Day 4 #RideMI: Peters Rides Restored Harley, Discusses Employee Owned Businesses & Promotes Innovative Timber Use

McBain, MI – On Day Four of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour, U.S. Senator Gary Peters visited Hagerty in Traverse City, where he had the opportunity to ride a restored 1957 Harley Davidson Sportster. Hagerty provides insurance and financial products to owners of classic cars, motorcycles and other vehicles. Last year, Peters introduced the National Historic Vehicle Register Act, which would require the Department of Interior to establish a register within the Library of Congress to preserve examples of historically significant automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, and commercial vehicles.

“The development of the automobile is woven into the fabric of Michigan’s history,” said Senator Peters. “Hagerty provides Americans the ability to protect their most treasured classic vehicles while playing an important part in preserving the ingenuity and dedication of our state’s innovators and workforce.”

“Our members’ classic cars, trucks and motorcycles aren’t just fun to ride, they also tell the story of Michigan’s automotive ingenuity. As the largest company serving classic vehicle enthusiasts, we’re proud to help preserve these treasured vehicles to be enjoyed today and for generations to come,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, a global company specializing in products and insurance for people who love cars. “We appreciate Senator Peters’ leadership to create a National Historic Vehicle Register, and we look forward to continuing to work with Senator Peters to support these important historic conversation efforts.” 

Peters then traveled to Kalkaska County, where he visited Kalkaska Screw Products, a manufacturer of precision parts for the automotive, aerospace, and heavy truck industries. The company is completely owned by its employees and has adopted the Employee Stock Ownership Plan model, or ESOP, that permits its employees to simultaneously save for retirement and spilt the company’s profits. 

“ESOPS have ensured that everyone from the executives to the newest employee gains from a business’s profitability,” said Senator Peters. “From higher wages and larger retirement account figures to increased profits, ESOPs lead to a more dedicated workforce and a larger number of long-term business success stories like Kalkaska Screw.”

“Our employees work hard every day to make high quality, flawless products, and under our Employee Stock Ownership Plan, they are now directly rewarded for their dedication to the company,” said Kevin Schlueter, President & CEO, Kalkaska Screw Products. “Transitioning to employee ownership has allowed our business to thrive and our loyal employees to carry on our proud legacy of precision manufacturing. We thank Senator Peters for his legislation to promote the benefits of employee ownership, and we were pleased to be able to show him firsthand how it’s helped our business grow.” 

Earlier this year, the Senate Small Business Committee passed Peters’ bipartisan bill aimed at increasing awareness of the ESOP model by requesting the SBA-backed non-profit organization – called SCORE – to produce free small business consulting services, focusing on providing informational resources on the benefits of ESOPs.

Peters’ last stop was in Missaukee County, where he toured John A. Biewer Lumber Company in McBain. Peters is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Timber Innovation Act, introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow, that would help facilitate further research and development into the use of wood as a building material, specifically on structures over 85 feet high.

“Maximizing the economic potential of our state’s abundant natural resources in a sustainable way is vitally important,” said Senator Peters. “Increasing the use of wood in building materials has the potential to create quality, environmentally friendly structures while supporting companies like Biewer Lumber that drive our economy and generate job growth.”

“The lumber industry is a vital part of Northern Michigan’s economy, and Biewer Lumber is working to grow our company and the industry as a whole by promoting sustainable forestry practices,” said Wes Windover, Procurement Manager, Biewer Lumber. “We appreciate Senator Peters’ efforts to support Michigan’s lumber industry through the Timber Innovation Act, which will help find new uses for our products and allow our business continue growing.” 

Tomorrow, Senator Peters will travel to Lake County to observe Pere Marquette River restoration efforts and visit Harsco Rail in Mason County.