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AWCI’s Pinnacle Award 2015

Winner: Mike Poellinger

He’s a family man, a businessman, a politician, a volunteer firefighter, a medical examiner and a leader. To the many hats he wears, he can now add a crown because he won AWCI’s Pinnacle Award at the end of April during AWCI’s Convention.

Who is he? He is Mike Poellinger, president of Poellinger Inc. in La Crosse, Wis. In the past he has won AWCI’s awards for being an outstanding regional chairman and young member, but the Pinnacle Award is the highest industry achievement bestowed by the nearly 100-year-old trade association.

The Man

To win AWCI’s highest honor, an individual must give unselfishly of his or her time and energies to benefit AWCI and the wall and ceiling industry. Mike has given to the association in countless ways, but here are a few: He has been the president of both AWCI and the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, and served on both boards of directors. He has served on many AWCI committees, but perhaps most notable is his work with AWCI’s EIFS Curriculum & Examination Committee, which helped to develop AWCI’s successful EIFS—Doing It Right® program. A member of the board of directors of the AWCI Insurance Company, Ltd., he was part of the group that helped EIFS contractors obtain insurance when other companies wouldn’t even consider EIFS. His company is an AWCI EIFSmart Contractor, and Mike himself has been through AWCI’s Doing It Right education programs for gypsum, steel framing and stucco.


Outside of AWCI, Mike has found time to serve as a member and past chairman on the board of the Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition. OSHA has certified him in scaffold installation, and the Indoor Air Quality Association has certified him in mold loss prevention. The Carter School of Estimating has certified him as a wall and ceiling industry estimator, and the Air Barrier Association of America has certified him as an air barrier contractor. Various industry manufacturers have certified him in the use/installation of their products, and the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Health have certified him as an installer of lead-lined gypsum board.


Mike has lived in La Crescent, Minn., all his life. He has been a member of the La Crescent Fire Department since 1979, and he also served on the La Crescent Police Reserves. He is currently on the Tri-State Board of Directors and is the Houston County Investigator with the South East Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. In 1988 he was elected to the City Council, and seven years later was elected mayor, a position he continues to hold today.


With his wife, Leanne, Mike has three sons. His youngest son said, “It’s really interesting to see how other people react when they find out that I’m the mayor’s son, because they always think because we have a big house and he’s the mayor that he gets paid a lot to be the mayor, and I’m always telling them, no, he just works a lot.”


Just across the state line in Wisconsin is his business, and the city of La Crosse, Wis., has honored him as well. Mike has received various awards from the Chamber of Commerce and the La Crosse Area Development Corporation, among others.

The Company

Family owned and operated, Poellinger Inc. was established as a plastering company in 1957 by Mikel’s father, John. In 1966, the company incorporated in the state of Wisconsin as a union trade contractor. That’s also when the company joined AWCI as a Lifetime Member.


During the early 1980s Mike worked as an estimator during the summer while going to college earning a degree in sports medicine and business administration. He started full time working for his father as an estimator/project manager in 1986. In 1989 he became general manager of the company. In 1996 when his father announced his retirement, Mike became president. He purchased the business from his father in 1999.


Today, Poellinger Inc. provides residential and commercial remodeling and new construction projects with lath, plaster, stucco, EIFS, light steel framing, drywall, fireproofing, sprayed acoustic systems, ceramic tile, quarry tile, carpet, wood and wood laminate flooring, and marble. The company uses environmentally friendly products and supports advances in “green” building.


But that’s not all. Not content to only serve as a subcontractor in the construction industry, Poellinger Inc. is also a supplier of specialty products. The company offers wholesale and retail sales of partition systems and construction materials, access panels, carpet and tile.


“One of the most important things I learned from my father over the years is to always do the best possible job, whether the project is a patch or a palace.” That’s a quote from Mike that you’ll find on his company’s website. Apparently he practices what he preaches, because you only win a Pinnacle Award if you do the best possible job, no matter how many hats you wear.

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