By: John Stampen

All six Wisconsin companies that recently received prestigious Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards for outstanding achievements in manufacturing have had a fruitful working relationship with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards Program recognizes Wisconsin companies that demonstrate a commitment to business excellence, which has a positive impact on the company and the state.

Four Grand Award winners, categorized by number of employees, were recognized for outstanding performance. This year, two companies were also honored for awards in special categories, including customer relations and market innovation.

Mercury Marine is awarded as 2019 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year in the Mega size category (Photo provided by Mercury Marine)


J & R Machine Manufacturer of the Year in their category

Grand Award winners included: J&R Machine, a contract manufacturer in Shawano (Small Category); engine component provider Winsert, Inc., Marinette (Medium Category); custom metal fabricator Robinson Metal Inc., De Pere (Large Category); and marine engine maker Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac (Mega Category).

Gamber-Johnson wins Manufacturer of the Year in Customer Service Category

Manufacturers receiving Special Awards were: vehicle mount manufacturer Gamber-Johnson LLC, Stevens Point (Exceptional Customer Relations); and sausage producer Klement Sausage Co., Milwaukee (Market Innovation and Leadership).

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of this top-performing group of manufacturers and are excited about the highly deserved recognition they are receiving,” WMEP Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Tim Wiora said. “We are humbled to have worked with these companies on their journey toward manufacturing excellence.”

The Manufacturer of the Year Awards are sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state chamber and manufacturers’ association; the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; and the accounting and advisory firm of Baker Tilly.

“Manufacturing built the middle class in Wisconsin, and it is important that we recognize the significant role these companies have in driving our economy,” said Kurt Bauer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. “We are proud to recognize these companies for the immense impact they have on their local communities and the state.”

In its 31st year, the Manufacturer of the Year Awards Program recognizes companies of all sizes for contributions in driving Wisconsin’s economy.

“Manufacturing in Wisconsin has never been more visible than what it is today, playing a vital role in the state’s booming economy,” said David Krutz, Managing Partner at Michael Best.

An independent panel of judges evaluated manufacturers in areas such as financial growth or consistency, technological advances, product development, environmental solutions and sustainability, operational excellence and continuous improvement, commitment to employees and effective research and development.

“This impressive list of companies brings quality jobs, innovation and technological advances to our state and communities,” added Kevin Heppner, Managing Partner at Baker Tilly. “We’re proud to be a part of program that honors high-performing manufacturers and the contributions they make to Wisconsin.”