Kearney Joins LIFT As Platinum Member, Guiding the Institute Toward the Future of Manufacturing

LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, is excited to announce that global management consulting firm Kearney has joined the institute as a platinum member and is supporting the institute’s objectives to create a national showcase for future manufacturing in Detroit. Kearney, and its leadership team, is helping to inform LIFT on the latest technologies and to build a national showcase at its facility. As part of that national showcase, Kearney will be placing its Digital Model Factory in the LIFT facility to demonstrate the “art of the possible” in future manufacturing. The model factory is expected to be fully launched at LIFT before the end of the year.

LIFT Opens Doors to Advanced Manufacturing Learning Lab in Corktown

Detroit-based LIFT – Lightweight innovations For Tomorrow has opened the doors on its 6,500 SF immersive Learning Lab, located in the LIFT Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Corktown.

Eight unique labs are equipped to prepare incoming students for the most in-demand manufacturing careers, with K-12, community and technical college, and university programs.
CNC Operations and Welding Technician Training Centers, maker spaces for hands-on fabrication, as well as labs to learn Smart Factory basics and explore materials science and metrology are available to partnering organizations.

Detroit’s University Prep Science and Math High School (UPrep) will be utilizing the Fundamental Skills Development and Project Fabrication labs during the 2019-2020 school year. UPrep Schools will roll out the “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” curriculum to students in the Learning Lab to produce the “multi-skilled technician” needed in today’s workplace.

Looking ahead, additional schools, organizations and businesses are invited to partner with LIFT to provide education in a real, working advanced manufacturing setting.

For more information, please visit or contact LIFT Communications Director, Joe Steele at c: 734-233-4567,

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight materials 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 of Manufacturing USA and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research.

Macomb County seeks hosts and sponsors for Manufacturing Day

Event to benefit an estimated 2,100 high school students

Macomb County will once again host a coordinated event to coincide with national Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 4. The event provides an opportunity for high school students to visit area advanced manufacturing facilities to see the industry in action and meet people who make things.

Since 2014, more than 10,000 students have participated through the support of an active planning committee and the generosity of host sites and sponsors.

“The future of manufacturing in Macomb County and the greater Detroit area is strong, so it is a great time for young people to begin thinking about entering the field,” said Vicky Rad, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. “The annual Manufacturing Day event offers a unique opportunity for these students to connect with local businesses and learn about the profession. At the same time, it gives local organizations the chance to interact with the next generation of talent and to promote their companies. It’s a positive experience for everyone involved.”

Commitments from companies that would like to get involved are being accepted now. Host sites are asked to offer a 90-120 minute guided tour for a group of students and teachers. Successful tours offer some combination of the following:

  • Overview of the employer by company leadership, who provide information about what they do, who they hire and opportunities for career growth that they offer
  • Smaller sub-tours that highlight different work areas and careers
  • Opportunities for students to talk with employees and see the product life cycle in action
  • Opportunities for students to see and touch the machinery, tools and products that are a part of the industrial workplace

For more information on becoming a host site or to get involved as a sponsor, visit


Media Contact:

Maria Zardis
(586) 292-8018

Wacker Hosts Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer at Silicones R&D Center


Ann Arbor, MI July 18, 2019 – Wacker Chemical Corporation (WCC) today welcomed Governor Gretchen Whitmer to WACKER’s Americas Region Silicones R&D Center located in Ann Arbor, MI, where she met with David Wilhoit, WCC President & CEO. They discussed a range of subjects, such as the State of Michigan’s vision to attract new business, create jobs, repair infrastructure and position Michigan as a high-tech industry and manufacturing hub. Additionally, they reviewed WACKER’s global growth plans, specifically as it relates to Michigan and the Ann Arbor area. The governor’s visit included a guided tour of the Silicones R&D Center and a close-up view of WACKER’s industry-leading 3D printing ACEO® technology. WACKER pioneered this novel technology, offering the first worldwide service for 3D printed silicone elastomer parts.

“Companies like WACKER are doing crucial work to make Michigan a world leader in innovation,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I’m excited to partner with them to ensure our businesses can succeed and attract more to our state by making Michigan a home for opportunity again. That means passing a budget that raises the revenue we need to fix the roads, boosts public education, closes the skills gap, and cleans up our drinking water. That’s how we build strong communities, grow our economy, and ensure every business can thrive here in Michigan.”

“WACKER and I deeply appreciate Governor Whitmer’s commitment and partnership with the business community to build Michigan into a globally and nationally-recognized leader in high-technology innovation,” said President & CEO David Wilhoit. “Developing the talent we already have and attracting additional highly-educated people, ensures our continued competitiveness in a global economy. We fully support the Governor’s efforts to improve our infrastructure and elevate Michigan’s technical expertise so companies like WACKER can compete worldwide,” added Wilhoit.

Wilhoit explained that demand for silicones will continue to grow across all segments, with particular growth coming from the automotive, health care and personal care markets. As WACKER grows and expands in Michigan, the company is actively engaging the regional academic community through student programs such as the University of Michigan’s local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) and the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS). WACKER also has a very robust annual internship program with 27 student interns working across its Michigan sites for the summer.

WACKER remains committed to Michigan with manufacturing process and operations investments continuing in Adrian, a newly opened Silicones R&D Center in Ann Arbor, and plans are in place to relocate its regional headquarters and technical center from Adrian to a new Innovation Center and Americas Region Headquarters in the Ann Arbor area in the next couple of years.

For further information, please contact:
Wacker Chemical Corporation
Gwendolyn Knapp
Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: +1 517 264-8581

The Company in Brief:
WACKER is a globally-active chemical company with some 14,500 employees and annual sales of around € 4.98 billion (2018). WACKER has a global network of 24 production sites, 22 technical competence centers and 50 sales offices.

Silicone fluids, emulsions, rubber grades and resins; silanes; pyrogenic silicas; thermoplastic silicone elastomers

Polyvinyl acetates and vinyl acetate copolymers and terpolymers in the form of dispersible polymer powders, dispersions, solid resins and solutions

Biotech products such as cyclodextrins, cysteine and biologics, as well as fine chemicals and PVAc solid resins

Polysilicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries

Morning Edition – Sandy Baruah Discusses Manufacturing and Trade with Alisa Zee

June 30, 2019

Morning Edition with Alisa Zee

Chamber President and CEO, Sandy Baruah sat down with Alisa Zee to discuss how manufacturing and trade impacts our region.

Part One:

Part Two:


Clayton & McKervey: “R&E tax credit is a ‘smart’ incentive for Industry 4.0 companies to improve financial performance”

Southfield, Mich.—December 13, 2018—Automation continues to revolutionize the economy, but many thriving companies are not utilizing federal and state tax credits and incentives in the area of research and development that support Industry 4.0 adoption and growth, according to Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit. Sarah Russell, CPA, a Clayton & McKervey shareholder who advises clients on Research & Experimentation tax strategies, believes there has never been a better opportunity for businesses—including “smart” manufacturers—to explore and capitalize on these cash savings.

“Real-time data, combined with an understanding of the impact of tax credits and incentives, can often make a business more nimble and competitive,” Russell said. “The Research & Experimentation (R&E) tax credit, also known as the R&D tax credit, has given businesses a powerful tool to strategically improve their bottom line, but it is often overlooked or unclaimed—even with the new tax law.”

The R&E benefit is available for the development or improvement of products, processes, techniques, formulas, inventions or software and is a dollar-for-dollar credit against the taxpayer’s federal income tax liability, which means companies may get a twofold benefit—the deduction in the year the expenditure is paid, as well as by claiming the tax credit.

Tim Finerty, CPA, a Clayton & McKervey shareholder who addresses the needs of growth-driven businesses in the manufacturing, system integrator, distribution and service related industries, says that some of the best candidates for the R&E tax credit are companies that have business related to technology, industrial production and design, but also some machine shops, tool and die shops, and custom machine manufacturers.

“S-corporations, start-ups and partnerships in the business of improving industrial production processes through controls, automation or system integration should definitely consider the R&E tax credit,” Finerty said, “but many of these businesses are thinking about converting to a C-Corp structure under the new tax law.”

Before a change in structure, Finerty cautions that additional factors should be considered like whether the business qualifies for the pass-through deduction; if the business generates research credits; whether the business will pay dividends to its owners; and the long-term exit strategy of the business.

“The answer lies in the way the tax law is written,” Finerty said. “R&E credits generated by a business can be used to offset any income generated from that same business activity, so converting to a C-Corp may not be the best solution.”

Russell and Finerty outline examples of Qualified Research Activities (QRAs) under the R&E credit:
• Providing custom control and automation solutions for various applications
• Developing new functionality or performance to meet customer specifications
• Development of schematic drawings for integration of system components
• Designing and developing cost-effective and innovative operational processes
• Developing new tool-specific fixturing or other tooling
• Improving processes through robotics or other types of automation techniques
• Experimenting with new alloys or other materials
• Testing new mold/die designs through sampling or trial
• Providing product and system solutions, including design engineering and mechanical fabrication
• Performing evaluations and system test
• Implementation of automated systems

There may also be Qualified Research Expenditures (QREs) if companies can substantiate how the expenditures are connected to the qualified activities including:
• Qualified Wages of Employees performing qualified activities, supervising qualified activities and supporting qualified activities
• Supplies used to fabricate prototypes/items consumed during the conduct of research
• Contract Research–65 percent of fees paid to outside consultants/subcontractors/ engineers/software developers
• Estimates are allowed, however documentation of how the estimates were determined must be provided and reasonable methods must be used

Tax savings can be extensive; for example, one Clayton & McKervey client that designs, manufactures and installs purification systems tallied an approximate R&E tax credit of $1 million for 2014-17; another client who manufactures and installs integrated cleaning solutions for industrial applications will get a $475,000 in an R&E tax credit. Other examples of companies benfitting from the R&E tax credit are a designer and manufacturer of custom container and packaging products that saved almost a half-million dollars and a company that designs and builds custom conveyor systems that saved $1.4 million over three years.

“It’s definitely worth it for companies, especially those who have moved forward with an Industry 4.0 approach, to take a second look at its qualified research activites to make sure it’s receiving all the money it can,” Russell said.

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


Clayton & McKervey to present “Using Industry 4.0 to Improve Accounting Performance” on Oct. 17 as part of Automation Alley’s Tech Takeover series

Southfield, Mich.—September 24, 2018— Clayton & McKervey, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace, will present “Using Industry 4.0 to Improve Accounting Performance” as part of Automation Alley’s ongoing Tech Takeover series sharing member expertise in various facets of Industry 4.0. The event will take place at Automation Alley on Wednesday, October 17 from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and the presenters are Sarah Russell CPA, and Tim Finerty CPA, shareholders and leaders of the firm’s systems integrators practice.

As automation continues to revolutionize the economy, there has never been a greater opportunity to understand and take advantage of various cash saving strategies. According to Russell and Finerty, many thriving companies are leaving money on the table by not utilizing federal and state tax credits and incentives in the area of research and development that support Industry 4.0 adoption and growth.

“Real-time data, combined with an understanding of the impact of tax credits and incentives, can often make a business more nimble and competitive,” Russell said. “Our presentation is geared to business owners, CFOs and controllers who want to learn how they can uncover savings within their own organizations to fund future research and development activities.”

For registration information, contact Automation Alley at 800-427-5100 or Register online here.

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

Automation Alley announces two senior director promotions

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology and manufacturing business association, announces that Maryann Daddow has been promoted to senior director of finance and Cynthia Hutchison has been promoted to senior director, Automation Alley.

Hutchison had been director of business development and government affairs at Automation Alley and will continue in that role. Additional responsibilities as senior director include oversight of marketing and facilities management. Daddow had been director of finance and will continue with the elevated financial responsibilities that have emerged from Automation Alley’s transition to Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center.

Daddow, who joined Automation Alley in 2009, is responsible for accounting and financial management for Automation Alley, as well as the lead interface with outside auditors. She has more than 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, previously working in the automotive industry with Chrysler Group LLC. Her work experience has encompassed technical accounting, financial analysis and controllership responsibilities across a wide range of functions.

Daddow holds an MBA from Michigan State University. She is a resident of Rochester.

Hutchison initially worked for Automation Alley as director of member relations from October 2013 to April 2015. She returned to Automation Alley in August 2016 as director of business development and government affairs. Since rejoining Automation Alley, she has expanded membership at the Foundation level (the highest level of membership) and has sought out new opportunities to maximize Automation Alley’s reach nationally and globally. Additionally, she introduced such popular new member programs as the Tech Takeover, which provides members an opportunity to showcase their expertise on smart technologies for Industry 4.0 to those in the manufacturing and technology fields, and brought in major sponsors and partners for Automation Alley’s 2018 Technology in Industry Report and inaugural, sold-out global Integr8™ Industry 4.0 conference.

In 2006, Hutchison was named one of 14 “Michiganians of the Year” by the Detroit News for her efforts on behalf of Band of Angels, an international advocacy and support organization she founded for educating, employing and providing inclusive opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other cognitive impairments. Hutchison started Band of Angels following the birth of her son, Jordan, in 1989, who has Down syndrome. In addition to Hutchison, honorees that year included Dan Gilbert, Matt Cullen and Maggie Allesee. among others.

Hutchison holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Allegheny College. She is a resident of Rochester Hills.

“Cynthia Hutchison brings multi-faceted strategic business marketing and sales skills to Automation Alley,” Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO, said. “She’s a senior leader and outstanding connector. As we transition Automation Alley to Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, Cynthia has done an outstanding job of educating our members and partners on the value of being actively involved with Automation Alley. On the operations side, she brings creativity and a strong business approach to finding efficiencies that help us best serve our members and our day-to-day operations. Leading our finance area, Maryann Daddow has been an upstanding, trusted leader and has stepped up to embrace the new financial opportunities presented by Automation Alley’s involvement in Industry 4.0. On behalf of our entire team, I congratulate them on their promotions.”

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a nonprofit technology and manufacturing 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 and services in business growth, entrepreneurship, talent development, defense and international business, providing 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 think strategically during a time of rapid technological change.

TiECon Detroit 2018 AI Competition

TiE Detroit and Kyyba Innovations have partnered to bring the AI Competition to TiECon Detroit 2018, Michigan’s largest ongoing conference for entrepreneurs. The contest will take place from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave, Novi, Michigan.

Aimed at identifying the six top-level entrepreneurs and startups working on disruptive AI technologies, the competition will center on Artificial Intelligence technologies in the areas of Sensors/Electronics/IOT, Food/Health/Fitness, Fintech, Blockchain / AI / ML / DL, and Manufacturing / In Vehicle Technologies / Mobility. During the contest, six finalists will compete before an audience of AI executives, venture capitalists, angel investors and technologists. They will have a total of 10 minutes to pitch and answer questions from the judges.

The winner, which will be announced at 7 p.m. on October 6th, will be eligible to receive up to a $50,000 equity investment and support services from Kyyba Innovations, as well as mentorship from the organization’s extensive network.

“Current wave of disruption requires an expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. We have both investment capital and talent in Michigan but there is a money/talent mismatch. Through Kyyba Innovations and the TiECon platform we aim to build an innovation ecosystem to create real value to the entrepreneurs ,” said Tel Ganesan, President, TiE Detroit. “I am looking forward to seeing what the participants have innovated or the ideas they plan to share that will help catalyze the future of AI”.

TiECon Detroit 2018, will take place Saturday, Oct. 6. Bringing together TiE members, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, top industry executives and thought leader. The event provides an opportunity to exchange ideas, explore new businesses, discuss emerging technologies, share growth strategies and obtain insight from global business leaders, community leaders and worldwide experts. The conference also will feature “TiE20,” which will showcase the most promising 20 startup companies.

Applications for the AI Competition are due no later than Sunday, August 19th.

For more information or to apply visit, or contact Jacqueline Perry at 248-254-4087 or

About TiE
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing our next generation of entrepreneurs.

About Kyyba Innovation (KI)
Kyyba Innovations is a innovation and collaboration eco-system that provides innovators and entrepreneurs the environment to enable their ideas to become reality. We provide services that allow startups to scale to the next level. We do this by investing in businesses and leveraging our network to empower your organization to accelerate your mission forward.

Automation Alley to reveal major report on Industry 4.0 with research from seven leading Michigan academic institutions

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology and manufacturing business association, has assembled a collaborative team of academic and corporate partners to create an in-depth research report on Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to be released April 30 in Detroit. This is the first collaborative Industry 4.0 report of its kind in Michigan.

Automation Alley’s 2018 Technology in Industry Report will be a data-rich guide to Industry 4.0 adoption comprised of observations, emerging trends, challenges, opportunities and implications for industry, created to help manufacturers keep pace with rapid technological changes. Research will center on the eight core technologies of Industry 4.0, including the Industrial Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, the cloud, cybersecurity, advanced materials and additive manufacturing, and modeling, simulation, visualization and immersion.

This is Automation Alley’s 11th year releasing this report, and the first time the organization is taking a collaborative approach to the research. Academic research partners include University of Detroit Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, Central Michigan University, Oakland University, Baker College, Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College. Ford Motor Company is backing the report research with funding and providing corporate insight.

“Ford Motor Company joined Automation Alley in late 2017 to take advantage of the unique networking opportunities. Ford clearly sees the opportunity to collaborate with Southeast Michigan business leaders on critical Industry 4.0 initiatives, and jointly define and develop the way forward in this space,” said Michael Lee, Ford’s global core manager of body structures and closures.

Comau, Siemens PLM, Eaton and Trumpf will provide guidance through peer review and industry-specific feedback. In addition, Plante Moran and RSM have come on board to help facilitate and organize the data collected. Additional corporate partners will be announced in February.

“Manufacturers around the globe are attempting to wrap their heads around the magnitude of change involved with Industry 4.0, where there is much uncertainty, but also opportunity,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO. “We understand that the key to our state’s success in Industry 4.0 is dependent on knowledge, not only for business owners, but also for a workforce that will need to be upskilled as jobs are replaced by automation. This report will be of great value to manufacturers both at home and abroad, one that will serve as a roadmap to help companies large and small navigate this massive industry shift.”

Automation Alley’s 2018 Technology in Industry Report will be released at Automation Alley’s Technology in Industry Reveal, April 30, from 8-11:30 a.m., at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where attendees will receive a free copy of the report. At the Reveal event, hundreds of technology and manufacturing professionals will enjoy a strolling breakfast as they network and explore a technology spotlight featuring the latest Industry 4.0 innovations. Following the spotlight, there will be a formal presentation of the 2018 Technology in Industry Report’s key takeaways and a panel discussion featuring leading industry experts and academic researchers.

Automation Alley’s Technology in Industry Reveal comes on the heels of Automation Alley’s sold-out, global Industry 4.0 conference, Integr8™, that attracted 550 industry experts to Detroit in November.

“Automation Alley’s mission is to lead the charge in Industry 4.0 in Michigan for our members as well as our state’s strong manufacturing ecosystem. Our goal is to keep our manufacturers ahead of the curve as technology transforms industry. This report is a logical next step to achieve that goal,” Kelly said.

For information on sponsorship opportunities related to the Technology in Industry Report and Technology in Industry Reveal, visit To register for the Technology in Industry Reveal, visit

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.

Our Mission
Automation Alley is Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a local focus. We work tirelessly to help our members achieve success by increasing sales, reducing costs, and thinking strategically during a time of rapid technological change in the manufacturing industry.