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Future Neenah recognized the following individuals and businesses that, through partnerships, made serving as Neenah’s quality of life organization a success in 2023. These honorees have hearts for community service and a love of Neenah Area.

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Future Neenah Champion of the Year Award:  Plexus Corp.

Plexus Corp. is being recognized as the Future Neenah Champion of the year for their dedication and contributions to promoting the economic and cultural vitality of Neenah.

They stepped up in a big way when Future Neenah was in search of a unique destination to host our very first gala event to celebrate our 40th anniversary. They not only offered the Neenah design center site but also staff, security, and support, helping us to create a night to be remembered and that makes them a champion to us.

Plexus is also an active participant in our events supporting the Shattuck Park concerts and providing leadership to our board through Plexus employee Megan Schleicher. She was Future Neenah’s board secretary in 2023 and was recently nominated as vice president at our annual business meeting. Plexus employee Derek Schmid also continues to share his knowledge and skills assisting us with our strategic planning.

“We are fortunate to have a partnership with Plexus. They have extraordinary leadership, impact, and commitment to driving positive change in our community and we are thrilled to honor Plexus Corp. as this year’s Future Neenah Champion.” said Brent Bowman, Future Neenah Executive Director.

Neenah With Pride Award:  Sunset Hill Stoneware

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Sunset Hill Stoneware is being recognized for celebrating 25 years of excellence, community engagement and showing their hometown Neenah pride. Handcrafted with care, Sunset Hill Stoneware, a family business, designs custom stoneware including coffee mugs and beer steins which are hand crafted right here in Neenah. They start from a piece of clay – each one meticulously made as a unique creation.

Future Neenah is grateful for their support in 2023, providing mugs for our 40th anniversary and Log Your Loops scavenger hunt, as well as Neenah mugs revisiting Future Neenah’s old city scape logo. Future Neenah also collaborates with them to order the highly sought after Warm Your Heart mugs each year. “Sunset Hill Stoneware represents Neenah with a true sense of pride, and we are grateful for their support of our organization,” Bowman added.

Civic Partner of the Year Award: City of Neenah


Future Neenah is recognizing the City of Neenah as the Civic Partner of the Year for 150 years of visionary leadership, outstanding contributions, and impactful initiatives which make Neenah the best place to live, work, play and do business.

In 2023, Future Neenah and the City of Neenah worked together to accomplish Neenah’s very first TDORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) in conjunction with our two summer street concerts. They also brought fireworks to our final concert of the summer celebrating the City’s 150th and Future Neenah’s 40th anniversary year.

We thank the mayor and the entire City of Neenah team for their continued support and partnership in all that we do. We look forward to continuing this partnership to make Neenah the best place to live, work, play and do business for the next 150 years.

“Congratulations to the City of Neenah on this well-deserved honor and thank you for being an exemplary civic partner in our community.” Bowman added.


Downtown Business of the Year Award:  Grainworks Old + New: Local Bourbon Market

Grainworks moved into the district in 2022 and fully embraced the ‘Downtown Unequaled’ brand. They participate in all the downtown community events and activities and host special events of their own like tastings, ticket pulls for bourbon bottles, collecting Toys for Tots and supporting local pet rescues.

Grainworks is a downtown destination offering Wisconsin’s largest bourbon curated gift shop from top shelf bourbons, barrel decor, and more. Their wide variety and line of gifts makes them the place to visit downtown. Their social media presence and marketing boosts the entire district making them an anchor to our central city.

In 2023, Grainworks hosted a bourbon tasting room at our 40th anniversary celebration gala and have been generous in so many other ways as well. Bowman added, “We are so thankful to have Grainworks in our downtown, they are adding to the vibrancy and success of our district.”

Volunteer of the Year Award:  Santiago Sanchez


Santiago generously shares his time and talents providing photography for many of the Future Neenah special events and concert series.  He is the smile behind the lens rather than in front of it and his easy-going personality brings out the best in his photo subjects making for a catalog of wonderful community event pictures for the organization. Santiago was also one of our social media ambassadors for the inaugural year of this Future Neenah program designed to capture the community in photos. Bowman said, “Santiago exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism, and we thank him for preserving our memories and helping us capture all the fun in Neenah!”

Awards made by Tim Robertson with Gears & Fire and presented by Future Neenah staff and Board of Directors.

Future Neenah, Inc. is a community driven non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and cultural vitality of Neenah Area.