Chamber Community Awards Night
July 14, 2020
The Fennimore Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing Fennimore area volunteers since 1981. Originally recognition began with the Sweetheart of the Year, dual recognition began in 1985 when the chamber added the Citizens of the Year. In 1996 the chamber decided to recognize two men or women as Citizens of the Year in place of the Sweetheart recognition. In 2010 the chamber further expanded their recognition of Fennimore area volunteers by recognizing Citizen of the Year, Fennimore Family of the Year and Fennimore Business of the Year.
In 2017 the Chamber board added another category “The Chamber Exemplary Service Award“. Nominated by the board, this award recognizes an individual who is not a Fennimore resident but believes in the community and goes out of their way to volunteer their services and expertise to better the community, which in turn, benefits the community.
In 2018 the Chamber decided to begin recognizing an Organization of the Year. The Chamber is also recognizing all chamber businesses celebrating their 50th Anniversary in business.
2019 Award Winners
2019 Citizen of the Year: Jeff Hagen
Jeff Hagen has been a active volunteer for 30 plus years despite his busy work schedule as co-owner of Collision Specialists. Jeff’s volunteer activities include volunteer youth wrestling coach 15 year, Maroon and Gold Club four years, Fennimore Fire Department 25 years. He has been heavily involved in organizing Fun Fest for six years; most recently the chairperson. Jeff has served on the city council for two years.
Jeff and Collision Specialist crew help with several community fundraisers each year; one to highlight would be the car wash hosted by FHS Student Council. The nominator wrote “Jeff is always willing to help anyone out and truly cares for his community. He does all this without worrying about being recognized, we feel he deserves to be 2019 Citizen of the Year.”
2019 Business of the Year: Tina’s Bark’N Beauties
Business of the Year – Tina’s Bark’N Beauties owned by Tina Frye has been in business 3 years. Tina has lived in Fennimore for 36 years and has been very involved in giving back to her community. She is active in Fennimore Lions Club, Optimist Club, Fennimore Chamber of Commerce along with Mt. Hope Women’s Auxiliary. Tina has been an active Taste committee member of the Chamber’s successful fundraiser as well as Fun Fest. One of the most recent fundraisers is the proposed Fennimore Dog Park; as the fundraising leader Tina has helped organize several fundraisers totaling more than $14,000 toward the park.
Nominators praised Tina for filling a void for pet owners, who are now able to take pets to Tina to fill the local pet owner needs. They praised Tina for her excellent care and service for their pets, going out of her way to expand her hours to meet clients schedules.
2019 Family of the Year: Tom & Kathy Kenney Family
Family of the Year – Tom and Kathy Kenney Family nominator wrote “dedication to family, faith and community” is what Tom and Kathy has lived by and passed on to their children Jason and Lisa, Kevin and Christina and Kelly and Pete. All of the family and their families have been active volunteers sharing their time and talents with our schools, community organizations and their church.
Their entrepreneurial spirit has shone through with their business EMC (Energy Management Consultants) in 1980. Over the years EMC has grown their business with work in all states and parts of Canada; they currently have 60 employees.
They have been generous supporters of many community events, groups and fundraisers; many “behind the scenes.” The Kenney family has been dedicated to making their community a great place to live, work and raise a family. As their nominator wrote “You do not do it for yourself; you do it for future generations, to carry on the family, faith and community.”
2019 Organization of the Year: Fennimore Industrial and Economic Development Corp (FIEDC)
The 2019 Organization of the Year – Fennimore Industrial and Economic Development Corp (FIEDC) was recognized as the 2019 Organization of the Year. FIEDC is an arm of city government which began in 1988; and serve as the marketing arm for recruitment and retention of businesses for the business park and community.
This group of volunteers has a variety of members representing many different business segments who work as a team. This works especially well when working with business clients from start up to expansion projects.
FIEDC officers and members work behind the scenes and are often the first contact with a business, especially those interested in land in the business park. Once a business plan is completed FIEDC meets with the Mayor and Director of Public Works and ultimately the proposal is taken to the members of Fennimore City Council for final approval of sale of the land. FIEDC also works closely with Grant County Economic Development Corp (Ron Brisbois), Small Business Development and WI State Economic Development resources. If FIEDC doesn’t have an answer for a client; they know someone who does and will make the connections.
Many residents may not even be aware of this organization because most of the time there work is done on a confidential basis. Until the business interest confirms the information can be public all information is kept on a confidential basis.
FIEDC members have been involved in promotional efforts of the community for nearly 3 decades. The most notable is the involvement with the Fennimore website, Fennimore brochures and marketing materials. Members have taken part in First Impression exchanges, Business Walk (face to face retention visits with businesses), Forming Fennimore’s Future goal setting sessions along with ribbon cuttings and CARE calls over the years. Several members currently active in Fill the Fronts goal.
FIEDC was the entity that assisted with the City’s Spec building in the business park. That building is now the home to EMC (Energy Management Consultants) whose business has clients across the United States and Canada. EMC began in the owner’s home, moved to a small office on Lincoln Avenue and now employs sixty workers.
Officers – John Wells/President; Mandy Henkel/VP; Linda Parrish/Secretary-Treasurer
Board Members: Jeff Birchman, Pam Kreul, Aaron Peterson, Ryan Rands, Brent Sheckler and Ashley Walker, Jane Wonderling
Non-voting: Mayor Ryan Boebel; Chamber Rep: Sheila Ruchti/Chamber President; Dr. Jason Wood/Southwest Tech; and Ron Brisbois/Grant County Economic Development Corp.
Looking to start a business? Call 822-3599 to set up a confidential meeting to get things started.
2019 Chamber Exemplary Service Award: Dennis Cooley
Each year the Chamber board members choose someone from outside of the Fennimore community recognize for their contributions to make Fennimore a better place. This year FACC has selected Dennis Cooley, Public Relations Manager/Southwest Tech College. Dennis and his wife live in Platteville.
The Fennimore Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Dennis Cooley as the recipient of the Chamber Board’s 2019 Exemplary Service Award. As Public Relations Manager of Southwest Tech Dennis is heavily involved in many communities within the region the College serves. But in the case of Fennimore Dennis has been involved “over and above” the normal duties by assisting the Fennimore Area Chamber of Commerce go through a series of board retreats.
We thank Dennis Cooley for helping to set the bar high for growth and leadership of not only the chamber officers and board members but also all of the chamber members. “We think the sky is the limit for the future of Fennimore Area Chamber of Commerce, reports Chamber President, Ashley Walker, thanks to Dennis Cooley’s guidance.” FACC also recognized business celebrating milestone anniversaries those include: Brechler-Lendosky Group LLC who are celebrating their 90th anniversary in 2019. The City of Fennimore was recognized for their 100th anniversary of becoming a City. And last but not least The Fennimore Times was recognized for their 130th anniversary in business. Congratulations to all of these milestone anniversaries.
The Chamber thanks all of the nominators who shared the details of the great work done by volunteers who may have gone unnoticed. Nominations are accepted in June each year.
Recognizing Outstanding Citizens since 1985
The FACC has been recognizing Fennimore area residents who have made a significant difference in the community since 1985. Those who have been previously recognized include Jim Larson (1985), Nick Kramer (1986), Al Truitt (1987), Harold Plattner and Charlie Roethe (1988), Hazel Craig (1989), Jim Soman (1990) Ray Hoffman (1991), Virgil Brodt (1992), Charles Stenner (1993), Gerald Munns (1994), Rob Rands (1995), Joe Novinska/Anne Novinska (1996) Steve Briehl/Marcia Bahl (1997), Dennis Lendosky/Sally Behnke (1998), Jerry Day/Richard Rogers, (1999), John Briel/Margaret Sprague (2000), Nancy Vogel/Matt Johnson (2001), Martha Hestad/Bill Wood (2002), Connie Schiestl/Richard Carlin (2003), Kris Fry/Doug Daechsel (2004), Bob Craig/Jeri Novinska (2005), Ed Klais/Alice Mudler (2006), Steve Lendosky/Henry Oechsle (2007), Pam Kreul/Tim Slack (2008), Len Leis and Renee Zintz (2009), Dr. Aguilar and Mary Davis (2010), Pastor Leroy Johnsrud, Robert and Dorothy Swenson, and WebWise Design & Marketing (2011); Jamie Nutter, Shirley & Dave and Wendy & Al Stelpflug and Rayovac Fennimore Plant (2012); Cindy Arndt, Herb & Harriet Brun and Suppz Gym (2013); Dean Ashmore; Art and Sherry Freymiller; Fennimore Livestock Exchange/Jake Klais, LuAnna, Brooke and Tyler Staskal (2014); 2015 Awards – Nelson Properties/Rick and Beth Nelson, Murray Heitzer, and Peterson Family – Aaron, Sara, Aidan, Jessica and Marge Peterson; 2016 Awards – Connie Neal and Ingeborg Froiland, Rob and Karla Witzig family and Good Samaritan Society. 2017 Awards – Citizen: Kevin Everson; Family: Marty & Charity Bray family; Business: Collision Specialist LLC; Exemplary Service Award: Denise Deaton-Tolzman/Sales Representative QueenB Radio Group. 2018 Awards – Citizens: Trudie Freymiller and Keith Novinska; Family: Bill & Brenda Wood Family; Business: Brechler-Lendosky Group, LLC; Exemplary Service Award: Dr. Jason Wood; Organization: Fennimore Fire Department; 60th Anniversary Business: H & N Plumbing and Heating; 50th Anniversary Businesses: Hickory Grove Golf Course and Casey’s General Convenience Store. 2019 Awards – Citizen of the Year: Jeff Hagen; Family of the Year: Tom & Kathy Kenney; Business of the Year: Tina’s BarkN Beauties; Organization of the Year: Fennimore Industrial & Economic Development Corp; Exemplary award was awarded to Dennis Cooley/Southwest Tech.
Chamber Sweetheart of the Year include Gilda Finnegan (1981), Sybil Koenecke (1982), Velma Helgeson (1983), Norma Brechler (1984), Sarah Lendosky (1985), Brenda Schumacher, Gladys Pettera, Harriet Copus, Isabelle Doyle, Bernice Woll, Arlene Dempsey, Nancy Wells, Linda Parrish, JoAnne Wiederholdt and Jane Soman.