DCEDC’s 2023 business award winners, from left to right, are: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay for Established Business of the Year (Tom Martin accepting); Jason White, owner of Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery in Sister Bay, for New Business of the Year; Brad Andreae, owner of Therma-Tron-X, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay, for Lifetime Achievement; and Christiana Trapani, owner of Door County Candle Company in Carlsville, for Women- and Minority-Owned Business of the Year.

The Door County Economic Development Corporation presented four business awards, including one for lifetime achievement, during its Annual Investors Meeting Thursday, May 18, at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.

The award winners include Brad Andreae of Therma-Tron-X, Inc. for Lifetime Achievement; Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for Established Business of the Year; Door County Candle Company for Women- and Minority-Owned Business of the Year; and Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery for New Business of the Year. The winners were selected by an awards committee from an open-nominations process.

“The DCEDC Board of Directors and I are proud to highlight the work of our organization and the special contributions to our community by the 2023 nominees and winners of the four awards,” said Michelle Lawrie, DCEDC executive director. “The winners embody the enthusiasm, resilience and innovation that makes Door County special, whether they have been in the area for fifty years, or for one year. The accomplishments of the award winners are the perfect testimonials to show how individuals, families and businesses can thrive in Door County and also contribute to the community.”

Andreae is the owner of Therma-Tron-X, Inc., an industrial paint systems manufacturer located in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. The company was co-founded in 1969 by his father Otto Andreae and Rusty Sherman.

Brad Andreae has spent 50 years in the industry and has helped grow TTX with innovations that have helped shape the landscape of industrial paint-finishing technology. He presently holds more than a dozen patents that have kept TTX positioned for continued growth and sustainability. Outside of running a successful business, Andreae has made significant philanthropic contributions to many organizations within the Door County community, including a $2 million donation to upgrade technology education rooms and fabrication labs in the Sevastopol School District.

“Brad is a leader, visionary, mentor and philanthropist who has committed the last 50 years to his company and our community,” wrote the award nominator. “He is very worthy of consideration for this award.”

Andreae is only the third Door County business owner to receive the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award since 1978. He joins Ellsworth Peterson, the former Door County shipbuilding icon who operated Peterson Builders, Inc., and Fran Shefchik, founder of PortSide Builders, as Lifetime Achievement winners.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding was selected Established Business of the Year and presented with The Lighthouse Award. Last summer, FBS and its dedicated workers completed construction of the first Great Lakes freighter in nearly 40 years – the 639-foot motor vessel Mark W. Barker – and this past winter the company announced a contract to build a 288-foot service operation vessel to support a commercial offshore windfarm. Door County’s largest employer also recently made further investments into its 63-acre Sturgeon Bay shipyard with a new 19,000-square-foot machine shop that will allow FBS to better support the critical repair service that the company provides to the Great Lakes shipping industry as well as expand its commercial new construction business.

Door County Candle Company, located in Carlsville, was chosen Women- and Minority-Owned Business of the Year and presented with The Light Keeper Award. Owned and operated by Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani and her husband Nic Trapani, Door County Candle Company has been in the national spotlight for its inspirational and extraordinary fundraising efforts. The Trapanis and their team of workers and volunteers have raised $1 million during the past year for war relief efforts in Ukraine through sales of their Ukraine Candles. Christiana, a second-generation Ukrainian-American, and Door County Candle Company have also produced candle fundraisers for Hurricane Ian and earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria.

Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery, located in Sister Bay, was selected New Business of the Year and presented with The Range Lights Award. Owners Jason and Sarah White opened the business in 2021 with an entrepreneurial spirit of creating an inviting space where patrons can relax and socialize within the family friendly confines of their courtyard-style property. The Whites remodeled a former auto-body shop building into a year-round tap room and have plans to expand their business with additional food offerings and on-site employee housing.

DCEDC’s Annual Investors Meeting also featured presentations from Lawrie, DCEDC Board Chairman Brian Stephens and keynote speaker Mike Ward, vice president of business and community development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.