Comerica Bank partnership provides dividends and return on investment for Pawley Lean students

Comerica Bank partnership provides dividends for Pawley Lean Institute students; STEM workshop opportunities for area high school students
ISE Students (Left to Right):  Kevin McGann, Nicole Vitale and Trevor Franzen are currently working on their Senior Design project at Comerica Bank.

Comerica Bank has provided internships to Oakland University Pawley Lean Institute students as both summer internships or co-op arrangements during the school year. 

That partnership is seen as a model arrangement through the eyes of Dennis Wade, Director of the Pawley Lean Institute.  “The opportunities for students that Comerica Bank has provided are multi-faceted and the Pawley Lean Institute values the ongoing relationship. These opportunities add great value to the resume of a student or may actually lead to job offer once the student graduates.” 

Comerica has also participated with the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department in its Senior Design course. 

Bob Van Til, ISE Chair and Professor of Lean Studies, said “The ability to put student teams into a corporate environment where they are mentored by a Comerica employee, working on a departmental issue, and making recommendations that are implemented by Comerica is invaluable experience.” 

Jim Cavellier, Comerica Senior Vice President & Domain CIO, has noted “We see tremendous skill sets with these student teams.  Not only do they methodically work an issue, but the recommendations are very well thought out, and the presentations these teams make to our senior management team are outstanding.”

Mike Lawson, Comerica Senior Vice President – Technology Operations, added, “We are about to engage our third consecutive semester using student teams at our Auburn Hills Operation Center which is our corporate wide data center. These students consistently demonstrate the lean skills to effectively enhance processes for the entire organization.  We see this as win/win, students get applicable corporate insight and Comerica gets implementable resolution to internal issues.”

In addition to the college student opportunities, the Comerica Charitable Foundation has provided its second grant of $2,000 to support the ISE - high school STEM outreach workshops at Oakland.  That program is targeted at high schools in the Oakland County/Macomb County area in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and is conducted at the OU Engineering Center.

There are multiple components to the sessions, including:

  • Hands on, tool orientation
  • Lean/Continuous Improvement exercises
  • Ergonomics using simulation tools
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Manufacturing Systems Simulation


Janice Tessier, Comerica Vice President and Manager of Michigan’s Corporate Contributions program, also praised the partnership.  “We believe this outreach program has tremendous value in exposing students to engineering, education, and career opportunities. The high school workshops are aligned to the priorities of our foundation.”

Wade summarized the collaboration. “Comerica’s partnership is paying dividends to Oakland students and the return on investment is measureable.”