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Over 300 New Backpacks for Livonia Kids

6 Sep

Years ago, when they were running Wright’s Hardware on 5 mile, Livonia Treasurer Dennis Wright and his wife started a back-to-school initiative to supply needy Livonia children with school supplies. Since then, the program has grown, and the Wrights now partner with Livonia’s Goodfellows and City Hall.  This year, a whopping 320 kids received new backpacks, shoes, and other supplies thanks to donations from many local businesses and organizations including Valassis and The Livonia Youth Commission.

Alpha was excited to take part in a program with so much hometown pride–the donations were raised in Livonia, the supplies were purchased here, and everything is given to kids of our local community. We hope all have a great school year!

AlphaUSA leads effort to Save The SS United States

3 Jul

Photo courtesy of Nick Landiak and the SS United States Conservancy

60 years ago today, the SS United States, the greatest ocean liner ever built, departed on a record-breaking maiden voyage. A week later she returned home to a hero’s welcome and ticker tape parade. Once air travel became the preferred means of transportation, the SS United States was eventually taken out of service. She has passed from owner to owner and now sits in Philadelphia, slowly deteriorating. Once the pride of a nation, the vessel is close to being lost forever.

In February of last year, the president of Philadelphia-based TurnaSure introduced AlphaUSA’s president, Chuck Dardas, to the SS United States Conservancy‘s  “Save Our Ship” movement to preserve our nation’s flagship.  As a company we were immediately drawn to the superliner and her story.

The famed naval architect William Francis Gibbs designed the superliner. Constructed entirely in the United States she served a dual-purpose.  In peaceful times she would be the world’s finest passenger liner, but if called upon,  she could be converted to a troop carrier in two-days time, transporting 10,000 troops anywhere in the world.  The ship that bears the name of this great land became an inspiration to this veteran-owned company.

The ship was built to be a “super” liner, at the cutting edge of technology — the largest ocean liner constructed almost completely of aluminum and she broke speed records on her maiden voyage. To this day, the SS United States still holds the record for fastest transatlantic passenger travel, and to this day she is a manufacturing and engineering marvel.

Feeling a strong affinity for the industrial-know-how and American Pride that went into creating the SS United States,  AlphaUSA took on the Conservancy’s effort as its own.  Charged by our attendance at TEDx, and moved by local Detroit crowdfunding efforts, we suggested a unique online fundraiser. The Conservancy liked the idea, and looked to AlphaUSA to turn it into a reality.

For over a year now, AlphaUSA has been leading the design and outreach efforts for Save the United States, a national campaign to restore America’s Flagship, a groundbreaking fundraising experience that will teach new generations about the ship and allow supporters to take part in her restoration in a very personal way.  After all the hard work, we can’t believe it will finally launch to the public this month.  AlphaUSA is proud to be a part of this historic effort and looks forward to inviting our local community to get involved in her restoration.

:Detroit Gets the IDEA

13 Apr

Advocates of innovation, Alpha excitedly attended IDEA: Detroit a few weeks ago. The day was a mashing together of striking thinkers and ideas from southeastern Michigan, as well as from around the country.

“Tinkerers” at heart, we were intrigued by the inventions of Dale Dougherty and Make Magazine, and excited that Maker Faire will be coming to our own backyard (The Henry Ford) this summer. Wello grabbed our attention with more than just its name, offering the WaterWheel as an inspiring solution to water transportation challenges throughout the world. Chevrolet wowed us with the inner workings of the new Chevy Volt, while Ford impressed us with its simple yet inspired “ask the audience” customer involvement. IDEA left us with no shortage of inspiration.

Check the links to these ingenious presenters for now, and shortly we’ll let you in on a few of Alpha’s own ideas that arose from the conference.

This is What We Do.

9 Feb

It’s what we are talking about in this town:

Did you see that Chrysler commercial?

The “Imported From Detroit” ad has rallied supporters worldwide around our city, its story, its people.

Reinvention, a living reality Detroit has become famous for,  is a clearly featured theme of the ad and its focus on Detroit as a gritty hardworking city– highlighting our region’s trip to “hell and back.”

The most important and moving aspect of the ad was its focus on Detroit’s talent. It paints a picture of Detroit through its dedicated citizens.  The stalwart Detroiters you see embellishing the cityscape aren’t make believe. They are a real part of our community, our mission.

Chrysler invested in the two minute, longest-ever SuperBowl ad of course with the intention of selling vehicles. What they ended up doing was telling our story of determination to upwards of 100 million people.  And we are proud.

This is the Motor City. This is what we do.


Livonia Change-Makers

21 Jan

Last night, Alpha attended the Livonia Chamber of Commerce Leadership & Awards Ceremony. We were introduced to many community change-makers. Awards honored businesses, students, and individuals who contribute in unique ways to better our Livonia community.

My favorite quote of the evening was from small business of the year winner, Dominic Soave,  of Primo’s Pizza “I make better pizzas than speeches,” after which he went on to give an entertaining and touching account of all the people that helped contribute to Primo’s success. Other organizations honored were Bill Brown Ford, Madonna University, and Angela Hospice.

As a past honoree and community member, Alpha was happy to be a part of celebrating Livonia, and proud that we have been able to call it home for fifty years.

For a full list of the winners, along with profiles, please see the Chamber’s press release.

Inch-vesting

4 Jan

“Investing” brings to mind a large financial commitment in something valuable, bringing in profit over time. However, a more innovative approach could be small.

Mary Lorene Carter and Jerry Paffendorf are the brains behind Loveland and the apparent inventors of micro-investing. Their idea: everyone can help revitalize Detroit by purchasing a single inch of the city, receiving a little deed in the mail. Inches are purchased online, viewable on a virtual map, and directly accessible via a drive to the city. Anyone can have a stake in the city “microhood”.

Loveland teaches a common lesson for any project: the effectiveness of working piece by piece. Last week at the Livonia A.M. Rotary Club meeting, members discussed some seemingly overwhelming social issues. Then Chuck, fellow rotary member & Alpha’s COO, cited the Loveland micro-investing concept, to encourage members to simply “do what you can”, nothing is going to be solved in one swoop.

We can all be challenged to inch-vest in our own communities, not to literally buy a chunk of vacant lot, but to give a piece of free time or make a small donation to a worthy organization.

You can help grow the value of your own community, inch by inch.

screen shot of a "microhood" from the Loveland website.

 

NextGen Conceptonators

21 Dec

Recently, Alpha hosted some special guests, members of the Livonia Public School’s FIRST Robotics Competition team. Bob Stewart, Director of Engineering and Product/Process Development, guided them around our manufacturing and engineering facilities, discussing conceptualization and day-to-day life at Alpha.

The “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” Program is about fostering science and technology skills while inspiring innovation. FRC was founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway PT; he refers to FIRST as a “sport for the mind”.

The local team includes students from all of Livonia’s high schools, and has about two dozen members. The students are enthusiastic about the different FIRST Robotics games and events and gave technical explanations of the event rules. Each team constructs a robot, designed to compete in several events over a six week period.

Alpha plans to support the team in their endeavors through our willingness to supply steel components and other services to help with their projects.  We are excited to help mentor such an ingenious program.

These inventive, prospective engineers or others like them will literally be the “NextGen” of Michigan’s innovative future.

Bob Stewart guiding a tour of Alpha's Manufacturing Facility.

 

The team members posing on steps in the Engineering Center.

Pictured: Bob Stweart (Alpha), Kaho Hasebe (Stevenson), Tom Lang (leader/board member), Gary Komora (Churchill), Hope Winkles (Churchill), Anna Carlini (Stevenson)

 

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