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Southfield to Attend HANNOVER MESSE Tech Convention

HANNOVER MESSE is one of the largest trade fairs in the world, held on the Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Germany. Each year, this convention attracts nearly 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors from all areas of industrial technology.

This year’s event takes place April 23-27, and with the teaser of “get new technology first,” the promise of 5,000 exhibitors, 150+ speakers, 1,400+ events, and 220,000 visitors—the event is anticipated to be a spectacular affair.

Among other organizations and entities working to promote the future of technology, the City of Southfield will be there to exhibit with Automation Alley and talk about everything Southfield and Oakland County have to offer to tech businesses.

A Destination for Innovation

With a mission to encourage the growth of modern technology, the City of Southfield has evolved into a destination for innovation in automotive, robotics & automation, and communication & IT.

Surrounded and supported by countless universities, entrepreneurs, engineers, research & development specialists, and local resources—Southfield is positioned to become a major hub for technological advancements.

Southfield is a part of Oakland County, which is home to 64 of the Global 100 Automotive OEMs, 4,000 IT firms, and 1,000 international firms from 39 countries—with a powerful, highly-educated workforce to support it all. In fact, Oakland County has the third-highest number of technical workers in the nation, alongside skilled engineering and R&D professionals, and leading manufacturing talent.

The City of Southfield is ready to tackle Industry 4.0 and Mobility by bringing innovations to market, and here’s how:


Over $17 billion has been invested by automakers and suppliers in Michigan to support automotive research, design, and advanced manufacturing resources related to next-generation mobility and technology development.

The City of Southfield and Oakland County are home to major automotive giants—including Chrysler, Lear, Meritor, and Autoliv—that are avidly working on new concepts and ideas.

Robotics & Automation

An Emerging Sectors initiative has resulted in more than $21 million of new robotics & automation investments in the past five years.

Education and research is prominent in Southfield and Oakland County, with 10 universities and 16 research centers and labs that are currently conducting more than 35 robotics-related research projects.

There are also 85 robotics & automation firms—including COMAU Robotics, Diverse Automation Michigan, and DiFACTO Robotics America—that employ more than 4,400 local professionals.

Communication & IT

A recent Emerging Sectors initiative resulted in more than $167 million of new investment and over 3,100 new jobs in communications & information technology.

This sector has experienced significant growth and will continue to expand with 30 research centers working on projects around new developments. Additionally, the presence of global industry-leading giants—including Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems—is helping Southfield and Oakland County drive the charge.

Beyond the City of Southfield and Oakland County’s significant volume of investments, research, and organizations in automotive, robotics & automation, and communication & IT, there is a support system of resources that helps local entrepreneurs and businesses meet the needs of the future. Some of the top resources at their disposal include the Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone itself, along with Lawrence Technological University, the LTU Collaboratory, the Tech248 initiative, and the new Business Catalyst.


HANNOVER MESSE will be an exciting opportunity to share the local momentum behind a global technological revolution.

State of the City Address: Southfield to “Reinvest & Renew”

This year’s Southfield State of the City Address, hosted by the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by St. John Providence, was held on March 19 at the Shriner’s Silver Garden Event Center in Southfield.

Southfield city officials and business professionals gathered to hear Mayor Kenson Siver share the city’s successes in 2017 and initiatives for 2018. Among the attendees were representatives from all of the event sponsors—Ascension, Lawrence Technological University, Everstream, TCT, Cybernoor, Motor City Mini, the Better Business Bureau, and Pinnacle.

The event started with a welcoming message and remarks from Tanya Markos-Vanno, Executive Director of the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, who highlighted the organization’s recent achievements, which included 21 ribbon-cutting ceremonies, 44 events, and 68 new members.

Health & Wellness

The next speaker was Joe Hurshe, President of St. John Providence Hospital, who shared some exciting investments and innovations the health system is developing. To date, the Southfield hospital has been awarded the designation of a Top 100 Hospitals in the U.S. for the tenth year in a row—an honor that speaks volumes to the expertise and customer service they provide. Providence Hospital continues to grow, with new services lines and programs like Mobile Units that will provide mammography, heart, and vascular screenings.

Hurshe also emphasized the fact that Providence is a regionally and nationally preferred academic teaching center, with 16 different residencies, fellowships, and research programs that are connected to Michigan State University, Lawrence Technological University, and the American University of the Caribbean.

Additionally, another local health system, Beaumont Health, has just purchased an office building on Northwestern Highway in order to consolidate its support operations.

Lathrup Village

Following Hurshe, Kelly Garrett, the first African American Mayor of Lathrup Village, talked about ways in which her city is supporting their community and the City of Southfield.

There are new officials in place that will help Lathrup continue to thrive, including Sheryl Mitchell, the new City Administrator, and Scott McKee, the new Police Chief. Lathrup Village’s current developments include constructing the residential Townhomes of Lathrup and the expansion of The Michigan First Credit Union, which will add 100 new jobs to the area.


When it was time for the formal State of the City Address, Mayor Siver shared that Southfield is focused on reinvesting in and renewing the city.

The first topic was construction and renovation projects. With a $30.3 million budget, the city is venturing to repave 246 miles of local roads, including Eleven Mile, Nine Mile, Evergreen Road, Lahser Road, and Franklin Road. Planned construction for the year will also roll out across housing, business development, and efforts to enhance the community.


Southfield has always worked to maintain attractive, safe neighborhoods for its residents and continues to pursue projects that support the beautification and safety of these spaces, in order to drive out blight.

To do this, the City wants to improve public infrastructure, raise property values, and assist homeowners and renters with yard care. Programs that support these efforts include Oakland Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity – Rock the Block, the Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (SNRI), and the Big Rake—a neighborhood clean-up effort that last year brought together 350 volunteers to rake 120 yards in six days!

Additionally, Spring Haven Apartments is a new residential building under construction and will provide more luxury apartment living options in Southfield.

Business Development

The Southfield Town Center is undergoing $56 million in renovations this year, with upgrades that include parking structure and infrastructure repairs, as well as modern design makeovers of the lobbies and a new conference center.

The Southfield Westin Hotel just completed the reconstruction of guest rooms, meeting rooms, and public spaces. Likewise, the Best Western Premier Hotel (the venue for last year’s State of the City Address) is now a destination for business travelers and business meetings or conferences after $3.6 million in upgrades to the hotel and the restaurant (which is now called The Nomad Grill). Additionally, a $6 million, 20,000 sq.-ft. Southfield Conference Center is to be built on 12 Mile, just east of Inkster Road.

Adding to those developments, more than 17 new businesses joined the Southfield business district. Vibe Credit Union built a new store in the City Centre, Kroger just completed a $1.6 million renovation, and New Seoul Garden is working on a total remodel and will reopen later this year. Further, automotive and technology giants Stefanini, Autoliv, and Lear have expanded operations in Southfield.

One of the biggest and most exciting redevelopments is that of Northland Mall! This complicated undertaking has made huge advancements in demolition and unraveling the 33 property easements placed on the space (they are down to one easement!). The city is also stockpiling dirt that will fill the old shipment tunnels beneath the complex. Among other businesses that are considering moving into the new Northland space, St. John Providence Hospital will a 30-acre site for their new Pacific Medical Building.


This year marks the City of Southfield’s 60th Anniversary! To promote Southfield and engage the community, the City will be putting on some of its signature events including the Summer Soulstice Fun Run, the Corporate Challenge, Eat to the Beat, Jazz & Blues, and A Taste of Southfield.

Recent recreational improvements to Southfield include a pedestrian loop that adds more walkable space to the community, a bike-sharing program with seven locations around the city (LTU, Civic Center, Marriot Courtyard, Town Center, City Centre), and the Red Pole Park public art installation along Northwestern Highway.

Southfield is also increasing the presence of public art throughout the city, and after securing 18 pieces of artwork from Northland Mall. ‘The Pioneer Family II’ sculpture has been installed at the Mary Thompson Farm, the ‘Soral Elrog’ sculpture has been put in the south garden of the Municipal Building, and The Boulder Garden at Carpenter Lake is under construction.

While there were many more announcements and impressive accomplishments shared in the 2018 State of the City Address, the idea that Southfield is actively working to ‘Reinvest & Renew’ is the inspiring thought that makes us excited for what’s to come!

Centrepolis Advocate Profile: Jeffrey Granat

Jeffrey Granat—Business Services Specialist/TAA Case Manager – Program Coordinator at Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield—is in an instrumental part of stimulating the workforce and economy in Southfield and Oakland County. He is a man focused on building talent and setting that talent up for success by connecting local individuals searching for jobs with training and resources that help them start and establish a career. In turn, this talent empowers businesses to reach their goals and continue to grow.

How would you describe your current role?

 I work with local businesses to ensure that talent needs are being met, help promote job opportunities for employers, collaborate with partners to develop programs to prepare/educate jobseekers for the workforce, and provide career assistance for job seekers to enhance their career development opportunities

What do you like about working in Southfield?  

The City of Southfield is the “Center of it All”. It is a diverse community and our center is now part of Centrepolis, giving us greater exposure to the community and businesses. Southfield provides tremendous resources to its residents and businesses, and we are proud to serve this community because of that!   

How long has your company been located in Southfield? 

Oakland County MI Works! has been here for about 40 years. We recently moved to our current location at 21415 Civic Center Drive, Suite 116 in July of 2017.

How does your company benefit from being in Southfield? 

We have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of job seekers and employers. It gives us exposure to different industries and a variety of populations. It really provides us an opportunity to make an impact in what we do. We are now in a more visible area of Southfield and this opens up enormous opportunities for more partnerships in the community. 

How do you support the Southfield business community?

We support the Southfield business community by serving as a hub for a variety of business and workforce development resources. We have been active in working with companies of all sizes and helping them promote their job openings and getting out the word about the different opportunities that are available in many different industries. We have served as partners on different committees trying to be a part of the solution in the hunt for talent in Michigan and continue to be active in creating job fairs and regional events to attract job seekers and employers to the area. Additionally, we can provide businesses with information about the labor market that will help them make informed decisions (wage information, job growth, etc) based on trends and data.

Where do you see the Southfield business community in the next 15 years? 

The business community in Southfield continues to be robust and we see the future as very bright. By being part of Southfield, we will be active in meeting with employers and learning about their needs and continuing to stay up on the trends. This will allow us to deliver quality services to the job seekers and ensure that we stay current with the needs of the employers. There are several large employers along with mid-sized and smaller employers in Southfield in various different industries, which will allow us to observe closely and build partnerships with these companies in order to have a representative understanding of market conditions.

How are you supporting the growth and success of startups?

Being part of LTU’s campus and sharing space with the LTU Collaboratory, we are able to connect startups and entrepreneurs with resources and funding available to grow their business.  We offer workshops and counseling through Oakland County’s One Stop Business Center for entrepreneurs.  We connect startups to local and state economic development partners, and promote their business  

To connect with Jeffrey Granat and Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield, call 248-796-4578 or fax 248-796-3508.


Helping Southfield Entrepreneurs Succeed with New ‘Business Catalyst’

Home to over 10,000 businesses, the City of Southfield proudly works to support organizations of any size. That’s why the Southfield Business Development department publicly launched an online resource focused on entrepreneurs and small businesses this past month.

The Southfield Business Catalyst is an online tool that provides information about the local economy, customers, competition, and other market data to help business ventures make effective business decisions.

Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver commented on the tool, saying, “It can be challenging for new businesses and entrepreneurs to find the correct resources and information they need to create effective business plans.” He continues, “The Southfield Business Catalyst will address these challenges by providing the most current data available in one convenient place.”

Filled with a wide variety of easily accessible, up-to-date market data, the interactive toolkit is a comprehensive resource for anyone entering the market. Information segments available at entrepreneurs’ fingertips include:

  • Industry trends
  • Zoning controls
  • Available properties
  • Business climate
  • Customers
  • Competition
  • Workforce
  • Local Opportunities

“This online toolbox will give small businesses access to information about the Southfield market, providing entrepreneurs with tools to make educated business decisions,” stated Rochelle Freeman, Southfield’s Business and Economic Development Director. “We know this information will be an asset to help business owners thrive in Southfield.”

Southfield Centrepolis continues to work collaboratively with the City of Southfield, the LTU Collaboratory, and Lawrence Technological University to create an environment of success for businesses both big and small.

By empowering entrepreneurs with the Business Catalyst, Southfield’s business community and the local economy will continue to thrive. Mayor Siver expresses, “We’re excited to offer this toolbox and want entrepreneurs to know that Southfield is open for business!”

Explore the Southfield Business Catalyst online at To learn more, contact Southfield’s Business and Economic Development Director, Rochelle Freeman at 248.796.4161 or

Meet the Winners of the Excellence in Southfield Awards

The City of Southfield is home to over 10,000 businesses, including more than 100 “Fortune 500” companies. In order to recognize Southfield businesses and individuals who have stood out and demonstrated best practices in business leadership and community service, the Southfield Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Excellence in Southfield Awards and Reception Ceremony.

The 2017 winners were announced at the ceremony on Thursday, November 30 at the Westin Hotel in Southfield. Meet the winners below and learn why they have become visible members of the Southfield business community.

“Company to Watch” Award — Autoliv

Autoliv is the world’s largest automotive safety supplier, and the company continues to innovate, which is the main reason they received the Company to Watch Award.

In the world of automotive occupant safety, Autoliv was the first to introduce the two- and three-point seat belt system and airbags for front and side impacts. They were the first to launch pyrotechnic belt pretensioners and pedestrian protection systems. Autoliv also produces active safety systems, including brake control systems, radar, night vision and camera vision systems.

Additionally, Autoliv’s vision of Saving More Lives is the guiding principle to more than 70,000 associates in 27 countries. Each year, their products save over 30,000 lives and prevent ten times as many severe injuries.

Recently, Autoliv also announced that they will be building a new Tech Center in Southfield, which will employ about 250 new workers.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

We are the world’s largest Automotive Safety Supplier. Globally, we are headquartered in Sweden, but Southfield is our North American Headquarters for the Electronics Group.

How is your company innovative?

We make innovative automotive safety products including Radar Systems, Night Vision Systems, Camera Systems and Autonomous Driving Systems

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

We like Southfield because it is growing, it supports the businesses in the city. Additionally, it has Lawrence Technological University, and we hire students for internships and full time employees when they graduate from there.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

We are growing in the next five years. We are building a brand new technical center that will house all of our Southfield employees—currently, we are in four different buildings.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Our website has a lot of great information and contacts.


“Sustainability” Award — JVS

JVS is a Southfield-based human services organization founded over 75 years ago to help people realize their life’s potential. In the realm of sustainability, the agency has two “green” initiatives, eCycle Opportunities and the JVS Green Team, which aim to leave a zero footprint within their organization and the greater metropolitan Detroit community.

The eCycle Opportunities (ECO) is a JVS subsidiary, which recycles electronics to ensure that electronic parts and components are kept out of landfills and safely recycled to protect the environment, as well as individuals’/businesses’ personal and private data. This venture has collected nearly 400,000 pounds of electronics from more than 1,000 consumers and organizations.

The JVS Green Team initiative has also been a great success. The agency has collected approximately 1,000 pounds of materials and is on target to collect 12,000 pounds or six tons of pulp and paper recyclables over the next year.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

Helping metropolitan Detroiters realize life’s potential, JVS is an award-winning nonsectarian human services organization with four main locations in the metro area. Through a variety of programs designed to help people maximize their self-sufficiency, the agency helps job seekers jumpstart their job searches, provides meaningful programs for people with disabilities and helps seniors remain active and engaged.

How is your company innovative?

ECO was launched with three goals: keep e-waste out of landfills, provide jobs for people with barriers to employment, and create revenue for mission-based services.

ECO has recycled more than 200 tons of electronics since its launch in 2015. The electronics brought into ECO are dismantled and the commodities are sold. All proceeds from the program are recycled back into the community by supporting our agency’s programs to help people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives. For more info, visit

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

The Chamber of Commerce is very helpful and supportive of Southfield businesses and organizations, and has been instrumental in helping us make mutually beneficial connections.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

JVS is currently in the beginning stages of updating our strategic plan. However, we can share eCycle Opportunities’ 2018 goal: to collect and recycle 300,000 pounds of electronics from local consumers, school districts, businesses and organizations. ECO hopes to achieve this goal with new and expanded partnerships with businesses and organizations in Southfield who need to recycle their outdated technology assets. By partnering with ECO, they can be environmentally responsible while also making a difference in the lives of people served by JVS.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Call the main JVS phone number at (248) 559-5000, or visit our website at


“Business Innovation” Award —Stefanini

Stefanini is a technology company offering IT services to businesses in many different sectors and industries. As technology continually changes, constant innovation serves to be their differentiator. With the accumulation of data on the back-end, intelligent solutions will help them continue to thrive, evolve and continuously improve customer services as well as the customer experience.

Stefanini also recently opened the Stefanini Innovation Center in Southfield Centrepolis. This will be a major contribution to the business community, which will improve Southfield’s position as a global business destination.

Learn more about Stefanini on their website.


“Chamber Member of the Year” Award—University of Phoenix

Over this past year, the University of Phoenix has demonstrated excellence in its approach to community and corporate giving by opening its doors and classroom resources to the Southfield community at no cost.  Also, the University of Phoenix staff has volunteered to ensure that all organizations using our facilities are accommodated.

The University of Phoenix has had two Southfield Chamber BNG groups meeting at our Southfield Main Campus. Several other community groups use their location for meetings. This includes: The Southfield Area Rotary Club, Execunet, South East Michigan Entrepreneur Association, local Entrepreneurs, and other business leaders.

Dr. Jan Cardwell also serves on the Board of Directors and Succession Committee and has dedicated her time to the success of this great Chamber.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

The University of Phoenix provides opportunities for adult learners to complete their higher education goals. We provide bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs. The University of Phoenix–Detroit Main Campus is headquartered in Southfield at 26261 Evergreen.

How is your company innovative?

The University of Phoenix is the premier forerunner of online or virtual learning, which has changed the entire landscape of how students complete their higher education.

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

Our Southfield location is in Southeast Michigan. This provides opportunities for students and the community to use our centralized headquarters.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

We are an online university. Over the next five years as virtual learning gains more popularity, the University will reduce our local footprint for learning and increase our Alumni community outreach.

 What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Connect with our local contacts: Dr. Jan Cardwell, Detroit Campus VP/Director at or 248.675.3721; and Dominika Lazarska, Campus Operations Manager at Dominika.lazarska@phoenix.ediu48.675.3701 or 248.675.3701.


“Commitment to Community” Award — HAP

HAP has always contributed and participated in Southfield community initiatives. The company has sponsored and supported many Chamber events and activities and is more than willing to provide us with experts to speak about health related topics. HAP also offers free aquatics and exercise classes for people 65 and over at the Southfield community center.

HAP was a participator and leader in the Inaugural Southfield Community Cup Challenge this year. This initiative gave way for more engagement of HAP employees in the community; it provided an opportunity to give back to the community via food drive, engage with other companies in Southfield area and promote healthy habits through weekly events. Tamara Duby-Sheanhan and Laura Garman have recently taken leadership roles with the Southfield Young Professionals, with a dedication to growing the group.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan that provides health coverage to individuals, families and companies of all sizes.  HAP’s Southfield office is located at 21700 Northwestern Hwy, between 8 and 9 Mile Roads.

How is your company innovative?

HAP is committed to advocating for quality health care that is accessible and affordable for consumers.  HAP was founded in Michigan in 1960 and continues to be a Michigan-based business.

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

Headquartered in Detroit, HAP also has offices in Southfield and Flint.  The majority of HAP’s employees are based in the Southfield office.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

Health care and coverage are becoming much more consumer-focused.  HAP is committed to increasing health care literacy among consumers so they are better informed to make decisions with their all-important health care dollars.  HAP will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

On our website or at 855-WITH-HAP (or 855-948-4427).


“Volunteer of the Year” Award —Sheila Byrd

Sheila’s has a passion to help the community—she has been a member of the Southfield Chamber of Commerce for three years and is now an Ambassador for the Chamber. She is really and exceptional individual who is ready and willing to go the extra mile for the Chamber and its members without hesitation.

Sheila loves being a part of the Chamber, working with others committed to helping make Southfield a city where businesses and the community can thrive. Sheila is a Rotarian with the newly charted Southfield Area Rotary Club, focused on the needs of the youth in our area and recently started her own non-profit organization, Angel Life Development, helping the needy develop life-transforming skills.  Her goal in life is to make a positive difference in this world and leave a legacy that her family can continue to carry on into the next generation. The Chamber is lucky to have such a passionate volunteer and recognized

Centrepolis Advocate Profile: Tanya Markos-Vanno

Tanya Markos-Vanno | City of Southfield

Tanya Markos-Vanno is one of the City of Southfield’s most visible movers and shakers—she is continually making appearances at events around the city and leading the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce in creating connections that drive and strengthen our local businesses.

How would you describe your current role?  

The Executive Director acts as the chief executive and administrative officer of the Chamber and oversees all the functions of the office and the organization, serving as coordinator, advisor, membership recruiter, and member advocate.

What do you like about working in Southfield?  

I love the City of Southfield! It is such a diverse community and the people who live, work and play here are all very welcoming. I’ve never felt so at home in a city.

How long has your company been located in Southfield? 

The Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce has been in existence since 1953.

How does your company benefit from being in Southfield?

We couldn’t ask for a better partner – The City of Southfield.

What is your relationship with Southfield Centrepolis? 

The Southfield Area Chamber considers the city of Southfield a partner and we wish to support their vision of Southfield Centrepolis. This SmartZone will help build commerce and connect businesses, both of which are goals of the Chamber. Whether these supported businesses are members or not, it is our business to create connections and support those who are, through endeavors such as Southfield Centrepolis.

How are you supporting the growth and success of startups? 

The Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce is a full-service Chamber representing the cities of Southfield and Lathrup Village. By consolidating resources from several hundred businesses (large and small), the Chamber works collectively to support our members as we build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in the greater Southfield community. Our relevant and informative initiatives and programs are designed with our members’ input and through partnerships with local businesses. We host monthly mixers, educational series and other relevant programs that help our small businesses and entrepreneurs continue success. We create connections, business owners can call on us for anything related to business and we will happily put them in touch with the resources right for them.

Centrepolis Advocate Profile: Rochelle Freeman


Rochelle Freeman (“Shelly”) is truly the spirit of Southfield—she is everywhere, knows everyone, and is always doing something that is focused on supporting Southfield’s business community.

Shelly helps retain, expand, and attract businesses citywide, emphasizing innovation and entrepneurship, as Southfield becomes a booming business center, and home to the Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone. She cultivates entrepreneurship in Southfield by creating jobs and workforce training opportunities in diversified business sectors for Southfield residents.

Her role is to promote Southfield, locally, regionally, nationally and globally, and represent the city as an innovative and advanced place, by reinforcing the strengths of our diverse residential, educational, cultural, and business communities.

What do you like about working in Southfield?

Southfield is home to the best and brightest talent and companies in the world. Our companies develop and produce products that are revolutionizing society, and many times I have an opportunity to see the future before it happens. I’m in awe of the expertise that is housed in our community, including leaders in autonomous vehicles development, artificial reality, harnessing big data and the like. It’s an exciting time!

What is your relationship with Southfield Centrepolis?

The State of Michigan created the Michigan SmartZone network to connect universities, industries, research organizations, government, and other community institutions to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. Southfield has been partnered with the Automation Alley district since its inception in 2003, and initially utilized our funding stream to support the infrastructure needs of the American Centre business park.

Today, the American Centre business park with Lawrence Technological University (LTU) is known as Southfield Centrepolis. The City of Southfield and LTU seized an opportunity to create a hub of innovation concurrent to our approval of a 15-year extension from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the SmartZone designation. I work to continue and support this mission.

Where do you see Southfield Centrepolis in the next 15 years?

Southfield Centrepolis is and will be home to many innovative and hi-tech companies. The LTU Collaboratory and Lawrence Technological University will be the go to place for all Michigan second-stage businesses and intrapreneurs seeking to accelerate their companies to the next level.

What changes would you like to see?

Southfield realizes that we must invest in the physical environment, creating a sense of place, to attract, engage, and retain knowledge and skilled workers. We need to continue to invest in our infrastructure and placemaking to enhance the American Centre business park making it more walkable, with amenities for the businesses. We will work to enhance the area with better signage and reach out to more retail establishments.

How are you supporting the growth and success of startups?

The Southfield SmartZone is built on partnerships. Partnerships include both public and private organizations, which depend upon local business people for leadership. These established partnerships play an important role in the delivery of workforce and economic development activities in the SmartZone. Existing partnerships include the State of Michigan, Oakland County, Lawrence Technological University, and Automation Alley.

These partnerships are leveraged to attract new investment, strengthen the existing business environment, and leverage funding opportunities. The LTU Collaboratory is a hands-on, regional resource center at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield fostering business growth and economic vitality. We assist entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and second stage start-ups in growing and launching their ideas through education, resources, networking, mentoring, and connection to funding sources, all in our state-of-the-art collaborative environment for innovation.

The Grass is Greener at Pebble Creek Park

Pebble Creek Park is one of Southfield’s prominent green spaces that support leisure and recreation activities in the community.

The City of Southfield’s Parks & Recreation Department decided they wanted to invest in the redevelopment of the Pebble Creek play set, as the standing play set at the time was over twenty years old and did not meet standards for access and safety for public play environments. To create a new play set, the Parks & Recreation Department required funding to purchase and install new play equipment.

In March 2014, The Parks & Recreation Department was granted permission from the City Council to apply to use the Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant funding at Pebble Creek Park to renovate the play area through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program which is allocated annually in the US budget, and administered by the state.

The Pebble Creek grant request was for $100,000, and as a federal reimbursement grant, it required an equal local match of $100,000 from the city. In December 2014, the Parks & Recreation Department received notification that the grant application was approved.

Constructing a Better Space

The old equipment at Pebble Creek Park was deteriorated and required higher frequency of maintenance to sustain minimum safety requirements. The existing surfacing needed repeat care to prevent soil compaction and weeds. The new equipment and surfacing will require less maintenance and makes the play lot accessible and fun for all ages and abilities.

Construction of the new play set started in the Summer of 2016, and the scope of the project included demolishing the existing play equipment at replacing it with a new jungle gym.

In May 2017, installation officially begun. The main contractor for this project, Rolar Property Services, worked with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc to design the new play lot and the surrounding area. In just a few weeks, Rolar had prepared the site for the new play area—removing over 125 cubic yards of soil and installing new footings and the rubberized mat underneath the play structures to support safety. Playworld Play Equipment created a play area just for Pebble Creek Park that is inviting to kids of all ages and levels of play.

Cutting the Ribbon

On October 27, 2017 the City of Southfield had an Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony where the Mayor of Southfield, Kenson Siver, and other city officials gathered to celebrate the success of this project.

The Southfield Parks & Recreation Department worked hard to get the grant and remake this space—and the results are well worth it.

Benefitting the Community

This play area at Pebble Creek Park is the only one in the northwest quadrant of Southfield. There are no schools, parks, or other recreational providers in this section of the city. The closest play area is several miles away and across major roads. Pebble Creek is directly next to a large multi-family housing complex and heavily used for both large group picnics and league soccer.

This redevelopment provides an incredible play area for all children who visit the park. This project gives the entire park a new look and feel. After all the hard work from everyone involved to make this project a reality, the grass is greener on the other side!

IMG_7942 2

To learn about other redevelopment projects and get updates from the Southfield Parks & Recreation Department, you can follow them @SouthfieldParksandRecreation.

New Autoliv Automotive Tech Center to be Built in Southfield

Autoliv is a worldwide leader in automotive safety systems that recently broke ground on their North American Electronics Technical Center. This new 180,000 square-foot facility in Southfield is projected to be finished in the first half of 2019. This will add to the 22 technical centers Autoliv already has in ten countries around the world.

Autoliv | Centrepolis Autoliv 2 | Centrepolis

The goal of this new facility is to enable Autoliv to continue to expand their electronics department that works on critical safety electronics technologies. It will provide office space, advanced laboratories, and a development garage, as well as support to management functions in sales and engineering.

New Center, New Opportunity

Autoliv currently employs 600 workers in their electronics department, located in multiple buildings across Southfield. Not only will consolidating locations help the company align their knowledge and talent, but with this new center in development, the company plans to hire 250 more employees over the next five years and house up to 900 employees in a single location. This center has the potential to significantly increase the concentration of engineering and electronics technology entrepreneurs in Southfield.

The design of this new space encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing by integrating group workspaces. The center will include a 1,700 square-foot gymnasium and an environmentally friendly kitchen.

The innovative new tech center has exciting implications for Autoliv, the City of Southfield, and the future of automotive technology.

Autoliv Cover | Centrepolis

Innovating in Southfield

Vice President of Autoliv North American Electronics Engineering, Canic Boran, said “We have grown significantly since opening our Southfield office in 2002, and it has long been our

hope to expand in this area. We greatly appreciate the tremendous support that we have received

from the MEDC and the City of Southfield to make this project possible at this time, and look forward to further growth together.” He adds, “Autoliv’s mission is to be the leading supplier of safety systems for the future car. We are excited by the opportunity our new high tech facility will provide our people to collaboratively innovate and develop our electronics systems, and ultimately contribute to saving more lives.”

To learn more about Autoliv and keep up to date with announcements and job opportunities, visit them online or on LinkedIn.


Michigan Venture Capital Association: Building A Strong Entrepreneurial & Investment Community In Michigan

The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA) is a nonprofit trade association that consists of more than 400 individuals, representing 100+ organizations across the nation. One of the primary goals of MVCA is to foster a collaborative entrepreneurial and investment community. MVCA also offers several programs funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. These programs have played a critical role in building Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment landscape.

MVCA was started 15 years ago by a small group of people who were doing venture investing and decided to make it a more focused effort. As a state, Michigan needed to find a way to come out of the recession even stronger than before. And, the best way to do that was by diversifying the economy through entrepreneurialism.

Michigan Leads Silicon Valley in Research

Maureen Miller Brosnan (4)

Maureen Miller, executive director of MVCA, leads the organization by assuring that the voice of venture capitalists and angel investors is heard around the state and across the country.

She works to get people excited about the entrepreneurial opportunities in Michigan to bring more talent and money to our state. Additionally, she is always pulling people together around ideas through sponsored events like the MVCA’s Annual Awards Dinner in November, which shines a light on the great work of Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.

Because our state has established a high level of collaboration between investors and entrepreneurs, Michigan is experiencing greater growth and success than other states. With ventures starting in Ann Arbor, Detroit, on the west side of the state and across Oakland County, our entrepreneurial community is evolving. Additionally, Michigan is ranked as number one, above Silicon Valley, for money we invest in research. Michigan has the research, talent, ideas and drive of Silicon Valley, but without the high cost of living and starting a business. If we keep our insights and innovative ideas in Michigan, top talent from Silicon Valley, Boston and the rest of the country will come here for exciting opportunities.

MVCA Research & Resources

2017 Landscape Guide Cover Graphic CoverGraphic

The Michigan Venture Capital Association is recognized for research, and their annual research report is regarded as the best in the nation. The unique thing about MVCA’s research is that there is 100% participation—meaning that every venture capitalist that is not private equity is a member of MVCA and they all provide accurate data for this report. With total capital invested focused on life sciences (42%), information technology (31%) and mobility (5%), Michigan venture capitalists are empowered to create high-paying jobs and economic growth across a broad range of sectors.

To help entrepreneurs navigate funding, MVCA offers the 2017 Michigan Entrepreneurial & Investment Landscape Guide that compiles all angel organizations, venture capital firms, entrepreneurial support organizations and other active service providers across Michigan. MVCA also created an interactive Landscape Map that organizes resources from the guide by geographic location, industry sector and organization type.

Connect with MVCA & Investors

MVCA believes that anyone in Michigan can be an entrepreneur, and young talent is looking to stay and grow in Michigan.

Most investors in Michigan have been entrepreneurs and know that often, entrepreneurialism is worthy of investment. They want to see success happen again and again—they are willing to provide follow-on funding for over 5-15 years to propel our greatest resource: our talent.

Both the Landscape Guide and Map will help startup entrepreneurs understand Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community, learn about investment organizations that provide capital, and connect with entrepreneurial support and funding organizations.

To learn more about how the MVCA is creating connections, empowering entrepreneurs and diversifying our economy, visit and following them on social media at @MichiganVCA

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