Kick Off 2016 With An ESD Tech Tour

SOUTHFIELD — The beating heart of the electric grid. The world’s most advanced automotive powertrain laboratory. A $700 million investment in the world’s most advanced nuclear science. And a look at the guts of the Internet.

It’s all on tap for members of The Engineering Society of Detroit in the first two months of 2016, as ESD kicks off the New Year with four terrific members-only tours.

The tour calendar begins Thursday, Jan. 14 with a tour of the ITC Holdings Corp. Operations Control Room in Novi.

Come and see the control room that monitors the electric grid for millions of Americans — and learn about ITC’s efforts to make the electric grid more reliable, safe, secure and flexible.

The Operations Control Room (OCR) is the heartbeat of ITC’s operations. It has employees working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure the ITC systems in Michigan, the Midwest and the Great Plains are maintained and operated safely and reliably. Each employee station in the OCR has a monitor dedicated to the local news and weather to understand what’s happening in their respective regions.

The tour begins at 2 p.m. with registration and networking, with the tour from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The tour will begin in the south auditorium of ITC Holdings, 27175 Energy Way in Novi.

Next, on Thursday, Jan. 21, it’s a tour of the General Motors Co. powertrain research and development laboratory in Pontiac.

See the laboratory that produces some of the world’s most advanced automotive powertrains on this exclusive tour. It begins with registration at 1:30 p.m. and the tour from 2 ro 4 p.m.

Next, on Thursday, Feb. 4, it’s an inside peek at the newest research center at the nation’s No. 1 school for nuclear physics, Michigan State University — the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

ESD toured Michigan State University’s Cyclotron Laboratory last winter. Now, after a year of construction work, we’ll be looking at its replacement – the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $730 million center for national nuclear physics research. Wear sturdy shoes and cold-weather gear — this is a hard-hat tour of construction as much as 40 feet underground through huge concrete chambers, where atomic nuclei will be accelerated to half the speed of light for nuclear research beginning in 2022. Tour is limited to 20 people.

The tour begins with registration at 2:30 p.m. with the tour from 3 to 4 p.m. The FRIB is located at 640 S. Shaw Lane in East Lansing.

Particle accelerators are among the highest forms of high-tech. They use magnets and high voltage to accelerate atoms close to the speed of light, and force them into collisions with a variety of materials and other particles. The resulting debris can produce clues to conditions of the early universe, shortly after the Big Bang. Accelerators also produce rare isotopes that are extremely valuable in medical imaging and other experimentation.

Due to national regulations, there are restrictions on the tour for citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria; contact ESD for details.

Finally, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, ESD will tour the data center of connectivity provider 123.Net at 24700 Northwestern Highway in Southfield.

This tour begins with registration at 3 p.m., with the tour running from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Despite all the conversation about “virtualization,” the internet is, in fact, a very tangible thing. At 123.Net, participants will see one of the state’s most connected buildings, a place where a massive data center connects to a state-wide fiber network and numerous wireless Points of Presence. The building is also home to the Detroit Internet Exchange, and sits on top of Michigan’s most connected intersection — M-10 (the Lodge Freeway), 10 Mile Road and Evergreen Road.

All ESD tours are members only. The cost of each tour is $25 for ESD members; non-members can join ESD for $75 (a 25% discount) and attend the tour for free. (This offer is for new, first-time members only.)

To register, visit the events section of, or call (248) 353-0735, ext. 222, to register by phone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.