Throughout my banking career, I’ve had the great fortune to work with many family businesses throughout Wisconsin, so as the date approaches for the annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards on May 4, I feel compelled to ask for your ongoing assistance to make sure we take time to recognize them for all they do.

Family businesses truly represent the entrepreneurial spirit of our country at its core. Many of them are multi-generational, evolving and innovating from an idea that was planted, in some cases, by members of their family they never had a chance to meet. Others churn away under the leadership of parents and siblings who work side-by-side, day-in and day-out, always trying to balance work and family.

They carry a tremendous weight on their shoulders as they are not only providing for themselves, but also for their employees and families.

Their days consist of working on, in, and around their businesses for as many hours as it takes to get the job done. When the work day is done, their leadership role continues on as they head off to coach their kids’ sports teams or to a village board meeting. The families and the companies are often the heart of their communities. They not only provide great jobs for their employees — 60% of the U.S. workforce works for family owned businesses — but they also give back financially to support the local schools, sports teams, youth groups, and other great local causes. Oh, and by the way, they are very quiet and humble about how they give back!

For these reasons and many others, First Business Bank is honored to co-sponsor The Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award. Please reach out to people at a family business and thank them for all they do in your community.