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(734) 418-3119
201 S Main St, Suite 400
4th Floor
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Don Hicks

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
LLamasoft has been named one of Michigan's 50 Companies to Watch and participated in Ed Lowe Training for second stage growth companies.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Unilever. They found us on the web after reading a published white paper I wrote a few years earlier.

Where did you find your first employee?
From the University of Michigan Industrial & Operations Engineering program.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We have hired at least six different interns into full-time positions over the last six years.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
LLamasoft's funding came from the founder's personal savings and credit lines backed by founders' assets. Recently we have received AR backed LOCs from Chase.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
Ann Arbor is a fun eclectic, and highly livable town. Junior employees can enjoy the culture of a college town, and senior employees can enjoy the family-friendly Midwest atmosphere.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Instead of trying to attract people from elsewhere, we should really focus on retaining current talent and removing incentives to leave. The fact is, there are many challenges involved with keeping a growing tech business in Michigan. We give state tax credits to movies and films. Why not give similar tax credits to entrepreneurs creating vaccines, live saving drugs, green energy projects and cutting edge technology innovations? If you want to convince an entrepreneur to stay in Michigan and spend $1 million here, give him or her $500,000 back. We write checks to Clint Eastwood and the makers of Scream 4, but we won't write checks to the next Einstein, Steve Jobs, or Craig Venter?

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