George Shinners Lauds UW Education: Part of New Campaign Promoting State’s Flagship University

George Shinners is an entrepreneur with business interests as diverse as an international concrete-breaking firm, a 3,000-cow dairy farm, and a neon sign company.

“I wouldn’t be doing any of this if not for UW-Madison,” says Shinners, president of Antigo Construction, a firm that breaks concrete for road and airport projects. “I’ve worked on so many projects around the world, and you’re challenged to perform. At UWMadison, I gained the confidence that allows me to do it.”

Shinners’ story is just one example that illustrates the longstanding partnership between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the state of Wisconsin.

For 168 years, UW–Madison has continued to grow and thrive, thanks to the generous support from parents, alumni, donors, business, civic and political leaders, and citizens throughout the state.

And in return, the university has made an indelible impact on the lives of residents all over Wisconsin through academic scholarship and research excellence – and through the contributions, innovations, and service of students, faculty, and staff.

That connection extends well into Langlade County. According to the University of Wisconsin Service Center, Langlade County is home to 39 UW students and 251 alumni, as well as seven UW employees.

Through a new initiative, Project 72, the Wisconsin Alumni Association and UW–Madison are taking an unprecedented approach to affirming the university’s relationship with the people of Wisconsin. To illustrate that point and to widely socialize a partnership narrative, the university has embarked on a cross-state journey to shed light on some of the amazing people — alumni, students, and community leaders — who have strengthened the university and the state, county by county, story by story.

One of them is Shinners.

His concrete-breaking firm has offices in Antigo, Boise, Idaho, and the United Kingdom. It has done projects across the United States and in South America, India, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, China, Saudia Arabia, and other nations. And he and other investors revived a closed neon sign business — Antigo Neon Sign and Display — that manufactures promotional signs for breweries.

Shinners, a Green Bay native, graduated with a UWMadison psychology degree in 1961 and earned a master’s in industrial relations in 1964.

Last year, he sold his interest in the Antigo-area dairy farm that he helped run for the last 23 years. But he still manages 900 acres of farmland.

“I didn’t run the farm. I hired good people who could run the farm,” he says. “It all springs from that confidence and the problem-solving skills I got at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

Shinners is involved in a number of civic activities, including the Nature Conservancy, the College of Letters and Science Board of Visitors, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. He has also helped with constructing a number of local projects, including a livestock barn and a multi-purpose building at the Langlade County Fairgrounds. The Shinners family is also committed to seeing that future UW-Madison students get a world-class education through scholarships.

“That’s the big feature of UW-Madison and part of the Wisconsin Idea,” he says. “Get students into the school, see that they succeed, and send them out into Wisconsin to succeed there.”

George Shinners, a UW alumnus, at the Langlade County Historical Society’s 440 locomotive, which he helped restore.

George Shinners, a UW alumnus, at the Langlade County Historical Society’s 440 locomotive, which he helped restore.

Souce: Antigo Daily Journal