Jill Gorres, president of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced the

EDC's selection of St. Croix Valley Blow Molding, Inc. (town of Hudson), Next Generation

Auto, Inc. (Baldwin and city of Hudson), and iMARK Molding, Inc. (Woodville) as recipients of the 2018 Business of the Year awards in St. Croix County.

The companies will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Ready Randy's

in rural New Richmond.

"Our 2018 honorees reflect the diverse business base in St. Croix County, Wisconsin," said Gorres. "As the Emerging Business of the Year, the founder of St. Croix Valley Blow Molding is not a newcomer to business and industry. Next Generation Auto, now with two locations, has a stellar reputation for giving back to people in the communities they serve. iMARK Molding is a recognized leader in their industry. Together, the Class of 2018 demonstrates the exceptional attributes of businesses here in St. Croix County."

About the 2018 winners

St. Croix Valley Blow Molding is the 2018 Emerging Business of the Year (based in St.

Croix County and in business for five or fewer years). St. Croix Valley Blowing Molding is

located in the town of Hudson. The company was launched in 2017 by Jim Bradac, who also

owns and operates Ceme-Tube and other related companies, also located in the town of Hudson.

Ceme-Tube had a continuous need for a blow molding partner. Bradac founded St. Croix Valley

Blow Molding to bring his blow molding needs in-house. The company became operational in

March 2018 and is reportedly the only large part blow molder for 100 miles. A 7-axis robotics

system provides options for secondary operations like trimming and drilling.

Next Generation Automotive (29 or fewer employees). Next Generation Auto was started in Baldwin in 2011 by business partners Jeremy Austrum and Shawn Kline. Three years later a larger auto repair shop was acquired by the partners to meet the growing needs of their company. In the summer of 2017 Next Generation opened its second location in Hudson.

Austrum and Kline regularly give back to their communities. Kline is often a visiting instructor

in automotive technician classes at the Baldwin-Woodville High School. A "Deserving Rides"

program began in 2014 and a winning nominee is awarded a vehicle that is fully reconditioned to look and drive like new. From mid-October to the weekend before Thanksgiving, Next Generation uses a portion of the proceeds from service and repairs to buy needed items for local food pantries. In 2018 alone, $1,800 worth of turkeys and fixings were donated from the Turkey Drive.

iMARK Molding is the 2018 Business of the Year (30 or more employees). iMARK Molding

is located in Woodville and was launched in 2000 by Mark Surtevant. His wife Linda is active in the business. The company supports medical device injection molding original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Fortune 500 companies, within numerous specialty categories as well as product development and manufacturing for drug delivery, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and bio-tech/bio-science. The company is in the process of completing an $18

million expansion that commenced in November 2017. The crown jewel of the expansion is a 22,500 square foot pharma-grade cleanroom that will meet the needs of Wisconsin's bio-health

industry as well as the needs of life science companies nationwide. In early 2018, iMARK was honored by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) as the recipient of a Special Award for Enterprise Precision. iMARK also partnered with two other injection manufacturers in 2014 and formed the St. Croix County Manufacturing Consortium which received two Wisconsin Fast Forward workforce training grants from the state's Department of Workforce Development. St. Croix EDC awarded iMARK Molding its 2003 Emerging Business of the Year award.

Banquet details

This is the 25th business awards program conducted by St. Croix EDC. The banquet is open to

the public but reservations are required. Dinner tickets are priced at $38. Additional details

will follow.

About St. Croix EDC

The EDC was established in 1994 as a public-private business league that operates as the

independent economic development arm of St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Reflective activities

include marketing and communication, business retention, business expansion, business

recruitment, new business incorporations, workforce development, and advocacy on behalf of

business and industry. Initiatives taken by St. Croix EDC help improve the business climate of

St. Croix County, allowing businesses, large and small, to grow and prosper.

For more information, contact William Rubin or Nita Dusek at 715-381-4383.