Don Zietlow
, the president and chief executive officer of La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, will be honored during the June 3 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference with the 18th annual Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award.

The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named for the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.

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Kwik Trip opened for business in 1965 and today employs more than 30,000 people in 768 stores while serving 8.5 million guests per week in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. A vertically integrated company, it makes and ships more than 80% of its branded products, utilizing technology at every step through robotics, solar energy production, food protection laboratories, customer rewards and recycling processes. It is a family-owned and run business with about $7 billion in annual revenue.

“Don Zietlow, his family and co-workers have been expanding this innovative company for decades with no apparent end in sight. He’s a team player who exemplifies what it means to adapt to changing times while embracing technology and sticking with a culture of customer service,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The June 3 conference will be held on a virtual platform under the theme of Building blocks for young companies. The “Seize the Day” presentation with remarks by Zietlow will take place mid-day.

Past winners include Don Weber of Logistics Health Inc. (2004); Bob Cervenka of Phillips Plastics (2005); Ken Hendricks of ABC Supply (2006); Jan Eddy of Wingra Technologies (2007); Michael Cudahy of Marquette Medical Systems (2008); Toni Sikes of The Guild and (2009); Bill Linton of Promega (2010); Bob Hillis of Direct Supply (2011); Kay Koplovitz of USA Network (2012); Fred Foster of Electronic Theatre Controls (2013); Craig and Lea Culver of Culver Franchising System Inc. (2014); Jim Berbee of Berbee Information Networks Corp. (2015); Mark Gehring of HealthMyne (2016); Zach Halmstad of Jamf (2017); Dude and Kerry Frank of Comply365 (2018); Sue Marks of Cielo (2019) and Kevin Conroy of Exact Sciences (2020.)

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference has been a signature event for entrepreneurs, investors and others in the early stage sector since launched by the Tech Council in 2003. Detailed panel information will be posted soon at Other highlights will include:

  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest will present live, via Zoom on June 2
  • Keynote presentation from Wes Schroll of Fetch Rewards, sponsored by RSM
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony with category winners, a grand prize winner, a “Bright New Idea” award and a new “People’s Choice” award this year
  • Virtual interactive exhibitor booths from more than 30 Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network 1:1 virtually, a variety of discussions under the “Launch, Grow, Succeed” theme and much more!

Sponsors thus far include: PLATINUM: American Transmission Co., AT&T, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best, University Research Park, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. GOLD: Aberdean Consulting, Makin’ HEY! Communications. SILVER: Affiliated Engineers, American Family Insurance, Alliant Energy, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Center for Technology Commercialization, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt, Findorff, First Business Bank, HealthX Ventures, J.P. Morgan Chase, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Mobile22, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, PDS, Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Shive-Hattery, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, WEA Trust, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Technical College System. SPECIAL SUPPORT: Madison Development Corp.  and RSM.