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January 2012: Issue 1

Official magazine of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

Courage Under Fire An exclusive interview with Governor Scott Walker

Inside:  Manufacturers’ Tax Credit Democracy is a Fragile Institution Rep. Barca: Focus on Job Creation Tackling the Workforce Paradox

Proud Member


Business Voice In this issue

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Fiscal Sanity Begins or Ends in Wisconsin

Kurt R. Bauer, WMC’s new president, talks about the high stakes of intimidating politicians who show courage in the face of adversity.

WMC Welcomes Incoming Board Chair

Todd Teske, Chairman, President & CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation, shares his insights of the comparison between running a business and coaching a team.

Democracy is a Fragile Institution

WMC Senior Vice President James Buchen talks about the real threat of recall elections in Wisconsin today.

Business Day in Madison

The 2012 Business Day in Madison event will be February 16. Energy expert Robert Bryce, economist Todd Buchholz, and communications consultant Frank Luntz headline this year’s event.

Competitive Edge: Wisconsin Takes Aim at Regulations

Scott Manley, WMC’s Environmental and Energy Policy Director, talks about the importance of the rulemaking reforms to Wisconsin’s economy.

Where are the Jobs?

WMC Foundation President Jim Morgan dissects the workforce skills gap and introduces a new focus for WMC.

Manufacturers’ Tax Credit

WMC’s Director of Tax and Transportation Policy, Jason Culotta, details the newly passed Manufacturers’ Tax Credit.

WMC: 100 Years of Winning for Business


WMC celebrated 100 years in 2011 and presented a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that will help shape the future of business in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award Nominees

The 24th Annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year award program announces the 2011 nominees.

Feature: Governor Walker Walks the Line

16 19 20 22 24

Welcome to Wisconsin Business Voice As a business leader in Wisconsin, you know our state’s future success is dependent on job creators like you. WMC shares that opinion and is committed to making Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation for business and industry. The value of the free enterprise system, and its positive impact on our collective quality of life, is a story that needs to be told with regularity to elected officials, the media, and the general public. Business Voice is our latest vehicle for delivering that message. You probably know WMC for our issue and political advocacy efforts in support of pro-business, free market ideals. WMC also runs programs that teach high school students and educators about Wisconsin’s economy, we are the leader in workplace safety training, and we help advance Wisconsin’s local chambers of commerce in their roles as community business leaders. This new quarterly magazine aims to help businesses meet the challenges of our changing marketplace. We will update you on current issues at the state and federal levels, offer insight on what other businesses are doing to stay competitive, and provide strategy and trend analysis – all designed to help you stay ahead in this global economy. Drop me a note if there is something you would like to see covered in an issue of Business Voice or if you have comments on anything you see in this magazine. I would love to hear your feedback!

Governor Scott Walker has seen a tumultuous first year in office. He talks candidly about the protests, the victories, and the potential for recall.

Business Best Practices in Environmental Sustainability

Springs Window Fashions in Middleton is one of Wisconsin’s companies leading the way to environmental sustainability and saving a lot of money by doing so.

WMC and UW: International Internship Program

Katy Ryder Pettersen Editor, Wisconsin Business Voice

WMC’s intern program reaches across the ocean to work with executives from China.

STEMing Our Workforce

Rebecca Hogan, WMC’s Director of Health and Human Resources Policy, focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math to lead in recession recovery.

The Importance of a Safety Audit

Many companies may have parts of safety programs in place, but a thorough safety audit will help to ensure those parts equal the whole.

Job Creation and Job Training Demand Urgent Focus

State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), Assembly Minority Leader, shares his insights on Wisconsin’s focus on job creation.

Wisconsin Business Voice is the official publication of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. This publication is proudly printed on Wisconsin paper. Published quarterly by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce with editorial and executive offices at 501 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 258-3400. Postmaster: send address changes to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, P.O. Box 352, Madison, WI 53701-0352. Kurt Bauer, WMC President/CEO Katy Ryder Pettersen, Editor ( Jane Sutter, Designer (

Fiscal Sanity in the United States Begins or Ends in Wisconsin Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO


he stakes in the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and Republican members of the state senate are higher than most realize. There is more to lose than reversing the remarkable progress we have made by balancing the state budget and improving Wisconsin’s business climate.

Don’t get me wrong. Protecting the fiscally responsible and businessfriendly reforms enacted over the last 12 months is critical. But what is happening in Wisconsin has much broader implications for our nation. While the recall organizers claim a litany of trumped-up grievances against Governor Walker and GOP lawmakers, the real sin in their eyes was ending compulsory public sector union membership and state-administered dues collection. That reform was like Delilah cutting off Samson’s hair. It removed the unions’ source of strength by eliminating the guaranteed revenue that was used to support the election of pro-union politicians. Those grateful politicians then negotiated salary and benefit packages with the very union leaders who helped get them elected. It was a cozy circular relationship. There was something in it for everyone, except taxpayers who weren’t really represented at the negotiating table, but were stuck with the tab for the rapid expansion of government caused by the mutual back-scratching. Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of limited government, advocated “starving the beast.” In other words, limit the growth of government by choking off its funding. Walker’s reform did precisely that by taking money and power away from Big Government’s strongest ally; the public sector unions. No one should be surprised by the unions’ tantrumlike backlash. The recall effort has two objectives. The first is to punish Walker and the lawmakers

who voted for the reform. The second, and the reason national labor unions have gotten involved, is to scare other politicians anywhere around the country who may have otherwise considered following Walker’s lead. All but a handful of state governments face the same budgetary shortfalls Walker confronted when he took office last January. And just like in Wisconsin, the easy choices are gone. Politicians are left with only tough decisions that strike at the heart of the ideological war being waged in the United States to decide the proper size and scope of government. The Tea Party was the opening salvo. Last winter’s massive protest rallies in Madison, the Occupy movement, and now the Walker recall are the inevitable counterattacks. Cut government or increase taxes to protect it? The public sector unions and those who benefit from government’s largess want to take the former off the table by demonstrating what happens to those who try. That’s why the stakes are higher than simply protecting the gains that have made Wisconsin more competitive by eliminating chronic budget deficits and encouraging businesses to stay, grow, and perhaps even relocate here. The federal government owes $15 trillion and that doesn’t even include the debt carried by state and municipal governments or their pension funds. The cost of bloated government at all levels and the debt it has incurred are a major drag to America’s global competitiveness and private sector job growth. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that has failed to comprehend the lessons of the European debt crisis. We need elected leaders who can be bold and courageous - two traits already not often associated with politicians. Walker is the role model. But, the recalls are designed to intimidate politicians into being obedient to the power of the public unions, which will make confronting our national debt crisis all the more difficult. BV

Follow Bauer on Twitter @Kurt_R_Bauer 2

WMC’s New Coach: Todd Teske is Ready to Rally the Team By Becky Nelson


riggs & Stratton Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Todd Teske has made many solid business decisions that have ensured his company’s success. Still, so much depends on the weather. Last year’s snowfalls and hurricanes helped drive sales for the Wauwatosabased producer of small gasoline engines, generators and lawn equipment. At the same time, a probusiness mindset in Wisconsin restored hope for many manufacturers. As he takes the reigns as Board Chair of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce later this month, Teske wants to create a better climate for Wisconsin businesses, and in turn, a better life and greater opportunities for its residents.

times. “Being open and honest really helps us move forward as a team,” he said. Like many Wisconsin companies, Briggs & Stratton has remained conservative, building up reserves on the balance sheet. “There are a lot of CEOs, me included, who would love to see demand increase and add capacity here in the United States. The problem is, we are all competing on a global platform, and you’ve got to make sure you’re investing in places that are most attractive for business. That’s where WMC can help,” Teske said. He is encouraged by the “tremendous amount of energy” that WMC President /CEO Kurt Bauer brings.

“Having a healthy business environment is so important to how the state operates,” he said. “Lawmakers and regulators need to hear about what’s happening and how they can help us manage our way through challenges.”

“Kurt has built on a lot of good work that recently retired WMC President & CEO Jim Haney has done over the years and has generated renewed interest in WMC,” said Teske, who served on the search committee.

Teske joined Briggs & Stratton as assistant controller 15 years ago, after nine years as a certified public accountant at Arthur Andersen.

Teske joined the WMC Board of Directors to be an advocate for major corporations facing global pressures as well as the small businesses that are vital to the communities they serve.

He earned his MBA and worked his way up through the ranks. He became chief executive when John Shiely retired in October 2010.

junior, a swimmer named to the Wisconsin Scholastic All-America Team. Their son, C.J., is a freshman who plays basketball and baseball. In addition to participating in sports, the family rarely misses seeing the Packers play or attending other games around the state. BV

Nelson is a Madison-based freelance writer.

WMC Officers Chair Thomas J. Howatt President & CEO Wausau Paper Corporation

Vice Chair Todd J. Teske Chairman, President & CEO Briggs & Stratton Corporation

President Kurt R. Bauer President/CEO Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

Senior Vice President

“A team has to have trust. If someone can’t trust me to do what I’m supposed to do, the team isn’t as strong as it should be,” he said.

In addition to his work with WMC, he is the co-chair of Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE), an effort to create a design, innovation and technology cluster. He serves on the boards of Badger Meter, Inc.; Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc.; the Boy Scouts of America – Milwaukee Chapter; Lennox International, Inc.; MRA – The Management Association; The Association for Corporate Growth; and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

That has meant writing a company blog and hosting small group lunches to maintain transparency during tough

He and his wife, Kim, have been married for more than 21 years. Their daughter, Taylor, is a high school

For a complete listing of WMC Board Members visit

A lifelong athlete who played baseball and basketball at Green Bay Southwest High School and coached his son’s teams, Teske compares his leadership style to team sports.

James A. Buchen Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

Vice President James R. Morgan Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

Secretary Tod B. Linstroth Senior Partner & Past Chair and Member of Management Committee Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Treasurer Timothy L. Christen Chief Executive Officer Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Wisconsin Business Voice


Legislative Victories in WMC’s 100th Year

Democracy is a Fragile Institution By James Buchen, WMC Senior Vice President

taxes, improvements in education, and more efficient government. A minority opposed this legislation. Democracy works when the minority accepts the will of the majority. In this case the minority took the position that they were “right” so democracy could not be allowed to function on this issue. They worked to block the functioning of the legislature until they got their way.

Manufacturers tax credit

This tax credit nearly eliminates income taxes paid on income generated from manufacturing in Wisconsin. The plan will dramatically reduce income tax liability for manufacturers and make Wisconsin an attractive place to create high-wage manufacturing jobs.

Controlling wage and benefit spending

This historic comprehensive collective bargaining reform will help state and local governments control spending, and will diminish the strength and power of public employee unions in Wisconsin.

Encouraging reinvestment in Wisconsin Now there is a 100 percent exclusion for capital gains reinvested in a Wisconsin business within 180 days of the sale of the asset generating the gain, and a 100 percent exclusion for gains from the sale of a Wisconsin capital asset held for at least five years.

Job creation tax credit expansion

This expands the job creation tax credit to $4,000 per new employee for companies with less than $5 million in payroll and $2,000 per new employee for companies with more than $5 million in payroll.

Tax deduction for HSAs

There is now state tax deductibility for health savings accounts to help employers and employees control health care costs.

Comprehensive lawsuit reform

These comprehensive reforms ensure businesses are protected from frivolous lawsuits. For more victories, visit



hile most of us take the basic functioning of our democratic institutions for granted, the reality is successful democracies are relatively rare in the world today. And no country in human history has maintained a democratic form of government for as long as we have in the United States. The reason is that it is hard to get a group of people to accept the idea that a majority of 51 percent of them can impose their will on the remaining 49 percent, even if the minority is fundamentally opposed to the ideas of the majority. As a result, democracies are hard to start and even harder to maintain. To see how basic democratic institutions can be stretched to the breaking point, one need look no further than recent events here in Madison. When the legislature and the Governor attempted to reform state collective bargaining laws to rein in public employee unions, the basic functioning of our democracy broke down. The public employee unions and their allies in the legislature and elsewhere stormed the Capitol and brought the normal functioning of the legislature to a halt. They occupied the Capitol, threatened legislators, disrupted meetings, blocked entrances, and shouted down speakers. Then a minority of sympathetic legislators fled the state to prevent a vote on the bill. This orchestrated campaign of disruption was designed to reverse the basic democratic concept of majority rule. In this case a majority of the legislature, elected by a majority of the people, were attempting to pass a bill they felt responded to the will of their constituents, most of whom want lower

Fortunately, the majority held firm and did not allow Wisconsin government to descend into chaos. While the issue of collective bargaining for public employees is important, and there are strong feelings on both sides, what was and is really at stake here is the basic functioning of democracy in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the campaign to disrupt the normal functioning of Wisconsin government continues with recall elections targeting Governor Walker and certain Republican Senators. The recall mechanism was put into the Wisconsin Constitution in 1926 to allow voters to remove someone from public office who had engaged in some form of misconduct. At the time, the requirement that petitioners collect signatures equal to 25 percent of the voters in the previous election, to trigger a recall, was a significant threshold. Today, in the era of instant communication and paid political operatives it becomes relatively easy to identify enough disgruntled voters to meet the threshold. That’s why the national unions and their Wisconsin allies are pursuing recall every chance they get. They are trying to disrupt orderly democracy and intimidate elected officials in an effort to thwart the will of the majority. If they succeed, one has to wonder if we truly have a democracy or something closer to mob rule. We need to stand up for Wisconsin and stand with our duly elected Governor and Senators. We simply cannot allow a vocal minority, through threats and intimidation, rule the day. It’s time to get involved, contribute, and most importantly, vote! BV

Business Day in Madison February 16, 2012


n 2012, America will decide if we stay the course or go in a new direction. Dominating the landscape will be the economy, the price of energy, and the elections – the three E’s of America’s future. This year’s Business Day in Madison event will give business leaders from all sectors of the economy the opportunity to hear from experts and share ideas to shape the debate.

“Hope and Change” by Todd Buchholz

Hope and Change were the two watchwords of President Obama’s totemic 2008 election campaign. Today, with public debt exceeding $14 trillion, a potential trade-war with China on the horizon and - across the Atlantic - the Eurozone staring into the precipice, the United States economy needs a large dose of both. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, the political environment in which he now operates is less than propitious for a man with little more than 12 months to convince the American electorate that he has what it takes to save the economy. Since the 2010 mid-terms, the Republican Party has controlled the House of Representatives, whilst Democrat control of the Senate hangs by a thread. An extraordinary and dangerous row over White House plans to raise the debt ceiling in July of this year brought the world’s largest economy to the brink of bankruptcy, whilst other major spending programs including the president’s health care bill and his jobs bill have run into major political difficulties. Beyond Capitol Hill, the anti-debt backlash known as the Tea Party movement has grown from a widely dismissed coterie of right-wing ‘fanatics’ into a major political force that any political leader dismisses at their peril. Todd Buchholz, former Director of Economic Policy at the White House, and economics professor at Harvard University is a featured speaker at Business Day in Madison. Excerpt taken from transcript, HJS Event: “Obama’s America: Change or Chaos?” October 20, 2011. Todd Buchholz has written articles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Reader’s Digest. His editorials in The Wall Street Journal correctly forecasted the 2001 slowdown in the United States.

To Attend


oin us at Business Day in Madison at the

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Thursday, February 16 to hear more from energy expert Robert Bryce, economist Todd Buchholz, and Frank Luntz, pollster and communications consultant

“Five Truths about Climate Change” by Robert Bryce

It’s time to acknowledge five obvious truths about the climate-change issue: 1. The carbon taxers/limiters have lost. 2. Regardless of whether it’s getting hotter or colder – or both – we are going to need to produce a lot more energy in order to remain productive and comfortable. 3. The carbon-dioxide issue is not about the United States anymore. 4. We have to get better – and we are – at turning energy into useful power. 5. The science is not settled, not by a long shot. It’s time to move the debate past the dogmatic view that carbon dioxide is evil, and toward a world view that accepts the need for energy that is cheap, abundant and reliable.

and author.

Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, energy expert, author, and journalist, is a featured speaker at Business Day in Madison. (608) 258-3400

Excerpt taken from “The Wall Street Journal, Opinion” October 16, 2011. Robert Bryce’s latest book, “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” (PublicAffairs 2010), recently issued in paperback.

Wisconsin Business Voice




Competitive Edge: Wisconsin Takes Aim at Regulations By Scott Manley, WMC Director of Environmental & Energy Policy

issue new regulations without a single elected official having to approve. In fact, state agencies were able to pass 99.9 percent of regulations into law over the past 20 years without intervention by the Legislature. The days of unabated agency regulations are over.


ow much do regulations matter to businesses?

When WMC surveyed CEOs on this topic last year, 97 percent said Wisconsin regulations are more costly than other states, and 72 percent said our regulations significantly impact their ability to retain employees. The high cost of regulation is not unique to Wisconsin government. Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board have recently adopted rules that will add significant cost, uncertainty, and complexity to the day-to-day operation of American businesses. What can be done to rein in regulations and give lawmakers a better understanding of the related costs? Governor Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers enacted a bold package of regulatory reforms earlier this year that hold unelected bureaucrats accountable to the law with enhanced transparency and oversight in the rulemaking process. These reforms are a game changer for Wisconsin’s regulatory climate, and will likely serve as a template for other states to follow. The new law, known as Act 21, places the Governor in the position of regulatory gatekeeper by allowing him to veto new regulations. In the past, agencies were allowed to


When agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources or Department of Workforce Development want new regulations, they must now first get the permission of the Governor. If the Governor disapproves, the regulation cannot move forward.

impacts on specific sectors of our economy, impacts on jobs, and impacts to our overall economic competitiveness. The law also requires agencies to quantify a regulation’s benefits, and consider alternative approaches to regulation – including the alternative to not regulate at all. Forcing agencies to consider the costs and benefits of regulation will lead to better public policy. It will also give lawmakers and the general public more in-depth information when evaluating the appropriateness of proposed rules.

“These reforms are a game changer for Wisconsin’s regulatory climate, and will likely serve as a template for other states Governor Walker and to follow.” the Republican Legislature

Placing an elected official like the Governor directly into the rulemaking process will afford voters a greater opportunity to voice concerns about proposed regulations before they become law. Another key feature of Wisconsin’s regulatory reform law will give lawmakers and the general public a much better understanding of the cost of proposed regulations. Every new regulation will now require a detailed cost-benefit analysis that examines the regulation’s impact on our economy. Prior to Act 21, agencies gave very little consideration to the cost regulations have on the businesses and individuals who were forced to comply. The law now requires a robust analysis of the economic cost to businesses, including

are acutely aware that regulations matter. They understand how the cost and complexity of regulations profoundly impact the daily operations of businesses, and they’ve responded with an aggressive set of reforms. Transparency, accountability, and oversight are the “new normal” for Wisconsin’s regulatory climate. BV

WMC’s James Buchen, standing, third from left, at a recent bill signing.

Where are the Jobs?

By Jim Morgan, WMC Vice President & WMC Foundation President


isconsin, along with much of the nation, currently faces a workforce paradox – unemployment rates higher than most current workers can remember, and manufacturers limited by their ability to find skilled workers. The mismatch between what people want to do, or what others have told them they should do, and the needs of the current workforce do not jibe. We all know the story. In high schools, a key measure of success is the percent of students going to a four-year institution, ignoring the fact that many suggest only about 30 percent of the jobs will require a four-year degree. As parents, we are guilty of more likely equating “success” with a four-year degree (in anything!) than we are with gainful employment in a good-paying career that our children are passionate about. In changing the conversation about manufacturing, we all need to tell stories that enlighten the citizenry about careers in one of Wisconsin’s leading business sectors – a “super-sector” – manufacturing. One of the WMC Foundation’s most successful programs is Business World. Over the past 30 years, it has introduced more than 14,000 high school students and 2,500 educators from around Wisconsin to business, entrepreneurism, and our state’s economy. For educators, the experience includes time in

manufacturing facilities. I will never forget the exchange that took place between one of our educators and a line worker during a plant tour. The educator had watched the machinist for an extended period of time and eventually engaged the employee in conversation. She asked, “How can you do this EVERY day?” Without directly answering her question, he politely asked, “What do you do?” She said, “I am a 7th grade teacher.” With a slight grin, he responded, “How can you do THAT every day?”

words, if all the manufacturers shut down tomorrow, we would be out 1.1 million jobs and $53 billion in earnings. That data is well worth considering in career decision-making.

The small group of educators that had gathered to hear the discussion all chuckled, but it drove home a point that none of them will ever forget. Not everyone has the same pursuits, and we should celebrate that diversity rather than try to force everyone to conform to our interests. That machinist and that 7th grade teacher were both extremely proud to be doing what they were doing. And neither would have traded their career for the other. This is absolutely critical for parents, educators, and counselors to keep in mind as they help young people blaze their future career path.

So now when people ask, “Where are the jobs?” You can be prepared to answer, “Manufacturing!” BV

Every young person, in fact every person, should be allowed to follow their passion. I firmly believe that, and have seen it in my own kids. However, we owe it to each other to tie that passion to reality when it comes to education and careers. Young people, especially, need to be aware of the viability of the career they are pursuing. What are the employment projections for my career choice? What education do I need to get there? What will it cost? Will it pay off? A recent study done by the National Chamber Foundation identified the manufacturing sector as being directly or indirectly responsible for 35 percent of all employment in Wisconsin. In other

No one should be discouraged from their passion. However, equally important, no one should be deprived of critical information that leads to a good life decision. As parents, business people, educators, counselors, and friends we would be well-served in advancing today’s manufacturing as a career choice for today’s job seekers.

Workforce Skills Shortage: Be Part of the Solution


he WMC Foundation has been surveying businesses across Wisconsin to determine common causes and solutions to the workforce paradox. Join us on Thursday, March 15 at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison for the Workforce Skills Shortage Conference, and be part of the solution. Visit for more information and to register.

Wisconsin Business Voice



Wisconsin to Benefit from Manufacturers’ Tax Credit By Jason Culotta, WMC Director of Tax and Transportation Policy


s the result of efforts by WMC and pro-jobs policymakers, a new tax credit will nearly eliminate the state tax burden for many manufacturers. Wisconsin has long been home to a strong manufacturing sector. In fact, Wisconsin and Indiana consistently top national rankings as the strongest states for manufacturing. Given that manufacturing is truly the “super-sector” of employment in Wisconsin, strengthening this core pillar of our state economy should top the list of agenda items for policymakers. Thankfully, Governor Scott Walker and legislators made sure improvements in tax policy, tort reform, and reducing the regulatory burden were all adopted this year. The new manufacturers’ tax credit was drafted by Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and included as part of the pro-jobs reform agenda. The goal of the credit is to not tax employers for their manufacturing activity in Wisconsin. Using an existing definition in federal law, policymakers were able to tie the tax credit to in-state facilities. When fully phased in, the credit will equal 7.5 percent of a company’s “qualified production activities income” derived from manufacturing property located in the state. At full phase-in, this credit will nearly offset the state’s 7.9 percent corporate income tax rate.


By using the existing definition under the federal tax code for “qualified production activities income,” manufacturers will have greater certainty determining the amount of the credit. There will be less need (and less ability) for state taxing authorities to tinker with the calculation of the credit. I have already begun to receive calls from businesses interested in information on who can claim the credit. The credit will be available to corporations, individuals, estates, and trusts, as well as members, partners, and shareholders of pass-through entities such as limited liability companies, partnerships, and tax option S-corporations. While we would like to see the credit take immediate effect, budget constraints on the state mean it will be implemented over a four-year period. In 2013, manufacturers will be able to claim a credit equal to 1.875 percent of their qualified production activities income derived from Wisconsin manufacturing facilities. The amount of the credit increases in 2014 and 2015 to 3.75 percent and 5.526 percent, respectively. Finally, in 2016 the credit will be fully phased in at 7.5 percent. Any amount of the credit not used to offset state income or franchise taxes may be carried forward and used to offset future tax liabilities for up to 15 years. Adopting this tax reform is a big victory for manufacturing and will ultimately lead to more family-supporting Wisconsin jobs. Combined with the exemption for manufacturing and equipment adopted earlier, Wisconsin will be well-positioned to be the nation’s leading manufacturing state for years to come. BV

Tax Credit Details

The WMC-backed manufacturers’ tax credit, which will be phased in over a period of four years beginning in 2013, will virtually eliminate the tax on income derived from manufacturing activity in Wisconsin. The credit will be phased in as follows:


1.875 %


3.75 %


5.526 %


7.5 %


Unused tax credit amounts could be carried forward up to 15 years to offset future tax liabilities. The credit will reduce personal and corporate income tax collections by:  $10,100,000 in fiscal year


 $44,200,000 in 2013-14;  $72,300,000 in 2014-15;

 $104,400,000 in 2015-16;

 $128,700,000 in fiscal year

2016-17 and thereafter.

WMC Celebrates 100 Years: 1911-2011 W

isconsin Manufacturers and Commerce celebrated 100 years of winning for business in 2011. To mark the occasion, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commissioned an in-depth analysis of creating economic prosperity in Wisconsin and improving the state’s business climate. “This report provides a roadmap for the Legislature and the Governor as they move forward to continue to make Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO. “We have made great strides, and we can do so much more. And, critical to our state’s success is to continue to defend and promote manufacturing because so many jobs come from manufacturing.” During the Madison event, the report’s author, Delore Zimmerman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce researcher with Praxis, presented the research to Governor Walker and more than 250 business leaders. Doug Loon, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President, discussed Wisconsin’s business climate from a national perspective, and business executives on the panel commented on the research and shared their thoughts on job creation.

“State leaders should do everything possible to support current manufacturers,” the report says. Wisconsin has 88 percent more manufacturing concentration than the typical state. “Manufacturing N N leads the way as the state’s most I I N GF W OR OF S competitive industry.”

Neenah event panel from left: Dan Ariens, President & CEO of Ariens Company; Aaron Powell, Vice President, Comprehensive Computer Consulting; Paul Jadin, Secretary, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; Rebecca Kleefish, Lieutenant Governor; and William Parsons, President, Palmer Johnson Enterprises, Inc.


100 YE



Wisconsin’s business climate improved in 2011, but continued reforms are needed to make the state a jobcreating powerhouse and special attention is needed to promote manufacturing job For more information on the Growing creation, according Wisconsin report, visit to the report by the U.S. Chamber’s National Chamber Foundation. Growing Wisconsin highlights the actions Wisconsin has taken over the past year to improve competitiveness.

Madison event panel from left: Aaron Powell, Vice President, Comprehensive Computer Consulting; William Parsons, President, Palmer Johnson Enterprises, Inc.; Michael Salsieder, President/General Counsel, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, Company, Inc.; Kurt Bauer, President/ CEO, WMC; Governor Scott Walker; Doug Loon, Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Dr. Delore Zimmerman, Co-founder, President and CEO, Praxis Strategy Group.



1 - 2011

Waukesha event panel from left: Larry Rambo, Senior Executive for Strategic Partnerships, Humana Inc.; Aaron Powell, Vice President, Comprehensive Computer Consulting; Rebecca Kleefish, Lieutenant Governor; Jim Winistorfer, President, Modern Equipment; and Paul Jadin, Secretary, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Wisconsin Business Voice


WMC at Home & on the Road Mark Neumann Visits WMC

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mark Neumann (center) meets with WMC executives and government relations team to discuss current business issues.

U.S. Senator Johnson’s Listening Session at WMC

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R – Wisconsin) stopped by the WMC office in October with an update of federal issues. Pictured here is James Buchen, WMC Senior Vice President (left), Senator Johnson (center), and Kurt Bauer, WMC President/CEO (right).

WSC and OSHA Safety Meetings The Wisconsin Safety Council held a series of free OSHA construction safety meetings in Madison. At this event focusing on Fall Protection, John Corriveau from Lighthouse Safety, LLC demonstrated the practical aspects of complying with OSHA’s requirements for fall protection in construction. These free events will continue into 2012. Visit for complete information.


Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Representative Reid Ribble

WMC hosted a town hall meeting with freshman U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (R – Appleton) this fall in Appleton. Ribble is the author of legislation that would impose a moratorium on all new pending federal regulations. Business leaders from multiple sectors shared their thoughts on economic uncertainty caused by the federal government policies such as runaway regulations, government spending, and the federal healthcare mandates. Rep. Ribble is pictured here (right) with Kurt Bauer, WMC President/CEO.

Chamber Regional Meetings

Through its Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, WMC conducted a series of regional meetings in fall 2011 for local chamber of commerce executives. WMC Vice President Jim Morgan covered the results of the recent Chamber Economic Outlook Survey showing a positive trend in the number of chambers who feel their communities will see moderate growth in 2012. WMC Director of Tax and Transportation Policy Jason Culotta, who worked in the Governor’s office during the transition from Governor Doyle to Walker, discussed the gubernatorial transition from an insider’s view, and talked about current state legislative issues affecting local communities.

Mini Business World The Business World program, a WMC initiative, held a Mini-BW program last November. More than 120 high school students attended this day-long program in Sturgeon Bay.

Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards C

elebrating its 24th year, the Manufacturer of the Year awards program recognizes a diverse array of manufacturers of all sizes and specialties for their contributions to the great state of Wisconsin. Five Grand Awards are given; four in size categories ranging from small to mega companies, and a fifth award for a company excelling at environmentally sustainable practices. The accounting and advisory firm of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, and the business association Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce sponsor the annual awards program. The sponsors will reveal and celebrate the winners at a ceremony February 23, 2012, at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

2011 Nominees

Access Battery, LLC, Milwaukee American Packaging Corporation, Columbus Atlas Resin Proppants, LLC, Taylor Baptista’s Bakery, Inc., Franklin Bell Laboratories, Inc., Madison Berres Brothers, Inc., Watertown Brady Corporation, Milwaukee Cambridge Major Laboratories, Inc., Germantown Edstrom Industries, Inc., Waterford EMT International, Hobart Fiberdome Inc., LLC, Lake Mills Frito Lay, Inc., Beloit Generac Holdings, Inc., Waukesha Grede Holdings, LLC, Menomonee Falls Hanel Corporation, New Berlin HUSCO Automotive Holdings, LLC, Whitewater HWD Acquistion, Inc. d/b/a Hurd Windows & Doors, Medford Imagination Trends, LLC, De Forest iMark Molding, Inc., Woodville JL French Automotive Castings, Inc., Sheboygan Joy Global, Inc., Milwaukee Kaysun Corporation, Manitowoc KHS USA, Inc., Waukesha KLH Industries, Inc., Germantown L.T. Hampel Corp., Germantown Linetec, Wausau

MAG IAS - Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac Maletto Packaging, Inc., Eau Claire MGS Mfg. Group, Inc., Germantown Nelson Container Group, Germantown Northwoods Paper Converting, Inc., Beaver Dam Patriot Taxiway Industries, Inc., Lomira Phillips Plastics Corporation, Hudson Plexus, Neenah Power Test, Inc., Sussex Realityworks, Eau Claire SCA Tissue North America, Neenah Schwabe North America, Green Bay Sign Effectz, Inc., Milwaukee Solaris, Inc., West Allis Springs Window Fashions, LLC, Middleton Spuncast, Inc., Watertown Stoughton Trailers, LLC, Stoughton Superior Diesel, Inc., Rhinelander TLX Technologies, LLC, Waukesha Walker Forge, Inc., Clintonville Waukesha Metal Products, Sussex Weldall Mfg., Inc., Waukesha Winsert, Inc., Marinette Wisconsin Film and Bag, Shawano Wiscraft, Inc., Milwaukee WS Packaging Group, Green Bay Xten Industries, Kenosha

Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year (MOTY) award program

A new event to focus on manufacturing will be held the morning after the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year awards dinner. Join WMC on Friday, February 24 at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. 7:00 a.m. Registration and Networking 7:30 Breakfast

8:00 Manufacturing in Wisconsin and Around the World 8:10 8:30

Global Issues Impacting Manufacturing

Threats and Opportunities for Manufacturing in the United States

9:00 Adjourn

Cost is $40 per person. Visit to register for this event. Contact Katy Pettersen with any questions, (608) 258-3400.

Focus on Manufacturing Media Partner

@wimoty BusinessVoice_Jan2012.indd 11

WMC Focus on Manufacturing Breakfast

Wisconsin Business Voice


12/16/2011 3:48:58 PM

courage 12

courage Walker Walks the Line

Governor stands up to the status quo – even if it’s at his own expense By Becky Nelson


ery few are undecided or indifferent. If you live in Wisconsin, you fall into one of two camps.

You think Governor Scott Walker is a courageous and bold political leader who has blocked the expansion of state government and, in the process, faced down a literal angry mob of public employee union members who support big government and the high taxes necessary to feed it.

Or you think Walker is an overreaching, heartless union buster whose budget cuts and collective bargaining reforms threaten the most vulnerable in society and unfairly balance the state’s finances on the backs of public servants. Since he took office a year ago and began a crusade to control government spending and erase more than a decade of chronic multi-billion dollar budget deficits, Scott Walker has become known as one of the most polarizing politicians in recent history. In the process, Walker has become the sworn enemy of progressives and union members, especially those representing public sector employees. They portray him as a puppet of wealthy and corporate interests working against the needs of the lower and middle classes. A majority of business leaders and many local government officials see Walker differently. They appreciate the fact that Walker erased a $3.6 billion deficit during a weak economy without raising taxes, receiving a federal bailout, raiding segregated funds, or using accounting tricks – while also enacting reforms that allowed for little to no local tax increases.

of Forward Janesville. “He understands how cities, states, and nations intensely compete for new investment, and he understands that our brand as a state has been tarnished by years of comparatively high taxation, an aggressive regulatory environment and budget gimmickry.”

A bold move

Beyond the public outcry, Walker has been the target of less publicized, but increasingly uncivil, if not vicious, protests since he introduced his budget repair bill February 11, 2011. He’s faced angry crowds outside his Wauwatosa home, requests to leave restaurants, and hecklers even at out-of-state events. He recalls an incident where someone followed and shouted at his mother and teenage son in a grocery store. Is it simply the price to pay for implementing major reform? “There’s no doubt. If you’re bold and you lead the way, there are going to be defenders of the status quo that will attack you,” Governor Walker said in an exclusive interview with Business Voice. “To me, the personal attacks we’ve seen are largely a reflection of the people and the money that came in from outside the state,” he added. Yet, from the beginning, Wisconsin’s residents were deeply divided over limiting collective bargaining for public employees – an intrepid move in a state that was the first to give public workers such rights in 1959. A poll conducted last March showed 51 percent opposed the budget plan; 46 percent supported it.

“Here’s a problem. Here’s a solution. Let’s fix it.”

“It was downright scary what was happening prior to Governor Walker being elected into office. Changes in the economy were curtailing revenue, but state government spending continued,” said WMC’s incoming Chair Todd Teske, chairman, president & CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. “There is general agreement among business leaders that the Walker administration understands how investment decisions are made in the private sector,” said John Beckord, president

“If we were going to balance the budget without raising taxes or without making devastating cuts to things like Medicaid that affect needy families and children, we ultimately had to make a change in the aid to local governments,” Walker explained. “In order to ensure that those schools and local governments could still provide the core service expected of them, we had to make collective bargaining reforms.” Looking back, Governor Walker said there is just one change he would have made: he would have spent time on a Wisconsin Business Voice


communications campaign in January and early February of last year. “I just looked at this like a small business owner and said, ‘Here’s a problem; here’s a solution. Let’s fix it,’ ” he said. Walker admits that he and his staff underestimated the impact of the national labor unions’ response and the money they were willing to spend – and said they should have been more prepared. By March 11, when the governor signed the budget repair bill into law (Act 10), the backlash had the potential to make him the third sitting governor in the United States to be ousted in a recall election.

Agenda: Job growth

Above, Governor Walker at a company presentation. Below, working with an aide. At right,

on election night. Below right, protestors outside the Capitol. While he wouldn’t single out any one measure as his biggest accomplishment, Brookfield Chamber of Commerce. “Most now feel there is Governor Walker points out that within a renewed effort and interest to improve the business climate less than two months the Legislature passed “probably the and taxes in our state.” most aggressive pro-jobs agenda in the country,” including tort reform, regulatory relief, a manufacturers’ tax credit and “Since Governor Walker took over, we’ve been able to move forming a new economic development corporation. forward with things that would create a better business climate here in the state of Wisconsin – things such as a “I think the fact that we did it, and we did it so quickly, is important because of what it says not only policy-wise, but the no-tax-hike state budget, manufacturers’ tax credits, and job creation tax deductions,” said John Casper, president and message it sends to the job creators that we’re serious. We’re CEO of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce. serious about businesses wanting to come and grow here,” he said. The Oshkosh school district’s property tax levy dropped one Community leaders say Act 10 and other measures are already percent this year. “We have not had to significantly reduce services to the community, so how can you argue with that?” starting to yield positive results. Casper said. “For years, the majority of the business people I have talked In fact, total property taxes for all 424 Wisconsin school with have felt the state has made doing business here very districts statewide declined one percent this year for the first challenging,” said Carol White, president of the Greater time since 2005.

The lower property tax bills are proof that the government spending controls are working, Governor Walker said. Rather than being temporary fixes, they are structural changes “that will make us better for years to come,” he said. Last May, a WMC membership survey showed 88 percent of chief executives felt the state was headed in the right direction, up from 10 percent a year earlier. And just this month, WMC released the results of another survey conducted in December showing that number is even higher - up to 94 percent. “Optimism needs to build before you’re going to see any increase in spending, which is going to create new jobs, which is going to create better economic conditions – so it has to start with optimism,” said


Russell Schieber, vice president of operations support at Brakebush Brothers, Inc. in Westfield, and a business instructor at Madison College.

Goal unchanged

A second special legislative session, which ended in November, resulted in another 14 pieces of probusiness legislation. Critics say the measures are not enough, pointing out the state had a net gain of just under 30,000 jobs last year. But Governor Walker said he has not revised his goal of creating 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by the end of 2014. “Our focal point just means we’ve got to be even more aggressive in creating a better business environment,” he said. Moving forward, he would like to encourage more regulatory streamlining within the state agencies and educational programs that help manufacturers meet the demand for skilled workers.

While business leaders like Kamphuis, who says he’s impressed with the Walker’s “steadfastness and consistency,” are vocal in their support of the governor, he’ll need to rally his silent allies – including municipal leaders, school district superintendents, even public employees – now that the gubernatorial recall effort is underway. “There’s no doubt, if you were to say to any of these local officials, ‘Would you support a bill to repeal the collective bargaining reforms?’ the vast majority of them would say absolutely not,” Walker said. “Now, what would be nice is to have more people having the courage to stand up and say that, because a lot of them feel incredible pressure from some of the unions in their jurisdiction.” The governor has shown continuous, if small, improvements in approval ratings, with 47 percent of voters approving of him in October, compared with 43 percent in May. According to Public Policy Polling, 48 percent of voters wanted to recall Walker; 49 percent were opposed. The only candidate that beat him in the hypothetical recall election was former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who has already said he will not run.

The nation is taking notice of the shift in Wisconsin’s business climate, said Bob Kamphuis, chairman, president and CEO of Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. He cited a recent CEO Magazine survey that ranked Wisconsin the 24th best state for business, up from 41st last year. “At the end of the day, there are a lot of companies looking to bring work back here to the United States. Now’s a great time to be looked upon very favorably, because that’s going to help you continue to grow,” he said.

“When it really gets down to it, I think people realize Governor Walker did what he had to do, and the Legislature did what it needed to do because what we had before was completely unsustainable,” said Casper of Oshkosh. “The majority of the people in this state elected me to be their governor,” Walker said. “So, no matter what happens, I’m going to continue to do what people elected me to do and follow through on my campaign promises.” BV

Nelson is a Madison-based freelance writer.

Wisconsin Business Voice


Innovative Advances in Sustainability By Mike Shoys, WMC Vice President


isconsin businesses exhibit innovation throughout their operations. Whether in production facilities, administrative processes, employee relations, or other areas, Wisconsin companies are recognized worldwide for their best practices which improve quality, efficiency, and competitiveness. The WMC Foundation collects best practices from innovative companies across the state. Manufacturers and service companies alike are leading the way when it comes to environmental sustainability, healthcare, and safety. Springs Window Fashions’ mission is to be the leading provider of fashionable and functional high-quality window treatments that represent value to customers. Springs sets the standard for total quality and superior products through fashion leadership and continuous availability of fresh, new products. Springs has developed “Green by Nature™” business practices that include high-recycling manufacturing facilities, environmentally friendly material harvesting, energy-efficient

window treatments, and healthy-home window treatments. Per Scott Fawcett, president & CEO of Springs Window Fashions, “At Springs Window Fashions, being ‘green’ isn’t just a fad or a label on a product. It’s deeply embedded in both the nature of our company and our window treatments.” This commitment to respecting the earth is a long-term See for more part of the philosophy Wisconsin business Best that guides Springs as Practices. If you’d like to they conduct business. share your Best Practice story, contact Mike Shoys As a socially responsible at company, Springs’ people, processes, and products are all key components of this commitment.” Springs’ corporate approach has become “Green is Lean. Take the waste out of every product, process, and job.” Springs vows that their environmental initiatives will always be connected back to a real consumer need or benefit, and their eco-friendly claims will be supported by solid statistics. Their goal is to minimize the overall environmental impact of the company and products by using recycled, renewable, and reduced content materials over virgin sources, reducing energy usage and waste, and improving air and water efficiency, and indoor air quality. BV

Some accomplishments of Springs’ sustainability efforts include:

Plastic Shade Production

• 43 million pounds of industrial waste generated in the Middleton facility have been recycled and diverted from landfills over the past 10 years.

Virgin Resins

Recycled Materials

• 71 percent reduction in airborne emissions in Middleton since 2000. • 90 million gallons of water are saved every year with the installation of a closed-loop water cooling system for the Middleton plastic extrusion equipment. • A minimum of 44 percent of postconsumer recycled materials is included in the packaging of all Springs Window Fashions’ products.

 Heat Recovery  Water Recycling


 Reduce VOCs by 52% (Air Scrubbers)



• 100 percent of packaging materials are able to be recycled. • Over 4,000 tons of sawdust are recycled annually in a waste-to-energy program in their Grayling, Michigan wood fabrication plant.






2012 Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment Awards Nomination Deadline: Friday, March 16 The Wisconsin Environmental Working Group® is accepting nominations for the 23rd annual Business Friend of the Environment awards. The awards are available to private industry companies headquartered, or with significant operations, in Wisconsin, and are earned annually by companies that demonstrate environmental leadership. Companies are encouraged to selfnominate. Award Categories include: 

Pollution Prevention

Use of Innovative Technology

Environmental Stewardship

Three winners will be selected in each of these three categories. In each category, an award will be given to a company with less than 100 employees, to a company with 100 to 500 employees, and to a company with more than 500 employees.

Environmental Policy and Awards Conference on May 9, 2012, at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee. The winners will be publicized locally and statewide. Winners will be selected by an independent panel of judges representing industry, the Department of Natural Resources, the University of Wisconsin, and environmental groups. Projects must have been completed and/ or operational in the 2011 calendar year. Projects need not have been operational for the entire year, but must have been completed and/or have shown results during 2011. Visit for a nomination form. BV

Business World 30 Years. 14,000 Students. 2,500 Educators.

Business World, a WMC initiative, brings high school students and educators together with business volunteers at a college campus or local business to learn about the challenges facing our economy. This opportunity helps tomorrow’s leaders prepare for their future in today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace.

2011 Summer Programs:  St. Norbert College, De Pere  Edgewood College, Madison  300 students  115 high schools  22 business tours  14 volunteer advisors

2011 Mini Programs: Visit at for additional information. Contact Karen Mahlkuch with any questions, (608) 661-6938,

 Dane County, Sturgeon Bay, Germantown, Wausau  350 students  15 high schools

Winners will be announced and honored at the annual Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Award Criteria While the judges will determine the category for each winning company, the following award criteria are offered as a guideline.

Pollution Prevention Demonstrate waste or pollution minimization through process improvements in waste reduction, recycling or reuse.

Environmental Innovation Demonstrate the creative use of technology or process to improve the environment.

Environmental Stewardship Demonstrate a level of effort that goes beyond what is required by regulation and which indicates a cooperative approach toward improving the environment. Include any community or education outreach programs in which your company is involved.

Wisconsin Business Voice


Coverage that works hard. Like you.

life disability and disability to WMC members. Aetna is is proud proud to tooffer offergroup life and plansplans to WMC members. For more more information information please pleasecontact contactyour yourinsurance insurancebroker: broker or: For Russ Director Member MemberInsurance Insurance Services, Services, WMC WMC800.236.5414 608.661.6928oror Russ Cain, Cain, Director Kate Palm, Sr. Sales Sales Executive, Aetna Aetna612.418.2607. 612.418.2607. ©2011 Aetna Inc. 2011012

Awards and Honors

Dr. Robert R. Spitzer, president emeritus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance. Dr. Spitzer served as President of the Wisconsin Manufacturers’ Association from 1970-1972 when he was the Chairman of the Board of Murphy Products Company, Inc.

Do you have news to share? Send your press releases and company news to

The Wisconsin Safety Council (WSC) earned two awards from the National Safety Council (NSC) at the annual national safety conference in Philadelphia.

Seeking Small Business Committee Members

At right, Paulette Moulos (left), NSC Chief Operating Officer, awards Janie Ritter, Wisconsin Safety Council Director, with the NSC Hall of Fame award in appreciation for outstanding leadership in sales and service when providing safety training and products to Wisconsin companies. WSC also received an Honorable Mention Award in Emergency Medical Response based on the number of employees trained and products sold in Wisconsin compared to other state chapters.

The Small Business Committee is currently seeking nominations of member businesses with less than 100 employees.

WMC’s Small Business Committee has been tasked with keeping Wisconsin’s small business voice strong in front of legislators, members of the administration, and other decision-makers. The Committee also ensures that small businesses are represented in WMC’s legislative agenda and program development.

Contact Amber Schroeder at or (608) 258-3400 to get involved today! 18

WMC’s Connection to China I t was the first snowfall of the season in Madison as Xiaobo Peng sat on the second floor of WMC’s office gazing up East Washington Avenue at the State Capitol building, briefing WMC staff on the complexities of economic development in China. Hubert, as he wished to be known here, worked closely with WMC during a three-week internship as part of the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Center for Asian Studies Minhang District program. During the program’s five years of existence, WMC has accepted four interns from Shanghai who have shadowed our employees and participated in external meetings with government officials, local businesses, and other organizations. We have helped to fulfill their goal of learning how a private business organization works with public institutions to improve the business climate in the state. WMC’s staff have learned a great deal about Chinese economic development strategies and the Chinese culture. Hubert is the Assistant to the Chairman and Deputy Director of Investment Consulting for the Shanghai Xinzhuang Industry Park, one of eight industrial parks in Shanghai. He acts as a liaison between the 480 companies in his industrial park and the Chinese

government. Hubert deals with issues such as environmental regulation, access to technology such as internet and phone service, finding skilled workers, and workplace safety. There are also villages within the industrial park, so Hubert sometimes works with residents to mediate their grievances with the companies. Shanghai has a population of 23 million people. Their business community shares challenges similar to those of the United States, with an aging population, a shortage of high-skilled workers, and an unmatched supply-demand between graduates and company needs. They too have an economy in recovery, but plenty of uncertainties remain for business.

While he was here, Hubert met with Dale Evans, CEO of EVCO Plastics. EVCO has two plants in China, and Hubert was interested to learn how EVCO made their decisions to expand globally. The message was that U.S. companies with operations in China face many of the same issues they do domestically. Extensive regulations can slow down economic investment, shortages of skilled workers affect expansion and efficiencies, and rising

WMC Staff Listing Jane Algiers Associate Director of Member Relations

Wade Goodsell Membership Services Representative

Susan Nyffenegger Executive Assistant

Mary Anderson IT Database Specialist

Megan Haag Member Relations Coordinator

Amanda Pavelec Human Resources Coordinator

Denise Anderson Accounting Coordinator

Rebecca Hogan Director of Health & Human Resources Policy

Katy Pettersen Director of Marketing

Kurt Bauer President/CEO Steve Benzschawel Business World Program Director Nancy Boehnen Assistant to the President/Board James Buchen Senior Vice President, Government Relations

Keith Hudson Web/Database Administrator Sarah Jenkins Accounting Assistant/Receptionist Pam Kelly WSC Customer Service Specialist Kay Kertz Director of Finance

Russ Cain Director of Member Insurance Services

Rich Laufenberg Insurance Service Specialist

Thom Cox Membership Services Representative

Karen Mahlkuch Associate Director of Government Relations

Jason Culotta Director of Tax & Transportation Policy Barb Deans WSC Education Coordinator & Member Relations

Scott Manley Director of Environmental & Energy Policy Jim Morgan Vice President, WMC President, WMC Foundation

labor and transportation costs create site selection challenges. Partnerships with people on the ground locally are the key to success. Hubert also had the chance to meet U.S. Senator Ron Johnson during Senator Johnson’s listening session with WMC staff. During the session with Senator Johnson, a comment was made about comparing China’s communist

activities with the United States and suggesting that China may have a more entrepreneurial spirit these days. At that point, Hubert raised his fist and said, “Pro-business!” On his last day with WMC, Hubert professed his gratitude and amazement that we share a lot of the same concerns. He smiled and said he was glad to see we probably share some of the same solutions too. BV

Jim Pugh Director of Public Policy Dennis Reiter Director of Information Technology Janie Ritter Director of Wisconsin Safety Council Amber Schroeder Director of Membership Mike Shoys Vice President Jordan Smith Membership Services Representative Theresa Stewart WSC Customer Service Specialist Leah Supensky Associate Director of Public Policy Jane Sutter Graphic Designer

Wisconsin Business Voice



STEMing Our Workforce By Rebecca Hogan, WMC Director of Health and Human Resources Policy


n December I was fortunate to be a member of Wisconsin’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) team at the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices STEM Summit. I joined representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Department of Workforce Development to learn more about what is happening across the country as it relates to STEM education.

Wisconsin does have a STEM presence. We are a leader in Project Lead the Way, a rigorous STEM curriculum which engages students in activities, projects, and problem-based learning, while providing hands-on classroom experiences. More than 38,000 Wisconsin students in 280 schools have used the program to create, design, build, discover, collaborate, and solve problems while applying what they learn in math and science. Additionally, is a website that acts as a clearinghouse and virtual forum for K-12 education, post-secondary education, and business partners. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction participates in the STEM Equity Pipeline Project which is a national initiative to encourage more participation of girls, minorities, and students with special needs in STEM.

A statewide initiative is necessary if we want to lead in the recovery. What Wisconsin does

The STEM emphasis originated when test scores showed our students trail other children across the globe in science, technology, engineering and math. The idea is to change the model of a teacher lecturing at students; this method is producing lackluster results. STEM encourages hands-on participation and combines all four areas of study in the process. It requires the students to problem-solve, discover, explore learning, and engage in a situation in order to find its solution. If the United States wants to keep up with an ever-changing and innovative economy there must be a push for our students to engage in this type of learning. The same is true for Wisconsin.


not have is a comprehensive STEM strategy - one that engages policy makers, employers, educators,

parents, and students - to better position our state in the global economy. The United States needs to fill over 21,000,000 jobs to get back to prerecession levels. A statewide initiative that incorporates the points below is necessary if we want to lead in the recovery. If you have ideas or would like to be part of any strategy moving forward, please contact me at BV

From left to right, Michael Brickman, Education Policy Assistant, Office of Governor Scott Walker; WMC’s Rebecca Hogan; Sharon Wendt, Director of Career and Technical Education Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; and Lisa Boyd, Administrator, Division of Employment and Training Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

At the NGA Summit, Team Wisconsin had an opportunity to learn about successful statewide initiatives across the country, and to develop a plan for our state. Here are some key points for everyone to consider as we move to “STEM” our workforce: • STEM is the key component of any

strategy Wisconsin develops to better prepare our students with the skills and knowledge needed for today’s workforce. • Collaboration between policy makers, employers, K-12 education, and postsecondary education is necessary at all stages. No solution will be successful if developed in a silo. • STEM education requires investment, and in a time of limited funding that is a challenge. However, natural solutions present themselves when you create partnerships between the education community and the employers who have very real workforce needs.

• Students respond well to blended

opportunities. Give schools and teachers the flexibility to be innovative and creative so they can better engage students in this type of learning. • Teachers need access to information and continuing education so they can easily adapt to the ever-changing technology and instruction methods needed to encourage students toward STEM occupations. • Students will benefit from career guidance that includes realistic information about job opportunities in their chosen pathway. • Parents understandably want their children to be in a solid, stable profession but may have dated ideas about real workforce opportunities after graduation.

ews N In the Stop costly regulations, WMC tells federal agency head

“While this is further indication that Wisc onsin Manufacturers have retained more jobs than their counterparts across the nation, this increase in concentration makes the overall state economy even more dependent upon manufacturing to be an economic engine,” the report says.

“Federal laws, policies and proposals are by far the biggest cause of uncertainty for Wisconsin businesses,” said Kurt R. Bauer, president/CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. �The Lakeland Times, Minocqua: November 18, 2011

WisBusiness: Business leaders laud Walker budget

Wisconsin Concealed Carry Law:

“It’s something they should receive acclaim for,” Kurt Bauer, CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby. “It sends a message to business leaders in our state and nationwide that Wisconsin is no longer in denial about the seriousness of our chronic budget deficits. It has created a positive buzz for our state.”

Business production tax break added to state budget

As it Affects Businesses

“This is the icing on the cake for us be able to go out and sell Wisconsin as manufacturing heaven,” said James Buchen, vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business trade association.

�JS Online

CEOs Say Wisconsin is on the Right Track

Increased Confidence Found in WMC Member Survey Wisconsin CEOs are extremely confident in the direction of the state of Wisconsin, with 94 percent saying the state is headed in the right direction. But, the hiring prospects in the state remain mixed. WMC surveyed its members in December, with 272 of 1,100 CEOs responding. WMC has conducted the Economic Outlook Survey of WMC members and the WMC board of directors since 1997. At 94 percent, the confidence in the state is up from 88 percent in the spring of last year. In 2010, only 10 percent of Wisconsin CEOs said the state was going in the right direction, and a staggering 90 percent said the state was off on the wrong track.

�2011 Growing Wisconsin Report

100% 90% 80% 70% 60%

In November 2011, Wisconsin Act 35, or better known as Wisconsin’s concealed carry law, became reality. Now that the law has been implemented, a properly licensed individual is allowed to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin. Employers need to be aware of provisions in Act 35 that will affect their businesses. WMC held a session to educate employers on the intricacies of the Concealed Carry law. View the informational video on WMC’s YouTube channel, WisconsinMC: WisconsinMC.

50% 40% 30% 20%

This increased confidence is likely a reflection of the passage of significant policy changes aimed at improving the state business climate. The Legislature passed and WMC members completed the Governor Scott Walker signed tax cuts, regulation survey online during the f irst relief, and liability reforms earlier last year. two weeks of December 2011. 10% 0%

June 2010 10%

June 2011 88%

December 2011 93%

For complete survey results go to

On the jobs front, 44 percent of WMC members say they will be adding jobs in the next six months, while 49 percent said they would not be hiring. Of those responding, 7 percent said they may be cutting jobs. Ironically, 42 percent of WMC members said they are having trouble hiring employees despite unemployment above 8 percent in the state. The economic slowdown continues to vex CEOs here, with 45 percent saying the slowdown is their top business concern.

Scan this tag to watch the video on your smart phone

If you plan to post signs prohibiting weapons or firearms on your premises, WMC has signs available for download. Visit For additional information regarding the law visit the Wisconsin Department of Justice website at and search for concealed carry.

On policy, taxes continued to concern CEOS, with 25 percent citing taxes as the state’s top policy problem, followed by regulation at 20 percent.

Wisconsin Business Voice



The Importance of Safety Audits to Your Business By Janie Ritter, Director of Wisconsin Safety Council

 The fourth kind of call is from a company in a specific SIC (standard industry classification) industry which OSHA is targeting. In September last year, OSHA’s leader announced the agency would be targeting industries with typically higher incident rates, and cracking down on companies not meeting the exceedingly tight standards.


hen Dave Anderson gets a phone call, he hopes it’s not already too late to save a life. Anderson is the founder of Anderson 360 Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in safety audits and one of the many professionals who works with the Wisconsin Safety Council. He has worked with all types of companies for many different reasons. Dave says there are myriad reasons his phone rings in regards to safety. The top five are:  The first is the best kind of call – one where the company knows they need help with their safety programs, training, and documentation, but they haven’t had any problems or violations… Yet!  The second is from a company who recently learned they will be visited by OSHA or another regulatory agency. They know they need help to bring their safety program to a higher level and are typically wondering what they may be missing to prepare for an inspection.  The third is from a company who received a complaint involving safety issues, perhaps from a current or former employee. That company should absolutely expect a follow-up call from an OSHA or state official!


 The last and most unfortunate call is when someone has been injured, or worse yet, has died. These are always tough and there are numerous areas where the company will need help at this point. Anderson prefers to work with companies who are proactive rather than reactive. He recalls a time when he worked with a company in advance of any issues to get their safety programs and training in order. They were randomly inspected not long after, and received no citations. In another instance, a company called because they had recently let go a disgruntled employee, and feared backlash by that employee. Anderson audited all their safety programs, procedures, and documentation. They were prepared when they received the complaint from OSHA. When conducting an audit, Anderson says he concentrates on three main areas:  Helping a company find unsafe or citable conditions in their facilities.  Inspecting the company’s written safety programs. Most companies should have 8-12 specific program areas, at minimum. During a complete audit, Dave also reviews the overall company safety program

and training for new employees. Just because a company has a safety program in place, it doesn’t do any good unless the company is training new employees, and retraining current employees on a regular basis.  Keeping the proper training records and making sure safety policies are being enforced. Companies need all of these pieces to have a successful and effective safety program. Any employer with one or more employee is technically responsible for implementing an effective safety program. But more important than being in compliance is protecting your number one asset – your employees. Not only is it the law, it’s the right thing to do. BV

If a regulatory agency representative walked into your business today for an inspection, would you be ready? Dave Anderson is one of the many professional safety auditors the Wisconsin Safety Council works with to help Wisconsin companies stay in compliance with state and federal regulations, and to protect the safety of employees. WSC is your business’ resource for safety training and compliance, offering more than 100 courses every year and the annual conference in April. Call (800) 236-3400 or visit to learn more.

Wisconsin Safety & Health Conference and Exposition April 16-18, 2012 Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells The Wisconsin Safety Council is Wisconsin’s leading provider of workplace safety training and programming. Whether you are an industry newcomer, a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, the 2012 Safety & Health Conference and Exposition can help you increase your knowledge, enhance your career, and empower YOU for long-term success.

New this year! Live Demos More Professional Development Courses Ask the Expert Sessions More Advanced Safety Professional Sessions Special Corporate Safety Awards More Educational Sessions Networking Reception “Find the Safety Violation” in the Expo Hall Exhibitor Booth Awards Early Morning Fitness Class ...and much more!

         

You won’t want to miss it!

Visit or call (800) 236-3400 for more information and to register today.

Safety Training Chapter of

January–June 2012

The Wisconsin Safety Council, a division of WMC, is the reason more people go home safely every day from manufacturing plants, offices, and construction sites. WSC offers training throughout the year at locations across the state.

Eau Claire

Madison Area

Milwaukee Area

Wisconsin Dells Area

February 14

January 4

March 14

January 19

February 15-16

Fox Valley/Green Bay Area

January 19

March 15

March 1

February 16

January 17

January 23-26

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance

February 23

Safety Inspections

May 3-4

OSHA 10-hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry

May 23

Creating a World-Class Safety Culture

June 12

Job Safety Analysis

June 14

Safety Communication & Training Techniques

June 26

Lockout/Tagout, Train-the-Trainer

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance OSHA Construction Breakfast “OSHA Update” Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene (FIH)

February 6

Job Safety Analysis

February 8

Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator Ambulance/Fire

February 21-22

Creating a World-Class Safety Culture OSHA Construction Breakfast “Pre-Planning for Safety”

March 27

RCRA Compliance for Hazardous Waste Generators & DOT HazMat Transportation

March 28

Confined Space, Train-the-Trainer

May 10

Supervisory Development: Safety & Health Fundamentals

OSHA 10-hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry

May 14-17

February 28

Safety Inspections

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance

March 13

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance

Safety Training Methods (STM)

May 22 May 24

OSHA Construction Breakfast “Cranes/ Power Lines”

For a complete schedule and registration information, visit

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance Incident Investigation

March 15

Supervisory Development: Safety & Health Fundamentals

March 19-22

7th Annual Food Processors Safety Conference/Expo Safety in a Changing Workplace (Safety R.O.C.K.S!)

April 16-18

70th Annual Safety & Health Conference/Expo

OSHA 30-hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry

April 16

April 17

Effective Team Safety

Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-the-Trainer

June 26

Effective Team Safety

Wausau/Stevens Point/ Marshfield Area January 18

MSHA/OSHA 8-hour Refresher & Training Compliance

February 9

Coaching the Lift Truck

Operator, Train-the-Trainer

Ergonomics: Managing for


Incident Investigation NFPA 70-E Advanced Electrical

Safe Work Practices

Drugs in the Workplace –

Recognition and Trends

Leadership through

Understanding People, Behaviors, and Workplace Demands

Coaching the Lift Truck Operator, Train-the-Trainer

Fall Protection

June 19-22

8-hour Hazwoper Refresher

OSHA 30-hour Voluntary Compliance Course for General Industry

Interpretation of Industrial

Hygiene Results

Wisconsin Business Voice


Job Creation and Job Training Demand Urgent Focus

By Peter Barca (D – Kenosha), State Representative, Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader tax cuts focused on initiatives that are directly targeted at producing jobs.


t’s been a difficult year for Wisconsin families, with tens of thousands still struggling to make ends meet in the toughest economic climate in generations. Our number one priority for the New Year must be helping to create good, family-supporting jobs for the people of our state. Democrats have spent the past year bringing ideas to the table that would help create jobs quickly. Last January, on our first day in office, Assembly Democrats presented a series of ten jobs bills to build upon our efforts last session that resulted in more than 50 initiatives to create jobs and rebuild the economy. These proposals focused on three important criteria: creating jobs immediately, building on proven job creation plans and techniques, and

In November, Democrats announced another package of nine jobs bills focused on job training and job creation. We understand businesses must ultimately do the hiring, so we worked with technical college officials, local business leaders, and other stakeholders to put together the best possible package of legislation. These bills will help Wisconsin workers bridge that gap and connect skilled workers with potential employers. We put forward these bills knowing manufacturing is one of our bedrock industries here in Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin has a higher percentage of our workforce employed in manufacturing than any other state. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has done an exceptional job of recruiting and encouraging prospective workers to enter this important field. As we collaborate on helping put people back to work quickly, another industry we believe presents an extraordinary opportunity is wind energy. A recent study shows there are 171 supply chain businesses for wind power

in Wisconsin, and the wind industry is tied to thousands of jobs in our state. We should allow the wind siting rules to go into effect to give more certainty to developers and allow major wind energy projects to go forward and create hundreds or possibly thousands more jobs. Unfortunately, a recent special session of the legislature that was supposed to be focused on job creation instead focused on issues such as allowing the sampling and sale of wine at fairgrounds, undermining medically accurate sex education, and changing rules relating to vehicles that fail to yield the rightof-way. Some upcoming legislation would appear to actually do harm to job creation efforts, such as in Wisconsin’s biosciences industry. Legislators on both sides of the aisle need to work together on initiatives to create good jobs, invest in our workforce, and support business growth and a healthy economy. In this economy, the people of Wisconsin expect and demand an urgent focus on these important issues. We hope this year is the time we make Wisconsin work again. BV

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Wisconsin Business Voice Magazine - January 2012  

Wisconsin Business Voice is WMC's flagship publication.