Tue, 29 March 2011
John Harding, Founder and Chief Executive of Current Motor Company, talks with Larry Eiler of Eiler Communications on another edition of ReNew Michigan. Current Motor is develops and manufactures all-electric motor scooters in Ann Arbor, Michigan filling an un-met need for electric vehicles (EV). Larry and John discuss the growth of the scooter manufacturer from a personal passion in 2007 to a company eyeing international markets.
After purchasing and upgrading his own electric scooter in 2007, John encountered a curious customer base leading to a more robust operation in the founding of Current Motor in 2008. Since then, the company has focused on an audience of Green interests, similar to the mindset of Ford Prius owners. Current Motor offers motor-scooters that can be recharged with a regular household outlet. Currently offered scooters include three distance and mileage ranges:
John points to two major factors propelling the EV market in years to come. The first being technological innovations. And the second factor coming in the form of lowered prices stemming from these innovations. As John tells us, the last big push for EV came in the early 1990's, but a great deal of development has occurred since then making EV a more realistic option in today's market.
Current Motor's success, like many smart business ideas in Ann Arbor and Southeastern Michigan, found support in the growing venture capital community. John points out that businesses like his must be "ready when the wave comes". As you'll find in today's podcast, the wave is closer than many think.
Thanks for listening. For more info on Current Motor Company, Ann Arbor's Venture Capital Community or Eiler Communications, click the links below:
Thu, 24 March 2011
In this very special edition of ReNew Michigan, Larry welcomes esteemed business journalist Andy Chapelle to the show for a conversation with Jeff Burnstein and Brian Huse of the Robotics Industries Association (RIA). Mr. Chapelle, a Senior Associate at Eiler Communications, has served many roles in the Detroit business community. As the current Managing Editor at Crain's Detroit Business Review, he is close to the growth in the robotics industry. Mr. Burnstein, IRA President and Mr. Huse, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the IRA, talk with Larry and Andy on the subjects of robotics and the such an industry plays in the economic recovery not only of Michigan, but the nation as well.
In a spirited question and answer format, Burstein and Huse point out the success stories many of Michigan's robotics partners can draw from as our economy aspires to bring more jobs and benefits to the state's population. When the recession practically ended sales in the robotics industry, manufacturers and wholesalers had to adapt. Recent robotics trends are encouraging though, with a rebound occurring globally.
The RIA is primiarly a North American organization with 250 member companies, but as the discussion reveals, no country is out reach from the RIA's robotic arm. The association conducts business with manufacturers in Japan and Europe as well as other international operations. From March 21-24 the RIA is hosting Automate 2011, America's Broadest Automation Event. The convetion, to be held at McCormick Place in Chicago is intended to inspire US businesses to retain and reinvigorate America's job market; rather than outsourcing labor, the focus is placed on automating functions and procedures in exchange for adding full-time positions domestically.
Over Mr. Burnstein's 27 years involved in the RIA he has seen technology bring better, cheaper, faster products to market. This edition of ReNew Michigan closes with an encouraging look foward. With the economy starting to turn, he and the RIA are excited for the years to come.
Find more information at the following links:
Thu, 10 March 2011
The concept of economic gardening is gaining momentum across the state of Michigan thanks to the hard work of many individuals, many of whom have appeared on past editions of ReNew Michigan with Larry Eiler. Today Larry welcomes Dr. Graham Toft and Michael Rogers to continue the discussion on economic gardening within Michigan. The conversation also covers the annual Score Card the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) releases each year.
Dr. Toft is a strategic planner and primary figure in Michigan's economic recovery due to his role with SBAM and the economic Score Card the organization assembles yearly. Dr. Toft outlines the purpose of the Score Card, tying the evaluation to the concept of gardening; SBAM assesses the resources, capital and business conditions like a gardener considering a plot of soil.
Michael Rogers, the Vice President of Communications with SBAM, explains how the Score Card is disseminated throughout the state and how its findings help decision makers propel the state’s recovery. According to Rogers, whereas legislators and government officials once found the negative scores upsetting, they now see the evaluation as a means to an end, implementing suggestions and correcting errors.
The conversation closes with a look at economic gardening’s rise from its roots in Littleton, Colorado to buzzword status amongst today’s business leaders. Many businesses remain uninformed on the basics of economic gardening. SBAM’s efforts strive to erase this uncertainty and fuel economic recovery.
Click here for SBAM's news release regarding the2011 Score Card, the organization's seventh edition of the report.