Four Local Businesses Honored

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) presented four business awards, including one for lifetime achievement, during its annual investors meeting May 18 at the Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay. An awards committee selected the winners from an open-nominations process.

“The 2023 DCEDC board of directors and I are proud to highlight the work of our organization and the special contributions to our community by the 2023 nominees and winners of the four awards,” said Michelle Lawrie, DCEDC’s executive director. 

“The winners embody the enthusiasm, resilience and innovation that make Door County special,” she said, “whether they have been in the area for 50 years, or for one year. The accomplishments of the award winners are the perfect testimonials to show how individuals, families and businesses can thrive in Door County and also contribute to the community.”

DCEDC is a public/private partnership that has been working to improve Door County’s economic vitality since 1989. Its annual investors meeting also featured presentations by Lawrie and keynote speaker Mike Ward, vice president of business and community development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Brad Andreae

Brad Andreae is the owner of Therma-Tron-X, a company cofounded in 1969 by his father, Otto Andreae; and Rusty Sherman. Submitted.

Brad Andreae is the owner of Therma-Tron-X, an industrial paint-systems manufacturer located in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. Andreae’s father, Otto; and Rusty Sherman cofounded the company in 1969. 

Andreae has spent more than 50 years in the industry and has helped to grow Therma-Tron-X through innovations that have helped to shape the landscape of industrial paint-finishing technology. He currently holds more than a dozen patents that have kept Therma-Tron-X positioned for continued growth and sustainability. 

Outside of running a successful business, Andreae has made significant philanthropic contributions to many area organizations, including a $2 million donation to upgrade technology-education rooms and fabrication labs in the Sevastopol School District.

“Brad is a leader, visionary, mentor and philanthropist who has committed the last 50 years to his company and our community,” wrote the award nominator. “He is very worthy of consideration for this award.”

Andreae is only the third Door County business owner to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award since 1978. He joins previous recipients Ellsworth Peterson, the former Door County shipbuilding icon who operated Peterson Builders; and Fran Shefchik, founder of PortSide Builders.

The Lighthouse Award for Established Business of the Year: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding

The Mark W. Barker during a 2021 launch ceremony at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Sturgeon Bay shipyard. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Last summer, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and its dedicated workers completed construction of the first Great Lakes freighter in nearly 40 years – the 639-foot motor vessel Mark W. Barker – and this past winter, the company announced a contract to build a 288-foot service-operation vessel to support a commercial offshore wind farm. 

Door County’s largest employer also recently made further investments in its 63-acre Sturgeon Bay shipyard with a new, 19,000-square-foot machine shop that will allow the company to better support the critical repair service that it provides to the Great Lakes shipping industry and to expand its commercial new-construction business. 

The Light Keeper Award for Women- and Minority-Owned Business of the Year: Door County Candle Company 

Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani is the owner of Door County Candle Company in Carlsville. Her success with her nonprofit Ukraine candle – she has donated $1 million from sales of the candles to a Ukrainian nonprofit organization – has inspired her company’s new philanthropic business model, which she formally announced May 19 (see the related story in Business Briefs). File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Owned and operated by Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani and her husband, Nic Trapani, Door County Candle Company in Carlsville has been in the national spotlight recently for its inspirational and extraordinary fundraising efforts. 

The Trapanis and their team of workers and volunteers have raised $1 million during the past year for war-relief efforts in Ukraine through sales of their Ukraine candles. Christiana, a second-generation Ukrainian-American, and Door County Candle Company have also carried out candle fundraisers following Hurricane Ian and to assist with earthquake-relief efforts in Turkey and Syria. 

The Range Lights Award for New Business of the Year: Peach Barn Farmhouse and Brewery

(From left) Peach Barn Farmhouse and Brewery owners Sarah and Jason White. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Owners Jason and Sarah White opened their Sister Bay business in 2021 with an entrepreneurial spirit of creating an inviting space where patrons can relax and socialize within the family-friendly confines of their courtyard-style property. The Whites remodeled a former auto-body shop into a year-round tap room and have plans to expand their business with additional food offerings and on-site employee housing.

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