international trade and foreign direct investment, while ensuring that the region remains at the forefront of innovation. IBSAC members also share their strategies for success and firsthand insights on how to overcome common hurdles companies may encounter doing business around the world.

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association, connecting industry, academia and government to fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. Automation Alley focuses its efforts on innovation and technology, entrepreneurship, talent development, defense and international business, providing resources, funding and actionable intelligence to help members grow and prosper in the digital age.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.


Carlos Calderon rejoins Clayton McKervey as Manager of Mexico Consulting Practice

Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, announced that Carlos Calderon has rejoined the firm as a manager in the Small to Mid-Sized Entities (SME) department to manage the firm’s Mexico consulting practice. Additionally, Calderon will help expand the newest chapter of the United-States Mexico Chamber of Commerce (USMCOC), the Detroit-based Great Lakes Chapter. Clayton & McKervey played an instrumental role in the chapter’s re-establishment in 2017.

Fluent in Spanish, Calderon specializes in Mexican taxation and international commerce and its impact on U.S. holdings. He consults on a variety of transactions relating to start-up enterprises in Latin America and has also advised foreign-owned entities whose parent companies are based in France, Germany, Luxembourg and the United States. He was employed by Clayton & McKervey from 2013-2015.

“Carlos’ leadership and professionalism combined with his global outlook and international accounting experience are important assets to the firm and our clients,” said Clayton & McKervey President Robert Dutkiewicz. “We welcome him back and look forward to his continued contributions at the firm and in the business community.”

Calderon received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Mexico. He has written and presented on a variety of financial and accounting topics concerning Mexico, including tax reform, differences in financial reporting frameworks, and doing business as an independent contractor.

Calderon is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, APROMEX (Association of Mexican Professionals in Michigan), and Global Network of Mexican Professionals. Calderon was also the Director of Logistics of ICPNL (Institute of Public Accountants of Nuevo Leon).

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.


One of State’s Leading Tech Firms Goes International

One of state’s leading tech firms goes International. Customer Demand along with desire to have global presence requires OST to acquire office space in UK.

(DETROIT, MICH.) – In order to meet their growing client demand, one of the state’s most recognized technology firms, OST (Open Systems Technologies), has established a presence in London, England at 1 Paul Julius Close, Blackwell Yard, Blackwell Way E14 2EH. The office opened on December 1, 2013.

“We established OST London at the request of one of our largest clients. The first two orders are from this client, but we have other large clients that are watching us closely to see if it might make sense to place their UK orders through OST London,” said OST President & CEO Dan Behm.

OST London is now an authorized reseller for HP, Cisco, and Dell products throughout the UK, and it is anticipating strong sales over the next 12-18 months.

“Our reasoning for opening OST London is to further solidify our relationship with our client and to gain the experience of operating an international company. We believe that having a global presence will make OST even more desirable to our existing enterprise accounts and it may be a part of what attracts new multinational companies to do business with us,” stated Behm.

With headquarters in Grand Rapids since its founding in 1997, OST started expanding its geographical footprint in 2008 when they opened an office in Minneapolis, MN (June 2008). Since then, OST has also opened offices in Ann Arbor, MI (March of 2012) and, most recently, Detroit, MI (July of 2013).

With a knack for creating spaces that promote fun, creativity and innovation amongst its employees and clients, OST has been recognized as one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work for 5 of the past 6 years (four years straight) as well as being ranked on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies every year since 2007. In addition, President/CEO Dan Behm was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young (Technology Category).

The primary services offered at OST London include:

• Managed IT Services
• Data Center Solutions & Architecting
• Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
• Cloud Design Services
• Hardware Reselling

About OST

OST (Open Systems Technologies) is a $100 million company with offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, Minneapolis and London, England. OST has been focused on providing IT infrastructure services and products for over seventeen years; in addition OST offers security services, custom application development services, managed services, and business process services. Since 2003, the company has grown it revenue at a compounded rate of over 30% annually. In 2007, 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 OST was recognized in INC. magazine’s 5,000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies. OST was also listed on CRN’s Tech Elite 250 in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and CRN’s FastGrowth100 in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and on the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch in 2009.