Page 1





Businesses Optimistic

Selling Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Biggest Challenge

Time For Bold Reforms


January 2017 Issue 23

Destination Wisconsin Business leaders coming to Wisconsin have discovered our “Midwest Jewel” is the perfect place to work and raise a family.




IMPROVING SAFETY PERFORMANCE Member companies that achieve the highest level of performance in ABC’s safety program are 720 percent safer than the BLS industry average.

ABC of Wisconsin is preparing more than 1,000 apprentices for the construction trades who completed nearly 150,000 hours of paid-related instruction in 2015.

$694.1 BILLION


ABC MEMBERS BUILD WISCONSIN ABC of Wisconsin’s 800-plus member firms represent all specialties within the construction industry, primarily focused on the commercial and industrial sectors. They are champions of free enterprise and open competition who are committed to delivering high-quality, safe construction projects that are awarded to the mostqualified bidder based on merit. ABC members build our communities - from schools and hospitals to industrial facilities, skyscrapers, professional sports venues and the playground down the street. They build structures we use to work, play, heal and learn.

* Based on analysis of the Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) of participants in ABC’s 2015 Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) vs. the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) construction industry average.

GROWING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Nonresidential construction spending in the U.S. has grown nearly 35 percent since 2011.


$515.4 BILLION

*U.S. Census Bureau nonresidential construction spending, annualized rate, seasonally adjusted from April 2011 to April 2016.

In This Issue...


January 2017 Issue 23


From the Editor


From the President


Manley: Legislative Agenda


Damiani: Young Professionals


Business Voice Gets a Facelift Federal Policy Sparks Stronger Growth Doubling Down on Bold Reforms Conference Builds Millennial Talent Network

Gallagher: Vision Casting 2017 13 Choosing Our Future


Reader: Education 15 Labor and Education Reform


Cover Story: Wisconsin Migration 18 Business Leaders Discover “Midwest Jewel” Allen: Workforce 25 Job Projections and Innovation


Made in Wisconsin Diverse product made locally

Braun: Selling Wisconsin 30 Addressing Wisconsin’s Talent Challenge



25 30

Future Wisconsin Project 32 Annual Summit Focuses on Workforce Ritter: Commitment To Safety 36 Celebrating 75 Years! Wisconsin Cool 39 The Coolest Things Wisconsin-made



PLUS WMC Board of Directors WMC Staff News Office of Business Development Member News Representing Wisconsin CEO Profile: John Baumann WMC In View Foundation News

3 5 17 24 27 40 43 44


January 2017




Business Voice Gets a Facelift By Katie Yeutter, Interim Editor


efore 2012 when WMC unveiled Wisconsin Business Voice, the quarterly magazine you are reading, WMC hadn’t sent its members a print publication in at least a decade. Like many other organizations, WMC had shifted from print to electronic delivery of news and information because it can be delivered fast and at low cost. Electronic publications have their place and WMC still relies on them, including our very popular Daily Digest summary of business news and Capitol Watch, which explains how politics and policies impact W isconsin’s business climate. But since its introduction in January 2012, Business Voice has proven to be very popular among business leaders, according to our member surveys. I think there are two reasons for this. One, Business Voice is the only statewide business magazine in Wisconsin reaching nearly 20,000 C-suite executives four times per year. Two, Business Voice offers a perspective on news, opinion and features that is neglected or completely absent from other media outlets, especially as local newspapers continue to contract.


also think there is an inherent antibusiness bias present in all too many media outlets that frustrates businesspeople. As Wisconsin’s largest business association, WMC is uniquely positioned to fill the vacuum left by traditional media, and we know that there is both a need and an interest among Wisconsin’s business leaders for our original content news delivered in this flagship magazine, in our electronic publications and our video productions available on our YouTube channel (WMC501). Look for all of them to be enhanced in coming months under the direction of WMC’s new 2

January 2017

director of communications and marketing, Nick Novak. Nick comes to WMC with a diverse background in media and trade associations and is the right person to edit this magazine and expand our efforts to keep businesspeople informed.


ook no further than this edition of Business Voice for proof of WMC’s commitment to original news content. In it, we debut our upgraded contemporary design. The look is new, but the features you told us you want remain.

“Business Voice is the only statewide business magazine in Wisconsin reaching nearly 20,000 C-suite executives four times per year.” As always, we invite your input. What stories and features do you want WMC to cover in Business Voice? What are we doing right and where do you suggest we improve? And what do you think of the newly redesigned Business Voice? Let us know by emailing Nick at Nick Novak And for those of you interested in getting your message, product or service in front of 20,000 of Wisconsin’s most influential business leaders, consider placing an advertisement in Business Voice. We can promise you a strong return on your advertising dollar investment. Thank you for reading and have a fantastic 2017! n

President/Publisher Kurt R. Bauer In-Coming Editorial Director Nick Novak Interim Editor/ Production Manager Katie Yeutter Director of Technology Lara Hart Art Direction/Production The Creative Company, Inc.

Contributing Writers Kurt R. Bauer, Nick Novak, Scott Manley, Jason Culotta, Angela Damiani, Jack Orton, Lucas Vebber, Laura Gallagher, Tricia Braun, Chris Reader, Joe Knilans, Nancy Mistele, Mark Crawford, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, Sen. Jennifer Shilling, Speaker Robin Vos, Rep. Peter Barca, Regina M. Millner, Glenn Spencer, Sec. Ray Allen, Janie Ritter, Lauren Foley, Joy Gieseke Advertising Sales Nick Novak

Positively Pro-business. Wisconsin Business Voice is published quarterly by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. WMC is Wisconsin’s chamber of commerce, manufacturers’ association, and safety council representing businesses of all sizes and from every sector of the economy. WMC 501 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, WI 53703, tel.: 608.258.3400 FOLLOW US:

WisconsinMC Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce WMC501 @WisconsinMC

WMC Board

WMC OFFICERS CHAIR, Robert D. Kamphuis Chairman/President/CEO, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc., Mayville VICE CHAIR, Jay L. Smith Chairman, President & CEO, Teel Plastics, Inc., Baraboo SECRETARY, Tod B. Linstroth Senior Partner & Member & Past Chair of Management Committee, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison TREASURER, Gina A. Peter Executive Vice President Commercial Banking Division Manager, Wells Fargo Bank, Milwaukee


PAST CHAIRS, PICTURED Arthur W. Nesbitt Nasco International, Inc. Rockne G. Flowers Nelson Industries, Inc. Todd J. Teske, Chairman/President/ CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corporation

WMC BOARD OF DIRECTORS JEFFREY W. BAILET, M.D., Executive Vice President, Aurora Health Care/ Co-President, Aurora Health Care Medical Group Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee

KURT R. BAUER, President/CEO WMC, Madison SIDNEY H. BLISS, President/CEO Bliss Communications Inc., Janesville DAMOND WILLIAMS BOATWRIGHT Regional President of Hospital Operations, SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, Madison STEVEN G. BOOTH, President/ CEO, Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., Milwaukee DAVID H. BRETTING, President/ CEO, C.G. Bretting Manufacturing Company, Inc., Ashland THOMAS A. BURKE, President/CEO Modine Manufacturing Company, Racine NATE CUNNIFF, Senior Vice President - Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank, Brookfield BRAD W. DENOYER, CPA, Partner Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Madison JOHN N. DYKEMA, President/Owner Campbell Wrapper Corporation; Circle Packaging Machinery, Inc., De Pere



ROBERT D. KAMPHUIS, Chairman/ President/CEO, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. Mayville PATRICIA LEONARD KAMPLING Chairman/President/CEO, Alliant Energy Corporation, Madison

AARON B. POWELL, Partner/Chief Strategy Officer, Flexion Inc., Sun Prairie

CLIFFORD J. KING, CEO, Skyward, Inc., Stevens Point

JOSEPH T. PREGONT, President/ CEO, Prent Corporation, Janesville

JAMES M. LEEF, President/CEO, ITU AbsorbTech, Inc., New Berlin

MICHAEL W. SALSIEDER, Retired President/General Counsel, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Company, Inc., Wausau

ALLEN L. LEVERETT, CEO, WEC Energy Group, Milwaukee TOD B. LINSTROTH, Senior Partner/Past Member and Chair of Management Committee, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison STEPHEN D. LOEHR, Vice President Kwik Trip, Inc., La Crosse SCOTT A. MAYER, Chairman/CEO QPS Employment Group, Brookfield PATRICK J. McCONNELL, CEO/Owner FLASH, Inc., Green Lake JAMES J. McINTYRE, President/CEO The Greenheck Group, Schofield J. R. MENARD, Executive Vice President/Treasurer, Menard, Inc., Eau Claire

PHILIP B. FLYNN, President/CEO Associated Banc-Corp, Green Bay

ROBERT MOSES, President/CEO Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce, Prairie du Chien

PHILIP C. FRITSCHE, President Beaver Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, Beaver Dam ROBERT GERBITZ, President/COO Hendricks Commercial Properties, Beloit STEVEN H. JOHNSON, Factory Manager, John Deere Horicon Works, Horicon

NICHOLAS T. PINCHUK, Chairman/ CEO, Snap-on Incorporated, Kenosha

ROBERT L. KELLER, Chairman, J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., Neenah

SCOTT A. FAWCETT, President/ CEO, Springs Window Fashions, LLC, Middleton

JAMES D. FRIEDMAN, Senior Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP, Milwaukee

JOHN PFEIFER, President Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac

KAREN L. NICHOLS, Executive Director, The Chamber of Manitowoc County, Manitowoc PAUL PALMBY, Executive Vice President/COO, Seneca Foods Corporation, Janesville RICK W. PARKS, President/CEO Society Insurance, Fond du Lac GINA A. PETER, Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking Division

ERIC W. SAUEY, Chairman/CEO Seats Incorporated, Reedsburg KARL A. SCHMIDT, President/CEO Belmark Inc., De Pere KRISTINE N. SEYMOUR, Regional Vice President of Marketing Development, IL/MI/WI and Sales Leader for MI/MN/WI, Humana, Inc., Waukesha RAJAN I. SHETH, Chairman/CEO Mead & Hunt, Inc., Middleton DIRK SMITH, President/CEO Super Steel, LLC, Milwaukee JAY L. SMITH, Chairman/President/ CEO, Teel Plastics, Inc., Middleton SUSAN L. TURNEY, M.D., CEO Marshfield Clinic Health System, Inc., Marshfield S. MARK TYLER, President OEM Fabricators, Inc., Woodville DONALD D. WAHLIN, CEO Stoughton Trailers, LLC, Stoughton MICHAEL S. WALLACE, President/ CEO, Fort HealthCare, Fort Atkinson TODD WANEK, President/CEO Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., Arcadia

January 2017



Federal Policy Changes Should Spark Stronger Growth By Kurt R. Bauer


hat I like about being a pessimist is that you are usually right and even when you are wrong, you are happy about it. But there is genuine reason for optimism about the direction of the U.S. economy as 2017 begins. My uncharacteristic confidence is largely driven by hope the incoming administration in Washington will reverse policies that have created disappointing economic results since the end of the Great Recession. The opportunities are numerous, starting with taxes. At 35 percent, the U.S. has the highest and thus least competitive corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would reduce that rate. If he follows through, we will see businesses respond with more domestic investments. Any tax reform package should also include incentives to repatriate U.S. dollars stranded abroad because of the punitive costs to bring them home. The tax revenue could be used to fund another priority Trump talked about during the campaign: infrastructure. Updating America’s aging infrastructure could receive bi-partisan support, especially if the funds to pay for it don’t swell the deficit. Regulatory relief also needs to be front and center for the Trump administration. The Obama administration has added at least 20,642 new regulations, according to the Heritage Foundation, and U.S. businesses pay $2 trillion per year to comply, according to the American Enterprise Institute. The Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank are two of the biggest culprits. Both laws were enacted during President Obama’s first two years in office and, accordingly, should be repealed in Trump’s first two years.


January 2017

The current administration’s prolific and brazen use of executive orders to bypass Congress must also be stopped. Obama’s edicts have not just harmed the economy because of the unparalleled expansion of the regulatory state; they have also damaged our democracy by undermining the separation of powers. Embracing North American energy resources is another obvious step Trump can take to expand the economy. Obama’s “leave it in the ground” policy has devastated coal

“...The U.S. might be the only nation-state in history to refuse to fully utilize an incredibly valuable natural resource...” producing regions like Kentucky, West Virginia and Wyoming. It has also hurt mining equipment manufacturers, including two in Wisconsin; Caterpillar and Joy Global, along with their Wisconsinbased supply chain.


nergy is the lifeblood of an advanced economy and the U.S. is blessed to have abundant reserves of coal, as well as oil and natural gas extracted from shale. But the U.S. might be the only nationstate in history to refuse to fully utilize an incredibly valuable natural resource within its borders that would otherwise give it a strategic advantage over its economic and geopolitical rivals. Investing in technologies to make alternative energy sources more affordable, reliable and storable should continue. But there also has to

be recognition that the U.S. economy cannot be powered by non-fossil fuels anytime in the near future without a major technological breakthrough. While there is much to be positive about, Trump’s stated positions on trade, immigration and his lack of concern about the $20 trillion national debt and underfunded entitlements is cause for concern. Trump complained during the campaign about unfair trade with Mexico and China, which happen to be two of Wisconsin’s three largest trading partners. Wisconsin actually enjoys a very balanced trade relationship with Mexico and given the predicted population and wealth growth in Asia, expanding trade on that continent is an imperative for U.S companies. If the U.S. rejects the Trans-Pacific Partnership, China will fill the vacuum, both economically and geopolitically. Before starting a trade war, Trump should consider that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S: 80 percent of consumer spending is outside the U.S. and 92 percent of economic growth comes from outside the U.S. The U.S. and Wisconsin economies need global engagement. On immigration, Trump needs to understand the broad workforce needs of the U.S. economy. Wisconsin and many other states have labor shortages that will only get worse. Legal immigration needs to be part of the solution, but it can’t be until there is comprehensive federal reform that allows more H1B Visas and creates a guest worker program for people of all skill levels. n Follow Kurt on Twitter @Kurt_R_Bauer






WMC Staff News WMC and the WMC Foundation are pleased to welcome three new staff members: Kari Hofer became executive director of the WMC Foundation in November of last year (see page 44). Previously, she had served as finance director for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s successful reelection campaign and has worked as a professional fundraiser in Wisconsin and Hawaii. Originally from Tomah, Hofer received her BA from UW-Madison and earned her MBA in 2015. Nick Novak is WMC’s new director of communications and marketing. In that role, Novak will edit this magazine (see page 2) as well as manage all WMC communication tools, including video production. He is also WMC’s primary media contact. Novak has a diverse background in government, media and trade associations. He is an Illinois native and a graduate of UW-Madison. Jack Orton has been directing the WMC Foundation Business World program since last summer (see page 10). He will also administer the Future Wisconsin Project (see page 32). Originally from Mauston, Orton is a recent graduate of Holy Cross College and also studied at the University of Oxford in England. In other staff news, WMC president/CEO Kurt Bauer, was recently elected by his peers from other state manufacturers associations to be their representative on the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Board of Directors.

January 2017



Time to Double Down on Bold Reforms By Scott Manley WMC Senior Vice President of Government Relations


he results from the election this year were as historic as they were stunning. Very few people expected Donald Trump to win the presidency, or the State of Wisconsin for that matter. Voters from across the country sent a clear message that the status quo of big government intervention and job – killing regulations are unacceptable. Yet in Wisconsin, voters sent a different message — one of affirmation. Voters here gave legislative Republicans even deeper majorities, and a clear directive to continue doing what they have been doing for the past six years: enacting bold, progrowth reforms. To put these expanded majorities into perspective, consider the fact that Republicans now have more members in the Senate than they’ve had in the past 46 years. In the Assembly, you need to go back 60

the Legislature to enact Right-toWork to give workers freedom of choice in the workplace and make Wisconsin a more attractive place to invest. Many believed that Wisconsin passing Right-to-Work was politically unthinkable, yet not a single Republican who voted for the new law lost his/ her election. Not one. Republican lawmakers must put their strong majorities to good use and quickly enact bold reforms that help businesses and families prosper. Following are a few priorities that WMC will ask them to consider this year.

Workforce Development

A survey of WMC CEOs last year found that 70% are having trouble hiring, and the labor shortage was the top business concern facing employers. Although there is a shortage of skilled labor that is particularly acute in the STEM fields, the problem is much “Republican lawmakers must broader because of put their strong majorities to demographic good use and quickly enact challenges facing our state. Wisconsin bold reforms that help busiis one of only nesses and families prosper.” about a dozen states that have more years to find a Republican majority Baby Boomers than Millennials. So this big. Most members of the we find ourselves with fewer people Assembly weren’t even born when in the pipeline to replace retirees GOP ranks in that chamber were this who leave the workforce. large. There is no silver bullet legislative The lesson here is that if you do solution to this problem, but there big and bold things, voters will are ways the Legislature can be reward you. Two years ago, we asked helpful nonetheless. For example, 6

January 2017

t h e s t a t e c o u l d o ff e r s c h o o l districts financial incentives to bring industrial arts programming back into our middle and high schools so more kids graduate with marketable job skills. High school graduates also need greater exposure to the types of well-paying jobs available in today’s labor market and hands-on experience that will help land them. The Legislature should also incentivize schools to offer dual enrollment, internships, apprenticeships and job shadowing opportunities at local businesses for high school students as part of their coursework.

Regulatory Reform

Reducing Wisconsin’s regulatory burden was the number one reform the Legislature could enact to improve Wisconsin’s business climate according to a survey of WMC CEOs last month. In addition to addressing the cost of regulation, we must take steps to prevent unelected bureaucrats from imposing their will on Wisconsin families and businesses by regulatory fiat. It’s time to put lawmakers back in charge of policymaking for regulations that profoundly impact Wisconsinites. To do so, the Legislature should pass a law similar to Assembly Bill 251 from last session that would require legislators to approve any rule costing $10 million or more before it can become law. There is no better way to make the bureaucracy accountable to voters

– a goal everyone should support. Other important regulatory reforms include placing an expiration date on regulations to force agencies to reassess whether they are still needed (or need updating) and requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for every new rule they promulgate.

health care costs by increasing reimbursements for Medicaid services, thereby reducing the amount of unfunded care that is shifted to patients with insurance. Minimizing this “hidden tax” on health care will improve affordability for all consumers.

The election on Nov. 8th was historic, and the Republican Legislature’s policy agenda should be historic as well. It’s time to double down on bold reforms to position our state for even greater economic prosperity in the future. n

Tax Reform

Although we have made recent progress, Wisconsin remains a highly-taxed state, and our top income tax rate is the ninth-highest in the country. There are a number of reforms that would put us on a much more level playing field with competitors in other states if they were implemented. For example, the Legislature should repeal Governor Doyle’s 2009 income tax hike that created a new top bracket. This punitive tax hits small businesses especially hard. Other tax reforms that would better align Wisconsin with other states are repealing the Personal Property Tax businesses pay each year on things like furniture and equipment, and a full repeal of the state Alternative Minimum Tax.

Reducing Health Care Costs

Reducing the cost of health care was tied for the second-most important thing the Legislature could do to improve Wisconsin’s business climate in the WMC CEO survey conducted last month. Specifically, our members ranked enacting meaningful medical cost containment in the Workers Compensation program as one of the highest priorities for the 2017-18 session. Wisconsin continues to have medical costs in Workers Compensation that are well above the national average, and something must be done to contain them. Wisconsin can also make meaningful progress to reduce

Recognizing excellence in manufacturing 29th Annual Awards Program Nominees Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation Columbus Chemical Industries, Inc. Denali Ingredients, LLC Didion Milling, Inc. Empire Screen Printing, Inc. Energy Bank Inc. Five Star Fabricating, Inc. & Five Star Coatings Group, Inc. Fox River Fiber, LLC Frito-Lay, Inc. Gamber-Johnson LLC General Plastics, Inc. Grassland Dairy Products, Inc. Greenheck Fan Corporation Hometown Trolley Hydro-Thermal Corporation Midwest Prototyping, LLC Mortara Instrument, Inc. N.E.W. Plastics Corp. Octopi Brewing Orion Energy Systems SACO AEI Polymers Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Sargento Foods Inc. Sign Effectz, Inc. Tenere Inc. The Spancrete Group, Inc.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet at The Pfister Hotel February 23, 2017.

Visit to register. The annual awards competition is sponsored by:

January 2017



Time For Lower Income Tax Has Arrived By Jason Culotta WMC Director of Tax & Transportation Policy


he top rate of Wisconsin’s personal income tax is ninth highest among the states. Given the election results last November, the time is now for Wisconsin to finally leave the top ten ranking among states with the highest income tax burden. Since Governor Walker and Republican legislative majorities took office in 2011, tax policy has focused on four core goals: initiating a strong property tax freeze (with increases allowed by referendum), implementing the Manufacturing & Agriculture Credit (income tax relief for those industries), bringing personal income tax relief for the middle and bottom brackets, and buying down approximately one-half of the property tax levied by technical colleges. These have been strong steps toward improving our business climate but lack the key economic driver that reducing the top income tax bracket provides (aside from the credit for manufacturers). Most businesses, organized today as passthrough entities like S corporations or LLCs, pay income at the personal rather than corporate level. Economists cite addressing the top bracket as among the key factor states can change to influence economic growth. In 2013, North Carolina dropped its top bracket of 7.75% to a flat rate of 5.75% and compressed all its brackets into one combined with a more generous standard deduction for those with lower incomes. Interestingly, after reducing rates,

income tax collections increased there by 10% year over year. Imagine the possibilities if Wisconsin generated $800 million more than the $8 billion the personal income tax is expected to generate this year!


nder Gover nor Tommy Thompson, the top rate was reduced to 6.75% in 2000, the lowest since the Great Depression. Governor Jim Doyle raised it to 7.75% in 2009 as part of his package of major tax increases to balance the budget. When Republicans reduced all income tax brackets in 2013, they only lowered the Doyle rate by 0.1% while eliminating another bracket and significantly reducing the three lower ones. Much has been written about Wisconsin’s poor performance in creating start-up businesses. The fact that our state has such a high personal income tax rate is a major contributing factor to precluding small businesses from forming here. In 2016, Maine became the most recent state to cut its top income bracket from a rate higher than Wisconsin’s to a rate below it. This trend is why our state – by leaving the top rate largely untouched – has moved higher up the list of high top brackets. Our competitor (as the manufacturing leader), Indiana, has even reduced its flat income tax rate to a mere 3.3%!

Eliminating the top personal income tax bracket (the Doyle bracket) altogether is the first step. While critics will bemoan a “tax cut for the wealthy,” the truth – as illustrated by North Carolina’s recent example – is that small business growth and increased tax collections will result.

“The time is now for Wisconsin to finally leave the top ten ranking among states with the highest income tax burden.”


he next lowest Wisconsin bracket is at 6.27% for income over $22,200. Dropping our current top rate to that level would move us below nine other states and place Wisconsin at the 18th highest position – a significant improvement over the current ranking. Cutting it to 6.0% would be even better. W isconsin would clearly be an average state for income tax – and far below the top ten ranking. The path forward for Madison policymakers is clear: cutting the top personal income tax bracket will yield further economic growth and small business creation. The alternative of standing still will see our state remain among the highest tax rates in the country. Let’s move Wisconsin forward. n Follow Jason on Twitter @JGCulotta


January 2017


Unconventional Conference Builds Largest Millennial Talent Network By Angela Damiani CEO & Co-Founder of NEWaukee


ack in 2012, NEWaukee, the Milwaukee-based social architecture firm, heard the same lamentation from clients repeated about the scarce availability and the endless revolving door of young talent for their operations. The agency developed a platform called YPWeek as a talent attraction, development and retention tool for area companies to easily access the Millennial workforce. This unconventional conference serves as a week-long platform for discovery, adventure and meaningful conversations about the issues that matter among young professionals. The program brings together key leaders in the community, at purposefully chosen locations that integrate the unique cultural assets with meaningful learning and social interaction. The activities engage the Millennial workforce in experiences that are important to them while educating employers on the important role these functions play in retaining their workforce. When it began, the program featured 21 events in the city of Milwaukee and hosted nearly 1,100 participants. By 2014, the week increased to include 34 events and over 4,000 attendees. In 2015 with the support of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), NEWaukee expanded YPWeek Wisconsin to participating communities across the state with a focus on eight major metropolitan areas. Each participating community had the ability to showcase its own unique assets while being part of a larger, state-wide campaign, which produced over 100 events and saw over 10,000 attendees. The following year, YPWeek Wisconsin increased once again to include 15 communities with the total impact including 150 events and 12,000

Millennial attendees. YPWeek Wisconsin 2017 is set for April 22 – 29, 2017, and 24 communities have signed on for the grandest production yet. After years of successful growth of YPWeek Wisconsin, NEWaukee has built the nation’s largest Millennial talent network. The digital reach of the platform has extended past the borders of Wisconsin and, in 2016, the International Economic Development Council awarded NEWaukee and WEDC with a Silver Excellence Award in the human capital category. YPWeek taps and channels the passion Wisconsin’s young professionals bring to the workplace to build and sustain Wisconsin’s strong workforce and high quality of life. As NEWaukee plans for future iterations, the platform’s goals have outgrown an annual week of celebration, as true reversal of the talent migration for the state of Wisconsin will require more than an internationally acclaimed conference.


hrough the development of YPWeek Wisconsin, NEWaukee has discovered the wealth of active and energized Millennials who live across the state of Wisconsin. This is a cohort of individuals who are not currently well-resourced or connected to established paradigms of influence. NEWaukee aims to change that through an inclusive new project called the 72 Initiative. Currently the initiative features 24 communities, but the intention is to include all 72 Wisconsin counties. Through this initiative, NEWaukee provides emerging leaders across the

state with: — United Program Offering: worldclass and turnkey programs that bring young professionals together. — Leadership Learning Institute: a partnership between Concordia University Wisconsin and NEWaukee offering best practice sharing and training that fortifies young professional organization leaders with needed skills. — Peer Network: digital and in-person connections between leadership across the state.

“YPWeek Wisconsin 2017 is set for April 22-29, 2017 and 24 communities have signed on for the grandest production yet.”


he statewide initiative also features the 2017 Bubbler Awards: Best Places to Work for Young Professionals in Wisconsin. The Bubbler Awards shine a light on the companies who have made great strides to accommodate the interests of a shifting workforce. This millennialled project showcases the reality of how many Wisconsin-based companies are adjusting and creating environments that allow young professionals to call this state home. The applications for the 2017 Bubbler Awards will close on February 28th and winners will be announced on March 6, 2017. To date, the nation has not seen a collaborative, statewide effort to engage talent this comprehensive – Wisconsin is poised to fill this gap and become a national best practice leader. For more information about NEWaukee, YPWeek Wisconsin or the 72 Initiative, please visit:

January 2017



Accept the Risk of Leadership By Jack Orton Director of Business World


always liked an old, ratty t-shirt my brother had from a quarterback camp he attended in high school. The shirt was white, relatively blank on the front with large, loud letters that spanned across the back. “Accept the Risk of Leadership” it said, and nothing else. I found this relic some time ago, while rummaging through my brother’s “castoffs” after he left home for college. And it wasn’t until I was hired by WMC in late September to direct the Wisconsin Business World Program that I dusted off that old, worn t-shirt and really thought about those words on its back. Accept the risk of leadership. How does that relate to the Business World program? The WMC Foundation, the charitable foundation under which Business World operates, was established to creating an education program for high school students that demonstrated the importance of entrepreneurship and the freemarket system. For 34 years, we've been exposing kids to what it takes to run a company with real world challenges. We have sought the best and brightest students and have committed ourselves to molding them into the future business leaders of Wisconsin. For four days and three nights, students

live on the college campuses of St. Norbert in De Pere and Edgewood in Madison. On the first day they are tasked with establishing a hypothetical company. They pick the name, the product, the prices, and assign each other to the various roles within the organization. Educators and business professionals from across the state advise them throughout their four days and, at the end, they present their companies to their peers.


he students are thrust into leadership roles, often begrudgingly at first, and are forced to make split-second decisions that may prove wildly beneficial or catastrophic to the existence of their company. They compete against each other, as the free-market model encourages, and they always rise to the occasion. They become the experts in their field within the company, and after four days of this intensity, they walk away with a new found confidence they didn’t know existed. That’s it. That’s the connection. Since 1982, the Wisconsin Business World Program has been a force for good in educating future business leaders of

“We want students to walk away with a greater appreciation for the big, beautiful world of business...” Wisconsin. Our year-long program for high school students encompasses both hands-on activities, as well as lectures by educators and business professionals all over the state. Our curriculum is designed to expose students to leadership roles and the risks that go along with them. We want students to walk away from our program with a greater confidence in themselves and their talents. We want students to walk away with a greater appreciation for the big, beautiful world of business, and their role in it. At Business World, we want students to accept the risk of leadership. Of course, programs like Business World live and die by the generosity of others. Businesses across the state have sponsored and continue to sponsor Business World, and we are incredibly grateful for their support. But, of course, we welcome anyone else interested in sponsoring the program, or volunteering in any way. n

MOVING ENERGY INTO THE FUTURE Electricity powers our world. Each day, light switches are flipped, computers are powered up and factories hum with activity. Electricity enables automation, convenience, productivity and opportunity. At American Transmission Co., we’re hard at work keeping the lights on and planning today for how the electric grid of our future will deliver reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible power.

Read more at 10 January 2017


Educating the Future Business Leaders Of Wisconsin Since 1982 Learn More Today at





Presented by the WMC Foundation

January 2017 11


Make Government More Accountable Through Continued Reform Efforts By Lucas Vebber WMC Director of Environmental & Energy Policy


ast November, the voters of Wisconsin rewarded pro-reform leaders with re-election and expanded the majorities in both houses of the Legislature. This was not only a ratification of the strong pro-business reforms that the legislature and Governor Walker have implemented to improve our state over the past six years, but also

legislative approval for any new regulation expected to cost the regulated community more than $10 million over a two-year period. This reform would have meant the costliest regulations w r i t t e n b y u n e l e c t e d a n d unaccountable bureaucrats would have received the most scrutiny by accountable, elected legislators. While this legislation was ap“Automatic sunsets of regulations proved by the Assembly last would give all rules a shelf-life, session, it did after which they would need to be not get a vote in the Senate. re-pomulgated by the agency or This bold rewould be eliminated altogether.” form continues to be a a mandate to continue with bold top priority for our state’s busireforms that will continue to move our ness community, and WMC will state forward as the new Legislature is be strongly in support of its sworn in. passage during the 2017-18 legisOne area in which we have made lative session. improvements, but can still do more, is regulatory reform. Regulations Regulation Oversight continue to be a tremendous burden Improving oversight over new for businesses of all sizes in Wisconsin. regulations is a critical reform, but Complying with the ever-changing working through the labyrinth of regulatory behemoth takes significant regulations we already have on the time and resources. We have to books is another task altogether. improve this system to keep a watchful Once promulgated, unless the rule or statute specifically says eye on unelected bureaucrats and to otherwise, a regulation will be on give regulated industry more of a the books indefinitely. Recently, voice in the process. the state Assembly implemented Last session, WMC backed legisthe “Right the Rules” program to lation authored by Rep. Adam help address this issue. “Right the Neylon (R-Pewaukee) and Sen. Rules” was a significant undertaking Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) to review regulations and make known as the REINS act. This bill sure outdated and obsolete would have ensured all regulations regulations are eliminated. This have accurate real-world cost eswas a great first step and paved the timates and would have required

way for another key reform initiative that WMC will be pursuing: automatic sunsets of regulations. Automatic sunsets of regulations would give all rules a shelf-life, after which they would need to be re-promulgated by the agency or would be eliminated altogether. Over time, agency structures change, statutes change, and industries change. This reform would guarantee regulations keep up with changing industries and the needs of the general public. This concept is another bold reform that the state can enact to improve our business climate and keep Wisconsin on the cutting edge of regulatory reform. With a pro-business governor and newly expanded pro-business majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, we have a real opportunity during this legislative session to continue pushing sound reforms that will improve Wisconsin’s business climate for years to come. WMC will be meeting with elected officials over the coming months to work on these and other sensible reforms to ensure Wisconsin remains open for business. n

Follow Lucas on Twitter @VebberWMC 12 January 2017


Choosing Our Future By Laura Gallagher President and CEO of The Creative Company


ow old were you when you knew what you wanted to be, when the pieces began to come together, when you started to see a future for yourself that involved leading in some way? How did your story bring you to where you are responsible for so much and so many? I am a first-born child to a German father and an Irish mother. Both of my parents worked in manufacturing. My dad dropped out of school at 16 to work on the family farm, eventually landing at a tire company where he would retire. Had things been different, he would have been a draftsman or an architect but, like many from his generation, he did the best he could with what he had. His safety and attendance records were flawless and he took every double shift he could get at Kelly Springfield. My mom stayed at home with us until I was 8 and then worked in a plastics factory until I was 16. She was in charge of quality control. Both were intelligent, hard-working people who were able to provide a solidly middle class upbringing for myself and my younger sister. My dad wasn’t one of those “Leave it to Beaver” dads. You either worked hard or you were left behind. We earned his respect through our efforts, our attention to detail and our ability to handle the realities of the world. So my leadership training began at home. This training would serve me well when I started my business in 1989 in Madison. I was a senior in college with mentors who had also started businesses at a young age. I dove in head first not knowing what I didn’t know but certain I would figure it out. I am still figuring it out years later.

One of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves is: What is worth suffering for? It can’t all be. For me, business is. Problems abound in life. The question is which problems do you want to solve? If you’re still reading, I already know the answer. Leadership is worth the price of admission to you.


his is a complex time to be in business. Taxes, regulations and workforce shortages are all barriers to competition and success — which is why I’m grateful for the work WMC is doing. As much as our state’s chamber does though, each one of us is responsible for what happens next. You are the linchpin, the difference maker, the one who demands better and works hard to make it happen. We can’t sit this one out, fellow leaders. We need to be all in and working together toward a better Wisconsin. Because while there are bright spots all around the State, if as leaders, we don’t continue to push the envelope, support new ideas, drive innovation and tell our stories, our future will choose somewhere else. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation just launched a new initiative called “Think. Make. Happen.” It’s our rallying cry. It’s our “On Wisconsin!” cheer. It’s our way of saying to the world this is our story and we want you to be a part of it. We need you. As a business owner in Wisconsin for 27 years and a recipient of the Trailblazer Award for Women in Business from the governor, I’m counting on you to be present, to

“You are the linchpin, the difference maker, the one who demands better and then works hard to make it happen.” come to the events WMC hosts, to know what’s happening throughout the U.S. and how other states are drawing talent in and then to work together to create a magnet so strong, no human force can stop it . n

How to Recharge Your Business is available on Amazon and at

January 2017 13


SAVE THE DATE! March 1, 2017

Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, Madison, WI


Prominent Conservative Political Commentator, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, and Bestselling Author


Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States. He has been a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News Network, and MSNBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of a dozen books, including two New York Times best sellers. Hewitt is a weekly columnist for The Washington Examiner and, and his blog,, is among the most visited political blogs in the U.S.



Innovation Expert, Former Syndicated Political Columnist, Author, Member of the Chief Xbox Officer for National Review Senior Editor, Wall Street Journal Editorial Microsoft, and Author FOX News Contributor, Board, and Columnist and Bestselling Author


FEBRUARY 28, 2017 5:00-7:00 PM

Welcome Reception at the Madison Club

MARCH 1, 2017 7:30 AM 9:00 AM 9:15 AM 10:15 AM 10:45 AM Noon 12:15 PM 1:30 PM 2:30 PM 3:00 PM 3:30 PM

Registration Opens, Partner Meetings (by invitation only) and VIP Breakfast (Sponsors only) Welcome Robbie Bach, innovation expert, former Chief Xbox Officer for Microsoft and author Morning Break Jonah Goldberg, syndicated political columnist, National Review Senior Editor, FOX News contributor and author Lunch Hugh Hewitt, political commentator, nationally syndicated radio host and bestselling author Kimberly Strassel, author, member of Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and columnist Justice Annette Ziegler (invited) Governor Scott Walker (invited) Legislative Meetings

*Schedule is subject to change.

Early Bird Pricing (through January 27, 2017): $145 per person; $1,100 table of eight After January 27, 2017: $175 per person; $1,300 table of eight Register Today: 14 January 2017




Continued Focus on Labor Law and Education Reform Chris Reader WMC Director of Health & Human Resources Policy


ame plan: Cut our losses, cut the Republican state senators. It’s time for a new team in Madison.” That was the message construction trade unions blasted statewide last fall as they attempted to flip the state Senate from Republican control to Democrat. They ran radio ads during Badger and Packer football games. They embarked on a campaign against targeted Republican senators, like Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, and Luther Olsen of Ripon. They believed strongly that voters would reject lawmakers who had voted to advance bold reforms, including Right-to-Work and changes to prevailing wage.

will stand with lawmakers who take on bold pro-growth reforms. That electoral recipe has now been proven right time and time again. Bold pro-growth reforms are rewarded by voters. Act 10. Tax cuts. Right-to-Work. School Choice expansion. Lawsuit reform. Unemployment Insurance reform. Worker’s Compensation reform. These are just a short list of reforms that have become law in Wisconsin under Governor Walker and the Republican majorities in the Senate and Assembly. Each of them was opposed by labor unions or defenders of the status quo. And in each instance, that opposition was misplaced and dramatically wrong. The doom and gloom prognosticated against each proposal hasn’t happened. “...landslide victories are proof Instead, the opposite occurred. More people that voters will stand with are working today in lawmakers who take on bold Wisconsin than ever pro-growth reforms.” before in history. Going into 2017, lawmakers should They were wrong. Despite strong build upon this impressive list of reforms efforts of labor unions like the Operating with additional new ideas. While great Engineers, backed by big money from things have been accomplished, much is their allies, not a single lawmaker who left to do. voted for Right-to-Work or prevailing • Education. It’s unacceptable that we wage reform lost at the ballot box in have the highest achievement gap in the 2016. In fact, despite heavy spending nation. It’s also unacceptable that trying to defeat them, Tom Tiffany was thousands of kids still attend failing schools. elected with 63% of the vote, Luther Lawmakers should take bold steps to Olsen with 57%, and Sheila Harsdorf with reform education, including continuing the 63%. Overall, the Republican majorities expansion of parental choice. that voted for those reforms added to • Brain drain (and gain). Measures their ranks. The election results shouldn’t should be put in place to encourage have been a surprise. Other states that recent college graduates to stay in passed Right-to-Work in recent years, like Wisconsin and to lure college graduates Michigan and Indiana, have witnessed from other states to move here. similar results at the ballot box. Those • Skills Gap. Public schools need landslide victories are proof that voters to return to educating youth in the

industrial arts. Incentives should be set up to encourage districts to rebuild their industrial arts programs. • Labor Law. Right-to-Work and Act 10 were great labor law reforms. Now it’s time to continue working on labor law reforms. • FMLA Reform. It’s time to sync our family and medical leave laws with federal regulations, ending duplicative work for employers. • Project Labor Agreement (PLA) neutrality. Lawmakers should prohibit local municipalities from requiring project labor agreements. • Prevailing Wage repeal. Lawmakers started this reform last session and should finish the job by completely repealing the prevailing wage law. • Local pre-emption of employment laws. Lawmakers should get Madison, Milwaukee, and other cities out of the business of micro-managing employer human resources departments. It is of statewide importance to have uniform wage and hour laws across municipal borders. • Labor Peace Agreement prohibition. Like PLAs and other employment laws, local municipalities should not be able to require that employers enter into labor peace agreements in order to bid on contracts or receive any type of government assistance. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it is a great place to start if lawmakers are looking to continue passing pro-growth reforms that will move Wisconsin forward. The usual cast of detractors will be there against legislative initiatives, but like efforts to turn voters against Right-to-Work, they will ultimately fail. Wisconsinites stand with lawmakers who take difficult votes to move our state forward. n Follow Chris on Twitter @ReaderWMC

January 2017 15

PRIORITIZING PEOPLE At First Business, we support people with financial needs, not the financial needs of people. So when I heard that a long term client who built a successful business retired in style in Florida, I was both thrilled to hear how happy he was – and grateful to have been able to help him along the way. And when I heard he actually retired early? Well, that made my day. JERRY SMITH Co-Founder & Chairman, First Business


16 January 2017

Member FDIC


Proactive Approach Proves Beneficial To Business Owners


s citizens seek more transparency from government and less red tape and regulation, it’s nice to see that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature have taken the idea of reform seriously and have solid results to show for it.

"Business owners have brought over 1,000 distinct issues seeking assistance." One such example is the Office of Business Development where directors have been proactive in reaching out to business owners across the state for their ideas and input on regulatory reform. Housed in the secretary’s office at the Department of Administration to serve the citizens of Wisconsin, the office works with leadership at all state agencies to solve problems and assist business in navigating to a variety of state and business resources. As business ombudsmen, they have a customer service focus and span the public-private divide helping both business owners and government, with a focus on minimizing government impact so businesses can focus on true business activities. Through their outreach with chambers of commerce, trade associations and other business groups, they’ve given more than 1,000 presentations across Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Business owners have brought over 1,000 distinct issues to them seeking assistance. On the issues of rulemaking, reducing unintended consequences and negative effects in particular, the Office of Business Development’s experience working with industry resulted in a proposal for an improved website to gather public comment. It is crucial that industry and agency representatives work together to develop better rules.

The newly created centralized site for public comment on agency rule drafts is located at the Legislature’s website There you’ll find significantly improved public access to review rules and have an opportunity to comment on them before they are adopted. Information about public hearings on rules is also readily available at this site. A quick reference guide to using the site is located on the Office of Business Development webpage.

Meet Your Co-Directors

Working in various industries in the private sector coupled with serving a term in the Wisconsin Legislature, Joe Knilans has seen the creation of regulation and the effects that regulation has on the business community. The son of a Rock County Joe Knilans veterinarian, Joe grew up knowing the hard work and challenges a small business faces. Gov. Walker recently appointed Joe as a director of the Office of Business Development. Working in this position gives Joe the opportunity to advocate for the small businesses in our state. Joe also works with the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to reduce regulations that burden small business owners. Nancy Mistele has seen both sides of government rules and regulations. She has more than 30 years as a private sector entrepreneur and 15 months within a regulatory agency for Nancy Mistele the State of Wisconsin. Nancy was recently appointed by Gov. Walker as a director in the newly

Working together we can help move Wisconsin forward! Please contact us: • If you have an issue that needs some additional attention • Would like to recommend a rule change • To schedule a presentation for your trade association or community business group Nancy Mistele and Joe Knilans Co-Directors 608.267.7873 608.267.7394 Office of Business Development Wisconsin Department of Administration Email: Website:

created Office of Business Development where she serves as an advocate for small business. Nancy and her team work with the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to remove red tape and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that impact business owners. They also help businesses connect to various resources and investment networks that small business owners might not know about otherwise. n

January 2017 17


Business leaders who come to Wisconsin from other states discover our “Midwest Jewel” is the perfect place to work and raise a family By Mark Crawford


ome people view the idea of moving to Wisconsin with trepidation — they have heard about the winters and the stoic quality of Midwesterners with their conservative values. They may even view Wisconsin in terms of the antics of Packer fans they watch on national television. However, once settled in, these new residents discover a state filled with friendly, outgoing people, outstanding schools, plenty of career opportunities, and an abundance of culture and entertainment. But don’t just take our word for it — below are stories from “outsiders” who moved to Wisconsin for business reasons and quickly fell in love with everything the state has to offer.

Damond Boatwright, Regional President of Hospital Operations, SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, Madison After deciding to leave an executive position in Kansas to join SSM Health Care of Wisconsin 18 January 2017

in 2014, Damond Boatwright admits to having mixed feelings. As Southerners, Boatwright and his wife “had spent the better part of our professional careers and personal lives below the Mason-Dixon line,” he says. “So the idea of leaving what was most familiar to us — shrimp, grits, vinegar-style BBQ, and the ocean — for snow tires and snow blowers was a bit concerning.” However, any hesitancy quickly vanished during the interview process after he met so many people who were enthusiastic about living in Wisconsin. Now, three years later, the Boatwrights heartily agree. They love their jobs, church

community, and their children’s schools. Boatwright also enjoys a shorter commute in Madison compared to his previous locations. “Many industries are strong here, creating a vibrant economy that provides good wages and benefits for many people,” he says. However, what has impressed Boatwright the most is how welcoming Wisconsinites are. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get to know our neighbors,” he states. “Ever since we arrived we continue to discover wonderful things about this state, which is truly a bestkept secret.”

Jim Popp, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase, Milwaukee A native of Libertyville, Illinois, Jim Popp spent 13 years working for a JPMorgan predecessor in Chicago before leaving in 1999 to manage the family business. When the opportunity arose to rejoin the bank as director of the Milwaukee office in 2001, it required a move there.

climate and can’t believe how friendly the people are.”

Russell Steele, President, Nolato Medical, Milwaukee

Popp and his wife Julie loved the city from Day One. “People were so friendly and welcoming,” Popp says. “It was very easy for us to meet people and make friends quickly.” Popp also received the same warm reception from the business community. “Milwaukee is a wonderful big city that still acts like a small town,” he says. One of the most amazing differences from Chicago was the lack of congestion. “I remember calling Julie as I was driving in on my first day of work and telling her to turn on the radio because the traffic report was talking about only an extra four minutes to get downtown!” Popp has spent 16 years in Milwaukee. “There are so many opportunities here to live a great life and have a great career,” says Popp. “My colleagues from JPMorgan are constantly surprised when they come to Wisconsin to visit. They are impressed by the business

Russell Steele relocated from central California to Chicago to serve as president of a plastic injection molding company. Although he was only 17 miles from the city center, it was extremely difficult to enjoy what the city had to offer because of traffic and crowds. “Typical drive time to dinner downtown was about two hours,” he says.

In 2012 Steele pursued an opportunity to lead Nolato Medical, a manufacturer of polymer products located in Baldwin in northwestern Wisconsin. When he and his wife visited the area for the first time, they were both struck by the natural beauty

of the “green hills, woods, and pictureperfect farms,” says Steele, who later accepted the job. On move-in day they discovered their long driveway was buried in snow. A neighbor plowed out the drive and continued to do so for the rest of the winter. “He would not take payment and continued to say, ‘welcome to the neighborhood,’” recounts Steele. Steele is thrilled with his co-workers and neighbors who work hard, are down-to-earth, and have a strong sense of community. “We have greatly enjoyed the traditions/culture here,” adds Steele. “Coming from an area with little tradition, this is amazing to us — things like Friday night fish fries, tapping maple trees, hunting camp, community events, and snowmobile poker. These people and the sense of community will be what keep us here.”

Patricia Leonard Kampling, Chairman/President/CEO, Alliant Energy Corporation, Madison In 2005 Patricia Leonard Kampling was recruited by Alliant Energy to be its vice president of finance. Even though she had been living in Illinois since 1988, she had only visited Wisconsin

January 2017 19

once to attend a Packers game. When she and her family moved to Middleton, they were very impressed with the quality of the education systems, variety in housing choices, and top-quality child care. “We especially enjoyed the more relaxed living environment, including an easier commute to work,” she says.

One of the greatest surprises for Kampling was seeing the glittering night sky—right from her own back yard. “Folks here might take this for granted, but it is something you don’t experience living near large cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago,” she adds. Although Chicago has tremendous offerings in terms of culture, education, and entertainment, gaining access is often difficult, frustrating, and timeconsuming. “By contrast, Madison’s highlights such as the Badgers, Overture Center, Concerts on the Square, concerts at the Orpheum and Majestic, and the iconic Farmers’ Market are high-quality, low-key, and family friendly by comparison,” says Kampling. “Wisconsin’s volunteer spirit and desire to help others within our communities is also something to be proud of.”

Steve Levy, President/CEO, Bell Laboratories, Madison Steve Levy moved from Chicago to Madison to be president and CEO of Bell Laboratories. He was quickly impressed by the good nature and kindness of Wisconsinites, as well as the beauty of the landscape, which provides a tremendous amount of recreational opportunities for his family. “We embrace the lakes and enjoy boating and fishing,” he says. “When the water freezes, we lace up 20 January 2017

our ice skates. Although I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I spent a number of years living in the Midwest prior to coming to Wisconsin, so I was prepared for winter — that is, if you can ever really be prepared for winter!” Levy believes Wisconsin is an ideal location for growing a business and raising a family. From the business perspective, Levy sees a state government that wants to create an environment that supports business growth. He has also found that the “employees and the workforce are second to none. There are many dedicated, knowledgeable, and highly skilled employees in Wisconsin who have become key drivers in Bell Laboratories’ business’s success.”

Wisconsin’s excellent school systems, coupled with affordable lifestyles and numerous recreational opportunities, make Wisconsin “a jewel within both the Midwest and the rest of the United States,” states Levy.

Gary Molz, Vice President, EZ Office Products, Madison Gary Molz was running his family’s office furniture and supply business in New Jersey when he learned that most of the independently owned office supply companies in Wisconsin had sold out to “big-box” stores. He opened a small branch office in Madison in 2002 to test the market. In 2006, Molz and his wife Rose left the family business to move to Wisconsin and start EZ Office Products. Did Molz have any concerns about moving to Wisconsin? “Oh yes,” he says. “I’m from the East Coast. The perception of my peers was that I was moving to farm country. ‘Do they have

inside toilets?’ I knew better from my visits and told them Wisconsin is a smart, friendly, and balanced place to do business.” Molz is impressed by the business climate, transportation system (no tolls!), quality of life, educated workforce, and enthusiasm for business environmentalism. He also had to change his driving style: in New Jersey, pedestrians stop for cars; in Wisconsin, cars stop for pedestrians. Now, a decade later, Gary and Rose Molz call Wisconsin home. “What a great place to live and work!” he enthuses. “Wisconsin is a dynamic, vibrant, cutting-edge place to have a business. The UW System is an incredible asset and powerful economic engine. We also have a culture that supports a healthy work/ life balance.”

Blake Moret, President/CEO, Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee A native Georgian, Blake Moret has spent his entire career with Rockwell Automation, including stints in Milwaukee in 1985-1986 and 19951999. From 1999 to 2005 Moret and his family lived in Switzerland and Canada, eventually returning to Milwaukee in 2005. “We had some concern about whether a return to life in Milwaukee would be as exciting as living abroad, but

that feeling didn’t last long,” he says. After the natural period of adjustment that most expats experience when returning to their home country, the Moret family is delighted to be back and enjoys the stability and quality of life that Milwaukee provides. They are drawn to the natural beauty of the state, especially Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River, and the Kettle Moraine areas. “Milwaukee has the amenities of a big city without the grinding traffic, and I can ride my bicycle to work,” says Moret. “However, winter does get a little old by the end of March.” Moret originally moved to Milwaukee in 1985 as a college graduate, without knowing much about Wisconsin or the city. “It was an exciting, welcoming city then, and I still find it that way today,” he says. “Coming back to Milwaukee in 2005 was the right move and I don’t intend on having to move back again.”

William Austen, CEO, Bemis, Neenah William Austen, CEO with Bemis Company in Neenah, came to Wisconsin as a senior executive for the prospect of job advancement. He was impressed by the solid Midwest value system, simpler lifestyle, and lower real estate taxes— “compared to other places we had lived, Wisconsin gave us more value,” he says.

people the most. We have one of the best educational systems in the country, from kindergarten through university. There are plenty of recreational choices. Anyone who has preconceived negative notions about Wisconsin should visit the state to find out why this is a special place.”

Moving to Wisconsin And although it might be a challenge to get people to move here, he points out, once they do relocate, chances are good they will not want to leave.

Rajan Sheth, Chairman/CEO, Mead & Hunt, Inc., Middleton Rajan Sheth, Chairman/CEO of Mead & Hunt in Middleton, agrees. After getting his BS degree in civil engineering in India, he came to Wisconsin to attend UW-Madison as a graduate student, not knowing anyone. Forty years later, Sheth is still here. “Wisconsin is a great place to live and raise a family,” he says. “I like

If a company or individual is contemplating a move to Wisconsin, Levy encourages them to spend some time here. “I would recommend they talk to business owners and employees to find out why they have chosen to live and work in Wisconsin,” he says. “I would encourage them to travel the state to experience its beauty and understand the dedication and strong work ethic that Wisconsinites possess.” From a professional standpoint, Boatwright would like to see more people come to Wisconsin and grow the overall population at a higher rate than the current projections. “As an employer, it is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified and available talent to fill critical needs,” he says. “If you’re looking for a nice quality of life, a great place to raise a family, and a robust business community, Wisconsin is a great place to be,” Popp advises. “We have had opportunities to move elsewhere, but we have no intention of leaving — Wisconsin is home.” n

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January 2017 21


Developing Wisconsin’s Workforce By Regina M. Millner UW System Board of Regents President


uring the past year, the University of Wisconsin System held listening sessions statewide to survey business leaders about how we can best meet the needs of the state today and in the future. The UW System has an annual $15+ billion impact on Wisconsin’s economy, and we continually look to strengthen the connections with the state’s communities and businesses. We heard that businesses are proud of our world-class reputation and educational leadership. Business leaders also want more support to develop the workforce they need.

In August, we announced our 2020FWD strategic framework, which focuses on developing our workforce, while keeping college affordable for Wisconsin’s families and students. Time to graduate is one of the most important factors in college affordability. If students can graduate in a shorter amount of time, they pay less. Graduating more quickly also avoids missed “opportunity costs” because students are in the workforce moving forward in their career, which helps our businesses statewide. As part of 2020FWD, the UW System is developing and expanding initiatives to help students achieve academic "A degree from the UW System success and begin their career more costs less than the national quickly. For example, the average, and less than all our UW System is peers in the Midwest." collaborating with corporate partners in the Fox Valley They need employees who can to develop an information technology problem-solve effectively – recognizing 1+3 program to increase the talent the problems of today are not the needed in information technology problems of a year ago or what they fields. Students would complete will be 10 years from now. Companies their first year of college while in high want individuals who can work with school, as well as utilize internships people from other cultures, disciplines, and other high-impact careeraffiliations and political philosophies development experiences within the successfully and respectfully. partner companies. You know, as we do, that Wisconsin arlier this fall, we launched also faces a looming demographic shift: the Career Connect website we have a growing state population that connects Wisconsin with a shrinking workforce. To help revitalize our economy – an economy employers with students for internships, that supports everyone, including job shadowing and potential careers. those without a college degree – we Students get experience, while must get more students into and employers have the opportunity to through our educational pipeline. This capitalize on the talent at UW was reinforced by our business partners. i n s t i t u t i o n s . T h e w e b s i t e w a s


22 January 2017

developed in-house with input from: • Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce • Department of Workforce Development • Wisconsin Economic Development Association • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation • Wisconsin Society for Human Resource Management • Wisconsin Technology Council

More than 36,000 students graduate from the UW System each year – and more than 85 percent will stay in Wisconsin. These graduates work, raise families, and become productive taxpaying citizens. This infusion of highly educated individuals into Wisconsin’s workforce is essential to our economy.


isconsin is at a crossroads. The UW System remains one of the most cost-effective options for developing talent. A degree from the UW System costs less than the national average, and less than all our peers in the Midwest. We cost less than Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. But, we do need investment into higher education in order to maintain our world-renowned excellence. We have a plan and a vision in our 2020FWD framework. The UW System is ready to solve problems, attract and retain talent, and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. We need your support. Now is the time to stand with the UW System. n


Changes Coming to Labor Law — But Not Overnight By Glenn Spencer Vice President, Workforce Freedom Initiative U.S. Chamber of Commerce


ver the past eight years, the Obama administration unleashed a blizzard of new regulations on America’s business owners, and labor and employment policies were no exception. With the election now over, employers can finally expect relief. However, some patience is in order, as not all policy changes will come quickly.

Other positive changes, however, will take longer. For example, many employers around the country have been hammered by adverse case decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB has, to name just a few issues, ruled that employers must allow union organizers to access their e-mail systems, allowed unions to organize very small and fractured groups of employees “Positive change is coming (making it easier to labor law. Some of it may to win elections), and issued its just take a little longer than own expansive joint we'd like.” employer decision. Before any of these decisions can be Some things can happen on day one overturned, however, new NLRB of the new administration. For members must be confirmed and new example, the Obama administration cases must make their way through the issued a number of labor-related system. Moreover, the NLRB’s General executive orders, including new Counsel, appointed by President mandates on federal contractors and a Obama, has a term that will extend requirement to use project labor until November 2017. agreements on federal construction projects. These can be repealed with side from case decisions, the the stroke of a pen. NLRB also issued a formal Likewise, agency “interpretive” re g u l a t i o n o n “ a m b u s h ” documents — essentially regulations elections. This rule dramatically issued with no public input — can also reduced the amount of time employers be quickly revoked. These include the have to respond to a union organizing Department of Labor’s (DOL) guidance campaign. But because this regulation on enforcement of the joint employer went through public notice and standard (which would hold businesses comment, the new administration will liable for workplaces they don’t have to go through the same formal actually control) and misclassification process and articulate a rational basis of independent contractors. Also for repealing it. This can take some included would be OSHA’s guidance time — in fact, complex rulemakings letter stating that it will allow can take a year or more. With regard to some of the union officials to accompany OSHA inspectors on workplace visits — even most burdensome labor regulations, however, the courts may have made at non-unionized businesses.


things a little easier. Just before Thanksgiving, for example, a federal court blocked implementation of DOL’s overtime regulation, which would have dramatically raised the salary level to qualify as exempt from overtime. This followed on the heels of courts rejecting DOL’s contractor “blacklisting” rule and the persuader regulation. The courts’ actions give the incoming administration several potential avenues for swiftly killing these rules.


ut simply withdrawing bad guidance, overturning harmful NLRB decisions, and repealing intrusive regulations doesn’t take these issues off the table. A future administration could try to reinstitute many of them. Ideally, Congress would enact legislative fixes to the underlying statutes that would cement reforms into place and make these laws more conducive to business formation and economic growth. Republican majorities in the House and Senate make this possible, but there are caveats. Getting legislation through the Senate requires overcoming potential filibusters, meaning a 60-vote threshold. As of now, that will require the support of eight Senate Democrats. In addition, many issues, such as confirmation hearings, a Supreme Court nomination, health care, and tax reform, will be competing for attention, and Congress can only take on so much at once. Nevertheless, after years of facing one labor mandate after another, employers finally have something to look forward to. Positive change is coming to labor law. Some of it may just take a little longer than we’d like. n

January 2017 23


ATD BEST® Award recognizes ITU AbsorbTech for enterprisewide success in employee talent development NEW BERLIN, WI - ITU AbsorbTech was honored with their second BEST Award on October 5, 2016, in Washington, DC, ranking 6th among the 35 international award winners. Jim Leef, ITU AbsorbTech President and CEO said of the award: “We established AbsorbU in 2009 in order to improve some specific business opportunities. Almost immediately, the value was apparent and the

mission was expanded.” “Today, we have a vibrant learning environment, capable of sustaining our leading edge position in the marketplace. To be recognized by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) as among the best in the world is a tremendous honor for our entire organization.”

Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. Named To Wisconsin 75 Ranks Number 46 on the List of Largest Closely Held Companies in Wisconsin. M AY V I L L E , W I – M a y v i l l e Engineering Company, Inc. (MEC) was recognized on October 4, 2016 at the annual Wisconsin 75 event as being one of the largest closely held companies in the state. The company has extensive operations in

Wisconsin with manufacturing facilities in Mayville, Beaver Dam, Neillsville and Wautoma. MEC operates 17 facilities in five states with over 2,100,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing. The firm is 100% employee owned with over 2,000 employee shareholders.

Deere expands recreational utility vehicle production plant in Horicon

State Sen. Pictured from left to right are State Rep. Mark Born; ent of global Scott Fitzgerald; Tim Merrett, John Deere vice presid ger of turf and utility platform; Steven Johnson, factory mana son; Kurt John Deere’s Horicon Works; U.S. Sen. Ron John Sundaresan, Bauer, WMC; WEDC Sec. Mark Hogan; and Siva John Deere global product line director.

24 January 2017

HORICON, WI – A special celebration to mark the first major expansion in 30 years at John Deere Horicon Works was held early December. During the event, more than 4,000 employees and their families, Horicon Works retirees, and members of the community toured the new 388,000-square-foot facility where utility vehicles will be made. The expansion will add about 80 new jobs — around 70 in the assembly area and 10 new salaried positions — bringing the total workforce to 1,100 employees during peak season. “The expansion is a huge boon for the community, employees, and the factory,” said Steve Johnson, Factory Manager at Horicon Works. Johnson also serves on the WMC Board of Directors.

Horicon broke ground for the new facility in October 2015. The building was ready for initial occupancy in August 2016. Over the last several months, employees have been working to get the warehouse area ready, the assembly lines installed and the shipping area set up. Horicon started full production of utility vehicles in the facility on December 5 and is scheduled to have all utility vehicle production moved into the facility by March 2017. Horicon makes premium riding lawn mower equipment (X300 and X500 Select Series, and X700 Ultimate Series), utility vehicles (work series, mid-duty, heavy-duty crossovers, and military), plus a broad range of attachments, such as snow blowers, decks, blades, and tillers. ​


Wisconsin Job Projections Demand Collaboration and Innovation By Ray Allen, Secretary Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development


isconsin will have close to a million job openings to fill from 2014-24 as the state's economy grows and expands, and as older workers retire. In fact, almost 78 percent of the openings will be to replace workers who move into retirement or into other opportunities. Occupations such as registered nurses, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and general and operations managers will offer robust growth, above-median pay and opportunities for career advancement in Wisconsin through at least 2024.

Growth Occupations

Under the leadership of Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature, the Department of Workforce Development has partnered with state agencies, the K-12 system, technical colleges, four-year institutions, economic developers and others to attract, train and retain workers for these and many other high-demand, high-growth occupations. Conversely, with the aging of our nation's workforce — which is even more evident in heavy-manufacturing Upper Midwest states like Wisconsin — the demographic trends suggest the size of the state's workforce

won't keep pace with the need for skilled workers long term.


training grants and Registered Apprenticeship help increase the skills of our existing workforce, while investments in the Youth Apprenticeship program and

The employment and labor force projections, coupled with “With aggressive attraction, Wisconsin's retention and training... high labor force participation together we will support a talent rate and low pipeline that moves our state unemployment rate, reaffirm economy forward.” the need for aggressive, innovative and effective strategies Academic and Career Planning and to support, expand and sustain a Internship Coordination initiatives robust talent pool for Wisconsin's provide our future workforce with injob creators. demand job skills and a solid path These strategies include attracting forward towards a successful career. and retaining talent in Wisconsin, To this end, partnerships among targeting resources to develop in- economic development, education, demand skills, and tapping the skills Wisconsin businesses and talent of everyone who wants to work, such development agencies are absolutely as those with identified barriers to vital to keeping skilled talent here, employment. With robust job preparing workers for opportunities projections and tens of thousands of today and in the future, and jobs posted everyday on our attracting more talented workers state to Wisconsin. labor exchange, Wisconsin can't afford With aggressive attraction, retention to leave any talent on the sidelines. and training strategies, together we will support a talent pipeline that moves Youth Investments our state economy forward. n Investments in programs like Wisconsin Fast Forward worker

January 2017 25

Representing Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) Senate Majority Leader I am thrilled to be returning for the 2017-2018 legislative session as the leader of an expanded Republican Senate caucus and eager to continue the positive reforms that the voters so clearly recognized at the polls on Election Day. We began last session with a major victory for Wisconsin’s taxpayers when we championed legislation to make Wisconsin the nation’s 25th Right to Work State — and we didn’t stop there. Thanks to our work, 2015 to 2016 saw the best private sector job growth in a decade and Wisconsin is enjoying our lowest unemployment rate in 15 years. With expanded majorities, I am excited to continue to push reforms that will strengthen Wisconsin’s economy. Last session we delivered another balanced state budget and brought our total tax relief to $4.76 billion. I fully intend to continue to put money back into the pockets of Wisconsin taxpayers through responsible budgeting. Balancing the budget means encouraging accountability and efficiency at all levels of government, and Senate Republicans will continue to build on the labor and entitlement reforms of previous sessions to ensure that taxpayer dollars are well spent. We also recognize that many of the Wisconsin regulations that impact businesses are promulgated outside the Legislature. Last year we took a hard look at Wisconsin’s rulemaking process, and this session we look forward to working with the business community to ensure that our state continues to foster an environment that allows businesses to grow and thrive. Wisconsin will certainly face its share of challenges in the upcoming session, from working to improve our infrastructure to managing the transition from the longawaited likely repeal of Obamacare. I am optimistic, however, that we will enjoy a strong partner in the incoming presidential administration which has expressed a clear message of strengthening the 10th Amendment and empowering the states. I am looking forward to continuing our positive reforms in the coming year and am grateful for the ongoing support of so many hardworking members of Wisconsin’s business community. If you would like more information on all of the great work happening in the Senate, please visit my website at I hope that you will feel free to share your ideas with me as we continue moving Wisconsin forward. n 26 January 2017

Senator Jennifer Shilling (D – La Crosse) Senate Minority Leader In order to foster growth, innovation and opportunity in Wisconsin, we need to invest in our state’s future, increase wages for hardworking families and ensure long-term economic success so that all Wisconsinites have access to the American Dream. While our state has seen modest economic development thanks largely to strong national job growth, too many workers still remain unemployed, wages are stagnant and our aging infrastructure continues to increase costs for small businesses. From my conversations with business owners, parents and workers across the state, it is clear that too many families feel like they are falling further behind and local elected officials feel abandoned by Madison. We need to take proactive steps to ensure all families have a fighting chance in this economy. Too many workers who commute are paying hundreds in repair costs because our roads are filled with potholes. Too many small businesses in rural communities are unable to compete in the global economy because they lack access to a high-speed internet. Facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall in our transportation budget, state and local officials will need to work together to face urgent transportation infrastructure challenges. Senate Democrats are ready to support innovative, long-term transportation funding solutions that ensure responsible investment in projects across Wisconsin without kicking the can further down the road. While immediate infrastructure investments will help to strengthen Wisconsin communities and boost our economy, we must also improve local public schools and expand learning opportunities to ensure a bright future for all children. By making smart, forward-looking investments now, we can improve education outcomes and strengthen our world-class workforce. These investments are important to the long-term economic success of our state as well as the local quality of life in our communities. Rather than wasting time on policies that divide families and jeopardize growth, I hope the majority party in Madison will focus on being problem solvers and find commonsense solutions to the challenges facing our state. We must put aside partisan politics and work together in order to build a brighter future for Wisconsin. n

Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos (R – Burlington) Speaker of the Assembly Assembly Republicans are planning to go big and make bold reforms in the upcoming 2017-2018 legislative session when we return with another historic majority. Assembly Republicans will hold 64 seats, the most since 1957 when the price of a postage stamp was 3 cents. The victories at the polls reaffirmed that Wisconsin should continue to be open for business, unnecessary and burdensome regulations should be eliminated and our tax code should be simpler. Last September, Assembly Republicans released their Forward Agenda, a broad outline of goals for next session and beyond. The agenda has three sections: improving the economy, expanding opportunities, and building strong families and safe communities. It focuses on removing barriers to open the door to the American Dream for everyone in Wisconsin. For far too long, politicians from both sides of the aisle have kicked the can down the road and not addressed the major issues facing Wisconsin. The state has continued to borrow money to build roads and bridges instead of addressing the unsustainable transportation funding issue. Our state continues to have a broken and complex tax code. A few sessions ago, we took a first step by simplifying the tax form and eliminating an entire tax bracket. But those reforms did not go far enough. In addition, our school funding formula needs a serious look as our many districts face declining enrollments and reduced assistance from the state. While we can enjoy our many accomplishments over the past six years, which include cutting taxes by $5 billion since 2011 and driving down unemployment to a 15-year low, we must not rest on our laurels. It’s time to get to work on long-term solutions, not quick fixes, to the problems that face our businesses, families and the entire state. n

Representative Peter Barca (D – Kenosha) Assembly Minority Leader Middle class families are struggling — in fact, Wisconsin has the most diminished middle class in the country. While most states have grown and recovered from the recession, Wisconsin has lagged behind. We are eighth in job creation out of 10 Midwest states over the last five years and dead last in the nation when it comes to start-up activity. Wisconsin ranks 34th in the nation over the last five years in private-sector job growth. The hardworking people of Wisconsin have suffered under 20 consecutive quarters – or five full years – of below-average job growth. We must do better. Assembly Democrats have proposed dozens of bills to address our stagnating job creation, which we will continue to pursue in the upcoming session, including but not limited to: investing in job creation, job training and our economic engines; ensuring workers earn a family-supporting wage; reinvesting in public schools; providing relief to student loan borrowers; and promoting a clean, open and transparent government. Time and time again, I heard that voters want legislators to work together to solve our state’s challenges, something my colleagues and I are willing to do. Instead, Republicans have rammed through an extreme, right-wing agenda. Strong public schools and safe roads and bridges to ensure our economy can grow are the start. We will again provide bold, creative ideas to revitalize the economy, fix our infrastructure and support education. We hope all citizens will join together by staying engaged in our communities, in our state and in the country we love. Our top priorities remain focused on making sure hardworking people can get ahead and reach the American Dream. We can do better, and we must do better. n

January 2017 27

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee


ulfilling dreams of personal freedom is more than a phrase. It’s HarleyDavidson’s purpose and passion. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle company brings a commitment of exceptional customer experiences to everything it does – from the innovation of its products to the precision of its manufacturing –


der Flag Manufacturing Company. has built a legacy of manufacturing quality products known for craftsmanship, quality and durability. Remaining focused on these values, a little business launched more than 100 years ago in southeastern Wisconsin has grown to become America’s largest manufacturer Oak Creek of both flags and flagpoles. Originally launched as Eder Manufacturing Co. in 1887 by seven brothers from the Eder family, the company focused on making pillows, felt pennants, rag dolls and hunting jackets. From those humble beginnings, the flag-making business was launched and incorporated in 1903. In 1979 Eder moved to Oak Creek from downtown Milwaukee.

Eder Flag


Wisconsin Spice Berlin

28 January 2017

The company’s headquarters in Oak Creek eventually grew to capacity, which led to expansion to neighboring warehouses and production facilities. A distribution center in Orlando, Florida was added to better serve customers in the southeast. Currently Eder Flag Manufacturing Co., Inc. services over 5,000 customers and sells over 20,000 different products. To meet the demands of our customers, we provide fast and convenient same day shipping. In 2016, company leadership finalized steps to make Eder Flag an employee-owned company. The new ownership structure is a realization of Mr. Eder’s vision for the company that included ensuring its location in the Milwaukee area and maintaining a loyalty to the employees who helped build Eder Flag. As known today, Eder Flag Manufacturing Co., Inc. has become the largest flag company in America that serves as both a flag and flagpole manufacturer.

ith headquarters and manufacturing operations located in Berlin, Wisconsin Spice, Inc. is a privately held, family-owned business. Because of this, Wisconsin Spice, Inc. has always valued a longterm approach to its business and customer relationships. The family atmosphere fostered by Wisconsin Spice resonates with every one of its global partners. All of whom have come to understand why Wisconsin Spice, Inc. represents… “Quality You Can Taste!” Founded in 1973 by current President Phillip J. Sass, Wisconsin Spice has grown from humble beginnings and today is regarded as a global

culminating with Harley-Davidson’s strong supplier and dealer networks. Harley-Davidson is one of the world’s strongest brands with a long history of building motorcycles. It’s more than just a business. Harley-Davidson delivers the dream of personal freedom like nobody else.

power in the mustard industry. Sass started Wisconsin Spice in an abandoned, 19th century feed mill and has since expanded to a modern, state-of-the-art facility. Since 1985, numerous investments in capacity and capabilities have been made, making it one of few manufacturers who possess the capability to mill both dry and prepared mustard solutions under the same roof. Today, Wisconsin Spice processes nearly 40,000,000 lbs. of mustard seed annually, servicing the global food industry. The company continues to invest in growth and work tirelessly in adding value to customers’ businesses.


n 1945, Ralph F. and Alice Stayer opened a butcher shop and Sheboygan Falls named it after their quaint hometown of Johnsonville, Wisconsin. The delicious sausage made in the Stayer’s butcher shop came from an old family recipe, which made its way down the family tree from the 19th-century Austria. This recipe became known as the sausage with the BIG TASTE, and a legacy was born! During the 1950s, the Stayers answered the high demand for

Johnsonville Sausage

Johnsonville Sausage and expanded into nearby communities. In 1970, trucks took to the road and began delivering the BIG TASTE of Johnsonville Sausage to stores throughout Wisconsin. In 1978, Ralph C. Stayer, son of Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, became president of the company and launched an expansion by selling Johnsonville’s products outside Wisconsin. At the same time, a second plant was built and Johnsonville began airing television commercials. During the mid-1980’s, a direct sales force was launched. Sales increased 20-fold from a decade earlier and distribution expanded to 47 states. Johnsonville has approximately 1,600 employees – referred to within the company as “members.” Each member takes ownership of product quality to ensure the excellence and “Big Flavor” of Johnsonville Sausage. Johnsonville is headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Johnsonville products are now available in all 50 states and in 40 additional countries.


incantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), located in Marinette was founded in 1942. FMM has grown into a world-class shipbuilder, having designed and built more than 1,500 vessels, and is currently building the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. The Littoral Combat Ship is nearly 400 ft. long and reaches speeds in excess of 41 knots. It is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable surface combatant, the LCS provides warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility for focused missions including mine-clearing, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation. Headquartered in Trieste, Italy, the Group has built more than 7,000 vessels in over 230 years of maritime history. With almost 19,000 employees and 20 shipyards on four continents, today Fincantieri is the leading Western shipbuilder. Fincantieri operates in the United States through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG). This company, which serves commercial and government customers, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, has three shipyards (Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Fincantieri ACE Marine) all located in the Great Lakes Region.

Marinette Marine Corporation Marinette

To have your company featured, contact Nick Novak at

January 2017 29


Addressing Wisconsin’s Talent Challenge Requires Consistent Communication Tricia Braun, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation


he true power of WMC’s Future Wisconsin Economic Summit is the collaborative nature in which ideas are shared and strategies are enacted, including the way we promote the opportunities our state offers for business, professional and personal fulfillment. At last year’s Future Wisconsin Economic Summit, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) shared a vision for telling our unique Wisconsin stories through a unified message — one built upon a

We categorized responses into three “geographies”: Wisconsin; surrounding states; and the rest of the nation. We also categorized respondents by age: Millennials; Generation X; and Baby Boomers. You can download a summary of our research findings at inwisconsin. com/perceptionsurvey. A very clear takeaway from this research is the fact that Wisconsin is a state that is famous for its thinkers, makers and doers. We tested a number of potential brand statements in our national survey, asking respondents to rate the relevance of each statement to their location decisions and to gauge its accuracy in describing Wisconsin. Across all demographics and all geographies, respondents told us that these descriptors best captured Wisconsin’s essence by a margin of 2:1.

Making It Happen Tricia Braun, Deputy Secretary and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation COF, addresses the audience at Future Wisconsin Economic Summit. powerful central idea that communicates the value our state delivers to the people and the businesses that call Wisconsin home. After that meeting, we gathered feedback from attendees, conducted input sessions throughout the state, engaged with young professional groups, and conducted a national survey to help guide our thinking on this important topic. We received more than 2,600 responses to our survey from business leaders, investors and people representing the general population. 30 January 2017

The idea of “making things happen” captured in this sentiment underscores our state’s well-known work ethic. Respondents affirmed that we are a state that solves problems and gets things done. And our educational system from K-12, to our technical colleges and universities, public and private, is widely acknowledged to be among the best in the nation. Another thing we heard, particularly in our input sessions with young professionals, is that words are not enough. We need to celebrate the positive experiences Wisconsin offers and the social connections being developed among people committed to our state’s economic future. There is a strong desire among young people to make a contribution, to be part of

something bigger than themselves. This idea helped us put the finishing touches on a brand statement that we presented at this year’s Future Wisconsin Economic Summit along with partners from across the state. They represent a variety of geographies and perspectives that together demonstrate the potential we all have to effectively articulate and deliver on Wisconsin’s promise. Throughout our history, we have shown that if you THINK big and MAKE your mark, anything can HAPPEN in Wisconsin. THINKMAKE-HAPPEN — an unexpected, thought-provoking combination of words that reflects the ingenuity of Ole Evinrude, who, when faced with the prospect of crossing a nearby lake to deliver ice cream to his girlfriend, invented the outboard motor. This legacy was similarly brought to life by William Harley and Arthur and Walter Davidson; Frank Lloyd Wright; Herbert Kohler and many others throughout Wisconsin’s illustrious history. And this tradition of innovation continues today, with discoveries taking place in this state improving lives around the world. Among the partners who joined WEDC at the Future Wisconsin Economic Summit to demonstrate the power of collaborative marketing and to convey the expansive potential of this core message was Shannon Full, formerly with from the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, who used THINK-MAKE-HAPPEN as an organizing principle for a video that makes a compelling case for the Fox Cities as a lifestyle and career destination.

Representing organizations throughout the state channeling the passion Wisconsin’s young professionals bring to the workplace to help build and sustain Wisconsin’s strong workforce and high quality of life, Joe Truesdale, President of Young Professionals of Fond du Lac, detailed what can best be described as a “movement” in Wisconsin represented by a weeklong event — YPWeek — designed to retain, excite and grow the state’s talent pool. The 24 communities participating in YPWeek in April are adopting THINKMAKE-HAPPEN as a shared message to be adapted to promote each area’s unique assets.

Wisconsin’s unique regional attributes online to help businesses and people MAKE connections and fulfill mutually beneficial opportunities. Exploring the full range of career opportunities available to young people sometimes involves getting them and their parents to THINK differently about their educational paths. Michelle

Building Foundations

McGlynn from Waunakee High School shared an initiative that is exposing students to new opportunities while MAKING job fulfillment HAPPEN for companies throughout the area. One of the challenges Michelle and her colleagues face in promoting her school’s youth apprenticeship program is overcoming misperceptions about technical career options. WEDC is working with Michelle to develop

WEDC also worked with Momentum West, our regional economic development partner in west-central Wisconsin, and Global Finishing Solutions of Osseo, to develop a webbased formula for promoting regional lifestyle destinations, both to business investors and to the talent they need to succeed. We envision building upon this foundation to represent all of

promotional materials leveraging the THINK-MAKE-HAPPEN platform to shine a positive light on Wisconsin’s full range of career opportunities. These examples represent merely the beginning of what WEDC plans to be a sustained, coordinated effort to drive understanding, interest and action toward the possibilities Wisconsin offers for personal, professional and business success. All strategies crafted and materials created in the execution of the THINK-MAKE-HAPPEN platform will be shared. You are invited to leverage this compelling brand statement to engage and motivate your target audiences and to tell your Wisconsin story. I want to thank the many businesses and economic development partners who helped us achieve this important milestone in Wisconsin’s ongoing efforts to maximize its economic potential. To learn more about how to this exciting initiative, visit n

Focus on Manufacturing Breakfast February 24, 2017

Presented by the WMC Foundation, Inc.

7:00 - 9:00 AM • The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee Featured Speaker:

Byron Franz, FBI Special Agent Byron Franz is a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and has worked national security investigations for over 16 years. He currently serves as the Strategic Partnership Coordinator for the FBI’s Milwaukee Division, where his job is to form partnerships with corporations, colleges, and universities to better protect intellectual property and trade secrets.


$75 per person ~or~ $550 for a table of 8 PROGRAM SPONSORS


Business Startups, Workforce Among Topics Discussed at Future Wisconsin Summit


isconsin’s worsening workforce shortage dominated the discussion at the Future Wisconsin Economic Summit for the third year in a row. The topic came up in nearly every one of the nine sessions jammed into a day-long program held on December 15th in Madison at Monona Terrace. The Summit is held by the WMC Foundation-led Future Wisconsin P ro j e c t , w h i c h b r i n g s t o g e t h e r a diverse coalition of business, education and government leaders to identify and address Wisconsin’s long-term economic challenges.

“Ideas included researching if non-competes stifle growth of certain economic clusters...”

In addition to talent, the 2 0 1 6 S u m m i t a l s o f e a t u re d new topics, including a critical look at Wisconsin’s business startup ecosystem and why it is consistently ranked at or near the bottom nationally. Gener8tor co-founders Troy Vosseller and Joe Kirgues talked about their experience running a business startup accelerator in Wisconsin and what policy changes should be vetted to attract more venture capital and keep and retain the right talent. Ideas included researching if noncompetes stifle the growth of certain economic clusters and investing more resources in UW-Madison’s computer science department to 32 January 2017

Representatives from the Future Wisconsin Project partners posed on stage at the Future Wisconsin Economic Summit. Pictured from left to right are UW-System President Ray Cross, WEDC Deputy Secretary Tricia Braun, WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, DWD Secretary Ray Allen, WAICU President/CEO Rolf Wegenke, WMC Chairman Robert Kamphuis, Former CEO of Fox Cities Chamber Shannon Full and WMC President/CEO Kurt Bauer. meet the business community’s demand for information technology professionals.


ener8tor was also featured in a video, which premiered at the Summit. The video, produced by WMC, touts Wisconsin as a “great place to get started.” It highlights a Milwaukee-based, Gener8tor-backed startup called Bright Cellars that could have located anywhere in the U.S. but choose Wisconsin’s largest city for its unique advantages not found in other urban locations. Wisconsin Job Honor Awards were handed out during a special and very inspirational luncheon ceremony. The Awards recognize individuals who

have overcome adversity in their life to become gainfully employed. Other topics covered during the Summit include the need for Wisconsin to embrace trade and immigration; the differences and similarities of the Wisconsin and Minnesota economies; and perception research presented by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) on what’s good and what’s bad about how the state is viewed. The research revealed that Wisconsin is viewed as a state of thinkers, makers and doers. Thus, the words “Think, Make, Happen” will be incorporated into WEDC’s official logo and will be used elsewhere in coming months. n


The Wisconsin Job Honor Awards recognizes people who overcome barriers to employment and the employers who hire them. 2016 recipients are from left to right Rashaad Washington and Reginald Reed, Jr., founders & CEOs of Mindful Staffing Solutions and Pro Trade, training at-risk inner city Milwaukee residents for careers in the construction trades; Alondra Trinidad Reyes Ponce of Madison, who immigrated from Mexico and endured homelessness before launching a career in healthcare; Jordan Holter of La Crosse, who overcame drug addiction and now works in manufacturing; and Dawn Edlin, chief people officer for Eau Claire-based Larson Companies, which created a training program to hire people with disabilities.

Governor Walker made news while addressing the Summit when he said he won’t announce if he will seek a third term until after the state budget is passed later this year.

The Summit is a great place for local leaders to connect. Here UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank exchanges cards with John Ashley, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

Troy Vosseller of Milwaukee-based, Gener8tor, discusses advantages of doing business in Wisconsin.

After a full day of sessions, the Summit concluded with reaction from a millennial panel. Pictured from left to right are Shannon Full, who moderated the discussion; Joe Truesdale, president of Young Professionals of Fond du Lac; Betsy Osterberger, an account executive at Ideas That Evoke; and Jack Orton who administers the Future Wisconsin Project for the WMC Foundation.

A WMC produced video entitled Wisconsin: A Great Place to Get Started premiered at the Summit. It features Bright Cellars, an innovative online wine and cheese club based in Milwaukee. CEO and Founder Richard Yau (right) and Wine Manager Gretel Bubnik (left) are pictured with WMC’s Kurt Bauer.

January 2017 33


Wisconsinites More Optimistic About Economic Growth in 2017 By Nick Novak WMC Director of Communications and Marketing


isconsinites are far more optimistic about the state’s economic growth in 2017 than they were last year, according to a new scientific poll commissioned by WMC. However, those surveyed are still concerned about increasing health care costs and Wisconsin’s high level of taxes. “Confidence in Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow for Wisconsin voters, a sign that the policies coming out of Madison are moving our state in the right direction,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO. “However, voters are still wary about ever-increasing health care costs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the state’s burdensome tax climate and government regulations that will hike the cost of energy. Policymakers should continue to be mindful of this moving forward.” The poll of 506 Wisconsin voters was taken December 12th through 14th and was conducted by the Washington, DC-based Tarrance Group. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent.

KEY FINDINGS: • More than one-third (35%) of respondents believe the state’s economy will improve in 2017, a dramatic 13-point increase from last year’s survey. Forty-two percent believe Wisconsin’s economy will stay about the same. More voters (32%) also believe their personal economic situation will improve this year, an increase 34 January 2017

from 18 percent at the beginning of 2016. Forty-nine percent believe their personal economic situation will stay about the same. • A majority of those surveyed (58%) said their health insurance costs increased over the last year, and only two percent said their costs decreased. These numbers show that Obamacare continues to be a drag on the national and state economy.

"Confidence in Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow for Wisconsin voters..."

• Wisconsin continues to be a high-tax state. When asked which taxes they would like to see cut, a plurality of respondents (43%) said they would like to see lower property taxes, followed by income taxes (31%) and the state sales tax (11%). • Voters are split on raising the gas tax, with 49 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed. However, there is a clear partisan divide on the issue. A majority (56%) of Republicans oppose a gas tax increase, and a majority (57%) of Democrats support a gas tax increase. Geographically, support for a gas tax increase is

being driven by Dane County (63% in favor/33% oppose) and the rest of the Madison media market (62% in favor/36% oppose). Milwaukee County (43% in favor/50% oppose), the rest of the Milwaukee media market (45% in favor/54% oppose) and the rest of the state (47% in favor/50% oppose) all have more voters in opposition of a gas tax increase. • On energy issues, voters are clearly concerned about government overregulation. A large majority (60%) said they would not support policies to combat global warming if it resulted in thousands of job losses. Additionally, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they would not support a $25 increase in their electricity bill to pay for global warming regulations. Last year, 64 percent of voters said they would not support a $50 increase to pay for such regulations. • On other policies, 78 percent of Wisconsin voters support school choice, 81 percent believe students should be responsible for paying back their own student loan debt and 84 percent favor financial incentives for internships, apprenticeships or job shadowing. n

w w w.wi s a fet yco u n ci l .o rg

Wisconsin Safety & Health Conference and Expo

Mike Steinl, CPA, CGMA, Partner (608) 442-1905 |

201 7

April 10-12 ● Wisconsin Dells Education April 10-12 ● Exhibition April 11-12

Running a profitable manufacturing or distribution business is not easy. You have to control costs, manage inventory, keep an eye on cash flow and minimize taxes — all while driving sales and keeping up with the latest technology. At Wegner CPAs, our accomplished manufacturing / supply chain team excels in helping companies like yours increase profits and achieve their goals. Stop by our booth at the Manufacturing Matters conference on February 22 & 23 and let’s talk about how we can put our expertise to work for you.

January 2017 35



Celebrating By Janie Ritter Director of Wisconsin Safety Council


n April, the Wisconsin Safety Council (WSC) will celebrate 75 years of hosting its annual Wisconsin Safety & Health Conference. This Diamond Anniversary event promises to commemorate the history of the conference; recognize the significant strides made in keeping Wisconsin employees safe at work; celebrate the accomplishments of Wisconsin companies who view safety as a core value; and offer a conference that will inspire learning, collaboration, and sharing of best practices. An evening of celebration and entertainment will take place on Tuesday, April 11, and you will find an expo hall full of exhibitors ready to show-off their safety and health-related products and services. Register early! You do not want to miss it! Back in 1942, Wisconsin Council of Safety held its first Safety Conference in Milwaukee and through the many years – becoming a chapter of the National Safety Council in 1954, the introduction

Over the years, the Conference was held in Milwaukee, Oconomowoc, Madison, and now at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, where this year the Conference will host 11 professional development courses and 56 education sessions on current topics such as OSHA compliance, Attendees receive personalized and friendly exhibitor demonstrations. recordkeeping, ergonomics, workers’ As the largest safety and health compensation, safety culture, employee conference in the Midwest, we are safety on the roads, and leadership. proud to welcome nearly 200 Wisconsin Safety Council and the exhibitors to this year’s conference. Wisconsin Department of Workforce Our expo hall continues to burst at its Development will also present seams, flooding the convention center the 23rd annual Corporate Safety hallways and a portion of the general Awards, which are awarded to session hall with companies from all Wisconsin companies who demonstrate over the United States who attend to exemplary safety records and excellence share the latest and greatest in safety in safety and health products, environmental systems, management. The health services, and so much more. Wisconsin Corporate Come see what is new in the Expo Hall “...this [conference] will be Safety Awards are not one for the record book and simply handed out to this year! inally a night of entertainment is one your safety team will not companies who meet planned to celebrate the their industry average want to miss.” conference’s 75th Diamond incident rates, the companies recognized Anniversary. Perhaps we’ll hear Sweet have demonstrated Caroline, Forever in Blue Jeans or of the Occupational Safety Health Act in through their programs and training America before the evening concludes. 1970, a merger with the Wisconsin that they make safety a top priority But I know this 75th Wisconsin Safety Manufacturers Association in 1973 and and have gone to extensive measures and Health Conference will be one for the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce in to ensure their most valuable asset – the record books and one your safety 1976, and a name change to the their employees – are safe on and off team and human resource professionals Wisconsin Safety Council – one thing the job. Applications for the 2016 will not want to miss. n remained constant: each year the state’s Wisconsin Corporate Safety Awards are leading provider of workplace safety available on the Wisconsin Safety Council’s training held its annual Safety & website at and are Health Conference. due January 20th. Follow WSC on Twitter @WISafetyCouncil


36 January 2017

2017 Safety Training

Chapter of

The Wisconsin Safety Council, a division of WMC, is Wisconsin's leading provider of safety training and programming. WSC offers training throughout the year at locations across the state.

MILWAUKEE AREA SAFETY TRAINING>> FEBRUARY 6-7 OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

JUNE 13 OSHA 7845 Recordkeeping Rule

APRIL 10 Incident Investigation: Root Cause Analysis

JUNE 22 Job Safety Analysis

JUNE 14 NEW! The Five Fundamentals of Safety

JULY 12 NEW! Safety for Manufacturing – What & How

JUNE 19-20 OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

JULY 18-20 OSHA 2055 Cranes in Construction

APRIL 10 Ergonomics: Managing for Results APRIL 10 NEW! Prepared Not Scared: How to Respond to an Armed Intruder/Active Shooter APRIL 10 Fall Protection

AUGUST 10 Creating a World Class Safety Culture

AUGUST 7-10 Principles of Occupational Safety & Health (POSH)

September 12 NEW! OSHA 101 for Small Business: A Crash Course in Workplace Safety

AUGUST 23 Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator (CEVO): Ambulance and Fire

October 11 Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-theTrainer

AUGUST 28-30 Instructor Development Course (IDC): First Aid/ CPE/AED

DECEMBER 4-7 OSHA 30-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

SEPTEMBER 5-8 OSHA 501 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety & Health Standards for General Industry


SEPTEMBER 18-21 OSHA 30-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

JANUARY 9 MSHA/OSHA 8-Hour Refresher JANUARY 12 OSHA Construction Breakfast “Recordkeeping” JANUARY 23-26 Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene (FIH) FEBRUARY 13 Creating a World Class Safety Culture FEBRUARY 24 MSHA/OSHA 8-Hour Refresher

APRIL 10 Behavior-Based Safety (AM) APRIL 10 Interpretation of Industrial Hygiene Sampling (PM) APRIL 10 NEW! Effective Documentation: From Coaching to Termination (AM) FOX VALLEY/GREEN BAY AREA SAFETY TRAINING>> FEBRUARY 22 Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-theTrainer

OCTOBER 3 RCRA Compliance for Hazardous Waste Generators Overview (AM)

FEBRUARY 23 MSHA/OSHA 8-Hour Refresher MARCH 21-24 OSHA 30-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

OCTOBER 3 DOT Hazmat Transportation Refresher (PM) OCTOBER 5 Confined Space, Train-the-Trainer

MAY 11 NEW! OSHA 101 for Small Business: A Crash Course in Workplace Safety

OCTOBER 6 Lockout/Tagout, Train-the-Trainer (AM)

SEPTEMBER 14 Effective Team Safety

MARCH 1-3 OSHA 503 Trainer Update

OCTOBER 10 Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-theTrainer

MARCH 8-9 NEW! Advanced First Aid/CPR/AED

OCTOBER 16-19 Safety Management Techniques (SMT)

MARCH 23 Confined Space, Train-the-Trainer

NOVEMBER 9 Ergonomics: Managing for Results

MARCH 24 Lockout/Tagout, Train-the-Trainer (AM)

NOVEMBER 14 NEW! The Five Fundamentals of Safety

MARCH 28 RCRA Compliance for Hazardous Waste Generators Overview (AM)

DECEMBER 12 Effective Team Safety

MARCH 28 DOT Hazmat Transportation Refresher (PM)



APRIL 10-12 75th Annual Safety & Health Conference/Expo

JANUARY 10 MSHA/OSHA 8-Hour Refresher

APRIL 10-11 OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry

FEBRUARY 21 Incident Investigation: A Root Cause Analysis

APRIL 20 OSHA Construction Breakfast “Job Site Safety” MAY 8-11 Safety Training Methods (STM) MAY 17 OSHA Construction Breakfast “DOT Hours” MAY 18 Safety Inspections

APRIL 10 Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-theTrainer APRIL 10 Effective Team Safety

SEPTEMBER 28 Incident Investigation: A Root Cause Analysis OCTOBER 12 NEW! Safety for Manufacturing – What & How OCTOBER 19 Safety Inspections OCTOBER 26-27 OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry

JULY 18-19 OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry AUGUST 24 Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-the-Trainer

January 2017 37


Canada Offers Trade Prospects for Wisconsin By Lauren Foley Public Relations Manager, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation


hanks in part to similar cultural values and the world’s longest shared border, Canada is the largest export market for U.S.-produced goods ($337 billion in 2015), as well as for goods produced in Wisconsin ($7.3 billion in 2015). With trade between the U.S. and Canada already strong — more than $2 billion of goods and services cross the border each day — Canada is a natural first step for Wisconsin producers of goods and services who are looking to begin exporting. Canadian customers are showing increasing concern for the environment and demand is rising for natural products, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies that produce environmentally friendly goods and technologies. Additionally, Canada’s organic food and craft beer industries have soared in popularity, opening doors for Wisconsin companies in those sectors as well. As a large, advanced economy with well-developed infrastructure, Canada is an ideal first market for new-to-export companies and one that seeks innovative, advanced technology product and service solutions. In Canada, Wisconsin companies will find a friendly market with many potential buyers for their products and services, especially if they offer innovations that solve problems for companies in their respective sectors.

Canada represents a strong opportunity market for Wisconsin exporters across all sectors. Recognizing the potential for growth in exports to Canada, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is leading a global trade venture to Canada from April 30 to May 5, 2017, with stops in Toronto and Montreal. In each city, participants will be scheduled for customized one-on-one meetings with prospective partners in the market. These partners are prequalified for each participating company based on specific qualifications and criteria that suit the company’s needs. Each participant in the global trade


anada is a highly receptive, open and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Canadians spending more than 60 percent of their disposable income on U.S. goods and services. U.S. exports to Canada equaled total U.S. exports to China, Japan, the UK and Germany combined in 2015. The North American Free Trade Agreement, a common language, cultural similarities and geographic proximity also ease the path for U.S. exports to Canada. Thus,

38 January 2017

venture will also receive market intelligence specific to his or her company, detailing considerations to keep in mind when introducing the company’s product or service into the Canadian market. With logistics and scheduling handled for them, participating companies can focus on business. For more information on exporting to Canada or other parts of the world, visit WEDC’s website at For more information on the trade venture to Canada, see InWisconsin. com/canada2017. n

INTERNATIONAL GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES IN CANADA 2015 Top Wisconsin 2015 Top Wisconsin ExportsExports to Canada to Canada

Machinery IndustrialIndustrial Machinery – 20% – 20% Machinery – 8% ElectricalElectrical Machinery – 8% Vehicles Parts – 7% Vehicles & Parts –&7% Paper – 7% Paper – 7% – 6% Plastics –Plastics 6% Organic Chemicals – 5% Organic Chemicals – 5% Beverages – 4% Beverages – 4% All OthersAll – Others 43% – 43%

2015 Top Wisconsin 2015 Top Wisconsin ImportsImports from Canada from Canada

Plastics –Plastics 10% – 10% Wood Wood Pulp – 9%Pulp – 9% Machinery – 9% IndustrialIndustrial Machinery – 9% Paper & Paperboard – 8% Paper & Paperboard – 8% Wood Products – 8% Wood Products – 8% Mineral Mineral Fuel, Oil, Fuel, Etc. –Oil, 5%Etc. – 5% Vehicles Parts – 4% Vehicles & Parts –&4% – 4% Cereals –Cereals 4% All OthersAll – Others 43% – 43%

Key Industries: Natural resource extraction and processing (including WI Export Rank: 1 minerals, petroleum, natural gas); transportation equipment; chemicals; 2015 WI Imports: food products; oil seed cultivation; wood $4.2 billion and paper products; fish products

Population: 35.1 million 2015 WI Exports: $7.3 billion (6x greater than WI) Area: 9.9 million sq km (58x larger than WI) GDP: $1.6 trillion

To learn more about growing your business in Canada, visit or call 855-INWIBIZ (toll free).


Coolest Thing Made In Wisconsin Named At Luncheon


he State of Wisconsin Business Luncheon, held last October 18th, is intended to be an annual checkup on the condition of Wisconsin’s business climate as well as a discussion on what needs to be done to improve W isconsin’s overall economic competitiveness.

WMC President/CEO Kurt Bauer began the discussion by urging policymakers to address the growing labor shortage by marketing Wisconsin’s many economic and quality of life advantages to neighboring states in an effort spur inward migration. “Being the best kept secret in the Midwest isn’t

working for us,” Bauer told about 450 attendees at Monona Terrace in Madison. “We need to tell our story.” Bauer said Wisconsin has a “golden opportunity” to attract people from Illinois, in particular. He cited a recent poll conducted by Southern Illinois University showing 47 percent of Harley-Davidson took home the grand prize with their Illinoisans would consider Milwaukee Eight Engine. moving. The WMC Foundation also used the gathering to announce the winner of an inaugural contest to determine “what is the coolest thing made in Wisconsin.” Johnson Financial Group sponsored the contest. Nearly 300 nominees were narrowed down by L.B. White won the Flowers Family Foundation Business online voting to just three Achievement Award. Pictured from left to right are UW Board finalists, including Harley- or Regents President Regina Milner, who was on the selection Davidson’s new Milwaukee committee, Julie Diermeier, L.B. White Chairman Jeff Eight engine, Fincantieri Diermeier, CEO Rick Diermeier, CFO Kevin Gagermeier, Marinette Marine’s Littoral Regional Sales Manager Jeff Cameron and Director of Combat Ship and Johnsonville Operations John Funke. Sausage (view a list of nominees at Wisconsin Business Achievement Before the winner was announced, Award. The award honors the Gov. Scott Walker got into the spirit outstanding economic and of the contest by walking on stage philanthropic contributions of wearing a USS Milwaukee hat, a individuals or entities engaged in Harley-Davidson leather jacket and free enterprise. taking a bite out of a Johnsonville The award includes a $75,000 bratwurst. donation from the Flowers Family Harley-Davidson’s was the top Foundation to support a non-profit vote getter. The motorcycle organization of the winner’s choice. L.B. company shut down their line in White employees decided to share the Wauwautosa so their employees donation between two La Crosse area could attend the luncheon. non-profits: Coulee Region Business L.B. White, a La Crosse-based Center and the Couleecap Work-Nmanufacturing company, won the Wheels program. n Flowers Family Foundation’s annual

Governor Scott Walker took the stage with products made by the top three finalists.

January 2017 39


Baumann’s Leadership Continues To Build A Colony


ohn Baumann has served as President and CEO of Colony Brands, Inc. (formerly The Swiss Colony, Inc.) since May of 1996. He first joined the company in August of 1985 when he was hired as Manager of New Customer Development. He was promoted to Director of Marketing in 1987, Executive Director of Marketing in 1988, Vice President Strategic Marketing in 1989 and Senior Vice President Strategic Planning in 1995. Prior to his arrival at The Swiss Colony, Baumann served as a sports reporter (19821983) for the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper, Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to his roles as President of Colony John and Katie Baumann Brands, Inc, Baumann serves as President of the organization’s data center, SCDC, and various catalog titles. In 1985 Baumann earned a Masters of Business Administration degree with majors in Marketing and




Finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, Illinois. Baumann is a 1982 graduate of The University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. n Personal> Lives in Monroe, Wisconsin with wife Katie Dogs Gracie, Stella, Relvis and Brooks; Cat Frankie Outside Activities> • Past President of Board of Directors, Monroe Arts Center • Past President, Monroe Country Club Board of Directors • Past President, Green County YMCA, Current VP GC • YMCA Foundation • Board of Directors, I-Stream • Board of Directors, University of Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association • Board of Visitors, UW School of Veterinary Medicine • Board of Directors, Monsignor Thomas Campion • Charitable Fund • John and Katie Baumann Inspiration Project • Board of Directors, WMC Foundation Hobbies> Golf, Fishing, Fitness, Dog Rescue, Theatre, Badger Sports





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GROUP LIFE & DISABILITY PLANNING, PRODUCTS & ADMINISTRATION Brought to you by WMC and Aetna WMC has a dedicated and experienced team of insurance professionals who work with members and their insurance agents to deliver competitive group disability and life products to meet your employee benefits needs. We also provide assistance in plan implementation, employee communications, claim processing and handle premium billing administration. • Group Life/AD&D* - WMC offers its members Group Term Basic Life, Supplemental and Dependent Term Life, and Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance. • Short Term Disability* – Fully-insured STD plans providing income protection for employer-sponsored group plans with funding options, including employer-paid, contributory (inc. core/buy-up), and voluntary (employee-paid) group plans. • Long Term Disability* – LTD plans with a focus on rehabilitation and return-to-work services. A variety of funding options, as reflected above, are available. • bswift Administration Portal – WMC’s Employee Benefits team administers eligibility, enrollment and premium billing for the above plans on employer specific bswift portals with direct HR access for larger employers. • Aetna Absence Management – Turn-key self-service solution for larger employers (100+ EEs) to administer Federal and State FMLA guidelines with an upgrade option to include Company/Union specific leave policies (i.e. PTO, vacation, sick-leave, jury duty, etc.). *Insurance products underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company.

42 January 2017




Past WMC Chairman and current Chairman/President/ CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation Todd Teske (left) joined WMC Policy Director Lucas Vebber (right) to present State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) with a Working For Wisconsin Award.



Pictured with Gov. Walker at the Future Wisconsin Summit are from left to right Tom Boldt, Rolf Wegenke, Sec. Ray Allen, Mark Tyler, Ray Cross, Walker, Robert Kamphuis, Sec. Mark Hogan, Jay Smith, Steve Loehr and Kurt Bauer.



WMC President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer appeared on Closing Bell on Fox Business Network with Liz Claman to discuss what Donald Trump’s election means for business.



WMC thanks E.K. Machine Co. Inc. of Fall River for making the trophy for the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Contest (see page 39). Pictured are E.K. Machine President Gary Errthum (left) and Director of Quality Assurance/Production Control Steven Slack (center) with WMC’s Kurt Bauer. Thanks also goes to EFCO Finishing Corp. of Butler for their contribution to the trophy

5 6 7

USEMCO President Pat Rezin (left) hosted the presentation of State Rep. Nancy VanderMere’s (R-Tomah) Working For Wisconsin Award. Also present is WMC Senior Director Jason Culotta.


John Voster (right) from Milksource hosted State Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) to present his Working for Wisconsin Award. Also pictured is WMC’s Brittany Rockwell

The Wisconsin Safety Council Advisory Board pose for a group picture after their fall meeting.



January 2017 43

WMC Foundation —

A Special Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors

2016 was an amazing year! The WMC Foundation accomplished so much, and it is all thanks to our sponsors. As the educational arm of WMC, the WMC Foundation’s mission is to better Wisconsin by providing information on the state and its economy, promoting the value of the free enterprise system and advancing the efforts that ensure a high quality of life for our citizens. From high school students to CEOs, our programs are reaching Wisconsin workers at all levels in all industries. We address topics relevant to Wisconsin’s business climate, such as the workforce development and the skills gap. The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Contest was one of the highlights of the year. Wisconsin is a state of ideas, and we are not short of creativity, innovation, and people who like to make things. We had a blast with this project highlighting nearly 300 Wisconsin-made products, such as brats, combat ships and motorcycles. In the end, Harley-Davidson’s Milwaukee-eight Kari Hofer engine took the prize, presented at the State of Wisconsin Business Luncheon in October. Executive Director Our generous sponsors are fundamentally committed to improving our economy and WMC Foundation building a prosperous state through business and economics education. As we look to 2017, WMC Foundation will continue to grow its programs and expand its outreach. You can be a part of it. I invite you to join our group of dedicated sponsors in 2017 in supporting the WMC Foundation’s mission. Some sponsor specific programs or events, like the Business World Summer Program or the Wisconsin Safety Council, and others believe whole-heartedly in the mission of the WMC Foundation and support the full agenda. Whatever your passion, we have several sponsorship opportunities available. However you’d like to be involved, we welcome you aboard. Once again, thank you, sincerely, to our 2016 sponsors. Your support is the cornerstone to our progress. For more information, contact Kari Hofer, WMC Foundation Executive Director at or 608.661.3400.

2016 Major Foundation Sponsors Alliant Energy Alliant Energy Foundation Ariens Company Baker Tilly BMO Boldt

Briggs & Stratton Colony Brands Greenheck John Deere Foundation Kwik Trip

A. O. Smith Foundation ABB, Inc. Aetna Life Insurance Company Agropur, Inc. Alternative Risk Resources LLC Altria Client Services LLC Amerhart Ltd. American Transmission Company Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance Aon Risk Solutions APACHE Stainless Equipment Corporation Archer Electric LLC Aurora Health Care

Badger Meter, Inc. Balestrieri Environmental & Development, Inc. Bank Mutual Belmark, Inc. Blankenheim Services LLC Bonduelle Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Briggs & Stratton Corporation Brooks Safety Solutions LLC Bulwark Protective Apparel/VF Imagewear Capitol Navigators, Inc. Cardinal Environmental Carhartt

M3 Mayville Engineering Seneca Foods Sentry Insurance Waupaca Foundry

Additional Foundation Sponsors

44 January 2017

Catalyst Exhibits Century Fence Company Certco, Inc. Chippewa County Economic Dev. Corp. Citizens Community Federal N.A. CN Conney Safety Products LLC Constellation Energy Delta Dental of Wisconsin DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC Dirty Ducts Cleaning, Environmental & Insulation Electrical Testing Solutions Elmbrook Rotary Foundation

Enbridge Energy Co., Inc. Energis High Voltage Resources, Inc. Enviro-Safe Consulting, LLC ERCO Worldwide (USA), Inc. Evan & Marion Helfaer Foundation EVCO Plastics Facility Graphic Solutions, Inc. Fehr Graham First Business Trust & Investments Flambeau, Inc. Flexion, Inc. Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce Fox Valley Technical College Georgia-Pacific Godfrey & Kahn Grassland Dairy Products Inc. Greater Tomah Area Chamber of Commerce Ground Floor Packaging GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Hamilton Consulting Group LLC Heritage - Crystal Clean Hooper Corporation Hufcor, Inc. Humana, Inc. Hydrite Chemical Co. Hy-Safe Technology Hy-Test Safety Shoe Service Investors Community Bank ITU AbsorbTech, Inc. J. F. Ahern Co. J. H. Findorff & Son, Inc. Johnson Financial Group Johnsonville Sausage, LLC Kikkoman Foods Foundation, Inc. Kikkoman Foods, Inc. kinziegreen marketing group Kramer Business Service, Inc. L & S Electric, Inc. Lakeshore Technical College Lighthouse Safety LLC Madison Gas and Electric Company Magid Manitoba Hydro Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry Marshfield Clinic Master Lock Company Med Compass Mobile Health Services Mercury Marine Metals Service Center Institute Ryerson

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP Middleton Chamber of Commerce Miron Construction Company, Inc. Mr. Philip J. Hendrickson Nasco International, Inc. Nichols Paper Products Company North American Crane Certification LLC North Shore Environmental Construction, Inc. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce Oshkosh Corporation Defense Plymouth Foam, Inc. Power/mation Practical Safety and Health Solutions LLC Prevea Health Pro Safety Inc. ProtectEar USA Protective Coating Specialists, Inc. QPS Employment Group Quality Lockout LLC Relief in a Box, LLC Rice Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Rogan’s Shoes, Inc. Sauk County Institute of Leadership Schenck S.C. School Choice Wisconsin, Inc. Seats Incorporated Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc. Sentry Equipment Corp. Sesco, LLC SGS Galson Showa Best Glove, Inc. Skana Aluminum Co Skyward, Inc. Slinger High School Smith & Gesteland Society Insurance, a Mutual Company Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Stellar Stevens Construction Corp. Suttner Accounting, Inc. Teel Plastics, Inc.

The Chamber of Manitowoc County The George Kress Foundation, Inc. The Odyssey Project The Vollrath Company L.L.C. TPADA Tweet Garot Mechanical Contractors Tyndale Company Tyson Foods UW Whitewater Vanderloop Shoes, Inc. Veolia Environmental Services Solid Waste Verona Safety Supply, Inc. Vogel Bros. Building Co. Vorpahl Fire & Safety Walmart Stores, Inc. Wegner CPAs Werner Electric Supply Co. West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges & Universities Wisconsin Center For Manufacturing & Productivity Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Wisconsin Energy Corporation Wisconsin Focus on Energy Wisconsin Hospital Association Wisconsin Insurance Alliance Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association Workplace Solutions, a Division of Orthopedic & Spine Therapy WPPI Energy Xcel Energy Zero Zone, Inc.

January 2017 45

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Business Leaders Optimistic About U.S. Economy, Trump Presidency


isconsin business leaders begin 2017 very optimistic about both the direction of the U.S. economy and what a Donald Trump presidency means for the business climate, according to a survey conducted in late last year by WMC. Sixty percent of the 270 Wisconsin business leaders surveyed said the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, a sharp reversal from just six months ago when 84 percent said the U.S. economy was headed in the wrong direction. Not coincidentally, 78 percent of respondents said they were either optimistic (54%) or very optimistic (24%) about what a Trump presidency means for business. The business community’s optimism also extends to the state level, where 90 percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, up from 80 percent in June and 79 percent a year ago.

“Business leaders predict more hiring during the first six months of 2017.” A majority (66%) of survey respondents rate the Wisconsin economy as “moderate,” 23 percent say it is “strong,” and just 1.4 percent said it is “very strong.” Eight percent rated the Wisconsin economy as “weak” or “very weak.” Sixty-five percent predict the Wisconsin economy will experience “moderate” growth during the next six months, up from 49 percent in the summer. Just 29 percent say the state’s economy will be “flat,” down from 49 percent.

The U.S. economy received lower ratings than Wisconsin, but better than six months ago. For example, last summer, 46 percent of respondents called the U.S. economy “weak” or “very weak.” That number dropped to 26 percent, while the number of business-people rating the national economy as “moderate” increased from 45 percent six months ago to 65 percent today. Just 7.7 percent of respondents rate the U.S. economy as “strong” and no one rated it as “very strong.” Sixty-five percent said the U.S. economy will experience “moderate” growth during the first six months of the year, while five percent predict the economy will see “good” growth. Eighty-four percent say their business was profitable in the last half of 2016 and 90 percent say they will be profitable during the first six months of 2017, up from 87 percent in summer. Business leaders predict more hiring during the first six months of 2017. Fifty-eight percent plan to add staff, the highest number since January 2015. Six months ago, 42 percent of survey respondents planned to add employees. Continuing recent trends, labor availability is the top public policy concern facing Wisconsin, according to the survey, followed by rising health care costs and excessive regulations. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said the one thing state government could do to improve Wisconsin’s business climate is reduce regulations, 21 percent said reduce taxes and 19 percent said make health care more affordable. When asked in an open-ended

section of the survey, “what is the most important thing President-Elect Trump should do in his first 100 days in office to grow the U.S. economy?”, reduce regulations, reform the Affordable Care Act, lower taxes and tap domestic energy were the most frequent response. n

HEALTH CARE COSTS RISING Fifty-nine percent of CEOs who completed the WMC economic survey say the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a negative impact on their employees, while nearly the same percentage (60%) blame ACA for rising health care costs. Ninety-two percent of those surveys said they offer health care benefits to their employees and 70 percent said their costs will increase in 2017. Forty-four percent said their costs will rise between one and 10 percent, while 27 percent projected a between 11 and 20 percent increase. Sixty-four percent said ACA has forced changes to the plan they offer. Seventy percent have increased deductibles, 50 percent have increased co-pays and 46 percent have increased co-insurance.

January 2017 47


From Accidental Tourist To Chamber Director By Joy Gieseke Chamber Director, Mineral Point


another. The direct impacts are obvious — lodging, restaurants, shopping, gas stations and attractions. Less obvious are those local businesses that may not benefit from tourist dollars, but whose business is certainly affected by sales and service to businesses whose livelihood is directly impacted — the hardware store, the pharmacy, the medical clinics and all those “local” businesses. Beyond the direct and indirect impact, there is still more reason to encourage tourism. According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, in 2015 tourism businesses accounted for 8 percent of the total statewide employment. This is referred to as induced impact, the local spending of those employees. It is also worth noting that CHAMBER FUN FACTS without the tax revenue generated Mineral Point by tourist spending, Wisconsin households would have to pay Nestled in the Driftless Region of the state, Mineral Point is home to over 500 contributing an additional $640 just to historic structures. maintain the current level of government services, this again Continuing its tradition in history, according to the Department restoration, and the arts, “Point” is also of Tourism. birthplace of Password game show host,

am fortunate to live in a community that I love. This is not my place of birth, but it has become my hometown. How did that happen? I was an accidental tourist. Though I thought it was at the time, my story is not unique. I stumbled upon Mineral Point after reading a brief paragraph in a travel publication. A short detour later and I was hooked. It took me eight months to make this home; others have gone so far as to buy a building on their first trip though town. Tourism has had a profound effect on the vitality of our little town. Not all are as dramatic as the tourist who visits the local real estate office and becomes a resident, but those stories are not uncommon. Our downtown is filled with all kinds of businesses, and each is impacted by tourism in one way or

Alan Ludden (former husband of Betty White), and was home of actor Vincent Price’s greatgrandparents. Today, Mineral Point thrives with its many mom and pop stores, artists’ galleries, Opera House, Pendarvis State Park, and the state’s oldest railroad depot, built in 1856, which houses the award-winning Mineral Point Railroad Museum. Top corner photo by Ben Russell

48 January 2017


ll of this adds up to a community whose economy is made more vibrant because people visit us and experience something worth coming back for. The sense of place in our community is pervasive, and we have been called “pathologically friendly.” By the way, we take that as a compliment.

The story of Mineral Point cannot be told without references to the architecture that has been preserved by sheer determination and to the generations of creative people who are living the life that fulfills them. Our community strives to be authentic.

“According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, in 2015 tourism businesses accounted for 8 percent of total statewide employment.” We have not forgotten our history, we have embraced newcomers, and we have persevered through the ups and downs of economic cycles. And now for the rest of the story — it takes more than tourism. It never fails to amaze me when I hear of people who have lived their entire lives in their community and still have not visited local attractions or shopped in stores that others travel miles and miles to see. We can all do a better job of shopping locally and supporting our neighbors whose very livelihood depends upon it. It has become too easy to go to the computer or grab the phone and hop online even before checking if items are available locally. We know the facts about how many times a dollar turns over in the community; we know that shopping locally is important. We even know how enjoyable it is to be treated like a real person, instead of an online order. It just takes practice and it takes a community working together and sharing in the responsibility of growth. n








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Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award 2016

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If you are a family business in Wisconsin doing great things like creating jobs and supporting your community, we want to hear your story. The Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards highlight the accomplishments and contributions of family businesses making an impact on the Wisconsin business community. Deadline for nominations is March 31, 2017. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2017 at the award banquet at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. For more information and nomination forms, visit

Smith & Gesteland


accountants & consultants


January 2017 49

Wisconsin Business Voice - Jan. 2017