Column: A year in review at the EDA

ESCANABA — By all accounts, 2017 was a great year for Delta County and economic development. Each year the Delta County EDA publishes an annual service summary that highlights our accomplishments while giving an opportunity to look back and reflect on the important work we do to improve the economic climate in Escanaba, Gladstone, all of Delta County and beyond.

As we celebrate our 25th year, here are a few highlights from 2017:

In partnership with Upward Talent Council Michigan Works! and the Delta-Schoolcraft ISD we conducted Education Externships, Talent Tours and Industry After Hours to retain and attract talent

Independent Machine Company acquired the gear case and plow divisions of Delta Manufacturing and hosted a joint Open House which strengthened our position in rail manufacturing

Escanaba was host, again to the FIRST Robotics district competition where the Manufacturing Alliance, Upward Talent Council Michigan Works!, Visit Escanaba & the Delta EDA sponsored a VIP experience

The Superior Trade Zone was awarded a grant from the Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program to develop a marketing attraction strategy

The city of Escanaba was the first community in the U.P. to achieve Michigan Economic Development Corporation Redevelopment Ready Certification

VanAire, Bay College and the Escanaba Daily Press sponsored the Bay Econ Club Event with speaker Tom Rogan on “How what happens in Washington impacts the U.P.”

Hurley Marine, Independent Machine Company and K&M Industrial were recognized as Michigan Top 50 Companies to watch

The Central U.P. Aquaculture Group received a Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant to research yellow perch grow out along with the feasibility of a Trout Recirculating Aquaculture System to grow healthy Michigan fish to feed Michigan people

We serve as a one stop resource for talent and business retention, expansion and attraction. We assisted 298 overall clients, conducted 104 retention visits, worked with 18 startups, supported 31 expansion projects and hosted and participated in 10 site selector visits and events.

By design, we are located in the Delta County Commerce Center with the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Escanaba, Builders Exchange and the U.P. State Fair Management Agent. We all work together to drive economic development in our beautiful waterfront community.

2017 was a great year and 2018 promises to be even better. We are all wearing our shades, because the future is so bright!

If you have any questions, are looking to start or buy a business, know companies interested in relocating, businesses facing any new challenges or opportunities please contact the Delta County EDA and let us help at 906-786-2192 or

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Vicki Schwab is the director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance