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Cadillac Business Helped by Michigan Works! and MI-SBTDC


Connie Houk is the lead transportation engineer and office leader at the Cadillac office of the engineering company Prein and Newhof. She used to have a similar position with another local company. But that business closed suddenly in January 2013, leaving Houk and over 30 other employees out of work. On the day the business closed, Houk talked with Rob Best, a Business Liaison at Northwest Michigan Works. He invited her to stop by the Cadillac Service Center so she could find out how she and her co-workers could be helped by Michigan Works!

“We went in and they were very good about explaining everything,” said Houk. “They were very helpful.”

Besides inviting her to the Michigan Works! Service Center, Best also told Houk about a Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center business plan class that was beginning that same day in Cadillac. Houk was already thinking about starting a business and thought the class would be helpful. She didn’t have time to register but went to the class anyway and explained her situation to SBTDC Small Business Consultant, Annie Shelter, who welcomed Houk to join the other students.

“When I read the little bio on the class, it was like, this is exactly what I need,” said Houk.

While she was taking the class and considering starting a business, Houk was contacted by Prein and Newhof about opening an office in Cadillac. She and a dozen former co-workers decided to join the new company, but Houk also finished taking the business plan class.

“We did decide to open a different branch office, but still the stuff I learned from Annie was invaluable,” said Houk

Houk and her co-workers didn’t need ongoing assistance from Michigan Works! or the SBTDC, but she says she appreciated everything both organizations did for them.

“It was people helping people, it wasn’t just hey, it’s my job,” said Houk. “Annie even came to our open house. It’s just been really nice.”



Related Info:  NW Michigan Works! Business Services  |  Small Business and Technology Development Center SBTDC



Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest
- Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner