New Executive Director Installed

Jerry WuorenmaaThe Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region Commission (WUPPDR), based in Houghton, has selected Jerald (Jerry) Wuorenmaa, M.A., as the organization’s new Executive Director. Wuorenmaa, who joined WUPPDR as an Assistant Planner in 2011, replaces Kim Stoker, whose affiliation with the organization concluded December 7. Wuorenmaa was selected by the WUPPDR Executive Committee at a special meeting on Nov. 23 and ratified by the full Commission at the organization’s regular meeting in Bruce Crossing on Dec. 21.

“We considered several options, but in the final analysis, we determined that the best fit for the organization going forward would be to promote from within. Jerry knows the job, he knows all the players; he’s had success and professional growth; he has proven himself. And he’s from the area, which reduces the learning curve significantly,” said outgoing WUPPDR Chairperson Mike Koskinen of Baraga. “We look forward to working with Jerry and his staff in the years to come.”

“I’m very excited, and very grateful, to be selected to lead this organization into the future,” said Wuorenmaa, an Ishpeming native who joined WUPPDR in 2011. “I appreciate the confidence and trust that the Commission has placed in me. With the support of our staff and stakeholders, I look forward to working with our commissioners and our partners to advance WUPPDR’s mission and presence in Upper Michigan and to continue the significant return on local funds invested in WUPPDR.”

Jerry earned a Master of Arts in Urban Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University. His interests and responsibilities include master and strategic planning; recreation, transportation, and hazard mitigation planning; and economic development. Currently a Hancock resident, Jerry in his free time likes to fish for stream trout, camp, and travel – within the U.P., the U.S., and abroad.

Founded in 1968, WUPPDR is one of 14 State of Michigan designated planning regions, serving the six counties (Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Ontonagon) of the Western Upper Peninsula. The agency’s chief role is to foster stable and diversified economies in the Western Upper Peninsula. WUPPDR also serves as the regional clearinghouse for federally and state-funded programs. Through this role, and via Gov. Rick Snyder’s current Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI), WUPPDR enhances intergovernmental coordination and encourages opportunities for public comment on projects of regional significance.