RACINE COUNTY — From a leader who helped bring Foxconn to Racine County, to a company that strives to be family-friendly and even had a wedding on-site, Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce recognized outstanding performances by businesses and individuals over the past year.

RAMAC annually recognizes excellence and achievement of its member organizations in business improvement, growth, innovation and support to its employees. All of these contribute to the improvement of the business climate and vitality of the greater Racine area, RAMAC states.

The annual RAMAC Business Awards dinner and celebration was held Thursday at the Delta Hotel by Marriott Racine. This year’s award recipients, with excerpts from their nominations:

Business Person of the Year — Jenny Trick, Executive Director of the Racine County Economic Development Corp.

Jenny Trick has been executive director of RCEDC since 2014 but has worked for the organization since 1992. Over the years, Trick has been instrumental in many projects around Racine County: recently, with projects such as the DeBack Farms Business Park in Caledonia, and Foxconn Technology Group. A quote from Trick about the Foxconn project reads: “This is the launching point for future investments in Racine County that will improve the quality of life for local residents and create new opportunities for the entire region.” Trick and her team have been at the forefront of the planning for Foxconn, and her efforts will be a catalyst for Racine County. Trick is very humble and makes sure that everyone knows that she does not do this work alone; she emphasizes that it is her team that makes RCEDC’s accomplishments possible.

Young Professional of the Year — Alicia Schmitz

Schmitz is a field account executive with CCB Technology, 2823 Carlisle Ave. Her manager stated that he “frequently is in awe of her capacity for more ... She not only performs in her role at CCB; she also serves in our community regardless of benefit to herself.

“Probably most impressive is how Alicia balances being on so many nonprofit boards without losing steam at work.” She is a Leadership Racine graduate, attends multiple groundbreakings a year and is a member of Rotary.

Manufacturer of the Year Award — Burlington Graphic Systems

Burlington Graphic Systems, 2600 Chicory Road, designs and produces commercial vinyl graphics to nationally recognized businesses and manufacturers. In 1984, it opened in Burlington and then moved to Union Grove. In 1994, BGS moved into Racine on Chicory Road. It has since expanded twice there: first, in 2012, with a 19,000-square foot addition; and with another 43,000 square feet this year, bringing the plant up to 116,000 square feet.

A unique aspect of BGS is that it is 100 percent employee-owned, which means employees are both responsible for the company’s success and share in it. After two years of employment, employees are offered the stock ownership plan. BGS also believes in giving back to the community locally and globally and is involved in projects in Racine County as well as in Africa.

Retail/Service Business of the Year Award — Willkomm’s

In its third generation, the Willkomms have expanded into Oak Creek, Lake Geneva and, recently, the new development at Highway 31 and Spring Street. The new development includes a state-of-the-art car wash called Rocket Wash; a Mobil gas station; Dunkin Donuts; and The Dish restaurant.

The Willkomm Companies now consist of six business entities including a Mobil distributorship in southeastern Wisconsin, five gas stations, truck oil change and restaurants. The Willkomms are local business owners who live, work and also consistently give back to the community, raising money for various nonprofit organizations in Racine County.

Apollo Award for New and Innovative Business — DesignsTouch

DesignsTouch, 201 Sixth St., has been successfully operating its digital marketing and development firm since 2012. Their innovation, specifically, was to develop a mobile app for the Downtown Racine Corp. which wanted to support the small businesses in Downtown Racine.

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The app they developed, called OurHometownApp, hit key elements that small businesses need such as allowing more visibility to customers, building brand recognition, improving customer engagement and standing out from the competition. It is available in the Google and Apple stores. It is beautiful, functional and brings value to those who use it. With its modern operating platform, the app can also be easily modified for other business or membership organizations.

Family Friendly Business of the Year — Multi Products Company

Multi Products, 5301 21st St., designs and manufactures a complete line of gear motors and actuators. It has been in Racine since 1958, and is being recognized for its family-friendly activities and benefits that keep this company successful and part of the community. Those activities include:

Informative lunches for employees.

Chili cook-offs with other companies to help raise money for United Way.

Clothing drives for hurricane relief and coat, mitten, and hat drives for local school children.

Offering “summer hours” year round for employees, allowing them a shorter day on Fridays. Employees can use that time for personal or family needs.

Multi Products has even had a wedding in its shop for one of its employees.

Ascension All Saints Healthy Connections Award — BRP Evinrude

BRP Evinrude, 10101 Science Drive, demonstrates its commitment to wellness initiatives in the workplace to create a culture of good health and was selected based on the following services and programs offered to its associates. They include:

Dedicated on-site health and wellness coaching and occupational nursing services.

On-site occupational therapy and pro-active injury prevention.

Tobacco free premises.

Annual health risk assessments.

On-site wellness programs.

Employee assistance program services.

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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