2017 Award of Excellence Recipients


Blackrocks Brewery


In 2010, David and Andy were looking down the barrel of economic downsizing in their industry. Looking at it as an opportunity instead of a problem, the two set out to take their basement hobby to a new level. The dream of all homebrewers; to go “legit” and open a commercial brewery, presented itself as a once in a lifetime opportunity. The two agreed upon a Nano Brewery (1 BBL brew house). Although they were hopeful it would be well received, they had no idea the amount of interest the locals had for craft beers. Along the way they found and hired on some awesome people to bring the brewery altogether. Blackrocks still brews on the original 1 BBL system along with the 3 BBL pub system and 20 BBL production system. Two key ideas fuel Blackrocks on a day-to-day basis: Always make the best beer possible, and always have fun while doing it.


Blackrocks Brewery video


Lester Detterbeck Enterprises

Lester Detterbeck Enterprises is a family owned business which specializes in the design and production of special cutting tools, cams, tool holders, and replacement parts for precision products industries. Products constructed with the use of the tooling produced in Iron River have applications in the fire prevention, automotive, aerospace industries, and military. Tooling made by Lester Detterbeck Enterprises has been used to produce a host of consumer products, ranging from parts for can openers to chainsaws, from faucets to handheld power tools, to name a few. LDE provides tooling to customers throughout the United States and internationally.

The Detterbeck family has been in the precision machining industry for over 115 years, with operations based in Chicago and Iron River.  Lester Detterbeck Enterprises reopened a plant in Iron River in 1973, having had their first Michigan facility in the Iron River area during World War II. Lester Detterbeck Enterprises fully moved their entire manufacturing operation to the Upper Peninsula in 1991.


Lester Detterbeck Enterprises video


Marketing Department Inc

Marketing Department Inc is a full-service agency with a focus on B2B sales growth and brand strategy. While majority of the agency’s clients are in advanced manufacturing and tech, they have worked with over 250 Upper Peninsula organizations in the past 10 years.

The agency’s team is comprised of highly experienced professionals, most of whom have over 20 years experience in their marketing disciplines. Together they work closely with their clients to increase sales, elevate brands, develop strategy, improve public relations, and energize corporate culture.

The team is also very passionate about the Upper Peninsula region and view it as the world’s greatest place to live and work. In return, they have become very philanthropic with their time and talents, contributing to economic development projects that promote the region.


Marketing Department Inc. video


 Upper Peninsula Power Company


Upper Peninsula Power Company has a long-standing history of serving residential and business customers. UPPCO’s roots trace back to 1884 through Peninsula Electric Light and Power that was based in the Keweenaw.

UPPCO recently returned to operating as a standalone, U.P. based utility and has become fully independent as of February 2017. Today, Upper Peninsula Power Company serves 52,000 customers in ten U.P. counties utilizing seven renewable energy hydroelectric power plants. From renewable energy to the high-tech electronics of today, UPPCO has proudly been providing reliable electric service for 134 years!


 Upper Peninsula Power Company video