Puskala Named Interim Director of Invent@NMU

David Puskala of Marquette has been hired as interim director of Northern Michigan University’s entrepreneurial innovation center, Invent@NMU.  

Puskala has extensive management and manufacturing experience. He is currently owner/president of Iron Key Corporation, which has diverse business interests including home energy solutions, commercial property ownership and automobile restoration.  He has previously served as chief operating officer/plant manager of Brute Industries of Escanaba, COO of Argonics Inc. of Gwinn, president/chief executive officer of Superior Spectrum,and manager of business development for UPPCO, among other leadership positions. His expertise includes lean manufacturing; product and process development and improvement; revenue/profit enhancement; and legal, regulatory and industry relations.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Dave Puskala on board as Invent@NMU expands its student-run innovation and manufacturing service throughout the state of Michigan,” said Steve VandenAvond, NMU vice president for extended learning and community engagement. “Dave definitely has the talent and experience that we need to make sure that clients from the Marquette community and throughout Michigan who engage with Invent@NMU continue to be served and supported in making their product ideas become a reality.”

At Governor Snyder’s request, Invent@NMU will serve as a model for new retail-like invention intake centers in strategic locations in the lower and upper peninsulas. “Dave not only has an impressive background in all the facets necessary to bring products to life, but he also has the enthusiasm needed to lead our students in creatively and professionally assisting inventors and business owners to succeed with their ideas.”

Puskala has a degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University and completed MBA coursework at Northern Michigan University. He is on the resource board of Accelerate UP and serves in an elected position on the Marquette Board of Light and Power board of directors.

Puskala and a staff of NMU students with expertise in engineering, human-centered design, marketing, public relations, graphic design, project management and patents work with community, private sector and student inventors in an affordable step-by-step process to take product ideas from concept to market, or improve upon existing products, processes and marketing. The team is currently working on 40 active projects.

Invent@NMU’s founding director, Dave Ollila, took employment in a Flint-based company as its chief innovation officer.  While directing Invent@NMU, Ollila and the Invent staff were invited by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to attend a Maker-to-Manufacturer Stakeholder event in Washington, DC, in June where they were recognized as a leading program in promoting a “Nation of Makers.”

“Dave Ollila was the driver behind bringing Invent@NMU from ‘the back of a napkin to the market,’ and he did a wonderful job establishing and promoting Invent@NMU,” said VandenAvond. “Now is a perfect opportunity for us to focus on the second stage of Invent@NMU by not only increasing the number of products developed there, but establishing similar innovation centers throughout the state. When we do the search for the permanent director – mostly likely in the fall – we will be looking for that person who can help take us to this next step.”

Invent@NMU is located at the corner of Fair and Presque Isle avenues in Marquette and can be reached at invent@nmu.edu or 906-227-MAKE. Further information is available at nmu.edu/invent.

Prepared By
Rebecca Tavernini
University Editor