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Innovation + Job News

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Taiga Games adds new employee

Taiga Games in Marquette added its first employee, Garrett Schramm.
 
The games and comics store is located on Third Street in the Village shopping center, at 1015 North Third Street, and is locally owned by Sarah and Robert Towers, who have been running it themselves since opening last year.
 
Now, the business has grown to the point where some help is needed, so Schramm was brought on to help customers, especially tabletop, RPG and card gamers, as he is the shop's resident Warhammer 40K, WarMachine, Hordes and X-Wing expert.
 
The shop will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day this week, with special events, sales, contests, and naturally, free comics, on May 2.
 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Taiga Games
 

Rare Earth Goods in Ishpeming adds cafe

Rare Earth Goods already brings a touch of homemade and natural goods to Ishpeming, but it's pushing that mission even further with made-from-scratch menu offerings… at its new in-store café.
 
The café serves up delicacies like quiches, carefully-planned sandwiches, soups and salads, and, of course, home-baked desserts that vary by the day. Recently, the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to make the opening of the Rare Earth café official.
 
Rare Earth owners Pam and Dan Perkins envision the store as a gathering place for those who love food, art, music and crafts of all kinds, and it's certainly a great addition to have all that tasty food and drink on hand in the new café, which serves from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
 
The store is located at 200 East Division Street in Ishpeming. Also on the schedule are classes in various kinds of arts, crafts and skills, and a weekly open mic night.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Rare Earth Goods

Marinette Marine to build two more Navy ships

Marinette Marine, one of the biggest employers in the western U.P., has good news for the future employment in the area--it has sub-contracted with the U.S. Navy to add two more ships to its shipbuilding schedule.
 
The company based in Marinette will build two more littoral combat ships, a design they have been producing several of for the Navy in recent years. The new contract, through Lockheed Martin, is valued at $362 million, and also has an option for a third ship next year.
 
"Marinette Marine and the surrounding community are extremely proud of the LCS program," says Jan Allman, president and CEO of Marinette Marine Corporation. "We currently have six ships under various stages of construction, and are now in full rate serial production. We look forward to extending our backlog and continuing our strong partnership with the Navy for many more years to come."
 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Marinette Marine

UP Health System names new cancer center director

UP Health System in Marquette announced the hiring of a new medical director for its cancer center.
 
Dr. Phillip Lowry will take on that role, as well as being a clinical liaison with the Duke Cancer Network, which UPHS-Marquette affiliated with in 2014. He's board certified in hematology and oncology and will see patients in Marquette and Escanaba, as well as lead the UPHS Cancer Center clinical team.
 
Most recently, Lowry was chief medical director of hematology and oncology at Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pennsylvania, and previously was the medical director of the Centre Medical and Surgical Associates Cancer Program in State College, Pennsylvania.
 
He received his undergraduate degree at Harvard College and his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also completed a residency in internal medicine and a hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.
 
"I am excited to join the Upper Peninsula Health System for many reasons," Lowry says. "The area is physically stunning and the people I have met so far are delightful. Cancer treatment here has already reached excellent levels with national recognition of that, but the partnership with the Duke University Cancer Network promises to move that to the absolute cutting edge of care."
 
He adds, "The very geography that is so beautiful is also a challenge--patients in the Upper Peninsula must travel great distances to get great care. I hope to work with the team here to bring that care as close as possible to where patients live and have their families and support systems in place."
 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: UP Health System

NMU business competition winners announced

The winners of the annual New Business Venture Competition at Northern Michigan University were announced.
 
The competition, sponsored by the NMU College of Business, encouraged student entrepreneurs to enter their business ideas, in the form of business plans, elevator pitches and trade fair displays, for judging through a process that started in October. The top three places received prizes including cash for startup, financial and legal consulting and technology support.
 
First place in the business plan competition, worth $7,750, went to a team of international students, Wenfei Kou and Yufeng Zhuo of China, and Wilson Goh of Malaysia, for their business Hobby Car Malaysia, which connects people interested in vintage and classic cars in Malaysia. They also took first in the trade fair display awards.
 
Justina Liss of Bark River took second place in business plans, earning a $4,000 prize, and also won the best elevator pitch. Her business is Superior Shores Bike park, which serves mountain bikers through all seasons.
 
Third place, $2,200, went to Micah Argeropoulos of Marquette for his business, Cardboard World, and fourth place was Brett Etengoff of Clarkston, for his business Specular Restraint. The top four teams are receiving consultation on their business from NMU faculty.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northern Michigan University

Spencer joins Edwards Automotive

Edwards Automotive in Iron Mountain has hired a new employee, Ryan Spencer.
 
Spencer joined the recently-expanded company as a new and used car sales and leasing associate. He is a Kingsford native who served for six years in the National Guard and also has a background in commercial plumbing sales.
 
He is part of a recent expansion at Edwards, which has been adding staff since late 2014, when the auto dealer and service shop constructed a new building complete with body shop, car wash and GM certified service department.
 
Spencer also can offer help with new and used car sales and lease agreements, and can be found on his professional Facebook page here.
 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Edwards Automotive

Myefski Architects adds one to their team

Myefski Architects announced it has hired on a new architectural coordinator in the firm's Marquette office.
 
The Chicago-based architecture company opened its Marquette office in 2013 and has taken on several major projects, like the new city municipal building, the Liberty Way development for Veridea Group, and local housing developments.
 
Now, Joel Norton will fill the role of architectural coordinator for Myefski's regional projects. Norton is a Calumet native and studied at Northern Michigan University before completing his architectural degree at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.
 
His responsibilities include taking on project tasks and coordinating design processes.
 
"We are excited to have Joel on the team," says Josh Dawson, project manager for the firm, "His experience and hard work have already proven beneficial towards delivering the standard of quality our clients have come to expect."
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Myefski Architects 

Swanberg promoted to VP of economic development

Caralee Swanberg is the new vice president of economic development for the Lake Superior Community Partnership.
 
Swanberg has been overseeing business development for the EDC most recently, and has been with the partnership since 2010. Her role now will expand to head up strategic objectives for LSCP in the long term.
 
"Caralee has been an integral part of the LSCP Economic Development team for over four years," says LSCP CEO, Amy Clickner. "She has helped lead our team to serve a record number of clients and increased LSCP programming and strategic objectives in her tenure."
 
Swanberg has a bachelor's degree in public relations from Northern Michigan University and her background includes a high-tech financial startup, venture capital investing and private real estate development. She is a certified global business professional and also is certified in economic gardening.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Lake Superior Community Partnership

Five Rabbit Island resident artists announced

Five artists were chosen for the Rabbit Island artist residency program for 2015, according to an announcement from Northern Michigan University.
 
Rabbit Island is located off the Keweenaw peninsula in Lake Superior and offers five spaces each year to resident artists to pursue various projects. NMU is involved through the DeVos Art Museum, which mounts an exhibition of the artists' work each year, and administrates a $16,300 grant from the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs to support the show.
 
The artists get funding for travel, materials and access to local facilities for their work, and were chosen out of about 200 applications from artists worldwide.
 
The artists are Beau Carey, a landscape painter from New Mexico and Colorado; Eugene Birman, a Latvian composer, and Scott Diel, an American writer, collaborating on contemporary classical music; Josefina Muńoz, a multi-disciplinary artist from Chile; and Noam Enbar, a composer and performer from Israel.
 
While the visual artists will be showcased at the DeVos and around the U.P., the music created during the residency period will be performed at several U.P. venues, including in the Keweenaw and Marquette, by various groups including the Helsinki Chamber Choir from Finland. More details can be found by keeping up with Rabbit Island here.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Northern Michigan University

Chemical engineering professor gets grant to pursue virus research

Virus researcher Caryn Heldt at Michigan Technological University recently got a grant award to pursue her research further.
 
Heldt is a professor of chemical engineering at Tech who received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The awards are given to young faculty who are both effective teachers and researchers.
 
She'll use the funding to continue research on ways to remove viruses from water and biotherapeutic drugs; for instance, purifying viruses for vaccine production. If that sounds unlikely for a chemical engineering researcher, the link lies on the surface of the viruses themselves. Heldt studies the chemistry of those surfaces in order to develop removal techniques.
 
With the award, $525,000 over five years to support her work and education in her bioseparations lab, Heldt will focus on finding ways to remove viruses that don't involve expensive nanofiltration processes. She has researched osmolytes, chemicals that affect osmosis and can cause viruses to clump together in more easily filterable groups. Next up is research on the ways virus surfaces repel water, which could lead to new removal techniques.
 
Heldt works with both Michigan Technological University students and with students from Wayne County Community College in Detroit, where she also collaborates with other researchers in chemistry and ecology, offering students hands-on research using samples from the Detroit River for various projects.
 
Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Technological University

Michigan holds wild mushroom foraging certification program

Foragers and food entrepreneurs will want to check out the new program from the state of Michigan for wild mushroom certification.
 
The program, from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, offers foragers and chefs a link to the state to be sure they're abiding by state regulations governing sale and harvest of wild mushrooms found in Michigan, like morels and chanterelles, and offers markets and restaurants the assurance of being able to buy from state-certified foragers.
 
The certification program covers health risks, mushroom identification and commercial regulations in Michigan, and was developed by Midwest American Mycology Information, the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. Wild mushroom sold at farmers markets or used in restaurants already have to be approved by certified mushroom identification experts, but the program will be an added step for mushroom sellers to increase their training and the chance of approval for sale.
 
"Our state has seen huge growth in both the demand for local products, including wild-foraged mushrooms, and the number of people interested in getting into mushroom harvesting and sales," says Kevin Besey, MDARD Food and Dairy Division director. "The new certification program will help provide proper training and approval, while assuring public health with regard to the identification, sale, purchase, preparation and service of wild-foraged mushrooms."
 
The training costs $175 per person for certification, or $85 for attending the workshops but not receiving the certification, which may be desired by farmers, chefs, or grocers. In the U.P., training will take place May 2 at the Marquette Food Co-op. More details, including how to register, are online here.
 
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

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
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