UP business leaders launch regional economic & talent development initiative

Private-sector coalition will leverage business, education, and entrepreneurial support to market U.P. economic assets and spark job creation
 
MARQUETTE, Michigan (May 5, 2017) – A coalition of leading businesses and community leaders in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have announced the evolution and creation of a new regionally focused private-sector economic development initiative. The group’s mission is two-fold: first, to intentionally, proactively, and aggressively pursue and deliver new business, industries, and jobs to the U.P., and second, to recruit, train, and retain employee talent for the region. The new organization will announce its formal name after completing a branding process.
 
The impetus for the initiative began more than three years ago when the coalition of U.P. business leaders recognized the need to take proactive, assertive action to better leverage Michigan’s competitive business environment and the U.P.’s exceptional quality of life. They will work to reverse the continued outflow of population and labor talent from the Upper Peninsula and spearhead a collaborative effort to target regional, national, and multi-national economic development opportunities. 
 
“This organization will have several distinguishing traits,” commented Bob Mahaney, President of the Veridea Group and a founding member of the initiative’s formation committee. “It will serve the entire Upper Peninsula in a holistic manner with the insight and partnership of key leaders in our communities.  A team, with demonstrated success in their field, will actively identify and pursue economic opportunities across the UP. Lastly, by bringing together the U.P.’s existing business leaders under one banner, it will leverage our talent and resources to bring good paying jobs to our area.”
 
The initiative has received support and guidance from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Governor Snyder noted, "Michigan is on the right path toward a brighter future, and today's announcement helps further expand economic opportunities in the Upper Peninsula." Snyder said, "Building a talented workforce and attracting new businesses to our state helps keep Michigan at the forefront of the 21st Century economy, and I am confident this group will help maximize the economic potential of this region.“
 
Jennifer Nelson, Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer of the MEDC, added, “As a statewide organization, the MEDC works with regional, local partners on how best to attract economic opportunities and talent, and retain the key industries we already champion.” She continued, “This new partner, coalescing and uniting business, education, and entrepreneurial support resources in the Upper Peninsula into a regional organization, is a smart and aggressive approach that will better leverage the region’s talent and competitive attributes and maximize its economic opportunity in the 21st century economy. We look forward to ways we can work together in promoting the U.P. to potential clients.”
 
The private-sector initiative will begin formal operations after completing a search for an executive director with proven business and job delivery skills at the national or international level. Initial investors include Champion Inc., JM Longyear, mBank, Northern Michigan University, Marquette Innovate SmartZone, and Veridea Group. The announcement of additional members from across the U.P. will be made over the next several months.