Issue Decision 2010
Local candidates views on business issues
Philanthropy Planning needed to prevent giving until it hurts October 2010 $3.95
PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 66 OSHKOSH, WI
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Life and Disability products underwritten by Anthem Life Insurance Company. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado and Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (“BCBSWi”), which underwrites or administers the PPO and indemnity policies; Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (“Compcare”), which underwrites or administers the HMO policies; and Compcare and BCBSWi collectively, which underwrite or administer the POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Elections The mood of the electorate in Wisconsin mirrors that of the rest of America as voters make final choices for the November election. What’s the agenda for business of local candidates for state legislature? We provide the answers.
Entrepreneurial Index Next Month
Learn about a new regional index developed to provide a quarterly gauge of entrepreneurial activity and capacity in the New North.
Lessons of the 2009 Recession As we work ourselves out of the economic calamities from late 2008 into the earlier part of 2010, there are lessons to be learned by reflecting on the excesses and inefficiencies that led to the recession of 2009. In November, we’ll share how some local companies are avoiding similar mistakes down the road.
Seeing is Believing
A Neenah-based 3-D rendering firm aids potential buyers and investors in visualizing what they are getting to help seal the deal.
Small Business Profile
Departments On our cover
B2B cover illustration by Kate Erbach of New North B2B.
From the Publisher ...................................4 Professionally Speaking .......................5, 38 Since We Last Met . ..................................6 Build Up Pages .......................................10 Around the Boardroom ...........................14 Pierce Stronglove . ..................................15 Philanthropy...........................................28 Guest Commentary..................................32 Who’s News ...........................................40 Business Calendar ..................................44 Advertiser Index .....................................47 Managing Editor’s View ..........................48 Key Statistics .........................................50 NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 3
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Moving with the cycle of life
Our 100th issue delivers a buffet of new developments with B2B
Sean Fitzgerald New North B2B Publisher 4 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
There’s a lesson I learned long ago from my newspaper days. Everything – the naturally occurring, as well as all those fixtures of modern life and other paradigms forged by the hands of mankind – have a lifecycle. There’s a birth and a death. Sometimes there’s a period of maturation, a period of thriving success, or a long gradual slide toward a terminal end. B2B isn’t shielded from the cycles of life that affect everything else. The evolutions bring good news, and they also offer occasional disappointments. The celebration of our 100th monthly edition of B2B magazine offers another plateau of maturity for us as well, as we introduce Bob Warde, our first ever fulltime editor. Bob is taking over many of the content-related efforts I’ve coddled since our inaugural edition in July 2002. We couldn’t have been more fortunate to bring Bob aboard our team. He brings a stellar background in business news in northeast Wisconsin and fosters many of the same approaches to regional business journalism and similar editorial philosophies upon which the foundation of New North B2B has been built. I think readers will find the addition of Bob will be seamless and only serve to improve upon the outstanding content we’ve delivered small business owners and management during the past 100 issues. The staff addition will allow B2B to enhance its editorial presence and value to our readers, starting later this month with a regularly updated blog, providing news updates and unique perspectives on issues occurring in our business community in between each monthly edition of the printed B2B. Please take the opportunity to discover updates throughout the month by logging on to newnorthb2b.wordpress.com. If you like what you see and would like each update sent to your email account three to five times a week, just sign up on the page. All we need is your name and email address. We promise no other solicitations. Additionally, B2B moved its publishing operations into new offices on South Main Street in Oshkosh this past summer, all part of the larger agenda to accommodate this planned growth and expansion. Watch for more exciting, reader value developments scheduled to be rolled out in coming months.
Annual award on hold At the same time, we’ve experienced life cycle developments on the far end of the spectrum. It’s with heavy-hearted disappointment that I tell readers we’ve suspended our Best Places to Work Awards this year due to what we determined was an insufficient number of qualified entries. We’ve not yet made a decision to discontinue the annual recognition completely, but elected not to feature it in this October issue, believing we just didn’t have a representative sample of nominations to provide the acclaim of best practices in workplace innovation our readers could adopt into their own businesses. Since launching Wisconsin’s first such workplace recognition honors in our October 2002 edition, we’ve seen a gradual increase in the amount of nominees for each of the eight years leading up to our 2010 installment. It’s proved a promising and recognizable staple in B2B, and one our annual honorees promoted with pride. Following these past few months since we’ve solicited nominations for the 2010 award, we unfortunately received just a handful. I don’t know the reasons why, though I’ve been asking myself whether our team promoted it enough, or if it had slid under the radar of some of these new developments we’ve been undertaking. Maybe the award has worn its course, and come to the end of its life cycle. It’s hard to be certain. In that regard, I’d appreciate feedback from readers who’ve been eagerly anticipating our 9th annual Best Places to Work Awards, and would support its revival. Drop me a line at email@example.com. If we receive substantial response from readers calling for the recognition to be reinstated, we’ll consider adding Best Places to Work back to our editorial mix with an installment in early 2011. If not, we’ll move forward and identify other recognitions to take its place. As many of our readers have experienced the cycles of growth that B2B has endured the past eight-plus years, I invite you to take a quick stroll down memory lane with us. Beginning on Page 25 of this historic issue, we highlight each of the covers we’ve sported since our beginning, as well as highlight the evolution of our brand as well. We believe it sets the stage for even better developments in our next 100 issues of B2B to come. Enjoy!
U.S. Senate Action on Paycheck “Fairness”
by Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. Tony Renning
If you have a particular labor/employment law question, please forward your question to Mr. Renning at info@ newnorthb2b.com. If he responds to your email in a future issue, your name and company will be withheld to preserve your privacy.
Reader Question: In 2009 the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law. What is the status of the Paycheck Fairness Act? Tony Renning: In January 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act. The U.S. Senate has yet to take action. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently announced his intentions to schedule a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act known as the Equal Pay Act to increase liability and penalties for gender-based wage discrimination. For example, the Paycheck Fairness Act: (1) Eliminates current limits for back pay as well as for compensatory and punitive damages on employers. The Paycheck Fairness Act also authorizes the
Secretary of Labor to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. As a result, the cost of doing business will increase for all businesses. (2) Facilitates class action lawsuits against employers by repealing the requirement that employees must give their written consent to become a party in an Equal Pay Act class action. The Paycheck Fairness Act automatically includes all relevant employees in a class, a provision that will dramatically increase the number of plaintiffs in class actions. Moreover, the Paycheck Fairness Act will permit courts to second guess legitimate pay practices and to impose their own compensation plans on employers. (3) Restricts an employer’s flexibility to compensate its employees based on current legal criteria, such as cost-ofliving differences among geographic lo-
Publisher & President
Tony Renning is an attorney in the Oshkosh office of Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. (219 Washington Avenue). Mr. Renning provides counsel to private and public sector employers on a wide variety of labor and employment law matters. This article is intended to provide information only, not legal advice. For advice regarding a particular employment situation, please contact a member of the Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. Labor and Employment Team.
cations, different work responsibilities within similar job categories, or prior salary history. For counsel as to pending legislation as well as wage and hour laws, contact Tony Renning at (920) 233-6050 or firstname.lastname@example.org or any other member of the Davis & Kuelthau Labor and Employment Team.
Cheryl Hentz John R. Ingrisano Lee Marie Reinsch
NEW NORTH B2B is published monthly by WINNEBAGO B2B LLC for $20 per year or $3.95 for a single issue. A single complimentary subscription is offered to all members of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce. Printed by Digicorporation, 120 Lake St., Neenah, WI 54956 POSTMASTER: send address changes to: WINNEBAGO B2B LLC 923 S. Main St., Oshkosh, WI 54902. Bulk-rate postage paid at Oshkosh, WI. Reproduction of any contents of NEW NORTH B2B without express written permission of its publishers is strictly forbidden. The appearance of any advertisement or product information does not constitute endorsement of any product or service by WINNEBAGO B2B LLC. Copyright 2010.
Contact us: P.O. Box 559, Oshkosh, WI 54903-0559 • 920.237.0254 www.newnorthb2b.com NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 5
SINCE WE LAST MET
Since we last met Since We Last Met is a digest of business related news occurring in the South Fox Valley in the one month since the previous issue of New North B2B.
August 25 Oshkosh Corp.’s defense division received a $180 million order from the U.S. Army for its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles to be delivered by April 2012. The army has ordered more than 1,100 trucks and trailers for the National Guard and Reserve as part of a five-year FMTV contract awarded to Oshkosh. August 27 Coating Excellence International of Wrightstown announced plans to open a flexible packaging plant in Appleton by the end of 2010 in a 140,000-sq. ft. facility currently
2002 October 1 – Ripon College received a $2.5 million gift from the estate of Harold Foulkes, a former Kraft Cheese executive who attended Ripon during the 1920s. The gift was used to pay down the college’s long-term debt.
2006 October 16 – A group of investors led by former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson presented a new proposal for the Marion Road Redevelopment Area in Oshkosh to city officials. The collaborative group of investors is planning affordable housing, a full-service grocery store, parking, parks, shopping and restaurants for the 13.3-acre site along the Fox River.
2009 October 15 – A report from the Wisconsin Department of Administration indicated the state wrapped up the 2009 fiscal year with a positive balance of $89.6 million. The report also indicated state revenue from taxes decreased more than 7 percent from $13.04 billion in fiscal 2008 to $12.11 billion in fiscal 2009.
6 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
owned by WOW Logistics. Under the federal stimulus program, the company expects to receive nearly $20 million in recovery zone bonds to renovate and purchase new equipment for the facility. The plant is expected to provide 56 new manufacturing jobs for Coating Excellence, which makes packaging used for foods and condiments. August 29 United Auto Workers Local 578 representing workers at Oshkosh Corp. rejected a one-year extension of its current contract that expires Sept. 30, 2011. The offer included a 3.5 percent raise, no increases in health and dental premiums, a signing bonus of $750, and other benefits. Union officials indicated rejection of the offer wasn’t based on the economic merit of the offer, but reflected a desire for fair treatment in dealing with workplace issues. August 30 A report issued by Wired Wisconsin indicated more than half of Wisconsin’s Wi-Fi hotspots are free. Wisconsin has about 1,300 hotspots where the public can get online with a wireless connection. About 800 of those, or 62 percent, are provided for free, compared with 55 percent nationally. The report said consumers are increasingly turning to retail outlets for an Internet connection. August 30 State employees and retirees in 24 counties in eastern Wisconsin will have the WEA Trust as one of their health insurance options. The organization in the past provided health insurance only to teachers unions and employees of school districts. The WEA Trust insures about 160,000 people around the state via contracts with about 70 percent of school districts. August 30 Workers displaced from Kimberly-Clark Global Sales and Kimberly-Clark Worldwide in Neenah since December 2008 were made eligible for re-employment and training services under the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Such services include training for another job or career, income support, a job search allowance, and relocation allowances for certain expenses. August 30 Kohl’s Department Stores sued the City of Neenah in an effort to reduce the $7 million property value assessed on
SINCE WE LAST MET its Neenah store and to refund the $35,000 it paid in 2009 property taxes, plus interest and compensatory damages. The lawsuit from Kohl’s indicated the store has a value no greater than $5.5 million. City assessment officials revalued the property at $7.5 million in 2006 and lowered it to $7 million in 2009. August 31 A report from the Wisconsin Paper Council indicated the state could lose 7,500 jobs and 11 paper mills if new air emission controls – also referred to as Boiler MACT – and other air regulations under consideration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are adopted. A study conducted by Fisher International indicated more than 43,000 jobs and 92 paper mills could be lost across the United States if the controls are enacted. WPC officials estimated the capital cost of compliance for Wisconsin paper mills for Boiler MACT alone is $470 million. September 1 Businesses and households in Wisconsin are now required to recycle electronics rather than throw them into the garbage as Wisconsin’s E-Cycle law takes effect. Though many of the devices contain harmful lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and other heavy metals, they also contain plastic, steel, copper and glass that can be recycled. Electronics can be dropped off at any registered site in the state. September 1 The financial condition of Wisconsin banks improved overall during the second quarter, according to a report by federal regulators, as one in every six had a net loss during the quarter for a combined loss of $111 million, compared with one of every five banks and a combined loss of $175 million during the second quarter 2009. Johnson Bank of Racine was the most profitable of Wisconsin’s financial institutions during the quarter with a profit of $4.9 million. National Exchange Bank & Trust of Fond du Lac ranked the third-most profitable with a second-quarter profit of $3.6 million. September 2 A new U.S. Census Bureau report shows that Wisconsin jumped to 21st among states in securing federal money during 2009. As the federal stimulus bill took effect, Wisconsin secured $21.14 billion in federal funds, according to the report, an increase of more than 50 percent above 2008 federal dollars coming into the state. September 2 The second Wisconsin Poverty Report said more than 11 percent of Wisconsin’s residents – including one in seven children – lived in poverty in 2008, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty, which authored the report. The Institute created a new Wisconsin-specific measure of poverty at $24,842 for a family of four, above the official U.S. poverty line of $21,834 for a family of four. Statewide, poverty rates for the elderly increased from 7.1 percent to 10.4 percent. Milwaukee County had the
Network. Learn. Grow.
Entrepreneur’s Connection 2010 Tuesday, November 16 • 4:30-7:30 p.m. Oshkosh Convention Center Cost: $30 per person
Featuring Richard Bergstrom President Bergstrom Corporation
• Launch your business idea or grow your existing small business. • Learn to put together an effective business plan. • Connect with other entrepreneurs. • Attend seminars on the following topics: • Financing • Social media and e-commerce • Networking • Area resources • Elevator pitches
Learn more by contacting Annette at (920)929-2928, email@example.com, or log on to
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 7
SINCE WE LAST MET state’s high poverty rate at 18.8 percent. September 2 Blyth, Inc., the parent firm of Miles Kimball Co. operations in Oshkosh, reported second quarter fiscal 2011 sales fell 9 percent to $180.6 million, down from $199.4 million for the prior year period. On the quarter, the company posted income of $700,000, or 9 cents per share, compared with a second quarter year ago loss of $15.6 million, or a loss of $1.74 per share, resulting from a revaluation of goodwill and other intangible assets associated with the company’s investment in ViSalus Sciences. Among its separate operating segments, the catalog & Internet segment – which includes Miles Kimball operations – reported an 8 percent drop in sales to $33.8 million versus $36.9 million last year. In making the announcement, company officials projected fiscal year 2011 earnings to be in the range of $3.05 to $3.35 per share, an increase from previous guidance of $2.90 to $3.20 per share. September 3 The U.S. Department of Labor reported 54,00 jobs were lost in August, leaving the national unemployment rate relatively unchanged at 9.6 percent. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment added 67,000 new jobs during the month.
September 3 Wisconsin’s 71-year-old minimum markup law on gasoline was reinstated by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the law requiring retailers to sell gas above cost does not encourage illegal price-fixing. The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, which initiated the suit, argued its members would be driven out of business from larger competitors without the law. September 7 Undisclosed investors are working with Village of Kimberly and Outagamie County officials to jointly fund a $300,000 study to determine the feasibility to convert two large machines at the NewPage mill in Kimberly and re-open the plant, which has been idle for two years. The investors – which have not yet been identified as a result of a confidentiality agreement – have committed $175,000 toward the cost of the study, while Outagamie County and the village will each contribute $50,000 and the state Department of Commerce will provide $25,000. September 8 The Oshkosh Storm Water Utility Committee recommended increasing the annual rate for runoff units – the amount of land covered by buildings, driveways and other hard surfaces on an average residential lot in the city – from $62.92 this year to $80.80 per runoff unit in 2011 to help
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SINCE WE LAST MET fund the cost of future detention basins. During the meeting, city officials projected the rate could eventually reach $157 in 2015 in an effort to repay the city’s debt service for storm water detention projects. Storm water utility rates in other northeast Wisconsin communities are: Appleton, $108.88; Neenah, $80.00; Greenville, $60.00; North Fond du Lac, $56.00; and Grand Chute, $48.00. September 10 AmeriPrint Graphics in Menasha closed due to personal circumstances of the owners, Wayne and Beth Nemecek, effectively laying off 20 employees from the company. The commercial printing firm was started in 1992 by the Nemeceks. JPMorgan Chase Bank was awarded $342,240 in a Winnebago County Circuit Court suit against the Nemeceks on Aug. 12, and the couple filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy on Aug. 20, both factors which contributed to the business closing. September 14 The Appleton Area School Board reviewed a $184.4 million budget proposal for 2010-11, a spending increase of 4 percent. The budget would levy $65.5 million in taxes on property owners, in turn setting a property tax rate for the year of about $9.05 for every $1,000 of equalized property value, up from last year’s school district property tax rate of $8.43. School officials forecast a $2.4 million deficit earlier this year and have been working to cut back on spending, particularly in reducing staff. September 15 The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh broke ground on the nation’s first commercial-scale dry fermentation anaerobic biodigester, located next to the existing Campus Services Center. The project is funded with grants of $232,587 from Wisconsin Focus on Energy and $500,000 from the federal government. The renewable energy facility will include heat and power generators, which will produce up to 10 percent of the campus’s electricity and heat once it’s operational in April 2011. September 16 Seven New North companies made Inc. magazine’s fourth annual Inc. 5,000 list of fast-growing companies, including: JGear, Fond du Lac, No. 1,834; Cherry Optical, Green Bay, No. 2,931; Heartland Business Systems, Little Chute, No. 3,124; Huberty & Associates, Fond du Lac, No. 3,708; Americollect, Manitowoc, No. 3,780; Seaway Printing, Green Bay, No. 4,103; and Miron Construction, Neenah, No. 4,749. September 20 The City of Menasha Common Council approved creating an economic development specialist position beginning in 2011, as well as developing a downtown business improvement district to be managed by the individual. The BID would help promote and attract new businesses, as well as drive customers to retailers, restaurants and service providers located in the BID, who pay an annual assessment based on their prop-
erty value to support the district’s activities. City officials hope the professional hired for the position can transition from being strictly a city employee to a BID employee with salary and benefits primarily funded through the BID starting in 2012. September 21 The Federal Reserve Board decided to hold its target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent, maintaining the historically low rate held for more than two years. In making its decision, the committee acknowledged household spending is increasing gradually, but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. It also observed business spending on equipment and software has been rising in recent months, though less rapidly than earlier in the year, and employers continue to remain reluctant to add to payrolls.
Better Business Bureau - New Members Businesses accredited through the Northeast Wisconsin office during August 2010
1-Derful Roofing & Restoration, Appleton A-Can-Again Recycling LLC, Luxemburg Al’s Carpentry, Inc., Shawano American Auto Iron & Metal, Inc, Fond du Lac Apell Tile Company, Inc., Oshkosh Arc Contracting, Omro Bay Bus, Green Bay Billings Construction LLC, Lakewood Bosquez Chiropractic & Wellness Center, Omro Breakthrough Solutions, LLC, Kaukauna Canopy Construction, LLC, Appleton Culligan of Shawano, Inc., Shawano Fox Valley Monument & Stoneworks, Neenah Fox Valley Staffing, Inc., Menasha Frain Family Chiropractic Wellness Center, Ltd., Green Bay Geoff Baumhardt Excavating, LLC, Campbellsport Hayse Roofing, Green Bay Husky Landscaping & Lawn Care, LLC, New London K & L Cleaning Services, Oshkosh K P Concrete LLC, North Fond du Lac Keepers Landscapes, L.L.C., Neenah LaPlant Metal Roofs, DePere Marinette Roofing & Gutters, Marinette Midwest Roofing Corporation, Appleton Mirrored Stainless Solutions, Waupaca Morrell Construction, Inc., Black Creek Nelson Mechanical, LLC, Fond du Lac PerformanceScan, LLC, Cedar Grove Rose Bertram, LLC, Fond du Lac Schoenbohm Law, S.C., Appleton Schroeder Carpentry, Inc., Greenville SLA Accounting, LLC, Oshkosh Staged N Style, Brillion The Tanning Supply Shop, LLC, Weyauwega Tri-City Home Improvements, Menasha Vande Berg Construction, LLC, Eldorado Wenzel Home Improvements, LLC, Kaukauna Wickesberg Poured Walls, LLC, Seymour
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 9
BUILD UP FOND DU LAC 4
C - Indicates a new listing
Build Up Fond du Lac 1-
240 W. Arndt St., Fond du Lac, C Sadoff & Rudoy Industries, a new industrial facility to house steel shearing operations.
2 - 90 W. Second St., Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac Family YMCA and Boys & Girls Club of FdL, a 115,000-sq. ft. expansion of the existing YMCA facility. Project completion expected in October. 3 - 1739 Fox Ridge Dr., Fond du Lac, City of Fond du Lac,
10 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
a 60,000-sq. ft. industrial spec building. Project completion expected in November. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna.
4 - 100 Evergreen Road, Mount Calvary, Agnesian HealthCare Fond du Lac Regional Clinic, a 5,350-sq. ft. health care clinic, as well as separate offices for Mt. Calvary Dental.
Build Up Oshkosh 5
- 3465 Moser St., Oshkosh, C GNC Oshkosh/ StrataGraph, a 14,510-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial
BUILD UP OSHKOSH
C - Indicates a new listing
6 - 800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh,
University of WisconsinOshkosh, a four-story, 191,000-sq. ft. academic building for the College of Business Administration. Project completion expected in fall 2011.
7 - 760 W. Sixth Ave., Oshkosh, Lyons Den, a new tavern. Project completion expected in October. 8 - 4200 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical
College, a 27,216-sq. ft. building to house the Advanced Manufacturing Process Center. Project completion expected in late fall. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna.
- 333 W. 29th Ave., Oshkosh, Oshkosh Corp., a 152,350-sq. ft. addition for an industrial painting facility. Project completion expected in late 2010. Projects completed since our September issue: • Fond du Lac Credit Union, 91 N. Pioneer Road, Fond du Lac. • Warehouse and office, 3235 Fernau Ct., Oshkosh.
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NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 11
BUILD UP FOX CITIES C - Indicates a new listing
1 - 1280 N. Hard Dr., town of Grand Chute, Gold’s Gym, a 25,981-sq. ft. fitness center. 2 - 133 N. Mall Dr., town of Grand Chute, Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern, a 14,687-sq. ft. multi-tenant commercial building to include the restaurant and other leasable tenant space. 3 - 1928 W. College Ave., Appleton, C St. Vincent DePaul Society, a new 4,992-sq. ft. warming shelter and shortterm housing facility. 4 - 1815 W. Spencer St., Appleton, Foremost Farms USA, a remodel and renovation of three separate manufacturing facilities on the site. Project completion expected in April 2011.
5 - 3010 N. Conkey St., Appleton, Endeavor Elevator, an 11,287-sq. ft. new industrial building.
- 3935 N. Lightning Dr., Appleton, C Dermatology Associates, a new medical office building.
7 - 1506 S. Oneida St., Appleton, St. Elizabeth Hospital,
- 1050 Cold Spring Road, town of Menasha, Kimberly-Clark Corp., a 129,150-sq. ft. addition to the existing manufacturing facility to expand production and warehousing for its adult care products. Project completion expected in March 2011.
9 - 550 Commerce Ct., Neenah,
Innovative Machining, a 54,332-sq. ft. warehouse addition. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna.
- 1815 Marathon Ave., Neenah, Curwood, a twostory, 19,500-sq. ft. addition to the existing manufacturing facility. General contractor is C.R. Meyer & Sons Co. of Oshkosh. Projects completed since our September issue: • Globe University, 5045 W. Grand Market Dr., town of Grand Chute. • Sam’s Club, 1000 N. Westhill Blvd., town of Grand Chute. • Arla Foods, 489 Holland Court, Kaukauna. • AT&T retail store, 3310 E. Calumet St., Appleton. • Rasmussen College, 3500 E. Destination Dr., Appleton.
an addition and interior remodel of the third floor of the existing hospital.
12 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
BUILD UP FOX CITIES 6
3 4 7
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 13
AROUND THE BOARDROOM
Title: The Campaign Manager: Running and Winning Local Elections Author: Catherine Shaw Publisher: Westview Press (2009) Pages: 448 Paperback List Price: $37.50
The number of Wisconsin counties that are within 10 percent of exceeding their county tax rate. Source: Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance
Why Buy: Featuring invaluable insight from an expert author, The Campaign Manager offers the most comprehensive guide for organizing, funding, publicizing, and winning local political campaigns. The fourth edition offers expanded coverage of key concepts—including targeting voters, evaluating media effectiveness, setting fundraising budgets, using and developing Internet resources, and organizing get-out-the-vote efforts—and a new appendix with a step-by-step guide to precinct analysis. Other useful resources include the latest census data reflecting voting and voter shifts over the past six years; and current information on initiative, referendum, and recall requirements. Brimming with clear, concise wisdom, The Campaign Manager is the best way to kick-start a local campaign.
...to consider when starting a business
An entrepreneur starting a small business today is taking a gamble. The help of a business expert can mean the difference between small business failure and small business success – 90 percent of successful small businesses reported they sought out expert help, according to a Dunn & Bradstreet study. Some tips for starting a business:
➊ Target your Audience – It’s tempting to try a little
bit of every type of advertising that’s offered to you. But with limited budgets, entrepreneurs end up with a tiny presence in each. Instead, select a few mediums that really reach your target audience. This approach gives small business owners a better opportunity to affordably establish a presence by increasing message frequency and using larger visuals.
➋ Set Goals – What is your higher purpose for being a small business owner? What matters most to you? Write down your answers and keep them close at hand. Share them with your business partners, allies, and friends. Remind yourself of them when you pick up the phone, when you face rejection, when you squeeze in another sales dial on the way to pick up the kids.
14 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
➌ Build your Network of Allies – Friends may support us when things are going well or when they completely agree with everything we are doing, but real allies stick with us through it all. Build your network of allies and surround yourself with those who make you continue to strive to be better. ➍ Sell Hope First – Many sales professionals make the mistake of getting caught up in trying to sell the features and dimensions of their product first – rather than engaging with the customer around their hopes and dreams, about what they hope to accomplish. It’s important to understand the bigger picture in positioning yourself with a client and in the marketplace. ➎ Believe in You – Whether you’re getting ready to make that first call to a prospective customer or going in to close the sale, your likelihood of success is much greater if you approach the customer and the task with self-confidence. How you view yourself can make all the difference. Source: American Family Insurance Business Accelerator Program
AROUND THE BOARDROOM
f you’re rigorously honest with yourself, your constant efforts for business growth have occasionally inspired you to embrace a new and explosive marketing tactic with the passion of Doo in a pail of marmoset jelly. You stop just about everything else and lean with great diligence on your newfound promise of prosperity. Then, with the attention span of a gnat, you abandon it completely because “it doesn’t work,” or admit that you just “don’t know how to do it” and get discouraged. That is, until the next glorious opportunity smacks you all starry-eyed, beginning the vicious cycle again. I’ve witnessed this piteous phenomenon more times than my graying hair belies. It’s more than can be remedied here. But, as Mother Stronglove often advises through the unseemly fog of her third Tanqueray and tonic, “Don’t give up.” You need, for example, to give tactics like newsletters and social media a chance. You get out of them what you put into them – sometimes. Marketers who are not a complete waste of skin need to also know how to recognize the early stages of failure so a hot or special one doesn’t bleed their company dry. Check these best practices for starters. Get counseling if necessary.
Make time for her. 1. Commitment. Demi Moore won’t give it to me so why should she expect anything from you, who I’m guessing can offer so comparably less? If you can’t deliver a quality communiqué on a monthly basis, commit to a quarterly one. Only nitwits slap something together sporadically, cluing in every recipient about how apparently slow business must be. Instead of tardily sending out an autumn quarterly in late October, try overdelivering your winter issue in early November. 2. Freshness. What is that offensive odor? Could it be the moldy and rehashed content from a previous issue or post? If you’ve got something new and useful to say – like a customer
success story – you’ve got a valid reason to post or publish. Telling us about the new toilet in your executive washroom doesn’t count, unless you’re from Kohler. 3. Robust presence. Don’t set up a Facebook account that looks like you’re in the abandoned warehouse business (even if that IS your business). If you want a following, you need to feed your audience. They won’t be back if your most recent post is from last spring. For the best possible written and visual content, develop an editorial plan with some longterm vision to appropriately address your audience’s needs – especially seasonally relevant ones – to engage them with your organization. The content can be adjusted as business conditions change, but stick to the schedule. 4. The 80/20 again. Blurring the line between useful news and sales pitches is particularly tempting when budgets are tight. The messaging is not interchangeable, and trying to include everything in a single tactic is a mistake. News should occupy about 80 percent of the real estate in a good newsletter. Readers will tolerate a smaller and clearly delineated amount of promotional content. But if you promise news and deliver mostly self-serving content, you’re a selfdefined bore. Zap! 5. Continuity. How could I possibly bring up the importance of family resemblance from one issue to the next when I’ve already emphatically discussed the importance of freshness? The same way I’d look forward to spending future rapturous evenings with Ms. Moore – but not if she wore the same tight sweater every time (I think). 6. Love it. If you’re going to publish an effective newsletter or blog, treat it like I treat my Carver 41 Cockpit Motor Yacht: give it quality care. Otherwise it will become stinky, embarrassing and a ride nobody wants to take. And if you’re too busy or unqualified to provide the unwavering attention necessary to make the whole thing pay out, do the right thing: hire a pro. Behind the façade of Mr. Stronglove is an advertising professional with more than 25 years of award-winning industry experience. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he has wielded his strategic and conceptual skills and talents in all forms of media (except book jackets) for small independent businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies, both consumer and trade, from local to global. You can contact him at email@example.com. To submit work for review, it must be attached as a pdf in Adobe format with no other attachments.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 15
Entrepreneurial Census – Making it count
New regional index provides a quarterly gauge for entrepreneurial activity and capacity in the New North Story by Cheryl Hentz SMALL BUSINESSES ACCOUNT FOR a significant number of new jobs being created, not just in northeast Wisconsin, but throughout the country. And, according to many experts, small businesses and entrepreneurship is where much of our future economic development lies. So naturally there is a vested interest in having a stronger, more vibrant, more resilient and better prepared entrepreneur and entrepreneurial community. To achieve that, though, one must know how far they’ve come and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. To uncover those attributes, northeast Wisconsin’s regional economic development effort, New North, worked with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to develop and maintain the Northeast Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Activity Index. The new index – which was initially conceived a few years ago – was unveiled in September. 16 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
According to Bob O’Donnell, director of the SBDC at UWOshkosh, the idea for the indexing project was born a few years ago when New North Executive Director Jerry Murphy asked the following questions: With all the resources that are being invested by various education institutions, governmental units, economic development groups, and so forth in promoting entrepreneurship in northeast Wisconsin, what’s the return on that investment? Has there been a significant increase in entrepreneurial activity in the region? After identifying the need to measure entrepreneurial activity in the region, O’Donnell said they did a study to evaluate the various models they might use. “We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. So the entrepreneurial index we’re using is based on something that was developed at the University of Michigan at Dearborn. We studied www.newnorthb2b.com
ENTREPRENEURSHIP different indexes and then after looking at that for a couple of months we were told that the State of Wisconsin was looking at developing a statewide index that would then be broken down by the various regional economic development groups, like New North, Thrive in Madison, and Milwaukee 7,” explained O’Donnell. “After a year of a statewide effort to look at this, nothing developed, so at the beginning of this year we took it back as a local project and a joint effort between the (UWOshkosh) College of Business and New North Inc.” The first installment of the quarterly index has just been released, but it took the better part of six to seven months to actually collect the data due to the added challenges of trying to collect data regionally compared with statewide. One such difficulty, O’Donnell said, is that employment data is updated more quickly on a state level than it is on a county level. Another challenge was the fact that new business formation data is not collected on a county basis, but by mailing address. So that required O’Donnell’s team to build a database to analyze all the information based on zip codes. “Plus there were a number of things they could measure on a statewide basis for the Dearborn study that we could not measure on a county basis here, such as venture capital. That information’s not available on a county basis; it’s barely available on a statewide basis. So that was a challenge, too,” said O’Donnell. “It’s technical challenges basically, but there are certainly more of them in doing this kind of research on a smaller scale.”
Few models to follow VERY FEW REGIONS IN THE COUNTRY have done this kind of indexing of entrepreneurial activity. There are only about 10 or 15 states that are doing such an analysis at the state level. “The Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship does a national indexing project with statewide numbers. They’ve said they’d like to see more of it being done on a state level, but right now a lot of the states just rely on the Kaufman Index,” said O’Donnell. “We looked at the index, too, but we couldn’t bring the numbers down to a regional level. And that’s important too, because Milwaukee and Madison are different than northeast Wisconsin. If we’re looking at state numbers, those numbers are going to be skewed by what’s happening in those two metro areas. We’re the first economic development region in the state to actually do this.” Murphy and O’Donnell agree the kind of data garnered for the index is important so people can see if the taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment. “There are two general economic development strategies. One is to try and attract large employers to a region. The other is to encourage the growth of new businesses or businesses that already exist in the region, particularly small and mediumsized ventures,” said O’Donnell. “I think we’ve reached the point in economic development now that we recognize that it’s extremely difficult and expensive, if not downright impossible, to attract large businesses to any area of the United States. That type of activity is happening overseas now.”
Supporting local businesses for
Issues For 100 issues, we’ve both supported local businesses–CitizensFirst with business financial services and New North B2B with local business news and information.
Oshkosh: 236-7040 · Fond du Lac: 924-0503 · Toll Free: 800-448-9228 Oshkosh: 250 N. Sawyer St. · 2655 N. Main St. · Hwy. 44/Universal St. · Fond du Lac: 740 W. Johnson St.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 17
Measuring Stick Key Findings of the first New North – UW-Oshkosh Regional Entrepreneurship Index: ◆ Between Q1 2005, which is when New North was created, and Q4 2009, the index showed about a 10 basis point improvement or increase in entrepreneurial activity. ◆ Specifically, the level of intellectual property creation in the region has been decreasing since about 2007. It increased from Q1 2005 to about mid-year 2007, and since then has witnessed a steady decline in terms of activity for patents and trademarks. ◆ New business formation has been on an upward trend. There have been significant fluctuations since Q1 2005, but the trend – up until Q4 2009 – was generally up. Then most of those gains were lost during Q4 2009, basically paralleling the downturn in the economy, according to Bob
18 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
O’Donnell, director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and one of the lead developers of the index. ◆ Innovative worker employment has seen the biggest decline. There was steady growth all the way through the end of 2008. Since then there has been a tremendous decline. If the next index shows that the trend line continued into Q1 2010, New North could be back to the same level of innovative worker employment in the region as it had in 2005. “At one time we peaked out at over 21,500 innovative workers and we could be seeing that dropped off back to about 20,000. So that’s a pretty significant drop of 5 or 6 percent,” said O’Donnell. ◆ Access to capital showed a steady decline from 2005, and what probably saved that as
an indicator was the recession, according to O’Donnell. “There was a significant change in the guaranty program from the (U.S.) Small Business Administration, and out of all the quarterly numbers we looked at between Quarter One of 2005 and Quarter One 2010, only one quarter exceeded the levels we saw in the first quarter 2005 and that was in Quarter Three of 2009. SBA activity and innovative worker employment have been the two major factors in the decline of the entrepreneurial activity in the region, at least in the last year and a half,” he said. ◆ Intellectual property: Two large companies – Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Kohler Co. – accounted for a majority of the activity in terms of intellectual property creation, such as new patents and trademarks. – by Cheryl Hentz
ENTREPRENEURSHIP New business development encouraged “SO REALLY, THE ONE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT strategy we have left and the best one that we could pursue is to encourage the development of new businesses from within our region – from the entrepreneurs that are looking to start businesses and grow businesses,” O’Donnell continued. “And some type of gauge of how good a job we’re doing in that effort has a direct impact on job creation and the creation of wealth that we need for investment in new products, new services, and new businesses. So this is kind of a leading economic indicator of economic development for the whole region.”
Between Q1 2005, which is when New North was created, and Q4 2009, the index showed about a 10 basis point improvement or increase in entrepreneurial activity. The index is a number of different perspectives of how to modify, change or emphasize strategies or tactics that get implemented and specific programs or services that are provided to the regional entrepreneurship audience, said Murphy. “This index suggests that there is an entrepreneurial community in the New North region that has vitality and vibrancy. But it also suggests the places where we need to do more work. The good thing is we now have a barometer of how to measure our success in that effort,” said Murphy. “What I really like about the index and the implications of the index metrics is it will help drive the tactics that are being instituted by New North task groups and by individuals that serve small businesses and entrepreneurs. It gives us the ability to adjust the dial about where we’re putting our energies and emphasis, where there might be gaps, and so forth… It will hopefully help steer us in the way we try to influence and support the success of the entrepreneurial economy.” O’Donnell said the index will be updated and released quarterly to the media. It will also be distributed to policymakers at both the local, state and regional levels to demonstrate the return they’re getting on their investment in promoting entrepreneurship and to point out any issues, such as a lack of access to capital being a major impediment to the growth of entrepreneurship in the region. The research will continue to be done by a staff person from the Small Business Development Center and a student intern. Cheryl Hentz is a freelance writer from Oshkosh with more than 25 years experience. Her articles have appeared in several newspapers and magazines, both in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country, and cover a wide range of topics, including business and economic development, minority issues, family pets and animal rights, finance, politics and women’s issues. Cheryl also does corporate writing for businesses and personal writing for individuals. She can be reached at 920.426.4123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 19
he mood of the electorate in Wisconsin mirrors that of the rest of America as voters make final choices for the November election. What’s the on the business agenda of local candidates for state legislature? We provide the answers.
IN THE ROUGH AND TUMBLE WORLD OF POLITICS, the election cycle that will end next month seems much rougher than many, though they’ve been getting more so in recent years. As Wisconsinites go to the polls in a few short weeks, one of the sure questions on their minds will be what the candidates’ views and goals are for the business climate in the state, regulation, taxes and getting a handle on the large deficits state government has been running – and are growing, with the latest estimate for the next two-year budget cycle topping an amazing $3 billion. As we have every two years since October 2002, New North B2B asked area candidates for Wisconsin Assembly to answer six questions about those topics to provide our readers with a greater understanding of their views, as well as whether a given candidate is worthy of your vote. This time around we didn’t include state senate candidates, as the only local state senate race up this November is for the 19th Senate District, 20 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
By Bob Warde, New North B2B Managing Editor
where long-time incumbent Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) is running unopposed. One candidate for assembly, Mert Summers of De Pere, who is running as a Democrat for the 5th Assembly District, declined to participate in the survey. Michelle Litjens, a newcomer who won the Republican primary on Sept. 14 is now unopposed for the 56th Assembly District seat, and incumbents Rep. Al Ott (R—Forest Junction) in the 3rd Assembly District; Rep. Richard Spanbauer (R-Oshkosh) in the 53rd Assembly District; and Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) in the 55th Assembly District were not included because they are unopposed. What follows is a summary of the responses from participating candidates. Should you wish to see the candidates’ responses in their entirety and unedited, you can find them online at www.newnorthb2b.com.
GOVERNMENT PROFILE Name: Jim Steineke (R) Job: Regional manager for a real estate investment company. Political Experience: Chairman of Town of Vandenbroek and Outagamie County Supervisor Education: Attended UW-Milwaukee and UW-Oshkosh Web site: www.JimForAssembly.com
5th Assembly District
(Includes Kaukauna, portions of Little Chute, rural northeast Outagamie County and rural areas of western Brown County) Republican candidate Jim Steineke, a regional manager for a real estate investment company, said the state’s fiscal worries and its business climate are on the top of his mind. In response to our first question regarding regulation, Steinecke believes the state legislature can have a dramatic impact on the state’s business climate and that putting the state on par with other states is the first step. He is calling for the elimination of the corporate income tax over a fouryear period to reduce business expenses and make them more competitive. He also favors the elimination of tax incentives and credits he said allowing state legislators to favor which businesses receive them, leaving the others at a disadvantage. Steinecke also wants a three-year waiting period before new regulations go into effect, providing ample opportunity for legislators and stakeholders to review them, consider their effects and any unintended consequences that could arise as a result and provide a cost/benefit analysis. In his response to our second question, Steinecke said he believes in state-imposed caps on spending, but believes they should apply to state government as well. He said he fully supports the state tax deductibility of health savings accounts. The big question, how to deal with state budget deficits, was answered by Steinecke with a call for redefining the role of state government and limiting spending in certain areas. He is adamant about not raising taxes in a weak economy and called for the following spending cuts: • Eliminate pensions for elected officials. • An across-the-board cut of 2 percent in all departments’ spending with certain exceptions, including public safety, education, transportation and others. • Eliminate the Arts Board, Housing Cost Initiative and other programs. Closing of the Ethan Allen Juvenile Detention Center. • Eliminate the office of State Secretary of State. Steinecke doesn’t want to increase taxes or create any new fees for road building or maintenance, preferring instead to keep segregated funds set aside for that purpose. Finally, he believes that tax increases enacted by the previous legislature should be repealed. “Politicians are too afraid to make hard decisions on program and spending cuts so they take the easy way out and increase fees and taxes,” Steinecke wrote.
Election 2010 Questions We Asked the Candidates 1. Economic development professionals have long identified regulatory burdens as one of the challenges to attracting and retaining businesses in Wisconsin. In just the past few years, several thousand paper and other manufacturing jobs have left northeast Wisconsin for other states and other countries. What can the legislature do to make Wisconsin a more attractive place to do business, create jobs, and generate tax revenue for local government? 2. More than ever before, local government officials are facing the dilemma of cutting jobs and services while still remaining under revenue caps. In recent years, state legislators have proposed various local government spending and taxing measures intended to hold down property taxes, including both the so-called Taxpayers Bill of Rights and the Taxpayer Protection Amendment. Should state government continue to limit school, municipal and county property taxes? Are the current limits the appropriate method to do so? 3. During the past two years, a handful of legislators have written bills to allow a state tax credit for contributions to health savings accounts, similar to the exemption currently given to such accounts in regard to federal taxes. On each occasion, the bill failed to pass out of committee. As a legislator, why would you support or oppose such a tax credit? 4. In the upcoming biennium, Wisconsin’s new governor and legislature will inherit a $1.2 billion structural imbalance, requiring tough decisions about cutting costs and raising revenues. What specific programs would you cut and or taxes would you raise to balance the budget? Would you support an overall reduction in spending to balance the state budget? If not, how would you address rising debt? 5. Wisconsin has relatively good roads compared with other states. Wisconsin spent $627 per capita on highways in 2008, 12th highest nationally. Transportation is funded through segregated gas taxes and registration fees that, in recent years, state officials have taken to balance the budget. How do you propose to support transportation funding moving forward – by increasing taxes and fees, additional borrowing, placing an end to using transportation dollars for other purposes, or less road construction. 6. In the run-up to the latest biennial state budget, more than $1 billion in new taxes and increases of existing taxes on business were proposed by legislators. Many, including combined reporting, hospital assessment, streamlined sale and use tax agreement and others made it to become law. Would you consider voting to repeal or reduce any of the business taxes? Which ones and why? NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 21
GOVERNMENT 52nd Assembly District
(Includes Fond du Lac and North Fond du Lac) In this race, the candidates responded close to their respective party lines, with a couple of surprises. For example, consider their views on taxes. When asked about the tax and regulatory environment, Democrat Paul Czisny, an attorney in private practice in Fond du Lac, said the state should tie incentives provided to businesses to whether a company stays in a community and that the goal for regulation should be thoughtful and not create “meaningless bureaucratic red tape.” Republican Jeremy Thiesfeldt, a faith-based educator and member of the Fond du Lac City Council, said his platform is cut taxes, reduce spending and control red tape. Though he recognizes the need for some regulation, he believes that it has become a disincentive for starting a business in Wisconsin and puts the state at a disadvantage. While Czisny sees attempts to enact government spending laws such as TABOR as gimmicks, he does believe that it is disingenuous for state legislators not to live under the same rules for sticking to a budget as would a business, and that they’re ducking their responsibility. Thiesfeldt said these limits have helped keep property taxes down and forced local officials to more closely scrutinize budgets. He favors maintaining them, but providing some local control should special circumstances develop. Contributions to health savings accounts should be offset with a tax credit, according to Thiesfeldt, while Czisny said a tax deduction should be enacted after the budget crisis is dealt with, but a tax credit should never be used. A filter of how spending cuts would affect the citizens of Wisconsin should be used when setting the new budget, according to Czisny. He added that Wisconsin should reserve incarceration in prisons for “those who present a public danger” and that the model should be Minnesota, which has about onethird the number of people in prisons as Wisconsin does while spending half as much on corrections. Thiesfeldt said he would not vote for any tax increases and instead wants to root out waste and eliminate unnecessary programs, while limiting the reach of state government. Thiesfeldt said taking money from segregated funds for other uses should be stopped. Fond du Lac had experience with what results from the practice during what he called an “improper funding of the Highway 151 bypass.” Taking money from these
PROFILE Name: Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R) Job: Faith-based educator at Lutheran schools in the area since 1988 Political Experience: 3rd and final term (due to term limits) on the Fond du Lac City Council Education: Bachelor’s in elementary Education, Dr. Martin Luther College Web site: www.Victory2010.net
22 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
funds amounts to a form of taxation without representation, he added. He also called for the state to lobby to use money from the federal government designated for light rail to be set aside for existing transportation infrastructure. Both candidates said legislators need to make tough choices in crafting the next biennial budget, with Thiesfeldt calling for a simplified state tax code and a repeal of combined reporting and use of the prevailing wage. Czisny said only those taxes that have a net negative effect on Wisconsin’s budget should be reduced or repealed and that state residents should pay for what they want and close the structural budget deficit as well.
54th Assembly District
(Includes most of Oshkosh) Rep. Gordon Hintz, the Democrat incumbent in the seat, believes the influence of government over where businesses locate is overstated. Still, he favors targeted tax credit programs, including training grants and supported venture capital investments. Economic development should be pursued by helping family farms find new markets, helping manufacturers to stay competitive with global rivals, and creating a worldwide hub for biotechnology in the state. Hintz also favors a periodic review and streamlining of regulation. Jonathan Krause, the Republican challenger and news and program director for WOSH radio in Oshkosh, called for a more streamlined permitting process for expansion of businesses. He believes it’s ironic the state can fast-track permitting and environmental studies for a high-speed train planned between Milwaukee and Madison while private development can take years to complete. He also believes renewable energy mandates created by the Doyle administration are arbitrary and should not be enacted. Krause said the government’s growth should be tied to the citizens’ ability to pay for it and that property tax levies should be tied to real property values in a community, taking into account the housing bubble that recently burst, as an example. He believes that current provisions for citizens to raise their own taxes via referendum is adequate. Hintz said there are no easy answers to local budget challenges. He favors tying municipal shared revenue to growth of commercial success of a region, as well as seeking an alternative to property taxes as a funding source. He added that, in general, restrictions placed on local spending by the state don’t account for local conditions and the perspectives of local
PROFILE Name: Paul Czisny (D) Job: Attorney and owner, Czisny Law Office, in Fond du Lac Political Experience: None Education: University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D.; Bachelor’s in history and political science, UW-Madison Web site: www.paulforassembly.com
GOVERNMENT residents. Hintz is concerned that many health savings accounts are used for tax shelters, and that should a way be found to identify which ones are used as such, he would revisit a tax credit. He said the reason the legislature did not approve such a credit recently was that it would be irresponsible given the state’s fiscal challenges. Krause supports such a tax credit and views the taxation of such contributions as a punishment of those trying to manage their health care and control costs. Krause argues reducing spending is the only way to solve the state’s budget challenges. He calls for cutting legislative pay, health insurance benefits and pensions for lawmakers while increasing the contributions to health insurance premiums by other state workers and reducing welfare fraud. A reduction of fraud to reduce the deficit is also on Hintz’s agenda, as is a consolidation of some municipalities and school districts to develop efficiencies. Both candidates favor a reduction of the state’s prison population and oppose the use of segregated funds for other purposes. Hintz believes combined reporting of corporate income is fair and should be retained while Krause would vote to repeal it, along with the hospital assessment enacted in the last budget bill. PROFILE Name: Gordon Hintz (D) Inc. Job: Public administration, consulting and teaching political science Political Experience: Representative for Assembly District 54 since 2006 Education: Bachelor’s in political science, Hamline University; Master’s in public affairs from the LaFollette School at UW-Madison Web site: www.hintzforassembly.com
57th Assembly District
(Includes most of Appleton and portions of Little Chute) Republican challenger Chris Hanson owns and runs a benefits management firm. She said economic development can be encouraged by reforming state spending, tax policies and education requirements, adding it’s time to make tough choices in those areas and that government should aim to only raise the revenue it needs and stop expanding its role. Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber, the Democrat incumbent in the seat, said tax incentives that include economic development organizations with matching state and private funding should be expanded and used to invest in incentives for angel and venture funding of business start-ups and expansion. She added the state should continue to support the Office of Business Regulatory Reform in the Department of Commerce. While Bernard Schaber acknowledges spending caps have held the line on property tax increases, she sees them as a burden to local government in that they do not allow for increased costs or added programs. Hanson said government cannot continue to spend money it does not have and that government at all levels should seek to become more efficient. Still, tax limitations should be examined to measure outcomes and unintended consequences, she said. Hanson favors a tax credit for health savings accounts while
PROFILE Name: Jonathan Krause (R) Job: News and program director for WOSH Radio in Oshkosh since 2000 Political Experience: None Education: Associates degree radio and television broadcasting; Brown College, Minneapolis Web site: www.krauseforassembly.net
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newnorthb2b.wordpress.com Starting October 11th, New North B2B will begin publishing a blog featuring more current news and information from around our coverage area. You can find it and sign up to receive updates in your e-mail box at newnorthb2b.wordpress.com.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 23
GOVERNMENT Bernard Schaber prefers they be allowed for middle and lower income citizens. Both candidates believe tough spending choices have to be made, while Hanson said not all spending is equal and that decisions should favor those that will produce a return on investment and outcomes based on performance. Bernard Schaber said state government has made many cuts in department budgets and state employees have been forced to take eight furlough days. Further elimination of waste and duplication should be the goal while reform of Wisconsin’s tax system PROFILE Name: Penny Bernard Schaber (D) Inc. Job: Physical therapist for 30 years Political Experience: Representative for Assembly District 57 since 2008 Education: Associate’s, Physical Therapist Assistant, Southern Illinois University; Associate’s, Science Natural Resources Technology, Fox Valley Technical College; Bachelor’s, in Physiology, Southern Illinois University; Bachelor’s in Physical Therapy, Northwestern University Medical School Web site: www.penny4assembly.com
should also be on the table, she said. Both candidates said the practice of raiding segregated funds should be stopped, while Bernard Schaber said the practice of indexing the gas tax against inflation should be reinstated. Bernard Schaber would not repeal combined reporting or the hospital assessment, but does support a streamlined sale and use tax to create a level playing field for local businesses. Hanson said she would closely consider repeal of the hospital assessment, tax on international employers, tax on computer software and downloads, the state capital gains tax and the increase of garbage tipping fees.
PROFILE Name: Chris Hanson (R) Job: Owner and president of Hanson Benefits, Inc., for the past seven years. Political Experience: None Education: Associate’s in business, Northern Michigan University
Web site: www.chrishansonforassembly.com
Congratulations B2B on your 100th issue!
OSHKOSH CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU New Web site coming soon!! visitoshkosh.com 24 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
building bridges between businesses
2 y 200 l u J e– l issu a r u a Inag
The climb to 100 Forward by Sean Fitzgerald HITTING 100 AT ANYTHING is quite an accomplishment. We’d like to think so, particularly in regard to publishing and sharing B2B with thousands of readers across the Fox Valley business community during the past eight-plus years. Since first introducing Lake Winnebago B2B to the local business community with our 28-page, July 2002 issue, we’ve changed our name, changed our look, and have even augmented our coverage area. Throughout our growing tradition, B2B has strived to be a different kind of business publication, steering clear of the iconoclastic look and feel associated with many traditional business magazines. It’s reflected in the way our articles are written, what we write about, and the production value – both in terms of artistry and reader functionality – we present in every monthly issue.
That style is evidenced in the next two pages, where we’ve compiled a mosaic of our 100 magazine covers leading up to this current issue. I have to extend credit to Don Stolley of Stolley Studio in Oshkosh, who’s been the cover photographer since our second edition in August 2002. Stolley’s masterful mix of aesthetics, ability to tell a story and no-sweat efforts under our occasionally tight deadlines created cover images that set the tone for B2B during these past eight years. In total, Stolley has contributed the images for nearly two-thirds of all B2B covers. B2B’s creative director and in-house artist, Kate Erbach, who came on board at the end of 2005, crafted nearly all of the remaining covers. Please take a moment to look back through the past 100 covers and recall some of your favorite issues of B2B.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 25
Higher Learning Professionals increasingly going back to school for graduate business degrees Page 18
Geeks for Hire
Workplace Paradise Our 2007 Best Places to Work Award winners share secrets for a refreshing office atmosphere
Pulling the Supply Chain
Page 18 16
Small manufacturers supplying OEMs face increasing demands
to be cheaper, better and faster
Tech-for-hire industry is growing up as computers become operations crucial for most businesses
July 2007 $3.95
September September 2007 2007 $3.95 $3.95
October 2007 $3.95
August 2007 $3.95
Contact center jobs growing by leaps and bounds in the Fox Valley
Family atmosphere still has a place at larger companies Page 14
State senate and assembly candidates weigh in on business issues
July 2008 $3.95
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August 2008 $3.95
New North at 3
Health care costs Our annual comparison of costs from providers throughout the region
A A retrospective retrospective look look at at the the New New North North regional regional movement movement as as itit matures matures into into its its next next phase phase
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Improving connections for goods and services between the New North and the rest of the world
Out of the Office
Building solutions for the upcoming labor shortage
Ghost stories stir interest in historic downtown businesses
Call center HUB
New looks, new programs, new businesses keep city anchors alive and bustling
ng ou Entrepreneurs
Fox Valley 20-somethings share the experiences that steered them into business for themselves
Innovative technologies allow entrepreneurs to conduct business from nearly anywhere at anytime
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Economic Outlook 2008
Process OF Giving
Industrial Development Various industrial park projects build tax base from Fond du Lac to Kaukauna
Our panel of local industry professionals share their thoughts on the year ahead
The GREEN Revolution
Your sales staff on the Web
Environmentally sustainable construction doesnâ€™t need to cost more
The next generation of Web marketing in the Fox Valley
Page Page 20 20
When the curtain rises
Miles ahead of the curve
Arts and culture have always needed business support. But business is discovering it needs the arts just as much.
Oshkosh firm takes the crown in our 3rd annual wellness award
Eyeing sources of financing when traditional lending falls short
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Consolidating knowledge and streamlining costs
Tips for effectively dealing with slow-pay no-pay customers
November 2007 $3.95
When the checkâ€™s not in the mail
Streamlining philanthropy in your business operation to get the most bang for your charitable buck
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Beating the sluggish market Local firms gut it out to expand and grow in these trying times Page 16
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Ten ways to win the war on prescription drugs Page 22
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INVENTION Local inventors share their rugged journey from concept to market Page Page 18 18
Four groundbreaking developments changing the face of their respective industries across the region Page 16
Erosion of ethics
Recent survey highlights diminishing trust of business Page 22 January 2009 $3.95
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Entrepreneurship v2.0 Climbing beyond the start-up stage
Lessons and anecdotes from ripening business owners in the New North
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Fox Valley-based angel group investing in the growth of local businesses
Small Business Profile
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September 2010 $3.95
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 27
Giving Back with Care Philanthropy is a goal of many business owners, but careful planning is needed to prevent giving until it hurts
Story by Lee Marie Reinsch
PHILANTHROPY IS A LITTLE LIKE taking your feisty terrier to the dog park: It’s a gift of freedom; you feel giddy about making someone happy. But eventually you’ve got to put a leash on things – or fur starts to fly. “We get everything from ‘give me free custard for my family party’ to ‘please provide me with $500 in gift cards for me to hand out at my company party,’ ” said Pat Miller, owner and operator of five Culver’s franchises in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. Miller said she receives 35 to 50 requests for donations per week. She turns very few away entirely, she said, but does limit the number of coupons she’ll provide. “Sometimes, when 30 or 40 requests cross my desk, I will send $10 or $15 in coupons to each as I evaluate each request,” Miller said. Philanthropic giving is an issue many businesses face, yet there’s no real central clearinghouse of guidelines for businesses – no bluebook, advice queen or Dog Whisperer to consult. How much to give, and how often? Or to whom? When everybody in town seems to be asking for class-tripto-Nassau sponsorships, free merchandise for the St. Bernard’s raffle, and funds for their cousin’s veterinary bills, where does a frazzled business owner draw the line? 28 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
Sit. Stay. Set boundaries early on IF YOU DON’T HAVE A SET PHILANTHROPIC PROTOCOL in place, giving can feel random and out of control. Some corporations set aside a percentage of their profits, say 5 percent or so, said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. “Bigger corporations do tend to have a plan, and I’ve heard it from bigger corporations that they are getting a little bombarded; they say we really only have so much money set aside for this kind of stuff,” Connolly-Keesler said. “They have a budget and they have to make it stretch.” Some organizations start the year with a set amount and award grants quarterly. “That is flexible and fluid; we have no idea what’s walking in the door,” Connolly-Keesler said. “Typically, we try to look at things on a quarterly basis; that helps stretch money through the year.” Others just give willy-nilly to whoever walks in the door. Since each Culver’s is independently owned, each sets its own philanthropy policy. “Our annual budget is basically determined by the needs in the communities,” Miller said. The list of causes Culver’s gives to seems almost endless: www.newnorthb2b.com
PHILANTHROPY from churches and hospitals to school sports and law enforcement groups and practically everything in between. But on the other hand, Miller acknowledged that business owners can’t give everything that everyone asks. “When they say just give me money, I say put a little effort into it. I may be giving them product; but if you call me up and asked me for 500 value-basket coupons, I just can’t give that to 30 or 40 people a week.” Others limit to whom and what causes they give. The Neenah-based J. J. Keller Foundation only gives to nonprofits that impact basic needs in the Fox Valley area. The Bellin Foundation in Green Bay limits its contributions to organizations that benefit health and well-being, although it sometimes makes exceptions for causes with which the organization has partnerships. “We sponsored the neighborhood picnic because it’s a time for families to get together, and family togetherness is of value to well-being,” said Michael Frohna, president of the Bellin Foundation. While cancer and heart-research funds are no-brainers for Bellin, everything athletic isn’t always a go. “We never give money for an individual to attend a contest or a sports team to travel to a tournament,” Frohna said. But Bellin has been known to fund pieces of exercise or activity-related team equipment. “The key to establishing boundaries is to stick with them once they’re made,” said Marne Keller-Krikava, J. J. Keller Foundation board member. Early in their giving history, her grandparents, Jack and Ethel Keller, founders of the J. J. Keller Foundation, funded many diverse causes from athletic fields to retirement communities. Later, the J. J. Keller Foundation Board decided to focus on basic human needs in the Fox Valley, meaning food, shelter, clothing or good medical care, as examples. “Today, we support programs and organizations that address the causes and consequences of poverty and other specialty areas of interest, such as mental health,” Keller-Krikava said. In order to encourage personal philanthropy, a small portion of the foundation’s annual giving is set aside for individual board members to direct toward causes they’re passionate about. “Thus, when you see the foundation involved in something not tightly tied to our mission, you can assume the donation has been designated at the discretion of a specific board member,” Keller-Krikava said. The J. J. Keller Foundation is a private, independent family foundation, rather than a corporate foundation. The foundation is required by law to annually distribute at least 5 percent of its assets to IRS-certified non profits. But often they exceed that, said Mary Harp-Jirschele, executive director of the J. J. Keller Foundation. “Just because we meet the foundation’s legal requirements for giving doesn’t mean the need ends,” Harp-Jirschele said. “We have a very giving board, and our budget is used as a guideline. In fact, we don’t even call it a budget; it’s called a grantmaking guideline.”
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PHILANTHROPY Heel, boy, heel IT’S IMPORTANT TO DRAW A LINE in the sand somewhere. And according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey, many companies are doing just that. Some 73 percent of the nation’s largest corporations polled indicate they wouldn’t be giving as much to charity in the near future as they did before the recession, according to its Aug. 7, 2010 issue. “If you don’t have a formal plan laid out, you should at least have a dollar figure in mind so that you don’t get bled dry too badly,” said JoEllen Wollangk, northeast regional manager for the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. She compared budgeting for giving to planning ahead for Christmas shopping. “Decide what you think your company can afford to give,” Wollangk said. “Make a list of those things you really want to support and that have meaning for you.” One tactic a member of Wollangk’s advisory board uses to weed out good from bad causes when he gets a phone solicitation: “He asks, ‘Do you meet the Better Business Bureau’s 20 Standards for non-profits?’ Half the time, they hang up on him,” Wollangk said. Helping kids is high on the list for Culver’s, Miller said.
“We’ve paid to install new lighting in playgrounds, provided new computers in schools, libraries, etc. Our main objective is to give back in our communities wherever and whenever we find the need,” Miller said. Donors or corporations usually have their hotspots – things they value or give to and they just need to keep doing that, Connolly-Keesler said. “There are some businesses that just love the arts and that’s what they give to; they should continue to give to that. That is a real value call for companies and donors. A lot of it is who you know and who puts pressure on you.”
Marmaduke, is that you? IT’S NOT YOUR IMAGINATION: More people do have their hands out lately. Demand for charity keeps growing. And growing. Requests for donations are up enormously this giving year, according to Connolly-Keesler. “I have to say, from the foundation perspective, I have never seen this number of requests,” Connolly-Keesler said. In her 11 years with the foundation, the last six months have seen the greatest demand. “July 1 is when our giving year begins, and we could be out of our budget right now. Right now, people are just
Philanthropic giving is an issue many businesses face, yet there’s no real central clearinghouse of guidelines for businesses – no bluebook, advice queen or Dog Whisperer to consult.
30 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
out of money, they’ve used everything they have and they are lining up. I am really quite amazed.” The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation has funds earmarked for individual categories of needs, as well as “unrestricted” money that can go wherever. “We hold dollars for everything, for capital campaigns, for the environment, for the arts, education, women’s issues,” Connolly-Keesler said. But an economy such as the one we’re in the midst of calls for basic needs to take precedence, Connolly-Keesler said. That means sustenance and shelter come before song and Shakespeare. “What happened is all of us shifted our philanthropic dollars to basic needs,” Connolly-Keesler said. “We have had to make sure people are fed, that they have housing and that they have clothing.” “We do have unrestricted dollars, and two years ago we shifted all our unrestricted dollars to basic needs causes. That’s why organizations that are used to coming to us for their $5,000 or $10,000 grant really took a hit.” But Connolly-Keesler said it’s important to have arts in the community – you can’t just have food pantries and shelters, she said. “You need quality of life. Right now, the arts are suffering,” Connolly-Keesler said. Small organizations – the kind run by one or two people – are struggling. Connolly-Keesler said she’ll be interested in whether - once funding for basic needs causes has leveled out – people start giving to arts-related causes again.
Encourage good behavior SOME BUSINESSES CAN GIVE their products to causes, and those products, whether it’s paper towels or pizza, help defray overall overhead for that charity. In many cases, Culver’s supplies free food for emergency workers. Red Cross and Salvation Army during fires or other disasters are two examples. In other cases, Miller might offer to help a group do its own fundraising. For example, Culver’s might: Help a group hold a build-your-own-sundae event; Invite charity volunteers or celebrities to serve as waitstafffor-the-night (in return for a percentage of that night’s profits); or Help a group hold a world’s-longest-sundae event, (wherein eaves troughs hold soft-serve custard with all the fixings, and portions are sold). Another solution Miller has found is trading gift cards or coupons with local companies. If a company asks for Culver’s gift cards to give as employee gifts, Miller asks that business for gift cards from their business for her employees. “Win-win situation on that,” Miller said.
Be smart and do a flea-check JUST BECAUSE IT’S A NON-PROFIT organization doesn’t mean it uses its money well, the BBB’s Wollangk advised. Before your business gives its well-earned money to anyone soliciting funds for a cause, do your research. “Make sure you know who you are dealing with,” Wollangk said. “If a person wants to place collection jars on your counter for the humane society or whatever, check with that organization to see if that person is actually from that organization.” A few years ago, a charity used the words “Wisconsin” and “veterans” in its title and solicited money from donors. Posing as an Appleton business, it gave a local address – which turned out to be a mailing center downtown. The charity turned out to be an out-of-state outfit that gave 90 percent of its money to unnamed organizations. “There are really some pretty questionable things out there,” Wollangk said. “We all want to help; we all feel badly that so many veterans have been deployed for so long.” But just because it has an official-sounding name doesn’t mean it’s an official charity, she said. When you buy an ad, make sure you know who you’re buying from and when the ad will be published, Wollangk cited as another example. When the J. J. Keller Foundation Board of Directors weighsin on grant requests, it asks questions about who the money will impact. “Of course we look first at whether the request fits with our mission and service area (Fox Valley), but there are many other considerations,” Keller-Krikava said. “For example, beyond the importance of the issue being addressed in the grant request, is there a solid plan or strategy in place for accomplishing the goals? Does the proposed program hold promise to affect the root cause of poverty in our community? How does the proposed project bring about positive change?” An alumna of Ripon College, Lee Marie Reinsch is a freelance writer based in Green Bay.
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Corporate climate matters most It’s more than just money that drives businesses to create distinctive workplaces
Eric Boos Associate Professor UW-Fond du Lac
For decades employers have looked for the secret to employee job satisfaction. Whether welders in the shop or accountants in the office, corporations know that happy employees are more productive. The solution, however, is not as simple as more money, according to Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely. In his recent book, “The Upside of Irrationality,” Ariely reveals the results of his studies on cash incentives in the work place. Surprising to some, Professor Ariely concludes higher salaries and more specifically, cash bonuses, may not be the best motivational tool for employees. In one study, 43 percent of people hired to perform a specific task got it right when offered a low-level bonus, but only 4 percent of the same people got a similar task right when offered a much higher bonus. His conclusion is the higher bonuses have an inverse effect on productivity because of the increased level of stress generated by an assumed higher level of expectation. Similarly telling of employee job satisfaction is Ariely’s study on “piece work” in which individuals were paid per completed assembly of some item. What Ariely sought to expose was any underlying motivation to continue working on a relatively mundane task beyond monetary compensation. As participants in the study completed each assembly, they were asked if they wanted to continue. Their compensation per unit was on a sliding scale, and Ariely recorded the point at which the participants decided it was no longer “worth it” to continue. The results were consistent. Then, Ariely added a twist by disassembling the unit in front of participants before asking if they wanted to re-assemble the same unit for additional money. This wrinkle in the test resulted in people quitting much sooner than when they assembled multiple units of the same type. Ariely’s experiment on piece-work reveals something economists, psychologists, philosophers and even theologians have pointed out for at least a century: people want – and need – “meaningful” work. Professor Ariely contends businesses often neglect to calculate for employees needing to have meaningful work and a sense of purpose on the job. Ariely’s conclusions are not so enlightening for those of us teaching business ethics. The very word “ethics” derives from the Greek word “ethos” which means both “character” and “community spirit.” The ethos of a business is the community spirit it embodies. Some businesses are better to work for than others, a fact
32 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
recognized in “Best Places to Work” awards. Ariely’s conclusions are not so enlightening for many businesses in America. Tony Hsieh, CEO of the $1 billion-a-year online merchandiser Zappos, takes an unorthodox approach to improving job satisfaction. In his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose,” Hsieh shares secrets for keeping employees happy – everything from nap time to requiring new managers to spend 10 to 20 percent of their work day outside the office with their management team. Productivity at Zappos has increased by all measures, said Hsieh in a recent interview with National Public Radio. The “Zappos Approach” helped Dave Brautigan take the Atlanta Refrigeration Company from 16 employees and $800,000 a year to more than 100 employees and $16 million a year. What Brautigan learned from Hsieh is the importance of developing the company’s core values. An identifiable “ethos” leads to greater employee job satisfaction. Employee happiness is not new to business owners in the Fox Valley either. A number of businesses work hard to increase job satisfaction with benefits beyond wages and bonuses. J.F. Ahern Company in Fond du Lac, a past winner of B2B’s “Best Places to Work Award,” increases job satisfaction by offering an online academy where employees can receive job skills training or training to expand their horizons. This complements their personal development program which grants employees funds to pursue leisure interests such as golf, cooking or quilting, as examples. Mid-States Aluminum in Fond du Lac provides 100 percent reimbursement for health club memberships as well as tuition reimbursement for classes whether or not they relate to job function. Menasha-based Faith Technologies includes healthy food alternatives in their offices, educational support, and learning and development opportunities in nine different areas. These businesses are about more than the things they make or do….they are about community. And according to the latest research they are already on the right track. Eric Boos is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac. He has taught philosophy and law at a number of colleges, both in the U.S. and abroad, during the past 24 years, and has also practiced corporate and international law. Boos received research assistance for this article from Adam Mand, a student at UW-Oshkosh.
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P R O F I L E
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE
Seeing is Believing
The watch illustration was created for a catalog cover that introduced a new product line for ASP, Inc. in Appleton.
Ulrich Visual helps potential buyers and investors ‘see’ what they are getting
34 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
Story by John R. Ingrisano MAYBE YOU’RE A MANUFACTURER ABOUT TO INTRODUCE a new prototype and trying to line up pre-production orders. Or perhaps you are in charge of the building project fundraising committee and are ready to launch a seven-figure capital campaign. Or maybe you are a developer planning a new business mall or deluxe condo and need to convince mildly interested money people to become totally onboard investors. That’s where Robert Ulrich comes in. His Neenah-based company creates the visuals – from 3-D graphics to animated walkthroughs – that turn dull numbers and architect’s sketches of concrete, steel and plastic into three-dimensional creations that help prospective investors and buyers “see” what they’re getting … and that helps Ulrich’s clients make the sale. www.newnorthb2b.com
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE “My clients are marketing professionals, manufacturers, financial institutions, military and government agencies, as well as churches and fundraising groups,” Ulrich told New North B2B magazine, “anyone who wants to positively influence the way people perceive their product, project or ideas.”
Art, technology & business ULRICH HAS BEEN SELF-EMPLOYED for 25 years. A psychology major in college, he always loved painting and drawing. In the late 1970s, when custom-painted mural vans became popular, he decided to try his hand at it, painting motorcycles. “The experiment grew into a full-time business. At one point, Harley-Davidson even incorporated a number of my designs into their paint schemes.” In 1990, he saw the coming trend in digital technology and was one of the first commercial art studios in the region to switch from traditional paint media to an all-digital workflow. “It turned out to be one of the smartest business moves I have made.” Not just an artiste, Ulrich combines creativity with technology and the ability to work closely with business clients, many large, multi-national corporations. “I would describe myself first and foremost as an artist,” he said, “and a techno wizard second. The ability to accurately interpret engineering and architectural drawings is essential to what I do, but it is a skill that can be learned. Creativity is different. It is more of a gift, but one that can be cultivated and developed over time.” If the telling is in the client list (and that’s always a good measure), what Ulrich does works and works well. His regional clients include Miron Construction, Boldt Construction, Gries Architectural Group, Blue Design Group, Secura, Bergstrom Enterprises, Keller Construction, Kimberly-Clark and others. International clients range from General Electric and Exxon Mobil to Time Magazine and National Geographic. At the same time, he has picked up about a dozen Addy Awards (for advertising excellence), including one “Best of Show.” The only thing missing is a staff of 20 or so employees. Ulrich keeps it simple, working out of his home. The entire business consists of himself in the creative chair and his wife, Lisa, who handles administration, sales and customer service.
The art of success ONE REASON ULRICH HAS DONE SO WELL is that he provides a highly valuable service. When working with clients, “when all you have is an idea, and you are asking people to PROFILE Name: Business: Location: Year started: Employees:
Robert Ulrich, Owner Ulrich Visual (www.robertulrich.com), using digital technology to help clients promote the “vision” of their product, project or idea. Neenah 1985 Two (wife, Lisa and himself)
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE
The cutaway view of the flashlight was also created for ASP, Inc. It shows the interior components of a sophisticated, high-intensity LED flashlight developed for law enforcement and military personnel. invest in it, you need to communicate that idea in the clearest, most effective way possible,” he explains. “Visual content is understood faster and has the highest retention rate of any other type of media. A photorealistic 3-D visualization makes your product, project or idea seem “real” in the mind of your audience. By increasing understanding, you reduce uncertainty and eliminate resistance.” Clients come to him to give them that extra advantage in the competitive bidding process by helping potential buyers or investors see the final result … sometimes before it is even created.
Husband and wife working together:
World headquarters of Ulrich Visual consists of Robert Ulrich and his wife, Lisa, working out of their home. How do they handle the close working relationship? Very easily, actually. “My studio is on the lower level and Lisa is on the second floor,” Ulrich says. “When we need to communicate, we email each other during the day.”
The challenge is the joy ULRICH ADMITS HE LOVES PROBLEM SOLVING. That is what has kept him excited about his craft over the years. Sometimes it is a matter of helping clients understand and envision their own project. “Some clients have a very definite idea of what they would like us to do,” he explained. Then there are some who do not. One of Ulrich’s most challenging projects involved creating a 3-D visual for a proposed Boys and Girls Club. The only problem, he says, was that they were still in the planning stages. “Many of the interior details weren’t nailed down. It fell to us to show the color scheme and the furnishings, something that is way outside our area of expertise. In the end, they loved what we did and incorporated many of our ideas into the final plan.” Perhaps Ulrich’s biggest challenge is keeping up with technology. However, unlike many business people, who can feel overwhelmed by the constant changes in technology, Ulrich seems to take it in stride. He invests heavily in equipment to stay current as an accepted cost of doing business. He knows that is part of what keeps him competitive. “The software that we use to create our illustrations and animations is the same as that used in the motion picture industry to create special effects. More than investing in the latest equipment, he also invests a great deal of time to increasing his knowledge. “We stay ahead of the curve with constant self-education and research. We’re talking daily,” he points out. “It’s important to never stop learning. Being a smaller firm is a tremendous advantage here, because we are agile enough to adopt new technologies earlier.”
The illustration of the white building above is a visualization of “The Waters” in Oshkosh, and was created to show what the structure would look like after an extensive renovation. The building is a special events facility and home to the Oshkosh Yacht Club.
The dark brick building on the right is a commercial property U.S. Highway 41 and County Road BB just south of Appleton. The client was Gries Architectural Group in Neenah.
36 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE Success Factors HOW WOULD ULRICH DEFINE SUCCESS? “When I draw the audience in [to a visual], connect with them on an emotional level and help my clients sell the product, win a project or receive project approval, secure financing or persuade others that their ideas are credible, I have done my job.” Ulrich admits that the client loyalty he has built over the years has been a key factor in his success. Keenly aware of the need to meet client needs, he stresses that “we always – without fail – deliver exactly what we promise, and then some. It’s what brings our clients back and what motivates them to recommend us to others.” He cites one company in Appleton that manufactures equipment for military and law-enforcement customers. “We have worked with them for 20-plus years, since they were a startup. Even before the product rolls out, we do 3-D renderings and cut-away views of the products to show interiors. The client recently told me that over the years, it has been our artwork that has played a major role in making our company work.” Like many small business owners, Ulrich puts in 50 to 60 hours a week and sees it as typical. Nor does he see it as hard work. “I know it’s a cliché, but the truth is that I love what I do, so it never feels like work.” At the same time, he acknowledges that “the line between work and personal time is often blurred.” As a micro-company, Ulrich has come to learn that he and Lisa cannot do everything themselves, something which he admits he has been guilty of in the past. “I learned that we can reach a point where it becomes
counterproductive,” so he has learned to delegate to professionals who know certain areas better. What keeps him awake at night? Not much. “Perhaps I’m being naïve, but over the years I’ve learned that short of a major catastrophe, things eventually work out,” he says. “Focus on today, control what you can, and don’t worry about the things that are beyond your control.”
The Future ULRICH IS EXCITED ABOUT what will evolve in technology in the coming years. “As 3-D software and computer hardware become more powerful and accessible, and the global playing field becomes more level, it is creative talent, expertise and an exceptional level of service that will be the determining factors in the success of companies offering creative visualization services. We look forward to continued growth in these exciting times.” And in a world increasingly dominated by the visual message rather than just the written word, it is easy to embrace Robert Ulrich’s vision of the future. John Ingrisano is a Wisconsin-based business journalist, marketing strategist and public speaker. If you would like John to review your company’s needs or do a presentation for your business group, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call (920) 559-3722.
congratulations New North B2B on your 100th issue
save the date!
oshkosh 12.03.10 NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 37
Second opinions offer reassurance to all by Aurora Health Care
The American College of Surgeons states that obtaining a second opinion before surgery is a part of good medical practice and competent physicians shouldn’t be offended when patients decide to seek further advice and consult another surgeon. Why seek a second opinion? Physicians often have differing viewpoints as to how a particular medical problem should be managed, whether through surgery or through less invasive treatments. Medicine is not a “black and white” science, and a physician’s education and experience will likely influence his or her recommendations. When a second surgical opinion confirms initial findings, it gives patients reassurance, reducing anxiety and uncertainty. From a cost-savings perspective, a second opinion can save health care dollars, by confirming the certainty of a clinical need (or lack of need) for the proposed surgery. Some insurance companies require
Loren Potter, DO
a second opinion before non-emergency surgery. In certain cases, several different surgical techniques may be viable options, some offering additional benefits to the patient. For example, arthroscopic surgical techniques, (instead of conventional “open” orthopedic surgery) can involve less trauma to surrounding muscles and tissue, since smaller incisions are made. Patients typically experience a faster recovery with less scarring and less postoperative pain. As an added benefit, this type of operation can often be done on an outpatient basis, saving the costs associated with an overnight hospital stay. Because surgery is a major procedure with associated risks that should not be taken lightly, second opinions are an important element of the decision-making process. Patients should know and clearly understand all of their surgical options beforehand. However, a second opinion
You could be...
is not necessarily “better” than a first opinion. Whether there is agreement or disagreement, the final decision is up to the patient. Patients should remember that it is their right to seek a second opinion before committing to surgery or any treatment plan. A competent physician will likely consider the patient to be an informed, proactive heath care consumer who is taking responsibility for his or her own health care. Loren Potter, D.O., is an orthopedic and hand and upper extremity surgeon. He practices at the Aurora Health Center in Oshkosh and the Aurora Health Center in Fond du Lac. Dr. Potter has extensive fellowship training and surgical expertise in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, shoulder/ elbow arthroplasty, hand surgery, nerve surgery, and tendon and ligament and upper extremity surgical procedures, using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.
The Community Benefit Tree presents
L I F E Awareness Night Sponsorships Available!
Wave Bar & Ballroom 2350 N Casaloma Dr, Appleton Tuesday, November 9, 2010
$25.00 per person in advance/ $30.00 at the Door or a table of 10 for $225.00 6:00 p.m.– Interactive Networking life-size game of LIFE Silent Auction /Raffles & International Food Buffet of Area Restaurants
www.CliffDwellersCondominiums.com Waterfront Door County townhouses and cottages for sale starting from $89K. Located in close proximity to Potawatomi State Park, Cherryland Airport, Idlewild Golf Course and the Maritime Museum. A peaceful location perfect for a couples retreat.
FOR SALE BY OWNER Contact: 920.216.0169 or email@example.com
38 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
8:00p.m. Inspirational Stories
The Community Benefit Tree Inc. is a 501 (c ) (3) nonprofit organization that assists individuals and their families within the community during their medical crisis. We assist through support, resources, education and financial support through Celebration of Support Events (aka individual benefits).
To make reservations or to learn more about this event call
Heidi at (920) 422-1919 or visit our website at www.communitybenefittree.org
Market News Not Good, Just Less Bad by Reinhart Partners Inc. With the market rallying in September, everyone believes the up-tick is because of some positive economic reports. I disagree. I think that pessimism reached a high in August and some of the downside surprises were already priced into the market. The markets have worried for months about sovereign debt, currency volatility, consumer spending, unemployment, and the list goes on. There has also been many a debate about the possibility of a double dip recession. The Fed seems worried, and the political situation seems very uncertain with the upcoming November elections and the prospects of more polarization ahead. Investors have had a lot on their minds and their concern was well noted with a very difficult August. Sentiment polls have shown recently the general attitude out there is not all that great. But as usual, the markets get to September and decide it is time for a rally to
frustrate the majority. The media has tried to explain the rally saying there has been some good news in the economic reports. I believe the news has merely been “less bad” than actually good. The headlines have claimed unemployment has got better, yet in reality unemployment numbers ticked up again. The headlines focused on a much better ISM Manufacturing Survey, but ignored the fact that the non-manufacturing survey, which is more important to the U.S. economy, was unexpectedly weak. Retail sales are actually lower now than they were in March. The problem is consumers will not increase spending faster than their income increases, and with low capacity utilization and high unemployment that will not happen very quickly. Business spending is clearly picking up and improving, but the consumer still makes up 70 percent of the economy. And the consumer is still paying down debt and increasing their savings. With the recent rally being supported
920.230.6850 by the news being “less bad,” the reality is that the market is again more vulnerable to future disappointing economic news. This is not a call for major problems in the markets, just a continued reminder that the current de-leveraging cycle and readjustment to the new economic norm are still underway. Greg Pierce, Partner and Financial Advisor at Reinhart Partners Inc., is well known and respected in the investment industry nationwide and is frequently quoted in InvestmentNews magazine and the financial section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Greg was extensively quoted in a recent article in Forbes Magazine. You can reach Greg at 920-230-6850 or firstname.lastname@example.org. “Professionally Speaking” is a promotional spot for business professionals to share their expertise with New North B2B readers.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 39
WHO’S NEWS Incorporations New North B2B includes a monthly list of new business incorporations filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Wittmann & Wittmann Construction LLC, Micaela MacDonald, 1301 Kimberly Dr., Neenah 54956. Snap Lab Media LLC, Scott R. Francis, 319 Cleveland St., Menasha 54952. Makai Refrigerated Express LLC, Lynda S. Schrauth, 1933 Chase Dr., Omro 54963. Pro Flow Seamless Gutters LLC, David F. Grant, 609 Roosevelt St., Waupun 53963. Brightwhitesmile LLC, Heidi L. Ellis, 609 Linda St., Combined Locks 54113. First Choice Heating & Air Conditioning LLC, David R. Niessen, 1009 Kristy St., Kaukauna 54130. Fuji Yummy Japanese Steakhouse Inc., I. Chai Chen, 221 N. Peters Ave., Fond du Lac 54935. JTJ ATM Solutions LLC, Jeff Day, 1080 N. Perkins St., Appleton 54914. Heat & Power Services LLC, Todd Darling, 501 Bohm Dr., Little Chute 54140. Witts Promotional Advertising LLC, Donald Witt, W3628 Rock Road, Appleton 54913. Integrity IT LLC, Brian Arpke, 1218 S. Madison St., P.O. Box 464, Appleton 54915. Carroll Valley Farms LLC, Bret C. Carroll, 4506 Starlight Ct., Appleton 54913. Cruzer Commercial Cleaning LLC, Cruz Arvizu, 912 Washington St., Little Chute 54140-154. Tailored Homes and Development LLC, Jeremiah Daniel Rohan, 5730 Cedar Crest Ct., Appleton 54914. Aspen Pro Exteriors LLC, Richard Nobles, Jr., 477 S. Nicolet Road, Suite 3, Appleton 54914. Rejeneration Synthetics LLC, Jennifer Swanson, 300 S. Van Dyke Road, Appleton 54914. Midwest Commercial Capital LLC, Michael A. Opheim, 770 S. Main St., Fond du Lac 54935. AKA Exterior Services LLC, Adam Michael Feustel, 596 Linda Ct., Kaukauna 54130.
40 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
Pretty Nail Care LLC, Hau Hoai Dang, 767 Security Dr., Fond du Lac 54935. Yellow Wood Chiropractic LLC, Kimberli Trader, 5497 Waterford Lane, Suite D, Appleton 54913. Appleton Massage Therapy Associates LLC, Marialyce B. Dorman, 1500 N. Casaloma Dr., Suite 411, Appleton 54913. Zillionth Networking LLC, Timothy William Wondra, 211 S. Marr St., Fond du Lac 54935. Like New Home Services LLC, Joshua D. Elledge, 1711 S. Bouten St., Appleton 54915. Agile Assembly Solutions LLC, Robert L Huntington, Jr., 1450 Janet St., Kaukauna 54130. Sun Roofing & Siding LLC, Cheryl Bryant, 230 E. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton 54911. Law Office of Tim Lennon Co., Tim Lennon, 425 W. Water St., Ste. 275, Appleton 54911. Advanced Movement Studio LLC, Andrew M. Braun, 415 S. Olde Oneida St., #335, Appleton 54911. ZJ Pub & Grill LLC, V. Bradley Jaeger, 625 E. Division St., Fond du Lac 54935. Fox Cities Clinic of Chiropractic LLC, Pler Yang, D.C., 819 Schelfhout Lane, Ste. 105, Kimberly 54136. Wisconsin Sports Marketing LLC, Mark Bartels, 723 Matthew Lane, Kaukauna 54130. Consolidated Materials LLC, Gary M. Smith, 889 E. Johnson St., Fond du Lac 54935. Alphabeats Entertainment LLC, Scott E. Bahr, 1231 Wedgewood Lane, Fond du Lac 54935. LCT Counseling Services LLC, Theresa Ann Flegal, 845 Thelosen Dr., Kimberly 54136. Aphasia Communication Group of the Fox Valley LLC, Jennifer Trustem, 1209 Westbreeze Dr., Neenah 54956. Culinary Ventures LLC, Walter W. Welk, W12578 County Road E, Waupun 53963. The Fine Line Consignment Boutique LLC, Debra Jean Giffey, 1922 S. Washburn St., Oshkosh 54904. Keepman Plumbing LLC, Benjamin John Keepman, 311 Second St., Neenah 54956. Bulls Eye Web Marketing LLC,
Bradley Sack, 1269 Southfield Dr., Menasha 54952. Harnitz Law Office LLC, Bruce Harnitz, 404 N. Main St., Suite 819, Oshkosh 54901. Photocups.com LLC, Rosemary Blando, 823 Washington Ave., Oshkosh 54901. Goss Gutters LLC, Seth Goss, 1151 Bartlein Ct., Menasha 54952. Essentials Jewelry Design By Lisah LLC, Lisah A. Vander Heiden, 1351 Tuckaway Ct., Menasha 54952. Weathervane Restaurant LLC, Patrick L. Dufrane, 610 Tayco St., Menasha 54952. Extended Independence LLC, Jennifer Joan Gilbertson, 506 Wisconsin Ave. North Fond du Lac 54937. Cedar Ridge Crafts & Gifts LLC, Barbara Ann Elmer, 460 Norton Ave., Oshkosh 54901. Skolaski Plumbing LLC, Anthony John Skolaski, 1508 Ames St., Neenah 54956. Ruegs Plastering Systems Inc., Daniel A. Rueger, 2615 Hamilton St., Oshkosh 54901. Wisconsin Infection Prevention Consultants LLC, Miki Gould, 848 E. Cecil St., Neenah 54956, Weis Livestock LLC, Gus N. Weis, 8588 Rush Lake Dr., Ripon 54971. Start 2 Finish Carpentry LLC, Carrie Lee Zuege, 1801 Chapman Ave., North Fond du Lac 54937. Puretech Systems LLC, Mark Schwei, 36 Jewelers Park Dr., Suite 204, Neenah 54956. Recover & Restore Enterprises LLC, Leonard S. Frens, N3144 West Center Road, Waupun 53963. Fabisch Plumbing LLC, Jerome Todd Fabisch, 861 W. 10th Ave., Oshkosh 54902. Nutek Engineering LLC, Eric L. Parks, N11638 County Road M, Waupun 53963. Murphy and Associates Physical Therapy LLC, Jill H. Murphy, 2953 Rose Moon Way, Neenah 54956. Thumann’s Drywall Finishing LLC, David C. Thumann, 337 Fourth St., Neenah 54956. Iconic Ink Tattoo LLC, Nickie Esselman, 118 E. Main St., Winneconne 54986.
Building Permits B2B includes a monthly list of building permits (not to include residential projects) in excess of $400,000. Sadoff & Rudoy Industries, 240 W. Arndt St., Fond du Lac. $1,195,000 for a new industrial facility. General contractor is C.R. Meyer & Sons Construction of Oshkosh. August 17. GNC Oshkosh/StrataGraph, 3465 Moser St. Oshkosh. $912,203 for a 14,510-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial facility. General contractor is C.R. Meyer & Sons Construction of Oshkosh. August 18. Agnesian Healthcare, 430 E. Division St., Fond du Lac. $548,000 for interior alterations to the existing health care facility. General contractor is C.D. Smith Construction of Fond du Lac. August 20. Dermatology Associates, 3935 N. Lightning Dr., Appleton. $750,000 for a new medical office building. General contractor is Delsman Construction. September 13.
Thursday January 27 th Oshkosh Convention Center 10-7 p.m.
Featuring a “Great Outdoors” theme
Booth space still available Contact Bruce Nelson @ 303.2265 ext 29 or email: email@example.com
“Congratulations B2B on your 100th issue!”
New businesses ATW Miller Group, Oshkosh, was launched by Todd Miller, and will focus on providing business advisory services as well as business lending advisory services to area businesses and financial institutions. Miller is a former executive with Community First Credit Union in Appleton and with M&I Bank in Oshkosh. The firm’s business advisory services include cash flow analysis, financial analysis, financing options, debt restructures, troubled company restructuring and collections. Miller is a SCORE counselor for the Fox Cities, Oshkosh and Miller Fond du Lac area and sits on the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business committee.
Business Expo Media Sponsor
Mergers/acquisitions Batley CPA LLC, Green Bay, acquired the Appleton accounting practice of Mark Danielski. Batley CPA, which also has offices in Green Bay and Neenah, will continue to operate Danielski’s Ballard Road office and maintain its existing staff of two. Marcus Theatres acquired Regal College Avenue 16 in the town of Harrison from Regal Cinemas.
New locations Ala Roma, Fond du Lac, moved its restaurant from Silica Mall in to a new location at the site of the former Country Kitchen at 171 N. Pioneer Road, just off of the U.S. Highway 41 and Johnson St. interchange.
Name changes Appleton-based ESOP Insourcing, an ESOP consulting and administration firm, changed its name to ESOP Partners.
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 41
WHOâ€™S NEWS New products/services Infinity Technology, Green Bay, launched YourDesignsToHTML.com, a service to convert custom artwork designs into HTML format for Web browsing. The service allows creative professionals looking to develop their own site to add their own PSD artwork.
New hires Skyline Technologies Inc., Green Bay, hired Mitch Weckop as its CEO. Prior to joining Skyline, Weckop was senior vice president and general manager at Schneider Logistics, senior vice president of customer experience at Schneider National, vice president and general manager at Paper Converting Machine Co., and supply chain leader at Procter and Gamble. Marian University in Fond du Lac hired Steven R. DiSalvo as its 14th president and Julie Luetschwager as the dean of its school of nursing. DiSalvo brings extensive experience in Catholic higher education and national philanthropic fundraising leadership. Luetschwager comes to Marian with 20 years experience in nursing education. Leibold, Neenah, hired Brian Ludka as a visualization specialist and Brandon Hughes as business development manager. Ludka previously worked for Kimberly-Clark Corp. in corporate communications and marketing for 15 years. For the last seven years he worked in product concept development and computer-generated imagery for 3-D visualization and owned and operated his own firm, Ludka Design. Hughes previously owned an Allstate Insurance Co. agency and grew his business to 87 employees and $3.2 million in sales. After selling his insurance business, Hughes worked as a management consultant, helping businesses with marketing, sales, insurance and IT solutions. Stellar Blue Web Design LLC, Menasha, hired Greg Waters as creative director. Prior to joining Stellar Blue, Waters had his
own Web design firm. Waters has experience in illustration, design, programming, sales, market research and company branding. Evergreen Therapy Services at Evergreen Retirement Community, Oshkosh, hired Amy Sexton as rehab manager. Sexton has been a physical therapist for 20 years. Her clinical experience includes orthopedics, neurological conditions and wound care. HiTech Enterprises Inc., Neenah, hired Scott Armes as senior account manager. Armes has more than 15 years experience. The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce hired Cecil Streeter as its education coordinator. Streeter coordinates the business/ education programs, including the Partners in Education Council, Partners at Learning and Career and Life Path Day. Streeter recently retired from the Oshkosh Area School District, where he spent 30 years as a career counselor at Oshkosh West High School. Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corp. hired Jo Ann Giese-Kent as a research specialist and Jennifer WardBrown as a marketing specialist. Giese-Kent will conduct and communicate community and economic research through the economic gardening program, Impact! Ward-Brown will provide marketing for FCEDC, as well as marketing consulting to small businesses and communities within Fond du Lac County. Infinity Technology, Green Bay, hired Dave Moorman as an executive account manager in its software and Web Development division. The Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh hired Karen Heikel as its assistant vice chancellor. Heikel comes to UWOshkosh from Montana State University-Billings, where she
42 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
WHO’S NEWS served as the dean of the College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning since 2006.
ships and business development. He has 12 years of banking experience and has been with Citizens Bank for four years.
Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. added Robert A. Mathers, CPA, as a shareholder in its Oshkosh, and will serve businesses throughout Wisconsin. Mathers primarily practices in the corporate arena, where he provides legal, tax and transactional guidance services to Wisconsin corporations and their owners, as well as estate planning and private wealth services to individuals. Mathers most recently served as president of Clifton Gunderson’s Wealth Management group, and prior to that assignment, served as Clifton Gunderson’s National Tax Director for seven years. In addition to his law degree and CPA designation, Mathers is a Personal Financial Specialist and is accredited in business valuation by the American Institute of CPAs.
Michels Corp., Brownsville, promoted Bob Westphal to senior vice president of construction operations. In his new role, Westphal helps with strategic planning, process improvement, employee relations and problem resolution. Westphal oversees multiple operating divisions, including Michels Pipeline Construction, Michels Directional Crossings, Michels Canada and Michels Pipe Services. Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin promoted Victoria Williams to retail program coordinator for Goodwill’s Menasha Retail Store and Training Center and hired Teri Horner as the Oshkosh satellite team leader for the Financial Information and Service Center. Most recently, Williams was the assistant team leader for Goodwill’s Grand Chute store. Since joining the organization in 2002, Williams has held a variety of roles in both retail and in programs and services. Horner comes to Goodwill from Prospera Credit Union, where she was the GoodMoney multi-location manager.
Promotions Kundinger Fluid Power, Neenah, promoted Paul Kundinger to vice president of sales and marketing and Tom E. Kundinger to vice president and general manager of the Kundinger Technology Center. Paul Kundinger joined his family business in 1999 and served various roles in customer service, distribution, vendor management and sales. Tom E. Kundinger started with the company in 1992, learning the engineering and technical aspects of the business. In his new role, he is responsible for the technology center budgeting and continuous improvement.
ThedaCare, Appleton, promoted Kim Barnas to system vice president of oncology services. Barnas leads the oncology services team, focusing on cancer patients across the continuum of care. Barnas has been with ThedaCare for 16 years, working with the birth centers at Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark; inpatient surgery at AMC and Groth Surgery Center; inpatient oncology; radiation oncology; the Theda Clark and Appleton Medical Center foundations; the Wolf River Foundation; volunteer services; and the Hospice Foundation.
National Exchange Bank & Trust, Fond du Lac, promoted Jacalyn King to vice president of collections, Gary Ott to vice president and Susan Bovee to assistant vice president of loan services. Prior to her promotion, King held several positions with the bank including teller, collections assistant, collections and loan officer and assistant vice president of collections. Ott previously served as assistant vice president of trust and has 13 years of banking experience. Bovee has been with the bank since 1992, previously serving as a customer service representative and account services assistant supervisor before moving to the loan servicing area.
Evergreen Retirement Community, Oshkosh, promoted Erin Sanders to vice president of human resources. Sanders has been with Evergreen for nine years and previously held the position of human resources manager.
Individual awards Three agriculture instructors at Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, were recognized statewide for accomplishments in their fields. Nile Beck received the 2010 Farm Business & Production Management award on behalf of the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Educators. Kevin Rauchholz was acknowledged by WAAE for his efforts in leading the 2010 Outstanding Post Secondary/Adult Agriculture Education Program. Tom Yost earned the 2010 Advisor of the Year award from the Wisconsin Postsecondary Agriculture Student organization.
Marian University, Fond du Lac, promoted Sue Stoddart to dean of its school of education. Her experience includes 10 years at Marian as associate professor and chair of the curriculum and instruction department. Citizens Bank promoted Matt Nolan to commercial relationship manager at its Appleton West branch on College Avenue. Nolan is responsible for commercial banking relation-
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 43
WHO’S NEWS The University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac presented its 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award to Mark R. Strand, chief deputy/undersheriff with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department. Strand began his career in the sheriff’s department as a correctional officer in 1981. He was recently appointed to the Fond du Lac School District Board of Education and serves on the school district’s Drug Free Schools Task Force, and is chair of Element 1, Safe Schools and Violence Prevention.
Elections/appointments Valley Home Builders Association named the following executive officers for 2010-11: president, J.P. Jedwabny, J&S Homes Inc., Appleton; immediate past president, Mike Gibbons, GTS Construction; president-elect, Dennis O’Brien, O’Brien Builders; secretary, Chris Warecki, Sterling Building Systems; and treasurer, Jason Henderson, Orchard Financial.
Certifications Appleton-based civil engineering firm OMNNI announced Margaret Hawley earned her Level 2 Roundabout Designer certification from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and Ryan Betker earned his Level 1 Roundabout Designer certification. Hawley has 25 years of transportation design experience and leads OMNNI’s roundabout group. Betker has eight years of transportation design experience.
Business calendar New North B2B encourages businesses and organizations looking to attract interested persons to upcoming events to send an announcement to: New North B2B, Attn: Who’s News, P.O. Box 559, Oshkosh, WI 54903. For more events, log on to www.thenewnorthevents.com. October 1 “The Anatomy of a Deal,” a seminar presented by Schenck Business Solutions, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Butte des Morts Country Club in Appleton. This no-cost event will address the issues that sellers and buyers need to focus on during the course of negotiating a deal, including topics such as: emotional challenges of selling a business; how to prepare a company for future sale; developing an offer price; and navigating the due diligence and negotiation process. For more information or to register, go online to www.schencksc.com or call Karie at 800.236.2246, ext. 1261. October 6 Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Coffee Connection, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Lakeland Care District offices, N6654 Rolling Meadows Dr. in Fond du Lac. Cost to attend is $2. For information or to register, go online to www.fdlac.com or call 920.921.9500.
Master of College of Business
Business Administration … where professionals emerge as leaders.
Join the MBA Program at UW Oshkosh for a free Professional Development Seminar. These seminars are open to the public. Registration is required - http://tinyurl.com/m8kefg. Managers v. Leaders; What’s the Difference? Thursday, October 14, 2010 – 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Green Bay MBA Education Center 333 Main Street, Green Bay Presented by Tony Wickham, Praxilient
Workplace Flexibility: How Every Business Can Benefit Wednesday, October 27, 2010 – 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. UW Oshkosh campus Presented by Kyra Cavanaugh, President of Life Meets Work
Find us online at www.mba.uwosh.edu Twitter: @oshkoshMBA Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oshkoshMBA Get the free mobile app at
http:/ / gettag.mobi
Congratulations to the New North B2B for 100 issues of business news excellence! 44 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
BUSINESS CALENDAR October 6 “Meet the Candidates 2010,” an event from Propel, the Oshkosh young professionals group, 5 to 8 p.m. at Oshkosh Country Club, 11 W. Ripple Road in Oshkosh. Meet and ask questions of candidates running for local and state offices. Cost is $5 for Propel member or $15 for nonmembers. Register online at www.propeloshkosh.com. October 7 “Economic Insights: What Does It All Mean to You,” a seminar presented by Oshkosh’s West Side Association, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at La Sure’s Banquet Hall, 3125 S. Washburn St. in Oshkosh. Breakfast event with a keynote address from Gregory B. Pierce, a partner and portfolio manager with Reinhart Partners Inc. in Oshkosh, discussing inflation, tax changes, economic recovery, the new federal health care act, and other current economic issues. Cost is $10. Registration required by contacting Connie at 920.424.4260 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. October 7 General Services Administration seminars, a pair of sessions presented through Moraine Park Technical College, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Fond du Lac Campus of MPTC, 235 N. National Ave. in Fond du Lac. Geared at businesses learning more about selling to the federal government, an “Introduction to GSA Schedules” session will be held in the morning, while a “GSA Solicitations – Responding to Requirements” session will be held in the afternoon. Registration is $45 for each seminar and can be conducted online at matcmadison.edu/bpac-wi. For information, email email@example.com or call 608.243.4490.
We’ve changed (sort of). For more than 75 years, you’ve known us as Virchow Krause, one of the country’s strongest accounting and advisory firms. We have simply changed our name to Baker Tilly, cementing our commitment to Baker Tilly International— the world’s 8th largest network of accounting firms—further enhancing our ability to help clients around the globe. Today is a great day. And tomorrow will be even better.
© 2009 Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP An independent member of Baker Tilly International Baker Tilly refers to Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, an independently owned and managed member of Baker Tilly International.
Connect with us: bakertilly.com
October 12 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Sales Club, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the chamber building, 120 Jackson St. in Oshkosh. No cost to attend for chamber members. For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920.303.2265.
BIZ FACTS Wisconsin has an abundance of what is becoming an endangered species in some places -- people who like to work. Loyalty is another notion still in style in Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin has one of the lowest percentages of employees who choose to leave their jobs.
Source: Forward Wisconsin
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FLYWAY just happens to be the Best. Serving all your exterior, interior & vehicle sign needs in the Fox Valley for over 25 years Trust the Sign Experts at FLYWAY to make you stand out From simple to complex; call us today for a new sign or expert service on an existing sign We’re not satisfied until YOU are satisfied
920.921.7178 n 800.201.7553 www.flywaysigns.com NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 45
Client Interests First. Stocks • Bonds • Mutual Funds • IRAs • Money Market Funds Annuities • UITs • Managed Money • CDs • Retirement Plans Cash Management • Financial Planning
David F. Priest • Vice President / Investments, Branch Manager Ronald W. Schmude • Vice President / Investments
(920) 303-1686 1819 Witzel Avenue Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902 Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated | Member SIPC and NYSE
October 12 “Retirement Plan Compliance Check-Up – How To Find Operational Defects, E-File and Stay In Compliance” A no-cost webinar presented by Clifton Gunderson, from 1 to 2 p.m. For more information, go online to www.cliftoncpa.com/Resources/ Events, or call Deana at 888.778.9588. October 13 Business, Industry & Education Day, a school-to-work program event from the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, 4 p.m. at UW-Fond du Lac. Cost is $25 for business representatives, and no charge for educators. For more information or to register, go online to www.fdlac.com or call 920.921.9500. October 14 Women In Management - Oshkosh Chapter, regular monthly meeting, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at La Sure’s Banquet Hall, 3125 S. Washburn St. in Oshkosh. For more information or to register, go online to www.wimiwi.org or contact Nicole at email@example.com or 920.267.0300. October 14 CEO Sit Down, an event for Young Professionals of Fond du Lac, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Windhover Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac. Grande Cheese President Wayne Matzke will discuss tips and tools necessary to succeed in today’s workforce. Lunch will be provided. No cost to YPF members, or $10 for non-members. For more information or to register, go online to www.fdlac.com or call 920.921.9500. October 14 “Get Paid! Letters of Credit and Alternate International Payment Methods,” a half-day seminar presented through the Northeast Wisconsin International Business Development Program, 7:30 a.m. to noon at Bridgewood Conference Center in Neenah. Paul Eversman, vice president of international banking for Associated Bank, will discuss various letter of credit options. Cost is $25. For more information or to register, contact Fred at 920.496.2118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. October 19 Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Business Connection, 5 to 7 p.m. at EP-Direct, 1479 S. Hickory St. in Fond du Lac. Cost is $2 if pre-registered or $5 at the door. For information or to register, go online to www.fdlac.com or call 920.921.9500 October 20 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Taste from the Heart 2010, 5 to 9 p.m. at Van Abel’s of Hollandtown. Taste culinary creations from area restaurants, delis, cafes and caterers. Cost is $25. For information, go online to www.heartofthevalleychamber.com or call 920.766.1616. October 26 Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of Public Relations Society of America 10th Anniversary Annual Meeting, 2:30 p.m. at Brett Favre Steakhouse, 1004 Brett Favre Pass in Green Bay. Public relations guru Peter Shankman will discuss how companies,
46 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
BUSINESS CALENDAR agencies and others can use social media to generate revenue. The event will also include the first ever Premier Awards. For more information or to register, go online to www.prsanewis.org October 28 Business Sustainability Workshop, offered jointly by the Business Resource Center and BRC Advisor Curt Hoffman, 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Butte des Morts Country Club in Appleton. The workshop is free to attendees, but registration is required by going online to www.brcfoxcities.com. November 9 “A Family Company with a Soul – James J. Keller,” a lunch and seminar event presented as part of the Excellence in Leadership series, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oshkosh Convention Center, 2 N. Main St. in Oshkosh. Keynote will be from James J. Keller,
Advertiser’s Index 44˚ North Advertising www.fortyfournorth.com.................................. 46 Anthem www.anthem.com.............................................................. 2 Aurora Health Care www.AuroraHealthCare.com................................. 38 Bailiwick Workshops www.bailiwickworkshops.com.............................. 8 Baker Tilly www.bakertilly.com....................................................... 45 Bank First National www.bankfirstnational.com.................................. 19 Breakthrough Solutions LLC www.breakthroughsolutionsllc.net................ 8 CarePlus Dental Associates www.careplusdentalplans.com................. 50 CitizensFirst Credit Union www.citizensfirst.com . ............................ 17 Cliff Dwellers www.cliffdwellerscondominiums.com............................... 38 Community Benefit Tree . ....................................................... 38 Culver’s www.culvers.com............................................................ 33 Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. www.dkattorneys.com..................................... 5 Digicorporation www.digiprint.biz.................................................. 12 E-Connect www.econnectevent.com................................................... 7 EP Direct www.ep-directprinting.com. ............................................... 19 Fast Signs www.fastsigns.com....................................................... 47 First Business Bank www.firstbusiness.com. .................................... 11 Flyway Signs & Graphics www.flywaysigns.com............................... 45 Guident Business Solutions www.guidentbusinesssolutions.com............ 29 Hilton Garden Inn www.oshkosh.hgi.com. ....................................... 46 J. F. Ahern Co. www.jfahern.com. ................................................. 29
president and chief operating officer of J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. in Neenah. Registration is $35 before October 10, or $40 after that date. Send check to: Excellence in Leadership, P.O. Box 2602, Oshkosh, WI 54903-2602. For more information, call 920.223.0520 or go online to www.eilgroup.org. November 9 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Sales Club, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the chamber building, 120 Jackson St. in Oshkosh. No cost to attend for chamber members. For more information or to register, email email@example.com or call 920.303.2265. November 16 E-Connect, a seminar and networking event for entrepreneurs, 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oshkosh Convention Center, 2 N. Main St. in Oshkosh. Keynote speaker Dick Bergstrom will accent an evening which will include break out sessions on financing, social media, networking, developing an elevator pitch, and resources for starting and growing a business. Cost to attend is $30. For more information or to register, contact Annette at 920.929.2928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. November 16 Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Business Connection, 5 to 7 p.m. at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 150 S. Brooke St. in Fond du Lac. Cost is $2 if pre-registered or $5 at the door. For information or to register, go online to www.fdlac. com or call 920.921.9500.
Keller Inc. www.kellerbuilds.com ................................................... 52 Lombardi’s Restaurant www.radisson.com...................................... 33 Moraine Park Technical College www.morainepark.edu..................... 35 Network Health Plan www.networkhealth.com . ................................ 51 New North www.thenewnorth.com................................................... 37 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce www.oshkoshchamber.com. ............ 41 Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visitoshkosh.com.......... 24 Outagamie County Regional Airport www.atw.com......................... 13 Pullman’s Restaurant www.pullmansrestaurant.com............................ 33 Reinhart Partners www.reinhart-partners.com. ................................... 39 R.J. Albright Inc. www.RJAlbright.com............................................ 31 Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. www.stifel.com . ......................................... 46 TDS www.tds.com. ..................................................................... 49 UWO-College of Business www.business.uwosh.edu......................... 44 Valley Insurance Associates www.viainsurance.com......................... 31 Venture Center www.venturecenterwi.biz.......................................... 30 West Side Association www.westsideassociation.com......................... 39 Winnebago County Solid Waste Mgmt.www.co.winnebago.wi.us........ 41
NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010 l 47
MANAGING EDITOR’S VIEW
It’s good to be back in the New North! The chance to help an entrepreneurial company grow brings me back to one of the hottest business markets in Wisconsin
Bob Warde Managing Editor New North B2B
It’s great to be back in the New North! Sean Fitzgerald, Publisher of New North B2B, and I have joined forces as he has named me the first employee-editor of the magazine. I take it as high praise for an entrepreneur who has edited the publication himself for nearly 9 years to entrust me to carry on with his “baby.” It’s true that I have more than 25 years of journalism experience, most of them as an editor, but it isn’t easy for a business owner to step back and let someone take over. Especially an entrepreneur as dedicated as Sean. I believe my experience with the New North and business news in general helped. In the early years of the decade, I spent about three years as Business Editor of The Sheboygan Press newspaper and a bit more than a year as Editor of Marketplace magazine. Most recently I served as Editor of Corporate Report Wisconsin, a statewide business magazine. Those years spent here really opened my eyes to the region and its importance to the statewide economy. The dynamism I found here is not to be ignored. Several things have changed since we last talked in one of these columns. First, the New North regional economic development group was formed in 2005 as a coalition of the region’s 18 counties with the mandate to promote economic development, but the group has gone way beyond that, and has incorporated into its mission additional goals and challenges, including: •Attracting, developing and retaining talent •Focusing on targeted growth opportunities •Supporting an entrepreneurial and small business climate •Encouraging educational attainment •Encouraging and embracing diverse talents •Promoting the regional brand A new emphasis on renewable energy and conservation has been created. The New North group has been tireless in creating gatherings that encourage the development of an energy cluster. The local technical colleges have also stepped up to the plate to encourage economic growth as well. One example is the Fox Valley Technical College’s fabrication workshop, or Fab Lab, which provides inventors, entrepreneurs and existing business tools and knowledge to create product prototypes. Stocked with industrial-grade fabrication
48 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
tools that operate with open-source software, the lab is also staffed with engineering and mechanical experts. An acute shortage of workers was top-ofmind for most executives six years ago as well. Of course, the Great Recession has quelled much of that concern, with exceptions for certain professions, for which local technical colleges and universities have developed innovative training programs to train displaced workers in an effort to meet the demand. For example, as Jessica La Plante-Wikgren reported in our August edition, education outlets at every level have developed programs to train workers to become skilled in industries that will experience worker shortages as Baby Boomers begin retiring in large numbers once their retirement accounts recover. Groups such as the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce have even developed coloring books designed to interest elementary school children in careers such as welding and CNC machine operation. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, programs are also getting a full-court press in the New North, with programs that include Project Lead the Way in the Oshkosh Area School District, an effort that has led to five to ten times more students showing an interest in studying those subjects when going on to technical school or college. The upshot of all this is that, as I learned in my previous years in the New North, challenges are met and needs filled in the region. It is that can-do attitude and ability to properly assess what’s needed that keeps the region vibrant – and what brought the recession here later than many other parts of the state and country and, for the most part, eased the blow once it did arrive. I’m glad to be back and I look forward to reconnecting with as many of you as possible as I settle into my new role with the magazine. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
New New North blog coming Starting October 11th, New North B2B will begin publishing a blog featuring more current news and information from around our coverage area. You can find it and sign up to receive updates in your e-mail box at newnorthb2b. wordpress.com.
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KEY STATISTICS Per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.
$2.75 Sept. 12 $2.74 Sept. 5 $2.64 August 29 $2.64 Sept. 19, 2009 $2.49 Sept. 19
Source: New North B2B observations
from August 2009 August
from August 2009
Appleton Fond du Lac Neenah Oshkosh Wisconsin
July June July ‘09
9.9% 10.2% 9.5% 9.5% 9.2% 9.7% 7.8% 8.0% 7.8% 8.1%
11.4% 11.5% 11.3% 9.1% 8.8%
from August 2009
* (2007 = 100)
Prices for small businesses using less than 20,000 therms. Listed price is per therm.
$0.728 August $0.808 Sept. ‘09 $0.594 Sept.
from August 2009
Source: Integrys Energy
(Manufacturers and trade)
(Numbers above 50 mean expansion. Numbers below 50 mean contraction.)
from July 2009
* The U.S. Federal Reserve revised its index of industrial production to 2007 effective in July. It had previously been set for 2002.
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50 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2010
See You AT THE GAME! No one understands the needs of Northeast Wisconsin businesses better than someone who lives and works here. Jeff is one example of the many Network Health Plan team members dedicated to keeping you and your employees well. Network Health Plan offers custom, flexible health plans that focus on your specific business needs.
Contact your insurance broker or Network Health Plan at 1-800-276-8004, or ask your employer about Network Health Plan. Visit us on the web: www.networkhealth.com.
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Pe r s o n a l | F l e x i b l e | L o c a l SAL-087-01-11/09
FACE of Keller
1.800.236.2534 l www.kellerbuilds.com Offices in the Fox Cities, Madison, Milwaukee & Wausau
See Char’s work at the following local businesses: Van Zeeland Manufacturing, Hoff Law, Capital Credit Union in Little Chute, Little Miracles, Baye Dentistry, Brillion Medical Arts, Living Waters Lutheran Church, Kidzland II, Veronica Tovar D.D.S., McNeilus Steel, and Wolf River Community Bank to name a few.
Celebrating 50 Years of Construction Excellence
I am a face of Keller and not only am I in your community, but a part of it. I am an Employee Owner, Interior Designer, and Design/Build Expert. But don’t just take me at face value, call today and experience for yourself the difference that is Keller, Inc.
I am your next door neighbor. I may belong to your church or work alongside you on a community project. I’ve helped out with Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, and most recently, Extreme Makeover - Home Edition. As a commercial Interior Designer, I may have designed your favorite restaurant, your dental office or your office building.
Char Interior Designer Co-Owner