Joe Schatz, owner of Winkle Industries, will be passing the torch at the 2018 Business Alliance Awards, where he will present the Large Business of the Year Award.

"I am looking forward to see the expression(s) on the face(s) of the new recipients at this year’s luncheon," he said, making sure not to give anything away.

Schatz was surprised last year when his business was named the recipient. "I am humbly honored to have received the 2017 Large Business of the Year Award," he said. "Over and above feeling honored, I instantly thought of my employees, as my company would not be receiving this award without all the hard work and dedication they provide on a consistent basis."

The Large Business of the Year Award honors businesses with a significant presence in Alliance, who are committed to good business practices, are involved in their community, are committed to their customers and employees and demonstrate financial growth and consistency. The award recognizes improvement or expansion of the facility, maintenance of employee stability and/or growth and overall emphasis on community involvement.

Schatz, a 1983 graduate of Alliance High School and 1987 graduate of Kent State University with a degree in business administration, was hired by Winkle in 1987 as a regional sales manager. He purchased the company 1997, and after five years of ownership, moved the business to Alliance.

"The business was founded by Jack Winkle in 1949 and originated in Youngstown as a repair and distribution facility for industrial equipment utilized primarily by the iron and steel industry," he explained.

The business continues to thrive, having recently purchased additional land next to facility in preparation for a future expansion, Schatz said.

"We have been extremely busy over the last several months, due to newly imposed tax cuts, steel tariffs and high consumer confidence. Unfortunately I do not believe the uptick in business has been a result of the award, as the majority of our business is derived from outside of the area," he said.

He noted the company supplies "Engineered Material Handling Solutions" for industrial and mill-duty applications used by several markets outside of the region.

Schatz expressed a big thank you to the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce for recognizing local companies that add true value to the community. He said presenting the award to a new, worthy recipient will be a pleasure.