2010 Excellence Award Winner

L’Anse Warden Electric Company | L’Anse, MI

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.”