TROY — Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced the winners of its 12th Annual Awards Gala at the GM Heritage Center Friday night.

This year’s Awards Gala featured remarks by special guests U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

The award winners, selected for the first time by a public online vote and a committee, exemplify the best among the region’s technology ommunity.“People talk about Southeast Michigan needing a renaissance, a comeback,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers. “We need to change

the way we see ourselves. This community — today — is a technology force in America, and tonight’s award winners are powerful examples of that.”

The 2012 award winners are:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Jake Sigal, founder and CEO, Livio Radio, Ferndale.
Sigal started Livio Radio in 2008 with a $10,000 loan from his parents. Today, he is an accredited entrepreneur and CEO of one of the car Internet radio industry’s leading companies. Through partnerships with venture capital firms and angel investors, he raised millions to fund the Livio Radio brand born under his own roof.

Automation Alley Member of the Year: Laura Oliveto, senior vice president for business development, Basso Design Group, Troy.
Oliveto has been the liaison to Automation Alley from three separate companies, including Basso Design Group. She has had a long career in the communications field, including advertising, public relations and interactive design, in various positions, including sales executive, account manager and executive producer. An active member of the Business Growth Committee, Laura has spearheaded many of its programs. She is also an ambassador, helping new members to maximize their Automation Alley investment.

Technology Company of the Year: GalaxE.Solutions Inc., Detroit.
Created by custom software developer GalaxE.Solutions, “Outsource to Detroit” is a model for custom IT software solutions conducted in the city’s burgeoning downtown IT cluster that is putting U.S. professionals back to work. Not only can the next generation of IT solutions be created here at price points comparable to traditional offshore locations, but also, importantly, with high qualitative marks that large, offshore-based outsourcing firms have not been able to achieve.

Global Trader of the Year: Dan Kocks, CEO, Global Impact Group, MFG, Grand Blanc.
As CEO of the Global Impact Group and president of Automation Alley’s International Business Services Advisory Council, Dan has over 30 years of international business experience in more than 72 countries. Dan has established and grown businesses throughout Asia, Europe and North America. He has held president and CEO positions for international companies and as an expatriate worked throughout the world. Dan has assisted startup companies and Fortune 100 companies with global expansion of telecom, automotive, innovative renewable energy and green technologies.

Educational Program of the Year: Fifth Core World Language & Culture Program, Oxford Community Schools.
The Fifth Core World Language & Culture program is a model global learning environment in which every student will be fluent in another world language (Spanish or Mandarin Chinese) and its culture and customs by tenth grade.  The Fifth Core is an 11-year requirement for all students to receive daily world language and culture instruction beginning in kindergarten. The global initiatives Oxford Community Schools has undertaken and implemented in the past five years are also deemed part of the Fifth Core. Those initiatives include International Baccalaureate World School authorization for every school, a boarding school for international students (the Oxford International Residence Academy), an international high school in China (the Northeast Yucai Oxford International High School) and sister school relationships with premier schools across the globe (currently 18).

The gala proceedings were emceed by master of ceremonies Chris Holman, publisher of The Greater Lansing Business Monthly.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation was the premier sponsor of the Awards Gala. Individual award sponsors included:
* Oakland Community College: Entrepreneur of the Year
* Logic Solutions Inc.: Automation Alley Member of the Year
* Rave Computer: Technology Company of the Year
* New Horizons Computer Learning Centers: Global Trader of the Year
* Kelly Services Inc.: Educational Program of the Year

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions and government entities from the City of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration.

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