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Still time to apply for Family Business Awards

As in past years, the 15th annual edition of this awards program will celebrate the accomplishments and impact of resilient, creative family owned businesses around the state.

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Tom Flesch, president and CEO of Gordon Flesch Co., says its allows a family business to find out things about company history that management doesn’t often think about.

He was referring to the simple process of self-nominating for the annual Wisconsin Family Business Awards. Thanks to the time the Madison-based office technology business took to fill out the nomination form, it received a special “Wired for Success” award for excelling in technology.

Charles Crave called it an incredible affirmation of not only the family farm business, but particularly the Crave family and the effort that generations have put forth toward Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Waterloo.

He was referring to Crave Brothers taking home a 2017 Family Business Grand Award in the medium size category.

Harriet Statz of Qual Line Fence Corp., Waunakee, says the application forced her to define the company’s core values and unique characteristics. As a result of applying, Qual Line took home a special “Heart of Steel” award in 2017.

“Since we have such a long and continuous history, lots of funny stories emerged,” Statz notes. “Those brought us together even more.”

There is still ample time — more than one week — to submit a nomination for the 2018 Wisconsin Family Business Awards, as the deadline for nominations is Friday, March 30. As in past years, the 15th annual edition of this awards program will celebrate the accomplishments and impact of resilient, creative family owned businesses around the state.

Winners will be announced during an awards banquet on Thursday, May 3, at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, but in truth every family business that goes through the nomination process emerges as a winner in one sense — the self-reflection that’s required to complete the nomination form basically forces management and staff to ponder what has made their business special.

“To ensure the accuracy of my statements, I went through our financial and other records for 35 years, which revealed pretty steady progress,” Statz notes, “and that was encouraging. In fact, 2017 was our best-ever year financially. There were a lot of contributing factors such as the economy, but the award reinforced the public perception of the company, our confidence, and focus.”

Her in-depth review of company history added to her sense of security and future optimism. “We notified our local newspaper and the World Fence News, both of which published extensive articles about the award,” Statz says. “That brought congratulations from around the country. We’ve used the award and photos to create print ads in several publications.”

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