Southfield Gets Top Recognition

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When the City of Southfield earned the title, “Top City in the U.S. for Black Women to Flourish Financially,” for the second year by, Sherry Swift and Tina Catron weren’t surprised.

The two Black businesswomen chose to locate Swift Transitions Coaching, Consultation and Training in Southfield eight years ago and are happy they did. The company has since grown to include The Swift Collaboration and Swift Transactions Management, also located in Southfield.

“Southfield has always been an extremely diverse community,” says Swift. “If there’s an area that would be most available for success for African American women, it could be easily Southfield because of the diversity here.”

Southfield Mayor Kenson J. Siver is proud of the recognition. “We are thrilled once again to have the distinction of Southfield being the top city in the U.S. for Black women to flourish financially,” he says. “We support our minority-owned businesses through our involvement with the Southfield Chamber of Commerce, job fairs and our Business Accelerator co-sponsored by Lawrence Technological University, among other initiatives. It should come as no surprise that a number of city departments are led by Black women,” Siver adds.

To determine the best places for Black women to flourish, MoneyGeek looked at 164 cities with populations greater than 65,000 — from the best to the worst. The ranking includes analysis of income, poverty rate, home ownership, educational attainment and health insurance gaps between Black women and the entire population nationally and locally.

Catron notes another important advantage she and Swift have realized with their business location. “Southfield is a great spot for our business because it’s close to downtown and to anywhere you want to maneuver within the state. This is where a lot of businesses intentionally land because no matter where you’re coming from, it’s central to everything.”

As Swift and Catron focus on growing their business, which currently includes a real estate brokerage arm as well as training, coaching and consulting services, their plan is to “100 percent” remain in Southfield.

“It’s easy for people to find us and we can access all of the tools and resources located here,” says Swift.

City Centre Event Recap

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Warm Winter Fest 2024

Adults and children enjoyed a warmer-than-normal Winter Fest Sunday, March 3, at the Southfield Sports Arena. With temperatures hovering near 60 degrees, the event drew a crowd of more than 300 for a variety of activities, including indoor ice skating, a high ropes course, a rock-climbing wall with bouncers, carriage rides, electric car rides, marshmallow roasting and nature programs sponsored by Oakland County Naturalists.

Happy Hour and Team Trivia

The Southfield City Centre Happy Hour and Team Trivia Networking event on March 14 drew a sellout crowd of participants from many Southfield-based organizations. The group gathered at Towne Square Food & Spirits from for the chance to show their brain power and network.

“Our area businesses have found that joining us for this event has been a win-win,” says Rochelle Freeman, director of Business & Economic Development for the City of Southfield. “Their employees have an opportunity to bond and build relationships outside of their work environment, and to mix with other companies to develop potential new leads and professional connections.”

Gearing Up for Spring

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With spring in the air and warm weather on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to look in to the many outdoor activities Southfield City Centre has to offer. Whether you’re a resident, employee or visitor, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Get moving on the Southfield City Centre Trail with a walk, jog or bike ride during lunchtime or after work. The trail features nearly 9 miles of non-motorized pathways, including a 3.5-mile “Inner Loop” where you’ll find several outdoor art installations. The Monarch Butterfly Pollinator Garden, Tapestry of a Community and Red Pole Park are just a few.

“We want to make our city more pedestrian friendly and encourage people to engage in heart-healthy activities like biking and walking,” says Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA and director of planning for the City of Southfield. “It’s a great way to enhance your overall health, reduce stress and enjoy nature.”

A Bike Share program (with 9 convenient locations]) makes it easy to ride the trail. For a 3.5 guided tour of 26 public works of art and cultural sites along the trail, download the PocketSights app to your mobile device and search “Southfield, Michigan.”

Get out on the green. If you’re a golfer, don’t miss your chance to tee off at the Evergreen Hills Golf Course, located at the Southfield Municipal Campus, 26000 Evergreen Road, this 9-hole, par 34, 2,954-yard public course features beautifully landscaped grounds and manicured fairways. The course is scheduled to open April 1, weather permitting (check Southfield Parks and Recreation Facebook page).

Grab lunch at one of your favorite Southfield restaurants, find an open bench along Evergreen or Civic Center Drive and enjoy the great outdoors.

For the athlete in you, the Southfield Municipal Campus is home to baseball diamonds, soccer fields and every type of court imaginable, including volleyball, tennis, pickleball, basketball and racquetball.

Eat to the Beat is your chance to take a break in the middle of the day. This Southfield City Centre annual summertime lunchtime food truck and entertainment event offers delicious eats and some of the best live bands in metro Detroit. It all happens the second Thursday, June through September, at the Southfield Municipal Campus, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Southfield-Based Marelli Shines at CES 2024

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When German automaker BMW requested a distinctive rear taillight for an upcoming model, Marelli — a leading mobility technology supplier to the automotive sector — rose to the occasion. As a bonus, the company received global recognition for the innovative lighting technology used in the creation.

With its Customer Experience Center located in Southfield, Michigan, Marelli was named a Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2024 Innovation Award Honoree for its LASER & Optical Fiber Rear Lamp technology.

According to Michele Antonipieri, chief engineer behind the innovative technology, Marelli is the first lighting manufacturer to develop and bring to market red LASER technology combined with rear lighting functionality to create a distinctive look.

“The uniqueness of this innovation compared to the use of classical solutions is the reduced thickness of the optical system, which allows for a thin illuminated flexible line that can be integrated inside the taillight,” says Antonipieri. “The LASER technology enables a speckle effect all along the fibers, creating a distinguishing three-dimensional appearance never before seen in a rear lamp.”

“It’s really amazing when you see it live,” says Yannick Bamberg, Marelli product manager of rear lighting. “It has the appearance of fluid floating through a very thin line.”

“Before we stepped into the game, there was no red LASER fiber used in automotive exterior lighting applications. This was developed from scratch,” says Antonipieri.

“There are a lot of OEMs who are highly interested in this technology,” he says, adding, “They’re looking for solutions to characterize their brand during the night, so you can immediately identify a particular car model. This technology allows the shape of the rear light to be modified by placing the fiber in a different way to create a signature look. It will give OEMs the flexibility to create equally unique and stylish brand signatures in the future.”

To learn more, visit:

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

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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.