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Q&A with Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

MDEQ Director Dan Wyant discusses the EPA's new proposed carbon rule and Michigan's plan to address it.

Behind the biking curve: Imagining protected bike lanes in Ann Arbor

To be considered a truly bike-friendly city it's not enough to simply throw down a yellow line, paint a bike stencil and call it a day. Studies have shown that protected bike lanes increase ridership across all demographics and significantly decrease accidents. Concentrate's Natalie Burg looks at why they should be a integral part of any transportation plan and whether Ann Arbor is on board.

Chelsea Alehouse, a year of lessons

The first year can be tough for any business owner. It's an opportunity to understand who your customers are and what they want. It's also the time where many businesses sink or swim. Concentrate checks in with Chris Martinson about what he's learned about running the Chelsea Alehouse ...and the local brewery scene in general.

OpEd: Federal R&D Funds Bridge the "Valley of Death" for Small Tech Companies

What comes first, the money or the product? Tech entrepreneurs are often caught in the catch-22 of needing funds to prove the worthiness of their products. BBCetc Managing Partner Lisa Kurek explains a real but often overlooked option of federal SBIR/STTR programs.

Olark, Breaking the Silicon Valley Mold

Olark is a Silicon Valley-style startup that didn't raise venture capital, isn't run by Stanford and MIT grads, calls Ann Arbor its home and has employees scattered across the country... heck, the globe. And yet it's grown exponentially over the last three years. How does it do it? Funny you should ask...

OpEd: Local Governments Need More Millennial Leaders

Local government bodies aren't reflecting the faces of their residents. Millennials are 23% of the region's population, yet hold only 6% of local board and commission seats. Emily Thompson, program manager for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, opines on the need for change, and how the On Board database can help.

The Story So Far...

For nearly five years Concentrate has made it its mission to capture and comment on what's next in entrepreneurship, urban design, sustainability and placemaking for our region. As we enter the mid-point of 2014, we look back on some of the stories and people that are defining the direction of the Ann Arbor area.

Sex, Drugs and Eating Disorders: Data-Driven Solutions to Risky Teen Behavior

The bad news is that eating disorders, carrying a weapon and unsafe sex is on the rise in Michigan teens. The good news is that wellness reporting and healthcare counseling reduce those numbers. How do we know this? From the innovative risk assessment interviews that are employed by U-M spin-out RAPPS.

Fluency Media's Vertical Climb

A text book definition of serial entrepreneur might very well include a picture of Tim Schaden. From Quiznos to Reservision to Fluency Media, this Ann Arborite has got business creation in his genes. With his Internet marketing firm Fluency, Shaden sees a growth in talent and healthcare clients as the inevitable path to even greater success.

OpEd: Why Saying "Yes" to Transit Improvement Millage was Best

The recent passage of the Transit Improvement millage means better bus service, of course, but there are also intangible rewards. Ann Arbor City Council representative Chuck Warpehoski discusses the community benefits of saying, "Yes." 

Cool Jobs: Rob Todd, Maker

It's probably fair to say at this point that the maker movement is no longer a trend but an established facet of modern creative culture. To wit, Robb Todd (aka Robotodd) has not only fashioned a career out of his handmade skills, but also developed some important opinions about the state of our local maker scene.

Creating Female Characters That Pop

Samurai bike messengers aren't just for the bros. Actually, as created by Pop Post, they're meant to show girls that they can be as heroic as any 'ol boy. This Ann Arbor-based entertainment company is dedicated to creating e-books and mobile games that disrupt the popular narrative that girls need to be saved. 

Perfect Park Potential: The Case for Liberty Plaza, Part 2

Last week we made the case that Liberty Plaza deserves a second, more energetic look as Ann Arbor's go-to downtown park. This week we explore the virtues and challenges of what it might take to re-imagine that space.

Perfect Park Potential: The Case for Liberty Plaza, Part I

Great downtowns have great public spaces. But what makes those public spaces successful? There is a heated discussion about whether Ann Arbor should build a new park atop the library lot's underground garage. Concentrate asks: why not turn Liberty Plaza -half a block away and nearly identical in size- into the park we claim to want?

Check Your Bike: Bike A2 Offers Valet Service

With bike repair stands popping up and bike rentals on the near horizon, Ann Arbor inches forward in its quest to become a truly bike-friendly city. Add bike valet service to that mix. The brainchild of Bike A2's leaders, the group will be offering free bike checks at popular downtown summer events. How cool is that?
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