Recognizing excellence
Habitat for Humanity, Food Pantry, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, others receive County Executive Awards

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

Oct. 16, 2014

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch speaks during the luncheon honoring the recipients of the Waukesha County Executive Awards Wednesday at the Country Springs Hotel.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County Executive Director Diane McGeen said the organization has built about 20 new homes over the organization’s 25 year history in the area, but it is looking to ramp things up going into the future.

McGeen and her program were honored for their work Wednesday, being named the Small Nonprofit of the Year at the 19th Annual Waukesha County Executive Awards reception at the Country Springs Hotel.

“We are really doing something in Waukesha County - it is not just one house,” McGeen said. “We couldn’t do this without the support of the community. I am really excited about having people realize Habitat is doing something here and we are going to continue to do it.”

The organization has worked with businesses and church groups in the past, but McGeen said she is reaching out to the next generation - young professionals, college students and Boy Scouts - to expand its reach.

Karen Tredwell, executive director of the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, left, listens as Michael Ward announces a $4,000 donation from U.S. Bank to the Food Pantry, which received the Waukesha County Executive Award for large nonprofit organization. 
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Earlier this year, Habitat opened a ReStore at 2120 East Moreland Blvd., which accepts accepts donations of new and slightly used furniture, appliances and building materials that are then resold to the public to help finance the organization.

“It is a fun store to shop in,” she said, “everything is priced really well.”

Habitat for Humanity was also granted a $2,000 donation from U.S. bank in recognition of its efforts.

Other honorees at the ceremony included the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, which was named the Large Nonprofit of the Year - and received a $4,000 donation from U.S. Bank - and the County Department of Parks & Land Use, which was tabbed the Government Agency of the Year.

The Parks & Land Use Department was honored for its regional recycling effort, which will combine services between Waukesha County and the city of Milwaukee.

Timothy Nettesheim, a partner at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C., said he was speechless when he learned the Milwaukee-based law firm had been named the Business of the Year.

The law group also has offices in Waukesha, Madison and Rockford, but Nettesheim said the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren of today was only a dream 13 years ago.

“This award is not just given away without a lot of thought,” he said. “We believed ... that Waukesha County is real special. It is distinct and it has a work ethic of getting things done that doesn’t exist everywhere. We wanted to (become) a part of that and I suppose today, this recognition shows that we have.”

The ceremony’s keynote address was given by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch - an Oconomowoc resident - who said the organizations being honored were filled with leaders willing to make tough decisions.

“As good leaders, you must be willing to do the hard thing if it is the right thing,” she said. “You can always use difficulty as an opportunity to grow and make decisions - don’t make suggestions - make decisions and own them. They deserve your respect because you made them.”