Please join us!!

What:  Akey Manufacturing’s Annual Company Picnic

When: Saturday, August 12th, 2017

1:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.

Where: 319 Old Hwy 11S, Footville, WI 53537

Food, Fun, Friends, Music & More!!!

 Hope to See You There!!



This local couple was featured on our blog back in March of 2015.  Akey Manufacturing did some Custom Fabrication for their home.

Before that, Scott, along with another local contractor, was involved in a multi-faceted concrete project at our home.

And, I’ve had the pleasure of frequenting Kristin’s Salon on many occasions.

We are proud to know this hardworking duo and would like to introduce you!

Meet Kristin & Scott Marquis of Beloit, Wisconsin.

Striking out 2005

After 12 years of working with other contractors, Scott started Scott Marquis Construction in 2005.  His skills and services include: concrete counter tops, concrete flatwork, additions, remodeling, garages, windows, roofing and siding.


On Her Own 2003

After working 11 years for others, Kristin now owns and operates:

 About Hair; A full service salon, specializing in hair color and eye lash lifts(Est 2003)


IMG_0361 (1)

Painted Lady; re-finishing and re-purposing new and old furniture (Est 2013)


& Learn to Lash; teaching cosmetologists to apply lash extensions and perform lash lifts/perms as well as working part time at Madison College as a Cosmetology Instructor.



The purpose of  “Customer Spotlight” is to encourage people to recognize and support our local businesses.  Local farmers, craftsmen, antiques dealers, and other product providers, make items locally and sell on a smaller scale. Communities thrive when we work together.  Leading by example and teaching work ethics to our children, preserves our distinctive character.

Locally owned small businesses build strong communities by keeping dollars in the local economy.  They promote local decision making, create jobs and provide better wages and benefits.  Economics clearly show that when local businesses have more support the entire community is stronger.

Small business owners influence others in the community.  They demonstrate ingenuity, entrepreneurship, integrity, responsibility, & discipline.  They are the cornerstone to building partnerships.

You’re support is vital to a thriving community.  Local businesses hire local workers. In addition to staff for the stores, they hire architects and contractors for building and remodeling, accountants and insurance brokers to help them run the business, and ad agencies to promote it.

Contact Scott @ 608-290-1170 

and Kristin @ 608-289-6719



We here at Akey Manufacturing are big believers in supporting our community and local businesses.

Today I would like to tell you about a local businessman who just happens to be a loyal customer of ours as well!

Meet Scott Fredrickson of Twisted Wood, LLC.  In his years of experience he has done custom furniture, cabinetry, house building, remodeling and wood turning. He had been making custom pieces of furniture for 15 years, mostly as gifts and special requests. Then he started Twisted Wood, LLC in 2005 while working as a packaging designer and living in Evansville, WI.

My husband, Brad, and I recently commissioned our bedroom set to Scott and he did a beautiful job!  So much so, that I wanted to show it off to all of our customers, vendors & friends!

First, he took our queen size bed frame and converted it to a king size. Then, he built us each a nightstand.  And now, he is currently working on an armoire for us.

Just look at this beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail!

More Projects….


St johns church2
nurse station left1
conf table side 1
union park bench 12

His brochure….


Twisted Wood Brochure(4)
Twisted Wood Brochure(3)
Twisted Wood Brochure(6)
Twisted Wood Brochure(5)
Twisted Wood Brochure
Twisted Wood Brochure(2)

 Thank you Scott!  We love our new Bedroom Set!

 Well worth the wait!

Call or Email today for a FREE quote:

Twisted Wood, LLC

 7839 N Robert Drive Evansville, WI 53536

608-576-WOOD (9663) or


Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids’ Sake

Dear Community Friend,


As the nation’s oldest, largest, and most effective donor supported youth mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children beat the odds.  The children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are often living in a single-parent household, growing up in poverty or coping with parental incarceration.

Big Brothers Big Sisters would like to invite you to support their 2017 Bowl For Kids’ Sake signature fundraiser.  Each year half a million people across America come together to have fun and raise money to support Big Brothers Big Sisters as we help children grow up positively.  By supporting your local agency, your contribution will help make a huge impact on the lives of children right here in our community!  Currently Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties serves over 250 children and that number is growing continually.  THEY NEED YOUR HELP!

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that help them make changes in their lives for the better, forever.  Independent research shows that after only a year in a Big/Little match, these children are twice as likely as their peers to avoid drug use, perform better in school and get along better at home and in the community.  This program works and is quickly growing! 


Where does the money go?

100% of the event’s net proceeds go directly into helping serve local children in the Tri-County area (Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties).  These funds make up over 20% of the annual budget for our Agency and are greatly needed and appreciated.  Big Brothers Big Sisters depends on donations to expand our programs, conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting on-to-one mentoring relationships.  In 2017 we will add three new programs to better serve children.  BBBS charges nothing to participate and be part of our program.

Your role in this effort to help local children cannot be over stated: We need your help to raise community awareness of the challenges faced by local children and to ask for the financial support needed to help change the trajectory of a child’s life.

This year’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake events are:


  • Friday, March 17th at 6:30p at Rock River Lanes in Fort Atkinson
  • Saturday, March 18th at 4p and 7p at Delavan Lanes in Delavan
  • Saturday, March 25th at 2p at Rivers Edge Bowl in Janesville


We hope your business will consider becoming a part of the local community businesses participating with a team of bowlers, being a Business Lane Sponsor or making a contribution to our Silent Auction…or maybe all three!!  Feel free to participate in any of the events; or all of them!  Please see my contact info below.

We look forward to partnering with you during our 2017 Bowl For Kids’ Sake Fundraiser!  Thank you for your consideration.




Mike  Gosenheimer, Bowl for Kids’ Sake Chair and Board Member

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth & Jefferson Counties

P.O. Box 655, Delavan WI  53115

262-728-8865 ~  ~  Federal Tax ID # 039-1132693

BBBS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization

Labyrinth Project

From time to time, Akey Manufacturing participates in special projects for our Rock County neighbors and community.  One such project was to fabricate a Labyrinth for the Evansville Peace Garden Project.

According to Wikipedia, in English, the term labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze. As a result of the long history of unicursal representation of the mythological Labyrinth, however, many contemporary scholars and enthusiasts observe a distinction between the two. In this specialized usage maze refers to a complex branching multicursal puzzle with choices of path and direction, while a unicursallabyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.

Unicursal labyrinths appeared as designs on pottery or basketry, as body art, and in etchings on walls of caves or churches. The Romans created many primarily decorative unicursal designs on walls and floors in tile or mosaic. Many labyrinths set in floors or on the ground are large enough that the path can be walked. Unicursal patterns have been used historically both in group ritual and for private meditation, and are increasingly found for therapeutic use in hospitals and hospices.

Here we have the labyrinth before being painted and put into place at the park.



And here we have it in place at the park.

Finger Labyrinth painted(2)


Finger Labyrinth painted (1)



Akey Manufacturing would like to thank all the volunteers who made this park possible.  Please visit Evansville Peace Park and enjoy this beautiful piece!

For more information visit:



Lacking a Solid Onboarding Program

  • Training alone is not sufficient to ensure a candidate’s success. You must have a clearly defined onboarding program as well. Hiring managers may sometimes feel that their job is done once a new employee is hired and starts his or her new job. However, an orientation and training program to help them settle into their new positions is very important.
  • Giving new hires a head start can have a direct, positive impact on employee satisfaction – and your bottom line. Outlining specific duties and clarifying when and if miscellaneous duties may occur, will make employees feel engaged. Then, they are more likely to be productive and successful in their roles. Employees who are coached at the beginning stages of a new role will contribute more to the team and reach their peak potential sooner.
  • Developing this process will help new employees get up to speed faster, lessen miscommunications, and help them understand their strengths and limitations. Also, they will learn how to adapt their work styles to fit in with new team members and managers.
  • Making the right hiring decision always begins by having a well-developed process. By avoiding the key hiring mistakes outlined above, you can better inform your hiring decisions and hire right the first time. Small companies that find the right candidates, see the specific behaviors and contributions necessary to deliver results. Improve your hiring practice today and you can build a productive, effective team for your organization.
  • Source:



    Not Having a Structured Hiring Process

  • Filling open positions can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Not all small businesses have the resources for this, so it’s important to have a structured and standardized hiring process in place. You must set a hiring timeline and implement a uniform process for interviewing candidates.
  • After having a hard-learned experience recently, Akey Manufacturing created a structured hiring process by utilizing sources from our Health Insurance Provider, Retirement Services Representative and Online Research. Now we can ensure that each individual is completing the same steps and providing the same information each time. This will provide clarity to our decision-making process and ensure that we avoid some of the pitfalls listed previously.
  • A bad hire wastes time and resources, so it’s important to make certain that your company hires right the first time. Having a structured hiring process in place will ensure that you hire the right people for the right job the first time around.
  • Unfortunately, in today’s hiring market, there are those candidates who find new and creative ways to take advantage of their employers. Unpaid internships, illegal background checks, pregnancy and health-related employment discrimination continue to be the top trending employment practices litigation cases, according to industry experts. But these are not the only ways that employees can cost you. Even when you have a structured hiring process, make sure you observe your employees behaviors. You may be missing some red flags if you are not diligent.
  • One of the most critical mistakes a company can make is failing to define its hiring policies before beginning an employee search. An unclear policy can confuse the hiring managers and candidates at best, or invite legal troubles at worst. Employers should all have an employee handbook and a hiring policy in place. This will help identify issues to avoid and serve as a legal shield to potential liability in the future.
  • Sources:

    Challenges We Face As Small Business Owners (Con’t)



    Not thoroughly vetting candidates before hiring

    A candidate may have an impressive résumé, but how do you know he or she will be the right fit? Conducting background checks and calling previous employers for references is common practice.  But, in many companies, reference checks are entirely inadequate. Human Resources usually conducts them, using a carefully orchestrated, one-sided protocol. Yes, there are legal issues, and these must be addressed. But the hiring manager or supervisor should conduct these checks.  They will be working with the employee and know what is to be expected of them.

    A reference call from one manager to another can be very different from a call from an HR representative. Managers will delve into more detail, and have both the expertise and the prerogative to pursue lines of questioning that HR lacks. Also, peers are more likely to be open and blunt with one another.

    There’s one critical question at the end of the reference call that comes across as much more profound when the hiring manager asks it: “If you could have John work on your team again, would you hire him?” Of course the answer matters, but it’s the hesitation or the enthusiasm of the respondent that’s critical. Manager to manager, this one question can reveal more than any other kind of reference check.

    When hiring, don’t only consider the importance of reference checking. Involve the people who will work with the new hire.



    Challenges We Face As Small Business Owners



    Hiring new employees means your business is thriving and that is a good thing. But, hiring is not easy.  In fact, it is one of the many challenges we face as a small business.  The wrong choice can cost you, on average, $20,000 per employee; and that number doesn’t even reflect the potential damage to your company’s reputation and credibility.  Not to mention destroying employee morale.  Make the selection wisely to continue to pursue business growth while providing a positive work experience for the entire team.


    Hiring “what comes along”

    The traditional recruiting and hiring process is based on a faulty selection model. When you run traditional classified ads or hold job fairs, you create what’s referred to in the research world as “selection bias”. This process biases the outcome of your search.  You get to hire only the people who come along, narrowing your selection pool immensely.  Other options to cast a wider net, may include online job boards, or LinkedIn.  These can be fantastic ways to find people.  Utilize your website too.  Ask around to your contacts in industry groups and the local chamber of commerce.  Consider whether it might be faster and easier to hire a recruiter to find good candidates.  These companies have the resources to “vet” the candidate thoroughly.

    Thinking Experience Always Counts

    What if twelve years of experience is really just one year of bad experience warmed over a dozen times? Consider that effective hiring has less to do with experience than with that candidate’s potential.

    Depending on the experience a resume indicates, chances are you will still likely hire someone who is not ideally and inherently suited for the position. Surveys show these grim statistics: most people are not impassioned about what they are doing on the job. This is not surprising.  If they don’t love what they do they are not motivated. Why? Because the role they are in doesn’t allow them to play to their strengths.




    USS New York LPD-21



    Shortly after 9/11, George E Pataki, Governor of New York, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon R England requesting that they bestow the name “New York” on a surface warship involved in the War on Terrorism in honor of the victims of the September 11th attacks.


    Northrop Grumman Ship Systems of New Orleans Louisiana was awarded the contract to build the “New York” (USS New York LPD-21) in 2003.


    7.5 short tons (6.8 t) of the steel used in the ship’s construction came from the rubble of the World Trade Center; this represents less than one thousandth of the total weight of the ship.  The steel was melted down at Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, Louisiana, to cast the ship’s bow section.  (In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify).   It was poured into the molds on September 9, 2003, with 7 short tons (6.4 t) cast to form the ship’s “stem bar”—part of the ship’s bow. The shipyard workers reportedly treated it with “reverence usually accorded to religious relics,” gently touching it as they walked by. When Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, 1,200 shipyard workers opted to keep on working and one worker delayed his retirement after 40 years of working to be part of the project.


    The USS New York LPD-21 was christened at Northrop Grumman’s Avondale, Louisiana Shipyard on March 1, 2008.

    USS New York.tiff


    • Seven rays of sunlight signify the crown atop the Statue of Liberty and the seven seas.
    • Central focus placed on the Twin Towers and the bow of the ship, forged from TwinTowers steel.
    • Breastplate of the phoenix bears the colors of first responders from the New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
    • Blood drops represent the fallen.
    • Three stars for those earned by the battleship USS NEW YORK (BB34) in World War II at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and North Africa.