Hearts at Work: Best of Madison Business 2023 | MADISON MAGAZINE


Mentoring Positives’ managing director, Will Green, says he’s an entrepreneur first and foremost. “I consider myself a risk taker,” says Green. “You don’t know if it’s going to work, but you have to [put] a bit of heart in it. Madison magazine’s six 2023 Best of Madison Business winners are entrepreneurs and risk-takers in varying degrees; indeed, all businessmen are.

But what is striking about this year’s winners is the extraordinary degree to which they have put their hearts into it.

Michael Precia grows his business by making a Madison headquarters a guarantee of safety excellence for drivers and fleets of some of the world’s leading brands. Sisters Anne Neujahr Morrison and Sarah Neujahr carry on a legacy of commitment to Madison with a women-owned business in a male-dominated field, dedicated to focused vision and strong relationships. Jim Yehle continues a tradition of excellence – literally – in Madison by valuing the people he employs as well as the people his company serves. Myra McNair pushes the boundaries of healthcare service delivery, among other innovations, by prioritizing culture. To listen to each of them describe their business is to hear hearts at work. That’s what motivates them. This is part of what makes them successful. And that makes it the best of Madison Business.

will be green

will be green | The positives of mentoring

For Green, a successful business needs to be “long-term”. That’s where his heart comes in. “When you do something you love, you put a lot of passion into it,” he says. Green’s passion is mentoring children. He started Mentoring Positives in 2004, inspired by his own childhood growing up with few resources in Gary, Indiana, where he relied on the strength of his mother. Off the Block is the salsa and pizza company he founded to support the non-profit organization Mentoring Positives. “It’s a social enterprise,” says Green, “teaching those skills to kids.” Madison loves Off the Block, Green says, and he gives a lot of credit to connections and business connections. Coincidentally, one of his most significant relationships is with fellow Best of Business award winners, Anne Neujahr Morrison and Sarah Neujahr. Off the Block moves into Ella, the sisters’ mixed-use project on East Washington Avenue where Ella’s Deli once stood. Green hopes to make the business profitable in a year and a half. “Once you can provide that community of people who invest in business,” says Green, “that’s when communities thrive.”

Anne Neujahr Morrison and Sarah Neujahr | New Year’s investments

Neujahr Morrison describes New Year Investments – which she founded in 2019, before her sister, Neujahr, joined the company in 2021 – as “a small, focused property development company focused on creating beautiful and sustainable spaces. , strong relationships that allow us to do more with a small team, and always learning, [choosing] projects we can learn from. Don’t let the word “small” fool you. New Year Investments’ two current projects are anything but. The Madison Community Development Authority’s triangle project will result, in phases over 10 years, in approximately 1,200 homes in one of Madison’s most important neighborhoods, serving a diverse population of primarily single occupants with needs. unique. The Ella, on the other hand, is one of Madison’s first truly coed projects. It has commercial space under 135 apartments. These residential spaces have an urban vibrancy, sustainable in materials and design to meet the needs of the people who live there, and are accessible through Ella’s affordable rent program. “We bring a different perspective,” says Neujahr Morrison of her and her sister, “having worked on both sides of the public-private aisle” — and as women in a field where spaces have typically been developed, designed and built by men. “We haven’t had a lot of mentoring,” she says, “and maybe we bring something in because of our difference.” They do.

Michel Precia

Michel Precia | Fleet-worthy solutions

Precia has worked for many years for companies headquartered in other states and, in fact, Fleetworthy Solutions is the smallest company Precia has worked for. But he grew up in Portage, graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and has always told people at those other businesses that Wisconsin is a great place to live, raise kids, and start a business. So when the fleet safety, compliance and risk data consulting firm offered him the position of CEO, Precia saw it as “an opportunity to return to a city that I love and do great things. These big things include transforming Fleetworthy into a world-class technology platform, opening offices in all US time zones, establishing a service center in South America, and helping major brands. beverage and automotive manufacturing and others to meet regulatory requirements while protecting their drivers and assets. He also oversaw a move to a new corporate headquarters and achieved a personal goal when Fleetworthy was recognized as Madison Magazine’s Best Workplace. And now he and Fleetworthy are the best in Madison Business.

Jim Yehle

Jim Yehlé | Findorff

Yehle says Findorff’s place in Madison’s history and role in the community since 1890 means the ever-growing list of building projects is “not something we have to do, but we are inspired to do it. make”. Findorff’s success is the result of a number of factors, including smart business diversification that helps the company weather the vagaries of the economy (and has been key to weathering the pandemic) and an unwavering commitment to his employees. But what makes Findorff truly extraordinary is what Yehle calls his “duty to contribute positively to a community that has given us so much.” Findorff is a leader in addressing racial, cultural, and economic inequality in Madison. “Things are going well,” says Yehle, “but we have to do better. Now is the perfect time, as we thrive, to make Madison a more inviting place for everyone. We have to do better.” Yehle’s personal commitment is as genuine as it is generous. But his position as President and CEO of Findorff adds weight. “It all goes together,” Yehle says. simply have strong businesses and [have] others are not well. We must rise together. How do we use our position for good? If we can rally people to get things done, that’s pretty powerful.

Myra McNair

Brian Howell Award for Excellence in Innovation: Myra McNair | Anesthesia therapy

McNair, a psychotherapist, trauma specialist and hypnotherapist, says mental health and psychology have always been examined from the perspective of white men. “A lot of blacks and browns don’t see themselves fitting in [that] frame,” she said. McNair founded Anesis Therapy in 2016 as “a space for black and brown people to normalize therapy and feel welcome in a mental health clinic.” With a staff of 50, a main office in West Madison, and a growing number of community clinics and drop-in sites, Anesis “puts culture at the forefront of everything we do, what health care Traditional health usually don’t,” she says. . While McNair describes Anesis as “popular”, its for-profit status allows its team to “create a culture and make decisions about how things are run” instead of spending time researching funding and competing for scarce nonprofit resources. McNair changes the narrative. “You don’t have to be nonprofit to be good,” she says. The late Madison Magazine editor Brian Howell championed innovation, especially in the health sciences. McNair is a worthy winner of Madison Magazine’s Brian Howell Excellence in Innovation Award for Best of Madison Business.

Neil Heinen is a former editor of Madison Magazine.





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