Final Four Basketball Floor, Made in the Upper Peninsula

During her weekly radio address Governor Jennifer Granholm made this statement. I was planning to write up a small piece myself, but Governor Granholm already did a much better job than I could have. It’s incredible how many unique products come out of the Upper Peninsula.

2009 Final Four Logo

This is Governor Jennifer Granholm.

This weekend, basketball fans around Michigan and across the country will watch some of the nation’s best college players – including the Michigan State University men and women – continue their march to the NCAA Final Four championships. I think you’ll agree that at a time when the news of the nation’s credit crisis and rising unemployment rates is so painful, the fun and the frenzy of March Madness is a welcome diversion.

For those of us in Michigan, the anticipation of the Final Four is magnified, because for the first time, the men’s championship will be played here in Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit. But as the late Paul Harvey used to say: And now, for the rest of the story. When the men take to the floor in Detroit and the women take to the floor in St. Louis, Missouri, for their championship games – they’ll be playing on beautiful, maple hardwood floors that were manufactured right here in Michigan by Connor Sport Court International in the Upper Peninsula town of Amasa.

As the exclusive supplier of the championship floors for both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and the floors for more professional sporting events than any other company in the world, Connor is a great example of the kinds of great businesses that can be found in Michigan. The Iron County plant has been part of the Amasa community since 1872, and the 100 employees who work there embody Michigan’s proud manufacturing tradition. They are using our plentiful renewable resources – in this case, our forests – in ways that honor our commitment to being good stewards of our land, air and water.

This week, as the truck carrying the maple flooring bound for Detroit made the trip from the U.P., there was excitement and pride at every stop. I hope that fans across our state will turn to their friends next weekend and say, “Did you know that floor was made right here in Michigan?”

The pride we feel for Connor and its talented workforce is the pride we feel for all our Michigan companies, companies whose names are easily recognized: Whirlpool, Stryker, and, of course, our Big Three auto companies and their workers that we’re fighting hard for in the face of a daunting worldwide recession.

In the coming days, more than 70,000 people will visit Detroit to see the Men’s Final Four with a direct economic impact to our state of $30-$50 million, which is a great boost to our local economy. Day in and day out, though, it’s Michigan’s workers and Michigan businesses like Connor that keep our state going. They truly are our champions, and they deserve both our pride and our support.

To learn more about Connor Sport Courts you can visit them online.