Automation Alley opens Product Lifecycle Management Center at Oakland University

TROY, Mich., Feb. 20, 2014 — Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced the opening of the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center at Oakland University, Feb. 20, at an exclusive event attended by media and technology business leaders from across the region. The center will address the tremendous need in Southeast Michigan for affordable training and certification of local employees, students and individuals in product lifecycle management (PLM).

Located inside OU INC, a SmartZone business accelerator on the campus of Oakland University, the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center – in partnership with Siemens, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Geometric Solutions, solidThinking, Inc. and Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science – will offer affordable training and PLM certification using cutting-edge equipment and software, including computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM), as well as other state-of-the-art PLM technologies including digital factory simulation, 3D scanning and 3D printing.

“Ultimately, we want Southeast Michigan to be known as a center of excellence for PLM — meaning a place where people from all over the country can come to find PLM expertise, talent and resources. And we can’t do that on our own. That’s why we’re partnering with businesses, schools, and experts to help us make this vision a reality,” said Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center.

In addition, the center will help to grow the talent pipeline for Michigan’s small to medium-sized manufacturers. A consulting and technical services program will help companies move from traditional design and manufacturing methods to the latest in digital processes. And a matching program will create an education pipeline, pairing job seekers and students trained in PLM with local manufacturing companies interested in hiring interns and employees.

“Our desire for the center is to educate the workforce in order to better serve industry. And what better place to do that than here, in such close proximity to both the educators and the industry? What better place to explore innovative new technologies than in this historic, collaborative space?” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Michael Grieves, international PLM expert, author and educator; Matt Greene, vice president, global marketing at Siemens PLM; Dr. Jim Lentini, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost of Oakland University; Dr. Louay Chamra, dean of Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science; Jim Hassberger, president of solidThinking, Inc.; Tom Gaunt, managing director of sales at Geometric Solutions; Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley; and Alex Violassi, director of the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center. The event featured a tour of the facility and live demonstrations of 3D printing and scanning equipment.

Also in attendance was special guest Tom LaSorda, founder of IncWell and former CEO of Chrysler. A longtime supporter of Automation Alley, LaSorda made a generous donation to the organization for the purchase of several 3D printers for the Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center.

PLM is the process of managing the lifecycle of a product from its conception and design, through manufacture, to service and disposal. It integrates people, data, processes and business systems and is a vital process for all digital design and manufacturing of the future. PLM technologies can improve and optimize a company’s productivity and methodologies by making complex processes more cohesive, streamlined and simplified. In doing so, a higher quality product can be brought to market faster and at a less expensive price point, creating less waste and generating higher profits for major manufacturing industries.

The Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center is located at One Golfview Lane, Rochester, MI 48309. To learn more about the center, contact Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center Director Alex Violassi at (248) 648-4701 or

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper.

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region.

Automation Alley provides a variety of exclusive benefits to its members to help them succeed, including networking opportunities, meeting space and public relations tools. Automation Alley also serves the general business community in four key areas: entrepreneurial services, talent development, international business services, and defense and manufacturing.

Automation Alley collaborates with regional partners to provide its members and clients with the best business resources available, to drive local economic growth, and to positively influence the stories being told around the globe about the people and businesses of Greater Detroit.

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