UW-Oshkosh: Family Business Forum Membership Climbs to 40

CONTACT:             Susan Schierstedt, (920) 424-2257

OSHKOSH – Three family businesses have joined the Wisconsin Family Business Forum (WFBF) at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

The addition of Natural Ovens Bakery, Manitowoc; Trudell Trailers, De Pere; and Vern’s Cheese Inc., Chilton, brings the group’s membership to 40. The WFBF is the oldest family business organization in Wisconsin, with a membership that includes family businesses and sponsoring family business professional organizations.

Paul Stitt founded Natural Ovens Bakery in 1976. The company makes healthy, nutritious and tasty breads, bagels, cookies, muffins, buns, rolls, granola and granola bars fortified with vitamins and minerals. There are no artificial preservatives, dough conditioners, trans-fats or unnatural ingredients.

Family members in the business include chairman Paul Stitt; president Barbara Stitt; and Chelle Blaszczyk, sales and communications and marketing manager.

Vern and Edith Knoespel founded Vern’s Cheese Inc. in 1964.  The business is a wholesale distributor of a large variety of food products, including many domestic and imported cheeses, meat products, food-service items, candy, beverages, snacks and specialty items. 

Vern’s Cheese operates in several states. Family members in the business include owners Vern and Edith Knoespel; Kelly Kress, office manager; Wayne Kress, plant manager; Kurt Knoespel, sales/delivery; Kari See, accounts receivable manager; Kristi Schnell, order entry manager; and Randy Schnell, sales/delivery.

Ken Trudell founded Trudell Trailers, a full-service semitrailer distributor, in 1971. With locations in Green Bay, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Wausau and Fargo, N.D., more than 100 employees handle customers.       As a distributor for new Great Dane trailers, Trudell’s offers new and used trailer sales, service and repairs, rentals and leasing, and aftermarket parts.

Family members in the business include chief executive officer Ken Trudell and executive vice president Dennis Trudell. Non-family business members include president David Turbiville and chief financial officer Tom Farley. 

WFBF’s sponsoring family business professional organizations include First National Bank-Fox Valley, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh and Appleton; McCarty Curry Wydeven Peeters and Haak, Kaukauna; Retained Earnings Company/Mass Mutual Financial Group, Neenah; Right Management Consultants, Appleton; Schenck Business Solutions, Appleton; and the UW-Oshkosh College of Business Administration. The Business News of Green Bay is an associate sponsoring organization.

Forum members work together to foster healthy family businesses.