Innovator of the Year Award in Third Annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards

 LANSING, Mich. — The Holland Energy Fund was among eight organizations and individuals recognized at the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards (GEEA) for successful efforts to reduce energy waste. The winners were announced by Gov. Rick Snyder and honored at a ceremony in Detroit on October 19.

The Holland Energy Fund—a bold initiative supported by the City of Holland, the Holland Board of Public Works, community members and Michigan Saves—was awarded for striving to make Holland a world-class leader in energy security, affordability, sustainability and efficiency. To reach that goal, the fund offers homeowners low, fixed-interest loans that can be paid back through electric bills. It allows participants to make a wide range of deep energy-saving upgrades—from installing new windows and insulation and updating lighting to replacing appliances, wasteful furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters.

“Reducing energy waste, along with ensuring energy reliability and advancing clean energy, is a key component of Michigan’s energy policy,” said the governor. “We’re proud of the steps taken by the individuals and organizations we’re honoring because collectively they illustrate what can be done to reduce energy waste and save money, both of which strengthen Michigan’s economy.”

The Innovator of the Year award is presented each year to a person, organization, program, company, or product that drives innovation and significant progress in Michigan’s energy-efficiency industry. This year, the other finalists in this category were Walt Dindoffer of Temperance and Carla Walker-Miller of Detroit. Southwest Housing Solutions of Detroit received an honorable mention.

Following is a comprehensive list of the 2017 honorees by category.

Best Residential Project
Winner: Tom Tishler, Kalamazoo
Finalist: Marti and Tom Burbeck, Ann Arbor
Finalist: Sandra Keirnan, Holland 

Best Public Project
Winner: Ewen-Trout Creek School District, Ewen
Finalist: Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo
Finalist: Public Libraries of Saginaw, Saginaw
Honorable Mention: Ann Arbor Housing Commission, Ann Arbor

Best Agriculture Project
Winner: Friske Orchards, Charlevoix
Finalist: Grand Valley Farms, Rives Junction
Finalist: Sklarczyk Seed Farm, Johannesburg
Honorable Mention: Nash Greenhouses, LLC, Kalamazoo

Best Industrial/Manufacturing Project
Winner: HyCAL Corporation, Gibraltar
Finalist: Verso Corporation, Escanaba 

Best Commercial Project (Private)
Winner: Gateway Village, Sturgis
Finalist: First Housing Corporation, Lansing
Finalist: Islamic Center of America, Dearborn
Honorable Mention: Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing

Contractor of the Year
Winner: Better World Builders, LLC, Kalamazoo
Finalist: Don Earl Heating & A/C, Sault Ste. Marie
Finalist: Medler Electric Company, Alma

Innovator of the Year
Winner: Holland Energy Fund, Holland
Finalist: Walt Dindoffer, Temperance
Finalist: Carla Walker-Miller, Detroit
Honorable Mention: Southwest Housing Solutions, Detroit 

Best Communication or Education Program
Winner: Consumers Energy, Okemos
Finalist: GreenHome Institute, Grand Rapids
Finalist: The Heat and Warmth Fund, Detroit

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The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards honor Michigan individuals and organizations who have made reducing energy waste and implementing energy-efficient practices part of their everyday lives. The awards would not be possible without the support of the Department of Energy and the Michigan Agency for Energy through the Michigan Energy Office. Other sponsors include CLEAResult; Consumers Energy; Dow Chemical Company; DTE Energy; DNV GL; ICF; ITC, a Fortis Company; and SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company.

For more information on the awards, go to For winner and finalist photos and project descriptions, click on “Finalists.”