February 22, 2010Press Release

Judges Announced for Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards

Michael Knetter, Dean of University of Wisconsin Business School, Named Judge Chairman

The judges have been announced for the 22nd Annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year (MOTY) Awards. The MOTY Awards recognize Wisconsin companies that demonstrate a commitment to business excellence which has a positive impact on the company and the state, making Wisconsin a better place to live, work and play. This year will see 40 manufacturers nominated.

Judges hailed from Wisconsin’s leading companies, as well as organizations involved in the state’s business community such as educational institutions and government agencies. They are invited to participate by the co-sponsors, Baker Tilly, Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, based on past involvement with the MOTY Awards, recommendations from past nominees, and their involvement in the Wisconsin manufacturing community.

Michael Knetter, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison, led the group of 15 professional judges in their difficult quest to choose Wisconsin’s leading companies from the list of 40 nominees. “Wisconsin is home to many remarkable manufacturers, who have helped to shape commerce in our state and grow our influence nationally and in the global economy,” said Mike Knetter. “On a more micro-level, these businesses are creating opportunities for Wisconsin workers and contributing to the technological innovation that will shape our future. Our judges did not have an easy decision with so many outstanding nominees.”

The judging panel included :

  • Jim Baka, SVP Corporate Banking Group Manager, PNC Bank, Milwaukee
  • John Baumann, President, The Swiss Colony, Monroe
  • Roger Bjorge, President, Crescent Printing Company, Onalaska
  • Jan Drzewiecki, President and COO, Seville Flexpack Corporation, Oak Creek
  • John Emory Jr., President & CEO, Emory & Co. Investment Banking, Milwaukee
  • Dave Geraldson, President, Precision Gears, Pewaukee
  • Curt Haga, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Ladish Co., Menomonee Falls
  • Bob Karnauskas, President, BL3 Strategies, Pewaukee
  • Michael Knetter, Dean, Wisconsin School of Business, UW-Madison
  • Steve Peterson, Managing Director, Brass Ring Capital, Inc., Milwaukee
  • Michael Potts, Executive Vice President, Orion Energy Systems, Plymouth
  • Mary Regel, Administrator, Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Division of International Development, Madison
  • Rich Rovito, Business Writer, Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee
  • Kelly Sullivan, University of Wisconsin – Stout / Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center, Menomonie
  • Chuck Yanke, Chairman, Vulcan Global Manufacturing Solutions, Inc., Milwaukee

The independent panel of judges evaluated the 40 nominations and selected five Grand Award Winners . The first four awards are size-related, based on number of employees: Small (1 - 99), Medium (100 - 299), Large (300 - 750), and Mega (751 +). In addition to the grand awards by company size, a fifth grand award is returning for the second year, the Sustainability Award, recognizing the top company demonstrating environmentally sustainable practices. Select manufacturers also will be recognized as Special Award Winners, based on unique qualities and achievements.

Further details are available on the MOTY website at or by calling (800) 362-7301. Winners are held in strict confidence and will be announced at a black-tie awards program on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

The MOTY Awards Program is co-sponsored by Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, a preeminent Midwest-based law firm; Baker Tilly LLP, the nation’s 13th largest accounting and advisory firm; and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business association.

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