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ROCHESTER HILLS, MI-More than $84 million in private investment and $878,000 in public investment has occurred within an Oakland County “SmartZone” in the first half of 2004, according to a new report. The Automation Alley SmartZone includes parts of Rochester Hills, Southfield and Troy and includes Lawrence Technological University and Oakland University.

The report says activity in the zone resulted in 1,297 new jobs, the retention of 1,390 jobs and 15 new businesses. New businesses include the Automation Alley/Tech Center, INA, NBS and N.E.C.A. in Troy; Phoenix Automation Group, Inc., DoveBid, Inc. and nCode International in Southfield; American Escape Systems, Self Guided Systems, Wavecrest, Skytech and JADI, Inc. in Rochester Hills.

“The (SmartZone’s Coordinating) Council is pleased that, even in a slow but recovering economy, the SmartZone continues to grow its technology clusters in Oakland County at a rapid pace,” says Dan Casey, manager of economic development for Rochester Hills. “Automation Alley’s Technology Accelerator also has provided a tremendous resource to the SmartZone and region.”

Casey adds significant projects in the works include expansions of Lear Corp.’s headquarters in Southfield and Mark IV Automotive’s technology labs in Rochester Hills, as well as the development of DTE Energy’s Hydrogen Technology Park.

The SmartZone program was created by the state in 2000 to establish and grow clusters of technology companies in 10 defined areas in Michigan, as well as support entrepreneurial efforts and commercialize research conducted by universities and businesses.

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