DBusiness Daily Update: Auburn Hills’ Whisker Opens $10M Facility in Wisconsin, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
New Whisker Plant
Auburn Hills Whisker has opened a plant Juneau, Wisc. // Photo courtesy of Whisker

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Auburn Hills’ Whisker Opens $10M in New Wisconsin Facility

Automatic litter box manufacturer Whisker, headquartered in Auburn Hills, has invested $10 million in a new manufacturing facility that it opened today in Juneau, Wisc.

The facility is a 162,000-square-foot plant to expand production of the Litter-Robot.

In addition to expanding the brand’s U.S. manufacturing footprint, the opening of the facility creates 80 new jobs upping the Juneau employee count to 179, with more than 200 additional hires expected in the next two years.

With an additional 110 employees at the Auburn Hills headquarters and another 66 working remotely across the U.S., “the Juneau manufacturing facility will allow Whisker to continue leading the pet tech industry in both quality and design, guaranteeing its 750,000 Litter-Robot customers the best and most ethically-made automatic pet care products,” says Jacob Zuppke, CEO of Whisker.

Michigan Unemployment Rate Edges Down in July

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased by 1/10th of a percentage point in July to 4.2 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Statewide employment inched up by 8,000 and unemployment was reduced by 5,000, resulting in a minor workforce gain of 3,000 over the month.

“Michigan’s jobless rate slid down to 4.2 percent in July after lingering at 4.3 percent over the previous three months,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Payroll jobs advanced by 26,000 in July, reflecting gains throughout most major statewide industries.”

Similar to Michigan, the national jobless rate edged down by 1/10th of a percentage point to 3.5 percent in July. Michigan’s July unemployment rate was 7/10ths of a percentage point above the U.S. rate. The national rate declined by 1.9 percentage points over the year, while the statewide rate fell by 2.0 percentage points since July 2021.

Labor force trends and highlights:

  • The national workforce was unchanged over the month, a change comparable to the minor statewide workforce increase of 0.1 percent since June.
  • Michigan’s over-the-year total unemployment reduction of 32.4 percent was slightly below the unemployment decrease observed nationally (-34.6 percent).
  • The July statewide labor force participation rate of 60.1 percent was unchanged over the month. Michigan’s employment-population ratio edged up by one-tenth of a percentage point to 57.6 percent. Both July 2022 measures remained below their February 2020 values (61.1 percent and 58.8 percent, respectively).

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate receded over the month to 4.1 percent. Decreases in the Detroit metro area’s employment and unemployment totals over the month resulted in a workforce drop of 9,000 since June.

The Detroit metro area unemployment rate fell by 2.5 percentage points over the year. Employment rose by 63,000, and total unemployment was reduced by 52,000 since July 2021.

According to the monthly survey of employers, Michigan seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs advanced by 26,000, or 0.6 percent, between June and July, resulting in a payroll job total of 4,349,000. Job gains occurred throughout multiple industry sectors over the month.

Genisys Credit Union Reaches $3 Billion in Loan Balances

Genisys Credit Union in Auburn Hills has reached $3 billion in personal and business loans.

“Since its start, the credit union has had many reasons to celebrate, but what is at the heart of what we do and most worth celebrating, are our members,” says Jackie Buchanan, president and CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “The foundation of Genisys is rooted in our members and without their support, we would not be where we are today. I would like to thank each and every one of them for allowing us the opportunity to make a positive difference in their lives.”

The credit union offers an easy loan process featuring online applications and lending representatives that work to get members the best rates possible. With a variety of personal and business loans such as Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, commercial mortgages, auto and personal loans, and more, the credit union says it upholds the vitality of its local communities and members by investing in their financial futures in both times of uncertainty and prosperity.

Troy’s NBS Commercial Interiors is Renson Dealer Partner

NBS Commercial Interiors in Troy has announced that it now is a premier dealer partner for Renson in Michigan. Renson is a worldwide pioneer in outdoor living concepts out of Belgium.

Renson’s outdoor structures are characterized by their durability, quality, and design. NBS’s expertise in integrating and creating workplace interiors now can be taken to the outdoors, offering “unique destination spaces that can be enjoyed all year round.”

In recognition of the new partnership, NBS will be constructing a new patio space at its Troy headquarters with a Renson pergola, outdoor furniture, and technology.

For more information, visit yournbs.com.

Inc. Includes Birmingham’s OneStream on List of Fastest Growing Companies

Birmingham-based corporate performance management solutions provider OneStream has been ranked No. 4,178 among the fastest-growing companies in the 2022 Inc. 5000 list from Inc. magazine. This is the seventh consecutive year the company has been recognized on the list, which represents the most successful private companies with a proven track record of growth.

“It is an honor to be recognized on the Inc. 5000 list for the seventh consecutive year,” says Tom Shea, CEO at OneStream. “This award is a testament to our mission of delivering 100 percent customer success as we empower companies with actionable data and insights to navigate through economic uncertainty.

“OneStream’s unified platform streamlines complex financial process across financial close, planning, reporting, and analysis, providing business leaders with the agility to rapidly make critical business decisions and the flexibility to support long-term enterprise growth.”

OneStream continues to build on its growth and global expansion with the opening of its new global headquarters facility in Birmingham earlier this month. Its midyear results reflected $250 million in annual recurring revenue, up more than 60 percent year over year. The company also announced that more than 100 new customers signed in the second quarter of 2022, with over 1,000 customers globally.

Verge.io Unveils Shared, Virtualized GPU Computing to Cut Complexity and Cost

Verge.io in Ann Arbor, which says it offers a simpler way to virtualize data centers, has added new features to its Verge-OS software to give users the performance of GPUs as virtualized, shared resources.

This creates a “cost-effective, simple, and flexible way” to perform GPU-based machine learning, remote desktop, and other compute-intensive workloads within an agile, scalable, secure Verge-OS virtual data center.

Verge-OS abstracts compute, network, and storage from commodity servers and creates pools of raw resources that are simple to run and manage, creating feature-rich infrastructures for environments and workloads like clustered HPC in universities, ultra-converged, and hyperconverged enterprises, DevOps and Test/Dev, compliant medical and healthcare, remote and edge compute including VDI, and xSPs offering hosted services including private clouds.

Current methods for deploying GPUs systemwide are complex and expensive, especially for remote users. Rather than supplying GPUs throughout the organization, Verge.io allows users and applications with access to a virtual data center to share the computing resources of a single GPU-equipped server. Users/administrators can ‘pass through’ an installed GPU to a virtual data center by simply creating a virtual machine with access to that GPU and its resources.

Alternatively, Verge.io can manage the virtualization of the GPU and serve up vGPUs to virtual data centers. This allows organizations to easily manage vGPUs on the same platform as all other shared resources.

According to Darren Pulsipher, Chief Solution Architect of Public Sector at Intel, “The market is looking for simplicity, and Verge-OS is like an ‘Easy Button’ for creating a virtual cloud that is so much faster and easier to set up than a private cloud. With Verge-OS, my customers can migrate and manage their data centers anywhere and upgrade their hardware with zero downtime.”

“The ability to deploy GPU in a virtualized, converged environment, and access that performance as needed, even remotely, radically reduces the investment in hardware while simplifying management,” said Verge.io CEO Yan Ness. “Our users are increasingly needing GPU performance, from scientific research to machine learning, so vGPU and GPU Passthrough are simple ways to share and pool GPU resources as they do with the rest of their processing capabilities.”

Verge-OS is an ultra-thin software—less than 300,000 lines of code—that is easy to install and scale on low-cost commodity hardware and self-manages based on AI/ML. A single license replaces separate hypervisor, networking, storage, data protection, and management tools to simplify operations and downsize complex technology stacks.

Secure virtual data centers based on Verge-OS include all enterprise data services like global deduplication, disaster recovery, continuous data protection, snapshots, long-distance synch, and auto-failover. They are ideal for creating honeypots, sandboxes, cyber ranges, air-gapped computing, and secure compliance enclaves to meet regulations such as HIPAA, CUI, SOX, NIST, and PCI. Nested multi-tenancy gives service providers, departmental enterprises, and campuses the ability to assign resources and services to groups and sub-groups.

Currently Verge.io supports NVIDIA Tesla and Ampere cards; additional licenses must be purchased for vGPU capability.

For a complete list of enhancements please visit here.

C3Summit at Lawrence Tech to Feature Top Energy Speakers

 Michigan’s cleantech leaders will gather from 1 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at The Mint Conference Center, 27000 Evergreen Road in Lathrup Village, for a C3 Summit, focused on climate technology.

The C3 Summit, powered by the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, showcases industry leaders and delivers details on the changing landscape of cleantech innovation and funding opportunities. It represents cleantech, climatech, and circular economy businesses involved in products or services that improve operational performance, productivity, or efficiency, while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, and pollution.

David Howell, acting director and principal deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Manufacturing and Supply Chain and the Office of Vehicle Technologies, will participate in a keynote discussion with Ashley Grosh, vice president, Breakthrough Energy Fellows, moderated by Dan Radomski, executive director of the Centrepolis Accelerator.

“More money is being invested in cleantech than ever before,” Radomski says. “We’re electrifying our communities and it’s not just electric vehicles. It’s transportation, buildings, and the manufacturing sector. As we add more renewable energy such as wind and solar power and we simultaneously electrify vehicles, buildings, and manufacturing equipment, this enables net-zero emissions.”

Other event highlights include:

  • A pitch competition for $75,000 in cash. Prizes will be awarded for best early stage and growth stage companies, runners up, and a people’s choice award.
  • Additional speakers, including:
  • Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)
  • David Terry, executive director, National Association of State Energy Officials
  • Zach Kolodin, chief infrastructure officer, Office of the Governor
  • Richard Ramirez, head of innovation and technology corporate social responsibility, DTE Energy
  • Brandon Hofmeister, senior vice president of governmental, regulatory, and public affairs, Consumers Energy
  • More than 30 exhibitors, including this year’s pitching companies, ventures who pitched in our inaugural C3 Showcase last year, and other prominent Michigan-based cleantech, climatech, and circular economy companies making a positive impact on climate.

For more information or to register to attend the C3 Summit, visit here.

Rochester’s Art & Apples Festival Ranks Among Nation’s Best

Rochester’s Paint Creek Center for the Arts (PCCA) announced that its Art & Apples Festival has landed on the Top 20 Fine Art and Design festival listings for 2021 by Sunshine Artist magazine. It is the only Michigan art festival in that category.

The publication also lists the festival ninth for the decade of 2010–2020.

“This ranking is welcome news as we head into the final stretch of preparing for the 56th annual Art & Apples Festival, which is drawing artists from 23 states this year,” says Shaun Hayes, executive director of PCCA. “Michigan has several outstanding art festivals, and for Art & Apples to lead the pack nationally is gratifying.”

Sunshine Artist’s 200 Best focuses solely on artist show revenue because that is the most objective indicator of a show’s future success. This year’s list reflects the most profitable art and craft festivals in the country based on artists’ reported sales in 2021. Art & Apples has been included in the top 200 since 2016.

The Art & Apples Festival runs Sept. 9–11, and brings together a juried group of more than 230 artists and artisans along with an expected 80,000 attendees to Rochester Municipal Park near downtown Rochester for a three-day celebration of fine art. A variety of media will be showcased including drawing, painting, digital art, clay, jewelry, 2- and 3-D mixed media, wearable and non-wearable fiber, wood, glass, sculpture, metalsmithing, printmaking, photography, and leather.

For more information, visit here.