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Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 by Emily Rueth
A Fort Atkinson company is among six family businesses honored at the 13th annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award banquet held Thursday evening at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.
Badger Basement Systems received the Grand Award for a medium-sized company with 50-99 employees.
“Family business leaders focus on the next generation, not the next quarter,” stated Julie Bogle, lead partner in the family business practice at Smith & Gesteland, the award founding sponsor.
“They tend to embrace strategies that put customers and employees first and emphasize social responsibility,” she said. “They continue to act as leaders in their communities. We love recognizing the wonderful things they have done in Wisconsin.”
Fifteen companies were nominated for the awards, with the winners selected by an independent panel of judges.
In honoring Badger Basement Systems, the presenter noted that back in 1975, when Jim Hedrick couldn’t find anyone to fix the water problem in his basement, he decided to fix it himself. Then he wondered about all the other people who must have basement problems, and he got an idea.
“That idea became his business, and since that time he has repaired over 20,000 basements,” the presenter said. “Along the way, he has received many customer service awards and the loyalty of both employees and the community.”
While Badger Basement Systems began as a small waterproofing company, it has grown to include crawl space and foundation repair, and basement finishing as well.
The judges especially noted three things: The company’s top rating by both the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List; the stellar reputation of the business in its home community; and a third generation now learning the ropes to carry the business into the future, the presenter said.
Jim and Darlene Hedrick’s three children, Mary, Becky and Chris, began coming to the shop when they were young and now they are becoming owners through a succession plan. Grandchildren are already learning about the business.
To receive an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and the Super Service Award from Angie’s List in a service industry is a rare accomplishment, but Badger Basement Systems also receives top ratings from its staff.
“Employees know that the Hedricks care about them and treat them as family,” the presenter said. “As one employee noted in the nomination, ‘It takes one meeting with the Hedrick family to feel right at home. You know their children and grandchildren by name and they know the same about you.’
“Badger Basement Systems has such a good reputation in their community that they never have trouble finding people to hire,” the presenter added. “Employee referrals provide a long list of potential new members of the business’ family. The company gives back to the community as well, contributing to many charities, fundraisers and special causes.”
The Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award is sponsored by Smith & Gesteland LLP, a Madison-based CPA and Business Consulting firm; First Business Bank, and the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek law firm, to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of family businesses that make an impact on their communities and state economy.
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