Muskegon's MAREC fires up energy, incubator development, brings WMSTI's Cook on board

Muskegon's MAREC fires up energy, incubator development, brings WMSTI's Cook on board
June 4, 2009

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

With an eye to ramping up alternative energy innovation and economic development, Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) announced that it will bring aboard new talent with new energies.

Beginning this month, Rich Cook, director of the Grand Rapids-based West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative venture center, will spend two days a week at MAREC.

"We're sitting in a 32-acre SmartZone which is largely vacant at this point, and we envision that MAREC will help contribute to bringing development of new industries and technologies together in one common site," says Interim Director Arnold Boezaart, adding that True North owns the property.

"The City of Muskegon felt that MAREC's economic development focus had gotten lost and that's why the city originally agreed to participate in this effort. They saw it as a means of moving the city forward into development of alternative energy."

Cook fits into the picture in a couple of ways: recruiting alternative energy startups to fill the 4,000 square feet of incubator laboratory space with companies interested in wind, solar, biowaste, photovoltaics and other alternative energy opportunities – space which is vacant after graduating its recent tenant, EarthTronics – and also offering business consultation to those companies.

Boezaart plans to work with the lakeshore communities and several of GVSU's departments – including engineering, natural resources and the business college – to develop opportunities for business leaders, students and faculty to become integrals parts of MAREC's future alternative and renewable energy projects.

"Here in Muskegon it's about developing the vacant acreage toward a diversified economy," Boezaart says, "and toward alternative and renewable energy while doing that."

Source: Arnold Boezaart, Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center