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Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt Inducted into Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame


The three brothers were recognized for their the entrepreneurial spirit, strategic foresight, business intelligence and passion for philanthropy

APPLETON, WI (May 2, 2016) – On May 1, U.S. Venture founders Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt were inducted into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame, which was created in 1990 to recognize and honor the professional and civic accomplishments of business leaders who also serve as role models for young people in the state. The evening benefits Junior Achievement of Wisconsin (JA).

Junior Achievement commended this year’s laureates for having “positively shaped Wisconsin’s business climate through their innovative thinking and leadership.”

When a small business started in the front room of a home in Kimberly, WI, no one would have imagined it would grow into the success it has become today. But, with calculated risks, a solid work ethic and a strong brotherly bond, Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt grew that one-room office into a leading distributor of vehicular products known as U.S. Venture. The award honors the hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropic passion of Art, Ray and Bill.

“The Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of men and women whose passion and hard work make our commitments better places to live,” said Tim Greinert, president of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin. “The paved the way for future generations to succeed. They lived their dreams while mentoring and nurturing the talent of hundreds of others. We honor the outstanding leadership of all our award winners and laureates, including Ray, Bill and Art Schmidt. In thousands of classrooms throughout the state, JA volunteers change lives and set a successful course for young people. These student will be the leaders, business owners and your employees.”

Tom Schmidt, Art Schmidt’s son and chairman of the board of directors at U.S. Venture, accepted the award on behalf of the three brothers and their families. Art and Ray weren’t able to attend the event due to deteriorating health, and Bill, the youngest of the three brothers, passed away in February 2017 after courageously fighting a long-term illness.

“When I think of the three brothers, a few words come to mind: hard work, respect for others, entrepreneurial spirit, and philanthropy,” Schmidt said in his remarks. “The ownership of a fuel oil route led to the ownership of a bulk plant, service stations, petroleum terminals, tire and automotive parts warehouses, and many more businesses, all of which in some way complemented each other. The brothers always knew that to be successful, they needed the help of many other people. They always focused on making the associates feel like part of the family.”

Also recognized at the ceremony were fellow 2017 inductees Agustin Ramirez of HUSCO International and Bill Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors.

To watch a video about Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt’s legacy, click here.