Michigan Tech comes to TC | Business
TRAVERSE CITY – As of 2019, the 382-mile distance from Traverse City to Houghton has gotten shorter and shorter.
The distance between Michigan Technological University and TC will officially be zero on Monday.
Jay Meldrum, the director of the Keweenaw Research Center, will have an office in the Traverse Connect Building. The official opening of the Michigan Tech Research Room at 202 Grandview Parkway is Monday.
“I’m really excited about the job,” says Meldrum, who moved to the area from the upper reaches of the Upper Peninsula at the beginning of June.
“We are excited to be working with them and moving them to the second floor of our building,” said Warren Call, President and CEO of Traverse Connect. “We are not only happy that they share our building, but also see this as an opportunity for them to be present in the region.
“It’s a pretty big milestone between Michigan Tech University and the Grand Traverse region.”
According to a statement from Houghton University, the new research facility is MTU’s first job on the northern Lower Peninsula. The purpose of the office is to advance research in areas such as aerospace communications, manufacturing simulation, and renewable energy.
“There are some pretty exciting things to work on together,” said Call. “It’s a pretty momentous thing. It is a very big deal for Michigan Tech to have a physical position here. “
While a physical office in Traverse City is new to Michigan Tech, the relationship between Upper Peninsula University and the region is not.
Michigan Tech and members of the Michigan Tech Steering Committee of the Grand Traverse Area, chaired by Bill Myers, CEO of Promethient, Inc., signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” to explore cooperation opportunities in the region, according to a previous press release.
Michigan Tech and Northwestern Michigan College have also signed a contract that allows engineering students to transfer two years of NMC credits to MTU. The 2 + 2 program enabled students from various engineering courses to transfer 60 credits to Michigan Tech, depending on the program, and to join MTU as juniors.
An expanded agreement earlier this year enabled Associate of Science in Engineering students to transfer 73 credits from NMC to MTU.
“It goes back even further,” said Meldrum and called the 2019 agreement a rejuvenation of the first 2 + 2 program between NMC and MTU from 1990.
Meldrum said that one of the five main focuses of his new position at Traverse City is to “keep the 2 + 2 program going” and to expand it to other areas of study.
The second focus is to work with local Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (K-12 STEM) programs to generate interest in these areas before students think about higher education areas of study and possible career paths. Meldrum said he also included the arts in the equation – called them STEAM – because of the Grand Traverse region’s regional institutions like the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Members of the MTU communications team stopped in Traverse City in October 2019 to discuss some of the university’s science and technology programs.
Economic development is another major focus of Michigan Tech in the region. Meldrum, already a member of 20Fathoms and TCNewTech, said they are looking for ways to “turn ideas into revenue streams,” especially in technology areas.
Meldrum said Michigan Tech is also emphasizing community development, particularly the renewable energy space. Meldrum quoted MTU and his work with Community Solar in the village of L’Anse on the Upper Peninsula, a project he had worked on with Tony Anderson, general manager of the Cherryland Electric Cooperative.
The other area of focus for Meldrum in his new role is research, particularly with the geographical similarities between Traverse City and Houghton. The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at NMC and the Great Lakes Research Center at MTU were particularly mentioned.
“There are things that are in common with what they do in the bay and Lake Michigan with what we do in Lake Superior,” said Meldrum.
Meldrum is also looking forward to offering tech education opportunities in the Michigan area, such as several “short courses” in Traverse City.
“We’re really trying to continue and simplify our relationship,” he said. “With COVID, we all learned how to teach classes with Zoom.”
Call said Michigan Tech will occupy approximately 2,700 square feet on the second floor.
“You have room to expand as it grows,” Call said.
Meldrum graduated from the General Motors Institute of Technology and called it by its previous name in place of Kettering University before earning a masters degree from the University of Michigan.
Meldrum said he founded Structural Kinematics in Troy and ran the company from 1982-97 before moving to the Upper Peninsula. He and his wife are renting an apartment in Traverse City and are in the process of moving to a condominium near Traverse City West High School.
The Meldrums spent their first three weeks in the area at a relative’s Fife Lake Fish Camp on the Manistee River.
“I’ve been with Michigan Tech for 24 winters,” he said. “My wife is so happy to be under the (Mackinac) Bridge again.”
After the official opening of the Traverse City Workspace on October 4th at 3 p.m. Michigan Tech will host a reception with alumni and friends at the Jolly Pumpkin’s Peninsula Room.
“It’s a pretty big milestone between Michigan Tech University and the Grand Traverse region.” Warren Call, President and CEO of Traverse Connect