Lawrence Technological University
JESSE 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.
We’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.
RANDY 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
DAVID 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
MATT 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
A new partnership between Johnson Controls Inc. and Lawrence Technological University is starting with an advanced dynamometer to test advanced vehicle powertrain and energy storage concepts, and could lead to a whole lot more.
Leslie 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Lawrence Technological University says it has topped the $100 million mark in its “Proud Heritage, Bold Future” capital campaign, and construction is scheduled to begin in the fall on the first phase of the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Life Sciences and Architecture Complex.
Lawrence Technological University says it has launched a real-world, results-oriented mentoring program to help students, faculty, alumni, innovators, entrepreneurs and companies advance new product ideas and establish new business opportunities.
JOHN PARMENTIER is president of Paragon Laboratories Inc., in Livonia. Paragon provides chemical, physical, and biological testing services. Parmentier is responsible for developing and implementing the vision and strategic direction of the company. Paragon employs nearly 30 people and serves more than 450 customers, including a number of clients on the Forbes Global 2000 list. The company is experiencing record growth: third quarter revenue increased 11 percent compared to 2012 and the firm recorded its busiest month ever in August 2013. Paragon is capable of performing more than 225 unique analytical procedures and leads the field across a range of substances — including fuels, lubricants, chemicals, and water — for various industries to meet quality and regulatory standards. In addition to companies worldwide, the news media has used Paragon’s tests to develop investigative reports, such as on the amount of additives in gasoline. Parmentier has worked with Paragon for more than 16 years in roles of increasing responsibility and has served as president since 2011. He has been instrumental in developing many of the company’s programs, processes, and systems, including its core values and mission statement, For Health and Happiness. Since 2009, Parmentier has introduced several engagement and development programs aimed at empowering Paragon’s employees, vendors, and the organization, helping it to continue to grow in a highly competitive market. The company’s employees also support local charities, such as Toys for Tots. Parmentier himself is fundraising for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. He received his bachelor’s degree in individualized studies with concentrations in marketing management, communications, and economics from Eastern Michigan University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.