Evart lake management business officially open

EVART — It’s open!

After breaking ground in December for the 5,200 square foot building located in the Evart Air Industrial Park, PLM Lake and Land Management celebrated its official opening at the ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday.

“We’d like to thank Melora (Theunick), the Michigan Solutions Group... and our builders for making this happen for PLM,” said Jason Broekstra, biologist and vice president of Michigan operations. “There have been some challenges, but overall we’re all very pleased with the building we have and we’re excited for what our company is going to bring to the northern area of Michigan.”

Local business owners, leaders and community members gathered for the ceremony to celebrate the new addition to the community.

The business is focused on environmental management and will offer a variety of services including lake and pond surveys, aquatic vegetation mapping, invasive species management plans, water quality testing, fish assessments and much more.

Northern Lakes manager Breanne Grabill and her husband, land operations manager Dustin Grabill, have relocated to the area along with and lead northern applicator Mitch Hiler. Previously, the three worked mainly out of what was the only PLM site in Michigan, located in Alto, near the Grand Rapids area.

“I’d like to thank the city for a very warm welcome for myself and my family,” said Breanne. “We (at PLM) are excited to grow and expand. We’ve already hired two local gentlemen from the area and I’m excited to continue to expand in that aspect, grow PLM and really be booming here this summer.”

The Grabills who moved to Evart in February, now have a two-minute commute to work, or seven minutes on a bicycle, which Dustin Grabill said will be much quicker than the pair’s 25-minute commute from their previous house to the Alto

PLM location.

“It’s very exciting to be here,” Dustin said. “There are a lot of benefits to being in this area.”

Mike Tower, of Marion, was one of the individuals hired as an applicator for the company. Tower graduated in December 2011 from Lake Superior State University with a degree in fisheries management and said he is excited to begin working for PLM soon after graduating from college.

“More jobs mean people get to stay in the area,” said Melora Theunick, Local Development Finance Authority director. “We’re happy to have (PLM) join the community. Hopefully they will grow and expand.”

The team was set to begin work this week on local lakes. PLM currently serves Miramichi Lake Association, Big Lake Association, Negaunee Lake Association, the Rose Lake Association as well as many other nearby lakes and ponds. The company anticipates many new customers as a result of the new facility.

“We are excited. We have a lot of market here in the northern area and we want to reach out to more customers,” Broekstra said.

The company’s new facility houses offices for its management team and has a large bay area for storage of six or seven of the fleet of vehicles used to service lakes, ponds and streams in the northern Michigan.

The vehicles used range from smaller 10-foot boats, to air boats that are more than 20 feet long and used to apply chemicals or do testing in shallow water. Each boat is typically operated by one person often with the help of an assistant.

Jim Echtinaw, PLM harvest manager and Breanne’s father, works with much larger vehicles used for cutting weeds out of

bodies of water and said the new location also will serve as a storage space for his vehicles while he is working in the area.

Along with the facility in Alto, PLM has facilities in Minnesota, and North and South Carolina.

After the Local Development Finance Authority contracted with Michigan Solutions Group, contact was made with PLM and the company decided to move to the area. PLM officials said the company plans to remain in Evart for the long run and hire additional workers in the future.