The candidates in Tuesday's general election are Andy Storm, Laura Mitchell, Ken Stahl, Sean Hickman, Kara Totaro, and Angela Krebs. The top three vote-getters will be elected to four-year terms. Today’s profile is on Andy Storm, who lives in Brighton Twp. with his wife, Amy, and their eight children, all of whom are students in Brighton Area Schools.

Storm, who was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is the President & CEO of Eckhart, Inc., a Michigan-based Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing solutions provider. He also serves as Chairman of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council, the Lansing Community College Center for Manufacturing Excellence Advisory Board, the MIT Leaders for Global Operations Alumni Council and the Michigan Tech Industry Advisory Board.

Storm earned Bachelor of Science degrees in business administration and Mechanical Engineering Technology from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and an MS degree in Engineering Systems from the MIT School of Engineering.

At Eckhart, Storm is responsible for accelerating the development and adoption of Eckhart’s Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing solutions that include autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robots, additive manufacturing, micro sensor/spatial positioning systems, and ergonomic lift-assist & secure tools. Eckhart customers include many of the leading companies in the aerospace, medical, food industry, and engineering fields.

Storm says if elected, his goal as a board of education member would be for the Brighton Area Schools to partner with other schools in select regional locations around the state, and partner with corporations with foundations such as those at GM, Ford and other companies, to help grow STEM-based curricula and solicit donations from the foundations. The goal is to build regional brick-and-mortar, advanced manufacturing centers affiliated with high schools in Brighton, the Grand Rapids area, the Northern Lower Peninsula and the UP so that students could collaborate with the corporations and be exposed to all of the technological and manufacturing advancements in such high-tech industries.

Although he says it is not the reason for his running for the school board, another issue Storm is passionate about is some of the literary materials that are getting into the Brighton Area Schools. At a school board meeting last April, Storm complained about a novel that had been suggested for his then-13-year-old daughter by an employee in the high school media center for a school assignment. The novel, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew A. Smith, follows the life of two young high school boys who fight for their lives during an apocalypse. It won the Boston Globe-Horne Book Award for Fiction. Calling it the, “demented writing of a pervert,” Storm complained that it contained sexually explicit references and other questionable material involving adolescents. Storm told the board that such books should not be on the shelves or otherwise available for students.

Nonetheless, Storm says he is a strong supporter of the Brighton Area Schools and says the district is providing an excellent education for his children and the other 6,000 students. If elected, Storm says he would promote accelerated STEM-based learning in the elementary schools, more hands-on early stage reading, and an active “earn by doing” middle school and high school class environment that promotes teamwork, leadership, and diversity of thought among the student population. (TT)


AGE: 40
OCCUPATION: President & CEO of Eckhart, Inc.
FAMILY: MARRIED (Amy); eight children (5 girls and 3 boys) ranging in age from 7 to 17, all students in the Brighton Area Schools
RESIDENCE: Brighton Twp.
REASON FOR RUNNING: To accelerate introduction of the 4.0 curriculum in the Brighton Area Schools
GOALS: To increase dialogue with regional technical schools, community colleges and universities to expand the joint programs that allow
BAS students to take college courses prior to graduation.