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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Wisconsin Family Business Forum recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the growth and development of the forum. This year, at the Forum’s 14th annual dinner, the forum recognized two people who together and individually have made significant contributions to the forum for more than14 years.

Bill Bassett, chairman of Bassett Mechanical, Kaukauna, a charter member of the forum, was honored with recognition as a Forum Fellow. Bill served as a member of the Board from 1997 to 2006; designed and presented a program on boards of directors; and led the development of a senior executives peer group, which he continues to facilitate (2007 to the present).

Kim Bassett-Heitzmann, president/CEO of Bassett Mechanical, Kaukauna, also was honored with recognition as a Forum Fellow. Kim served as a member of the Program Committee from 1997 to 2006. She was one of the original members of the first peer group and a force in its development and continuation through several iterations to the current Generation Now group. She continues to provide suggestions for programs and speakers.

      Kim Bassett-Heitzmann and Bill Bassett also were recognized because of their involvement from 1996 to the present as a real-life story and example of good family business succession planning. Throughout their transition process, they shared their roller-coaster experiences with the forum as they made the journey through the process. They used various opportunities along the way to tell others about the value the forum provided them.

      The Forum was extremely pleased to induct both Kim and Bill into the Forum Fellows and to congratulate them on their accomplishments.

      The Forum Fellows include the following inductees with the date of their recognition:

      • 2010 — Kim Bassett-Heitzmann and Bill Bassett, Bassett Mechanical, Kaukauna
      • 2009 — Jim and Cindy Janes, Janesco Inc., Oshkosh
      • 2008 — Sue Schierstedt, Wisconsin Family Business Forum
      • 2007 — Al Hartman, College of Business, UW Oshkosh
      • 2007 — John Peeters (posthumously), McCarty Curry Wydeven Peeters & Haak (now McCarty Law)
      • 2006 — Jim Neumann, RB Royal Industries, Fond du Lac
      • 2005 — Burk Tower, College of Business, UW Oshkosh
      • 2004 — Craig Smith, Retained Earnings Company, Neenah

      Since 1996, the Wisconsin Family Business Forum has been working with families and their businesses to foster their continued health through programs, information, networking, resources, research and life experiences. Housed in the College of Business at the UW Oshkosh, the forum has assisted hundreds of family businesses.

      For additional information, contact Forum Executive Director Susan Schierstedt at or (920) 424-2257.

      Submitted photo: Kim Bassett-Heitzmann and Bill Bassett.