LIFT Opens Doors to Advanced Manufacturing Learning Lab in Corktown

Detroit-based LIFT – Lightweight innovations For Tomorrow has opened the doors on its 6,500 SF immersive Learning Lab, located in the LIFT Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Corktown.

Eight unique labs are equipped to prepare incoming students for the most in-demand manufacturing careers, with K-12, community and technical college, and university programs.
CNC Operations and Welding Technician Training Centers, maker spaces for hands-on fabrication, as well as labs to learn Smart Factory basics and explore materials science and metrology are available to partnering organizations.

Detroit’s University Prep Science and Math High School (UPrep) will be utilizing the Fundamental Skills Development and Project Fabrication labs during the 2019-2020 school year. UPrep Schools will roll out the “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” curriculum to students in the Learning Lab to produce the “multi-skilled technician” needed in today’s workplace.

Looking ahead, additional schools, organizations and businesses are invited to partner with LIFT to provide education in a real, working advanced manufacturing setting.

For more information, please visit or contact LIFT Communications Director, Joe Steele at c: 734-233-4567,

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight materials manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research.

Macomb County seeks hosts and sponsors for Manufacturing Day

Event to benefit an estimated 2,100 high school students

Macomb County will once again host a coordinated event to coincide with national Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 4. The event provides an opportunity for high school students to visit area advanced manufacturing facilities to see the industry in action and meet people who make things.

Since 2014, more than 10,000 students have participated through the support of an active planning committee and the generosity of host sites and sponsors.

“The future of manufacturing in Macomb County and the greater Detroit area is strong, so it is a great time for young people to begin thinking about entering the field,” said Vicky Rad, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. “The annual Manufacturing Day event offers a unique opportunity for these students to connect with local businesses and learn about the profession. At the same time, it gives local organizations the chance to interact with the next generation of talent and to promote their companies. It’s a positive experience for everyone involved.”

Commitments from companies that would like to get involved are being accepted now. Host sites are asked to offer a 90-120 minute guided tour for a group of students and teachers. Successful tours offer some combination of the following:

  • Overview of the employer by company leadership, who provide information about what they do, who they hire and opportunities for career growth that they offer
  • Smaller sub-tours that highlight different work areas and careers
  • Opportunities for students to talk with employees and see the product life cycle in action
  • Opportunities for students to see and touch the machinery, tools and products that are a part of the industrial workplace

For more information on becoming a host site or to get involved as a sponsor, visit


Media Contact:

Maria Zardis
(586) 292-8018

Wacker Hosts Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer at Silicones R&D Center


Ann Arbor, MI July 18, 2019 – Wacker Chemical Corporation (WCC) today welcomed Governor Gretchen Whitmer to WACKER’s Americas Region Silicones R&D Center located in Ann Arbor, MI, where she met with David Wilhoit, WCC President & CEO. They discussed a range of subjects, such as the State of Michigan’s vision to attract new business, create jobs, repair infrastructure and position Michigan as a high-tech industry and manufacturing hub. Additionally, they reviewed WACKER’s global growth plans, specifically as it relates to Michigan and the Ann Arbor area. The governor’s visit included a guided tour of the Silicones R&D Center and a close-up view of WACKER’s industry-leading 3D printing ACEO® technology. WACKER pioneered this novel technology, offering the first worldwide service for 3D printed silicone elastomer parts.

“Companies like WACKER are doing crucial work to make Michigan a world leader in innovation,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I’m excited to partner with them to ensure our businesses can succeed and attract more to our state by making Michigan a home for opportunity again. That means passing a budget that raises the revenue we need to fix the roads, boosts public education, closes the skills gap, and cleans up our drinking water. That’s how we build strong communities, grow our economy, and ensure every business can thrive here in Michigan.”

“WACKER and I deeply appreciate Governor Whitmer’s commitment and partnership with the business community to build Michigan into a globally and nationally-recognized leader in high-technology innovation,” said President & CEO David Wilhoit. “Developing the talent we already have and attracting additional highly-educated people, ensures our continued competitiveness in a global economy. We fully support the Governor’s efforts to improve our infrastructure and elevate Michigan’s technical expertise so companies like WACKER can compete worldwide,” added Wilhoit.

Wilhoit explained that demand for silicones will continue to grow across all segments, with particular growth coming from the automotive, health care and personal care markets. As WACKER grows and expands in Michigan, the company is actively engaging the regional academic community through student programs such as the University of Michigan’s local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) and the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS). WACKER also has a very robust annual internship program with 27 student interns working across its Michigan sites for the summer.

WACKER remains committed to Michigan with manufacturing process and operations investments continuing in Adrian, a newly opened Silicones R&D Center in Ann Arbor, and plans are in place to relocate its regional headquarters and technical center from Adrian to a new Innovation Center and Americas Region Headquarters in the Ann Arbor area in the next couple of years.

For further information, please contact:
Wacker Chemical Corporation
Gwendolyn Knapp
Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: +1 517 264-8581

The Company in Brief:
WACKER is a globally-active chemical company with some 14,500 employees and annual sales of around € 4.98 billion (2018). WACKER has a global network of 24 production sites, 22 technical competence centers and 50 sales offices.

Silicone fluids, emulsions, rubber grades and resins; silanes; pyrogenic silicas; thermoplastic silicone elastomers

Polyvinyl acetates and vinyl acetate copolymers and terpolymers in the form of dispersible polymer powders, dispersions, solid resins and solutions

Biotech products such as cyclodextrins, cysteine and biologics, as well as fine chemicals and PVAc solid resins

Polysilicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries

Morning Edition – Sandy Baruah Discusses Manufacturing and Trade with Alisa Zee

June 30, 2019

Morning Edition with Alisa Zee

Chamber President and CEO, Sandy Baruah sat down with Alisa Zee to discuss how manufacturing and trade impacts our region.

Part One:

Part Two:


Clayton & McKervey: “R&E tax credit is a ‘smart’ incentive for Industry 4.0 companies to improve financial performance”

Southfield, Mich.—December 13, 2018—Automation continues to revolutionize the economy, but many thriving companies are not utilizing federal and state tax credits and incentives in the area of research and development that support Industry 4.0 adoption and growth, according to Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit. Sarah Russell, CPA, a Clayton & McKervey shareholder who advises clients on Research & Experimentation tax strategies, believes there has never been a better opportunity for businesses—including “smart” manufacturers—to explore and capitalize on these cash savings.

“Real-time data, combined with an understanding of the impact of tax credits and incentives, can often make a business more nimble and competitive,” Russell said. “The Research & Experimentation (R&E) tax credit, also known as the R&D tax credit, has given businesses a powerful tool to strategically improve their bottom line, but it is often overlooked or unclaimed—even with the new tax law.”

The R&E benefit is available for the development or improvement of products, processes, techniques, formulas, inventions or software and is a dollar-for-dollar credit against the taxpayer’s federal income tax liability, which means companies may get a twofold benefit—the deduction in the year the expenditure is paid, as well as by claiming the tax credit.

Tim Finerty, CPA, a Clayton & McKervey shareholder who addresses the needs of growth-driven businesses in the manufacturing, system integrator, distribution and service related industries, says that some of the best candidates for the R&E tax credit are companies that have business related to technology, industrial production and design, but also some machine shops, tool and die shops, and custom machine manufacturers.

“S-corporations, start-ups and partnerships in the business of improving industrial production processes through controls, automation or system integration should definitely consider the R&E tax credit,” Finerty said, “but many of these businesses are thinking about converting to a C-Corp structure under the new tax law.”

Before a change in structure, Finerty cautions that additional factors should be considered like whether the business qualifies for the pass-through deduction; if the business generates research credits; whether the business will pay dividends to its owners; and the long-term exit strategy of the business.

“The answer lies in the way the tax law is written,” Finerty said. “R&E credits generated by a business can be used to offset any income generated from that same business activity, so converting to a C-Corp may not be the best solution.”

Russell and Finerty outline examples of Qualified Research Activities (QRAs) under the R&E credit:
• Providing custom control and automation solutions for various applications
• Developing new functionality or performance to meet customer specifications
• Development of schematic drawings for integration of system components
• Designing and developing cost-effective and innovative operational processes
• Developing new tool-specific fixturing or other tooling
• Improving processes through robotics or other types of automation techniques
• Experimenting with new alloys or other materials
• Testing new mold/die designs through sampling or trial
• Providing product and system solutions, including design engineering and mechanical fabrication
• Performing evaluations and system test
• Implementation of automated systems

There may also be Qualified Research Expenditures (QREs) if companies can substantiate how the expenditures are connected to the qualified activities including:
• Qualified Wages of Employees performing qualified activities, supervising qualified activities and supporting qualified activities
• Supplies used to fabricate prototypes/items consumed during the conduct of research
• Contract Research–65 percent of fees paid to outside consultants/subcontractors/ engineers/software developers
• Estimates are allowed, however documentation of how the estimates were determined must be provided and reasonable methods must be used

Tax savings can be extensive; for example, one Clayton & McKervey client that designs, manufactures and installs purification systems tallied an approximate R&E tax credit of $1 million for 2014-17; another client who manufactures and installs integrated cleaning solutions for industrial applications will get a $475,000 in an R&E tax credit. Other examples of companies benfitting from the R&E tax credit are a designer and manufacturer of custom container and packaging products that saved almost a half-million dollars and a company that designs and builds custom conveyor systems that saved $1.4 million over three years.

“It’s definitely worth it for companies, especially those who have moved forward with an Industry 4.0 approach, to take a second look at its qualified research activites to make sure it’s receiving all the money it can,” Russell said.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit