Companies that require privacy, security, STEM talent, and a range of outdoor temperatures and testing conditions have found the Upper Peninsula an ideal place to do business. A number of companies that support the U.S. defense industry appreciate the Upper Peninsula's remote location, business-friendly environment, support for entrepreneurship, and easy access to research universities and their talent.
Michigan Tech is a driving force in defense innovation and technology development. University alumni oversee critical Department of Defense units such as TARDEC and Homeland Security. Current faculty and students research such areas as explosive hazard detection, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, cybersecurity, nanosatellites, and digital environments. Michigan Tech partnered with business accelerator MTEC SmartZone, to form Greenforces, a consortium of high technology companies that offer innovative solutions for industrial, aerospace, heavy vehicle, and military applications.
From locally-made printed circuit boards that are found in rockets and satellites to ground vehicle testing and signature modeling and simulation, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a prime location for defense innovation.
The Upper Peninsula’s world-class research universities foster innovation and new ideas, but the unique ingredient we offer is a manufacturing workforce heritage of grit and dependability.
Hard work is part of the culture here, inspired by a passion for the outdoors and a rural pioneering spirit. Our workforce is diverse, ranging from engineers and IT professionals to skilled manual laborers and factory workers. The common thread is a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done, with a focus on quality and integrity. As goods from the Upper Peninsula find their way around the world, advanced manufacturing continues to grow.
The Upper Peninsula’s support for bold, new ideas also extends to the medical device industry. From hardware to technology, Upper Peninsula companies are developing lifesaving products on the leading edge of innovation.
One of Michigan Technological University's (MTU) fastest growing programs is its Medical Micro-Device Engineering Research Lab, which develops portable, point of care tools that can provide rapid, quantitative results for disease diagnosis and monitoring. The university’s annual Design Expo highlights hands-on, discovery-based learning that offers a glimpse at the future of medical devices.
One company, launched on the back of MTU research, is working to develop micro-devices that produce instant results with a single drop of blood, which could potentially revolutionize medicine in developing countries.
Among Upper Peninsula’s medical products are precision medical components such as orthopedic pins and surgical instruments; printed circuit boards found in imaging machines and other diagnostic equipment; petri dish filling systems; and advanced wound care technologies. Tomorrow’s technologies are being developed today in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
MINING AND LAND MANAGEMENT
Mining is a vital part of the Upper Peninsula heritage, from the Marquette Iron Range to Keweenaw County’s “Copper Country” — once the only place on earth that held commercial quantities of pure native copper. Today the region boasts three active nickel mines, one of which is the nation’s only primary nickel mine.
Because the Upper Peninsula treasures its natural resources, it is also a world leader in responsible mining and land management practices. The Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP), an independent, science-based program that measures environmental performance of mining operations, reports that the Upper Peninsula’s largest mine, Eagle Mine, exceeds industry standards.
Local research universities work with public and private landowners and industries to benefit forest and water health and commercial and recreational use. Upper Peninsula companies work together to ensure the region’s forests are sustainable by conserving wildlife habitats, soil and water quality, and by preventing and minimizing pollution.
Due to these efforts, the Upper Peninsula remains a vast and pristine wilderness, carefully managed to ensure decades of productivity.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING & MATH (STEM)
The Keweenaw Peninsula business community is transforming the region through STEM. Driving this strong STEM community, is Michigan Technological University (MTU), an internationally noted ,STEM-focused public research institution that provides a pipeline of fresh, young talent and leading-edge research. Close collaboration throughout the Upper Peninsula between government, the private sector, and academia has yielded a strong entrepreneurial environment with three Michigan tech-driven SmartZones and six business incubators that offer outstanding support in transforming ideas into businesses
The majority of tech companies in the community work in the defense market. MTU’s Keweenaw Research Center, a multidisciplinary institute, employs the expertise of experienced university faculty and engineering staff to conduct technology research with a focus on testing for our military. Another high profile example of STEM collaboration is GreenForces. A coalition of Upper Peninsula tech companies that combine the agility of a small business with the wide-ranging experience of proven corporations, they provide aviation and aerospace customers with high-tech solutions.
Michigan Tech isn’t the only academic source of influence and inspiration. Both Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State universities are growing their STEM-related research opportunities and partnerships with industry.
The Upper Peninsula offers a strong eco-system for tech companies: business-friendly incentives, abundant excellence in R & D resources, a collaborative culture, a valuable talent pipeline, and an environment that values innovation and fresh ideas.
TIMBER AND WOOD PRODUCTS
Bordered by Lake Superior to the north, and Lake Michigan to the south, the Upper Peninsula covers 16,542 square miles; 8.8 million acres of that land mass are covered in forest. The Upper Peninsula’s natural resources are its greatest asset, producing the world’s whitest wood. They’re also a source of some the nation’s most sought-after wood products.
Hardwood flooring from the Upper Peninsula can be found under the feet of premier athletes and in homes and schools around the world. NBA All Star games, NCAA Final Four games, Olympic games, and Commonwealth games have all been played on Michigan hardwoods. Upper Peninsula companies are committed to sustainable and responsible harvesting that minimizes ecological and visual impact and encourages natural regeneration.
TOURISM & HOSPITALITY
The most magnificent 4-season geography in the Midwest drives millions of people to visit the Upper Peninsula. Lakes, rivers, hills and forests provide a year-round scenic playground for outdoor adventure and relaxation.
With 2 national parks, 14 state parks, 1,700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 1,050,000 miles of national forest, over 1,000 miles of mountain biking trails, various cross country ski trails, multiple downhill ski areas, kayaking, boating, and snowmobile routes connecting the entire length of the Upper Peninsula, there are outdoor recreation opportunities aplenty.