AN “ICONIC STRUCTURE.” That’s how Duke LifePoint describes the yet-to-be built Marquette General Hospital. Architecture buffs gotta love that.
Right there on US 41, less than a mile from downtown Marquette, we’ll have the UP’s answer to the Opera House in Sydney and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole but it’s good to know the new MGH isn’t going to be simply a big, functional box. It’ll be impressive. It might even be pretty.
DLP still intends to break ground next spring. That may be a little ambitious given all the state bureaucratic hoops they still have to jump through, all the hearings, all the continued negotiations with the city. DLP and the city want the process to be deliberate and transparent.
Problems inevitably crop up. Right now, for instance, some folks at Chippewa Square are wondering if the new bridge at Grove Street will limit access for their tenants and clients. The city will have to provide reassurance.
Also undecided is where the new Municipal Services Center will go. There are plenty of sites available, but the city would like to team up with another governmental entity–like the county, state or school district–to build a bigger, combined facility to reduce costs for everybody.
Lots of wheeling and dealing lie ahead before the iconic structure on US 41 starts taking shape.
AMID ALL THE excitement about the plans for a brand new Marquette General Hospital, here’s something that MGH management can’t be all that thrilled about.
Becker’s Hospital Review has announced their ratings for what they’re calling “National Patient Engagement” for hospitals nationwide. The criteria are readmissions rates, patient satisfaction, and the extent to which the hospitals offer information and tools to help patients engage in self-care.
Marquette General Hospital was ranked…..743rd in the nation. Not exactly a ranking that you’d proudly post on the wall of your lobby.
The top three in the nation, no surprise, were three different branches of the Mayo Clinic.
THE MARQUETTE CONVENTION and Visitors Bureau, after a long, trying process, has apparently hired a new executive director to succeed Pat Black.
The deal isn’t finalized yet but no problems are expected.
The person, with no direct tourism experience, is from Garden and will be commuting to Marquette for at least the first six months. All of which raised initial concerns by some in the tourism business here.
Now, some background on the selection process. It was conducted by Stang Decision Systems, a local firm that helps companies across the nation select better employees. Stang uses a comprehensive and highly scientific method to rate the candidates for a particular job.
It involves not only the traditional resume questions but also a lengthy personality assessment and a problem-solving component, as well as interviews for the finalists.
It’s a system that has worked well. Stang is building a stellar national reputation.
In the case of the CVB director’s position, the person with the highest ranking was the person who was ultimately offered the job. The CVB Board could have chosen a lower ranked candidate but decided not to.
The commuting issue was definitely a red flag, but it was dismissed because the candidate was so damned impressive.
One other thing: Spencer Stang, who runs the company, says direct experience (say, working in a tourism bureau) can be highly overrated when searching for the right employee. You’d much rather have a smart, personable candidate with transferable skills and leadership qualities, than a less impressive candidate who’s already working in the industry.
STANG DECISION SYSTEMS may be a model for what Marquette is hoping to attract in the years ahead.
Marquette’s SmartZone is probably six months away, maybe less, from attracting start-up high tech companies to the city. The financing for the citywide program and the appointment of a board to run it still have to be ironed out, but there’s plenty of momentum there.
Local officials are already looking at potential entrepreneurs and angel investors.
What gets them excited is the MTEC SmartZone experience in Houghton and Hancock over the last 12 years: more than 40 companies and 400 jobs created, and millions of dollars generated.
No, Houghton-Hancock is not Silicon Valley, but it’s not bad for a region that’s considered by many to be located at the end of the earth.
Marquette would like some of that action. Likely entrepreneurial candidates here? The life sciences for one–more companies like Pioneer Surgical, Frontier Medical and RTI Surgical. Other possibilities that would seem to fit are Sports Medicine, Information Technology, Social Media and Natural Resources.
The word is out. Marquette will be trying to lure smart, young, high tech entrepreneurs looking for tax breaks and an appealing (sometimes chilly) outdoor lifestyle.
SPEAKING OF ENTREPRENEURS, Jesse Schramm is a classic case of a young man who’s done well.
He runs Checker Bus and Checker Transport, both of which have radically upgraded transportation services in Marquette, and he operates about 150 housing units in the city. He’s also a developer.
He’s also running for one of the vacant City Commission seats this November. Sure seems like the Commission could use a young, entrepreneurial business voice during its deliberations. There haven’t been many over the last several years.
But that brings us to this little twist in the story: Schramm and his wife are contesting their city taxes on four properties before a Tax Tribunal, and Schramm is also suing the city over its planned relocation of a recycling
center near one of his properties. So he’s suing a city that he hopes to soon represent.
Probably not the best timing if you’re hoping to win political office.
Schramm concedes that, but offers no apology. He’s a businessman who feels that too often, the current politicians don’t understand and appreciate how difficult it is to run a successful business. He has a point.
How much sympathy and support does he have? We’ll find out November 4th.
GOOD LUCK TO Marquette’s world class marathoner, Tracy Lokken.
On Sunday, he’ll be competing in the Twin Cities Marathon, which will include the US Masters Championship for men over 40 years old. Lokken, who trains right here on the sometimes frigid streets of Marquette, has won the Masters three times and has to be considered one of the favorites again.
Despite the fact that he just turned 49. That’s remarkable because he’ll be up against men who are 40, 41, and 42. Aren’t you supposed to decline with age?
Not Lokken. He ran his best time ever, 2:21, just last year in Duluth. He ran a 2:22 in Boston. That’s well under the world record of just under 2:03, but that was set by a 30 year old man.
By the time you’re approaching 50, you’re supposed to be settled in your easy chair, drinking beer, packing on the pounds, and dreaming of your glory years.
Not Lokken. He runs as many as 140 miles a week in preparation for races. On 49 year old knees, with a 49 year old heart.
One more thing to consider. The world record for a 50 year old is 2:19:29. Next year, Lokken, if he continues to improve with age, could be flirting with that record.
Amazing. The man deserves a parade.
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