10 Things You Didn’t Know About Elizabeth Uihlein

Elizabeth Uihlein is one of the most influential figures in the American business world. As the Co-Chairperson of the Uline shipping and industrial supplies company, she has spent decades shaping and leading this successful company. Yet, there’s more to Uihlein than her business acumen. Here are ten things you might not know about her.

1. She is one-half of a powerful partnership

Elizabeth Uihlein is married to Richard Uihlein, and together, they founded Uline. They started the company from their basement in 1980, selling shipping supplies to small businesses. Four decades later, they have grown this idea into a multinational business that distributes over 30,000 products.

Interestingly, the Uihleins’ partnership isn’t just limited to their business dealings. As a couple, they have a reputation for involving themselves in political campaigns, contributing millions to conservative candidates and causes across the United States.

2. She has her name on a Lake

Not many people can lay claim to having a lake named after them, but Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Uihlein can. Liz and Dick Uihlein are known for their love of the northwoods of Wisconsin, and they formally named a private lake after Liz. Known as ‘Lake Elizabeth,’ the body of water is located in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, offering serene views and tranquility.

The Uihleins have made significant contributions to the local community, including a pavilion in the community park and bringing significant employment to the region with their warehouse and distribution facilities.

3. She’s a fighter

In 2013, Liz Uihlein was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, like everything else in her life, she faced this challenge head-on. With the support of her family and traditional cancer treatments, she managed to fend off the disease by 2014. She has since remained cancer-free.

She became an advocate for improved healthcare and early detection, using her personal experience as motivation to enhance systems and policies. She has been involved in numerous healthcare initiatives and has backed many medical research groundbreaking works.

4. She is a big Republican donor

The Uihleins have been tagged as the “Koch Brothers of the Midwest” because of their immense political contributions, primarily to Republican candidates and conservative causes. Elizabeth, alongside her husband, has donated millions of dollars over the years to support the political campaigns they believe in.

Elizabeth is not just about handing out checks. She is known to get personally involved, poring through national, state, and local issues, endorsing candidates, and engaging in political activism.

5. She is passionate about Art

Beyond her role in Uline and her active political involvement, Elizabeth serves as a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a great patron of the arts and is passionate about fostering and preserving artistic culture.

This commitment extends to her company as well. Uline sponsors numerous cultural institutions, and the company’s headquarters in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, even houses an extensive internal art collection – much of which has been personally curated by Elizabeth.

6. She values hard work

Elizabeth Uihlein’s enterprise didn’t become successful overnight. It was built from hard work, persistence, and dedication. She emphasizes the importance of hard work for success and encourages young people to cultivate a strong work ethic.

According to those who know her, Elizabeth is deeply committed and involved in the everyday operations of Uline. She is known to visit the warehouse floors, encouraging employees and maintaining a constant presence in the business.

7. She is a philanthropist

Alongside their political contributions, the Uihleins have also made substantial charitable donations over the years. They established the ‘Uihlein Family Foundation’, which aims to support programs and initiatives centered on education, medical research and development, and the preservation of national heritage and culture.

Their philanthropic efforts are reflected in their contributions to many nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and educational institutions in the wider community and beyond.

8. Uline’s weather forecasts

Uline is known for its unique tradition of providing weather forecasts, a tradition started by Elizabeth. Every morning, Elizabeth checks the forecasts for various locations that are circulated company-wide. This practice came from the company’s early days when the Uihleins operated from their basement with no windows.

Coming from a place of genuine concern for employees and making sure they are updated and safe, this practice is still ongoing, and is a testament to the Uihleins’ personal touch in their businesses.

9. She is a sports enthusiast

Elizabeth Uihlein is known for her love of sports. She and her husband sponsor sports teams and are actively involved in supporting sports initiatives in their community. They have also donated to the US Bobsled and Skeleton teams and funded the Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

Whether it’s watching a game or supporting initiatives that promote physical fitness and outdoor activities, sports are a big part of Elizabeth’s life.

10. She is a mother of four

Despite her busy schedule and engaging business, Elizabeth has successfully balanced her time and energy to raise four children with her husband. Her experience as a mother has influenced her work ethics and management style, as she values the importance of family and the home.

Elizabeth’s leadership at Uihlein is a reflection of her commitment to her family — nurturing, supportive and built on strong values and principles.

These are just a few fascinating aspects of Elizabeth Uihlein’s life. As she continues to contribute to the business world and her community, there are sure to be more intriguing chapters added in the future.

Useful Links

Art Institute of Chicago
Uihlein Family Foundation