By Steve Jagler Special to Published Mar 03, 2010 at 5:32 AM
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.

In most years, BizTimes Milwaukee has dozens of nominated companies and business executives to choose from when we select the recipients of our annual IQ Awards and Bravo Entrepreneur Awards.

After all, what company or company leader wouldn't want to take advantage of such a terrific opportunity for free public relations? Articles are written about the winners, who are featured, along with photographs, in a special edition of BizTimes Milwaukee. In addition, the winners receive the awards at a special luncheon.

It's the kind of public spotlight most companies usually have to pay for. In fact, it's even better, because it is perceived as "earned" media coverage.

Yes sir, most years, we're swamped with nominations for the awards. However, 2010 is not like most years. On the heels of the Great Recession, most companies are hesitant and even reticent to promote themselves. Most saw their sales and profits decline in 2009. Many had to lay off employees or freeze their wages.

So, they wonder, what could they possibly have to celebrate for an awards program?

To that line of thinking, I say, "Poppycock!" If your company is still standing, that is an accomplishment. This is a fantastic time to celebrate achievements in business.

It's long past time to get back to business as we knew it.

The worst of the recession is behind us. The recovery may be sawtoothed, but it is a recovery. It's time to start celebrating the day-to-day day achievements that keep your company in business ... and BizTimes wants to celebrate with you.

The IQ (Innovation Quotient) Awards honor southeastern Wisconsin companies that are generating innovative products, services or processes. The nominated companies must be based in Wisconsin and have a physical presence in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, Racine, Walworth or Kenosha County. Judges for the IQ awards will choose the most innovative, clever and unique products, services or processes among the companies nominated. Self-nominations are encouraged. Submit your nominations at

The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards salute dynamic southeastern Wisconsin company leaders who demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship, including innovation, the willingness to take risk and resilience during the Great Recession. To be considered, the entrepreneur must be part of a closely-held company that has been in business for a minimum of one year and has a minimum of $1.5 million in annual sales. The Bravo! nominees also will be considered for the Regional Spirit Award and the Lifetime Achievement Awards. Submit your nominations for the Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards at

The winners of the IQ Awards and Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards will be featured in an upcoming edition of BizTimes Milwaukee and will honored at an awards luncheon on April 29 at the sixth annual BizTech Conference & Expo to be held at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.

The BizTech Conference & Expo is the largest business-to-business conference in the state. For additional information, visit

Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at