2009 Local Achievement Award Winners

Gordy Ziglinski “Spirit of Education” Award: John Nehmey, CR, Nehmey Construction, Inc. - recognizes excellence in training and education in the industry in general, and Milwaukee/NARI in particular. The 2009 recipient started his own remodeling business after completing a variety of projects for friends and family. A member of Milwaukee/NARI since 2002, he earned his Certified Remodeler designation in 2003. He has also encouraged and worked with two other company staff to earn one of NARI's Certified Professional designations. Since 2006, he has dedicated time to being Milwaukee/NARI's Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) Study Group coordinator. In this role, he seeks out presenters for specific sessions and he works together with the other coordinators to make sure that the schedules mesh and all the sessions are properly presented. In Milwaukee/NARI's efforts to reach students pursuing degrees in home improvement and remodeling, he has participated in panel discussions where association members share their experience and insight with students to prepare them for careers in the field. He has also participated as a panelist in discussions for local homeowners held at the Milwaukee/NARI Education Center.

Marvin Johnson Meritorious Service Award: Susan Montie, Advanced Communications Specialists - honors a member who has shown exceptional leadership, devotion, dedication, and accomplishment on NARI's behalf. The 2009 recipient is not only known to Milwaukee/NARI members as a business partner, but as a friend. For the last several years, she has played an integral role on the Membership Committee, putting forth a tremendous amount of effort and energy to not only develop and carry out recruitment programs, but to encourage those that joined the association to get involved. Whether it's calling members to invite them to a monthly meeting or spending time with a new member at a Milwaukee/NARI function, this person is always promoting the benefits of membership. She has also served on the Milwaukee/NARI board of directors the past two years, and was recently elected to a new three-year term.

Mary Fox-Hagner Lifetime Achievement Award: Dean Herriges, CR, CKBR, Urban Herriges & Sons, Inc. - recognizes the association's executive director from 1993 - 2005. This award is bestowed on a person who has been in the remodeling industry for at least 20 years and a member of NARI for at least seven years. The 2009 recipient is co-owner of a company now in its fourth generation, and he and his company have been members of Milwaukee/NARI since 1986. He has been a Certified Remodeler since November 1995 and was appointed Chairman of the Education/ Certification Committee for Milwaukee/NARI the following year, a position he held through the end of 2002. He has also served as a Milwaukee/NARI board member and executive office, including a two-year term as president. For several years, he has worked with the Waukesha County Technical College to serve as the professional liaison for classes relating to home improvement and remodeling, providing guidance and suggestions on course offerings. He is also heavily involved with NARI National, sharing his expertise and insight at regional and national committee meetings and serving as a resource for the national office as it seeks to enhance NARI chapters across the country.

Professionalism Award: David Pekel, CR, Pekel Construction & Remodeling, Inc. - salutes a member who has shown exceptional devotion, dedication, and accomplishment to the home improvement and remodeling industry through efforts to promote NARI as a professional organization on the local level while at the same time serving as a tremendous resource for the community. A member of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council since 1996, he is recognized as one of the association's biggest proponents when it comes to being involved in association activities and serving as a mentor to other contractors, including serving as an instructor for the Certified Professional classes. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1998, and he recently completed his tenure as the long-time chair of the association's Marketing and Show Committees. He has helped the association achieve record levels of income and net revenues, helping create events that are "must-attend" for those considering a home improvement and remodeling project. He often served as an excellent spokesperson for Milwaukee/NARI, as he is able to eloquently and concisely provide information to reporters, serving as an in-studio guest for radio and TV programs and speaking on a variety of topics with print reporters. Under his direction, the Marketing Committee communicated the association's message through print, radio, and TV ads, billboard, Web site ads, bus tails, and direct mail. Milwaukee/NARI is also recognized by print and electronic media reporters as the group to contact when looking for information relating to home improvement and remodeling.

Certified Remodeler “Superstar” Award: Bingo Emmons, CR: Creative Construction of Wisconsin, Inc. - goes to the person scoring highest locally on the written certification exam.

Certified Professional of the Year: Diane Ausavich, CR, Carl Krueger Construction, Inc. - recognizes a person who's been a Certified Professional for at least three years and has continued to excel in the field, while sharing professional experience and expertise with other association members. A member of Milwaukee/NARI for nearly 15 years, this person earned her Certified Remodeler designation in 2000. She has assisted the Certified Professionals program by serving as an instructor during the training program and she has successfully worked with several of her company's employees to achieve Certified Professional status. She volunteers her time to staff the association's information booth at consumer shows, participates in panel discussions at area technical colleges, visits area high schools to make presentations, and serves as a professional liaison at MATC's downtown campus for classes relating to home improvement and remodeling. She is the former chair of the Seminar and Fall Show committees, and co-chair of the Spring Home Improvement Showcase committee, plus she was an association officer for the last six years.

Bill Bobrowitz Image Award: Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. - recognizes an individual or organization that has contributed to the enhancement of the industry's image. This year's winner has been in the building trade for more than 30 years, as he regularly consults in the area of home remodeling and construction, and performs home inspections throughout southeastern Wisconsin. He has been affiliated with the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council since 1992, and he is recognized throughout Milwaukee/NARI as one of its biggest proponents as he regularly promotes the association as part of his radio program and newspaper columns, encouraging homeowners to use association members for home improvement and remodeling projects. A long-term participant on the association's Ethics Committee, he has served as the moderator of several association panel discussions conducted at Milwaukee/NARI consumer Shows. He hosts a live weekly radio call-in show, giving practical advice while responding to callers' questions on home repairs and improvements. An author and keynote speaker on industry topics, he has been, and will continue to be, a tremendous asset to Milwaukee/NARI, to the home improvement and remodeling industry, and to the community.

Affiliate Organization of the Year: RitzHolman CPAs - is presented to a member company not directly in the home improvement and remodeling industry that has supported the local association in its business activities and has enhanced its operations. The 2009 recipient has assisted the association by thoroughly reviewing the financial portfolio for the past three years. As an industry leader in non-profit association accounting, this company has brought a fresh and educated perspective on the association's finances and reporting. Not only was a review scheduled and completed by experienced CPAs, this company also provided consultation on ways to improve general accounting practices and provided reports that benchmarked the association's financial health to those of similar organizations and budget sizes. Whether it is an assistant, software tech, CPA, or a partner in the company, the responsiveness and customer service from this company is second to none. It is that extra effort that this company has provided to Milwaukee/NARI that separates them from other qualified accounting firms.

Distributor of the Year: Milwaukee Millwork - is an honor that recognizes a member company that has demonstrated a strong commitment to NARI, to the remodeling industry, and to our community.  This company has been an association member since 1981.  The company’s official representative is a member of the Home Improvement Show and Finance Committees, plus part of the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation Board.  Company representatives participated in membership recruitment blitz promotions held several times during the year, including serving as the host of the event at its showroom.  The company is a significant product donor to the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation Rummage Sale, plus it has sponsored a variety of association special events and it will provide new cabinetry for the kitchen cooking demonstration stage used at the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show. Staff has served as an industry resource, providing educational information to consumers interested in home improvement and remodeling.  The company is a supplier to a number of Milwaukee/NARI members, working with those companies too not only enhance their business operations, but to be more available to consumers.

Media Outlet of the Year: M Magazine - the media organization that assists Milwaukee/NARI in its effort to provide home improvement and remodeling resources to consumers throughout the area while enhancing the association’s image and community presence.  This media outlet is recognized for partnering with the association on a variety of editorial content within its publication, plus uses Milwaukee/NARI members as resources when featuring remodeling projects in its monthly publication.  It is also the media partner on this event, and will be distributing a 32-page special section in its February issue to recognize this evening’s winning projects.