Annual awards taking nominations for the brightest young people of the Great Lakes Bay region

Recognizing the upward, bright, and young people of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw counties.

For the past 15 years, that’s just what the RUBY Awards have done, acknowledging the work of the Great Lakes Bay Region’s best and brightest professionals under the age of 40.

The nomination window has officially opened for the RUBY Awards, an acronym for Recognizing the Upward, Bright, and Young. The name of the award also acknowledges the ruby itself, which is traditionally given as a gift on a 40th anniversary.

The public is invited to submit their nominations for the award. Eligible nominees must be 39 or younger as of Dec. 31, and either work or live in Bay, Midland, or Saginaw counties.

The deadline for nominations is Oct. 27.

"We’re looking at people’s careers. What have they achieved thus far?" says Margo Winieckie, senior vice president of 1st State Bank. The bank started the awards in 2005.

First State Bank itself opened in Saginaw in 2004. The RUBY Awards were devised as a way to both give back to the business community and recognize the young people that were staying and succeeding in the region.

"At the time, a lot of young people were leaving the area," Winieckie says.

"So [founding president and CEO] Rick Goedert said, 'Let's point out the wonderful opportunities that young people do have here. Let’s not wait until they’re 60 or 70 years old to honor them'."

Sixteen years and 170 recipients later, and the RUBY Awards are still going strong.

COVID-19 hasn’t affected the nomination process, Winieckie says. They’re on track to receive 100 nominations, which is standard for the past several years.

COVID-19 has affected the award ceremony itself, however. Organizers expect the typically late winter award ceremony and banquet to be held virtually in February 2021. Winners will still receive their trophies and spotlight profiles in Great Lakes Bay Business Magazine, however.

"We don’t know exactly how that’s all going to turn out. We’re still brainstorming with local production companies," Winieckie says. "But we will have something."

Nominations for the 16th annual RUBY Awards are accepted on the 1st State Bank website.

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