Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance presents the 2006 Robert Graff /Friend of the Alliance Award to Joel Tuoriniemi & the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Advisory Board

The Robert Graff/ Friend of the Alliance Award is given to an individual who has devoted a significant amount of time on a volunteer basis to KEDA’s and the area’s goals of economic vitality and improving the community’s quality of life. The Award is named after Robert Graff, a banker who, upon retirement, worked diligently with KEDA to promote economic development.

The individual receiving the Friend of the Alliance Award works behind the scenes and does not expect recognition for his or her accomplishments, does not financially benefit from his or her efforts, and shows a true commitment to the economic health and well-being of the community.

This year, the Robert Graff award was given to Joel Tuoroniemi, who became a champion of a project that will bring many tourists, including silent sport enthusiasts, into the Keweenaw Peninsula year around, will help to flatten out the tourism “shoulder” months, and that will almost certainly act as the catalyst for start-up and expansion of many other Keweenaw businesses.

Picture © 2005 Michele Anderson

The winterization and expansion of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, originally built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corp., has been an economic development project waiting to happen for many years. But it took this year’s award winner to make it happen. He pulled together a team of 12 motivated and talented volunteers, recently re-named the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Advisory Board, that together with the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners and UP Engineers and Architects, arranged for a comprehensive planning study to be conducted that paved the way for the approval of over $3 million of federal and state loans and grants in addition to local monies to make the project happen.

These monies will be used to winterize the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and 19 cabin and motel units, construct a 6,000 sq. ft conference center, improve the facility’s infrastructure and purchase equipment.

This project will directly create 40 new jobs and indirectly create another 255 jobs for Keweenaw residents. It will also have a $5 million economic impact on the local community in its first year of operation, and will benefit businesses throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula.

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School of Business and Economics student hired by Department of Defense

The United States Department of Defense will soon have a presence on Tech’s campus and it will look very much like student Robert Frankovich.

Under the new Student Training and Academic Recruitment (STAR) program, Michigan Tech student Robert Frankovich will be hired as a marketing co-op by the Department of Defense. The job includes marketing and promoting DOD career opportunities on campus. Frankovich, 21, plans to graduate from Tech in April of 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Michigan Tech and the University of Puerto Rico are the first two universities to participate in the program said Career Center Director Jim Turnquist. Several students applied for the position and interviewed with a DOD representative. “He has the opportunity of a lifetime,” Turnquist said of Frankovich. “I think he’s still in a sense of oblivion.”

Patricia Bradshaw, deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian policy, attended a Wednesday press conference announcing the program and credited the Career Center as being the catalyst behind getting the program going.

Merz Down Under Again

Economics Professor Tom Merz is currently on sabbatical as a Research Fellow in the School of Economics and Finance at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia.

Tom and his wife, Mimi, arrived in Australia in early July and will return to Houghton in January. This is Tom’s fifth visit to Australia. Tom presented a paper at and participates in a weekly seminar series. He was also the guest speaker at the Executive Dean’s Seminar Series. In early August, he presented a paper at the University of Western Australia and will make a presentation at Edith Cowan University in late September.

On August 24, Tom made his debut on Australian radio discussing MTU’s three Guinness record-breaking feats. On September 1, Mimi and Tom participated in Western Australia’s “Giant Walk,” an attempt to set a Guinness record for the most people simultaneously walking a given distance.

Tom gives 2 one-hour lectures weekly in an economics class with an enrollment of nearly 400 students. Once a week he lectures to 90 students enrolled in the Western Australian School of Mines.

Tom with students in Perth
Tom with students in Perth

In the photo above, Tom is seated second from the left. Seated at his right is Rami Rawashdeh, a PhD student from Jordan, who assists Tom in the classroom. Rami will be cooking Mimi and Tom a Jordanian dinner! Seated to Tom’s left are undergraduate mining students Jason Tyler, Sharon Ackermann, Kara O’Dwyer and Ashley Howard.

Located near the Indian Ocean, Perth has a Mediterranean climate (no snow!) and Curtin University has an enrollment of 31,000, 11,000 of whom are international students and 15,000 are enrolled in the School of Business. Students from the SBE and across the Michigan Tech campus have previously studied at Curtin.

Board of Control Gives Final Approval to MBA Program

On June 22, 2006, Michigan Tech’s Board of Control approved the new MBA for the School of Business & Economics. A spin-off from the MSBA which was reintroduced in 2004, the new fast-track MBA will enable students to complete an MBA in one year.

Board of Control Chair Mike Henricksen and SBE Dean Dr. Christa Walck
Board of Control Chair Mike Henricksen and SBE Dean Dr. Christa Walck

“The program meets the demands of today’s fast-paced and technologically rich workplace,” said Dean Christa Walck, “and will make a significant contribution to Michigan Tech’s efforts to integrate business and technology. These MBAs will create the technology-driven businesses of the future.”

Dave Brule ’72 donated $250,000 to support the new master’s program and additional donors have given or pledged $453,000.

The MBA targets undergraduate students with engineering, technology and science degrees. It adds a broad knowledge of business functions and business skills to give students a competitive advantage in the job market. The 36-credit program includes a core of business courses and 12 credits of electives that students can tailor to their interests.

New MBA Ad
New MBA Ad

Associate Professor Sonia Goltz was named director of graduate business programs on May 8. Goltz has a PhD from Purdue University in industrial psychology and has taught at Tech since 1996. Her research investigates the phenomenon of escalation of commitment (“throwing good money after bad”) and sex discrimination in the workplace.

Hugh H. Makens Honored

Hugh H. Makens
Hugh H. Makens

Hugh Makens, a partner with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, has been honored by the State Bar of Michigan for his lifetime contributions to the legal profession.

Makens is one of the inaugural recipients of the Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer award, which is given by the Business Law Section. The annual award seeks to honor Michigan business lawyers who, over their careers, exemplify “the highest quality of professionalism, the highest quality of practice, an unwavering dedication to service, as well as to the ethical conduct and collegiality within the practice.”

View full press release.