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2023 Award Winners


Future Neenah celebrates the outstanding partnerships that helped us achieve community success in 2023.

Future Neenah recognized the following individuals and businesses that, through partnerships, made serving as Neenah’s quality of life organization a success in 2023. These honorees have hearts for community service and a love of Neenah Area.

Grainworks Old + New: Local Bourbon Market

Grainworks moved into the district in 2022 and fully embraced the ‘Downtown Unequaled’ brand. They participate in all the downtown community events and activities (including winning favorite savory item on their very first Warm Your Heart by serving a delicious bacon cheeseburger soup) and host special events of their own like tastings, ticket pulls for bourbon bottles, collecting Toys for Tots and supporting local pet rescues. Grainworks is a downtown destination offering Wisconsin’s largest bourbon curated gift shop from top shelf bourbons, barrel decor, and more. Their wide variety and line of gifts makes them the place to visit downtown.

Their social media presence and marketing boosts the entire district making them an anchor to our central city.

In 2023, Grainworks hosted a bourbon tasting room at our 40th anniversary celebration gala and have been generous in so many other ways as well. A toast to Grainworks!

Santiago Sanchez

Santiago has practically become part of our Future Neenah family. He generously shares his time and talents providing photography for many of our special events, making us look good.  He is the smile behind the lens rather than in front of it and his easy personality brings out the best in his photo subjects making for a catalog of wonderful community event pictures for the organization. He was one of our social media ambassadors for the inaugural year of this Future Neenah program designed to capture the community in photos. Thanks Santiago, for preserving our memories and capturing the fun in Neenah! Smile, Santiago, it’s your turn to be in front of the camera.

Plexus Corp.

Plexus stepped up in a big way when Future Neenah was in search of unique destination to host our very first gala event to celebrate our 40th anniversary! They not only offered the site but also staff, security and support helping us to create a night to be remembered and that makes them a champion to us.  

Plexus is also an active participant in our events supporting the Shattuck Park concerts and providing leadership to our board through Plexus employee Megan Schleicher. She was Future Neenah’s board secretary in 2023 and was recently nominated vice president at our annual business meeting. Plexus employee Derek Schmid also continues to share his knowledge and skills assisting us with our strategic planning.

Plexus was founded in Neenah, WI in 1979 and put Neenah firmly on the map again with the Bevi Bottleless Water Dispenser as the coolest thing made in Wisconsin last year.

Sunset Hill Stoneware

Handcrafted with care and Neenah pride, Sunset Hill Stoneware, a family business, designs custom stoneware including coffee mugs and beer steins which are hand crafted. They literally start from a piece of clay – each one meticulously made as a unique creation.

They celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2023. That’s 25 years of quality, unique handmade stoneware representing Neenah all over the nation.

Future Neenah is grateful for their support in 2023, providing mugs for our 40th anniversary and Log Your Loops scavenger hunt as well as Neenah mugs revisiting Future Neenah’s old city scape logo. Future Neenah also works with them to order the highly sought after Warm Your Heart mugs each year.

Sunset Hill Stoneware represents Neenah with a true sense of pride.

City of Neenah

Sesquicentennial refers to a period of 150 years but I’m certain we could think of over 150 reasons why the City of Neenah should be named Future Neenah’s 2023 Civic Partner of the Year, especially on its 150th anniversary year. 

Cheers – In 2023, we worked together to accomplish Neenah’s very first TDORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) in conjunction with our two summer street concerts.

It can also be an explosive partnership with fireworks – literal fireworks – celebrating the City’s 150th and Future Neenah’s 40th anniversary year following the end of summer Boogie Downtown street concert.

While we’ve recognized other City Departments in the past, we wanted to be sure to specifically call out the Mayors office on this special year for every permit, every BID board appointment, every special event application, every BID legal letter of opinion, every meeting, every consult, every everything!

The Mayor for fearless leadership, the City Attorney for legal acumen, the City Clerk for management – well, for their entire team, we thank you. Let’s continue this partnership to make Neenah the very best place to live, work, play and do business for the next 150 years.

Collaboration toward community is the name of the game and for that we are grateful and recognize the City of Neenah as Future Neenah’s 2023 Civic Partner of the Year.

Awards were presented by Future Neenah staff

Photos by Graham Images LLC

Awards by Tim Robertson of Gears & Fire