The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board presented its annual Business of the Year Awards during the December meeting at Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wisconsin.

This year two regional businesses received recognition for their outstanding commitment to their community and employees. Awards were presented to Countryside Fabrication (Countryside Fab) and IKS Industries.

Countryside Fab in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, received the Small Business of the Year Award. The company specializes in sanitary equipment for the food industry. Paul Stevens, his wife Janell and staff have managed to effectively grow their business since opening in Paul's personal garage in 2010. A building on Highway 70 was purchased in 2013 and they are completing construction of an 80- by 100-foot addition. Countryside Fab primarily employs welders and fabricators living in the Grantsburg area.

IKS Industries of Park Falls, Wisconsin, received the Large Business of the Year Award. IKS Industries is a custom machine shop located in northern Wisconsin that can accommodate manufacturing, fabrication and machining needs. They process orders as needed by current and new customers across the United States. Don Balczewski started IKS Industries (then called North Woods Milling Specialists) in 2005. A machine company that started like many others, a homestead located business, has grown into multimillion dollar a year corporation over the past 13 years.

The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board is one of more than 600 workforce boards in the U.S. and is responsible for the oversight of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and other training and employment initiatives in northwest Wisconsin, including the counties of Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Price, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn. For more information, contact Melissa Rabska at 715-682-9141 ext. 122 or, or visit