Posted 2016 at by & in category Blog.

Bicycle service will officially begin via a soft launch on May 6 as Amtrak opens to reservations. Passengers will now be able to get on and off the train with their bicycles in Grand Rapids, Holland, St. Joseph and Chicago without boxing or disassembling their bikes. Each train will have 15 racks.  There will be an open house event at the Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station, 440 Century Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 11 to view and experience the new bicycle service on the Amtrak Pere Marquette route.



Posted 2016 at by & in category Blog.


For the first time ever, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board is asking for comments from the rail-riding public on two important proposed rule-making decisions. One concerns on-time performance standards and the other centers on whether passenger trains can continue to be given preference in transit on host railroads.

This is one of the extremely rare times in which regulators will be watching the total number of comments, so it’s important that the regulators hear individually from all interested rail passengers right away on both actions, but no later than the two deadlines: 2/8/16 for On-Time Performance and 2/22/16 for passenger-train preference. Visit this link for more information:


Posted 2015 at by & in category Blog.

Empty table top for product display montages

The MSU Product Center will hold the eighth annual Making It In Michigan Conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show to be held Tuesday, November 10th from 7:30AM – 4:00PM at the Lansing Center.

“In supporting this year’s theme of ‘Ingredients for Success’ we will be presenting the most comprehensive series of educational sessions covering the components and processes that companies need for safe, sound and smart product development,” states Matthew Birbeck, Senior Project Director, Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC) at the MSU Product Center. “In addition, we are excited to present leading Michigan retailers and entrepreneurs that will be moderating sessions on breaking into the retail market,” says Birbeck.

This year’s keynote panel will feature leading industry food technologists and engineers discussing the trials and tribulations of creating new products. Panel members are:
Beth Riffe is VP of Technical Services for the Michigan Turkey Producers. Prior to her current role, she was Research & Development Manager / Special Projects for the Michigan Turkey Producers. Beth is responsible for overseeing Quality Assurance and Research & Development Departments.

Timothy Fitzgerald Young is Founder and President and Chef of Food For Thought, Inc., creators of organic and wild-harvested gourmet specialty foods. For 20 years Timothy has been offering product development and co-packing services as part of his business. He has helped dozens of companies develop formulas for the market.

Don Butte is President of Execute Consulting, a company focused on making good things happen with a special focus on Supply Chain efficiency and Cross Functional synergy. Don is  a Senior Food executive with over 40 years of experience and expertise in the safe and efficient manufacturing and distribution of food products. His experience ranges from fresh vegetables through frozen goods and crosses all food categories.

The one-day event features morning educational sessions that will bring together industry experts to help guide attendees in refining and growing their businesses in the following areas:

  • Processing know-how for shelf-stable products
  • Understanding the nuts and bolts of risk reduction
  • Taking the business to the next level
  • Preparing for an unannounced food inspection visit
  • Understanding legal basics for starting a food business
  • Keeping your food business sales growing
  • Learning how to build the right team
  • Breaking into the retail market
  • Being recall ready
  • Discovering your competitive advantage in the specialty food market

The $79 per person conference registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials and admission to the Marketplace trade show.

The Marketplace trade show in the afternoon will feature over 160 new and existing businesses that will be showcasing and sampling their Michigan-made food and agricultural products to the general public and Michigan-based food buyers. The trade show is free to the general public.
Conference participants will also have time to network with the winners of this year’s MSU Product Center awards and learn from their success stories. Awards will be presented for Entrepreneur of the Year, Start-up to Watch, Best Barrier Buster, Value-Added Agriculture and the Director’s Award. MSU Product Center innovation counselors and staff members, Product Center clients, business consultants, regulatory officials and food and farming groups will also be available to provide in-depth information and counseling.

More information and conference registration is available at Those interested in attending can also call Greta McKinney at 517-353-7185 or send an email to