Associate Attorney Joins Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione: Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, announced that Daniel R. Hoovler has joined the Ann Arbor office as an associate attorney. At Brinks, Hoovler will focus his practice on patent prosecution in the mechanical, automotive, manufacturing and electrical arts. During law school, he had an externship with MSU Technologies in East Lansing and also worked as a project engineer and engineering consultant for Hoovler Enterprises in Rockford. Prior to attending law school, Hoovler was a lead project engineer at Perceptron Inc. in Plymouth. He also worked in manufacturing engineering at Blackmer in Grand Rapids. Hoovler received his law degree from the Michigan State University College of Law in 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Grand Valley State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering, also at Grand Valley, to further expand his ability to support intellectual property work in electrical technologies. This is the third hire for the Ann Arbor office in the last four months. Over the summer, Robert D. Shereda joined the office as a scientific advisor and Nicholas J. Angelocci joined as an associate attorney. Additionally, Jon H. Beaupré, a shareholder in the firm, transferred to Ann Arbor from Brinks’ Chicago office. Brinks has more than 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. More information is available at

Saphran Solutions Names Schiffer to Sales Post: Noelle Schiffer has joined Saphran Solutions as vice president of sales and business development, the company announced Thursday. She will lead Saphran’s efforts to expand the customer base for its management software for automotive manufacturers and suppliers and other manufacturing and high-tech companies. Saphran’s Web-based software enables a company’s management to integrate internal and external data into a single rolling forecast displayed in “real time” on an “interactive dashboard.”   Multiple views of history and forecasts can be integrated for sales, production, and market analysis.  This includes internal metrics for business plans, forecasts, quotes, orders and shipments.  Saphran’s software products enable users to significantly reduce the time needed to update, validate and analyze data to support business decisions and plans. Schiffer was vice president of sales and marketing at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, a trade association of 375 automotive supplier companies, from 1998 to 2008.  Her sales success was recognized with the Platinum Award from the Marketing & Sales Executives of Detroit.  Previously she was an account manager at Magna International, a global automotive supplier, and membership director of the Engineering Society of Detroit. Founded in 2004, Saphran Solutions is located in Franklin. An independent software developer, the company helps automotive suppliers and other manufacturers achieve dramatic efficiencies and increased profitability by shrinking the gap between business planning and performance. Saphran software modules are designed for original equipment manufacturers with sales between $50 million and $20 billion. The company’s software programs can be implemented quickly; pay for themselves within three to six months; provide significant competitive advantages, and help protect and increase profit margins. More information about Saphran is available at

Open Prairie Ventures Adds Sam Hogg To Investment Team: Effingham, Ill.-based Open Prairie Ventures has added Sam Hogg as a venture partner, with primary responsibilities including screening new investments and managing existing ones in the Open Prairie Ventures II and Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund portfolios. Sam will be primarily focused on Michigan-based activities. Hogg joins OPV as part of the first class of Michigan Venture Fellows, a program administered by the Michigan Venture Capital Association to encourage venture funds to hire Michigan talent. Hogg was formerly director of venture development for Detroit-based NextEnergy, the state of Michigan’s advanced energy research and commercialization center, where he oversaw the NextEnergy Seed and Micro-Loan Fund and NextEnergy’s role as general partner and Midwest office for Nth Power, an energy-focused venture capital firm based in San Francisco. Before NextEnergy, Hogg worked for Michigan State University Foundation, the $400 million fund responsible for underwriting the commercialization assets and activities at MSU. He also worked for Colorado-based Vail Resorts as an environmental technician. Hogg graduated summa cum laude in environmental biology from Albion College and holds an MBA in finance from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at MSU. Open Prairie Ventures was founded in 1999 as a venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology companies. With $135 million under management across three funds, Open Prairie invests in agriculture, life science, and information technology and has offices in Illinois, Kansas, and Michigan.