Congratulations to 2021 Community and Economic Development Award Winners

Achievements in Economic Development Recognized at 2021 CEDA Awards

Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Economic Development Association congratulates all 2021 Community and Economic Development Award (CEDA) winners, who were unveiled at the annual CEDA Awards ceremony that was held September 15, 2021, at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, WI. The CEDA Awards was established by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) to recognize businesses, projects, and organizations that are making significant contributions to Wisconsin’s economy.

“Economic developers and the businesses and entrepreneurs they work with daily are the unsung heroes of the economy. They work tirelessly to help make their communities thrive, and the CEDA Awards represent a special night where their efforts and achievements are celebrated,” said WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry. “WEDA was thrilled to partner with the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to present the CEDA Awards and recognize the businesses and organizations across the state committed to advancing the economy,”

Awards were given in the following six categories at the 2021 CEDA Awards ceremony: Business Retention and Expansion; Economic Development Initiative; Economic Driver; Public Private Partnership; Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse; and Talent Attraction. Please find a list of the winners below:

  • Business Retention & Expansion – This award honors innovative economic development projects where communities have successfully mobilized to help retain and potentially expand the operations of an existing business critical to the economic vitality of the community.
    • Winner: Attwill Medical Solutions – Attwill is a life science manufacturing company bringing critical manufacturing back to central Wisconsin. Founded in Lodi, WI in 2017, the company produces a wide range of products such as rapid COVID tests, 2nd-generation COVID vaccines, and innovative pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Attwill added to its staff at a time of hiring freezes across the country and halted its traditional production to produce hand sanitizer to help protect frontline workers during the pandemic. Attwill intends to further increase its position in Wisconsin’s manufacturing and biotechnology industries.

  • Economic Development Initiative – This award honors innovative community and economic development efforts that successfully promote growth and prosperity in Wisconsin communities.
    • Winner: City of West Allis / First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprise – West Allis Economic Development, in partnership with FIRE provides expert guidance to entrepreneurs looking to open businesses in the city. The experienced team works with prospects to identify a business location, navigate regulations, strengthen business plans, and offers technical assistance to help entrepreneurs find success. In some cases, the team identifies alternative financing resources and leverages local resources to attract SBA 504 financing. These conversations and connections have proven valuable for sustainable growth in West Allis.

  • Economic Driver – This award honors businesses committed to long-term investment in their Wisconsin operations that have had a significant economic impact in their community and across the state.
    • Winners:
      • Kwik Trip – Less than a year after its 1965 debut, Kwik Trip was described as a “merchandizing phenomenon” by the Eau Claire Advertiser.  Today, that single store has grown to more than 750 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.  The company serves 10 million customers each week, generates approximately $7 billion in sales, and employs over 30,000 coworkers. Kwik Trip’s retail operations are supported by vertical integration with its corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations in La Crosse.  Kwik Trip’s capital investment of more than $378 million into its headquarters, along with the creation of 662 new jobs, continues to enhance the economic landscape in La Crosse and across the state.


      • Hendricks Commercial Properties – Established in 1974, Hendricks Commercial Properties has a passion for real estate and a drive to build business success. The company has stayed the course during hard economic times and continues to lead by example as a world-class company.  Headquartered in Downtown Beloit’s Ironworks Campus, Hendricks manages and develops real estate throughout the United States and specializes in net leased real estate investments, management, and development. Henricks has invested $90 million in Wisconsin over the past three years and has played a pivotal role in many award-winning projects including Hotel Goodwin, the Phoenix Building Apartments, and Stateline Industrial Park.

  • Private Public Partnership – This award honors projects, programs, or initiatives that have been successful due to exceptional collaboration between the public and private sectors.
    • Winner: Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions and City of Onalaska – In the late 1990s, the City of Onalaska created a master plan focused on redevelopment of its downtown and the Lake Onalaska waterfront. The City purchased 49 acres of blighted property for redevelopment.  The Great River Landing, the trailhead facility for the Great River State Bicycle Trail opened in 2017.  Shortly thereafter, Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions approached the city with a plan for the Great River Residences.  This project has transformed the underutilized land with a $16.4 million, mixed-use development with direct access to waterfront amenities and public parks. The project, which has significantly grown the local tax base, was financed in part with tax incremental financing incentives, a WEDC grant, bank financing, and additional private investment.

  • Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse – This award honors innovative real estate redevelopment or reuse projects that have had a positive impact on a community’s economy, including job growth and increased tax base.
    • Winner: Belle City Square – The Arabella – The Horlick Malted Milk Company operated in Racine from 1873 to 1975. The long vacant blighted site is now home to Belle City Square — a $210 million mixed-use development that will include rental units, commercial, hotel and dining spaces. The $42.4 million Phase I construction began in August 2020 and includes the site’s two largest buildings. The Arabella, named after William Horlick’s wife, began construction in August 2020 and was completed in May 2021. It includes 60 units that are a mix of 12 market-rate and 48 affordable apartments. The northern building, The William, will achieve USGBC’s LEED Gold requirements and will house approximately 76 market-rate units.

  • Talent Development – This award honors initiatives or programs that have driven successful talent development efforts to strengthen the Wisconsin workforce.
    • Winner: New North-gener8tor – gener8tor Upskilling Initiative was launched in partnership with Microsoft, New North, Thrivent, and the Steve Stricker American Family Foundation to provide the first-in-the-nation opportunity to help people connect to a new skills training platform.  Designed as a free skills-training program for job seekers, gener8tor Upskilling harnessed a turnkey platform with self-paced curriculum offered through Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub that created learning runways for today’s ten most in-demand digital careers. This Made-in-Wisconsin program has expanded across other areas of the country and is recognized as a high-value, quick-skilling initiative. From its launch in July 2020 through, the program expanded to six additional states, supporting 12 cohorts that saw 961 applicants, 159 graduates, and 83 hires.

WEDA would like to give a special thanks to all of the following 2021 CEDA Award sponsors: Alliant Energy; US Bank; the Green Bay Packers organization; Xcel Energy; Dairyland Power Cooperative; Madison Gas & Electric; Findorff; First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprise; Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation; Wisconsin Counties Association; and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.