meet the team
MARTIN ("MARTY") FITTANTE—CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Marty is the former chief of staff for Michigan State Senator Tom Casperson. His legislative works spans numerous industries, including forestry, mining, and health care. He was previously external affairs director for the House Policy Office, a position that he held after serving as legislative director during Senator Casperson’s terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. As a policy advisor, he managed three statewide task forces that addressed job creation, education, and agriculture. Marty and his wife Lisa also own an accounting firm in Iron Mountain that serves small and medium sized businesses.
Marty is the inaugural recipient of the Jon Farley Michigan Legislative Staff Award, given to an exceptional staffer who is motivated by a dedication to service and a desire to foster an environment in Lansing based on merit and results. He is also the recipient of the Michigan Junior Chamber of Commerce President’s Award of Excellence, and the Daily Press Neighbors Award, presented to residents who “give the Central U.P. its heart and soul.”
Marty is a graduate of Bay College, Ferris State University, and Wayne State University Law School.
Steve Arwood—DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS INITIATIVES
Arwood, most recently Chief Executive Officer of Miller Canfield Consulting in Lansing, Michigan, now is President of SDArwood Co., a firm established to provide strategic consulting to public and private entities on critical initiatives. Arwood will work with InvestUP on business development initiatives outlined in the new strategic plan.
With more than 30 years of private and public sector experience, Arwood brings his connectivity and comprehensive understanding of business, talent and community development to the Upper Peninsula. Steve will work closely with the InvestUP team and Board of Directors to bring growth to the Upper Peninsula.
In his career with the State of Michigan, Arwood has held several positions in two separate Administrations, including President and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; President and Chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund; Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; and the Director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) under Governor Snyder.
AUBREY ATANASOFF—MARKETING PROJECT COORDINATOR
Aubrey is a native of Iron River, Michigan. As marketing project coordinator, she leads the strategic initiatives of InvestUP through targeted marketing and promotional projects.
A transfer from a ten-year career in the Upper Peninsula commercial banking industry, Aubrey’s experience gives her perspective on the unique needs of businesses in the region. At The Miners State Bank in Iron River, Aubrey served as an integral part of the marketing committee, creating promotional materials, organizing business engagement events, and conducting market research. She also serves as an adviser for the social media and marketing plans of her family’s grocery business, Family Foods, located in Iron River.
Aubrey earned her BA in History from the University of Michigan, where she served on the executive board as vice president of communications for the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. She went on to graduate with highest honors from Concordia University, Chicago, earning a Master’s in Business Administration.
Morgan Laajala - Content Manager
A native to the Upper Peninsula, Morgan is familiar with the unique lifestyle, hard-working people, and landscape of the region. As the Content Manager, she is passionate about sharing stories that highlight why the U.P. is the world’s best place to live and work. Our social media content, campaigns, and InvestUP’s regular business newsletter are all driven by Morgan.
Morgan previously worked in the Career Services department at Michigan Technological University while she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. During her time at Michigan Tech, Morgan had the opportunity to interact with students, employers, and corporate sponsors which helped her better understand the needs of young professionals and employers. She experienced firsthand the importance of creating opportunities that attract students to attend a U.P. college, then encourage them to remain in the Upper Peninsula after graduation.