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Innovation + Job News

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Wattsson and Wattsson hires two

Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers of Marquette has two new faces in very notable roles as it announced the hiring of Dar Shepherd and Isaac Taylor to the positions of general manager and customer service manager, respectively. 

Shepherd is no stranger to Wattsson & Wattsson, having co-founded the store before leaving to run a small business consulting and development business. She brings with her plenty of experience in the business and will be responsible for store operations, inventory, marketing, and community relations. 

Taylor's position will require him to focus on improving customer service, something Wattsson & Wattson has always prided itself on. 

The store, which is located downtown on Washington Street, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers

Island Resort names Mancilla new general manager

The Island Resort and Casino in Harris has a new general manager who will be overseeing all the casino and resort operations, Tony Mancilla. 

He's sort of worked all the way around the position already; Mancilla has most recently been an attorney for the owners and operators of the resort, the Hannahville Indian Community, but he's also been co-chair of one of the resort's biggest annual events, the Island Resort Championship.

The championship is a professional LPGA-qualifying golf tournament held at the resort's Sweetgrass Golf Club each year on the Symetra Tour, and Mancilla was one of the driving forces bringing it to the U.P. in 2011. 

Mancilla will be in charge of keeping budget goals on track, managing operations and overseeing staff across the Island Resort and Casino. Besides the golf course, that includes a 24-hour-a-day gaming floor with slot and table games, five restaurants, private banquet and dining rooms, hotel accommodations, and weekly live entertainment.

"Working closely with Tony for many years, I've seen firsthand how his sharp mind, amicable personality and relentless work ethic directly contributed to the growth of our resort and success of the Island Resort Championship," says Kenneth Meshigaud, tribal chairperson. "I expect the Hannahville Indian Community to be gratified with their selection of Tony Mancilla for years to come."

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Island Resort and Casino

Dia de los Tacos hires new staffer

If you went to get some tacos slung in your direction at the Dia de los Tacos in Marquette last week and there was a new face greeting you at the window, that's because owners Mike and Teri Lynn Walker recently added a new staffer. 

Alexis Mahler is the newest addition to the taco truck staff, and she was tossed right into the frying pan with a full lunch service last week. 

"On her first day, she greeted us and the patrons with a smile that rivaled the sun," says Mike Walker. "With each question asked, she might have needed to confirm a response with me or Jaki, but her overall presence is so incredibly calming that no one minded waiting the extra four seconds for an answer."

Dia de los Tacos' popularity has continued to climb, especially since they were recently named as one of the best tacos in the entire state and the best in all of northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. They currently have nearly 3,900 likes on Facebook, and selling out during lunch is becoming more and more commonplace. 

You can keep tabs on where the truck is going to be by following them on Facebook

Oh, and as a side note, the taco truck has also been having an unofficial "taco challenge" where customers try to eat the most tacos in one sitting. So far, the record is 12. Drop them a note and let them know you'd like to challenge that record. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Dia de los Tacos

Marinette Marine names new CEO


Marinette Marine has a new CEO, as Jan Allman will replace Chuck Goddard in that role. 

Allman's new position is as president, CEO and general manager, effective July 7, according to an announcement from Marinette Marine's parent company, Fincantieri Marine Group.

"We are extremely pleased to add Ms. Allman to our U.S. leadership ranks," says Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, FMG's Italy-based parent organization. "With her background in manufacturing and lean processes, Jan brings the caliber of production and operational expertise for which Fincantieri is known. This is the logical next step in Fincantieri's unwavering commitment and continued investment in the U.S. market."

Allman was most recently VP of global manufacturing at Navistar Corportaion, and began her manufacturing career with the Ford Motor Company.

Goddard is moving on to a position of senior VP for Washington operations, leading the group's government business development efforts. One of the main contracts for Marinette Marine is with the U.S. Navy, building small advanced warships called littoral combat ships. 

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Marinette Marine 

NMU names two new deans

It looks like the two new deans at Northern Michigan University won't have to do much adjusting to the climate and the community. David Rayome and Kerri Schuiling are both familiar faces at NMU, and have been named as the dean of the College of Business and the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, respectively. 

Schuiling has most recently been the dean of Oakland University's School of Nursing but prior to that was the head of NMU's School of Nursing and was the associate dean of the College of Professional Studies. She returns to the area to take the position on July 1. 

Rayome has most recently been serving in his new permanent role but previously on an interim basis. He has been with NMU since 1991 and has been a full professor and the chair of the graduate programs committee and directed NMU's MBA program when it was launched in 2010. 

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: NMU

Local author releases new book

Almost everyone has heard of the legend of King Arthur in one way, shape or form. It's quite the captivating story that has stood the test of time, and now a local author has his own take on the legend. 

Award-winning Marquette author Tyler Tichelaar is taking a different approach to the classic tale, suggesting that Camelot's story was twisted by its enemies and reveals the role of King Arthur's descendants throughout history. 

Tichelaar's new novel, Arthur's Legacy: The Children of Arthur, Book One, is now available, and focuses not only on Arthur, but on his son Mordred and spins a tale that their lineage is still going today and is ready for the truth to be told -- and that truth could change history as the world knows it. 

The novel is available now and can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit the novel's website

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Tyler Tichelaar 

Transportation grants fund growth in Chippewa, Delta counties

Six Michigan counties, including two here in the Upper Peninsula, are receiving economic development grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation that are expected to support 939 jobs. 

The grants total more than $6.8M and will leverage more than $329M in private investment. 

The two Upper Peninsula counties receiving funds are Chippewa and Delta. 

Work in Chippewa includes West Easterday Avenue, which connects Industrial Park Drive to I-75. Industrial Park Drive is the new location for AMI House's facilities. The company's new investment in the area includes $2.7M in new equipment and 40 new jobs. The improvements will help Easterday Ave. with the increase in heavy traffic and all-season use. 

In Delta County, work will be done on Mead Road (County Road 59), which is a severely deteriorated all-season route with poor drainage. Work will allow continued use of the road for full logging trucks and employees. The work will assist the new manufacturing plant of Omya, Inc., which shares property with the New Page paper Mill in Wells Township. They will invest $15M for the new plant and equipment and creating six new jobs and transferring one job to Michigan. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MDOT

New family practice physician to serve Iron Mountain

There's a new family doctor in Dickinson County at the Michigan Wisconsin Family Practice Associates in Iron Mountain. 

Dr. Nathan Vakharia will joined Dr. Daniel Mitchell and Dr. Beth Schroeder at the practice, which is located at 1711 S. Stephenson Ave., Suite 300, in the Dickinson Medical Building. 

Vakharia received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. His residency in family medicine was done in Baraboo, Wis. He completed his undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Vakharia is currently accepting new patients at the Michigan Wisconsin Family Practice Associates. 

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Wisconsin Family Practice Associates 

Calumet company REL gets statewide innovation award

Calumet tech company REL, Inc. came home from this spring's Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards in Lansing with the 2014 Innovation Award. 

The small firm does high-tech material, testing and process development from its home in Calumet, and one of its recent developments that earned them the award was a lightweight, composite motorcycle brake rotor technology. 

The award goes each year to a small business whose growth support's Michigan economy, and has had the product or service in question developed and earning revenue in the past three years. The ceramic rotor design reduces vehicle weight by 38 pounds, and is transitioning to use on cars. It also provides stability and extended life to the brake system.

"Receiving the Innovation Award validates REL's technology and attracts investment into our composite brake technology," says Andrew Halonen, sales and marketing engineer for REL, Inc.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: REL Inc. 

Veridea Group names new communications director

The Veridea Development Group, based in Marquette, has hired Michele Darner Thomas as its new director of communications. 

Thomas will be responsible for internal and external communications and marketing, as well as investor relations. She brings 20 years of experience in communications and management to the new role, and is a Northern Michigan University graduate. 

"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to add Michele to the leadership team," says Veridea's president, Robert Mahaney. "She brings valuable experience and knowledge that will enable us to work more effectively with our clients and the community, while also helping us identify and achieve our strategic goals."

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Veridea Group

Vista Theater in Negaunee starts showing movies

The Vista Theater in Negaunee is probably best known to local residents for its live theater performances; it hasn't shown movies in years. 

That's about to change, thanks to community donations which have provided a movie screen and projector. 

Starting July 5 through July 11, classic movies will be shown each night at 7 p.m., and cost $5 admission, with concessions at about $2 also available. The first movie is Casablanca on July 5, followed by The Wizard of Oz on July 6. The Wizard of Oz also will have a 2 p.m. showing that day, which is Sunday. Then, Goonies will play July 7; North by Northwest on July 8; Singin' in the Rain on July 9; King Kong on July 10; and Ghostbusters on July 11. Additional shows will be announced as the summer goes on.

The Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council, which runs the theater, says thanks for the funding goes to the Cliffs Natural Resources/Eagle Mine Marquette County Community Fund. 

The Vista is located at 218 Iron Street and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Vista Theater

Wattsson and Wattsson Jewelers in Marquette add to staff

Wattsson and Wattsson Jewelers recently added two new managers to its staff.
 
Dar Shepherd will be the new general manager of the store, a return to Wattsson and Wattsson for her. Shepherd was one of the original co-founders of the store and has been working in small business consulting and development for several years.
 
Her new duties will include store operations, inventory, marketing and community relations.
 
Isaac Taylor will be the jeweler's new customer service manager. He brings with him an extensive customer service background from several industries to the store and will be in charge of finding ways to improve customer service.
 
Wattsson and Wattsson also recently has expanded its hours of operation. The store now is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers

Place Perfect Realty adds new agent

Place Perfect Realty in Menominee and Marinette has added a new real estate broker to its staff. 

Starcha James will be a residential sales specialist, representing buyers and sellers as a real estate agent. She brings nine years of customer service experience to the agency. James also is familiar with the area, as a lifelong Marinette resident and UW-Marinette graduate. 

Place Perfect serves northeast Wisconsin and the south-central Upper Peninsula with four offices in Marinette, Green Bay, Appleton and Menominee. It started in Marinette and in 2002, merged with Marinette Realty, later expanding into Menominee.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Place Perfect Realty

Jasper Ridge Brewery names new head brewer

There is a new head brewmaster at Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming, and he's churning out the same great beers that have made the location such a hit with craft beer fans, plus turning out some of his own special brews. 

Jeremiah Zimmerman officially took over brewing operations at Jasper Ridge in April after a couple of test runs with the company. He brings with him plenty of experience, initially perfecting his craft as an ambitious home brewer before being hired on to brew at the White Flame Brewing Company. He has worked side-by-side with brewers from across the state, including those crafting suds at Founders, Brewery Vivant and Perrin. He has also showcased his brews at various festivals and events across Michigan. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Jasper Ridge Brewery

VAST hires five in Marquette

There are five new faces over at the VAST offices in Marquette. The company recently added Tamara Brumm, Shane Barnes, Lisa Dauphinais, Christie White and Tanner Wagner to the staff. 

Barnes, who hails from Iron Mountain, was brought on board to VAST as an account manager in the benefits division. He holds a bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University in management. 

Brumm is an account manager in VAST's commercial insurance division and has a bachelor's in public health education and promotion from Central Michigan University. 

White is an account manager in the commercial insurance division and has a bachelor's in retailing from Michigan State University. 

Wagner is an advisor in the personal insurance division. He has a bachelor's from Northern Michigan University where he studied economics and marketing. 

Dauphinais is an account manager in the commercial insurance division. She is a graduate of William Rainey Harper College and also holds a bachelor's in psychology from NMU. 

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: VAST
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