Biz Notes

Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards
Nine Wisconsin-based businesses earned recognition under the 12th annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards program, sponsored by accounting firm Smith & Gesteland LLP, law firm Whyte, Hirschboeck, Dudek S.C., and First Business Bank. The program applauds the impact family-owned businesses have on the state. A panel of judges comprised of independent business leaders analyzes award nominations based on criteria such as a family business’ community contributions, the dynamic between the family and the business, and the innovation it employs. Award winners from southeastern Wisconsin this year included Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt Inc. and Brookfield-based Stan’s Fit For Your Feet. While CG Schmidt captured a grand award in the large company category, Stan’s Fit For Your Feet was given the “Sole of the Family” Award. All honorees were recognized during a May 14 ceremony held in Madison.

College Possible Milwaukee
Susan Mikulay, board chair of College Possible Milwaukee and an independent communications and business development consultant, has been named recipient of a 2015 Governor’s Award for Service – the Marty Stein Friend of National Service Exemplary Supporter Award. The honor, presented by Serve Wisconsin, highlights an individual or organization that has demonstrated remarkable support of a national service program in Wisconsin. The late Stein was the first president of the Serve Wisconsin board. College Possible Milwaukee, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure college is accessible for low-income students, nominated Mikulay in recognition of her contributions to its mission. She has backed the organization’s growth during the last three years with involvement in site visits, donor meetings, letter campaigns and phone call initiatives. College Possible Milwaukee credits her with helping pull in nearly $2 million in donations from area corporations, foundations and individuals. Mikulay was a personal friend to Stein and was presented with her award during a June 4 ceremony in Madison.

Colectivo Coffee Roasters
Danceworks Inc. has selected Milwaukee-based Colectivo Coffee Roasters as its “Mad Hot Miracle Maker” for 2015. The award honors individuals and organizations that have significantly supported the dance studio’s programming and outreach efforts. In 2011, Colectivo developed a custom blend of coffee for Danceworks dubbed “Mad Hot and Bold.” The coffee was sold as a way to raise funds and generate more awareness of Danceworks. Paul Miller, co-owner of Colectivo, accepted the Mad Hot Miracle Maker Award during the Mad Hot Celebration held on June 11 at La Lune Collection. The celebration served as the finale to Danceworks’ 2014-’15 programming and featured a performance by winners from the 2015 Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Competition. The Mad Hot Miracle Maker Award was established in 2013 and has previously been given to the BMO Harris Bradley Center and Don and Sallie Davis.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin named Maria Watts its Latina Leader of the Year. Watts is the Transform Milwaukee project manager for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. She started working on the public-private economic revitalization campaign in 2012, and has enlisted more than 100 partners and stakeholders from across the city to help create a transformation agenda for Milwaukee. WHEDA, which provides low-cost financing for housing, small business and agricultural development; has invested $114 million in the first three years of the Transform Milwaukee program, and has also garnered $178 million in public-private contributions. Watts has worked with the Milwaukee Latino and broader communities for 23 years, 16 of which have been at WHEDA. Through her work at the agency, Watts has helped public and private organizations grow using its resources. She previously worked as a housing coordinator at La Casa De Esperanza and as an assistant vice president for Tri-City National Bank. Watts also has served on several boards of directors, and currently serves as vice chair of the board at United Migrant Opportunity Services. Watts received the award on May 18 at the 27th annual Salute to Hispanic Women Conference and Latina Leadership Luncheon at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

White House of Music
Waukesha-based White House of Music has been declared one of the world’s top 100 musical instrument and product retailers by the National Association of Music Merchants. This marks the second year in a row the company has earned the honor from the association, whose membership is comprised of representatives from musical instrument manufacturers and retailers. The Top 100 award acknowledges companies that offer excellent customer service, support for music education, quality retail experiences, successful merchandising and marketing strategies, effective web and social media outreach, and sustainability for the future. Companies who submit nominations for the award are evaluated by a panel of judges. White House of Music is also a contender for the Dealer of the Year award, NAMM’s most significant honor for retailers, and seven other “Best of” awards: Best Store Design, Best Marketing and Sales Promotion, Best Online Engagement, Music Makes a Difference Award, Best Emerging Dealer, Best Store Turnaround and Best Customer Service. NAMM will honor its award winners during a July 10 ceremony and trade event in Nashville, Tenn.

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