Listen to the interview with Vicki Schwab, director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance
ESCANABA – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation says Delta County leads the Upper Peninsula in exports to other countries. Economic Development Alliance director Vicki Schwab highlighted at the Joint Governmental Roundtable Discussion Wednesday seven companies in Delta County that are involved in exporting their products.
“We obviously want to manufacture products that are good for the United States but in order to grow and expand we need to export to other countries,” Schwab said. “And that shows the ingenuity and great products that we make in Delta County that people can use all over the world.”
The companies include Delta Manufacturing, Brute Industries, Creative Composites, EMP, Marble Arms, Pisces Fish Machinery and VanAire. Their products are going to countries like Canada, China, Brazil and Germany. Pisces recently added Iceland to the list.
Manufacturing is the second largest job sector in Delta County at 18.9 percent. Education, health and social services make up the largest sector at 19.6 percent. Retail follows at 13.2 percent and tourism 10.9 percent.
In her report, Schwab said the EDA assisted 158 clients in 2012 that resulted in 132 jobs and responded to 150 requests from businesses.
One of the businesses the EDA was instrumental in bringing to Delta County was Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. The downstate company will break ground Friday on its new brewing and bottling facility in Escanaba. It will be called the Upper Hand Brewery.
Bell’s is constructing an 11,500 square foot building for $1.3 million. It will be located on a five acre plot at the Delta County Airport Renaissance Zone. It is part of a $15 million investment. The ground breaking ceremony will be held at 11:30 Friday morning.
“That will be a state-of-art craft brewery here in Delta County that will produce Upper Hand beer that will only be available in Michigan if you cross the Mackinac Bridge,” said Schwab.
She also talked about efforts with the Delta Green Aerospace and Marine Integrator and Cluster and the Central U.P. Aquaculture study.
The Delta Green Cluster involves the Sawyer International and Houghton County airports. Schwab said the project is taking time but they are working on Navy contracts for the businesses involved in the project.
The EDA, Hannahville Indian Community and Pisces Fish Machinery entered an agreement last year to study the feasibility of fish and other aquatic species for market. Schwab said they have received a lot of interest and a Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant to study ways to grow yellow perch more effectively.
Schwab said there are a lot of great things happening in Delta County.
“We have tremendous successes to be proud of an talk with people about,” she said. “The future is so bright that we are all wearing our shades.”