2016 Annual Meeting

2016 Annual Meeting

May 16, 2016
10:00am – 1:30pm

Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest
1275 S Huron St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Map

On Monday, May 16, 2016 Ann Arbor SPARK celebrated 11 years of making the Ann Arbor region an area of innovation. The event featured a keynote by University of Michigan president Dr. Mark S. Schlissel who discussed the impact of the University on the region’s economy. To hear more, listen to Paul Krutko, President and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, interview Mark Schlissel during a recent SPARK CEO podcast.

“When we look at the bigger economic picture, the signs of our progress are undeniable,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “The creation of jobs and investment are clear indicators of growth, but the truly exciting story lies in our future potential. Collaboration around the American Center for Mobility puts us on the leading edge of automotive technology research and development. Regional business leaders have come together to imagine Ann Arbor in 2030 and are committed to making that vision a reality. Startups and established businesses alike have established roots and are growing in Ann Arbor, and SPARK will continue support their growth.”  SPARK also provided a recap of economic development milestones achieved in the last year:

  • Business attraction and retention of 37 successful projects, resulting in $130 million in new investment commitments and 891 jobs announced in the region
  • Assistance to 266 startups, and incubation of 77 startup companies

Congratulations Chair Award Winners

Entrepreneurial Services Company of the Year


Sakti3 is developing advanced, all solid state batteries to replace existing storage technology in a wide range of products. Sakti3 has already demonstrated double the energy density of the present tech in its small prototypes – along with unparal- leled safety. Sakti3 is backed by dozens of patents, and a technology team that has worked together for over a decade, growing its Ann Arbor facility and staff. In Oc- tober 2015, Sakti3 was acquired by Dyson and Dyson is committed to growing and integrating the technology into its products. Sakti3 has extraordinary commitment to its workforce, winning workplace excellence awards both before and after the merger. Every single employee was issued and accepted offer letters to remain with the company post-merger, and since the merger, Sakti3 has continued to expand its efforts – all in the Ann Arbor area. Led by Ann Marie Sastry, the former Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical and Materials Science, and Engi- neering at the University of Michigan and current president and co-founder of Sakti3, and a committed core group of technologists who joined her at Sakti3 from the U-M, the company has advanced from a small startup to join a global leader in technology at Dyson, and to propel battery technology forward.  See video detailing Sakti3’s successes.

Volunteer Leader of the Year

Tim Marshall

Volunteer of the Year, Tim Marshall, president and CEO of Bank of Ann Arbor, was a founding member of Ann Arbor SPARK in 2005 and has been a constant source of strong leadership and guidance since its inception, including recently serving a three-year term as board chair. He currently chairs SPARK’s development committee and continues to serve on the SPARK board of directors and executive committee. His commitment to helping the Ann Arbor region grow and thrive has had a significant impact on our success. Tim has actively cultivated our entrepreneurial community and Bank of Ann Arbor has built one of the premier technology and life science banking groups in the Midwest. He’s also the architect of the renowned Bank of Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch summer concert series, proof of Tim’s attention to what makes Ann Arbor great. See video detailing Tim’s volunteerism.

Project of Year Winners

By celebrating multiple companies tied together in a single chain of positive action, we are not only celebrating the evolution of our business climate, we are celebrating that this area is a national leader in location, investment, idea development and talent acquisition.  McKinley, Llamasoft, TD Ameritrade, Google and First Martin are all shining examples of what makes Ann Arbor’s economy so strong.   After First Martin worked on completing a new campus to accommodate Google’s growth on the north side of Ann Arbor, Llamasoft and TD Ameritrade were able to expand into Google’s former space in the McKinley Towne Center in downtown Ann Arbor.  Google’s investment adds significant property tax to support the quality of life in Ann Arbor. See video of the Project of the Year.

Google Ann Arbor opened in September 2006 and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. It is home to over 400 Googlers whose positions include sales, operations, engineering, people operations, tech support, and marketing. Google actively supports a number of educational and entrepreneurial activities in the Ann Arbor region and across Michigan. Due to its rapid growth, Google Ann Arbor opened its new campus on the north side of Ann Arbor in April 2016.
TD Ameritrade is growing the technology infrastructure behind its business and is expanding and relocating its high-tech financial services office to McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor. The company originally chose Ann Arbor over cities in Nebraska, New Jersey, and Illinois due to the available talent and range of available sites, establishing its Ann Arbor technology facility in early 2014. The project will generate up to $5.75 million in total capital investment and create 75 new jobs.
In 2004, LLamasoft opened for business in Ann Arbor. LLamasoft has experienced exponential growth, innovation, and development over the years. With multiple acquisitions, a continued hiring surge, and expansion into new products, it has become a leader in supply chain excellence and innovation, advancing technology focused on continuous improvement of enterprise supply chains for the world’s largest organizations.
McKinley was founded in 1968 and headquartered in Ann Arbor. Led by Albert M. Berriz, McKinley is the owner of the McKinley Towne Centre building located in downtown Ann Arbor. The McKinley Towne Centre hosted Google and will now be home to LLamasoft and TD Ameritrade. McKinley is a leading owner and manager of multifamily and commercial real estate. McKinley owns and operates more than 55 million square feet of multifamily and commercial assets through 33 states. McKinley is a local company committed to Washtenaw County.
Founded in Ann Arbor in 1968, First Martin has always been a strong supporter of the Ann Arbor area. Its goal is the same now as it was then: Build quality assets and relationships that stand the test of time. Over the years, the firm has completed dozens of developments in Ann Arbor; they include more than 1 million square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail, and 600+ residential units. They still have many build to suit development sites. In the fall of 2015 First Martin opened its first hotel development, Residence Inn by Marriott Ann Arbor Downtown.

Comcast Business Virtual Business Advisor Award

George Pariseau, Brainstream Creative

Comcast Business Virtual Business Advisor Award winner, George Pariseau, founder of Brainstream Creative, LLC, used the Virtual Business Advisor to completely revamp his sales and marketing efforts. George describes his experience by saying, “The Virtual Business Advisor is an excellent mirror to examine most major facets to operating a business…While most of the answers told me I was likely doing some things right, I was horrified to discover that my sales and marketing scores were uncomfortably low.”George evaluated his sales and marketing, and was even able to create a strategic partnership with one of his existing clients. George says that if he hadn’t taken the five minutes to take the Virtual Business Advisor assessment he might have fallen into complacency with the status quo. George earned his bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in marketing at Eastern Michigan University and began his career working at the University of Michigan in a media services unit before working as a student assistant at Washtenaw Community College and ultimately starting his own business. See video highlighting Pariseau’s success with the Virtual Business Advisor.