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Announcing the 2016 Small Business Administration Wisconsin Awards

Businesses, Organizations to Be Honored at 31st Anniversary Breakfast on May 6
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Release Number: 
Shirah Apple

MILWAUKEE–-Today, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced the Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year, Mark Matthiae of Crystal Finishing Systems, Inc., in Schofield, along with the winners from the other states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.  SBA’s Wisconsin office also announced 12 other Wisconsin award-winning businesses and organizations.


Matthiae has been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on May 1-2 to kick off National Small Business Week (May 1-7) when the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year and runners-up will be named.  Other SBA events taking place around the country include Wisconsin’s 31st annual SBA Awards Breakfast on May 6. The City of Milwaukee is concurrently hosting Milwaukee Small Business Week with a full slate of activities.


SBA’s District Director Eric Ness congratulated all of the winners, saying “I’m looking forward to celebrating these outstanding Wisconsin entrepreneurs and all those who support and champion their success. Wisconsin’s 440,000 small businesses are the economic engine that creates more than half of all private sector jobs here. They are crucial to economic development in our state and the success of our communities.”


SBA’s Regional Administrator Marianne Markowitz who oversees the six-state region also has recognized two Wisconsin SBA resource partners, the Small Business Development Center at UW-Oshkosh and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation Southeast serving Racine/Kenosha as regional winners for service excellence.


The 2016 SBA Wisconsin award winners are:


Small Business Person of the Year: Mark Matthiae, Crystal Finishing Systems (CFS), Inc., Schofield. CFS is a full-service manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery firm specializing in coatings and finishes. Matthiae strategically used SBA-guaranteed financing to grow his company from a small job shop to the full service manufacturer it is today, employing hundreds in the small towns of Schofield, Mosinee, and River Falls.


Small Business Exporter: Paul Scharfman, Specialty Cheese Company (SCC), Inc., Reeseville. Established in 1991, SCC operates the single largest manufacturing site for some of the world’s leading varieties of cheese: Paneer, from India, Duroblando from Central America, Naboulsi from the Middle East and has used SBA-guaranteed export financing.


8a Graduate of the Year: Thomasina Ivy, TMI Consulting LLC, Milwaukee, Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. TMI Consulting is an award winning professional services firm focusing on business process reengineering, financial and risk management, infrastructure support, project and program management and program management and security systems. Her company has locations in Historically Under-utilized Business Zones (HUBZones) around the country.


Emerging Small Business: Matthew Carroll, AccuTrans Inc. AccuTrans is a Milwaukee-based, globally operating, chauffeured transportation company. Using learning gained from SBA’s Emerging Leaders initiative and counseling with SBA’s resource partners, the company has embarked on a growth plan which is enabling it to accelerate its sales and profitability.


Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year: Wendy Baumann, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC). This award was initiated to recognize a non-traditional lender that is able to provide responsible and affordable financing options for those who have found bank financing out of their reach.


SCORE Wisconsin Mentor of the Year: Richard Boemer, Southeast Wisconsin SCORE Chapter. This award was initiated to recognize the significant contributions of a SCORE volunteer counselor.


Wisconsin’s Small Business Champions include:


Women in Business Champion: Lily Alvarado, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation. As the senior bilingual small business counselor at WWBIC, Lily has worked tirelessly to assist, mentor, and coach her clients to help them succeed beyond their expectations.


Minority Small Business Champion: May yer Thao, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. May yer’s work in her 18 months as director has led to the highest number of loans in the Chamber’s history and increased opportunity for Hmong and Southeast Asian business owners through a comprehensive outreach effort. 


Financial Services Champion: David Kircher, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation (WBD). David’s 20 years of service with WBD expanded availability of SBA 504 financing in southeastern Wisconsin and later helped to grow the availability of alternative financing through the Lincoln Opportunity Fund.


Veteran Small Business Champion: Kenneth Grant, Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs. Kenneth has supported the Veterans Employment and Entrepreneurship, which provides funding for organizations to improve employment outcomes for veterans. He has actively promoted other resources for veterans including the Boots to Business: Reboot program presented by SBA and its partners throughout Wisconsin in 2016.


Small Business Legal Assistance: Christopher Flowers, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. Christopher’s extensive pro bono work with WWBIC’s clients has resulted in both business and job growth.


Small Business Development Center Service Excellence Award: Colleen Merrill, UW-Oshkosh SBDC.  Colleen developed the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is a champion for student entrepreneurship and business development.


Women’s Business Center Service Excellence Award: Heather Lux, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.   As the Women’s Business Center Project Director-Southeast, Heather partnered with several community organizations in Racine and Kenosha including HALO, the Shalom Center, Urban Outreach, and the Women’s Resource Center to advance WWBIC’s reach with very low income clients.