March 25, 2014 — Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, has been selected to moderate the Lunchtime Panel Discussion on “Initial Seed Funding” at Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition 2014, to be held March 28 on the Mt. Pleasant campus of Central Michigan University at the College of Business.
CMU’s New Venture Competition serves as a catalyst for student entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into sustainable business ventures. All participating teams gain insight, advice, mentorship and expertise from seasoned entrepreneurs, alumni, venture capital experts, angel investors and community leaders. This year, the CMU New Venture Competition will award more than $75,000 in startup cash and in-kind prizes. A total of 15 teams are in business today as a result of past New Venture Competitions.
As executive director of Automation Alley for the past 15 years, Rogers is responsible for all strategic planning and financial matters related Automation Alley, which has grown to include nearly 1,000 membe¬¬r organizations across Southeast Michigan, with offices in Troy, Sterling Heights and, most recently, Detroit. Rogers earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration and an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Central Michigan University. Rogers has moderated the CMU Lunchtime Panel Discussion each of the four years of the New Venture Competition.
“Similar to our entrepreneurial initiatives at Automation Alley, Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition plays an important role in fostering our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Automation Alley Executive Director Ken Rogers. “I’m honored to once again take part in this great event.”
The Lunchtime Panel Discussion on “Initial Seed Funding” will take place from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Panelists include:
• Paula Sorrell, vice president of entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
• Diane Durance, president, MiQuest
• Ken Kousky, president and CEO, Blue Water Angels
• Cia McCaffrey, former vice president, ForeSee, Inc.
• Erin O’Brien, president and CEO, Central Michigan University Research Corporation
Prior to his current position at Automation Alley, Rogers was director of Oakland County Community and Economic Development. He was also one of the founders of Oakland County’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and held a seat on the state’s Strategic Economic Investment Commercialization Board from 2006 to 2010. Rogers is a past president of the Oakland County Chamber of Commerce and was the co-owner of a real estate and development company in the Clarkston area for 20 years. In 2007, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation honored Rogers with the Michigan Diversification Celebration’s Outstanding Diversification Achievement Award and in 2008 with the CEO Award of Excellence in Economic Development.
Source: Automation Alley
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