Just behind the Houghton County Fairgrounds is a small company of 13 employees that engineers products for companies around the world.
IR Telemetrics designs, creates, and installs wireless measurement systems all at the guidance of company president, Glen Barna.
â??We do all sorts of machinery from engines to turbines to pumps, windmills, etc., anything that moves, so that engineers can measure things such as temperature, pressure, strain, acceleration,â?? he said.
The native Yooper started the company in the late 1980s while working at Michigan Tech and officially established the company in 1991.
His Tech roots help the company keep close ties with the university, and many of his employees are also Michigan Tech graduates, like Dan Kemppainen whoâ??s been with the company for 12 years.
â??Itâ??s not just the student base. We utilize a lot of the professors and faculty as references or consultants if we need some help with something,â?? said Kemppainen. â??Itâ??s nice to have that contact with the university.â??
The company has done automotive work in Germany, Austria, and even for Volvo in Sweden, as well as government projects and various other manufacturing companies.
â??Weâ??re the only company in the U.P. that does this sort of work,â?? said Barna. â??There are actually very few in North America or around the world that do this sort of work. Itâ??s kind of a niche market.â??
â??Weâ??re starting to get a lot of customers that are overseas, Europe, and possibly even Asia, South America starting to pop up on our radar,â?? added Kemppainen.
Barna said he doesnâ??t have any immediate plans for expansion from their single building in Hancock but hopes the company will continue to grow over the years and keep talented workers in the U.P.
â??In some small way, Iâ??d like to help bring work back to the Upper Peninsula so that our greatest export is not our kids,â?? he said. â??Everyone thatâ??s from the U.P. certainly wants to live here, I think, and you need a job to do that.â??