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  • Awards & Recognitions

  • Award Winners Award Winners

  • 2022 Economic Contribution Award:

    Waterfront Restaurant Group 

  • Waterfront Restaurant Group Accepts Award at 2023 Annual Dinner at the Fireside
  •  2023 Small Business Person of the Year:

    K&F Auto Sales & Service - Brandon Felmlee 

  • K&F Brandon Felmlee poses with Shauna Wessely
  • 2023 Tourism Counts Award Winner:

    Bait Box on the Rock LLC - Brain Huser 

  • Brain Huser Family Accepts Award on His Behalf
  • 2023 Friend of the Chamber:

    Sherry Stelse - Mike Forester Real Estate 

  • Sherry Stelse with Shauna Wessely accepting award
  • About the Awards About the Awards

  • Economic Contribution Award Economic Contribution Award


    The Economic Contribution Award was first awarded in 1973 and is regarded as the Chamber’s most prestigious award.


    To that person who has promoted the objectives of the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce in the area of economic and social development of the community.


    The award is an elegant engraved plaque presented at the Annual Dinner.  Nominations are solicited from the membership.  The selection is made by the Board of Directors.



    1973 - Doris Masters/Gus Klatt

    1974 - Bill Stark

    1975 - Hugh Highsmith 

    1976 - Harold Logan

    1977 - Norm Godfrey 

    1978 - Elmore Klement 

    1979 - Dick Klopcic

    1980 - Gordon Day 

    1981 - Ben Beebe 

    1982 - Gene Meyer

    1983 - Ed Garthwait 

    1984 - Bill Knox

    1985 - Al Haukom

    1986 - Jim Weiss

    1987 - Sheldon Mielke

    1988 - Moore’s Food Products

    1989 - Arthur Nesbitt 

    1990 - John McKenzie

    1991 - Ted Batterman 

    1992 - Joel Winn

    1993 - Gary Schimek 

    1994 - Leslie Family  

    1995 - Joseph Tate 

    1996 - Hartel Family

    1997 - Dianne Hrobsky

    1998 - John Neill

    1999 - John Albaugh

    2000 - Fort Atkinson School District

    2001 - James Vance

    2002 - Randall Knox 

    2003 - FA Community Foundation 

    2004 - Jones family 

    2005 - Fort HealthCare 

    2006 - John Wilmet 

    2007 - Spacesaver Corporation 

    2008 - Larry & Sherry Starkweather 

    2009 - Steven Zimmerman

    2010 - John Anderson/Steve Wiesmann

    2011 - NASCO 

    2012 - Dave Bienfang 

    2013 - Digi-Star

    2014 - Wisconsin Packaging Corp. 

    2015 - Jones Dairy Farm 

    2016 - Ball Corporation 

    2017 - Fort Community Credit Union

    2018 - Lumani/Beqiri Family

    2019 - CBF Investments, LLC


    Small Business Person of the Year Award Small Business Person of the Year Award


    The Small Business Person of the Year was developed in the 1980s following the guidelines from Small Business Association Awards. 

    Small Business "Person of the Year" Award Background and History

    General Qualifications

    • Must be an independently owned, profit-making business enterprise, for at least the past five years.
    • Must employ fewer than 50 full-time people
    • Must be physically located in the Fort Atkinson area
    • Must be a Fort Atkinson Chamber member in good standing

    Selection Criteria

    • Business Growth (increase in employees, square feet, revenue, or customer base)
    • Innovation (new technology, creative sales and marketing approach, different product lines)
    • Staying Power (length of time in business, proven record of success)
    • Community and Chamber Involvement

    Small Business Person of the Year Award History

    1980      Doug Hartel       

                  Bill Weh              

    1988      Ted Batterman, Spacesaver

    1990      Barb Congdon, Robin’s Nest

    1991      Jim Vos, Sentry

    1992      Tom Goyer, Ace Hardware

    1993      Tim Humphrey, Humphrey Floral

    1994      Randy Marion, Fort Vision Clinic

    1995      Tom Gobel, Gobel & Bender

    1996      Frank Brown, Badger Press

    1997      Fred Negus Sr., Wisconsin Packaging

    1998      Helmut Ajango, Helmut Ajango Architect

    1999      Daryl Spoerl, Havill-Spoerl

    2000      John Anderson & Steve Wiesmann, W&A Distribution

    2001      Tom & Coral Becker, Subway

    2002      Lee Jonas, Jonas Office Products

    2003      Don & Bill Hausz, Hausz Bros.

    2004      Mark McGlynn, IPEC

    2005      Jack Blodgett, Blodgett Garden Center

    2006      Jack & Sharon Logan, Blackhawk Senior Residence

    2007      Harry Bos, Bos Design Builders

    2008      Lee Moldenhauer, Wood Design

    2009      Vince Kent, Abendroth Water

    2010      Jon Tuttle, Tuttle’s Pharmacy

    2011      Randy Schopen, Capn’s Steakhouse

    2012      Kurt Chapman, Sport N Spine Clinic

    2013      Dan Lecher, Frostie Freeze

    2014      Jim Goyer, Ace Hardware

    2015      Mike Bender, Bender, Kind & Stafford DDS

    2016      Tammy Meinel, Beauty and the Bean

    2017      Paul & Marsha Krueger, Krueger Jeweler

    2018      Jim Hedrick, Badger Basement Systems

    2019      Eli Cloute, Cloute, Inc.

    2020      Erin Patterson, Paddy Coughlin’s Pub

    2021      Lisa Tuttle Woods, Tuttle’s Hallmark

    2022      Dave Stotesbery, Effortless Elegance LLC 

    2023      Brandon Felmlee, K&F Auto Sales & Service 


    Tourism Counts Award Tourism Counts Award


    The Tourism Counts Award was first awarded in 1993 when one of the most important initiatives of the Chamber was to educate local people about the economic value of tourism.


    From that time on, the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce “Tourism Counts” Award has been presented to an individual, business or organization that, through their leadership and efforts, have made a difference in the development of tourism in our area.  The name of the award reflects the Chamber’s desire to impress upon the community that tourism does count in the bigger economic picture, and that it does impact the vitality of our city.


    The engraved plaque is presented annually.  Nominations are solicited from the membership and the Tourism Committee.  The past presidents are involved in the selection process.



    1993     The Fireside Dinner Theatre (Rick Klopcic)

    1994     Roger Kriedeman

    1995     Marilyn Thorndycraft

    1996     Gus Klatt

    1997     June Brandow (The Fireside)

    1998     Mike & Debbie Rusch (Lamp Post Inn B&B)

    1999     Don Schink

    2000     The City of Fort Atkinson

    2001     Hoard Historical Museum

    2002     High Pointe Properties (Sandy Mayer)

    2003     Fort Atkinson Beautification Council

    2004     Jefferson County Bicycle Club

    2005     Rudy Bushcott

    2006     Holiday Inn Express

    2007     Fort Community Foundation

    2008     Dennis & Gerry Rybicke (LaGrange B&B)

    2009     Steve Cline (Jellystone Park)

    2010     Cynthia Holt (Farmer’s Market development)

    2011     Fort Atkinson Generals Baseball

    2012     Café Carpe

    2013     Sue Zimmerman

    2014     Koshkonong Mounds Country Club

    2015     2 Rivers Bicycle and Outdoor

    2016     Busy Barns Adventure Farm

    2017     Joel Winn (Buckskinners Rendezvous)

    2018     Friends of Lorine Neidecker

    2019     Fort Atkinson Parks & Recreation

    2020     Jim & Christa Bowers (Island Bar & Grill, North Shore Chophouse, The Bridge/Good 2 Go)

    2021     Ryan & Kristi Klopcic

    2022     W & A Distribution

    2023      Bait Box on the Rock LLC

    Friend of the Chamber Award Friend of the Chamber Award


    To that person and/or business that has contributed above and beyond usual service by providing special assistance to the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Friend of the Chamber Service Award Background and History

    The Friend of the Chamber Award originated in 1991 when Joel Winn was Chamber President.  The board of directors developed this award because there were so many people who deserved recognition for what they did for the chamber and most of them would not qualify for our three major awards: Economic Contribution Award, Small Business Person of the Year Award, Tourism Counts Award

    In 1991, the award was a commemorative pottery bowl from Rowe Pottery.  It was presented to the following recipients at the Fall Outing in Bi-Centennial Park.

    Jefferson County Advertiser:  was recognized for giving a professional image to our annual meeting, our senior seminars and countless special functions.  The Advertiser has been one of the “unsung heroes” of the chamber for providing composition time and programs at no charge for chamber events during the past 21 years.

    Daily Jefferson County Union:  Winn said “The Chamber believes that our enviable recognition as an outstanding Wisconsin chamber and a leader within Fort Atkinson is the result of our valued relationship and endless cooperation from our daily newspaper.  W.D. Hoard and Sons has supported chamber efforts and positions in the media as well as financially and has provided volunteers on chamber committees and on its board of directors.  All of this represents untotaled financial dollars to chamber projects and programs and inches and inches of free publicity, as well as budget-stretching rates for promotional advertising.

    Opportunities, Inc:  Another long time provider of printing and volunteer leadership to the chamber.  They should be applauded for their contribution to the economic stability of the handicapped and public service to other area organizations.  They were also recognized for their involvement in the Senior Class Seminar, Eighth grade Business Awareness Program, ambassador organization and chamber board of directors.

    WFAW:  Thanked for providing public relation exposure for the chamber through news, talk shows, special promotional spots and ongoing financial and volunteer help.  Remote broadcasts from special chamber functions have provided big time publicity, benefiting numerous events from sales promotions, bridal shows, dairy breakfasts, candidate forums and others.  WFAW volunteers have served on chamber committees and manned the retail committee’s brat stand on Fridays during the annual July Carnival Days.

    Gordy Day:  The chamber recognized Day for his continuing support of our chamber goals, projects and service on endless committees, as well as his insight on community needs and good suggestions for how our organization can best address them.

    Al Haukom:  was feted for giving his time promoting the economic growth of Fort Atkinson as a chamber member and committee person.

    The award was not given again until 1997 when the board of directors determined that the award should be reinstated.   Committee members were Donna Abel, Tom Goyer, Joni Schultz, Gregg Patrick and Dianne Hrobsky.

    They used the same rationale that this award would be a way to recognize people who do much for the organization but might never qualify to receive one of the chamber’s 3 top awards.

    Nominees were presented to the committee by chamber staff and board members.  As the years went on, nominations came from the chamber’s many committees, board members and staff.  Staff works with each president on the recognitions.

    1997    John McKenzie – For years of work to bring a health insurance program to our chamber.

    1997    Steve Seaman- For designing the chamber’s first web site.

    1997    Roger & Denise Kriedeman – For years of volunteer efforts in Tourism

    1998    Steve Zimmerman –  Education projects leadership & facilitating Project LEAD

    1998    Mary Heagney – Dairy Breakfast leadership

    1998    Sheldon Mielke – Partnering with chamber on economic development

    1998    Vickie Raatz – Dairy Breakfast leadership

    1998    Bob Martin – cooperation and partnership (city/chamber)

    1998    Vern Falk – Dairy Breakfast leadership

    1999    Don Schink – Development of tourism/room tax

    1999    Shirley Brown – Dairy Breakfast leadership

    1999    Leo Roethe –  help with chamber history

    1999    Tom Goyer – Dairy Breakfast leadership

    1999    Tom Belzer – Song writing and performing for chamber

    1999    EDUCATOR – Jerry McGowan for facilitating Project LEAD (2 years)

    1999    EDUCATOR – Jerry Keiser for facilitating Project LEAD (2 years)

    2000    Carolyn Burtch – Wedding Fair leadership

    2000    Vince Kent – Home Show leadership

    2000    Joni Schultz – Education projects leadership

    2000    Mark Maas – Plowing parking lot every year @ no charge

    2000    Harley Peterson – Golf outing leadership

    2000    EDUCATOR   - Melody Wachter for partnership with 8th Grade Project Business

    2001    Chamber’s new Quality of Life Book (completely done in house)

                            Brian and Heidi Saunders

                            Al Haukom

                            Eve Horton

                            Sally O’Brien

                            Gary Gramley

    2001    Kim Patrick – Christmas Parade leadership

    2001    Jim Vance – Contributions in numerous chamber projects that insure success

    2001    EDUCATOR – Jeff Zaspel for facilitating Project LEAD (2 years)

    2002    Bob Selberg – years as treasurer converting our big black ledger book

    2002    Gary Moen – LEAD Facilitator

    2002    Mark Zastrow – LEAD Facilitator

    2003    EDUCATOR – Rick Looze for working with us on numerous projects over his career

    2004    EDUCATOR – Vern Jordan for partnering with chamber on school to work initiatives

    2005    Jim Callies – for assistance with computer technology, etc.

    2006    Lynn Forseth – MATC for assisting with our school/business and training programs

    2007    Dr. James Fitzpatrick – for assisting with our school/business efforts & Project LEAD

    2008    Cynthia Holt & Beth Gehred – for coordinating the Farmers Market

    2008    Joel Winn – appeared in Buckskinners video for Discover Wisconsin


    2010    Tony Bolz – LEAD Facilitator


    2012    Helen Rose – Administrative Secretary for the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation

    2012    Elene Wagner – for chairing the Holiday Parade for 10 years

    2012    Dan Lansing – for assisting with the Chamber Brat Stand, FBLA, Rhythm on the River, Wine & Stein

    2013    Maria Perez


    2015    Jim Callies, CompuFort – for assisting with all our computer problems

    2016    Michael Clish – for being a constant promoter of Fort Atkinson

    2017    Chris Brown – for all his years as stage manager at Rhythm on the River

    2018    Chris Scherer – for all the technology, music, and entertainment he provides at chamber functions

    2019    Brandon Housley – for recruiting four new members and being a super volunteer at our farmer's market


    2021    Alisha Bade - Fort Farmers Market 

    2022    Tammy Schwartz - for mentoring new staff and providing accounting advice

    2023    Sherry Stelse