April 2018 - Issue #69
Dear Members,

Education is a key driver of enduring economies, and here in the Keweenaw we are fortunate to be wrapped in learning institutions of the highest caliber. Our public schools rank highly against their peers, and collaborate to provide a multitude of programs to students. From college prep to hands on learning in CTE programs, youth are offered options from an early age, and we should not take that for granted.

At the collegiate level we have an embarrassment of riches, with Gogebic Community College, Finlandia University, and Michigan Tech University offering a diverse array of programs, all the way from Associate’s Degrees to Doctoral programs. These institutions allow local youth the opportunity to stay in the area, while also attracting people from all over the world to our community. Because of the influx of students and faculty from all over the country and globe, we are exposed to all different kinds of culture despite our remote location. 

This educational hotbed is reshaping the economy in our community. More and more, bright entrepreneurs are finding that they don’t have to leave the area after they graduate. Startup companies are taking root, creating products and technology for sale on the global stage, and are hiring talent to fuel their growth. The Copper Country has a rich and storied past, and our future is equally bright. 

The next time you are talking to someone about what makes the Keweenaw so special, don’t forget to mention our top-to-bottom educations system. It’s one more thing for us to brag about!

Thank you for your support,

Brian Donnelly
Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce
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Kirk Hammel
With more than 25 years in pest control,
we have solutions for all common pests,
including spiders ants,earwigs, mosquitoes,
cluster flies, rodents and more! 
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Apple Blossom Mercantile
Associate - Tom Bernard
Bill's B & B Bar
Calumet Art Center
Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Rotary CENTURY 21 North Country Agency
Chris Riesgraf, Edward Jones
Copper Country Intermediate School District
Copper Country Veterinary Clinic
Crampton Surveying, Inc.
D & L Janitorial Services, Inc.
Family Chiropractic Center
GS Engineering, Inc
Houghton County Fair Association Houghton Super 8
InSight EyeCare
Isle Royale Resorts - Rock Harbor Lodge Keweenaw Chevrolet
Keweenaw Gem & Gift, Inc.
McDonald's Restaurant
Mine Shaft and Rock House Grill & Tavern Miners State Bank
Nicholas Insurance Agency
Northern Light Cottages
Northwoods Sporting Goods
Pisani Company
R. C. Mechanical, Inc.
Ramada Waterfront
Re/Max Douglass Real Estate
Real People Media
Rowe Oil Company, Inc.
Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn
Sarazin Dental, P.C.
Siirtola Well Drilling, Inc.
Tanis, Inc.
Tervo Agency
The Lighthouse of Hancock
The Neighbors of Houghton, Ltd.
U.P. Engineers & Architects, Inc. Walgreen's
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Member Spotlight:
This month we talked to Mark Passanisi, Owner and President of Nitro Consulting now located in Houghton, below he answers some questions to share with the community.
Give us some background on yourself/your business.
I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. After serving in the Navy, I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do for a career but I knew it would have to be something that stimulated my mind. I increased my education and got a job working desktop support for a large mortgage firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. That job lead to other opportunities with various companies and more responsibility. I was working for a “Dot Com” company where I was the Systems Administrator when the market began to shift, companies began to outsource, my entrepreneur spirit told me to begin using my skills to consult, and I started Nitro Consulting. Nitro grew quickly and my work hours grew as well. I soon learned the term “married to your business”.  

How many years have you been in business?
Nitro Consulting started in 2000 in Northern California after the “Dot Com” bubble burst. Then I “rebooted” the business here in the UP in 2012 as an independent contractor.

What’s an interesting fact about your business most people don’t know?
Most people do not know that I was born and raised in California and started Nitro there first. I’ve gotten to know so many people from the Keweenaw area and while I started my business in a large populated area known for kicking off the technology boom, I believe our area has grown too with several technical businesses and jobs being developed as well as Michigan Technological University students graduating with degrees to take technology further.

Do you have any advice for new business owners?
Starting small and allowing your business to grow at a pace that allows you to give your customers the dedicated time they deserve is key. Do not try to do too much too fast. 

What brought you to the area?
I met my wife in 2002 and moved to the UP. She was living here and I was ready for a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area.

What keeps you here?
My family and the relationships that I have built throughout the community over the years are just some of the things that keep me here.

What are your business's goals?
Our goals are to provide the best customer service to our clients and become a “One Stop Shop” for their IT needs. We believe that what separates us from other consulting companies in the area is that we do not sell a product. We provide a service. We treat each of our clients as if their business is our business. We make recommendations based on each individual business. What works for one client, may not work for another. We spend time getting to know our customers. We find out what their business consists of and what their goals are and advise them on how to address technology in their business.
Aside from our business clients, we also provide computer repair and advice to home users. When we have people come into our office with a repair, we assess their equipment first. Sometimes we recommend instead of paying us to repair their aging equipment we will help them find newer equipment and help guide them through the process of getting what they need. Again, since we do not sell hardware we have nothing to gain but the relationship with the customer. We simply advise them as if it were for us.

How does being in this community affect your business?
Our community is small and this allows good experiences to be shared amongst friends and family. We have some of the best clients in the area and we love hearing from new clients they were suggested from one of our current clients. We enjoy a lot of the community events that happen in our area and while it’s great meeting new people, we especially love letting them know what Nitro Consulting is all about.
Are you interested in being featured in our Member Spotlight? Please email us at info@keweenaw.org
Member Job Postings
Joey’s Seafood & Grill is accepting applications for part-time weekend servers and part-time cooks. No phone calls please. Job Applications can be found at
If you have a job posting please email them to info@keweenaw.org, in addition to our newsletter your job posting would be listed on our website and Facebook page.
Member Announcements

Time is running out to purchase your raffle ticket in the 2 nd annual Omega House “Vacation Raffle”.
A limited number of tickets are still available for your chance to win a $2500 travel voucher to the vacation destination of your choice. 
Tickets are $30/each and can be purchased by calling Omega House at (906) 482-4438 or
on-line at www.omega-house.org and click on the donate tab.
Drawing is April 20 th .
Click on image for more info
Board of Directors
Brian Donnelly, President
Financial Services Representative
Superior National Bank

Mary Myers - Vice President
Account Executive

Matthew Maise - Treasurer

Karin Van Dyke, Secretary
Vice President for University Relations
Finlandia University

Matt Thyer
Up and Running Technology Solutions

Morgan Impola
Regional Engineer
Carrie Richards
Partner Engagement Program Manager
Michigan Technological University

Angela Luskin
Health and Fitness Manager
UP Health System-Portage

Jan Cole
Managing Partner
Edochi, LLC

Marilyn Clark
MTEC SmartZone

James Desrochers
Associate Director, Industry Relations
Michigan Technological University

Our roots run deep in the Keweenaw
Upper Peninsula Power Company was created in 1947 through a merger of three utilities. One of them, the Houghton County Electric Light Company, earlier acquired the interests of Peninsula Electric Light and Power, which began operating in the Keweenaw in 1884 – just five years after Edison invented the light bulb.
From the Edison bulb to high-tech electronics of today, you might say UPPCO has been providing “ U.P. Power ” for more than 130 years. 
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Learn more at
Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce
902 College Ave, Houghton, MI 49931