Owner of Business of the Year says community has proven to be an easy fit
When Mark Vey opened his American Family Insurance office at 156 E. Green Bay Ave. in Saukville 12 years ago, there was no predicting how involved he would become in the community.
Oh, there might have been one hint.
The building Vey purchased for his insurance office had been the hub of activity in the village for decades before as the local post office.
Vey’s personal commitment to the community earned his insurance agency the designation as Business of the Year by the Saukville Chamber of Commerce.
The honor was bestowed earlier this month at the Chamber’s annual golf outing and awards banquet at The Bog Golf Course in the Town of Saukville.
“The award was very unexpected, and I am humbled to have received it,” Vey said.
In addition to managing the office, he has been an active member of the Chamber and the Saukville Lions Club, as well as the Ozaukee Business Education Action Network.
The nomination form offered a thumbnail summary of how Vey has quickly become a fixture in the village.
“Mark volunteers at countless events, and his agency sponsors many more. Mark’s generosity touches all aspects of the Saukville community,” the nomination proclaimed.
Vey said getting so involved in the community was not part of his business plan.
“It just kind of unfolded that way,” he said. “We are all friends in the Lions and Chamber, so raising money at events never really seems like work.”
Vey said he seems to fit in well in the community.
“In a small community like Saukville, and really in all of Ozaukee County, everybody gets to know everybody else,” he said.
Underlining that point, Vey said he enjoys collaborative projects the local Chamber has worked on with the Port Washington Chamber.
The connections that come from such networking have paid off for the business, with Vey receiving Life Honors, All Star Leadership, the Distinguished Diamond Award and All-American honors multiple times from American Family.
The volume of business has meant the office staff has grown to five full and part-time workers. Vey has also opened a satellite office in Random Lake.
Other award winners announced at the banquet:
n The Saukville Police Reserves were named Organization of the Year.
The Reserves are a trained network of volunteers who are most often seen assisting with traffic and crowd control during such events as the Fourth of July parade and fireworks display, the Saukville Fire Department Car Show, National Night Out, Live at the Triangle concerts and the weekly farmers market.
The volunteers also lend a hand at the scene of traffic accidents or fires.
Members meet once a month and take part in regular training.
n Local historian Jim Peterson was named Citizen of the Year.
Peterson kicked off the village’s centennial celebration early last year by donating a collection of photographs, documents and artifacts to the Oscar Grady Library.
The gift became known as the James and John Peterson Collection, which included a nod to his late brother.
The brothers moved to their adopted hometown in the 1970s and spent much of their lives collecting items from the community’s past.
Peterson’s generous side also paid off in the publication of a book titled “Saukville at a Glance,” recognizing many of the businesses that flourished during the community’s first 100 years.
“Jim’s dedication to preserving the history of Saukville and his amazing donations are truly remarkable,” the award nomination noted.
n Rounding out the awards, Port Washington High School graduate Sarah Spaeth was introduced as the winner of the Saukville Chamber Scholarship.
Image Information: AWARD WINNERS WERE announced at the Saukville Chamber of Commerce golf outing and banquet on June 14 at The Bog Golf Course in the Town of Saukville. Award recipients included the Saukville Police Reserves as Organization of the Year Award, represented by (far left to right) Sgt. Robert Ramthun and Reserve members Brian Peschel, Joe Layrin, Bill Koepke and Mike LaLicata; Jim Peterson as Citizen of the Year; and scholarship recipient Sarah Spaeth. Mark Vey’s American Family Insurance Agency was named Business of the Year. Vey was unable to attend the banquet. Photo by Sam Arendt