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Innovation + Job News

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Veridea adds two to hospitality staff

As developer The Veridea Group adds more hotels to its portfolio, it also is bringing on two new hires to help coordinate its hospitality division.
The company announced Dan Grille will be its new hospitality director of sales, and Katie Kauppila will be its new procurement manager.
Grille has a bachelor's degree in corporate communications from Finlandia University and has more than seven years of sales and management experience. He'll be in chage of developing and implementing revenue strategies for Veridea's hotels, including the Country Inn and Suites in Marquette, the Holiday Inn Express in Houghton, and the soon-to-be-built Staybridge Suites in Marquette.
"Adding Dan to the hospitality team gives us the opportunity to focus on different ways to grow our revenues," says VP of Hospitality Charles Holsworth. "He will accomplish his goals through a focused sales effort which will be especially important as we prepare to open the Staybridge Suites in Marquette."
Kauppila has a bachelor's degree in management of health and fitness from Northern Michigan University and experience in managing commercial real estate. She'll be in charge of sourcing and ordering materials and supplies for all three hotels.
Holsworth says the Country Inn and Suites is about to undergo a renovation, so Kauppila's addition to the team is timely. "Between the CIS project and the construction of the Staybridge, we will rely heavily on Katie's analytical and organizational skills to keep us under budget and on schedule," he says.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Veridea Group

UP Health System hires new CEO for Portage Health

Portage Health in Hancock and Houghton now has a new CEO, Jeff Lang.
Lang comes to Portage, part of UP Health System, from United Hospital District in Blue Earth, Minnesota, where he was also a CEO. He brings almost 20 years of healthcare leadership experience to the job, according to the hospital's announcement.
He has a bachelor's degree from Mankato State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
"Jeff has a tremendous amount of experience and passion. He has served in a number of administrative roles and has a long list of accomplishments. We are very fortunate to have him joining our organization and community," says Jim Bogan, market president for UP Health System.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: UP Health System

Three U.P. health departments get grants to tackle obesity

Seven Upper Peninsula counties will be benefiting from state grants to help fight obesity over the next three years.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has a program called Building Healthy Communities, which recently awarded about $292,000 to seven health departments across the state to create three-year strategies to reduce obesity and chronic disease at the local level.
Here in the U.P., that includes three departments covering seven counties: the Chippewa County Health Department; Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties; and the Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department.
"By working with partners on the local level, we can better engage with our residents to encourage healthy diets and regular exercise," says Nick Lyon, director of the MDCH. "Local health departments are an essential health resource, and these funds will support their efforts to create long-term plans to promote health and wellness in their communities."
The effort comes now in order to address Michigan's high obesity rate, which includes 31 percent of adults and 17 percent of children. Obesity has a widespread impact on overall health, so programs are targeted toward several areas including healthy food access, physical activity, connecting with existing community assets, and looking at long-term strategies for change.
The other departments are the Central Michigan District Health Department, the Macomb County Health Department, and Public Health--Muskegon County.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Community Health


NMU will host entrepreneurship conference

Northern Michigan University is hosting a day of speakers, seminars and business ideas April 2, when the 2015 Celebration of Entrepreneurship Conference will be held at the University Center on the school's campus in Marquette.
The conference kicks off at 8 a.m. with the annual New Business Venture Competition, which allows students to present their business plans in several different formats to judges and win seed money.
Besides students, community members, professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners looking to expand also are welcome. Speaker sessions are held throughout the day until 2 p.m., including a keynote speech from retired NFL player and entrepreneur Tim Shaw. Local speakers include educators, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and business development specialists.
Registration for the conference is free for students, $25 for others, and must be done by March 20, online here.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northern Michigan University

Michigan Tech hosts Clean Snowmobile Challenge

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge, hosted by Michigan Technological University, continues to grow, prosper and make history. This year, the event had a number of firsts, including the first ever team from outside North America and the first time 11 teams made the 95.5 mile run through the Keweenaw Research Center test courses to downtown Copper Harbor.

The challenge, which is in its 13th year, featured more than 20 teams from across the country, Canada and, this year, Finland. The focus of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge is to engineer, test and showcase snowmobiles designed by different colleges and universities that are quieter and run cleaner than modern snowmobiles. It is a weeklong competition that features various events, including the near-100-mile endurance run.

Last year, nine teams set a record by completing the endurance run. This year's 11 teams that finished the run were: Kettering University, University of Idaho, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ecolé de Technologie Superieure, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Technological University, Northern Illinois University, Iowa State University and University of Minnesota. Waterloo University also finished the endurance run, although they were not competing in the event.

For more information about the Clean Snowmobile Challenge, visit the event's Facebook page.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Technological University

MTEC SmartZone names Mack new VP

The MTEC SmartZone in Houghton has added to its staff with a new vice president of business development.

Jason Mack, who is very familiar with the area as a Michigan Technological University graduate and former site manager of the locally-based GE Aviation satellite office, will be responsible for helping startups at the center commercialize their technologies and to find the ideal customer base to grow sales.

Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the automotive and aviation industries and spent the past decade managing the GE satellite offices. He helped them grow from a small team of college students to nearly 20 full-time employees and 45 students co-op workers.

"We’re so excited to have Jason on our team. Seven companies that participated in the SmartStart program are now in the Jutila Center business incubator and need support to grow to full potential. Jason is very capable of providing that support," says MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark "Our goal is to help companies achieve consistent and sustainable growth while creating local jobs. Jason will help us do just that.”

Mack is a Michigan Technological University mechanical engineering graduate and lives in the area with his wife and two children.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MTEC SmartZone

Huetter joins UP Marketing Department

Jennifer Huetter has joined the Houghton-based company Upper Peninsula Marketing Department, Inc.
Owned by Karyn Olsson in Houghton, the Marketing Department is expanding to Marquette with the new hire. Huetter will serve as the communications and public relations manager for the firm, and be based in Marquette. She is a U.P. native and will manage communications for the marketing firm's clients. She has a background in PR and communications, most recently serving in a similar role for Cliffs Natural Resources in the U.P.
Upper Peninsula Marketing Department offers design, identity and brandking, web, video, and photo services, displays, signage and advertising, public relations, copy and grant writing, newsletters and corporate communications, promotion, packaging, direct mail, social media, marketing, research, and plenty of other services besides.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Marketing Department, Inc.

OPG in Escanaba hires Ryan

The Office Planning Group in Escanaba announced it has brought on a new employee who will be helping businesses in Delta and Schoolcraft counties improve their services.
Ben Ryan is OPG's new business development specialist, and is from Iron Mountain. His new duties include covering sales representation for businesses throughout the lower central U.P.
Ryan has a strong sales background, coming to the area from a previous role as an ad sales representative at the Iron Mountain Daily News. He is a graduate of Iron Mountain High School and Northerin Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in communication and marketing.
He also has worked as a customer service representative at Town and Country Ford in Quinnesec, and worked in corporate entertainment and events in Las Vegas. Upon graduation from NMU, he spent a few years performing with the Ski-Ters Water Ski Show from Wisconsin, touring and performing live action stunt shows in locales including China. He still volunteers by coaching with the water ski show and local hockey programs.
Ryan will be getting to know local businesses through the Delta Chamber of Commerce's business after hours program, and welcomes any Delta or Schoolcraft County business to contact him at OPG for help with equipment or service solutions.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Office Planning Group, Inc. 

Three officers promoted at Stephenson National Bank and Trust

Three new vice presidents are joining the ranks at Stephenson National Bank and Trust.
Dave Denby, Sam Hofer, and Kadie Truitt, all previously trust officers of the bank, now will step up to VP roles.
Denby joined the bank in 2010 and brings more than 20 years of experience in banking and financial services to his new position. He'll be responsible for serving clients with investment management, estate planning, trust and IRA services. Denby has a MBA from the University of Colorado and bachelor's degree from Washington & Lee University. He's also certified as an IRA services professional and a trust and financial advisor.
Hofer manages the financial advisory services team at Stephenson National Bank and Trust, and has more than 30 years of experience in financial planning and advising. He works with clients to provide solutions in personal estate, retirement and financial planning. Hofer has a bachelor's degree in insurance and management from Ferris State University, and is a licensed investment and insurance agent, a certified financial planner, and a chartered life underwriter.
Truitt has been with SNBT since 2000 and has 15 years of experience in banking and administration. She specializes in company retirement plans, 401(k), profit sharing and defined benefit pension plans, and is responsible for audit, compliance and risk management oversight for the bank's trust department. She also has implemented an effective employee education program to help local workers with retirement planning. Truitt has a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin--Green Bay and has also trained in employer-sponsored retirement plans. She is a certified IRA services professional and trust and financial advisor.
"These individuals have demonstrated expertise and sound leadership within our trust and investment management department," says Greg Salmen, executive VP and trust
Manager for the bank.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Stephenson National Bank and Trust

Huron Mountain Bakery adds wood oven pizza

The Ishpeming location of Huron Mountain Bakery is offering up a new and tantalizing fresh-baked product--wood-fired pizza straight out of a new wood oven.
The bakery, originating in Marquette, is only offering the pizza at its Ishpeming store for now, located at 626 Teal Lake Road, also known as U.S. 41. (The former location of Peggy Sue's Café; the bakery opened its doors in a newly renovated store there in the fall of 2014.)
The first pizzas rolled out of the oven this week and we have to say, they look delicious.
Huron Mountain Bakery opened in Marquette on South Front Street/U.S. 41 in 1996 and is owned by John and Darci Scheidt.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Huron Mountain Bakery

Upper Peninsula SBDC hires Billington

The Michigan Small Business Development Center's Upper Peninsula offices have brought aboard a new business consultant to help companies from the Eastern U.P. and down to West Branch in the lower peninsula.

Josh Billington brings with him a background as an entrepreneur, and also has experience in business development and website design. He has a bachelor's of business administration from North Park University and earned a master's in business administration from Cornerstone University.

Billington, who is a veteran of the United States Navy, has an eclectic work history, having held positions in teaching, sales operations, operations management, financial analysis and real estate.

According to the MI-SBDC website, the organization enhances Michigan’s economic well-being by providing counseling, training, secondary market research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced technology companies.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MI-SBDC

Nault promoted at River Valley Bank

It looks like Ashley Nault has a new title over at River Valley Bank in Marquette thanks to a recent promotion.

Nault was recently promoted to the position of universal bank supervisor (quite the nifty title, if we say so ourselves!) and will be based out of the newly renovated Third Street location. Nault has been with River Valley Bank since she first joined the financial institution as a personal banker before earning a bump up to bank manager and cash management specialist.

Nault will have plenty to keep her busy, as River Valley Bank has continued to grow thanks to their customer service and drive to be a key part of the 12 communities it has locations in. The bank has more than $1 billion in assets thanks to a diversification in consumer lending, mortgage and insurance.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: River Valley Bank

Marquette declared Connected Community for broadband access

Marquette County has been working with Connect Michigan to improve broadband and Internet access and use throughout the county.
Those efforts recently resulted in the county becoming the first certified Connected Community in the U.P., and one of 11 in Michigan. The certificate comes through Connected Nation's Community Engagement Program and through the work of the Marquette County Broadband Initiative team, which is made up of members from government, education, medical and business fields.
"Broadband has been recognized for a long time as something that we need to improve," says Robert Eslinger, director of Northern Michigan University's Center for Rural Community and Economic Development, who is part of the broadband team. "This recognition demonstrates how a lot of people have been working on the issue in their own ways and really how those small pieces can fit together to make a big difference."
Now, the work is continuing with the announcement of a new technology action plan for the county, at an event hosted at Northern Michigan University on Feb. 13 with Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Steve Arwood scheduled to speak.
The new action plan sets community-wide goals for broadband connectivity that will support both economic development and residential use. Among its priorities are improving digital learning in schools and supporting school technology initiatives, developing a business case for future broadband expansion, and promoting telemedicine in remote areas of the county.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northern Michigan University

UPHS brings on new cardiologist

A new cardiologist has been added to the staff at UP Health System.
Christine Rattin, D.O., is a board-certified cardiologist and will be working with the Upper Peninsula Health System Heart and Vascular Institute based in Marquette.
Rattin will see patients in Marquette, Newberry and Sault Ste. Marie starting this month.
She's most recently been with Oklahoma Heart Hospital Physicians in Oklahoma City. She is also board-certified in internal medicine. Rattin earned her medical degree at the University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri, and followed it with an osteopathic internship in Carson City, Michigan, an internal medicine residency at Michigan State University, and fellowships in cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and Mt. Clemens General Hospital in Mt. Clemens.
"I am excited to be returning home to the U.P. and joining a great team at UPHS," says Rattin. "Having lived and worked in Marquette previously, I am aware of the hospital's commitment to quality patient care and look forward to carrying on that proud tradition. I am eager to begin work with the cardiovascular team and their dedication to providing cutting-edge options for the prevention and treatment of heart disease to the residents of the U.P., and I look forward to reconnecting with the community and having the opportunity to help care for family and friends, both old and new."

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: UP Health System 

LSSU prototypes new ski pole

The Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone and the Lake Superior State University Product Development Center are working together to help make your skiing experience a bit more technologically advanced.

SSMart and the university worked together to help lower-Michigan entrepreneur Andy Liebner with the production of graphite-composite ski poles. The school's Product Development Center used the expertise of the engineering faculty as well as the students to design and prototype a new control system for the machine that creates the poles.

"Projects like these provide the engineering students at LSSU the opportunity to work on real world design problems, says Eric Becks, Product Development Center director and SSmart president.

Liebner, who is the owner of United States Ski Pole Company, manufactures the lightest ski poles available by using former golf club shaft manufacturing equipment. He formerly hails from Soldotna, Alaska, and was the Peruvian cross-country ski team coach in the last Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Lake Superior State University
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