Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan
Earlier this year, Steve Williams, co-owner of DA Glass America, announced that his company would be moving its manufacturing plant from Europe to America -- and making its home in the Upper Peninsula. And that move means more jobs for Michiganders.
"This [factory] will probably expand from about 30 jobs to this year, we're thinking, up to 200, possibly as high as 300 over the next five," Williams said during an interview in Houghton this week. (Watch more in the video, above)
The reason for the company's move? Williams says the great quality of life in the Upper Peninsula and the lower cost of doing business were important factors. He also points to a call he received from Governor Rick Snyder.
"The governor called me directly when he heard about us looking at the area, talked to me in my office at length, got to know me a little bit that way, and urged us to consider anywhere in Michigan," Williams explained. "It meant a lot to us, you know, to see that interest and that concern from his end and his office. That was a big part of making the decision to come here. We looked at four or five other states, and I didn't get a call from a single other governor."
Williams, though, isn't the only Upper Peninsula business owner who is seeing success and finding it easier to do business in Michigan. Jonathan Julien of LJJ Construction in Houghton says he has seen a significant improvement in customer service coming out of state government.
"The relationship between government and its customer -- myself, being a citizen of Michigan -- has improved. I mean it's dramatic how much it has improved since I first got involved in the last two or three years," Julien says. "A lot of these agencies that are run by the state government have really improved their customer care."
Mark Massicotte of L'Anse Manufacturing says that his company -- which services customers all over the state -- has seen an improvement in the business climate and economy across Michigan. "Opportunities are a lot higher than before," Massicotte explains.
Watch more in the video, above.
Related: Read about Governor Snyder's recent visit to the Upper Peninsula in The Daily Mining Gazette.