Family and community were the main themes Thursday night (Nov. 3) during the annual Kenosha Area Business Alliance Ovation Awards, held inside the newly-renovated Alfred and Bernice DeSimone Arena on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The annual awards dinner and ceremony recognized Kenosha businesses in the categories of the Forward Awards — given to five businesses this year — the Entrepreneur of the Year, the Small Business of the Year and the Business of the Year.

Videos displayed on large projector screens on each end of the arena and speeches by leaders from each award-winning company followed a cocktail reception and dinner.

“It’s just a great opportunity to celebrate these companies that are doing cool things in the community, growing good companies, giving back to the community, and it’s just a great night for us to be able to do that with them,” KABA President Todd Battle said.

Almost all of Thursday’s award winners were businesses that have been run by multiple generations of families. The winners also highlighted Kenosha’s rapidly expanding business footprint and the major potential for growth.

“Certainly, there’s some business climate attributes in this community that lend themselves to growing companies,” Battle said. “We like that. I thought a theme (Thursday) night certainly was, we recognized a number of family businesses that have quite a bit of longevity.

“… It’s hard to be in business, but to be a family business (is) even more challenging. We had companies that were third- and fourth-generation family businesses (Thursday) night, so that’s always kind of neat to see that. And that’s Kenosha.”

Additionally, KABA was grateful to UW-Parkside and its athletic department for loaning a large space like the DeSimone Arena for such a ceremony. It turned out to be an ideal location.

“UW-Parkside Athletics opened the gym to us and let us use this venue,” Battle said. “It worked out fantastic, (being at a) much larger venue. This is a turnout of 300-plus people, so it’s kind of tough to crowd us into a small ballroom.

“So it turned out to be a great venue, and we’re really happy with it.”

Read more at Kenosha.com.

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