Former Executive Director of State of Michigan’s Office of Performance and Transformation named CEO of Michigan Israel Business Accelerator; Scott W. Hiipakka will build on MIBA successes and expand’s footprint

DETROIT, Mich. – Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA), which elevates the scope and scale of the Michigan-Israel economic relationship, has appointed Scott W. Hiipakka as Chief Executive Officer.

For the past three years, Hiipakka has held several key positions with the State of Michigan. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the State of Michigan’s Office of Performance and Transformation, where he provided leadership and direction to five departments. Previously, he was the Program Management Director for the Executive Office of the Governor. He also was a Senior Strategic Planner and Advisor with the State of Michigan.

Hiipakka will build on MIBA successes and expand the footprint, an innovative free web platform connecting startups, hubs and funders, which officially launches on May 20, 2019.

MIBA, a Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) backed organization, supports the growth of bi-lateral Michigan–Israeli economic and business relationships. MIBA serves as the primary catalyst to leverage the highest value from such relationships by functioning as the central repository of economic and business connection between Michigan and Israel.

“MIBA is a conduit for growing Michigan’s ecosystem,” said Hiipakka. “ is an exciting new web platform, managed by MIBA, that has enormous potential moving forward.”

Mark Davidoff, Chairman of MIBA Board said, “Scott is a proven leader. With his vision and passion for moving Michigan forward, MIBA will be positioned for continued and sustainable growth and impact.”

Hiipakka, a resident of Milford, has more than 20 years of operational expertise, business development and program-management experience. Notably, Hiipakka is a Michigan Army National Guard Colonel and currently supervises more than 2,650 people. He has held multiple command and staff positions with service in conventional and special operations forces as well as in the Michigan National Guard.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising, Distinguished Military Graduate from Michigan State University. Hiipakka received a Master’s degree in Professional Studies–Homeland Security from Penn State University. He earned his Master in Strategic Studies degree as an Honors Graduate at the United States Army War College.

Hiipakka is a Commissioner, Michigan Community Service Commission-Gubernatorial Appointment. He also is a director on the board of Leadership Oakland. He is a Founder of Together We Can (Annual Food Drive) Leadership Oakland.

He has received several awards and tributes including the 2018 State of Michigan Governor’s Tribute for Service; the 2016 Leader of Leaders Award, Leadership Oakland; 2014 The Legacy Award, Winning Futures; and, 2013 Rare Everyday Hero Award, Winning Futures.

About Michigan Israel Business Accelerator (MIBA)

MIBA elevates the scope and scale of the Michigan Israel economic relationship, targeting the convergence of technology, industry and research in such sectors as advance manufacturing, mobility, cyber, defense, water, health and life science and agriculture. For more information, visit www.michiganisrael.com3.

New Workspace to Draw Mobility and High-Tech Auto Startups to Downtown Detroit

In an effort to attract and connect more mobility-focused startups and other emerging high-tech, automotive-focused companies, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and WeWork announced today the launch of the PlanetM Landing Zone. This first-of-its-kind space will serve as an environment where startups with connected and automated transportation technologies can connect with Detroit’s automotive and economic development network. Ford Motor Co. is the first automaker to join the partnership via its City Solutions team located on-site.

This initiative will be housed at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row location in Detroit. Located at 1449 Woodward Ave., it is part of a global shared workspace company with more than 160 locations in 52 cities and 16 countries. The PlanetM Landing Zone will occupy 40 to 50 workspaces with room to about 20 companies in the first year of operation. Currently, :DriveSmart, Spatial, SPLT and Sherpa Capital are tenants.

Selected companies will have access to WeWork locations globally and a direct connection to the MEDC through its PlanetM and Pure Michigan Business Connect program, which helps connect local and global purchasers to suppliers of Michigan goods and services. The Chamber will house staff members on-site who will provide services to these firms, that can help connect them to and grow more quickly in the market. Additionally, the PlanetM Landing Zone will provide connections to key automotive industry and service providers.

“Our region must be overly competitive in next generation mobility. To complete this ecosystem, we need to attract more tech pioneers and entrepreneurs to our region,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO for the Chamber.

The need for a soft landing zone became more obvious after recent fact-finding missions to high-tech markets active in the automobility space like Silicon Valley, Israel and the Netherlands. Early-stage firms in these markets are eager to access the North American automotive industry that is centered in Detroit, but they need assistance with not only identifying workspace but also connecting to partners, customers, advisors, economic development services and capital. The PlanetM Landing Zone will be a key hub to cultivate and deliver these services.

“The goal is to create a center of gravity for emerging automotive technology companies with the ultimate objective of drawing these firms into the community on a permanent basis. MEDC’s PlanetM program is predicated on customer service, and this concept allows us to provide that in a meaningful way, right away,” said Jeff Mason, CEO for MEDC.

“We are excited to work with the MEDC and the Detroit Regional Chamber to launch this initiative and support mobility-focused startups in Detroit. These companies are innovating in the industry that the Motor City has fostered from the beginning. In addition to continuing to work closely with the city’s startup, business and civic leaders to drive Detroit forward, WeWork is excited that this initiative will further establish Detroit as a thriving community for creators,” said Megan Dodds, Midwest community director for WeWork.

“SPLT is thankful to the MEDC and Detroit Regional Chamber teams for making the space for mobility innovators to work, co-create and excel together. The PlanetM Landing Zone has given our team the room to grow,” said Anya Babbitt, CEO and founder of SPLT. “We are certain that this place will be the cornerstone to the larger movement in new mobility technologies and the future of Detroit. First Techstars, now the PlanetM Landing Zone. We can’t wait to continue our journey in Michigan and beyond.”

“The landing zone fills an unmet need in our ecosystem, supports business attraction efforts, and is a major step toward driving density of activity. We look forward to increased collaboration with the state and regional partners to position Detroit and Michigan as the premier destination for high-growth companies,” said Aaron Turk, senior executive of strategy and business development for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

The ideal company for the PlanetM Landing Zone is a startup, either domestic or international, interested in bringing connected or automated technology into the North American automotive ecosystem. To learn more, visit

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

About PlanetM

PlanetM represents Michigan’s unique and vast ecosystem, connecting resources and opportunities for its consortium of members. Made up of private industry, government and institutions of higher learning, participants in PlanetM share the common goal of leading the development of smart solutions that will change the way people and goods are transported across all modes of transportation. To learn more about how Michigan is leading the transportation revolution or to become a member, visit

About WeWork

WeWork is the platform for creators. We provide beautiful workspace, an inspiring community, and meaningful business services to hundreds of thousands of members around the world. From startups and freelancers to small businesses and large corporations, our community is united by a desire for our members to create meaningful work and lead meaningful lives—to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York City in 2010, WeWork is a privately held company with over 2,000 employees.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit

Destination Detroit’s Economic Development Partners Attract $384.9 Million, 2,639 Jobs to Southeast Michigan in Second Quarter of 2016

Destination Detroit’s Economic Development PartnersDuring the second quarter of 2016, Destination Detroit’s economic development partners directly assisted with the creation of 2,639 new jobs and $384.9 million in new investment.

One of the largest and most notable projects came from global automotive supplier Flex-N-Gate, who in May announced their decision to build a new, high-tech parts factory in the I-94 Industrial Park located on Detroit’s east side.

“Flex-N-Gate’s decision to invest here is meaningful on so many levels. Not only does a project like this reaffirm Detroit as one of the global centers for automotive manufacturing, but, most importantly, this plant will bring hundreds of well-paying jobs to local residents,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corp. President and CEO Rodrick Miller.

“The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. is proud to have played a role in this project’s success and we look forward to working with Flex-N-Gate well into the future. From infrastructure to talent, the Detroit region has a lot to offer companies,” Miller continued.

Learn more about a few of the projects that helped drive economic growth in the Detroit region from April through June of 2016:

Quarter 2 Project Highlights
Company: Flex-N-Gate
Location: Detroit
Partner Lead: Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
New Jobs: 400 initial, up to 650 over the next three to five years
New Investment: $95 million
Description: Flex-N-Gate, a Tier 1 supplier of bumpers, lighting, front-end modules and other automotive products, announced in May its plan to construct a 30-acre, $95-million factory in Detroit’s I-94 Industrial Park. Once completed, the plant will initially hire 400 people to provide aftermarket parts for Ford Motor Co., with the potential to employ up to 650 workers over the next few years. “The headline is about jobs. Hundreds of outstanding, well-paying jobs,” said Flex-N-Gate owner Shahid Khan in a Detroit Free Press article profiling the project.

Company: CityFlats Hotel and Sperry’s Movie House
Location: Port Huron
Partner Lead: Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County
New Jobs: 40
New Investment: $20 million
Description: Michigan-based developer Chuck Reid is spearheading two major mixed-use redevelopments in downtown Port Huron. The area’s historic Sperry’s building is currently undergoing construction to become a movie house, complete with 12 small theatres, a total of 400 seats and a restaurant. The $11-million project is aiming to open within the next few months.

In addition, Reid is slated to transform the former Michigan National Bank building into the state’s third CityFlats Hotel. Once finished, the $9-million building renovation will include retail, conference space and a ballroom.

Company: Cosworth
Location: Shelby Township
Partner Lead: Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development
New Jobs: 50
New Investment: $30 million
Description: After initially exploring the option to build a manufacturing operation in Indianapolis, Ind., United Kingdom-based Cosworth will construct a new facility in Shelby Township to make V-8 cylinder heads for automakers. The company is expected to invest $30 million in the facility and hire at least 50 new employees. Although active in the automotive, aerospace and defense industries, the engine technologies company is globally recognized for its high-performance race engines, featured frequently in Indy-car competitions.

About Destination Detroit
Representing the 11 counties that make up Southeastern Michigan, Destination Detroit is a collaborative business attraction effort led by the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with the region’s principal economic development agencies. Each quarter, Destination Detroit aggregates and promotes the investment and job creation results for projects directly impacted by these organizations.

IPS Technology Services Hires Director of Business Development to Connect with Community

TROY – June 13, 2013 –IPS Technology Services recently hired Jonathon Younkman as the company’s Director of Business Development. Younkman previously worked for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) as a Talent Strategies Manager for the IT Industry in Southeast Michigan.

“Jonathon’s success in developing strategic collaborations between community colleges, Michigan Works! Agencies and the business community at his previous job is a big part of why we hired him,” says IPS Technology Services CEO Pradip Sengupta, “We need someone who can not only effectively connect our company with other businesses, but foster long-term collaborative partnerships with our clients.”

Before working for the MEDC, Younkman served nearly four years as a legislative director and a legislative aid for two Michigan State Senators.

About IPS Technology Services

IPS Technology Services provides end-to-end IT services to the Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) marketplace. IPS develops custom applications using state of the art tools such as .Net, C#, VB, SaaS, SOA, Oracle, SQL Server, and/or by using third party software. IPS provides IT services in the following six areas:

  1. IT Staffing (SharePoint, Oracle, Java, Dot Net, SQL Server, SAP, PM)
  2. CIO Services and Technology Consulting
  3.  Web-based and Mobile Application Development and Integration
  4.  Healthcare IT with EHR and Practice Management implementation
  5.  Engineering IT services
  6.  Website development and Digital Marketing

For more information on IPS Technology Services, please call 248-835-9895 or, click