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Governor’s Address Mentions NMU

Gov. Rick Snyder mentioned NMU in his State of the State address last week. The reference came within his comments about the MTEC SmartZone in Hancock, one of 15 high-tech, small-business incubators in Michigan designed to build a more prosperous regional economy. Snyder is pictured at an event recognizing its efforts. According to the MTEC website, it helps to “commercialize ideas, patents and other opportunities surrounding corporate, university or private research institute efforts.” Snyder talked about a collaborative effort to establish an MTEC satellite in Marquette.

“We’ve had a SmartZone with Michigan Tech for a number of years,” he said. “They just held their 10th anniversary. They work great with the Houghton-Hancock area. But now we have a situation where they’re partnering with Northern Michigan University in Marquette. So we’re bringing communities together and bringing synergy and power. I want to compliment those particular communities and those universities in the U.P. for their outstanding work.”

The effort is in the preliminary stages, according to Bob Eslinger (Special Assistant to the President for Economic Development). He said the MTEC board approached the city of Marquette and NMU about the potential for a satellite. The city would be the applicant in the process, but there would be opportunities for NMU participation going forward. 

“Should a satellite SmartZone open in Marquette, Northern could be involved in a number of ways, from research to applied technology and training,” Eslinger said. “This could present another opportunity for students and faculty to voluntarily participate in activities that would potentially create jobs in the Marquette area. I’ve already made contact with a few people on campus to discuss strategically how we might best take advantage of this opportunity. It’s still very early in the process.”

In an MTEC news release, board member Dan Webber was quoted as saying, “It has become time for a more regional approach to leveraging the talents along the ‘Technology Shore’ between Houghton-Hancock and Marquette, supporting economic sustainability for the entire Upper Peninsula. Given the always-limited resources, we must work together to advance the best technologies that promote employment opportunities for our existing communities and the State of Michigan as a whole.”

The release states that MTEC has created more than 400 high-tech jobs and assisted more than 47 technology startups by providing entrepreneurs with training and resource programs.