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Published by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for Chamber members
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KEEPING THE COUNTY COMPETITIVE -
Business success impacts area’s economic development
Subcommittees tasked with furthering economic development
Cabela's is moving in -
Anticipated to increase village's valuation by $15 million
Memories for a lifetime -
Chamber trip to China is amazing learning opportunity
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Contents. Volume 21, #1 | January 2013
Memories for a lifetime -
Chamber trip to China is amazing learning opportunity
08 Cabela's is moving in
Anticipated to increase village's valuation by $15 million
Small- to medium-size companies upsize -
How Unishippers, Van's, AHEAD and Fulfillnet are growing to
the next level
4 subcommittees tasked with making Brown County even more competitive
04 VIEW POINT 05 TECH WATCH 22 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 24 BOOK REVIEW 26 CHAMBER BRIEFS 28 CHAMBER NEWS
VISIT THE GREEN BAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AT:
ADVERTISERS 01 Keller Inc. 02 Network Health Plan Inside B ack Cover TD S 01 Children’s Hospit al of Wisconsin 25 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business B ack Cover Cellcom Inside Front Cover Lambeau Field
PRESIDENT Laurie Radke EDITOR Lori Kaye Lodes GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dana Jacobson
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. Copyright© 2008 Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce PH: 920.593.3423.
VIEW POINT TEXT Laurie radke
Economic development is threaded throughout Chamber Last fiscal year, Advance, the economic development program of the Chamber, made a $55.7 million-plus impact on our economy. This is a fabulous contribution, and a far-reaching one as well. But there is more to our story of economic development. Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and the economic health of a specific area. And Chambers, chamberwide, are “in the business” of economic development. One of our Chamberwide strategic initiatives is to build economic prosperity. How we do this takes more forms than we have room for in this article, and that effort rides right alongside our initiative to be the voice of business. While I wouldn’t say they’re two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other. As such, when we talk about economic development efforts and focus at the Chamber, we’re following a thread that travels through many of our programs. Just one is our Legislative Agenda. In December, the Chamber released its 2013-2014 Legislative Agenda outlining our public policy priorities for the upcoming year. What’s not tallied with this list of priorities – which range from workforce development to government efficiency and cooperation, limiting taxation and government spending to improved environment regulations – is how these ultimately add up to affect our area’s businesses’ prosperity. What the Legislative Agenda does is guide the Chamber’s efforts to work with legislators on an ongoing basis, to make sure issues related to agenda issues such as taxation or making the downtown appealing to potential relocating businesses are heard. In many cases, the Public Policy Council, government affairs program and I vocalize a stance against a particular piece of legislation that would negatively impact existing and prospective business, oftentimes from a financial standpoint. I could go on, but it’s efforts like these Chamberwide that contribute to the fact that Gov. Walker announced this fall at a meeting of Wisconsin Manufacturers of Commerce and the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives that the state moved from a ranking of 43rd in 2008 to a position as 20th by CEO Magazine’s ranking of the states. 4
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Likewise, CNBC’s ranking of the states moved Wisconsin from 37th in 2008 to 17th in 2012, and Site Selection magazine ranked Wisconsin as No. 13, the first time in 15 years that Wisconsin has ranked in the top 25 states. Walker credits this to a pro-business legislature, and we will continue to bring business and legislators together.
Last year, we voiced our support, and helped influence: ✔ Rewarding investment in Wisconsin and capital gains tax exclusions and tax credits ✔ State support of interstate designation for US 41 through Green Bay ✔ State tax deductibility for health savings accounts to improve use and cost control
In addition, successful economic development cannot occur without quality of life in a community, and that includes a solid educational system, solid workforce development and leadership development. Here at the Chamber, we have programs such as Partners in Education(PIE), which is focused on the educational-business partnership on behalf of workforce development. PIE brings together businesses and educational representatives in 10 area school districts in an effort of collaboration. Current young professionals, Leadership Green Bay and Brown County Teen Leadership offer programming focused on developing leadership skills. Bottom line, it’s programs, services and offerings like this that the Chamber offers every day that resonate with our businesses, trickle down to their employees and translate into what’s defined as quality of life for all us in the Greater Green Bay area. I encourage you to learn more about our Legislative Agenda (housed at titletown.org) and many of these programs (also accessible at titletown. org under the programs tab). Their cumulative effect on economic development may be immeasurable, but we know it’s invaluable.
TECH WATCH TEXT AL PAHL
Innovative technology measures minute detail on anything that moves If you’re driving a car or boat, checking where you are (or were) once every second (as GPS does) is probably good enough. Knowing your location to within 15 feet (as GPS does) is probably good enough.
All of which was designed in Green Bay. The final product and assembly will be done here. “We’d like to keep it that way. It’s hard, costwise, to do it,” says Troup. “The subcomponents are manufactured in California, but all of the plastic subassembly, packaging, everything, is being done here in Green Bay, which we are pretty proud of.”
Innovation never comes from “good enough.” Meet Green Bay native, entrepreneur and technology guru David Troup, whose recreational sports are roughly as numerous as his business ventures – and who’s now living the dream of having married the two. He envisioned something better than GPS to track snowboarders, BMX riders, sailboarders and the like. These highdynamic athletes move in three dimensions, but GPS tracks two – knowing how high you jumped or how long you were in the air is impossible. GPS misses a lot, because a lot can happen in a second. Or, as Troup is fond of saying, “Epic can happen any time.” Athletes need accurate information, in a useful manner and time. A sailboarder can’t look at a GPS display. “First of all, I am going to die, because I’m doing 45 mph, plotting my way through chop and waves,” Troup points out. “The GPS tells me where I was; not where I am; it lags behind me. Plus, there’s a huge error in it. As I am trimming the sail, I need instant feedback to tell me if I’m going faster or slower.” Audio feedback is available in another arena in which Troup recreates: glider aircraft. “The altimeter is kind of like a GPS in that I can’t look at it – because a number doesn’t give me a trend; it doesn’t roll up and down,” Troup explains. “In a glider, your altimeter ‘sings’ to you. It gives you a tone (higher as you climb, lower as you descend). I can look outside the cockpit without worrying about watching it. I can look for thermals and listen to the tone and know what’s going on. I was like, ‘I want my GPS to do that.’” To the surprise of no one who knows Troup, he now heads a company called EpicSesh, which is in the final stages of bringing to market a small device named Xensr™, which is to GPS what an F-22 fighter is to a biplane. Except, Xensr will retail for less than $200. Smaller than an iPod shuffle, the soon-to-be current version hooks into, and clips onto, either an iPhone or iPod touch. (The next version will be even smaller and stand alone, with a better, faster processor.) Xensr records data 400 times per second, down to a precision of less than one centimeter. “It requires a fairly powerful computer to be attached to it,” Troup admits. “Whenever we are doing most of our sports, we have our iPhones or iPod Touches with us. So, that the first version slaves to an iPhone was a pretty logical thing to do.”
The device measures, plus or minus, 16 g’s. Its gyros will track your spin up to 920 degrees a second. The altimeter is accurate to within 10 cm, but isn’t pressure-based like an airplane’s, because most will ride in a waterproof case. “We do all of our jump measuring based on the athletes’ actual 3-D motion and pathway,” Troup explains. “So, 400 times a second, we are seeing where they are; points of acceleration, gyroscopic limits, everything. We take all of that data and turn it into a line that plots everything — everything — that device is doing. As the athlete is going about their sports, we track insane amounts of data and feed it back into the athlete in ways they can easily use.” Xensr has real-time playback and transmission, including to the Web. Development these past two years included numerous international competitions. Many windsurfing events featured 10 riders per heat, with four from each advancing. Everybody wore Xensr, with sharing turned on. Xensr gave riders their place in the heat during the heat. “So if you and I are out there, you know you’re No. 6 and I’m No. 8,” Troup outlines. “We are not advancing. Guess what that does to you as a competitor? We’ve got 15 minutes left, and there are 10,000 Euros on the line. I’m going for it. “A guy would jump really high and you’d see them all look at their arm. They instantly knew if their position changed and how high that jump was.” Even if you’re not competing, you can choose to transmit your run, in real time, to the Web. Your friends could see how you’re handling the terrain park in Wausau. The training-related uses are nearly endless, providing unbelievably detailed records of each of your outings, to review and from which to learn. The system can export data into other software, where it can be merged with your helmet camera output, allowing videos to be put together like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZfkUw9PyJY. Xensr produced all the overlaid data, including the motorcycle’s bank angles (yes, 55O!). And we haven’t even mentioned the myriad uses engineers will have. If you are involved in building anything that moves, Xensr will produce tons of data at a very low price. For instance, manufacturers from Trek bicycles to Boeing are interested in frame flex. Mounting two devices to a snowboard — or pretty much anything — will track the difference in flex between those two points.
“Like” EpicSesh on Facebook to learn more! BBJ January 13 |
s e i r o m Me etime – for a lif
Chamber China trip 2012 By: Lisa Harmann, associate vice president, Advance Mid-afternoon Oct. 12, 2012, JFK Airport, New York ~ Outside the terminal window sat an immensely long China Air plane ready to accommodate the 600 passengers bound for the 14-hour flight to Shanghai. It was here that the 27 souls with carry-on bags tagged, “Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce China Trip” started to meet one another as they did somewhat stand out in the sea of Chinese people bound for the same destination. Armed with excitement and determination, the Chamber group conquered the long flight with the aid of four movies (all in English), two Chinese meals, a snack and a few walking trips around the plane to finally reach the ultimate goal – China! After a short jaunt from Shanghai to Beijing via a second plane, we were not disappointed to meet the first of two amazing Chinese tour guides who graciously took care of all our needs. From getting us squared away in our extravagantly lavish hotels, to history and culture teachings, jokes and even language lessons, our guides were wonderful.
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There’s no rest for the weary, they say, and on an action-packed Chamber China trip this held especially true. There was so much to see and experience that not a minute was wasted. We typically were on our way every morning by 8:30 after fueling up on the extensive American buffet breakfast provided at every hotel. That first day, the tour bus headed for the Jade Factory, Olympic Park and The Great Wall. We all appreciated the beauty and work put into the jade art and jewelry pieces and the chance to see a couple of the buildings where the 2008 Olympic events actually took place. But they both paled in comparison to the grandeur of The Great Wall. Not only did we get to “see” The Great Wall, but we got to climb upon its rich, history-worn, uneven steps. The views were spectacular and the architectural feat was astounding, not to mention the physical workout! Good thing most of the Chamber group opted for the hour and a half in-room massage that was waiting for us when we returned.
Travel aboard the tour bus provided a special time to bond with all of our new Chamber friends, but also every lunch and dinner found us at round, lazy-susan-accessorized tables of 10 at which we learned about each other while trying to figure out the food we were about to eat – other than the obvious white sticky rice. The variety and amount of Chinese entrees was overwhelming. One of the best meals, if not the best, was during an optional rickshaw ride through historical Hutong district. Mr. Lee and his family provided a home-cooked smorgasbord of unbelievable Chinese delicacies out of the kitchen of their quaint home. What a treat to so intimately experience the Chinese culture and hospitality, very much like the cruise through the ancient Grand Canal of Suzhou city with its arched bridges and local street market.
It is not a bad idea to keep a journal when on a Chamber China trip. I saw a few of us making notes as there was so much to take in and remember. There was the beauty of the Temple of Heaven (truly heavenly to see!), and the enormity of The Forbidden City with its unending maze of buildings and walkways. I don’t think anyone will forget their experience on the 246-mph Shanghai Maglev Train either. It was faster than Japan’s Bullet Train and as smooth as silk. After spending nine action-packed days and 27 meals together, our China Chamber group had developed into a family with great friendships and memories we will all cherish for a lifetime. We look forward to traveling together again on one of the Chamber’s next trips…Italy!!!
Italia Classica, Sept. 16 - Sept. 24, 2013 Mark your calendar for the next Chambersponsored international trip, this time to Italy! The nine-day trip kicks off on Sept. 16, 2013, and will include tours of Rome, the Colosseum, Florence, Venice, St. Mark's Square and Milan. Learn more at a free informational meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Green Bay. Or, for more information, contact Fred Monique at 920.496.2118. BBJ January 13 |
Cabela’s is moving in Lee Marie Reinsch TEXT SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHY
The behemoth of sporting-goods stores is on to us. Thanks to the Green Bay Packers, Cabela’s has discovered Titletown’s cache of outdoorspeople, hunters, anglers, hikers, campers, archers and just plain fresh-air junkies. Cabela’s, the sporting goods megastore that bills itself as “The World’s Foremost Outfitter,” will bring even more outdoor types to the Greater Green Bay area, says Aaron Popkey, director of public affairs for the Green Bay Packers Inc. “We have an overlap in our fan bases — with the Packers, obviously it’s football and sports, and a lot of our fans enjoy the outdoors and like to take in and participate in activities that Cabela’s supports, like fishing and hunting,” Popkey says. “There’s a common interest there, and it was thought of as a natural fit for this area.” The Packers own the land in the southeast quadrant of Highway 41 and Lombardi Avenue on which Cabela’s is building, as well as several other lots around the Lambeau Field area. They sought potential tenants they thought would make a good match for the area, Popkey says, and are now officially Cabela’s Green Bay landlord. “We knew it would be beneficial to the area to have a major draw in this corridor — and that’s what Cabela’s is,” Popkey said. The outfitting outfit’s 100,000-square-foot store should be open by end of summer 2013, according to Wes Remmer, communications specialist with Cabela’s Inc. To illustrate, 100,000 square feet is about the size of four average Best Buy stores put together. “We feel like it’s a great location, and we hope to add to the draw,” says Remmer. “Wisconsin’s full of people who are passionate about the outdoors, and we look forward to being a part of what’s already in place. We hope customers will shop with us as well as neighboring businesses.” Cabela’s will hire 175 full- and part-time employees locally, he says. 8
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Ashwaubenon Village President Michael Aubinger says he’s happy to welcome a business that’s new to the area into his municipality’s borders. “As a regional community in the Greater Green Bay area, we have to start targeting (businesses) from outside the area to come in here and sell their wares, rather than us simply moving (businesses) around from community to community within the Brown County area,” Aubinger says. He cited several examples in which businesses relocated to neighboring suburbs, which he feels is good for the recipient community but doesn’t result in a net gain of new businesses. The Cabela’s building project will boost the village’s valuation by $15 million, Aubinger says. The retailer will also pay personal property taxes each year on fixtures and inventory, but that amount won’t be known until the store’s up and running. But just as important as tax revenue brought to the area are the companion businesses that tend to follow a Cabela’s store, Aubinger says. “Whenever you go to a Cabela’s site, there’s always lots of activity around it,” Aubinger says. “There are certain kinds of businesses that seem to tag along with certain big-box retailers when they go from place to place; they circle with them. As soon as Cabela’s is up and running, I’m sure we’re going to get calls from people wanting to locate nearby.” He says Cabela’s is the first major “destination retailer” to come into the area and build such a large and expensive structure. “(Cabela’s) will draw from a good-sized geography and, at the very least, we know the store here will bring people into this area and to other stores,” Popkey says. “The people that come in spend a fair amount of time at the store, but they also visit other attractions in the area. So there will be some ancillary traffic that goes into the Green Bay area off the store.”
Outdoor sports are showing no signs of waning. People spent almost $4 billion on wildlife recreation in Wisconsin in 2006, according to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service study released in 2008. Of that amount, they spent around $1.4 billion on outdoor equipment, clothes and gear.
The Ashwaubenon store will be Wisconsin’s third Cabela’s, joining Prairie du Chien and Richfield.
At 100,000 square feet, the store’s size is right on par with most of the stores Cabela’s is building, Remmer says. “We’re calling them our next-generation store, and it will be full of interesting features” like a large replica of “Whenever you go to a Cabela’s site, there’s always lots of activity a mountain, featuring North American game around it.” — Michael Aubinger, Village of Ashwaubenon president animals re-created in their natural habitat, an aquarium, gun library of antique and collectible Exchanging the kitchen table for the boardroom firearms, boat shop, and even a deli serving things like buffalo burgThe publicly traded company (NYSE: CAB) got its start 51 years ers and wild boar, plus a fudge shop. ago, in 1961, over Dick and Mary Cabela’s kitchen table in Chappell, Neb. “The idea is for people to come in and spend some time,” Remmer says. “People are willing to travel to see us. It’s not uncommon for Dick Cabela had bought a bunch of fishing flies at a merchandise them to come into the store and spend good quality chunks of time.” market and tried to sell them via a newspaper ad. When only one respondent took the bait, Cabela rethought his strategy and placed One feature no other Cabela’s store will have: a sportsperson hall a new ad, this time offering the flies for free, for the cost of postage, of fame area dedicated entirely to Wisconsin hunting and outdoor which at the time was 25 cents. sports. “The idea is to pay tribute to the sporting heritage of Wisconsin and to show off some of the unique pieces of history,” Remmer says. This generated the first rush of orders from paying customers who ordered other items from the couple’s homemade catalogs. Aubinger praised the teamwork by the parties involved, calling the regional cooperation between the Packers, the city of Green Bay and “That created the relationship with like-minded people who enjoyed Ashwaubenon “unprecedented.” fishing, and he built the customer base just by doing it all by hand,” Remmer says. “Rather than moving chess pieces around the board (Brown County), we pulled together to bring a business with 150 to 175 new jobs Cabela’s now has 40 stores in North America, with 37 in 25 U.S. into Brown County which attracts (more than one million) people a states and three in Canada. It added eight stores in 2007, jumping year,” he says. from 18 to 26 stores that year, according to the financial investment site wikinvest.com. Remmer says Cabela’s plan another 12 stores by “That’s a huge advantage to the entire Greater Green Bay area.” the end of 2014.
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SUMMARY TABLE Site Size (Total Parcel) +/- 20.6 Acres Building Size 100,000 Square Feet Provided Auto Parking 490 Provided RV Parking 5 Provided Boat Storage 18
26’ Service Drive
BBJ January 13 |
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Business success impacts areaâ€™s economic development Jennifer Hogeland TEXT SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHY
As we start a new calendar year, there is always a sense of hope when considering the opportunities ahead. Four area small-to-medium sized companies look forward to 2013 as they embrace growth and push their businesses forward. Each business owner revealed how he or she is supporting growth by investing in technology, education and/ or their employees, while making an impact on the local economy. Although their stories are unique, every one has the vision to be the best in their field â€“ not the biggest. 10 | BBJ January 13
Unishippers Unishippers in Green Bay just celebrated its 20th year in business. Bill and Wanda Sieber bought into the franchise at a time when the company resold overnight air services. In 2008, Unishippers picked up UPS and became a small package provider. Today the business is a mix of small package – ground, air and international – LTL freight and partial or full truckload. Unishippers operates by calling on small businesses, determining how they move their goods in and out and discussing how they can ship through Unishippers. “If they use our account numbers, they end up spending a lot less money than they could if they would ship on their own,” says Wanda Truttmann Sieber, co-owner of Unishippers. “We’re kind of like the Sam’s Club of shipping because we do tremendous volume.” Unishippers has approximately $400 million in revenue nationwide. Carriers appreciate the on-time payments, while customers enjoy tapping into the lower rates. The Siebers have seen remarkable growth the last few years. In 2011, Unishippers had revenue of $4.4 million, a 69 percent increase from the previous year. In 2012 they expect revenue to increase by 40 percent over 2011. “Part of our growth was possible because we’ve become better business people,” says Truttmann Sieber. “We’ve learned how to balance risk with opportunity.” She also suggests the recession has had a positive impact on their business. While most companies made the easy cuts right away, they then began looking at ways to cut the more fixed expenses. “Many see shipping as one of those fixed expenses, but when they talk to us they discover they’re spending 20 to 30 percent more with a vendor than if they would route freight themselves through Unishippers,” adds Truttmann Sieber. A third component that contributed to the shipper’s growth was a change within the franchise system. While every inch of the country is sold to a Unishippers franchise – and the Siebers own three
Bill and Wanda Sieber, co-owners of Unishippers
territories – all areas weren’t being marketed to the same extent. A change in the franchise agreement issued by the corporate headquarters allowed all Unishippers reps to market to all sections of the U.S. – a sale in another franchiser’s territory would just require a small margin split. Truttmann Sieber says, “Now there is no limit to the number of salespeople we can put on because our territory is huge. We are only limited by our budget for payroll.” Unishippers is embracing opportunities to grow its core business but is also preparing to expand its offerings. A bank loan and money from a revolving loan fund are allowing Unishippers to do coast-to-coast sales of UPS. They’ve completed a beta test and the couple is optimistic. “We think we’ve created some very obtainable numbers in terms of goals, and we’re going to take a swing at it,” says Truttmann Sieber. Unishippers currently has 21 employees, but it hopes to hire an additional 26 with this new UPS endeavor. Truttmann Sieber explains with growth comes risk, which takes a mix of vision and guts. Living with the stress of the risks has taken a toll on their health – something Truttmann Sieber says few small business owners talk about. Kasey Faulkner and Matt VandenHeuvel examine two carrier maps. Knowing a carrier’s “footprint” and distribution systems allows Unishippers to better advise customers on the best way to move their freight. BBJ January 13 | 11
As Unishippers has moved from a small-to-medium sized business, Truttmann Sieber explains they’ve had to take a step back from the day-to-day business – instead of working in the business they’ve had to work on the business. She says, “The key to making that happen is hiring the right employees, those who can absorb your business philosophy and policy to the point you don’t have to worry. We’ve been blessed to have such employees. They are the key to our growth because without them, Bill and I wouldn’t have time to focus on our vision or growth tasks as we are doing right now.” They’ve also had to enlist assistance from outside the organization. After years of trying to hold onto all the company’s human resource functions, Truttmann Sieber looked to a staffing agency to fill an open position. “Sometimes you need those connections and to have other people working for you to find the right people. I see that as a benefit
and a real tool when you get to the point you can’t do it all on your own,” she adds. As far as its impact on the community, in addition to creating what she feels is the happiest workplace around, Unishippers also offers employment opportunities for a variety of workers. A college degree or a long work history isn’t required to join Unishippers’s new UPS project. Of those hired, Unishippers will be able to offer stable shifts with the possibility of advancement. Their long-term vision is to create a diversified, strong organization. “The recession scared our socks off,” says Truttmann Sieber. “The best we can do is create a stable environment and be constantly looking ahead at either things we can tweak or at opportunities for us to grow. We want to continue to be a vibrant company that is responding to current economic factors.”
Van’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning Randy Van Den Elzen has owned Van’s Heating and Air Conditioning since 1979. Since that time, it's had its hand in a variety of markets including residential and commercial construction, but since 2005 it's narrowed its focus to residential replacement service, indoor air quality, duct cleaning and comfort services. “To be a professional replacement specialist takes a whole new set of skills than construction does, and we wanted to be really good at what we do. It’s hard to be all things to all people,” says Van Den Elzen.
Greg (upper) and Randy (lower) Van Den Elzen, Van's Heating and Air Conditioning. 12 | BBJ January 13
As Van’s explored what was needed to be- Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning takes time to educate customers on their HVAC systems. come the premier heating and air conditioning company in the area, it decided to move into a feel secure, and we are able to provide the best overall service to the One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning franchise. area,” he adds. The transition paid off. Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning experienced a 58 percent Service hours have been expanded; the business is open from 7 a.m. sales growth over last year. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and regular hours on Saturdays. The culture and hiring practices within Van’s have undergone changes, too. “One Hour is literally the leader in the industry. It is two times bigger than any other franchise out In order to grow, Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning has there,” says Greg Van Den Elzen, general man- had to hire more employees and invest in technology. Since the transiager. “It gave us the ability to have competitive tion, it's added five new positions, bringing the company to 24 full-time pricing on products and to offer our employees employees. better training so we could achieve the professionalism we were looking for.” “We are the first in the area to really embrace technology as we move forward,” adds Randy Van Den Elzen. Tune-ups are now done with a Randy Van Den Elzen explains because the in- computer. These computer analyzers check all the components of the dustry is changing so rapidly, it’s difficult for a furnace and tell Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning how small business to keep up. “The franchise keeps homeowners can achieve the most efficiency. “We don’t want our guys us on top of every issue out there. It sorts through to be salespeople, but we want them to make customers aware of the the riffraff and locates the best products for us technology we have in our business to make their lives better,” says to offer our customers. It makes our customers Randy.
allowed us to be more thorough with our customers,” says Greg. “We could offer a higher level of education on their system and suggest options to improve the comfort level within their home.” Randy Van Den Elzen reveals portions of the company meet every day to train. He says, “It’s just that important.” From an economic standpoint, Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning hopes to provide rising incomes to team members. In the next three to five years, Van’s expects to double its sales and create more jobs. “We would like to be known as the people that have the best opportunities for those in the HVAC field. We’d like to have our choice of the best,” adds Randy.
Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning invests in technology to help homeowners achieve efficiencies.
The HVAC company continues to rely on traditional marketing, but it believes its level of service is what’s getting people talking. By building a relationship with customers, Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning gets an edge on the competition.
The One Hour franchise has a tagline that it wants to be the most recommended company in the U.S., a vision that attracted the Van Den Elzen family to the franchise. “We’re determined to provide a better service to our customers and to keep moving forward. It’s too easy to get stuck in your tracks,” says Randy. Greg Van Den Elzen agrees. “The goal isn’t to be largest. There is a difference between being big to be big and being the most preferred vendor.”
Training has been instrumental to Van’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning’s growth; its knowledge has made an impression on the customers. “As our education level within our company increased, it
AHEAD Staffing, AHEAD Payroll Plus and AHEAD Human Resources In 2002, Jim LaCourt was equipped with expertise in human resources and business development when he decided to operate two franchises – a staffing and a human resource outsourcing company. Today he’s the chief financial officer and co-owner of AHEAD Staffing, AHEAD Payroll Plus and AHEAD Human Resources in Green Bay. “We saw a need in the small business world. There was a real dilemma because they didn’t have the broad expertise in human resources that they needed,” LaCourt says. Today, small, medium and large businesses employ AHEAD’s services if they need staffing, payroll or human resource assistance.
Jim LaCourt, chief financial officer and coowner of AHEAD Staffing, AHEAD Payroll Plus and AHEAD Human Resources
The company has grown over the last 10 years to include eight internal staff members and a handful of strategic business partners that have a niche in areas of employment management.
AHEAD is currently seeing the greatest growth in its temporary, tempto-hire and direct placement staffing. LaCourt explains about a year ago, AHEAD went through some major structural and planning changes because the business community had changed tremendously. “Although unemployment might have been high, the availability of the right people went down,” he says. “Finding the right people for the right jobs got tougher. We had to form an infrastructure that worked better at finding that ‘diamond in the rough.’” LaCourt realized they weren’t impacting their customers as they wanted – what they were doing wasn’t working like it used to. He adds, “We needed to refocus, reconsider and revamp our internal mechanism – our resources – and look at everything from our attitude, our capabilities and our skills internally. We had to invest in those.” AHEAD’s business had remained steady for the last few years, but its overall business growth in 2012 has been between 20 and 30 percent. “What that means to me is as I get bigger, I have to have more skilled people, more HR people and more skilled members of our staff,” says LaCourt. LaCourt believes the key is bringing in people who feel their passion. He adds, “I hope that is what people value in us most as we try to stay ahead of the curve.”
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Members of the AHEAD team pose in front of their office, located on Green Bay’s east side. Pictured (L to R) Stephanie Guzman, recruiter; Tennille Richardson, senior recruiter; Bill DeClerc, staffing sales consultant; Ray Kopish, human resources sales consultant; Ying LaCourt, CEO; Jim LaCourt, CFO; Charles Svihlik, lead customer service contact; Tim Burns, staffing sales consultant; Dr. Greg Nystrom, strategic partner; Dr. Tom Leonard, strategic partner; Bellevue Total Health.
The staffing company changed the way they approached customers, making themselves more available. “It isn’t enough just to be there and provide a service. We’re partnering with businesses and looking for ways to build strategic relationships.” Being brought into the businesses has propelled AHEAD forward.
Just as AHEAD has seen growth, so have their customers. With the increased demand, these companies are hesitant to hire 30 or 40 people so they look to the staffing company. “I think companies are looking at it as, ‘I’ve had to downsize, and I don’t want to go back to where I was before,’” says LaCourt. “That’s where our human resources side of things and our cooperative strategic relationships come into play for us.”
“Our true goal is to be able to work with businesses, to be the preferred staffing company and to provide value to our customers.” — Jim LaCourt, AHEAD Staffing, AHEAD Payroll Plus and AHEAD Human Resources
FulfillNet In 1997, Tom and Kate Burgess founded FulfillNet with the core businesses of direct mail and fulfillment. At the time, the two had been traveling around the country with Anchor Foods, Appleton, preparing food products, doing plate presentations and training distributor sales representatives. As the two traveled from city to city, they noticed two things. First, they were lugging around a ton of marketing material, and second, they weren’t collecting the data to get back in touch with the distributor sales representatives after their encounter. “What we saw as a gap is how to keep in touch with either key clients or key salespeople that were out selling our product,” says Kate Burgess. “The other thing was all the marketing materials we were distributing had to come from somewhere, so we thought these were good business avenues to go after.” Tom Burgess spent a year researching the fulfillment and direct mail industries. He put together the business plan, and FulfillNet became a reality. In 2002, Kate joined the business, allowing her husband’s entrepreneurial spirit to take him on a new adventure. At this same time, Polo Jeans Company had discovered FulfillNet. The relationship spurred the development of a database called ShopDev. Its presence in the apparel industry grew rapidly. “We continued to invest in technology, coming out with new versions and adding components,” says Kate Burgess. Under Armour was added in 2007 and propelled FulfillNet into the sporting goods industry.
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“Those became our major target markets, and our strategy became delivering their brand to the right place at the right time with more customizable packages versus generic,” says Kate. “What became our mousetrap was the integration of helping our clients reduce their overall print and shipping cost and delivering those customizable brand packages through the database interface.” Marcus Reitz, director of operations, explains many of the company's customers have grown organically, 10or 20-fold in some instances. He says, “We were often able to get in with a certain brand within a holding company and that brand saw the power of what was taking place, and we expanded to multiple brands within that individual customer.” In April 2012, FulfillNet added Pandora to its client list. This was the driver for FulfillNet to move to a new facility. Over the last 15 years, it's moved four times, adding dramatically to its square footage each time. During this last move it went from 35,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet.
AHEAD is another area company that isn’t looking to be the biggest, just the best. “Our true goal is to be able to work with businesses, to be the preferred staffing company and to provide value to our customers,” adds LaCourt. By placing employees in the workplace, on any given week AHEAD is paying $90,000-$100,000 in wages, which in turn is being spent in the community. It is also offering stability to families. While companies may have a fluctuation in their need for employees, as AHEAD has grown, it is usually able to offer workers consistent employment. AHEAD works with area colleges like Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to educate the next generation of employees; it is also looking at displaced workers, giving hope to those in search of the next job and opportunities to those that need new skills. This lives up to the company’s motto – “good jobs for good people.” At any given time, AHEAD has 250 employees placed, although LaCourt anticipates that number will double in the next year or two. “We have to put the time and efforts into building our expertise, but we believe it will help us build strategic relationships. So far, it’s holding true – we’re growing,” says LaCourt.
“I want an organization that takes care of its clients and takes care of its employees.” — Kate Burgess, co-founder, FulfillNet
adding to its capabilities so it can be that one vendor for its clients. He adds, “One of our strategies is to provide turnkey solutions. We want to have all the pieces or have partners that provide the pieces our clients want to have.” Coe reveals one of its greatest challenges now is keeping up with the mobile side of business. FulfillNet's application needs to run on iPhone and Android phones just as effectively as if the client were sitting in front of a computer monitor. FulfillNet isn’t like typical fulfillment companies. It has long-tenured employees. In addition to offering stable employment for 45 employees, FulfillNet has made an impact on the area’s economic development by renovating and occupying a building that has sat vacant for years. The facility is now located on Parkview Road, right off Waube Lane.
“We had outsourced a lot of additional warehouse space so this allows us to be under one roof,” says Reitz. Operationally, FulfillNet has increased its overall racking systems and improved its receiving process, making it more efficient for its clients. Fulfillment is a competitive industry. To support its growth, FulfillNet focused internally. Kate Burgess suggests one of the things it did over the last 18 months was discipline itself when analyzing its internal processes. System upgrades and creating a collaborative environment has allowed FulfillNet to expand its services without adding overhead. It's also taken it a step further. David Coe, president, Marcus Reitz, director of operations and Kate Burgess, owner/CEO of FulfillNet pose inside their new facility. “What we’ve done, and continue to do, is focus on what happens before materials get to us and what happens after they get to us so we When asked about their long-term vision, Kate explains she doesn’t can make the whole process simpler for everyone. Rather than just care how big they become. Her focus is on creating something putting materials in a box and shipping it out, we want to add value,” amazing. “I want an organization that takes care of its clients and says Kate. takes care of its employees,” she adds. “We want to be the best in what we do and grow our capabilities.” Dave Coe, president of FulfillNet, explains because most organizations are looking for fewer vendors, one of its objectives has been BBJ January 13 | 15
Keeping the county competitive – subcommittees tasked with furthering Economic development Jennifer Hogeland TEXT SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHY
In March 2012, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach announced the creation of an economic development task force dedicated to keeping businesses thriving in Northeast Wisconsin. Development subcommittees were formed to focus on four core initiatives – airport development, port/rail development, beneficial uses of waste stream materials and reducing phosphorous in area waters. “The overall premise behind the formation of the committees is our county has a lot of great natural and hard assets that haven’t been fully utilized in some cases. I believe it’s important for us to start activating those underutilized assets and put them in the best position for long-term stability, job creation and economic development for futures to come,” says Streckenbach. “The ultimate goal is to make Brown County an extremely competitive county when compared to our counterparts.” Committee members have spent the last few months exploring opportunities to expand, leverage or reactivate the county’s assets as well as looking at ways to create an infrastructure to support the initiatives. White papers will be presented to the county board in January with preliminary discoveries. Streckenbach (at left) and others involved with the initiatives shared the purpose behind each committee, a status update and the anticipated influence on future economic development. “These are areas where we can have a lasting impact on our quality of life and our long-term success,” adds Streckenbach.
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Fred Monique, vice president of economic development for Advance, the economic development program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT The task of the airport development committee is to explore the development opportunities around Austin Straubel International Airport so it has reccurring revenue streams outside of air travel. Developing the 2,400 acres owned by the airport would increase revenues, promoting long-term stability. Fred Monique, vice president of economic development for Advance, the economic development program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, says the committee is looking at dividing the land into three sectors – retail, light industrial and professional developments. Monique explains for the light industrial sector, one of the strengths of the airport is the foreign trade zone. He says, “We are looking to attract businesses into that sector that may be involved in importing goods.” The undeveloped land spans into the communities of Ashwaubenon, Hobart and Oneida, so committee members are considering development options that would be consistent with area needs. Streckenbach adds, “The committee brings communities and stakeholders together to discuss opportunities that would help the county and municipalities to activate vacant land with the intention of creating jobs, creating economic development and, more importantly, creating long-term strategies for generating revenue for the airport as it continually sees declines in airline revenue.” The committee’s goal is to create a white paper that demonstrates there is a business case for the county to actively pursue the development of the three business sectors. Streckenbach reveals analysis of each of the areas has been underway; committee
Dr. Bruce Bressler, president of the board at Jet Air Group
members have been working with the municipalities to get the appropriate zoning and infrastructure in place so the properties would be available for development. “The thing that was clear is the county, for so many years, didn’t look at the vacant land as an economic opportunity,” he adds. “We’ve taken the notion that we need to activate these unused assets to spur economic growth and development that creates jobs and to find new revenue sources to continue supporting our department.” The long-term plan to develop sustainable revenue streams for Austin Straubel from non-airport operations is expected to benefit not only the airport, but also the community at large. Dr. Bruce Bressler, president of the board at Jet Air Group, explains Jet Air would see the benefit in increased fuel sales and increased traffic to the area, but motels/hotels, eateries, gas stations and car rentals would also see a surge in business. “It spans dramatically,” he says. “I think the airport in general has been a low-hanging fruit for this community. We have the ability to develop businesses and activities around the airport – many cities throughout the country make the airport a focal point.”
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Port/rail development Streckenbach established the port/rail development committee to examine the impact reactivating the rail would have on area businesses. More than 10 years ago a rail system was discontinued in Brown County, and Streckenbach believes this has negatively impacted area manufacturers. “We’re trying to examine what the county can do to make sure we have the appropriate infrastructure or transportation in place to help our current manufacturers and also attract others to Northeast Wisconsin,” he says.
The committee’s task is to create a business case to justify that the county or a private party should reopen the railway. Monique shares reinstituting the rail would cost Canadian National Railway as much as $10 million. “We have to be able to prove we have sufficient profitable business here to justify that type of capital expenditure,” he says. A transportation survey provided to Brown County businesses was designed to measure if volume is high enough to reinstitute a rail ramp.
Monique reveals the port/rail development committee is looking to reinstitute the rail ramp that existed in Brown County, under the Ashland overpass, until about 2000. He adds, “Currently, our manufacturing base in Brown County only has one avenue of bringing goods in and shipping goods out, which is by truck. It is fairly expensive – it isn’t as economically or environmentally friendly as rail.”
The future value of the port/rail would allow Brown County to obtain and attract large employers to the area. Streckenbach says, “If we want to lure manufacturers to Brown County we need to be able to provide alternatives for manufacturers to transport their goods.”
Streckenbach suggests the net benefit of reactivating the rail ramp in the short-term would allow local manufacturers to maintain their cost competitiveness. In the long-term, Brown County would become a central hub as businesses move their products through the area. He adds, “It is an eco-friendly mode of transportation because of emissions, it lessens the congestion on the road and it creates another opportunity for Brown County to be a destination spot for future development.”
Dave Nelson, president and COO of Great Lakes Calcium, explains rail would significantly reduce the transportation costs of goods flowing in and out of Wisconsin. He adds, “Lowering transportation costs is critically important for the health of well-paying manufacturing jobs here in Northeast Wisconsin.” He suggests Streckenbach’s vision of reactivating the port/rail will leverage the county’s unique asset while creating a sustainable competitive advantage for area manufacturers.
Dave Nelson, president and COO of Great Lakes Calcium
“Lowering transportation costs is critically important for the health of well-paying manufacturing jobs here in Northeast Wisconsin.” — Dave Nelson, president and COO of Great Lakes Calcium
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Waste stream The goal of the waste stream committee is to repurpose much of the existing municipal waste stream into beneficial reuses, reducing the amount going to landfills while minimizing the expense for Brown County users and municipalities. Streckenbach believes waste should be viewed as a commodity or resource. The challenge is using the waste to spur economic growth and development opportunities for businesses – identifying reuse or recycling possibilities for local companies. “The sky is the limit,” says Streckenbach. “It is my understanding the recycling business is roughly a $52 billion industry nationwide. As a country, we are only recycling about 20 percent of our waste. I think we have a great opportunity to build on that.” He believes if Brown County is able to recycle some of its waste and manufacturers would not have to import as much of the raw materials needed to produce their product, local businesses would have a competitive advantage. “We are taking a holistic approach, exploring the opportunities that make business sense and ultimately have the best return. This is where the industry is headed, and the county should be preparing for it,” adds Streckenbach. John Katers, committee member and associate professor of natural and applied sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, explains they are looking at short- and long-term opportunities. The first is to examine the characteristics of the waste currently going into the landfill that could be recycled; the other is exploring the type of eco/industrial possibilities that exist.
Monique explains they’ve identified the major sectors of the waste stream for which either nothing is currently being done or there are opportunities to enhance existing recycling efforts. From there, they’ve taken the 500 tons of waste that’s being generated in Brown County and broken it into four categories – do nothing, enhance, optimize and create. One area they’ve looked at is medical waste. At the moment, Brown County doesn’t have a process to reuse or recycle medical waste. “There is some technology available, but it isn’t currently here,” Monique says. “This committee is looking at cost-effective ways of expanding our current reuse and recycling throughout the entire waste stream.” Streckenbach explains the county wants to be able to take advantage of emerging technologies. Technology, along with the resources used to make the product, will allow Brown County to get materials back into the economy as a salable commodity instead of sending it to the landfill. Katers feels the committee’s efforts will better the environment while minimizing waste. He says, “We have the potential to create some local economic growth.” Fortunately for Brown County, many area businesses are already savvy at recycling and extracting materials. Mills have been recycling paper for generations. Some companies have been using recycled plastics. Katers adds, “Our economy is already built on recycling, but we think there is an opportunity to expand on that, to be creative and to take it to the next level.”
“In the short term, we are looking at the characteristics of the things going in the landfill now and considering if a portion of that waste stream could be converted into something else – to create another product or to extract value out of the material,” says Katers. “The second aspect is the county owns a fairly large piece of land, which is slated to be the site of the landfill. We need to be asking should we be doing more recycling, are there ways to recover energy, or could we recover the organic materials and compost.” Streckenbach challenges the committee to take the waste sample and identify what has the best return on investment for businesses interested in extracting the material out of the waste stream. This recycled or reclaimed product could be put back on the market as a raw material or a newly manufactured material.
John Katers, associate professor of natural and applied sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
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PHOSPHORUS Phosphorus is one of the contributing factors to our overall water quality in Brown County. The phosphorus committee was created in an attempt to get ahead of the ensuing deadline that’s coming in a few years regarding the reduction of phosphorus in our waterways. Monique explains the Environmental Protection Agency has identified the lower Fox River basin as one of the most impaired waterways in the world related to phosphorus. While the phosphorus problem stretches beyond Brown County, the committee is looking for methods to minimize the phosphorus runoff coming from the county. Streckenbach believes there are countless benefits to reduce phosphorus that will help the overall integrity of our water system, including cleaning the water and reclaiming it for recreational uses, but industrial users and urban municipalities may pay the price. He says, “It would cost them a large sum of money to reduce the phosphorus at its current capacity.”
Bill Hafs, phosphorus committee member and county conservationist at Brown County Land and Water Conservation, shares they are taking a close look at agricultural, the largest contributor of phosphorus. While Hafs believes everyone will have to work together, doing their part to reduce phosphorus, exploring agriculture improvements could be a step in the right direction. Lee Hoffmann, committee member, avid fisherman and vice president and general manager of FEECO, agrees funneling money toward farmers may be a wise spend. He adds, “We are better off to implement best practices – things like if there is a river going through a farm, then put in buffer strips.” Hoffmann explains data provided by the EPA suggests protecting healthy watersheds avoids future costs while benefiting the community. Conservation efforts have economic and ecological benefits. Area waters impact the community’s recreation, tourism and home values. “If you have a stagnant watershed, it loses value and it affects not only property values but quality of life benefits,” adds Hoffmann.
An engineering study revealed it would cost the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District about $220 million of new capital to meet the phosphorus level standards. Monique explains the district is just a small contributor to the large phosphorus problem. Businesses and homeowners within the municipalities would end up footing the bill to comply with the federal standards. Streckenbach brought together stakeholders – both point and nonpoint sources – to explore options. “Our goal is to be able to come up with a way to approach both sides of the discussion and have a net benefit that hopefully is a win/win for everyone,” says Streckenbach. “We want to find a way to reduce the phosphorus that will have the most beneficial results for the overall community.” While point sources, such as Green Bay Packaging that discharges into the Fox River, is following newly imposed restrictions, Monique reveals approximately 85 percent of the phosphorus going into the Fox River basin comes from non-point sources – farms, golf courses and lawns within municipalities. He says, “This committee is trying to find a methodology of reducing the overall flow of phosphorus into the Fox River from both the industrial and agricultural sector.” The goal – a reduction of 25,000 tons by 2015/2016.
Above: Lee Hoffmann, vice president and general manager of FEECO Right: Bill Hafs, county conservationist at Brown County Land and Water Conservation
“We are better off to implement best practices – things like if there is a river going through a farm, then put in buffer strips.” — Lee Hoffmann, vice president and general manager of FEECO
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“Our goal is to be able to come up with a way to approach both sides of the discussion and have a net benefit that hopefully is a win/win for everyone. We want to find a way to reduce the phosphorus that will have the most beneficial results for the overall community.” — Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach
Advance dedicated to economic development During the last fiscal year, programs by Advance, the economic development division of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, had a $55.7 million impact on residents and businesses in Brown County, according to Fred Monique, vice president of Advance. The overall programming of Advance is broken into four primary areas of economic development: business incubation, business retention, business attraction and business development. Achievements in each area contribute to the county’s economic growth. The business incubator programs include the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center and the Brown County Culinary Kitchen. They provide a physical environment that serves the entrepreneurial startup businesses in the area. The business incubator is currently 53 percent occupied with 34 individual company tenants; the culinary kitchen has 13 tenants. Monique explains statistics show business retention has a significant positive impact on economic development in a specific geographical area. “About 80 percent of the community’s growth comes from the existing business base. It is the companies that are already here that are growing and give the most return for future growth,” he says. Advance takes the pulse of area businesses and how they feel about Brown County by sending out a volunteer committee to conduct very specific, structured interviews. Monique adds, “We want to make sure they are happy here – that they want to stay and grow here.” According to the 2012 economic development annual report, 93 percent of respondents felt positively toward the Brown County community in which they are located. To address business attraction, Advance is working on an in-depth study on the major industrial sections in Brown County and to identify gaps in their supply chains. This gap may be components or raw materials not available in the state of Wisconsin. “Once we complete the analysis, we are going to begin structured discussions with out-ofstate companies on why they should locate in the Brown County area to support our businesses,” says Monique. The fourth component, business development, is committed to assist existing companies, both startups and major companies. Advance’s Microloan program provides loans to companies that are currently deemed not creditworthy by conventional lenders. Advance has approved 17 loans totalling $520,000 to entrepreneurs in the 2012 fiscal year. The sum of these four programs has had a direct financial impact on Brown County. “If I add up the current incubator tenants, recent graduates of the incubator, as well as companies that we’ve helped through our loan programs, we have had an annual impact on Brown County in excess of $55 million,” says Monique. “That is the summation of the payrolls that is paid by these companies, property taxes on their businesses and homes, their cost of goods sold and the half percent Brown County sales tax they generate through their sales.” BBJ January 13 | 21
BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT TEXT Kevin Tenpas, President, and Ron Markham, Market President–Monroe, Wisconsin Bank & Trust
Embracing Fixed-Rate Financing The current economic recovery is uneven. Some industries are faring much better than others. In this uncertain environment, we’re seeing many businesses putting in place long-term financing for their operations and anticipated growth. That’s a trend that makes economic sense. Committed financing helps businesses weather hard times, such as 2008-2009. Many of our clients who put in place 15- to 20-year financing packages at that time are pleased they are not facing, three years later, required balloon payments and the need to refinance. The economy is healthier now, but here’s a good question to ask now, as then: “Do you want to renew your loan three years from now, possibly in a recession, or to have in place long-term committed financing?” Long-term financing also means lower demands on cash flow, which in turn allows businesses to reinvest more dollars back into the business — and to be ready to take advantage of growth opportunities as they emerge. For business owners in some industries, this is actually an ideal time to borrow to grow their businesses. Interest rates remain low despite continuing signs of economic growth. The Federal Reserve has signaled its intention to keep rates down until at least 2015. Many business owners we meet who are considering floating-rate commercial loans are a little more comfortable taking on a loan given the assurance that rates will remain low. What’s more, many loan programs are available at fixed rates — in some cases, even for periods of 15-20 years. Following is an overview of loan programs business owners in Wisconsin should be familiar with as they consider taking on financing for a project. In some cases, loan terms are especially attractive due to governmental support for the program.
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SBA Loans. Of federal loan programs available to small business owners, those from the Small Business Administration are probably the best known. Businesses can secure guaranteed long-term financing through the SBA program, easing demands on cash flow compared to a short-term note — and therefore provide “staying power” through economic cycles. One common misperception is that SBA loans are just for “small” companies: qualifying manufacturing firms, for example, can have up to 500 employees, far beyond the size of a “mom and pop” operation! Retail and service companies are limited to a maximum of $5 million in sales. The popular SBA 7(a) program can be used to finance construction, expansion or renovation, equipment needs, working capital and inventory support. Loans for specific fixed assets are available through the SBA’s “504 Loan” program, which can provide up to $5 million for equipment, machinery and real estate. USDA Rural Development Loans. While SBA loans are known to many people, USDA programs are less well-known and can be even more attractive, depending on a business’s particular circumstances. The Rural Development Loan program is available to businesses operating in communities of up to 50,000 people and offers a maximum loan amount of $10 million per borrower. Specifics of the USDA program allow for extended amortizations that reflect actual useful life of financed assets, often giving borrowers greater flexibility and liquidity compared to other options. Most importantly, this loan program is available on a long-term committed basis — with no balloon payments and the option for long-term fixed rates. Over the past few years, we have been among the country’s top lenders in the USDA program, which is a natural for many of our clients given long-term financing and, in many cases, lower up-front fees than SBA loans. Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loans. The FSA is an agency within the USDA that supports loans specifically tailored for agricultural
needs. The FSA provides loan guarantees for farm or ranch purchases or enlargements, construction and closing costs, soil and water conservation, ongoing operational expenses, and emergency loans. As with the SBA and Rural Development Loan programs, borrowers usually find it easier to navigate the program’s lending requirements when working with a lender who is highly experienced in both the program and the business’s geographical community. In conclusion, we see this current period as a highly attractive opportunity for many businesses that are ready to take the next step in their growth. Businesses have access to an unusual combination of several factors — including a growing economy, extraordinarily low interest rates, governmental support for key programs and an unusual assurance from the Fed that rates will remain low — to move their businesses forward. The key is to identify the loan program best suited to a business’s individual needs and, in many cases, to secure long-term committed funds.
Kevin Tenpas is president of Wisconsin Bank & Trust (WB&T), and Ron Markham is market president at the bank’s Monroe location. WB&T is a Wisconsinchartered community bank with assets of more than $600 million serving customers statewide. The bank operates 10 branch office locations across Wisconsin, including in De Pere and Sheboygan. WB&T was formerly known as Heartland Business Bank and Wisconsin Community Bank. Wisconsin Bank & Trust, 1510 Mid Valley Dr., De Pere, WI 54115, (920) 983-5000, www.wisconsinbankandtrust.com
*In addition to these bank-administered programs, Advance, the economic development arm of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, administers the Advance Microloan program and the Brown County Revolving Loan Fund. Learn more about these offerings by calling Advance at 920.496.9010.
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BOOK REVIEW REVIEWED BY Jeanette Jacqmin, Librarian, BROWN COUNTY LIBRARY
Heart, Smarts, Guts,
What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business AUTHORS Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh
PUBLISHER Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012; Recent acquisition at the Brown County Library
Are you looking to find or to become a great entrepreneur or business-builder? Do you know what it takes? In Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck you will find accessible, useful information to help you increase self-awareness as it relates to starting and sustaining a business, and the practical wisdom and habits that will help you improve and get the job done right. What qualities are found in individuals who create successful businesses? According to Tjan, Harrington and Hsieh, self-awareness seems to be the critical starting point for success. After studying successful entrepreneurs and businessmen around the world, the authors have come up with a description of four individual traits which can help you categorize the talents, strengths and weaknesses of key players in your business-building, especially yourself. Knowledge of these traits and how they relate and combine will raise your awareness and help you succeed in your venture. HEART-DOMINANT Kicking things off with passion and fire, these leaders bring purpose and passion to the business world. Labeled founders, iconoclasts and visionaries, they are all consumed by Heart, a deep passion and driving hunger to translate their purpose into reality. Heart is a large part of what makes a company special. It’s also the critical distinguishing feature between people who successfully start a company and those who choose to participate in someone else’s vision. Seventy percent of entrepreneurs asked started without a business plan, jumping into the fray and just doing. SMARTS-DOMINANT The authors see Smarts as multidimensional, encompassing Book Smarts, People Smarts, Street Smarts and Creative Smarts, qualities the most outstanding entrepreneurs and business builders generally possess. Cutting across all of these is Business Smarts: a capacity for pattern recognition enabling a leader to seize, capture, frame and extend the essence of a business. Smarts-dominant individuals connect trends and patterns sooner than others, as well as providing structure, analysis and an action plan to ground and expand a founder’s vision.
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GUTS-DOMINANT These people are all about starting and sustaining action. Risk takers enjoy the engagement, excitement and adventure of dealing with meaningful, uncertain situations. Risk tolerators are able to assess, understand, accept and manage risk, and pursue goals accordingly. In terms of business growth they identify Guts to Initiate, Guts to Endure, and once success is steady, the Guts to Evolve, sometimes into something different than when you started out. LUCK-DOMINANT According to the authors, most Luck is the result of a Lucky Attitude and a Lucky Network. They believe you can become more receptive to and even influence Luck by maintaining an attitude based on humility, together with intellectual curiosity and optimism, which in turn helps create a Lucky Network. They sub-categorize Luck as Dumb Luck, Constitutional Luck and Circumstantial Luck — the one they believe you can most likely influence. Most people, according to the authors, have a requisite baseline of Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck (HSGL) to build a business, as well as a capacity of realizing greater untapped potential in specific traits. It’s an entrepreneur’s self-awareness and ability to take action that determines his or her business success. The authors go on to explain how HSGL interact at thresholds in business-building cycles to form three common, unmistakable archetypes: Founders embody one of the authors’ favorite Wisdom Manifesto’s Principles: Think big, start small and scale fast. By working closely and laterally across all areas, founders are able to transmit their energy, vision and conviction to the entire team. Scalers work at taking the core business to its next level, making the right trade-offs and getting big in the right way. Their focus is on modifying the founder’s vision to create maximim value-added impact, reaching and attracting more customers than the business currently has. Having the ability to envision the business multidimensionally, to communicate clearly, and to pay close attention to what they see in terms of both threats and opportunities, extenders expand, broaden and even transform a business to its next stage.
Iconoclasts are rare, with talents encompassing all three archetypes as well as bringing innovation, a unique world perspective, and a huge influence to his or her industry and often the culture beyond. Their most distinguishing trait is a highly evolved sixth sense or “something” that creates unique differentiation. The putting it all together chapter explains where and when each of the HSGL traits flourishes and how you can adapt yours. In addition, the authors provide two more tools: the Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test and the True North Questions for Reflection. Taking their E.A.T.S., a self-assessment survey, online at www.HSGL.com or in abbreviated form in their book will give you an idea about which trait is the one with which you lead. The True North chapter is divided into 10 sets of questions to help you explore different facets of you as business-builder and you as yourself.
One Master of Business Administration Degree. Two Paths. Professional & Executive. Thinking about getting your MBA? Choose the path that fits your level of experience, career goals and time commitment. Discover how our Professional MBA could be right for you or find out about our new Executive MBA in Appleton starting in Fall 2013. For more information, visit uwosh.edu/go/mba or call 920-424-3199 or toll-free 800-633-1430.
The authors express their hope that identifying your individual strengths and potential weaknesses, and being aware of your HSGL profile, can help you make sounder future decisions by better comprehending why you made past ones, and that, crucial to your professional (and life) success, knowing where your predispositions lie and when to amplify or turn down those traits will enhance your business-building future. Numerous examples from the lives of successful entrepreneurs appear throughout the text. Helpful charts, diagrams and insets like Our Five Questions to Help Overcome “Failure” make this easy-to-read, fun and informative.
Lastly, the authors leave us with the thought that ultimate impact, the clarity, hope and anticipation of going to work each day and the greater sense of accomplishment, contribution and self-esteem coming home at the end of the day, may extend beyond the organization and its employees to customers and vendors, and even to employees’ families.
New Business Books at the Brown County Library
Check out the staff picks for business, small business, and other books at pinterest.com/browncountylib n Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More With an Internet Business You Love Scott C. Fox New York: American Management Association, 2012, call # 658.872 FOX
n Perfect Phrases for Customer Service: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Handling Any Customer Service Situation (2nd ed.) Robert Bacal New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011, call # 658.812 BACAL 2012
n Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used (3rd ed.) Peter Block San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2011, call # 658.46 BLOCK 2011
n Results Without Authority: Controlling a Project When the Team Doesn’t Report to You (2nd ed.) Tom Kendrick, New York: AMACOM 2012, call # 658.404 KENDRICK 2012
n Lean but Agile: Rethink Workforce Planning and Gain a True Competitive Edge William J. Rothwell, James Graber, Neil McCormick New York: American Management Association, 2012, call # 658.301 ROTHWELL
n There Is and I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance Mark de Rond Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012, call # 658.4 ROND
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The Public Policy Council passed a 2013-14 Legislative Agenda that was approved by the Chamber board and is now available for viewing on our website, titletown.org. We reaffirmed our support for the Oneida Seven Generations Corp. waste-to-energy plant to the Green Bay mayor and City Council. An action call was issued to members assisting them to communicate with our senators and congressmen on the federal “fiscal cliff.” We sent a letter to Congress urging action on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia, and we sent letters of support for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s community education program to the governor and state legislators from this area. We completed work on the first of two informational white papers this year, the first one about implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which was published as the October edition of BBJ. The second the “Let’s Wrap” informational seminar on small business implementation of the health care reform, attracted more than 80 attendees…The Good Government Council used voting records, interviews and other tools to make recommendations for endorsements in the November elections that were adopted by Chamber board. Profiles of recommended candidates were sent to members and the media in October. Ten of the 12 candidates we endorsed were elected on Nov. 6…Ritter Forum on Public Policy was unable to obtain funding for a consultant’s implementation plan for metro fire service as a follow-up to our report A Shared Vision: Metro Fire Department (MetroReportDraft10-12-11WithAppendices.pdf). The potential for other cooperative municipal projects will be discussed with community leaders and the Ritter Foundation.
Leadership Green Bay
Leadership Green Bay is accepting applications for the Class of 2014. Please go to leadershipgreenbay.org and click on the application. If the application is received prior to the March 1 deadline, the $50 application fee will be waived…Save the date! Please mark your calendar for the Leadership Green Bay All Class Reunion Breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 21, at Tundra Lodge Waterpark & Conference Center. Our speaker will be Craig Dickman from Breakthrough®Fuel. We will also present the Leo Frigo Leadership Award and the Meredith B. & John M. Rose Business Award at that breakfast. Contact Jeanne Agneessens for more information at 593-3412.
Five-hundred-plus people attended the annual dinner at the KI Convention Center on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at which we honored our outgoing board and committee chairs. J.R. Martinez was the very well-received keynote speaker…In September, October, November and December, the ambassadors celebrated 20 ribbon-cuttings and two groundbreakings. Many, many thanks to all the ambassadors – you are an amazing group!… Save the date – Tuesday, March 5, 2012 – Business Expo 2013 at the KI Convention Center.
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Over the past year, Live54218 has experienced tremendous growth. We welcomed Jen Van Den Elzen as director in February 2012, and in August 2012 we added Melinda Morella as our community engagement specialist and Ashley Ponschok as farm to school coordinator. With the vision of making Brown County, Wisconsin, the healthiest community in the nation, and a strong network of cross-sector partnerships, we have celebrated a number of successes in recent months and look forward to continuing our work in 2013. •
Live54218 was the proud recipient of a $320,000 grant from the Transform WI Fund on behalf of the Brown County community. Year one of this two-year grant kicked off Oct. 1. Work will focus on creating environments that support and promote an active community and a healthy food system. Oct. 3, 2012, was International Walk to School Day. With the collaborative efforts of schools and many community partners, more than 20 schools and 10,000 students participated in Walk to School Day in Brown County this year — a huge success! In order to address the physical infrastructure that supports walking and biking in our community, Live54218 has assembled a community team including local planners, transit, housing, economic development and public works professionals to look at the current physical environment and discuss a potential plan for increasing the use of multimodal transportation and active commuting. International Expert Mark Fenton led this statewide workshop here in Green Bay on Dec. 6. Live54218 has also been working to get local produce on the lunch trays of students and increase fruit and vegetable consumption in Brown County. Our Farm to School task force is in the process of connecting local farmers with school district food service directors in three school districts to implement comprehensive Farm to School programming that includes local food procurement, school gardens, and nutrition education through taste-testing and a newsletter surrounding a Harvest of the Month item. Taste-testing has been occurring in four area elementary schools, and students are enjoying trying the new foods and voting on what they like best!
Live54218 is a community movement and is excited to be completing a series of technology upgrades to facilitate community involvement. Live54218.org has undergone a series of improvements to include a blog and membership component. We also put out its first e-newsletter in November and encourage community members of all ages to visit our website and subscribe for monthly information on volunteer opportunities, healthy recipes and tips for staying active. In addition to a monthly newsletter, the Green Bay Press-Gazette will feature a monthly Live54218 column in the Saturday ‘Family Time’ section The hope is that this column will provide resources and information around healthy eating and active living, and spark an interest in readers to play their part in making Brown County the healthiest community in the nation!
Join fellow Chamber members for Business Day in Madison! Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 | Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, Madison
In November, America decided our elected officials should stay the course. But what does that mean for your business, your employees, your families and our nation? Will our leaders be dedicated to economic growth and opportunity? Join several featured speakers in this discussion of our future. More details on the day's activities, registration, etc.: http://www.wmc.org/programs/business-day-in-madison/
The Greater Green Bay business community needs representation at this event.
To coordinate rides to Madison for the event, please call Nan Nelson at 920.593.3418.
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Chef BJ Georgia looks on as an attendee at the December Business After Hours at the F.K. Bemis Center, St. Norbert College, assembles a sandwich.
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The November’s Business & Breakfast featured “Chamber Feud” to teach attendees some “did you knows” about Chamber membership and programming. Pictured are (from left) Dan Roarty, Dimension IV, game show host, and Marc Perna and Vicki Meinke, Valley Insurance Associates, Inc. Valley Insurance is the Business & Breakfast series sponsor.
The Warpinski family celebrated the Marion B. Warpinski Community Center with a ribbon cutting and open house on Nov. 30. Among those pictured: Sam Warpinski (in wheelchair), holding the scissors, Mayor Jim Schmitt; and just behind the mayor in red, Diane Warpinski and Dr. Jim Warpinski, who made the Marion B. Warpinski Community Center happen. Kneeling and holding the ribbon in red is Nancy Warpinski Schultz, principal at Webster Elementary School. They and other guests are flocked by Chamber ambassadors (from left, in green jackets): Nancy Steffel, The School That Comes To You; Carol Lagerquist, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point; Jacqueline Smith, Airport Settle Inn, Inc. (hidden behind Nancy and Carol); Wendy Willems, Quick Signs; Sue May, Heartland Business Systems/Avastone Technologies; and Senator Dave Hansen (behind Wendy and Sue).
Orange Leaf celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 20. Pictured from left to right are Deanna Novak, National Railroad Museum; Jim Mayefske, AAA Companies; Pat Olejniczak, Kress Inn; Wendy Willems, Quick Signs; Nancy Steffel, The School That Comes To You; Jordy Nelson, Emily Nelson, Royal Nelson, Tony Brault, (all from Orange Leaf); Kirk Foote area director for Younglife; Nolan Crosby, Molly Crosby, Mason Crosby, (behind Mason) is Jacqueline Smith, Airport Settle Inn, Inc.; Mayor Jim Schmitt, (behind Mayor) is Amy Hobbins, Journeys Unlimited Travel; Carol Lagerquist, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point; (behind Carol) is Becki Starry, Shorewest Realtors; Dan Terrien, Woodward Radio Group; Lynn Schad, Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
Jeff Mirkes, Downtown Green Bay Inc., chats with Dean Stewart, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College at the Chamber’s annual dinner on Oct. 24.
GO TO www.titletown.org FOR THE LATEST UPDATES IN CHAMBER NEWS AND EVENTS
Patrick Austin of Mark D. Olejniczak Realty, Inc., converses with Ellen Davison of Schreiber Foods at the Current Lunch n’ Learn “Intrapreneurship: Innovation that No One Talks About” held Dec. 11.
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Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 1660 300 N. Broadway, Ste. 3A Green Bay, WI 54305-1660
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