Susan Engeleiter

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Susan Engeleiter
16th Administrator of the Small Business Administration
In office
President George H.W. Bush
Preceded by James Abdnor
Succeeded by Pat Saiki
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 33rd district
In office
Preceded by Roger P. Murphy
Succeeded by Margaret Farrow
Personal details
Born (1952-03-18) March 18, 1952 (age 62)
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) married
Children 3
Alma mater (BA) University of Wisconsin at Madison (JD) University of Wisconsin Law School

Susan Shannon Engeleiter (born March 18, 1952) is an American Republican politician, lawyer, and businesswoman.

Personal and elective office background[edit]

Born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, she graduated from Brookfield Central High School in 1970; then she graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in 1974. Engeleiter received her juris doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School, in 1981.

When she was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly, in 1974, Engleiter was, at age 22, the youngest woman ever elected to the Wisconsin Legislature. She served in the Assembly until January 1979, having decided against running for re-election in 1978 and, instead, seeking the open congressional seat being vacated by then-U.S. Rep. Bob Kasten, who decided to run for WI governor. Engeleiter lost the primary to then-State Senator Jim Sensenbrenner by 589 votes.[1] Engeleiter made a comeback of sorts when she was elected in a special election to the Wisconsin State Senate in April 1980. In the senate, Engeleiter served as Assistant Minority Leader from 1982–1984, and as Minority Leader from 1984 - 1989.[2]

1988 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

Engeleiter ran an aggressive campaign for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by William Proxmire in 1988. In the primary election, she defeated State GOP Chairman Steve King in a close race. King had labeled Engeleiter a moderate while touting his conservative credentials. Engeleiter's victory allowed her to face Democrat Herb Kohl, former chairman of the state Democratic Party, in the November general election.

On November 2, 1988, as polls showed Engeleiter and Kohl running neck-to-neck, President Ronald Reagan visited Milwaukee to headline a campaign rally and fundraiser for Engeleiter.[3] However, Engeleiter narrowly lost the race to Kohl, by a 52% to 48% margin.

Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and private sector positions[edit]

After her defeat in the Senate race, newly elected President George H.W. Bush nominated her to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, in January 1989. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and served in that position until 1991, the first woman to hold the position.

After leaving the SBA, Engeleiter moved to the western-Wisconsin town of Somerset, to take a position at Honeywell, which was then based in Minneapolis. Engeleiter served as Vice-President of Government Affairs at Honeywell, from 1992 to 1998, where she led the Honeywell Home and Building Control business to approximately $200 million in sales, in 1998. At Honeywell, she handled extensive legislative and regulatory efforts in energy, environmental and procurement areas to support business unit objectives at the national and state levels. She represented Honeywell on several industry association boards as well as on United States government agency advisory boards.

Engeleiter has been President and COO of Data Recognition Corporation since 1998 and the company's CEO since December 11, 2006.[4] It is headquartered in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1978 and remains a privately held company that provides services to state departments of education, medium-to-large-size global businesses and to the United States government.[5]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1988
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Herb Kohl 1,128,625 52.08
Republican Susan Engeleiter 1,030,440 47.55
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1988 - Republican Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Susan Engeleiter 209,025 57.45
Republican Steve King 148,601 40.84
Wisconsin 9th Congressional District Election 1978 - Republican Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner 29,584 43.30
Republican Susan Engeleiter 28,995 42.44
Republican Robert C. Brunner 9,746 14.26
Government offices
Preceded by
James Abdnor
Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
1989 - 1991
Succeeded by
Pat Saiki
Wisconsin State Senate
Preceded by
Roger P. Murphy
Wisconsin State Senator - 33rd District
1980 - 1989
Succeeded by
Margaret Farrow