AlphaUSA has a long history of serving its community and regularly helps with initiatives here in southeastern Michigan, including many local projects such as back-to-school drives, and high school scholarships. Alpha’s local commitment includes serving on community chambers of commerce, Rotary, and other civic, arts, and educational organizations. But, even though Alpha’s first commitment is to its Michigan region, when they learned through a Philadelphia customer of a national effort to rescue the historic ocean liner SS United States, they jumped on board.

AlphaUSA was approached by the Philadelphia-based SS United States Conservancy because Detroiters are known for their fundraising. Initially, they sought contact information for Lee Iacocca in the hopes the retired auto executive-turned philanthropist could help raise the needed revenue as he had for the Statue of Liberty restoration. But when they heard about the ship’s technological importance and the looming possibility that she could be lost forever, Alpha turned to innovative ideas gleaned from fellow Detroiters to propose and subsequently invent a new way to fundraise for historic preservation.

The Conservancy liked what it heard from Detroit and asked AlphaUSA to oversee the creation of what eventually became, an interactive online model of the ship that not only teaches people her history, but lets them choose, buy, and personalize any square inch of its surface for only $1. It was a monumental task coordinating the merger of ship's plans and historic facts and assembling a team of programmers able to divide the ship into tens of millions of square inches, making any one of them accessible within two mouse clicks. AlphaUSA orchestrated the project from start to finish in less than three months.

“Without AlphaUSA’s Detroit roots, this national campaign would never have become a reality,” explains David Lawrence, AlphaUSA’s CAO, who now serves on the Conservancy’s Advisory Council. Inspiration was drawn from outside-of-the-box ideas like Loveland's "Buy an inch of Detroit" and Erik Proulx's $1-per-frame producer rights for Lemonade Detroit. As a manufacturer, and part of the Detroit's innovative industrial legacy, the company was also drawn to what the SS United States symbolized. She is still the fastest ship ever built and is a monument of technological innovation, engineering know-how, and America's can-do spirit to accomplish anything.

Many Detroiters actively advocate for our city and stay plugged into the great things happening here every day. Like AlphaUSA, they can also bring our local-style of grassroots outreach to a national level and become a part of this online social media event by buying their own inch of the ship. Once this new technique for preserving our history proves successful, these same methods can be put it to use to save Detroit's own endangered structures.

About AlphaUSA

AlphaUSA is a product development and design based manufacturer located in Livonia, Michigan. Founded in 1957 by WWII veteran George Strumbos, the company specializes in creating metal fabrications and assemblies including machined components, specialty fasteners, and low to high volume stamped products. AlphaUSA has received numerous quality awards and is a leader in its community having been named 2010 Large Business of the Year by Wayne County and the City of Livonia Chamber of Commerce.


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