New MTEC SmartZone board members bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm for entrepreneurial growth

HOUGHTON, Michigan (July 29, 2014) – MTEC SmartZone is pleased to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors. The 10-member board represents a distinguished group of business, government and academic leaders who work together to help MTEC SmartZone companies grow into Stage 2.

The new board members:

Diane Durance is president of MiQuest, a Lansing-based organization that works to ignite, unleash and promote entrepreneurship in Michigan through competitions, publications and events. She previously served on the boards of New Enterprise Forum, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and MIT Enterprise Forum of the Great Lakes, and is past president of the Ann Arbor IT Zone. She brings extensive experience in SmartZone incubators, knowledge of available resources, support services and education programs available in Michigan.

In her new position on the board, Durance said she is looking forward to “understanding the needs of entrepreneurs who are launching and growing business in the Upper Peninsula, and helping MTEC SmartZone develop strategies to meet those needs.”

Lee Rouse is president and CEO of Omni Tech International, LLC, a Midland, Michigan-based company that provides technical, commercial and business consulting services to corporations and non-profit organizations. Rouse has more than 24 years of experience in corporate industry and consulting, and held engineering positions with General Motors and Dow Chemical Company. She has experience starting her own company, merging with a medium-sized company, and understanding the challenges and solutions involved in the process.

A U.P. native and Michigan Technological University alumna, Rouse is passionate about helping the local economy grow and prosper. “As a fellow entrepreneur, I want to see more start-up businesses succeed. Our future is dependent upon new technologies and business models. Enabling new businesses to survive and flourish through the first five years is critical. I want to help with that process.”

Steve Zutter is a longtime financial advisor with Edward Jones in Hancock, with more than 30 years of experience assisting individual investors and business owners to achieve their financial goals. He opened the firm’s first branch office in Hancock in January 1985. Zutter is an active member of the community, serving as board chair for Portage Health and on the Hancock Downtown Development Authority. He is former president of Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Community Foundation and Houghton Rotary Club.

MTEC SmartZone and tenant companies will benefit from Zutter’s extensive background in finance and knowledge of the local marketplace. “I’ve got a pulse for what’s going on in the local economy and know what it takes to be successful in business,” he said. “It takes a lot of work. You have to put in 110 percent and surround yourself with the right people.”

MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark said, “We are excited to have such a dedicated group of talented business leaders and community supporters on our board. The new inductees bring fresh ideas and perspectives that will benefit entrepreneurs, tenant companies and the organization as a whole.”

For more information about MTEC SmartZone, visit