Donald Baumgartner to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at BizExpo

Winners of Bravo! Entrepreneur and I.Q. awards also announced

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Donald Baumgartner, the founder of Milwaukee-based Paper Machinery Corp., will receive the 2019 Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by BizTimes Media.

The award will be presented to Baumgartner at the 15th annual BizExpo on Thursday, May 30, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

Paper Machinery Corp. was founded in 1951. Baumgartner grew the business to become the world’s leading producer of cup and container forming machinery. The company has 250 employees at a 120,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Milwaukee and serves a global market with more than 2,500 installations in more than 40 countries.

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In 2016, Baumgartner surprised many of those employees by announcing that he was selling the company to them under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Baumgartner said he made the move because he wanted the employees who had helped make the company successful to benefit as owners and he wanted to make sure the company would remain in Milwaukee.

Baumgartner, who personally holds patents on machines for making paper drinking cups, now serves as the chairman of the company’s board.

In addition, Baumgartner and his wife, Donna, are world travelers and have made numerous contributions to support Milwaukee’s cultural assets.

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Donald Baumgartner is a past president of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s board of trustees and served as president and chairman of the museum’s Building Committee during the construction of the Santiago Calatrava-designed addition and was involved in selecting Calatrava as the architect for the project.

Donald and Donna are major supporters of the Milwaukee Ballet and gave $10 million to help fund the Baumgartner Center for Dance, which is under construction in the Historic Third Ward and will be the new administrative and rehearsal center for the Ballet.

They are also supporters of the Florentine Opera Company and gave $1.5 million to the company’s Studio Artist program, and are lead donors for the latest Milwaukee Film capital campaign.

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Baumgartner joins an illustrious list of past recipients of the Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award, including: Tim Keane, president of Keane Consultants and director of Golden Angels Investors; Carol Schneider, founder and CEO of SEEK Careers/Staffing Inc.; George and Julie Mosher, co-founders of National Business Furniture; Steve Laughlin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Laughlin Constable; Gary Grunau, real estate developer and president of Grucon Group LLC; Michael Cudahy, founder of Marquette Electronics and philanthropist; Sheldon Lubar, founder and chairman of Lubar & Co. in Milwaukee; Fritz and Debra Usinger of Usinger’s Famous Sausage; Richard Pieper Sr., chairman of PPC Partners Inc.; Stephen Marcus, former CEO of The Marcus Corp.; George Dalton, former CEO of Fiserv Inc.; Robert Kern, former CEO of Generac; Joe Zilber, former CEO of Zilber Ltd.; and Harry Quadracci, former CEO of Quad/Graphics Inc.

Baumgartner will receive the Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Bravo! Entrepreneur and I.Q. (Innovation Quotient) Awards luncheon at BizExpo.

Nominations for the Bravo and I.Q. Awards are submitted by readers and winners were selected by the BizTimes Media editorial team.

The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards salute dynamic and visionary leaders in business in southeastern Wisconsin. They have demonstrated strong business growth, as well as considerable impact in the community.

The 2019 Bravo! Entrepreneur Award recipients are:

  • Joe Fazio, Commerce State Bank
  • Madan Kandula, ADVENT
  • John Kissinger, GRAEF
  • Trueman McGee, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls
  • Stacy Peterson, Connoils
  • John Rinaldi, Real Time Automation
  • Paul Stillmark, 7Summits
  • Richard Yau, Bright Cellars

Que and Khalif El-Amin, owners of Young Enterprising Society, will receive the annual Bravo! Entrepreneur Regional Spirit Award.

The I.Q. Awards recognize southeastern Wisconsin companies or organizations that have developed innovative products, services or processes.

The I.Q. Award recipients are:

  • Chasing Paper
  • DeltaHawk Engines
  • HellermannTyton
  • Jason Inc./Janesville Acoustics
  • Marquette University/the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.
  • MARS IT Corp.
  • PartsBadger
  • Riverwater Partners
  • TAI Diagnostics
  • TechCanary

To register to attend the Bravo! Entrepreneur and I.Q. awards luncheon, visit

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