Posted on 2/7/2018

Meet the new Automation Alley

Cynthia Hutchison

For dynamic membership organizations like Automation Alley, the member experience drives the organization, determining policy, strategy, events and programming. The Automation Alley member experience is not only founded on the principles of trust and collaboration, it is expanding because of them. You can see it, feel it and even measure it—with data that reflects increased member attendance and engagement at events, in collaborative research projects and even new business deals and partnerships. 

As I come to work each day to a job I love, I see a fresher building, updated inside and out. I see new—and more—faces. Automation Alley is full of people and noise and food and technology. Our members are here to learn and to host. They teach network security to each other, they discuss solutions to solve the skilled trades gap, they test drive collaborative robots, patent attorneys discuss IP with technology companies, tech companies talk big data with manufacturers. It’s electric. Literally.

We have a new charging station being installed by a local electrician; purchased from a Michigan company in partnership with Silicon Valley-based member ChargePoint. This is the new Automation Alley – and even companies outside of Michigan want to be part of it.

I don’t like phrases like “new and improved;” they suggest we needed to be fixed. But all strong companies learn and grow and rarely is that accomplished by doing the same thing over and over. Automation Alley has always been visionary. We see what could be. And in 2017, we saw a need to ensure that manufacturing and technology converge—Integr8—right here in Southeast Michigan.

Our members now fly in from out of state to give presentations to other members. We have been recognized regionally, nationally and globally. Just since 2018 began, we have had delegations from Hungary, Belgium, France and Germany either in the building or schedule to see what we do here! And on Feb. 12, the National Association of Manufacturers from our nation’s capital will host their annual meeting right here in our Woodward room.

A state representative recently met here with 15 business leaders to learn their pain points; our staff took notes and forwarded them to the Congressman to help inform policy. This will happen another five times in 2018.  

Our Technology in Industry Report will be revealed on April 30 with an unprecedented level of collaboration: seven academic institutions and even more industry partners. Attendees will hear the summary of extensive research in Industry 4.0 and walk away with a roadmap for change.

This is what we do. For you. And with you. Thank you. 

About the Author

Cynthia Hutchison | Automation Alley

Cynthia Hutchison is Automation Alley's director of Business Development and Government Affairs, responsible for managing Automation Alley’s membership portfolio and enhancing the overall member experience. Cynthia also leads Automation Alley’s Government Affairs Committee. Prior to joining Automation Alley, Cynthia founded Band of Angels, an international outreach organization dedicated to helping individuals with Down Syndrome reach their full potential. Cynthia was named Michiganian of the Year by the Detroit News in 2007. In November 2006, Woman’s Day Magazine named her one of 9 national Women Who Inspire Us, an award that recognizes extraordinary women who push themselves to exceptional limits.


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