Junior Achievement grooms tomorrow’s leaders

    Over the past year, business leaders in our community have been vocal about steps Milwaukee needs to take to improve its overall business climate and grow our local economy, starting with enhancing our education system and promoting a greater understanding of business and capitalism.

    It is important to look at this dialogue as a call to action, and it is equally important to highlight the efforts that are underway in our region to impact our young people and reach this goal.

    On Tuesday, April 22, Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame honors will be bestowed upon three new laureates whose business innovations, effective management and civic involvement made a difference in companies and communities throughout the state. These laureates are exemplary of what it takes to move a region forward and invoke positive change.

    In particular, the laureates are recognized for the high standards they have set as role models for Wisconsin’s young people – our future leaders. I applaud the efforts to honor these important leaders in our business community and encourage participation in programs aimed to grow business leaders from a young age.

    Each year, the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held to benefit Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, whose purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
    It is the largest and fastest growing nonprofit economics and financial literacy education organization in the world, reaching approximately 8 million students worldwide, and is a critical component to overcoming business and economic challenges in any region, including ours. With a focus on business, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, ethics and related life skills, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin is helping to pave the way for the successful leaders of tomorrow.

    The inductees announced at this year’s ceremony are innovative business leaders who have positively shaped Wisconsin’s business climate.

    The 2008 class of laureates includes innovative leaders such as Don Davis, who has provided leadership for significant growth of Rockwell Automation in our local community, region and outside the United States. Similar honors will be shared with other statewide business leaders Robert Cervenka of Phillips Plastic Corp. and Leonard Gentine of Sargento Foods.

    I encourage anyone looking for examples of business leaders’ efforts to improve our education system and promote an entrepreneurial spirit to attend the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame event and hear the accomplishments and commitments these leaders have made to the community.

    In addition, I challenge each of us to answer the personal call to action to become involved with an organization such as Junior Achievement to ensure a continued crop of bright business leadership is grown right here in Wisconsin.

    For more information on the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame event visit http://wisconsin.ja.org.

    Mark Furlong, president and chief executive officer of Marshall & Illsley Corp., also is the current board chair of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

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