Monroe County is Focused On the Future!

On October 30, we entertained over 70 guests at our annual fall event, Focus On The Future! Thanks to everyone who presented and participated in making this event a success.

Lynette Dowler, DTE Energy Foundation & MCCC Chairperson and Joseph Connors, Monroe Plumbing & Heating

Thomas Kelly, Automation Alley


Reprinted from Monroe News
Reported by Blake Bacho
November 1, 2018

Thomas Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley, says the State of Michigan is in an ideal situation as the world heads into a fourth industrial revolution.

“All the tools and assets are in place,” Kelly said. “We just need a mindset shift.”

Kelly was the keynote speaker at Tuesday night’s Focus on the Future event at Monroe County Community College.

The event, which was hosted by the Monroe County Business Development Corp., also included a Monroe County Link update from Tim Lake of the BDC, as well as an announcement of a new joint project from MCCC and Eastern Michigan University and the awarding of the 2018 College Supporter of the Year Award.

“We’ve been doing this for a

Dr. Lewis Hershey, Eastern Michigan University

Tim Lake, Monroe County Business Development Corporation

few years and it works great,” Lake said of the multifaceted event. “It gets you a little better meal and one less meeting you have to go to.”

Kelly focused his “Industry

Dr. Kojo Quartey, Monroe County Community College & BDC Board Member

4.0” presentation on the ways businesses can evolve and adapt to better handle changes in technology.

He explained how humans have benefited from the first three industrial revolutions — the first being steam, the second the assembly line and electricity and the third robotics and computers.

“With the fourth industrial revolution, this really changes everything about what we know,” Kelly said. “It’s going to lead to massive changes in how work gets done at the factory, and it’s going to be a threat to our communities because we are Industry 2.0 and 3.0. And 4.0 is about a digital overlay of all the physical things we know and understand in the world.”

Automation Alley is a nonprofit manufacturing and technology business association that offers a variety of programs to Michigan businesses, schools and government in an attempt to grow the local economy and encourage innovation.

Kelly cautioned that Industry 4.0 is not something that will affect only one industry.

“It’s happening in construction, it’s happening in agriculture, it’s happening in retail,” he said. “Every industry in your community will be touched and impacted by Industry 4.0, and we have to decide as a community: Are we going to embrace that? Are we going to view it as an opportunity, or are we going to view it as a threat and try to push it out?

“You have to move forward. The world has changed on us.”

In keeping with the evening’s theme of looking to the future, MCCC and EMU announced a multi-step project that aims to better promote and streamline the two schools’ existing transfer program in supply chain management.

Paul Knollman, dean of the business division at MCCC, explained that there have been articulation agreements between MCCC and EMU for decades.

“We have a great relationship and we articulate in all sorts of areas, from the industrial technology areas, to health care areas, to everything within the business department,” Knollman said. ” We articulate smoothly — students can earn up to 82 credits towards their 124 in many situations.

“We’re proud to announce tonight that we’re going to be expanding our marketing effort and increasing promotion, specifically due to some gentle nudging from our friends at the BDC, in the areas of supply chain management and logistics.”

In addition to the marketing efforts, both schools have pledged to offer additional courses and eliminate some of what Dr. Lewis Hershey, department head and professor of marketing at EMU, called “completely unnecessary” obstacles to transferring from the community college to Eastern.

“If a student takes marketing principals (at MCCC), currently it doesn’t transfer because it’s a junior level course up (at EMU) and a sophomore level course here,” Hershey said. “But it’s a requirement, and apparently department heads have a certain level of discretion in this area and can say, ‘You know, I see the book you use, I talked with the faculty that taught you and I don’t think you need to take that course twice.’ “So we waived the requirement and one obstacle goes away. We’re going to build on that sort of thing one piece at a time.”

EMU also will open its introductory supply chain management course — a junior level class — online to a limited number of MCCC students.

And the community college hopes to put together some 100and 200- level courses on their campus that would award students a certificate in transportation logistics and supply chain management upon completion of the program.

“It’s a natural partnership of culture and shared values,” Hershey said. ” When we’re done, a student starts here as a freshman and is going to be co- mingled with the registration process at Eastern Michigan University … It’s going to be the first two years here, the next two years at EMU…

“It’s exciting stuff, and something we can sell.”

Monroe Plumbing, CFO named College Supporter of Year

The 2018 College Supporter of the Year Award was presented to Monroe Plumbing & Heating Co. and its chief financial officer, Joseph Connors, at Tuesday’s Focus on the Future event at Monroe County Community College.

MCCC and Monroe Plumbing & Heating have had a longstanding relationship. Over the past six years the company worked on two projects at the school; the Career Technology Center and the campuswide geothermal HVAC renovation project.

“Fifty years ago the original MCCC campus, mechanically, was built by Monroe Plumbing,” Connors said. “It lasted a long time, so those guys did a great job. The college took care of that equipment … When we did the geothermal project we replaced a lot of that equipment and I got to see the quality of that work.

“That’s a tribute to them, the people that proceeded me and are at Monroe Plumbing today, and the college for taking care of it all these years. I’m glad they finally got some new stuff.”

After the completion of the Career Technology Center in 2013, Monroe Plumbing donated $10,000 to The Foundation at MCCC’s capital campaign. The company donated another $20,000 upon completion of the geothermal project.

“When you think about it, the most precious resource in the world is not gold, or oil, or fertile farmland, or cold water,” Connors said. “It’s an educated, free human being … That’s why this college is such an asset to the community and needs to be supported and treasured.”