New North: Businesses clean up at annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards

Contact:         Joshua Morby

Mobile:           920.968.4197


NEW NORTH, February 29, 2008 – Three New North companies were among those honored at the 20th annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards celebration in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Plymouth-based Sargento Foods was named the Grand Award winner in the Mega category (1000+ employees), Bassett Mechanical in Kaukauna won the Grand Award in the Large category (300-999 employees), and J.J. Keller & Associates, based in Neenah, received a special “Strengthening Communities” award.

“The New North is proud to have such outstanding manufacturing companies call our region home,” said Jerry Murphy, Executive Director of the New North, Inc.  “These three companies join a growing list of businesses in Northeast Wisconsin that have been honored for excellence, both in the products they create and their contributions to the community.”

Companies were evaluated based on financial growth or consistency, technological advances, product development, environmental solutions, operational excellence/continuous improvement, commitment to employees, and effective research and development.

In 2007, Appleton-based Pierce Manufacturing won the Grand Award in the Mega category, and Giddings & Lewis Machine Tools in Fond du Lac received a special award for “Commitment of Employees & Community.”

“The New North’s great schools and talented workforce help provide the foundation for the success of companies like Sargento, Bassett Mechanical, and J.J. Keller,” Murphy said.  “As our region’s companies continue to gain recognition, the New North, Inc. will continue to demonstrate why our region is one of the best places in the country to live, work, and raise a family.”

New North, Inc. is a regional collaboration effort focused on promoting regional cooperation and economic development in an 18-county region in Northeast Wisconsin. The 18 counties included in the New North are Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee, and Waushara. To find out more information about New North, Inc., please visit our website at