Join Login

Photo by Richard Hurd

Mark Schmitz of ZEBRADOG to Receive Chamber’s 2019 “Ground Floor Award” for Small Business Leadership


Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced today that Mark Schmitz, founder and creative director of ZEBRADOG, will receive the Chamber’s fourth annual Ground Floor Award for Small Business Leadership.

The award, which recognizes true champions for small business both within their business and in the community, will be presented during the Chamber’s nex7 Stage event Nov. 13 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Previous recipients include Jim Garner of Sergenian’s Floor Coverings, Susan Bulgrin of Culver’s on Todd Drive and Echo Tap & Grill, and Jeff “JP” Patterson of JP Hair Design.

“Mark’s vision and innovation stretch far beyond ZEBRADOG’s offices. He and his team have created immersive experiences seen around the globe, yet he has also shared his gift and his passion with countless individuals and organizations in Greater Madison,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “For his enthusiasm, ambition, generosity and dedication to our businesses and our community, we are proud to honor Mark on the nex7 Stage with this year’s Ground Floor Award.”

A UW-Madison and Madison College graduate, Mark Schmitz formed the ZEBRADOG idea more than 25 years ago with an eye toward combining traditional and emerging design disciplines into engaging built environments. His initial vision has grown into a world-class team of exhibit architects, interior and graphic designers, producers, storytellers, writers and interactive media developers. He has directed hundreds of signature branded environment projects across the country and world and received more than 25 international design awards.

In addition to his work with ZEBRADOG, Schmitz has been deeply involved in defining design programs that escalate organizations and communities nationwide. He has worked with organizations including Taliesin Preservation, Inc.; StartingBlock Madison; Destination Madison; Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce; Goodman Community Center; and Henry Vilas Zoo and worked on projects including the Law Park redevelopment and State Street redesign. He has also donated hundreds of hours of design collaboration and instruction with Madison College students and helped improve environments for at-risk kids through Family Service Madison.

“It’s a great honor to receive this Ground Floor Small Business Leadership Award from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. This is a tribute to my ZEBRADOG team of passionate community caregivers,” said Schmitz. “As the founder of this business, my job is to inspire everyone to see things differently, see things through others’ eyes and trust that we can make an inspirational difference in young businesses and young lives.”

In addition to the presentation of the Ground Floor Award, nex7 will also feature compelling pitches from the seven finalists for the Chamber’s fourth annual Most Innovative Company (MIC) award. The MIC finalists represent a diverse cross-section of industries, missions and locations across Greater Madison. The winner will be determined by audience vote.

To register for this free event, visit:

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at