• Danny Key

Adventure company named Business of Year: Chamber also awards honors for signage, landscaping

Known for organizing and taking others on empowering outdoor adventures, local business DNK Presents can now add 2019 Business of the Year to its list of accomplishments.

On Jan. 30, the outdoor adventure company received the award from the Brown County Chamber of Commerce during the 2019 annual meeting at the Seasons Conference Center.

Owners Danielle and Kate Nolan were both at the meeting to accept the award. The couple moved to Brown County in 2018. They started DNK Presents about six years ago.

The Nolans are professional mountain bikers and backpackers with multiple certifications in biking instruction, Leave No Trace, wilderness first aid/CPR, yoga, Reiki and massage.

They specialize in organizing and guiding adventure retreats for individuals, groups and businesses.

“We focus on getting people to step outside their comfort zones, try something for the first time and gain confidence through experiential learning and adventures,” states their website,

Trips include backpacking, mountain bike clinics and camps, yoga retreats and rock climbing programs, according to their website.

Bear Wallow Distillery, the Brown County Music Center and Brown County Solid Waste were also nominated for the business of the year award.

The music center, Country Heritage Winery, Big Woods Hard Truth Hills and Robinson’s at Redbud were nominated for the Brown County Beautification award for building and signage. Hard Truth Hills took home that award.

Brown County Winery won the Brown County Beautification award for landscaping design and flowers.

The Brown County Inn, the Brown County Public Library and Ironweed Flowers and Gifts were also nominated for the landscaping award.

Winners were determined by online voting done by chamber members. The awards handed out that evening included rocks from the Brown County Rock Shop.

Brown County Chamber of Commerce has declared 2020 as “the year of the customer.” The annual meeting and dinner was the official kickoff of that campaign.

New chamber President Greg Fox explained the vision for the new year, including being more present in town and county government meetings, continuing ribbon cuttings for new businesses, and using social media more.

The chamber also plans to refurbish the Launch Space above PNC Bank to have board meetings there, and offer the space for free to chamber members if they need it for retreats or staff meetings.

“We can’t do this alone,” Fox said to the members in the audience.

“We’re a working board and we really need your help.”

Author Jack Needham was the keynote speaker for the evening.

He spoke to business owners in the room about the importance of connecting with customers, including offering warm greetings and reading social cues from customers to determine the level of interaction needed.

Needham, who is also a business and executive coach, wrote “Stop Fixing, Start Leading! Engaging America’s Workforce.” The book looks into how to transform businesses by following tips like listening to employees instead of telling them what to do, and the importance of asking direct questions.

Door prizes concluded the evening, including a VIP package to the Melissa Etheridge concert at the music center in March.

Local musician Frank Jones performed music throughout the evening and after the dinner, as the chamber encouraged everyone to stay and socialize.

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