VO L 17 #4 A ugus t/ S e pte m be r 2 0 0 9
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You first. The technology follows.
Volume 17, #4 | August/September 2009
Chamber networking has its benefits
10,000+ benefits, in fact. Are you tapping the connection opportunities?
14 The New North powers up
18 counties gear up to be part of the nationwide wind power initiative
20 Wheel, wing or rail
Transportation is all business
06 BBJ DEPARTMENTS
14 26 20
04 VIEW POINT 06 TECH WATCH 08 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 11 CEO Q&A 25 BOOK REVIEW 26 SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS 28 CHAMBER NEWS ADVERTISERS
VISIT THE GREEN BAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AT:
05 AO N B ack Cover Arise Health Plan 10 Associated Merchant Services 07 B aker Tilly 05 B ank Mutual 23 B aylake B ank Inside Front Cover Cellcom 0 9 Children’s Hospit al of Wisconsin Inside B ack Cover Focus on Energy 17 Green B ay Packers 10 Launch Film 01 Network Health Plan 19 NWTC 02 Time Warner Cable 01 UWG B 05 WP S
INSERT: 2009-2010 Chamber Connections event calendar
PRESIDENT Paul Jadin EDITOR Lori Kaye Lodes GRAPHIC DESIGNER Josh Beaton
COVER IMAGE Josh Beaton
The BBJ is published bimonthly by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 1660, Green Bay, WI 54305-1660. The BBJ is supported entirely by advertising revenue from member companies of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. For information about the advertising rates and deadlines, contact Sales at 920.593.3404. The BBJ (USPS 010-206) is published bimonthly for $18 a year by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 1660, Green Bay, WI 54305-1660. Periodicals postage paid at Green Bay, WI. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The BBJ, P.O. Box 1660, Green Bay, WI 54305-1660. PH: 920.593.3423. Copyright© 2008 Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
VIEW POINT TEXT PAUL JADIN
A conversation with the president What a delight it was to have Green Bay in the spotlight for President Obama’s town hall meeting on health care reform in June. The national networks and several major newspapers made a point of tying the visit to the fact that our health care system actually works here. I’m not sure that we’re ready to hold ourselves up as the model just yet but it was good PR nonetheless. And the president was as charming and engaging as we could have expected, especially in the exchange with John Corpus that resulted in a signed note from Obama excusing John’s daughter for missing school. My favorite part of the afternoon, however, was the question and answer opportunity because it was clearly unscripted and there were some thought-provoking questions from a variety of individuals. Unfortunately, in spite of my attempts to get his attention, I did not get to ask a question. If I had, because the president made the obligatory reference to the Packer-Bear rivalry in his opening remarks, the conversation may have gone something like this: PJ: “Welcome to Green Bay, Mr. President. I’m the president of the local Chamber of Commerce and am wondering if your idea to introduce a public sector option to the market isn’t a little like the Packers playing the Bears, only the Bears get to call penalties, eject players and decide when the game begins and ends.” Pres: “On the contrary. The public option is designed to keep the private-sector competitors honest. Without it, the 1,500 or so private plans 4
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won’t have enough incentive to reduce cost or improve quality. I will see to it that the public option is not given any advantage over the others aside from the things that are inherent in such an endeavor such as economies of scale, greater negotiating clout and the fact that the public option will not need to show a profit.” PJ: “On that premise, should we not have a government option in every segment of our economy? Why not housing, banking, automaking? Oops, I forgot you already took care of that. But isn’t this just a foot in the door to ultimately have the government completely take over health insurance as a single payer? ” Pres: “Not at all. Everyone will be able to compare and choose the option that fits their family best. The public option will only be chosen when it is most competitive and if you like what you have, you can keep it.” PJ: “With all of the advantages you listed, along with an occasional mandate on the competition…I’m not saying you’d do that but you never know what Congress might do... isn’t it safe to say that the public option will indeed depress prices thus forcing suppliers to overcharge private plans to make up the difference? And won’t this inevitably drive out the private plans leaving us, as I said earlier, with a single payer?” Pres: “If I conceded that I wouldn’t be able to pass this thing.” PJ: “Would it help if I wrote you a note?”
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BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 |
TECH WATCH TEXT AL PAHL
all the content, none of the commotion Isn’t it great how much information we can get on the Internet? And how varied the information sources can be? We can cruise by the BBC or CNN Web sites for international coverage; drop over to USA Today or ABC.com for national news, peruse cbssports. com, mlb.com or nfl.com for sports coverage de jour; check in with the Wall Street Journal and Business Week for coverage of business topics and then maybe hit the Green Bay Press-Gazette and WFRV for some local coverage. And that’s just news. What about the associations you are a member of? Don’t forget the other informative sites that have updates you need to stay abreast of the latest trends in your industry. And, what blogs do you like to keep up with? Phew. Even if you have all those sites bookmarked, it will take you a very long time to visit each, navigate to the portion of the Web site you’re interested in, decide whether a particular item interests you and then – finally – learn something.
There must be a better way … From surfing to scanning … and there is. Rather than mouse around, you can use an aggregator, also called a news reader. It will aggregate updates from your favorite Web sites, including blogs and podcasts, into one central location. You can read the headlines, and usually a synopsis, before deciding if you wish to read the rest. You don’t wade through the parts of the sites you are uninterested in. You are not interrupted/distracted by advertising. You get only the content you prefer from a particular Web site. 6
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The feeds we seek are, loosely, referred to as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. “Huge timesavers,” says Scott Crevier St. Norbert College Web developer and the man behind southendzone.com. “I don’t have to go to the Web site and hunt through it, waiting for images and advertisements to update.” Instead, the reader updates automatically and, “I can look at a quick glance and see if anything interests me,” Crevier explains. “People can receive them by email, too; it’s just a matter of preference. I can read the same RSS feeds on my iPod Touch. I have a couple of different RSS feed readers on that, which allow me to browse headlines.
“It’s all about being a time saver. It is so much more efficient to browse headlines and pick the ones I want. It is not just about avoiding the Web site and images and ads; by opening one feed reader on my Touch, I can skim the headlines from many Web sites very quickly.
“And it is a consistent interface. I see the same look every day,” Crevier points out. “That is not always true of Web sites; they move things around, insert ads, etc. I can skim more quickly because of the consistency of the layout.”
How feeds have evolved In the early days of feed readers, users would typically get a headline and, perhaps the first 100 characters of the article. They would click on the link and be taken to the Web page featuring the story. That method was more efficient than forcing the reader to cruise around to 17 Web sites, but you still had to deal with loading entire Web pages. “Today, many places have the full text of the article in the RSS feeds,” Crevier explains. “On my Touch, I can click on the article and still stay within the RSS feed program. The reason some Web site owners don’t like that is you don’t draw readers to your Web site and you don’t see their ads. That is entirely true, but on the other hand, I prefer to focus on the visitor’s standpoint first. I want to make it easier for them.”
Make sure you get the part of the Web site you truly want. The Wall Street Journal has 19 categories of feeds. The New York Times has no fewer than 139 different feeds. Check out nytimes.com/rss for some good introductory information. In general, you locate the RSS feed logo for the portion of the site you want, right-click, copy the shortcut and paste it into your reader. Different readers work differently, so read the directions. Once things are set up, you’ll have plenty of reading material in a central location.
“I don’t have to go to the Web site and hunt through it; waiting for images and advertisements to update.” -Scott Crevier, Web developer, St. Norbert College
While the college Web site doesn’t have advertisers, the site itself is one big ad for the college. “We definitely want to drive traffic to our Web site but we still feel you have to look at it from the visitors’ standpoint and present in a way that makes it easy for them to use,” he adds. It’s important to remember RSS feeds cover more than just general-interest news and opinion. Many Web sites that contain technical and other specific information germane to individual fields of inquiry or employment feature RSS feeds. For instance, Crevier subscribes to a feed from the Tech Republic Web site (technology topics) and also a “wired campus” feed that provides articles relating to technology on college campuses. “By checking that feed periodically, I can easily see a list of new articles,” he says. “I see the headline, date and time. Based on that, I decide whether to click and read more.”
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It wouldn’t be hard to envision having one reader set up at home, to monitor news and fun stuff, and having a separate reader configured on your work computer to seek work-related updates. Some readers are installed on your local machine, while others are Web-based. The readers installed on your local computer, including Sharpreader, RSS Reader and others, will alert you to feed updates even if you have the reader open when the update comes in. Webbased readers, such as Bloglines, Newsgator, My Yahoo and Google Reader, to name a few, won’t generally show you updates unless you close and re-open them. But the big advantage to these is that you can access them from virtually any Internet connection on the planet.
We’ve always taken great pride in the ways we connect with and deliver for our clients. This will never change. At Virchow Krause, and now at Baker Tilly, we understand what clients need in order to do business in this changing world. So, where can we take you?
Internet browsers Firefox, Internet Explorer (7 and above) and Safari all have built-in feed readers you can configure as well. Where to begin How might someone jump into the world of RSS feeds? Consider going to the Web pages you already enjoy and see if those Web pages offer feeds,” Crevier recommends. “Don’t just sign up for the sake of signing up; sign up because it is content you are interested in. If you already read articles on the Web site and have a number of pages you bookmark and visit frequently, go there, look for the orange RSS feed logo and subscribe.”
© 2009 Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Connect with us: bakertilly.com
BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 |
BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT TEXT Bob Rupp, President, The Renewal Group
Q. Why should I consider succession planning? A. Because tomorrow is coming faster than you think Succession planning has been one of the most challenging business issues since commerce began. Here you are as an owner having devoted your life and much of your passion to eventually come to the question, “How will my business legacy continue without me?” Equally challenging is the decision to transition “your baby” and its employees and valued customers to someone else. And all this needs to occur while safeguarding what is probably your largest asset (and keeping it that way) until you have successfully completed a sale. If you don’t have a plan, you are not alone. Even though it might be the biggest event in a business owner’s future, many business people do not have succession on the top of their list. Statistics reveal that while a slight majority of owners consider selling their company at some point, most lack a specific plan. While the majority of small businesses in America are family owned, the Small Business Administration reports that fewer than 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive to the next generation and fewer than 15 percent survive to the third generation. Many believe this is directly related to the lack of a business succession plan Someday you will have a plan and hopefully on your terms. We intuitively know it is simply a matter of time before the natural forces of age or desire eventually puts a transition on our agenda. Yet some of us still seem to dismiss the inevitable as we continue on with our personal and business trajectory, usually acting as if there will be plenty of time to deal with this “down the road.” Without a plan, the eventual usually comes faster than we think. Your company and family may be left with significant worry and potential financial trauma, not to mention the notion of an appointed successor who might not be prepared. It is advisable to discuss the options and potential outcomes with a business attorney who will help you to better understand these realities. Failing to plan is planning to fail Planning takes time. Experts in the field estimate that an effective succession plan will take a few years versus months before the best options are eventually revealed. Selecting an appropriate strategy, shaping healthy teams and executing strategy takes time. Having a plan in place to bring this into view allows you to anticipate a transition when you are ready 8
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and when the business is successfully operating at a level where the outcome will be far more favorable for all concerned.
If you don’t have a plan, you are not alone. Even though it might be the biggest event in a business owner’s future, many business people do not have succession on the top of their list. It starts with what you want for you. Every successful plan begins by addressing the most basic question, “As the owner what do I do next and will I be ready for that?" It requires careful examination to prepare for a new role either within or outside of the organization while making room for a new leader or new owner. There is a reason there are so many unhappy retired golfers among us. The question, “What will add meaning to my life?” should be shaped prior to the transition versus discovering the answer to, “Is this all there is?” Shaping a “legacy” or “life plan” is the first essential ingredient and it will probably lead to more exciting adventures rather than scary moments as the owner transitions to the next stage. Set your expectations for the organization. Once you have determined the outline for your succession plan, define specific goals for the organization that will form the direction and focus for the future. It includes:
• • • •
developing a financial proforma updating the company’s competitive advantage determining what markets/customers will fit setting your expectations through a well constructed mission, vision and guiding principles
You should also clarify your desired role prior to the transition and what resources you are willing to provide the company to ensure a successful implementation of the company’s plan.
Maintenance is key Tune up the company ahead of time. Before you implement a transition, continue developing business practices that are sustainable and profitable. Updating your operations, marketing and administrative areas requires that you devote ample time to work both “in and on” the business. Coach your management teams to update methods, skills and processes. Keep a consistent view of effective leading, current and trailing indicators. Lead from a position where your “intolerables” are well understood by all. If succession becomes your personal mission, make your team’s mission to continuously “dress for the weather” and operate in a constant state of preparedness.
Transitions have options…and they generally fall into 3 groups. 1. Sale to third party which would either be a financial or strategic buyer. 2. Sale to certain key employees. 3. Transfer to one or more family members. Careful analysis requires an objective and dispassionate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of potential successors. This is especially true if financing occurs after the sale. Try to consider loyalties to long-term employees and/or family members equal to the analysis of the risks associated with these options as well. Business reality must take priority over emotional ties. The right option must satisfy three primary objectives: the long-term success of the organization, an orderly transition and a successful financial return to you. Setting a date is also critical as once the process is underway the business is open to distraction (and potential devaluation). Multiple shareholders need to be on the same page. Once the plan has been selected, seek the advice of your legal team as they guide you through the process for drafting agreements among yourselves. A critical component is an appropriate Buy-Sell Agreement to deal with unforeseen events that might arise from any of the buyer options pursued. Doing this ahead of time will head off a variety of potentially threatening issues to the transaction such as a key shareholder becoming disabled prior to a sale. Agreements in advance help address these issues so shareholders can stay in financial and philosophical alignment prior to implementing a successful sale. Create an atmosphere for a successful transaction Once the valuation is completed it will serve as the critical reference point for affordability, risks, fairness and financing feasibility. It also provides the forum for how the buy/sell negotiations evolve. Once there is some common ground on the value, most experts suggest reducing general business issues into a discussion guide to flesh out all of the primary considerations. Doing this effectively will help set the stage for the legal drafting that follows. Renegotiating principle terms during the “legal stage” could be expensive and could break down the transaction you have worked so hard to complete. Communicate with key and trusted employees…before and during transition. Be honest and up-front with your dreams and desires for the future. Bringing your team into your “circle of trust” will also help you and your management team align mutual interests. If this is properly done, they will be quite effective in helping you accomplish your goals. There are several recommended methods for developing incen-
tives and other considerations that will help your management team focus on a successful outcome. Voice of experience As for readings on the subject, there are several. I recommend Harry McCabe’s book, “Pass It On: The Entrepreneur’s Succession Playbook.” It is a must read for every owner of a closely held business. His personal insights and real-life examples breathe life into a subject of great importance to every business owner. Advisors to business owners can also learn from Harry’s personal experiences in dealing with the transition of a business from one generation of ownership to the next. But the best advice comes from many who have experienced successful transitions. Pursuing the answer to, “If you had the chance to do it over…” should be on the top of your research list. As you can see, the steps above are complex and getting good advice will be critical to developing your plan. The main point however is that “Life comes at you fast” as the ad says. Investing in a well thought out succession plan now will pay substantial dividends to you down the road. More importantly, it will provide you the opportunity to pursue your personal dreams while insuring that your business legacy will long endure once you embark on your next exciting adventure.
Bob Rupp is co-founder and president of the Renewal Group, a consulting organization with a focus on helping closely held companies develop business improvement strategies in advance of critical transitions. He can be reached at www.renewalgroup.net or (920) 655-8334.
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BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 |
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CEO Q&A TEXT Carol Van Vreede, president, Exhibit Resource Skyline
Like many other businesses, we’re struggling with lower revenues and just as many expenses as ever. I’m tempted to decrease our marketing budget, just for the short term. We should be able to get by with less marketing and advertising until the economy picks up, right?
Cut your marketing budget and guess what will happen… nothing. These are tough economic times – everyone knows that. It doesn’t take a genius to do the math and to realize that cuts have to be made. Operating costs, jobs, benefits and the marketing budget are all on the chopping block. But before you make your cuts, on behalf of your marketing budget, I must plead its case. First of all, let’s get this straight. Marketing is NOT an expense. It is not a waste of money, and the role it plays in the effort to get company sales is a big one. It’s an investment in your brand’s image and its perceived permanence in the marketplace. So at a time when your sales people need help more than ever to bring in new clients and reinforce relationships with current ones, you’re thinking about cutting your marketing budget?
will put your brand on shaky ground. Your customers will wonder if you’re still in business, then slowly forget about you. Your competitors who are advertising are poised and ready to take over the foothold your company had such a firm place in, sending you further down the top of mind awareness ladder. That being said, it still doesn’t change the fact that the budget is tight and leadership still wants to make cuts. If they do reduce the marketing budget, you don’t have to abandon your strategy. (Unless your strategy has been tossing money at different media, hoping something will stick. Go ahead and abandon that one. You have my blessing.) People, it’s time to get smart and get creative. Re-evaluate your current strategy. Determine what has been working and what hasn’t so you can put the marketing dollars you have left in all the right places, not just anywhere. Think “Target.” Who is your target? What do they read? Where do they go? What is the message that will help you reach this target better than before and better than your competitors? Once this is determined, it’s time to target the target. Buy media where you know they are, but keep in mind, there is more to a media mix than just ads. Trade shows, for example, are a great place to be. When chosen wisely, trade shows can offer a great number of leads and the opportunity to build a face-to-face relationship, much stronger than the relationships built through phone calls alone.
Don't Cut Here
We can always learn from history, and we don’t have to look too far back to see how a lack of advertising can adversely affect even the largest companies. In the early 2000s, retail giant Kmart faced some serious budget cuts. The company had been bleeding money for years since Wal-Marts had popped up in many of the towns that Kmart had already been established in. In light of declining sales, Chief Executive Chuck Conway decided to slash costs, mostly pertaining to advertising, resulting in a loss of sales greater than the cost of advertising itself. "There's no doubt we made a mistake by cutting too much advertising while the competition increased theirs,” he said. They lost top-of-mind awareness to other retailers and the lack of advertising contributed to the company’s ultimate demise. The importance of staying in front of your customer base is paramount. Advertising takes time to work, and over the years, your investment in advertising and marketing has secured a solid foothold in your customers’ minds. Not allowing your message to reach them by ceasing advertising
Don’t make it harder for your customers to find you. Now is not the time. It is the time, however, to make your presence in the marketplace known. By getting creative with your marketing dollars, and spending wisely, your company can come out of this economy stronger than ever before.
Do you have a question to pose to a local CEO? Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 11
The benefits of membership
Katie Stilp TEXT
It is often said that one person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries. Through networking at Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce events, members can find out who they are connected to in this theory, called the “Six Degrees of Separation.” The Chamber’s approximately 1,400 member businesses, which employ more than 110,000 employees, has a large pool of businesses to tap, people to learn from and opportunities of which to take advantage. The Chamber hosts more than 100 networking events each year, including monthly Power Networking Breakfast, Business & Breakfast, and Business After Hours events. Networking before and after many other Chamber events also provide more opportunities to make business contacts.
The Power Networking Breakfast, held the first Tuesday of every month, is an ideal opportunity for members to provide a 1.5-minute “elevator speech” on their company, products or services – in a low-key setting with up to 40 other members. “People have an impression that these events are formal but they’re more of a casual affair and a low-pressure environment,” says Ray Kopish, vice president of member services, Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bonnie Nussbaum of The Meeting Place, who has been attending Chamber events for nearly five years, regularly attends Power Networking Breakfasts. “It’s a nice mix with regulars and brand new people, and month to month I’m able to change what I’m pitching [and] get feedback on what I presented,” she says. More importantly, Nussbaum has seen results from networking during the breakfasts and other Chamber events. “I’ve brought people into my business,” she says. “It’s been a fair amount of receiving business and giving business.” Dan Terrien of Woodward Communications has also had great success with generating business contacts at the Power Networking Breakfasts. “When I started attending the Chamber Power Networking Breakfasts in 2002, I didn’t know anyone sitting around those tables,” he says. “[Now], I can say that not only do I know almost everyone at those tables, but I’ve done business with a large percentage of them.” 12 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
The Business Expo is the "grand poobah" of Chamber networking events, bringing together 200+ exhibitors and more than 1,000 attendees for the ultimate networking experience.
It’s no surprise that Chamber members as a whole trust and are loyal to other member businesses. The same thing goes for consumers. When a prospective client or consumer knows a business is a Chamber member, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably about it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future, according to a 2007 study by The Schapiro Group.
Your social network via the Chamber Networking doesn’t always have to be face-toface. With social media taking off in the business world, it’s no surprise that many business owners have taken to networking via sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Come check out the Chamber and see what kind of contacts you can make.
LinkedIn: Sign up at linkedin.com and then search for Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
Facebook: Sign up on facebook.com, search for us and then click on “become a fan.”
Twitter: If you’d like to follow us on Twitter, go to twitter.com/GreenBayChamber
On the third Thursday of each month, the Chamber holds a Business & Breakfast event, which includes a presentation on some of the latest ideas for small businesses. If evenings are more your thing, Business After Hours are held the second Wednesday of each month. These popular after-work events are hosted on-site at a different Chamber member business each month. Michael Lefebvre, vice president of GRAEF, has incorporated Chamber networking events into his monthly calendar for more than 10 years.
Power Networking Breakfasts bring 40+ people together in a smaller group environment, providing each an opportunity to share an "elevator speech" on their business.
Chamber does a wonderful job in providing that opportunity to network and meet new people.” That networking is a showcase for the “Six Degrees of Separation” in action. Nussbaum says she can count on not only reaching the person she networks with at an event, but also has the opportunity to connect with their vast network as well. “You might have 50 people you’re talking to and someone might not be interested in the information but they may pass the information onto others they know and share my business card,” she says.
“Through these events, we get to meet people we may not normally associate with,” Lefebvre says. “We’ve teamed up with some people in the industry to pursue some projects. You really get to know a person through The Chamber unveils a new season of events with its 2009-2010 that and if they have a quesChamber Connections calendar (inserted in this issue of the BBJ). tion they can give you a call and you’ll help them out.”
2009-2010 Chamber Connections – in this issue!
The Business Expo, held every March, is the “grand poobah” of Chamber networking events, helping more than 1,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors generate contacts and leads.
Hang this resource in your office as a visual reminder of all the networking opportunities available year ‘round through the Chamber. For more details, visit titletown.org as well.
Karen Swink of Lindeman’s Cleaning added several businesses to the company’s dry cleaning pickup/delivery as a result of connections she made at Business Expo 2009. Others she met have brought in alternation and repair business, a service her business offers that many people aren’t aware of.
Most networking events are free or available at a reduced price for Chamber members. Nussbaum believes the value far outweighs the upfront cost. “For the time and the money invested in going to these events, it’s a wonderful value,” she says.
Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce President Paul Jadin agrees. “While there are direct and indirect savings to Chamber membership, there is a long term return, no matter what.” Making connections is just one of the many values of networking. Kopish says, “Networking is probably one of the most effective ways of closing a sale. So much business comes from referrals because you establish a trust and a relationship.”
Creating awareness and then using word-of-mouth has proven to be a valuable part of many businesses’ marketing plans. Mike Glaser of Dental Associates agrees. “Word of mouth is the best way to [get] business…and to develop and grow a business. The BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 13
The New North powers up for wind energy Nancy Barthel TEXT dorsch photography PHOTOGRAPHY UNLESS NOTED
The New North is out with a big message: Its 18 member counties are ready to become part of the growing nationwide wind power initiative. Check out their Web site at thenewnorth. com and you’ll see the online version of their Wisconsin Wind Works Supply Chain Directory prominently displayed. It links to more than 200 Wisconsin companies providing products and services to the wind industry. Jerry Murphy is executive director of The New North, Inc., which has as its mission to harness and promote the region's resources, talents and creativity for the purposes of sustaining and growing the regional economy. The way he sees it, wind power is a perfect fit for business in Northeastern Wisconsin. “It’s growing like a stick,” he says, predicting that at least for the next dozen years it will be a growth industry here. Wind energy, he says, is “a pretty good bet.” According to Forward Wisconsin, since the year 2000, utility-scale wind generation in Wisconsin has grown by more than 124 percent. The public-private state marketing and business recruitment organization also reports that Wisconsin is in the top 20 states for wind power potential. That means jobs, as well as a positive impact on the environment. In a 2006 report, Forward Wisconsin noted that a single utility-scale wind turbine can prevent the emission of 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere per year. To put that into perspective it would take a 500-acre forest to dissipate the same amount of CO2, says Forward Wisconsin. 14 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
“Everything about the industry is large scale,” says Murphy. And so could be its economic impact, with an estimated potential of 6,000 new jobs created by the industry in Wisconsin, he adds. Economic times may be tough, but where some see challenges, “I’m way over on the other side of the scale. I see opportunities,” he says. The 18 counties included in The New North are Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee and Waushara. The region does indeed have turbines standing here, but The New North sees the real growth opportunities in the allied industries that will be needed to grow wind power. “It’s very exciting,” says Murphy.
Wind power has been a growth market for several years for Lindquist Machine Corporation, according to Mark Kaiser, president.
“Our message to the world isn’t necessarily, ‘Come to Northeast Wisconsin if you want to build a wind farm,’” says Murphy. “Rather, ‘If you represent a company supplying components to the folks building wind farms around the world, then we’re the place for you.’” Much of industry in The New North grew up around the paper industry, he says, noting that like the paper industry, the wind industry is also highly engineered. Those willing to diversify and reposition themselves will reap the rewards. What it takes are “the right people with the right skills producing this new product line,” he says. The state’s technical colleges are already gearing up for the future. At Lakeland Technical College coursework is currently being offered on wind power and maintenance of wind turbines. And at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) Renewable Energy and Sustainable Practices coursework is also being offered. Amy Kox, formerly an architect with Somerville Inc., became sustainable programs manager at NWTC in 2007. Sustainable coursework has been offered since fall 2008 and in fall 2010 certificate programs will be offered in energy management and to those desiring to become solar technicians.
“We’ve done a good job at spreading the news,” says Murphy. Representatives from The New North have attended important trade shows the past two years in both Houston in 2008 and in Chicago earlier this year sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Governor Jim Doyle attended the Chicago “Our message to the world isn’t necessarily, ‘Come to Northeast show for a day and a-half to make a statement about Wisconsin if you want to build a wind farm.' Rather, 'If you represent how committed Wisconsin is a company supplying components to the folks building wind farms to promoting the renewable energy source of wind, said around the world, then we’re the place for you.'” Murphy. “The response has been strong,” he says.
-Jerry Murphy, executive director, The New North, Inc.
She says the workforce of The New North is prepared to take on the growing wind industry because it’s prepared in the core skills that apply to so many other industries. “We are positioned well,” she says. Still, the region is heading off into new territory. “There are a lot of people interested in wind. Just wondering where they fit is a lot of the questions I get.” The New North has taken on that question by branding the region as a home to the wind industry. Its publication, “New North Wind Energy,” subtitled “Northeastern Wisconsin's Welcome to Wind Energy Industries,” answers many of the questions people have. It is also available at the thenewnorth.com. The information you’ll find there is summed up this way by The New North: “No other region in the Midwest offers the unique combination of advantages available here, including superior supplier potential built upon a 100-year-old manufacturing tradition, an expanding economy, access to some of the nation's best wind resources, strong existing markets and excellent workforce and transportation assets. Roughly 24 percent of jobs within The New North are manufacturing jobs, the second highest concentration in the United States.”
Business has an incentive to get on board with wind power, he continues, because of the goals set for the State of Wisconsin and the federal government. By the year 2015 the state has set a goal of 15 percent of its energy production to be renewable. For the federal government the number is 20 percent by the year 2020. “Those types of objectives – real numbers – make wind energy an … attractive growth market for at least that time frame,” adds Murphy. But, he added, “We’ll have to work extremely hard to meet those goals.” “There are costs with going after any new market,” he continues. Companies that decide to go after wind power will have to make “a very conscious decision” to do it. “If you think that it’s just going to happen, it’s going to happen someplace else,” says Murphy. “I don’t want to watch the taillights of someone else’s development. I want to be in front.” Mark Kaiser, president of Lindquist Machine Corporation, has been to both of the national AWEA trade shows. Wind power for Lindquist, a turn-key machine builder that provides in house machining and assembly, has been a growth market for several years.
BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 15
So far Metal Engineering has seen one job connected to the wind industry, treatment of a prototype part made by another Green Bay firm. He attended a local AWEA conference in Appleton in March 2009 (he estimates 600 people were there) and is hopeful that wind power can one day be a bigger part of his business. “It could really pay off down the road,” he says. But because he provides heat treatment services to other manufacturers, Metal Engineering is dependent on their part of the industry to grow first. “It could take a very substantial investment,” he adds, “and right now it’s hard to say whether that’s going to be worth it.” “I know there’s potential, I know it’s going to happen. It’s just if we can draw the business to the area,” he says. Howard Immel, Inc., is one company that’s excited about wind power. It has served commercial, industrial and institutional customers since 1959 in general construction, construction management and design/build services. Paul Martzke, project manager and business development, says the company already has a long history of working in the power generation industry. “We’ve worked in water, steam and nuclear power plants in a variety of capacities, from construction manager to site safety contractor. We’re constructing several sustainable projects, including those that will obtain LEED certification by the United States Green Building Council. At Immel Construction, we believe that sustainable construction practices have become commonplace in how we perform our tasks.”
Jerry Murphy, executive director of The New North, is positioning The New North as a
The majority of Immel’s past construction experience in renewable energy has been in hydroelectric plants and dams. “Currently, we’re noticing an increase in clients looking to invest in wind power,” says Martzke. “Although wind driven power was one of the first sources of renewable energy, it’s been ignored until recently. With new initiatives in the development of sustainable energy, we’re seeing a resurgence in construction in wind power.”
crucial player in the wind power market. "I don't want to watch the taillights of someone else's development. I want to be in front."
Kaiser sees a two-front growth in the industry, one being large commercial wind turbines and the other being smaller turbines that can be used by a business or in a residential setting like a neighborhood. Wind power “fits The New North area very, very well,” he says. “The supply chain for this market is still developing as we speak,” says Kaiser, adding that it isn’t an industry every machine shop can jump into because of its complexity. “You have to make some significant investment to do this,” he says. But, he continues, “Clearly this whole market is busting loose.” All this “helps guys like Ted,” says Kaiser. The Ted he speaks of is Ted Keman, president of Metals Engineering, which specializes in heat treating metals. “There seems to be a lot of excitement about wind,” says Keman. 16 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
Martzke says The New North “presents a unique opportunity for the area to promote itself through the partnerships it has established, including Wisconsin Wind Works. We’re committed to conducting business in a way that is sensitive to our environment, and we know this is a goal we share with many of our peers in The New North. It’s a remarkable accomplishment of The New North to organize in such a short time frame the efforts of so many in the region.”
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The owners of Full Circle Organic Farm have integrated wind power into a farm that prides itself on embracing sustainable and organic practices.
Wind power brings Full Circle Organic Farm full circle Nancy Barthel TEXT dorsch photography PHOTOGRAPHY
Head out to Full Circle Organic Farm, located at W2407 Hofa Park Rd., between Seymour and Pulaski and you’ll see a vivid example of wind power at work locally. It’s here that Valerie Dantoin-Adamski and her husband Rick Adamski have made a commitment to sustainable agriculture and to wind energy to power their 280-acre farm. Dantoin-Adamski is also a faculty member at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and is in the process of developing coursework in the field of organic agriculture. She holds a 18 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as an undergraduate degree from there in bacteriology. She previously worked for the UW-Extension. The couple are now caretakers of a farm that has been in the Adamski family for more than 100 years. And standing as the centerpiece of that farm today is the wind turbine under which their 85 cows graze. For the couple, the wind turbine was the logical next step to an operation that already had embraced a multitude of sustainable and organic practices. “That’s one of the reasons we call it ‘Full Circle,’” says Dantoin-Adamski of their farm.
An open house Aug. 1 gave the public the opportunity to learn more about how the couple decided to put up the wind turbine and the positive impact it has made on their lives as businesspeople.
$0.11/kw hr = $7,000 per year, which is estimated by how much energy has been produced so far.
So it’s evident the results have been worthwhile. “It powers the whole Adamski chose to investigate putting up a wind turbine on their property af- farm most days,” says Dantoin-Adamski. Some months they’ve even sold ter a wind company came to the Township of Maple Grove prospecting for energy back to WE Energies. Prior to putting up the wind turbine, their wind. Their offers were rejected by the township, but that got Adamski won- energy bills generally ran between $400 and $500 per month. dering why they were looking at this area of Shawano County The couple recommends in the first place. He learned it’s others look into sustainable considered a Class 3 wind reenergy resources as well. “I source, meaning “it’s windy quite think it’s really neat to be able “If we control our own energy creation, a lot,” says Dantoin-Adamski. to produce your own electricwe’re just not in the hands of a foreign ity,” she says, though pointing oil company.” The journey from the idea of out, “The problem is we don’t a wind turbine in 2005 to the have a good system in place.” -Valerie Dantoin-Adamski, day it was delivered on Jan. 26, owner, Full Circle Organic Farm 2009, brought many challenges That’s why, Dantoin-Adamski in the permitting process. But says, she and her husband ultimately the Adamskis were want to educate people about able to purchase their used the benefits of wind power and mid-sized wind turbine from its positive impact on the enviCalifornia. It was refurbished in ronment and the pocketbook. South Dakota and today its legs stand 110 feet high on their property. “If we control our own energy creation,” she adds, “we’re just not in the hands of a foreign oil company.” The total cost of the project was $170,000. They received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant for $39.000, a Focus on “The infrastructure for a mid-sized wind turbine is still in its infancy and Energy grant of $30,000 and a federal income tax credit of $35,000, therefore the cost per unit is high now, but could come down,” adds meaning that $104,000 of the cost was offset by grants and credits. Dantoin-Adamski. “Think of how expensive computers were when they The total net cost to the Adamskis for the wind turbine was $66,000. first came out.” The amount of energy that will be generated by the wind turbine at
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Wheel, wing or rail,
transportation is all business Lee Marie Reinsch TEXT SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHY
Unless you’re an importer, frequent flyer, or live near railroad tracks or a truck stop, it’s easy to think the area’s transportation infrastructure doesn’t intersect with your life. For the first six months of 2009, there were an average of more than 80 arrivals and
But your morning likely includes a bowl of something trucked from across the country, followed by a commute on roads whose asphalt arrived here on a freighter ship. You probably work in a building reinforced with steel beams transported here via semi or train. Or you may lunch with a corporate-type who flew in from across the country. “Any time you have the ability to offer rail, water and air travel, these are areas that make your location more desirable” to prospective inhabitants than does a location with only one or two of those perks, says Paul Jadin, president of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. In that regard, Green Bay has more to offer than any other Wisconsin city, with the exception of Milwaukee, Jadin adds. Companies looking at relocating or expanding often take into consideration the ease of getting in and out of a particular city. Double that sentiment when that city’s up in Frozen Tundra territory. Are we there yet? It would seem that the Green Bay area’s international airport, and access to good highways, rail yards and active seaport lay the groundwork for connection to the rest of the world. But despite its amenities, Green Bay’s not the most logical of locations.
20 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
departures at Austin Straubel International Airport every day, a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2008. Photo by Joe Oliva, jetpix.com.
“Really, here in Green Bay, we have limited access to the rest of the world,” says Dean Haen, director of the Port Authority of Green Bay. “We are at a disadvantage locationally. You can’t go east – you are in the water. There’s no business in the Upper Peninsula, so everything in our area has to come up or go south or west.” It would make a lot more sense, too, for a national trucking firm like Schneider National to be located more in the center of the United States. “It’s a happy historical anomaly that we were to be here in Green Bay,” says Tom Vandenberg, corporate counsel for Schneider National trucking firm. “If one were to start from scratch, Green Bay doesn’t make a lot of sense in terms of its location. We’ve made it work because of the people, the Wisconsin work ethic, not the location.” Green Bay has many virtues, but location isn’t one of them, Vandenberg and others say. That’s exactly why it’s crucial that getting into and out of Green Bay be convenient for potential residents and goods. By water Ships from all over the country and world bring coal, limestone, road salt, cement and forest products to the area via the Port of Green Bay and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Its commercial portal to the Great Lakes
Green Bay has many virtues, but location isn’t one of them, Vandenberg and others say. That’s exactly why it’s crucial that getting into and out of Green Bay be convenient for potential residents and goods.
The Port of Green Bay could handle container shipments – it’s deep enough and large enough to handle the enormous boats carrying dozens of containers – but it doesn’t because of the tax. The tariff structure taxes loads between ports in the United States and ports of other countries, but it also taxes loads carried between domestic ports. In other words, the contents of a container ship traveling from Chicago to Milwaukee to the Port of Green Bay get taxed at all three places. “Basically, it amounts to double-dipping,” Haen says of the multiple taxation. “Nobody does business that way.”
distinguishes Green Bay from other parts of the state, and Northeast Wisconsin is unusual in having two such entry points – the Port of Green Bay and that of Marinette-Menominee a few miles northeast. “If you did a circle tour around the Great Lakes in cities that had formerly active (seaports), you would see that that infrastructure is being consumed to create recreational and residential property,” says Jerry Murphy, director of The New North, Inc.
The net result is that there’s no container shipping done on the Great Lakes. To avoid being taxed twice or even several times, once a company ports, it often has its cargo loaded onto a truck or train and taken the remainder of its journey. FEECO International is among the companies that, instead of shipping its cargo by boat out of the port of Green Bay down to Chicago to put it on a train, chose to truck it out of Green Bay. That adds to a company’s overhead.
Although its numbers are down from two years ago, it’s estimated that the Port of Green Bay added $75 million to the area economy in 2008 and supported 621 local jobs. Port activities (such as unloading, boat maintenance and refueling) generated another $23 million in income. The port generated $41.7 million in state taxes, $2 million in local taxes and contributed to the production of $35 million in gross state product. According to an economic impact report on the port prepared by the Bay Lake Regional Planning commission, the shipping industry is among the most cost-effective methods of moving goods around. By maintaining a commercial gateway port, Northeast Wisconsin has a strategic advantage over other areas around the Great Lakes, Murphy says. “There are not a lot of places on the Great Lakes where you can do that,” Murphy says. “To have significant commercial barge or ocean vessels come in, that’s an advantage.” Wisconsin has two other such gateway ports to the Great Lakes, at Superior and Milwaukee.
Schneider National drivers travel 1.326 billion miles a year, transporting the goods that consumers use every day across the country – everything from electronics to building supplies to paper
The tax man cometh products to food and beverages...and more. Although ships can and do come to the Port of Green Bay from all over the world, harbor maintenance fees keep more serious commerce – containerized shipping – away. Containers are those large “Depending on the mix of products being manufactured, if we have metal boxes which, when placed on a chassis, look like a semitrailer, says a competitor in Baltimore, I’m at a disadvantage because he doesn’t Steve Evans of Leicht/RGL Specialty Services. have to pay inland transportation,” says FEECO International General Manager Lee Hoffmann. They’re a little larger than half the size of a semitrailer, and they’re made of stronger metal, so they can be stacked. Some ships can han- For a recent shipment of equipment to Brazil, FEECO enlisted Ledle thousands of containers, Haen adds. icht. “We got the equipment to Leicht Transfer, the company (in Brazil) had shipped containers to Leicht, who loaded them, trucked them The containers can be stacked onto an oceangoing container vessel, to a seaport, where they were shipped to a major port in Brazil,” loaded onto railroad cars or semis. “Traditionally they have been re- Hoffmann says. ceived and shipped overseas at East Coast, West Coast and southern ports,” Evans says. The Brazilian customer is located in the rainforest, so the FEECO equipment had to be trucked to the plant site deep in the rainforest. BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 21
Canadian National Railway operates 1,470 miles of railroad track in Wisconsin, most in northern and the northeastern parts of the state and primarily in the coal, paper and steel industries. Photo courtesy of the Canadian National Railway Company.
The study looks at what’s already coming in and going out of the area’s harbors, railways and highways. It reviews the type and number of goods already shipped via containers and things that could be shipped via container but aren’t. “There’s freight going through Chicago on rail that might be better off going through the port here,” Hutchison says. “We’re also looking at freight coming from other areas, such as Galveston, that might go through the port here. The focus is broader than Wisconsin.”
The team at UWGB is about halfway through the first year of a two-year study. Hoffmann said his company would use container shipping out of Green Bay if it were possible. “I’d like to believe it would reduce shipping costs for us,” Hoffmann says. Haen says that while container shipping per se won’t happen here, ocean-bound feeder ships could service Green Bay. Those feeder ships could meet up with container ships elsewhere and ship larger quantities of goods and equipment for a more economical price than trucking it. “In the last couple of years there has been some progress toward a company setting up a large deep-water port near the entrance of the St. Lawrence Seaway for large ships and a transfer facility to transfer containers to small container ships that can go through the St. Lawrence Seaway,” Evans says. “When this venture is completed, then Leicht will look into setting up an unloading and loading setup for containers at its port.” About five years ago there were two intermodal yards in Green Bay for containers to be shipped by railroad. Wisconsin Central railroad operated one, and Leicht Transfer and Storage Co. operated the other. “After the Canadian National (CN) railroad bought the Wisconsin Central they decided to close down the service of container shipping in Green Bay,” Evans says. “As a result, containers today are typically transferred by chassis over the road to Chicago and put on the railroad at a Chicago Intermodal yard.” Studying the future With a grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) staff members are researching the feasibility of expanding services at the Port of Green Bay. The port receives ships from all over the world – oceangoing ships bearing stone, gypsum, equipment, fuel oil, coal and tallow by the ton. But one piece of the international freight industry the port of Green Bay is missing out on is containerized shipping. “The U.S. is far behind Europe and Asian in shipping of goods, all of which is done in containerized units,” says Ray Hutchison, UWGB faculty member overseeing the study. “Once the goods arrive here, though, there’s not a good network for distributing them.” 22 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
Haen likens the concept of container shipping to old-fashioned milk delivery routes. The ships’ loads lighten as their route proceeds, carrying the equivalent of thousands of semitrailer loads. The tariff, or harbor maintenance tax, “serves as a disincentive to move trucks and their freight via water,” Haen says. Companies that need to transport goods to another area choose rail and truck, he adds. “It results in more congestion, more pollution, more fuel consumption and choked border crossings.”
With a grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) staff members are researching the feasibility of expanding services at the Port of Green Bay.
But legislation may be in the works to change that. Two House of Representative bills, H.R. 528, The Short Sea Shipping Act of 2009, and H.R. 638, The Short Sea Shipping Promotion Act of 2009, seek to do away with the multiple taxation. S. 551 is also a bill that addresses the same issue. Senate Bill 551 would amend the IRS code of 1986 to exempt certain shipping from the harbor maintenance tax. All three are still at committee level. Air: An inconvenient truth Business travelers need “frequent, reliable transportation that can get them into a community on a timely basis, allow them to conduct their business and get out and to their next destination,” whether that’s another meeting location or back home, says Tom Miller, director of Austin
Austin Straubel has had its international designation since 1992. When U.S. Customs located an office at the airport, it allowed flights from Canada to make the transition into the United States and clear customs in Green Bay.
Straubel International Airport. But Miller is the first to admit it hasn’t always been easy for business travelers to do so from his airport. Some of the biggest employers in the area have been unable to fly their people directly to their home offices in other states via the commercial services offered locally. Private charter flight companies, like Executive Air and Titletown Jet Center, are one solution to that problem. Humana, for example, has headquarters in Louisville, Ky., Procter & Gamble is headquartered in Cincinnati, and Georgia-Pacific is based in Atlanta. Austin Straubel doesn’t offer direct flights to any of those hubs. “The No. 1 destination for (Green Bay) business travelers is Louisville, Ky., and it was very difficult for travelers to get efficiently to Louisville and back to Green Bay that same day without incurring overnight costs and flights that involved a stay of multiple days,” Miller says. Several local companies have been seeking the service since Comair flying as Delta discontinued its service to Cincinnati (where Louisville-bound passengers from Green Bay would connect with a flight to Louisville), Miller says. But one airline listened to Green Bay’s pleas. On Aug. 1, Midwest Airlines began almost-direct, twice-daily flights between Green Bay and Louisville, Ky. Flights leave Austin Straubel at 6 a.m. and land in Louisville at 9:40 a.m. “Midwest Airlines has been very responsive to the business community (of Green Bay),” Miller says. The flights won’t be direct, however. They’ll stop in Milwaukee to pick up additional passengers before heading on to Kentucky. But Green Bay passengers won’t have to deplane. Return flights leave Louisville at 9:10 p.m. and land in Green Bay at 11 p.m. “The (new) service to Louisville could generate several thousand passengers for us,” Miller says. It’s not a huge slice of business, but it’s an important route for many people from the area, he adds.
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Before this year, international corporate flights from Europe and Mexico hadn’t been able to land in Green Bay and clear customs because there was no way to safely dispose of trash – food debris, leftovers, etc. – from those flights. The trash-disposal issue was a significant one that, if not resolved, could have had a major impact on the future of Austin Straubel.
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“The USDA doesn’t like to have food waste products brought into the U.S. for disease reasons,” Miller says. “It’s incumbent upon an international airport to take precautions with flights from Europe to prevent bugs from getting into the food chain.”
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But as of May 1, that’s changed. Austin Straubel’s new waste sterilizer, which opened May 1, may open doors for the airport. It heats garbage to 212 degrees for 30 minutes to kill pathogens. The sterilized waste can be disposed of like other waste. Austin Straubel owns the sterilizer and has a USDA permit for it. Private charter flight companies that operate out of Austin Straubel have agreements to use it to process their international waste.
BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 23
The sterilizer offers another step toward expanding the international capabilities at Austin Straubel, Miller says. “By being able to handle international trash, it will allow us to pursue clearance of international aircraft into the future,” Miller adds.
The budget that the governor signed in mid-June removed the nopass through clause and put a limit on the gas tax. “We’re very pleased, but additional funding is going to have to take place,” Vandenberg says. “We believe the general fund is an appropriate place to look.”
Four airlines serve Austin Straubel: Delta, United, American and Midwest.
Many on Vandenberg’s team feel that sales tax from automobile sales should go into the transportation fund. Yes, the economy has been soft for both trucking and rail freight, but customers aren’t jumping ship. “We’ve seen a reduction in supply-chain length; people are importing less freight,” Vandenberg says. “If you look at the numbers being shipped across the ocean, they are down less as people consume less.”
Austin Straubel International Airport is one of seven airports in Wisconsin that are receiving economic stimulus money for improvements. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program has authorized $1.5 million to Austin Straubel for the $3 million to rehabilitate the north/south runway. By rail and road Vandenberg and others in the trucking industry, including the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, recently heaved a collective sigh of relief after a proposed state fuel tax for didn’t make it into the 2009-2011 state transportation fund.
Typically, when the price of fuel rises, trucking customers switch to rail to ship their goods. That doesn’t seem to be happening this time around, at least with Schneider. “This stuff fluctuates, but at present, I think that it’s fair to say there’s not a lot of diversion from truck to rail,” Vandenberg says. People also seem to be using more local vendors, he says, rather than shipping quite as much across the country.
“Last year we got hit with a 30 percent increase in vehicle registration fees and further diversion from the transportation fund.” -Tom Vandenberg, corporate counsel, Schneider National trucking firm
Tracking it Canadian National Railway operates 1,470 miles of railroad track in Wisconsin, with most in northern Wisconsin and the northeastern parts of the state. The rail company employs 1,150 people in Wisconsin, including 80 in Green Bay, says Canadian National (CN) spokesperson Patrick Waldron.
The would-be tax – called an oil assessment tax – had a clause that said companies couldn’t pass on the added expense to their customers. It didn’t thrill those in the transportation industry. It would have made it easy for trucking firms outside Wisconsin to evade the tax by making sure they filled their tanks before crossing the border into the state, and thus put out-of-state trucking companies at an advantage over those in the state, Vandenberg says. “With respect to the transportation fund, we are one of a very small number of states who use just two ways to fund the transportation fund – vehicle registration fees and fuel tax,” Vandenberg says. It’s been a rough couple years for trucking companies. “Last year we got hit with a 30 percent increase in vehicle registration fees and further diversion from the transportation fund,” Vandenberg adds. Since the last two budgets shaved $1.4 million from the transportation fund, many in the transportation industry felt the proposed tax was unfair and would further hurt their industry. One law firm, Foley & Lardner of Madison, called the “no-pass through” clause unconstitutional. 24 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
Most of CN’s northern and northeastern Wisconsin customers are coal, paper or steel customers. Waldron says CN’s numbers are down in recent economic times. “Canadian National, like many other companies, has been affected by the current economic environment,” Waldron says. “We have adjusted our business accordingly.” CN spends $58 million in capital improvements per year, on things like rail cars, machinery and tracks. While CN maintains a significant-sized railyard where it manages the movement of box cars, coal cars, and the like, it lacks a service to put containers onto or to take containers off of rail chassis, Evans says. Leicht receives (and ships) large numbers of box cars and some flat cars. He said the most of the company’s rail business is inbound products for the paper industry, such as pulp or paper rolls. Leicht also receives lumber, aluminum, and food product by rail. “Leicht can handle over 50 rail cars inbound per day and has by far the largest rail capacity of any logistics provider in the Green Bay area,” Evans says.
BOOK REVIEW REVIEWED BY Bobbie Kuehn, BROWN COUNTY LIBRARY
What a Paperboy Learned about Business
AUTHOR Jeffrey J. Fox
PUBLISHER San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass, 2009
Author Jeffrey J. Fox is no stranger to the business world. He has a masters degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and is an accomplished businessman and author. His most recent book is called, RAIN: What a Paperboy Learned about Business, published in January. The first part of the book is a parable, and the second part consists of exercises for the reader to apply to the concepts learned in first part. This work is unique in that it is not a typical business book with business principles laid out chapter by chapter. And, though it may initially seem simplistic both in length and scope, it is entertaining while still demonstrating valuable business principles that can be understood quickly, by everyone. Fox chronicles the adventures and lessons learned by Rain, a young New England paperboy. In chapter one, Rain learns of a job opportunity as a paperboy. As the story progresses, he discovers the value of preparing for an interview. Rain works hard and is often physically exhausted, but he learns to follow through and even deal with the mean dogs (we have all encountered some of them in business). He figures out how much money he makes per paper delivered and thus learns about simple finance. In time, Rain learns customer service plays a big part in how many papers he delivers and he comes up with 10 customer commandments. Furthermore, he discovers that getting referrals from existing customers can improve his numbers. He gradually learns about the benefits of marketing and innovation. Rain is customer-focused and works hard to become the best paperboy in town. When he is ready to sell his route, we get some lessons in business valuation and exit strategy. Chapter 29 is the final chapter of his story. It is 12 years after Rain’s first paper delivery. He is writing an essay for an application to business school. His father suggests that he write an essay about the lessons that he learned as a paperboy. Rain and his father reminisce about the lessons and this is how Fox summarizes the information learned in previous chapters. In the second part of the book, Fox writes what he calls the Rain Reader. It is designed to be a series of analytical exercises for the reader based on each of Rain’s adventures. While the reader is exposed to entrepreneurial thinking and rainmaking principles in the first part of the book, the second part directs us to apply the lessons that Rain learns, and takes us deeper. Fox asks just to “retool” the basics learned by Rain and to apply them to our own situations. Each subject lesson is explained in a few paragraphs; then, through a series of statements and questions we are asked to apply the lessons to ourselves and our work situations.
In doing this, Fox challenges the reader and encourages the reader to think more expansively and innovatively. RAIN has valuable business applications for anyone involved in a business or about to embark in a career in business. Its simplicity lends itself to being a great training tool within an organization as a basis for discussion about the foundation of good business.
Additional titles available at the
Brown County Library
n The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life Assaraf, John New York: Atria Books, 2008 n The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential–In Business and Life Babauta, Leo New York: Hyperion, 2009 n Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love Fields, Jonathan New York: Broadway Books, 2009 n The Moneymakers: How Extraordinary Managers Win in a World Turned Upside Down Fink, Anne-Marie New York: Crown Business, 2009 n How to Become a Rainmaker: The People Who Get and Keep Customers Fox, Jeffrey New York: Hyperion, 2000
BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09 | 25
SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS TEXT Katie Stilp PHOTOGRAPHY SUBMITTED
Photography is an exercise in creativity For the average person, photography is a simple point-andshoot process. For others, photography is an exercise in creativity, more an art than a science thanks to fluctuations in lighting, color, depth, angle, focus and other factors.
Creativity is what drew Mike Roemer to the photography business 25 years ago. With his business, Mike Roemer Photography Inc., he offers commercial and editorial photography, tapping many elements to take the perfect photo for every project. He explores the use of many of the factors above but admits that sometimes, photography is an exercise in patience and timing. “Sometimes, it’s all about catching the right moment,” he says. Chris Dorsch, who owns Dorsch Digital Photography and has been a photography enthusiast since age 8, likens the process of photography to standing in front of a blank page. “Your lens is almost like a paint brush,” Dorsch says. “You can have all the control in the world with just your camera and a lens. It’s an amazing thing and today with Adobe Photoshop, you can very easily change an image to black and white with a click or make it soft on colors with a few clicks.” That said, Dorsch is more of a “purist” when it comes to capturing the right pictures up-front rather than altering photos. “I’m more into the old school photography where everything is very precise and quality going into the camera is quality coming out,” Dorsch says.
“Sometimes, it’s all about catching the right moment.” -Mike Roemer, Mike Roemer Photography, Inc. While Dorsch focuses on striking the exact mood and moment in his photos, others look to Photoshop and other programs as tools at their disposal for enhancing what they’ve captured on film or digitally. Kris Maz, partner in Launch Photography, Film and Video, Inc., started with a 35mm camera his mother received in trade for a cord of firewood when he was 10 years old. Today, he’s taken that long-lived love of photography and embraced the digital age. Maz has learned the intricacies of digital postproduction so he can combine conventional camera technique and digital post-production to strike the right chord with his final photos. This image depicts a farm sunrise taken in Ledgeview, illustrating the soft, warm golden light present at sunrise and dusk. – Photo by Dorsch Digital Photography
On a modern pro digital camera, a digital file is written in what is generically named RAW format. This format allows color space, color temperature, exposure, contrast, picture style and shadow detail to be set after the moment of capture instead of committing to those decisions prior to the moment of capture as is the case with most consumer-level cameras. Once the RAW file is properly converted, it is ready for Photoshop which can be used to retouch blemishes, remove unwanted portions, change the background, take wrinkles out of clothing or change the color of an object. “Sometimes there’s no time or it’s just not practical to fix the setting in which you’re shooting so you end up relying on Photoshop in those situations,” Maz says. “It comes down to cost effectiveness. You have to balance what solution yields the best results with what is the most efficient use of time.” For Maz, one of the aspects of Photoshop he enjoys most is manipulating the densities of an image to make the viewer’s eye go exactly where he wants it to go. “It feels like throwing buckets of paint around instead of the monotonous mouse clicking that other techniques require,” he says.
Six separate images, which included the best photo of each individual member from the band Annex, were used to create this final composite. "To create the illusion of a single moment it was critical to maintain the shadowing that each subject created upon the set walls and floor," Kris Maz says. – Photo by Kris Maz
Maz sees major benefits in using Photoshop, saying, “Photographic technique and Photoshop work in tandem to offer previously impossible solutions to our clients,” he says.
One example of this is what is called group composites, in which a company’s staff members are photographed separately and then combined into one image in Photoshop. “The staff’s conflicting schedules become a non-issue and no one argues about what photo they look the best in. Additional staff is added to the composite without having to photograph the entire staff again.” Even with the benefits of technology at their fingertips, photographers will need to do a great deal of planning for that perfect shot. Lighting is an absolute, says Roemer. Maz agrees. “Having a command over the craft of lighting is equivalent to speaking or writing with a wider vocabulary.” Dorsch says another key element is timing. For example, a good time to shoot an outdoor landscape is right at sunrise or shortly thereafter because you get a soft, warm golden light. That same lighting is also present right at dusk. But even with the proper lighting, timing and other factors, there is still plenty of work in editing photos without interjecting Photoshop into the mix. Dorsch says he can spend just as much time combing through hundreds of photos as he does taking the photos. Still, no matter how long you have been taking pictures, there are still many surprises. “When you think you know everything about it, there’s always something new to learn, which keeps photography exciting, challenging and fun,” Dorsch says.
“This image evokes the emotion that is sports—hard hitting, teeth jarring, sweat flying football," Mike Roemer says. "The viewer can feel how hard of a hit this was with the look on the Tampa player’s face. I was able to capture this image with the use of the proper lens and timing to capture the decisive moment." – Photo by Roemer Photography BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER | 27
Sara Webb, Green Bay Packers, Nadia Farr, EAA, Bret Bielema, University of Wisconsin head football coach, Stacy Shedivy, Red Moon Solutions, Lynn Kroll, Wisconsin Public Service and (kneeling) Nick Arlt, Festival Foods, pose at Leaderfest ’09, at which Bielema was the keynote speaker.
Jay Zollar, vice president and general manager of WLUX FOX 11, celebrates the grand opening of the remodeled station with a ribbon cutting on June 17.
Matt Schlief prepares the oversized scissors to perform the ribbon cutting in front of the Wal-Mart during part of the store’s grand opening festivities.
On July 22, representatives of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, NextMedia Outdoor and others celebrated the ribbon cutting for Wisconsin's first solar power-generating billboard. The billboard is located along the west side of Hwy. 41 between Main Avenue and Scheuring Road in De Pere. Attendees included Don Snyder of NextMedia, Mayor Jim Schmitt, Paul Jadin of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Karl Van Roy.
Representatives from the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary received a check for $1,000 from Matt Schlief, West West-Mart store manager, during the store’s ribbon cutting on June 17. Wal-Mart also provided donations to other local organizations.
GO TO www.titletown.org FOR THE LATEST UPDATES IN CHAMBER NEWS AND EVENTS
Sam Thiel (center) and Jon Dethardt (right) receive the keys to the Chevrolet Cobalt cars the two earned as part of the National Auto Technology Competition they won in 2007. As part of the competition, they received tuition to the secondary school of choice, tool sets and the new cars upon graduation. The two students are graduates of the Youth Apprenticeship program offered by Partners in Education at the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
28 | BBJ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 09
The photo of the Governor's signing of the smoke-free legislation that was featured in the June/ July issue of the BBJ incorrectly stated that Titletown Brewery was the first smoke-free bar/ restaurant in the community. Other restaurants and bars did precede Titletown in going smoke-free.
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6/15/09 1:48:53 PM
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