History of GTI

Grand Traverse Industries was founded in May of 1974 for the purpose of developing and providing comprehensive services for persons with developmental disabilities residing in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. Since that time GTI has grown to provide Employment and Training Services to persons with any disability and/or other barriers to employment within seven Counties of Northwester Lower Michigan. In its first year of business Grand Traverse Industries provided services to 10 persons. Currently GTI provides services to over 350 persons on an annual basis and close to 300 on a daily basis.

The businesses GTI has developed have been aimed at providing the proper and needed employment opportunities for persons served, as well as businesses that would be profitable. Throughout its history GTI’s goal has been to be as self sufficient as possible in terms of government agency funding. Since its inception Grand Traverse Industries has provided employment and training services to more than 6,000 individuals, and has placed more than 1,800 persons in community employment. Total wages paid to those served exceed $10 million dollars.

  • 1974 – Grand Traverse Industries founded in Traverse City
  • 1982 – New Antrim County location opened
  • 1987 – New Petoskey location opened
  • 1991 – Buyout of Antrim Kalkaska Industries from the COOR Intermediate School District in Roscommon
  • 1995 – New 30,000 square foot production facility built in Traversefield Enterprise Place. The building becomes home to GTI’s Industrial Operations.
  • 1995 – GTI chosen as a Michigan Small Business of The Year by the Michigan Small Business Development Center
  • 1999 – GTI starts American Sign Language Services – now known as Local Interpreter Services Network – LIS’N
  • 2000 – Vending business launched in Mancelona and Traverse City
  • 2000 – GTI opens business enclaves in several community hospitality businesses
  • 2000 – GTI launches new Housing Corporation – Northern Living Non Profit Housing Corporations with intent to construct housing for persons with disabilities
  • 2003 – Launches partnership with Plascon Inc. of Traverse City to manufacture plastic bags
  • 2005 – GTI lands State Contract for manufacturing of MDOT Adopt-A-Highway Bag
  • 2006 – To reflect its growth and expansion, organization changed name to Grand Traverse Industries
  • 2008 GTI acquires SmileSaver LLC
  • 2011 LIS’N develops nationally recognized training program for First Responders
  • 2012 GTI lands State of Michigan Contract for manufacture of all its trashcan liners
  • 2015 GTI hosts Lt. Governor Brian Calley’s Hidden Talent Tour
  • 2016 GTI builds Todd Steiner Memorial Sportsplex at Mancelona with funds raised┬áby the Steiner Family

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