Progress Lakeshore: To honor local businesses at annual awards breakfast

Register now for this May 5 event

MANITOWOC, Wis., April 17, 2015 – Progress Lakeshore’s fourth annual Excellence in Economic Development Awards Breakfast is set for Tuesday, May 5 at Knox’s Silver Valley Banquet Hall in Manitowoc from 7-9 a.m.

This year’s event is sponsored by Lakeshore Technical College (Platinum level sponsor) and BMO Harris Bank (Gold level sponsor).

Award sponsors are Ansay & Associates (Rising Star Award), Holy Family Memorial (Neighborhood Development Award), Schenck SC (Corporate Investment Award) and Leede Research (Economic Accelerator of the Year Award).

Four years ago Progress Lakeshore recognized the importance of honoring local businesses and individuals for their efforts in creating positive economic change in our community. This led to the development of the economic development organization’s first Excellence in Economic Development Awards in 2012.

Nominations are sought over several months, and award winners are selected by Progress Lakeshore’s executive committee via a nomination process. Winners are honored at an annual awards breakfast held at a local venue.

The Rising Star Award recognizes an individual or emerging small business that has developed their ideas, products and/or services into a viable competitive business.

The Neighborhood Development Award recognizes innovative real estate development or re-use projects which are purpose built or adaptively reused for the creation of jobs or for increasing the tax base. Winning projects will also serve as a catalyst for economic development and will demonstrate an innovative partnership approach between private and public sectors.

The Corporate Investment Award recognizes a business that has made a positive economic impact on the community (employment growth); has expanded the business facility or products/services (business growth); is active in community service and leadership; and has developed innovative efforts used to adapt to marketplace change.

The Economic Accelerator of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has played a key leadership role in economic development. Nominees must demonstrate effective leadership in mobilizing the development of programs and projects and be an advocate for economic development.

Last year, two businesses were presented with the Rising Star Award – KNM, LLC and Manitowoc Marina; the Neighborhood Development Award was presented to the Allie Family; the Corporate Investment Award was presented to Jagemann Stamping; and the Economic Accelerator of the Year Award was presented to David Less, former lead planner for the City of Manitowoc.

Receiving the Rising Star Award last year provided significant free press for KNM, LLC, a machining and industrial maintenance business located in Manitowoc. Co-owners Andy Mleziva and Kevin Krueger credit the award – along with their attendance at Progress Lakeshore’s Manufacturing Cluster meetings – with the development of connections that translated into business on KNM’s books.

“2014 was the first time we started going to Progress Lakeshore events,” said Krueger, president of KNM. “We don’t really do much advertising. Our business comes mostly from networking and face-to-face contacts. We’ve met people at these events that we otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Mleziva, vice president of KNM, says a local manufacturer joined their client list as a direct result of one of those meetings. “They’re a local business and they didn’t even know we existed,” commented Mleziva, who started KNM with Krueger in 2005. “These events are great forums for us. We’re really busy, but we find the time to attend most of them.”

KNM was celebrated at last year’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards Breakfast for experiencing substantial growth, as well as bolstering the array of products and services the business provides. “You have five or six manufacturing industries in Manitowoc and we are involved in every one of them,” said Mleziva. “Diversification is our advantage.” KNM strives to be a one-stop shop, serving as a maintenance machine shop that provides electromechanical, tooling, welding and other services, as well as project management. The company manufactures and refurbishes tool and die hardware and offers custom machining services.

To register for the 4th annual Excellence in Economic Development Awards Breakfast, go to or call 920.482.0540. Registration deadline is Thursday, April 30.

About Progress Lakeshore

For the past 10 years, Progress Lakeshore has offered free and confidential services to assist businesses accelerate growth, whether start-up or existing, new to the area or well established in the community. Progress Lakeshore is there to help businesses navigate unknown territories and come out successful – improving our area’s overall economy in the process.