2010 Excellence Award Winner


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:

  • 1,200 new jobs
  • Commercial property leased or sold to over 65 new employers
  • Increased annual passenger counts each year since the transfer of the regional airport to become Sawyer International.  On 9/11/2001 two 727 passenger flights alighted at K I Sawyer.
  • Privatizing of all housing units, which are now occupied by thousands of county residents.


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