Franklin — Wheaton Franciscan Hospital-Franklin has been named the 2013 Business of the Year by the South Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber bestowed its awards to businesses in Oak Creek, Franklin and the surrounding south suburban communities during its Annual Awards Dinner on Jan. 30.
More than 170 South Suburban Chamber members, business leaders and elected officials attended the dinner, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Wheaton Franciscan received the Business of the Year Award for its success, its contributions to the local community and to the community at large.
"This is a huge honor that reflects on our teamwork and dedication to the communities we serve," said Sheila Gansemer, vice president of patient care services for Wheaton Franciscan-Franklin, who accepted the award.
In July of 2013, the hospital opened a new 60,000-square-foot medical office building to house a range of primary care physicians and specialists; the expansion helped create space for the next phase of the hospital's construction, which will include more inpatient beds, operating rooms, gastrointestinal laboratories and a cardiac catheterization laboratory.
The hospital also offers multiple programs for community involvement, including its Mental Health Community Education Series and the STRIDES (Student Transitions Resulting in the Development of Essential Skills) program. The company also promotes health events, such as the Franklin Bike Rodeo and the Franklin Family Health Night.
"I am so proud to have a team that has this high level of commitment," said Wheaton-Franciscan Central Market President Coreen Dicus-Johnson. "Our goal is to continue to build on this excellent level of care."
The other finalists for Business of the Year were FastSigns from Greenfield and Toppers Pizza in Franklin.
Pride in Premises
The 2013 Pride in Premises Award was given to the Staybridge Suites Milwaukee Airport South, located in Franklin.
The Pride in Premises Award is given to a company or organization that has demonstrated care for their buildings, physical environment and surroundings.
"Staybridge Suites Milwaukee Airport South has taken its position on South 27th Street and Ryan Road and used the natural plantings, cattails and shrubs to create a welcoming entrance to the hotel," said Barbara Wesener, executive director of the chamber. "Areas that previously were overgrown are now mulched, a fire pit serves as a gathering spot and the environmentally friendly parking lot all contribute to the well-designed premises of the Staybridge Suites."
"We thought the outdoor fire pit would be a great feature for our guests who wanted to enjoy the outdoors," Staybridge General Manager Mark Hansen. "And our parking lot now has brick pavers, rather than asphalt, that allow water to filter through. We're always looking for ways to make our surroundings more beautiful."
Dental Associates in Franklin and the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Airport were runners-up for the Pride in Premises Award.
Member of the Year
The chamber also named Mary Starr as its 2013 Member of the Year.
Starr, a Franklin resident, is the co-owner and executive vice president of the Greenfield insurance risk-management agency The Starr Group and has served two terms on the chamber's board of directors.
"I was very surprised and honored," Starr said. "It was something I wasn't expecting at all."
Starr has served as the chairwoman of the Events Committee, which is responsible for the chamber's two largest fundraisers: the golf outing and the annual awards dinner. She also helped establish the chamber's Health and Wellness Council.
"I'm very passionate about wellness and wanted to bring it to the other business members in the chamber," Starr said. "I wanted to give back to a community that has already given me so much."
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