Jobs and the Economy
Better jobs and the economy have been listed as top issues for the U.P. for decades, isn’t it time to do something about them? I started 2 businesses from practically nothing in Hancock and helped KEDA design an aggressive economic plan for the Western U.P., so I know what it will take to achieve this plan. The answer is people create jobs! We have great schools and universities which need strong state support to give our kids a leg up. We should enhance the skills training facilities which provide an alternative path for a successful career. Those talented graduates are the U.P.’s greatest resource and can attract new employers and start the next generation of businesses.
The recent Work from Home directives during the pandemic show that substantial parts of the economy can be done anywhere there are computers and high-speed internet. This presents an opportunity to attract our young people back to the communities they came from and revitalize our small towns. We must have accessible internet connectivity throughout the district to help revitalize our economy and our educational system.
We have one of the great technical universities in the US, and we should continue to leverage that gift to expand upon the efforts of the Smart Zone, KEDA, and our local entrepreneurs. Building closer relationships and exchanges between Michigan Tech and Gogebic Community College in health care, technology and other key areas would benefit more counties of the Western U.P. and provide a better trained workforce at a lower cost. I believe educating our young people and providing them opportunities use their skills here is the best way to grow our economy. I have done so by hiring Michigan Tech students and graduates in my businesses and have been very impressed.
In 2005, I established Vesitech, Inc to explore the development and commercialization of water treatment technologies. We were the successful recipients of several Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grants. Vesitech, Inc completed SBIR grants for Army Corps of Engineers which resulted in a US Patent, two grants from the US Marine Corps, and one from NASA. None of that would have been possible without the ability to hire students and graduates of Michigan Tech and to collaborate with researchers at Michigan Tech.