– Craig and Lea Culver, co-founders
of the Culvers restaurant chain, will receive the 11th annual Ken
Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award at the 2014 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’
award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to
Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named in honor of the late Ken Hendricks, a
Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an
accident in late 2007.
Read this story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.
Culvers will accept the award and speak at noon Tuesday, June 3, during the 2014 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference
in Madison. To register for the luncheon or the full conference at the Alliant
Energy Center, visit www.WiTrepsConference.com. “Early bird” registration is
open through May 13.
In 1984, Craig
and Lea Culver, along with Craig’s parents George and Ruth, opened the first Culver’s
Custard and ButterBurger restaurant in the family’s hometown
of Sauk City. In the
years that followed, a speckling of new restaurants opened throughout Wisconsin
and then expanded beyond the state line.
In an effort to
support the growing restaurant chain, Culver Franchising System Inc. was
created. The goal of CFSI is to ensure that franchise growth coincides with
proper training, education, along with personal and professional growth. Today,
the Culver’s restaurant chain spans more than 500 restaurants in 21
“The story of Culver’s is evidence that
innovation is possible in every industry, and that entrepreneurs can find
different ways to finance a growing business,” said Tom Still, president of the
Wisconsin Technology Council. “The Culvers’ persistence and commitment to
quality have helped them stand out in the crowd.”
addition to Hendricks, who later won Inc.’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award,
past winners of the Seize the Day award have been Don Weber of Logistics Health
Inc. (2004); Bob Cervenka of Phillips Plastics (2005); Jan Eddy of Wingra
Technologies (2007); Michael Cudahy of Marquette Medical Systems (2008); Toni
Sikes of The Guild and Guild.com (2009); Bill Linton of Promega (2010); Bob
Hillis of Direct Supply (2011); Kay Koplovitz of USA Network (2012); and Fred
Foster of Electronic Theatre Controls (2013).
“Seize the Day” award is not given for technical innovation but for innovative
leadership – the ability to take hold of business opportunities and transform
them into successes. Candidates for the award will have demonstrated:
– Recognizing opportunities where others do not.
– Vigorous, dedicated pursuit of opportunities in the face of risk and
Adaptability – Rapid and repeated reinvention in response
to changing markets.
Persistence – Maintaining optimism and effort in the wake of
Resourcefulness – Overcoming obstacles and finding ways
to fund growth.
Recognizing the important role the arts play in nurturing a vibrant
entrepreneurial culture, each year’s award has been an art piece created by
Rivers’ Edge Foundry of Beloit, a business launched with the help of the late
Ken Hendricks and Diane Hendricks, who has agreed to sponsor the award in his
recipient of the award is selected from the nominees by members of the
Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference steering committee.
Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the annual conference is one
of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper
Midwest. More than 500 people are expected to attend the two-day conference, to
be held June 3-4 at the Alliant
Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, just off Madison’s South
Beltline. Other highlights include:
known speakers, such as Jack Lynch of Renaissance Learning and Dave Lambert of Internet2
· Diligent Dozen:
Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off
· Panel discussions for emerging companies on how to
“Launch, Grow and Succeed”
· Innovation Showcase featuring more than 50 companies
from around the state
of chances to connect with seasoned
entrepreneurs and investors over food and refreshments
Sponsors so far
include: 5Nines; Aberdean Consulting;
Alliant Energy; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.;
Ascendancy Advisors; Associated Bank; AT&T; Aurora Healthcare; Baird
Capital; Baker Tilly; BDO; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; BMO Harris Bank; City of
Fitchburg; Cresa Madison; Data Holdings; Exact Sciences; Fine Point Consulting;
First Business Bank; Godfrey & Kahn; Google; Grant Thornton; Group Health
Cooperative; HP Enterprise Services; K&L Gates; Madison Gas & Electric;
Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences; Michael Best & Friedrich; Midwest
Prototyping; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; Nelson Schmidt; Nordic
Consulting; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Revelation
PR, Advertising & Social Media; UW Extension/Center for Technology
Commercialization; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; UWM Research
Foundation; Venture Investors; WIN Lake Superior; Wisconsin Economic
Development Corp.; Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority; Whyte
Hirschboeck Dudek; WTN Media; and Yahara Software.
For more information
and to register, visit www.witrepsconference.com.