TechCentury - Spring 2022

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A Partner in STEM:

URBAN SCIENCE Plus, in this Issue:


Sustaining Member: Dearborn Mid-West Company 15

Making the Most of Your Professional Memberships 19

FBI: Ransomware— What to Do If You’re Hit 28

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Technology Century



SPRING 2022 2 3 4 6 7 8 12 13 14 15 16 18

V.27 | N.1



Making the Most of Your Professional Memberships BY JANICE K. MEANS


2021 ESD Writing Contest Winners


Solving Tomorrow’s IT Challenges


Taking It to the Road: University of Detroit Mercy leads Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute BY SUSAN THWING


Ransomware: What to Do If You’re Hit


Cybersecurity: As Much a Social Problem as a Technical One



Cover: Jim Anderson, PE, FESD, Founder and CEO of Urban Science. See page 16. Above photo: A home school group from Dewitt was among the teams that participated in this year’s Future City Competition. Their city of the future is called The Recycled City. See page 13.


Federal Grant Boosts Defense Supplier Cybersecurity


Cyber Resilience: Adapting to a Changing Cyberattack Environment BY RAJ PATEL


Interested in a Cybersecurity Career? THE ENGINEERING SOCIE T Y OF DE TROIT





AKT Peerless Environmental Services Altair Engineering American Axle Manufacturing American Center for Educational & Professional Services American Society of Employers Aristeo Construction AVL North America The Bartech Group Barton Malow Family of Companies Brightwing Central Michigan University The Christman Company Chrysan Industries Citizens Insurance Clark Hill, PLC CleanEarth CMS Enterprises Comfort Engineering Solutions, LLC Construction Association of Michigan Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC CPCII Credit Union ONE CulturecliQ Danlaw, Inc. DASI Solutions Dearborn Mid-West Company DENSO International America, Inc. Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Detroit Transportation Corporation Dow Chemical Company DTE Energy DTE Energy Gas Operations Dürr Systems, Inc. Eastern Michigan University Education Planning Resources, Inc. Electrical Resources Company Electro-Matic Products, Inc. Energy Sciences Experis Farbman Group Financial One, Inc. FirstMerit Bank Fishman Stewart PLLC Fusion Welding Solutions Gala & Associates, Inc. Gates Corporation

GHD General Dynamics General Motors Company Gensler George W. Auch Company Ghafari Associates, LLC Glenn E. Wash & Associates, Inc. Golder Associates Inc. Gonzalez Contingent Workforce Services GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Harley Ellis Devereaux Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. Hindsight Consulting, Inc. Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. The Hunter Group LLC IBI Group Ideal Contracting Integrity Staffing Group, Inc. IBEW Local 58 & NECA LMCC JNA Partners, Inc. Innovative Engineered Solutions, Inc. JNE Consulting Jozwiak Consulting, Inc. JTL America, Inc. Kettering University Knovalent, Inc. Kolene Corporation Kostal North America Kugler Maag CIE North America Lake Superior State University Lawrence Technological University LHP Software Limbach Company, Inc. Link Engineering Co. LTI Information Technology Macomb Community College Maner, Costerisan & Ellis, PC Makino McNaughton-McKay Electric Company Meritor MICCO Construction Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Michigan State University Michigan Technological University Midwest Steel Inc. Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc. Monroe Environmental Corporation

Myron Zucker, Inc. Neumann/Smith Architecture Newman Consulting Group, LLC NORR Architects Engineers Planners Northern Industrial Manufacturing Corp. NTH Consultants, Ltd. O’Brien and Gere Oakland University Optech LLC Orbitak International, LLC Original Equipment Suppliers Association Pure Eco Environmental Solutions R.L. Coolsaet Construction Co. Rocket Fiber ROWE Professional Services Company Rumford Industrial Group Ruby+Associates, Inc. SEGULA Technologies Saginaw Valley State University Special Multi Services SSI Stellantis Talascend, LLC Testing Engineers & Consultants Tetra Tech Thermal-Netics TRANE Commercial Systems Troy Chamber of Commerce Trialon TRW Automotive Turner Construction Co. UBS Financial Services – Lott Sheth Farber Group Universal Weatherstrip & Bldg. Supply University of Detroit Mercy University of Michigan University of Michigan-Dearborn US Farathane Corporation voxeljet America Inc. Wade-Trim Walbridge Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC Wayne State University Western Michigan University Whitehall Industries The Whiting Turner Contracting Company WS ZF Friedrichshafen AG

techcentury V.27 I N.1 Spring 2022

20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450 • Southfield, MI 48076 248–353–0735 • 248–353–0736 fax • •

Pub Notes Karyn Stickel Associate, Hubbell, Roth & Clark

TECHNOLOGY CENTURY® EDITORIAL BOARD CHAIR: Karyn Stickel, Hubbell, Roth & Clark Sandra Diorka, Delhi Charter Township Utpal Dutta, PhD, FESD, University of Detroit Mercy Linda Gerhardt, PhD, FESD Richard, Hill, PhD, University of Detroit Mercy Dana Marie LeFevre, Student, Michigan State University William A. Moylan, Jr., PhD, PMP, FESD, Eastern Michigan University Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD, FASHRAE, Lawrence Technological University Matt Roush, Lawrence Technologicial University Rajiv Shah, PE, ACSCM Michael Stewart, Fishman Stewart Intellectual Property Cyrill Weems, Burns & McDonnell Yang Zhao, PhD, Wayne State University

ESD BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Econolite Robert A. Richard, DTE Energy Alex F. Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP, FESD, OAC Advisers, LLC Robert Magee, The Engineering Society of Detroit Daniel E. Nicholson, PE, FESD, General Motors Company Paul C. Ajegba, PE, Michigan Department of Transportation Carla Bailo, Center for Automotive Research Katherine M. Banicki, FESD, Testing Engineers and Consultants Mike Boss, Dürr Systems, Inc. Denise Carlson, DENSO International America, Inc. Sean P. Conway, American Axle and Manufacturing Farshad Fotouhi, PhD, FESD, Wayne State University Alec D. Gallimore, PhD, University of Michigan Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation Malik Goodwin, Goodwin Management Group, LLC Ronald R. Henry, AIA, NCARB, Sachse Construction Marc Hudson, Bamboo Detroit Leo C. Kempel, PhD, FESD, Michigan State University Thomas McCarthy, Stellantis Dan Milot, ZF Group Claude Molinari, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau Scott Penrod, Walbridge Bill Rotramel, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. Terry J. Woychowski, FESD, Caresoft Global PRESIDENT: VICE PRESIDENT: TREASURER: SECRETARY: PAST PRESIDENT:


Robert Magee, ESD Executive Director Nick Mason, ESD Director of Operations Susan Thwing

Postmaster, please send changes to: ESD, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, MI 48076. Technology Century® (ISSN 1091-4153 USPS 155-460), also known as TechCentury, is published by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). Periodical postage paid at Southfield, MI, and at additional mailing offices. The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Advertisements in TechCentury for products, services, courses, and symposia are published with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) understanding. The authors, editors, and publisher do not imply endorsement of products, nor quality, validity or approval of the educational material offered by such advertisements. ©2022 The Engineering Society of Detroit.

Happy New Year to our readers. As we enter 2022, we are all looking forward and wondering if this will be the year we enter our post-pandemic normal. In this issue, we are pleased to feature ESD partners Urban Science and Hartland Insurance, as well as Sustaining Members Dearborn Mid-West Company and MSU. Urban Science has made a significant investment in ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy, while Hartland Insurance—which is celebrating 50 years—has strongly supported the Society for decades. Dearborn Mid-West Company’s profile includes their work with Amazon, and our MSU profile focuses on their very active ESD Student Chapter. We also welcome the return of our student writing contest. We again received many great submittals which our editorial board voted on. Our winners’ pieces are published in this issue, and the first place winner will be given a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Fishman Stewart. The theme of this issue is cybersecurity. As more and more business moves online, this becomes a bigger and bigger concern. We have a feature on the Michigan Cyber Summit that was held last fall as well as an article on the launch of the University of Detroit Mercy/Metro Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute. To round out the issue, we have a discussion with the FBI on cybersecurity assessments. As a reminder, you can share your industry expertise with our 22,000 engineers and technical leaders in Michigan by advertising in TechCentury or even sponsoring an issue. Just email us at, and we’ll send more information.



LEARNING: A Lifelong Endeavor for Our Evolving Tomorrows


his issue of TechCentury includes the top three winning essays in our ESD Student Writing Contest. These are insightful, wellthought out, impressive pieces of writing from students participating in engineering programs at colleges and universities across Michigan. But what is most intriguing about the entries we received this year was the diversity of the students. The pieces were written by students with a spectrum of ages and circumstances. Some were young 20s, just beginning their university education; another was a parent already in the work world, but going back to school for additional education; and another was a second generation immigrant who changed majors from finance to pursuing a PhD in engineering—and he found his true calling. These individuals’ stories illustrate clearly that no matter what career you are planning, enhancing, or evolving from, the learning never ends. Today, people are finding the value of continuing their education. The cost of tuition is well worth the investment in new opportunities and accomplishments. Whether it is getting that first degree, going back to school for new technology courses, or participating in conferences or associations such as The Engineering Society of Detroit—we are on a constant path to know more, improve and grow. And rightly so. The theme of this issue is cybersecurity— a field that was not in existence when many of us started our engineering careers. But today we need cyber experts in all disciplines of engineering. Whether it is transportation, healthcare, or automotive, engineers need to have an appreciation for the role cybersecurity plays in their field. Years ago, a traffic system was individualized. You controlled a traffic signal at the source. Now, a keystroke can take down an entire grid. In healthcare, according to the Wall Street Journal, the data systems of at least 235 general hospitals and inpatient psychiatric facilities, plus dozens of other healthcare facilities in the U.S., have been hacked since 2018. Cybersecurity needs to be at the top of our engineering agendas so we can always stay one step ahead of the hackers—whether we are building a patient data system, a road, or a vehicle.





As engineers, we have a responsibility to ensure we are at the top of our game. Our personal career growth depends on it, but so does the safety and experiences of the communities we serve in our work. If the entrants in this years’ Student Writing Contest are any indication, we can be confident that tomorrow’s engineers are on a path of lifelong learning. Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD President, The Engineering Society of Detroit Senior Vice President, Econolite

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” –Mahatma Gandhi


VEHICLE CYBER ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY’S VEHICLE CYBER ENGINEERING PROGRAM enhances the nation’s engineering workforce through an applied curriculum developed in consultation with industry and military partners to fulfil the growing needs of the cybersecurity field.


You can complete the graduate certificate program 100% on-line within one year and immediately apply your knowledge to your profession. Plus, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed in this emerging, high-demand field. The graduate certificate in Vehicle Cyber Engineering also stacks toward other master’s degrees!

31% Professional opportunities for cybersecurity engineers to grow 31% between 2019-29

$91,750 Average salary for cybersecurity engineers in Michigan for 2019 = $91,750



4001 W. McNichols Road • Detroit, MI 48221-3038 • 313-993-1245 • •


The Society acknowledges the deaths of the following members, whose contributions and service will not be forgotten:


Retired, Software Engineer, Siemens PLM Software Software Engineer, Northrup-Grumman Member since 2010

J. THOMAS BRUFF Traffic Engineer, SEMCOG Member since 1996


President & Owner, CKGP/PW & Associates, Inc. (Cleaver, Ketko, Gorlitz, Papa & Associates) Member since 1988


Vice President Automotive Sales, Jervis B. Webb Co./Daifuku Member Since 2009


Senior Engineering Specialist, DTE Energy Member since 1985

RAYMOND N. OKONSKI Retired, Chairman, Excellis Member since 1951


Retired, Co-Founder & President, Orchard Hiltz & McCliment (OHM Advisors) Senior Engineers Council Member since 1967

DR. LAWRENCE J. OSWALD COO, Pure Eco Environmental Solutions Retired, GEM Member since 2010


Retired, Electronics System Engineer Member since 2009






President & CEO, D. G. Reeve Associates, L.L.C. Member, ESD College of Fellows EPA Board Construction Activities Committee Committee Award Recipient e-Construction Committee Construction & Design Awards Judge Alpha Awards Committee Nominating Committee da Vinci Awards Committee and Judge Member since 1979

PHILIP M. WEHRMEISTER, PE President, Elsas Engineering, P.C. Director of Planning, PICO Mechanical Engineer, General Motors Corp. ESD Membership Committee Member since 1965


Members of the ESD Student Chapter at Lake Superior State University show chapter pride by wearing their ESD T-shirts this past winter.



Lawrence Technological University will be the lead institution on a three-year, $7 3 4,0 0 0 g ra n t f ro m t h e Kern Family Foundation to improve the participation of undergraduate students in engineering research with an entrepreneurial focus. The grant aims to introduce more than 2,000 engineering undergraduates to research, and create a system to make it easier and more efficient for faculty to engage students in research activities that can be shared with institutions around the country.

For the seventh consecutive year, Ghafari was honored as one of the nation’s “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For,” sponsored by the National Association for Business Resources. Companies are assessed based on categories that include communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention, and more.



The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel has enrolled at 10% in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower MIGreenPower program with a goal of increasing its enrollment MIGreenPower to 100% by 2030. The tunnel’s current enrollment has the environmental benefit equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from 356,212 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

Kolene Corporation, a global leader of molten salt bath equipment and specialty chemical formulations, has acquired Upton Industries, located in Roseville, Michigan. By bringing the two companies together, the new Kolene will house nearly 50,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing, fabrication, and commercial processing capabilities. “Kolene has always looked for ways to grow revenues, both organically through our R&D efforts and externally by acquisition. When the opportunity presented itself to begin discussions with Upton, the similarities between the two companies and what we provide to the customers in the industries that we serve, made this marriage ideal,” said Roger Shoemaker, Chairman & CEO of Kolene. “We are proud to carry on Upton’s strong brand and legacy as a part of Kolene Corporation as we move forward.”

AAM WALKS TO SUPPORT ST. JUDE AAM raised more than $80,000 for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital last fall. TeamAAM has raised close to $400,000 for St. Jude since 2015 and is the top fundraising team in Detroit. AAM is also the presenting sponsor for the Detroit event, which is one of 58 walk and run events across the U.S. All the events benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which works to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. THE ENGINEERING SOCIE T Y OF DE TROIT




Sponsored by ESD and the Michigan Waste & Recycling Association, the 31st Annual Solid Waste Technical Conference is designed to educate attendees on cutting-edge technological innovations and solutions related to the solid waste industry. The oneday event brings together national experts to present on issues related to policy, new technologies and what the future holds for the industry. The conference will take place at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan. For more information or to register to attend, visit esd. org. Sponsorships and exhibitor opportunities are available. For more information contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

GOLD AWARD RECEPTION & RECOGNITION Wednesday, March 16, 2022 • Online

Join the ESD Affiliate Technical Societies as we come together to honor and recognize our leaders— engineers, scientists and technical professionals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement and service within their respective Societies. Hosted by the ESD Affiliate Council, the event features this year’s Gold Wei Sun Ashley Lesser Award winner Wei Sun, PE, who was nominated by ASHRAE—Detroit Chapter. The 2022 Ann O. Fletcher Award for Distinguished Service will also be presented to Ashley Lesser, PE. Complimentary to ESD members and our community of affiliate technical societies. Pre-registration is required; visit to register online. For more information, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.



Coming this spring · Online Cybersecurity is the most important security an organization can have. With an increasing number of users, devices, and programs, combined with the increased deluge of data -- much of which is sensitive or confidential -- the importance of cybersecurity continues to grow. The growing volume and sophistication of cyber attackers and attack techniques compound the problem even further. Plan to attend this new webinar designed to assist businesses of any size. Check for more information or contact Leslie Smith at for more information.

Thursday, March 24, 2022 • In-Person

Employers: Meet the right engineering and technology candidates. Exhibit space is available for those looking to hire. ESD job fairs draw hundreds of professionals and recent college graduates looking for full and part-time positions, and internships. Job Seekers: Build a better career—find your next job. Whether you are a seasoned professional, a recent graduate, or an inbetween careers job seeker, you’ll find your next position at ESD’s job fair. ESD’s job fair is your best opportunity to meet oneon-one with representatives from leading engineering and technology companies.





The job fair will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi from 2– 7 p.m. For more information on exhibiting or attending, please visit e s d .o rg o r c o n t a c t Leslie Smith, CMP, at 248-353-0735, ext. 152, or



Holding a PE license sets you apart. Adding PE initials after your name provides many benefits including a higher salary, faster career advancement and the ability to sign and seal contracts and drawings. For over 75 years, ESD has helped thousands of engineers pass the State licensing exam. ESD’s review courses will prepare you to pass the exam on your first try. Learn in a small-group setting from academic and industry professionals who have first-hand knowledge of the course material. Visit for more information contact Elana Shelef at eshelef@ or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.

To ensure a safe environment for all attendees at our in-person events, plans will be in accordance with CDC and state COVID-19 guidance.


Online sessions are scheduled several times each month and held via the Zoom platform. Learn more about PE licensure at a complimentary information session. There is no cost to attend, but preregistration is required. Check for dates and times. For more information contact Elana Shelef at or 248-3530735, ext. 119.


Michigan professional engineers who want to enhance their personal and professional growth, or who need continuing education hours, can check out ESD’s online three and four-hour courses. Current PE’s can take ESD review course classes on an a la carte basis to satisfy state requirements. A broad range of topics will be offered. The live, instructor-led, online classes are taught by academic and industry professionals. Fo r a c l a s s s c h e d u l e a n d t o register, please visit or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.






| MAY 3 • 2022 | 46100 GRAND R

11th ANNUAL GOLF OUTING Monday, June 6, 2022 • In-Person

Looking forward to sunny skies and getting back on the greens? Mark your calendar and plan to join your colleagues HOS T E D B Yand D Tfriends E E Nfor E RThe G Y Engineering A N D T H ESociety E N Gof INEERIN Detroit’s 11th Annual Golf Outing. Outing proceeds help support outreach and educational efforts such as the Girls in Engineering Academy, the Michigan Regional Future City Competition, ESD Student Chapters at 14 Michigan universities and scholarship programs for high school and college students. A day of fun and networking in support of engineering! The golf outing will take place at Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton. Golfers—register early as this popular event sells out each year. The outing is held in memory of David A. Skiven, PE, in honor of his deep commitment to ESD and its mission. For more information, to register or for sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.



Photo Credit: Jenny Risher

In its 23rd year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small to large commercial and industrial businesses on energy t e c h n o l o g y, p r o d u c t s , a n d services that will assist them in successful energy management. This year ’s conference will RD feature a special keynote Mitch Albom presentation by Mitch Albom along with educational tracks and dozens of exhibitors offering energy-related products and services. For more information visit or see page 11 for details on the conference. The conference will take place at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. To register, visit esd. org or call 248-353-0735. Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting? Contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-3530735, ext. 152.

May 3, 2022

In its 23 year, this conference, the only o its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate to large commercial and industrial business technology, products, and services that will them in successful energy management.


• A luncheon keynote presentation by Mitch Albom • Educational tracks: Building Commissions & Controls, Energy Efficiency ESD ANNUAL DINNER June 2022 · In-Person Energy Waste Reduction Project Showcase, Industrial, Financial The Engineering Society of Detroit’s 2022 Annual Dinner— • Dozens of exhibitors offering energy–related products and services where we will celebrate our 125th anniversary—is being planned for this June. for information • Look Major awardsat recognizing energy efficiency initiatives For information on sponsoring the dinner, contact Elana Our annual golf outing fills up fast, with preference going to past attendees a chance to take new vehicles for a spin Shelf at 248-353-0735,•ext.A 119,Ride-and-Drive or offering attendees. Let us know early to get on the list for a spot! 10






| MAY 3 • 2022 | 46100 GRAND RIVER • NOVI, MICHIGAN




May 3, 2022 In its 23RD year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small to large commercial and industrial businesses on technology, products, and services that will assist them in successful energy management. THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE WILL INCLUDE:

• A luncheon keynote presentation by Mitch Albom • Educational tracks: Building Commissions & Controls, Energy Efficiency in HVAC, Energy Waste Reduction Project Showcase, Industrial, Financial • Dozens of exhibitors offering energy–related products and services • Major awards recognizing energy efficiency initiatives • A Ride-and-Drive offering attendees a chance to take new vehicles for a spin


90 $ 105 $ 160 $

ESD Member Non-Member Non-Member—attend and join ESD at a discounted rate! (This offer is available to new, first-time members only.)

Visit for more information and to register, or call 248-353-0735.

Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152 for more information.



These awards are unique in that they honor the three primary members of the building team, owners, designers and constructors, and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology. The awards were conceived 48 years ago to encourage elevation of the standard of practice in the construction industry. For eligibility requirements, submission criteria and entry procedures, visit For more information, contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

JOHN G. PETTY IMAGE AWARD Deadline: February 28, 2022


The John G. Petty Image Award is intended to recognize individuals who have promoted, publicized, and enhanced the engineering and technical professions to the public-at-large through public engagement, mentoring, public speaking, authorizing articles, and other publicly visible activities. Nominees do not have to be ESD members. Nominators must be ESD members. For nomination criteria, please visit For more information, contact Susan Thwing at

Help us recognize leaders by nominating a Fellow, one of the highest recognitions that The Engineering Society of Detroit can bestow its members. Candidates are selected based on outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership and service. They must be members in good standing for at least five years at time of application deadline. For full details and instructions visit For more information, contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.

Deadline: March 28, 2022

ESD’s Construction and Design Awards are among the premier recognitions awarded to members of the construction industry and their projects. 2021 C&D Award Recipient Ford Driving Dynamics Lab






Envisioning Waste-Free Cities In January, middle-school students shared what they dreamed up for a waste-free city. The 2022 Future City theme challenged students to design a waste-free city of the future using the principles of a circular economy. Working in teams with an educator and engineer mentor, participants spent four months imagining, researching, designing, and building cities of the future. The 2022 competition was again held virtually because of the ongoing pandemic, allowing the teams to compete in a safe environment. Former Future City participant Christopher LeFlore, now a Special Assistant to the President of The Kresge Foundation, was the keynote speaker. Celebrity judges were Carla Bailo, Christopher LeFlore President and CEO, Center for Automotive Research; Ashwini Balasubramanian, Group Chief Engineer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Adam Link, Vice President and Managing Director, Link Engineering Company; and Danny Milot, Senior Vice President Engineering, ZF Group. Lawrence Tech’s Matt Roush served as emcee.

St. John Lutheran School, Rochester

JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy

Comstock STEM Academy

St. John Lutheran School from Rochester, took first place for the fifth year in a row, while JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy from Sault Sainte Marie was runner-up for the second year in a row. Comstock STEM Academy from Kalamazoo placed third. Fourteen teams competed this year.

St. John will go on to represent Michigan at the National Competition later this winter.. For more information—including how to sign a team up for the 2023 competition and what sponsorship opportunities are available—contact Allison Marrs at or 248-353-0735, ext. 121.


Detroit Chapter

Detroit Region Green Schools Committee





Hartland Insurance Group Celebrates 50th Anniversary


uburn Hills-based Hartland Insurance Group has been in business for over 50 years. Servicing all of Michigan from their Oakland County base, Hartland’s 23-member staff has been a strong supporter and sponsor of ESD for over 40 years. They offer many types of insurance including home, auto, business, life and health. Being an independent insurance agency means that Hartland Insurance Group represents many of the biggest and best insurance companies. Their largest insurance company partner in the agency is Citizens Insurance, based in Howell, which is also a major ESD supporter and sponsor. Since Hartland Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency, they do the shopping for its clients, finding the best combination of coverage and price. The process starts with a free, no obligation review of current coverages and limits and providing options moving forward. According to Hartland’s Insurance Group President Mike Coffey, “we often find that new clients are not properly insured which Mike Coffey means not having adequate coverage and/or have limits that are too low to properly protect their family and assets”. For example most people do not have a personal umbrella policy which provides additional liability coverage. The cost is often a couple hundred dollars for one





million dollars of coverage which for many is inexpensive peace of mind. Term life insurance is also relatively inexpensive and provides financial protection for your family. Recent auto insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reform in Michigan gives Michigan drivers more options, not to mention more forms to review and sign. A professional agent at Hartland Insurance Group can explain the various options that are now available and help their clients make a thoughtful decision on how much PIP coverage to have. Every individual and family is unique and is treated as such at Hartland Insurance Group. From a marketing perspective, Hartland Insurance Group feels nothing works better than referrals from satisfied customers. Coffey said “our model is to have our professional staff take care of people, solve their insurance issues and problems, do what’s best for each customer, and have them refer other family members, friends and coworkers to us”. As a matter of convenience and safety from COVID, insurance reviews, sales and service can all be done remotely. No need for in person meetings if that works best for the customer. Engineers and similar professionals as a group have fewer losses than average so they are highly desired clients for Hartland Insurance Group’s insurance companies. Hartland Insurance Group can be reached at 248-377-9600 or 800-682-6881. Let them know that you are an ESD member to see what discounts are available. Their website is


Dearborn Mid-West Company Keeps Amazon Facility Moving


ithin the new $400 million Amazon distribution center—located on the former Michigan State Fairgrounds – are over 14 miles of conveyor belt, all installed by Dearborn Mid-West Company (DMW). The large spiral conveyor systems were each lifted with a 300 ton crane to be put in place, and now will keep packages moving from your order to being sent out for delivery. It’s just one of the exciting and impactful projects DMW undertakes on a given work day. DMW was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1947 as a small, family-owned business and has since grown into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, providing world-class products and services to global customers. DMW’s cutting-edge conveyor products and services include: automotive, industrial and commercial, retail and e-commerce solutions as well as an expansive breadth of knowledge in the conveyor and material handling industry and consistently provide our customers with flawless, on-time, turn-key handling systems. The company is most proud of its guarantee for 100 percent on time start up and delivery of projects. DMW is headquartered in Taylor, Michigan with satellite locations in Detroit, Leon Mexico, and Hubei, China. The Michigan facilities provide a broad-range of expertise in engineering, program and project management, multidirectional fabrication/manufacturing, field installation and life cycle improvement. DMW established a strategic global footprint and strong, substantial business relationships across the globe with an active commitment that has strengthened customer support by offering endless competitive advantages. The company is also investing in new technology including software, hardware, 3D scanning, and incorporating that into staff training, as well as offering education reimbursement to staff. Dearborn Mid-West’s Leon, Mexico facility specializes in generating new business opportunities, providing our customers with engineering and robust project management services. DMW Hubei, China is strategically located in Eastern Asia, generating new business opportunities and providing our customers with technically advanced, cost effective, fully integrated, turn-key conveyor products. The Dearborn Mid-West Company specializes in automotive, industrial, commercial, and retail conveyor and material handling solutions. It’s competitive and aggressive team approach to business is present in every project phase

Dearborn Mid-West Company is installing over 14 miles of conveyor belt at Amazon’s new distribution center.

from concept engineering, to project management, to new product development, to manufacturing, to custom fabrication, to prototyping, to commissioning, to testing and of course the highest level of quality assurance possible. In addition, DMW is highly involved in giving back to the community, sponsoring and supporting projects and programs that improve the quality of life in the communities the company serves. Outreach includes participating in Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens and an internship partnership program with Detroit Cristo Rey High School. The Cristo Rey model provides college-preparatory Catholic high school education to students from economically disadvantaged families in Detroit. For more information, visit or follow DMW on LinkedIn to learn more about current projects.





Urban Science: Supporting STEM


he Detroit automotive consultancy and technology firm Urban Science recently provided a $25,000 grant to The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) to improve academic achievement and increase interest in engineering careers among girls in metro Detroit. The grant, awarded in observance of National STEM Day, is part of an ongoing partnership between Urban Science and ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy, bringing the company’s total investment to $50,000 since 2020. Urban Science’s Randall Tallerico (far right) participates in a celebration for girls who finished university-level 3-D CAD Design and Advanced Coding as part of ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy. Instructor Bia Hamed (far left) from EMU’s College of Engineering and Technology and GEA Director Dr. Gerald Thompkins (second from left) join him.

Jim Anderson

Randall Tallerico





In addition to Urban Science’s longstanding relationship with ESD, company founder and CEO Jim Anderson, PE, FESD, supports ESD and its programs through his personal passion for philanthropy and STEM as well. He is an ESD Fellow and was awarded the 2018 Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award, the Society’s highest honor. He is also founder of The James and Patricia Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute, established at Wayne State University to contribute to the growth and revitalization of Detroit and the university’s overall vision to become the pre-eminent public research university in the nation. “At Urban Science, our vision is a world in which innovation is powered by science and inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit to invent a better future,” said Randall Tallerico, chief marketing officer, Urban Science. “We know our ability to realize this vision begins and ends with continuing to

give our next generation of leaders the knowledge, skills and support they need to thrive in STEM fields that are often harder to find—and navigate— for girls in metro Detroit. We proudly support ESD’s efforts to help these future leaders excel in STEM and pursue engineering careers that will continue to drive our city, state and nation forward.” In addition to monetary support of GEA, Urban Science will also make members of its Detroit-based team available for student mentoring and job shadowing in the future. The aim of GEA is to narrow the diversity gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Each year, ESD selects 30 middle school girls to participate in a summer and academic-year program that delivers math and science enrichment, shares engineering and computer science concepts, improves English and language arts comprehension,

and engages students in mentoring, among other curriculum offerings, to increase awareness of STEM and engineering opportunities among participants; in doing so, the academy helps students forge new avenues to rewarding careers that may not have been available otherwise. The a c a d e my st ra t e g i c a l l y d eve l o p s and deploys programming and experiences to make STEM exciting and engaging, and to support students t h ro u g h c u r r i c u l u m — i n c l u d i n g college engineering school prerequisites, like calculus—that often becomes a barrier to engineering school admission for young women in Detroit. “ U r b a n S c i e n c e ’s e x p a n d e d commitment comes at a time when the pandemic has stifled education— particularly STEM education—in many areas across metro Detroit,” said Robert Magee, executive director of the ESD. “This is a significant learning divide ESD can’t close on its own, and support from the business community is critical in helping us position Girls in Engineering Academy students for long-term success. We’re grateful for Urban Science’s willingness to answer our call to service, and for its commitment to lifting up our city’s next generation of female engineers through more than $50,000 in funding to date.” Urban Science’s support will empower Girls in Engineering Academy to continue to build strong STEM foundations that will help diverse homegrown talent graduate high school and gain admission into four-year colleges and universities. Regardless of whether academy graduates decide to pursue engineering careers, the core curriculum and skills they gain—and the mentoring they receive—will create a solid foundation of core knowledge, and positive study and personal skills, that will position them for short-and long-term success. In addition to supporting young women’s STEM education, Tallerico said Urban Science is committed to

Urban science has been a very strong supporter of ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA). Above students in the 2021 program, learn advanced coding thanks to sponsorship from Urban Science. Below Randall Tallerico from Urban Science holds a 3-D printed object made by students in the GEA program.

supporting women in the engineering field—and to continuing to create opportunities to diversify metro Detroit’s engineering talent pool, and in turn, the company’s employee base. Several leading universities across Michigan have pledged admission and scholarships to girls who complete t h e a c a d e m y ’s c u r r i c u l u m a n d graduate high school. The company also is highly involved in Detroit’s regrowth, and programs such as Detroit Homecoming. Urban Science is a leading automotive consultancy and technology firm that serves automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and dealers, and the advertising technology companies that support them, around the world. Headquartered in Detroit and operating in 21 office locations globally, Urban Science taps the power of its science—and its unrivaled data, solution offerings and industry expertise—to create clarity and busi-

ness certainty for clients in even the most chaotic market conditions. Visit for more information. For more information about the GEA, visit





MSU’s ESD Student Chapter: Connecting for a Bright Future


successful career in engineering doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While the beginning may be a solid education and training, it also takes networking, partnerships and strategic connections. That’s why the partnership between Michigan State University’s College of Engineering and The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) is so essential for today’s students and tomorrow’s engineers. The College of Engineering at MSU provides an unprecedented learning environment coupling teaching and research. One of the largest and oldest colleges on the MSU campus—that began as a single field of study “Mechanic Arts” in 1885—the College of Engineering offers 10 Bachelor of Science degree programs as well as master’s and doctoral programs. From Applied Sciences to Biomedical Engineering, to Chemical, Civil and Environmental engineering, the choices of focus span the industry. But beyond the academic side of preparing for a successful career, the College’s partnership with ESD in supporting the ESD MSU Student Chapter allows for a vast system of real-world application of what students learn during their years at MSU. The MSU Student Chapter is one of 14 student chapters at ESD. As members of the chapter, students receive assistance with professional development, networking and leadership development programs, as well as taking part in mentoring opportunities for college students at ESD’s Future City Michigan Regional Competition for sixth through eighth graders. ESD student chapters offer engineering students the opportunity to meet and network with engineers and technical professionals, connect with student chapter members from other universities, gain leadership experience and find valuable connections potentially leading to internships, coop opportunities and jobs. MSU Student Chapter President Bashhar Byrouthy, a mechanical Bashar Byrouthy engineering student, said that despite many of the events going virtual during the pandemic, the opportunities and benefits of being a chapter member are





numerous. “I joined in the fall of 2019, just before the pandemic hit,” he said. “We were able to do several in-person events and get to know other members, and leaders.” As the events went virtual, Bashhar said, it opened opportunities to connect with people from across the country. “We could reach out to recruiters who were not in the state to learn about companies, skill building, and networking. It was an interesting way to connect.” Students also get the inside track for internships and employment opportunities as they can network and garner advice from professionals in the field at events throughout the year. ESD’s 120-plus corporate members stand ready to help members of ESD college chapters with internship and co-op opportunities. Kate Kiefer, a sophomore civil engineering student who joined the chapter in fall 2021, said that she has only participated in the programs virtually, but the method has unexpected benefits when talking to recruiters at a job fair. “With Zoom, you are able to go off into a one-on-one session and talk directly without the crowds and energy of the fair,” she said. “You’re able to interact and get to know them and the company better. Virtual meetings are immensely convenient, and I’ve still been able to network with people from all backgrounds.” Bashhar agrees and said the connection with ESD leadership has not been diminished due to online meetings and events. “The direct connection with ESD and its resources, as well as insight and guidance from Robert Magee (ESD Executive Director) has been invaluable,” he said. ESD Student Chapter membership helps students close the gap between their technical education and the realities of the modern engineering workplace. And partnering companies meet the best and brightest of graduating students. It is a win-win situation. For details on Student Chapters and how to join them, please contact Heather Lilley at 248-353-0735, ext. 120, or


Making the Most of Your Professional Memberships BY JANICE K. MEANS


ne of the benefits to being a member of any professional society—including ESD-- is the opportunity to network with other professionals. I remember a former president of ASHRAE who was especially good at networking, sharing that for dinner meetings he always sat at a table where he knew no one. What’s that you say? You feel intimidated sitting at a table with, or entering a room full of, strangers? Well, read on and follow these seven tips and you too can find networking, easy, fun and fruitful for your career.


Planning makes you more effective in both your professional and personal life. Successful networking also requires effective planning. Think about your personal and professional goals and why it is important for you to attend a particular event. Energize yourself prior to the event by thinking of ways you can meaningfully engage with others. If there is going to be a presentation or tour, prepare by reading about the subject so that you can discuss the topic intelligently, or at least ask relevant questions. If you have access to the attendee list, review it and see if there is anyone you would very much like to meet—especially if they work for a company of interest or in an area related to your present or intended future work. You also could ask someone you know to introduce you to others at the event.


Demonstrate that you genuinely value those whom you meet; show that you want to hear what they have to say. Begin by introducing yourself and then paying close attention when they say their name. Repeat their name and try to associate it with some visual characteristic to help you remember it. Maintain eye contact, smile, listen carefully and ask relevant follow-up questions. If you can, offer to introduce them to others, especially if they are new to the group. (Recall how you felt going into a room full of strangers.)


When you ask follow-up questions, use open-ended inquiries— start with “how,” “what,” or “have” rather than “do” or “why”.

ESD Members networking at an Affiliate Council event.

Try not to ask questions requiring just a yes or no answer. Examples: How long have you been involved with ESD…worked for XYZ firm? Have you been to this city before…can you recommend anything special to see or do? What ESD events have you found the most valuable to you professionally?


Follow up their answers and comments with interest and additional clarifying questions. What projects are you working on now? What goal(s) do you have for this year?… for your career?...for this event? Is there something I could do to help you reach your goal(s)?


Don’t be afraid to ask for advice if this is one of your goals for attending the event, especially if you are a student or looking for a new position. Others are usually flattered to be asked for assistance. This can be most artfully done by asking questions, e.g., What experience did you find most useful for your current position/career? What is the most useful idea, concept or information you found from attending prior events? Which ESD events have you found useful and fun? What presentations/seminars do you recommend I not miss? What qualities does your company or firm look for in future employees? Tell me about your favorite professional society and what you have gained by participating in its activities. THE ENGINEERING SOCIE T Y OF DE TROIT






If you are experienced, you can offer guidance to others. This can be as simple as introducing the person you just met to someone else with similar interests or to a potential future employer. You could suggest a resource which you found useful. This could be a book, website, article, etc.


Follow up with your new-found connections for best outcomes. Send a short email or text stating that you enjoyed meeting them, thank them for their time and comment on one of the topics you discussed. Perhaps you can recommend a related article or ask them another question to further the discussion. You could also share something that you learned about at the event, especially if it was related to one of their recommendations or interests. Now go ahead and enjoy your next networking event with confidence!

Additional sources for networking questions: % Heathfield, Susan M. “Icebreakers for Meetings and Getting to Know Each Other” https://, Updated May 24, 2016 % Hedges, Kristi. “Six Icebreakers That Take the Pain Out of Networking” http://www.forbes. com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/08/30/ six-icebreakers-that-take-the-pain-out-of-networking-events/#67b8c84c5830, August 30, 2013 % Young Entrepreneur Council, “8 Go-To Icebreaker Questions for Your Next Networking Event”, July 6, 2015

Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD, FASHRAE, is an experienced educator and engineer. She has consulted internationally for analyzing blasting effects to pipelines and energy sustainability and taught environmental and alternative energy courses at university level. She is Professor Emerita at Lawrence Technological University. A 2021 Engineering Society of Detroit Gold Awardee, she is also a member of the TechCentury Editorial Board and past recipient of the John G. Petty Image Award.





ESD Writing Contest WINNERS


he Engineering Society of Detroit is pleased to announce the winners of the second annual ESD Engineering Student Writing Contest. To promote and engage student voices and ideas about the profession of engineering, the Society launched the contest in 2018. Open to all engineering students attending Michigan universities and studying within any of the engineering and related disciplines, the top three entries follow. The students were asked to address one of three topics in an essay. The top award-winning essay, written by Julian Blank, a graduate student at Michigan State University, will receive a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Fishman Stewart, and recognition at the 2022 Gold Award Reception. Thank you to everyone who participated in this competition, which was judged by members of the TechCentury Editorial Board. Please enjoy reading the top three essays from these promising engineers! The themes for next year’s competition will be announced in the summer and will have a fall deadline. For more information on the contest please visit or email Susan Thwing at



ESD WRITING CONTEST FIRST PLACE JULIAN BLANK is a graduate student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Michigan State University, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2022. Julian answered the question, “What is something positive that came out of the last 18 months of living in the pandemic world?”

A Small Request During the last 18 months of living in this pandemic world, things have changed unpredictably. Besides direct negative consequences of the pandemic such as an increase in mortality, unemployment rate, or depression, the news was full of articles with headlines “a wasted year” as it seemed to have been perceived by most people. Now one might ask, how can someone see anything positive in this? Well, is there anything positive about one’s car breaking down, a student being kicked out of college, or a failed relationship? For some readers, these may sound like silly examples compared to what they were going through recently; however, the point I want to make is that we have to accept good and not-so-good events happening to us in life. More importantly, we have to reflect on what (negative) past events teach us for the future. Appreciation. The phenomenon of humans desiring to have what they cannot get is well-known. You might remember when restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms were temporarily closed by the Executive Order 2020-9. A time which made us realize how we are used to our lifestyle. I admit I have missed going to all of these places as well; however, something else has shaped my pandemic experience a lot more. My grandfather from Germany had quite surprisingly passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2020, just before the pandemic truly hit—as he would have known and planned it that way. At this point, public funerals were still permitted, and no travel restrictions had been issued yet. So how did the pandemic impact my feelings about these circumstances? I appreciate having been able to book an overpriced flight worth more than two months’ rent payments for a four-day stay; I appreciate having been stuck in an airplane for nine hours and being jet-lagged my entire visit; I appreciate having had the chance to attend the funeral and to celebrate my grandfather’s life at the Leichenschmaus (funeral feast) together with my extended family. Nevertheless, I also know that many of us were not as “lucky” as I was and have missed one-time events with

loved ones. But instead of complaining about what is missing in our lives, let us not forget to appreciate what we already have. Adaptation. A change is also always a chance for something new, and the question to be asked is how to react to it. I was in the third year of my PhD when the pandemic hit, and besides writing my dissertation, I was working as a teaching assistant. From one day to another, it was clear my life would be different in the next months: working remotely and transitioning to online teaching. Have I enjoyed spending all day in a 120-square-foot room and listening to my roommate practicing clarinet? Definitely not. Have I bought noise-canceling headphones, put up a large painting on my wall behind me as a mood booster, and lit a candle to have a homey feeling, making the best out of the current situation? Yes, I did. And I claim by no means that the transition to online teaching was easy and smooth. But the entirely new situation came along with new skills to learn; for example, to explain content remotely using a drawing tablet, manage multiple break-out rooms at a time, or create and proctor an online exam. Adaptations can be inconvenient but are necessary, and quickly adjusting to a new situation is a valuable skill and one factor for success in our lives. A negative event or period of time can have positives: the broken-down car fixed by a mechanic might have prevented a more severe accident; the student who got kicked out of college might have founded a successful startup; the failed relationship might have been just at the right time to meet your future wife or husband. Yes, I have used the word “might” three sentences in a row because it depends on how one reacts to unforeseen events; there is no guarantee but also no reason to give up. And finally, a small request: in a few years or decades, when you talk to your grandchildren about this pandemic, sure tell them how wasteful the time was if this was your perception, but do not forget to mention how your lessons learned made you who you are today. THE ENGINEERING SOCIE T Y OF DE TROIT




ESD WRITING CONTEST RUNNER UP LOGAN JORGENSEN is an automotive engineering student at Ferris State University. Logan also answered the question “What is something positive that came out of the last 18 months of living in the pandemic world?”

COVID-19 Pandemic: The Good Stories You Do Not Hear About “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” – Donald Miller, StoryWorks CEO and author

The COVID-19 pandemic began in the second half of my junior year of high school, when I was still unsure where I wanted to take my life after high school. I already had a keen interest in cars and mechanics and had enjoyed the past two years employed at a go kart track where small engine repair was a daily affair. With a few months of high school auto shop class under my belt, I was learning new skills and enjoying the challenge of solving automotive problems. I became inspired to purchase a 1982 Pontiac Firebird to fix up as I learned. However, right when I was starting to develop confidence working on cars, the pandemic hit, and we students were sent home. I initially feared it would be a major stumbling block to my automotive career, and for a while it certainly was. Online automotive instruction is not nearly as effective as in person, since computer work cannot replicate the muscle memory and hands-on experience that working in a shop environment provides. Since I suddenly had plenty of time on my hands, as well as the drive and interest, I was determined to continue my education on my own. This seemed like a huge obstacle at first, but through email advice from my automotive instructor, plus books, YouTube videos, and trial and error, I began to fix my car at home. Already, the Firebird was approaching 38 years old and needed plenty of repairs. To fund this project, I began to collect lawn mowers from the local junk yard to repair and sell for profit. At this point, I was not only learning the service side of the trade, but also business, marketing, entrepreneurship and people skills. For example, once I completed a mower, I still had to clean it up, capture clear photos, and craft an enticing description to list it online for sale. Once the listing was complete, I found myself managing responses to messages from potential buyers. Since COVID shut many manufacturing processes down, the market for used equipment was very strong. I learned firsthand about economics and scarcity. Within





an hour of posting my first mower, twelve people sent questions and I sold it immediately. The next time I had a mower ready, I raised the price a little bit more, and still received many messages. After a few repeats of this price increase scenario, I observed the effects of the law of diminishing marginal returns, and adjusted prices accordingly. This worked out to be an effective way to accumulate funds to continue my car, as well as save for investing in my future. I began to improve my independent diagnosis and troubleshooting skills and realized I was solving difficult issues without direct help or supervision from an instructor. Each problem forced me to think more deeply and conceptualize the workings of the broken component, which I enjoyed. When needed I researched online and asked professionals for advice. By this time, I was actively considering the automotive field, but I was unsure if I wanted to pursue a career as a mechanic or apply to college. I found the engineering side of automotive very intriguing, and wanted to learn more, but the college search process seemed overwhelming. One year and many mower projects later, nearing graduation from the high school auto shop program, I earned an excellence award. Still, the looming deadline of college applications plagued me. College seemed very expensive, but I was unsure if a shop job as a mechanic was the best fit. My automotive instructor sensed my hesitation and suggested I could have the advantage of both worlds. He referred me for a summer job at a local repair shop where I gained practical experience. He introduced me to the Automotive Engineering Technology program at Ferris, the school he had attended. I was unaware that such a program existed, and after reviewing the course content, I was convinced to try it. I am so glad I applied and was accepted. Three months in, I retain the same passion for learning that I held at the beginning of the pandemic. The last eighteen months have been difficult for everyone, but I am grateful that this experience compelled me to become an independent learner with a drive to succeed in the engineering field.


ESD WRITING CONTEST RUNNER UP VICENTE AMADO OLIVO is a graduate student studying Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering at Michigan State University with an anticipated graduation date of May 2026. He also answered, “What is something positive that came out of the last 18 months of living in the pandemic world?”

Honoring Sacrifices and Making Room for Dreams Before the pandemic, the only thing I knew about coding was that it was complicated. As the son of immigrants, and an immigrant myself, the only career I had ever considered was the career my father had chosen for me: finance. Yet only a year before I was set to graduate, I realized I was missing something that a future in finance could not provide. I craved a career in which I could address and solve real-life problems with creativity, and the pandemic unexpectedly gave me the freedom to take a chance on this desire. This is the story of how I entered the pandemic as a third-year finance major, unsure of my future, and became a first-year PhD student pursuing data science, passionate about my work in machine learning, and excited about the future and impact that awaits me, all while discovering myself along the way. I was only two years old when I left Venezuela. My family had just said goodbye to our home, immigrating to the United States in search of safety and new opportunities. However, little did I know that I would never really feel at home again. I was never “Venezuelan enough” to call Caracas home, nor “American enough” to fully find my place in the United States. I was from neither here, nor there—ni de aquí, ni de allà. So, at two years old, I began my lifetime of trying to place myself within these contrasting identities, attempting to honor both the sacrifice my parents had made and my own dreams, feeling, most times, that I was inadequate at doing either. I entered my freshman year of college without a clear plan. My father had always pressured my brother and me to follow the same path to a career that was stable. He believed that if we followed the same blueprint, we would both be successful. When my brother was accepted to college after working as a cashier at the local grocery store, my father insisted I work the same job. This theme continued, and I felt pressure to choose the same path as my brother, so I entered college with the same major in finance. However, as I progressed through college, my journey in finance was never a good fit. I wanted to feel more

fulfilled in my academic pursuit, so I met with a finance professor to discuss ways that I could get more out of my education. Professor Tessmer spoke to me about the changing landscape in finance and how a background in programming would be necessary to stay ahead. I began coding for the first time in January of 2020 and struggled through a new way of thinking. One day after class, I asked the professor of my data science class a question about Python, and he convinced me to use machine learning for my final project with his help. Shortly after, my summer internship in finance was canceled due to COVID. Lost in what to do, I asked my professor how I could bolster my programming skills as my summer was empty and I couldn’t let it go to waste. That professor put me in contact with the person who would become my PhD advisor, Wolfgang Kerzendorf, a data science professor at MSU. This introduction in May of 2020 drastically changed the trajectory of my career path. Instead of continuing to pursue finance as planned, I was accepted into a PhD program at MSU. The semester before the pandemic began was the most stressful semester of my undergraduate degree. I felt considerable pressure to follow the path my father had paved for me instead of searching for a career that fulfilled my dreams. However, unexpectedly, the pandemic allowed me to take a breath and take a chance on something new. I never would have shifted from finance to computational science if I didn’t take a chance on a programming class, or if my professor hadn’t taken a chance on me. The sacrifice my parents made to leave everything they knew and find a safer and better opportunity for our family has always weighed on my educational decisions. However, learning from their example, I was able to take risks of my own, leaving behind the past to pursue a future in a field I knew little about. Through my journey in research, I have made my parents proud and built a unique future for myself, honoring their sacrifices and making room for my own. THE ENGINEERING SOCIE T Y OF DE TROIT



Solving Tomorrow’s IT Challenges



n the spring of this year, Colonial Pipeline, an American oil pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas, and carries gasoline and jet fuel, suffered a ransomware cyberattack that impacted computerized equipment managing the pipeline, causing a gas shortage along the east coast. In Metro Detroit, school districts also are being targeted by hackers. The cyberattacks can shut down systems and lead to leaked personal information. Cyber-attacks across the country on schools skyrocketed during the pandemic, and unfortunately, there is no sign hackers are going to stop. In 2020, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools had a system outage linked to a cyber attack. The district kept it from affecting virtual learning. Moreover, the FBI investigated a cyber security attack on Monroe Public Schools this past June. It initially impacted the district’s phone system, software tools and google products. And in September, nearly nine months after the Accellion data breach, Beaumont Health in Michigan joined a list of over 11 healthcare organizations impacted by the cyberattack. Millions of patients’ data were compromised when bad actors exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Accellion’s File Transfer Application (FTA). Michigan-based Trinity Health also notified over 580,000 patients that their data was compromised during the Accellion cyberattack. The stolen data included demographic details, names, medical record numbers, and lab results.






The Michigan State Police says it’s seeing more and more cyberattacks across the state. And that anyone can be a victim. Common hacks are ransomware attacks, where someone puts malware on a server and encrypts the information until someone pays a fee. For individuals, most of the time, the attack starts with a spam email. The state of Michigan has long been considered a national leader on cybersecurity, leading the discussion on emerging trends and best practices. So it was fitting that the 2021 Michigan Cyber Summit (formerly the North American International Cyber Summit) focused on the challenges and solutions to this growing trend. Taking place in October, the virtual and in-person event was widely attended. More than 700 people tuned in for the virtual day and 90 joined the invitation-only in-person day. Twenty-five states and four countries were represented. The event, now in its tenth year, brought together experts to provide timely content and address a variety of cybersecurity issues impacting the world. Attendees heard from government and industry leaders on the lat-

est developments to gain insights into managing today’s security challenges. “This year marks a decade of hosting the cyber summit in Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “It is amazing how the role of cybersecurity has grown exponentially since our first summit, and during the pandemic, it has become even more important. The role that IT has played in making it possible for us to continue to operate our businesses and educate our children during this pandemic cannot be overstated. But it doesn’t come without risks. As more people operate in the digital world, the bigger the target becomes for cyber criminals to exploit.” Among the cybersecurity experts from around the country on hand included: Chris DeRusha, federal chief information security officer; U.S. Sen. Gary Peters; U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin; Paul Ajegba, director, Michigan Department of Transportation; Chris DeRusha

How to Stay Cyber Secure Numerous state programs are in place to help keep data safe.

Paul Ajegba

Tracey Barnes

Leah Hurley

Tracey Barnes, chief information officer from state of Indiana; Jim Beechey, executive director, Consumers Energy; Kelley Goldblatt, cybersecurity advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; Leah Hurley, managing director, Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Government & Public Services Cyber Risk Services; and numerous other information technology and cyber experts. The Michigan Cyber Summit also continued the tradition of highlighting the skills needed to fill the growing demand for cybersecurity talent by announcing the winners of the sixth annual Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge and Cyber Patriot competitions. A total 169 teams, consisting of 520 students from 21 schools all across Michigan, participated in the challenge. In the CyberPatriot challenge, 102 Michigan teams made up of middle and high school students competed against 3,500 students from across the nation in the virtual event.


In addition, Gov. Whitmer proclaimed October 2021 as Michigan Cybersecurity Month to highlight the importance of cybersecurity awareness among families and businesses around the state. In the past year alone, according to the FBI, Michigan residents and businesses have lost more than $165 million to cybercriminal activities, with an average victim loss of more than $19,479. “There has never been a more critical time to be mindful of your online activities and what you should do to ensure they are safe,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Cybercrime is on the rise, but everyone can protect themselves by following some simple steps and educating yourself on the tell-tale signs criminals use to deceive.” During Michigan Cybersecurity Awareness Month—to help raise cybercrime awareness—the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) promoted ways that Michiganders can be safe and secure online. Participating in the “Stop.Think.Connect.” Campaign, a national public awareness initiative from the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, also aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.

The Michigan Cyber Command Center Established in 2013 to enhance and protect Michigan’s cybersecurity ecosystem, with specific emphasis on prevention, response, and recovery from cyber incidents. The center is responsible for the coordination of efforts for emergency response during critical cyber incidents in Michigan. The Cyber Command Center can be reached at 877-MI-Cyber. Michigan Secure App Michigan residents can now download Michigan Secure, a mobile app offered free to Michigan residents from DTMB. The app alerts users if their mobile device, tablet, or Chromebook encounters threats, such as a potentially unsecure Wi-Fi network. With each alert, Michigan Secure will offer recommendations on how to address the threat it detected. Michigan Secure is available for mobile devices running iOS 11 or higher, Android 6.0 or higher, and Chromebooks with Android Apps Support. Michigan Secure can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps (MiC3) is a group of trained, civilian technical experts who individually volunteer to provide rapid response assistance to the State of Michigan in the event of a critical cyber incident. The mission of MiC3 is to provide mutual aid to all levels of government, education, and business organizations in the State of Michigan in the event of a critical cyber incident. MiC3 is seeking Michigan residents who are certified information security experts and can commit (with permission of their employer) up to 10 days per year for training and exercises as well as pass a background check. This is a mutual opportunity for MiC3 and its members to create a safer cyber environment for organizations in Michigan while refining members’ skills and expanding their professional network. For more information, contact






iding along in my automobile…no particular place to go…” The sentiments of this classic Chuck Berry tune remind us of a carefree, unencumbered style of life. The freedom of having an automobile and a driver’s license provided people the ability to get away from it all. Nearly 80 years after the song’s release today’s vehicles bring the world into our compact automotive space with satellite music, mapping, and more. And with that, has the potential to bring many unwanted cyber guests—including hackers—into the mix. Cybersecurity has become a global security issue. With the world relying on vehicles for everything from personal transportation to shipping products to emergency healthcare, staying ahead of vehicle cyber threats is critical. This is evidenced by a 2020 Global Automotive Cybersecurity Report by Upstream Security, which analyzed more than 200 cyber incidents during the year. The report found that in one case a hacker took control of an entire connected vehicle fleet by exploiting a vulnerability. According to the research, there has been a 99% increase in cyber incidents in 2019 and a 94% increase year-over-year from 2016. More than 200 automotive cyber incidents were publicly reported in 2020 alone on electric vehicles.





But help is on the way. Last July, University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit Mercy) received a $1.12-million award from the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to establish the MetroDetroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, a regional-based, cybersecurity consortium. The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute consists of multiple academic institutions in southeast Michigan and includes the University of Arizona as a research partner. Detroit Mercy will receive the grant as the lead institution for the consortium, which includes Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College, and Washtenaw Community College. The University of Michigan and Henry Ford College will join the consortium as it enters its second phase during the 2023-24 academic year. This consortium will expand and enhance the cybersecurity engineer-

ing workforce through an applied curriculum developed in consultation with industry partners. The consortium also supports upskilling and reskilling for vehicle cybersecurity by prioritizing underrepresented populations, military personnel and veterans. Instruction began in Fall 2021 with enhancements on the program for the winter semester. Curriculum for the consortium will be developed with the workforce in mind. It includes associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, stackable graduate certificates, hands-on laboratory training and cybersecurity immersion camps for high school students. Detroit Mercy will soon offer a Graduate Certificate, master’s degree and an Accelerated 5-Year Bachelor & Master Degree in Vehicle Cyber Engineering (VCE). “Without an increase to the workforce now, the cybersecurity risk to

vehicles will fall behind the increasing threats from actors in multi-domain contested environments,” said Paul A. Spadafora, Director of Professional Engineering Programs & Industry Liaison, College of Engineering & Science at University of Detroit Mercy. Spadafora is a co-principal investigator for the consortium, along with College of Engineering and Science Dean Katherine Snyder. The award comes through Griffiss Institute’s Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) program, which establishes cyber institutes at higher learning institutions with the purpose of critical cyber operational skill development for future military and civilian leaders. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of Detroit Mercy, said that this significant award will augment the University’s already established expertise in the fields of engineering and cybersecurity. “Detroit Mercy is honored to be selected for the development of the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, which will enhance both our engineering and cybersecurity programs,” he said. Spadafora says the growing demand for cybersecurity engineers is developing an entirely new engineering career field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of cybersecurity engineers is projected to grow 31% between 201929, much faster than the average for

all occupations. In Michigan, the average pay for cybersecurity engineers in 2019 was $91,750, or $44.11 per hour. To address this need, the MetroDetroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute will build on existing relationships with automotive industry and government partners to provide students with valuable realworld experience. “The talent level, funding and equipment in metro Detroit is plentiful and cutting edge,” Spadafora said. “The transformational work being conducted on autonomous vehicles by the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle System Center, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Stellantis and numerous start-ups and supplier partners makes the metro Detroit area uniquely qualified to partner with Detroit Mercy and its consortium partners.” As vice president of Global Cybersecurity at General Motors and chairman of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Kevin Tierney sees the automotive industry’s shortage of cybersecurity personnel firsthand. Tierney believes the industry will benefit from a cybersecurity consortium, like the Metro -Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute.

“We envision that the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute will lead in the education of our current and future company employees, expand the competency of our workforce to design and protect secure physical cyber systems, including those in electric and autonomous vehicles,” Tierney said. The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute aims to become self-sustaining with goals of developing qualified cybersecurity graduates and creating a multi-pathway educational structure that meets the needs of the vehicle industry and government partners. I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e I n s t i t u t e, Detroit Mercy is renown for electrical engineering and computer science, autonomous and electric vehicle and cybersecurity-related curricula, offering students a variety of undergraduate, graduate and certificate options through the College of Engineering & Science as well as the University’s Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies. For more information on the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, and other Engineering Graduate Degree Programs, visit engineering/vehicle-cyber-eng






fter enjoying a pleasant holiday or weekend with your friends and family, you return to work on Monday recharged and focused on completing your latest engineering research project. When you log into your workstation, you struggle to access your files and discover a file named “RyukReadMe.html” in your research folder. Curious, you open the file: Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm. Backups were either encrypted or deleted or backup disks were formatted. Shadow copies were also removed. We exclusively have decryption software for your situation. No decryption software is available in the public. To get info (decrypt your files) contact us at: Ryuk No system is safe While the above scenario focused on the Ryuk ransomware, the many different ransomware variants generally follow the same attack pattern. Typically, a spam or spear phishing email entices a user to open a file attachment, which unbeknownst to the user installs a dropper program. This dropper is the initial point of compromise the bad actors leverage to further exploit the network. The bad actors then move laterally across the victim’s network to identify intellectual property, backup servers, executive’s email, and accounting information, which are all used to calculate an appropriate ransom demand. More recently, the bad actors may attempt to discretely exfiltrate intellectual property data and threaten to release it to the public if their ransom demand is not met. Once the intellectual property data has been exfiltrated and the backup servers compromised, the bad actors launch the ransomware program to encrypt data as it moves across the victim’s network. This final step is typically executed late on a Friday or over a holiday weekend to increase the likelihood the activity will not





be immediately detected. The bad actors are generally willing to negotiate the ransom amount, but ransom demands over $1 million USD are not unusual for larger organizations. Unfortunately, the “No system is safe” tagline from the Ryuk ransomware note is accurate, but there are meaningful steps you and your organization can take to reduce your likelihood of being victimized and reduce the damage if an attack does occur. Spam email or spear phishing is a common infection vector for malicious software ultimately leading to a ransomware attack. End users should receive regular training on tips for identifying phishing emails and how to handle suspicious email messages. As a best practice, this training should be accompanied with unannounced simulated phish emails drafted by your organization and sent to the end users. If a user clicks on the simulated phishing email, they should be directed to a refresher course. Finally, email system administrators should strongly consider adding a visual flag to denote email messages originating from outside of the company’s network. This practice would help to reduce the threat from spear phishing emails originating from similar sounding domain names. Strong passwords can also reduce your threat profile for ransomware attacks. Passwords should consist of a combination of at least 12 letters, numbers, and special characters and should not be reused across different accounts. One solution for generating a complex password is to use the first letter or character from an easy to remember sentence. For example, the sentence “Bob, John & I grew up in 1 small red house outside of Memphis, TN” would create the passphrase, “BJ&Igui1srhooMTN”. Literally overnight, the COVID pandemic prompted a significant increase in the use of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or other remote access solutions. Unfortunately, these remote access technologies also create a new attack vector for bad actors to penetrate your network. Appropriate technical resources and manpower should be dedicated to monitor and ensure appropriate patching for these remote access portals.

For example, all remote access portals should be secured with dual-factor authentication, which typically entails entering a password along with a randomly generated number from a soft-token device or application. Along with phishing and RDP exploitation, timely patch management is critical to securing your network. A particular emphasis should be placed on any unpatched software reachable from an external IP address. In addition, your organization should consider hiring an outside party to conduct penetration testing to identify any vulnerable systems and other avenues of attack. A comprehensive and well executed data backup strategy can be invaluable in mitigating an attack. The first step is to identify your critical data, which will be the primary focus of your backup strategy. This data should be backed up on a regular basis to both a network share and offline media. Ideally, the offline media would be stored in an off-site location to also avoid physical threats (e.g., floods or fires). Equally important is to regularly test the backup by randomly restoring files. The scope of the backup should also be regularly monitored to account for any changes to network or server infrastructure. Despite all your best efforts, it is certainly possible to fall victim to a ransomware attack. The key to mitigating the damage is to have a response plan in place before the attack occurs. This plan should encompass all facets of your organization, including executive management, information technology, legal, accounting and opera-

tions personnel. Assuming your organization does not have sufficient resources to respond to such an attack, your organization should consider preselecting a thirdparty incident response firm to assist with your threat mitigation efforts. Finally, please report the intrusion to law enforcement as we may be able to provide you with valuable intelligence regarding your ransomware variant and your organization may have important evidence to advance our criminal investigation. A complaint may be submitted to the FBI Detroit Division at (313) 965-2323 or Home/Ransomware. For more information, please see the following: % Federal Bureau of Investigation: % Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): Special Agent Timothy F. L a u s t e r , J r . , h a s investigated computer i n t r u s i o n , i n te r n e t fraud, intellectual property rights, crimes against children and terrorism matters. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer s c i e n c e a n d a M a ste r of B u s i n e ss Administration. He serves as adjunct faculty at the FBI Academy providing instruction on cybercrime investigations.








hat cybersecurity means to many people i s m a k i n g s u re yo u r passwords are strong and perhaps paying your bank a monthly fee for additional security measures. But in a world where an increasing number of the devices we use every day are becoming members of the Internet of Things—from the obvious ones like Alexa to the less obvious refrigerators and thermostats—cybersecurity attacks and countermeasures are expanding. Cybersecurity is a cross-disciplinary field. Research opportunities abound because of the important role security plays in autopilot vehicles, cyber-physical systems, industrial control systems and smart city infrastructure. Four researchers in Michigan Technological University’s College of Computing focus their research on strengthening cybersecurity, but each approaches the field from different angles, including malware detection, security of cellphones and vehicles (both human-piloted and autonomous), and training the future workforce.


“Behavior” may seem like an odd word to apply to machines. But the algorithms that power our devices are creatures of habit and repetition—that learn. Which means Bo Chen, assistant professor of computer science, is interested in detecting





Teaching the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is paramount, as an increasing number of devices important to modern life become susceptible to cyberattacks.

unexpected behavior patterns that could be evidence of malware. “A top concern is that when a device is hacked, the malware can steal your information,” Chen said. “If you can detect the malware, you can take action. Data compromised by malware can be recovered after the intrusion is detected.” Chen’s research focuses on how cybersecurity professionals detect malware: by signature or behavior. Signature detection is akin to finding fingerprints left at the scene of a crime—but instead, finding bytes out of place in code. Behavior is a little more complicated. Researchers like Chen are establishing models that can detect excess patterns in code. If the patterns in a data set no longer line up—like crooked corners in a quilt or misplaced colors of thread in a carpet—the model can detect malware at work.


Teaching a machine to detect complicated patterns requires more than static programming. Neural network learning systems teach artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize situations similar to those they have already encountered. In learning by doing, neural networks create a framework for AIs to make decisions by weighing variables and bias. The more layers of decisions in a given network—a multitude of “if this, then that” questions—the deeper the learning. Xiaoyong Yuan, assistant professor of applied computing, focuses on cybersecurity and deep machine learning, studying how to use AI to solve cybersecurity challenges. Machine learning can help detect network attacks such as distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) strikes.


Malicious attacks on thermostats and refrigerators are inconvenient but losing control of a vehicle barreling down the highway at 80 mph veers quickly into the realm of disastrous. For that reason, Lan Zhang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is interested in creating defense mechanisms in machine-learning models. One approach is designing environments to be dynamic enough to prevent bad actors from finding private information. Zhang and her collaborators are developing mechanisms and algorithms to address security threats in wireless communications, such as


Because of the sheer amount of data involved, network attacks cannot be rebuffed manually. Automating analysis is necessary, and so is teaching AI how to automatically detect malware. Yuan is interested in issues of trust. In a culture becoming increasingly reliant on Alexa for everything from scheduling meetings to selecting playlists, security and privacy are paramount. The beautiful thing about neural networks is that they can learn new features automatically, which makes models more powerful; but what makes them beautiful is also a potential danger. “AI is a large part of our lives but it is not perfect. We need to build a trustworthy AI,” Yuan said. “This includes finding the security and privacy issues in deep learning and AI algorithms.” Yuan gave the example of autocompletion, a feature now offered in many programs, including Google Mail and Microsoft Outlook. The AI behind it learns from your typing history so it can predict your next sentence. “If you type something sensitive and confidential, the model will remember it,” Yuan said. “What’s the chance the algorithm will leak your confidential sensitive information? We must build security and privacy into machine learning to prevent data breaches.”

Cybersecurity is a cross-disciplinary field. There are many research opportunities because of the important role security plays in autopilot vehicles, cyber-physical systems, industrial control systems and smart city infrastructure.

those used in driving environments. Connected and autonomous driving is one typical Internet of Things/cyberphysical systems application. “Our solutions include physicallayer security design to augment the transmission environments to avoid eavesdropping; blockchain-based authentication systems for trust management; and intrusion detection for secure routing.” Zhang also investigates federated learning, a privacy-preserving machine-learning paradigm, which allows users to collaboratively train a shared machine-learning model without migrating their confidential data into a central server. Federated learning is widely used in Internet of Things applications, like Google Keyboard.


Because cyber hacks and security breaches have dramatically increased in recent years, the nation is facing a talent shortage of cybersecurity professionals. To improve security education and meet industry needs, cybersecurity educators and researche r s n e e d t o p ro p o s e i n n ova t i ve approaches and ideas to defend the nation’s digital frontier. Yu Cai, professor of applied computing, is the principal investigator of a multimillion-dollar CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service grant spon-

sored by the National Science Foundation. The grant provides up to three years of full scholarship support for 20 undergraduate and graduate students studying cybersecurity at Michigan Tech. In return, recipients will work for the federal government for several years after graduation. The GenCyber program Cai leads is another cybersecurity workforce development effort, providing summer cybersecurity camp experiences for students and teachers at the K-12 level. GenCyber’s goals are to help students understand safe online behavior, learn fundamental cybersecurity knowledge, increase interest in cybersecurity careers, and improve pedagogical methods for delivering cybersecurity content in K-12 curricula. “The U.S. is facing a significant shortage of well-trained and well-prepared cybersecurity professionals,” Cai said. “Michigan Tech has developed a national and international reputation in cybersecurity education, and research and outreach activities. We are thrilled to be part of the solution to the nation’s cybersecurity workforce challenge.” Kelley Christensen i s the Director of Research Communications at Univ. of Oregon, having been a Science Writer at Michigan Tech University.




Federal Grant Boosts Defense Supplier Cybersecurity BY SUSAN THWING


he best defense is a good offense. As Michigan is a key contributor to the national defense industrial base, with approximately 4,000 defense suppliers generating more than $30 billion of total economic activity annually in the state, enhancing its cybersecurity efforts is a must. To do so, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded the MEDC’s Michigan Defense Center a $2.4 million grant to assist defense suppliers with cybersecurity efforts. The defense center will use the grant to enhance its Michigan Defense CyberSmart program, a one-stop shop to assist small- and medium-sized companies doing business with the DoD, by helping those businesses achieve federal cybersecurity compliance. The state’s defense sector supports more than 154,000 jobs. Michigan is home to the nation’s largest ground vehicle defense companies and U.S. DoD major industry such as General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems, GE Aviation, GM Defense, and more. The United States Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the nation’s top research facility for the development of ground vehicle technology, robotics, and mobility, as well as the Tank-Automotive Research,





Development, and Engineering Command (TARDEC) are also located in Michigan. “Michigan is a key contributor to the national defense Industrial b a s e, w i t h a p p rox i m a t e l y 4,0 0 0 defense suppliers generating more than $30 billion of total economic activity annually in the state,” said Vicki Selva, MEDC senior strategic adviser and executive director of the Michigan Defense Center. “While DoD’s cybersecurity requirements are needed for national security, many Vicki Selva smaller companies don’t have the time, money, and staff to become cyber-compliant, thereby threatening our supply chain. The Michigan Defense CyberSmart program is a business solution for these small- and medium-sized defense companies that provides standardization, accountability and cost-effectiveness throughout the process for achieving cyber maturity.” This grant provides critical resources for the state to support small business and create a competitive defense supply chain to protect and grow Michigan’s defense, defense aerospace and homeland security missions and

industries, according to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With the help of the Michigan Defense Cy b e r S m a r t p ro g ra m , M i c h i g a n companies will be more resilient and will continue to be an essential part of the defense supply chain.” Companies currently doing business with the Department of Defense or interested in expanding t h e i r b u s i n e s s i n t o t h e d e f e n s e Gretchen Whitmer industry are required to meet specific cybersecurity requirements. This grant will ensure Michigan companies are able to meet those requirements, providing additional growth opportunities here in Michigan. The Michigan Defense CyberSmart program is one of the first in the nation to provide a comprehensive, accessible and affordable business solution for achieving DoD’s requirement for cybersecurity. The grant will also provide funds to the University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute for the continuation of services from its Defense Cybersecurity Assurance Program, which will allow program participants to pursue activities for achieving Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Levels 1–3 and succession planning. Current offerings under Michigan Defense CyberSmart include: % The ability for a company to obtain a gap analysis report as the first step toward compliance and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification; % Participating companies can then hire a pre-approved service provider to correct deficiencies identified in the gap analysis and receive financial assistance; % Companies further along in their cyber-maturity journey can take advantage of University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute Concierge Service to connect them to an appropriate Cybersecurity Service Provider; % Companies that have met the current federal compliance requirements can self-certify in the state’s federal supplier database. The Bid Targeting System which will help promote Michigan companies to the federal and prime contractors using BTS to identify supply chain candidates. The Michigan Defense CyberSmart program is a comprehensive, statewide resource that ensures all Michigan companies at any level of cybersecurity maturity have access to information, education, tools, and services to assist with cybersecurity compliance in a way that is more efficient and effective than if they were to navigate the process on their own. For more information on Michigan Defense CyberSmart go to

Cyber Hubs and Training Centers The Detroit Arsenal is home to TARDEC’s training cyber hub, a joint venture of TARDEC, Merit Network Inc. and the Michigan Defense Center as part of the Michigan Cyber Range. Cyber Range Hub sites host events, exercises, and training classes. Statewide hubs operate as a physical extension of the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified cyber range. The hubs offer more than 40 industry-recognized certifications, exercises and workshops aimed at qualifying individuals for positions and contracts in cybersecurity fields. T h i s TA R D E C h u b g i v e s e m p l o y e e s access to lab-based experiential learning and certification for all compliance requirements and frameworks, including NIST, NICE, NSA, DoD 8570. In addition, employees are able to participate in live security attack and defense exercises to benchmark skills across the cybersecurity spectrum. The expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range, powered by Merit, was a critical strategy included in the 2015 Michigan Cyber Initiative. Since 2015, the Michigan Defense Center has provided funding for cyber ranges in Battle Creek, the Macomb Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights, Pinckney Community High School, and Wayne State University. In 2018 two additional cyber hubs in Marquette and Flint opened as part of the Michigan Cyber Range Network. The hubs at Northern Michigan University and at the University of Michigan-Flint help expand the cyber ecosystem to the Upper Peninsula and Genesee County. Cyber Range Hubs operate as a physical extension of the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified cyber range for cybersecurity training. The hubs offer industryrecognized certifications, exercises and workshops aimed at qualifying individuals for positions and contracts in cybersecurity fields. As a state-run test program that hones security software and cyber defense skills, the Michigan Cyber Range offers cyber exercises, product testing, digital forensics, and more than 40 professional certifications based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework.











or years, cyberattacks have been on the rise, with cyber terrorists and organized criminals having the most sophisticated tools and scams at their disposal—and the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help. While businesses shifted to a work-from-home


environment, hackers seized the opportunity, and the outcome is alarming. According to, during the height of the pandemic, cyberattacks increased 200% in banking, ransomware increased by 150%, and phishing attacks increased 600%. Some notable attacks include:

% Ransomware attacks on cruise lines like Carnival, Holland America, and Seabourn that resulted in encryption of technology infrastructure. (Cyber criminals obviously took advantage of the challenges this industry faced during the height of the pandemic.) % A data breach of Marriott International where hackers compromised login credentials of two employees, which lead to the disclosure of personal information of more than 5 million Marriott guests and loyalty members. % A ransomware attack at Garmin that not only prevented customers from accessing data from wearables, but also prevented pilots from downloading navigation plans. While traditional tactics of phishing and malware are still the most common cyberattack methods, the next wave of cyber criminals could quickly pivot to more technical methods that can cause total business disruption. So, what’s your best defense?


Cyber resilience goes beyond preventing or responding to a breach—it’s your ability to operate during, adapt to, and recover from a cyberattack (the word “resilience” is the key here). If your organization has a high level of cyber resilience, a cyberattack is much less likely to hamper your business operations—you’ll be able to protect your data, reduce the impact of business disruption, and prevent revenue loss. We’ve entered a new digital era— business leaders need to expand their idea of what cybersecurity is and go beyond defense and reaction to include anticipation and business continuity. Take these four steps toward achieving cyber resilience to stay ahead of threats, create a secure cyber environment, and improve

your ability to get through an attack unscathed.

Step 1: Identify your most critical information and assets.

The evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud storage, and the like means that organizations must be smarter and more diligent about securing information, considering how critical data assets are shared and consumed. A critical data asset is data that, if lost, stolen, or threatened, would cause significant damage to your revenue, reputation, and ability to run day-to-day operations. There’s a misconception that all data needs to be protected equally, but consider this: What data would be most valuable to a cybercriminal? You can identify critical assets using cyber risk assessments and IT audits. Once your critical data assets are identified and their value is measured, you can partner with an external expert to create a process that appropriately protects against fraud and breaches. Examples of critical data assets include: % Intellectual property % Research data % Market strategy % Corporate financial data % Propriety software % Internal manufacturing processes % Client, staff, or patient records & information

Step 2: Align your cyber response and preparedness strategy to the current threat environment.

If you’re not keeping up with the latest methods to prevent cybersecurity breaches, prepare to be attacked. Many organizations rely on seriously out-of-date security measures, like policies, procedures, and passwords that address decades-old threats. While it can seem like a difficult task to keep track of all possible network security threats, you’ll need to at least

update your strategy to address the most common cyberthreats du jour— ransomware, malware, unauthorized access to your email system, weak users, and loss of data or hardware. Key actions to take to mitigate risk and respond to current cybersecurity threats: % Identify current threats and act on intelligence. % Prioritize cyber risks—you can’t defend against all possible risks, order risks in terms of probability and impact. % Focus less on specific technologies, since these are continually evolving, and more on security goals as they relate to your overall strategic plan and mission. % Make sure your people, processes, and technologies are all protected— cybersecurity is an organization wide responsibility, and not just through an IT department’s efforts and processes.

Step 3: Develop and simulate cyber incident response strategies.

Next, your organization should have a tested process in place to respond to a cybersecurity incident. Without a formal plan, your customers, employees, IT systems, and brand can be negatively impacted. Identify a cybersecurity incident response team that will activate when security breaches occur to mitigate their impact on your organization. Your incident response team should include representatives from all major departments, and internal or external legal counsel. Here’s how to create and maintain a cybersecurity incident response plan: % Establish a process to investigate and analyze a breach that includes a plan to continue day-to-day operations despite the chaos. % Ensure your cybersecurity insurance policy has the appropriate coverage and protects you from financial damages during a breach. % Manage internal communications and updates during or immediately




after incidents. % Communicate with staff, stakeholders, and the media about breaches as needed. % Recommend technology, policy, governance, and training updates to prevent future attacks.

Interested in a cyber security career?

Step 4: Focus on a culture of awareness.

Finally, increase awareness and vigilance among your staff. An essential factor in data security is human behavior. Uninformed users can jeopardize an entire system. Therefore, cyber-threat awareness training is imperative to help users identify threats to information security and take proper action in response. All users need to stay upto-date on the latest types of attacks. Security awareness training helps mitigate these top security breaches: % Targeted ransomware % Phishing attacks, beyond just email % Mobile device attacks % Cloud & wireless attacks As cyberattacks grow more sophisticated, complex, and financially devastating, don’t wait for a cyber incident, prevent it! Cyber resilience allows you to embrace disruption safely and operate while under persistent threats and sophisticated attacks. You can’t anticipate every possible cyber risk, but you can help protect your organization with forward-planning and improved cyber safeguards. Raj Patel, CISA , CISM, CRISC , is a Management Consulting Partner at Plante Moran and a Cy b e rs e c u r i t y p ra c t i c e leader. More than 20 years ago, Raj built the firm’s cybersecurity practice from the ground up. At the time, cybersecurity was an emerging need; today, it’s a critical area of focus for all businesses. Raj frequently shares his cybersecurity expertise at local and national events such as the ICBA Annual Conference, the North American International Cyber Summit, and the Midwest Technology Leaders Conference. Crain’s Detroit has recognized him as a “40 Under 40” recipient and an “American Dreamers” award winner for his professional accomplishments.





According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Information Security Analyst’s Outlook, cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas nationally. The BLS predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow 31% through 2029, over seven times faster than the national average job growth of 4%. A New York Times article recently estimated that there were 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in 2021 alone. Jobs making good money. As of Jan 11, 2022, Ziprecruiter reports that the average annual pay for the cyber security jobs in Michigan is $91,025 a year, however salaries can be as high as $268,533. These jobs also have a diverse career focus – Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analytics firm, analyzed the skills projected to grow the fastest in the next five years are: % application development security (164%) % cloud security (115%), risk management (60%) % threat intelligence (41%) % incident response (37%) % compliance and controls (36%) % data privacy and security (36%) % access management (32%) % security strategy and governance (20%) % health information security (20%) Michigan is a great place to start a cyber security education, with numerous programs being offered at the state’s colleges and universities. Those include: % Associate’s degree: Nine schools in Michigan award associate degrees with cybersecurity focuses. These degrees are usually Associate in Applied Science degrees with specializations or emphasis in cybersecurity, requiring students to take several focused classes about the topic. % Bachelor’s degree: Twenty Michigan schools award bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity, such as information technology and security. Students have three schools from which they can earn the degree online: Ferris State University, Davenport University, and Baker College. % Master’s degree: Michigan also offers six master’s degrees in cybersecurity, with two offered online by Davenport University and the University of Detroit Mercy. These degrees are referred to either as Masters of Science in Cybersecurity or Masters of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. You can find a complete list of Michigan schools and programs at

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* Policies are underwritten by the Citizens Insurance Company of America and/or Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest, companies of The Hanover Insurance Group. Participation in the group auto and home insurance program is based upon group membership and company underwriting guidelines.

Nat. Soc. of Black Engineers–Detroit Alumni Extension (NSBE-DAE) Net Impact Southeastern MI (NISEM) North Am. Soc. of Chinese Automotive Engineers (NACSAE) Project Mgmt. Inst.–Great Lakes Ch. (PMI) SAE Detroit Section (SAE-Detroit Section) SAE Mid MI (SAE-Mid MI) SAE Int’l (SAE-Intl) Safety Council for SE MI (SCSM) Saginaw Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) Soc. for Industrial & Applied Mathematics–Gr. Lakes Sec. (SIAM) Soc. for Marketing Professional Services–MI (SMPS) Soc. of Am. Military Engineers (SAME) Soc. of Am. Value Engineers–Greater MI Ch. (SAVE-GMC) Soc. of Applied Engineering Sciences (SAES) Soc. of Fire Protection Engineers–MI Ch. (SFPE) Soc. of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Soc. of Manufacturers’ Representatives (SMR) Soc. of Manufacturing Engineers–Detroit Ch. No. One (SME) Soc. of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Automotive Division (SPEA) Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Detroit (SPE-DETROIT) Soc. of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers (STLE) Soc. of Women Engineers (SWE) SE MI Facility & Power Plant Engineers Soc. (SEMPPES) SE MI Soc. for Healthcare Engineering (SMSHE) SE MI Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF) Southeastern MI Computer Organization, Inc. (SEMCO) Structural Engineers Assn. of MI–Am. Inst. of Steel Const. (SEAMi) Student Environmental Assn.–University of MI, Dearborn (SEA-UMD) TiE–The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) U.S. Green Building Council–Detroit Regional Ch. (USGBC-DRC) United States Army (USARMY) United States Navy (USNAVY)

Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. 691 N. Squirrel Rd., Suite 190 Auburn Hills, MI 48326 248-377-9600

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