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Traverse Connect Honors Michael A. Ascione with Distinguished Service Award

A family business owner with an extensive list of contributions to communities throughout northern Michigan is being honored posthumously with the 2021 Distinguished Service Award from Traverse Connect. 

Michael A. Ascione, the former President and CEO of American Waste, was selected by the Traverse Connect Board of Directors to receive the Distinguished Service Award. The DSA is among the region’s oldest and most prestigious civic awards, presented annually since 1929. Mr. Ascione will be honored at the Distinguished Service Award Luncheon in late May 2022.   

Michael Ascione graduated from Kalkaska High School and attended Northwestern Michigan College. Ascione’s career began at Northern A-1, founded by his father, Edward Ascione, Sr., just five years after relocating his young family to northern Michigan from the Detroit area. After founding American Waste, Mike served as Co-President with his brother, Edward, Jr., for nearly 20 years. Throughout his career, Mike remained committed to the principle of doing good while doing what was good for business. Mike served the Grand Traverse Region’s nonprofit and business communities by holding positions on the boards of Traverse Connect, Kalkaska Area Chamber of Commerce, Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority, Northern Michigan DeColores Ministries, Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources, The Father Fred Foundation, Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation, and Northwestern Michigan College Foundation. Mike held committee positions with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Michigan, receiving the “Big Defender” award with his wife Jeanne in 2019. Mike gave much of his time to the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, volunteering as Co-Chair of the most recent capital campaign to build the new Immaculate Conception Elementary School. Michael A. Ascione passed unexpectedly in November 2020.  

“Mike wanted everyone to succeed; he believed that all boats rise together with a strong community. Mike was gifted with his own personal business savvy, and he generously shared his talents and his knowledge with virtually all who asked his advice,” said Constance Deneweth, former CEO of Traverse City State Bank.  

Business partner and friend Andrew Smits offered his recollection of Mike’s business contributions, “Few mention Mike’s contribution to our quality of life and environment. Few know about the many ways in which his efforts protected our water, our air, and the ecosystem that make our region unique and a desirable place to live. I’m pleased to share my knowledge of Mike Ascione, the visionary Environmentalist. His more-visible community involvement and philanthropy is what most remember as his contributions to our area, but my perspective on his measurable, demonstrated impact in furthering the quality of our lives is what I want others to know of my friend and colleague.” 

Michael Ascione will be honored at the Distinguished Service Award Luncheon in May 2022. The award will be presented to his wife Jeanne, and children Marina and Alex, by the 2010 DSA Recipient, Jan Warren.