SBA Announces Its 2017 Wisconsin Award Winners

Kristina Pence-Dunow of Hometown Trolley, Crandon, is Invited to National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C.
Release Date: 
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Release Number: 
Shirah Apple 414-297-1096/

MILWAUKEE—Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the contributions of small businesses to America’s economy by honoring outstanding entrepreneurs and their supporters in each of its 68 districts and ten regions.  This year, Wisconsin is celebrating six successful companies and nine individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in entrepreneurship.

Kristina Pence-Dunow, CEO of Hometown Trolley and Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year







The Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year is Kristina Pence-Dunow of Hometown Trolley in Crandon (pictured above).  Hometown Trolley started in 1978 as a maker of horse trailers. Kristina Pence-Dunow, president and CEO of this third-generation family business, has led the company since1993 and has grown it into a leading manufacturer of trackless trolleys. She has been invited to attend National Small Business Week events in Washington, D.C. on April 30 and May 1 along with the other state winners.


“Wisconsin’s awardees, who represent the focus, commitment, and community engagement that help small businesses flourish,” says SBA Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness. “Wisconsin’s 445,000 small businesses employ 1.2 million people and create 2 of 3 net new jobs in both our urban and rural communities.”


Wisconsin’s winners will be honored at SBA’s 32nd annual awards breakfast on May 5 in Milwaukee.  The Badger State business community is invited to attend.


Wisconsin’s SBA award winners are:


Small Business Person of the Year

Hometown Trolley, Kristina Pence-Dunow, Crandon

Small Business Exporter

Xcel Manufacturing, Rich Calderon and Karl Schindler, Waukesha

8a Graduate of the Year

Cartridge Savers, Robert Wangard, Madison

Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year Award

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

Small Business Development Center Service Excellence Award

UW-Eau Claire SBDC, Luke Kempen                                     

Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., Milwaukee, Amber Miller

Young Entrepreneur

MobCraft, Henry Schwartz, Milwaukee

Family-owned Small Business

Jones Publishing, Diana, Joe and Maggie Jones, Iola

SCORE Wisconsin Mentor of the Year

Dave Maaske, SE Wisconsin SCORE Chapter

Emerging Small Business

Scathain, John McWilliam, Milwaukee

Minority Small Business Champion

Ralph Hollmon, Milwaukee Urban League

Women in Business

Lynne Keckeisen, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., Milwaukee

Financial Services Champion

Jason Monnett, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corp.

Veteran Small Business Champion

Saul Newton, Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Home Based Business Champion

Meghan Blake-Horst, Absolutely Art & MadCity Bazaar, Madison


About the Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. For more information, visit