Spark Plug Awards feature local wisdom

We all benefit when local community members are honored by the Keweenaw Chamber for Spark Plug Awards, as six were March 1 at the latest event.

We all benefit because each one of them provides an example of excellence and words of wisdom in making the Copper Country a better place to live.

•In accepting his award, Houghton Police Lt. Nick Roberts said just as engagement is a key part of community policing, it’s also a part of community building — a relationship of giving back, mutual support and improvement, he explained.

•Todd Brassard of Calumet Electronics, a local company that’s been growing for half a century and has grown to a point where it is thinking of developing a campus, shared the secret to growth, one which all businesses and entrepreneurs should follow: “We sell the story of who we are.”

•You’ve got to love the moxie of Brad King of Orbion Space Technology, which won the Innovation award while only employs Michigan Tech grads. His advice: Never back down from anyone in striving for innovation. “Our biggest competitor is a company called SpaceX led by a guy named Elon Musk, and we’re going to take him,” he said. Fire in the belly: check.

•Copper Harbor Trails Club are literally a gang of trailblazers. It was no small feat to build the Keweenaw Point Trail, which has made the area a first-rate mountain biking mecca along the Lake Superior shoreline.

•Houghton Elementary School Principal Anders Hill is Young Person of the Year and great role model for his even younger people attending his school, but he’s a wise veteran when it comes to what makes a quality education: “What makes a great school are great teachers,” he said.

•K.C. Bonkers of Hancock is a toy and coffee shop but its customer service and ambiance makes it more like a fun shop. “You don’t have customer service without a staff,” said Clay Hilman, one of the shop’s co-comics.

•In his keynote speech laced with reasons why he loves calling the Copper Country his home, Edward “Bud” Cole, president of the Asian division of the Fender guitar company, said he always loves to “come home and be myself and be with people I love and care about in a community that generally cares about each other.”

Each of these individuals offered advice and reasons why this is a great place to live and thrive. It was wisdom of the people, by the people and for the people of the Copper Country.