Leaders & Innovators
SUSAN MOSEY: President of Midtown Detroit, Inc. in Detroit. Mosey has led the University Cultural Center Association, newly reconstituted as Midtown Detroit, for 24 years. Midtown Detroit is responsible for community development, marketing, public space maintenance, security services, real estate and small-business development, and arts programming within Detroit’s University Cultural Center and New Center districts – an area now known as Midtown. Projects undertaken by the organization under her direction include public improvements, and residential and commercial real estate development and management. The organization also produces a number of signature arts events for the district, including Art X Detroit, DLECTRICITY and Noel Night. Since 2000, Midtown Detroit, Inc. has raised more than $60 million in direct support for a variety of initiatives, including the restoration and conversion of six historic homes into a boutique hotel, the Inn on Ferry Street, and a façade matching grant program which has provided more than $1 million to local business owners. Midtown Detroit recently received the Urban Land Institute’s Global Award for Excellence, the real estate industry’s most prestigious honor, for the TechTown Living Room, an initiative of nonprofit urban development. Currently, Midtown Detroit’s neighborhood redevelopment initiatives include the creation of a walkable arts district and renovation of numerous historic structures for market-rate and mixed-income housing. Most recently, the organization is administering the national Living Cities Integration Initiative, providing commercial debt and low-interest loans, mixed-use development, and charter school financing. Mosey has been awarded the inaugural Mariam C. Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and named by Crain’s Detroit Business as a Newsmaker of the Year and one of the Women to Watch, and by MLive as one of 13 Michiganders to Watch in 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Wayne State University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
MIKE 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 http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
SCOTT FOSTER is president of Wellco in Royal Oak. Wellco provides ROI and appraisal systems to fix corporate wellness programs and measurably improve organizational health costs and conditions. It also provides corporate wellness programs, speaking, and consulting services. In the past year, Wellco’s revenue has increased by 30 percent and staff has increased by 14 percent. The company has worked with such organizations as Home Depot, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and the United Auto Workers. Under Foster’s leadership, Wellco has been recognized as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation, Corp! magazine’s Best of Michigan Business, and one of Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots and Entrepreneurs of Distinction. Prior to founding the company in 1996, Foster was a cardiology manager with St. John Providence Health System. He is a certified health promotion director from the Cooper Clinic and a certified Lipid Clinic facilitator from Chicago’s Midwest Heart Specialists. Foster is a speaking faculty member for Merck, consultant to the state of Michigan, chairman of the Michigan Wellness Council, and columnist for Corp! magazine. He received his bachelor’s degree in health science from Central Michigan University. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Aaron Chernow is CEO of Brightwing in Troy. Brightwing offers staffing, recruiting, training, and development for companies to create workplace environments where employees thrive. The company has branch offices in Dallas and Weston, Fla. Chernow drives the strategic direction and operational performance of the firm. Previously, he was chief operating officer of Brightwing and was vice president at MEC Personnel Consultants. Brightwing was named to the Inc. 5,000 after marking a three-year revenue growth of 85 percent, increasing from $20 million in 2009 to $37.1 million in 2012. The company also added 140 jobs during that period. Under his leadership, Brightwing has been named a Top Small Company Workplace, by Inc. magazine, a Cool Place to Work by Crain’s Detroit Business, a 101 Best and Brightest Company to Work For by the Michigan Business and Professional Association and Corp! magazine, and a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal. Chernow also serves as vice chairman of the board of directors for Jewish Vocational Service Detroit. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy. Read the complete profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Greg Cavey is founder and lab manager at Launch MI Lab in Kalamazoo. Launch MI Lab is a laboratory for life science startups, located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center. It has more than 2,300 square feet of secure wet lab space and access to equipment, including mass spectrometry systems, centrifuges, autoclaves, flow cytometers, a variety of microscopes, incubator, lyophilizer, upright freezer, and standard lab supplies and tools. Under his leadership, the lab has helped companies such as Metabolic Solutions Development Co., which earlier this year published data on a new drug target it has identified for improving the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The company contracted with Launch MI Lab to help define the proteins involved and their mechanism of action. Cavey, a biochemist and experienced research investigator, founded Launch MI Lab after more than 20 years in proteomics, mass spectrometry, and lab management. Previously, he was a research investigator at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, where he established and directed the Laboratory of Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics for eight years. Earlier, he was a group leader in the Upjohn Co.’s Control Biotechnology Unit where he supervised a protein chemistry lab. Following Upjohn’s merger with Pharmacia, Cavey moved to human health discovery research where he established a proteomics operation that provided mass spectrometry support for biologists and protein chemists. Cavey currently provides mass spectrometry services and counsel for Southwest Michigan Innovation Center clients as well as for local, regional, and national research companies, universities, and colleges. He was named to the Association of Biomedical Resource Facilities Protein Sequencing Group to evaluate the use of mass spectrometry to determine the amino terminal sequence of proteins due to the growing popularity of mass spectrometry in biology and chemistry labs globally. Cavey received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University.
Jason Vazzano is president, CEO and co-founder of Vectorform in Royal Oak. Vectorform is a digital experience studio that develops digital products and experiences with a focus on mobile and emerging technology solutions. The company has a history of developing emerging technology. In 2008 Microsoft hired Vectorform to help develop the first version of the multi-touch Surface application. Vectorform also did some early work on Xbox Kinect. More recently, the firm developed Toolbox for Windows 8, which has more than 850,000 downloads and is the No. 1 productivity app on the Windows Store. Vectorform works with such brands as BMW, American Express, Disney, and Red Bull. Vazzano has established the decade–old company as a leader in emerging strategy, design, and technology solutions. He manages five offices in Seattle, Detroit, New York, Munich, and Hyderabad. Previously Vazzano worked for DaimlerChrysler as a business analyst. He was recognized by DBusiness magazine in 2013 as one of the Top 30 in Their 30s. Vazzano serves on the board of Crossroads for Youth, a nonprofit organization that focuses on giving children the tools and skills required to lead productive and happy lives. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and information systems from the University of Detroit Mercy. Read the full profile at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
Jason Wolcott is founder and CEO of 3CSI Group in Northville. 3CSI subsidiaries include Digital Roots, a social CRM software company, and Verego, a corporate social responsibility business. Wolcott leads the delivery of strategic customer relationship management solutions to 25 brands, 80 percent of which are Fortune 500. With a deep background in marketing, emerging technologies, and corporate operations, he has transformed his businesses from start-ups to industry leaders in customer service operations for new and emerging media. Digital Roots grew exponentially in its first years, with revenue roughly doubling each year. The company has grown from 18 employees to more than 30 over the past year. Recently, the company moved from Novi to 7,000 square feet of space in new offices in Northville. Digital Roots was awarded the 101 Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies award, presented by Corp!, the Grand Rapids Business Journal, and dmStrategists. The firm has teamed up with Detroit entrepreneur Thanh Tran to house Kidpreneur, a kid-friendly teaching facility available to members of the local community interested in entrepreneurship and technology. Previously, Wolcott held positions at General Motors, becoming one of its youngest global executives in his 20s. He serves on the boards of Western Michigan University’s ISM Executive Council, the Society of Consumer Affairs Great Lakes Chapter, and the Global Sourcing Council’s 3S Awards committee. Wolcott received his bachelor’s degree in integrated supply management from Western Michigan University.
Michael 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.
RICH WEST is founder and president of West Labs Scientific in Kalamazoo. Located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, West Labs Scientific performs cellular analysis for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as for research and academic institutions. A rapidly growing startup, the firm has expanded to add additional services, including flow cytometry, cellular analysis and imaging, veterinary hematology, and blood chemistry. In addition to developing West Labs Scientific, West has built relationships with Michigan colleges and universities and has served as a guest lecturer and host for interns from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Bridges to Baccalaureate program, the Michigan Shifting Gears program, and the Professional Science Master’s program at Grand Valley State University. He visits middle and high schools throughout West Michigan, bringing a message that inspires and promotes careers in science. West’s early career was spent working in clinical flow cytometry at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. He then created and developed the stem cell engineering lab for the pediatric blood and bone marrow transplant team of De Vos Children’s Hospital, and fostered strong ties between the hospital, Michigan Community Blood Centers, and Calvin College. West then built and developed the flow cytometry core facility at the Van Andel Institute before becoming an entrepreneur. West is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists with his qualification in flow cytometry. He serves on the board of the Coopersville Area Public Schools and the Michigan Association of School Boards. West received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Central Michigan University. More at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.
DANIEL JEFFERIES is founder of Newmind Group in Kalamazoo. Newmind helps businesses transition to cloud computing to provide help desk, backup, security, and new messaging and collaboration platforms. Jefferies has expanded the six-year-old company to 15 employees, including staffers in South Carolina, Minnesota, and California. Several years ago, Google noticed Newmind’s activity in the cloud computing space and invited the firm to join a pilot of Google’s partnership program that later became the Google Apps Authorized Reseller program. Newmind was named Google’s first authorized reseller in Michigan and one of the first resellers worldwide. Jefferies’ leadership of Newmind has led to several industry awards, including being named on the TC50 List of 50 Top Cloud Computing Consulting Firms Worldwide (2010) and on the MSPMentor 250 List of Top 250 Managed Technology Services Executives, Entrepreneurs, and Mentors (2010). Jefferies was also appointed to the State of Michigan 21st Century IT Advisory Council (2011). He regularly collaborates with Google at its exclusive annual conference, Google I/O, and as a consultant to Google’s certification programs. He was home schooled, completed most of a college degree, and has several IT certifications. More at http://www.ltu.edu/leaders.