Ironwood’s Bob Jacquart to receive lifetime achievement award from state manufacturing group

What’s happening: Ironwood native Bob Jacquart will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Michigan Manufacturers Association at the organization’s 2022 MFG Excellence Awards on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Lansing. Jacquart is responsible for taking on and significantly growing two notable Upper Peninsula-based businesses in his 50-plus year career: Ironwood’s Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP) and Stormy Kromer.

About the award: The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) will recognize Bob with the MFG Lifetime Achievement Award at their 2022 MFG Excellence Awards, a celebration of state manufacturers held each year. This is also the 120th anniversary of the MMA organization, a statewide advocacy group that supports Michigan manufacturers.

Bona fides: It was Bob’s father, Robert, that started Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP) in Ironwood in 1958. Bob would join the organization in 1971, eventually buying the family business in 1983. He’s credited with growing JFP from a two-person storefront to an 80,000 sq. ft. manufacturing operation and employing more than 120 workers. Bob is also credited with saving and reinvigorating the iconic Stormy Kromer brand, having purchased manufacturing rights to the brand in 2001. At the time of purchase, Stormy Kromer sold 3,900 hats per year and was on the brink of shutting down. Today, the maker of the signature line of U.P. winter wear manufactures 3,900 Stormy Kromer caps per week, having expanded the product line and grown from 18 dealers to 900 dealers.

But wait, there’s more: In addition to running JFP and Stormy Kromer, Bob has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the U.S. Nordic Sport Board of Directors, Gogebic Community College Board of Trustees, Michigan Technological University Board of Control, Northland College Board of Trustees, Aspirus Inc. Board of Directors, and the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Ninth District Advisory Board. He is also a longtime board member of Copper Peak and the Chair of the Organizing Committee for future meets, where he’s helped revitalize what’s billed as “the largest ski jump in North America.”

What he’s saying: “It gives me great pride to represent the manufacturing community of the Upper Peninsula and to manufacture products here that ship all over the world,” Bob Jacquart says. “As an Ironwood native, I have spent my entire career in manufacturing and I truly believe any problem can be solved with innovation and some tinkering. I’m a mechanic and maker at heart.”
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