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Lt. Gov. Gilchrist visits Orion as part of statewide business tour

LT. GOV. GARLIN Gilchrist II, center, is shown Tuesday with members of the management team at Orion Hunting Products, including, from left, executive assistant Elina Berndt, president Beau Anderson, operations engineer Cole Welch and chairman/partner Dave Brule II. The stop was part of the Gilchrist’s Thriving Cities tour. (Submitted photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Orion Hunting Products played host Tuesday to Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II as part of the state official’s ongoing Thriving Cities tour.

Gilchrist started the tour in 2019 by holding conversations across Michigan to hear directly from community members in cities, according to state officials.

The tour is scheduled to include 25 cities throughout the state, with Tuesday originally slated to be at Orion, CCI Systems and a Michigan Department of Transportation bridge in Powers. The CCI stop, however, was canceled at the last minute, said Samantha Kennedy, deputy press secretary for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

While his time in Iron Mountain was shorter than expected, Gilchrist still seemed to find it both informative and enjoyable.

“Orion was the first stop of my visit and they reaffirmed that there are so many amazing people and companies in the U.P.,” Gilchrist said after touring the Orion manufacturing facility. “Part of my job as lieutenant governor is to highlight and promote the diverse businesses and industries in the state of Michigan that support our economy. I’m here to highlight the work our businesses do to make a difference in their communities.”

Orion began making its line of fabricated hunting towers and blinds in the former 10,000-square-feet machine shop at 2236 Pewabic St. last year.

Beau Anderson, president at Orion, said he was a bit surprised Gilchrist wanted to see the plant, though understandable considering the business’ work with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“I asked him that very question directly,” Anderson said. “He liked our story.”

Anderson said the lieutenant governor was at Orion for about 45 minutes before continuing his tour of the area that also included lunch at the Moose Jackson Cafe.

“He spoke highly of the innovations we’re creating,” he added. “Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I think it’s really cool … We’re pretty proud and trying to be active with the state.”

And Tuesday proved to be a good time to visit the business — Anderson said Orion recently received its first overseas order.

“That’s really wild,” he said.

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