Connected technologies take root in Macomb

H3-160609887On Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Rick Snyder introduced the state’s new Planet M initiative, which focuses on branding Michigan’s mobility assets, especially autonomous and connected vehicle technology. The importance of connected technologies continues to grow in today’s economy. Macomb County is already taking steps to promote economic development in this cyber arena as is seen in the development of key assets such as MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team) and the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range.

When the Velocity Hub in Sterling Heights celebrated its grand opening in March, it joined the ranks of other cyber ranges in the county including at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and General Dynamics Land Systems’ MC2. However, the unclassified Velocity Hub is different because it is the only one open to the public, providing resources for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

FrontCyberRangeFor a fee, companies looking to test the security of their connected products can undergo a full day of penetration testing at the Velocity Hub. This will test the product against a checklist of best practices and result in a comprehensive final report detailing potential security vulnerabilities. The Velocity Hub also leases space for companies to utilize a virtual sandbox. Equipped with hardware and software, this enables startups and emerging companies to test the products they’re developing in a secure environment.

Also available are cybersecurity certification courses. These courses are perfect for an employer looking to fortify his or her staff with advanced cybersecurity knowledge as well as for the individual looking to build his or her resume. Various certification courses will be offered through Mile2 starting at the end of this month. Each course is five days long with a certification exam on the last day. The price ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the course.

Another unique facet of the Velocity Hub is that it is managed by the Macomb-OU INCubator and is housed in the same facility at the Velocity Collaboration Center. As such, startups have the option to lease office space at the incubator, giving them access to support services, classes and a network of other promising entrepreneurs.

It is no wonder MADCAT often chooses the Velocity Collaboration Center as the location for their quarterly meetings. Close proximity to the Velocity Hub, flexible seating options and a large projection screen available for presentations make it the perfect meeting space for this cybersecurity-focused organization.

As Michigan strives to gain dominance in the race to create autonomous vehicles, collaborative partnerships are happening in Macomb County to offer resources, tools and guidance to enable the mobility industry to grow.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

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Buzz from the island: Advancing mobility and growing defense

The 2016 Detroit Regional Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off with positive excitement on the island. This year, the conference focused on the three pillars of entrepreneurship, urban education and investing in the future. Macomb County arrived to Mackinac poised to promote our connectivity to both the automotive and defense industries and growing the cybersecurity ecosystem.

During day two, the common themes and dialogue included how we advance our automotive technologies and stay ahead as a state. One step in this direction was the big unveiling of “Planet M” which represents Michigan’s mobility ecosystem. The synergy behind branding Planet M brought together many key players from government, research institutions, academia and industry with the common goal of helping us all grow our talent and advance our technologies.

signing at MPC.jpgDay three introduced a defense panel discussing the state’s Protect and Grow initiative. The strategic plan introduced 17 different recommendations in seeking opportunities for us to grow our defense presence in Michigan, currently a $9 billion industry. One of those key areas was continuing our efforts in growing the cybersecurity ecosystem, including building a pipeline in the workforce. A strong defense contingency joined Macomb County up at Mackinac and included leadership from the Michigan National Guard, U.S. Army TACOM and U.S. Army TARDEC, along with our partners at the state and the Michigan Defense Center.

This four-day event brought together great dialogue, some new introductions and even old friends. Macomb County continues to have a strong role as a partner in bringing our state and region to the forefront as a leader in all things connected.

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Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Revamped and relaunched: MADCAT.org

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Aiming to be a central source for news and events related to cybersecurity, the revamped
MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team)  website has officially launched at MADCAT.org.

The MADCAT website features several partners that have contributed to the organization’s efforts of growing the cybersecurity community.

MADCAT’s talent partners include local colleges and universities with programs ranging from certificate courses to master’s degrees. These programs help to further train and engage our regional talent pool in cybersecurity activities. One such talent partner, Walsh College, has the unique distinction of being named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, a status designated by the National Security Agency.

Institutional partners named on the site include a range of businesses, nonprofits and military representatives. Several of the institutional partners have established private cyber testing ranges; however, the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range at Macomb-OU INCubator remains the sole cyber range accessible to the public.

The site’s Resources tab contains links to tools that both the public and governmental agencies can utilize to ensure their networks are secure. The state of Michigan has several informational resources featured on the site, including the cyber disruption strategy and Michigan Cyber Initiative. A 25-minute video with Brig. Gen. Michael Stone features a panel discussion on how cybersecurity threats are monitored, prevented and addressed by both the automotive and defense industries. As these industries in particular continue to power Macomb County’s economic growth, it is vital for business owners and employees to be aware of potential threats and how to prevent a cyberattack.

Look for events and MADCAT quarterly meetings on the calendar – the group is open to the public and new members are always welcome.

The website’s redesign was the result of a visioning process the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development undertook with Mount Clemens-based digital marketing agency Hunch Free.

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Alyssa Tracey is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Cybersecurity in Macomb County: MADCAT

You know it’s time for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference when Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel’s bright smile shines down on you from a billboard.

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This annual conference is a time for Michigan lawmakers and businesses to commingle and discuss the region’s most pressing issues. This year, as the billboard located along I-75 near Mackinaw City displays, Hackel will promote the importance of cybersecurity and how Macomb County is blazing the trail in this industry with the help of MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team).

Spearheaded by the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, MADCAT is an organization comprised of representatives from government, business and academia who all have the same concern – how to guard against cyberthreats. Through this collaborative partnership, MADCAT aims to advance cybersecurity technology as well as to stimulate related economic development in southeast Michigan.

Another objective of MADCAT is to work with local colleges, universities and the Macomb Intermediate School District to cultivate talent in this growing industry. This means reaching out to students and educators to introduce them to careers in the field. According to Emsi, specialists in economic data research, in just four years, the number of well-paying software development jobs in Macomb County is projected to grow by 50 percent.

As the importance of connected technologies continues to grow in many industries, so does the need to protect confidential information from cyberattacks. If you are interested in partnering with MADCAT, visit their website at MADCAT.org.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

 

 

Healthy food just became a lot more convenient

Clean Planet Foods was born from the same food entrepreneurs that created the very successful Garden Fresh Gourmet brand, which most of us know from their salsa, tortilla chips, hummus and dips. When I first tasted the products from Clean Planet Foods, based in Clinton Township, I was amazed how fresh it tasted and how simple it was to prepare. A light bulb immediately went off in my head: This is how I can eat healthy at work and at home with only a minute or two to prepare my meal. The selection keeps growing as well, from chicken to turkey patties, and now I just had some great meatballs.

Cp2One of my favorite parts about Clean Planet Foods is that they want a really healthy, fresh product with the highest food safety that can be delivered. They put each product into a High Pressure Pasteurization machine that seals in the freshness and helps keep your product safe. Another great part about this is you can order online at CleanPlanetFoods.com, and fresh products will show up at the door in a 10- or 30-count box, and you can reorder automatically. Continue reading for what owner Jack Aronson says about his newest product line.

Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in assisting food and agriculture, automotive, energy and retail companies.

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Dear Fellow Food and Fitness Lover,

I founded Clean Planet on simple, down-to-earth principles. Make honest and healthy food, make it safe and out-of-this-world good, and make it easy to get and prepare. After all, what’s the point of being healthy if you can’t enjoy life? So, I got together with some of my favorite chefs, and along with nationally-syndicated health and fitness coach Peter Nielsen, we set about creating a line of outrageously tasty, fully-cooked whole proteins using some of my best recipes. As a team, we worked hard to make them delicious, nutritious and quick. When we finished, we knew that we had before us the cleanest, most convenient, most mouth-watering line of proteins the world had ever seen. It seemed only appropriate to name the line something special, so we called it Clean Planet.

Although our principles are modest, our goal is not. Simply put, we’re out to change the way the world eats for the better. It all starts with your visit to another planet, a planet without compromise.

No need to compromise on taste. From our juicy turkey patties to our tender, melt-in-your-mouth, Jamaican-style jerk chicken, these chef-inspired proteins are as good to eat as anything you’ll find in your favorite four-star restaurant.

No need to compromise on nutrition. Our gluten-free, center-of-plate meat products are loaded with delicious, whole protein, as many as 26 grams in a single serving, and contain no artificial additives.

No need to compromise on convenience. Each Clean Planet protein serving comes individually wrapped in a special food-safe pouch designed to steam in all the natural juices. And variety? Trust me, with our wide assortment of flavors, you will never get bored.

Don’t look for us in the grocery store. The only way to enjoy Clean Planet proteins is to order them direct online or purchase them through one of our affiliates.

Looking to build lean muscle? Interested in shedding a few pounds by eating right? Maybe you just want to feel better. Only you can know what’s in your heart. And only you can do what’s best for your heart. It all starts with you.  So make Clean Planet a regular stop as you travel through the galaxy of food choices in this land of abundance. We know your life will change – for the better.

Jack Aronson is the founder and chief protein officer of Clean Planet Foods.

 

Courting foreign direct investment in Germany

Over 4,000 miles away from Detroit, KUKA Germany’s CEO Dr. Till Reuter shook hands with Gov. Rick Snyder at Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade fair. In this same space, KUKA Germany, KUKA Systems North America, as well as KUKA subsidiaries from around the globe, converged for this one week, meeting with business clients – past, present and future.

Germany.jpgTheir booth footprint was massive, impressive and interactive. However, their true presence was much more profound all over the showroom floors, as system integrators demonstrated how their products aligned with KUKA’s automation and robotic technologies.

KUKA Systems North America, headquartered in Macomb County, was one of the many companies that made the trip to Hannover, Germany. I joined as part of the Automation Alley trade mission, along with other Michigan-based companies, two from Macomb County: Omnico AGV and JAAN Technologies. This year was unique because the U.S. was the Partner Country for the Hannover Messe Fair, welcoming President Obama at the Opening Ceremony.

More than 465 U.S. companies exhibited at Hannover Messe, a much larger presence than in previous years. It was easy to get lost on the floors which housed 5,200 exhibitors spread out over 27 different halls. In total, the show brought in over 190,000 visitors from all over the world. Many languages were spoken, and the meetings I had were rich in investment and growth opportunities.

My mission was to meet with companies seeking a U.S. location for expanding their market and production capability. Michigan, especially Macomb County, is prime for these types of foreign direct investments, especially with our rich roots and strong workforce in advanced manufacturing for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. In total, I walked 56,000 steps over the four days I attended the Hannover Messe Fair – each step bringing these opportunities closer to home.

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Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Macomb County Celebrates Nurses during National Nurses Week 2016!

For the 12,667 nurses working in Macomb County, May 6 marks the beginning of National Nurses Week. Nurses play a vital role in Macomb County, not just in the critical care that they provide their patients but also for their prominence within the county’s economic foundation.

Since 2000, the number of nursing jobs in Macomb County has risen 52 percent from 8,330 to 12,667. This key industry has shown healthy growth, even during the Great Recession.

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These are great paying jobs too. The average wage is well above the average overall for private sector wages in Macomb County.

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The job outlook continues to be bright. If you are considering a career in nursing, or know someone who is, employers are certainly looking for you! Data tracked by EMSI, an economic modeling and forecasting firm, tracks online job postings. Overall, both the number of posts and unique posts continue to show significant increases.

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Within Macomb County, there are a number of nursing programs available. Oakland University, Baker University, Davenport University and Macomb Community college all offer programs for students.

In addition to National Nurses Week, as of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week each year.

To all of Macomb County’s nurses, we say thank you!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org