Nine Milwaukee-area business executives were inducted into the BizStarts Hall of Fame at the 2019 “BizStarts Honors Lights! Camera! Entrepreneurship!” event including Fiserv Corp.’s Jack Rooney and Sendik’s Food Market co-owner Ted Balistreri.
Hundreds of Milwaukee-area business and community leaders attended the annual event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson headquarters conference hall.
BizStarts president Dan Steininger (a BizTimes Milwaukee strategy columnist) kicked off the event by noting the venue, which made for the perfect setting given Harley Davidson’s humble beginning in Milwaukee.
“This is one of Harley’s first physical plants ever and here we are in the hall of the plant and it’s still here,” Steininger said. “Harley is an international brand and it all started back here in Milwaukee.”
In addition to Rooney and Balistreri, those inducted into the hall of fame included Steven Raasch of Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Jim Mueller and Bill Haack of Zywave, Tom Dalum of Dueco, Jerry Jendusa of EMTEQ and Todd Hoytink of Husco.
Many small businesses were also recognized at event as inspirational entrepreneurs of the year. The Inspirational Entrepreneur 2019 award winners included Kiley Peters of Brainchild Studios, Chad Johnson of MKEing Coffee, Becca Zwiefelhofer and Miles Borghgraef of Birch + Butcher, Denise Thomas of The Effective Communication Coach, LaMarr Love of Cookie Jar Baking Company and Asim Khan of ZYN.
After 11 years of declining the award, Steininger was also inducted into the BizStarts Hall of Fame. The award was presented by Anna Hanna, who was recently elected chairperson of the BizStarts Board.
“Earlier, Dan spoke of those who have the courage to start their own companies, put their own personal finances at risk and work unbelievable hours to grow their companies, are worthy of recognition,” Hanna said. “And we agree with that.”
Hanna said to convince Steininger to accept the award, a founder’s fund was created to continue investment into BizStarts.
“This year we told Dan that if he would accept the award, then we would start a founders fund to continue this good work,” Hanna said. “And we got him. Not only did he jump on the opportunity, but he insisted on being the first donor with a generous gift.”