Name that Airport!
At the Marquette County Board of Commissioners meeting this past Tuesday, the agenda included a Public Hearing regarding the proposal to come up with a new handle for Sawyer International.
What’s that you say? You’re just getting used to Sawyer International after years of calling it Marquette County Airport? And you don’t understand why the place needs a new name when you’d rather they put their efforts into more flights in and out of town?
Well, according to airport manager Duane DuRay, provided it’s approved by the County Commission, a name change is imminent and important. “Sawyer is looking at the larger picture and developing a Best in Class airport and the name is one of the items that we feel could be improved upon to reflect the image of the UP.”
A local advisory board is in place to help guide the process, while at the same time a consulting firm has been hired to lend marketing expertise. After a considerable amount of online and in-person research, the firm, Hiltachk Marketing Group of Sacramento, California, has come up with a couple of initial ideas, both incorporating a more geographical identity. Those names? The Upper Peninsula Michigan Regional Airport, and Marquette Regional Airport.
What’s that? You’re wondering why a not-very-local marketing firm was brought in, at some effort and expense, to come up with two names that just as easily could have been crafted during Wednesday’s Public Hearing?
That might be a stretch, considering the variety of opinions and suggestions that came out during public comment. Those offering up alternatives generally leaned towards a name that would honor someone instrumental in our airport and aviation history, unlike the K.I. Sawyer moniker, which pays tribute to our former County Road Commissioner, who’s credited with coming up with the highway center line for rural roads.
Several county residents who spoke at the meeting suggested a name that would memorialize Ishpeming’s Clarence Leonard “Kelly” Johnson. If you’re not familiar with Johnson, other than seeing his name attached to the airport access road, Google him. Fittingly remembered as a genius of aeronautical engineering and design, Johnson’s career is certainly worth celebrating. Whether or not that means his name ends up on the airport will be the decision of the county Board of Commissioners.
Although Chairman Gerald Corkin said they’re open to any and all ideas, he was also adamant that the name “Sawyer” has to be in there somewhere. He may have to backtrack on that, otherwise, why change the name?
The spokesperson for Hiltachk, addressing the meeting via Zoom, indicated that the current trend is for airport names to include a municipal reference, thereby seamlessly referencing the airport’s approximate location, hence, “Marquette” being included in both of Hiltachk’s suggested names. No argument with that, except neither of the two names on the first volley have any kind of a “wow” factor.
The only thing certain at this point is that not everybody’s going to be happy with the new name, no matter what it is. And you know what? That’s okay. They don’t have to be. And as far as rebranding in general goes, there are times when it’s the right thing to do. This might be one of those times.
What’s that? You have an idea for a new name? Let’s hear it!
A Wildcat Weekend
Marquette puck-heads will be giving all their attention to the Wildcats tomorrow night as they take on rival Michigan Tech in a CCHA Mason Cup Playoffs semi-final game. Northern got there by sweeping the best-of-three series last weekend against Bemidji State at the Berry.
A win in Houghton would send the ‘Cats to the championship game against the winner of the Minnesota State / Ferris State game. If Ferris could pull off the upset, a victorious Wildcat squad would host the title game next weekend. Otherwise, they’ll travel west to face the #1 seeded Mavericks for the automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.
After a cold spell in January, Coach Grant Potulny has his team primed for the post-season as they’ve won 8 of their last 9.
If you’re not making the trip to the Copper Country, the game will be broadcast live on TV6… faceoff at 6:07.
On the hardcourt, Coach Matt Majkrzak’s Green & Gold cagers took the GLIAC tournament title with a win last weekend over Michigan Tech. Northern finished the regular season in 2nd place, but ran the table in the conference playoffs for their first GLIAC tourney title in 23 years and now join 63 other teams vying for the Division II national championship.
The Cats’ will face former conference rival Hillsdale tomorrow night at 7:30 in Indianapolis. Northern lost convincingly to the Chargers way back in November in what Coach Matt called one of their worst games of the season. With so many young players in the mix, they’re likely a lot better now than they were then.
With a wealth of underclassmen doing a lot of the damage, the program looks good now, and for the near future.
The game will be on radio locally at 100.3 The Point.
For Northern fans of the round ball, it’s been a while. Nice to be able to finally tap into some of that March Madness.
Hockey and basketball aren’t the only programs experiencing success. The Women’s Lacrosse team, coached by Lindsey Majkrzak… yes, wife of Matt, is 4-0 on the early season, while Track & Field’s Crystal Walker will be competing at Nationals this week in the long jump.
And there’s more… Swim and Dive, Alpine Skiing, and Nordic Skiing are all at Nationals this week. Women’s wrestling just got done at Nationals in their second season and had two All-Americans… Diana Dzasezeva and Lydia Krauss.
As they say… it’s a great day to be a Wildcat!