Saturday, January 25, 2014

MTEC SmartZone recognizes founding board chairman Phil Musser for 14 years of steady economic development and leadership

HOUGHTON -- In December, MTEC SmartZone Board of Directors bid farewell to founding chairman Phil Musser, recognizing him as a pillar of economic development for the Keweenaw.

At the May 10, 2005, design workshop in Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Building Ballroom, Phil Musser, at that time executive director of the Keweenaw Industrial Council -- now the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) -- gives an overview of Main Street Calumet. (Keweenaw Now file photo by Michele Bourdieu)

Musser played a major role in the creation of MTEC SmartZone. In 2001, he helped write the grant that established MTEC SmartZone as Michigan’s second SmartZone.* He served as Board Chair for 10 years, from the beginning until July 2013. He has been an integral part of the growth and change that occurred over the years.

Ten years later, Musser’s vision for a technology incubator and job creation has come to life. To date, MTEC SmartZone has created more than 400 local jobs.

"It was pretty clear when we opened MTEC SmartZone that this community had great potential for growing high-tech firms," stated Musser.

According to Houghton City Manager and longtime board member Scott MacInnes, Musser’s work on the board helped gain MTEC SmartZone higher earnings than other SmartZone locations throughout the state.

"We’re the third highest tax capture SmartZone in Michigan," MacInnes said.

After the Oct. 17, 2008, ceremony in honor of funding for establishing MTEC Smart Zone's new technology development center in the former UPPCO Building, Phil Musser, left, chairman of the MTEC SmartZone Board and executive director of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), chats with Lisa McKenzie, Hancock City Council member and small business owner, and Don Keith, Keweenaw County Board chairman at that time. (Keweenaw Now file photo by Michele Bourdieu)**

For more than 25 years, Musser served as Executive Director of Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), formerly the Keweenaw Industrial Council, where he spearheaded several significant economic development projects. His latest and largest project included the attraction of DA Glass America, a Poland-based glass treatment company that expects to create over 200 family-sustaining jobs in Houghton County in the next few years.

Prior to establishing MTEC SmartZone, Musser visited many technology incubators around the country to identify successful operational and job growth strategies for our local technology incubator.

MTEC SmartZone Board Chairman and Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said, "Phil understands technology trends and local opportunities and he pushed us to be the best that we can be. Most importantly he provided steady, progressive leadership right from the start."

To fill Musser’s seat, MTEC SmartZone Board of Directors elected Co-Chair, Kevin Codere, as the new KEDA representative. Codere is President and CEO of Peninsula Copper Industries Inc. (PCI).

MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark said, "I’m honored to serve on the KEDA Board with Kevin, and even more honored to have him take a leadership role on MTEC SmartZone Board of Directors. I’m excited about his strong sense of strategy and best business practices."

Codere added, "I look forward to building upon the strong foundation of economic development facilitated by Phil’s 25 years of dedicated service."

Editor's Notes:
* See our April 12, 2001, article on Keweenaw Today about the beginnings of the Smart Zone: "SmartZone may bring businesses north into Keweenaw."

** See our Oct. 18, 2008, Keweenaw Now article, "MTEC SmartZone receives funds for former UPPCO building renovation."

For more information about the MTEC Smart Zone, visit

To learn more about the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) visit

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