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Fox Cities Chamber Celebrates 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Five long-time leaders in the Fox Valley were recognized for their achievements at the Fox Cities Chamber’s recent Celebrate: A Toast to 150. This year’s event included the Lifetime Achievement Awards, as well as the kick off to a year-long celebration of the Chamber’s 150th anniversary.

The 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:

Gus A. Zuehlke Distinguished Service Award – 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.

Joyce Bytof Exceptional Mentor Award  – 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.

ATHENAâ Leadership Award –
 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 –

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 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.

Celebrate is made possible through the generous support of the following: Presenting Sponsors – Miron Construction, Johnson Financial Group, and ThedaCare; Platinum Sponsor – StellarBlue.ai; Toast Sponsor – Plexus; Joyce Bytof Award Sponsor – Community First Credit Union; Gus A. Zuehlke Award Sponsor – WHBY, and ATHENAÒ Leadership Award Sponsor – Bergstrom Automotive.

About Fox Cities Chamber

The Fox Cities Chamber 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.