2018 Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award Winners Announced

Madison, WI – May 3, 2018: Eight family businesses were honored at the fifteenth annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award banquet held Thursday evening at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. Three grand awards were presented along with four special awards.

“We love to tell the stories of the family businesses that are nominated for this award. The resilience, creativity, ethical standards, and generosity of these businesses is inspiring. We are proud to sponsor this program” stated James Hartlieb, President of co-sponsor First Business Bank.

Twenty-three companies were nominated for the awards. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges. Grand Awards were presented in three size categories: Large (100+ employees), Medium (25-99), and Small (under 25). Special awards were given by the judges to companies excelling in a particular area.

This year’s winners come from all corners of the state, from the Northwoods of Wisconsin, to small rural villages, to Metro-Milwaukee. Proof that family businesses are truly in the fabric of our state. There are second through fifth generation businesses in agriculture, retail, financial services, metal fabrication, food processing, and printing.

Grand Awards

Don Johnson Auto Group, Rice Lake                     Large Company

Chapter 2, Inc., Lake Mills                                        Medium Company

Ayers Furniture Company, Ridgeway                    Small Company

Special Awards/Title

Baker’s Quality Pizza Crusts, Inc., Waukesha       Rising to the Top

Diversified Seed Producers, LLC, DeForest          Growing Strong

Empire Screen Printing, Inc., Onalaska                 I Am Not Afraid

Heck Capital Advisors, LLC, Rhinelander               Building a Lasting Legacy

About the Award: The Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award is sponsored by Smith & Gesteland, LLP, a Madison-based CPA and Business Consulting firm, First Business Bank, and the Husch Blackwell law firm, to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of family businesses that make an impact on their communities and on the Wisconsin economy.

Further information about the award can be found at www.familybusinessaward.com.


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