Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced the winners of its 10th Annual Awards Gala at the Royal Park Hotel on Friday, Oct. 1. Winners include the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan and Prabhakar Patil, CEO of LG Chem Power Inc.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan was selected as the Regional Innovator of the Year for their dedication to Southeast Michigan’s innovation-based economy. New this year, the Award recognizes an individual or organization that has served as a catalyst for positive tech-related initiatives and has made significant contributions to Southeast Michigan’s technology community.

The New Economy Initiative supports organizations and programs that help prepare, retrain and provide employment opportunities for the region’s displaced workers.  The initiative is committed to increasing prosperity and expanding opportunity for all residents and communities in the region. Specifically, it focuses its efforts on providing grants related to promoting a successful entrepreneurial eco-system; capitalizing on existing assets and resources; and developing and employing a more skilled workforce. Since its launch in 2008, the New Economy Initiative has distributed nearly $32 million in 31 grants to charitable projects in Southeast Michigan.

Ten national and local foundations have committed $100 million to the initiative to accelerate the transition of Southeast Michigan. These foundations include:
* Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit)
* Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield)
* Ford Foundation (New York)
* Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit)
* W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek)
* John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami)
* The Kresge Foundation (Troy)
* McGregor Fund (Detroit)
* Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint)
* Skillman Foundation (Detroit)
The CEO of the Year Award, sponsored by Comcast, was given to Prabhakar Patil. He is at the helm of one of the leading suppliers of lithium-ion batteries for the hybrid electric vehicle, plug-in electric vehicle and electric vehicle applications in the automotive, commercial and military markets. Patil has led LG Chem Power Inc. through its early years with five employees and has built its credibility in the industry. Today, the company has more than 120 employees and has won several prestigious contracts, including the highly anticipated Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle.

“Congratulations to tonight’s winners. Each is a true leader blazing Southeast Michigan’s path to prosperity,” said Ken Rogers, executive director. “Automation Alley is proud to recognize and honor these individuals for their tireless efforts in ensuring that our region continues its transformation into one that’s ripe with innovation and adaptability.”

Additional award winners include:
* Emerging Leader of the Year: Saylor X. Frase, president and CEO, Nuspire Networks (Commerce Township); sponsored by HAP – Health Alliance Plan/Henry Ford Health System
* Automation Alley Member of the Year: John Almstadt, Oakland County Workforce Development Division (Waterford Township)
* Technology Company of the Year: Rave Computer (Sterling Heights)
* Emerging Technology Company of the Year: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc. (Farmington Hills); sponsored by TechTown
* Educational Program of the Year: Baker College Online (Flint)

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