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Active Voice



January 2017



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Portage County Business Council, Inc. 5501 Vern Holmes Drive Stevens Point, WI 54482 715-344-1940 CONTACTS: Todd Kuckkahn - Executive Director Karen Schanock - Director of Programs & Events Kayla Rombalski - Director of Talent Development Mereta Walker - Director of Operations Tonya Kowalski - Director of Business Engagement Angel Whitehead - Marketing Communications Coordinator

Portage County Business Council



Portage County Business Council

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CONTENTS 4 here we go again! Through membership, sponsorships, registrations and investments, we grow our assets through your investment. We appreciate the trust and respect the community has in what we do.

5 new Member to member discounts

»» p. 11 »» p. 12

We are now offering Member to Member Discounts! Check out these offers that are hand-picked by some of our members exclusively for other members to enjoy.

11 what are the ambassadors up to? Volunteers, they are the lifeblood of any non-profit organization! For us, one of the most active and visible group of volunteers is the Ambassadors Club, which consists of 27 community leaders.

12 ignite Portage County »» p.18

Ignite Leadership Network and NEWaukee are proud to announce the expansion of YPWeek Wisconsin to include 25 communities in 2017. The grassroots statewide program will run April 22 to 29, 2017 with each community presenting a variety of programs that empower young professionals to take ownership and pride in their home towns.

14 2017 Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

»» p.14

Winners of the Decree of Excellence Award, Ambassador of the Year Award, Small Business of the Year and the President’s Award will all be recognized during the Portage County Business Council’s Annual Dinner and Silent Auction on Thursday, February 2nd.

18 Girls in technology On December 3, 2016 Portage County Business Council’s Partners In Education program hosted a Girls in Technology badge workshop in partnership with the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes & volunteers from local businesses.

19 Leadership Portage County »» p.19

Leadership Portage County spent our December session learning about the Legal System. We spent most of the day at 1578 Strongs, which is home to JusticeWorks and the 2617 Club.


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HERE WE GO AGAIN!   DIRECTOR’S INSIGHT - TODD KUCKKAHN  Financial support is critical to our organization, just like it is for many of you who are reading this. With that, comes a responsibility for a quality return on investment (ROI). In order for financial support and ROI to be linked and measured, we are engaged with individual businesses, organizations and institutions, as well as the community in general. Our partnerships continue to grow. Every year we essentially start at $0. Through membership, sponsorships, registrations and investments, we grow our assets through your investment. We appreciate the trust and respect the community has in what we do. Our new value-based membership model is entirely centered around meeting the needs of member businesses with specific benefits based on business needs. Our old model financially punished growth and gave large and small businesses the same benefits at a greatly varied cost. With the current model, you know the ROI before fulfilling the membership investment. Additionally, we have been able to add benefits throughout the year as new opportunities come to our attention. Through our engagement with business, we have learned your needs and you now know specifically what the ROI is for the investment. Our programs and events range from 4

educationally-focused to experiencefocused. We hold monthly Business X-Changes with a variety of educational topics. We hold several monthly network development opportunities to support businesses exchanging opportunities. We want local businesses and employees to buy local as much as they can. Of course, we do our annual golf outing, dinner and Wines of the World, to name a few events focused on quality experiences for our members, however network development is an underlying theme here, too. Sponsorship and attendance at all of these is critical and the response in 2016 was exceptional.

business with education to address the short-term talent needs and the long-term talent pathway. With UW-Stevens Point and Mid-State Technical College in our backyard, there is a plethora of potential employees who we can share our community assets. We also work with the K-12 system throughout the area.

We also realize talent attraction is a huge piece of economic development and that will continue to be a challenge in our community. With the Ignite Leadership Network now a part of PCBC, we can even more effectively move the needle. Our educational and governmental financial partners support our efforts in economic development and, specifically, talent attraction. PIE (Partners In Education) connects

We can only improve the ROI on your investment if you let us know the good, the bad and the ugly. I recently told our Board of Directors that we want to improve on all of the changes we implemented in 2016. Please help us do that with your continued investment and input on our mission, vision and values.

PCBC, along with New ERA, is embarking on developing a microsite entry point into our community so when businesses are attracting talent there is one entry point into the community. Check out to get an idea on what this could look like. Feel free to join us on this important journey. If we believe our community is where economic vitality meets quality of life, we need to do a better job of communicating all the great assets we have here. Let’s stop being so humble and start bragging.

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January 2017

GREAT NEWS FOR PCBC MEMBERS! We are now offering Member to Member Discounts! They are offers that are hand-picked by some of our members exclusively for other members to enjoy. SentryWorld Atrium

To view the current Member to Member Discounts: 1. Go to our website 2. Click on Member Login in upper right corner 3. Login using your credentials (if you do not know these- please let us know and we can give them to you) 4. Click on Member to Member Deals 5. Click on each deal for more details

Like what you see and want to offer a discount from your organization? It is free and easy to post a Member to Member Discount: 1. Go to our website 2. Click on Member Login in upper right corner 3. Login using your credentials (if you do not know these- please let us know and we can give them to you) 4. Click on blue box in upper right titled “Add Member to Member Deal� 5. Fill in all appropriate information

If you have any questions, please contact Tonya Kowalski, Director of Business Engagement, 715-344-1940 or 5

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won’t get much done.

1.26.17 \\ 7:30AM - 8:30AM PCBC FOUNDATION ROOM NO COST TO ATTEND. CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST IS INCLUDED. What is the Business X-Change? A roundtable presentation which allows business owners and their employees the opportunity to discuss pertinent topics, learn from local industry leaders and, most importantly, learn from each other. While there is no cost to attend, the value of the information may be priceless.

TOPIC: “OUTLOOK 2017: GAUGING MARKET MILESTONES” prepared by LPL Financial Research About Our Program: • Timely, relevant information to the economy and financial markets, applicable to our personal and business lives. • Schulfer & Associates view of what 2017 is likely to bring forth for the economy and investors, and why. • “Take Away’s” - suggested “to do” points. Several milestones have come together in 2016 to influence the investment landscape for 2017: a new president and administration, the stabilization of oil prices, and the end of an earnings recession. Being prepared for 2017 is about gauging these and other milestones, understanding their significance, and responding without overreacting.


LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management Advisor® Accredited Investment Fiduciary®

Gene Schulfer, AWMA® Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM LPL Investment Advisor Representative

Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals is an independent firm, aligned with LPL Financial. With one of the leading financial services companies and the largest independent broker/dealer in the nation, we offer true, unbiased opinions, meaning we have no proprietary products to sell, no “parent company” ownership, no investment banking or insurance company relationships to promote, nor any other conflicts to get in the way of true, independent and unbiased information.

“Financial Advice for Life”

Special THANK YOU to Schulfer & Associates for their sponsorship of this program. Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA and SIPC. *As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2016, based on total revenue. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. Stock and bond strategies involve risks including the loss of principal. Alternative investment strategies carry a higher degree of risk.

For 6 questions on this X-Change please contact Karen Schanock at 715-344-1940 or

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Business after



January 2017

What is Business After Hours? A social event designed for and hosted by Business Council members to give business professionals an opportunity to network, share ideas, and have their facility seen by other members. The member host furnishes refreshments and hors d’oeuvres for the evening. A different Business Council member hosts Business After Hours every month. Members are welcome to co-host the event with another Business Council member. Please call Karen Schanock at 715-344-1940 or email at to book the month you are interested in. What is the Health Fair About? Please join us for the 5th annual Health Fair put on by Adventure 212 and the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center. This is a FREE event and open to the public! Come learn about over 50 businesses in the area that encompass the 7 dimensions of wellness. While you are there, stop by for a free Bio-metric screening and observe healthy cooking demos. The Health Fair is open from 4-8pm, with Business After Hours coinciding from 5-7pm.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, 1001 Amber Avenue, Stevens Point Expo’s 1, 2, 3A & 3B 4-8PM for the Health Fair and 5-7PM for the Business After Hours No Cost to Attend Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, door prize giveaways and a 50/50 raffle.

RSVP by Friday, January 20, 2017.



2017 Business After Hours Schedule The Business Council is pleased to announce the following 2017 Business After Hours hosts: January 23 – Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center February 20 – Stevens Point Curling Club March 20 – FirstMerit / Huntington Bank April 17 – AIG (Women & Allies Employee Resource Group) May 15 – Office Direct Interiors June 19 – Star Business Machines July 17 – Stevens Point Country Club August 21 – Ministry Home Care September 19 – Elevate Life Chiropractic October 16 – KPR Brokers November 13 – Community First Bank December 18 – Open CONTACT KAREN TO RESERVE If Business After Hours is not in your planner yet, now is the time to pencil it in! Would you like to promote your business, share ideas and make important business contacts? You can

do this and more, by sponsoring a Business After Hours. It’s not too early to book for 2018 either. Host businesses can promote their facility, staff and/or new products or services to 75-100 area business people. Small businesses may wish to host this event at a member restaurant, larger facility, or co-sponsor the event with another Business Council member. A host business provides the location, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres during the Business After Hours. In addition, the host business may choose to sponsor a door prize for the evening. The Business Council will assist in the invitation, marketing, registration, 50/50 raffle and door prize drawing. For more information on hosting a Business After Hours call Karen Schanock at the Business Council Office, 715-344-1940 or email 7 at

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UNITEL WELCOMES NEW EMPLOYEE Unitel Inc. welcomes Tony Krause to its growing team of Voice over IP specialists. Tony grew up in the Fox Cities and has degrees in Web Design & Development and Network Specialist. In addition to industry experience, he has excellent people skills. Tony enjoys playing multiple musical instruments and creating music in his spare time.

WELCOME MERETA WALKER TO PCBC PCBC has a change in our operations area. First, Mereta Walker has joined the PCBC team through ABR Employment Services. Mereta and her family recently relocated to Wisconsin and she has over 14 years of accounting and tax experience, including her own consulting business. She will be working part-time and focusing on the day-to-day financial activities of the organization. PCBC has also hired Ligman & Wille to handle financial reporting, taxes and oversee budgeting and will be coordinating operations with Mereta.


Impact Directories 1110 East Wausau Ave Wausau, WI 54403 (715) 842-0263 Velocity Clubhouse, LLC 5100 Heffron Street Stevens Point, WI 54482 (715) 340-2970 Chase Bank 601 Main Street Stevens Point, WI 54481 (715)344-3300 Old National Bank 640 Division Street Stevens Point, WI 54481 (715) 997-6590 W hat a r e the BENEF IT S OF M EM BER SH IP? Y o u r b us i n e s s re p re s e n ta t i v e s a r e in v it e d t o ed u c a t i o n a l a n d n et w o r k d e v e lo p me n t e v e n t s L is t y o u r o w n b u s i n e s s ’ e v e n t s , jo b s , a n d d e a l s o n p o rt a g e c ou n t y b i z . c o m Re c e iv e re f e r r a l s f r o m o t h e r P CB C m e m b e r s B e c o me a s p e c i a l e v e n t sponsor to promote your b u s in e s s Dis p la y y o u r m a r k e t i n g ma t e ria ls in t h e P C B C lo b b y a n d on t h e P C B C we bs i t e P a rt ic ip a t e i n y o u r l o c a l c o mm u n i t y For more information on membership, contact our Director of Business Engagement, Tonya Kowalski, at 715-344-1940 or


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January 2017

k You! TThankhYouaandnCongratulations to all of our Tiered Members! If you want more information or would like to learn about the increased value of our new tiered membership structure, contact Tonya Kowalski at 715-344-1940 or today!



BMO Harris Bank- Stevens Point BMO Harris Bank- Plover BMO Harris Bank- Crossroads Commons Sentry Insurance

ABR Employment Services ALL WOMEN EXPO BioLife Plasma Services Cornerstone Technology Del Monte Foods Inc. Hausmann Johnson Insurance Heritage Farm Estates Ki Mobility Office Enterprises Inc Old National Bank Old National Bank-Plover Opportunity Development Centers, Inc.Stevens Point Opportunity Development Centers, Inc.Wi Rapids Owens Family Dentistry LLC River Cities Bank Rockman’s Catering Secure Heritage Insurance Agency Spectrum Insurance Group Steel Shield LLC Team Schierl Companies The Business News The Murphy Insurance Group, LLC Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC, Member SIPC Whiting Avenue Estates

ENGAGE Anderson O’Brien Ellis Construction McCain Foods The Worth Company

COLLABORATE Atrium Health & Senior Living Chase Bank First Weber, Inc. Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. Lands’ End Ministry Home Care, LLC Recycled Office Environments Resource One Installation & Services Rural Mutual Insurance Rural Mutual Insurance - Post Road Segmented Systems MFG

BUILD Ability Builders Inc Adventure 212 LLC Agrometrics

(BUILD CONT.) AIG Amherst Marine, Inc. Bayland Buildings Inc Bob’s Plumbing & Heating of Central WI Inc Bone & Joint Clinic, S.C. Brookdale Stevens Point Buffalo Wild Wings Buzza Dreier & Johnson LLC Checks Muffler Center Contemporary Photography Dave’s Tap Cleaning Designers 2 Fire Pro Inc Flexible Nutrition Solutions LLC Forward Financial Bank Girls in Pearls Boutique, LLC Impact Directories KPR Brokers Manpower Mission Coffee House LLC Northwestern Mutual Ontogeny Advertising & Design, LLC Physicians Mutual Point Title LLC Prism Real Estate Regnier Consulting Group Inc Soik Sales Inc Springville Family Dentistry Stifel, Nicolaus & Company SYNERGY HomeCare Thomas W Stout CPA SC TMA + Peritus Velocity Clubhouse, LLC


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Thursday, April 20, 2017 Fashion Runway Show at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center sponsored by Girls in Pearls Boutique

Thursday, June 22, 2017 sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation

Thursday, September 21, 2017 sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

Thursday, December 14, 2017 sponsored by CoVantage Credit Union Photos from our December 8, 2016 event presented by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection:

Opportunities are available to Business Council members wishing to play a greater role in our Women in Business events for 2017. Contact Karen Schanock at

for all the exciting details. ALL EVENTS WILL BE HELD FROM 11:15AM TO 1:00PM. COST: $26/MEMBERS

Sell-out crowd of 160 people



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January 2017


Volunteers, they are the lifeblood of any non-profit organization! For us, one of the most active and visible group of volunteers is the Ambassadors Club, which consists of 27 community leaders. Our Ambassadors attend many ribbon cutting ceremonies, grand opening celebrations, ground breakings, many meetings and Business Council and Foundation events. Members of this enthusiastic group generally lend a hand whenever they see something that needs doing! Last year alone they gave back over 1,600 hours of volunteer time. That is truly amazing! Many thanks to our terrific goodwill Ambassadors!


Members of our Ambassadors Club were pleased to attend the open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on December 12th for Old National Bank. Formerly AnchorBank, Old National is located at 640 Division Street, Stevens Point, WI.


On a quarterly basis, the Ambassadors Club takes the opportunity to recognize one of its members for outstanding commitment. This commitment is measured by their participation in meetings, events, grand openings and ribbon cutting ceremonies during a three-month timeframe. During the fourth quarter of 2016, Sarah Agena was named the Ambassador of the Quarter. Sarah is a registered dietician and the owner of Flexible Nutrition Solutions. She has been an Ambassador since July, 2010. Congratulations Sarah on your recent achievement. The Business Council Board of Directors, Ambassadors Club and staff appreciate your efforts. If you are interested in joining the Ambassadors Club, please contact Karen Schanock at 11 or at 715-344-1940 for more information.


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Ignite Leadership Network and NEWaukee are proud to announce the expansion of YPWeek Wisconsin to include 25 communities in 2017; Ashland, Door County, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Fox Cities, Green Bay, Hayward, Kenosha, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Madison, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marshfield, Milwaukee, Phillips, Portage, Platteville, Racine, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Superior, Waukesha County, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids. The grassroots statewide program will run April 22 to 29, 2017 with each community presenting a variety of programs that empower young professionals to take ownership and pride in their home towns. YPWeek Wisconsin is modeled after a program started by NEWaukee in 2012 to provide a weeklong series of events focusing on discovery, adventure and meaningful conversations about the issues that matter to young professionals in the Milwaukee area. YPWeek Wisconsin has continued to reach across the state with the support of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) since 2015, and its participants have collaborated with the agency on a communication strategy designed to retain, excite and grow the state’s talent pool. YPWeek will incorporate that strategy into its programming, leveraging “THINK-MAKEHAPPEN,” the initiative’s guiding brand statement, as an organizing theme. After two years of successful expansion of YPWeek Wisconsin, NEWaukee has built the nation’s largest millennial talent network. YPWeek Wisconsin currently showcases 25 communities, but the intention is to include all 72 Wisconsin counties. As the 72 Initiative grows, NEWaukee provides the following to emerging leaders across the state: — United Program Offering: world-class and turnkey programs that bring young professionals from across the state together. — Leadership Learning Institute: best practice sharing and training that fortifies young professional organizational leaders with needed skills. Concordia University Wisconsin has partnered with NEWaukee to create the LeadNOW Bootcamp. 12

— Peer Network: connection points between leadership across the state as well as for individuals to navigate the state.

“YPWeek taps and channels the passion Wisconsin’s young professionals bring to the workplace to help build and sustain Wisconsin’s strong workforce and high quality of life,” explains Angela Damiani CEO and Co-Founder of NEWaukee. “Through YPWeek we have created the nation’s most comprehensive and collaborative talent engagement strategy.” The statewide initiative also features the 2017 Bubbler Awards: Best Places to Work for Young Professionals in Wisconsin. The Bubbler Awards shines a light on the companies who have made great strides to accommodate the interests of a shifting workforce. There’s a common perception that Millennials are discontent or disinterested in traditional forms of employment. These awards showcase the reality of how many Wisconsin-based companies are adjusting and creating environments that allow young professionals to call this state home. The nomination and selection process establish a framework for existing and emerging young professionals throughout the state to collaborate and brand Wisconsin as a workplace destination for Millennials. The evaluation centers on what Millennials are looking for in today’s workplace including: competitive salary and benefits, opportunity for advancement, work-life balance, and employee and community engagement. The application will close on February 28th, 2017 and the Bubbler Awards winners will be announced on March 6th, 2017. For more information about YPWeek Wisconsin 2017, please visit:

Brookdale Stevens Point Earns EPA Certification for Superior Efficiency Brookdale Stevens Point, has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA. Brookdale Stevens Point is among 21 Brookdale communities nationwide to attain the honor. “I’m very proud our Brookdale community for earning the EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification,” said Marla Thalheimer, director of Sustainability at Brookdale Senior Living. “This achievement demonstrates the commitment we’ve made to sustainability and our ability to provide a healthful and environmentally sound home for our residents.” To earn the ENERGY STAR certification, buildings must use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. “We’re proud to be recognized,” said Jacqueline Williams at B ro o k d a l e S t e ve n s Po i n t “Improving the energy efficiency of our community is important to the mission of Brookdale and is vital to protecting our environment.” For more information about visit us at

M I D-S TATE ’S D E S TI N ATI ON R E G I S TRATI ON E VE N T W E LC OME S NE W ST UDE N TS F OR S P RI NG S E ME S T E R NEWSROOM Mid-State Technical College hosted Destination Registration on its Marshfield campus January 6 followed by the Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids campuses January 7. The $30 application fee was waived for the event’s 55 participants, who also had their names entered in a drawing for one of three Fitbit activity trackers and Mid-State merchandise. Destination Registration is a popular one-stop event that gives new and returning students a chance to complete all of the required steps for application and registration. This includes helping students with application completion, setting each student up with a student account, the Accuplacer assessment if needed and academic advising to ensure optimal course selection and registration.

“Destination Registration is so popular with our students because it saves time and money by bringing together key staff in Mid-State’s enrollment, student services and financial aid offices to help them navigate the process in one visit,” said Betsy Leonard, new student specialist at Mid-State.

Fortunately, students who may have missed Mid-State’s Destination Registration still have options for enrolling this spring. “Many of our students find that spring is an ideal time to start or return to school to acquire new in-demand skills, and we have a number of programs with spring start dates” noted Leonard. “With the semester starting on January 16, students still time have time to apply if they do so this week,” she added. Those wanting to apply for this spring and take care of all requirements quickly should fill out the online

application and immediately sign up for a STAR session at www.mstc. edu. Applicants with any questions can contact 888.575.MSTC and work directly with a new student specialist.

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Presented by

Thursday, February 2, 2017 Annual Dinner & Silent Auction 5:30 – 8:30pm Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center 1001 Amber Avenue, Stevens Point CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Winners of the Decree of Excellence Award, Ambassador of the Year Award, Small Business of the Year and the President’s Award will all be recognized during the Portage County Business Council’s Annual Dinner and Silent Auction on Thursday, February 2nd.

Auction items. The Business Council extends an invitation to all Business Council members and their guests to attend the Annual Dinner. Reservations are due by Thursday, January 26, 2017. Cost is $55/person. Reserved seating for tables of 8.

Held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, 1001 Amber Avenue, Stevens Point, the evening extravaganza promises to be exciting with a social hour with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

Our Master of Ceremonies for the event will be News Anchor from WSAW - TV 7 Mr. Jeff Thelen. Special thanks to our Exclusive Media Sponsor WSAW – TV 7 and Fox WZAW

Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to bid on an endless list of Silent 14

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Be Sure to Attend!


Social 5:30-6:50PM Complimentary Hors d’ oeuvres, Cash Bar Silent Auction 5:30-6:50PM A spectacular array of jewelry, artwork, travel, sports and entertainment packages Dinner & Program 6:50-8:00PM Choose from two mouth-watering entrees:


Steak & Shrimp: 6oz Bacon Wrapped Sirloin, Old Bay Butter Shrimp, Roasted Red Potatoes and Prince Edward Island Vegetable (Green Beans, Yellow Beans and Baby Carrots) Vegetable Penne Pesto Entrees also include a Wedge Salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette, freshly baked rolls, a delicious cheesecake dessert, coffee, tea and milk. Awards 8:00-8:30PM Presentation of Ambassador of the Year Dan Blumenstein from Rack Industrial Small Business of the Year Bev’s Floral & Gifts Decree of Excellence Heartland Farms, Inc.

The 2016 President’s Award Recipient is .......

Opportunities are available for our members wishing to play a greater role in our Silent Auction portion of the event. As a Silent Auction donor, the Business Council promotes both your business and the merchandise and/or service in all printed promotional material. Your business and donated item will also be promoted during the Annual Dinner to over 350 business people. Each donation will be recognized with a display at the Silent Auction, highlighting your business name. Contribution ideas could be a specialty product and/or a service your business offers. Ideas might include a monthly floral delivery, one year hair care or drycleaning, oil changes, consulting services, golf lessons, artwork, jewelry, clothing or cellular phone services. Need more ideas? How about a weekend get-away package, home/office cleaning, a photography session or dining out certificates. Be creative…Don’t miss this chance to promote your business to the business community.

Lorraine Avery, Retired and former Senior Vice President Strategic Director Bank Operations of Associated Bank

For more information, or to register a Silent Auction contribution contact Karen Schanock at the Business Council Office: 715-344-1940 or Thank you for your support.


Save this date and plan to be part of… American Agriculture Appreciation

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2016 event held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center

Monday, March 13, 2017 Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center 6:00 – 7:00PM – Social 7:00 – 8:15PM – Dinner & Awards 8:15 – 8:45PM – Keynote Presenter

2016 Award and Scholarship Recipients

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER or call the Business Council office at 715-344-1940. Watch for more details in the upcoming February Active Voice Digital Magazine

Nominations Sought for Outstanding Contributions to Agriculture Award The Portage County Business Council is seeking nominations for the 2017 Outstanding Contributions to Agriculture Award to be presented at the American Agriculture Appreciation Banquet on March 13, 2017. The award is presented to an individual or organization that excels in the agriculture field. Nominee Award Criteria:

Past Winners Include: 2016 Jeremie Pavelski, Heartland Farms 2015 Blue Top Farms & Feltz Family Farms 2014 Wysocki Family of Companies

*May include farmers, marketers, processors, or individuals involved in related areas of education, government or allied industry segments of agriculture.

2013 Paul Clasen, Retired, Rural Insurance

*Individual has furthered agriculture’s interest or development in production or marketing.


*Individual has made significant contributions in agriculture related organizations.

Nominations will be taken for the award through Monday, February 6, 2017. All nominations are confidentially reviewed by a selection committee of the Portage County Business Council AgriBusiness Committee.

*Individual/organization has not received the award in the past three years. 16

boring hold message that every business has. You can, and T h e should, A c t i v e incorporate V o i c e | J ayour n u a rvoice y 2 0 1in7 your greeting and auto attendant. If employees have a phone script, use your tone in that as well.


Ever notice how parents know the sound of their child’s cry even when surrounded by groups of children or how a pet owner knows their dog’s bark or cat’s meow? Those familiar sounds make us stop what we’re doing and pay attention to that loved one. The tone of their voice cuts through the noise and grabs our attention. The same is true in business. When you use a recognizable tone, your customers listen and respond. They need to hear your voice in your social and business interactions so that they can get to know it. Here’s where you should be using it.

CONTENT CURATION Often we’re so busy finding the right content to share that we simply hit the schedule button and we’re done with it. If that’s what you do, you’re missing a connection opportunity. Instead, tell your audience why you’re sharing the content, what resonates with you about it (as in a specific quote or example), or your opinion. Most people don’t do this so when you give insight into why you’re sharing, people will be more likely to click. Plus, you look like less of a bot. Check out example below.

Shift used a lead-in we can all relate to (and a stunning image but that’s a topic for another article).

YOUR BLOG A business blog without a voice is as exciting as watching grass grow.Blogs are a place to shine to lend your personality to issues regarding your industry, how-to’s, best practices and more. Blogs are not meant to be stoic, just the facts iterations of events. Breathe life into each post with your personality. After all, people do business with those they know, like, and trust.

EMAILS Throw away your business communication textbooks from the 80s. Emails aren’t formal business letters. Every email you write should allow for some of your business’s tone and personality shine through. Subject lines can incorporate emoticons or emojis. Sentences can be phrases. Emails are not college essays. Make them interesting and then ask the reader to do something. They’ll be more likely to do it if they feel like it’s a personalized communication and one of the ways to achieve that is through lending it your voice.

HOLD MESSAGE You don’t have to record the same

Your business tone should be incorporated into your web copy as well. Not just the text but forms, landing pages, giveaways, even your redirect pages.

A Final Word about Your Voice for Your Business Before you begin inserting your voice into your business communications it’s important to figure out what you want that to be. Brainstorm the words you want to be associated with your business. Do you want to be seen as helpful, but irreverent? Fresh but knowledgeable? Place parameters about what you want and don’t want to be. Does it fit your audience and industry? Tweak it until it does. Here’s more information on how you can find your company voice. Next, share it with your staff. Make sure everyone in contact with your customers knows your company tone and voice. That sound will be how they recognize you. It becomes part of your brand so be consistent in its usage.

About the author: Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere. 17

Portage County Busniess Council Foundation

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GIRLS IN TECHNOLOGY On December 3, 2016 Portage County Business Council’s Partners In Education program hosted a Girls in Technology badge workshop in partnership with the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes and volunteers from local businesses Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection and Skyward. Girl Scouts from across our area had the opportunity to learn more about technology careers, a field that historically has had fewer female professionals. 50 girls participated ranging in ages from 2nd to 8th grade. The youngest girls, Brownies (grades 2-3), worked on basic computer skills including safe internet use, creating a poster in Paint, and other computer basics. Juniors (grades 4-5) had the opportunity to animate their own photographs and created stop-motion animation videos. The girls also learned about sound production and coding. The oldest girls (grades 6-8) created their own movie! They were responsible for filming, acting and editing their own short movie. This event would not have been possible without dedicated volunteer support from professional women in technology careers from local businesses. Using guidelines from Girl Scouts volunteers decide how to teach the badge, create a presentation, bring all needed supplies and walk the girls through the activities. If you’re interested in volunteering at future Girls in Technology or Girls in Engineering events, please contact Director of Talent Development, Kayla Rombalski, at talent@ For more detail, see the WSAW-TV7 interview about this event: content/news/Local-tech-professionals-help-young-girls-find-careers--404262116.html.

A community micro-granting dinner


What is SOUP? SOUP is a new way to share ideas, start conversations, and fund innovative projects/ people/ideas in our community. The premise of the SOUP micro-granting dinner is that each attendee pays a suggested donation of $5. That $5 gets you a bowl of soup, side of bread, and a vote. Four pitches to better our community (in the areas of Education & Innovation, Marketing & Awareness, Housing & Infrastructure, and Entertainment & Recreation) will be given. Attendees then cast their vote for one of the four pitches. The winning proposal takes home all the funds raised at the end of the evening. 18

Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

Portage County Busniess Council Foundation

T h e A c t i v e Vo i c e | J a n u a r y 2 0 1 7

LEADERSHIP PORTAGE COUNTY Written by Morgan Anderson, UWStevens Point (morning review) and Dan Rosenow, Sentry Insurance (afternoon review) Leadership Portage County spent our December session learning about the Legal System. We spent most of the day at 1578 Strongs, which is home to JusticeWorks and the 2617 Club. The day started out with Chris Okray sharing the story of the 2617 Club. The Club, located in the lower level of the Strongs Ave. building, is home to programs and outreach efforts such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, etc. Chris shared the Club started at house located at 2617 Main Street – giving the Club its name. We are grateful the 2617 Club was willing to share their mission and space with us during the December session. Jason, Julie Ann and Jamie then presented their participant speeches. Jason shared the art of cabinetry and tips for anyone looking to remodel. Julie Ann motivated the group for upcoming resolutions by talking about her love of running and Jamie shared the mission and stories of JusticeWorks. Kate Kipp met with LPC to share details of Drug Court. We learned that Portage County will be getting a Drug Court in the upcoming months. The goal of the drug court is to provide strict oversight, provided by a team of experts, with frequent court meetings with the Judge and team. Rewards are provided to individuals exceling and sanctions are provided for bad behavior. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide an alternative to jail, with the expectation of change.

the Community Up by Paul Schmitz. Accompanied by a YouTube Clip and group discussion, we were able to discuss what we feel makes us a leader – not our position, but our mindset.

what are in fact cages, and imagining what it’s like to be confined was a little uncomfortable. Life in prison must be incomprehensible. Some prisoners offered only blank stares as glimpses in to their lives, while others talked to We kicked off the second half of our tour guide or shouted as we walked our Legal System session with a by. scrumptious jailhouse lunch (photo attached). Lunch consisted of some My favorite part of the afternoon sort of bean/tomato combination followed the jailhouse tour. In the (which tasted nothing like baked beans afternoon, we got an introduction to in spite of its similar appearance), the court system from Portage County hot dogs, bread, ketchup, what must Clerk of Courts Patricia Baker, who have been previously dehydrated is herself an attorney and I imagine potato slices (their texture can best be is one of the most knowledgeable described as dry and spongy), and a clerks in the state. Her command of chocolate cake/brownie hybrid (which trial procedure was apparent, and she was actually quite good). I passed was kind enough to make us aware of on the sugar-free drink mix. If I’m not the fact that a criminal trial was going mistaken, I was the only participant to on and have us sit in on it. The trial finish his or her plate, which was no involved an interesting fact pattern, small feat given the difficulty of eating and I was particularly amused when with the flexible safety spork that we the defendant was impeached by the were provided. Eating a jailhouse prosecutor with a prior inconsistent lunch was an interesting experience, statement. I was a little disturbed by but not one that I’ll be repeating any one juror that seemed to be distracted time soon. by us during all of the testimony we observed. While he should have been watching the defendant testify and gauging his credibility, he instead fixed his gaze on us or the prosecutor during our entire time in the courtroom.

After lunch, we toured the Portage County Law Enforcement Center (i.e. Portage County Jail). It was apparent that our tour guide, the Juvenile Detention Administrator, does everything that he can to support the rehabilitation and development of the County’s imprisoned youth. He organizes life skills classes and training, and facilitates such extracurricular activities as movie nights. He does this and much more in spite of limited resources and space. Our tour guide invited us to look in to Kayla rounded out our morning individual cell blocks to see what they session by sharing the book Everyone looked like, which was a little bit of a Leads: Building Leadership from surreal experience. Seeing people in

Finally, we closed out the afternoon with an introduction to the Riverside House, an Oxford House for men. Riverside House is a safe place for those recovering from various addictions. Residents of the house secure regular employment and pay for its upkeep and maintenance and perform chores themselves. Residents must not use while they reside in the house. This allows them to live in an environment that is free from temptation and full of individuals that understand their struggles with addiction and can relate to their experiences past and present. We heard some of their stories as they described how difficult it was to make the decision not to use, and how much more fulfilling their lives have been since they did so. This was a particularly nice way to end the session. 19

T h e A c t i v e Vo i c e | J a n u a r y 2 0 1 7





Business After Hours, 5:00PM, Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center (Community Health Fair 4:00PM)


Business X-Change, 7:30AM, PCBC

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Annual Dinner & Silent Auction, 5:30PM Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center


Business X-Change, 7:30AM, PCBC


SalesNet, 11:45AM, PCBC


Business After Hours, 5:00PM, Stevens Point Curling Club

Have you updated your contact information recently? Be sure to update your contacts, number of employees and general information with PCBC! PORTAGE COUNTY GIFT CERTIFICATES Purchasing Portage County gift certificates continues to be a successful way to “Buy Local�. Portage County gift certificates make great gifts. Gift certificates can be purchased at most area banks, credit unions, the Convention and Visitors Bureau or at our office. They can be used at most businesses with a Portage County address and are available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $25, $50 & $100. The PCBC would like to thank everyone who participates for helping make the program successful. We would also like to thank BMO Harris Bank for their financial support of the gift certificate program.


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January 2017 Active Voice Digital Magazine