IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WZMQ) – For the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance, a dynamic new task force, aptly named “Link-Up,” has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Introduced at today’s fall update by Luke Carey of Carey Design and Builds, this initiative, which originally comprised just three dedicated members post-COVID, has since evolved under the guidance of an eight-member committee.
Carey spoke about the growth the founders envision for the task force.
“It kind of started after COVID, and there was a young professionals group in town, and everything kind of got fizzled out. We met and we wanted to get something going, however we didn’t want it to be a young professionals. We wanted it to be an all-inclusive type of group,” he explained.”
“So we met for the next year, slowly but surely just to figure out what kind of structure we wanted to put together with it. And then a big part of it was we needed more people, there was only 3 of us,” he voiced, explaining how the Link-Up committee grew, adding other professionals like Elsa Pontbriand of Mountain Media House, Michelle Campbell, and other representatives from First National Bank and Boss Snowplow.
“We’d love to see Link-Up all over the U.P. because that’s why we made the name, Link-U.P.”
Link-Up, an acronym for Leading, Influencing, Networking, and Knowledge-Sharing, is charting an ambitious course in its mission to foster economic growth and cultivate a robust talent pipeline in Dickinson County, with plans to expand its footprint throughout the Upper Peninsula.
The Economic director expressed that soon, the task force will be led up by a Boss Snowplow representative. “The new leader, John Ortenberger, is stepping in to lead that over the next year. It’s a networking opportunity, but also a learning opportunity. For any working individuals that just want to engage with like-minded individuals. Maybe advance their leadership skills.”
The founders of Link-Up wasted no time in spreading the word about their endeavor, kicking off the initiative during this year’s ski jump competition. Their first social gathering took place at the ski resort in April, followed by hosting a group of interns in June. Carey reported that the first of many networking gatherings was attended by at least 40 representatives from various industries. They’ve continued to organize networking socials approximately once a month. The economic director envisions representation for careers across the entire spectrum.
Ellis added “For anyone of any age, and in any occupation. It doesn’t have to be a professional that might be viewed as someone who sits behind a desk. But we want the people that are technical workers, tradespeople. All of those segments of our economy to be represented in the group.”
Luke Carey added “Our circles, we wanted to form circles. An example being a leadership and mentor circle. So if you have younger individuals, leaders, and older leaders and individuals that want to kind of meet and collaborate, and grow themselves.”
Carey explained that there is a small fee structure to help support the network group, for businesses that want to sponsor employees to be a part of the network, and it covers the cost of buying food or renting spaces.
Currently, Link-Up is in the final stages of solidifying its fall social schedule, promising an exciting journey ahead for all those involved.
“We are finishing planning the rest of our fall schedule, and we’re working now on our 2024 schedule,” added Carey, mentioning they are planning on expanding circles beyond just socials, pushing the group into the realm of information sharing and mentoring programs.
For highlights from all the task forces during the fall update, see WZMQ’s earlier report:
For more information about Link-UP, visit the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance website: