2016 Don Richards Leadership Award Recipient
The Fotsch Family will receive the 2016 Don Richards Leadership Award, to be presented at the Alliance's 98th Annual Meeting on Friday, September 9 at the Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center. Tom Fotsch, chief operating officer of EmbedTek LLC and Nana Fotsch, will be accepting the award on behalf of the Fotsch Family.
The Don Richards Leadership Award recognizes those who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of others through their leadership and involvement. The Fotsch family is dedicated to supporting organizations and initiatives that give others the opportunity to reach their potential.
In 1964, Bill “Pa” and Geri “Nana” Fotsch moved from South Bend, Ind. to Elm Grove, Wis. when their company Bausch Machine Tool, Inc. relocated to Milwaukee. As their family grew, so too did their commitment to their community. The Fotsch family has always believed that “to whom much is given, much is expected,” and has made it their imperative to invest in others so they can do likewise. In 1967, the Fotsch Foundation (later changed to the Fotsch Family Foundation) was formed to support causes that share their belief as well.
The Fotsch Family Foundation has helped fund organizations that support education, veterans, and a number of other causes. These organizations include: Marquette University (scholarships), Ronald McDonald House, Women’s Care Center, Medical College of Wisconsin research, Waukesha County Technical College, Operation Finally Home and more.
Most recently, the Fotsch Family Foundation has partnered with organizations throughout Waukesha County to support manufacturing initiatives and invest in the next generation of manufacturers. This includes supporting the Schools2Skills program, created by the Waukesha County Business Alliance to take area high school students on tours of local manufacturing facilities. The Fotsch family was also a major contributor to the new Integrated Manufacturing Center at Waukesha County Technical College, which opened its doors earlier this year.
“The Fotsch family has shown tremendous support for Waukesha County and for the residents and businesses that reside here,” said Suzanne Kelley, president & CEO of the Waukesha County Business Alliance. “Their involvement represents those that lead by example. With their promise to donate $1 million for WCTC’s new IMC building if the community raised the other $2 million, the Fotsch family inspired others to invest in the future of Waukesha County. That is the hallmark of a true leader.”
The Don Richards Award celebrates the life of the late Don Richards, who was publisher of The Business Journal and chairman of the Board of the Waukesha Area Chamber of Commerce (now known as Waukesha County Business Alliance). The late Don Richards’ hands-on leadership, ethics and delight in achieving tangible results left a lasting impression on the Waukesha County business community. The Don Richards Leadership Award was created in his honor in 1993 to inspire and motivate business people to take community leadership roles in Waukesha County.