What’s happening: A $3 million performance-based grant will help create an outdoor recreation and product innovation space in Marquette. Dubbed the ShopHouse Park Technology and Innovation Hub, the space will be located between Northern Michigan University and Lake Superior. Funding is provided by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Combination of two main industries: Michigan is a leader in outdoor recreation like hiking, biking, and personal water sports like paddle boarding, with many of these opportunities taking place in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Thanks to strong links with the automotive industry, the country is also a leader in the mobility industry. Projects being worked on at this hub will bring both industries together to develop and test new technologies that will help support outdoor activities such as off-roading and van life.
What you say: “By aligning its natural resources and assets with this economic moment, Michigan has an opportunity to lead the nation and establish the UP and Michigan as a center of excellence for outdoor recreation and mobility innovation,” said developer David Ollila. “This is an opportunity to drive stronger connections between our peninsulas and provide the UP with an asset that contributes to our collective economy in a way we have not since Ford has operated facilities in the UP.”
Marketing and education combined: Other groups involved in the project include Michigan Tech University, MICHauto, 100k Ideas, Invest UP and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. The collaborations will ensure that private funding sources are available alongside state and federal funding opportunities. Partnering with universities also leverages local recruitment and retention programs to retain talent in the Upper Peninsula.
Use local expertise: Executives across the state are optimistic about Ollila because of his past work with hybrid ski and snowboard items and American-made manufacturing sources. His work was recognized by former US President Barack Obama at the 2012 Insourcing American Jobs Summit.
“Ollila is a legend in the outdoor recreation industry and I couldn’t be more excited to see him create a place where Michigan can capitalize on the Upper Peninsula’s authentic outdoor experience while nurturing outdoor entrepreneurs and collaborating with the promotes the state’s entire design suite. Innovation and manufacturing excellence,” said Brad Garmon, executive director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.