Robert Kern, founder of Generac Power Systems Inc., leads a panel of
business award winners to be saluted at the Wisconsin Business &
Technology Expo, which will be presented by Small Business Times May
3-4 at Wisconsin State Fair Park.
The Expo is the largest business-to-business event in the state.
Kern founded Generac Power Systems Inc. in a rented garage in Wales,
Wis., in 1959. Today, the company is the largest manufacturer of
residential power generators in the world.
For his achievements as an entrepreneur, an employer and a
philanthropist, Kern has been named the recipient of the 2006 Small
Business Times Bravo! Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award.
Generac operates plants in Waukesha, Eagle and Whitewater, Wisconsin,
and in Maquoketa, Iowa. Kern, 80, remains involved in the day-to-day
operations of Generac 46 years after he started the company. Kern and
his wife, Patricia also are active philanthropists, as they donated
the funds to build the Kern Health Center at the Milwaukee School of
Kern will headline the awards to be bestowed at the Wisconsin Business
& Technology Expo at the Exposition Center at Wisconsin State Fair
The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards honor business leaders who are finding
innovative and effective ways to grow their companies. The complete
list of the Bravo! Entrepreneurs winners follows:
– Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Kern, founder and CEO of Generac
Power Systems Inc., Waukesha.
– Regional Spirit Award: Aldo Madrigrano, president of WOW
Distributing Company Inc., Sussex.
– Timothy Keane, founding director of the Marquette University Golden
Angels Network, Milwaukee.
– Nathaniel Zelazo, founder of Astronautics Corp. of America, Milwaukee.
– Andy Nunemaker, CEO of EMSystem LLC, West Allis.
– Patricia Jerominski, president and CEO of Independent Health Care
Health Plan (iCare), Milwaukee.
– Thomas Precia, founder, president and CEO of Integrated Risk
Solutions Inc., Delafield.
– Tom Brunner, president of Molded Rubber & Plastic Corp., Butler.
– Frank Cannella, founder and CEO of Canella Response Television
– Duke Long, founder, owner and president of Interstate Sawing Inc., West Bend.
– John “B.J.” Meyer, president of Jackson Concrete Inc., Jackson.
The May 3 Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards luncheon at the Expo will feature
a keynote presentation by author and consultant Jack Lannom, who will
share insights about how Wisconsin employers will need to adjust to
the looming labor shortage. With the mass retirements of baby boomers,
the labor shortage will be the worst in American history.
The May 4 luncheon at the Expo will feature the winners of the IQ
(Innovation Quotient) Awards. The IQ awards salute businesses that are
creating innovative products and services. The winners of the IQ
– Business – Cascio Interstate Music and Archer Guitars & Basses, New
Berlin, led by CEO Michael Houser.
– Construction & Commercial Real Estate – Keybridge Development
Group, Waukesha, led by CEO Scott Fergus.
– Consumer – Johnson Outdoors Inc., Racine, led by CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold.
– Insurance & Financial – Acuity Insurance, Sheboygan, led by CEO Ben Salzmann.
– Manufacturing – Pflow Industries Inc., Milwaukee, led by president Ted Ruehl.
– Medical & Health – Solaris Inc., West Allis, led by founder and
president Kathy Weatherly.
– Nonprofit – Social Development Commission, Milwaukee, led by CEO
– Software – Broadlook Technologies Inc., Pewaukee, led by founder
and CEO Donato Diorio.
– Technology/Internet – Jade International Inc., Brookfield, led by
president Daniel Fifield.
– Communications – Abrazo Multicultural Marketing & Communications,
Milwaukee, led by founder and president Nancy Hernandez.
The keynote speaker of the IQ Awards luncheon on May 4 will be Dave
Spurlock, partner and executive of the IBM Center for e-Business
Innovation in Chicago, who will discuss “New Strategies for
e-Commerce” and share insights from his work as a corporate consultant
for small businesses.
IBM operates North American Centers for e-Business Innovation in
Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., Edmonton, Toronto and
Vancouver. The company’s other centers are located in Europe in
Hamburg, Milan and Rome.
Spurlock leads the Chicago center and helps Midwestern companies
generate more revenue from their Web sites and the Internet. His
services include: visualization workshops; multi-channel business and
branding strategies; customer experience design; and custom
applications and system integration.
The winners of both the Bravo! Entrepreneur and the IQ Awards will be
profiled in an upcoming special supplement in Small Business Times.
The complete itinerary of the Wisconsin Business & Technology Expo is
available at www.biztimes.com/expo.