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Business Intelligence for the New North

Constructing a skills gap solution Construction and building trades create hands-on initiative to attract students into lucrative careers

Gun shy or trigger happy? Finance Managing your online rep Marketing Start-up mindset Guest Commentary

February 2016 | $3.95


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Business Intelligence for the New North


February Features 16 COVER STORY

Constructing a skills gap solution Construction and building trades create hands-on initiative to attract students into lucrative careers


Gun shy or trigger happy? Confidence is more important than interest rates when it comes to business investment in growth



Keeping your rep in check Are you paying attention to what’s being said about your business services on social media?

Departments 26


From the Publisher


Since We Last Met

10 Build Up Pages 30

Voices & Visions

33 Firefighters Update 34

Professionally Speaking

36 Who’s News 40 Business Calendar 41 Advertising Index 42 Key Statistics

NNB2B | February 2016 | 3

From the Publisher

Passing over WEDC

Gov. Walker misses opportunity to champion support for economic development efforts during State of the State Address

by Sean Fitzgerald, New North B2B publisher

As State of the Union and State of the State addresses go, there’s an abundance of accolades and recognition handed out to the success stories that illustrate the effectiveness of government programs. Nothing less was expected when Gov. Scott Walker stood before the full state legislature in January to deliver his sixth State of the State Address, championing the growth in the number of jobs that has lead Wisconsin to boast one of the highest labor participation rates in the nation. It’s an honor worth bragging about. But it’s largely due to the fact that Wisconsin is also among the top states in the nation for dual-income households, an attribute which reveals the state’s relatively low per capita income compared with nearly all neighboring states. Lots of jobs created – but perhaps not enough high-wage jobs created. Both are facets of statewide economic development meriting discussion. And while Walker’s State of the State Address did focus substantially on workforce development initiatives across the state, his most anticipated speech of each year was completely devoid of any mention of Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the embattled agency Walker created during his inaugural year in office after campaigning for his first term on the pledge of reforming and intensifying economic development in the state. It was genuinely too bad the agency didn’t receive a shout out from the governor on this occasion, and truly a missed opportunity to provide some needed public encouragement in what’s likely going to be a difficult year politically for Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Readers of B2B will recall the agency was unjustly attacked by leading Democratic legislators and a good deal of the state’s less-informed media outlets during May 2015 after the state’s Legislative Audit Bureau released its regularly scheduled and relatively nascent analysis suggesting modifications to certain financial management and accounting practices of the agency. A good steward of the taxpayers, WEDC staff did take the audit report to heart and implemented a responsible plan of action to adopt changes recommended by the auditors, as well as took ownership of past mistakes that didn’t 4 | February 2016 | NNB2B

necessarily lead to profitable business ventures. And many of us business owners recognize the fact that’s just an inherent risk of economic development. While the results of the late spring audit report were severely overstated as “scathing” by Democratic leadership looking to generate political currency for the 2016 elections, WEDC has since suffered an onslaught of undeserved propaganda designed to impair the perceptions of voters who don’t understand the issues at hand, don’t understand economic development, and don’t understand that business does involve some measure of risk, for better or worse. The result has been a crusade – albeit a stalled effort – to scrap the agency entirely and start with an entirely new model of statewide economic development in Wisconsin. It’s been made clear this crusade will fuel a number of state Democrats campaigning for legislative office this November, and there might just be enough grumbling across the state to make such a strategy successful. Encouraging words from the State of the State might also have proven particularly valuable since new leadership took to the helm of the agency just a little more than four months ago. Coming into a new role to manage substantial organizational change while also looking to buoy employee morale in the face of public backlash is a challenge for any CEO, much less one coming out of retirement to serve the people of the state. As I sat through the entirety of the Jan. 19 speech from Walker, I’ll admit I was a bit baffled by the end when he made no mention of the successful achievements of WEDC in 2015. Neither did he make a few remarks to foretell the good work the agency will do in the year ahead to tighten its policies and improve its public standing. So why didn’t the governor lead the cheer to support the state’s front door for business? Was it intentional? I reached out to the governor’s press office in the days after the State of the State Address, and didn’t receive a response. It’s a disappointing lack of leadership. With a new CEO, new media relations management and a bevy of strategic changes on tap while the agency continues to add jobs in the state, WEDC needs all the support it can throughout 2016 in order to be a success. Coupled with the fact that Democratic leaders have remained on the offensive regarding their intentions to dismantle WEDC, the agency needs Gov. Walker’s public reassurance at every opportunity. The governor needs to make that pledge to continue to move the needle forward on statewide economic development efforts in Wisconsin in the year ahead. n

Sean Fitzgerald Publisher & President x Carrie Rule Sales Manager x Kate Erbach Production Contributing writers Rick Berg J. S. Decker Chief Financial Officer Vicky Fitzgerald, CPA


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Since We Last Met

Since We Last Met

Since We Last Met is a digest of business related news occurring in the Greater Green Bay, Fox Cities, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac areas in the one month since the previous issue of New North B2B. January 5 Following the conclusion of the nominating period for local elected offices, City of Menasha voters will face a Feb. 17 primary for mayor to whittle the three candidates on the ballot down to two, who will then square off in the April 7 general election. Incumbent Mayor Don Merkes is seeking his third four-year term in office, and is being challenged by Alderman James Taylor and Chris Klein, a former alderman on Menasha’s Common Council. January 5 Incumbent Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna will be challenged by Josh Dukelow for the city’s top office. Dukelow serves as vice chair of the city’s Plan Commission, and previously worked as vice president of public policy and leadership for Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Hanna has served as mayor since 1995 and is seeking his sixth four-year term to the post.

2003 February 6 – Hundreds of Wisconsin corrections workers didn’t show up for work at state prisons – including those in Oshkosh, Green Bay, Taycheedah and Waupun – all part of a staged ‘sick-in’ to protest the union not coming to terms with the state on a labor contract. 2003 February 14 – The Wisconsin Association of Realtors announced the resale market for homes in 2002 was the strongest in history. There were 109,000 total existing home sales for the year and a 5.7 percent jump in median price to $134,300, according to the association’s data. 2005 February 4 – The City of Neenah received a $500,000 state Brownfields grant to clean up a contaminated site downtown for Alta Resource Corp. to expand. The total investment for this project is $31.4 million.

6 | February 2016 | NNB2B

January 5 Kaukauna Mayor Gene Rosin will be challenged by tavern owner Marty DeCoster on the April 7 ballot for the city’s top post. Rosin was elected mayor in 2006 and is seeking his sixth two-year term in office. January 8 The U.S. Department of Labor reported 292,000 new jobs were created in December, leaving the national unemployment rate relatively unchanged at 5.0 percent. Employment gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline. January 11 Grainger reported it will lay off 43 employees from its Imperial Supplies facility in Ashwaubenon beginning in March. Grainger acquired the former Imperial Supplies in 2009. The

2010 February 22 – Developers of Eagle Flats, a proposed $25 million residential and commercial development at the site of the former Riverside Paper property in Appleton, asked the city’s Plan Commission to rezone the property from industrial to mixed-use residential. The first phase of the project is expected to include 100 housing units on 10 acres along the Fox River in Appleton’s former industrial flats. 2011 February 3 – The Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corp. opened its Center for Enterprise Development, a business accelerator space offering start-ups and existing companies a menu of resources and assistance from professional staff. Development of the center was assisted by a $30,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce through the Forward Innovation Fund. 2012 February 8 – The Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District pledged $25,000 toward PMI’s efforts to lure the state high school boys and girls basketball tournaments to the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

state Department of Workforce Development will partner with Bay Area Workforce Development Board to coordinate job placement and training services for the affected workers. January 12 The Fox Valley Workforce Development Board reported it trained 274 individuals through a four-year, $1.33 million health care worker training grant it received from the U.S. Department of Labor. The original grant awarded in 2012 intended to provide on-the-job training to unemployed and underemployed individuals at 24 health care facilities across the region of Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Calumet, Green Lake, Waushara and Waupaca counties. The 274 workers received training in specific health care occupations projected to have at least a 50 percent rate of retirement in the next five years. January 12 The Milken Institute’s annual ranking of Best Performing Cities for 2015 based upon economic performance placed Green Bay at No. 104 on its large cities ranking, up from No. 130 a year ago, and ranked Fond du Lac at No. 37, down from No. 25 in 2014. Appleton ranked No. 102 on the annual list, down from No. 74 in 2014, while the combined Oshkosh and Neenah area ranked No. 105, down from No. 94 last year. The combined Janesville and Beloit area ranked No. 4 on the list, leading all small metropolitan areas of the state. Fargo, N.D. topped the list of small communities for the second year in a row, while San Jose, Calif. ranked No. 1 on the list of large cities. Among the individual factors evaluated, Fond du Lac ranked No. 8 in high-tech gross domestic product growth during the past five years. January 15 Tara Gokey suddenly tendered her resignation as executive director of On Broadway Inc. business improvement district in Green Bay after just a year in the role. She did not cite a reason for her departure. On Broadway officials indicated they will form a hiring committee to seek out its next chief executive. January 18 The Well, a popular drive-in restaurant and ice cream stand in Winneconne, caught fire and was saved from burning down, suffering only limited damage to the serving area in the front of the building. The business closed for the season last fall and had planned to reopen in late February. Fire officials had not determined a cause of the blaze.

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NNB2B | February 2016 | 7

Since We Last Met January 18 The Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education approved an April 7 referendum asking voters for an additional $4 million of operating revenue for each of the next seven years, beginning with the 2016-17 school year. District officials indicated state revenue sharing hasn’t kept pace with the district’s inflating operational expenses, forcing it to seek voters approval to surpass its state-imposed revenue cap. In 2014, Oshkosh voters approved a measure to exceed the state’s revenue cap by an additional $3.95 million a year for seven years. If approved by voters in April, the measure is expected to increase the district’s tax rate by nearly 9 percent.

January 20 The number of airline passengers flying out of northeast Wisconsin’s two commercial airports climbed slightly last year from 2014 totals, with more than 561,000 combined enplanements in 2015, up from 557,000 during the previous year. Enplanements at Appleton International Airport in Greenville increased nearly 5 percent to 256,288 during 2015, up from 244,468 enplaned passengers during 2015. At Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, total enplanements last year of 305,026 decreased by a little more than 2 percent compared with 312,626 passengers during 2014.

January 18 Wisconsin Realtors Association reported existing home sales in 2015 were the strongest since 2005, recording 76,693 homes sold statewide last year, up 11.4 percent over 2014, and just shy of the 78,125 sold in the pre-recession year 2005. State realtors indicated more homes likely would have sold last year if the market wasn’t constrained by lower available inventory than there was perceived demand. Statewide median prices on existing home sales rose 5 percent last year to $155,500. Northeast Wisconsin saw the biggest improvement in home sales among the WRA’s six regions in the state with a 12.5 percent increase over 2014, driven by increases of nearly 15 percent in both Brown and Winnebago counties.

January 20 The Port of Green Bay closed its 2015 shipping season, recording 1.9 million metric tons of cargo during the year, a decrease of 14 percent from the 2.3 million metric tons of cargo that came through the port in 2014. While lower shipments of cargo were expected to decrease the overall total for the year, shipments of cement increased 66 percent from 2014 as a result of increased road and building construction in the region. n

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Guest Commentary

Fostering a start-up mindset Whether it’s Madison, Milwaukee, Minocqua or Menasha, entrepreneurism should be a statewide goal by Tom Still

It’s a sore thumb that refuses to heal: Wisconsin ranks among the nation’s bottom-feeders when it comes to business start-ups. That has been true in good times and bad, under Republican governors and Democratic governors. Almost no one can remember a time – unless you stretch back to the 1950s or ‘60s – that Wisconsin was a leader in launching new companies. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when the 2015 Competitive Benchmarks report, unveiled Dec. 9 at the Future Wisconsin Economic Summit, repeated the news that Wisconsin is 50th out of 50 states in total business startups. That number comes from the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation in Kansas City, which released its annual index on entrepreneurial activity last summer. Yes, there are flaws in how Kauffman measures start-ups. Yes, Wisconsin’s low immigration rate and high reliance on capital-intensive industries such as manufacturing and agriculture isn’t compatible with starting companies that must run lean for years. And, yes, Wisconsin does better with certain categories of startups, such as technology companies. The fact remains that Wisconsin has ranked in the bottom fifth of the Kauffman report for years for two major reasons: The culture of entrepreneurism is yet to become imbedded in all corners of the state, despite some recent progress, and government policies either stand in the way or don’t offer enough help. The latest December “Best Performing Cities” report from the California-based Milken Institute helps to tell the story. In its 2015 rankings, Madison ranked 20th overall – up 10 spots from the previous year. It was the highest-ranking Midwestern city, just one notch ahead of Grand Rapids, Mich., and ahead of some cities that get a lot of ink for their startup scenes, such as Boulder, Colo., Ann Arbor, Mich., Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa. Green Bay jumped to 104th in the large city rankings – up 26 places – and Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis fell to 164th, largely because short-term job growth was weak. Among the nation’s small cities, Janesville-Beloit ranked an impressive fourth, up from 41st the previous year. That provides the latest evidence that Rock County is overcoming the loss of General Motors and creating an environment

where young companies can thrive. The Milken report noted that data processing, machinery manufacturing and business automation are leading the way in the Janesville-Beloit region. Fond du Lac (37th), Sheboygan (68th), Eau Claire (101st), Appleton (102nd), Oshkosh-Neenah (105th), La CrosseOnalaska (118th), Wausau (119th) and Racine (158th) also showed up in the Milken report, which examined factors ranging from job creation to wage growth to high-tech intensity. Rankings are subjective in many ways, but the Milken report demonstrates that cities are putting in the effort to grow, attract and retain young businesses are outperforming their neighbors. That’s still not the case in every Wisconsin community. State and local government policies don’t always help in that regard. There is still too much Milwaukee-versus-Madison nonsense coloring Wisconsin, and even some Milwaukee and Madison-versus-everyone else tension, too. If a job is created in Madison, Milwaukee or Minocqua, it should all accrue to the state’s bottom line, both in the sense of economic activity and tax generation. “At the end of the day, they’re all Wisconsin jobs,” said Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. “If Milwaukee suffers, the state suffers, so I root for them to succeed, too.” Some progress has been made: State government has enacted strong investor tax credits, seeded the statewide Badger Fund of Funds, endorsed or backed services that help startups and worked with likely clusters. Those have helped Wisconsin achieve a much-higher company survival rate. But there’s still an imbalance of resources and effort that shows in rankings that place Wisconsin near or at the bottom in startups. As the Future Wisconsin event and the related Wisconsin Perception Survey demonstrated, the state has a long list of attributes that make it a good place for companies to grow. What’s missing is more focus on those strengths and a commitment to put aside regional and political differences so all communities can prosper. Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

NNB2B | February 2016 | 9

Build Up Fond du Lac



Build Up

Indicates a new listing

Fond du Lac 1 - 255 County Road K, Fond du Lac

St. Mary’s Springs Academy, a 92,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing high school campus. Project completion expected in summer. DESIGN/BUILD AND GENERAL CONTRATORS 5521 COUNTY ROAD BB • APPLETON, WI 54914 920-739-6521 • 800-331-6521 PRE-ENGINEERED METAL • MASONRY • PRECAST • CONVENTIONAL

2 - 250 Camelot Dr., Fond du Lac Grande Cheese Company, an 87,000-sq. ft. new corporate headquarters and research center. Project completion expected in early spring.

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Coming to B2B in March 2016 Family Business

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Build Up Oshkosh

Indicates a new listing

Build Up


There are currently no qualifying commercial or industrial projects under construction in Oshkosh. Projects completed since our January issue: • Mercury Marine, 545 W. Pioneer Road, Fond du Lac. • Lakeside Plastics, 450 W. 33rd Ave., Oshkosh. • Culver’s Restaurant, 1580 S. Koeller St., Oshkosh.

Better Business Bureau New Members Businesses accredited through the Northeast Wisconsin office during December 2015 Bielinski Excavating, Denmark Candy Creations & Gifts, Oostburg Four Star Roofing & Siding, Fond du Lac Joe’s Auto Body, Crivitz Master Spa Parts, Appleton National Sales, Appleton ProfitSource, Merrill Schwanz Custom Homes, Birnamwood Steve’s Bulldozing, Merrill Well Done Water Systems, Eagle River

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NNB2B | February 2016 | 11

Build Up Fox Cities Build Up

Fox Cities

Indicates a new listing

1 - W6931 School Road, town of Greenville Fox West YMCA, an addition to the existing building for a new gymnasium, wellness center and various interior renovations. Project completion expected in summer. 2 - 705 N. McCarthy Road, town of Grand Chute TEK systems, a 4,600-sq. ft. addition to the existing commercial office building. Project completion expected in March. General contractor is James J. Calmes & Sons Construction of Kaukauna. 3 - 4740 W. Packard St., town of Grand Chute Interstate Battery, a 17,000-sq. ft. battery storage facility. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. 4 - 4800 W. Prospect Ave., town of Grand Chute Werner Electric Supply Co., a 260,775-sq. ft. corporate office and distribution center. Project completion expected in early spring. General contractor is Consolidated Construction Company of Appleton. 5 - Plaza Drive, town of Menasha Community First Credit Union, a 120,000-sq. ft. corporate office campus. Project completion expected in late fall. 6 - 218 E. Lawrence St., Appleton YMCA of Appleton, an addition to the existing community center and various interior renovations. 7 - 400 E. North Island St., Appleton Neenah Paper Inc., a 45,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing specialty paper mill. Project completion expected in late fall. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. 8 - 1025 W. Navitus Dr., town of Grand Chute Navitus Health Solutions, an office building to expand the existing call center campus. 9 - 2105 E. Enterprise Ave., Appleton Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley, an addition to the clinic’s existing Recovery Inn inpatient facility. 10 - 1101 Moasis Dr., Little Chute Trilliant Food & Nutrition, a 133,840-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial facility. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. 11 - 600 Thilmany Road, Kaukauna Expera Specialty Solutions, a 10,368-sq. ft. industrial building. 12 - 100 W. Second St., Kaukauna Kaukauna City Hall, a municipal services building. Project completion expected in May. 13 - 800 block of Schelfhout Lane, Kimberly Anduzzi’s Sports Club, a nearly 10,000-sq. ft. restaurant building. Project completion expected in early spring. 14 - 1405 S. Oneida St., Menasha Festival Foods, a new grocery store. Project completion expected in summer. 15 - 1000 Midway Road, Menasha Orthopedic & Spine Therapy, a 12,500-sq. ft. medical clinic building. 16 - 177 Main St., Menasha One Menasha Center, an eight-story, 100,000-sq. ft. multi-tenant office building to include Faith Technologies, Community First Credit Union and RLJ Dental. 12 | February 2016 | NNB2B


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17 - 333 N. Green Bay Road, town of Menasha ThedaCare Physicians, a 70,000-sq. ft. health care clinic for family practice, internal medicine and endocrinology. Project completion expected in late fall. 18 - 1257 Gillingham Road, Neenah Menasha Packaging Company, a 48,382-sq. ft. addition to the existing pre-print facility. Project completion expected in March. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. 19 - 1645 Bergstrom Road, Neenah Menasha Packaging Company, a two-story, 103,900-sq. ft. corporate office complex. Project completion expected in fall.

20 - 927 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah Aldi, a 17,825-sq. ft. grocery store. Project completion expected in summer. 21 - 2474 Schultz Road, Neenah Rollmeister Inc., a 13,606-sq. ft. addition to the existing manufacturing facility. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is Frontier Builders & Consultants of Kaukauna. Projects completed since our January issue: • Bank First National, 4201 W. Wisconsin Ave., Grand Chute. • ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center, 2500 E. Capitol Dr., Appleton.

NNB2B | February 2016 | 13

Build Up Greater Green Bay area 1 thru 3

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21 22 25 23 & 24 Build Up

Greater Green Bay area

Indicates a new listing

1 - 1838 Cardinal Lane, Suamico North Shore Bank, a 1,750-sq. ft. financial institution branch office. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is CR Structures Group Inc. of Kimberly.

5 - 2231 N. Quincy St., Green Bay NEW Water/Green Bay Metropolitan sewerage District, a wastewater treatment and electrical generation facility. Project completion expected in 2018.

2 - 1701 Cornell Road, Howard Omnova Solutions, an 8,722-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial facility.

6 - 301 Bay Beach Road, Green Bay McDonald Lumber Company, an 80,000-sq. ft. warehouse. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay.

3 - 2467 Glendale Ave., Howard Bode Central, a multi-tenant commercial building.

7 - 320 N. Broadway, Green Bay DDL Holdings/Titletown Brewing, an addition to the former industrial facility for a mixed-use retail development.

4 - 2340 Duck Creek Parkway, Howard Dental Associates, a 3,300-sq. ft. addition to the existing commercial building for a new dental clinic.

14 | February 2016 | NNB2B

8 - 304 N. Adams St., Green Bay Hotel Northland, a substantial overhaul of the existing 8-story building for a 160-room luxury hotel with two restaurants and a spa. Project completion expected in late fall. 9 - 1811 E. Mason St., Green Bay Tri City Glass & Door, a two-story, 35,000-sq. ft. showroom, offices and production facility. Project completion expected in June. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. 10 - 1160 Kepler Dr., Green Bay Aurora Baycare Medical Center, a two-story, 11,000-sq. ft. addition for cancer care services. Project completion expected in the fall. 11 - 1351 Ontario Road, Green Bay Willow Creek Behavioral Health, a 72-bed, 52,265-sq. ft. psychiatric hospital and substance abuse treatment facility. Project completion expected in late summer. 12 - 2609 Development Dr., Bellevue Pediatric Dentistry Clinic & Family Dental Center, an 8,781sq. ft. dental clinic. Project completion expected in summer. General contractor is CR Structures Group Inc. of Kimberly.

21 - 1220 Flightway Dr., Hobart The Driveway, a 10,000-sq. ft. indoor sports facility. Project completion expected in May. 22 - 505 Lawrence Dr., De Pere Creative Sign Company, a 10,500-sq. ft. addition to the existing commercial building. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. 23 - 1724 Lawrence Dr., De Pere Festival Foods, a two-story, 42,500-sq. ft. corporate office building. Project completion expected in December. 24 - 2130 American Blvd., De Pere Machine Plus, a 10,000-sq. ft. manufacturing facility. 25 - 200 Ninth St., De Pere Rennes Health & Rehab Center, a 20,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing health care facility. Projects completed since our January issue: • St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, 347 Libal St., De Pere.

13 - 2605 Development Dr., Bellevue Aurora BayCare Plastic Surgery, a 12,000-sq. ft. standalone plastic surgery center and offices. Project completion expected in late summer. 14 - 1401 S. Webster Ave., Allouez Kwik Trip, a 2,736-sq. ft. convenience store and fuel station canopy. 15 - 201 W. St. Joseph St., Allouez Capital Credit Union, a 400-sq. ft. addition to the existing financial institution office. Project completion expected in early spring. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. 16 - 470 Marina Lane, Ashwaubenon Residence Inn by Marriott, a 103-room hotel. Project completion expected in late fall. 17 - 2202 S. Ridge Road, Ashwaubenon Ridgeview Liquor, a 5,930-sq. ft. retail building. 18 - 2391 S. Ridge Road, Ashwaubenon Ashwaubenon High School, a new community auditorium and a new swimming pool. Project completion expected in early fall. 19 - 900 Anderson Dr., Ashwaubenon Ashwaubenon Community Center, a 16,275-sq. ft. community center. Project completion expected in June.


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NNB2B | February 2016 | 15

Cover Story

Constructing a skills gap solution Construction and building trades create hands-on initiative to attract students into lucrative careers

Story by Sean Fitzgerald, New North B2B publisher

Manufacturers have gained substantial ground during the past decade attracting young recruits into careers in skilled positions by highlighting a high-tech environment with good compensation. Often espousing the mantra “this isn’t your grandfather’s manufacturing plant,” industry employment leaders have planted and germinated the seed that manufacturing careers are no longer dirty, unsafe, overly physical dead-end approaches to making a living.

16 | February 2016 | NNB2B

While there’s still work to do in demystifying stereotypes parents of teenagers might hold regarding fruitful careers in manufacturing, it’s clear the needle has moved significantly in northeast Wisconsin in recent years. The same dynamic might be said for construction trades, which are still mistakenly labeled as being prone to injury, working eight months out of the year while being laid off for the remainder, and not offering a living wage. Just as with four-decade-old stereotypes about manufacturing, the combination of technology, safety and skill levels have evolved to enable highly lucrative careers from the start. Entry-level plumbers and steamfitters in Wisconsin anticipate average annual earnings in excess of $42,000 a year, according to state Department of Workforce Development wage comparisons for 2014, while experienced plumbers can make $78,000 a year and more, particularly if they own their shop. “These are good paying jobs where a person won’t just make enough to live on, but can make a very nice living with a good pension and good health insurance benefits,” said Ted Gumieny, business development representative for Northeast Wisconsin Building & Construction Trades Council. Overall, the average age of a construction worker in Wisconsin in their mid-50s, Gumieny said, mostly due to an imbalance between the high number of journeymen and masters skilled trades professionals within five to 10 years of retirement compared with young 20-somethings entering a registered apprenticeship. Magnifying that challenge is that fact that the average age for most young people entering an apprenticeship program is just a few months shy of 30 years old, said Karen Morgan, director of the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards for Wisconsin DWD. That’s nearly the highest average age of an incoming apprentice during the 23 years Morgan has worked specifically with apprenticeships across the state. “We rely so much on those skilled journey workers to pass their skills down to the newer apprentices coming up through the industry,” Morgan said in a recent interview with New North B2B magazine. “Wisconsin just does not have the cadre of skilled workers that we’ve had in the past.”

“These are good paying jobs where a person won’t just make enough to live on, but can make a very nice living with a good pension and good health insurance benefits.” Ted Gumieny, business development representative Northeast Wisconsin Building & Construction Trades Council

A high school student from northeast Wisconsin practices on the Operating Engineers’ simulator during the October 2015 Industrial Trades Career Day in Oshkosh.

Bringing students to the trades

Efforts at attracting new blood into the construction and building trades are becoming more frequent across the state, and setting their sights on high school students and younger before they commit to a fulltime college education immediately after graduation. While an increasing number of parents have pushed their children down the traditional college route for decades now, more and more students are recognizing they can set up a successful career through other paths. “The nice thing about an apprenticeship is that you earn as you learn,” Gumieny said, noting a four-year apprenticeship can provide a total cumulative package of nearly $250,000 in training, payroll and insurance and pension benefits. That compares to a four-year tuition expense exceeding $100,000 with any other income during that period derived from a paid job outside of studies. Bringing this message to high school students across the New North region, the New Building & Construction Trades Council – which is made up of more than 30 local labor organizations representing more than 9,000 skilled trades professionals from the region’s construction industry – teamed together with the Labor Management Council of Northeast Wisconsin, school and private building contractors to host a first-of-its-kind “see, touch, feel” experience of 15 different construction skills this past October. More than 350 students from 10 high schools in the region attended the inaugural Industrial Trades Career Day in Oshkosh this past October, receiving the opportunity to engage in a variety of hands-on construction activities such as building a wall with bricks and mortar, breaking up concrete with a jackhammer, and plumbing together a piping system, among other tasks. The event offered students a chance to explore various career opportunities first hand, said Labor NNB2B | February 2016 | 17

Cover Story Management Council Director Steve Kovalaske. It was much more engaging than career fairs where students go back to the classroom with a stack of pamphlets, and it helped draw connections between classroom lessons and real world applications. “You can tell students they need math skills, but they don’t necessarily know why they need it until they see (activities from the event),” said Kovalaske. For the construction trades, the event served as a means to attract a younger audience to professions in northeast Wisconsin. A similar event is currently being planned for the Green Bay area in October 2016. While an exact date and location haven’t been determined as of yet, organizers hope to make this an annual affair.

Fueling the recruiting pipeline

Bulldozers and backhoes tend to be an attraction to high school students. That was certainly the case during the recent Trades Day event in Oshkosh, where students swarmed toward the booth of Operating Engineers Local 139 to try their hand at seemingly video game-like training simulators. They’re the exact same simulators used by apprentice and journeymen operators when they’re training on downtime away from the job site, said Shane Griesbach, treasurer of Local 139. “It’s the same type of function that you do with the equipment,” he said, noting the levers and controls lifting a bucket or turning the equipment are the same as in the seat of a bulldozer or crane. The operators report an average age of 43 years old among its working members in northeast Wisconsin, but attracted 500 new apprentices statewide during the past two years. It’s a good start, but also necessary as the construction industry gains steam. “With all of these roads that are being built in northeast Wisconsin, it’s our people who are out there running the bulldozers and operating the cranes,” Griesbach said. The simulators used during the Trades Day event help

18 | February 2016 | NNB2B

A mason from Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Wisconsin teaches a high school student the basic principles of building a brick wall during the recent Trades Day event.

students relate math and physics lessons to their practical application out on a job site, all without wasting fuel and burning through tires. Setting a smooth grade for a roadbed or hoisting an appropriate, balanced weight on a crane, as examples, requires adept knowledge of math skills, said Don Socha, a business representative with Local 139 who helped orchestrate Trades Day. “There’s a science to it all,” Socha said. “When you’re loading trucks in a quarry, the faster you can do it and the shorter distance you need to transport the trucks, the more money you’re going to make for the contractor.”

“We rely so much on those skilled journey workers to pass their skills down to the newer apprentices coming up through the industry.” Karen Morgan, director of Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Boon for educators

From the perspective of professional educators, the Trades Day event was perhaps one of the most meaningful initiatives they’ve come across to convey career exploration to students. “It gives the students reasons why they’re doing the things they are in the classroom,” said Oshkosh Superintendent of Schools Stan Mack II during a January meeting of construction industry professionals in Oshkosh. Menasha High School has placed particular emphasis on its students’ career exploration efforts and enrollment in youth apprenticeship opportunities. An estimated half of its graduates head directly into the world of work after completing high school, said technology education instructor Kurt Rasmussen, who said 10 students are currently enrolled in youth apprenticeship.

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He said the event exposed his students to a variety of careers he couldn’t necessarily illustrate in the classroom. “I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get students involved in hands-on activities as opposed to walking around and picking up pamphlets,” said Rasmussen. “It’s nice to be able to connect to what they’re doing in their classes.” Rasmussen said his students attending the Trades Day event were surprised to learn how many jobs were available in the construction industry right here in northeast Wisconsin. One student was turned on to the bricklaying trade after learning how he might work toward a job in the field. As a result of the event, Rasmussen made connections with professionals from Miron Construction in Neenah and Menasha-based Faith Technologies who he’s since invited to come speak with students at the schools. Appleton sent nearly 100 students to the event between North and East high schools, which have a strong track record of exposing students to careers in the trades. The district currently has more than 30 students enrolled in youth apprenticeships, noted Peter Worley, an automotive technician instructor at Appleton East High School and the district’s youth apprenticeship coordinator for technical skills. “This event has been a great eye opener for the kids to understand what’s out there, and to be able to talk to people who work in the industry everyday,” Worley said. “I had a lot of students coming forward after the event asking how they can get involved.”

NNB2B | February 2016 | 19

Cover Story Unfortunately, Worley said, opportunities for youth apprenticeship are few and far between, and he has a difficult time placing students interested in pursuing such a careertraining opportunity. He said one means of improving subsequent events would be to include more employers who are actively seeking to fill youth apprenticeship slots. The state Department of Workforce Development’s Morgan said her office recognizes there’s been a shortage of youth apprenticeship opportunities in both manufacturing and construction trades, oftentimes because employers are uncertain about child employment laws and worker’s compensation insurance policies as they relate to employees under the age of 18 years old. Morgan said her office has been working with DWD’s Equal Rights division to clarify limits and guidelines of the state’s administrative code relative to employment of minors, and has been working with the agency’s worker’s comp division to determine exactly where breakdowns can occur in insuring 16 and 17-year-olds for specific tasks, even those so seemingly nascent as driving a pick-up truck from one job site to another.

Industry provides its perspective

Oshkosh-based construction firm CR Meyer was among the private companies present at the Trades Day event, informing area students about the kinds of trades it employs and the types of projects it builds across northeast Wisconsin and beyond. During the event, the company set up a laser coupling

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“There’s a science to it all. When you’re loading trucks in a quarry, the faster you can do it and the shorter distance you need to transport the trucks, the more money you’re going to make for the contractor.” Don Socha, business representative, Operating Engineers Local 139 alignment tool used by millwrights, allowing students to operate the equipment, said Kevin Skenandore, the manager of field personnel at CR Meyer. Skenandore called the event an excellent opportunity to network with high school administrators to showcase alternative careers which make a good living for students who don’t necessarily want to head down the path of college. “I did speak with a young man from Fond du Lac who stated he was a senior in high school and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He shrugged his shoulders a bit and then I asked him what he liked to do. He replied ‘weld,’” Skenandore said. “I then

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Driving apprenticeship for the future

Even Gov. Scott Walker trumpets the importance of apprenticeships to strengthen Wisconsin’s workforce. During his recent State of the State Address in January, Walker highlighted the case that student apprenticeships more than doubled during the past four years, as well as citing a 30 percent increase in adult apprentices during the same period. In the New North region specifically, construction apprenticeship increased by 15 percent during the past two years, according to data from DWD, including 1,330 new apprenticeships in 2014 and 1,532 from last year. Morgan attributes the growth to economic strength. “As goes the economy, so goes apprenticeships, because it is a job,” Morgan said. A carpenter demonstrates to a high school student the math involved in blueprint reading during the recent Trades Day event.

explained to him that it would be in his best interest to start a pipefitter apprenticeship. I informed him about the gradual pay raises based on hours worked, about how he would earn while he learned, about the insurance plan, the retirement plan, and the fact that once he became a state certified journeyman, that no one could ever take that away from him.” For Skenandore and CR Meyer, the Trades Day event also enabled a connection with instructors to avail themselves as guests to come into schools and explain construction careers to their students.

Sweetening the attraction toward apprenticeships, the state DWD two years ago implemented an apprenticeship completion award program which reimburses apprentices as much as $1,000 for any tuition and textbook expenses associated with their training. But there’s less than $250,000 budgeted toward this program each year, which limits the apprentices who can take advantage of the reimbursement. Still, these and other incentives are helping grow the awareness of stellar careers in the construction trades, and events such as Trades Day help bring the enjoyment of such careers to life. “What the students often don’t understand is that a job can be fun,” said the Labor Management Council’s Kovalaske. “If you find that right job, you’ll love it, and you’ll be great.” n

Sample Wage Comparisons (2014) Occupation Computer Support Specialist Sheetmetal Worker Public Relations Specialist Operating Engineer Human Resources Specialist Ironworker Teacher Bricklayer Accountant

Entry level $31,180 $34,980 $32,020 $36,530 $28,470 $38,600 $37,610 $35,810 $42,910

Average $46,700 $53,420 $55,660 $53,050 $47,780 $56,230 $54,980 $55,000 $61,460

Experienced $54,460 $62,630 $67,470 $61,310 $57,430 $65,050 $63,660 $64,590 $79,730

Source: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

NNB2B | February 2016 | 21


Gun shy or trigger happy? Confidence is more important than interest rates when it comes to business investment in growth Story by Rick Berg

News Item: On Dec. 15, 2015, the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 percent – the first such increase since June 2006. In its report, the Committee indicated it expected “only gradual increases in the federal funds rate” and that “the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

The prospect that interest rates will continue to increase in the coming year might be incentive enough for some businesses to pull the trigger on expansion plans, hoping to acquire the needed capital before rates go much higher. Maybe. But commercial bankers and commercial builders alike say interest rates – high or low – are the least likely motivator for businesses to commit to or refrain from expansion. Rather, they say, business owners are going to be motivated to invest in expansion only if they believe their prospects for sustained growth are strong enough to promise a solid return on investment. 22 | February 2016 | NNB2B

Among the factors most likely to impact those investment decisions:

s Growth in demand: Will market demand for the company’s goods and services be strong enough to return profits on the expanded facilities? s The labor market: Will there be sufficient skilled talent available to produce those increased goods and services? s The global and national economy: How confident are business owners that the general economy will sustain demand for goods and services?

Peter Prickett, president of Neenah-based First National Bank-Fox Valley, said interest rates are “one small component of the decision-making process,” but “rates are still historically low and even if the Fed would do a couple more quarter-point increases, rates are still going to be very low. That’s not likely to impact a company’s decision.” Prickett said that Congress’ extension last year of the accelerated depreciation tax breaks would likely have more impact on capital expenditures, but even that is limited. “If expansion has already been in the back of someone’s mind as a good move for their business, then by taking the tax consequence off the table because of accelerated depreciation, they ought to do it, absolutely,” Prickett said. “But interest rates and taxes aren’t reasons enough.” “You have to make those decisions for the right business reasons, based on your expected return on investment,” Prickett added. “Tax and interest rates consequences should really be secondary and tertiary considerations. If you buy something to get a tax write-off, it’s like throwing two-thirds of the money out the window if you didn’t need that asset to begin with.” Mike Dempsey, president of Manitowoc-based Bank First National, noted there has been “a little flurry of activity since the accelerated depreciation tax advantage was extended. Someone can maybe rationalize their return on investment differently if they can write off the cost of equipment faster. It’s not sustainable, but it does get people thinking about pulling the trigger. If you’re on the fence about when to make that investment, you might move it ahead a few quarters. It becomes a timing play more than a long-term capital equipment strategy.” Mark Nysted, regional manager for Kaukauna-based builder Keller Inc., agrees the Fed interest rate decision would have little direct impact on business owners’ decision to expand their facilities. “Interest rates are still at or near historic lows,” Nysted said. “The current prime rate is 3.5 percent, which is only a quarter percent higher than in 2009 when it hit the low of 3 ¼ percent. For financially strong business owners this means a small increase to the interest rate in which they can borrow money. Most borrowers will still be getting a rate between 4 ¼ and 5 percent from their financial institutions, which is still a very favorable rate.” On the other hand, Nysted said, the Fed decision could have a psychological impact. “Some business owners might look at the rise in the interest rate as a sign of the U.S. economy getting stronger, which in turn gives them a sense of stability and increases their comfort level to make capital investments,” Nysted said. Dempsey had a similar observation, calling interest rate hikes a potential “canary in the coal mine.” “If interest rates rise, that might be a canary in the coal mine telling us about other costs going up – the cost of equipment, the cost of real estate, maybe even wage inflation,” Dempsey said. “In that case, a business might decide to accelerate capital investment to try to get ahead of the cost curves. There might be something to that.”

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Steve Schmudlach, president and CEO of Fond du Lac-based Fox Valley Savings Bank, echoes the thoughts of several others. “The first 25 basis-point increase didn’t produce a ripple in the water,” Schmudlach said. “There’s still an abundance of available cash for businesses to borrow at very low rates and yet a very tepid demand for it. It’s been a non-event so far.”

Confidence in economic outlook is the key

“Some business owners have been reluctant to invest large dollars in the past few years only because they feel the economy is still volatile,” said Nysted. “Our experience at Keller is that many businesses are investing now because they have a pent-up demand and are investing large amounts to continue their growth plans and visions for their companies’ and employees’ futures.” While most prognoses for the year ahead are positive, there are varying degrees of strength to those outlooks. “Some business owners we talk to are concerned about the strength of the overall economy and what impact that will have on their own business outlook,” Prickett said. “The value of the dollar going up is putting some pressure on exporters. There seems to be some softness in manufacturing right now. They’re probably less optimistic this year than they were last year, but it’s not a terrible environment – just a touch tighter. In 2015 we saw quite a few capital projects being undertaken. We think it’s going to be a little softer in 2016.” NNB2B | February 2016 | 23

Finance “We’re bullish in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Dempsey. “We’re seeing businesses with good business models investing and being confident in their business plan to grow their business. We’re seeing a measured approach. They’re positioning themselves for growth, but they’re doing it with a great deal of evaluation. They’re being careful about the opportunities they’re chasing.” Dempsey said he doesn’t expect to see any rapid acceleration of capital expansion. “It’ll be more of the same, we think, which isn’t all bad. It’s been OK.”

Election year reluctance

History suggests that many businesses will back off on potential expansion plans in an election year – especially as it gets closer to the November elections. History also suggests that how the election turns out might have little to do with how businesses choose to proceed, said Dean Hunt, director of marketing and business development for Green Bay-based Bayland Buildings. “But they still want to know what their strategy is going to be. I think the first half of the year will remain strong, but we’ll probably see a pull back in the second half of the year,” Hunt suggested. “Business people will be saying, ‘We just want to know what’s going on before we make a decision,’ and then once they know, they’ll make their decision and move on.” The stock markets are not necessarily

accurate barometers of business confidence and activity, but the relationship between markets and presidential election years has been widely studied. Markets tend to respond far better to predictability, according to Mary Ann Bartels, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Portfolio Strategy. “This time, we’ve got a lot of uncertainties, and if there’s one thing markets hate it’s uncertainty,” Bartels said late last year. Regardless of a president-elect’s party or political leanings, departing two-term presidents create a void that financial markets typically find unnerving, Bartels noted. “There is a lot of trepidation about a clear change in administration,” Schmudlach said. “I don’t know if we’ll

go from a Democratic president to a Republican president or to another Democratic president, but regardless we’re going to a get a new president and with that comes a lot of uncertainty.”

Sectors primed for growth Bayland is finding strength in several sectors, Hunt said.

“Manufacturing still seems strong. We’re seeing a lot of work in education. Assisted living is going to continue to grow. I see no end to that,” Hunt said. “Health care continues to expand and multi-tenant housing continues to grow – even high-end multi-tenant.” But global economics could be a limiting factor. “Wisconsin companies have increased their activity in the global markets by

Chicago Fed Survey Shows Modest Growth, Positive Outlook The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions, released Jan. 13, 2016, reported a slight decline in its overall Activity Index and an increase in its Manufacturing Activity Index, suggesting that growth in economic activity continued at a modest pace in late 2015. Other findings in the survey: c The pace of current capital spending increased slightly, and respondents raised their expectations for the pace of capital spending over the next six to 12 months. c Respondents’ outlooks for the U.S. economy for the next six to 12 months improved, and remained positive. Respondents with optimistic outlooks expected steady growth in the U.S. economy in 2016 and highlighted continuing improvement in the labor market, while those with pessimistic outlooks cited the negative effects on exports from weak growth overseas and the strong dollar. c The pace of current hiring slowed some, and respondents lowered their expectations for the pace of hiring over the next six to 12 months. Both hiring indexes remained negative.

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providing products and services to foreign countries,” Nysted said. “There is always the risk to these companies on how the foreign economies will affect their business. Companies that are sending the majority of their products or services overseas might be more inclined not to make the capital investments because of the impact those economies may have to their business.” “More than anything we’re still seeing the confidence issue as a factor limiting business decisions,” Hunt said. “Business has been good; they’ve been able to meet demand. Could they add on to produce more? Yes, but are they confident those sales will continue? There are a number that want to expand, but they’re holding back for now.”

“The first 25 basis-point increase didn’t produce a ripple in the water... There’s still an abundance of available cash for businesses to borrow at very low rates and yet a very tepid demand for it.” Steve Schmudlach, president and CEO, Fox Valley Savings Bank

Schmudlach said he expects loan demand to remain somewhat flat. “We’re still way off the peak of 2007-2008,” Schmudlach said. “We really have quite a ways to go before we have a steady stream of construction expansion. I think we’re still going to see a lot of standing on the sidelines until confidence grows. Where there’s a shortage there will be activity. I think with the election this year there will be a little extra speed bump.” Even without a rush on borrowing, there’s plenty of room for optimism. “The timing is right for capital projects not because of borrowing costs, but because of other factors,” Hunt said. “Right now we’re seeing in the industrial sector not much Class

A space out there. The cost of land is pretty reasonable and the cost of construction has held steady. However, because of the shortage of labor, labor costs are going to go up. We’ve had three back-to-back record years and with our pipeline so far it could be even better this year than last. There’s definitely a lot more activity than in some time.” n Rick Berg is a freelance editor and writer based in Green Bay.

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Keeping your rep in check Are you paying attention to what’s being said about your business services on social media? You should. Here’s why. Story by J.S. Decker

Years ago, a strong product and good service were all any business needed to build its reputation. Now, so many comments shared so quickly online can be overwhelming – both to track, as well as to respond to when appropriate. Thankfully, an array of software and services give notice when someone, somewhere, is talking about your business online through social media.

26 | February 2016 | NNB2B

“People like to be heard,” said Susan Finco, president and owner of Leonard & Finco Public Relations in Green Bay. She, along with other public relations experts, suggests replying immediately to all feedback. Anything less gives the impression those comments are being ignored, and a negative remark could be re-posted and echo out of control.

in 1994, one of her very first jobs was monitoring the online reputation of an Internet provider in Southern California.

“You should analyze what they’re saying and respond,” Finco noted. “If appropriate, apologize and let them know what you’re going to do to rectify the situation. It does take someone assigned to do that, but it’s an important part of business today.”

Desktop computers of that era had less computing power than the smartphones used today, and as a result, many comments are made on the go.

Responding to positive comments lets customers know how valuable they all are to your business, and complaints become opportunities to showcase good customer service.

Workplace reputation

Customers aren’t the only ones using Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts about your business. Employees often have a lot to say, too, even after they quit or get fired. is used primarily to find job openings, but also to find reviews of work conditions. is similar, allowing employees and former employees to anonymously review companies and their management. One of the services at Red Shoes PR in Appleton is monitoring that chatter for clients concerned that a few bad seeds might damage a hard-earned reputation as a quality employer by posting exaggerated comments to these sites as petty retaliation. “The first places potential employees (seeking jobs) go are social media sites and online review sites,” said Lisa Cruz, president and owner of Red Shoes. “There’s so much transparency today that it really forces the hand of the employer to treat their employees well.” Inflammatory or dishonest posts usually don’t get far, Cruz added. “If they’re not accurate, the others in that group will call them out.” It can help to encourage current employees to post their opinions, she said, to give a full picture of the employer’s workplace. Management can also chime in as well. When Cruz started in public relations

“I was paid to go to their office and monitor their chat rooms for eight hours each day. Just to monitor what people were saying about the service and its brand,” she recalled.

“It’s an online pipeline of feedback for your company,” Cruz said, and the response needs to be just as quick.

Speed of light response

The faster you react to whatever comments are being made about your company – good or bad – the more in control you are of your own reputation, noted Lisa Piikkila, owner and creative director of Coalesce Marketing in Appleton. Being aware means being prepared. “The easiest thing you can do is set up Google Alerts,” Piikkila suggests. Entering a company name and other keywords builds a list that generates email alerts as soon as they’re mentioned online. A newswire service like Agility catches what Google might miss. It’s designed to monitor and target news services and other media. Cision Inc. is a service based in Chicago that monitors social media and mainstream media, partly to track the effectiveness of public relations campaigns. Another online service, Hootsuite, monitors 35 social media sites, providing analytics that give in-depth reports of how well social media efforts are being received. Piikkila said Hootsuite works great with Twitter. The most popular social media, Facebook, allows users to rate and review businesses, but comments made on someone’s personal Facebook page won’t be found if a user’s privacy settings are strong. Nearly everyone in the developed world uses the Internet to research products, and nearly two-thirds of all online searches use Google. Piikkila said every

Traditional business reputation management still critical, too Traditionally regarded as the chief offline reputation forum for businesses, social media has changed how the Better Business Bureau works, too. “We’re really big on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube,” said Susan Bach, Northeast Wisconsin regional director for the BBB. Consumers browse reviews at Angie’s List or Yelp, but those sites aren’t competition, Bach explained, since the BBB’s services are so much more comprehensive. “We never have, and never will, accept anonymous reviews,” Bach said. “We do require a real name – not that it will be printed – and a real email address. Once you submit your review you must confirm you are a real person.” Part of Bach’s job is resolving complaints about a business, which the review websites don’t do. BBB has had more than 100 years to perfect its rating and accreditation system. “We always weight the number of complaints that a company gets versus their size,” Bach said. “If a company is big enough and has been around long enough they are bound to get a complaint. What we look at is how they respond to that complaint.” Unless there’s a pattern of complaints or a persistent problem, the company’s rating remains strong so long as they are responsive. “Customer reviews will have no impact on a company’s rating with us,” Bach continued. “Only formal complaints do. The actual rating of the company is based on fact, not solely on other people’s opinions.” A company seeking BBB accreditation can’t have any unanswered complaints. That evaluation leads to proud use of the BBB logo with their membership fee. The Internet helped develop a more detailed system for assigning business ratings than when Bach first joined the non-profit 12 years ago. “Twenty years ago we didn’t have the A+ through F scale. There were two ratings: satisfactory and unsatisfactory.” The more detailed grade system launched five years ago. NNB2B | February 2016 | 27

Marketing business should log on to Google My Business to make sure they show up on searches and maps. Public comments show up right under the map on Google searches for a business. As Coalesce Account Manager Annie Mares said, “It’s not a bad idea to encourage people to share positive experiences. Positive reviews will push down the bad.” But do note it’s a mistake to write those reviews yourself. “They need to appear genuine,” she said. The same goes for responding to comments made on the company’s own website. “Each scenario is totally different,” Mares explained, so every response has to be original. Even so, having a plan in place to deal with complaints or other problems is simply smart, proactive customer service. When responding to a negative comment, be fair and open, Piikkila suggested. It’s alright to admit to any mistakes and offer some form of apology. “It’s all in how you handle it,” she said. “If you come across as defensive it could all go downhill. That could lead to a whole other social media adventure. You don’t want to try to go on the offensive. That could go viral.” Administrators of a company’s comment page may be tempted to remove negative posts. Resist the temptation to do that, said Piikkila. “It’s not recommended that you do that, because then it looks like you have something to hide,” she pointed out.

“Knowledge is power. If you aren’t monitoring what’s being said you’re missing out from the start.” Annie Mares, account manager, Coalesce Marketing Finco agrees that deleting any comment should be an absolute last resort. Sometimes the customer won’t be satisfied, and sometimes they’re just looking for a fight. “If you feel like it’s someone who’s trying to bait you into an argument, or it’s an unhappy former employee, you should try to deal with that offline,” Finco said. “Ask them to directly contact you.”

Lessons put into practice

At The Roxy Supper Club on Main Street in downtown Oshkosh, manager Ryan Wolf has a procedure in place for all complaints. “When responding to a negative review or complaint, I’ll talk to the managers that need to be notified and talk to the staff involved,” he explained. “I’ll apologize for the negative experience and usually offer a gift certificate to come back again.” Wolf receives email notifications from Trip Advisor and Yelp

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To bring your event home to the Fox Cities, visit 28 | February 2016 | NNB2B

and he checks their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages daily. He makes sure to comment on any positive remarks, too. “I’ll congratulate them on the special event or anniversary and say I hope to see them again in the future,” Wolf said. Online reviews are good for the restaurant industry, Wolf believes, “because it allows out-of-town guests or new customers to see what others have to say about the restaurant before choosing to dine there.”


The only downside, he added, “is if an individual went out of their way to bash a restaurant on social media and found all of their sites to give them a possibly-undeserved negative review.” Across the street at 920 Tattoo Company, owner Steven Anderson said its online reputation is the source of most new referrals. “It’s an integral part of our marketing strategy,” Anderson said. “We thank each person for their feedback, positive or negative, because it’s one of the few metrics we have available to evaluate our performance over time.” Anderson said such reviews also help prospective new customers gain a sense of whether or not they’ll be comfortable with the services provided and the culture. “Coming into our type of business can be an intimidating proposal for many prospective clients. Therefore, reading reviews and seeing our artwork online doesn’t involve any sort of risk, and it’s convenient,” he said. At Oshkosh-based Supple Restaurant Group – which owns Fratellos in Appleton and Oshkosh, Fox River Brewing Company, Golden Corral in Oshkosh and The Melting Pot in Appleton – CEO Jay Supple works with Candeo Creative in Oshkosh to monitor online comments about its brands and respond quickly. “Candeo checks social media pages – Instagram, Twitter (which often includes people’s posts to Untapped and Instagram photos) and Facebook – for comments, reviews, questions and complaints several times each day just in case something didn’t come through on email notices,” Supple explained. The format allows the restaurant group to be creative and have fun with imagery, for example, a Facebook “thumbs up” icon holding a beer bottle for positive comments. “We feel it is also important to tag the customer in the posts, or at least mention their name, so they see that the message is customized to them,” Supple said. “A simple ‘thank you for your review,’ or inviting them to come back soon goes a long way.” n

David Lewis

Account Director CPA 920.235.6789

Tax Planning & Preparation Financial Statements Bookkeeping/Write Up Payroll Services Visit services for a more complete list of services

J.S. Decker is a freelance journalist based in Oshkosh.

Quality ❘ Value ❘ Timeliness

NNB2B | February 2016 | 29



oices isions &

A monthly conversation with New North small business owners, each shedding light on the local economy through the perspective of their industry sector.

Proving a future of profits is no easy task. Convincing a loan officer to support your new business or expansion often requires outside help. The financial professionals at QuickStart in Appleton and Green Bay put their accounting background to work for small business clients and for banks, helping bridge the gap between lender’s financing requirements and the ability of businesses to make a sound case for capital investment. Certified public account Kent Nelson launched the company 15 years ago, and offers business owners plenty of advice on how to strategically obtain sufficient financing to help a business acquire other companies, purchase equipment or expand its facilities. What are common mistakes borrowers make? The first one, which is probably the most obvious, is they don’t borrow enough money. Business owners really underestimate what their start-up costs are, or the expansion costs of an existing business, or how much working capital they need to stay open until they generate enough revenue.

Kent Nelson President

QuickStart, Inc. Appleton

The second mistake is poor planning. Unless you have an accounting background or a finance background, you probably don’t know about Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes, and all the different expenses that a business may have. They don’t know what they don’t know.

How does good record keeping support future loans? Keeping accurate books is critical to getting a loan and managing your business. A lot of times people only work with a CPA at tax time, so if they try to get a loan in June they’ve got six months of messy books. Another mistake is when the business starts to struggle – especially cashbased businesses like bars and restaurants – they’ll stop reporting all their sales. They think they’re pulling a fast one by not paying taxes. But when we go to get a loan, it looks like they’re losing money, which really hurts their chances. It hurts if they try to sell their business, too, because they’ve been underreporting their revenue.

30 | February 2016 | NNB2B

What criteria do lenders seek?

Listen better. Plan better. Build better.

The five C’s of credit! Ultimately the biggest thing is cash flow and collateral. They also look at the character of the person, the amount of capital they’re investing, and the condition of the industry. Are you in an industry that’s on an upswing or a downswing? “I would highly recommend CR Structures Group and will use them again. From planning to building they exceeded our expectations.” ~Owner, PolyFlex, Inc.

They also look for anything dealing with their credit. Personal credit is just as important as business credit. Unfortunately, sometimes a person will sacrifice their personal credit to make their business look good. Lenders care about all of it.

How does the U.S. Small Business Administration enable lending? Typically the SBA is called upon by a bank when there is a riskier loan, like with a start-up business or if there’s a collateral shortfall. Under the 7(a) loan program the SBA and the federal government typically guarantee 75 percent of the loan. It can be 85 percent on loans of less than $150,000. Five million dollars is the limit for what the SBA loan can handle, and anything under $5 million is what we target for our customers. The other major SBA loan is the 504 program. That’s not a guaranteed program, but a direct loan from the SBA. Both have been around a very long time, but it’s changed a lot in the last 10 years, so there are a lot of borrowers out there who wouldn’t have previously been eligible, but are now.

n n n

Design-build Commercial Industrial

920.733.7305 x 571 Marcella St. x Kimberly, WI 54136

What’s it take to get a 7(a) loan? If you’re looking to start a business or buy a business, you need anywhere between 10 and 30 percent equity injection. For a start up, cash is king. But that’s not to say we couldn’t take out a home equity loan and use that as part of the down payment for the business loan. The SBA is what’s called a cash flow lender, not a collateral lender. If you have enough monthly income to make good on the debt, you shouldn’t have to worry about liquefying assets to collect on the collateral. Also with SBA, the banks are allowed to go a little bit longer on the amortization. Usually you’d only be allowed to go 20 years on commercial real estate. Now with SBA, the banks can go to 25 years.

You need one to win. Let’s build it together.

Successful Journeys Need a Guide™ 920.427.5077

NNB2B | February 2016 | 31

Finance How is QuickStart’s record? We have a very high success rate with the 600-plus businesses we’ve helped finance over the last 15 years. About 90 percent are still in business. When you look at the national SBA statistics, 50 percent of businesses fail in the first two or three years.

Do you work on loans from both sides? We help smaller community banks in Wisconsin with packaging SBA loans if they don’t have the staff or expertise to fill out the SBA paperwork. I’d say about 75 percent of what we do is helping people put together business plans, financial projections, and financing packages and then we help shop the deal around to local, regional and national banks.

Some lenders have money but aren’t offering it to small businesses. Why? It comes down to risk. I know a lot of banks felt the crunch from regulators making sure they’re not doing risky loans. But one way to offset that is with the SBA, to minimize the bank’s exposure and help small businesses get the money they need.

What are the differences between a national lender compared with a locally-owned bank or credit union? Your smaller local banks can get you an answer, yes or no, much quicker than a national lender. But there are a lot of national lenders who specialize in the SBA loan program, so they are typically willing to take more of a risk. It kind of depends on which industry you’re in. Bar and restaurant industries are tougher to do locally, whereas a national lender may just be looking at the real estate. But gas stations, hotels, assisted living facilities, etc., are sometimes trickier to do because they are singleuse properties. Lenders think about diversifying their loan portfolio, just like you would your stock portfolio. I will say that Wisconsin is always one of the top SBA lending states every year. We’re always in the top five. We are fortunate that we have banks that are more knowledgeable about the SBA program and they’re taking advantage of it to help small businesses. n

Manufacturing Dental Convenience Store Financial

“Keller was outstanding to work with and their attention to detail was great throughout. I will forever be grateful and I firmly believe the friendship attained will last. Thank you Keller.” -Chief Jason Boeck Iron Ridge Fire Department 32 | February 2016 | NNB2B

Municipal Veterinary Faith-Based Child Care Agriculture Professional Office Chiropractic Industrial Assisted Living Educational Funeral Home Cold Storage Automotive Warehousing Retail Restaurant Hospitality Medical Recreational

Firefighters of Northeast Wisconsin

Firefighter Update

by B2B Staff

New business is in the final stages of preparing its first product for market

First-year entrepreneur Kelly Steinke would appear to be off to a fantastic start as she prepares for the launch of her READ Learning Educational Services spelling program later in 2016.

the-scenes details associated with selling a product in the marketplace and ultimately drive its profitability.

The product – just one component of the multiple revenue streams geared toward helping clients with improved reading skills – has been under development since late last year. Steinke had made a connection with a freelance graphic artist to illustrate and layout the instructional manual and spelling rule card sets for the product, which she expects to have printed sometime in February.

“We’ve discussed pricing in the market, UPC codes and ISBN codes, packaging, shipping rates, and connecting a merchant account to my website,” Steinke said.

The reading teacher turned business owner explained her proprietary spelling program as a multisensory, explicit and cumulative approach to help struggling spellers learn and apply basic American English spelling rules. She said it’s not a traditional spelling program, which she hopes will enable it to stand out in the marketplace of similar education products. “Spelling rules are taught in a logical manner using catchy names and witty images,” Steinke said. “This program includes nonsense words – silly words – and there aren’t any word lists to memorize for a weekly test. The premise is to build understanding instead of relying on rote memorization.” This spelling program product is just one component of READ Learning Educational Services that Steinke has been working on during the past four months with the assistance of business consultant Gary Vaughan, owner of Appleton-based Guident Business Solutions. Vaughan is providing his expertise at no cost to Steinke in exchange for sharing her lessons in growth and experiences launching her business with B2B readers. This is the final monthly update before Vaughan and Steinke wrap up their work together later this month. B2B will provide a capstone article in our March 2016 edition capturing the entirety of Steinke’s progress since she launched her business and began working with Vaughan last fall. As Steinke works toward the launch of her spelling program, she and Vaughan have worked through many of the behind-

On March 2 Steinke has arranged to present her program “Dyslexia 101” at Covenant Christian Academy in Kimberly, and on March 5 she’ll be a guest on an Appleton talk radio show discussing business and entrepreneurship. Heading into the final stretch of her business launch, Steinke and Vaughan plan to continue refining sales projections for the year ahead, as well as other financial components of her business. B2B will revisit them one last time in March as Read Learning Services prepares for a wider market audience. n

Methodology New North B2B magazine began seeking entries for its 5th annual Firefighters of Northeast Wisconsin initiative earlier this year, with a goal of assisting those northeast Wisconsin small business owners who feel as if they’re constantly burning the candle at both ends, putting out fires, spinning their wheels, but intent on finding a way to improve. We put out a call for nominations last spring, and in the end agreed to help Appleton-based READ Learning Educational Services LLC with its start up. Through the generous help of Gary Vaughan of Guident Business Solutions in Appleton, READ Learning Educational Services owner Kelly Steinke will receive five month’s worth of consulting at no cost to help her work on the strategy of launching and growing her business.

NAME: Kelly Steinke Company: READ Learning Educational Services LLC Location: Appleton Founded: Part time 2011; full time beginning in October 2015. Web:

B2B is providing a monthly update on the progress of Steinke’s efforts in each issue leading up to a capstone article in the March 2016 issue of New North B2B magazine. Steinke

While also working with Vaughan to define her marketing budget and create a Vaughan marketing plan that takes the budget into consideration, Steinke has arranged a few no-cost community relations opportunities to reinforce her brand as a reading and dyslexia expert. NNB2B | February 2016 | 33

Professionally Speaking

Professionally Speaking is a paid promotional spot in B2B.

Protect your Business with Treasury Management by Bob Van Kirk of Horicon Bank


Businesses face a multitude of fraud risks each day – facing everything from phony invoices, phishing emails, and directory scams to data breaches, check washing, and wire fraud. While not a complete list, when you look at the aforementioned types of fraud, can you explain each and give examples? If your company has been a victim of any of these scams, you’re probably an expert in that type of fraud. You’ve spent untold hours attempting to recover the loss, researching the fraud, and corresponding with law enforcement, vendors, customers, etc. If you haven’t been a victim, it’s time to educate yourself and take the necessary steps to protect your company. Everyone knows there is a possibility of getting into a car accident or having a

customer or employee slip on the sidewalk outside their business. For that, we purchase different insurance policies. In addition, we obey traffic laws and drive defensively or put down salt to melt the ice and lessen those risks. I am often surprised when I sit down with business owners, CFOs, controllers, accountants, office managers, and bookkeepers. Many of them say that they have no real worries about fraud in their business. The absence of concern stems primarily from lack of knowledge about the risks. Doing your research will certainly help, but there are professionals in a variety of industries that can assist you in identifying risks, help your business put safeguards in place, and direct improvements on internal processes. As a treasury management consultant, I have worked with hundreds of businesses over the

years to improve their cash flow processes and mitigate fraud risk. Meeting with an experienced treasury management consultant can help improve payables and receivables efficiencies. You will also come away more educated on different types of fraud, as well as the best ways to prevent them. Qualified CPAs, insurance representatives, and attorneys can be great resources, too. Understanding your business’s risk of fraud and changing the way you run your business to mitigate these risks is one the most important things you can resolve to accomplish in 2016. Bob Van Kirk is VP of Treasury Management at Horicon Bank. Let his 10 years of banking experience work for you to identify and protect your business from falling victim to fraud. Bob meets with business clients throughout the Fox Valley and Southeast Wisconsin area. Bob can be reached by calling 920-485-7309 or by email at

New Social Security Rules and How They Affect Planning by William Bowman, CPA of Aegis Financial How can you take full advantage of your Social Security (SS) benefits? Because SS is a major concern, we have positioned ourselves to help clients maximize their benefits through timely decisions and effective claiming strategies. This past fall Congress voted to pass The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Even though this Act simplified options for electing Social Security benefits, it complicated planning for people who expected to use “File and Suspend” and “Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit” strategies. These future changes will affect the amount of Social Security benefits many Americans will be eligible to receive. File and Suspend Under the old rules, an individual who had reached full retirement age could file for benefits in order to allow a spouse or dependent to also file for spousal or dependent benefits.

34 | February 2016 | NNB2B


That individual could then suspend and collect benefits later, allowing for an increase of up to 32 percent in benefits. Under the new rules, for benefit elections submitted on or after April 30, 2016, a spouse or dependent will only be allowed to receive benefits when the original filer is receiving benefits. Also the filer will no longer be able to go back and collect benefits accrued during the suspension period. Restricted Application Under the old rules, a married individual who had reached full retirement age could file a “restricted application” for spousal benefits after the other spouse had filed for benefits. This allows the individual to collect the spousal benefit while suspending his/her own benefit in order to increase their benefit amount by as much as 32 percent. Under the new rules, anyone born after 1954 who files a benefit application will be deemed to have filed for both worker and spousal benefits, and will receive whichever benefit is higher, thus eliminating the ability to delay spousal benefit.

Opportunities Ahead A limited window still exists to take advantage of these claiming strategies. Individuals age 66 or older and those who will be 66 by April 30, 2016, are able to use the file and suspend strategy to allow their spouse or dependent to file for benefits while also increasing their future benefits. THIS ELECTION MUST BE MADE BEFORE APRIL 30TH, 2016. William Bowman, CPA, is the Senior Advisor at Aegis Financial in Oshkosh. The team at Aegis Financial gives tax conscious, professional advice for your financial life plan. To learn more about Aegis Financial, visit www.aegisfinancialplanners. com or call 920.233.4650. Aegis Financial is an independent firm. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

Professionally Speaking is a paid promotional spot in B2B.

Cybercrime – Costly Threats to Your Intellectual Property by Joseph S. Heino of Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. - Milwaukee The terms “cybersecurity” and “cybercrime” conjure up visions of futuristic and rather abstract activities. But attacks on businesses – of all sizes – are neither futuristic nor abstract. They are clear and present dangers to your intellectual property. “Cybersecurity” is the state of being protected against the unauthorized use of electronic data. “Cybercrime” is any activity that is conducted illegally using the Internet or computer network. The threats are real. The United States Department of Justice created a Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section that recently uncovered an extensive computer hacking, cyberstalking and



“sextortion” scheme being carried out by a former U.S. State Department employee. This former employee posed as a member of a fictitious “account deletion team” for a well-known email service provider and sent emails to thousands of potential victims, warning them their email accounts would be deleted if they did not provide their passwords. The passwords were used to access social media accounts and data to the detriment of the victims and benefit of the attacker. Just as personal information and data is important to individual Internet users, intellectual property is a valuable intangible asset of your business. For example, a trade secret that gives you a distinct advantage over your competitors can be digitally misappropriated by a company insider or someone outside the company. With your stolen trade secret in

hand, product fabrication can be “fasttracked” saving a competitor time and resources in developing its own product. The foregoing addresses the subject of “what” may be attacked. The subject as to “how” to protect against such attacks is more extensive as there are many tools available for carrying out cyberattacks. As computer and telecommunication technologies continue to emerge, the range of attack methods is constantly changing and expanding as well. If you have questions regarding intellectual property, how it could be stolen, or if you may be subject to a cyberattack, please contact your Davis & Kuelthau attorney or the author, Joseph S. Heino, at 414.225.1452 or email



NNB2B | February 2016 | 35

Who’s News New North B2B publishes monthly new business incorporations filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Consumer Products Research LLC, James Robert Lemsky, 3363 Beach Lane, Green Bay 54311. Clean Queen Services LLC, Samantha Sue Hearley, 516 Northern Ave., Green Bay 54303. Gorman Transport LLC, Terry M. Gorman, 1112 Crown Pointe Cir., Suamico 54173. Alpha Senior Living LLC, Jean Howard, 13230 Velp Ave., Suamico 54173.

Brown County

Fond du Lac County


Elevate Hair Studio LLC, Katie Lynne Henkemeyer, 1924 Andraya Lane, De Pere 54115. StudioDe LLC, Paul Joseph De Leeuw, 421 George St., De Pere 54115. Mr. Ginger INC., Aiyu Zheng, 1017 Main Ave., De Pere 54115. BCT Equipment Leasing LLC, Bruce W. Tielens, 1625 S. Broadway, De Pere 54115. Radue Cinemas INC., Vicki Radue, 905 George St., #191, De Pere 54115. Ifund Wisconsin LLC, Deron J. Andre, 1255 Scheuring Road, De Pere 54115. Metal Manufacturing LLC, Nikolay Chetvertukhin, 1578 Quarry Park Dr., De Pere 54115. Death’s Door Charters and Scenic Tours LLC, Victor Novak, 5300 North Ave., Denmark 54208. Occupational Therapy LLC, Carl Joseph Geishirt, 1251 Prairie Falcon Tr., Green Bay 54313. N.E.W. Discount Realty LLC, Nancy A. Van Straten, 3101 Parkview Ct., Green Bay 54304. Kentro Gyros LLC, Reza Nikkhakian, 229 N. Washington St., Green Bay 54301. Diamonds & Gold LLC, Christine M. Patton, 2071 Central Dr., Green Bay 54311. Family Group Cleaning LLC, Dechia Vang, 3864 Finger Road, Green Bay 54311. 5 Stars Auto Sales and Service LLC, Armando Cruz-Colchado, 918 Cherry St., Green Bay 54301. Integrated Habitat Management LLC, Brad Michael DeBauche, 3611 Anston Road, Green Bay 54313. Orion Project Management LLC, Gregory G. Vandenplas, 1205 Tara Marie Lane, Green Bay 54313. Business News Media LLC, Thomas Verboncouer, 101 S. Military Ave., Green Bay 54303. Precision Auto LLC, Yakov Krief, 1617 Cass St., Green Bay 54302. Howard Halal Market LLC, Ahmed A. Gure, 1845 Velp Ave., Ste. F, Green Bay 54303. N.E.W. Exterior Specialists LLC, John Wesley Eland, 1099 Thorndale St., Green Bay 54304. BHS Plumbing LLC, Bruce Schroeder, 2106 N. Gate Road, Green Bay 54313. N.E.W K9 Scent Work LLC, Patricia Jean Nienow, 3226 Highland View Lane, Green Bay 54311. Applewood Farm Publications INC., Kent Ferrier, 520 Edward Dr., Green Bay 54302. Lighthouse Title INC., Gerard R. Faller, 126 S. Washington, Green Bay 54301. Eagles Aloft Fellowship INC., Aaron Faulkner, 2618 Red Fern Lane, Green Bay 54304. Bay Area Carpet Cleaning LLC, Ross Raymer Buettner, 1139 14th Ave., Green Bay 54304. Graphic Resources LLC, Robert E. Kissel III, 2422 Copper Lane, Green Bay 54311. Reddoor Fitness LLC, Tanya Marie Matuszewski, 1030 Faversham Way, Green Bay 54313. Royle Healthy Vending LLC, Jeffrey Lee Royle, 2916 Shelter Creek Ct., Green Bay 54313. Blue Earth Concrete LLC, Patrick P. Blaser, 235 St. Francis Dr., Green Bay 54301. Panda House One INC., Zhou Dan Ni, 2064 Lime Kiln Road, Ste. 1, Green Bay 54311. Knockout Painting INC., Jose L. Vargas, Jr., 1072 Langlande Ave., Green Bay 54304.

36 | February 2016 | NNB2B

Stephen Edward Graphics LLC, Stephen Weber, W11864 County Road TC, Brandon 53919. Senland Farms LLC, James B. Senn, W3358 Campbell Dr., Campbellsport 53010. Schneider’s Painting Service and Remodeling LLC, Tammy L. Collins, N4507 Sheehan Lake Lane, Campbellsport 53010. Kania Refrigeration LLC, Thomas J. Kania, W3655 Cody Road, Fond du Lac 54937. Mr. Detail LLC, Travis J. Schram, 25 Green Brier Ct., Fond du Lac 54937. Ross’s Repair LLC, Ross Knauer, 1010 Fond du Lac St., Mount Calvary 53057. Educational Leadership LLC, Joan Wade, 1023 Thomas St., Ripon 54971.

Oconto County

Gehrung Physical Therapy LLC, Jesse E. Gehrung, 1818 Zion Lane, Abrams 54101. Drag’n Fly Transport LLC, Robert Risso, 3163 Moody Road, Abrams, 54101.

Outagamie County

Taste of Thai Restaurant LLC, Touger Thor, 619 E. Mitchell Ave., Appleton 54915. Ben Daul Painting LLC, Benjamin L. Daul, 121 W. Seymour St., Appleton 54915. Hosking Insurance Agency INC., Erik Hosking, 3533 N. Morrison St., Appleton 54911. Saving Cash Magazine LLC, Joshua Reuss, W5395 Amy Ave., Appleton 54915. New Staff on Site INC., Benjamin Lafrombois, 100 W. Lawrence St., Appleton 54911. Fox Valley Storage LLC, Jared Vanlanen, 2228 E. Stirling Pkwy., Appleton 54913. Right Way Tees LLC, Alexander Perry, 402 W. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton 54911. Fox Valley Dental Materials CORP., Xiaojuan Chen, 4701 N. Knollwood Lane, Appleton 54913. Caring About People, Kathy Van Zeeland, 100 W. College Ave., 3rd Fl., Appleton 54911. Yer’s Kitchen LLC, Kao Yer Lee, 2500 E. College Ave., Appleton 54915. EJ Used Car Sales LLC, Margherita Teniente, 124 S. Midpark Dr., Appleton 54915. Eagle Advising LLC, Jacob James Phillips, W5345 Amy Ave., Appleton 54915. Monthly Media LLC, Jon Croce, 817 E. Fremont St., Appleton 54915. Getscarce Films LLC, Jon A. Huard, 1716 S. Rebecca Lane, Appleton 54915. Northern Lights Hardwoods LLC, Richard Stiles, 3415 Commerce Ct., Appleton 54911. Afterburner Aviation LLC, Chad William Asmus, W1960 Vans Ct., Freedom 54130. Snap’s Wraps INC., Abbas Amin, 3305 W. College Ave., Grand Chute 54914. The Medina Wedding Chapel LLC, Nathan C. Powell, N951 Bucky’s Way, Greenville 54942. SH Creative Designs LLC, Sara Hunter, W7537 Molly Marie Ct., Greenville 54942. Innovative Energy Services LLC, Robert Aaron Compton, N3185 Market Road, Hortonville 54944. 2016 Lions State Convention LLC, Dean Haas, W8965 Madeline Lane, Hortonville 54944. Chilton Dairy LLC, James Ostrom, N3569 Vanden Bosch Road, Kaukauna 54130.

Chicken Palace of Menasha INC., Michael Montalvo, 1808 Vandenberg Lane, Kaukauna 54130. Richmond Street Automotive LLC, Vanessa A. Mills, N2120 Buchanan Road, Kaukauna 54130. Design Air Transportation LLC, David Garvey, 1010 W. Kennedy Ave., Kimberly 54136. Northeast Wisconsin Trails INC., Matthew Kletti, 1037C Truman St., Kimberly 54136. Cruzer Roofing LLC, Cruz Arvizu-Ramirez, 912 Washington St., Little Chute 54140. Johnson Wealth Management LLC, Michael Arthur Johnson, 1200 Centennial Centre Blvd., Oneida 54155. Inter-Tribal Space Agency INC., Dan Hawk, 3812 N. County Line Road, Oneida 54155.

Winnebago County

Tri City Auto Sales LLC, Joe Viotto, 1415 Appleton Road, Menasha 54952. Fox Valley Auto-Body & Painting LLC, Brandon Robert Seidl, N8302 State Road 55, Menasha 54952. Four Walls Home Remodeling LLC, James Tsimbidis, 609 Warsaw St., Menasha 54952. Stonehaven Advisory Group LLC, Brian Much, 1427A Province Terr., Menasha 54952. Growth Capital LLC, David A. Nelson II, 651 De Pere St., Menasha 54952. Perfectional Design Group LLC, Michael John Schmitz, 1041 Symphony Blvd., Neenah 54956. Totally Legitimate Productions LLC, Kristen Leigh Jobe, 2684 Fairview Road, Neenah 54956. Mathison Farm LLC, Ryan Mathison, 3346 Oakridge Road, Neenah 54956. Sensor Sales & Engineering LLC, Abdallah Salman, 1190 Christopher Lane, Neenah 54956. Red Door Mercantile LLC, Tina L. Palmer, 130 W. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah 54956. Hong Kong Buffet Neenah INC., Kong Cheng Wang, 145B W. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah 54956. Tocco Court Reporting Service LLC, Connie Tocco, 1614 Redwing Dr., Neenah 54956. Act Natural Wellness LLC, Angela Catherine Tannet, W. 127 Eureka Lock Road, Omro 54963. Happy Home Inspections LLC, Anthony D. Ahlers, 5167 Notre Dame Dr., Omro 54963. Nashville Pet Products Center INC., Richard Ertmer, 3390 Cryer Lane, Oshkosh 54904. Golden Deli LLC, Long Yang, 125 Knapp St., Oshkosh 54902. Carbonite Movers LLC, Adam J. Schuh, 106 W. 11th Ave., Oshkosh 54902. Warrior Princess Training Academy LLC, Betsy Ann Wandtke, 1025 John Moore Dr., Oshkosh 54904. Seymour Raceway Park LLC, Panske Enterprises LLC, 540 W. 7th Ave., Oshkosh 54902. Pro Se Probate and Divorce LLC, Edward A. Klug, 309 High Ave., Oshkosh 54901. Artful Touch Massage LLC, Brittany Angela Nennig, 219A W. 10th Ave., Oshkosh 54902.

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NNB2B | February 2016 | 37

Who’s News

Building permits

Festival Foods, 1405 Oneida St., Menasha. $8,400,000 for a new retail grocery store. General contractor is Miron Construction Co. of Neenah. December 11.

B2B includes a monthly list of building permits (not to include residential projects) in excess of $400,000.

YMCA of Appleton, 218 E. Lawrence St., Appleton. $1,400,000 for an addition to and interior renovation of the existing community center. General contractor is Boldt Construction Co. of Appleton. December 14.

Fox River Paper Co./Neenah Paper, 400 E. North Island St., Appleton. $3,400,000 for a 45,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing specialty paper mill. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. December 1.

Aurora Health Care Inc., 2845 Greenbriar Road, Green Bay. $16,053,300 for a two-story, 11,000-sq. ft. addition for cancer care services. General contractor is Boldt Construction Co. of Appleton. December.

Bemis Corp., 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah. $450,000 for interior renovations to the fifth floor of the existing office building. General contractor is C.R. Meyer & Sons Construction of Oshkosh. December 3.

LaForce Inc., 1060 W. Mason St., Green Bay. $500,000 for interior alterations to the existing distribution facility and offices. Contractor listed as self. December.

Pete’s Garage, 142 N. Broadway, Green Bay. $770,000 for an alteration to the existing commercial space to accommodate an outdoor sports retailer. General contractor is Immel Construction of Green Bay. December. Valley Packaging Supply, 3181 Commodity Lane, Ashwaubenon. $1,100,000 for a 41,800-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial facility. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. December. Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley, 2105 E. Enterprise Ave., Appleton. $1,310,000 for an addition to and interior renovation of the existing outpatient clinic. General contractor is Miron Construction Co. of Neenah. December 9. Party City, 613 N. Westhill Blvd., town of Grand Chute. $407,932 for interior alterations and a new external façade to the existing commercial retail facility. General contractor is Innovative Construction services of Brookfield. December 10.

Orthopedic & Spine Therapy, 1000 Midway Road, Menasha. $650,000 for a new 12,500-sq. ft. medical clinic building. General contractor is Stoffel Construction Management of Neenah. December 23.

Name changes BayCare’s Green Bay Eye Clinic is now BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists.

Business honors The Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce recognized the following organizations in Fond du Lac with its 2015 Community Awards: Society Insurance, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, and S.T.E.M. Academy and S.T.E.M. Institute.

We’ll provide the business loan. Whatever your business is, that’s your business.

Federally insured by NCUA

38 | February 2016 | NNB2B







New hires

BayCare Clinic Urological Surgeons in Green Bay added Richard Windsor, M.D. as a urologist.

Schenck SC in Appleton hired Doug Bengson as manager for operations consulting, Kailee Wahler as a human resources consultant, and Teri Johnson as a payroll manager. Bengson has nearly 30 years of experience, including serving as a general manager for two Fox Cities manufacturing companies. Wahler previously worked as a global compensation analyst for Bemis Company in Neenah. Johnson has more than 10 years of payroll experience, previously serving as payroll director for a flexible staffing company and as payroll manager for a manufacturer.

UW-Fox Valley Foundation in Menasha hired Diane Abraham as its executive director.

H.J. Martin and Son in Green Bay hired Tyler Priewe as residential project manager for builder sales and Benjamin Scott as inventory control support specialist. Priewe has 14 years of industry experience, including the past 10 years as a manager at Walcro. Scott has 24 years of industry experience, including running warehouse operations and leading safety initiatives. Green Bay-based Element hired Kasey Steinbrinck as a content marketing specialist, Jamie Weidman as a traffic manager, and both Katie Braun and Kimberly Uelmen as account executives. Steinbrinck spent the last six years as a digital marketing specialist with CheckAdvantage in De Pere and with Natural Healthy Concepts in Appleton. He previously worked as a news producer for WLUK Fox 11. Weidman previously worked at Independent Edit/Studios in Milwaukee. Braun most recently worked as the marketing director at Orthopedic & Sports Medicine of Green Bay, while Uelmen most recently worked as communications coordinator for Pulaski Community School District. Kaukauna-based Keller Inc. hired Tony Tislau as a project designer, Tom Peters and Sam Winterfeldt as assistant project managers, and Jesse Hall as a project manager in the Green Bay area.

Aegis Financial in Oshkosh hired Chris Otte as a client service associate. Otte has 25 years experience in various administrative assistant roles. The Karma Group in Green Bay hired Gina Guarascio as an account coordinator, Sara Syring as controller, Don Nelson as a web developer and Mike Thornton as a graphic designer. Green Bay-based Enlighten Financial LLC hired Kevin Graff as a director. Graff is a certified public accountant and worked the last seven years leading the loan review service line for an accounting and consulting firm. Prior to that role he spent 18 years working for BMO Harris/M&I Bank and Chase as a commercial lender and division manager. YWCA Greater Green Bay hired Terry Rosengarten as its interim CEO. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the banking industry. Woodward Radio Group in Appleton hired Shawn Reed as brand manager for WKSZ 95.9 FM and for WKZG/Y 104.3 and 92.9 FM. Reed has 14 years of radio industry experience, having previously served as a program director for a station in Bloomington, Ill. GLC Minerals LLC of Green Bay hired Holly Bellmund as its president and chief operating officer. Bellmund was most recently a partner at Q4 Impact Group in Chicago, in addition to serving as the founder and president of Proppant Today LLC in Chicago.

Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac added Vivian Onunkwo, M.D., as an occupational medicine physician for Agnesian Work & Wellness. Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin in Green Bay hired Melissa Jeanquart as human resources manager. Jeanquart has 13 years of human resource experience.







NNB2B | February 2016 | 39

Business Calendar




Promotions Green Bay-based Prevea Health promoted Chris Ostrand to senior manager of corporate sales and development for its LeadWell program and Jane Lehman to manager of corporate sales for LeadWell in Green Bay and northern Wisconsin. Ostrand previously handled sales for Prevea360 Health Plan, while Lehman recently provided health coaching services. Choice Bank in Oshkosh promoted Bill Kahl to vice president and compliance officer. Kahl joined the bank in 2013 and has more than 30 years experience in the banking industry. He is a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager. Hawkins Ash CPAs promoted Jeffrey W. Danen, CPA to partner in its Green Bay office. Danen joined the firm in 1998 and provides tax and audit services. The University of Wisconsin Colleges Northeast Region promoted Laurie Krasin to regional director of communications, Suzanne Lawrence to regional director of continuing education, and Renee Anderson to regional executive assistant. Krasin has been with UW Colleges since 2000 and previously was director of marketing and communications at UW Fond du Lac. Lawrence has been with UW Colleges since 2012 and previously served as director of continuing education at UW Manitowoc and UW Sheboygan. Anderson previously served as the dean’s executive assistant at UW Fond du Lac since 2010. The Bank of Kaukauna promoted Tim Hoff to president. Hoff joined the bank in 2010 as vice president of commercial lending. He has 29 years experience in community banking. Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology in Appleton named Dr. Timothy Goggins as chief medical officer.

Individual awards Julie Maurina-Brunker, lab science instructor at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, was named Laboratorian of the Year for 2015 from the Wisconsin Lab Association.

Elections/appointments The Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives association elected Shannon Full, president and CEO of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, as vice president of its board of directors for the 2016 year.

40 | February 2016 | NNB2B

Business calendar

Thank you

New North B2B encourages businesses and organizations looking to attract interested persons to upcoming events to email

to the advertisers who made the February 2016 issue of New North B2B possible.

February 2 Greater Green Bay Chamber Power Networking Breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the chamber offices, 300 N. Broadway, Ste. 3A in Green Bay. No cost to attend for chamber members. For more information, call 920.437.8704 or email members@

Aegis Financial ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

February 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, call 920.303.2266 or go online to

Bayland Buildings ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

February 9 Fox Cities Chamber 2016 Economic Outlook Breakfast, 7 to 9 a.m. at Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, 333 W. College Ave. in Appleton. Cost is $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers. For information or to register, contact Pam at receptionist@ February 10 Greater Green Bay Chamber Business After Hours, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Proof, 127 N. Broadway St. in De Pere. For more information, call 920.437.8704 or email February 11 Women in Management – Oshkosh Chapter 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 or email Lisa at February 11 Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce 2016 Annual Meeting, 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Holiday Inn, 625 W. Rolling Meadows Dr. in Fond du Lac. For more information or to register call 920.921.9500 or go online to

Alberts & Heling CPAs ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Appleton International Airport ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 ATW Miller Group ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Borsche Roofing Professionals ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Candeo Creative ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Consolidated Construction Company ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 CR Structures Group ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Dynamic Designs ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 ECO Office Systems ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Energy Bank ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 EP Direct ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 First National Bank ~ Fox Valley ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau ⎮ 28 Fox Communities Credit Union ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Fox Valley Technical College ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Guident Business Solutions ⎮ . . . . . . 31 Horicon Bank ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C. ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

February 11 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, 5 to 7 p.m. at Ambassador Bar, 117 S. Appleton St. in Appleton. No cost to attend for members. For more information or to register, go online to or call 920.766.1616.

Keller Inc. ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

February 17 A.M. Oshkosh, a morning networking event from the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, 7:45 to 9 a.m. at Bemis Healthcare Packaging, 3500 N. Main St. in Oshkosh. Cost to attend is $2. For more information or to register, call 920.303.2266 or go online to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

February 18 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner, 5 to 9 p.m. at Grand Meridian, 2621 N. Oneida St. in Appleton. For more information or to register, call 920.766.1616 or go online to February 23 Entrepreneurs Anonymous, a networking and development event for entrepreneurs sponsored by Epiphany Law, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Holidays Pub and Grill, 1395 W. American Dr. in Neenah. Topic will be how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign. Cost to attend is $10. Registration is required by contacting Amanda at 920.996.0000 or emailing n

Network Health ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 NEW Building & Construction Trades Council ⎮ . . . . . . . . . 11 NWTC Corporate Training & Economic Development ⎮ OptiVision ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Oshkosh Public Museum ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 R&R Steel Construction Company Inc. ⎮ . . . 10 St. Norbert College MBA program ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy ⎮ . . . . . 2 Suttner Accounting ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Verve, a Credit Union ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Village of Little Chute ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Winnebago County Solid Waste Management ⎮ . 37

NNB2B | February 2016 | 41

Key Statistics

If there are indicators you’d like to see in this space, contact our office at 920.237.0254 or email

local gasoline prices

u.s. retail sales

Per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

january 24. . . . . . . . january 17. . . . . . . . january 10. . . . . . . . january 3. . . . . . . . . january 17, 2015 . . .

$1.70 $1.80 $1.90 $1.97 $1.93


$448.1 billion 0.1% from November 2.2% from December 2014

Source: New North B2B observations

existing home sales


homes sold median price brown cty . ....................228 ....................$144,250 Fond du Lac cty ..............97 ....................$125,000 outagamie cty . ............173 ....................$136,000 winnebago cty .............151 ....................$120,500 WI Dept. Revenue Collections

november 2015

$1.270 Billion 2.8% from November 2014

42 | February 2016 | NNB2B

u.s. industrial production (2012 = 100)



0.4% from November 1.8% from December 2014 air passenger TRAFFIC (Local enplanements) dec 2015 dec 2014 Appleton Int’l ATW.....................20,957 ...... 19,065 Austin Straubel GRB.....................21,761 .......24,566

local unemployment november oct nov ‘14 Appleton ....... 3.5% ...... 3.2% ........4.1% Fond du Lac ... 3.5% ...... 3.3% ....... 4.3% Green Bay........3.9% ...... 3.6% ........4.7% Neenah ........... 3.5% ...... 3.2%.........4.6% Oshkosh . ....... 3.8% ...... 3.5% ....... 4.8% Wisconsin ..... 4.0% ...... 3.6% ........4.7%

natural gas prices Prices for small businesses using less than 20,000 therms. Listed price is per therm.

january..................... $0.464 december....................$0.431 january 2015............ $0.566 Source: Wisconsin Public Service

ism index Numbers above 50 mean expansion. Numbers below 50 mean contraction. december. . . . . . . . 48.2 november. . . . . . . . 48.6

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Feb 2016  

Regional business magazine; Cover story-Constructing a skills gap solution; Finance, Marketing, business news and information

Feb 2016  

Regional business magazine; Cover story-Constructing a skills gap solution; Finance, Marketing, business news and information