Announcing the 2015 Small Business Administration Wisconsin Award Winners

MILWAUKEE–- Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the contributions of small businesses to America’s economy by honoring outstanding small business owners and the organizations that support them.


Seven small businesses and six individuals and organizations that support entrepreneurial success will receive awards from SBA’s Wisconsin District at the office’s annual awards breakfast in June.   “These companies and individuals exemplify the best of the Badger State’s small businesses and the partners that help them succeed.  It’s an honor to highlight their hard work and dedication,” says Eric Ness, SBA’s Wisconsin District Director.


The 2015 SBA Wisconsin award winners are:


Small Business Persons of the Year, Daniel Sidner and Joseph Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality: Maxie’s, Blue’s Egg & Story Hill BKC, MilwaukeeBlack Shoe Hospitality offers three unique dining experiences on Milwaukee’s west side.  Each location shares the sense of hospitality and use of fresh, local ingredients, while celebrating the community.


Small Business Exporter Thomas Muldoon, American Exchanger Services, Inc., Hartford.

American Exchanger Services provides highly efficient heat transfer equipment to the power generation industry.  When sales in the domestic market slowed, American Exchanger Services turned to the global market to provide solutions that support public and private utilities.


8a Graduate of the Year  J. Harry Lum, Convenience Electronics, Inc.,  McFarland.  Celebrating its 25th year, Convenience Electronics specializes in the manufacture of custom wire, cable harnesses and value added assemblies.  CEI takes pride in their capabilities including having achieved ISO 2001-2008 certification.


Young Entrepreneur of the Year Kathryn Jackson, Protect Your Pumps, LLC, Milwaukee.

Kathryn Jackson created what ‘Pure Wow’ calls ‘fashion insurance’, a product that protects women’s expensive high heels.  Kathryn has marketed her product on social media and shipped it to over 80 countries.


Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Small Business, Krista Galbraith, K&S Tool, Die & Manufacturing, Inc., Ixonia. K&S provides specialized tool and die services for a wide range of industries.  K&S’s President, Krista Galbraith, whose background was nursing, transitioned the company to a new level of achievement by focusing on key metrics and developing strong systems and procedures.


Honorable mention – Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Small Business, Lawrence Alsum, Wendy Dykstra, and Heidi Randall, Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., Cambria.  Alsum Farms & Produce  started as a one man operation that sold potatoes and onions.  Alsum has grown to a company that grows, processes and distributes potatoes and onions, and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.


Emerging Small Business Steve & Lauren Schultz, Purple Door Ice Cream, Milwaukee.

Purple Door began with owners Lauren and Steve producing and delivering organic, locally sourced ice cream in the evenings and on weekends.  They have grown the business to include wholesale, retail and catering services with 5 full-time and 14 part-time employees.


Small Business Champions


Women in Business Champion Amber Miller, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative CorporationAs Regional Program Director for WWBIC, Amber Miller seeks to increase economic self-sufficiency for women.  Her many initiatives include small business classes for women’s refugee groups and serving as a lead on the Wisconsin Saves program.


Minority Small Business Champion Willie Johnson Jr., Milwaukee County Supervisor.

Willie Johnson Jr. first volunteered time in 1986 to help small minority firms get certification with the then Milwaukee Joint Certification program.  His interest in assisting minority firms continues today.  He serves in multiple capacities, including serving as chair for the WisDOT Region 5 DBE Stakeholder Advisory Committee.


Financial Services Champion, Anthony Busch, Priora Cash Flow Management, LLC, Appleton. Tony Busch volunteers to assist small businesses understand how to access capital.  Since 2004 he has mentored entrepreneurs as a SCORE volunteer.  He also co-hosts Biz Talks, a Saturday morning show for entrepreneurs.


Veteran Small Business Champion Aina Vilumsons, Wisconsin Procurement Institute

Aina Vilumsons serves as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Procurement Institute.   In that position, she leads a staff that offers significant outreach to veteran owned firms.  She also worked with other organizations such as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District to establish Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran business goals.


Small Business Legal Assistance, Mike Hines, Hines Law Office, S. C., Ashland. Mike Hines provides guidance to small businesses beyond his law practice.  Among the groups he works with to assist businesses in understanding business matters are Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce and  the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.


Women’s Business Center Service Excellence Award Wendy Baumann, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.   Wendy Baumann and her team at Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation continue to develop relationships and new offerings to assist in the building of assets and advancing the self-sufficiency of low wealth individuals.  During the past year, Wendy helped bring KIVA, another tool for those wanting to start a business, into the Milwaukee area.


SBA will be honoring all of the award winners at its 30th annual Awards Breakfast on Friday, June 5, 2015 taking place at the Hilton City Center in Milwaukee.  This event will also be the culmination of Milwaukee Small Business Week.  To register for the breakfast, click here.