[Blog] If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you

By Josh Paciorek

August 19, 2015

His visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of Governor Rick Snyder’s favorite times of year.  Last week, the governor traveled 263 miles across the state’s U.P. touring the Soo Locks, Northern Michigan University, Michigan Tech University, and making several stops in between.  This visit showed yet again why Michigan’s U.P. is a great place to live, work, and play.

“Our Upper Peninsula offers awesome educational, recreational, and career opportunities—for everyone,” Governor Snyder said.  “We’re lucky that such an incredible resource is part of our state.  The U.P. will continue to play an important role in Michigan’s comeback.”

The Soo Locks tour

On day one, the governor toured the Soo Locks, a critical economic driver for our state and the entire nation.  He met with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the local area, and Lake Superior State University, and received updates regarding the future of the locks.  Updating this critical piece of infrastructure is essential for both Michigan’s and our nation’s continued economic growth.  In fact, according to the Department of Homeland Security, three percent of the U.S. GDP is reliant on the iron ore moving through the Soo Locks, and iron ore is crucial in supplying the steel for the U.S. automobile industry. 

Two Hearted River visit

Governor Snyder also took a trip down the Two Hearted River in Luce County to mark the tenth anniversary of the “Big U.P. Deal,” a monumental land deal that provided key environmental protection for landmarks across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The deal secured conservation easement on approximately 248,000 acres.

Invent@NMU tour

Entrepreneurship is a big part of the future of Michigan, and that’s why at Northern Michigan University they founded a program to help students and the community turn their ideas into reality. 

On day two of his U.P. visit, Governor Snyder toured Invent@NMU, an entrepreneurial program that gives students real-world experience helping regional clients take physical products from concept to market.  With the help of professional mentors, students develop skills in design, manufacturing, and marketing. 

Rachel Barra, a senior at NMU, demonstrated how the students would take an idea and turn it in to an actual product.  In this example, the students created a safety glasses holder for the governor that he can clip on his belt when he visits factories. 

Governor Snyder visits Invent@NMU

Jacobetti Complex tour

The Jacobetti Complex at Northern Michigan University includes their workforce development programs.  Developing talent in the skilled trades is high on the priority list for Governor Snyder, so he enjoyed seeing how NMU is working to provide substantial workforce training.  The Jacobetti Complex features more than 40 specialized labs and classrooms, including automotive, aviation, construction, electrical, industrial, mechanical, hospitality, food service, and health science programs.

Michigan Tech University Great Lakes Research Center visit

This innovative research training program at Michigan Tech offered Governor Snyder an inside look at their state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities.

The GRLC and their technology will allow us to further explore our Great Lakes to protect our natural resources and collect research in better, more efficient ways. The GLRC provides a year-round home for Michigan Tech’s surface and sub-surface fleet of marine vehicles. 

The tour concluded with the governor joining students and faculty on their research vessel, the Agassiz, where they demonstrated their ultra-high resolution sonar at a shipwreck site.


The visit to the U.P. demonstrated firsthand why the U.P. is a great place to live, work, and play.  As Governor Snyder works to reinvent Michigan, the U.P. will continue to play a significant role in the state’s comeback.