Leaders & Innovators: Camille NicitaCamille Nicita is president and CEO of Gongos Inc. in Auburn Hills. Gongos, which includes Gongos Research and O2 Integrated, provides research on initiatives spanning the entire product and marketing life cycle, and combines enterprise and research knowledge through consultative relationships. Gongos works with corporations such as Coca–Cola, Visa, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler. First named to the Inc. 5,000 list of the Fastest Growing Companies in America in 2007, the company was a 2010 finalist in Inc. magazine’s Winning Workplaces and is among the Honomichl Top 50 U.S. marketing research organizations. Gongos is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Under Nicita’s leadership, the company increased revenue growth 12 percent in 2013, and the number of full–time employees increased by 15 percent. During the past five years Gongos experienced 70 percent revenue growth and 70 percent full–time employee expansion. Nicita is vice chair of the advisory board of Michigan State University’s master’s in market research program. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and her MBA from Wayne State University. Read the complete profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: John BornotyJohn Bornoty is founder of The Big Salad LLC in Grosse Pointe. The Big Salad is a restaurant chain specializing in custom salads, soups, and sandwiches. Bornoty opened the first Big Salad in in 2008 and now has seven locations with plans to continue rapid expansion. The company has been named a 2014 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, and was recently recognized in Crain’s Detroit Business’ Salute to Entrepreneurs as the winner in the up to $5 million category. Bornoty’s entrepreneurial background began at 15 when he launched T.N.T. Entertainment, a concert promotion company. He was then recruited to join A&M Companies as the special events director, moving quickly to vice president of sales and marketing, where he was responsible for opening more than a dozen offices nationwide, with sales exceeding $20 million. In 1995, he founded Netgroup, Inc., an Internet solutions provider, and the following year also launched Interactive Media Broadcasting Company, which became the first company to broadcast live via the Internet. The Detroit Free Press named Bornoty one of the top five “Star Techies” in Michigan. He also appeared on the cover of Tokyo’s PlayGraph magazine as an American technology innovator. After he retired from Netgroup, he founded Bornoty Holdings to invest in and manage various companies that need help identifying their goals and strategies. Since 2005, he has assisted companies in the technology, insurance, payroll, and food and beverage industries. Bornoty has served as president and board member of the Detroit Executives Association and as a director of Notre Dame High School. Other boards and committees on which he has served include the Young Entrepreneurs Association and the technology committee of the Detroit Athletic Club. He received his bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from Wayne State University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Jami MooreJAMI MOORE is owner and president of JEM Tech Group in Clinton Township. JEM provides data center products, including cabling and cable management equipment; data center management software; technical furniture; cooling and airflow management equipment; enclosures; energy management equipment; environmental monitoring and security equipment; flooring; power distribution and backup power supply products; and more. Moore’s father started the company in 1979 as JEM Computers Inc., which specialized in ink ribbons and tape backup for servers. Since moving the company into data storage and renaming it, Moore has more than tripled annual sales. JEM has been recognized with Corp! magazine’s 2014 DiSciTech (Digital, Science and Technology) Award, and Crain’s Detroit Business’ Salute to Entrepreneurs named the firm a winner in the $5.1 million to $20 million category. JEM was also listed as one of the Michigan 101 Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies and was presented the 2012 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year Award. Moore has been recognized with the NAWBO Greater Detroit Top 10 Business Women Owner Rainmaker Award and as one of Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40. JEM also has been listed among the Top 100 Women Owned and Diversity Owned Businesses in Michigan for six consecutive years by Diversity Business magazine. Moore is active with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Susan G. Komen. She is a member of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, AFCOM, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council – Great Lakes, and a founding board member and vice president for membership for 7x24 Exchange, Southeast Michigan Chapter. Previously, Moore worked for Eli Lilly, Roche Diagnostics Corp., and Philip Morris. She received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and German from Michigan State University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Phillip CooleyPHILLIP COOLEY is co–owner of Slows Bar BQ and Slows To Go and general contractor of O’Connor Development Group LLC in Detroit. Cooley’s latest endeavor is Pony Ride, which provides cheap work space in a 30,000-square-foot Detroit warehouse for socially conscious artists and entrepreneurs. Pony Ride accommodates more than 25 organizations in the space and plans to add more. Cooley and his brother bought their first building several years ago and began renovating it. That led to the formation of O’Connor Development, a real estate and development company, which owns several commercial and residential properties in Detroit. Slows Bar BQ opened in 2005 and has been recognized nationally not only for its menu but for revitalizing a Detroit neighborhood. Cooley has been recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the magazine's "20 in their 20s" young business leaders. He is on the board of the Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit, Greening of Detroit, Roosevelt Park Conservancy, Center for Community Based Enterprise, New Detroit, and the Heidelberg Project. Cooley is also on the advisory board of the ACLU of Southeastern Michigan, the advisory committee of the Knight Foundation (Detroit), and currently co-chairs the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force for the Detroit Works project. He also supports Playground Detroit. Cooley received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Columbia College in Chicago. Read the complete profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Jesse VollmarJESSE VOLLMAR is founder and CEO of FarmLogs in Ann Arbor. FarmLogs is an agricultural tech startup that helps farmers digitally manage their farm to increase yield and profitability. FarmLogs’ web and mobile apps bring critical farm data online in real time to help farmers manage and analyze the large amounts of heretofore underutilized data collected from their fields in order to make smarter, more efficient, and more profitable farming decisions. Vollmar grew up on his family's fifth-generation organic row-crop farm in Michigan and started an IT consulting business while still in high school. Under his leadership while a full-time student, FarmLogs grew to more than $350,000 in annual revenue and five employees in less than five years. The company was accepted into Silicon Valley's startup accelerator, Y Combinator and raised $5 million in capital from several notable technology investors. In less than two years, FarmLogs expanded beyond web to mobile and its software is being used by thousands of commercial farms throughout the United States and in 130 countries. The product is used by more than 5 percent of U.S. row-crop farms. FarmLogs recently closed a $4 million Series A round of financing led by Drive Capital with the participation of investors Huron River Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Hyde Park Angels. Vollmar serves on the advisory committee for the technology and computer curriculum at the Tuscola County Technology Center. He was recently selected by Forbes as one of its 30 under 30. Vollmar received his bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Saginaw Valley State University.
Unwired Coffee Series: Doing Business With The Defense Industry At LTUWe've got another amazing event planned for you Thursday, March 13 -- it's the last Unwired Coffee Series breakfast of the program year at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield. We'll be talking how to do business with the Department of Defense, the world's largest buyer of darn near everything, from bullets to butter. If you're even considering getting your business into the defense industry, this is a must-attend. We'll have veteran experts of the defense and aerospace industries telling you how. Networking begins at 7:30 a.m. and the meeting runs from 8 to 9. Lawrence Tech is at 21000 10 Mile Road in Southfield. And of course it's all free and walk-ups are not only allowed, but adored.
Leaders & Innovators: Randy BrodzikRANDY BRODZIK is president and CEO of RedViking in Plymouth. RedViking engineers support Fortune 500 customers in the aerospace, automotive, off-highway vehicles, and defense industries throughout the U.S. and internationally by providing test systems, helicopter test stands, powertrain testing, complete turn-key assembly lines, custom machine and software design, manufacturing execution systems, and process improvement. The company has more than 200 employees at its headquarters in Plymouth and offices in Raleigh, N.C., and Corpus Christi, Texas. Under Brodzik’s leadership, the firm has hired 48 people over the past year with several additional openings to fill. RedViking also recently merged with SuperiorControls, the company that originally spun out RedViking in 2010 to fulfill government contracts. The company values engineering leadership and believes in giving back to the community, with employee drives for Toys for Tots, Gleaners, Operation Homefront, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Brodzik has worked for RedViking since 1990 when the company had fewer than 10 employees. His previous roles include vice president of engineering and senior vice president prior to becoming president and CEO in 2011. He has helped to expand the company beyond being an automotive-only supplier. Prior to RedViking, Brodzik worked for 12 years for General Motors Powertrain Engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute and his MBA from Kettering University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: David CorriganDAVID CORRIGAN is president and COO of Corrigan Moving Systems in Farmington Hills. Corrigan Moving Systems is a relocation company. As the third generation at the helm of the company, Corrigan oversees the $75 million operation, including supervising the management team and all 600 employees. He serves as vice chairman for the board of directors of UniGroup and is an active director of the American Moving and Storage Association. He has been recognized as Mover of the Year by Michigan Movers and Warehouseman’s Association. Recently, United Van Lines presented its President’s Quality Award to Corrigan Moving Systems, recognizing the company as the highest quality mover among its 400 agents. The American Moving & Storage Association selected the company as the “Agent of the Year.” Corrigan Moving has 12 offices in four states, including nine in Michigan. The company’s revenue increased 5 percent and the firm hired more than 200 people in the past year, with 10 percent growth in Southeast Michigan. Over his 35-year career with the company, Corrigan has worked in virtually every position, from cleaning the trucks to his current role. He earlier served as operations and general manager at various Corrigan branches, in charge of dispatching crews and managing finances and personnel. He received his bachelor’s degree in transportation administration from Michigan State University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Matt WiseMATT WISE is CEO of HelloWorld in Pleasant Ridge. HelloWorld Inc. (formerly ePrize), provides brands with a platform to communicate with consumers across the web, social and mobile channels, and at live events. Wise joined the company as CEO in March 2010. In his first year, he focused on the strategic expansion into mobile and social-enabled solutions, launching a multi-channel platform. Today, HelloWorld brings to market an SaaS platform. In the past three years, the company’s revenue has nearly doubled and its client base has tripled. Under Wise’s leadership, the firm acquired five companies, including promotions.com, and was itself acquired by private-equity firm Catterton Partners. HelloWorld has created promotional campaigns, CRM programs, and loyalty solutions in 44 countries for Fortune 500 brands and world-class agencies, including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, The Gap, Live Nation, Yahoo!, and Procter & Gamble. The company has more than 400 employees with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, and Seattle. Prior to HelloWorld, Wise was president and CEO of Q Interactive, which became one of the largest performance-driven ad networks on the web. He was recognized as a Who’s Who technology leader by Crain’s Chicago Business three years in a row. Wise received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Iowa, where he is now on the College of Political Science advisory board, and his master’s degree in international marketing and finance from DePaul University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Leaders & Innovators: Leslie MurphyLeslie Murphy is president and CEO of Murphy Consulting Inc., in Ann Arbor. Murphy Consulting provides services to businesses and professional firms in the areas of corporate governance, enterprise risk management, and programs dedicated to the advancement of women in leadership roles. Murphy also serves as a director of Kelly Services Inc., VSP Global, and the Detroit Legal News Corp., as well as such charitable organizations as St. John Providence Health System, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Early Childhood Investment Corp., Children’s Leadership Council, and Covenant House of Michigan. Previously, she was chair of the board at St. John’s, where she oversaw several initiatives, including a system overhaul providing several million dollars in savings, hiring a new CEO, and the opening of a new hospital. Murphy is a retired partner and former member of the senior leadership team of Plante & Moran, the nation’s 12th largest public accounting and management consulting firm. Her positions included group managing partner in charge of all client services. She co-founded the firm’s Personal Tightrope Action Committee, whose groundbreaking policy recommendations helped Plante & Moran win recognition as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. In 2005, Murphy became only the third woman to chair the 350,000-member American Institute of Certified Public Accounting. She continues her service as a member of the AICPA Governing Council, the subcommittee on enterprise risk management of the assurance services executive committee, and the subcommittee on relations with the judiciary. In 2012, she received AICPA’s gold medal for distinguished service, the highest individual award within the profession. Murphy’s other recognitions include the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Fusion Group’s Horizon Award for Professional Services; the American Society of CPAs’ Woman CPA of the Year; an inclusion in Crain’s Detroit Business Most Influential Women in Southeastern Michigan and Health Care Heroes; CPA magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Practitioners; and Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Michigan and has honorary doctorates from Walsh College and Cleary University. Read the full profile at www.ltu.edu/leaders.