GRAND RAPIDS — Fred Keller, chair and CEO of Cascade Engineering is this year’s recipient of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition’s Spirit of Michigan Award.
The Spirit of Michigan Award is given each year to a Michigan business leader who displays entrepreneurial spirit, contributes significantly to the state’s economic recovery efforts, is actively involved in Michigan’s entrepreneurial community, and has built a business that employs a primarily Michigan-based workforce.
“I am honored to be recognized by my peers as the 2013 Spirit of Michigan Award recipient,” said Keller. “It’s also important to note the enormous impact made by the wonderful people at Cascade Engineering and many others around our great state who contribute in large and small ways every day to accelerating Michigan’s growth. They represent the true ‘spirit’ of Michigan and deserve recognition as well. As a business and a community, we’re all striving for a strong economy and it’s that continued commitment that is showing the rest of the country what an amazing place it is that we choose to call home.”
A materials science engineer by training, Keller founded Cascade Engineering in 1973. The company, which comprises strategic business units.
In addition to his role as Chair and CEO at Cascade, Keller teaches a course on Entrepreneurship in the Emerging Sustainable Economy at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. He formerly served as board chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council and of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Board of Trustees, where he remains a board member today. A Grand Rapids, Mich. native, Keller earned a bachelor’s degree in materials science engineering from Cornell University and a master’s degree in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.