ABOUT

Who We Are

Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) is the private, 501c3 non-profit local economic development organization serving the Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw County Region. KEDA is currently staffed by an executive director and a contracted membership and small business development coordinator. KEDA is supported by over 250 businesses, local governments, organizations and individuals.

Vision

We are a community driven by out leaders to be the best at utilizing our technology, education and business assets to build a diverse economic base that leverages and develops the unique strengths of each county and its people.

Mission

Our mission is to engage community leadership to start, retain, grow and attract companies that will increase the wealth of the region through a holistic and collaborative strategy that builds on the assets and opportunities present in the region.

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Primary Focus of KEDA

  • Start, retain and expand regional companies through regular outreach and delivery of support services
  • Assist companies looking to locate to the region including custom proposals, available site and demographic information, incentive packaging and facilitation of access to all available resources
  • Assist companies that need access to alternative financing including support through the KEDA and Houghton County revolving loan funds
  • Identify opportunity to improve infrastructure to support business and coordinate packaging of projects for funding
  • Assist communities to plan and implement improvements that will support their growth and development and retain and attract talent
  • Collaborate with regional, state, and national partners and service providers to ensure effective support for regional businesses and communities
  • Lead and support to initiatives designed to advance the region's economy
  • Provide information on issues and activities relevant to our region's development as well as networking opportunities through monthly member meetings

Keweenaw Economic Development Strategic Plan

Keweenaw Economic Development Strategic Plan

Keweenaw Economic Development Strategic Plan Attachments

Our strategic plan was completed in 2015.

Goals are to:

  • Foster Business Growth
  • Improve Infrastructure
  • Revitalize Our Communities
  • Develop and Attract Talent
  • Enhance Cultural and Recreational Opportunities

KEDA Board

Executive Committee

CHAIR
Ron Fisher
President/CEO
Superior Smiles
Vollwerth & Co.

Brian Baccus
President
Peninsula Powder Coating

VICE CHAIR
Brian Donnelly
Financial Services Representative,
Superior National Bank/
Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce

Kevin Codere
President
Peninsula Copper Industries

SECRETARY
Steve Williams
President
OcuGlass, LLC
Iowa-Illinois Warehouse Services

TREASURER
David Vlahos
President/CEO
Superior National Bank

Jim Baker
Executive Director
MTU Office of Innovation & Industry Engagement

Marilyn Clark
CEO
MTEC SmartZone

Dan Crane
Major Accountant Executive
Upper Peninsula Power Co.

Amanda Shelast
Regional Clinic Director
Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital

Johnathan Julien
President
LJJ Contracting, LLC, Julien Properties & Quincy Woodrights

Jeff Ratcliffe
KEDA Executive Director

Amy Isaacson (Ex Officio)
Supervisor, Baraga Township
Executive Director, Baraga County Housing Commission

Debbie Stouffer (Ex Officio)
President
Baraga County Chamber of Commerce

Tom Tikkanen (Ex Officio)
Commissioner
Houghton County & Superior Properties

Jerry Wuorenmaa (Ex Officio)
Executive Director
Western UP Planning & Development Region

Tess Ahlborn, P.E. (Ex Officio)
Keweenaw County Director, MDOT Center for Structural Durability at Michigan Technological University

Mary Sears (Ex Officio)
Supervisor
Franklin Township

Staff

jeff-ratcliffe-headshot
Sam photo

Jeff Ratcliffe, Executive Director

Jeff has a wide range of community and economic development experience. Over his 25 year economic development career in small rural communities he has worked with manufacturers and commercial businesses to identify financing and operational problems, obtain expansion financing and address management issues; worked with manufacturers and commercial businesses to solve employee screening, training, infrastructure and regulatory issues; worked with identified prospects to provide custom site location information package incentives and numerous business locations resulting in new jobs and millions of dollars in new investment; identified, packaged and managed infrastructure development to serve business expansions and locations; counseled start up and existing businesses, reviewed business plans, facilitated strategic planning, provided ongoing financial review and packaged loans for bank and EDC-managed revolving loan fund financing.

Sam Stonelake, Business Retention Specialist

As KEDA's business retention specialist, Sam's primary role he will be to conducting visits to manufacturing and other companies as directed by KEDA for purposes of determining needs, issues, and growth opportunities and providing appropriate referrals and follow up. Sam will also work to ensure effective communication with KEDA’s membership and provide support to various KEDA projects and initiatives.

Sam comes to KEDA with over 12 years of project and operations management and a dedication to getting the job done. Sam’s 10 years with Home Depot gives him a strong background in operations and project management, customer service, working with small companies, process management, problem solving, and a results oriented, goal driven approach.

Partners

Become a Partner
KEDA is supported by the financial investments made by the business, governments, institutions and organizations of the Keweenaw. To beome a supporter of economic development in the Keweenaw, contact a board member or the staff at KEDA. There are many ways you can support our efforts including direct financial support, breakfast sponsorships, scholarship sponsorships, donation of scholarship auction items, and being the highest bidder at our annual skilled trades auction.

Members

Member Meetings

2018-2019 Meeting Schedule

All meetings will be held at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock unless otherwise noted. Doors open at 7:00 a.m. with the program running from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

September 12 –NATO is coming to town. A presentation by Jay Meldrum, Executive Director of the Keweenaw Research Center. 

Sponsored by Pasty Central and the Keweenaw Research Center.

October 10 - There are new leaders in town. Presentations by Richard Koubek, President of Michigan Technological University and Randy Neiswaonger, CEO of U.P. Health System-Portage.

Sponsored by Kubick Aviation Services & Northern Airways.

November 7 - Geographic Information Systems: Essential Infrastructure for Economic Development. Presentation by Dr. Don Lafreniere, Director, Historical Environments Spatial Analytics Laboratory, Director, Geospatial Research Facility, Great Lakes Research Center, Associate Professor of Geography and GIS, Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University and Brad Barnett, Regional Planner with WUPPDR.

Sponsored by Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO).

December 12 - The annual Holiday Hoopla and Skilled Trades Scholarship Silent Auction hosted by the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Young Professionals and KEDA. (TENTATIVE)

January 9, 2019 - Collaborative Opportunities for Expanding Outdoor Recreation in Michigan. Presentation by Marc Miller, Deputy Director, MDNR Outdoor Recreation & Industry and Regional Initiatives.

Sponsored by Gretchen Janssen at RE/MAX Douglass Real Estate

February 13, 2019 - To be determined.

March 13, 2019 - To be determined.

April 10, 2019 - To be determined.

May  8, 2019 - KEDA Skilled Trades Scholarship Awards.

Sponsor needed.

June 12, 2019 - To be determined.