Audra Carson, founder, owner and Chief Beautification Strategist at Izzie, LLC and host of the CommuniD Podcast was awarded Olivet College’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor presented to alumni for living out the College’s mission and values. One of Olivet classmates also endowed a scholarship in Audra’s name.
When asked why it’s important to her to give back to the Detroit community, Audra responds, “I love the city with my whole heart and I love the people with my whole heart. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else… It is paramount to me that at this moment in history, with society minimalizing authentic connection, that I highlight Detroiters who are creating communities in their unique and beautiful ways.”
Orletta Caldwell has hosted workshops at SpaceLab, and now she’s a member. After attending the opening of the 7Mile location, Orletta decided to align her business with our coworking community.
Through her company, Beyond Existing Enterprises, LLC (BEE), Orletta assures that her clients – no matter the size – can build sustainable organizations. Her approach is to empower the team.
BEE addresses the capacity building needs of nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Services include grant writing, nonprofit start-up filings, strategic planning, capacity building, board development, coalition building, and financial services. Services to for-profits businesses are also available.
Orletta starts with a comprehensive consultation that helps identify gaps and opportunities and delivers a comprehensive report that includes a project plan with timelines and milestones, a cost analysis, and a schedule. BEE also offers a suite of quality products that will help you reach your goals quickly and smoothly. That’s one way the consultancy ensures your success.
Smart Cities use information and communications technologies, including the Internet of things (IoT) sensors, to collect data to efficiently manage resources and share information to improve the quality of government services and citizen welfare.
During Detroit Month of Design, SpaceLab Detroit will present a panel discussion and interactive workshop exploring how Detroit citizens can participate in the design of Smart City projects; their application in our streets, neighborhoods and public spaces; and the potential for smart technologies to promote inclusion and equity in our city.
Panelists will include government officials, designers, urban planners, technology professionals and social innovators. Workshop participants will present issues that plague neighborhoods and the city and develop ideas for smart city technologies that can help reduce or solve problems and increase the quality of services and quality of life.
Danna Reyes – Urban Planner, The Mannik & Smith Group (moderator)
Joshua Edmonds – Director of Digital Inclusion, City of Detroit
W. David Tarver – Founder & President, Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative
Juan Shannon, Parker Village (Highland Park)
This event is born out of a discussion with students from Southeastern High School in Detroit. The workshop portion of the event promotes collaboration among citizens, government, designers, planners and others. Detroit residents (community) will be invited to share issues they believe can be resolved through smart city technologies.
This event is an official part of the Detroit Month of Design 2019 program which takes place September 1-30, 2019. Programmed by Design Core, Detroit Month of Design is a citywide celebration of creativity that gathers designers and the greater community to celebrate Detroit’s role as a UNESCO City of Design.
OppNet connects students from historically and systematically underrepresented communities to college access and success, internships, career opportunities, and personal and professional networks. Students participate in an intensive, six-year program designed to equal the playing field for high-achieving, underserved high school and college students by creating access for them to career opportunities, professional networks and competitive colleges.
Ninety-eight percent of OppNet students are accepted to selective 4-year colleges with demonstrated financial need met. 100% graduate from college in six years and 85% in four years. 85% leverage their Career Fluency® to secure career track employment or admission to graduate school within six months of college graduation.
OppNet envisions a nation connected through vibrant communities and networks actively in pursuit of social justice and educational equity – a nation where all young people can freely create their own path to enduring success that honors their passions, ambitions, and full identities.
The organization has most recently partnered with the Reach Higher Initiative, launched by former First Lady Michelle Obama, for its 5th annual Beating the Odds Summit at Howard University in Washington, DC. OppNet led a series of workshops covering key skills and concepts needed to thrive throughout college to more than 50 first-generation college students.
SpaceLab welcomes Jujuan Buford and JSB Business Solutions to our community of professionals.
From Jujuan S. Buford’s bio:
JuJuan Buford is a native Detroiter, successful entrepreneur, public speaker, and business development specialist. He’s dedicated to helping families, entrepreneurs, and business owners establish thriving enterprises, achieve financial independence, and build lives of satisfaction.
Jujuan is driven by the belief that entrepreneurship is empowerment. He brings approximately 20 years of experience gained from the banking and financial planning industry. As a business development professional with JSB Business Solutions LLC, Jujuan helps small business owners navigate the same challenges that large corporations are confronted with: research and development, securing more clients, increasing profits, scaling, retaining talented employees, making better financial, tax & accounting, and legal decisions, and protecting their business interests.
Tash Moore, head blogger for Detroit Startup Week and founder of Catch-313 social media agency interview SpaceLab’s CEO Karen Burton on Medium.
Tash Moore: Thank you so much for chatting with me? You run SpaceLab Detroit, the coworking space downtown geared toward architecture, community development, and like-minded firms. How did you discover coworking?
Karen Burton: Thanks for the opportunity, Tash. I opened my first design and drafting business years ago in Flint. I started in a 70 square foot office in an incubator just north of downtown called the Oak Business Center, which is still operating today. There were a variety of businesses there — professional services and retail with a conference room to share — but at the time everyone seemed pretty disconnected. I thought there could be a better way for businesses to share resources and collaborate.
I see [Detroit] as a top-tier entrepreneurial hub for the country. There are so many resources available and a wealth of opportunities for innovation. – Karen Burton
Freelancing as an architectural designer, the traditional “third places” like coffee shops and libraries didn’t always fit my needs or my colleagues’. We’d need a place to print construction documents and large tables to lay them out for review when meeting with clients. There were many of us solopreneurs who wanted to collaborate on larger projects, and we needed somewhere to come together. The idea for our design and construction-focused coworking space began to develop some time ago, but the timing was perfect in 2015 after I left a job. The following year, my husband Bobby left his, and we decided to pursue the SpaceLab concept together.
TM: With associated partnerships with NOMA Detroit and AIA Detroit, your space really highlights inclusion in a field that doesn’t showcase as much diversity nationally. Besides our majority-black population, what else do you believe makes Detroit special?
KB: I’m proud of my connections with those organizations, as well as with NAWIC and NABWIC, the women in construction groups. We want to highlight that professionals of color and women working in these fields that are so-called non-traditional for us are just as educated and qualified and can lead and work alongside majority companies to get the projects done. SpaceLab is a diverse shared office space with members of all backgrounds and age groups. We’re thankful that people choose to grow their businesses with us.
As part of Detroit StartUp Week, SpaceLab’s member architects and designers tell how to get the most out of a relationship with these professionals and answer questions at “Ask the Architects and Designers.”
You’ve decided that you want to build out your restaurant or retail space. Should you hire an architect? What do architects do? Representatives of Detroit-based architectural firms share information on the best design practices on for your project and how to engage professional services to make your space the place that you love to come to work and welcome your customers.
Moderator: Doreen Hunter, ASID – Owner, HDesigns Group, LLC and Library Coordinator, SpaceLab Detroit
Wes Sims, Vice President – SDG Associates
Paul Carr, Architectural Designer – SDG Associates
Kevin Boyle, AIA, NCARB – BASIC Design
Bryan Cook, RA, NOMA – Detroit Director, Berardi + Partners
Doreen owns HDesigns Group and is Design Library Coordinator at SpaceLab Detroit. She has a degree in Interior Design (with a minor in Business Management) from Central Michigan University and has residential and commercial experience in her portfolio. Doreen was recently elected Finance Director of the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.
Kevin Boyle, AIA, NCARB, EDAC
Kevin, a licensed architect, holds both Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from Lawrence Technological University. Early in his career, Kevin worked on construction documentation for renovations and additions to several historic Detroit Public School structures and loft conversion projects. Significant past work includes single family residences in coastal Long Island towns, commercial projects in New York City, twin 37-story condominium towers at CityCenter in Las Vegas, and expansive work in the senior living and healthcare field.
Bryan Cook, NOMA
As the Director of Berardi Partners’ Detroit office, Bryan is instrumental in overseeing business/client development, new market sector initiatives, and talent acquisition. He also serves as Project Manager and oversees multiple projects while working directly with the client and development team in producing quality design and documents from schematic design through construction administration. Bryan is current treasurer and past president of the Detroit chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
Bruce Kopytek, AIA, NCARB
Bruce has 40+ years of architecture experience. His specialty in the field is creative design, for which he has received several awards and accolades, including the prestigious “Ceramic Tiles of Italy” honorable mention for his work in the financial facilities market. Bruce has designed all types of structures; from banks and retail stores to custom homes, hotels and high-rise apartments. In addition, Bruce is an author and educator, having taught for Wayne State university’s interior architecture program and counts four (a fifth is on its way) published titles and a major article in Michigan History magazine.
Building out your brick-and-mortar business – restaurant, retail or office – is a gargantuan task, and can sometimes feel overwhelming. How do you come to an agreement with a building owner, or buy your own building? Who do you call first after you secure the space? How much should you budget for design and construction costs? We’ve assembled an expert panel of Detroit professionals to help navigate the process and answer your questions.
Moderator: Lynnette Boyle – Principal, Beanstalk Real Estate Solutions
Erin Bonahoom – Founding Attorney, Canvas Legal
Sean Kelly, LLP Construction Services
Troy Puste – Broker, RISE Real Estate & Co.
Lynnette has worked in the Detroit metropolitan commercial real estate industry for over 25 years. As Vice President of Property Management with Bedrock Real Estate Services, she worked on the acquisition, development and management of over 7 million square feet of downtown Detroit high-rise and mixed-use property. Lynnette has managed assets and operations of over 20 million square feet of real estate, developing and overseeing operating budgets, implementing multi-million-dollar renovation programs, helping mitigate risk of legal and financial issues, and negotiating vendor, supplier and union contracts.
Erin’s law practice is based in Detroit and dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services to established businesses, startups, and nonprofits in Southeast Michigan. She advises small businesses, startups and nonprofits from across a wide range of industries on formation, governance, employment, general operations, commercial real estate, construction, and contractual agreements. Erin is also a facilitator and a member of the Board of Directors for the Build Institute in Detroit, a nonprofit focused on economic development empowering the citizens of Detroit and other cities to start their own businesses.
Sean Kelly is a construction industry professional representing the LLP Construction team. Sean’s project portfolio includes commercial and industrial projects throughout the U.S. His responsibilities include; estimating, project management and business development. Sean received a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University and holds the designation of “Associate Constructor” through the American Institute of Constructors.
Troy is founder of RISE Real Estate & Co., a full-service Real Estate Brokerage. The firm handles residential and commercial sales and leases. Their emphasis is on Detroit’s real estate market, however they sell throughout all of Southeast Michigan.
Audra D. Carson is a lifelong Detroiter who is committed to the vitality of the city and its residents. Known as the “Tire Nerd,” she is a leader who provides solutions to the issue of post-consumer tire waste/tire blight that plagues communities across the country. Through her company Izzie, LLC, and at the heart of all her initiatives, is the improvement of the community aesthetic. This led to the creation of the Strategic Beautification Initiative.
Izzie, LLC’s corporate culture is to leave people, places and things better than they found them, and the company’s Strategic Beautification Program addresses the pervasive litter and blight that plagues our region. Planet earth is the ultimate place to leave better. The professional service that Izzie provides positively impacts our environment. As champions for Eco-justice & Sustainability, Izzie, LLC ensures that communities that are traditionally left out are provided opportunities to shine.
Get to know Audra and Izzie, LLC through this video.