Automation Alley is Michigan’s leading technology business association, connecting companies and organizations with talent, resources and funding to accelerate innovation and fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy. Since its founding in 1999, the nonprofit has grown to include nearly 1,000 tech-focused members in businesses, education and government. Automation Alley focuses its efforts in five areas: advanced manufacturing, defense, entrepreneurship, international business and talent development.
The mission of Automation Alley is to enhance the global competitiveness of Southeast Michigan and to advance our region as a high-tech powerhouse at the forefront of innovation worldwide through initiatives in advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship, international business, talent development and defense.
Southeast Michigan will be the leading technology and innovation region in the United States.
Automation Alley is one of Michigan’s 17 designated SmartZones. SmartZones are technology business accelerators that provide distinct geographical locations to assist technology-based firms, entrepreneurs and researchers in their endeavors. They collaborate with industry, education and government to grow business and create jobs.
2016: Tom Kelly named new Executive Director
2014: Launched Automation Alley 7Cs™ program
2013: Awarded the President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service
2013: Detroit office opens in the historic Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit
2012: Awarded the National Business Incubator Association’s Soft Landings International Incubator designation
2012: Senior Director of Business Development Charles DeVries invited to represent Automation Alley at a Detroit Business Leaders’ Briefing at the White House
2011: Troy headquarters expanded to include a state-of-the art International Business Center
2010: Defense office in Sterling Heights opens
2009: Executive Director Ken Rogers represents Automation Alley at President Obama’s Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth
2008: Awarded the President’s “E” Award for Export Service
2005: First annual Technology Industry Report released
2004: Headquarters opens in Troy
2001: Automation Alley hosts first Annual Meeting and Awards Gala
2001: Trade mission program created
1999: Automation Alley officially established as an organization, founded by L. Brooks Patterson
1998: Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson travels to Silicon Valley to better understand the impact of the technology industry on the surrounding region.
1998: Members of the local business community approach Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson with concerns about a shortage of technical workers in Oakland County. In response, Patterson hires the Anderson Economic Group to conduct a study that revealed there were about 127,000 technical jobs in Oakland County alone and 300,000 in Southeast Michigan, numbers that compared favorably to Silicon Valley and other national technology hubs at the time.
Awards & Recognition
Economic Development Partner of the Year (2014)
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development named Automation Alley the Economic Development Partner of the Year at the 2014 Macomb County Business Awards for its efforts to help Macomb County companies grow and prosper.
President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service (2013)
The President’s “E Star” Award recognizes continued efforts in export expansion. At the time of the award, Automation Alley was the only nonprofit organization in the Midwest to have received the “E-Star” Award since the award was authorized in 1969.
Detroit Business Leaders’ Briefing at the White House (2012)
Automation Alley was invited to attend the Detroit Business Leaders’ Briefing, organized by the White House Business Council and Business Forward, at the White House in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the briefing was to discuss ways the administration could work with the Detroit business community to create jobs and grow the local economy as well as to highlight the administration’s current programs and resources in these areas.
MarCom Gold and Platinum Awards (2012, 2013)
The MarCom Awards are an international creative competition judged by a panel of marketing and communications professionals from around the world. Automation Alley earned a MarCom Gold Award for the 12th Annual Automation Alley Awards Gala promotional materials along with two Platinum Awards — the MarCom Awards’ highest honor — for the Automation Alley 2011 Annual Report and the Automation Alley Defense Brochure. Automation Alley was also the recipient of two Gold Awards in the MarCom 2013 competition for the 13th Annual Awards Gala marketing materials and the 2012 Annual Report.
SEMCOG's Regional Ambassador Award (2010)
The Regional Ambassador Award is the highest honor given by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) for individuals and organizations making unique contributions to the quality of life in Southeast Michigan. Regional Ambassadors seek to support and influence those working beyond their own sphere of authority in order to develop a shared investment in the success of Southeast Michigan.
President Barack Obama's Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth (2009)
Attended by Executive Director Ken Rogers, this event was an opportunity for the president and his senior administration officials to meet with small business owners, business leaders, academics, mayors and representatives from nonprofits to hear their ideas for continuing to grow the economy and putting Americans back to work.
President’s “E” Award for Export Service (2008)
The President’s “E” Award recognizes the significant contributions that companies and organizations have made to increasing American exports and is the highest honor presented to exporters. The “E” Award for Export Service is awarded to organizations that may or may not export directly, but which assist or facilitate export activities.
CEO Award of Excellence in Economic Development (2008)
This award was given to Executive Director Ken Rogers and Automation Alley for growing businesses and creating jobs in Southeast Michigan, as well as diversifying Michigan's economy.
Michigan Diversification Celebration's Outstanding Diversification Achievement Award (2007)
This award honors those companies, economic development organizations and individuals who have made a significant contribution to diversifying the economy of Michigan.