Leaders & Innovators: Claudine GeorgeClaudine George: CEO and Managing Member of ICONMA LLC in Troy. George oversees the activities of the overall business and promotes diversity initiatives for the staffing, consulting, and managed project services company. George began her career as an IT consultant to the automotive industry. While working at a major OEM, she founded her first company, which matched engineering and IT consultants and clients. Subsequently, George formed ICONMA, which has more than 1,700 employees throughout 25 national and international locations. Starting with staffing services, George has expanded ICONMA into additional service areas, including managed services, which provides web and mobile application development and testing services. Under her leadership, ICONMA has been named to the Inc. 5000 for six consecutive years, with $109.7 million in revenue for 2012, a three-year growth of 106 percent. The company has been recognized as one of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in North America sponsored by the New York-based Women Presidents' Organization and the small-business division of American Express, as well as a Corp! magazine economic bright spot. George was named an Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur of the Year in the staffing and support services category. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Mike JenningsMIKE JENNINGS is CEO of Secure-24 in Southfield. Secure-24 provides managed IT operations, enterprise resource planning application hosting, and cloud computing services with data centers in Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona. With more than 25 years of experience in information systems, business development, finance, and manufacturing, Jennings has led the firm’s growth to more than 170 clients in a variety of industries, including government and education. During the past year, Secure-24’s work force has grown 71 percent to more than 340 employees, mostly in Michigan. The company plans to implement numerous IT training certifications for its employees after receiving the Challenge Fund Award through Automation Alley’s technical talent development program. Secure-24 gives back to the community through monthly fundraisers, blood drives, charity dinners, and other events to groups such as Gleaners, Angels of Hope, and the American Red Cross. The company has been designated by Computerworld as one of the 2013 Best Places to Work in IT. Last year, it was named one of Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Secure-24 also is on CRN’s 500 Top Solution Provider list. Previously, Jennings was the co-founder, chief technology officer, and senior vice president of business development at Appshop. He also founded the IT services company InfoSolutions and was a principal at Simplify, an Oracle ERP consulting company. Jennings’ experience includes positions with El Dorado Ventures, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, and SimulTrans. He also has held senior finance positions as a CFO and controller. He studied network management and engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz. Read the complete profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leader & Innovator: Andi BrabinAndi Brabin is co-founder and CEO of TouchIT Technologies in Troy. TouchIT Technologies designs, produces, and markets touch screen and touch board products containing TouchIT's proprietary technology to suit all types of applications, from small touch-screens to large interactive LED displays for many industries. The company has sales offices in London; Beirut, Lebanon; and Taiwan. Under Brabin’s leadership, revenue increased by 58 percent in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same six months of the previous year. TouchIT, traded on the over-the-counter stock market under the ticker symbol TUCN, recently launched a new range of four-point multi-touch LEDs designed to capitalize on the increasing number of Apple Macintosh users in both the education and corporate market. Brabin had more than 10 years of experience in international sales before becoming an entrepreneur. He was the head of European sales for Luidia, manufacturer of eBeam Interactive Whiteboards, before founding TouchIT Technologies with Ronnie Murphy in 2008. Brabin has led the company from its start-up phase into profitability. He received his bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from Loughborough University in England.
Leaders & Innovators: Michael MihalichMichael Mihalich is CEO and founder of MJR Digital Cinemas in Oak Park. MJR Digital Cinemas has eight locations with 132 screens in Michigan. More than 30 years ago, Mihalich moved to Detroit and started MJR Theatre Service Inc., with about 90 screens. MJR has a history of expansion and industdry firsts, including its Chesterfield Township location, which was one of the first theaters in the United States to be converted to stadium seating. Recently, MJR's Marketplace Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights has been the top grossing theater in Michigan. The company recently announced that it will build a $16 million, 74,000-square-foot theater in Troy. Scheduled to open in 2014, the theater will feature the MJR Epic Experience for extra comfort and the MJR Studio Bar & Lounge. Mihalich started his career at Warner Brothers and worked his way through various positions. He then partnered with Jim Payne and Marvin Mann to form Midwest Entertainment, an independent distribution, booking and buying company, which he later sold. He then worked at Cooperative Theatres of Ohio before founding MJR. Mihalich also has been the executive producer on three films, including "The Rosary Murders" with the screenplay written by Fred Walton and Elmore Leonard. Mihalich attended Arizona State University on a football scholarship until an injury ended his career.
Leaders and Innovators: Jason BlessingJASON BLESSING is CEO of Plex Systems Inc. in Troy. A cloud enterprise resource planning technology company, Plex Systems provides businesses integrated applications to manage manufacturing execution systems, supply chain management, customer relationship management, shop floor integration, quality management, and others.