HOUGHTON (WWJ) — A new collaboration of five Upper Peninsula manufacturing technology companies, along with the Houghton tech business accelerator MTEC SmartZone and Michigan Technological University, is pitching its expertise to the aerospace and defense industries.
Besides the SmartZone and MTU, members of GreenForces LLC are GS Engineering, a Houghton manufacturer of advanced-materials lightweight vehicle parts; IR Telemetrics, a Hancock maker of wireless telemetry devices; Creative Composites, a Rapid River-based advanced composites materials maker; L’Anse Manufacturing, a L’Anse-based custom machining company; and Calumet Electronics Corp., a Calumet printed circuit boards maker.
Houghton County and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance are also members of the new organization.
The companies say the move is a reaction to aerospace and defense cuts that make it harder to get work and require contractors to be more efficient, creative and flexible.
The companies said GreenForces intends to deliver projects for the aerospace and defense industries, from design and prototyping to production.
GreenForces is managed by a board of directors that includes representatives from each of the companies. Together, the board conducted a national search to find an experienced CEO and business development specialist from the aerospace and defense industries. Their efforts were successful and resulted in the hiring of a new CEO, Scott Teigen.
Teigen brings extensive experience to GreenForces. After serving in the United States Air Force, he spent more than a decade working in advanced weapons for an international aerospace and defense company.
In his new position, Teigen is responsible for introducing GreenForces as an industry solution, while creating national and international visibility for the individual companies.
“The strength of our combined talents and capabilities allows us to take an idea from prototype to production, covering every aspect of development and production for a customer,” Teigen said. “Our approach allows each company to focus on doing what they do best, while supporting and helping each other grow.”
GreenForces partner and GS Engineering Vice President Chris Coxon said GreenForces will positively impact partners by opening doors to new contracts.
“This process is driven by us leveraging each other’s expertise as we approach potential clients,” he said. “Having such a strong and diverse organization allows us to bring unique solutions to industry.”
MTEC SmartZone was instrumental in getting GreenForces off the ground. The initiative is funded by the individual companies, Michigan Tech, and a $387,000 two-year grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. applied for by the MTEC SmartZone.
The MTEC SmartZone funding will also cover the expense of AS 9100 certification for the companies, which is required to compete in the aerospace industry.
Teigen has hit the ground running with GreenForces, working on branding and start-up sales initiatives. He will also attend national aerospace and defense trade shows to spread the word about the new partnership.