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Pollinator-Friendly Demonstration Garden

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In July 2022, the Monarch butterfly was put on the endangered species list by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

But now, thanks to efforts by concerned communities and businesses, one of the most recognized butterflies in the world may be saved from extinction.

Locally, Southfield City Centre and Eaton have spearheaded an initiative to call attention to the plight of the Monarch butterfly. The first phase was the addition of a vibrant Monarch butterfly sculpture on the Southfield City Centre Trail last spring. The sculpture has received rave reviews by Southfield employees and residents alike.

Most recently, plans have been finalized for a dramatic Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Garden to attract and sustain butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Located at Eaton, adjacent to the Southfield City Centre Trail, the Pollinator Garden was designed by Juno Solutions, LLC, and will be fully installed next spring and fall by Artistic Outdoor Services, Inc.

According to Laurie Conn, facility manager for Eaton’s Mobility Group, “Our company promotes environmentally friendly green initiatives and is proud to support the Monarch sculpture and Pollinator Garden.”

Like many companies, she says, “Eaton is doing its share to dedicate green space and invest in landscaping that contributes to sustainability. We support green partnerships, including Green Guardians, an employee group that promotes environmental sustainability.”

Conn sees her company’s efforts as a win-win for employees and the environment. “The Pollinator Garden will really add to the walking Trails, which many of our employees enjoy.” She says the company’s wellness group encourages employees to participate in fitness walks on the Trails to help reduce stress and promote physical and mental well-being.

Joane Slusky, landscape architect and owner of Juno Solutions, LLC, collaborated with Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA and director of planning for the City of Southfield, in the design of the Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Garden.

“These types of gardens feature native plants that provide food and shelter to a variety of local wildlife, especially Monarch butterflies after their long migration from Mexico,” says Slusky.

Layout design and plant selection for the Pollinator Garden are based on a variety of elements, including bloom time, nectar supply, plant height, deer/rabbit resistance, sun/shade tolerance and more, says Slusky. “We even added rocks in the design for butterfly puddling. This allows butterflies to extract salts and minerals from water-filled indentations in the rocks.”

An educational panel and other people-focused amenities, including benches and wayfinding signs, have been installed to complement the area, says Croad. “We’re excited to see our new pollinator-friendly demonstration garden, which will help the City promote sustainability and enhance the beautiful Monarch sculpture and overall Southfield City Centre Trail.”

Spotlight on Solar-Powered Lighting

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Those walking the Southfield City Centre Trail near Red Pole Park in the evenings are finding things a little brighter, the result of a new solar-powered, motion-activated lighting system recently installed this fall.

The lights, known as solar bollards, have been added along a 400-foot-stretch of the Trail as part of a grant awarded by the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform to Ann Arbor lighting system developer APT Solar Solutions.

The group represents a partnership with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Department of Transportation. The goal is to accelerate the growth of non-motorized transportation initiatives throughout the state.

With 20 miles of non-motorized pathways, Southfield was a natural to be selected as one of 12 Michigan test sites for the solar bollards, says Souzan Hanna, ENV SP, LEED AP and sustainability planner for the City of Southfield.

“Each unit is completely offgrid, which means there’s no connection to any electric lines or conduit being run from a utility. The source of energy is from the series of solar panels within each bollard,” says Hanna. “The lights begin to activate around dusk and give off a soft glow. Because they’re motion-activated, if someone walks or rides a bike along the path, the sensors illuminate a brighter light for safety purposes.”

Hanna imagines a future where solar bollards could be installed throughout the Southfield City Centre’s 20 miles of trails.

“These types of projects are part of our commitment to sustainable initiatives throughout the city. They’re an important enhancement to the quality-of-life advantages Southfield offers its businesses and residents.”

Learn more about Southfield’s sustainability efforts

LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator Awarded $150,000 SBA Grant with Partners in the UP

LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator Awarded $150,000 SBA Grant with Partners in the UP 1200 800 sccadmin

The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University has won a $150,000 Stage Two Growth Accelerator Fund grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Investment and Innovation.

Centrepolis was one of only 35 awardees nationwide, two of which were in Michigan.

The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund program aims to boost equitable investment in innovative startups and high-growth small businesses. Priorities of the program are National Security and Global Competitiveness; Domestic Manufacturing and Production; Climate and Renewable Energy; and Underserved Communities.

Centrepolis is one of just a handful of hardtech accelerators nationwide focusing on developing physical products, not software and services. Its award came under the domestic manufacturing priority.

The SBA award enables Centrepolis to dedicate grant services to develop physical products for tech companies in the Upper Peninsula in partnership with the UP’s designated SmartZones, MTEC in Houghton, Innovate Marquette, and Sault Ste.Marie, along with UP universities and other economic development partners, including Invest UP and Shophouse Park.

“Since our launch in 2018, the Centrepolis Accelerator has launched over 100 new products made in Michigan, resulting in the creation of hundreds of jobs and over $36 million of contracted business to Michigan’s supply chain,” said Centrepolis Accelerator Executive Director Dan Radomski. “This grant will help us assist even more companies across the state with a focus on developing and manufacturing products in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said the grants “will help ensure high-growth small businesses and innovative startups have access to resources and networks to scale in critical technologies across America.”

In 2023, the SBA introduced a new two-stage format for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. In May, Stage One winners received $50,000 to build capacity and connections across the U.S. innovation ecosystem, and the SBA encouraged them to apply for Stage Two grants. During Stage Two, the SBA will provide $150,000 to ecosystem partnerships led by Stage One winners to support high-growth STEM and R&D-focused small businesses.

“These new Growth Accelerator partnerships will strengthen collaboration among local and national entrepreneurial organizations committed to enhancing the chance of success for science and technology driven companies to turn their innovations into impact,” said SBA Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation Bailey DeVries.

A complete list of winners can be found here.

Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 387 prizes totaling more than $19 million to 284 winners across 50 states and U.S. territories. For more information visit

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. Learn more at

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Landscape Design Camp Woos Students to Profession

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Nine students from Southeast Michigan, Chicago and Brooklyn, New York, registered for “Placemaking through Landscape Design” a week-long summer camp organized by Lawrence Technological University, the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the City of Southfield and Southfield City Centre. The camp, which began July 17, aims to introduce BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and underserved students to landscape architecture and encourage them to consider the field as a career choice, says Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA and director of planning for the City of Southfield. “We also expose students to the various professions in which landscape architects work, such as the private, public and non-profit sectors as well as education and research,”

Students, working in teams, were tasked with designing a teen park at Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve off 10 Mile Road in Southfield. They learned how to identify the site’s opportunities and constraints, develop a schematic design to illustrate their concept or “big idea,” and create the design-development plan necessary for construction. On the afternoon of the last day, each team presented a site plan to a jury of professionals and their camp mates. Safety features, enhanced streams and ponds, accessibility for visitors with disabilities, multi-purpose sports areas and playgrounds, use of murals to provide noise reduction and local public art, solar panels to cover parking areas and generate electricity – these were some of the components of the teams’ design plans. A jury of professionals asked follow-up questions and noted novel attributes. “That is a charming design for birdwatching,” commented Joane Slusky, PLA, ASLA, ASID, a landscape architect and jury member.

This was the second year the camp was offered. Each year, organizers make affordability a priority. The $100 registration fee is made possible, in part, by the many professionals who volunteer their time. In addition, the Michigan Chapter ASLA Foundation provides two Diversity, Equity and Inclusion scholarships of $2,500 each to BIPOC students studying landscape architecture at Michigan State University or the University of Michigan.  Aubrey Collins, a recent graduate of Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, who plans to attend Purdue University, came to the camp already interested in pursuing a career in landscape architecture. “I wanted hands-on experience first,” he said.

Southfield Is Participating in Pilot Program for New Solar-Powered Lighting

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Southfield is one of 12 locations across the state chosen to test a new solar-powered lighting system developed by APT Solar Solutions, an Ann Arbor-based start-up company. A 400-foot stretch of the City Centre Trail, southeast of Red Pole Park, is the proposed location for the high-powered illumination. Installation of the lighting system is expected this fall.

APT received a $120,000 grant from the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, an effort of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in partnership with Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Department of Transportation, to accelerate the growth of new modes of non-motorized transportation. Southfield was selected as a pilot site because of its 20-miles of non-motorized pathways.

The company says each solar-powered fixture generates 10-to-30 times more electricity per installation than standard solar panels, making it a clean, off-the-grid source of affordable, reliable electricity.

“This technology compliments the City’s placemaking strategies along current and future non-motorized pathways by enhancing safety measures and promoting sustainability,” says Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA and director of planning for the City of Southfield. “Ultimately, the solar lighting fixtures will make it possible to construct additional pathway segments in locations that are thought to be a deterrent to pedestrians, such as under freeway overpasses, heavily wooded parks, or other routes with limited illumination.”

APT is installing 100 lighting fixtures at locations in the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The company will measure how well the solar-powered fixtures improve safety and increase access for mobility-impaired individuals. Data gathered at the various sites will help determine the market-readiness of the product and the shape of its final design.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced the APT Solar Solutions grant in May, along with three others. The Michigan Mobility Funding Platform has awarded $3.9 million to date to companies for mobility testing.

“The City of Southfield has been continuously striving for better non-motorized connectivity not only to provide alternative modes of transportation, but also to promote health and wellness within the community,” says Souzan Hanna, ENV SP, LEED AP and sustainability planner for the City of Southfield.

To learn more about Southfield’s sustainability efforts, visit the Sustainable Southfield website.

Princeton Review: Lawrence Tech Among Nation’s Best

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Lawrence Technological University has again been listed among the nation’s top colleges by the academic publisher Princeton Review.

LTU is included in “The Best 389 Colleges,” the company’s annual list of top colleges and universities in the nation, now available at bookstores and online.

The Princeton Review chose the colleges based on data it collects annually from surveys of 2,000 college administrators about their institutions’ academic offerings, and from interviews with 165,000 college students about all aspects of campus life. Only about 15% of America’s 2,600 four-year colleges made the list.

“We salute Lawrence Technological University for its outstanding academics, and its many other impressive offerings. We’re delighted to recommend it as an ideal choice for students searching for their ‘best-fit’ college,” said Rob Franek, Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and lead author of “The Best 389 Colleges.”

“This recognition by Princeton Review is a validation of the hard work of our faculty and staff to provide our students with a world-class, technology-based education–an education that results in rewarding and meaningful careers,” said Tarek M. Sobh, LTU president. “Reading the positive comments from students is especially gratifying, and a signal to young people searching for a college, that they’ll find a welcoming, high-achieving atmosphere at LTU.”

The Princeton Review profile praises LTU’s small class sizes, individual attention from faculty, and many opportunities for internships and co-op jobs related to students’ majors, including at LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator, an on-campus business incubator for high-tech manufacturing firms.

The “Students Say” section of the profile notes that “With having a small campus comes having a close-knit student body,” and there is “a strong sense of community” where “everyone really looks out for each other.” As one student says: “If you ask for help from any of your peers, you’ll receive it, or you’ll solve the problem together.” Despite its small size, this is a “group of diverse students who come from different backgrounds, race, and countries.” Around half of students are athletes and many are also “a part of Greek life or a part-time on-campus job.”

LTU was also featured on Princeton Review’s “Best Midwestern” colleges and “Best Green Colleges” list. Only 150 of the 655 four-year colleges in Michigan and eight other Midwestern states made the Best Midwestern list. Just 455 four-year colleges made the Green Colleges list.

The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book from 1 to 389. The company’s  student survey asked students to rate their colleges on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences.  Information on the survey process and methodology for the ranking lists can be found at

For the full list of “The Best 389 Colleges,” visit

The Princeton Review is an education services company known for its tutoring, test-preparation, and admission services, as well as a line of more than 150 books on K-12 and higher education.

Lawrence Technological University,, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Two National Championships in One Season

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The Lawrence Technological University hosted the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ National Championship Tournaments for Men’s Bowling and Women’s Lacrosse and each team was victorious. “To win a national championship one time in your school history is huge,” says Scott Trudeau, LTU athletic director. “We just so happened to win two in the same school year.”

The Blue Devils hosted the men’s bowling tournament in March and the women’s lacrosse tournament in May. Each tournament drew teams from around the country and hundreds of student, parent and fan supporters to campus and Southfield City Centre. What makes the wins all the more noteworthy are the technological degrees the students are pursuing. “Our student athletes have a 3.22 overall grade point average,” Trudeau says. “They are here first and foremost for their academics.”

Men’s Bowling

Men’s Bowling has competed in five national championship tournaments – and won for the first time this year. Early in the playoffs, the team was knocked into the “loser’s bracket,” explains Head Coach Jonathon Putti, a 1988 LTU graduate. That meant LTU had to beat enough teams to reestablish itself in the winner’s bracket. Because this was a double elimination tournament, the Blue Devils then had to beat the team that sent them to the loser’s bracket twice in order to clinch the title. “Trying to beat any team twice at that level is not easy,” Putti adds.

Senior Jacob Kujawa led the team as co-captain and was named Most Valuable Player. He graduated in May with a degree in civil engineering. Connor Nowak, a sophomore and molecular and cellular biology major, was named All Tournament Team Member. “When it comes to the kids,” Putti says, “they were a true team.”

Women’s Lacrosse

With 10 seconds to go in overtime play, the Women’s Lacrosse team beat Savannah College of Art and Design 16-15. Last year, the undefeated, number-one-ranked Blue Devils were expected to win the national championship. But a last-minute upset to Benedictine College ended that dream. This year, the team motto was “Unfinished Business” says Mary Ann Meltzer, associate athletic director and women’s lacrosse head coach. Winning the regular season and the conference tournament did not satisfy the players; they were determined to be national champs, she says, and this time they defeated SCAD. “Winning at home against a team we’d never beaten, there really are no words to describe it,’ Meltzer says. “To do it in overtime was that much better.”

Senior Bella Burke, a midfielder, was named Most Valuable Player. She graduated in 2022 with a degree in molecular and cellular biology and is pursuing a graduate degree in biomedical engineering. Alaina Smythe, a sophomore midfielder studying biomedical engineering, scored five goals, including the winning goal.

Meltzer, who transitions to athletic director on July 1, says the tournament wins have increased the national visibility of LTU and Southfield.

Butterfly Sculpture A Symbol of Eaton’s Values

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A brilliant Monarch butterfly sculpture has been added to Southfield City Centre Trail, made possible by Eaton, the international power management company located in Southfield. “Eaton encourages all of its employees to be active stewards for our environment,” says Laurie Conn, facility manager for the Vehicle Group. “We support the Butterfly Sculpture and Garden because we support our community. We live here. We work here. We’re glad to be part of the community.”

Eaton first contributed easement so the Trail could extend past its building. Then it contributed additional easement for the butterfly sculpture, which was installed this spring, and the creation of an adjoining pollinator garden, home to butterflies, bees and other pollinators. The City will add an educational panel and amenities such as benches and wayfinding signs. “The Monarch butterfly is in decline,” says Terry Croad, director of planning for the City of Southfield. “It is on the international endangered-species list.” A sculpture of the Monarch was chosen to make a bold statement and complement the vivid color at Red Pole Park. “We want to bring awareness to the plight of pollinators and bring a smile to visitors,” he says.

Conn says the extension of the Trail and the new sculpture increases wellness opportunities for Eaton employees. “We have a lot of walkers. This is a great space for our employees to be physically active and reduce stress, which contributes to both physical and mental well-being. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so this is a great time to take advantage of this new space,” she adds. The sculpture and garden, which is now being designed by a landscape architect, complements efforts of  the “Green Guardians,” an employee group supported by Eaton that promotes environmental sustainability.

Advance Your Career, Enhance Your Business with MichiganWorks!

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MichiganWorks! is a state-wide workforce development system offering free career-development services for jobseekers, virtual workshops for those interested in expanding skills and, for students age 16-24, internship, tuition assistance, career planning and work-experience opportunities. Businesses can receive support for hiring, training, process improvements, and growth. Employers can take advantage of the Business Resource Network – free to join – and its “success coaches” who work one-on-one with employees to remedy personal challenges so workers can thrive at their jobs.

The Southfield office, located in the City Centre on the Lawrence Technological University campus, is bright and state-of-the-art. Clients are invited to simply walk in during business hours. “You don’t have to be unemployed to use these services,” explains Lisa Straske, manager of the Southfield office. “We serve everyone who walks in the door.”

Clients range from high schoolers eager to create career plans to displaced homemakers ready to enter the workforce, and anyone wanting to make a career change. There’s also the Clean Slate Program, which helps those with criminal convictions clear their public records. Another program offers scholarships for childcare at licensed centers. “We take a holistic, client-centered approach and tailor career plans and services to the particular needs of the individual,” Straske adds.

For more information, visit the Southfield office of Oakland County MichiganWorks! at 21415 Civic Center Drive, Suite 116, Southfield or call 248-796-4583. You also can email the office at this address: and learn more online at

Businesses Proud To Give Back To Community

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Southfield City Centre Advisory Board represents the businesses and institutions located in the City Centre. Together they work to promote the economic vitality and quality of life in the city. They also contribute individually through charitable works. “It’s important to the company as a whole to give back to the community that gives so much to us,” explains Brooke McNemar of Etkin Real Estate Solutions. Etkin, owner of Evergreen Atrium and Franklin Center, among other properties, supports Michigan Animal Rescue League, American Diabetes Association, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Lighthouse, Brilliant Detroit, Zekelman Holocaust Center, Robert A. Schuele Scholarship, and Alzheimer’s Association-Michigan chapter.

Town Center hosts a major, annual fundraising event for the Michigan chapter of Gift of Adoption, a national organization that helps families cover the costs of adopting a child. “Our funding supports the birth mother and legal fees predominately for domestic adoptions but also international adoptions,” says Clarence Gleeson, senior vice president at Transwestern, the management agent for the building. More than 100 Michigan families received assistance last year.

Dürr Systems, a global mechanical and plant engineering firm, has its North American headquarters in the City Centre. The company contributes donations and  volunteer time to United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Forgotten Harvest. Employee teams participate in Mayor Kenson J. Siver’s annual Big Rake, providing fall lawn maintenance for seniors and residents with disabilities. When the Engineering Society of Detroit hosts its Future City competition for middle-school students, Dürr employees volunteer as team mentors and competition judges. The company also supports LTU’s annual designing, building and racing of a small formula-style racing car and offers free robot path trainings to LTU students in their Training Center.

Friends of Southfield Public Arts, the nonprofit organization that supports the goals of Southfield Public Arts Commission, assists with art acquisitions, such as the sculpture that lines the Southfield City Centre Trail, and exhibitions of local artists’ work on display each quarter in the main lobby at City Hall.

LTU donates a range of courses and professional-development opportunities that benefit Southfield high school students and high school and middle school teachers. Most significant is the $85,000, four-year Blue Devil Southfield Scholarship for Southfield high school graduates. LTU students also volunteer for the Big Rake, snow shoveling and working the polls on Election Day. “Southfield is a shining example of the Town and Gown relationship,” says Lisa Kujawa, VP for enrollment management at LTU. “How we come together shows how we – the university and the city – value one another.”