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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator visits the U.P. to recognize Calumet Electronics’ commitment to American workers

(From left) Todd Brassard, VP/Chief Operating Officer at Calumet Electronics, Chris Pilkerton, Acting Administrator at the United States Small Business Administration, and Chris Mitchell, Government Relations at the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, listen during a roundtable discussion at Michigan Technological University in Calumet, Mich., on Tuesday morning. Pilkerton’s visit offered an opportunity to draw national attention to the innovative work and activities of Calumet Electronics and well as Michigan Technological University, local school districts and the Upper Peninsula as a whole.

UPPER PENINSULA, MI  (July 23, 2019)  Today, Chris Pilkerton, the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration visited the Upper Peninsula to recognize Calumet Electronics’ commitment to American workers and learn more about their operations and the Keweenaw Peninsula community.

Calumet is noted as one of the industry’s only printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers that does not offshore any aspect of their operations. Everything from engineering to manufacturing is managed at their facility in Calumet, Michigan. Just like many companies in the region, Calumet Electronics has maintained a deep commitment to domestic manufacturing.

Pilkerton’s visit is part of a new national initiative to expand programs that support American workers. In late 2018, the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) committed to educating, training, and/or reskilling 1,000,000 U.S. workers by signing Our Pledge to America’s Workers, an initiative of the National Council for the American Worker, established by President Donald Trump. Calumet Electronics, a proud U.P. company, was one of five businesses across the nation chosen by IPC to represent the domestic electronics industry. The company was recognized by President and Ivanka Trump at the White House last fall.

Pilkerton’s visit provided an opportunity to showcase the innovative work and priorities of Calumet Electronics, as well as Michigan Technological University, IPC, and local Copper County Intermediate School District. Pilkerton toured Calumet Electronics and Michigan Tech, including the region’s Small Business Development Center, housed on the campus.

Following the tour, Pilkerton listened to community and industry leaders during a productive and optimistic roundtable discussion about rural workforce development and talent.

United States Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton, left, speaks with Calumet Electronics President/Chief Executive Officer Steve Vairo during a tour to Calumet Electronics on Tuesday morning in Calumet, Mich. Also pictured is Todd Brassard, right, VP/Chief Operating Officer at Calumet Electronics.

During the conversation, Pilkerton noted, “Calumet Electronics and all of the people who have joined us today are a shining example of how manufacturers and educational institutions like Michigan Tech and high schools can help educate and train the employees of the future. Everybody here is working together for the future of this community. To see all of that happening is incredibly beneficial for the SBA and this administration.”

InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante, said, ““The Calumet Electronics team exemplifies the grit, determination and innovation found in workers across the U.P. that allow companies to thrive here.  I know I speak on behalf of the region when I say we are not only incredibly proud of the exceptional quality and integrity of its work, but the commitment that Calumet Electronics offers to its workforce and its deep partnership with the community.

“Calumet Electronics is a shining example of what business looks like when it is defined by its Upper Peninsula sense of community, is motivated by its people, remembers the past, but looks towards the future,” he said.  

About Pledge for America’s Workers

The National Council for the American Worker, made up of 14 federal agencies, is charged with developing a national strategy for training and retraining the workers needed across high-demand industries. The group convenes voices from the public, private, education, labor, and not-for-profit sectors to enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages. That task began by asking companies and trade groups across the country to sign a new Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement.

About Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

About Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC)

Since 1957, IPC has been guiding the electronic interconnection industry through dramatic changes. IPC is the only trade association that brings together all of the players in this industry: designers, board manufacturers, assembly companies, suppliers, and original equipment manufacturers.

More than 5,400 companies around the world depend on IPC programs and services to further their competitive excellence and financial success. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry.

About Calumet Electronics

Calumet Electronics is just one of a small handful of U.S. companies that specialize in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing and engineering solutions that are made entirely in the United States. Found in products that are designed and manufactured to provide a lifetime of reliable performance, Calumet’s PCBs are at the heart of high performance.

Celebrates a fiftieth anniversary this year, Calumet is one of the Upper Peninsula region’s largest employers and one of just 180 remaining printed circuit board manufacturers in North America. Calumet specializes in supporting electronic sectors like aerospace, defense, medical diagnostics and power that demand zero failures and zero downtime. Calumet’s dedication to national security is validated by 100% American PCB manufacturing.

Calumet Electronics is one of the highest outputting domestic PCB manufacturing plants in the United States, shipping 3.2 million circuit boards per year, and growing.

About InvestUP 

InvestUP is a private sector-led economic development organization keenly focused on driving economic growth across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Founded by the region’s leading private sector businesses and the region’s universities, its mission is to deliver business and job growth across the peninsula.

Media Contact:

Karyn Olsson

(906) 281-6958

As a part of our commitment to the Upper Peninsula, we collaborate with partners to share some of the most compelling stories about business and job growth across the region. Our goal through these stories is to get at the heart of what makes the U.P. unique — and to ensure these stories travel beyond our peninsula and broadly illustrate why the UP is the place to live and work.

If you have an idea for an article, please contact a staff or board member at InvestUP.

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