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2016 Ovation Awards

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance is proud to present the 2016 Ovation Awards, formerly known as the Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards. The Ovation Awards recognize excellence and achievement in business throughout Kenosha County.

This years' awards will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside. More info / Registration

2015 Awards Dinner Photo Gallery | Videos of past award winners | 2015 BizTimes winner profiles

2016 Business Excellence Award Winners:

Business of the Year: Uline

In 1980, Liz and her husband Dick Uihlein recognized a need for a local shipping supply distributor and started Uline in 1980 with a single product - a carton sizer - out of their basement. Today, this family-owned and operated company is recognized as one of the leading shipping supply distributors in the North America. Over the last decade, Uline has seen double digit organic sales growth and now operates eleven North American branches with more than 30,000 products and over 5,000 employees.

Uline relocated to Pleasant Prairie from Waukegan, Illinois in 2009 with an initial footprint of approximately 1.2 million square feet between its corporate Ulineheadquarters campus and adjacent distribution facility.

Just a few years later, in June 2014, the company announced a major expansion at its corporate campus: a 3,000-square-foot second corporate headquarters building and a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution facility. The company also announced the relocation of its Midwest Distribution Center campus to the City of Kenosha from Waukegan. The new campus will have an 800,000-square-foot distribution center with 60,000-square-feet of office. Uline currently has numerous other expansion projects outside of Kenosha County including new buildings in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada; Monterrey and Mexicali, Mexico; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and Ontario, California.

In addition to being one of Kenosha County’s largest employers, it is also one of its most generous corporate citizens. Uline donates significant financial resources to local organizations and encourages its employees to donate their time and expertise to them as well. Uline and its employees volunteer and financially support Habitat for Humanity, the Boys & Girls Club, United Way's Day of Action and Day of Caring, Strive and many, many others.

Small Business of the Year: Partners In Design Architects, Inc.

Partners in Design Architects is a full-service architectural firm serving southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois in addition to having completed projects nationwide. The firm was founded in 1991 by Thomas O’Connell Jr. and Werner Brisske and includes a third principal, Mark Molinaro Jr. Partners in Design Architects is located in the HarborView Office Center in downtown Kenosha as Partners in Designwell as a second location in Riverwoods, Illinois.

Both O’Connell and Brisske were based in Illinois and took a chance on moving north to Kenosha County during a time of significant change – its major employer, Chrysler Corporation, had recently shuttered its lakefront plant and Kenosha officials, developers and business owners convinced the young architects that they had a unique opportunity to be a part of reshaping and reinventing Kenosha County.

Now in the firm’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, it is evident that the gamble paid off. Partners in Design Architects has enjoyed a great deal of success and credits their staff of 23 and extensive list of clients. Major local projects include the LakeView RecPlex, Riley Construction, numerous Gateway Technical College projects, the Sturtevant Amtrak Station, and many of the buildings in LakeView Corporate Park. While primarily a regional firm, Partners in Design Architects has also designed several projects across the country for their local clients.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Bob Lee, Jr., CEO, Lee Plumbing Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

Lee Plumbing Mechanical Contractors was founded in Kenosha by Bob Lee Sr. in 1976. His son – Bob Lee Jr. – graduated high school in 1977 and immediately began a plumbing apprenticeship at his father’s business, becoming its second employee. Bob Lee Jr.

In 1984, Bob Lee Sr. – who had enjoyed a career as a professional baseball player - left the company to pursue his other passion and start the Kenosha Twins minor league baseball team. Bob Lee Jr. and his brother Mike, who had joined the company in 1980, took over the company and sought to grow and diversify the business. Under their leadership, Lee Plumbing has grown tremendously, adding commercial and industrial plumbing, HVAC and electrical work which has significantly expanded its customer base. They are planning to expand their current building and have continued to significantly reinvest in the business with the purchase of new equipment, trucks and the continuing education of its people.

While Bob Lee Jr. has built his father’s company into a major regional sub-contractor, he has also continued his father’s legacy of community service. Bob Lee Jr. and Lee Plumbing have supported countless organizations throughout Kenosha County including the Boys and Girls Club, the Lincoln Neighborhood Baseball Program, summer baseball programs, 4H, and the Kenosha Kingfish. Bob is also a member of the United Hospital System Board of Directors and the Town of Somers Plan Commission.

Recipients of the Fast Five recognition in 2016 are:

Bone Dry Products. Bone Dry Products offers solutions for concrete moisture issues as it relates to wood flooring installations. Headquartered in the Business Park of Kenosha.

Cordeck. Cordeck is a full-service manufacturer of corrugated steel deck, In Floor Cellular Raceway Systems, flashing, trim and other building construction accessories. Headquartered in Kenosha.

Leeward Business Advisors. Leeward Business Consultants are IT consultants providing enterprise-grade technology solutions, business advisory services, and more. Headquartered in Downtown Kenosha.

MedTorque. MedTorque manufactures medical instruments for the orthopedic industry and provides engineering expertise and consultative services to their customers, ranging from design to development to production. Headquartered in the Business Park of Kenosha.

Regulatory Compliance Associates, Inc. Regulatory Compliance Associates provides advising and consulting services for FDA-regulated industries including pharmaceutical, biologics and medical device, looking to achieve or maintain sustainable compliance in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Pleasant Prairie.

Previous Business Excellence Award Winners


  • Business of the Year: ASYST Technologies, LLC
  • Small Business of the Year: Specialized Accounting Services, LLC
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Kurt Penn, Good Foods Group, LLC
  • Fast Five: Hanna Cylinders, LLC; Kenall Manufacturing; Kenosha Kingfish Baseball Club; Mobile One / McTernan Wireless; Quest Products, Inc.


  • Business of the Year: Bradshaw Medical, Inc.
  • Small Business of the Year: OFFSITE, LLC
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Edward Polen, EMCO Chemical, Inc.
  • Fast Five: The Blast Shop, Inc.; LaMacchia Travel; Mike’s Restaurant Group; Platinum Systems, Inc.; Yutka Fence


  • Business of the Year: Rust-Oleum Corporation
  • Small Business of the Year: Equity Creative
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Michael Kopper, Centrisys Corporation
  • Fast Five: ASYST Technologies, Inc.; Catalyst Exhibits, Inc.; Clean & Green Solutions, LLC; Dooley & Associates, LLC; IRIS USA, Inc


  • Business of the Year: Allied Plastics, Inc.
  • Small Business of the Year: Tenuta's Deli, Liquor & Wines
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: James A. Kettinger, Sr., Engendren Corporation
  • Fast Five: Albany-Chicago Co, LLC; Bio Fab Technologies, Inc.; Kitchen Cubes LLC; Mikrotech, LLC; Specialized Accounting Services LLC


  • Business of the Year: Xten Industries, LLC
  • Small Business of the Year: GEM Manufacturing, Inc.
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Craig Deaton, Gateway Mortgage Corporation
  • Fast Five: Allied Plastics, Inc.; Equity Creative; Five Star Coatings Group; Offsite LLC; RJ Underground


  • Business of the Year: Snap-on Incorporated
  • Business Person of the Year: Guy Bradshaw, Bradshaw Medical, Inc.
  • Community Service: Matt Carlson, Platinum Systems
  • Economic Impact Awards: ACCO Brands, Albany-Chicago Company, Centrisys Corporation, Fair Oaks Farms, United Hospital System
  • KABA Volunteer of the Year: Dr. David Wright, UW-Parkside
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Janet Edson, HOPE Council


  • Business of the Year: LMI Packaging Solutions, Inc.
  • Business Person of the Year: Todd Bundies, Badger Press Photographics
  • Community Service: Peter Valeri, Valeri Agency
  • Economic Impact Awards: Dooley & Associates, Gordon Food Service, Uline
  • KABA Volunteer of the Year: Patrick DeGrace, Hospira
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year:Melissa Rowley, Platinum Systems


  • Business of the Year: Kenosha Animal Hospital
  • Business Person of the Year: Kenneth A. Moore, Cordeck
  • Community Service: Karl J. Ostby, Southport Bank
  • Economic Impact Awards: Allied Plastics, Inc., Genesis Medical Center of Kenosha, S.C., Lotus Light Enterprises, Pitts-Valeri Office Complex, Pulera Collision Auto Care Center
  • KABA Volunteer of the Year: Thomas Mahoney, Johnson Bank
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Carol Lamberson, American Solutions for Business


  • Business of the Year: Five Star Fabricating, Inc.
  • Business Person of the Year: David Trotta Barnes, Barnes Law Office
  • Community Service: Thomas Duncan, United Hospital System
  • Economic Impact Awards: Bradshaw Medical, Gateway Technical College – Horizon Center, Monarch Plastics, Insty-Prints, Supervalu
  • KABA/Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Mary Smith, Kenosha Convention & Visitors Bureau


  • Business of the Year: Rode's Camera & Photo Supplies
  • Business Person of the Year: Dave Hagman, Vista International Packaging
  • Community Service: Wayne Koessl, We Energies
  • Economic Impact Awards: Kenosha Radiology, Prime Outlets, Riley Propery Management, Roundy's, The Club at Strawberry Creek
  • KABA Volunteer of the Year: Mark Jaeger, Jockey International, Inc.
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Peter Sinsky, Clifton Gunderson, LLP


  • Business of the Year: Riley Construction
  • Business Person of the Year: Jim Cicchini, Cicchini Asphalt LLC
  • Community Service: Ron Stevens, Bank of Elmwood
  • Economic Impact Awards: Hospira, Ocean Spray, Pepsi Americas
  • KABA Volunteer of the Year: Bob Terwall, Prairie Shores Ltd.
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Dave Hagman, Vista International Packaging, LLC

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