George Shinners ’61, MS’64 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 UW-Madison, I gained the confidence that allows me to do it.”
His concrete-breaking firm has offices in Antigo, Wisconsin; 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.
It all springs from that confidence and the problem-solving skills I got at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Shinners, a Green Bay native, graduated with a UW-Madison 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.”