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Innovation + Job News

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Panara has new owner

If you've ever done much shopping in Marquette, then you're probably well aware of the existence of Panara Imports, which has been in business since 1991. 

The company, which has been owned by the same family for all of those years, has recently been purchased by a new owner, Martha Parks. 

Parks, who was a long-time customer of Panara before purchasing it, has kept much of the business the same while adding some of her own personality to the mix. 

The first thing customers will likely notice is the store has a much more "flowing" feel to it. The floor is more open, allowing for easier access to everything, and the changing rooms have been upgraded. 

The old favorites are still available to customers despite the cosmetic changes to the interior. The same fashions, the same oils and the same merchandise is available for purchase, as well as more locally-made products. 

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan SBTDC

UPPAA will host May conference on publishing

If you've always wanted to write a book, or perhaps you already have, but don't know what to do with it next, there's a regional conference happening that should answer some of your questions.

The Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association will hold its sixteenth annual conference May 17 in Marquette, focusing on book publishing and marketing.

It takes place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Peter White Public Library, and includes sessions on the children's book industry, writing fiction, connecting with bookstores, public speaking, blogging and social media as an author, and the finances involved in self-publishing and printing.

The conference is open to the public with a $10 registration fee, for which the deadline is May 13. More information can be found at the UPPAA website.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source U.P. Publishers and Authors Association

Bogan named regional hospitals president

Portage Health CEO Jim Bogan will become the new regional president of Duke Lifepoint's Upper Peninsula hospitals. 

Lifepoint made the announcement to that effect this week, naming Bogan to oversee Portage Health, Bell Hospital, and Marquette General in his new role of market president. The job includes executive functions and operations management for the three hospitals, with the CEOs of each reporting to Bogan.

He's been at Portage since 1989, and previously had a leadership role at Trinity Medical Center in Minot, North Dakota. He has an MBA from the University of North Dakota, a bachelor's degree from North Dakota State University, is a graduate of the hospital administration program at Concordia College, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

His community involvement is equally impressive, as Bogan is board chair for the Upper Peninsula Health Plan and the Upper Peninsula Health Group, a past president of the Upper Peninsula Health Care network and of the Upper Peninsula Hospital Council.

"His nearly 40 years of experience and deep involvement in the region's healthcare industry will not only benefit LifePoint's and Duke LifePoint's hospitals, but any healthcare provider throughout the region who is interested in building and advancing an integrated healthcare delivery system in the Upper Peninsula," says Jeff Seraphine, eastern group president for Lifepoint.

Bogan will start his new duties May 11. A new national search will take place to fill his role as CEO at Portage Health.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Portage Health

Student winners announced for NMU entrepreneur competition

The results are in from the seventh annual New Business Venture Competition at Northern Michigan University. Several students were awarded for their innovative business ideas. 

The top three finishers won cash prizes, financial and legal consulting and tech support to launch their businesses. 

First prize was taken by Jacob Yoho, a recent business management graduate from Negaunee, for his Snaptanx, which are post-surgical recovery garments for breast cancer patients.

Second prize went to Nicholas Lefebre, a recent entrepreneurship graduate from Marquette, for his Torched Vines, Wines and Spirits, which offers small-batch artisan bourbon, vodka and wines.

Third prize went to Corey Engelhart, an MBA student from Marquette, for his U.P. Coding school, a web development academy. 

Fourth place went to Linaye Whitehead's Petscape, which provides safe caregiving for pets; United Tastes by Rebekah Tadych, which offers ready-to-go meals, won best trade show display; and Up Dog from Chloe MacBeth, a canine lifestyle and wellness brand, took the award for best elevator pitch.

The competition is held throughout each school year starting in October and rewards students who present detailed business plans.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northern Michigan University

Veridea Group renames property after new tenant

Veridea Group announced recently that its newest tenant is none other than the area's newest television station, WJMN-TV. 
The company announced that the arrival of WJMN-TV has also prompted a change in the name of the building it will occupy. Instead of West Town Center, the property will be named WJMN-TV Plaza. 
The television station will be moving into a 4,200-square-foot location where it will have local news broadcasting as a CBS affiliate. WJMN-TV is part of the Nexstar Broadcasting Group. 
We are thrilled that WJMN-TV chose our property for their new television studio," says
Bethany Cody, manager of real estate services at the Veridea Group. "They are a great addition to the Plaza and we look forward to seeing them on the air."
Built in 2012, the WJMN-TV Plaza also houses First National Trust & Wealth 
Management, Loads of Fun Laundry and Arby’s.  
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Veridea

Physical therapist hired in Hubbell

A new full-time physical therapist has been added to the staff at Our Lady of Mercy Health and Rehab facility in Hubbell. 
The company, which is locally-owned, has hired Troy Westcott to the position after having worked with the company previously in a freelance basis. Westcott brings with him plenty of experience, having been a physical therapist for more than 25 years with two decades having been spent working with geriatric patients. 
Westcott moved to the U.P. from the lower peninsula in 2000. 
He will be working with patients at both the Our Lady of Mercy location and with home visits for those who are unable to come to the facility. 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Our Lady of Mercy Health and Rehab

Engineering professor gets grant to develop flexible ankle prosthetic

A Michigan Tech professor recently got a National Science Foundation grant of almost a half-million dollars to develop a new artificial limb. 
Mo Rastgaar received a five-year award called the Faculty Early Career Development Award to fund his work on a powered ankle-foot prosthesis with a flexible ankle joint to restore mobility to lower-leg amputees. 
Rastgaar is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics at Tech and has already designed and built a large circular treadmill with a team of students, in order to test out the robotic prosthesis. 
It works by translating signals from sensors on the bottom of the foot to a microprocessor in the artificial limb that then adjusts to the person's gait and stride to flex the ankle naturally from side to side and up and down.
The money will allow Rastgaar to improve the design, and provide the prosthesis to amputee patients at the Mayo Clinic for real-world testing. Eventually, he hopes to produce it on a commercial level to reach more patients.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Technological University

The Throttle in Little Lake has new owners

There are new owners at The Throttle Bar and Grill in Little Lake (it's by Gwinn in Marquette County), but the place sure seems to be running just as smooth as it was before.
The new owners, Johnny Paris and Amanda Washburn, were introduced April 5 during a customer appreciation celebration. They are taking over from previous owners Scott and Sally Searle.
The restaurant and bar, which is located right on M-35 next to Brown's Store, offers up a nice menu that include Broaster chicken, hamburgers made from daily-ground meat, homemade soups, a mean pulled pork and more. They have a full bar that features Upper Peninsula brews, among others, and have specials each day for lunch and dinner. Fridays are, of course, for fish fry, but Thursday features a mean Broaster pork chop (it's so good… my mouth is watering).
The Throttle also does fundraising events throughout the year with bike nights and sled nights, among others.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: The Throttle

BridgeGuard named one of 50 companies to watch

Remember when BridgeGuard was just starting up and was still incubating in the MTEC SmartZone? 

That little company is growing in leaps and bounds, it has graduated from the SmartZone after about 10 years there and this year is named among the 2014 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.

"We are honored to be recognized as one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch,” president Jay Ruohonen says. “The BridgeGuard team deserves congratulations for all of their hard work in making this award possible. We continue to look for opportunities to share our innovative bridge deck scoping technologies with departments of transportation not only in Michigan, but across the United States.”

BridgeGuard, which is located in downtown Hancock, will be honored with the award on May 6 during the MCSB awards in Lansing.

The Michigan 50 Companies to Watch selections are companies that are considered to be the future of Michigan's economy. The companies are defined as having six to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and have an annual revenue or working capital between $750,000 and $50 million.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MTEC SmartZone

Dematic adds jobs in Houghton

Dematic in Houghton has grown a bit since it first opened its doors in May 2012 in the MTEC SmartZone's Lakeshore Center.
In fact, the company is now up to 10 full-time engineers who help support the research and development functions for the company's headquarters in Grand Rapids. Additionally, the company is also using five part-time Michigan Technological University students to help keep up with the growing demands from the company's many clients.
In December, Dematic acquired Upturn Solutions, which is a provider of computerized maintenance management solutions that are designed for distribution, manufacturing and warehouse environments.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: MTEC SmartZone

Stephenson Bank & Trust promotes two

Two employees have received promotions at Stephenson National Bank & Trust.
Both Kathleen Berquist and Jeff Myster have been promoted to senior vice president.
Berquist has been with the company since 2005 when she joined the team as a human resources director. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking's human resources management school as well as the Wisconsin Bankers Association Leadership Institute. Additionally, she attended Barnes Business College in Denver.
Myster has been with Stephenson National Bank & Trust since 2011 when he was hired as the vice president and retail banking manager. He has more than 30 years of experience in banking in several states and is a graduate of South West University in New Orleans with a bachelor's in business management.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Stephenson National Bank & Trust

U.P. Engineers & Architects hires Schwenke

There's a new project manager over at the U.P. Engineers & Architects in Ishpeming now that the company has hired Brett Schwenke.
Schwenke's position, which also includes environmental services, will take him throughout the U.P., northern lower peninsula and northern Wisconsin.
He brings with him 25 years of experience in environmental project design. Prior to joining UPEA, he was with Palus Consultants as a senior consultant and principal.
Schwenke is a graduate of Northern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in environmental science. He also attended the University of Maryland and is a U.S. Army veteran.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: UPEA

New Age Tattoo adds to staff in Marquette

New Age Tattoo and Body Piercing in Marquette has brought on a new staffer to help get the word out about the work the tattoo studio does.
Cara Parrish will be the new promoter and coordinator for the tattoo shop at 1009 North Third Street in Marquette. She has worked for MTV, Black Eagle Tattoo and Rockstar Marketing and has a background in promotions. She might be familiar to some from the MTV reality series "Buckwild."
At New Age, Parrish will oversee marketing and promotion and organize charitable events. She'll also focus on the appearance of the shop, and creating a welcoming atmosphere for customers, according to New Age's announcement.

New Age is the oldest continuously running tattoo and piercing shop in Marquette and is currently owned by Justin Gahn.
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: New Age Tattoo

Sunrise Builders promotes L'Huillier

Sunrise Builders showed just how much they appreciate the hard work and dedication of Andrea L'Huillier when they recently announced her promotion to vice president and corporate financial officer. 
L'Huiller has been with the company for the past decade, having joined its ranks as an accountant in 2004. 
L'Huillier is originally from Marquette, and moved back to the area after graduating from Central Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in corporate finance. 
Sunrise Builders has been in Marquette County since it formed in 1977. Since then, it has worked on a large variety of projects that include custom homes, condos, commercial buildings and senior housing. 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Lake Superior Community Partnership

Bear's Den hires new bartender

The Bear's Den Brewpub in Ishpeming has a new employee, and general manager Pat Beyer says she's been the perfect addition to the newly-opened pub. 
Susan Greenlee is the brewpub's new barkeep, and she's brought some pretty cool ideas with her, too. Together, she and Breyer have developed a line of mixed drinks based on Skittles-infused vodka that they make right in the brewpub.
Greenlee can be found working most nights at the Bear's Den Brewpub, which is located in the Country Grill at the Country Village in Ishpeming. The brewpub offers up a full menu as well as exclusive-drinks like Horny Bear Ale. 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Bear's Den Brewpub
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