Automation Alley's 15TH ANNUAL Awards Gala

Oct. 2, 2015 | Royal Park Hotel, Rochester

Who are this year’s standout leaders and innovators in Southeast Michigan? Attend Automation Alley’s 15th Annual Awards Gala as we honor the individuals, companies and organizations shaping our region’s technology business community. Each year, we recognize those exploring new possibilities in emerging tech sectors and providing a creative vision for our region’s growing technology economy.

Attendees will enjoy networking and cocktails with regional tech leaders, a gourmet dinner, and an after-party featuring the S3 Cigar Patio, a craft beer tasting bar featuring select Atwater beers, and live entertainment from the Paul Keller Quartet. New this year is “Innovation Alley: A Tech Timeline” featuring a rare collection of vintage technology artifacts from the Detroit Historical Society.

Pure Michigan - MEDC

Premier Sponsor


Dinner Toast Sponsor

Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3)

Cigar Patio Sponsor

New Horizons Computer Learning Center

Registration Sponsor


Gift Bag Sponsor

Foster Swift

Startup of the Year Award Sponsor

General Dynamics Land Systems

Contributing Sponsor

Macomb County Government

Contributing Sponsor

NITS Solutions Inc

Contributing Sponsor

Oakland Community College

Contributing Sponsor


Vote Today!

Vote for Outstanding Educational Initiative Award

Outstanding Educational Initiative Award

The economic success of our region starts with a strong foundation of STEM education in our classrooms — from elementary schools to universities and beyond — and in our workplaces. Automation Alley’s Outstanding Educational Initiative Award recognizes one science, technology, engineering or math initiative that has broken the mold, demonstrating a creative approach to high-skill training of our current and future workforce in new and emerging technologies. 

DASI Solutions
In July 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor authorized the DASI Solutions' Industrial Design Technician (Graphic Designer) Registered Apprenticeship program for workforce development and employee retention. This innovative program features a two-year work process schedule combined with focused classroom training with the opportunity for internationally recognized skills competency certification testing. DASI introduced this method of connecting employers with the next generation of skilled workers after learning firsthand the challenges of finding, developing and retaining a skilled workforce post-recession. Participating employers are tasked with making an investment tied to wages and tuition while providing the opportunity for apprentices to deliver measured on-the-job performance.

Founded in 2012 by two auto shop teachers, DRIVE One provides free year-round vocational education to at-risk youth. Created on the basis that all students should have access to vocational training, DRIVE offers programs in automotive technology and collision, machine trades, woodworking, welding, and automotive design and modeling. Students have access to a tutoring program to help strengthen their performance in school while also being exposed to out-of-state events that serve to reinforce what they learn in DRIVE training. DRIVE show cars, stock cars and design projects have toured nationally against the best in the industry, giving students the opportunity to network and explore future employment opportunities across the country.

It's no secret that one of the greatest barriers to entry for newly graduated students in the workplace is a lack of experience. Many companies expect a certain level of experience that students and new graduates simply have not had the opportunity to capture. The Logicdrop Experience in Technology Program solves this problem by mentoring students as they solve real problems for real clients. Through a focus on three primary pillars – real work, mentorship and responsibility – as well as partnerships with local schools, including Kettering University and Oakland Community College, Logicdrop has successfully prepared participants for jobs with Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Department of Defense.

After making your selection below, please continue to vote for the next category.

Outstanding Educational Initiative Award

Vote for Startup of the Year

Startup of the Year

Every year, a new crop of startups enters our region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, ready to shake up big industries. Automation Alley’s Startup of the Year Award recognizes one new kid on the block, a startup company that’s poised to accelerate, and making waves in their industry with their innovative products, services or technologies.

Halley Orthopedics
Halley Orthopedics is improving patient lives and helping transform the U.S. healthcare system with its X10 integrated recovery system for knee patients. X10 accelerates patients’ post-operative rehabilitation and achieves superior results and patient satisfaction with less time and cost. This shift can help reduce the cost of recovery from total knee replacement by 20-30 percent while dramatically improving the quality and consistency of patient outcomes. Founded by Paul Ewing and Dr. David Halley, Halley Orthopedics has treated more than 1,200 patients since launching to the in-home market in 2013, helping patients recover at a fraction of the time required by conventional physical therapy.

Jacar Systems, LLC  
Jacar Systems LLC is a leader in transfer die automation and a specialist in the die mounted transfer industry. For 15 years, President and Owner Bob Gunst was told by experts in the transfer industry that the development of small, economical alternatives to large industrialized transfer systems was impossible. Convinced that he could engineer systems to have a smaller footprint, Bob set out to develop Micro Transfer, a standardized, all mechanical in die transfer system. Today, Jacar's Micro Transfer System has revolutionized the stamping industry through its affordable cost and efficient design. Jacar installed the first Micro Transfer system in 2010 and has steadily increased to a total of 37 systems to date.

MagWerks LED
MagWerks LED, LLC. is committed to the development of highly efficient, high-performance and lightweight LED illumination technologies. MagWerks LED's proprietary, patented magnesium injection molded solutions (Thixomolding) dramatically reduce the weight of LED lighting as well as yield substantial additional volume reduction, styling enhancement and performance benefits. The use of magnesium – a material that is 100 percent recyclable and nontoxic – demonstrates the company's commitment to environmental sustainability. And its superior product continues to attract interest from key automotive companies, winning the "Featherweight Challenge" of FORD Motor Company's NextChallenge:Lighting competition and awards from BMW Motorcycle to develop multiple LED headlamps.

After making your selection below, please continue to vote for the next category.

Startup of the Year

Vote for Excellence in International Business Award

Excellence in International Business Award

Exporting is a critical part of the U.S. economy, supporting millions of American jobs every year. Automation Alley’s Excellence in International Business Award recognizes one advanced manufacturing or technology company in our region that has successfully launched its products, services or technologies abroad.

NuStep, Inc.
Exercise physiologists and ergonomic specialists are the masterminds behind NuStep Inc.'s portfolio of recumbent cross training products, which are used in thousands of rehabilitation centers around the world and have become the standard of care in leading rehab facilities globally. NuStep's products make exercise possible for users who are unable to access "regular" exercise equipment due to paralysis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, orthopedic condition and a number of other physical limitations. The company's contributions to U.S. exports were recognized by the White House with the prestigious President’s "E" Award – the highest level of recognition a U.S. exporter can achieve. 

Orion Test Systems
With 11 years in the business, Orion Test Systems has provided world-class production and laboratory test systems to automotive OEMs and component suppliers around the world. Its Detroit-based headquarters are supported by offices in China, Poland, Mexico and India, which contribute to the company's millions of dollars in exports each year. Orion remains committed to quality standards while keeping a finger on the pulse of export opportunity, most recently demonstrated by the creation of a support staff in China to allow Orion USA to compete with local Chinese companies and European companies.

Rugged Liner, Inc.
Since making the choice in 2010 to focus on international business opportunities, Rugged Liner, Inc. grew its exports to nearly $5 million in just four years. Recognized as a leading manufacturer and distributor of quality aftermarket and OEM truck accessories – including pickup truck bedliners, trailer bedliners, tonneau covers, wheel well liners and truck bed mats – Rugged Liner boasts more than 450,000 square feet of state-of-the-art manufacturing and shipping facilities in Owosso, Mich. which meet and exceed industry standards across the country. A multilingual staff armed with multilingual marketing collateral helps the company reach its 70 different export countries, and continued export efforts helped garner a 2014 President's "E" Award for exporting.

After making your selection below, please continue to vote for the next category.

Excellence in International Business Award

Vote for Advanced Manufacturer of the Year

Advanced Manufacturer of the Year

Southeast Michigan has been and still remains a hotbed for advanced manufacturing, with local businesses producing everything from microchips to motors. Automation Alley’s Advanced Manufacturer of the Year Award recognizes a successful, innovative and thought-leading company in our region, one that is creating valuable solutions and shaping the future of manufacturing.

Lighthouse Molding, Inc.
Founded in 2005 by Scott Lowes, Lighthouse Molding, Inc. has spent a decade refining low-pressure overmolding (LPO) technology and evolving its strategy of providing an integrated one-stop technology solution to protect electronic assemblies from water, humidity, shock, vibration, thermal variation, dust and dirt. The LMI Sureshot technology is an advanced manufacturing electronic assembly protection solution that uses proprietary, technologically advanced machinery and material. It outperforms competing technology while improving reliability and reducing cost for customers and won four head-to-head performance evaluations against competitors in 2014.

Loc Performance Products, Inc.
Loc Performance Products, Inc. (Loc) provides products and services for driveline, suspension and track systems for the U.S. Army Combat Vehicle Fleet. A prime contractor to the U.S. Government for 33 years, Loc has successfully delivered over 1,000 direct government contracts since 1982 and is the only company in the world that manufactures driveline and suspension systems for each and every tracked vehicle operated by the U.S. Army. Compared to 2014 alone, Loc will more than double its revenues in 2015, increase headcount by 25 percent to over 225 associates, and procure millions of dollars in new equipment to support demand.

SurClean manufactures laser coating removal equipment that is precise, safe, energy efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly. What started on paper as product built around a sensor developed for an Air Force project has evolved into industry-leading technology. SurClean's patented technology – the Laser Process Control Sensor (LPC) – provides layer by layer removal in real time, while competitors either do not have any control or utilize cameras which impact process speeds. SurClean's technology has proven to be 50 -75 percent faster than other systems in the market and continues to gain sales momentum, with sales quotes exceeding $32M and expected to generate $20M in the next two years.

After making your selection below, please continue to vote for the next category.

Advanced Manufacturer of the Year

Vote for Technology Company of the Year

Technology Company of the Year

Southeast Michigan’s leading technology companies are pushing the boundaries to develop the products and solutions shaping our future. Automation Alley’s Technology Company of the Year Award recognizes one local company that’s on the leading edge its industry and is enhancing our region as a center for innovation.

In 1985, Altair's Chairman and CEO, James R. Scapa, and two partners, now retired, started a small consulting business in the new field of computer-aided-engineering with an initial investment of $1,500. Founded and headquartered in Southeast Michigan, the company now employs over 2,500 employees throughout 45 offices in 24 countries. A leading global provider of simulation technology and engineering services that empower client innovation and decision-making, Altair has over 5,000 clients in a variety of industry sectors. Altair's HyperWorks simulation and solidThinking design software suites impact product design from the earliest conceptual design stages through product performance optimization. 

Delphi Automotive PLC is a leading global technology company for automotive and commercial vehicle markets delivering solutions that help make vehicles safe, green and connected.  Headquartered in Gillingham, UK, Delphi operates technology centers, manufacturing sites and customer support service centers in 33 countries. With a specific focus on the areas of highway safety, environmental responsibility and connectivity, Delphi has streamlined processes, trimmed product offerings from 119 product lines to 33 high-tech product lines and transformed corporate culture to enhance speed, quality, product development and customer diversity. As a testament of Delphi's ability to transform an industry, the company recently completed a coast-to-coast drive with autonomous vehicle technology. 

Tata Technologies
Tata Technologies makes product development dreams a reality by designing, engineering and validating the products of tomorrow for the world's leading automotive, aerospace and construction equipment manufacturers and their extended supply chains. The company is a strategic partner for developing complete vehicles, engineering subsystems and components, managing the new product introduction process through collaborative engineering and design technologies, and tying together information created and used throughout the extended manufacturing enterprise. Year after year, this 8,000-strong tech leader has achieved incredible milestones, including hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, expansion into new sectors and the launch of the "eMO" all-electric concept vehicle at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

Technology Company of the Year


Sponsorship Opportunities
Luminary Committee

Steve Arwood
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Sandy K. Baruah
Detroit Regional Chamber

Carolyn Bennett
DTE Energy

Stephanie W. Bergeron
Walsh College

John K. Blanchard
General Motors

Lomas Brown

Carol Cain
CBS Detroit

Dr. Louay M. Chamra
Oakland University

Donald Clayton
Clayton & McKervey, P.C.

Gerald Deren
Siemens PLM Software

David O. Egner

Frank W. Ervin III
Magna International, Inc.

Nigel Francis
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc.

Scott Goemmel
SMG Capital Group

Mark Hackel
Macomb County

David Hay
Kelly Services, Inc.

Donald Ishmael, Jr.
General Dynamics Land Systems

Martin Kinsella

Kelly Kozlowski
Downtown Detroit Partnership

Dr. Tonya Matthews
Michigan Science Center

Dr. Virinder K. Moudgil
Lawrence Technological University

Eddie Murray
Great Lakes Wire and Cable

Jacques Panis

Cynthia Pasky
Strategic Staffing Solutions

L. Brooks Patterson
Oakland County

Glenda D. Price, Ph.D.
Detroit Public Schools Foundation

Ken Rogers
Automation Alley

Jennette Smith
Crain’s Detroit Business

J. Grant Smith
Clarkston State Bank

Ned Staebler
TechTown Detroit

Lindsey Williams
Delphi Corporation

M. Roy Wilson
Wayne State University

Past Award Recipients

Automation Alley Member of the Year
2014    Comau
2013    Rochelle A. Black (Oakland University)
2012    Laura Oliveto (Basso Design Group)
2011    Al Carpinelli (Logic Solutions, Inc.)
2010    John Almstadt (Oakland County Workforce Development Division)
2009    Hennessey Capital
2008    Stephen Cassin (Macomb County Government)
2007    David Darbyshire (DASI Solutions, LLC)
2006    Dawn Smith (Oakland County)
2005    Dr. Patrick Callaghan (AlixPartners)
2004    Jenn Cornell (Eiler Communications)
2003    John Channell (Resource Technologies Corporation)
2002    Lawrence Technological University
2001    Tom Wilkinson (Fourmation Technologies, Inc.)

Educational Program of the Year
2014    Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT2)
2013    Central Michigan University New Venture Competition (Central Michigan University)
2012    Fifth Core™ World Language & Culture Program (Oxford Community Schools)
2011    Utica Community Schools Center for Science and Industry (Utica Community Schools)
2010    Baker College Online (Baker College)
2009    Michigan Virtual University
2008    Southeast Michigan Community College Consortium Centers of Expertise Program (Southeast Michigan Community College Consortium)
2007    Hustle & TECHknow Preparatory High School
2006    Integration 2000 (Malow Junior High)
2005    Haas Technical Education Centers (HTECs) (Gerotech)
2004    F.I.R.S.T Robotics
2003    A World in Motion (SAE Foundation)
2002    Applied Technology in Business (ATiB) Program (Oakland University)
2001    Oakland County Competitive Robotics Association (Oakland Schools)

Entrepreneur of the Year
2014    David Wang and Ronny Chiang (BEET Analytics Technology, LLC)
2013    Bill Coughlin (Ford Global Technologies, LLC)
2012    Jake Sigal (Livio Radio)
2011    Paul Angott (Angott Medical Products, LLC)

Global Trader of the Year
2014    Firstronic LLC
2013    Fluxtrol, Inc.
2012    Dan Kocks (Global Impact Group, MFG)
2011    The Wireless Source

Technology Company of the Year
2014    Detroit Labs
2013    Pratt & Miller Engineering
2012    GalaxE.Solutions Inc.
2011    Lakeside Software, Inc.
2010    Rave Computer
2009    Grid4 Communications
2008    Adaptive Materials, Inc.
2007    Plexus Systems, Inc.
2006    Lear Corporation
2005    DELMIA
2004    Clarity Technologies Inc.
2003    Altair Engineering
2002    EDS
2001    Great Lakes Technologies Group

Emerging Leader of the Year (awarded 2005-2011)
2011    Daniel Jaraczewski (R&E Automated Systems)
2010    Saylor X. Frase (Nuspire Networks)
2009    Bill Wagner (SRT Solutions)
2008    Dilip Dubey (Netlink Software Group)
2007    Richard Sheridan (Menlo Innovations, LLC)
2006    Gary Pilibosian (Microheat, Inc.)
2005    Dr. K. Joel Berry (Kettering University)

Emerging Technology Company of the Year (awarded 2005-2011)
2010    Critical Signal Technologies, Inc.
2009    My1HIE
2008    MIST Innovations Inc.
2007    RazorThreat
2006    Plexus Systems, Inc.
2005    Infor
2004    CogniTens, Inc.
2003    Holographic Imaging
2002    The Wireless Source
2001    Michigan Technology News.Com

CEO of the Year (awarded 2001-2010)
2010    Prabhakar Patil (LG Chem Power Inc.)
2009    Cynthia J. Pasky (Strategic Staffing Solutions)
2008    Kenneth Matzick (Beaumont Hospitals)
2007    George Jackson, Jr. (Detroit Economic Growth Corporation)
2006    Josh Linkner (ePrize, LLC)
2005    John Sanderson (Siemens VDO Automotive Corp.)
2004    Ron Wood (Modern Engineering, Inc.)
2003    Tony Takeuchi (DENSO International America, Inc.)
2002    Doug Rothwell (Michigan Economic Development Corporation)
2001    Larry Yost (ArvinMeritor, Inc.)

Regional Innovator of the Year (awarded 2010)
2010    New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan

Legend CEO (awarded 2001-2009)
2009    Terence Adderly (Kelly Services, Inc.)
2008    Robert Stempel (Energy Conversion Devices Inc.)
2007    Charles "Chip" McClure (ArvinMeritor, Inc.)
2006    Gail Torreano (AT&T)
2005    Richard E. Dauch (American Axle and Manufacturing, Inc.)
2004    Larry Yost (ArvinMeritor, Inc.)
2003    L. Brooks Patterson (Oakland County)
2002    J.T. Battenberg III (Delphi Corporation)
2001    Rajendra Vattikuti (Covansys Corp.)

Non-Profit Organization of the Year (awarded 2005-2009)
2009    Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce
2008    Inforum
2007    Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
2006    New Horizons Rehabilitation Services Inc
2005    Beaumont Hospitals

CIO of the Year (awarded 2001-2006)
2006    John Crary (Lear Corporation)
2005    No Award Made
2004    Phil Bertolini (Oakland County)
2003    Ralph Szygenda (General Motors)
2002    Susan Unger (DaimlerChrysler)
2001    Erik Naugle (ANXeBusiness Corp.)

Foundation Members