Last night at Candy Industry’s 71st Kettle Awards, Mike Koch, v.p. of Morley’s Candy Co., received the gleaming copper kettle. Marty Palmer, president and ceo of Palmer Candy Co., Rick Ross, president and ceo of Galerie, and Dave Taiclet, president of the Gourmet Food Group of, Inc., nominees for the award, were also recognized at the event, which was held at the Union League Club in Chicago.

Koch’s entry into the confectionery goes back 43 years, when he was attending Notre Dame High School in 1973. He had responded to an employment ad that was placed by the Morley Candy Co. in East Detroit, Mich. His first job in the confectionery industry was sweeping and mopping floors after the production workers had gone home for the day.

After high school Mike stayed on at Morley’s and worked up to the position of candy maker. Upon returning from RCI’s Gus Pulakos International Candy School at Gannon University in 1980, he became Morley’s head candy maker, a position that Koch held for the next 15 years.

During the course of his career at Morley’s, he has served the company in many different capacities, including maintenance supervisor, quality control director, warehouse manager, director of R&D, and is currently vice president of manufacturing.

In 2008, he became part owner of company. Under his leadership, the company became ISO certified and SQF Level 2 certified. In June of 2015 Morley Candy became SQF Level 3 certified. Koch also holds a HACCP Manager certification from NSF International. In 2012 he was recognized by the Retail Confectioners International (RCI) with its President’s Award and in 2013 Koch was inducted into the National Confectionery Sales Association (NCSA)’s Candy Hall of Fame.

He has served on the RCI’s board of directors and is a past president of the organization. Koch is currently serving a term on the National Confectioners Association (NCA)’s board and has been a frequent speaker at the RCI and American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT) conferences.

He has been a member of the CEAB (Confectionery Education Advisory Board) since its inception and participates annually in the NCA’s Washington Forum, visiting members of Congress and the Senate to help promote the needs and interest of the confectionery industry. Koch is also a member of the NCA Candy Pac.

For more than 15 years, he has been Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, earning the Spark Plug Award from the Boy Scouts of America for his efforts in leading young men. He has served as chairman for the local American Cancer Societies, Relay for Life and is active in the advocacy program ACS Can.

Koch is an avid sailor and sits on the North Star Sail Club’s board of directors. For more than 25 years he has volunteered with the Lake Shore Public Schools, serving on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and has been the president of athletic boosters. He is the current president of Saint Clair Shores Goodfellows, an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that “No Child Goes With-Out a Christmas.”

Koch married Ann Marie Sadlowski in 1979, whom he met at Morley’s. Together they raised Sara, Michael Jr. and Matthew and have two granddaughters, Allyson and Emily.