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Fox Cities Chamber Announces 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Winners to be recognized at January 16 “Celebrate: A Toast to 150”

The Fox Cities Chamber has announced the recipients of its 2023 Lifetime Achievement Awards. These annual awards recognize individuals who embrace principled leadership, strategic thinking, balanced workplace values and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Each has a unique blend of vision, energy, perseverance and skill, demonstrating outstanding achievements in operating businesses as well as leadership in the community.

The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are:

Dave Voss for News Release

Gus A. Zuehlke Distinguished Service Award – This award is named in honor of Gus A. Zuehlke, a past Chairman of the Board of the Fox Cities Chamber. In the spirit of Gus’ passion for serving his community, this award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions through leadership in business and service during his/her years as a Chamber member.

This year’s winner is David G. Voss, Jr. – President and CEO, Miron Construction. Voss is a leader and visionary who has co-led Miron Construction since 1977. As president and CEO, Voss is deeply ingrained in the daily operations of the company and participates in all aspects of corporate management. He plays a significant role in Miron’s family-focused culture, and his relationships-first mentality reaches far beyond the company’s 1,700 employees. Voss has built, cultivated and maintained lasting partnerships with clients and community organizations for more than 45 years.

Outside of work, Voss is passionate about, and prioritizes his time to assist organizations that support the health and wellbeing of kids in our community, such as Rawhide Youth Services, United Way, St. Mary Catholic Schools, and more.

Mary Beth Nienhaus for News Release

Joyce Bytof Exceptional Mentor Award – Sponsored by Community First Credit Union, this award goes to an individual who is proactive in the advancement of others by sharing time, talent and business experience for the purposes of promoting growth and opportunity in the Fox Cities community.

This year’s winner is Mary Beth Nienhaus – philanthropist and retired physical education teacher, coach and LPGA golf pro. Nienhaus is a former high school physical education teacher, retiring after 33 years. During her career, she also coached 50 high school varsity golf, basketball and volleyball teams. Outside of school, she spent more than 50 years as a Master/Life LPGA professional. Nienhaus has served on the board of directors and in leadership positions for many nonprofit groups, and has taken 50 mission trips within the United States, and to third-world countries.

Her priorities when it comes to community service lie in the areas of education, kids, sports, fitness and healthy lifestyles, to advocate for living a great quality of life. Other focus areas include mental health, humane society, nature preserve, senior living, housing, veterans, library, and food programs.

Maiyoua Thao for News Release

ATHENA Leadership Award – Sponsored by Bergstrom Automotive, this award is given to a woman who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence. This individual contributes time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the Fox Cities community and actively assists others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.

This year’s winner is Maiyoua Khang Thao – entrepreneur and small business owner. Thao, along with her husband, is the proud co-owner of Thao Enterprises, Thao Management Group, Long Cheng Senior Center, Long Cheng Marketplace and ABC Staffing. She is also the President of the Long Cheng Community Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life of local senior citizens, and support the growth and leadership of local Hmong girls through teaching traditional dance and cultural arts.

Thao was the first Hmong American woman to win a city council seat for the City of Appleton, and she stayed on the council for two consecutive terms. She served on the Retirement Security Task Force, which was appointed by Governor Tony Evers. She has won numerous awards including the Governor’s Good Citizen Award, Business of the Year Award, Insight – Entrepreneur Grit Award, and Making Democracy Work Award among others. Other community involvement includes work with the Wisconsin Hmong Chamber of Commerce, 9to5 Wisconsin, Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association, New North, Kiwanis Kids, Cops Reading Program, and many more programs and services that help marginalized and underrepresented communities.

Business Leader Hall of Fame – The Business Hall of Fame Award is presented to a retired individual or individuals who have demonstrated personal and business success and are role models for future generations. This year’s winners are Bob DeKoch and Mike Weller.

Bob DeKoch for News Release

Bob DeKoch is Past President & COO, The Boldt Company. He is passionate about leadership and has mentored hundreds of aspiring leaders. He has over four decades of experience across major market sectors including the construction services and real estate development business, the pulp and paper industry, the beverage industry, and the chemical industry. His diverse experience has helped him develop unique insight into leadership beliefs and practices.

He has served on boards of US organizations both for-profit and nonprofit, as well as a major international company. DeKoch is dedicated to economic development through his work with The New North. He plays a leadership role in the school choice movement in Wisconsin. Other community involvement includes work with the Building for Kids, and Lawrence University’s President’s Advisory Council.

Mike Weller for News Release

Mike Weller is CEO of Mike Weller & Associates, LLC. Prior to launching Mike Weller & Associates, an executive consulting company, Weller was employed for 34 years at Miller Electric, 20 of those years as president. After his retirement in 2015, he launched Mike Weller & Associates to share his executive experience and improve talent strategies and organizational performance.

Outside of work, he has been involved in many nonprofits over the years, including Boys and Girls Club, the Fox Cities P.A.C. as board chair, the Green Bay Packers board of directors, ThedaCare board of directors, Habitat for Humanity, Fox Valley Technical College, Riverview Gardens, and more. He also served on the Ariens and Amerequip board, and currently serves with pride on the Great Northern & CK boards.

These individuals will be honored for their achievements at Celebrate: A Toast to 150 on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel, 1000 Cameron Way, Neenah. This is a can’t-miss event, where attendees will enjoy dinner and a show as the 2023 Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award winners are honored and the Chamber kicks off its 150th anniversary year.

Highlights of the event include a cocktail hour with music by saxophonist Michael Prusinsky; a brand-new dinner show about the history of the Fox Cities, performed by Let Me Be Frank; a celebratory toast to the Fox Cities Chamber’s 150th Anniversary; and a large silent auction with a variety of exciting auction packages.

General admission is $150 for Fox Cities Chamber members and $175 for non-members. Tables of 10 are also available for $1500/$1,750.

Celebrate is made possible through the generous support of the following: Presenting Sponsors – Miron Construction, Johnson Financial Group, and ThedaCare; Joyce Bytof Award Sponsor – Community First Credit Union; and ATHENA Leadership Award Sponsor – Bergstrom Automotive. Two award sponsorships are still available. For details, email Eric Broten at [email protected].

For more information and to register, visit https://business.foxcitieschamber.com/events/details/2024-celebrate-a-toast-to-150-17989.

About Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce captures the energy of one of Wisconsin’s most dynamic regions and transforms it into innovative programs and services for its business members. The Fox Cities

Chamber serves all of the Fox Cities communities within the counties of Outagamie, Calumet and the northern portion of Winnebago. The Fox Cities Chamber plays a leadership role in regional economic development efforts in Northeastern Wisconsin. For more information, visit foxcitieschamber.com.