Sanders V.P. honored with Candy Industry’s Most Prestigious Annual Award

Sanders & Morley Candy Makers part owner and Vice President of Manufacturing, Mike Koch, Sr. receives the candy industry's prestigious Kettle Award

Sanders V.P. honored with Candy Industry’s Most Prestigious Annual Award

Clinton Township, Mich., June 1, 2016 – Sanders and Morley Candy Makers recently announced that its Vice President of Manufacturing, Mike Koch, Sr. was named the 2016 Kettle Award recipient at an awards reception held during this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo. With only four industry professionals receiving a nomination, the Kettle Award is widely considered the highest recognition an individual working within the U.S. confectionery industry can attain.

Koch expressed his gratitude during a heartfelt acceptance speech.

“They say hard work is its own reward, but to be recognized by one’s peers is the greatest honor an individual can receive,” Koch said. “Today I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of this award.”

Koch began his career with Morley Candy Makers in 1973 as a high school student sweeping and mopping the chocolate factory floors each night. Before becoming vice president of manufacturing, Koch took on several roles within the organization including candy maker, maintenance supervisor, quality control director, warehouse manager and director of research & development. In 2008, he also became part owner of the company. Under his leadership, Sanders and Morley Candy Makers became ISO certified and attained SQF Level 3 certification.

Koch’s passion for confections extends far beyond his accomplishments at Morley. He has been an active member of the Confectionery Education Advisory Board since its inception and is often a speaker and educator at Retail Confectioners International (RCI) and American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT) education forums and conventions. He has also served on the RCI’s board of directors and is a past president of the organization. Furthermore, Koch recently completed his term as a board member of the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA).

Koch is a member of the NCA Candy Pac and he 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.

His tireless efforts to help propel the candy industry have not gone unnoticed. Prior to receiving this year’s Kettle Award, Koch received the RCI President’s Award in 2012 and in 2013 he was inducted into the National Confectionery Sales Association (NCSA)’s Candy Hall of Fame.

“Many people know how much Mike has done for the candy industry, but his commitment to the local community is also quite admirable,” said Koch’s wife, Ann Marie. “He has a true passion for life and I love that he is always finding the next opportunity that will allow him to help others.”

Koch has been Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for more than 15 years and earned the Spark Plug Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He has served as chairman for the local American Cancer Societies, Relay for Life and is active in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocacy program.

For 25 years, he has also 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 is an avid sailor and sits on the North Star Sail Club’s board of directors.

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



PR Contact:

Nakia Mills 
Director of eCommerce & Public Relations


About Sanders:

Sanders is a classic national brand featuring premium chocolates, dessert toppings and baked goods using original recipes dating as far back as 1875. Started by Fred Sanders in Detroit, Michigan, the brand is now owned by Morley Candy Makers, Inc., with its own rich history dating back to 1919. Sanders products can be found in multiple retailers across the United States, at Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes in Michigan, or online at


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