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Business Intelligence for the New North

United in Merger

Various northeast Wisconsin firms join forces and discuss what goes on behind the scene

Ramping up young startups


A year of summits

From the Publisher

February 2018 | $3.95

Business Intelligence for the New North


February Features 16 COVER STORY

United in Merger

Various northeast Wisconsin firms join forces and discuss what goes on behind the scene


Ramping up young startups


Globally-recognized, Wisconsin-bred accelerator brings its early-stage business mentorship program to northeast Wisconsin


Sunk? Dive and Ice Service

Don Herman – they call him the ice legend, the ice master or just a guy who fishes vehicles out of the water.

Departments 28


From the Publisher


Since We Last Met


Guest Commentary

10 Build Up Pages 26 Guest Commentary 31 Professionally Speaking 32

Who’s News

37 Business Calendar 37 Advertising Index 38 Key Statistics On the cover Cover illustration by Candeo Creative

NNB2B | February 2018 | 3

From the Publisher

A year of summits

High water marks and near records from various organizations during 2017 create positive momentum for the year ahead

by Sean Fitzgerald, New North B2B publisher

The month of January always rings in news about the annual accomplishments of organizations, businesses and institutions during the prior year. With the economy rolling ahead at full steam, 2017 was a banner year for many in northeast Wisconsin. At the end of 2017, the state of Wisconsin unemployment rate fell to 3.0 percent, tied with 1999 at its lowest point in recorded history. Closer to home, the unemployment rate in Fond du Lac County fell to 2.3 percent in November, while dropping to 2.5 percent in both Brown and Winnebago counties and 2.6 percent in Outagamie County. Those numbers are expected to drop even further in the year ahead. While it’s good news for employees looking for a job, the indicators are tough luck for employers struggling to fill open positions with dedicated, hard-working employees. In Wisconsin, this means the percent of people working in Wisconsin is higher than ever before and ranks as one of the best in the nation. And that doesn’t leave a lot of room to fill the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 job openings across the state as of mid-January, according to the state Department of Workforce Development’s JobCenter website. In an effort to curb the tide in the year ahead, Gov. Scott Walker is pushing to expand welfare reform to encourage state residents on the sidelines receiving unemployment assistance and Social Security to participate more actively in the workforce. When individuals receiving such assistance are not working, they are not included as part of the “available workforce” used for determining unemployment data.

Home sales

Existing home sales across the state reached an all-time high in 2017 with more than 83,000 units sold. In fact, last year was the third straight year of record home sales in Wisconsin, indicating a housing market that’s been booming since a few years after the end of the recession. In northeast Wisconsin, existing home sales ended the year down less than a half-percent from 2016 with 15,173 units sold across a 14-county area, just 60 fewer than in the previous year. But it’s just a slight blip on what have been near-record years annually since 2015, said Mike Kunesh, president of Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin. 4 | February 2018 | NNB2B

“The last three years collectively have been (an all-time record), if you will,” Kunesh said. “But it’s not sustainable due to the lack of inventory on the market.” That shortage of available housing inventory within the northeast Wisconsin market during the past three years has held back potentially higher sales totals, Kunesh said, but it’s also appreciated the value of homes across the region. During the past year, the median home sale price across northeast Wisconsin was $149,000, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2016. In Brown County, the median home selling price during 2017 was $169,900, nearly 8 percent higher than the prior year. “Even though home values are increasing faster than we’re used to, it’s still amazing how affordable homes are in northeast Wisconsin,” Kunesh said. The trend in home sales is expected to continue into 2018 even as home builders have ramped up new residential construction to the highest rate since the recession. Although the most recent available data from Wisconsin Builders Association only included up to September as of B2B press time, the trade group indicated 2017 building permits across the state for single-family homes were up 7 percent compared with the same period during 2016.

Air traffic

Appleton International Airport registered its fifth consecutive year of increased passenger traffic during 2017, recording more than 575,000 passengers loading and unloading from planes departing and arriving at the airport. It’s a 4.6 percent jump from the nearly 550,000 passengers using the airport in 2016, and the highest annual total since the pre-recession era of 2007, according to airport director Abe Weber. Weber credits much of the growth to the addition of American Airlines, which began operating a daily route between Chicago and the Fox Cities this past summer. That route added nearly 27,000 passengers since it began operations July. Weber indicated an additional Allegiant Airlines route to Florida initiated this past year increased overall passenger traffic as well. “We’ve been very aggressive at being able to communicate our community’s story to the airlines,” Weber said, noting that such conversations have led to the new routes which have been added to ATW’s lineup of flights. Another flight route announced last month on United Airlines will carry passengers back and forth to Denver on a daily basis beginning in June. That new route coupled with a full year of flights on American Airlines could push passenger totals to record levels once again in 2018, Weber said. n

Sean Fitzgerald Publisher & President x Kate Erbach Production x Rachel Yelk Sales and Marketing Intern x Contributing writers Rick Berg Lee Marie Reinsch

NEW NORTH B2B is published monthly by WINNEBAGO B2B LLC for $20 per year or $3.95 for a single issue. POSTMASTER: send address changes to: WINNEBAGO B2B LLC, 923 S. Main St., Oshkosh, WI 54902. Bulk-rate postage paid at LaCrosse, WI. Reproduction of any contents of NEW NORTH B2B without express written permission of its publishers is strictly forbidden. The appearance of any advertisement or product information does not constitute endorsement of any product or service by WINNEBAGO B2B LLC. Copyright 2018.

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1.800.642.6774 NNB2B | February 2018 | 5

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.

December 29 Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) resigned his elected position in the state legislature to take a position as the division administrator for worker’s compensation in the state Department of Workforce Development. Gov. Scott Walker will not call a special election to fill the seat, and rather will wait for the November general election. Lasee was elected the 1st Senate District seat in 2010 after serving in the state assembly from 1994 until 2006. January 1 Consumers in Brown County began paying a half-percent county sales tax for the next six years to fund various capital improvement projects in the county, as well as to help lower the annual county property tax levy. The new sales tax is expected to generate as much as $147 million between now and 2023 and will contribute proceeds toward various proposed projects, including $60 million for roads and infrastructure, $20 million to revamp four libraries, $15 million toward a new exposition center, and $20 million

for a jail and mental health center expansion, among other smaller projects. The resolution adopting the sales tax includes a provision that if property tax rates increase at any point during the next six years, the county sales tax would cease at the end of that year. January 4 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the trading day above the 25,000 milestone for the first time in its history. The stock market indicator had eclipsed the 20,000 mark a little less than a year earlier on Jan. 25, 2017. January 4 Sears Holdings announced it will close 39 stores across the country, including the Sears store at Mason Street and Military Avenue in Green Bay. The store is set to close in March, though the store’s auto center will close in February. Sears also intends to close 64 Kmart stores, though none of those closures are slated for Wisconsin.

2003 February 28 – Great Lakes Aviation made its last flight out of Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh after the U.S. Department of Transportation stopped subsidizing commercial flights earlier in the week, leaving Wittman without a commercial airline carrier for the first time in decades.

2011 February 18 – Both the Kimberly and Freedom Area school districts cancelled classes for the day after superintendents learned several faculty members didn’t plan to attend work in protest of Gov. Walker’s proposed budget repair bill. As many as 180 staff members in Kimberly participated in the “sick out,” while there appeared to be an organized effort to ensure substitute teachers from the area didn’t fill positions on that day.

2005 February 4 – The City of Neenah received a $500,000 state Brownfields grant to clean up a contaminated site downtown for Alta Resources Corp. to expand. Once cleaned up, plans include a seven-story office complex and public parking structure on the site, which will allow Alta Resources to create 336 jobs. The total investment in this project is $31.4 million.

2013 February 20 – Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt reported the governor pledged $2 million from the state’s upcoming 2013-15 capital budget toward the proposed expansion of the KI Convention Center downtown. The project is adding more than 30,000 square feet to the existing 44,000-sq. ft. facility.

2010 February 22 – Developers of Eagle Flats proposed a $25 million residential and commercial development at the site of the former Riverside Paper property in Appleton. 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.

2017 February 8 – The Milwaukee Bucks announced it will locate its new NBA Development League team in Oshkosh beginning with the 2017-18 season. As part of the deal, Oshkosh-based Fox Valley Pro Basketball will construct a new 3,500-seat arena in the city’s newly designated Sawdust District near Lake Winnebago.

6 | February 2018 | NNB2B

January 4 Annie’s Fountain City Café in downtown Fond du Lac was selected among 20 applicants statewide as the winner in Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s Main Street Makeover Contest. Annie’s will receive technical assistance and up to $10,000 to implement the changes to the café during a 48-hour makeover event in April, which could include enhancing the outside façade, enhancing interior flow and customer seating areas, and providing greater visibility to the artists whose work is for sale throughout the café. January 4 The Green Bay Water Utility received a $300,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Safe Drinking Water Loan Program to assist City of Green Bay residents with costs associated with replacing the lead pipes on their properties. Individual grants to property owners are available on a first-come basis. It’s estimated the average cost of private side lead service replacement is nearly $5,000. January 5 The U.S. Department of Labor reported 148,000 new jobs were created across the country in December, leaving the national unemployment rate relatively unchanged at 4.1 percent. Employment gains occurred in health care, construction and manufacturing.

January 5 Ron Van Den Heuvel, previous owner of Green Box in De Pere, was sentenced to three years in federal prison in U.S. District Court for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. In October Van Den Heuvel pled guilty for defrauding Horicon Bank and three credit unions for various loans received in 2008 and 2009 totaling more than $1 million. He was also ordered to pay $316,445 in restitution to Horicon Bank. Van Den Heuvel has been additionally indicted by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on 14 other counts charging him with allegedly defrauding investors of his food-contaminated trash recycling company out of $9 million between 2011 and 2015. He faces another separate charge for defrauding Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. out of a $1.2 million loan he received in 2011 and for submitting a fraudulent application for a $95,000 job training grant Green Box received in 2014. January 8 United Express announced it will begin a new daily route between Appleton International Airport and Denver starting June 8. The new route will be operated by Appletonbased Air Wisconsin, a regional airline headquartered in Appleton, and will depart Appleton each day at 8:35 a.m. A return flight will depart Denver at 5:35 p.m. each day and arrive in Appleton at 8:49 p.m.

NNB2B | February 2018 | 7

Since We Last Met

Business Intelligence for the New North

2018 Media Kit & Advertising Rates now available

January 8 The Howard-Suamico School District Board of Education approved an April 3 referendum asking voters to exceed the state-imposed spending cap by $5.85 million a year for the next five years to help restore recent staffing cuts prompted by a looming $3 million deficit at the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year. Voters in the district overwhelmingly turned down a similar referendum in April 2017 asking for an additional $4 million per year indefinitely. If approved by voters, the measure would increase the district tax rate by $1.19 for every $1,000 of equalized property value, or $119 in additional taxes on a property valued at $100,000. January 8 An early afternoon explosion at Signature Wafers in Ripon sent two employees to the hospital with minor, non-life threatening injuries. An estimated 30 employees were working at the cookie production facility at the time of the accident, leading to an immediate evacuation of the plant. Fire officials still had not determined the cause of the accident as of B2B press time for this edition. January 16 Appleton-based Schenck SC – one of the nation’s top 25 accounting firms and the largest headquartered in northeast Wisconsin – named Daniel Young, CPA, as its next president, succeeding Greg Barber, CPA. Young has served as the managing shareholder of Schenck’s Green Bay office since 2008. He began his career as a staff accountant at Shinners, Hucovski and Company, SC in Green Bay, progressing through the ranks to shareholder in 1991. The firm merged with Schenck in 1999. Young

January 17 Gannett Co. announced it will close down its Appleton newspaper printing facility in late April and move production to a print facility in Milwaukee, effectively laying off 140 employees. The change in the production location is not expected to have a significant impact on newspaper delivery times.

Contact or go online to

January 18 Larry’s Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Little Chute and Kaukauna were sold by the Verhagen family to StoneRidge Markets of Wautoma, which previously acquired its Larry Market’s Inc. store in De Pere. Most of the 260 full and parttime employees of the two Heart of the Valley grocery stores will remain in their existing roles under the new ownership. n

More than 15 years serving the New North 8 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Guest Commentary

Recalling ‘lost’ inventions How the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ can retool Wisconsin by Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council

All too often, American inventions don’t stay home to create companies and jobs. The late George H. Heilmeier has long represented just such a missed opportunity – and he’s now a symbol of why there’s hope for a techno-industrial renaissance. An American electrical engineer working at RCA in the 1960s, Heilmeier helped invent the kind of screen display that uses liquid crystals to project images. Today, liquid crystal displays – or LCDs – are used in everything from mobile telephones to computer monitors, and from flat-screen televisions to medical imaging equipment. In 1968, RCA went so far as to announce it had refined the technology for use in clocks. After that, as the New York Times quoted Heilmeier as lamenting in 1991, the rest of the world went about “cleaning our clock.” Electronics companies in Japan adopted LCD technology much more readily than U.S. companies, including RCA. Japan’s Sharp Corporation installed some of the first liquidcrystal displays in pocket calculators, digital wristwatches and tiny television sets before it and other companies expanded their use in devices such as laptop computers, video cameras and medical equipment. One of those companies is known today as Foxconn Technology Group, which will bring Heilmeier’s LCD invention back to America for production when it builds a massive plant in Racine County. It will become the first LCD plant outside of Asia. The story of Heilmeier’s ‘lost’ invention was remembered Dec. 5 during a meeting of the Tech Council Innovation Network at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, where two of the state’s leading computer scientists discussed how information technology is changing the face of virtually every Wisconsin industry. Guri Sohi and Jignesh Patel of the UW Madison Department of Computer Sciences – one of the nation’s highest-ranked programs – talked about how computing is disrupting industries such as manufacturing, insurance, financial services, agriculture, biotechnology, healthcare and transportation, which are all part of the Wisconsin economic fabric. Department chairman Sohi, renowned for his groundbreaking work in parallel computer processing, noted that job openings

in computing far exceeded actual degrees granted from 2002 to 2012 – and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more of the same scarcity by 2024. Patel, whose startups include one company acquired by Twitter, said artificial intelligence, “big data” and the Internet of Things are realities today and are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It will be a revolution that further democratizes how people and companies work through better computing algorithms and cheaper data, which will produce results in food, clothing, shelter, health, security and entertainment. It’s a natural successor to the first three Industrial Revolutions, Patel said, which included the advent of machines in the late 18th century; the rise of electricity, petroleum and steel in the late 19th century; and the rise of computing and the internet in the mid-to-late 20th century.

... artificial intelligence, “big data” and the Internet of Things are realities today and are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Sohi and Patel – both immigrants of humble backgrounds who became U.S. citizens – argued that Wisconsin is ideally suited to prosper from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially if it takes care to cultivate homegrown ideas, nurture resources related to computing in academia and industry, and move to keep its most talented people at home. They even chose to quote the late Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, who told the team: “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.” While I’m not sure Lombardi had artificial intelligence in mind when he cajoled his team, the notion of building on Wisconsin’s economic foundation through technology should be a natural for policymakers and private industry. Foxconn’s arrival in the United States, where it will build an LCD industry that could have been rooted here decades ago, is one obvious example. George Heilmeier would approve. Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal. n

NNB2B | February 2018 | 9

Build Up Fond du Lac



Build Up

MillenniuM ConstruCtion, inC.

Fond du Lac

Indicates a new listing

1 - 545 W. Pioneer Road, Fond du Lac Mercury Marine, an addition to an office building on the manufacturing campus. 2 - 45 S. National Ave., Fond du Lac Marian University, a two-story, 18,200-sq. ft. addition to the existing science bulding on campus. Project completion expected in late summer.

Featured Project: Security Luebke Roofing Appleton, WI

425 W Wisconsin Ave. • Appleton 920.882.8700 10 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Build Up Oshkosh 3



Build Up


Indicates a new listing

3 - 1041 Emmers Lane, Oshkosh Choice Bank, a two-story, 30,000-sq. ft. financial institution building. Project completion expected in June. 4 - 1025-1033 N. Washburn Ave., Oshkosh OC Development, a two-tenant commercial retail building. 5 - 100 Osceola St., Oshkosh University of Wisconsin Oshkosh RecPlex, a 181,000-sq. ft. intramural sports complex. Project completion expected in spring. Projects completed since our January issue: • Team Winnebagoland, 5827 Green Valley Road, Vinland. • Fox Valley Metrology, 495 W. Waukau Ave., Oshkosh.

Coming to B2B in March 2018 Human Resources

Meshing Generations in the Workplace

NNB2B | February 2018 | 11

Build Up Fox Cities

Build Up

Fox Cities

Indicates a new listing

1 - County CB & State Road 15, town of Greenville Cintas, a 54,000-sq. ft. industrial facility for laundry and maintenance. Project completion expected in July. 2 - N912 Craftsmen Dr., town of Greenville Fox Valley Spring Co., a 24,500-sq. ft. addition for expanded manufacturing and office space. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is Consolidated Construction Company of Appleton. 3 - 3030 N. Victory Lane, town of Grand Chute Bergstrom Jaguar/Land Rover, a 9,034-sq. ft. addition to the existing automotive dealership. 4 - 3000 W. Wisconsin Ave., town of Grand Chute Kolosso Toyota, a 68,732-sq. ft. automotive dealership and offices. Project completion expected in late 2018. 5 - 327 Randolph St., Little Chute Trigger Action Sports and CR Structures Group, a 36,946sq. ft. multi-tenant commercial building. Project completion expected in April. General contractor is CR Structures Group of Kimberly. 6 - 1402 Freedom Road, Little Chute Little Chute Area School District, a two-story addition to the existing middle and high schools for combined administrative offices. Project completion expected in summer. 7 - 311 Oak Grove Road, Kaukauna Poly Flex, a 36,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing industrial building for expanded warehousing space. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is CR Structures Group of Kimberly. 8 - N9690 County Road N, Harrison Darboy Corner Store, an addition to the existing convenience store. Project completion expected in February. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna.

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9 - 3921 E. Endeavor Dr., Appleton Security Luebke Roofing, a 20,000-sq. ft. commercial building and warehouse. Project completion expected in June. General contractor is Millennium Construction of Appleton. 10 - 2310 S. Kensington Dr., Appleton Aldi, a new retail grocery building. Project completion expected in spring. 11 - 410 S. Walnut St., Appleton Outagamie County, an 87,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing county administrative office building. 12 - 720 W. Fifth St., Appleton Harbor House, an addition to increase bed capacity at the existing community services facility. 13 - County Road CB, Fox Crossing Secura Insurance, a 350,000-sq. ft. corporate headquarters office building. Project completion expected in early 2019. 14 - 1265 W. American Dr., Fox Crossing Wisconsin Institute of Urology, a 34,837-sq. ft. medical clinic. Project completion expected in February. 15 - 601 S. Commercial St., Neenah Galloway Company, a truck bay addition to the existing industrial facility. 16 - 590 Enterprise Dr., Neenah Horseshoe Beverage Co., a 20,000-sq. ft. addition to the existing manufacturing facility for a bottling plant. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. Projects completed since our January issue: • Meijer, 3801 N. Richmond St., town of Grand Chute. • GLK Foods, 3912 N. Lightning Dr., Appleton. • Memories Antique Mall, 400 Randolph Dr., Little Chute. • Precision Installations, 660 Watermark Ct., Fox Crossing. • Wisconsin Department of Corrections, 1251 Jacobson Road, Fox Crossing.

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Office • Retail • Restaurant Lodging • Automotive

Meeting the needs of your business’ future x 920.498.9300

NNB2B | February 2018 | 13

Build Up Greater Green Bay area 2 &3 1

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7 10 11

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17 & 18


19 & 20



Build Up

Greater Green Bay area 1 - 2810 Howard Commons, Howard Village of Howard, a mixed-use commercial and multi-family residential development. 2 - 1803 Condor Lane, Howard Feldstein’s Jewelers, a 5,918-sq. ft. retail building. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. 3 - 1510 Brookfield Ave., Howard BCS International, a 92,400-sq. ft. warehouse and office building. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay.

14 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Indicates a new listing

4 - 2740 W. Mason St., Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, a two-story Great Lakes Energy Education Center. Project completion expected in February. 5 - 1457 Donald St., Green Bay Hurckman Mechanical Inc., replace two existing smaller buildings with a new 8,400-sq. ft. industrial warehouse facility. 6 - 2231 N. Quincy St., Green Bay Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, a wastewater treatment facility. Project completion expected in February.

7 - 2125 Main St., Green Bay Royal Cleaners, a new commercial retail building. 8 - 2999 E. Mason St., Green Bay Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe, a new retail bakery and shop. Project completion expected in February. 9 - 2878 Ontario Road, Bellevue Carnivore Meat Company, an addition to the existing warehouse facility. 10 - 1751 Allouez Ave., Bellevue Eagle III, addition to the existing ambulance dispatch facility. Project completion expected in February. 11 - 1695 Bellevue St., Bellevue Cedar Corp., an 8,487-sq. ft. office building. Project completion expected in spring.

19 - 2125 American Blvd., De Pere Battlehouse/Ninja Warrior, a two-story, 17,152-sq. ft. indoor recreation facility. Project completion expected in February. 20 - 1400 Richco Ct., De Pere Midland Plastics, a new manufacturing and warehouse facility with offices. Project completion expected in summer. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. 21 - 1881 Commerce Dr., De Pere Kay Distributing Co., a 25,008-sq. ft. addition to the existing beverage distribution facility. Projects completed since our January issue: • Dorsch Collision Center, 2629 Eaton Road, Bellevue.

12 - 1317 Lombardi Access Road, Ashwaubenon US Bank, a 3,895-sq. ft. bank branch office. 13 - 2800 Ashland Ave., Ashwaubenon Wisconsin Public Service, a 31,788-sq. ft. regional employee training center. Project completion expected in March. 14 - 1040 Circle Dr., Ashwaubenon Circle Kennel Club, a 10,000-sq. ft. dog kennel. 15 - 1901 Airport Dr., Ashwaubenon Jet Air, a 42,504-sq. ft. aviation hangar.

Construction Services, Company

Vision • Technology • Innovation Planning/Design Construction Professionals

16 - 1200 Flightway Dr., Hobart Synergy Sports Performance, an 18,000-sq. ft. indoor athletic training facility. Project completion expected in spring. General contractor is Bayland Buildings of Green Bay. 17 - 4400 block of County Road U, Wrightstown Tweet/Garot Mechanical, a 90,000-sq. ft. manufacturing facility. Project completion expected in late summer. 18 - 1450 Poplar St., Wrightstown Print Pro, a 65,000-sq. ft. manufacturing and warehousing facility. Project completion expected in April. General contractor is CR Structures Group of Kimberly.

Fond du Lac



920-993-0735 NNB2B | February 2018 | 15

Cover Story

United in Merger Various northeast Wisconsin firms join forces and discuss what goes on behind the scene

Story by Lee Marie Reinsch

16 | February 2018 | NNB2B

When two companies join forces, it can be a little like early episodes of “The Brady Bunch.” The three sons and three daughters from the newlywed Mike and Carol Brady’s respective first marriages wonder how they’re ever going to coexist in the Brady split-level. Carol’s three girls squabble among themselves; Mike’s three boys spar with each other. Factions team up against each other. And at some time or another, each of the six kids is sure their parents hate them. As when two companies become one, the new whole goes through an adjustment period. Both parties investigate and appraise each other, doing their due diligence. With every change comes a learning curve, technical difficulties, trials and tribulations. Ideally, all live happily ever after. Until the next episode. As with getting married, principals decide for any of a number of reasons that their business will be better combined, so the entities come together. As with marriage, reasons, results and reactions from those in the inner circle vary. It’s seldom easy. Here in northeast Wisconsin, some newlywed companies tell us why they got hitched and how they brought their business families together.

Fear of change

Any change on the horizon has the potential to send tummies into a tizzy. We’re habit-driven creatures. “You take anyone aside and ask them to change their daily routine, you’ll get pushback,” said Jamie O’Brien, associate professor of business administration and management at the Donald J. Schneider School of Business and Economics at St. Norbert College in De Pere. “I think that spills over into the workplace in a merger situation, where you see people not wanting to change the way they’ve been doing things.” The Brady boys surely wondered if their golden-haired invaders would tie up the bathroom, or if their new stepmother would quash their freedom. And Carol’s girls surely worried about what it would be like to have brothers. Once people learn of a change, their minds go into overdrive: What’s going to happen with my job? What if they cut my pay, my retirement, my seniority? “A merger can manifest itself in different ways,” O’Brien said. “You can have people showing up late for work because of stress. You can have people just saying, ‘I’m out of here.’” People can refuse to do certain duties or even be upskilled. “It’s all symptoms of the underlying problem, which is fear of change in the first place,” he said. The problem isn’t the merger, the acquisition, or the change in organizational culture, according to O’Brien. “The problem is the fear we have of the unknown, and the stress accompanying that.” He said he thinks the field of change management – which he studies – is misnamed and would be better called ‘transition management.’ “People don’t mind the end change, but not so much the

steps to get there – the transition,” he said. “It’s like the person trying to lose weight after Christmas – everyone wants that beach body, but the steps one to 20 aren’t always transferrant.”

Why better together?

Companies that join forces must derive some sort of benefit from doing so, since there’s no sign of it stopping. Increasing their client base, expanding service repertoire, and increasing revenue are just a few reasons these corporate couples tie the knot. Linking up can add to a company’s capabilities. Consolidated Construction Company of Appleton found it was able to offer finish millwork and construction under one roof by adding Vincent Wood Works of Iowa in early 2017. Consolidated CEO Rick Bickert said the expanded service fit perfectly with its senior living and hospitality divisions, which demand cabinetry, finish millwork and buildout work. “Putting those under one umbrella really made us,” Bickert said. “Our clients love our taking it off their hands, and our service goes up another level when we can coordinate that under us.”

“You take anyone aside and ask them to change their daily routine, you’ll get pushback, I think that spills over into the workplace in a merger situation ...” Jamie O’Brien, associate professor of business administration and management, St. Norbert College in De Pere Menasha Corp’s recent purchase of food packager ARI of Illinois enables it to do direct food-packaging of items such as cereal for wholesale clubs, according to Menasha Packaging Chief Operating Officer Mike Riegsecker. “With e-commerce and changing retail landscapes, there’s going to be more (demand) to re-manipulate package sizes and customize,” he said. Joining forces can be mutually beneficial for acquirer and acquiree. For law firm von Briesen & Roper, which has three offices in the Fox Valley, it means expanded client base, NNB2B | February 2018 | 17

Cover Story market share, expertise and the ability to cross-sell services it couldn’t before. von Briesen & Roper recently acquired two Milwaukee-based firms, bringing its total to 12 offices across three states. “Some of these well-established Wisconsin law firms came at a time when specialization benefits them and their lawyers, and when continuing a smaller firm lacking the specialization of the larger firm made it more difficult for them to compete,” said Randall Crocker, president and CEO of von Briesen & Roper. The benefit to the smaller firms is a profitable out: “They can wind down their affairs, distribute equity to the owners, and find a wonderful place, we hope, for their staff and employees,” Crocker said. Bank First National’s purchase of Waupaca Bancorporation during 2017 will help grow its agricultural sector, according to Michael Dempsey, president of Bank First National. “They’re also adding credibility in an adjacent county to us as the go-to bank in that county.” Other acquisitive companies find strength in numbers: Van Horn Automotive Group of Plymouth bought three dealerships recently, one in Lomira and two in Iowa, bringing its total to 12. Becoming a group rather than just a string of dealerships gives it more heft in the marketplace, according to Ryan Thiel, marketing director for Van Horn. “We’re backed by other locations, more resources and bigger

18 | February 2018 | NNB2B

inventory, so we can get cars there faster and fill up the lot quicker,” he said. Thiel indicated the consortium has facilitated communication and cooperation between managers and corporate. “We’ve taken on this culture of operating and sharing ideas, despite all the different brands we operate with in terms of their different processes, philosophies, customer service and marketing,” he said.

“If the culture in an organization isn’t relatively consistent and defined, organizations aren’t going to be as successful as they could be.” Tim Schneider, president, Investors Community Bank

The role of culture

Consolidated Construction CEO Rick Bickert didn’t have to do much research to decide his company would benefit from taking Vincent Wood Works into its nest. Brian Vincent of Vincent Wood Works contracted with Consolidated for five years, and the two companies had a great relationship.

Now renamed Vincent Interior Systems, it’s a division of Consolidated. “Brian was a high-performing contractor. We knew he fit philosophically and culturally, how he thinks, how he believes in serving the client,” Bickert said. “He’s a real partnering, winwin person – which is how we move forward in our business.” Decision-makers often overlook company chemistry, Bickert said. They often just look at numbers and dwell on increasing revenue or decreasing overhead by shedding redundant staff. “They don’t look at it culturally, and that’s why companies fail,” Bickert said. “When you try to execute, operationalize and make decisions, it’s like you’re trying to drive on square wheels.” Investors Community Bank of Manitowoc looked for commonalities in milieu when buying The Business Bank of Appleton two years ago. “If the culture in an organization isn’t relatively consistent and defined, organizations aren’t going to be as successful as they could be,” said Tim Schneider, Investors Community Bank president. He identified culture as paramount to success. “Anytime you bring new people into an organization, the culture’s going to shift slightly and you’re going to have some changes, but you want cultures aligned before you move forward and say ‘Let’s marry,’” Schneider said.

Dating tips

During the courting process, when companies are getting to know each other, they might do well to follow good relationship advice: Always consider the other side. “The thing to remember is that the other person’s win is just as important as mine – that’s the foundation,” Bickert said. “There’s a third way to do something that incorporates both wins. I’ve seen it too many times – it does work. Just going in with that attitude creates a tremendous amount of positive energy.”

“The thing to remember is that the other person’s win is just as important as mine – that’s the foundation.” Rick Bickert, CEO, Consolidated Construction Company, in Appleton The best way to start is to open one’s ears. “You need to listen, listen, listen,” said Dempsey from Bank First. “You need to ask questions from different angles and approaches to determine what their needs are, where their values are and how they make decisions.” Not everyone working on a decision process weighs each factor in the decision equally, Dempsey pointed out. Also consider











With Offices in the Fox Cities, Madison, Milwaukee & Wausau



NNB2B | February 2018 | 19

Cover Story how they take care of their customers and shareholders. “Spending time socially can help in understanding where their values lie,” he said. “By the time you make a commitment, you want to be sure you want to do business with them and vice versa.”

Keeping everyone happy

A bad transition can affect the bottom line, and nobody wants that. “Say one group of employees is used to a lot of transparency and they’re bought by a company that keeps all that info a little bit closer to their vest – it’s going to feel like there’s a vacuum of information,” said Stephen Utech, president and founder of Illumyx, a De Pere company that specializes in employer culture analytics. “The employees are going to think, ‘Are they hiding something?’” Utech said. “People’s minds go a bit crazy, and they start getting paranoid. They don’t work as hard, they’re not as forthright and honest, and work can then feel difficult.” The smart company gets out in front of the problem and says ‘Here’s how we’re different. Here’s how we’re similar. Here’s what you can expect,’ he said. “It immediately reduces people’s anxiety and tension levels and helps them get through that stage of anger and frustration much faster,” Utech said. “The quicker you can help employees

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through that, the faster you can get them to accept that change.”

Bumps in the road

Weddings seldom go off without a hitch, and the same goes for mergers and acquisitions. Northeast Wisconsin companies found plenty of them. For one thing, the due diligence process can be lengthy and patience-trying. “You may find some things during the diligence that bring up some red flags,” said Schneider of Investors Bank. “You say no, we’re not interested, and you’ve spent a fair amount of time besides your day job of running a bank and your other responsibilities, only to get to a roadblock.” Regulations can stand in the way of an acquisition. “There’s a whole litany of things you can run into,” Schneider said. “We try to vet some of those things on the front end to make sure we’re not going to be going down a rabbit hole.” Even if red flags and regulations don’t pit themselves against a company, the logistics of the change itself can be trying. “The displacement of the leadership that gets invested into the acquisition process is something we plan for but one of most challenging things we deal with,” said Bank First’s Dempsey. His bank had a team of vital employees that spent six months on the transition. “They also had their day jobs to do, so they had to work with people on the inside of our legacy

“How do we take what’s really good about your organization and my organization and use this merger as a way to make both better?” Stephen Utech, president and founder, Illumyx in De Pere organization to make sure we not only managed without their full support, but that we succeeded despite having some key people focused elsewhere for six months,” Dempsey said. Having a plan in place, being organized and having good people who are willing to work long hours can help minimize problems, he said. Communication doesn’t hurt, either. “Anytime you bring two companies’ cultures together and you’re just learning about each other and how you go to market, it’s just making sure you’re connecting all the right people through both companies,” said Menasha Packaging’s Riegsecker. “It just takes some time to work through that.” Riegsecker credited their temporary integration team with connecting the dots and helping the transition be successful. For von Briesen & Roper, tallying more firms’ attorneys means the odds of a conflict of interest increase. “As we continue to grow, we get clients who are averse to other clients and we just have to be transparent,” said Crocker. “We have to be transparent, talk to our clients about whether we can continue that representation, and secure waivers where appropriate. But if we deal with integrity and honesty, we’ve had no problems there.” Technology provides a reliable supply of issues and conundrums. In the age of driverless cars, it’s almost reassuring that phones still go wonky. Bank First

National found that out the hard way. “The phone system in our new offices were acting funny – not in a funny way – right at the time when customers had the most questions and were calling the most,” Dempsey said. It was extremely frustrating at the time, but Dempsey said even frustrations can teach us something. “It’s another opportunity to see how a team can work together in the face of adversity and sort out who picks up the slack,” he said. Another roadblock that can befall a relationship is one or both parties not wanting to change. Power imbalances between old guard and new can make a difficult union even harder. Illumyx’s Utech said acknowledging strengths of both sides can go a long way toward constructing something better than either side was on its own. “Once companies see ‘here’s how we’re similar, here’s how we’re different, here’s how your culture is working for you,’ I actually see a lot of openness for executives to say, ‘Maybe we need to look at blending our approaches,’” Utech said. “How do we take what’s really good about your organization and my organization and use this merger as a way to make both better?” And that’s the way they all became The Brady Bunch. n Lee Marie Reinsch of Green Bay worked 18 years at daily newspapers before launching her freelance business, edgewise, in 2007.

You have Questions... We have Answers!

Developing OshkoshRemarkable Growth

Several key private Oshkosh developers will participate in a panel discussion about their visions and plans for some of the most asked-about properties in the Oshkosh area. Thursday, February 15, 2018 Registration 7:30am / Program 7:45-9:00am

LaSure’s Banquet Hall 3225 S. Washburn St. • Oshkosh Complimentary Continental Breakfast Limited Seating RSVP to Rachel Hansen or 920-232-2294 Are there other plans for development on Oshkosh Avenue? When is Oshkosh Corp. going to start building the new HQ? Is the senior housing market adequate for the next decade?

NNB2B | February 2018 | 21


Ramping up young startups Globally-recognized, Wisconsin-bred accelerator brings its early-stage business mentorship program to northeast Wisconsin Story by Rick Berg

Equity-based accelerators like gener8tor put startups on the road to venture capital funding, but many early-stage startups are not yet ready for that road. gBeta, a program which debuted in northeast Wisconsin last fall, was created to bridge that gap. People who know the name Troy Vosseller probably know it because of the Sconnie Nation brand he and a freshman classmate created when they began selling Sconnie T-shirts out of their University of Wisconsin Madison dorm room in 2004. As a company, Sconnie Nation is still going strong, but Vosseller is on to even bigger things with gener8tor, a Madison- and Milwaukee-based startup accelerator he and Joe Kirgues founded in 2012.

22 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Gener8tor is now ranked in the top 15 startup accelerators in the United States, with a portfolio that includes more than $120 million in equity financing. Graduates of the gener8tor program include northeast Wisconsin natives John Bialk, who founded Quietyme in 2013, and Matt Howard, who founded Eat Street in 2010 and was recently named to Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30.” The ironic note, Vosseller said, is that Sconnie Nation is not the kind of startup that gener8tor would be interested in financing and mentoring. “My original start as an entrepreneur was as cliché as they come,” Vosseller said. “I often say that my T-shirt company would not have been a good candidate for gener8tor because of the nature of the business – a very confined customer market. “We would be looking for a venturebackable opportunity – a startup with a high degree of risk but also a very high ceiling. That being said, the relationships I built and the experience I’ve gone through building that company have parlayed into an entrepreneurial career path for me.” Vosseller’s career path led him from Sconnie Nation to the University of Wisconsin Law School to supervising attorney for the university’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, which provides free legal services for startup businesses. It was through the clinic that he met Kirgues, who worked as an attorney on the investor side. “Through that experience we realized there were a lot of inefficiencies for entrepreneurs to go from idea to incorporation to growth to raising venture capital, and we felt that whole process could be made much more

efficient,” Vosseller said. Vosseller and Kirgues were attracted to the startup accelerator model pioneered by Boston-based Y Combinator in 2005. That model is defined by a limitedterm cohort process in which the chosen startups gain investment by the accelerator in exchange for an equity share in the business. “You then surround those companies with mentorship and access to potential customers and other investors,” Vosseller said. Vosseller and Kirgues launched the first gener8tor cohort in the fall of 2012 in Madison “That first year, we had 90 applications and we selected seven to make an investment in,” Vosseller said. “Some of them have turned out to be very successful – companies like Pinpoint Software, Understory and Eat Street, which now employs over 1,000 people.” In the first year and a half, all the accelerator participants were Wisconsin companies, but as gener8tor’s national stature and reputation grew, so did the number of applicants from outside the state, with 681 total applications this year. “At the same time,” Vosseller said, “we were seeing fewer and fewer Wisconsin companies mature to the stage that they were competitive for gener8tor participation. As a for-profit accelerator, we have a fiduciary duty to invest in the best opportunities, but as local entrepreneurs ourselves, we wanted to find a mechanism where we could apply the relationships and the network and the experience we had built over the last five years and apply it exclusively to local companies.”

In the first year and a half, all the accelerator participants were Wisconsin companies, but as gener8tor’s national stature and reputation grew, so did the number of applicants from outside the state, with 681 total applications this year.

Accelerators How do startup accelerators differ from incubators, angel investors and early-stage venture capitalists? In the startup eco-system of the past decade or so, the most misunderstood player has often been the startup accelerator – often called the seed accelerator. So how does a startup or seed accelerator differ from business incubators, angel investors or early-stage venture capitalists? All of them focus on supporting early-stage entrepreneurs, but accelerators generally share four common components: 1 Their involvement is fixed-term and relatively short-term – typically three to six months – whereas angel investor and venture capitalist involvement are often open-ended, and incubators generally have a longer term – often as long as five years. 2 They are cohort-based, meaning that a group or cohort of companies are chosen to participate in a defined, fixed-period mentorship experience. The other categories are usually on-demand, meaning that companies come on-board individually and at no specific times. 3 They are intensely mentorship-driven. 4 They culminate in a graduation or “demo day.” Like angel investors and venture capitalists and unlike incubators, accelerators almost always acquire an equity interest in the company. Like incubators, some accelerators include physical space for the startups to operate. The first startup accelerator is widely considered to be the Silicon Valley–based Y Combinator, which launched in Boston in 2005. One of the more recent is Wisconsinbased gener8tor, founded in 2012 by Troy Vosseller and Joe Kirgues. Gener8tor has been ranked in the top 20 accelerator programs in the United States since 2014 and ranked No. 11 out of 150 such entities in 2017.

NNB2B | February 2018 | 23

Entrepreneurship The birth of gBeta The solution they created was gBeta, a non-equity-based accelerator designed to work with early-stage startups and ramp them up to the point where they would be valid candidates for equity investment. “With gBeta, we charge no fees and get no equity in the business,” Vosseller said. “To be able to do that, we rely on sponsors and underwriters to cover the costs of delivering the services.” The first gBeta cohort of five companies was held in the summer of 2015 in Madison. Since then, gBeta has expanded to Milwaukee, Beloit, Minneapolis, Detroit and – in October 2017 – to northeast Wisconsin. Underwriters for the northeast Wisconsin gBeta are Microsoft, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Business Success Center, Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College, WiSys, UW Green Bay Cofrin School of Business and Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp. The first northeast Wisconsin participants were Career ReSearch Group of Appleton, Fork Farms of Menasha, Appleton-based Little Food Co., OrendX of Marinette and Tracr Analytics in Appleton.

gener8tor & gBeta gBeta preps startups for equity investment

gBeta is a pre-accelerator program developed by gener8tor, a nationally recognized startup accelerator based in Madison and Milwaukee. It was designed to work with early-stage startups not considered to be ready for equity-based accelerators like gener8tor. There are no fees to participate, but each nine-week program is limited to a cohort of five companies. gBeta has operations in Madison, Milwaukee, Beloit, Minneapolis, Detroit and northeast Wisconsin.

April Hansen, the founder of OrendX, is no stranger to startup mentoring. In 2015, when she launched OrendX – an employee-engagement application for use in the health care industry – she worked with the Small Business Initiative at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to gain some needed mentoring and advice. For her, gBeta was just the next logical step to gain “exposure, connections, and guidance.” “The gBeta network is deep and broad, so entrepreneurs can be connected with subject matter experts and mentors for just about any type of need,” Hansen said. “Also, the educational content offers insight into topics like venture capital funding, market analysis, and legal aspects that entrepreneurs typically want to learn, but don’t have a dedicated educational source.” Ryan Eardley, the founder and CEO of Tracr Analytics, a software solution for use in forensic accounting, said one of the most valuable results from his participation in gBeta, was “learning how investors think.” “It’s such a unique program from that standpoint, because for someone like me, it’s a way to learn what the investor landscape looks like, how to speak their language and learn the granular details of what a pitch looks like,” he said. Eardley and his co-founders, Mattias Soderqvist and Felix Henriksson – all 2017 graduates of Lawrence University in Appleton – participated in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program at Lawrence and won the inaugural “The Pitch” event in May 2017 where entrepreneurial students from colleges and universities across northeast Wisconsin competed for a $10,000 prize. Eardley said the company is not yet ready to enter a seed funding round, but hopes to do so once their beta testing program is completed later this year. Four accounting firms with 250 offices nationwide are part of the beta testing. Another gBeta participant, Amanda Santoro of Appleton, is a registered nurse and mother of four children who created Little Food Co. because she saw a lack of organic, natural baby food on the market. She began selling her homemade baby food at Appleton’s Farmer’s Market.

Participating companies receive coaching and mentorship, as well as access to a network of successful entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists.

“My experience with gBeta was really transformative,” Santoro said. “As a nurse for 20 years I’m new to business, so it was a great way to introduce me to business concepts and resources to help as I look to grow my business.”

gBeta’s goal is that one-third of graduates will go on to participate in an equity-based accelerator like gener8tor, or raise at least $50,000 in a seed round. To date, 50 percent of gBeta’s 80 participants have met that goal and have received nearly $5.5 million in total follow-on financing.

Hansen said the backing of sponsors like Microsoft has added value for gBeta participants.

Underwriters for the northeast Wisconsin gBeta are Microsoft, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Business Success Center, Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College, WiSys, UW Green Bay Cofrin School of Business and Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp. Three times a year, gBeta’s parent, gener8tor invests in five highgrowth startups, with cash investment and 12 weeks of intensive coaching and mentorship. To date, gener8tor has graduated 65 alumni businesses. 24 | February 2018 | NNB2B

“The partnerships with both local and national groups help

It’s a way to learn what the investor landscape looks like, how to speak their language and learn the granular details of what a pitch looks like. - Ryan Eardley, founder and CEO of Tracr Analytics in Appleton

give us brand recognition in the market too,” Hansen said. “It’s cool when we can say, ‘We just finished the gBeta program in partnership with Microsoft.’ Even if people don’t understand what gBeta is, they recognize Microsoft and that helps build credibility for our businesses.”

A platform for growth Adrienne Palm, recently hired as the director for northeast Wisconsin gBeta, said she and others at gBeta understand their work is primarily as facilitators. “The entrepreneurs are the ones doing the heavy lifting,” Palm said. “Our role is to help them identify priorities and focus, and help them understand startup speak. You’re not going to talk to a potential investor, for example, the same way you would to a customer. Entrepreneurs get into this because they love something and know a lot about it, but they may not have the resources and support they need. “Our job is to connect them with the right people and resources, and then it’s up to them to do the work. And on a tactical level, it’s getting companies ready to get in front of investors, to know what their value proposition is going to be. That’s where I think we can be especially impactful – helping them put together an executive summary and give them the opportunity to get in front of multiple investors and start building those relationships.”

Vosseller said he and Kirgues have been gratified so far by the way gBeta has been able to help early-stage startups. “The goal of gBeta is to have at least one third of our participants get seed funding through angel investors, venture capitalists or an equity-based accelerator like gener8tor, though we also introduce them to our peers in the accelerator ecosystem,” Vosseller said. “That’s the benchmark. We’re currently at 50 percent, so we feel very good about that outcome.” The fact that it’s happening on a local level is even more encouraging to Vosseller, the one-time teenage entrepreneur selling T-shirts out of his dorm room. “We think there are a lot of great startups in Wisconsin and that with some additional coaching and structure and access to our network, we can deliver superior outcomes,” Vosseller said. “We’re trying to build a platform for investing in the region’s best and brightest. We want to put our money where our mouth is – to touch regional ecosystems that have historically been underserved and to identify that region’s best and brightest, whether it’s Madison or northeast Wisconsin. We know that not every startup is going to be successful, but we believe that by increasing the structure and support around these startups, we can increase the rate of success.” n Rick Berg is a freelance writer and editor based in Green Bay.

NNB2B | February 2018 | 25

Guest Commentary

Thoughts Upon Retirement

How Wisconsin government and politics have changed – and what to do about it by Todd Berry, Retired President, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance

As I retire after almost 25 years as president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, I can’t help but reflect on how Wisconsin government and politics have changed over the decades. Perhaps the most significant change that has occurred is the increasingly partisan and polarized nature of dialogue and decision-making in the public arena. Part of this is due to the deterioration of our national discourse, but part is also due to Wisconsin being one of about a dozen states with a fulltime, professional legislature. What makes us different from most of these states dominated by career politicians, however, is scale. California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are populous, urban, and large. By comparison, Wisconsin is relatively small. Regardless of size, many of these states have the same problems: take-no-prisoners partisanship; state budgets that are often tardy and almost always narrowly balanced, usually with gimmicks and timing tricks; official financial statements that show GAAP deficits; and subpar bond ratings. Wisconsin fits the description to a “T,” regardless of party in control. This is not an accident. In professional legislatures, the psychology changes: The goal is to keep one’s job, and that means getting reelected. Difficult tax and budget problems are papered over, pushed past the next election.

Partisan control

In career legislatures, such as ours, power becomes increasingly centralized in the hands of a few party leaders. Party discipline is strictly enforced, and dissension is not tolerated. Legislative leaders have tremendous power because they control the political fate – and, therefore, career – of their backbenchers. They name committee chairs and members; they send bills to committees and determine whether they will receive serious consideration; they influence and direct special-interest campaign donations; and, in some cases, punish uncooperative caucus members by encouraging primary opposition. The nature of primary elections and Wisconsin elections generally is part of the significant change that has occurred

26 | December 2017 | NNB2B

in our politics. In recent decades, when given the opportunity, both Democrats and Republicans have “gerrymandered” legislative districts in hopes of achieving partisan advantage. The Democrats did so in 1983; the GOP, in 2012. The fallout is evident, as the 2016 elections indicate. After the August primary, about half of state legislators were effectively reelected, with no November challenger, or only a token minor-party opponent. Lawmakers need not be accountable to voters if there is no ballot choice. And lack of accountability is an invitation to incumbent arrogance, abuse of party power, and even corruption. But the problem with our elections goes deeper. Because of how legislative districts are drawn and because of where people choose to live, few districts are competitive, with seats regularly changing party hands. That makes August party primaries pivotal. They are low-turnout affairs dominated by true believers and party activists, and subject to monied intervention by special interests. To win a primary in Democratic Dane County, a candidate moves to the far left; to win a primary in Republican Waukesha County, the reverse is true: GOP hopefuls compete for a subset of voters on the right.

Lawmakers need not be accountable to voters if there is no ballot choice. And lack of accountability is an invitation to incumbent arrogance, abuse of party power, and even corruption. Thus, candidates who win primaries are committed partisans, who owe their careers to single-issue or ideologically motivated voters. Arriving in Madison, they have no incentive to work with members across the aisle, or even members of their party from more diverse districts. They need only answer to the few who elected them. With the two legislative parties populated with such members, the result is to be expected: partisan bickering, “gotcha politics,” and inability to compromise. Wisconsin’s growing labor force shortage and transportation finance impasse illustrate the adverse effect of career politics. The argument for a fulltime professional legislature was its ability to anticipate and confront emerging challenges.

However, whether the issue is tax policy, transportation, changing demography, fiscal management, school finance, or higher education, Wisconsin state government – under both parties – has been largely unable to think long-term and strategically.

Finding a solution

Critique of state government is easy. Undoing decades of combative partisan conflict among career politicians is not. Regulatory tinkering with elections or campaign spending addresses symptoms, but real change rests on lasting structural change. A first step is a nonpartisan, citizen-driven approach to legislative redistricting. This will only be effective, however, if partisan primaries are ended in favor of all-candidate, crossparty primaries. Election changes might also include reducing state restrictions on minor candidates, instituting rank voting (where voters rank candidate choices), and adopting Illinois’ discarded use of multi-member districts and “bullet voting.” The latter would help elect an occasional Democrat from Waukesha or Republican from Madison. Returning to a part-time citizen legislature is also key but must involve more than ending fulltime salaries and benefits, cutting staff, or even instituting term limits. A citizen legislature also requires shorter, fixed-length sessions, and a larger assembly so that districts are smaller, easier to

represent, and less costly to contest. Committee work by electronic means becomes important. The state senate might also be reformed to restore the founders’ vision of the upper house as a true check and balance on the lower house. Wisconsin’s senate has become mostly a means to prolonging an assembly career. Electing senators in the spring on a nonpartisan ballot to a single eight-year or two six-year terms might also ensure a more deliberative and independent body. Changing institutional structure and process might help diversify the ranks of professional legislators and return us to an era when public service, rather than a political career, motivated a run for the legislature. It would also bring back to the Capitol greater experience in local government, small business and parenting. The ideas offered here are not panaceas but could promote discussion of how to restore Wisconsin’s tradition of civil discourse, mutual respect and citizen governance. n Todd Berry retired at the end of December 2017 after 25 years at the helm of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. His columns frequently appeared in New North B2B magazine since 2002. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance does not engage in lobbying or advocate for specific policies.

NNB2B | February 2018 | 27



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.

They call him the ice legend, the ice master, or just that guy who fishes vehicles out of the water. Don Herman has walked miles on ice to get to sunken cars, trucks, snowmobiles, even a semi. He’s pulled boats, planes, ATVs, motorcycles and people out of the water. Last summer, he pulled out a seaplane that crashed into Lake Winnebago south of Oshkosh during EAA AirVenture. A scuba diver since 1979, Herman also dives for diamond rings, phones, sunglasses and anything of value a person might lose in a lake.

Don Herman Sunk? Dive and Ice Service


by Lee Marie Reinsch

28 | February 2018 | NNB2B

For almost four decades, Herman has operated a company that’s both a question and an answer: Sunk? It’s a dive and ice service company consisting of Herman, a handful of strong young men, a mix of handbuilt and heavy equipment, and a lot of determination. How did you get into Sunk? My dad was involved in a fishing club in the 1970s, and they needed a mechanic. Starting when I was 16 or so, if they couldn’t get one of the trucks or something started, I would fix it. A vehicle went in the water in 1978 or 1979, and we pulled it out with a hand come-along, which is a winch you operate by hand. Then another vehicle went in, and we started expanding and building (equipment).

You can’t buy this anywhere, you’ve got to build everything yourself. You have to be kind of a half-wit engineer and figure out what you need. We tried many things, and it took a lot of time to get it perfected. Our first vehicle was in 20 feet of water and it took us a day and a half almost. Now we can pull them out in about five hours. We make it look easy, but there’s quite a bit of equipment and quite a bit of danger to it, and in the beginning it was a challenge, figuring out what you were going to do and getting to it. But the equipment makes it a lot easier.

What kind of equipment do you use? It’s all handbuilt. We have a couple of portable winches. We took a 1976 Chevy truck my buddy owned and we made it into an ice wrecker: we cut a bunch of stuff off it to make it lighter in weight — we took it down to about 4,000 pounds, whereas normal wreckers weigh about 10,000 pounds. We put a winch on it, and I still use it to this day. It’s been rebuilt a couple of times. We have sled saws that we use to cut the ice; you can walk behind them. We have a boom across that goes back and forth. You actually use the ice to pull out the vehicle.










I T ’ S D I F F E R E N T AT F I R S T

Your equipment goes on the ice? We assess what we want to do. When we’re on a lake we’ve never been to before, we call some local guy who knows the ice and will know that lake. We find out where it is, we walk or take a four-wheeler, and drill holes all the way to (the wreck site), sometimes 100 holes. We check the ice every 20 or 30 yards, and we keep checking it, and as long as we have 10 to 12 inches, we keep going. When we get to 10 inches and it gets less, we’ll walk from there. We cut the ice all the way back, sometimes a quarter mile, cut a flap and pull the vehicle under the ice all the way to the good ice, all the way up to a quarter of a mile. You cut the ice and sink it, two guys in the water standing on it, and push it underwater. It took us six hours to cut a half mile of ice the width of a vehicle.

Listen better. Plan better. Build better.

How many does it take to get a vehicle out? We usually have myself and four or five other people. Everybody’s got their jobs. We have two divers, the equipment guy who keeps the equipment running, one guy who sets up the boom, a crew that cuts the ice. We all do all the jobs. When we get to a job, one guy starts cutting the ice, one guy starts getting the equipment ready, one guy gets dressed to go diving. The divers wear ice water dry suits. When I first started out, we wore wet suits, but when you’re young and stupid, you just do that stuff.

Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group, Appleton

920.733.7305 571 Marcella St. Kimberly, WI 54135

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Design-build Commercial Industrial

NNB2B | February 2018 | 29

Entrepreneurship How far do you travel for retrievals?

How many accidents are alcohol-related?

About 100 miles, Stevens Point, Milwaukee, Green Bay. We’ve gone further, but I can’t compete on price with some local wrecker doing it and me driving all that way. I’m not the only guy that does it, but I probably do more than anybody.

Not too many, not many at all. I’m close to 1,000 jobs and I don’t think more than five or six were alcohol related. Normally it’s people driving around out there, or going to find someone, or young kids who go out there playing around and don’t know where they’re going. But alcohol-related, there hasn’t been a lot of them.

What should one do if they break through ice? You never want to ride it to the bottom, you want to get out as fast as you can. If you feel yourself going in, you want to get the doors open as quick as you can, although you can’t do that with snowmobiles. Most people who drown going through the ice are on snowmobiles, not vehicles.

Back before GPS and all of that, I’d get most of my work during a snowstorm when people are out there, they get lost and they go in.

Has GPS decreased instances of vehicles going in?

I always say driving on the ice is just as safe as driving a vehicle on the roads, because you figure that, out on Lake Winnebago in a good year, there are probably 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles go out on that lake. During sturgeon season, it’s 25,000 vehicles in one weekend. There’s only a few incidences (of vehicles going through the ice). Now with social media, my business is slower than it used to be. I used to do about 30 to 35 a year; now I do about 15 to 20.

When GPS came in, my business dropped a little bit, too, because what happens is when it gets foggy out there and the fog sets in late, or late in the year, the (navigational) tree line is off and they get disoriented or lost out there. Now that people have GPS, they pretty much know where their shoreline is now, but before GPS, fog and snowstorms were probably the reasons why half the people went in. They just get disoriented and hit the river line.

How has social media slowed your business?

Can recovered vehicles be fixed?

If there’s a bad spot on the ice, usually somebody takes a picture and puts it on Facebook and it travels like wildfire and keeps everybody safe. It put a little damper in my business, but it made everybody a little safer. I check the ice every day, and do an ice report on my Facebook page. I pulled out a little kid about five years ago so I started doing ice reports. I’d rather lose a little business than have someone lose their life.

They total them out now. Years ago, before they all had computer components, I got them running. You’d take the seats out, put them in the oven at a body shop, take the carburetor apart, take the spark plugs out, and we’d get them all running.

What’s the biggest vehicle you’ve pulled out? A 72,000-pound semi. It took 14 hours. It was on (Interstate) 41, went off the highway and went down into a lake and sank. It took a lot of people, and I had to hire a couple big wreckers. We used a crane. It was 10 degrees below zero, with minus 25 windchill factor, and we had to do it at night because they wouldn’t shut down the highway. We worked in the dark until 6 a.m.

What is your hourly rate? I do it by the job, but I’d say roughly $700 to $1,100 an hour. That covers all the crew, insurance and everything.

What else do you get out of the water? I don’t just do cars and vehicles. I do boats too and anything that can sink in a lake. This year we pulled out a plane that went in the water during EAA. We’ve done diamond rings. People will lose a $500 pair of sunglasses off a dock someplace and we’ll go dive for it. When I do the diving, I only charge $100 an hour when it’s warm out. We charge more in the cold.

Do you enjoy it? I have around 600 ice dives in. This is my 37th or 38th year, so I must enjoy it. Winter is really busy for me. I’ve been doing all the plowing for the Otter Street Fishing Club for over 43 years. I put the bridges out, I tell people when to go out on the ice and when not to, or they call me. They call me the Ice Legend. n

Does insurance cover these people’s boo-boos? If you have comprehensive on your vehicle plan, then yes. If you have liability and comp, the comp will cover it. But I’ve heard they’ll only cover it once.

30 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Professionally Speaking

Professionally Speaking is a paid promotional spot in B2B.

Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace by Jenna E. Rousseau of Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. 844.833.0830 At a time when sexual harassment claims are reported in the news almost daily, employers are reminded of the importance of having policies and procedures in place. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by state and federal law. Under state law, “sexual harassment” means “unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” “Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” includes “deliberate, repeated making of unsolicited gestures or comments of a sexual nature; the deliberate, repeated display of offensive sexually graphic materials which is not necessary for business purposes; or deliberate verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether or not repeated, that is sufficiently severe to interfere

substantially with an employee’s work performance or to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.” There are three (3) forms of sexual harassment under state law, including sexual harassment by an employer (owner or agent in a position of responsibility), quid pro quo, and hostile environment. An employer is presumed liable for an act of sexual harassment by the employer, or by any of its employees, if the act occurs while the complaining employee is at work or performing work-related duties, he or she informs the employer, and the employer fails to take appropriate remedial action within a reasonable time. Consequently, it is important for employers to adopt and communicate a policy prohibiting sexual harassment as well as to conduct regular training. Employers should also have procedures in place for reporting sexual harassment allegations (including an alternative reporting mechanism for complaints involving supervisors), and procedures for promptly investigating such allegations.

An employer generally has wide latitude to address allegations of sexual harassment, so long as its actions are reasonably calculated to remedy the situation and prevent future harassment. Depending on the severity of the conduct, an appropriate response might include modifications to employees’ work schedules, changing employees’ work shifts, additional training, and/or discipline, up to and including termination. By acting promptly to investigate and remedy the situation, an employer may avoid liability. For advice and counsel as to how to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace, including training, contact Jenna Rousseau at (844) 833-0828 or jrousseau@ Jenna Rousseau is a shareholder with Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. This article is intended to provide information only, not legal advice. For advice regarding a particular labor or employment situation, please contact the attorneys at Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c.

Tax changes that could affect your 2018 philanthropy by Karlene Grabner of Oshkosh Area Community Foundation 920.426.3993 New tax laws went into effect at the end of 2017, and you may still be wondering what exactly has changed and how those changes affect your philanthropic giving. I recently met with Jim Malczewski, partner with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, who shared this expertise:

Standard deduction. For married couples filing jointly, the standard deduction rose from $13,000 to $24,000. This changes things for a good deal of households that previously itemized their deductions but came in under $24,000. It now no longer pays to itemize deductions if they are under $24,000, and instead they can just take the standard deduction. For the average taxpayer, this simplifies their tax filing.

State tax deductions. When you look at itemized deductions historically, it’s likely your biggest deduction was your state income and property taxes. Until now there was no upper limit to the amount for this deduction, but under this new law the maximum deduction you will receive for income and property taxes will be $10,000. High income earners (say for example $500,000) who pay significant state income and home property taxes will no longer get a deduction for anything beyond the $10,000 limit.

Itemizing over the $24,000 standard deduction. Remember, itemized deductions include state income and property taxes (limited to $10,000), medical expenses (to the extent they exceed 7.5 percent of AGI), home mortgage interest, and of course charitable deductions. Where taxpayers find their home mortgage interest plus the $10,000 of state taxes gets them close to the $24,000, we expect to see a rise in the practice known as bunching.

For example, assume a couple has $11,000

of mortgage interest, meets $10,000 of state taxes, and typically donates $3,000 per year. Their itemized deductions would exactly equal the $24,000 standard deduction amount each year. Now, if they bunch two years of donations ($6,000) into year one, they would have $27,000 of itemized deductions. Then, in year two they would take the $24,000 standard deduction because their itemized deductions would only total $21,000. Between the two years they will increase their tax deductions by $3,000. There are plenty of other important changes, but as I see it, when donors feel more confident and have more cash, they will usually be more generous. Karlene Grabner is the Donor Services Director with the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. Grabner engages donors to build bridges between charitable interests and community needs. Reach her at Karlene@OshkoshAreaCF. org or 920.426.3993. NNB2B | February 2018 | 31

Who’s News


New North B2B publishes monthly new business incorporations filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Brown County

CROWN KLASSIK EQUINE LLC, Christine S. Hagerstrom, 1588 Graystone Ct., De Pere 54115. GUTIERREZMENJIVAR CLEANING LLC, Griselda Marily Van Beckum, 818 Spruce St., De Pere 54115. CONSIGNMENT HAVEN LLC, Molly Forslund, 604 George St., De Pere 54115. MOXIE BOUTIQUE AND SALON LLC, Danielle K. Peters, 327 Main Ave., De Pere 54115. FUNCTIONAL SCULPTURE LLC, Christopher J. Jauquet, 2309 Talladega Ct., De Pere 54115. LIEBMANN & VAN STRATEN LEGAL LLC, David C. Van Straten II, 4484 Stillmeadow Ct., De Pere 54115. ASSISTED LIVING STAFFING SERVICES LLC, Veronica A. Trofka, 840-F East River Dr., De Pere 54115. PINE GROVE AG SOLUTIONS LLC, Elliot C. Stencil, 6805 County Road X, Denmark 54208. GREAT LAKES PROPERTY MANAGMENT LLC and FOX VALLEY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC, Daniel Michael Kwilinski, 933 Columbia Ave., Green Bay 54303. DARWEL TRANSPORTATION LLC, Feisal Noor, 1819 Badger St., #5, Green Bay 54303. PIERCE ROOFING LLC, Michael B. Pierce, Jr., 491 Welland Ave., Green Bay 54311. ECOCHIP REPAIR LLC, Anthony D. Ralph, 1848 Verlin Road, Apt. 3, Green Bay 54302. CHEN CHEN RESTAURANT INC., Yuqing Chen, 2331 Velp Ave., Green Bay 54303. CLEAN SWEEP INC., Adela Siney Castellanos, 2993 Gilbert Dr., Green Bay 54311. SARA TLACHAC DESIGNS LLC, Sara Tlachac, 902 Hoffman Road, Green Bay 54301. MITCH’S HOMETOWN LAWN CARE LLC, Mitchell Rollin, 1239 Cherry St., Green Bay 54301. THE DUSTIN BRILL AGENCY LLC, Dustin L. Brill, 721 Cardinal Lane, Ste. 104, Green Bay 54313. FOREVER YOUNG CHILDCARE CENTER LLC, Cindy Veeser, 2735 He-Nis-Ra Lane, Green Bay 54304. JB JANITORIAL LLC, Orlando Barrera, 2665 Pecan St., Green Bay 54311. KELLY FROLAND INTERIOR DESIGNS LLC, Kelly Froland, 840 Ernst Dr., Green Bay 54304. MUNTZ AUDIO VIDEO LLC, Jeremiah Czech, 1619 Shawano Ave., Green Bay 54303.

Connect online TODAY 32 | February 2018 | NNB2B

LILY’S HAIR SALON LLC, Analilia Sierra Ruiz, 1740 E. Mason St., Green Bay 54302. TITLETOWN FIREARMS INC., Richard Williquette, 1525 University Ave., Ste. A, Green Bay 54302. IT SERVICES LLC, Lisa Clark, 1300 N. Kimps Ct., Green Bay 54313. TEHUANO CLEANING LLC, Casiano Astorga Ulloa, 1348 Day St., Green Bay 54302. HVAC SYSTEM SOLUTIONS LLC, Jack B. Skaletski, 2247 Palmer Dr., Green Bay 54311. WIED OIL TRANSPORT LLC, Anthony Wied, 2300 Riverside Dr., Green Bay 54301. A-PLUS LAWN AND SNOW SERVICE LLC, Ryan J. Rasmussen, 1343 Berner St., Green Bay 54302. CREMATION SERVICES OF GREEN BAY LLC, Proko-Wall Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., 1630 E. Mason St., Green Bay 54302. NEW BOOKKEEPING SOLUTIONS LLC, Kathy Lynn Adams McIntosh, 1441 Nelson St., Green Bay 54304. JUNIOR’S JANITORIAL LLC, Jaime Hernandez Flores, 1400 N. Baird St., Lot 27, Green Bay 54302. SV NAILS TO YOU LLC, Sheng Vue Lee, 2656 Finger Road, Green Bay 54302. AEROSPACE COMPONENTS ENGINEERING INC., Charles Messman, 1823 Spence St., Green Bay 54304. BRUNCH BAR CAFE LLC, Sarah Marie Farnsworth, 1208 S. Baird St., Green Bay 54301. ABOUT A BABY DOULA LLC, Heather D’Ann Phillips, 1591 Harbor Lights Road, Suamico 54173. MISTY ARBOR SENIOR LIVING LLC, Debra Tegge, 2012 Elmwood Road, Suamico 54173.

Fond du Lac County

VALHALLA TRUCKING LLC, Joseph Allickson, N896 County Road V, Campbellsport 53010. WISCONSIN LIGHTING LAB INC., Adam E. Rupp, 206 W. McWilliams St., Fond du Lac 54935. HIGHLAND TRUCKING LLC, Dominic J. Dalle Nogare, 1646 Primrose Lane, Fond du Lac 54937. BRIAN & ALMA TRUCKING LLC, Brian Rozek, W3911 Stoneridge Dr., Fond du Lac 54937. ESTATE & MOVING SALES “MADE EASY” LLC, Margaret M. Bohn, N5442 Wonser Road, Fond du Lac 54937. JOEL NETT CONSTRUCTION LLC, Jane Ellen Nett, W3330 Skylane Dr., Malone 53049. KEN SABEL CARPENTRY LLC, Kenneth D. Sabel, N8190 Evergreen Road, Mt. Calvary 53057. WILL REPAIR LLC, Jeffrey Alan Will, 140 Indiana Ave., North Fond du Lac 54937. RIPP FUNCTIONAL FITNESS LLC, Gary L. Zibolsky, W10158 County Road T, Rosendale 54974. SILVERBACK BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU LLC, Scott Roffers, 24 E. Main St., Waupun 53963.

Get instant updates on business news developments in northeast Wisconsin before the next edition of B2B magazine comes out.

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QUALITY CONCRETE IMPRESSIONS LLC, Matthew R. Martinez, 130 E. Lincoln St., Waupun 53963.

Oconto County

GB EVENTS BY AKW LLC, Allison Michelle Kline-Weichelt, 1021 Tanglewood Dr., Little Suamico 54141.

Outagamie County

BARCLAY LAW LLC, Juan S. Ramirez, Esq., 3493 W. Warner Estates Dr., Appleton 54913. NOVA SOAP CO. LLC, Jamie Lynn Young, 1499 W. Westchester Ct., Appleton 54914. REVIVAL CONSTRUCTION LLC, Benjamin Voigtlander, 1530 E. Tracy St., Appleton 54915. WALK BY FAITH COUNSELING LLC, Terry William Reese, W6268 Spencer Road, Appleton 54914. DATUM ARCHITECTURE LLP, Eric Brehm, 2945 W. Winnegamie Dr., Appleton 54914. KEITH’S HAIRCENTER OF APPLETON LLC, Jeremy J. Zimmerman, 1250 N. Westhill Blvd., Appleton 54914. STONEWORK DOCTOR LLC, Ventura Ayon, 1230 Walden Ave., Appleton 54915. CHAR’S CLEANING LLC, Char Coniff, 1540 W. Elsner Road, Appleton 54913. KOEHNKE’S LAWN CARE LLC, John C. Koehnke, 724 E. Dennison St., Appleton 54915. SERENITY HOME HEALTH LLC, Timothy Hang, 4325 E. Braeburn Dr., Appleton 54913. BEHLE FARM LLC, Lauren L. Griesbach, N2738 Alphorn Lane, Appleton 54913. PROFESSIONAL DRIVER SERVICES LLC, Mark Washatka, 3401 N. Rankin St., Appleton 54911. GRP DETAILING LLC, Greta Hildebrandt, W6954 Cleary Ct., Greenville 54942. BELLILE ELECTRIC COMPANY INC., Brett Bellile, 768 W. Main St., Hortonville 54944.

PJ HEIDGER FARM LLC, August J. Heidger, W9225 School Road, Hortonville 54944. HENRY STREET BOUTIQUE LLC, Molly Diedrich, 2524 Southerland Cir., Kaukauna 54130. FELZER HOOF CARE LLC, Luke David Felzer, N2562 Weyers Road, Kaukauna 54130. ELECTRIC CITY LANES LLC, Jason Hurst, 235 W. Wisconsin Ave., Kaukauna 54130. ROSAS SUPER CLEANING LLC, Josefina Rosas, 912 Washington St., Little Chute 54140.

Winnebago County

LARRY’S FLOOR & WALL INSTALL LLC, Larry Charles Forbush, Jr., 748 Manitowoc St., Menasha 54952. FOX VALLEY RETIREMENT ACADEMY LLC, Samuel Duell, N7154 High Cliff Road, Menasha 54952. TAYCO TAP LLC, Patrick L. James, 819 Nicolet Blvd., Neenah 54956. ROBERT JOE JOHNSON TRUCKING INC., Robert J. Johnson, 1770 Breezewood Lane, Neenah 54956. AVERAGE JOE’S HOT ROD SHOP LLC, Robin J. Boegh, 504 W. North Water St., Neenah 54956. BULLSEYE WEB MARKETING LLC, Bradley Sack, 407 Bosworth Lane, Neenah 54956. ELEVEN-FIVE MARKETING LLC, John J. Giesfeldt, 1417 Hazel St., Oshkosh 54901. WIRED TO GRIND LLC, Debra Lynn Allison-Aasby, 1824 Mitchell St., Oshkosh 54901. BLOOM SALON AND SPA LLC, Danielle Northway, 1209 N. Main St., Oshkosh 54901. WRIGHT ELECTRIC LLC, Gary Steven Wright, 35 Lake St., Oshkosh 54901. TRAVIS ROEHL TRUCKING LLC, Travis J. Roehl, 1215 Glen Ave., Oshkosh 54902. BAILEY PROCESS SERVING LLC, Roman M. Bailey, 25 Cherry Park Ct., #9, Oshkosh 54902. IF THE SCHU FITS ENTERTAINMENT LLC, Kasey Renee Schumacher, 861 Park Ridge Ave., Oshkosh 54901.

NNB2B | February 2018 | 33

Who’s News

Building permits

B2B includes a monthly list of building permits (not to include residential projects) in excess of $400,000. ROYAL CLEANERS, 2125 Main St., Green Bay. $500,000 for a new commercial retail building. General contractor is Zeise Construction Co. of Green Bay. December. WG&R FURNITURE, 3800 W. Wisconsin Ave., town of Grand Chute. $861,332 for demolition of the existing industrial facility to clear the property for a new warehouse. General contractor is Rodac Development of Hobart. December 5. HURCKMAN MECHANICAL INC., 1457 Donald St., Green Bay. $400,000 to replace two existing smaller buildings with a new 8,400-sq. ft. industrial warehouse facility. General contractor is Hurckman Mechanical Inc. of Green Bay. December. ABBY BANK, 1500 N. Casaloma Dr., town of Grand Chute. $752,020 for an interior alteration of the existing commercial office building. General contractor is Keller Inc. of Kaukauna. December 8. OC DEVELOPMENT, 1025-1033 N. Washburn St., Oshkosh. $1,057,092 for a twotenant commercial retail building. General contractor is Northcentral Construction Corp. of Fond du Lac. December 11. ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY, 573 W. Rolling Meadows Dr., Fond du Lac. $446,515 for an interior remodel of the existing retail building. General contractor is Commonwealth Construction Corp. of Fond du Lac. December 13.

US BANK, 1317 Lombardi Access Road, Ashwaubenon. $1,721,000 for a 3,895-sq. ft. bank branch office. General contractor is Miron Construction Co. of Fox Crossing. December. LEAVEN FOX CITIES, 1475 Opportunity Way, Menasha. $450,000 for interior alterations to the existing community services office. General contractor is Hartwood Homes of Kaukauna. December 15. SENSE WELLNESS SPA, 124 S. Military Ave., Green Bay. $600,000 for an interior remodel of the existing commercial building. General contractor is T.E. Construction of Green Bay. December. CARNIVORE MEAT COMPANY, 2878 Ontario Road, Bellevue. $530,000 for an addition to the existing warehouse facility. General contractor is Schuh Construction of Seymour. December 20. GALLOWAY COMPANY, 601 S. Commercial St., Neenah. $1,000,000 for a truck bay addition to the existing industrial facility. General contractor is Miron Construction Co. of Fox Crossing. December 27. VILLAGE OF HOWARD, 2810 Howard Commons, Howard. $7,624,431 for a mixed-use commercial and multi-family residential development. General contractor is Altius Building Co. of Milwaukee. December 28. BERGSTROM JAGUAR/LAND ROVER, 3030 N. Victory Lane, town of Grand Chute. $1,662,000 for a 9,034-sq. ft. addition to and interior alterations of the existing automotive dealership. General contractor is Miron Construction of Fox Crossing. January 12.

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Oshkosh • Green Bay • Appleton

34 | February 2018 | NNB2B







New locations

New hires

ORTHOPEDICS & SPORTS MEDICINE BAYCARE CLINIC opened a new location at 2353 Ridge Road, Ste. 2, in Ashwaubenon. The clinic can be reached by calling 920.288.5555 or by going online to

WERNER ELECTRIC SUPPLY in Appleton hired Paula Boerschinger as customer service manager of its northeast territory and Jill DeGroot-Schulke as eCommerce manager. Boerschinger has nearly two decades of managerial experience, previously working as a client services director. DeGroot-Schulke has 17 years experience in eCommerce and digital marketing, previously working as a digital marketing manager for a cosmeceutical firm in Denver.

Mergers/acquisitions Appleton-based GREAT NORTHERN CORP. acquired United Displaycraft of Chicago, a manufacturer of permanent displays for retail products. United Displaycraft operates two production facilities in northern Illinois. It will continue to operate under its own brand for the next year, then transition to Great Northern’s Instore brand in early 2019. The Milwaukee-based law firm of VON BRIESEN & ROPER, S.C. – which has offices in Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay – acquired the Milwaukee law firm Peterson, Johnson & Murray, S.C., along with its 22 attorneys. von Briesen & Roper additionally acquired the law firm Levine & Bazelon, S.C., also based in Milwaukee, along with its three attorneys. As a whole, the firm now employs 192 attorneys in 11 offices across three states. The H.S. GROUP in Green Bay was acquired by Joey Leonard, a human resources professional who previously served as executive vice president of human resources for Waupaca Foundry. The talent management consulting firm also has an office in Appleton and provides recruiting, outplacement, assessments, human resource consulting and leadership development. PACON CORP. in Appleton aquired Princeton Artist Brush Co. of New Jersey, a manufacturer of fine art brushes in North America. The acquisition is intended to complement Pacon’s Strathmore Artist Papers subsidiary.

GREAT NORTHERN STRATAGRAPH of Oshkosh received two Excellence Awards in the 2017 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition for its package design work for Griffon Vault – Premium Vodka in a Box and for its packaging design for hair product distributor Matrix Biolage.


Appleton-based TRI CITY GLASS & DOOR hired Phillip Poppe as a warehouse inventory assistant, Trace Christensen to its commercial service department, and Dianne Zwiers as a receptionist and project manager assistant. ELEMENT in De Pere hired Victoria Bates as a graphic designer and Becca Doyle as a public relations specialist. Bates has four years experience in graphic design, both as a freelancer and at a Fox Valley agency. Doyle previously worked as an assistant public relations account executive at a Milwaukee agency. VERKUILEN & ASSOCIATES CPAS, INC. in Green Bay hired Genaro S. Cardaropoli, CPA as a tax accountant and Marie A. McDougal as an accountant and receptionist. Cardaropoli has experience in public accounting, tax research and seminar instruction. McDougal has more than 25 years experience in accounting processes, payroll, accounts receivable, desktop support and training. GREEN BAY WATER UTILITY hired Stephanie Rogers, CPA as its business manager. Rogers has more than 25 years experience in financial management, most recently serving as the deputy director of finance for the City of Appleton. Prior to that, she worked nine years as the finance director for the Village of Ashwaubenon. The UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN GREEN BAY hired Ben Joniaux as the special assistant to Chancellor Gary L. Miller. Joniaux most recently worked as the chief of staff for state assembly Rep. John Macco (R-Green Bay) since 2015.

Business honors


EP-DIRECT in Fond du Lac hired John Suprenand as its vice president of sales.


McMAHON in Fox Crossing hired the following new employees: Joel Clary as a mechanical systems design engineer; Mickey Sanders as a CAD designer/drafter; Alan Schaefer as a senior account executive specializing in parks and recreation services; Matthew Tan as a project engineer; and Kyle Teske as a land surveyor. Clary has




NNB2B | February 2018 | 35

Who’s News




experience as an engineer in the manufacturing industry and most recently owned an HVAC and plumbing design company. Sanders has 18 years experience as a designer and drafter, while Teske worked as a land surveyor in Colorado for 11 years. Schaefer has 20 years experience in parks and recreation management, most recently working as the community enrichment director for the Village of Kimberly. A-MAZING EVENTS in Appleton hired Jody Giordana as an office coordinator and bookkeeper. BRANDDIRECTIONS in Neenah hired Ray Faccio as business development manager. Faccio previously worked for Northcoast Productions in Green Bay and Studio 44 in De Pere in business development roles.





A-MAZING EVENTS in Appleton promoted Kara Lendved from office manager to event coordinator. Lendved has been with A-mazing Events for nine years. GREEN BAY PACKERS promoted Ed Policy to chief operating officer and general counsel. Policy has been with the Packers organization since 2012. He has more than two decades of professional sports administration experience, including previously serving as commissioner, president and CEO of the Arena Football League.

Individual awards Young Professionals of Fond du Lac named JOE TRUESDALE, marketing account manager at in Fond du Lac, as its 2017 Young Professional of the Year.

M3 INSURANCE named Pete Paulsen as a partner in the agency’s Green Bay office. Paulsen has been a senior account executive with M3 Insurance since 2010.


MICHELS CORP. in Brownsville promoted Michael Schumacher to regional business development manager. He joined Michels in 2016 as a marketing and sales specialist.

SHIPRA SEEFELDT, CEO of Strategic Solutions Consulting in Appleton, earned the designation of Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute.

Business calendar

New North B2B encourages businesses and organizations looking to attract interested persons to upcoming events to email FEBRUARY 1 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, 5 to 7 p.m. at Sunflower Spa, 1024 S. Olde Oneida St. in Appleton. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit

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

Successful Journeys Need a Guide™

FEBRUARY 6 Greater Green Bay Chamber Power Networking Breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 300 N. Broadway, Ste. 3A in Green Bay. No cost to attend for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. For more information, visit or email FEBRUARY 7 Envision Greater Fond du Lac Coffee Connection, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Donny Du’s, N5894 S. Military Road in Fond du Lac. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit FEBRUARY 8 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. Cost to attend is $12 for members or $15 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, visit or email Susan at

920.427.5077 36 | February 2018 | NNB2B

FEBRUARY 13 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours, 8 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 101 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Kaukauna. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit FEBRUARY 13 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Breakfast, 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. at Oshkosh Convention Center, 2 N. Main St. in Oshkosh. Cost to attend is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, call 920.303.2266 or go online to FEBRUARY 15 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange, 8 to 9 a.m. at Building Services Group, Inc., 1500 Lamers Dr. in Little Chute. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit FEBRUARY 15 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Briefing: Discipline and Discharge, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the law firm of von Briesen & Roper, 2905 Universal St. in Oshkosh. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, call 920.303.2266 or go online to FEBRUARY 27 A.M. Oshkosh, a morning networking event from the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, 7:45 to 9 a.m. at Aegis Financial, 530 N. Koeller St. in Oshkosh. Cost to attend is $2 for members. For more information or to register, call 920.303.2266 or go online to FEBRUARY 27 Business Owners Sharing Solutions, an entrepreneur networking event from Epiphany Law, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Holidays Pub and Grill, 1395 W. American Dr. in Fox Crossing. Cost is $10 and includes pizza and soda. For more information or to register, visit or email Shannon at

FEBRUARY 28 “Now Hiring: Making the Job Hopper Culture Work for You,” a workshop from the Greater Green Bay Chamber, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Green Bay Distillery, 835 Mike McCarthy Way in Ashwaubenon. Cost to attend is $20 for members and $35 for nonmembers. For more information, go online to MARCH 6 Greater Green Bay Chamber Power Networking Breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 300 N. Broadway, Ste. 3A in Green Bay. No cost to attend for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. For more information, visit or email MARCH 8 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Briefing: Legal Staffing Options in a Full Employment Economy, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the law firm of von Briesen & Roper, 2905 Universal St. in Oshkosh. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, call 920.303.2266 or go online to MARCH 13 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours, 8 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 101 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Kaukauna. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit MARCH 13 Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Connection Breakfast, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 120 Jackson St. in Oshkosh. No cost to attend for members. For more information or to register, go online to or call 920.303.2266. MARCH 15 Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange, 8 to 9 a.m. at St. Joseph Food Program, 1465A Opportunity Way in Menasha. No cost to attend. For more information or to register, visit n

Thank you

to the advertisers who made the February 2018 issue of New North B2B possible. Appleton International Airport ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Millennium Construction Inc. ⎮ . . . . . 10

Bank First National ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Muza Sheet Metal Co. ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Bayland Buildings ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Network Health ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Candeo Creative ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

NWTC Corporate Training & Economic Development ⎮

Consolidated Construction Company ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

CR Structures Group ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Oshkosh Area Community Foundation ⎮ . . . . . . . . 31

Frontier Builders & Consultants ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . 18

Fox Valley Savings Bank ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Oshkosh West Side Association ⎮ . . . . . . . . 21

Guident Business Solutions ⎮ . . . . . . 36

Stolley Studio ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Investors Community Bank ⎮ . . . . . . . 25

Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy ⎮ . . . . 31

Keller Inc. ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

von Briesen & Roper ⎮ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Milbach Construction Services ⎮ . . . . . . . . 15

NNB2B | February 2018 | 37

Key Statistics

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



Per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.



JANUARY 21. . . . . . . . $2.46 JANUARY 14. . . . . . . . $2.43 JANUARY 7. . . . . . . . . $2.38 DECEMBER 31. . . . . . . $2.38 JANUARY 21, 2017. . . $2.29

$495.4 BILLION 0.4% from November 5.4% from December 2016

Source: New North B2B observations




(2012 = 100)

HOMES SOLD MEDIAN PRICE BROWN County .................242.......................$165,000 FOND du LAC County .........76 ......................$129,250 OUTAGAMIE County ......... 167 ...................... $157,500 WINNEBAGO County ........145.......................$146,000 WI DEPT. REVENUE COLLECTIONS



0.9% from November 3.6% from December 2016 AIR PASSENGER TRAFFIC


$1.298 BILLION 4.6% from November FY 2017

(Local enplanements) DEC. 2017 DEC. 2016 Appleton Int’l ATW..................... 24,497..........21,982 Austin Straubel GRB..................... 23,795 .......24,217

NOVEMBER OCT. NOV. ‘16 APPLETON ........2.6% ...... 2.9% ........ 3.5% FOND du LAC ....2.5% .......2.6% .........3.1% GREEN BAY........2.8% ...... 2.8% ........ 3.8% NEENAH .............2.4% ...... 2.8%......... 3.2% OSHKOSH ..........2.7% .......2.7% ........ 3.5% WISCONSIN .......2.7% ...... 2.8% .........3.7%

NATURAL GAS PRICES Prices for small businesses using less than 20,000 therms. Listed price is per therm.

JANUARY..................... $0.494 DECEMBER................... $0.505 JANUARY 2017............ $0.558 Source: Wisconsin Public Service

ISM INDEX Numbers above 50 mean expansion. Numbers below 50 mean contraction. DECEMBER. . . . . . . . 59.7 NOVEMBER. . . . . . . . 58.2

Training Within Industry JOB INSTRUCTION

Training Within Industry JOB RELATIONS

Job Instruction is helping to train a person to quickly remember to do a job correctly, safely, and conscientiously. Attendees will learn how to use two LEAN business tools and apply them directly to their organization. February 26 - March 2, 2018 8:00am - 10:00am $750 for all 5 days

Job Relations is focused on helping supervisors to be proactive and therefore preventative in addressing and resolving people problems so that small match fires do not become full blown forest fires. February 26 - March 2, 2018 10:30am - 12:30pm $750 for all 5 days

To register visit:

38 | February 2018 | NNB2B

Search: TWI or Training Within Industry

February 2018  

Regional business magazine: United in Merger; Ramping up young startups; Voices & Visions; business news and information

February 2018  

Regional business magazine: United in Merger; Ramping up young startups; Voices & Visions; business news and information