Spring 2016

Welcome to the spring issue of X-OLOGY Magazine. For me, this is the time of year for looking forward and contemplating change. And change is exactly what our X-OLOGY cover story is all about: the changing role of automobiles — from a machine that gets you from point A to point B, to a very large, drivable communications device with remarkable capabilities, including crash avoidance, self parking and driving and Internet connectivity, just to name a few. 

But not so fast, say some industry insiders who believe we won’t realize the full breadth of vehicle tech for years to come. Of course, there are more optimistic views about taking tech to the road. Either way, the things you’ll read about in writer Michael Wayland’s feature article are sure to amaze you. You’ll also meet two Grand Prix drivers and their engineers who say their relationships are critical to their chances of crossing the finish line first.   

Auto tech is also on the minds of employees of Hella North America, featured in our Business Profile. The company is at the forefront of vehicle tech with blind spot detection, lane change assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, rear pre-crash functions and more. 

Our People Profile introduces Swamy Kotagiri, chief technology officer of Magna International. Kotagiri is passionate about vehicle innovation, including finding ways to make cars smarter, cleaner and safer with an eye toward affordability.

Innovation is also apparent in our Tech+Design feature, which highlights one woman’s determination to engineer a high-heeled shoe that looks and feels good. Dolly Singh recruited a former astronaut, rocket scientist, orthopedic surgeon and fashion scientist to give women a reason to breathe a sigh of relief.

Our Lifestyle feature will have you on two wheels in no time as you read about the many bicycle trails and clubs just waiting to be explored. Whether you take a ride around the block or challenge yourself to a 75-mile weekend group ride, you’ll be joining throngs of other Michigan pedal pushers who’ve rediscovered the joy of bicycle riding.

The entire RDE Enterprises team, which has brought you X-OLOGY Magazine for the last seven years, wishes you a happy spring and invites you to stay tuned for exciting changes on the horizon.


Jane Racey Gleeson

Winter 2016

Welcome to the winter issue of X-OLOGY Magazine. We’re happy to announce that X-OLOGY is now in its 10th year, a major milestone for a niche publication and one our entire team is very proud of. From the start, our goal has been to focus on the innovative technology companies, people and resources in Michigan and, specifically, in the Southeast Michigan region. The emerging sectors we began covering 10 years ago are now fully developed industries that have brought the region back from its economic slump. Today, Southeast Michigan has a reputation for tech innovation, thriving companies and top talent. And this trend continues as STEM education initiatives move higher on the list of priorities for leaders in business and education.

As we celebrate a decade in print, this issue of X-OLOGY Magazine takes a look at Automation Alley and the role it is playing in expanding robotics and manufacturing technology throughout Southeast Michigan. Automation Alley’s Technology Center was created to promote innovation, share knowledge and inspire the STEM workers of tomorrow. Writer Ilene Wolff speaks with the center’s director, Alex Violassi, about the area businesses involved in the Technology Center that offer insight into advanced manufacturing technologies and more.  

Our People Profile introduces Rebecca Taylor, senior vice president of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), headquarted in Ann Arbor, MI. As a leader of the organization, which represents all sectors of the manufacturing base — aerospace, automotive, energy consumer products and medical, among others — Taylor emphasizes the need to continue to evolve to stay on the cutting edge of innovation in manufacturing.

One company that has learned to grow and change to maintain its competitive edge is Pratt & Miller, featured in our Business Profile. The company has embraced the latest in advanced manufacturing techniques, including work with robotics to incorporate automation into its manufacturing environment.  

On another note, if you’ve always had the urge to fly your own airplane, you’ll be interested in our Tech+Design feature, which highlights the ICON A5. This two-person Light Sport Aircraft is described as “simple and safe enough that anyone can learn to fly it.” A $2,000 deposit will get your name on the waiting list.

For our readers who would rather stay inside this winter with their feet on the ground, our Lifestyle feature presents culinary programs that will have you cooking with the pros. You’ll read about a variety of cooking venues that offer classes ranging from Mediterranean style dishes to bacon and bourbon concoctions, sweet treats and more.  

The X-OLOGY team wishes you a Happy New Year. We look forward to your input and ideas for 2016.


Jane Racey Gleeson

Fall 2015

If you’re anything like me, you’re often wondering “what’s next?” in the world of high tech. Just keeping up with the onslaught of new apps can seem like a full-time job, so it’s hard to imagine how large institutions like healthcare systems decide which tech innovations to bring on board.

In this fall issue of X-OLOGY Magazine, writer Ilene Wolff connected with several of the region’s leading healthcare systems to find out about the innovations they’ve chosen to help advance patient care. Her Focus on Tech article uncovers integrated wireless tech that makes one hospital safer and more comfortable for patients; a new way to diagnose stroke via telemedicine; an innovative technique to improve aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis; and partnerships that help children with hand and arm deficiencies to live more productive lives.

In our People Profile, Dr. Betty Chu, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, talks about technology’s role in the healthcare industry. Dr. Chu, who went from practicing medicine to overseeing a health system, also discusses her leadership role and how the innovative thinking of leaders in other industries, including the military, has influenced her.

Our Business Profile features OcuSciences, recipient of Oakland County’s Medical Main Street 2014 “Innovator of the Year” award. The company’s OcuMet Beacon is a new tool that helps doctors diagnose eye-related health issues — diabetes, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration — before these diseases can cause irreversible damage. The OcuMet Beacon may one day help healthcare providers detect even more diseases in their early stages for better outcomes.

Switching gears from patients to puppies, our Education Kaleidoscope features Oakland University’s Senior Design Program, partnering students with businesses in need of engineering talent to help meet specific challenges. Leader Dogs for the Blind, for example, needed help designing a transport system and operating tables for the puppies being trained to serve as guide dogs. This and other working partnerships give students hands-on problem-solving experience and provide companies with the engineering talent they need.

Finally, our Lifestyle article features some unique places to shop for antiques, all within driving distance. You just might find that perfect piece you’ve been searching for or discover a rare treasure. It’s all part of the thrill of the hunt.

As always, we invite you to share your thoughts about this issue of X-OLOGY Magazine, and please send your ideas for future articles. Your feedback is a great resource.


Jane Racey Gleeson

Summer 2015

The topic of autonomous vehicles grabs the attention of more than just car enthusiasts and techies. Most of us want to know what the future of driving will look and feel like as we regularly hear about companies experimenting with self-driving cars.

The summer issue of X-OLOGY Magazine takes a close-up look at autonomous vehicles, including what we can expect to be driving in the not-so-distant future. Writer Michael Wayland presents the remarkable technologies (think seamless communication, 3D navigation, cameras, sensors and radar) that will forever change the dynamics of sitting behind the wheel — and the future possibility of no longer even having to sit behind the wheel. 

We also get a first-hand account of what it’s like to be an autonomous vehicle passenger, thanks to writer Henry Payne, who took a ride in Google’s autonomous Lexus 450h last summer. Don’t let his reference to “The Exorcist” scare you away from this eye-opening report that weighs some of the pros and cons of autonomous cars and takes a look at where the industry is headed.

Our People Profile features Richard Wallace of the Center for Automotive Research, whose work as director of transportation systems analysis is particularly focused on safety aspects of self-driving vehicles. He believes the autonomous vehicle industry should strive to eliminate traffic fatalities altogether.

Similarly, Continental Corporation, featured in our Business Profile, says its commitment to autonomous vehicles is driven by the company’s Vision Zero concept, which is based on creating systems with the ultimate goal of eliminating driving accidents and fatalities.

Our Education Kaleidoscope features the University of Michigan School of Information’s Entrepreneurship Program, designed to make sure each student participates in a “passion-led, self-driven innovation project,” according to Nancy Benovich Gilby, the program’s director. Gilby wants her students to get involved in any type of work that involves innovation, regardless of their ultimate career choice. Students of the program can’t say enough about the impact it has had on their ability to develop and carry out ideas.

And, speaking of ideas, writer Susan Pollack has plenty of unique travel destinations in her Lifestyle article, where she shares off-the-beaten-path adventures that will take your summer to a whole new level of fun.

As always, we invite you to share your thoughts about this issue of X-OLOGY Magazine, and we ask you to send your ideas for future articles. We love to get your feedback.


Jane Racey Gleeson


Welcome to the spring edition of X-OLOGY Magazine. In keeping with this season of change, we’ve decided to take a fresh approach to information technology, an important topic we’ve covered extensively in the past. This time, we’re looking at the next step in IT as it becomes an intricate part of everything around us — people, animals, buildings, automobiles, machines and more — all driven by electronics, software and sensors. It’s known as the Internet of Things and it’s changing our world in remarkable ways.

Google the IoT and you’ll find varying definitions, but most focus on the definitiion writer Julie Baumkel includes in her feature article on page 28: “The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.”

In our Focus on Tech feature, we asked several industry leaders to weigh in on the Internet of Things and what it all means for business and education.

Our People Profile features Jim VanderMey, CIO of Open Systems Technologies, a Grand Rapids, MI-based IT company. VanderMey brings a non-traditional background to his role with OST — one that blends pastoral studies with technology. He says both have served him well in various work and consulting roles for insurance companies, healthcare organizations and manufacturers.

On the IT topic, our Business Profile highlights Detroit IT, an information technology service, consulting and cloud solutions firm. Detroit IT is a blend of two companies — Core3 Solutions and Enlighten Technologies — whose owners realized they could make a bigger impact by merging IT resources.  

Also making an impact is Oakland Community College’s almost-too-good-to-be-true Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Program. Initiated by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the MAT2 program offers selected students free schooling, paid apprenticeships and guaranteed jobs upon graduation. Not surprisingly, says program manager Janene Erne, most parents want to know how to sign their kid up.   
And speaking of kids, if you’re planning a Michigan road trip this spring or summer, be sure to check out our Lifestyle article highlighting sweet spots along the way. Writer Susan Pollack says they’re sure to ease the road-trip backseat boredom. And you’ll have only one reason to threaten to stop the car: to help yourself to a sweet treat.


Jane Racey Gleeson



Welcome to our ninth year of producing X-OLOGY Magazine. It’s hard to believe we began work on this publication nearly 10 years ago with research and focus groups to help create the most informative magazine highlighting the region’s emerging technology sectors. And now, after all these years, the word “emerging” could be replaced with “thriving” as most of the sectors that were in their infancy in Michigan — alternative energy, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, just to name a few — are now full-blown, viable industries.

One of these, cybersecurity, is the focus of our winter 2015 issue. It’s a topic that makes headlines every day as cybercrime escalates. According to a recent report published by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, cybercrime’s impact includes 40 million people in the U.S. having their personal information stolen within the last year and an unnamed oil company losing hundreds of millions of dollars in business opportunities when hackers obtained its oilfield exploration data.

That’s just for starters. But Michigan companies like Duo Security, OpTech, RazorThreat and 3LG Tech Solutions, featured in this issue, are working to battle cybercrime with new technologies and strategies.

One of the prominent players in Michigan’s fight against cybercrime is featured in our People Profile. David Behen, the state’s CIO and director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, shares his thoughts on how Michigan is leading the nation’s cybersecurity initiatives and stresses the importance of educating kids on cybersafety, something this father of three is fiercely committed to.

And on the topic of education, our Education Kaleidoscope article takes a look at how liberal arts graduates might just be the solution to filling many of today’s tech jobs as employers look for individuals who can bring communication and people skills to the tech table. Many employers are finding that a balanced team — made up of techies as well as those who excel in soft skills — is the key to their success. 

As we begin the new year, we’ve also added a new department to X-OLOGY: NewsMakers. The goal of NewsMakers is to feature up-and-coming companies, introduce people who are making a mark in the region and share other Michigan-related news. Let us know your thoughts about our addition to the magazine, as well as your ideas for future topics to cover in 2015.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Jane Racey Gleeson

FALL 2014


As the seasons change from summer to fall, it seems a good time to take a look at the changes in Michigan’s business status. It wasn’t long ago we were hearing the same message over and over again: Michigan needs to attract more venture capitalists for business success. But that wasn’t happening, even before the Great Recession, and certainly not during it. Today, we’re hearing a different message that’s resonating throughout the state. Tim Peterson, managing director of Arboretum Ventures, a VC firm focused on healthcare, sums it up in our Focus on Tech feature article when he says the number of VCs in the state has grown significantly in the last 10 years.
Our Focus on Tech writer Ilene Wolff takes a close look at how some national venture capitalists are impressed with what’s happening in Michigan and are establishing offices here: Baird Capital and Cultivian Sandbox Venture Partners, to name a couple. You’ll read about the companies that are being funded, including ProNAi, a biopharmaceutical firm that secured the largest round of VC money in Michigan’s history this year.
And there are more success stories, including HistoSonics, featured in our Business Profile. The company is striving to be the market leader in non-invasive surgery technology and is making its mark with histotripsy, a non-invasive soft tissue surgical technique developed at the University of Michigan.
Another important angle of the region’s growing medical industry is patents — critical company assets for creating and maintaining an advantage in the market. Our People Profile features patent agent Stephanie Mansfield, who shares her expertise in obtaining patents for medical and biomechanical devices, engineering tissues and healthcare products.   
On a lighter note, if you’re interested in exploring Ann Arbor this fall — beyond the world of football — you’ll get some great ideas from writer Susan R. Pollack, whose seven-item sampler of things to do in this dynamic city is featured in our Lifestyle article.
Enjoy this issue of X-OLOGY Magazine. And visit our website — XOLOGYMagazine.com — for more tech-focused topics.



Jane Racey Gleeson