If there’s one thing Michigan Saves knows about its authorized contractors — other than that they’re dedicated to helping customers become more energy efficient — it’s that they thrive on friendly competition. That’s why the organization created its spirited Beer and Wings contest.

Now in its third year, the contest rewards contractors who complete 24 or more loans in the last six months of the year with a party featuring tasty chicken wings and ice cold beer.

“Day in and day out, our contractors work hard to help their customers find safe and affordable ways to make energy upgrades,” says Michigan Saves customer service manager Todd Parker. “Unfortunately, they don’t get much recognition for their efforts. Our Beer and Wings program is one way we can demonstrate how much we value them and appreciate their work.”

This year, Michigan Saves will augment its program by honoring contractors in two new categories

  • Rookie of the Year — a contractor new to Michigan Saves who secures the most loans in 2016
  • Most Improved Player — a contractor who has been involved with Michigan Saves for several years but who experiences significant growth in the number or value of loans completed during the year

“We added these categories to help us open up the competition, particularly to smaller companies with smaller sales forces,” explains Parker.

July marks the beginning of this year’s qualifying loan period, which runs through December. Winners will be announced in February 2017 after late-year loans are closed and reported.

“Our authorized contractors are helping us change the face of energy use in Michigan,” says Mary Templeton, Michigan Saves’ executive director. “These parties not only give us a chance to show them how much we respect their work, but they also give contractors a chance to kick back and reflect on their success.”

Frank Mumford, owner of SIR Home Improvements and a two-time party winner, agrees.

“We love the Beer and Wings competition,” says Mumford. “It gives us a much-needed chance to get together and have a little fun. Plus, we get to meet the people involved with Michigan Saves who make a lot of our work possible.”

Mumford describes his company as a family organization with about 50 to 60 employees, more than half of whom clear their calendars whenever a Beer and Wings party is scheduled.

“It’s gotten to the point where people keep asking me when the next party is going be,” says Mumford. “Everyone wants to come. They look forward to it. It’s a great motivator, synergy-builder and bonding event for us.”

Mumford also appreciates the opportunity to put faces to names.

“The people at Michigan Saves — the program staff and our lenders — directly affect who we are, why we’re here and what we do,” he says. “It’s really great to get to know these people, learn about their work and see how what they do helps us.”