Category: Sponsor Content

How Many Engineers Does It Take To Serve A Cup Of Froyo?


For the end customer, the world’s first robotic frozen yogurt vending kiosk is pretty cool. You order by touchscreen, which triggers an animated video and launches a robotic arm that takes a cup, fills it with froyo and lathers it in your favorite topping.

You’re going to start seeing lots of Reis & Irvy’s robots in shopping mall food courts, movie theater lobbies, hospital cafeterias and other venues around Michigan and beyond.

“The show is a big part of the appeal,” said Elliott Potter, co-founder of Houston-based Rethink Motion, which designs the robotic arm that powers the Reis & Irvy’s machine. “There’s always a line of people watching the robot do its thing.”

What the customer doesn’t know is that it takes a lot of engineering expertise to make a cool gadget like a robotic froyo kiosk into a viable commercial product that operates at a price point people are willing to pay.

As former NASA engineers, Potter and fellow co-founder Aaron Hulse are working to commercialize the kind of technology they worked on in the space program. They know what they’re doing when it comes to robotics. They know how to program the touchscreen interface, for example, and they know how to design the printed circuit boards that control the robotic arm’s motors and sensors.

But even though Potter and Hulse can design the products and make them work, they aren’t experts on how to make the circuit boards inside those products inexpensive and efficient to mass-produce. So, they turn to an electronics contract manufacturer (CM) with a deep pool of its own engineering expertise for help.

“Beyond the bill of materials and some basic rules of thumb, it’s hard to know what makes a printed circuit board assembly expensive or cheap, so I rely on feedback from the engineers at Saline Lectronics to say ‘We can do this, but this thing that you’ve done adds 30 percent to the cost of the board,’” Potter said.

“I definitely rely on them to go over the design and say ‘Gosh, the pads on this sure are small’ or ‘Without thermal relief on these pads we may have assembly issues.’ Their input on this is critical in terms of commercial success.”

How many engineers does it take to serve a cup of froyo? The question may sound like the beginning of a joke, but the reality is the more engineering expertise you can devote to solving a problem the better. That’s especially true for an electronics CM.

Not every electronics CM staffs the same level of engineering knowledge and experience. Some CMs have a greater breadth and depth of engineering talent, and that has a big impact both on the customer’s experience and on the quality of the final PCBA or box build.

PCBAs and other electronic manufacturing projects require a team effort between multiple types of professional engineers, who each bring the unique perspective of their specialty to the table.

Here’s a look at several different types of engineers that a technically-proficient electronics CM should have on its team:

  • When a CM receives an order, like for a PCBA that enables a robotic hand to sense when it’s grasping a yogurt cup, a Pre-Production Engineer reviews the customer’s documentation and requirements during a “pre-release” meeting that involves the entire engineering team. This meeting should include electrical, chemical and mechanical engineers. The CM’s engineers evaluate the documentation — instead of blindly following it — and identify the unique demands of the PCBA, including any special processes and potential problems that might arise. Having engineers with excellence in a variety of fields enables the CM to develop the optimal manufacturing plan for turning out PCBAs that meet the customer’s needs.
  • Once a manufacturing plan with instructions for the build have been developed up front, a Component Engineer reviews the Bill of Materials and works with the Purchasing Department to get all the parts and specialty components necessary to complete the PCBA. With many parts in short supply these days, some CMs will come back to their customers and say “we can’t find these 10 parts, so please find alternatives.” But it’s a huge time saver for customers like Rethink Motion when their CM has the technical capability to say “we can’t find these 10 parts, so please approve these 10 alternatives.”
  • An Associate Engineer translates the customer’s documentation into the CM’s standardized work instructions that technicians will use to implement the manufacturing plan devised in the pre-release meeting. Once the project is released to the production floor, a variety of engineers work with technicians to ensure the assembly proceeds successfully:
  • Process Engineer monitors the manufacturing process, troubleshooting any issues and finding opportunities for improvement. This may require support from a chemical engineer for special processes like conformal coating or potting processes, for example, or from a mechanical engineer for electro-mechanical box build products. It’s helpful to have specialty engineering expertise in house to oversee manufacturing and communicate with customers.
  • Test Engineer works closely with the customer to develop cost-effective testing that validates the PCBA performs as it should. This can include an In-Circuit Test (ICT), Flying Probe or other functional testing that helps improve product quality.
  • Quality Engineer works on the production floor and watches the entire process like a hawk, taking notes and making tweaks to make sure that the finished PCBA meets the customer’s needs. This engineer also is responsible for documenting compliance with any special certification requirements such as ISO13485, for medical equipment, or AS9100, for aerospace equipment.

Check out this eBook to learn more about how proper engineering training, degrees and industry certifications directly affect an electronic CM’s ability to implement best practices and superior solutions.

A diverse pool of engineering expertise is necessary for an electronics CM to optimize circuit board design and the assembly process — so that the manufacture of PCBAs avoids time-consuming inefficiencies and costly mistakes so that products like a frozen yogurt vending machine can come to life.

“That’s really a huge added value, not just having these engineers on staff at Saline Lectronics but having them work with me,” Potter said.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

This Will Happen if You Shift 1 in 10 Online Purchases to a Local Retailer

By shifting just one of 10 online purchases back to a local retailer, Michigan residents can support more than 10,000 new jobs in the state and $1.2 billion in new economic activity.


You could maybe save a couple bucks by making your next purchase online. Or you could help generate $1.2 billion in new economic activity by buying from a local Michigan retailer.

New research finds that people in Michigan would benefit by much more than a couple bucks if they shift just one of every 10 online purchases back to a local retailer. That would create nearly 10,600 jobs and increase wages by $350 million, according to a study commissioned by the Michigan Retailers Association and conducted by Public Sector Consultants.


“Even a modest switch back to local purchasing could have a notable positive economic impact,” the study states. “Ultimately, this small change in purchasing behavior could mean a big economic impact for Michigan’s future.”

Nationwide, e-commerce sales have more than doubled over the past decade, from less than 4 percent of total retail sales in 2008 to around 10 percent today. In Michigan, residents last year spent an estimated $18.5 billion on off-site retail purchases either online or via catalog or TV shopping channels. That accounted for more than 13 percent of total retail sales in the state — nearly $1 of every $8 spent. And that ratio is much higher when taking groceries and gas out of the equation.

But while individual consumers might save a few dollars buying online, in no small part due to tax advantages for online sellers, there’s a downside to the trend: As more people shop online, the share of retail spending at brick-and-mortar stores in Michigan is falling, and local retailers and their employees are feeling the pinch.

The trend’s not only bad for Michigan businesses, but also for everybody in Michigan since retailers are big employers and economic contributors — accounting for nearly one-fifth of the state’s total economic activity. When Michigan’s retailers struggle, the entire state feels the pain.

“While the growth in remote sales has provided some consumer benefits, this growth has not come without costs,” the study states.

So, what can we do about it? The Michigan Retailers Association is responding to online trends with its Buy Nearby campaign, which encourages consumers to keep their shopping dollars in Michigan and educates them on the benefits of doing so.

Retailers in Michigan employ more than 877,000 people — about one of every five jobs in the state — and they pay those employees $21.6 billion per year in wages. In addition to jobs and pay for employees, Michigan retailers indirectly support additional jobs for people working in other sectors by buying goods and services such as cleaning services, security, legal, accounting and more.

The ultimate impact is significant: Between the direct and indirect jobs that retail supports, and the money that retail employees in turn spend, the study projects that Michigan would gain 10,578 new jobs and more than $350 million in new income if people shift just one of every 10 online purchases back to a local store. Economic activity would grow by $1.2 billion.

If people shifted even more of their shopping back to Michigan stores the impact would be even bigger. On the other hand, if people increasingly buy products online, people in other states and countries will benefit from Michigan dollars.

“Why would we not want that money to stay in Michigan? Our Buy Nearby campaign encourages people to be intentional about their purchasing habits,” said James P. Hallan, president and CEO of Michigan Retailers. “Think before you click: Can you easily find that same item at a store down the street?

“If it costs a bit more locally, isn’t it worth the customer service and expertise you receive with an in-store purchase? What would you do if that store closed because more dollars were being funneled to online competitors? Keep your money in the Mitten.”

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

How Apprenticeship Lands Student High-Tech Career, Debt-Free College Experience

KALAMAZOO — When Jarod VanDyken graduated from Kalamazoo Valley Community College with an associate degree in computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining last summer it was a worthwhile accomplishment, sure, but not at all unusual — even if CNC is hardly a household word.

No, the real feat here is that VanDyken already has a secure, high-paying job with an advanced manufacturing company — and his employer, Texas-based Flowserve Corp.’s Kalamazoo plant, completely paid for his education, meaning VanDyken has zero college debt.

“This worked out for me better than I could have ever possibly imagined,” said VanDyken, 26. “You’d never know that for four years, I sat in the back of classrooms at Kalamazoo Central High School and did next to nothing. I was the student that teachers warned other teachers about.”

VanDyken said he wasn’t unruly, but admits his laziness frustrated both his teachers and his parents. His disinterest kept him from applying himself in a manner that would allow him to thrive in the public education system, but he doesn’t blame the system. Rather, he takes full responsibility for his own actions — or lack thereof.

“I just didn’t want to do anything,” he said. “I guess you could say I had senioritis the first day of my freshman year and I never changed.”

Thanks to the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Jarod VanDyken was able to earn a debt-free college degree and now has a career with Flowserve, a high-tech manufacturing company in southwest Michigan. Courtesy photo.

Inspiring turnaround

But then VanDyken’s mother told him about the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program, the apprenticeship program developed by Michigan’s global industry leaders and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency. Now, as a graduate of the program, he’s on track for a long-term career with a wide range of upwardly mobile options.

“Everybody I trained with told me that I was probably going to be the head of a company someday soon,” VanDyken said. “I laughed at first, but when I kept hearing that — and when the other MATstudents told me they were hearing the same thing — I started to realize how incredible this program is. There really isn’t anyone else with this knowledge and skill set who’s as young as we are. One year of MATput me light-years ahead.”

He credits his parents, Mark and Julie VanDyken, for inspiring his transformation and is especially grateful to his mom for introducing him to MAT2.

“I’m lucky to have a great family. I finally realized it was important to me to live up to their expectations and uphold the standards they set,” VanDyken said. “My parents knew what I was capable of before I did. I owe them so much and I know I can never repay them, but I have goals to work toward now, and I know they’re proud of me for turning my life around.”

And their support included allowing him to live at home as he went through the program, although he’s not sure how much longer that will last.

“I can’t believe they put up with me this long, but I’m looking to move out sometime next year,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the time they gave me. Now that I have a good foundation of savings, I have more options of the type of home I want to start building my life in.”

MAThelps make it happen

VanDyken was taking classes as a part-time student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and working at a local greenhouse, when he was encouraged to apply for a MATapprenticeship in 2015 by his mom, who heard of the program through her job as a Flowserve purchasing agent.

KVCC is among four colleges in Michigan participating in the MAT2 program by recruiting students who are interested in earning a paycheck now while becoming the technical manufacturing leaders of the future. KVCC’s focus with MAT2 is addressing the need for high-tech workers in southwest Michigan, which expects to add almost 60 new jobs annually for employees trained in CNC machine tools, according to Sue Gardner, the college’s dean of business, industrial trades and public services.

“We want people to know an innovative new path exists in Michigan to obtain a tuition-free associate degree, paid for by a local employer, while getting on-the-job training with pay in a high-tech, in-demand field,” Gardner said.

Careers include work as CNC tool operators and process control technicians. Flowserve, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of industrial and environmental machinery, is among the employers that have successfully recruited and employed MATapprentices.

Get paid to go to school, earn a great job

Applying to MATis similar to applying for a job, and the MATapplication process is competitive. You need a resume and references, which students submit to participating MATemployers through the Pure Michigan Talent Connect site at

Students have the option of applying to all MATemployers throughout Michigan or just identifying those working in areas that are of interest, such as automotive, boating and aerospace, as well as other advanced manufacturing, research and design companies.

Once a MATemployer hires the student, students enroll at the corresponding college for the appropriate program and the employer pays the tuition. MAT2student-trainees rotate between attending classes and working at a company for the program’s first three years.

During the school periods, student-trainees receive a stipend from their employers, who pay for college tuition as well. In between those periods, students transition into apprentices who put their new skills into action at the worksite, along with earning a regular paycheck. Upon successful completion of the program in three years, the student-apprentices receive an associate degree and a full-time job with their employer.

‘The best decision I ever made’

“Applying for the MATapprenticeship with Flowserve is the best decision I ever made,” VanDyken said. “Plus, I’m extremely excited about everything I’m doing with the company. Flowserve’s business is going great, and with all the advancements being made in our industry we’re broadening our capabilities to meet the demands of our customers.”

VanDyken said he may pursue an advanced degree in either engineering or engineering management to give him more career options — paid for by Flowserve. He would encourage Kalamazoo-area high school students who are considering advanced manufacturing careers to explore the choices offered through MAT2.

“If anybody is even remotely considering this program, I’d say do it,” VanDyken said. “If it worked for me, it can work for anyone. I had no skills, I wasn’t good at math or science and I had terrible study habits. But they laid out all the information I needed in a way that allowed me to learn quickly and retain it.

“If you have any fears of learning something new, throw them out. MAT2 is set up to let you succeed in the greatest way possible.”

More information about MAT2 is available at

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

MSU Revolutionizing Future of Mobility Through Pioneering, Interdisciplinary Research

MSU researchers are leaders in the field of sensor fusion, using lidar measurements, advanced algorithms and high-resolution 3D maps to make automated vehicles smarter and safer.

With 60 lane-miles of roadways, more than 120 miles of sidewalk and nearly 40 traffic signals, Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing is not unlike many population centers across the country.

Except that MSU’s population includes hundreds of researchers driving the future of mobility with innovative, interdisciplinary work on how people will live and move in a connected world of automated vehicles and smart infrastructure.

The 5,200-acre MSU campus is transforming into a one-of-a-kind hub of mobility experimentation and innovation. With 8 square-miles of contiguous urban, suburban, industrial and rural zones, a highly-mobile student body and tens of thousands of visitors during football and basketball game days, the campus offers an unparalleled, self-contained ecosystem for research, development and real-world validation of emerging mobility technologies.

“This is a living, breathing test environment,” said Satish Udpa, MSU’s executive vice president for administrative services. “You’re talking about a city that’s 70,000 strong. This is a great opportunity.

“We are excited to showcase this holistic approach and invite partners to join us as we work to revolutionize the way people and goods move throughout the world.”

Faculty and students in MSU’s Connected and Autonomous Networked Vehicles for Active Safety, or CANVAS, program are at the cutting-edge of several technical aspects of self-driving cars including sensor fusion, which seamlessly merges multiple data streams to create a picture of the world that’s broader and more accurate than any single sense can provide.

Lidar detection technology captures a precise 3-D representation of MSU’s West Circle Drive during a data-gathering test drive with a driver behind the wheel.

Imagine you’re in a room with a crowd of people and the noise makes it difficult to hear. You’d probably lean on one of your other senses, such as your sight, to recognize that someone at the far end of the room is calling out to you. But what if you could sense what everybody else in the room is seeing and hearing, and what if even the walls of the room could give you information?

MSU is developing exactly that capability for automated vehicles by fusing traditional radars, laser radars – or lidars – visible and infrared camera views, computer software and artificial intelligence algorithms to integrate the vehicle with its environment. Together, the technologies give self-driving cars better situational awareness than humans could ever have, reducing the risk of vehicle error.

“Think of it as a superhuman level of perception,” said John Verboncoeur, associate dean for research in MSU’s College of Engineering.

Sensor fusion is just one of many ways MSU is leveraging expertise across a range of disciplines to make human mobility safer, smarter and more connected.

  • Self-powered energy-harvesting sensors installed on the Mackinac Bridge for structural health monitoring could also be installed in street pavement where they can send signals that let automated vehicles “see” where the road lanes and markings are — even if the pavement is covered in snow. The sensors would allow automated vehicles to operate safely even when visibility is dramatically limited. They also are designed to communicate issues with infrastructure, such as potholes or damaged bridges, so city leaders are aware of construction needs and dangerous roadways.

“You cannot have a smart city without smart infrastructure,” said Nizar Lajnef, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at MSU.

Because much of the country’s road system is off the grid, powering sensors is a challenge. But the sensors developed at MSU convert the vibrations of passing vehicles into an electric charge that will keep them communicating for the entire life of the roadway.

  • Biometrics technology that MSU developed for facial recognition software used by law enforcement also may prove handy for automated vehicles by allowing the car to recognize who is occupying it. For one, that could prevent theft. It also could be used to set up different sets of rules for different users.

“When your teenage kid gets in the car, they’re capped with a certain speed limit,” Verboncoeur said. “They can’t take it to the beach during school. Maybe they can only use it at certain times of the day.”

  • MSU’s expertise in wireless communications and electromagnetics is being used to develop lidar technology and high-frequency radar that provides automated vehicles with machine vision, or high-tech eyes. The lidar detection technology captures a precise 3-D view of the travel environment, while the radar can quickly identify both stationary and moving objects — even in fog or snow.

Combined with advanced algorithms, automated vehicles use lidar and high-frequency radar to make predictions for how objects in the travel environment will behave and then maneuver safely through the landscape.

“Humans make errors. Their attention is limited, their vision is limited,” Verboncoeur said. “A machine can continuously look 360 degrees around.”

MSU is developing technology that enables automated vehicles to identify objects in the travel environment and make predictions for how those objects will behave

Take all that brainpower and apply it to the MSU campus, and the entire landscape becomes a real-life lab for development, testing and validation of automated and connected vehicle technologies. For example, MSU is planning to use automated snow plows, dubbed snow-bots, to clear snow from sidewalks and pedestrian walkways, and robo-mowers will be tested on the university’s two golf courses. Plus, an automated transport shuttle will debut on campus in the spring.

Already, high-definition cameras are positioned above campus intersections to collect terabytes of data that can be used to optimize traffic flow and synchronize traffic signals. Sensors are being installed so automated vehicles can communicate both with the street infrastructure and with each other, making it possible for automated vehicles to share data with each other and with the roadway.

An entire section of campus, the Spartan Mobility Village, will soon be the home of MSU’s mobility labs where roadways and parking lots can be closed so researchers can put training wheels on emerging automated vehicle technologies and put them to the test in all-season conditions.

Lessons learned at MSU will be applicable to urban, suburban, industrial and rural settings across the country, regardless of weather and congestion.

“Spartan Mobility Village is going to be a real-live test bed, so we can try out technologies before releasing them to the larger campus,” said Leo Kempel, dean of MSU’s College of Engineering.

Michigan was the birthplace of the automobile and now the state is transforming into the mobility capital of the world.  MSU’s holistic, interdisciplinary approach will help insure mobility will be a boon to Michigan’s economy in the future.

“If you look at who supplies more engineers to the state’s workforce, it’s Michigan State University,” Verboncoeur said. “Having the research and development here eventually turns into the talent, which goes out to the companies of Michigan and applies that new technology.

“We have a competitive advantage in some of these areas. We certainly have the lead.”


The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry Took Guests Around the World and Beyond in 2018

It’s only eight miles to Mackinac Island from the Shepler’s ferry dock in Mackinaw City, and even fewer than that for passengers departing from the other side of the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace. Yet, when you shuttle Mackinac visitors back and forth throughout the spring, summer and fall, the mileage starts to add up.

During the 2018 season from late April through October, Shepler’s made thousands of round trips from the mainland to Mackinac. The total distance for all those ferry trips? More than 102,000 miles.

That’s the equivalent of going around the world four times! Or about half the distance that Apollo 11 traveled to reach the moon nearly 50 years ago!

Were you along for the ride in 2018?

Even though it’s been less than a month since the 2018 Mackinac ferry season ended, it’s already time for the holidays. The days are counting down to Christmas, and the clock is ticking down to Shepler’s 2019 opening day, too. There are less than 150 days until the new Mackinac ferry season starts April 21!

You can get a jump on 2019 travel to Mackinac by taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials available this week as Shepler’s gives thanks for a great 2018. Use the promo code blackfriday18 to get $6 off regular adult round-trip tickets purchased here on Friday, Nov. 23, or Saturday, Nov. 24. Tickets are good anytime during the 2019 season, from April 21 through Oct. 31.

Then, on Cyber Monday, you can get bonus bucks on gift cards. For every $50 gift card purchased here on Monday, Nov. 26, you get an extra $10 for free. The gift cards can be used for Shepler’s rides anytime over the next five years.

Here are some more fun facts about Shepler’s 73rd season ferrying visitors back and forth to Mackinac:

  • Shepler’s ferries made 7,290 trips to the island — nearly 40 trips per day over the course of the season.
  • Shepler’s ferries traveled 102,060 miles, which is enough to circle each of the five Great Lakes 10 times, cross the Pacific Ocean 20 times or span the Atlantic Ocean nearly 30 times.
  • In addition to ferry rides to Mackinac, Shepler’s took 100,000 guests under the Mackinac Bridge on cruises around the Straits of Mackinac to see lighthouses, the sparkling northern Michigan night sky or Fourth of July fireworks.

Looking ahead to 2019, Shepler’s 74th season will open on Sunday, April 21, with a 7:30 a.m. Easter morning shuttle. In the meantime, remodeling of the Shepler’s dock on Mackinac continues and several other improvements are in the works including parking upgrades in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.
You can stay updated on the Shepler’s Facebook page and start saving on a 2019 trip to Mackinac with these great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Offers Breakthrough Treatment for Emphysema

In a breakthrough for patients suffering from severe emphysema, Metro Health — University of Michigan Health has become one of the first West Michigan health systems to offer a new, minimally-invasive procedure that offers hope for better breathing, without the risk of major surgery.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with emphysema, a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The condition makes it difficult to breathe as air sacs in the lungs are damaged.

The most common cause of COPD is smoking, but other risk factors include secondhand smoke and environmental conditions. The American Lung Association estimates that in Kent County alone 40,557 adults suffer from COPD.

In Kent County alone more than 40,000 adults suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Patients with severe emphysema can feel as though they are fighting to survive day to day instead of living their lives to the fullest. They may struggle to move around the house or complete daily tasks, and leaving the home can be tiresome and frightening. Some patients are connected to supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day.

Many patients can be treated with medication, pulmonary rehabilitation or supplemental oxygen, but if those treatments don’t work, major surgery is their only option. During surgery, damaged lung tissue may be removed or, in the most severe cases, a lung transplant is needed.

In June, the Zephyr™ Valve became the first minimally invasive device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating patients with severe emphysema.

The Zephyr™ Valve procedure is a 30 to 60 minute process where the doctor uses a bronchoscope, a tiny tube with a camera, to place small valves in airways. This allows parts of the patient’s lungs to expand, lifting pressure off the diaphragm and helping to ease breathing.

“Metro Health — University of Michigan Health is proud to pioneer this groundbreaking treatment for qualifying patients in West Michigan,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, Metro Health President and CEO. “As a pulmonologist,

Dr. Mounir Ghali

I have seen firsthand the debilitating effects on patients who have difficulty breathing. The new procedure offers hope of improved lung function and a better quality of life.”

In its Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data report, the FDA wrote: “This device offers a significant clinically meaningful advantage over the current standard of care and therefore its ability is also in the best interest of patients.”

Metro Health has identified several patients who are candidates for the Zephyr™ Valve procedure. The first procedure will be performed by Dr. Mounir Ghali, interventional pulmonologist.

Metro Health’s highly-qualified team of pulmonologists have trained in some of the most prestigious institutions across the country.

“I believe we have the best clinical pulmonology program, perhaps in the state,” Dr. Hahn said. “We are providing patients with an option for treating the most advanced lung conditions.”

If you are suffering from lung or respiratory conditions or want to learn more about the Zephyr™ Valve procedure, call Metro Health’s pulmonary specialists at 616-252-5220 or visit

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Ready to Spend a Day in Port Huron?

Port Huron’s historic downtown and the beautiful views of Lighthouse Park set the stage for another look at Michigan’s unique retailers with MLive’s Nick Behling.

Nick explores the huge inventory of instruments at Hanson Pro Music with the shop’s owner, Eric Hanson, who explains that he enjoys helping budding musicians find just the right piece of equipment. He then settles in and gets comfortable at the Raven Cafe while enjoying a great sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Follow along with the Michigan Retailers Association and Nick to discover what makes Michigan unique, while remembering to buy nearby as local stores and restaurants employ more than 800,000 people across our state.

Stay with us for more Michigan’s Best adventures as Nick and the team uncover can’t-miss locations around the Mitten.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

Bike Safety: Why Road Signs Apply to You Too, Cyclists

Driving Change is now entering its third summer of improving road relationships between motorists and bicyclists in Grand Rapids and aiming to keep everyone safe on our roads.

Road Relationship Counselor Dr. Susan Wheeler has taken some of the most popular questions about our ordinances and safety tips and provided practical advice to help you remember how you can do your part to keep everyone safe on our roads.

In this episode, Dr. Wheeler shares one motorist’s question, demonstrating how important it is for bicyclists to also follow the same rules of the road as motorists, including stopping at all stop signs and red lights. Not only is it the law, but it also helps motorists know what to expect from quick-moving bicycles so they can keep their distance.

Together, we can work to improve our road relationships and drive change in Grand Rapids.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.

After the Holiday’s These People Will Still Need Your Help

It’s a conversation with Roy that sticks in Lisa Church’s mind, that compels her to keep helping senior citizens even now that he is gone.

Church was visiting Roy, delivering a Senior Grocery Box from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to his home, when the 40-year Coast Guard veteran living with diabetes explained how it was too expensive for him to buy hand sanitizer needed to clean his skin before checking his blood sugar levels.

“I went to deliver the grocery box and we were sitting there talking and he was saying how astounded he was when he went to the pharmacy for a bottle of hand sanitizer and found that it cost almost $5,” said Church, owner of Alternative Elderly Care, a home health care service that works with the Food Bank to distribute the grocery boxes. “He couldn’t believe it.

“I probably have $5 in change sitting in my purse. Five dollars doesn’t mean a lot to me, but it means everything to these seniors.”

Roy has passed away, but his plight lives on in the challenging financial situations faced by many older people throughout Michigan. Between housing rent, utility bills and medications, it’s difficult for many seniors to find money for one of the most basic human needs: food.

The 50-pound Senior Grocery Box contains non-perishable staples of a healthy diet including canned goods, rice, cereal and seasonal fresh produce along with household hygiene items.

That’s where the Senior Grocery Box comes in. For less than $5 per week — a total of $200 per year — you can provide a 50-pound box of food each month to an elderly neighbor in need in your community. For less than $5 per week, you can make a lasting, positive impact on someone who lives right in your community.

“Every little bit helps,” Church said. “Most of the individuals in our program have an income level of under $1,000 a month, and that’s expected to be able to pay their bills (including rent).

“We’ve delivered to homes that don’t have heat, don’t have appliances. These individuals don’t have access to a vehicle, they don’t have the option to go to soup kitchens or food pantries, and they definitely can’t afford the grocery delivery services that are popping up. A lot of them don’t have families to step up and help, either. For some of them, the box is all they have.”

The Food Bank’s Senior Grocery Box program involves hundreds of local agencies such as Alternative Elderly Care that deliver the food to seniors each month. The 50-pound boxes contain many non-perishable staples of a healthy diet including cereals, canned goods, beans, rice, soup, dehydrated milk, pancake mix, snacks, cookies and seasonal fresh produce as well as household hygiene items such as toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

The Food Bank each year serves more than 331,000 people across a 22-county area from Flint north to the Mackinac Bridge through a variety of programs. In 2017, those programs distributed 28 million pounds of food, including 11 million pounds of fresh produce.

The need for Food Bank services is great throughout Michigan, where 1.4 million people live in poverty including 9 percent of residents age 65 and up, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate is even higher in the areas served by the Food Bank: Bay County, 15 percent; Saginaw County, 17 percent; Genesee County, 18 percent; Flint, 39 percent.

The need tends to increase in the winter, when utility costs typically rise. Natural gas bills are expected to increase by 5 percent this heating season due to higher prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s about $30 more, on average, than last winter.

For $200 per year — less than $5 per week — a grocery box from the Food Bank can ease financial stress for seniors and give them the food they need without requiring them to choose between medicine, heat or lights. Please donate now.

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Brownfield Flip for Grand Rapids Downtown Market

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality provided financial incentives and technical assistance to help the City of Grand Rapids clean up and safely reuse a contaminated property that had been populated with blighted manufacturing buildings and warehouses. The area is now home to the city’s Downtown Market, a collection of food vendors, restaurants, demonstration kitchens and a greenhouse in an inviting, environmentally friendly building.

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More information on other Brownfield Flip projects is available at,,4561,7-135-3311_29262—,00.html.

The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.