Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — a hotspot for second careers


A former corporate president stays engaged in business while enjoying a healthier lifestyle in the U.P.

UPPER PENINSULA (August 12, 2019) – According to a survey completed by retirement-planning website RetiredBrains.com, 86% of business professionals plan on working after they qualify for retirement. Instead of golf and shuffleboard, individuals are now finding a second career and looking for a new location that offers a higher quality of life.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is attracting a generation of professionals and finding them more personally fulfilling work. Not only is the U.P. a great place for retirees but it is a great place for all generations of workers at any stage of their career. The U.P. blends an easy-going lifestyle with job opportunities where people can apply their expertise by being a part of mentorships, coaching, and working in organizations. This generation is realizing they can still make a significant impact helping a multitude of generations without the traditional pressures from their first career.

Just ask Jim Huff. Huff is a former president of a manufacturing company in mid-Michigan where he worked for over 30 years. Looking for a healthier work-life balance, he relocated to the U.P. and is now living what he describes as a dream.

Immediately after landing in the U.P., and fixing up his camp, Huff quickly found himself working with similar business challenges but under much less pressure. Today he manages a program for MiWorks! Upward Talent Council (liftupmi.coach) that allows him flexibility, and the opportunity to network with CEOs and business owners to help retain and attract talent – an issue he is familiar with after a long career running a successful company. Huff can relate to U.P. business owners and they can relate to him, creating a win-win in the Upper Peninsula.

Instead of working long hours, Huff now spends more time at his 112 acre camp hunting, fishing, and watching the sunsets. He explains, “Living in the U.P. allows me to “work-to-live” instead of “live-to work”.  I can stay engaged with great people, in great communities, all of whom are running great businesses.”

Although the U.P. has a growing reputation for opportunity and innovation, one of its greatest draws is still its small town charm and friendly people. Huff says, “There is a sense of community across the region.  People watch out for each other; it’s something that knits the whole Upper Peninsula together.”

The U.P. is renowned for its wondrous lifestyle, superior beauty, friendly communities and thriving industries. Professionals, like Huff, who live the region:

Love adventure – People living in the U.P. embrace challenge and adventure with resilience and tenacity unlike anywhere else. Maybe it’s the rugged landscape or legendary winter weather, but the U.P. seems to draw people who enjoy new experiences.

Speaking of weather…

Love changing seasons – The four seasons across the U.P. are extreme with America’s most colorful fall, greenest summers and whitest winners. In the winter people in the U.P. are skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding. The rest of the year they’re hiking, fishing, boating, golfing, and exploring the region.  

Spark an entrepreneurial spirit – The region was built on mining and forestry and today leads the world in environmental practices. Beyond the forest, trails, and Great Lakes lies a surprising and robust economy. Tech and STEM companies are spinning out of the region’s universities and the manufacturers are more advanced than ever. These companies and entrepreneurs welcome and appreciate the expertise of people that have a lifetime of experience in their industries and welcome their mentorship.

The cyber economy is not the only industry to have claimed a stake in the region. Advanced manufacturing, defense, aerospace, natural resource and land management, and medical device companies have also found a home in the Upper Peninsula. Industry and population are growing because the lifestyle and views are too spectacular to ignore.

About MiWorks! UP Ward Talent Council

Learn more about Michigan Works! Business Resource Network by visiting to liftupmi.coach and to learn more about UTC Michigan Works! by visiting upmichiganworks.org

Michigan Works! Business Resource Network: https://www.mitalent.org/business-resource-network

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. www.investupmi.com