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Michigan Economic Development Corporation Grant Opportunity

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Grant Opportunity southfieldcc_3ik8d2

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is offering a grant opportunity to specific businesses hardest hit by the recent closures. The application period for small businesses seeking grants will begin on Tuesday, December 15.

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative is intended to meet the urgent need of Michigan businesses including restaurants and bars, lodging providers, live event venues and movie theaters, conference and meeting facilities, indoor recreation facilities, and gyms and fitness centers. The grants under the program will support those businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, or utility expenses.

The program will provide a total of $10 million for the state to one or more qualified grant administrators, who will administer and allocate grants of up to $15,000 each to eligible businesses around the state. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet a number of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Being a business in one of the targeted industries;
  • Identifying a need for payroll, rent, or mortgage payments, and/or utility expenses necessary to continue or restart business operations;
  • Having at least two employees (including the owner) but fewer than 50;
  • Additional eligibility requirements can be found on


StarAgilis Advances 5G Technology With Help From Centrepolis Accelerator and LTU

StarAgilis Advances 5G Technology With Help From Centrepolis Accelerator and LTU southfieldcc_3ik8d2

When experienced entrepreneur Alex Downs of Michigan startup StarAgilis was ready to advance to proof-of-concept stage for a 5G controller for consumer and industrial applications, he sought to maximize design and testing resources and build connections where manufacturing expertise is already strong. His research led him to the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University in the Southfield City Centre.

Downs connected with Centrepolis Accelerator director Dan Radomski and expert-in-residence Dennis Shaver. To help Downs advance his concept to a physical product, they hatched a unique collaboration with Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design and College of Engineering. Faculty members from each college embraced the opportunity in different ways.

The team knew the students would not only benefit from cross-disciplinary development of a real physical product but that they’d likely jump at the opportunity, too, given that this controller has an appropriate application in the video-gaming market — gaming being an activity familiar to and enjoyed by many students. Using 5G technology, the product can operate an augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headset and drone simultaneously, which was not possible under earlier communications protocols.

“We came in with the technology and LTU is really helping us develop it. The students are on track and their output is good,” says Downs, who is originally from New Hampshire but currently lives in Hong Kong. “Our proof-of-concept will be basically proving a novel industry 4.0 application.” The connection with the Centrepolis Accelerator is a good match, as the business development resource exists to support entrepreneurs and established businesses prototype, test and manufacture physical products.

Radomski and Downs worked with Li Chen, adjunct faculty with LTU’s College of Architecture and Design and George Pappas, assistant professor with LTU’s College of Engineering who set to work with students to collaborate and advance the product design. Industrial design students worked in teams to develop the look and feel of the controller while engineering students designed the electrical controls and mechanical placement. Both sets of students needed to pay attention not only to packaging space, but water and humidity intrusion, thermal management and impact resistance.

For students who typically work in silos, the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines and negotiate their needs on behalf of an actual product is a real-world experience, Radomski says. Participating students can go on to use the experience in their own portfolios.

“We really have a captive audience with the students because a lot of them are gamers and they really understand the product,” Downs says. “They have very good insights and they approach it from their own perspective, with a lot of knowledge of what’s on the market right now. This is expertise we can really leverage.”

A grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Business Accelerator Fund, together with financial support from StarAgilis, has funded the hardware and provided stipends for some of the student work, according to Radomski.

Ultimately, the 5G controller could be put to use in construction and industrial applications, and Downs is confident that Michigan is the place to advance his product to the manufacturing stage. With a goal to find partners — in the automotive and medical industries, specifically — StarAgilis is positioned to advance technology and manufacturing in southeast Michigan.

“Our hope is to be part of the ecosystem in Michigan that leads to great connections with great companies and people,” says Downs. “It’s really a people business and finding and attracting talent is very important. We are grateful for LTU for working with us and we appreciate what they are doing for us.”

Learn more about StarAgilis and the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University at

Excellence In The City Event Planned by Southfield Area Chamber

Excellence In The City Event Planned by Southfield Area Chamber southfieldcc_3ik8d2

To cap off an unprecedented year in the Southfield business community, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce will host a 2020 Excellence In The City event. The virtual event will center around a 45-minute video presentation beginning at noon on December 8. The event will highlight key points from Southfield Mayor Ken Siver and bridge the gap from the annual State of the City event, which was canceled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Excellence In The City will be broadcast through YouTube and Facebook Live.

To recognize the hard work of dedicated individuals and businesses in the Southfield area, 2020 Excellence In The City will be a celebration of award winners from five categories: Young Professionals, Health Heroes, Community Cares, Chamber Member of the Year and Innovation.

The Southfield Area Chamber is encouraging individuals to nominate the individual or business they feel most aptly embodies the spirit of each category. Award winners MUST be Southfield Area Chamber members. Nominators are encouraged to create and submit a 60-second video that highlights the nominee’s accomplishments and qualifications. Cell phone videos are perfect for this submission.

Nominations will be accepted through November 13, 2020.

Here’s a look at the categories up close:

Ascension Providence Health Hero Award

Candidates demonstrate community benefit by improving the health of their communities through healthcare, economic, or social initiatives. Ascension Providence Health Hero Award nominees demonstrate a passion for improving the health and well-being of the community through a profound dedication to their healthcare profession. They represent the healthcare industry with integrity, fighting for the health and safety of our community.

Centrepolis Accelerator Innovation Award

Candidates are businesses or entrepreneurs with a unique blend of vision, energy and perseverance. They develop innovative solutions to navigate through challenges and experience business growth as a result.

International Minute Press Chamber Member of the Year Award

Candidates are individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce with enthusiasm and dedication. They promote the mission of the Chamber: creating connections that drive and strengthen businesses.

Young Professional Award

Candidates have consistently demonstrated a commitment to some or all the following: contributing to the community, growing and excelling in their field through professional development, and/or achieving notable professional accomplishments. YP’s 40 and under are eligible to receive this award.

The Mars Agency Community Care Award

Candidates have consistently demonstrated that they are operating to enhance the workplace and community while impacting social change with their business beliefs, practices and profits. Nominees for the Community Care Award demonstrate an individual, business, or corporate social responsibility model, including financial commitment through economic and social initiatives.

The 2020 Excellence In The City sponsors are Ascension Providence, Lawrence Technological University, Comcast Business, the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University, the City of Southfield, International Minute Press, The Mars Agency and Michigan First Credit Union.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, including some award category sponsorships.

Learn more about the 2020 Excellence in the City event and register at

American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Goes Virtual to #MoveYourNumbers Success

American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Goes Virtual to #MoveYourNumbers Success southfieldcc_3ik8d2

Even the coronavirus pandemic can’t keep down those who are dedicated to promoting the mission of a worthy cause. On August 30, 352 people walked, ran and rode in the 2020 Tour de Cure virtual event to raise $321,295.11 for the American Diabetes Association’s signature Michigan event.

“Locally here in Michigan, we have held events in person for 29 years, but this year we changed to a virtual event and encouraged people to walk, run or ride wherever they wanted,” says Kiel Porter, Michigan associate director for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “Participants got out into their own neighborhoods and even rode on stationary bikes, wherever they were at the time.”

In addition to raising funds to support diabetes research and awareness, the event brought people together to let those affected by diabetes know that they aren’t alone, says Emilee Kropp, associate manager of donor relations with the Michigan office of the American Diabetes Association, which is located on Civic Center Drive in the Southfield City Centre.

Virtual means participate “wherever you are”

Martin Kinsella, who works for Comau LLC in Southfield and is a member of the Executive Committee for ADA Michigan, has been participating in Tour de Cure since 2013, many years alongside his son, Josh. He believes that pivoting to a virtual event in 2020 was not only a great way to continue a popular event, but encouraged new people to participate.

“While it’s great to have a local event with a great atmosphere, music, food and lots of local volunteers — and this in-person event should be repeated — it also proves that if you do want to do it virtually, you can get a phone app and walk around the block and you have done a half mile,” says Kinsella. “The virtual event opened the door to a lot of people. We are learning from this experience that we can reach a wider audience. We are raising awareness, and it doesn’t matter if you walk around the block, ride or run, you can share what you are doing with friends and neighbors.”

And, with a virtual event, people can take part no matter where they are. Kinsella himself happened to be in England for family reasons when the August virtual event took place. He borrowed a bicycle and, thanks to the 5-hour time difference, completed his 60-mile ride before the official Michigan event even started. “It really proves it can be done anywhere,” he says. His sisters in England also took part in the event by walking 5 kilometers.

“We always love to share Martin’s story because it’s so inspiring and motivating for people or companies that want to get involved,” Porter says. “He’s an advocate for our organzation and is so enthusiastic about Southfield. We always love to share how people can be more involved in our organization.”

Continue to #MoveYourNumbers

Traditionally two separate events for walkers and cyclists, the Tour de Cure unified in 2018 to provide everyone the opportunity to participate by walking, running and riding in one event. For the virtual event, organizers also worked to increase awareness about putting more movement into everyday life and championed the tagline #MoveYourNumbers.

“We really focus on being healthy and active and watching your numbers,” says Porter. Those numbers can be miles, pounds or even the numbers that people with diabetes keep track of.”

The Southfield City Centre offers opportunities for those who work, live, study or visit the area to #MoveYourNumbers on the 7.75-mile extra-wide shared-use path that winds through the district, connecting businesses, restaurants and retail with public art installations, greenspaces and nature. Thoughtfully designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind, the Southfield City Centre Trail features wayfinding signage, public benches and bicycle repair stations, as well as nature interpretive panels that encourage environmental stewardship and unique birdhouses, plus numerous points of historical interest.

“We encourage everyone to get to know the Southfield City Centre Trail as they gradually come back to work in the district,” says Rochelle Freeman, director of economic development for the City of Southfield. “We hope people will recognize that they can be active on the trail and take part in raising awareness for future American Diabetes Association events right on the beautiful and welcoming Southfield City Centre Trail.”

Southfield City Centre’s Iconic Red Pole Park Receives Prestigious Award

Southfield City Centre’s Iconic Red Pole Park Receives Prestigious Award southfieldcc_3ik8d2

In a virtual awards ceremony, Red Pole Park, a larger-than-life interactive public art installation in the Southfield City Centre was recognized by the Michigan Chapter of the American Association for Landscape Architects (ASLA). The recognition took place in the virtual State of the Chapter and Awards Ceremony.

The General Design Merit Award was presented by ASLA President Wendy Miller to Landscape Architects Mijung Ko, ASLA, PLA, LEED GA and Mark Hieber, ASLA, LEED AP, Principal at HED, a national architecture and engineering firm with a local office in Southfield, that was retained by the Southfield City Centre to design the first phase of a shared use pathway system and this environmental art feature as a centerpiece for community engagement.

“This design award is a nod toward the power of landscape, in all its forms, to enhance the positive perception of ‘Place,'” said Hieber. “It is the result of a broad vision by the City of Southfield and its planning department to advance Southfield toward a more walkable and bikeable city.”

Hieber graciously recognized the partnership with the City of Southfield and Director of Planning, Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA, also a member of the Michigan Chapter of ASLA.

“We want to congratulate Mijung and Mark for working on this exciting project,” said Croad. “This was a goat path before the pathway went in and Mark and his design team created a series of outdoor rooms. This was built not along a river or an old rail-to-trail, but a freeway that has 110,000 cars that go by it every day.”

Recognized as “monumental and memorable”

The award is significant in that it was adjudicated by the Iowa Chapter of ASLA, rather than by a local panel. The jury said, “The creative solution and innovative approach to using existing utility infrastructure not only pushed the design further but worked within the limited budget.

The buzz this project generated is very exciting and not surprising considering its unique, monumental and memorable quality. This project shows what can happen when the role of the landscape architect is expanded beyond the traditional definition.”

Consisting of 65 red poles, each 35-feet tall, the installation intersects the extra-wide shared-use path at a segment of the Southfield City Centre Trail visible to the vehicles that traverse the Lodge Freeway each day. Red Pole Park represents the past, present and future of civic mindfulness in Southfield, with special historical recognition for past generations and founders of Southfield, as well as the growth and development of civic leaders yet to come.

At night, the tallest of the poles are lit with twinkling blue lights, which signal safe harbor, much like Michigan’s many beautiful and historic lighthouses. Walkers, runners and cyclists on the Trail can interact with the poles, which are home among native wildflowers, trees and unique birdhouses.

“We felt that we needed something bold and exciting to get people’s attention and it has done that and more,” said Croad during the awards ceremony. “It was the first piece of a 2.25-mile trail that has continued to be expanded on along M-10 the Lodge through the city of Southfield. We want to congratulate HED for our partnership with the city on this project that has been a catalyst to a number of redevelopments along this corridor including a new North American headquarters for Clarience Technologies, a convention center, two new hotels and expansion at Lawrence Tech University.”

Creative…and creatively funded

As unique in its design is the story behind how Red Pole Park came to be. Sparked by the generosity of 3,665 sponsors in a 2017 Patronicity crowdfunding campaign, the funding was matched by a grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Public Spaces, Community Places funding initiative.

Installed in 2018 and dedicated in a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 22, 2018, the park is located directly on the Southfield City Centre Trail along the Northwestern Highway service drive, just north of Civic Center Drive and is accessible on foot year-round. Red Pole Park is just one of several art installations available along the Southfield City Centre Trail and within the district.

PPE Resilience Grant Funding

PPE Resilience Grant Funding southfieldcc_3ik8d2

There is grant money available until the end of 2020 to help your manufacturing company become more agile and part of the Industry 4.0 age. It’s a unique program available to the first 300 qualified manufacturers.  There are also opportunities for manufacturing adjacent companies (e.g., distributors, installers, service and support, and light fabricators) in a related program.

Working with Automation Alley, Oakland County is funding consultations, training and equipment that can help your company change and adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.  Manufacturers accepted into the program will receive:

  • Strategic Guidance on how to transform from legacy operations to digital manufacturing
  • An Industry 4.0 Assessment outlining where your business stands today and what digital opportunities best fit your needs
  • Connections and Introductions to state-of-the art vendors and applied research that can help you along your path to Industry 4.0
  • A Financial Investment, including grant money to purchase Industry 4.0 and state-of-the art digital technologies like a production part capable 3D printer—valued at more than $20,000, at no cost to you—or an Augmented Reality (AR) manufacturing system
  • Essential Business Designation for those manufacturers continuing to produce PPE


The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly reshaping and accelerating the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector. The U.S. needs to be better prepared to respond to future emergencies and demand for PPE, ventilators and other related healthcare supplies and equipment. This program will position our region as an agile, digital-ready and essential source of manufactured goods in times of national crisis.

To qualify, companies must be a small or medium sized manufacturer residing in Oakland County. To apply, visit

If you are a manufacturing adjacent company, you can submit a different form on the Automation Alley site.

For an introduction to Industry 4.0, see attached document.

If you have questions on this program, please contact Automation Alley (Troy):  |  (800) 427-5100

Southfield Goodfellows faces off with COVID

Southfield Goodfellows faces off with COVID southfieldcc_3ik8d2

The Southfield Goodfellows’ Annual Drive to provide clothing and gifts for low-income families in our community is facing a greater challenge this year due to the COVID pandemic. Our primary goal is to assure that no child in Southfield or Lathrup Village is forgotten during the Holiday Season.

In addition to the families that usually need our help, there are even more families whose hardships have been made worse.  We still want to be there for them if we can.  The pandemic has necessitated the cancellation of our newspaper drive and giving tree thus reducing our resources (funds, volunteers, and gift/toy donations).

In the past, companies sponsored families and purchasing gifts specifically for each child. Sadly, we needed to adjust our giving. Southfield Goodfellows is seeking only monetary donations to purchase gift cards for eligible low-income families and senior citizens that live in Southfield and Lathrup Village.  The significant challenge demands a significant goal.  We anticipate we’ll need to raise about $50-75,000 this year to help the increased number of families.

The City of Southfield Human Services Department manages this program on behalf of theSouthfield Goodfellows to certify family need.  Distribution of gift cards will be made by drive-thru pickup appointments for the safety of the volunteers and families.

The Southfield Goodfellows is an all-volunteer non-profit 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization.  To make a monetary contribution, please donate on our secure website at  or make a check or money order payable to Southfield Goodfellows and mail (early) to P. O. Box 2336, Southfield, MI 48037-2336.

Last year, Southfield Goodfellows assisted over 1,200 children, seniors and their families. We hope that you will be able to help us continue to support to families as we have for the past 70 years.  Your support is needed today to join our efforts to make the holiday season special for everyone.

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Marelli Establishes its North American Headquarters in the Southfield City Centre

Marelli Establishes its North American Headquarters in the Southfield City Centre southfieldcc_3ik8d2

When Magneti Marelli and Calsonic Kansei came together in 2019 under the new name Marelli, they brought together 62,000 employees around the globe to form one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world. And Marelli has chosen the Southfield City Centre for its new North American headquarters.

For its new home, the company has selected 26555 Northwestern Highway, the former Federal-Mogul building. In 225,000 square feet of the three-story building that sits on the corner of Lahser Road and the Lodge Freeway, Marelli will create workspace for 450 employees with room to grow, says Lisa Van Giesen, head of marketing and communications, North America, for Marelli Holding USA LLC.

Separately, Magneti Marelli and Calsonic Kansei each had a presence in southeast Michigan and were looking for a location to bring together several hundred employees under one roof. It’s not an easy task to find the perfect building that blends ample space and convenience of location, but it’s an important step forward for the company, says Van Giesen. The move will relocate employees from three locations in Auburn Hills and Farmington Hills.

“Having everyone under one roof will go a long way in terms of integration, will drive collaboration and cohesiveness, and it’s great for morale,” Van Giesen says.

The current plan is for employees to begin to move in mid-February 2021, and move-in will be complete by spring, 2021. Prior to this, the building will undergo extensive renovation which will change the iconic midcentury exterior of the building. “We want to bring the building up to date with a look that is more current and will take us into the future,” Van Giesen says.

Interior renovations will provide amenities that some employees don’t currently have in their workplaces, including a cafeteria, fitness room and indoor and outdoor meeting spaces. About 100,000 square feet will be used for R&D activities for several automotive business units, and there will be conference rooms and an auditorium for larger gatherings.

“We are really happy to be able to move in and preserve certain elements of the building, paying homage to its architectural history, but also making it our own, branding it with the Marelli name and having it be our home for the foreseeable future,” Van Giesen says.

The Southfield City Centre location, with easy access to major freeways, is an attractive feature of the new Marelli building.

“While it’s important for us to be in close proximity to our automotive clients, it’s just as important to ease the transition for our employees,” said Gene Spektor, Marelli’s senior vice president of sales and business development North America, in a statement about the move. “Our new location will have minimal impact on the average commute, and will provide employees with a modern, open and collaborative work environment.”

To that end, Van Giesen has developed an internal communications campaign to provide information to employees about the building, its amenities and its wider surroundings to better acquaint everyone with Southfield and the Southfield City Centre. “This is a great introduction for our employees to Southfield. Many won’t be familiar with it and one of the goals of our campaign is to make employees feel at home when we move in,” she says.

While the move may be incremental due to the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Van Giesen plans to conduct tours to give employees a sneak peek as to how the space will look once renovation is complete.

With the goal of soon becoming official members of the Southfield business community, Marelli is excited to bring commerce to the already bustling business center corridor. “We plan to plant roots here, and are looking at ways to get involved with the city to provide support. In fact, Gene Spektor was recently sworn in as a City Centre Advisory Board Member,” Van Giesen says.

The Southfield City Centre extends a warm welcome, and excitement about sharing its summer concert and food truck series known as Eat To The Beat, the business-focused Southfield CommUNITY Cup Challenge as well as other community-building events that take place here.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Marelli employees to the Southfield City Centre and introducing Marelli employees to all the great and convenient amenities here,” says Rochelle Freeman, business and economic development director with the City of Southfield. “We hope they enjoy the newly expanded Southfield City Centre trail network and bike-share system and take full advantage of walking and biking opportunities to get out into the community to see what is here.”

Southfield’s Evergreen Atrium Office Building’s New Lobby Makes a Stunning First Impression

Southfield’s Evergreen Atrium Office Building’s New Lobby Makes a Stunning First Impression southfieldcc_3ik8d2

In 1980, Etkin, LLC celebrated the opening of a sleek new five-story office building at 26261 Evergreen Road, directly across from Southfield’s Municipal Center. Now, Evergreen Atrium Office Building is marking its 40th anniversary as one of the city’s most iconic modern workplaces with the completion of its sophisticated new lobby and select common areas, including the restroom facilities.

The building’s original lobby opened to reveal a five-story skylit atrium with three glass-faced passenger elevators, a fountain and towering indoor trees. After four decades, the redesigned open space lobby now provides the warmth and sense of connection necessary to compliment Etkin’s corporate brand message.

Faudie Architecture was commissioned to lead the design for the lobby transformation. Faudie has designed several signature properties for Etkin and is a long-term tenant at Evergreen Atrium Office Building.

“Their designs are very clean and inspiring, the Faudie team understands how to make our vision come to life. We wanted the focal point to center on the atrium’s water feature and three glass elevators,” said Etkin Vice President, Josh Suardini. “They responded by creating a unique lounge area, which is defined by a trellis-like hardwood slat ceiling with matching accent wall panels. The new lounge area creates an intimate, more human scaled space. Our goal was to ‘activate’ the lobby to create opportunities for socialization among the tenants and places where tenants can collaborate or work independently beyond their suite,” commented Suardini.

Faudie’s design includes three large-scale TV monitors, lobby Wi-Fi access, comfortable lounge seating, a long-bar with stools, smaller areas to impromptu meetings, low planters, stone-clad columns and unique flooring patterns.

Evergreen Atrium also offers and a diverse number of dining options with on-site restaurants including TGI Fridays, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Beyond Juicery + Eatery and the addition of Market Twenty 4 Seven, a self-checkout micro market offering an ever-rotating selection of fresh, delicious grab-and-go meals, snacks, premium beverages and sundries.

Office floors offer full-height windows, open floor plates and generous finish allowances. The fifth floor is currently available for lease with 33,725 SF of space, which includes signature sign rights on the top of the building. Smaller office suites are also available and may be viewed at


Etkin has played a prominent role in southeast Michigan real estate development and acquisition for nearly four decades. The privately owned company was formed in 1982 and is led by principal, Douglas Etkin, and president, Curtis Burstein. Etkin has been involved in over 9.5 million square feet of office, industrial, retail, hotel, senior living and mixed-use developments. The company also offers fee-based management and development services to a select number of third-party clients, financial institutions, hospital organizations and physician groups. For additional information, visit