good that the quality name badges you noticed on the lapels of
employees around the world were made by The Cawley Company of
In 1946 attorney Mike Cawley established the enterprise in Chicago but
soon moved it to Manitowoc. He and his wife imported religious items
from Europe to fill a 50-page catalog until 1968, when the company was
purchased by James and Warren Kanzelberger. Designer Bill Deau became
a part owner and the product line changed from imported religious
goods to manufactured social theme items for anniversaries, births,
baptisms, weddings, graduations, and the like.
A number of Cawley customers owned hot stamping machines. Others
expressed interest in being able to personalize gifts. In response,
the company designed and patented the Thermal Engraver and
Flex-Plates. Coined metal plates for gift plaques and name badges for
retailers were added at that time.
As the name badge and personalizing business grew, additional markets
were opened. Ace Hardware, Walgreens, TruServ, trophy dealers, and
other customers helped establish The Cawley Company as a gift and
personalizing system manufacturer with a network of more than 70
independent sales representatives across the United States and Canada.
In the mid-1980s, under the leadership of James Kanzelberger and James
Peterson, the firm shifted its focus to the name badge business. The
Cawley Company then targeted the hospitality industry (restaurants,
hotels, casinos, resorts, and cruise ships) for sales of the Thermal
Engraver, providing the way for customers to produce their own badges.
The Cawley Company became a distributor for Brother International, a
manufacturer of labeling machines, in 1991 and introduced a textured
plate that enables customers to produce name badges instantly.
Additional patents, trademarks, and copyrights followed.
Under its current leadership of Rebel Kanzelberger and James Peterson,
Cawley ships its products throughout the United States and to more
than 50 foreign countries. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary
in 1996, and the following year it was awarded Wisconsin Governor
Tommy Thompsonís Excellence Award for export shipping.
Among those strengths is an employee-friendly workplace. "Our people
are craftsmen and - women," says Peterson. "We are justifiably proud
of what we accomplish together, and as individuals. This, no doubt, is
the basis for the worldwide reputation for quality and service Cawley
products enjoy. We are fortunate that we seldom need to advertise for
help, as our employees are our best recruiters."