Lawrence Technological University
MICHAEL SHARBER is co-founder and CEO of GreenLancer.com in Detroit. GreenLancer is a national network of green energy engineering freelancers (greenlancers) that uses a web-based system to design green energy systems. Sharber is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and serves as the main point of communication between the board of directors, investors, and corporate operations. Prior to starting GreenLancer.com, he held a sales and marketing position with a prominent global industrial supply distributor where he successfully managed 400 accounts nationwide. Under his leadership, GreenLancer.com has grown from three to nine full-time team members and moved to a new location in the David Stott building. The company quadrupled the size of its customer base from 2012 to 2013. GreenLancer.com won the Start-up Alley Challenge at the Solar Power International Conference, was named Emerging Company of the Year by the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition. During 2013, GreenLancer.com engineered and designed solar systems in 32 states and six countries while more than 200 contractors used its site. The company also completed a second round of investment in November from Bizdom (Detroit), Start Garden (Grand Rapids), Blue Water Angels (Midland), and Northern Michigan Angels (Traverse City) and expects to close on another $500,000 of investment early in 2014. Sharber received his bachelor’s in business administration from Western Michigan University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Health care has been in the news just a bit lately. So the next Unwired Coffee Series at Lawrence Technological University on Thursday, Feb. 13 will tackle the issue — and its tech-related implications.
Jim Prokes is co-founder, president, and CEO of MIPRO Consulting LLC in Milford. MIPRO is a consultancy specializing in the implementation, upgrading, and optimization of Oracle’s PeopleSoft applications. Prokes provides strategic direction and drives growth for the firm while overseeing the day-to-day operations. Under his leadership, the company has reported a three-year revenue growth of 118 percent, increasing from $6.8 million in 2009 to $14.9 million in 2012, earning MIPRO a place on the Inc. 5000. Now with about 100 employees, MIPRO has been named a Metropolitan Detroit 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For each of its eight years in existence. The company also has been named a Cool Places to Work in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business. Prior to founding MIPRO in 2005, Prokes launched and successfully managed several entrepreneurial endeavors. Previously, he was CFO of Ferrous Processing & Trading, a firm that generated more than $340 million in annual revenue. He received his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence Technological University and his master’s degree in accounting from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration.
So how’s everybody doing at the end of Auto Show preview week? All ready for the public show? I thought so. Man, if you love cars or tech, of course you’re going! And now a few local tidbits and the national tech news…
CARL ERICKSON is co-founder and president of Atomic Object in Grand Rapids. Erickson oversees operations and client engagements at Atomic Object, which creates custom web, mobile, and embedded software products. He is also the interim CTO of ReapSo; board member and co-founder of Blue Medora; and board member and investor at Varsity News Network. Under his leadership, Atomic Object has grown from three developers to a 45-person team of designers, developers, and support staff. In September, Atomic Object acquired Ann Arbor software development firm SRT Solutions. It also opened an office in Detroit. With $5.5 million in revenue and an average growth rate of 25 percent, Atomic Object was named to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 three times. The firm has been recognized as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation, presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, and received the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The creation of Atomic Object followed the failure of a dot-com- era software startup where Erickson was vice president of development. Prior to that, he was a professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) for 10 years. He also was a part-time industrial lecturer at Uppsala University in Sweden and served on the board of the Swedish American Heritage Society for more than six years, part of that time as president. He is a board member of the West Michigan-based Grand Angels, and serves as a member and advisor for GVSU’s CIS advisory board and Business Ethics Center. Erickson received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and master’s and doctoral degrees in computer engineering from Michigan State University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Join WWJ’s Matt Roush and an expert panel for a discussion on high tech and the auto industry Thursday, Jan. 9 at Lawrence Technological University.
NEETU SETH: Founder and CEO of NITS Solutions in Farmington Hills. NITS Solutions provides custom technology; marketing services such as direct mail, surveys and sales calls; and data-management services to Fortune 500 clients. The company began in staffing services and expanded into data analysis to meet customer demands. Since its inception in 2009, NITS Solutions has increased revenue significantly, projecting up to $2 million this year from $850,000 in 2012 and $400,000 in 2011. The company also has added several employees as it continues its rapid growth. Under Seth’s leadership, NITS Solutions recently has been named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. Previously, Seth held positions in e-banking services at ADP and Citigroup. She received her bachelor’s degree from Guru Nanek Dev University in India and her MBA from Eastern Michigan University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders. (Note: Leaders & Innovators will be on hiatus for the next two weeks due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and will return Tuesday, Jan. 7.)
Midtown Detroit Inc. will break ground Wednesday on a 30,000-square-foot, three-story commercial building at the corner of Woodward Avenue and West Willis Street that will have Lawrence Technological University as the anchor tenant.
Claudine 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
So what’s the latest from the uber cool worlds of science and technology on what might be our last day above 50 degrees for a while? Pull up those leg warmers, kids, let’s dive in to the late fall fun…