The Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program on Wednesday recognized the success of the participants in the program's fifth session with a celebration at the Lambeau Field Atrium.
Wednesday's event marked the program's fifth year of pairing established mentor companies with growing protégé companies, with seven more protégés joining the ranks of the program alumni.
In the five years of the program, more than 100 full and part-time jobs have been created across the 27 protégé companies, with an average revenue growth of approximately 250 percent.
The program seeks to match mentors that can provide technical, managerial, financial or other guidance to protégés seeking to improve their competitive standing in order to foster business growth, economic development and job creation in Brown County and the surrounding area.
Over five years, more than 100 jobs have been created across 27 protege companies. Photos by Matt Haberkamp, Packers.com
"We're happy to give some well-deserved spotlight to these mentors and protégés," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy while speaking at the event. "We're proud that this program has been such catalyst for economic development, and we look forward to the continued growth of these organizations and their impressive commitment and hard work."
One outstanding protégé company, Diamond Discs International from Milwaukee, was awarded with "Most Valuable Protégé" honors after the company more than doubled their revenue over the course of the program and achieved nearly 70 percent growth through substantial diversification of their construction tooling product line. Ugo Nwagbaraocha, the president of Diamond Discs International, was mentored by Herb Miller of Michels Corporation, also from Milwaukee.
"I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the program," said Nwagbaraocha. "Working together, we have shown that Wisconsin small businesses are also champions and we can win at the highest levels of hard work and industry knowledge and with the right resources"
Mark Radtke, formerly of WEC Energy Group, was selected as the "Most Valuable Mentor," after his exceptional mentorship of Keith Plaster of the Panacea Group.
Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach and Greater Green Bay Chamber VP of Economic Development Peter Zaehringer also spoke at the event, emphasizing the importance of small businesses in the community.
"Small business is really the lifeblood of our local economy," said Streckenbach, speaking to the participants. "You take something that begins as an idea, and you nurture it into a business. Programs like this set our community apart. They make sure we are well-positioned to maintain and attract more businesses and more families to our area."
The Packers Mentor-Protégé Program was established to pair emerging woman-, minority-, veteran- and disabled-veteran-owned businesses with a mentor, and in the first five years of the program, more than 80 percent of the protégés were certified in at least one of those categories.
The seven partnerships receiving recognition for the fifth session were Michels Corporation, Brownsville, Wis. and Diamond Discs International from Milwaukee, as well as Johnson's DCS from Milwaukee; Score from Green Bay, Wis., and Dos Chiles Catering from Green Bay, as well as Joro Innovations from Green Bay; Schreiber Foods from Green Bay and Giantseed Creative from Green Bay; ThedaCare from Appleton and Custom Service Plastics from Lake Geneva; and Integrys Energy Services from Green Bay and Panacea Group from Seymour. The sixth session of the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program is now underway. For more information about how to join or get involved, please visit http://packers.com/mentorprotege.