Michigan Tech students flocked to the Rozsa Center lobby to find out what it’s like to work and live in the Grand Traverse region of northern lower Michigan.
Michigan Tech partnered with the Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce to sponsor Grand Traverse Region Day, part of fall CareerFEST.
“We are seeking to make Michigan Tech students aware of the tech businesses and potential future job opportunities in our area,” says Bill Myers, CEO of Promethient Inc. in Traverse City. “We are building grassroots working-level relationships between Traverse City area companies and Michigan Tech to build a talent pipeline, continuing education, and research and development.”
More than 20 Traverse City area businesses sent representatives to the Upper Peninsula, and 260 Michigan Tech students showed up to meet them.
Bright Students Impress Business Reps
“This is an amazing event,” says Tim Heger, chief technology officer at HealthBridge, a company that develops employee benefits services. This is the first time that HealthBridge has worked with the University. “I’m finding the students very bright, very articulate, very engaged,” Heger says. “They’re asking really good questions.”
Chris Clark, a software engineer at Naveego, said that his new firm was “really excited to be at Michigan Tech.” The company develops data management software. “Traverse City is booming,” says Clark, “and we are looking for interns and talented software engineers.”
The students milling through the exhibits were enthusiastic, too.
“I’d heard good things about Traverse City from my ski team members, and I thought it might be a cool place to work,” says Amanda Kautzer, a third-year student in biomedical and mechanical engineering. Kautzer is looking for a summer internship. “There are a lot of great companies in Traverse City,” she says.
Reese O’Mara, a senior in mechanical engineering, especially liked that the event resembled a smaller Career Fair.
“The company representatives are approachable,” he explains. O’Mara had talked with about half of the companies at the event, “and I already have two internship possibilities so far."
Tech Business is Booming in Traverse City
There are more than 350 companies in the Traverse City area. Among those exhibiting at Grand Traverse Region Day were Atlas Space Operations, TentCraft, Promethient, RJG, Star Cutter Company, Century Inc., Skilled Manufacturing, Thompson Surgical Instruments, 20Fathoms, Naveego, Inphastos, HealthBridge, R.M. Young Company, Electro-Optics Technology, AlcoTec Wire Corporation, Boomerang Catapult, Haggerty, Keen Technical Solutions, Munson Healthcare, Faurecia and Britten.
A broad range of other Traverse City businesses, organizations and schools have been involved in planning the event, Myers says. “It’s been a major volunteer effort in Traverse City,” he adds. “Volunteers and philanthropists are coming together to build an ecosystem that attracts businesses and high paying jobs to the area.”
Friday’s event built on Michigan Tech’s visit to Traverse City in February, at which representatives from various academic areas met with business people to discuss recurring themes that Michigan Tech can help address to better serve innovative companies in the Traverse City area.
"There are many synergies between Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw area with the Grand Traverse-Traverse City Region,” says Brent Burns, director of industry relations at Michigan Tech. “There are amazing high tech employment opportunities coupled with an adventurous and outdoors lifestyle. This event is just one of many future partnerships to strengthen relations between our two great communities."
Revival of Aerospace Industry
Traverse City has a legacy of manufacturing innovation, and the revival of the aerospace industry there is sparking a commitment to economic development, Myers said.
Former NASA astronaut and STEM education advocate Greg Johnson put in a guest appearance at Friday’s event, to promote aerospace opportunities in Traverse City. He was mobbed by excited students asking questions.
"For some, geographic location is the most important factor in a job search," says Shelley Farrey, coordinator of career development and corporate event promotions in Michigan Tech’s Career Services, who helped coordinate the event. "The Grand Traverse Region offers excellent opportunities not only for work/life balance, but a variety of industries that will attract Michigan Tech students of all majors."
Named America’s best beach town on a lake by WalletHub, Traverse City is a popular place for Michigan Tech alumni to settle, with 1,706 registered alumni within 60 miles of Traverse City.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.