Automation Alley Announces 2017 Board of Directors

OCC Chancellor, Autodesk Director, HR Pro/BenePro CEO Named to New Slate

Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading technology and manufacturing business association, recently elected three new members to its board of directors: Gary Conrad, director of WW Education Customer Engagement at Autodesk; Dr. Timothy Meyer, chancellor of Oakland Community College; and Kristopher Powell, CEO and president of HRPro/BenePro.

Board members serve as the nonprofit association’s key decision-makers and are vital to the development of programs, services, events and committees.

“The staff and I look forward to working with our new board members as our organization continues to evolve and grow,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley’s executive director. “These three individuals are influential business leaders and decision makers in Southeast Michigan. They will be powerful ambassadors for Automation Alley as we create new programs and services related to helping our member companies prepare and transition to Industry 4.0.”

Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, represents the convergence of the digital and physical technologies currently disrupting the manufacturing industry, including additive manufacturing, advanced materials, autonomous robotics, big data, the cloud, cybersecurity, the Industrial Internet of Things, and modeling, simulation and visualization. Automation Alley is now focusing its programming around Industry 4.0 in order to be a critical resource for Southeast Michigan companies as they chart a course toward these advancements in manufacturing.

“During my first meeting with Tom Kelly and the Automation Alley staff, I was immediately impressed with their passion and vision around Industry 4.0 initiatives,” Conrad said. “I am honored and excited to serve on the board of directors and assist Southeast Michigan companies increase their global competitiveness in this time of monumental change. “

“As a founding member of Automation Alley, there has never been a better time than now for OCC to be represented on this board,” Meyer said. “The College’s goal of providing a highly relevant education aligns with the work of Automation Alley and its members to support economic growth in the region.”

“I am delighted to be able to help Automation Alley move its mission forward,” Powell said. “My company has been a supporter of Automation Alley for many years.  With Tom Kelly’s fresh new vision, we believe Automation Alley is uniquely poised to make a significant impact in many technology sectors in Southeast Michigan.”

About Automation Alley

Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading technology business association, connecting businesses with talent, resources and funding to accelerate innovation and fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit has grown to include nearly 1,000 tech-focused members in businesses, education and government.  Automation Alley focuses its efforts in five areas: advanced manufacturing, defense, entrepreneurship, international business and talent development. For more information, visit

About OCC

With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve.  More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at

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OCC Culinary Community Events – Savory Sensations & Sweet Treats

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Calling all epicureans, foodies and gastronomes. Oakland Community College’s (OCC) Culinary Studies Institute is continuing its lineup of offerings and events open to the community. Join the College’s aspiring chefs for a wonderful dining experience. Experience the best in food and service at these special events held at OCC’s Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills.


  • St. Patrick’s Day Lunch Buffet, March 16, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. The leprechauns are marching in! No green beer needed here! Grab a four-leaf clover, some friends and follow the rainbow to find a magically delicious buffet featuring corned beef and cabbage as well as many other St. Paddy’s Day delights served with the Luck O’ the Irish! Price is $12.00 per person.


  • Hop into Spring Dinner Buffet, April 6, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The crocuses are out and tulips aren’t too far behind. Grab some family and friends to join us for our last buffet dining event of the season prepared by our culinary students. We will have appetizers, seasonal entrées and beautiful pastries to enjoy at your own leisurely pace. Wine and beer are available to purchase at a great value to pair with your meal. Price is $20.00 per person, Paid reservation REQUIRED in advance.  Call (248)522-3700. Cash bar available.


  • Craft Beer Bonanza, April 20, 6 p.m. Ale Yeah! This event is a “don’t miss” for beer enthusiasts. Join us for awesome suds and a knockout five-course, strolling dining experience. Please do sit in judgment as we invite you to play along by voting for your favorite suds. Explore our dangerously drinkable combos at our cash bar as well as enjoy our complimentary passed appetizers. Price is $45.00 per person. Tickets are available now!


  • The Garden Party, Sunday, June 11, 1:00 4:00 p.m. at Meadow Brook Hall. org


  • High Tea in Reflections Restaurant, April 13, 11:15 a.m. to 1:00m. A full lunch is included and ladies are encouraged to wear a fabulous hat! High Tea tickets are $25.00. Advance purchase is required.


Dine with us at the Orchard Ridge campus.


  • Ridgewood Café – Menu items are freshly prepared from scratch and change daily. Offerings include salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts. Guests can dine in with full service or utilize the cafeteria and help themselves. The Café is open from 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., most Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 19. *The Ridgewood Cafe is closed Feb. 28 through March 8.


  • Reflections Restaurant – The restaurant’s Prix Fixe $16 menu features a four-course meal with three entrées to select from that change weekly. Reservations are required. Wine and beer are available. The restaurant is open Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., through April 20. *The Reflections Restaurant is closed March 2 and 9.


  • The Bakery –  Open Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on the third floor of J Building. Purchase breads, cakes, candies, cookies and chocolates. *Join us for a special bakery sale March 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Feb. 23, and April 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


For more event information, visit OCC Culinary Events

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OCC Offers Free Information Sessions on Hot Career Fields

Searching for new career opportunities? Oakland Community College (OCC) is hosting a number of free information sessions on how to prepare and enter some of the area’s hottest fields.

Culinary Studies Institute – Learn about program requirements, meet some of the renowned faculty and get a tour of the facility at one of these sessions: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 11:30 a.m.; Thursday, Mar. 16, 11:00 a.m.; and Wednesday, Apr. 5, 5:30 p.m. Each session lasts for approximately 1 hour at OCC’s Orchard Ridge campus in Farmington Hills, Room J-191. Contact the office at (248) 522-3700 to reserve a seat.

Machine Tool Program – Get the skills you need to get to work in just one semester for entry-level machining and CNC Operator positions. For more information contact Janene Erne, OCC director of technical programs at (248) 232-4394 or email

Nursing – Information sessions on OCC’s nursing program will be held at OCC’s Royal Oak campus, Thursday, Apr. 20, 6:30 p.m.; Highland Lakes campus, Thursday, Mar. 16, 6:30 p.m. Additional sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m., on June 15 at OCC’s Royal Oak campus and May 18 at OCC’s Highland Lakes campus.

Radiology Tech – Information sessions will be held at OCC’s Auburn Hills campus, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 1:00- 3:00 p.m. Topics will include a description of professional responsibilities, program requirements and demands, wait list information and question and answers session. Contact OCC’s health professions and technology department at (248) 233-2916 to schedule an appointment.

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Michigan’s newest advanced manufacturing student stars will strut their skills at Henry Ford College, Oakland Community College, showcase events

Student apprentices who are graduating from the competitive Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program will demonstrate their high-tech mastery of automated equipment by completing projects in front of live audiences during events in February and March at Henry Ford College and Oakland Community College .

Industry professionals are invited to attend the free presentations known as the MAT2 Mechatronics Capstone. MAT² is an innovative, industry-driven apprenticeship program that addresses two critical issues facing the manufacturing industry: a widening skills gap and an aging workforce. The 2017 Mechatronics Capstone Events Schedule is below.

During a course of three years, MAT2 students alternate between classroom instruction and on-the-job training, gaining the necessary hands-on skills and experiences to become a successful and productive member of their sponsoring company. Their employers pay their tuition and a stipend during their school periods and wages during their work periods.

“Industry representatives who attend a Capstone event will learn how they can train the next generation of skilled technicians with MAT2 apprentices,” said Sophie Stepke, training manager at ZF North America Inc. in Northville and chair of the MAT2 strategic steering committee.

“The demonstrations are a crowning achievement for MAT2 students and a wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand what MAT2 apprentices have learned through their college coursework and at their sponsoring company,” Stepke said. “The highlight for spectators is that they can watch MAT² students completing the final projects that showcase their knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems as well as control devices and fluid power.”

The Mechatronics Capstone is divided into two components: project troubleshooting and the project build. The troubleshooting project can be viewed at Henry Ford College and the build project can be viewed at Oakland Community College. Upon successful completion of the Capstone, the students will receive their associate degree. In addition to the Capstone, MAT2 students must complete all required work periods to finish their apprenticeship. When the student accomplishes all program components, they will receive a full-time job offer from their sponsoring company.

Gov. Snyder, state lawmakers and educators across Michigan have hailed MAT2 as one of the keys to an ambitious 2017 effort to spur more students toward pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing as well as address employer concerns about talent shortages.

“The cutting-edge MAT2 apprenticeship program has a proven track record of success, including providing a wide array of employer benefits such as increased productivity and knowledge transfer, a skilled talent pipeline and enhanced retention,” said Deborah Bayer, dean of public services and CREST, and interim dean of engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology at Oakland Community College.

“In addition, MAT2 helps students avoid debt by earning tuition-free associate degrees while simultaneously getting paid to gain on-the-job experience in high-paying, high-demand manufacturing careers,” Bayer said.

Michigan employer demand for MAT2-type middle-skill workers – those with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree, such as largely technical jobs in manufacturing and health care – is soaring.

The need for advanced manufacturing employees is expected to remain strong as baby boomers retire, with more than 5,700 job openings anticipated in Michigan through 2018. Average wages for full-time jobs in this arena are $23.37 an hour, compared with the living wage of $17.08. State estimates show that there is a need for 15,000 new skilled trades workers annually through the next decade with average annual wages of $51,000, according to the Michigan Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives.

“Industries throughout Michigan have committed to sponsoring students in this program,” said Gary Saganski, Henry Ford College associate dean, corporate training office. “They know what a huge need there is for technically trained people who can install, troubleshoot and repair today’s highly automated manufacturing equipment,” he added.

Many of the metro Detroit area’s largest manufacturers and industrial companies are participating in the MAT2 program, including EMAG in Farmington Hills, New Center Stamping in Detroit; BorgWarner in Auburn Hills and Livonia; ZF in Northville; Brose North America in New Boston, Auburn Hills and Warren; and Durr Systems in Southfield.

To register for a MAT2 Capstone viewing at Oakland Community College, contact Janene Erne at

To register for a MAT2 Capstone viewing at Henry Ford College, contact Heather Keller at

For more information about becoming a sponsoring MAT2 Employer, visit or email


Mechatronics Capstone 2017 Events Schedule

Henry Ford College – Mechatronics Troubleshooting Projects

HFC Room Location and Parking:

Technology Building E, Room 236, Parking Lot 4

Industry Viewing Times: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Feb. 14, 2017
  • Feb. 15, 2017
  • Feb. 16, 2017
  • Feb. 17, 2017

RSVP to: Heather Keller,


Oakland Community College – Mechatronics Build Project 

OCC Room Location and Parking:

Advanced Technology Building T, Room T-1 Parking Lot 10

Industry Viewing Times: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  • March 2, 2017
  • March 7, 2017
  • March 9, 2017
  • March 10, 2017

RSVP to: Janene Erne,



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Two Students Share Love, Life and Sacrifice in “I and You”


An ode to youth and the strange beauty of human connection, Oakland Community College’s production of “I and You” opens to the public February 16-25.

“This production is a wonderful piece of theatre with a surprise ending. It features two OCC theatre program actors: one current student and one alumna working together at their best,” said OCC faculty member Dennis North, Fine and Performing Arts department. “Their performance is beautiful and the story is very emotional and uplifting.”

“I and You” premiered at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, CA in the fall of 2013. Since then, it has won multiple drama awards and been performed internationally.

“…A validation of the human experience and of the triumph of life over death. Gunderson’s gift is the best thing a play can offer: we might be better people after seeing it,” said Tim Treanor, senior writer for DC Theatre Scene and Fellow of the National Critics Institute.

The following is a preview from Playscripts: One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together.

Show dates are February 16, 17, 18 and 23, 24, 25. All performances are at 8:00 p.m. at the Oakland Community College, Lila Jones-Johnson Theater located on the Royal Oak Campus, 739 South Washington Avenue, Royal Oak. General admission is $15; students and seniors (age 62+) pay $5.

Advance tickets are available at or at the Lila Jones-Johnson Theater Box Office each night of the performance. For more information about OCC’s theatre program contact Dennis North at (248) 522-3636 or visit the College’s theatre program home page.

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