Fall/Winter 2017 Newsletter
Upcoming events
  • Wednesday, Dec. 6--MIX Innovation Celebration, 5 p.m., at Tekna . Ingenious designs, craft beer, appetizers and live music. Register.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 13-- Business Model Canvas: A Tool For Entrepreneurs & Innovators, 1 to 4 p.mWhether you're just starting out, or in need of fresh ideas to grow your business, the Business Model Canvas is a strategic management template which allows you to visualize the key elements of your business; i.e. infrastructure, customers, financials and your product's value proposition. Join Tamara Davis, director of the Southwest Region Small Business Development Center, for this informative workshop. Sponsored by the WMed Innovation Center. Entrance fee is $10. Register
  • Tuesday, Jan. 16--BTR Euchre Party, 5:15 p.m., at WMED Innovation Center. Two player groups--beginner and experienced. $5 entrance fee includes pizza, snacks, soft drinks. Register.
  • Saturday, March 17--BTR KWings Hockey Party, 7 p.m. Join us for the annual green ice game played on St. Patrick's Day. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for youth. Tickets purchased by February 15 will include a KWings hat, free hot dog and soft drink, and other giveways. Register.
Tekna picks up multiple 2017 design awards 
In collaboration with its clients, several Tekna medical devices received awards from 2017 international and local design competitions. 

Three devices were recognized with IDEA awards--an international competition for design excellence. This year's competition drew entries from 54 countries on six continents. Finalist awards were given for the Essen Bioscience IncuCyte S3,  Bissell Bark Bath, and Stryker Neptune 3.

The Nara Bassinet (at left) was recognized with a  Core 77 Design  and a  Community Choice   award. Core 77 awards celebrate the richness of the design profession by championing the principles of inclusivity, innovation, and excellence.

Tekna earned a Bronze award in the the Michigan Design Prize, a design education and awareness program sponsored by the Michigan Design Council. The annual competition focuses on inspiring, developing, and to celebrate the design talent of K-12 and collegiate-level students. Partnering with a group of four second 
graders--who  invented the Fuzzy Buckle Helmet and Sled with Seatbelt--the team brought home bronze in the K-12 category! Read more .

Hot Firm recognition for
Fleis & VandenBrink as
company nears 25th anniversary
The civil engineering firm, Fleis & VandenBrink, had just two employees and one office when it opened nearly 25 years ago. Today, it's one of the fastest-growing architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms in North America.
The company was recognized as one of the 100 fastest-growing firms in the United States and Canada in September at the 2017 Zweig Group Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards conference in Seattle. The Hot Firm ranking is based on a three-year growth trend in gross revenue--both by percentage and raw dollar. With seven offices in Michigan, including the one in the Business Technology and Research Park, the firm ranks 30th nationwide and No. 2 among civil engineering firms headquartered in Michigan.
"I am incredibly proud of who we are and what we have accomplished," said Larry Fleis, F&V co-founder and Chairman of the Board. "We started with two engineers and today we are a major player in the  engineering industry. The (Zweig) award tells us a lot of what we already know-that we've been growing fairly fast and that we are doing things right in getting grants and taking care of clients. If we want to keep on this successful path, we need to keep taking care of every client, and we need to continue to attract top talent."

The recognition came as F&V reached the 200-employee milestone and on the eve of the firm's 25th anniversary. A celebration is set for Jan. 13, 2018. 

F&V also has two offices in Indiana. Over the past several years, the firm has also been assisting clients in the operation of municipal and private water and wastewater treatment facilities and launched a traffic services group.
"I never imagined F&V would grow to 100 employees, let alone 200, when I joined the company in the summer of 1993," said Paul Galdes, F&V's president. "The growth is a result of taking care of clients to the point that we have become the go-to firm for many municipalities, agencies and developers."

New work space and clients at WMed Innovation Center

The WMed Innovation Center has added a third
co-working space--The Workbench--an engineering co-working environment for startup companies creating prototypes and minimum viable products (MVPs). 

The Workbench provides month-to-month access to Innovation Center resources, including low-cost physical science work space and amenities in an entrepreneurial, innovative atmosphere ideal for the development of medical devices, diagnostics, sensors, information technology, material science, and engineering projects.      

The Workbench will help engineering-based technology companies grow to the point of taking on conventional leases at the Innovation Center, or to relocate to existing facilities in the local community.    
Welcome to our new clients
Paul Goldenbeld of DerPharm, a Swiss firm in the business of developing, manufacturing and marketing novel topical skin care medications. In Europe, DerPharm has a strong line of products it sells directly to consumers as OTC products. The company's presence in the Innovation Center is its first foray into the North American market. Currently, Goldenbeld is utilizing the Innovation Center's Ideation Station co-working space, but he has plans to use Launch MI Lab, and to eventually occupy dedicated lab and office space
Binu Baby Narakathu and his company, SafeSense Technologies LLC, are the first clients of The Workbench co-working engineering space. It is a sensor technology company providing innovative solutions using flexible hybrid electronics for the sports performance, physical therapy and medical diagnostics markets. SafeSense has developed SCOUT, a "smart helmet impact-sensing system," which helmet manufacturers can use in existing helmets to automatically record and communicate the occurrence of potentially dangerous impacts. Narakathu, a WMU alumni, founded SafeSense as an outcome of project work with three other graduate students in the WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and has had great early success raising grant money and locating partners.
Andre Bachmann, co-founder of Hibiskus BioPharma, which is an early-stage drug discovery company utilizing technology developed at Michigan State University and the University of California in Riverside. The company's lead compound, TIR199, is a proteasome inhibitor that may have significant activity on solid tumors; in particular, tumors caused by renal carcinoma.  Bachmann is utilizing the Ideation Station co-working office space while he applies for Small Business Innovation Research grant funding. He plans to transition to the Launch MI Lab bench space if he is awarded an SBIR. 
New product warms lunch while you work

Single Source Procurement is a distributor for a new "HotLogic" system for food preparation that can eliminate the need for microwave ovens in breakrooms. 

The HotLogic Intelligent Oven warms food up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and holds it at that temperature for up to 10 hours (not recommended for heating beyond 10 hours). Frozen food or leftovers can be placed in the oven by employees when they arrive for their shift so it is properly heated and ready to eat when it's time for a meal break.
The ovens are available for commercial and individual use. For larger operations, the unit includes four or eight heating trays; for individuals, the units include single and double (casserole-sized) heating trays. The company also makes  a mobile unit for use in serving hot food during tailgate parties, picnics, and other activities.
Companies interested in trying out a HotLogic oven can do so at no charge by contacting the company at (844) 788-8282. Information.

Kalexsyn chili chef takes first
for the second time
Congratulations to  Mel Schroeder , of Kalexsyn, the winner of the 2017 BTR Park Chili Cook Off--his second, consecutive year as the champ!

The cook off featured nine DELICIOUS chilis! Thank you to our judges (l-r below):  Ed Steinbrecher , of Kalexsyn,  Trish Strand , of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and   Margaret von Steinen , from WMU's Office of Community Outreach.  

Thank you to all of the competitors and to  Becky Gross , of Kalexsyn, and  Madelyn Pinder , of the Innovation Center, for organizing and hosting this fun social event!

BTR Phase 2 in final design stage

The BTR Park Phase 2 project is progressing through the final design stage, which is being implemented by the Kalamazoo-based engineering and architectural firms Fishbeck Thompson Carr & Huber and O'Boyle, Cowell, Blalock, & Associates, Inc.

Input from early community forums influenced the design, along with site due diligence information consisting of existing conditions, a natural features inventory, and environmental due care plans.

Abundant open space and natural buffer areas will characterize the proposed development, providing plenty of developable area for future tenants. The buffer areas will provide open space, natural and feature landscape between new development and the Asylum Lake Preserve, and habitat protection for threatened species known onsite.

A multi-use shared path will be constructed along Drake Road, connecting to bike routes in the City of Kalamazoo and Oshtemo Township. Drake Road will also undergo improvements to provide vehicular access to the new development. 

The old water tower stone base will be repurposed to create a social gathering area with historic/educational signage and parking for the community. This area will be accessible via new pedestrian sidewalks throughout the development, which will also connect to the BTR Phase 1 and Asylum Lake path systems. A proposed boardwalk and stone pathway system within the historic north forest area will promote human health and well being for future tenants.  
The final design is incorporating sustainable design concepts that focus on limiting disturbance to high-quality existing feature areas, enhancing disturbed areas with resilient vegetation, and managing storm water onsite to protect the Asylum Lake watershed and receiving streams. A Sustainable SITES V2 Certification is anticipated for this project.

Office of Community Outreach | Western Michigan University | (269) 387-2072
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