| WMU News
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The newest private partner in Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park melds a tradition of sustainability and a vision aimed at protecting the future for generations to come.
The firm, Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering LLC, has just settled into its BTR Park home in the Weidenhammer Building at 4664 Campus Drive. The company was able to join the park community that was already full after a reconfiguration of the facility freed up the 3,500 square feet. Seven Generations moved into the Weidenhammer Building earlier this month. The BTR Park is home to more than 40 private companies.
7GenAE, as the company is known, was launched in 2012 in Benton Harbor and is wholly owned by the economic development enterprise known as Mno-Bmadsen. The organization is chartered by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi to conduct all nongaming, for-profit business for the tribe.
The engineering firm 7GenAE takes its name from the tribe's belief that each generation is responsible for ensuring the survival of the seventh generation that comes after it.
"Our firm was built on the foundation that we will have an impact on the community now and for many generations to come," says Troland V. Clay, president and CEO of Mno-Bmadsen. He notes that the goal is consistent with the Potawatomie meaning of his organization's name, "walking the good path."
"Our six staff members and contract employees have moved to the BTR Park with the intent of growing activity in all of our core service areas over the next five years. Those disciplines are architecture, civil engineering and construction management," notes Clay. "Our staff has more than 70 years in combined experience in architectural engineering, interior design and planning."
The firm specializes in the federal, state, municipal and tribal markets. One of 7GenAE's recent completed projects is the tribal Health and Wellness Center in Dowagiac.
"We like the location of the BTR Park as it provides a direct link to WMU--a major research university--that will help us leverage federal research and development opportunities and provide growth opportunities for tribal youth," Clay says.
The firm has a track record of hiring WMU alumni and student interns, and recently announced several open full-time and internship opportunities.
"We use our revenue base to create opportunities for our people," continues Clay. "Next year, for example, we hope to have a tribal internship available--our way of ensuring the success of our youth."
Earlier this year, 7GenAE became the first tribally owned business in Michigan to receive 8(a) certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Achieving that status, along with being a certified HUBZone, allows 7GenAE to receive small business development assistance and expand its services to federal agencies.
Bob Miller, WMU's associate vice president for community outreach and point person on BTR Park development sees the company as a natural fit.
"As a state university, we have a role in economic development," Miller says, "but we can also use our resources and work with the private sector to advantage the best and brightest because it is good for all of us."
Launched in 1999, the BTR Park shares the University's 265-acre Parkview Campus with WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The park is home to high-tech companies focused on advanced engineering, life sciences and/or information technology. For more information about the park, contact Bob Miller at (269) 387-2073.
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