Member of the MonthMichael BradfordEvents Marketing Manager at Travel Marquette
I joined Connect Marquette because I was constantly looking for more opportunities to become involved and find others who were working towards the same goals. I want to create a lasting impact in a community that has felt more like home than any other place I have ever lived. Also, I am able to collaborate and learn from others within the organization to improve on the ways that I have been working within our community.
The membership is valuable to me because it keeps me in the loop on potential events and activities that both benefit my professional and personal goals. It can be difficult getting yourself out there in a professional setting and being proactive and doing. Connect Marquette has created a way to make it easier for me to network with local professionals who are either experiencing similar situations that I am, or people who have already worked through them and can provide guidance and direction.
Written by Sarah Reynolds
Jon Brooks was born in Hancock, and spent his childhood in Houghton. When Jon was growing up he spent his time adventuring in the woods with his siblings and playing on his father’s computer.
Jon graduated from Houghton High School in 1999, and went off to study Computer Science and Business at Oakland University. While in college, Jon swam for Oakland University and has continued his love of swimming throughout his life. After college, which he did not complete because he was too dead set on being the next Bill Gates (who also did not finish college), Jon decided to serve his country by joining the Navy.
While in the Navy, Jon was assigned to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and responsible for administering the ship’s computer network. He was kind of a big deal. While in the the Navy, Jon had the opportunity to travel to several foreign countries, including, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Brunei, India, and Australia. The Navy inspired Jon to continue his passion for information security. Being in the Navy gave him a true hate for beach sand and the Village People. Even though Jon has had the opportunity to travel more than most, his heart remained in the UP.
Jon moved back to the UP in 2008, and studied Computer Networking and System Administration at MTU. This time he completed his BS degree, and from there he moved to Marquette, where we all get to enjoy his face everyday. Jon’s main passion in life is IT work, and he currently does freelance IT, and is in the process of starting his own IT company, Brooks I.T. Jon will be establishing his new office in Ampersand, the coworking space that was developed by the Marquette Chamber of Commerce. Other than this one time that Jon did MMA, Jon also digs poker, chess, cooking, and reading.
Jon’s favorite quality about Marquette is that the city is full of life. He enjoys the fact that he can park his car and wander downtown at any time of day and not get mugged and also may run into a familiar face. He particularly loves to spend hours perusing books at Snowbound Books. He also enjoys grabbing a beer with friends at the Ore Dock Brewing Company, having dinner at the Lagniappe, and jogging the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
Jon joined 40 Below in January 2016 after he heard about 40 Below at an Entrepreneurs on Tap program. Jon’s intention for joining 40 Below was for the networking possibilities and Jon believes that 40 Below has been effective in opening his network while gaining a few new friends in the process.
Aurora grew up in Boyne City, Michigan. She graduated in 2008 from NMU with a degree in Environmental Conservation and a minor in Mechanical Engineering Technology. She loved the technology programs offered at NMU’s Department of Engineering. Her favorite courses were welding and bioenergy.
Aurora has worked as a Mechanical Designer for Integrated Designs, Inc. in Marquette since 2008. She was offered an internship at IDI while she was still in her last semester at NMU. Although designing plumbing and HVAC systems was not what she envisioned doing after college, she jumped on the opportunity to stay in the UP. Aurora is grateful to work for a small company that challenges her and allows her to learn new skills.
A few things that Aurora loves about Marquette are all of the great events and organizations. She quickly learned that these heavily rely on the wonderful people and community that help out, which is why she loves volunteering. Aurora is a mentor with Start the Cycle, a mountain biking program for at-risk youth, as well as a former mentor with the YMCA’s Reach & Rise program. She is on the 40 Below committee for the Iron Range Roll, which supports Reach & Rise. She is also the volunteer coordinator for the Marquette Trails Festival, a weekend-long biking and running event that helps support the Noquemanon Trail Network.
Aurora has served on the board for the Ore Dock BotEco Center since 2012. The Ore Dock BotEco Center is a non-profit that aims to repurpose the lower harbor ore dock into a public space and eventually a botanical garden, all while preserving the dock’s history.
In her free time, Aurora plays soccer, weaves baskets, and enjoys gardening, camping, fishing, biking, and travelling. She loves all four seasons, including the cold, snowy one. One of her only complaints is that there are too many fun things to do in the area, and not enough time in a day to do them all!
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