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Posted on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 7 a.m.

Adaptive Materials' Michelle Crumm among finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine award

By Nathan Bomey

Adaptive crumms rr _toned.jpg

Ann Arbor business executives are waging an informal campaign through online media tools to elect an alternative energy executive as Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2009.

Michelle Crumm, co-founder of Pittsfield Township-based Adaptive Materials, has been nominated as one of five finalists in the "established entrepreneur" category for the national magazine’s award.

The nomination is reflective of the fuel-cell company’s viral growth in the portable power business. The firm is using propane-based technology to provide an alternative to heavy, inefficient battery systems for soldiers on the battlefield. It’s also pursuing various commercial applications for its technology.

Crumm said she was caught off guard by how much attention the nomination has received.

“It’s just really funny how big it is,” Crumm said.

Entrepreneur Magazine is expected to announce the winner sometime this fall. The nomination comes as Adaptive Materials has been experiencing increased visibility on the national energy scene. In August, Michelle Crumm introduced then-presidential candidate Barack Obama at a political rally in Lansing.

Michelle and her co-founding husband, Aaron, have steered the firm into the national spotlight without accepting venture capital investment - an unusual accomplishment for startup tech companies.

“They’ve been very savvy about going after the right funding that’s available at the time,” said Elizabeth Parkinson, director of marketing and public relations for economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK.

Adaptive Materials has relied mostly on $35 million in funding from various federal government initiatives. Crumm said she expects another $10 million to $15 million in 2010. 

“If it’s a great idea and it’s something that the government will need, they’ll pay for the development of it,” Crumm said.

The firm has more than 65 employees at its 47,000-square-foot operation off South State Street in Pittsfield.

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Go Blue

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 11:54 a.m.

GREAT to see an article featured on regarding a wonderful local company. Michelle Crumm not only is a business owner, but she is also a great contributor and volunteer to many local non-profit agencies and schools. She is the type of person we WANT to win this Entrepreneurial Contest. Thank you for featuring an article on this local business. I will keep reading online if you continue to showcase our local community like this.