Manufacturers top list of Future 50 winners

For the third year in a row, manufacturers that make everything from plastics coatings and steel tubes to custom hardware and interactive kiosks hold the most spots – 15 – on Council of Small Business Executives Future 50 list for 2014.

The Future 50 program, now in its 27th year, recognizes top locally-owned companies that have been in business for at least three years and are growing rapidly in both revenue and employment.

This year’s list – and the business community in general – reflect the Milwaukee region’s past as a manufacturing powerhouse and its innovative future, according to the Metropolitan Association of Commerce and COSBE.

“We are proud of the range of companies that are receiving the award and believe they represent a robust economic future,” said Mary Steinbrecher, executive director of the COSBE.

Technology firms also have a strong showing on this year’s list (10 of the winners fall into that category).

“As businesses continue to recover from the recession, we see more and more of them reinvesting in their business – whether that’s technology solutions, marketing communications or office furniture,” said Steinbrecher.

The list also includes such diverse businesses as the Lowlands group, which owns seven bar/restaurants in the Milwaukee area, Stella & Chewy’s, a manufacturer of frozen organic pet food, and Angelic Bakehouse, which makes popular sprouted grain bread products.

Combined revenue figures for all 50 firms in 2013 reported a 15-percent increase in growth over the previous year, and by year-end, the firms are predicting another 15-percent growth rate. Total employment for all 50 firms was 4,941 in 2013 and the companies are projecting to employ 5,550 by the end of this year (a 12-percent increase). Notably, nearly half of the firms (46 percent) say they do more than 75 percent of their business with customers outside the Milwaukee region – a measure of how much new income is brought into the region.

On the 2014 Future 50 application, MMAC/COSBE asked applicants how they would recommend strengthening the entrepreneurial climate in the Milwaukee tegion. Answers included more incentives for start-ups; addressing failures in our education system; better access to financial resources; and bolstering Milwaukee’s image.

“Portraying Milwaukee as an attractive and fun place to live and work is vital,” said Timothy Rudd with M&M Office Interiors.

“We need continued support of incubator programs that encourage technology startups and foster the growth and development of a technical talent pool,” said Steven Borucki from Offsite LLC.

The 2014 Future 50 winners will be recognized for their achievements at the annual awards luncheon to be held Thursday, Sept. 11, at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee Hotel.  Park Bank is the long-standing partner and presenting sponsor of the Future 50 program. The Future 50 Luncheon sponsors include Chortek, Findorff, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. BizTimes Media is the media sponsor of the program and will produce profiles of the winners.

To view the list of the 2014 Future 50 companies, click here.

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