The UPEDA (Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance)  award for 2011 is special recognition for the redevelopment of the former KI Sawyer Air Force Base. In September 1997 the Marquette County Board of Commissioners formally accepted the task of redeveloping the former Air Force Base facilities.  At the time of the closure, the base consisted of 327 commercial buildings comprising 2.3 million sq ft, 1686 family housing units, and significant aviation assets, including a runway capable of landing space shuttle.


Prior to closure, KISAFB was the largest employer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It was necessary for Marquette County to absorb the modernization, and marketing costs of 5,200 acres of land.


To date, the redevelopment includes:


With the cooperation and assistance by its many development partners, including the base reuse team, Telkite, and all of the businesses that chose Sawyer for their home, Sawyer was named facility of the year by the National Association of Installations and has won multiple prestigious awards over the years.


Operation Action UP was formulated in 1963 to recognize regional businesses who have made significant contributions to the regional economy as well as being local community leaders.  It is comprised of primarily private business.  This is the annual meeting of Operation Action whereby they feature 4 businesses allowing them to tell their success story.


UPEDA is comprised of primarily municipalities and non profit entities.  It was established in 1998 with support of an economic growth grant from the State of Michigan.  The two organizations have always collaborated to support economic growth.



This year is the first time UPEDA has presented an award at the annual meeting.  We are ecstatic to honor Sawyer!!


Award to be presented to Chuck Bergdahl, Marquette County Board Chair

“Exceptional Care. Centered Around You.”
War Memorial Hospital has answered our community’s demand for increased health access and services. During the last five years the hospital added sixteen specialty providers bringing new services such as pulmonology, urology, pediatrics, and infectious disease to the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Access to care was improved with additional obstetrics, cardiology, psychiatric, and oncology physicians.

New physicians are impressed by our technology. Digital mammography, fixed MRI, and a 64 slice CT scanner were anchors of a new $5 million imaging center. Mobile PET scanning decreases need for patient travel. Positive partnerships provided the ability to add inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services; a new state of the art rehabilitation facility and a 40,000 square foot medical office building.

This extended growth could not have been achieved without a skilled, committed staff. War Memorial Hospital employs the equivalent of 705 fulltime employees, a 22% increase in five years. Staff volunteer support to local agencies including United Way, Relay for Life, and Road to Recovery. In 2010 the hospital completed $6.9 million in projects, $500,000 of which was new equipment. New investment was realized without financing, a significant achievement in a climate of decreasing reimbursements and increasing charity care. Our mission “to improve the quality of life and health through partnerships with those we serve,” was developed by employees, is supported by our community, and evidenced by our growth.

Recipient: Sue Tetzlaff
Sue Tetzlaff, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, accepts this award on behalf of the more than 800 employees, physicians and volunteers who make War Memorial Hospital a great place to work, a great place for physicians to practice, and a great place for patients to receive care. Sue was raised in the eastern Upper Peninsula and left the U.P. for a short while to pursue undergraduate degrees in nursing and health information administration from Ferris State University and a master degree in Healthcare and Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota. She is Board Certified in Healthcare Administration and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Sue came back home to the U.P. eighteen years ago and joined the administrative team at War Memorial Hospital. Sue has served as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer and is currently serving as the Chief Nursing Officer, a role she has performed for more than nine years. She has been part of the growth of the hospital from 325 employees to over 800, 17 active medical staff to over 40, and has led the expansion and addition of many programs that serve the healthcare needs of the community residents and visitors.

Superior Health Partners is a new company —a new health care delivery system — formed by Bell Hospital and Marquette General Hospital (MGH).
Superior Health Partners will enable more people to receive their health care close to home in the Upper Peninsula. If more patients remain in the U.P. for care, there is tremendous potential to create hundreds of new health care jobs.
By combining the resources and management talent of Bell and MGH — and other hospitals that join in the future — Superior Health Partners will focus on enhancing high quality health care services and medical treatments delivered in the Upper Peninsula and proactively prepare for national healthcare reforms. This means: improved access, improved clinical quality outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. It will also mean many more healthcare jobs.
Recipient: A. Gary Muller, FACHE, President and CEO
Since joining Marquette General Health System in November of 2007, Gary has led the organization through changes in the Board of Trustees, and assembled a new management team. As Marquette General has begun to recover from the largest financial challenge in its history, Gary has led the organization through a work force reorganization following the early retirement of approximately 120 employees. He is actively working with hospitals throughout the region to redefine partnerships and collaborations, and is leading an initiative with Northern Michigan University to implement continuing education for leaders at all levels of Marquette General.

Prior to his arrival in Marquette, Gary was president and CEO of West Jefferson Medical Center in the metropolitan New Orleans area. It was one of three hospitals to remain open in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. West Jefferson was named to U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Best Hospitals in 2001, 2002, and 2003; the Health Careers U.S.A. Employer of Choice list in 2002 and the New Orleans City Business Magazine Top Ten New Orleans Employers of Choice out of more than 10,000 businesses from 2002-2006.

Gary has also served in administrative roles in hospitals and health systems in Florida for many years. He holds an MBA in Health and Hospital Administration from University of Florida, and a BS in Business Administration from Louisiana State University.

Gary resides in Marquette with his wife Sandi and has two adult children, Adam and Anne.

100_2180The L’Anse Warden Electric Power Plant is an 18-megawatt one unit steam generating power plant located on Lake Superior, in the village of L’Anse, in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. L’Anse is in Baraga County on the base of the Keweenaw Bay. In July of 2007, the plant was purchased by Traxys North America and the station was converted to a biomass fuel burning plant. The biomass conversion was completed in August 2009. The Plant generates electricity at 13,800 volts, which is stepped up 69,000 volts and fed in the integrated system. The Plant delivers 17.7 MW to the grid and is sold to the MISO footprint. On August 10, 2010 the MPSC approved the 20-year long-term biomass contract having a value of $245 million for the life of the contract.
Recipient: JR Richardson
Natural Resource Commissioner J.R. Richardson is a life-long resident of the U.P. He has had a 31-year career in the paper industry ending in December of 2007. He started as a Union Coal Handler, Paper Machine Laborer and Recovery Boiler Operator in 1976 with Champion International Corporation. Through his career he had worked as a Process Engineer, Engineering Supervisor, Production Supervisor and Quality and Environmental Manger. Richardson ended his paper industry career as an Operations and Technical Manager for Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. Starting in December 2007, he has worked for the New York-based TRAXYS Corporation, where they are creating renewable energy alternatives for producing power in the U.P.

A graduate of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Richardson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and has completed course work towards a business engineering administration degree. While working in the Forest Products Industry, Richardson has been a leader in developing safe, profitable, environmentally-friendly processes and procedures. J.R. directed the development of an Environmental Management System that led the way to the State of Michigan’s Clean Corporate Citizen designation for the Ontonagon paper mill. The Ontonagon facility became the first paper mill in the State to receive this designation, and only the fourth industry overall to accomplish this. Under Richardson’s leadership, the mill also attained a Longevity Award from the Clean Corporate Citizen program in 2004, and three Neighborhood Environmental Partnership designations.

Richardson also received the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Partner in Conservation Award in 1993. This was based on working with the local sportsman’s groups on habitat rehabilitation and fish plants, along with managing an award-winning wastewater treatment plant in Michigan. He was honored by the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association as a finalist for the John G. Thodis Award in 2006. He has received numerous awards from Champion International for team excellence, and selected for the Chairman’s Award of Excellence in 1996 celebrated at the corporate headquarters in Chicago.

In his community, he served on the Ontonagon Village Council and EDC from 1996 to 2004 and has served as a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, Marina Commission and as a Hazardous Materials Certified Technician. Richardson is also a member of the Rotary Club, Whitetails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Ontonagon Valley Sportsman’s Club, the Lake Superior Special Designation Task Force, as the President of the Upper Peninsula Sports Fisherman’s Association and as the hair of the Solid Waste Planning Committee. For the Timber Industry, he has served on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Task Force for Best Management Practices. He is a Certified Stormwater Inspector and a C-3a Certified Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator in the State.

Richardson was appointed to the NRC by Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2007. He resides in Ontonagon and is an avid fly fisherman, annual backpacker in the Porkies, hunter, stamp collector and outdoorsman. He says “come on up to the U.P. and we can go fishing, eh.”

100_2183GS Engineering was started in September 2002 by Glen Simula. He hired 2 additional engineers and one MTU engineering student. GSE was the anchor tenant in the MTU Business Incubator, starting with one room and growing to occupy the entire first floor. In March 2008, GSE moved to its own new 14000 sq ft building on US 41 just south of MTU.

GSE is an agile engineering consulting business for military ground vehicles – both for the US Army and prime contractors. In 2005, GSE was selected as one of the inaugural Michigan 50 Companies to watch, and then as the Michigan Government Contractor or of the Year in 2010. GSE has received over 300 contracts during this time, including 9 SBIR awards.
Recipient: Glen Simula
Graduated from Redford Union High School 1977
Graduated MTU Feb 1981 Mechanical Engineering
Graduated U of M 1984 Mechanical Engineering
Bechtel Power 1981 – 1983
Keweenaw Research Center MTU 1983 – 2002
Started GS Engineering in 2002

100_2181Oldenburg Group Incorporated is a Milwaukee-based supplier of performance-engineered products used in the defense, mining, energy and architectural lighting industries worldwide. The company’s facilities in Kingsford and Iron River, Michigan and Rhinelander, Wisconsin employ nearly 400 people and contribute over $30 million annually into the regional economy. In recent years, Oldenburg Group Incorporated has invested several million dollars to modernize its factories, and is currently building a new $5 million technology and administration center in Kingsford, Michigan.
Recipient: Dr. Tim Nerenz
Tim Nerenz is Executive Vice President of Oldenburg Group Incorporated, a global supplier of engineered heavy equipment and architectural lighting products headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tim’s business career spans over 35 years with three prominent Wisconsin and Michigan companies – Getty’s Manufacturing, Rayovac, and Oldenburg Group. He has exported American-built products to over 30 countries. Dr. Nerenz holds three graduate degrees in business; his Ph.D. dissertation examined government bundling of small business contracts, and he writes business case studies used in international MBA programs around the world. He has served as a past advisor to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the boards of Wisconsin Prosperity Network, Prosperity USA, and Athabasca University. He writes a weekly commentary on government policy, economics, and trade.

Tim is a native of Ironwood, Michigan.


QuickTrophy is an internet based company which offers a full line of trophies, awards, medals, plaques, name tags, name plates, and office signs. QuickTrophy was started in 2000 by 3 partners: Stephen Polk and Michael Kane of downstate Bloomfield Hills and Terry Dehring of Marquette. QuickTrophy was started with no physical retail location which was unique for a trophy company at the time and is still quite rare. The past decade has seen dramatic growth for QuickTrophy with annual revenues in excess of 1 million dollars, making it one of the largest trophy and awards companies in the US.

Customers from around the world place orders on their web sites: and All orders are engraved and manufactured for the customer in their factory and shipped out by the next business day. With such a quick turnaround, they are the fastest trophy company on the planet–hence the name: QuickTrophy. QuickTrophy currently employs 15 people, including several current NMU students. They are located at 446 E. Crescent St., near Lakeshore Blvd in Marquette.

Recipient: Terry Dehring

Terry Dehring is the President of QuickTrophy, LLC. Terry graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1980 with Bachelors and Master’s degrees in biology. Following graduation, he lived and worked in Madison, Wisconsin in a variety of fields including computer programming, market research, and restaurant development. He relocated back to Marquette in 2000 and started QuickTrophy. Terry and his wife Anne have 2 daughters: Julia, a sophomore at NMU majoring in international studies, and Isabelle, a junior at Marquette Senior High School.