Yeah, I know, the FALL tech tour is the time I talk to Michigan’s outstanding research universities. But in the case of Lansing, East Lansing and Michigan State University, the local government’s tech-based economic development efforts are inextricably linked to the university’s.
What’s new and wonderful from the world of high tech on this final day of the Tech Tour? Now that’s a question worth answering!
Everybody in Michigan talks about startups and entrepreneurship. But few Michigan cities live it better than this community of 100,000 or so in the southwest corner of the state.
Grand Rapids, capital of West Michigan, is big enough to have lots of big, longtime tech companies rivaling anything in metro Detroit. So hi, Trivalent! Howdy, Open Systems Technologies! You guys are great, but this time I wanted new faces. So I asked Tim Mroz at the economic development agency The Right Place Inc. to find me some startups. And he found me some great ones.
The Tri-Cities of Saginaw, Bay City and Midland is another corner of Michigan where there’s a proud tradition of, you know, actually building stuff, even when it comes to modern technology. And this tradition continues, even as the area remarkets itself as the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Alpena, hotbed of technology. Who knew? No, seriously. This gritty industrial town — sometimes literally gritty, home to a huge Lafarge Corp. cement plant and a huge wood processing plant that turns wood chips into wood panels — has a ton of cool technology-based economic development going on.
I haven’t been to Marquette on the Tech Tour for four years now. And as I recall, the last time I was here it was snowing. In May. Well, this time, a cold rain gave way to springlike sunshine and temperatures in the 50s, surely an omen for the warm greeting I got Friday from my first interviews as the 10th annual Spring Tech Tour began.
If you ever get a chance to visit Michigan Renewable Carbon, the odor will make you want to go camping.
I seem to have fallen in love with a truck. Namely, the tech-loaded 2013 Spring Tech Tour Mobile, the current reigning North American Truck Of The Year, the Ram 1500 from Chrysler LLC.
Well, it’s finally arrived. The WWJ Technology Report will be taking its 10th annual Tech Tour on the Michigan road beginning tonight.
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