Dept. of Commerce: State departments recognize SBA award winners

Contact: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661

MADISON – Department of Commerce Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel and Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Secretary Lorrie T. Heinemann today congratulated 14 Wisconsin small businesses and small business advocates that earned recognition as small business champions from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

“All the award winners deserve recognition for their entrepreneurial spirit, vision, and determination to succeed,” said Secretary Leinenkugel. “Governor Jim Doyle strongly believes in promoting a positive entrepreneurial climate, and increasingly across our state entrepreneurs are turning their dreams and ideas into thriving businesses.”

“Congratulations to the Wisconsin SBA award winners on their achievements,” said Secretary Heinemann. “We are proud to have successful entrepreneurs in our state be recognized for their tenacity and talent to get the job done. With over 300,000 business entities registered to do business in Wisconsin and a growing number registering with the DFI each day, we make every effort to ensure our Corporate Services team is efficient and welcoming to new business in WI.

The following Wisconsin businesses received recognition not only as SBA Small Business Champions but also as Region V Champion Award winners. Wisconsin and Michigan led the region with four region V awards each. Region V comprises Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin:

* Small Business Journalist

Wisconsin – Mike Klein, Publisher and Editorial Director

WTN Media

* Financial Services Champion

Wisconsin – Michael Phillips, Vice President

National City Bank

* SBA Young Entrepreneur

Wisconsin – LaToya Robbins, Owner/Operator

LaPre Enterprises, Inc

* Women in Business Champion

Wisconsin – Laurie Benson, CEO and Founder

Inacom Information Systems

SBA’s Wisconsin 2009 Small Business Champions and special category winners make up a variety of businesses throughout the state. The winners are:

* SBA Small Business Journalist of the Year – REGIONAL WINNER – Michael Klein, Founder, President, Editorial Director of WTN Media (Wisconsin Technology Network), Verona – Digitally delivers journalism about small business and the new technology economy.

* SBA Financial Services Champion – REGIONAL WINNER – Michael Phillips, Vice President, National City Bank, Milwaukee – Through his knowledge of various programs, Mike has improved financial services for minorities and other small businesses.

* SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year – REGIONAL WINNER – LaToya Robbins, Owner/Operator of LaPre Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a X-Cite Childcare, Racine – Childcare services.

* SBA Woman In Business Champion – REGIONAL WINNER – Laurie Benson, CEO of Inacom Information Systems, Madison – Provides technology solutions for business and education clients throughout Wisconsin and across the country.

* SBA Small Business Exporter Champion – Daniel W. Schwarz, President/Owner of Dan’s Fish, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay – Wisconsin’s largest exporter of Great Lakes fish and caviar.

* SBA Minority Small Business Champion – Wallace White, Principal/CEO of W2 Excel, LLC in Milwaukee – Provides executive management coaching with focus on business development and marketing. Provides management training, team building and relationship development to both public and private sectors.

* SBA Home Based Business Champion – Russell W. Roberts, Manager of Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) Small Business Center – Manages the WCTC Small Business Center with a community-service focus on serving entrepreneurs throughout Wisconsin.

* SBA Veteran Small Business Champion – Carl Bogar, Local Veteran Employment Representative for the State of Wisconsin, DWD, Office of Veteran Affairs – Assists service members’ transition from the military to civilian lifestyle.

* Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year – TAPCO (Traffic & Parking Control Co., Inc.), Brown Deer – Fifty-three year old family run small business that manufacturers, distributes and services innovations in safety.

* SBA Emerging Small Business Person of the Year – Lisa Piikkila, Co-Owner/Creative Director and Michelle Richard, Co-Owner/Director of Operations of Coalesce, Inc. in Appleton – Full service marketing and communications agency.

* SBA Minority Small Person of the Year – Jorge Lopez, President of Nuvo Construction in Milwaukee – General contracting company.

* Small Business Development Center Service Excellence Award – Small Business Development Center in Madison – Business counseling and ongoing management education.

* Women’s Business Center Service Excellence – Wendy K. Baumann, President/CVO of Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) in Milwaukee. – Promotes economic development and personal self-sufficiency. Provides business education, one-on-one business assistance and access to capital.

* Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery–Stephanie Wright, Owner of Wright Care Kiddie Kampus Day Care & Preschool in Fond du Lac.

Every year since 1963, the president has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes this special impact made by outstanding small business owners, and by champions of America’s entrepreneurs. In 2009, National Small Business Week (May 17-22) will honor the estimated 26.8 million small businesses in America. Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy.