‘Yes’ Vote on Connected Transit System Essential to Region’s Future

A Roadmap for Economic Resilience

By Sandy K. Baruah

Transit. This seven-letter word has been on the hearts and minds of Michiganders for over a decade. To some it represents economic opportunity, while to others it is a lifeline to family, hospitals, and other essential services.

Over 100 years ago, business leaders from this region identified transportation and the ability to move individuals and products safely and efficiently as one of the primary challenges facing the region. A century later we are still dealing with this fundamental issue. Transit in the Detroit region has fared poorly compared to other metropolitan regions across the country, with studies placing the region near the bottom.

From the perspective of the business community in our region, lack of a safe, reliable connected transit system linking Southeast Michigan’s four counties (Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw) is a missed opportunity. According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, 92 percent of the region’s jobs are not reachable within 60 minutes using our current transit options. That is simply unacceptable.

I have lived with coordinated public transit most of my life. In my former hometowns of Portland and Washington, D.C., I have seen firsthand the economic impact that transit can have on cities and surrounding suburban communities. If we desire to be a world-class city and region, coordinated public transit is an absolute necessity.

The Chamber applauds the hard work and dedication of our elected leaders, who, along with the RTA Board of Directors, came together on an agreement that benefits all residents in the region. This compromise is an extension of the type of collaborative leadership that has become the hallmark of our elected leaders. Gone are the days of divisiveness and “go it alone” mentality, replaced by strong leaders who do not shy away from tough decisions while working collaboratively to erase the “dotted lines” on the map.

Now it is our turn as voters. Metro Detroiters face an unprecedented opportunity to chart a new path forward for our region’s long-term economic prosperity by voting “yes” on transit in November.

The proposal voters will be asked to approve is the very definition of “bang for the buck” and offers a path forward we desperately need. The benefits will be felt throughout the entire region. For the first time, we will have connected communities that allow residents to navigate via public transit, regardless of political boundaries, and job-hunters will be able to answer “yes” when a job application asks whether they have reliable transportation.

Not only is it the right thing to do for our businesses, it is the human thing to do for our residents. A properly funded transit system will also provide seniors and people with disabilities with increased independence and better access to employment, health care and family.

Finally, Detroit and our other cities will be able to compete on equal footing in the battle for talent — a critical need for employers starving for qualified employees to close the gap. It is not enough to simply say, “come check us out.” In study after study, millennials put regional transit at the top of their wish list when considering their career. If we truly want to be a contender for the next generation of talent, we must have the infrastructure in place that attracts and retains our young people and can safely and reliably get them from their home to their job and to our world-class colleges and universities.

By voting yes for robust transit to connect Southeast Michigan, we will be able to grow and compete with other regions, build for the future and ensure a better collective quality of life for all.

Walsh College Will Present Special Achievement Awards to Eight Students From Detroit Tri-County Area

Eight Walsh College students from Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties will receive special academic achievement awards in areas of finance, taxation, and accounting at the College’s 103rd Commencement on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Zion Christian Church, Troy.

“We’re proud of the recognition Walsh College students earn both inside and outside the College,” said Dr. David Shields, executive vice-president and chief academic officer. “It’s a tribute to their scholarship and their achievement beyond expectations in Walsh’s challenging undergraduate and graduate business programs.”

The recipients, their academic standing, hometowns, and awards are:

• Lauren E. Hanna, (Master of Science in Taxation, 2013), Grosse Pointe Shores. Stanley W. Smith Taxation Manuscript Award. Each year, this award is bestowed on a Master of Science in Taxation student who has written an outstanding paper or thesis in the field of taxation.

• Nancy Winkler Spalding, (Master of Science in Taxation candidate), Grosse Pointe Woods. Everett Hawley, Jr. Taxation Award. The award promotes accounting and taxation through education. Named for the former chair of the Walsh College Board of Trustees, the award annually honors a graduate Taxation student for academic achievement.

• Harry Frederick Cook, (Master of Science in Accountancy, 2014), Warren. Bureau of National Affairs Graduate Accounting Award. This award recognizes an outstanding Master of Science in Accountancy student for his or her academic work and contribution to the College.

• Derek D. Baker, (Bachelor of Business Administration candidate), Rochester Hills, and Ryan J. Drews, (Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Finance candidate), Rochester. Financial Executives Institute (FEI) Award. Every year, the FEI Detroit chapter recognizes finance students for outstanding academic performance.

• Rachael M. Saferian, (Master of Science in Accountancy candidate), Commerce Township. Firman H. Hass Writing Award. The Detroit Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants established this award to recognize a graduate student whose writing contributes to the accounting body of knowledge. It is named in honor of a former trustee and honorary doctoral recipient.

• Kelly M. Steward, (Bachelor of Accountancy candidate), Birmingham. Walter B. Fisher Award for Excellence in Accounting. This award is presented to a student who achieves a 3.5 or better grade point average in the Bachelor of Accountancy program. The recipient must also contribute to Walsh College or the accounting profession through tutoring, club leadership, community service, or other activities. It is named for the chair emeritus of the Walsh College Board of Trustees.

• Yulia Zelenskaya, (Master of Science in Taxation, 2014), Troy. Research Institute of America Graduate Tax Award. This award is given to an outstanding Master of Science in Taxation student for his or her academic work and contribution to Walsh College.

In addition to receiving certificates of recognition, the students will be honored by having their names engraved on plaques in the Founder’s Court on the Troy Campus.

For more information about Walsh College, visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs. One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township, and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education, and consulting.

Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.


BlueWater Technologies provides audio/visual systems and integration for video wall, centerpiece of $13.3M communications technical operations center for Macomb County Michigan

SOUTHFIELD, MI – BlueWater Technologies Inc. (www.bluewatertech.com), an industry leading provider of custom audio visual integration and event technology, recently completed work on a complex 20-by-50 foot video wall that is the centerpiece of Macomb County, Michigan’s state-of-the-art Communications and Technical Operations Center (COMTEC) facility. The Project Architect for the entire project was Partners in Architecture, PLC and the technology installation was completed in cooperation with Motor City Electric Technologies, Inc. with BlueWater Technologies providing the audio/visual systems and integration.

The video wall has 54 individual 70-inch monitors/LEDs and over 50 different display variations. Inputs on the Macomb County Police Fire and Emergency video wall include: weather and GIS mapping, TV/cable stations, Road Department cameras, Michigan Department of Transportation cameras, siren alerting system, computer displays, and video conferencing. In the future, the center will also be able to accept and integrate with other systems and live feeds from mobile command vehicles, private businesses and schools.

“This project took a lot of time, hard work, collaboration and creativity from all companies involved. David Lewis from Barco and Aziz Bou-Chaaya from BlueWater Technologies were instrumental in taking the visions of Adam Lach (Partners in Architecture) and Vicki Wolber (Macomb Director of Emergency Management), as well as Adam Merchant (Macomb Traffic Engineer) and his team, from an idea to a turnkey solution. This project was two years in the making and without consistent ideology, this could have failed; but the hard work and dedication of these teams made this a very streamlined and successful project,” explains Nick Marino, Account Executive and project lead at BlueWater.

At the grand opening of the COMTEC facility, Vicki Wolber, Director of Emergency Management, Macomb County commented,

“BlueWater Technologies had an incredible design team…I told them that I need versatility in an emergency because we never know where our inputs will come from…and that is exactly what they gave us. They are so creative.”

The BlueWater Technologies project team, led by Nick Marino, included Aziz Bou-Chaaya, Ken Box, Troy Ziegler, and Woody Booth. According to Ken Box, lead programmer and engineer on the project for BlueWater,

“The inclusion of a customizable touch panel allows users an intuitive way to customize and control all the technology including the audio and video content on the wall. We created 9 preset layouts for the video wall in standard mode plus a special emergency (county and national) and tour mode (for visitors). The panel also allows the user to search by local sources, jurisdiction and keyword from hundreds of sources.”
To learn more about the technology and implementation of this multi-jurisdictional government project, click on http://info.bluewatertech.com/comtec to see the video wall at the COMTEC grand opening and reach out to Nick Marino at nmarino@bluewatertech.com or 800-344-6575 ext 239.

About Macomb County Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC)
Completed in December of 2013, the $13.3 million dollar Macomb County [Michigan] Communications and Technology Center is a 25,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that provides 24/7 situational awareness for residents, businesses and first responders. The facility houses the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Centralized Dispatch, the Road Department Traffic Operations Center, the Information Technology Department and Data Center, and the Emergency Management & Communications Department. Placing all of these operation centers into one location allows COMTEC to maximize scarce resources and improve services.

About BlueWater Technologies Inc.
BlueWater Technologies is a national provider of Meeting & Event Technology, Audio Visual Integration, Digital Activations, and Custom Displays & Fixtures. We are an industry leader in the design, engineering and implementation of custom technology-based solutions. Our solutions have been exceeding client expectations for nearly 30 years. We are a certified woman-owned business headquartered in Southfield, Michigan with additional locations in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Mesick, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Orlando, FL and Washington D.C.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Mary Bujold at 800-344-6575 ext 572 or email at mbujold@bluewatertech.com.