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A life-long champion of Janesville and Wisconsin

I am proud to have been born and raised in Janesville. I graduated from Craig High School in 1975 and received a Bachelor of

Science degree from UW-Whitewater in 1979. I was involved in athletics at the high school and college level and married my college

sweetheart Jill Heffron in 1980. Jill and I have two fantastic daughters, both graduates of Craig High School and UW-Madison.

I began working for Gilman Engineering in 1984 and was fortunate to have a number of leadership roles during my 25 years with the

company. Gilman Engineering custom-built automated assembly equipment, primarily for the automotive industry. Unfortunately, it closed

in 2008 and was moved by its owners (ThyssenKrupp) to Detroit. This transition brought me to Prent Corporation, where I currently serve

as the Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Services. Prent makes custom plastic thermoformer packaging, mainly for the medical

industry. It is an extraordinary company and I am very proud to have been there eight years now. Our 50th anniversary is next year and I

can’t wait to showcase all of the remodeling we have completed.

Making a difference together through Forward Janesville

Prent Corporation was my pathway to Forward Janesville. I currently serve as the Chair of the Board of Directors and am fortunate to work

with a group of amazing individuals. As vice chair last year, I had the pleasure of working with JoLynn Burden and many Forward Janesville

team members to coordinate our annual dinner at GOEX’s new facility with guests Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It was a proud moment for

Janesville—WOW, what a night we had!

Today, you see the potential for new energy in downtown Janesville as our city embarks upon ARISE, a Revitalization Strategy that invites

fresh new development to better serve our community. Several key stakeholders are already investing in our downtown and we applaud

their courage, foresight and willingness to embrace change! We are also very fortunate to have expanding companies in our community like

Shine, Prent Corporation, GOEX, Dollar General, Grainger and Imperial (just to mention a few).

Going forward, technology will drive many of our businesses. The Janesville-Beloit area scored first among small cities for its high-tech

growth between 2009 and 2014 and third for wage growth from 2012 to 2013.

In the last five years, Janesville and Beloit have hired more than 400 new, high-tech jobs, propelling our growth and national rankings.

Family means everything

Our oldest, Stephanie, and her husband, Nick, live in Fitchburg, WI. They both work for UW-Madison. Stephanie is in marketing for the

Center for Healthy Minds, a lab focused on neuroscience and well-being across the lifespan. Nick is in marketing at Campus and Visitor

Relations and is completing a Master’s Program in User Experience Design. Stephanie has been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big

Sisters for more than five years and fosters dogs through Last Paw Rescue.

Our daughter Kristy recently graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin and has begun her

residency in Internal Medicine at UW-Madison. Like me, Kristy was also very involved in athletics at

Craig, including basketball, soccer and tennis. Her husband Abe works for Arndt Farms Inc. and owns

Arndt Angus with his brother. They were married last September and live on his family’s farm south of

Janesville on Read Road. We have not quite gotten into the habit of saying “Dr. Arndt” for the

daughter I nicknamed “Kritter” back in grade school!

Focus on what’s most important

My work has been enormously fulfilling, but you can’t forget to make time for the people who matter

most. My family and I enjoy time in the outdoors, and our family vacations have taken us to over 20

of the national parks. We recently visited the five national parks in southern Utah, hiking 76 miles in

seven days over some incredible landscapes. Zion, Bryce and the Arches were our favorites.

In short, I’m very proud to call Janesville home. Jill and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the

opportunity to raise our family in such a caring community.


W W W . F O R W A R D J A N E S V I L L E . C O M

Five Minutes with Mitch Benson

Forward Janesville Board Chair