September 2023 Better Together Newsletter Update

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In This Issue

September is Chamber Month and we want to celebrate all members! Check out the September schedule of events.

September 2023

From The Desk Of The CEO

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

I think most of us will agree that summer has moved far too quickly and we need to slow down time a bit. We have been quite busy at the chamber and do not expect it to slow down anytime soon. We have experienced lots of transitions with staff. Saying ‘goodbye’ is never easy, but we know that we hire awesome people, so it only makes sense that others would also recognize their potential and want to provide them with growth opportunities. We have also welcomed new team members to the chamber, and I hope you have had a chance to meet them. As we work through these times of transition, we are excited about what new ideas and opportunities may arise in the coming months.

In late August, we hosted the annual Workforce Development Symposium, welcoming more than 100 educators and employers from throughout Sheboygan County to learn and grow together. We heard updates from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. We also learned from our partners at MRA about generational differences in the workplace and Dave Hataj of Edgerton Gear about the Craftsman with Character program. The State of Wisconsin continues to have a labor participation higher than the national average, with an unemployment rate significantly lower than the national average, and therefore, we must be proactive and creative in our attraction and retention efforts.

The annual symposium also gave us an opportunity to celebrate Educator of the Year, Ted Schermetzler, Tech Ed

Upcoming Events


Coastal YPs: Outdoor Movie Night


Ribbon Cutting: Read In Color Little Free Library


Ribbon Cutting: Ascension At Home


Out to Dinner with Coastal YPs: Hops Haven


vibe@5: JMK Art Preserve

Deidre Martinez

Upcoming Events [

teacher for Sheboygan North and South High Schools. Ted shared with us, “My approach to education is very similar to the industry. Students are expected to show up on time and perform to the best of their ability…if the task is done to the industry standard we continue to the next task.” Business Education Partner of the Year, Lakeland University was celebrated for their efforts in bringing creative programs and partnerships, connecting K-12 and higher education in Sheboygan County. Congratulations to both our winners and a special thank you to our Platinum sponsors, Johnsonville, Sargento Foods, and Wisconsin Bank & Trust, Gold sponsors Kohler Company, Van Horn Auto Group, and Friends sponsor Krier Foods.

Fall will bring cooler weather, changing of the leaves, and lots of fall programming. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to OktoberFeast. This event will be hosted at the American Club on October 12th, and we already have several restaurants committed to bringing their best menu options for you to try in hopes of being named Best of OktoberFeast this year.

Space is still available, we are finalizing details for our Chamber Travel, November 3 – 14, 2023 as we experience the culture of India through several cities and National Parks. To learn more about this opportunity please visit our website or contact Deidre directly at Lastly, we are pleased to announce our 2024 travel to Ireland. All information for both trips can be found here. We want you to Think BIG (betterment, improvement growth), Influence Local! The Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing expertise for fostering dynamic organizations throughout Sheboygan County. We are truly Better Together!

Continued ] Roundtable Meetings: 09.13.23 WORKSITE WELLNESS 09.13.23 TRIAL MID-DAY ROUNDTABLE 10.02.23 SALES & MARKETING PROFESSIONALS 10.04.23 NON-PROFIT 09.21.23 Executive Series: Paul Bartelt & Erik Lampe - Vollrath 09.21.23 Out to Lunch with Deidre Martinez: Luigi’s Italian Restaurant 09.28.23 Groundbreaking: Hilton - Home2Suites 09.29.23 Friday Forum: Environmental Awareness & Our Northern Neighbors 09.19.23 Ribbon Cutting: Keller Williams Empower

Kierra Brooks - Special Events Coordinator & Office Assistant

Hello September!

As they say, make it a September to remember!

This past month was a great way to end the summer season. We kicked off with both of our Adult and Junior Leadership Sheboygan County classes. It was a wonderful time for the classes and for everyone to get to know their new classmates and go through this unique experience together. They quickly learned why this day is so important and cannot be missed. Next month will be teambuilding and they will have another opportunity to discover new strengths within themselves as well as others. I’m excited to watch them go through this process!

On another note, the Coastal Young Professionals are having an outdoor movie night at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum on September 6th from 6:45-8:30p.m. It is free and open to the public, and we will be showing the family-friendly movie; “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. We also will be continuing our out to dinner series which happens every month on the second Wednesday of the month.

To start off September we will be at Hops Haven on Wednesday the 13th from 5:00-7:00p.m. If you’re interested in these events, don’t hesitate to register online or shoot me an email to get you signed up!

Lastly, tickets are now available for OktoberFeast!!! So, book your calendars for October 12th, 5:30-8:00p.m. This is one of my favorite events. This event is for a foodie at heart, as you will get to taste free food all night and vote on your favorite one. This is a fun way for our members to showcase their restaurant or tavern to the YP’s. We will be at the American Club this year so get ready! Please contact me with any questions or concerns and I’ll be happy to assist. I hope you make this month a month to remember! Stay connected Sheboygan.

Kierra Brooks

Josh Aschenbach - Director Of Membership & Workforce Development

Having joined the Chamber as the Director of Membership and Workforce Development at the beginning of July, I can confidently say that the past two months have been a beautiful blur. Whether experiencing networking opportunities, participating in Chamber events, meeting members, attending programs, facilitating committees—I’ve been able to experience what makes this Chamber community so unique and special. Let’s not skip over that sentiment: this community that you all have built is truly special.

In the short time I’ve been on staff, I’ve had the privilege of meeting guest speakers and presenters—people who have travelled all over the country—and every single one of them has said something to the effect of, “There are very few places doing what you guys are doing…” or “I can’t believe how many people you have volunteering/attending/sponsoring/ partnering/etc…”

For an example of something special about our Chamber community, please read John Rogers’ article about the Business Education Partnership (BEP). STEAMfest is an event that was born out of the BEP—the purpose for this event is to inspire and inform our future workforce by giving them opportunities to explore local careers through STEAM activities. As of the end of August, we have over 1400 students and 20 chamber businesses signed up for this event. 1,400 students!

As incredible as the BEP and STEAMfest are, they are just a small sample of what has been so impressive and inspiring to me as a new member of this team. Don’t lose sight of all the amazing things that we can and do accomplish when we support one another and give freely of ourselves. Truly, we are making a lasting impact on this community, and I’m so proud to be a member of this team. Let’s keep up the good work, and stay committed to the truth that we are better together!

Josh Aschenbach

Christy Jacobs - Director Of Events

Thank you!!

The very first thing I want to say is “THANK YOU!”

To all the sponsors, those who donated prizes, baskets, and their services, the volunteers, the golfers, the Chamber staff, and the wonderful team at Quit Qui Oc. The Annual Sheboygan County Chamber Golf Outing could not have been a success without you. Because of this type of generosity and commitment to the Chamber, we had another great year on the course. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I can’t wait for August 2024.

As fall enters, our programming starts to pick up momentum. We have some great events in store for you over the next few months. September 21st at Pine Hills, our Executive Series will be showcasing Paul Bartelt and Eric Lampe of Vollrath: A Strong Culture Across Chapters. Join us as past president and CEO Paul Bartelt and new president and CEO Erik Lampe share their thoughts on a cultural journey and transitional leadership. Click here to register!

September 29th at Elks Lodge has us hosting our third Friday Forum Panel discussion: Environmental Awareness and our North Neighbors. Our panelists will be: Aaron AnnableConsul for Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, Dominic Têtu - Director for Economic Affairs, Quebec’s government office in Chicago, Jennifer Born Rutten – Executive Director, Glacial Lakes Conservancy and Deputy Secretary Steven Little –DNR. Click here to register and learn more about the Friday Forum!

Be sure to check the calendar for ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, and vibe@5 details. September has much to offer in ways to network and partake in Chamber events and programs.

Can’t wait to see you at the next event!


~Christy Christy Jacobs

John Rogers - Business Roundtable Facilitator

Building the All-important ‘Farm Team’

The Sheboygan County Chamber has a Business Education Partnership (BEP) committee that is an essential component of helping develop what our area workforce of the future could be like. What we do is similar to how a baseball team like the Brewers recruits and trains for teams that win! (Yes, the Brewers are in 1st place thanks to a few rookies from their ‘farm teams’)

In 2010, a Chamber committee was renamed because we wanted to form stronger ties between area businesses and area educators. The Chamber staff person responsible for managing the BEP selected key people from the business community, area school districts, and the 3 post-secondary schools serving Sheboygan County. Representatives from numerous business sectors have voluntarily contributed their expertise to the BEP because they know tomorrow’s workforce sits in the classrooms of today’s schools. The same can be said for many area educators. An important product of the Chamber’s BEP was launched in 2013 called INSPIRE Sheboygan County. It currently has hundreds of students and hundreds of volunteer business mentors working together on what the students’ future jobs could be like. Guidance counselors are who to contact regarding INSPIRE Sheboygan County.

What other programs have been produced by the Chamber’s BEP? For years the focus of Career Connections was on getting close to 1,500 10th graders from all area school districts to Lakeshore Technical College so the students could learn from volunteer professionals representing 16 different career fields such as agriculture, banking, law enforcement, engineering, science, marketing, and the arts. However, feedback to the BEP indicated that maybe students should be introduced to what career choices could be considered in 8th grade. Thus, the program called ‘Exploring Your Future’ was developed. Somewhat similar to Career Connections, 8th graders are transported to LTC and they sit with volunteer professionals to learn about career choices. With degrees in biology and engineering, I have had the privilege of talking to students about my career as an environmental engineer and answering their questions as 8th or 10th graders. It can be daunting, but fun, too.

During the 2022/2023 school year, STEM-fest was launched and in October STEAM-fest will occur for area 4th and 5th graders on October 11th and 12th on the UWGB Sheboygan Campus. Already over 1,400 students in these grades have signed up for STEAM-fest. Many area professionals working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics will be on-hand with experiments, or other hands-on tools, for the students to do so they can learn by doing. If you have ever had a 4th or 5th grader living with you, you know this can be an important time to help them use their imagination and creativity with all sorts of ‘building blocks’ or other gadgets.

John Rogers

Are you interested in helping with either Explore Your Future or STEAM-fest? If yes, please contact the BEP through its current Chamber staff leader, Josh Aschenbach –, or a prior staff leader, John Rogers –

Workforce Development Symposium: Education Award Winners Announced!

Educator Award: Ted Schermetzler, North & South High School, Tech Education

Ted’s approach to education is similar to industry standards. His students are expected to show up on time and perform to the best of their ability. He strives to connect students with local businesses through facility tours and/or projects to show them what our community has to offer in order to retain their talents within our community.

Business Education Partner: Beth Borgen, Lakeland University

The core of Lakeland University’s approach to engaging tomorrow’s workforce is centered around their Cooperative Education program. From the 2019-20 through 2022-23 school years, Lakeland undergraduate students gained at least 220,680 hours of handson training and practice. Lakeland also offers a Sheboygan County Scholars program, where the goal is to retain the area’s most promising young people and prepare them to assume future leadership positions within the region. Pictured right is Beth Borgen, Lakeland University President.

Chamber Month:

Exciting news! September is Chamber of Commerce Month in Wisconsin. It’s the perfect time to engage with your local chamber of commerce and explore the range of events and resources we can offer to support your growth and success.

#WIChamberMonth #BetterTogether

Ted Schermetzler Beth Borgen

August 9

Creating Inclusive Workplaces Session #4

August In Review

August 9

Out to Dinner with Coastal YPs: The Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery

August 10

2023-2024 Leadership & Junior Leadership Sheboygan County Orientation

August 16

Out to Breakfast with Deidre Martinez: Field to Fork

August 17

2023-2024 Leadership & Junior Leadership Sheboygan County First Class

August 23

2023 Workforce Development Symposium

August 25

Chamber Ambassadors Prepare for Annual Chamber Golf Outing

August 29

Manufacturing Roundtable Tour of UW-GB Sheboygan Campus

August 30 Annual Chamber Golf Outing


Newsletter sponsorship opportunities now available! Please contact Deidre Martinez at 920-457-9491 or for more information.