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St. Croix EDC Honors 2012 Top Businesses & Individual

St. Croix EDC's annual Business of the Year Banquet honors award winners including: Hudson Brewing Company; NDT Solutions; Bosch Packaging Technology; and Larry Knegendorf.

On February 21st, St. Croix EDC honored its 2012 business of the year winners at a banquet at R&D Banquet Hall in rural New Richmond, Wisconsin. The 2012 winners include Hudson Brewing Company LLC (Hudson, WI; Emerging Business of the Year), NDT Solutions, Inc. (New Richmond, WI; Small Business of the Year), and Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc. (New Richmond, WI; Business of the Year).

Larry Knegendorf received the EDC Directors Award, an occasional award created by the board of directors to recognize the economic development contributions of an individual or organization in making St. Croix a better place to reside and conduct business. 

Hudson Brewing Company (www.americanskybeer.com) was launched in mid-2012 by the husband and wife team of Greg and Molly Harris. The micro-brewery operates in 6,000 square feet of leased space at 1510 Swasey Street in Hudson, Wisconsin. Products are brewed under the name American Sky Beer, proclaimed as ‘The Next Great American Beer’. Flagship beers include Amber Salute, Tailgunner Golden, and USA IPA. The beers have an aviation theme which are inspired by American heroism and U.S. aviators of World War II. Hudson Brewing’s facility features a taproom called The Hangar that is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The three flagship beers and limited run, specialty beers are available at The Hangar. A distribution network for kegs and 6-packs is being established in the St. Croix Valley and across Wisconsin, making American Sky Beers available at liquor stores, restaurants, and bars.

NDT Solutions (www.ndts.com) was founded in 1999 by its owner/president Jesse Skramstad. The company lists the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Boeing, Northrop Grumman Corp., Honda Aircraft, Cirrus Design, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as past and current clients. NDT Solutions specializes in ultrasonic, eddy current, and thermographic inspection technologies for these aviation-related companies. In 2012, the company outgrew its leased space near downtown New Richmond, Wisconsin and acquired a hangar at the New Richmond Airport and converted it into office and laboratory space to meet the growing demands for its products and services.

Bosch Packaging Technology (www.boschpackaging.com) is a worldwide leader in designing and manufacturing packaging machinery. From the New Richmond facility, Bosch supplies packaging machines to companies in North and Central America involved in the packaging of food, confectionery, pharmacy/medical, and other products. Just over 200 associates are employed in New Richmond plus another 35-40 at a Shell Lake, Wisconsin facility. The Bosch division of Packaging Technology is based in Waiblingen, Germany. Last year, Bosch achieved the Green Tier status from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for its commitment to maintain and improve environmentally proactive practices. Pres Lawhon is the president of Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc.

Larry Knegendorf led Baldwin Telecom for several decades. The rural telco initially provided phone service to customers in the Baldwin-Woodville area of St. Croix County. In 1982 its board of directors added cable television services. Under Knegendorf’s direction, high speed internet and cable television extended Baldwin Telecom’s services to Hammond, Knapp, Roberts, and the Town of Hudson. In 2002, Baldwin Telecom was recognized as the first independent telco in Wisconsin to deploy fiber-to-the-home technology in all new subdivisions. A major deployment of fiber-to-the-home was completed throughout the Town of Troy in 2011. Knegendorf found time to serve as Woodville’s president and currently serves as trustee on the village board. He remains active in retirement and serves on the board of directors of Park View Community Campus, a nursing home and assisted living complex in Woodville.  

EDC president Roger Humphrey served as the evening’s emcee. Each of the winners received a plaque from the EDC as well as a Legislative Citation from Madison and congratulatory letters from U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, and County Board Chair Daryl Standafer.

Past honorees from 1994–2011 were introduced during the program and certificates were presented to EDC members in appreciation of their financial support over the last ten consecutive years.

John Kriesel, who was seriously wounded in December 2006 while deployed with an Army National Guard unit in Iraq, was the banquet’s guest speaker. Staff Sergeant Kriesel lost his legs and two fellow soldiers as a result of a roadside bomb while on patrol near Fallujah. No one expected him to survive, but he endured 35 surgeries in four hospitals and months of recovery. Kriesel said the loss of two close friends hurt the most.

In mid-2009, Kriesel and writer Jim Kosmo, put his story into a book entitled, Still Standing. It is a story of an ordinary man who overcame extraordinary challenges with the help of friends, family and total strangers to emerge stronger and more in love with his country, wife, children, and ultimately, his own life. Still Standing is the recipient of eight national book awards, and Kriesel accepts numerous speaking engagements to share his vision of hope for anyone who encounters any form of personal crisis.

The 19th annual awards banquet was sponsored by Bremer Bank, Eckberg Lammers Law Firm, First Bank of Baldwin, First National Community Bank, WESTconsin Credit Union, Wipfli CPAs and Consultants, Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation, and Xcel Energy. An estimated 215 guests attended the banquet.

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