MTU Enterprise program is resource for local businesses

HOUGHTON — The mission of Michigan Technological University’s Enterprise Program is to provide students an environment in which to develop technical, professional and entrepreneurial skills through the application of knowledge and interests to client-sponsored, multi-disciplinary, team-based projects.

“The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has recognized Enterprise nationally as one of 29 educational programs serving as a best practice in NAE’s 2012 publication Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education,” said Joseph Thompson, Enterprise projects manager.

Enterprise teams collaborated with clients from industry, communities and government organizations. Teams have worked with organizations such as 3M, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark and the Department of Energy, among others.

In addition to teams sponsored by Chrysler, Concept 2, HGST, IRHC Broomball, Kyocera and MTS Systems, Enterprise teams also work with local partners, such as the Keweenaw Research Center and Michigan Tech.

“Past local Enterprise Project industry sponsors include KBC and Terex,” Thompson said. “UP Health System – Marquette is currently sponsoring an IT-related project through the Enterprise Program.”

Some local companies have donated materials or manufacturing assistance to the Enterprise Program’s Advanced Motorsports Enterprise teams, including Industrial Graphics, Auto Pro Glass and Tire, Homestead Graphics, Advance Tec, Great Lakes Sound and Vibration and FY Racing, Thompson said.

Thompson said it is not difficult to become a partner with an Enterprise team.

Enterprise teams organize themselves much like companies in the private sector with a technology or business focus area, a leadership structure and multiple project sub teams. Michigan Tech currently has 26 teams and approximately 800 students involved per year, Thompson said.

“The sponsor will also identify a liaison to interact with the team on a regular basis for project mentoring and to aid in the professional development of the students,” he said.

Local companies interested in sponsoring an Enterprise project should contact Thompson at