It's (good) business as usual for two Waukesha firms

Published on: 4/28/2014

The Waukesha County Business Alliance has named its Top 10 Businesses for 2014, and the list includes two companies with Waukesha addresses that are excited to celebrate the award.

The awards program is designed to "recognize companies headquartered in southeastern Wisconsin that have consistent financial growth and demonstrate a commitment to good business practice through their employee relations, customer-focused commitment and community service involvement," according to the WCBA website.

Here's a profile of each.

Capri Senior Communities

Capri Communities began with the groundbreaking of Summit Woods, 2501 Summit Ave., in 1990 and became a separate business unit in 1996, said Lindsey Krueger, the company's marketing coordinator.

The founder and principal of Capri Communities LLC, Jim Tarantino, was drawn to the Waukesha area during his involvement with the Waukesha Rotary Club and local municipalities, Krueger explained.

"He saw the strong passion the people of Waukesha had for bettering their local community," she said. "He was captivated by their commitment and knew it was the right place to build his first senior living community."

Now, Capri Communities operates 12 senior communities from Whitewater to Germantown and south to Kenosha.

"Our residents and their needs are part of every decision that we make. ... They are at the heart of everything we do. Our business practices are woven into our commitment to our communities and the residents we serve," Krueger said.

Capri Communities also made the 2011 list. At that time, Krueger said the company outlined its plan to develop an "Enhanced Service Program" to create customized care and allow residents to remain in their apartment home.

"Now in 2014, we are again honored with this recognition at a time when the ESP concept has now operating in four developments and a fifth set to begin in the next 60 days," Krueger said.

She said that the leadership team and employees work to participate in a "wide range of community activities," and added that Summit Woods has also developed longstanding relationships with community organizations to give back.

Owner Jim Tarantino called the award an honor.

"It is an honor to be recognized for something that we are so passionate about and that we find so rewarding," Taratino said. "This recognition is a testament to the commitment of all of our employees from home office to our community site staff to our common goal of making each of our communities more than just a place to live but rather a place that residents truly consider 'home.'"

Hydro-Thermal Corp.

Hydro-Thermal Corp., 400 Pilot Drive, started out the year by celebrating its 80th anniversary. The company has been family-owned since 1964, when Donald Zaiser purchased HydroheaterTM and renamed it Hydro-Thermal Corporation.

For many years the company operated in Wauwatosa, but in 1989 the family built a new facility in Waukesha.

"It's actually an interesting story," said Jim Zaiser, current company president. "My family was one of the original founders of the town of Waukesha in the 1800s. They migrated here from Europe to New York and then moved west. It's been neat to get back to the Waukesha area."

The company of 72 employees is housed in a 36,000-square-foot, "fully integrated" facility that completes design, marketing, sales, finance, and engineering under the same roof as the manufacturing plant, Zaiser said.

Hydro-Thermal has also been recognized for working globally — in 2011 with the Governor's Export Award and this year for international business relations.

Being recognized locally, however, is just as important, Zaiser said.

"The Top 10 award is a really special for the employees of our company," he said. "We've made a lot of improvements to stabilize ourselves as an international product. This award really speaks to our ability to create a very positive work environment and to establish very innovative techniques for our product line.

"It also (speaks) to our community service and how we've given back to the community both in volunteer organizations and helping the next generation of technical workers."

Zaiser said that, every quarter, employees dedicate time to the Ronald McDonald House serving meals. The company also brings in interns and even high school students who may have an interest in manufacturing, saidmarketing manager Nathan Misirian.

"I think its unusual to find growing and strategic companies that are passed from generation to generation. It's exciting to be part of a family owned company," Misirian added.

Waukesha County Business Alliance's Top 10 Businesses of the Year

Badger Alloys, Inc.

Capri Senior Communities - Tarantino & Company LLC


EmbedTek LLC

First Bank Financial Centre

Gustave A. Larson Company

Hunzinger Construction Company

Hydro-Thermal Corporation

Stan's Fit For Your Feet and New Balance Milwaukee

Waukesha Metal Products