Governor Whitmer Promotes Business Investment, Community Vitality on Second Day of ‘UP Jobs Tour’

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Three-day trip includes multiple stops across the Upper Peninsula, highlighting the state’s strong economic jumpstart as Michiganders get back to work

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer spent the second day of her ‘UP Jobs Tour’ visiting Upper Peninsula defense manufacturing companies and touring downtown Houghton, delivering the message that Michigan continues to focus on laying the foundation for long-term economic resiliency for all Michiganders.

“We’re here telling the story that we are jumpstarting Michigan’s economy by supporting our residents, building on our state’s manufacturing strengths, and supporting vibrant communities in the Upper Peninsula and across Michigan,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The people we’ve met and the places we’ve visited today prove that our efforts to position the state for prosperity and build back a strong economy are paying off.”

The governor began her day at Ontonagon-based Lake Shore Systems, a designer and manufacturer of heavy equipment for the defense, maritime, and mining industries. The company recently completed a $5 million expansion in Ontonagon and grew its staff from four people to 40 full time employees. The company is heavily focused on its employees, with a robust onboarding program and a high retention rate.

Lake Shore Systems is also working on an Industry 4.0 initiative and is a part of the region’s Continuous Solutions Group, which brings U.P. manufacturers together once a quarter to share best practices and process improvements.

“Michigan is the national leader for employment in industries related to Industry 4.0 and automation, and face-to-face meetings with companies like Lake Shore Systems help us ensure that Michigan’s manufacturers continue to lead the way in Industry 4.0 technologies and workforce needs,” Gov. Whitmer said.

The defense industry contributes $30 billion in economic activity for the state of Michigan. Nearly 4,000 Michigan businesses are engaged in defense and aerospace work, employing nearly 166,000 Michiganders.

The governor and her delegation also met with local officials from the city of Houghton, where they toured community development projects including the Houghton Pier Placemaking Project, which is transforming an underutilized waterfront into an active community space that services the city by creating downtown recreational and community gathering places; and the historic Copper Range Depot project that includes two new residential units, office space, and a new restaurant.

The governor congratulated Houghton city officials for achieving Redevelopment Ready Communities certification, a designation that demonstrates the community has a vision for the future – and the fundamental practices in place to get there – in an effort to attract and retain investment as well as developing a vibrant community.

“The city of Houghton has made remarkable achievements despite countless challenges presented by the pandemic, and has demonstrated it has a vision for the future and clear plans to further improve the quality of life for its residents,” Gov. Whitmer said. “By undertaking innovative placemaking efforts, communities like Houghton are helping to create vibrant, resilient, and unique places where people want to live, work, visit, and play.”

At her final stop of the day, the governor is visiting L’Anse Manufacturing, a L’Anse-based producer of stainless-steel products for the aerospace, defense, automotive, and medical industries. The company is experiencing significant growth and is considering expanding in the near future. During the pandemic, L’Anse Manufacturing successfully pivoted to also manufacture ventilator parts to serve the medical device industry.

“L’Anse Manufacturing is one of the many businesses around the state that stepped up and used their manufacturing know-how and expertise to support recovery efforts during a critical time, and we thank them for their resiliency and generosity in supporting our frontline workers and the health care industry,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We appreciate the company’s continued partnership and look forward to working with them as they continue to grow and succeed in the future.”

Governor Whitmer kicked off the ‘UP Jobs Tour’ across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula yesterday to showcase Michigan’s Economic Jumpstart plan and how her administration is preparing and training the 21st century workforce. The governor’s plan includes $1 billion to jumpstart Michigan’s economy by investing in businesses, workers, and organizations across the state.

Governor Whitmer and her delegation visited the Western U.P. on Tuesday to meet with local government and elected officials along with leaders from several area businesses in Michigan’s $20-billion forest products industry.

The governor will spend Thursday taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony of a new manufacturing facility. She will then spend time highlighting postsecondary skills opportunities for local residents and discussing innovative health care pilot programs to help get more Michiganders vaccinated.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin Messer Jr. and other MEDC officials, as well as officials from the governor’s cabinet, are participating in the governor’s tour.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the U.P. It is thanks to the hard work and creativity of our fellow Michiganders that we’re seeing good jobs for our residents and creating vibrant communities where our friends and neighbors are able to live, work and play,” Messer said. “We are proud to work with our local partners on these projects that are helping to create a championship economy in the U.P.”

Support for small businesses represents a key component of the administration’s Economic Jumpstart Plan which would allocate millions in federal relief funding to support and invest in working people in Michigan.

As part of that plan, the state is helping people go back to work and support their families while giving them the peace of mind to know that their children are safe and learning. Critical to that approach is the administration’s focus on supporting small businesses by providing access to available, affordable childcare along with strong benefits to encourage families to utilize expanded childcare options as Michigan’s recovery picks up steam.

The state also continues to build on its economic jumpstart by having achieved the fastest GDP growth in the Midwest and boasting an unemployment rate that ranks lower than the national average. As testaments to this growing economic momentum, Michigan continues to be recognized in various national business rankings, including maintaining the No. 1 spot for automotive manufacturing by Business Facilities Magazine, the No. 3 spot for sustainable development in Site Selection Magazine and being ranked a top state for FDI job growth by Global Business Alliance.

To learn more about how Michigan’s continued economic recovery goes hand-in-hand with ongoing support for small businesses, go to

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.