Downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is celebrating the newest business to open in 2015 this week. Kanava International, LLC, a management consulting firm headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, has recently opened an office at 546 Ashmun Street.
Kanava’s President and CEO, Susan Puska, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, has long wanted to return to the area to contribute to economic development in the Upper Peninsula.
After serving as a logistician and Army Attaché to Beijing, she retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel then worked as a U.S. government contractor before returning to school to earn a M.B.A. from George Mason University. Susan registered her business, Kanava International, in 2012 and went operational in 2013. Carol Yee, an international management capacity specialist, joined Kanava as the Chief Operating Officer.
Together their mission is to spur economic development by helping build sustainable companies and non-profits. They do so by strengthening the operating platforms of organizations, training personnel, and assisting organizations to diversify their customer base and funding sources. As both Susan and Carol have worked around the world, they also want to bring ideas and best practices from overseas and apply them to the domestic economic environment. To support these efforts, they have developed the Impact Strengthening Development (ISD)TM Certification Program, a four-tiered program to benchmark and demonstrate the capacity of the certified organization to be a good, strong partner, whether for commercial partnerships or grant funding.
Kanava chose Sault Ste. Marie, not only because it is Susan’s hometown, but also because of its designation as a historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone), which assists small businesses who are U.S. government contractors, the need for job creation, and its proximity to Canada and opportunities there. Erin Marra has been hired to head up the Soo office, serving as the Regional Manager. She will focus on providing back office operations for Kanava, recruiting for international development projects, and seeking partnering opportunities in the Upper Peninsula. Initially, she will be joined by two part-time consultants, but Kanava’s goal is to grow its business, leading to more jobs created for the Sault Ste. Marie office.
By focusing on building stronger local companies and non-profits, they will help develop new opportunities, leading to more job creation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Kanava International’s office is located in the lower level of 546 Ashmun Street in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. For more information, visit Kanava’s website at http://www.kanavainternational.com.