The Battery Show 2014 – the premier showcase of the latest advanced battery technology – took place this week in Metro Detroit and offered a platform for advanced energy systems (AES) companies to launch new products, make new contacts and maintain existing relationships.

The location was fitting. Michigan is the ideal location for AES companies to succeed specifically because of the state’s thriving energy storage industry.

To continue to grow the state’s AES ecosystem, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has partnered with NextEnergy to collaborate with industry, academia, and other organizations to better understand the supply chain and future of AES. Through this collaboration, NextEnergy supports industry through cluster development, convening, and matchmaking.

What does the term “advanced batteries” mean to you? Kelly Jezierski, manager of Energy Storage at NextEnergy explains the breadth of Michigan’s energy storage system and what companies and the state are doing to foster growth of the industry. 

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably demonstrating the prevalence of energy storage components, likely using a lithium-ion battery powering your laptop or cell phone.

While devices we use every day – like portable vacuums and power tools – are powered by energy storage batteries, advanced battery technology, has a particularly strong tie to Michigan and the automotive industry. In the last five years, the government and industry have invested billions of dollars into initiatives tied to AES, including electric vehicles and advanced battery research and development.

Michigan Companies Leading the Advanced Battery Industry

Take the Michigan startup, Sakti3, for instance. This Ann Arbor-based solid state battery developer recently revealed that it is close to achieving a battery with nearly double the energy density of the lithium-ion technology we see today at about a fifth the cost.

Advanced Battery Concepts, in Clare, Mich. created the GreenSeal® battery which generates significant cost and weight benefits for today’s lead acid batteries. Additional research is also continuing to broaden the company’s technology portfolio into other rechargeable battery chemistries including lead-carbon, lithium-ion and metal-air.

How NextEnergy and MEDC Keep the Industry Thriving

In order to attract and retain organizations throughout the AES supply chain, NextEnergy in collaboration with the MEDC take advantage of opportunities like The Battery Show to tout Michigan as a leader in the energy storage industry. This year at The Battery Show, the Michigan Pavilion was born out of this premise.

The Michigan Pavilion served as a convenient one-stop shop within the exhibition hall that gave The Battery Show attendees the opportunity to explore Michigan’s thriving energy storage ecosystem through industry and venture development.
Attendees learned that Michigan is home to almost 400 vehicle research and development and technical centers, almost 90,000 engineers, several leading battery and automotive OEMs, world-renowned universities and innovative technology developers.

Learn more about NextEnergy’s work in advanced
energy storage and what the MEDC is doing to make sure that Michigan stays in the forefront of the automotive industry and advanced battery technology.

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Detroit hosted the 21st annual Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress last week, bringing together the world’s top car makers and automobile technology companies to discuss the future of the global auto industry. While 230 exhibitors showed off the latest innovations in vehicle automation and connected technologies, every effort had the same end goal: improve safety.

Google’s self-driving car made headlines this year as it appealed to our imagination and inspired comparisons to the Jetsons. The practical application of increased vehicle automation however, is firmly supplanted in the interests of reducing the more than 30,000 annual deaths from traffic accidents.

Vehicle-to-vehicle technology is the main ingredient for improved safety

In the Entrepreneurial Village at ITS startups from around the world and those made in Michigan, including Michigan’s own Detroit Labs, showed off their latest advancements in connected technology. The key to improving vehicle safety and reducing crashes relies on the ability for cars to communicate with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure on the roads in real-time. With computers’ ability to react in fractions of a second, connected technology will help drivers overcome the limitations of human reflexes.

Automated driving features are coming…soon

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world’s biggest car makers are leading the charge toward safety technology and driverless cars. Last week, General Motors announced plans to bring hands-free driving to the Cadillac by 2016. Honda Motor was also busy at ITS, testing out the Acura RLX prototype which also includes autonomous driving capabilities. Not to be outdone, Toyota and Denso are working closely together to develop their own autonomous vehicles made in Michigan.

Michigan leads the way

As Governor Snyder put it: “Michigan is THE place for the future of auto tech.” Our state has continued to grow its rich automotive tradition with a strategy that embraces the importance of connected and autonomous vehicles and provides ongoing support to companies in those fields.

Michigan runs on brain power, actively attracting software and systems startups and established companies to Michigan and Detroit to support the growing need of suppliers in the auto industry. Some of those companies include Mahindra, the high tech automaker from India, and Google, whose self-driving cars are made in Michigan. No longer just home to the Big Three automakers, Michigan has countless startups, investors and acceleration programs dedicated to leading the world in connected technology research and application.

The innovation doesn’t end in the private sector. Michigan’s state institutions are committed to making the state the safest in the nation to drive. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is conducting connected technology research in hopes of reducing unimpaired crashes by 80 percent. Additionally, the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to upgrade 120 miles of Detroit’s highways with a connected technology communications network – the largest deployment of such technology in the United States.

MEDC’s work with Michigan’s hub of technology and engineering, and its 110+ years of automotive experience, continue to pay dividends for the state and drivers everywhere. For more thoughts and observations from the ITS World Congress, check out my Storify post from my time at the event.


Paula Sorrell is the vice president of entrepreneurship, innovation, & venture capital at the MEDC.

Looking to start your own business? Visit for more information.


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Looking for a job in Michigan? Pure Michigan Talent Connect – a collaborative effort of the State of Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – is your launch
pad for new jobs, careers and talent. The site is an online marketplace connecting Michigan’s job seekers and employers.

Michigan’s creative economy—for-profit and non-profit—is opening new opportunities for economic growth and community vitality in all corners of our state. In 2011, the creative industries put nearly 75,000 people to work in 9,758 businesses in Michigan—that’s nearly 3 percent of state employment totals and 4.6 percent of total state businesses—in leading core industries such as education, advertising, architecture, design, film/media and broadcasting, and the publishing and printing industry. Below is a roundup of several hot jobs in the Arts on

Creative Designer – General Motors
Warren, Mich.

This person will work independently in developing new designs for automotive vehicles or other products where decisions are made with general practices and standards. They will follow the design process from the sketch form to the final release of model, support world-class quality execution of innovative exterior and interior production programs and concepts as well as integrate customer-focused needs and brand differentiation into all aesthetic proposals.

Art Director – Mccann Erickson
Birmingham, Mich.

McCann Detroit is looking to hire an Art Director on a very fast paced retail (non-automotive) account. The Art Director is responsible for developing creative executions for presentations and client reviews. For retail brand accounts, the Art Director often may function as an individual contributor following templates or production process to update/change/create printed materials with regards to timing, pricing or messaging.  The Art Director works within a group/team of Art Directors and Writers on specific projects and/or brand concepts.

Graphic Artist – International Hardcoat
Detroit, Mich.

The Graphic Artist will prepare customer art for print including color correction and resizing art in either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, converting art for large format printing in Wasatch and verifying first article quality.  This person will also be responsible for wrapping, baking, and sealing first part, overseeing and/or process production order, inspecting  for quality and package completed orders for audit and cleaning/maintaining tools and equipment.

Art Teacher (K-12) – International Preparatory Academy
Detroit, Mich.

International Preparatory Academy is an urban-inner city K-8 charter school located in Detroit on the west end of town. Through the SABIS Education System, students will develop a solid college preparatory foundation of knowledge that will give them an edge in facing life’s challenges. A successful candidate will need strong organizational skills, creativity and flexibility, a passion for teaching students and a true heart for urban work.

Interactive Designer – Robert Half The Creative Group
Southfield, Mich.

The Interactive Art Director will be a part of the creative team and assist in building sites. They must have a solid creative skill set (not print) as well as a foundation and understanding of technical skills. The ideal Interactive Art Director must have 2+ years of experience, website building knowledge, and a solid understanding of the technical environment in which their design would be used.

Morning Show Producer – Sinclair Broadcast Group
Flint, Mich.

WEYI-TV NBC 25 in Flint is looking for an experienced Producer for its weekday morning newscast. Applicants must demonstrate excellent news judgment, storytelling, and television production skills. The Producer of NBC 25 Today will lead a team of journalists in crafting fast-paced newscasts that bring viewers breaking news and developments from overnight, the biggest stories that will be followed for the day ahead, and weather forecasts and traffic information that help prepare viewers before they leave for work and school.

News Anchor/Reporter – Sinclair Broadcast Group
Marquette, Mich.

TV6 is seeking two full-time Anchor/Reporters. These positions require videography and reporting skills as well as packaging stories. Solid news judgment, conversational writing, along with editing skills is a must. The Anchor is also responsible for producing the newscast and posting stories to the website and incorporating them into social media. 

Apply now for any of the jobs above, and search for more, on


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From locally owned farms to gourmet dining experiences, Michigan offers some of the richest food experiences you can find. September is a peak month for local produce, as farmers markets and farm stands are rich with healthy, edible treasures.

This fall, there are a variety of events that showcase the best food from the state through Flavors of Pure Michigan. With the high diversity of Michigan agricultural crops, culinary tourism experiences that celebrate the “Flavors of Pure Michigan” are plentiful.

Below are two organizations that are taking innovative and creative approaches to introducing people to Michigan agriculture.

Kent Harvest Trails, a cooperative of 20 area farms, aims to bring families to the farms during the prime harvest season.

As the member-farmers are busy running their businesses, Kent Harvest Trails (KHT) helps in that capacity. People are looking for family-friendly activities, and often want to visit more than one farm. KHT’s annual directory give them everything they’ll need to know to plan their trip – whether that’s looking for corn mazes, petting farms, corn mazes or special events.

“Many kids don’t know that apples grow on trees or eggs come from chickens,” said Kent Harvest Trails coordinator Dave Van Antwerp. “It’s our goal to help educate them and provide safe and friendly venues for them to learn about the value of farming, especially here in West Michigan.”

Many people aren’t aware that agriculture is Michigan’s number two industry – generating more than $92 billion to our state’s economy. Farming is just as important as ever to our future.

“In order for our local farmers to hold on to, develop and improve their family-run farms, they need the community to invest in what they’re doing and recognize the importance they play in our daily lives,” said Van Antwerp.

More information about Kent Harvest trails can be found here.

Brighton’s Farm to Table, a gathering of local farmers sharing the freshest locally sourced produce and meats.

Brighton’s second annual Farm to Table Experience allows people to learn about local farming and taste some Pure Michigan foods, while raising money for a good cause.  Money raised provides funding for the enhancement of the Brighton Farmers’ Market and continue to support the implementation of bridge card technology and materials at the market. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Livingston County Hunger Council, a coalition committed to finding sustainable solutions for hunger in Livingston County.

One of the chefs preparing and serving up meals at the event is Steve Pilon, owner of The Wooden Spoon.

“I believe that the event opens people’s eyes on how you can prepare certain foods and how good the food can taste being grown locally,” Pilon said. “I personally see more people at the local farmers markets over the last five years. So, I think it is also growing the local economies.”

Pilon believes that buying produce from local farmers means getting a fresher, better tasting product. Secondly, it helps the local economy. Paying for local products might cost a bit more, but it will last much longer and they will not lose those important nutrients.

More information about Brighton’s Farm to Table can be found here.

 The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in partnership with the MEDC, offer multiple programs to help support the financing and growth of agriculture businesses in Michigan.


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What you should know about the Michigan Art Community

September 8, 2014 Great Companies

Michigan’s creative economy — for profit and nonprofit — is opening new opportunities for economic growth and community vitality in all corners of our state. In 2011, the creative industries put nearly 75,000 people to work in 9,758 businesses in Michigan – that’s nearly 3 percent of state employment totals and 4.6 percent of total [...]

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Michigan Workforce Development Agency Attracts Attention from Singapore

August 29, 2014 Talent Enhancement

The Michigan Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has developed a program to address employment needs that is drawing attention from the Singapore business community. The WDA recently hosted the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to share best practices and its unique Michigan Industry Cluster Approach. MICA creates a framework in which many employers within a single industry [...]

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A Look at Michigan’s Coastline by the Numbers

August 27, 2014 Michigan News

Photo courtesy of Kelly Illikainen Surrounded by 9,679 miles of freshwater coastline, water is central to our way of life. Fishing, boating, swimming, and surfing are just a few of the many recreational activities that draw people to our lakes, making water a key economic driver for Michigan. Here’s a look at Michigan’s coastal tourism [...]

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Water technology thriving in the H20 capital of the world

August 26, 2014 Michigan News

Michigan is surrounded by 9,679 miles of freshwater coastline and has 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of streams. Because water plays such an important role in the state’s commerce, Michigan is a leader in protecting this resource with effective regulations and promoting water technologies.   Michigan is becoming a leader in the water technology [...]

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Hiring Heroes: The unique value and skillset veterans bring to employers

August 25, 2014 Talent Enhancement

Navy Veteran Jerrad Carlisle was hired by CNSI in July.  According to Sharif Hussein, Midwest Region SVP, Jerrad’s military training brought a much-needed skillset to his team. When transitioning from the military to civilian workforce, veterans have sought after skills and qualifications, but in a recent article on, expert resume writer, Robert Dagnall, says they are having a hard [...]

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Community Ventures Brings Together Employers and Unemployed Job Seekers

August 19, 2014 MEDC Programs

The Community Ventures (CV) team within Talent Enhancement at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in collaboration with Wayne State University and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses held a business outreach event in hopes of educating and attracting employers to the program, along with encouraging networking among businesses. Alana Assenmacher from the Community Ventures team tells us [...]

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