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2013 In Review — Second Quarter

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April

* Roush CleanTech, the clean energy business unit of Roush Enterprises, says it’s expecting huge growth this year in its propane autogas-powered truck and bus business 5,000 units in 2013 alone, compared to 2,000 in 2010-13.

* Compuware announced that its earnings in the fourth quarter, which ended March 31, will fall short of Wall Street expectations — 5 to 6 cents a share, vs. expectations of 17 cents.

* A few days later, an institutional shareholder of Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR) sharply criticized management for the Detroit company’s most recent earnings disappointment, and urged the immediate auction of the company. In a letter to Compuware CEO Robert C. Paul, Sandell Asset Management CEO Thomas E. Sandell said that if Compuware doesn’t move immediately to auction itself off, it will “pursue a change to the board composition at the next annual meeting.”

* Compuware removed co-founder Peter Karmanos Jr. and company veteran W. James Prowse from the board a day later, and named a private investor and longtime Ford executive, Guruminder Bedi, as board chairman.

* Merit Network Inc. announced the completion of Round 1 construction of its Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Heathcare – Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative project, or REACH-3MC. It’s part of a 2,300-mile fiber optic expansion funded by the 2009 federal stimulus.

* A three team alliance of Bloomfield International Academy, Utica Schools and Romeo Engineering & Tech Center won the Michigan state title in FIRST Robotics Saturday, earning trip to the World Championships in St. Louis in two weeks.

* The Pure Michigan campaign had its biggest impact ever in 2012, attracting 3.8 million out-of-state visitors to Michigan, where they spent a record high of $1.1 billion at Michigan businesses, according to a just-completed report by Longwoods International.

* For nearly two years, University of Michigan neurologist Eva Feldman, M.D., has led the nation’s first clinical trial of stem cell injections in patients with the deadly degenerative disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Now, new approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paves the way for UM to become the second site in the trial, pending approval of the UM Institutional Review Board.

* Macomb County learned the hard way how tough it is to operate without a backup data center, after a fire wiped out access to its electronic records.

* ADP Dealer Services Inc., a division of Automated Data Processing Inc., Wednesday announced it would build a “Digital Marketing Innovation Center” in downtown Detroit, bringing another 150 jobs to what’s become a growing tech hub.

* Bridget Lorenz Lemberg, founder, lab director and toxicologist at Forensic Fluids Laboratories in Kalamazoo, has been named the Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year. The award was announced at a reception Thursday night at Lawrence Technological University, which co-sponsors the annual award.

* The Spring Tech Tour begins with a visit to Marquette — and its growing Pioneer Surgical Technology medical device firm and Michigan Renewable Carbon.

May

* The tech tour continues with visits to Alpena, the Great Lakes Bay region, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Lansing.

* Albion’s Patriot Solar Group is expanding into South America and the Caribbean with its products to hold solar panels.

* Plymouth’s Esperian Therapeutics reports more promising results of its new diabetes drug.

* EPrize, the world’s largest provider of interactive promotions, Monday announced the acquisition of New York-based Promotions.com, a company that offers brands contests and other consumer-activation tactics.

* General Motors showed off a new $130 million data center in Warren and announced plans to spend $258 million to build another one in Milford.

* Compuware Corp. announced plans to sell up to $100 million worth of stock in its Covisint Corp. secure communications subsidiary.

* Saginaw’s Merrill Industries showed off some very cool drone concepts at a confab of Michigan’s defense contractors, the 2013 Michigan Defense Exposition, staged at Macomb Community College’s Warren campus by the Michigan Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association.

* The state’s $8 billion Pure Michigan Business Connect program continues to grow, with Consumers Energy and DTE Energy committing to a total of $2 billion in spending with other Michigan-based companies.

June

* Ford Motor Co. Friday said it had surpassed its previous full-year hybrid sales record in just the first five months of 2013.

* The just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report for Detroit shows that 11 percent of Detroit-area chief information officers surveyed recently plan to expand their teams. This is up one point from the previous quarter’s projections.

* At Telematics Detroit, 2,000 conference-goers and 100 vendors attend the largest automotive telematics conference in history, all talking about how to achieve — and exceed — Bill Gates’s once-audacious stated goal of making the car just one more place on the network.

* Remember this phrase: Community solar. It may just be the way solar energy finally fulfills its promise of cheap, clean electricity. The dedication of a new community solar installation in Traverse City Friday was the buzz on Saturday at the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association’s Michigan Energy Fair in Ludington.

* The Lenawee Intermediate School District Monday formally opened the Center for a Sustainable Future. The $4 million, 9,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 75 acres of fields and forests will serve as a living laboratory for the future of agriculture. But as important as agriculture is, this spectacular new educational asset is a whole lot more than that.

* New research unveiled Tuesday by Connect Michigan shows that the broadband availability gap in Michigan is shrinking, with 97.33 percent of Michigan residents now having access to fixed broadband speeds of 3 megabits per second download and 768 kilobits per second upload.

* The title of ‘Best Place to Work in IT’ has returned to Detroit as Quicken Loans today announced it has earned the No. 1 ranking on Computerworld magazine’s 2013 ‘Best Places to Work in IT’ list.Also, Southfield-based hosting and IT services provider Secure-24 was named to the Top 100 list for the first time.

* Michigan State University and state officials broke ground Wednesday afternoon on a new Bioengineering Facility, a 130,000-square-foot, $61 million building which will serve as a hub for interdisciplinary research in MSU’s colleges of Engineering, Human Medicine and Natural Science.

* Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest supplier of renewable energy and will soon be adding more to serve its customers. The company Thursday announced it had signed a contract with GE to supply 62 more wind turbine generators — 105 megawatts’ worth — for the Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County.

* For the second time, a Michigan company called Esperion Therapeutics is selling stock to the public. Esperion Wednesday announced a $14-a-share price for an initial public offering of 5 million shares.

* The Microsoft Store that opens Friday at Troy’s Somerset North offers the full variety of Microsoft Corp.’s modern products, from giant-screen desktop all-in-ones to Windows phones to tablets to the Xbox gaming system.

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