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Published by APG Media of Wisconsin, LLC, 2020-01-22 11:32:52

Business Leader | Winter 2020

Business Leader | Winter 2020

Keywords: businesses


Tapping the sun

Solar projects grow in Chippewa Valley

- Five generations in the workforce
- DECA students learn the nut business
- Local gyms spot 2020 trends


PRSRT STD est. 2017
US Postage

Permit #203
Eau Claire, WI



wausau | eau claire | green bay
visit our blogs at

2 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


8 4 Sniffles then sneezing and coughing are increasingly CONTENTS
common around workplaces as winter colds and the
Gyms say Solar projects dreaded flu begin to spread.
longevity is grow in
Chippewa Valley Influenza began popping up in mid-December in
current Wisconsin and reports continued rising in January,
fitness trend 10 according to the Wisconsin Department of Health
Five generations Services. Prior years’ data shows flu activity can peak in
14 in workforce February or March in Wisconsin.
create challenges,
DECA students opportunities One pesky bug can sweep through an office like
learn business wildfire, putting workers out of commission, cutting into
by selling nuts productivity and straining morale. Winter
While the onus to practice good health and hygiene
ultimately falls on individuals, there are some small
measures employers can take to help reduce chances of
illnesses spreading.

• Use employee meetings, newsletters and bulletin boards
to mention the prevalence of viruses in the community and
ways to avoid them, such as more frequent hand-washing.

• Remind employees of sick leave policies and set the
tone for when they should be used for seasonal viruses.
Do you want employees to “tough it out” if they feel up to
work while grappling with a minor malady? Or would you
discourage them from coming into the office out of fear it
could spread to others?

• For employees that have face-to-face contact with a lot
of people, provide them with hand sanitizer.

• Keep cleaning wipes around for employees to use on
work areas, phones and computers used by multiple people.

• From a management standpoint, make sure supervisors
have a good idea of which workers have the skills to cover
for others in case people begin calling in sick.

• Some businesses hold flu shot clinics for employees in
fall — an effective way to get your workforce vaccinated. If
that’s just not feasible for you, make sure employees know
how flu shots are covered under your health plan and places
where they can conveniently get them.

Adults under 50 years old — the core of the workforce
— have the lowest vaccination rates of any demographic
in Wisconsin. Only about a quarter of working adults have
gotten the flu shot this season, compared to Wisconsin’s
average of 37%, according to state statistics.

While working-age adults may not be hit as hard by
a case of the flu as young children and senior citizens, it
often means spending days at home to convalesce.

A few small measures could prevent your business from
becoming a ghost town if a pesky bug stops by.


13Jeff West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
17Andrew Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . @ADowd_LT • 715-833-9204
18Justin Vajko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
19Terri Schlichenmeyer . . . . . . . . . . . . .
21 Alicia Rodgers [email protected] • 715-833-9237
CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
BY THE NUMBERS . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cover photo courtesy of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative

Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram. Copyright 2020 Leader-Telegram, 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI 54701. All rights reserved. 800-236-7077.

COVER STORY Sunny days ahead

Photo courtesy of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative
Lambs graze next to the Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s solar array in Fall Creek in this undated photo.

The cooperative’s solar subscription program included 238 customers in 2019.

Solar projects gain steam in the Chippewa Valley

By Sarah Seifert, Leader-Telegram staff One of Eau Claire’s newest design firms is even
putting solar power at the heart of its business
Interested in powering your dishwasher or model. 
charging your phone using the sun?
Solar Forma, based at Artisan Forge Studios
If you can’t install your own solar panels, there’s on Eau Claire’s south side, is aimed at designing
another option − subscribing to a solar energy infrastructure, large artwork and sculptures that
program from a Chippewa Valley energy provider. incorporate solar panels. Its owners hope to create
pieces that are both functional and eye-catching. 
Solar power is also starting to light up the
local business community too. Eau Claire area “When you take a building or scenescape
businesses, municipalities and organizations are and you drop solar panels into it, sometimes
beginning to mull larger-scale energy projects, it’s not the greatest looking,” said Brian Graff,
from solar-powered art in public parks to
ambitious renewable energy use goals.

4 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020

Solar Forma’s president of
business operations. “We try
to incorporate them more into
the architecture … to hopefully
accelerate the transition to

Solar Forma began in
March 2019. Graff and Greg
Johnson, Solar Forma partner
and owner of Artisan Forge
Metalworks, hope to work on
projects across the country and
the world.

One of Solar Forma’s first
projects might be their most
memorable: Three steel troll
sculptures, ranging from 4
to 6 feet tall, will be installed
in Altoona’s River Prairie
Staff photo by Dan Reiland

development in May 2020. Greg Johnson, left, and Brian Graff of Eau Claire-based solar design company Solar Forma pose on Jan. 3 in
the beginning stages of a three-piece solar interactive sculpture of trolls which will be located in Altoona’s
When touched, the trolls − River Prairie development later this year.
dubbed “sound sculptures”
− are planned to emit solar-
powered light and “low, rhythmic sounds,” according
to a design overview by Karl-Johan Ekeroth of Solar interest
PINPIN Studio based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Solar
Forma is collaborating with Ekeroth to build the The Eau Claire Energy Cooperative began offering
trolls’ solar elements. subscriptions to their Fall Creek solar garden project in
Graff acknowledges the challenges of designing
using the silicon solar cells that form solar panels. About 238 people get some or all of their power
(The panels, which are typically made of silicon through ECEC’s solar array, said co-op CEO and
“semiconductor” material, collect energy by president Lynn Thompson.

absorbing and converting sunlight, according to the The solar subscription model works especially
because mounting solar panels on a house is a “20-
Department of Energy.) year investment,” Thompson said: “I think the largest
barrier is just the long-term commitment. If you’re
“People want the inspired designs, but they also going to put, buy solar, you’re looking at a 20-year
want cost effectiveness,” Graff said. “We’ve had to type of investment. Are you going to be in the same
set an operating goal that our more inspired designs location for 20 years? For a lot of people, the answer is
won’t degrade the power generation capabilities by no.”
more than 10% of a conventional array.”
Thompson doesn’t have immediate plans to expand
A Solar Forma project with the city of Eau Claire the subscription program, however.
is also in the works, Graff said. (City leaders have
indicated an interest in moving toward cleaner “It took us over a year to get it fully subscribed,
energy; in 2018 the Eau Claire City Council passed a
resolution saying the city and community should use when we first started offering it,” Thompson said.
100% renewable energy by 2050.) “People were interested, it was a new concept, and
I think we got those folks interested in it on board
“The tech has advanced,” he said. “As the early.”
technology has grown in its reliability and in its
pervasiveness … people are more trusting of it to be Xcel Energy’s one-megawatt solar garden in Eau
Claire produces energy that the company provides to
a primary, highly-relied-upon secondary source of some customers through its Solar Connect Community

See page 6

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 5

from Page 5 The twin
program. The Eau Claire solar garden opened in 360-panel solar
October 2017, and the program is fully subscribed arrays are expected
with about 140 residential and business customers, to save the school
said Xcel spokeswoman Chris Ouellette. district about
$20,000 per year on
The solar garden model appeals to renters or people its utility bills.
who don’t want to build, install and maintain a solar
array at their residence, Ouellette said. The program Half the panels
isn’t limited to people who live in Eau Claire, or in were donated by
Cashton or Ashland — other locations where Xcel also Memorial alumnus
has solar gardens. Cal Couillard
of the Couillard
Photo courtesy of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative Solar Foundation.
Children touch solar panels at the Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s Fall Creek solar An anonymous
array. The utility company began offering subscriptions to its solar project in 2016. donor plans to
contribute another
Growing interest in solar power is one of the reasons 360 panels when
Xcel piloted the solar project, Ouellette said. It doesn’t the maintenance Staff photo by Dan Reiland
hurt that technology advances are slowly making solar
power cheaper and more efficient. money is raised. Solar Forma shop foreman Aaron Meidl on Jan. 3
Couillard, who welds part of a solar interactive sculpture of trolls.
“The cost of solar energy has come down in the last
five years. The price of solar — the panels, the actual lives in Deerfield,
equipment — has dropped about 60%,” Ouellette said. said he hopes the project inspires Memorial and North
students to look for careers in renewable energy.
Thompson agreed: “If you’re buying something like
this, and it’s going to be around for 20 years, you don’t “Look around and see it. We’re not moving very fast to
want to be too early to it.” solve their problem,” Couillard said at a December news
conference in Eau Claire. “Having (solar panels) on their
Panel projects ramp up schools lets them know they can be part of this.”

Private businesses and public entities are stepping Solar power will also get a shoutout at the Farm
up to the plate for their own roof-mounted solar Technology Days 2020 event in Eau Claire in July.
arrays. Horseradish grower Huntsinger Farms, parent
company of Silver Spring Foods, said in December it
The Eau Claire school district plans to mount would install 288 solar panels on its Eau Claire farm
donated solar panels on the roofs of Memorial and this spring after being awarded a $29,000 Focus On
North high schools as soon as this summer, if it Energy grant.
can raise about $250,000 to cover installation and
maintenance costs. It will be one of the first farm solar installations in
Wisconsin, generating about 144,000 kilowatt hours
of energy per year, Huntsinger Farms said in a news

The farm, which is hosting Farm Technology Days
2020, plans to offer tours of the new solar field at the

Huntsinger Farms president Eric Rygg said in a
news release the solar panels will “bring energy costs
down dramatically.”

He added: “We hope that other farmers across
Wisconsin will come and see the solar field during
Farm Technology Days next year and discover how
they can install solar on their own farms too.”

Contact: 715-833-9206, [email protected],
@sarahaseifert on Twitter

6 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


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To handle the profit sharing included with Trust Point’s plan.
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“That means that the staff that motto that doing what is best for
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they’re knowledgeable, and we company.
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Davy says. “And we were always employees get the most out of it.
comfortable with the idea that Trust Point works closely to build
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From single plans to businesses “I’ve always been convinced that
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Learn how Trust Point can help
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January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 7


Longevity is goal for latest wave
of gym trends

By Ryan Patterson, Leader-Telegram staff

Exercise options change constantly, and for Staff photo by Dan Reiland
people looking to try new or popular workouts Jake LaCoste of Eau Claire lifts weights three to five times a week at the YMCA
during the winter months, a few fitness trends in Eau Claire. Local fitness experts are seeing an increase in people interested
have emerged in the area. in strength training in recent years.

Many fitness center employees said strength more ownership over their personal health and
training has increased in recent years, which is consider it an active part of their lives.
part of a general focus on the long-term benefits of
physical fitness. “People are starting to accept that exercise, in
whatever modality it’s going to be, is a lifestyle
“Fitness is more than just sweating to lose body choice as opposed to a hobby,” Hoover said. “(It’s)
fat,” FitELITE co-owner Shane Beck said. “It’s a not necessarily that ‘I want to be able to squat
longevity thing now, like ‘I’m planning for as I more weight.’ It’s just, ‘I want to live my life and I
age.’” want to live it better and I want to be able to chase
after my kids or my grandkids.’”
The Yoga Room owner Wendy Oberg wants
people to apply workout techniques to their lives Instructors said more people have emphasized
so they can increase mobility and flexibility for wellness, a term with different definitions
years down the road. depending on the person.

“The reason we do this is for functional Oberg said wellness happens “when you feel
movement,” Oberg said. “We do yoga today so better and you can feel really good about who you
that 10 years from now you haven’t lost your are, so then you start to see the world through
mobility, you haven’t lost your posture … It’s to
maintain so that we grow old really gracefully.”

With better access to information, more people
are aware of the importance of fitness and how it
can improve different aspects of their lives. Jamie
Hoover, Director of Healthy Living at the YMCA
of the Chippewa Valley, said people have taken

8 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020

that sweetness and you just treat everyone a little bit than instructors. That means adapting workout
sweeter.” regimens to suit the individual, rather than simply
telling a person what they should do.
Momentum Fitness co-owner Jim Breuer defined
wellness as aspects outside of the gym that affect a FitELITE co-owner Dave Hildebrandt said demand
person’s health. The three main areas are hydration, will always exist for large gyms full of equipment, but
sleep and nutrition. he said the growing trend appears to be more people
finding a small community that best suits them.
“It’s teaching your body how to work as one
complete unit,” Breuer said. Similarly, Hoover credited the increase in personal
trainers with helping people improve their fitness.
Amy Erickson, owner of The Well and Latitude 44 Hoover said many people enjoy social interaction and
Yoga Studio, defined wellness as different ways to forming subcommunities while exercising.
make oneself feel better. She said wellness is personal
to every individual and constantly changing. “Being able to have that connection and feeling like
you have your own niche within the gym is pretty
Erickson said people have become more aware over important,” Hoover said.
time of actions to make themselves feel better.
Breuer has seen an increase in group class
“Paying attention to not only the physical body, but participation and attributed part of that to the need for
our emotional, spiritual well-being and exploration is social connectivity. Going forward, Breuer sees more
a really crucial part in truly being well,” Erickson said. franchising of micro gyms but said there will always
be space for large companies. He believes more people
Beck agreed. want to understand why they are working out.
“Wellness is the ability to live the lifestyle you want
to live,” Beck said. “It’s helping people create habits “People will no longer be buying access,” Breuer
… The purpose for moving is to live a fun, fulfilled, said. “They’ll be purchasing, hopefully, results to a
connected life, and be able to move and function on problem.”
our own for as long as possible.”
Beck aims to have trainers serve as coaches, rather Contact: 715-830-5838, [email protected]

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January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 9

FEATURE STORY Across the generations

Staff photo by Dan Reiland
Marshfield Clinic Health System pharmacy technicians Bonnie Kochendorfer, 36, left, and Clark Sheerar, 76, work
alongside each other to prepare medication used in the hospital and outpatient clinic on Eau Claire’s southwest side.

Increasingly age-diverse workforce provides challenges, opportunities
for employers

By Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff The duo are an example of an increasingly age-
diverse workforce that now spans five distinct
Working side-by-side and wearing matching generations, a result of older workers putting off
maroon scrubs, Bonnie Kochendorfer and Clark retirement to maintain their income and keep busy.
Sheerar are among the pharmacy technicians that fill
prescriptions needed by patients at Marshfield Clinic Sheerar is in the age group known as
Health System's Eau Claire Center. “traditionalists” or the “silent generation” — the one
that preceded the baby boomers. Kochendorfer is a
Though separated in age by four decades, the pair millennial — the group that falls between Generation
who work in the bright, immaculate room in the X and Generation Z, the latter of which is just now
lower level of the area's newest hospital have found entering the professional job market.
their styles and experience complement each other.
Shaped by many factors including historical events,
Kochendorfer, 36, is a bit more adept at using technology and social norms of their earlier years,
technology in the pharmacy, but relies on Sheerar’s each generation is slightly different. Their ideas of
experience when she has questions about medications. good employee benefits and working environments
also can differ in part due to their age.
“I can do the computer stuff better, but that’s my
guy when I need to know what something does,” “The reason why we’re talking about it now is
Kochendorfer said. the dependence on millennials in the workplace,”
said Dan Lytle, who has delivered dozens of
Sheerar, 76, appreciates his co-worker’s work ethic presentations in the Chippewa Valley on challenges of
and ability to help handle the workload when orders a multigenerational workforce.
begin rushing in.

“She’s dependable,” Sheerar said. “If I need help,
have a lot to do, she’s there and she does a good job.”

10 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020

Changing picture can clash with the ways of tenured, long-term workers.
His suggestion to employers is to focus on the outcome
and be flexible in what it takes to get there.
The majority of the workforce is split between baby For example, an area hospital had trouble keeping
boomers and millennials, with the latter’s share gaining
as more people in the former generation get into their medical assistants and sought his advice to improve
mid-60s and start taking Social Security. (Between the two employee retention. When probing the problem, Lytle
is Generation X, but Lytle noted those people were from found that management would chastise those workers
decades where birth rates were lower and now make up a when they’d bunch up and talk as it was viewed as social
smaller portion of the workforce.) time and not productive. However, Lytle noted that
Senior citizens from the “silent era” aka “traditionalists” despite the group chats, the medical assistants were still
have represented a shift in employment though they getting their work done.
His suggestion to management was to create time when
represent only about 5% of working Americans. The employees would be together, such as completing shift
numbers of high school and college students working
has been dropping, Lytle said, with retired people reports in a group. That would satisfy their desire to
congregate, while also completing a task.
supplanting a portion of those part-time workers. “Challenge your perception of what productivity is and
“They were there, they stepped out and because
people are living longer looks like,” Lytle said.
Managers in office
they’re going back into the Five generations settings may feel like
workforce again,” Lytle employers are only hard
said of traditionalists. Many workplaces are composed of five distinct at work when they are
generations. These are the birth years of those glued to their desks at all
For Sheerar, working generations, as well as some of their common traits, 40 hours of the workweek.
as a pharmacy technician as described by a Manpower news release: But Lytle argues that
was his third career after this idea of productivity
he’d been an educator and • Traditionalists or silent generation is becoming outdated
school administrator at – born 1928-1945; values authority and top-down as employees in many
rural schools in western management, hard working.
Wisconsin. • Baby boomers – born 1946-1964; workaholics,
expect some amount of deference to their opinions. fields can do their work
“You have to keep busy,” • G eneration X – born 1965-1980; comfortable with remotely just as effectively
he said. as they could in the office.
authority, will work as hard as needed to succeed,
He entered the field in yet seeks work/life balance. Adopting outcome-
2013 and his co-worker, • Millennials – born 1981-1996; Feel respect must be based metrics is a
Kochendorfer, became a earned, tech savvy, goal and achievement oriented. more objective way to
pharmacy technician in late • Generation Z – born after 1997; digital natives, fast gauge productivity so a
2018 to switch jobs from decision makers, highly connected. workplace can become
her previous job of working
at a chiropractor’s office. more flexible to meet their
employees’ preferred
Whereas Sheerar and working methods.
Kochendorfer work well together, Lytle has met with
other businesses where expectations between different Different ways of communication favored by each
generation can also cause conflicts.
generations have caused friction. Older employees who are in management usually place

Different productivity ideas a higher value on face-to-face communication as opposed
to sending emails to employees, Lytle said. Meanwhile a
Lytle, who led the Eau Claire County Job Center younger worker may opt to send emails or text messages
to someone just down the hallway.
before his current role as CVTC’s business development While older employees may view the electronic
manager and head of the college’s Menomonie campus, communication as impersonal, Lytle said younger
said younger workers tend to question the usual way of workers see the benefit of an email or text message
doing things in the workplace. creating written instructions that can be revisited so
“The old mantra of ‘This is the way we’ve always done there’s no confusion or need to repeat them.
it’ – there are a lot of challenges to that now,” he said. “Their engagement looks different than the previous
“That’s where the majority of conflict is.”
Younger workers who want to instill and implement generation’s engagement and that’s where a lot of
their own ideas for processes to reach the desired outcome problems lie,” Lytle said.

See page 12

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 11

from Page 11 ”They all consider those things when looking for a job
opportunity,” she said.
Benefits and values
Age is also not the determining factor that Newmier has
After the economy lost jobs during the Great Recession, seen in the ways that people shop for a new job. Like many
the ensuing economy recovery and retirement of older other employers, Marshfield Clinic has shifted more toward
workers has led to a worker shortage. Companies hungry online job postings while scaling back on print advertising
to fill their ranks are now trying to become known as an and job fairs.
“employer of choice,” but that goes beyond simply offering
good wages and benefits when others are competing for the “We find the new types of candidates who respond to
same job candidates. these new avenues aren’t from a specific generation, it’s
more across the board,” Newmier said.
“They’re more interested in how do we improve
morale and culture with the overarching goal of boosting The next generation
retention,” Lytle said.
The newest arrivals to the workforce – born after 1997
The local office of hiring firm Manpower highlighted the and dubbed Generation Z – are defined largely by having
five generations working today in a July news release and technology including computers and the Internet around
advised employers on what they need to do to attract and them their entire lives.
retain workers.
Growing up in a world where communication and
“The main thing is to listen and be open-minded and information are online and instantaneous, they’re apt to
flexible,” said Kim Peterson, market principal with want things to move quickly and be interested in companies
Manpower, leading 27 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota that have invested in digital technology, Peterson said.
from her office in Eau Claire.
Younger workers are adept at using social media and
Different generations will have different ways to engage other online means to communicate.
and motivate them, Peterson said.
“Connecting is probably their biggest strength,” Peterson
Finding millennials to enjoy diversity in their work – said.
learning different tasks, even if it just results in a lateral
move in the same company – Manpower tries to satisfy Aptitude with technology has been viewed as an asset,
their craving for variety. but Lytle notes that there are questions about this latest
generation’s ability to communicate in a workplace without
“This new generation what’s engaging them is having using an electronic device.
something different to work on – adding onto their resume
or portfolio,” Peterson said. “Their ability to engage with folks is one of the biggest
areas of scrutiny we hear about,” he said. One of the
Keeping those employees interested in their work is one alternative monikers for this age group is the “ADD
way to help retain them, she added. generation” due to the perception they have shorter
attention spans.
“It’s quite different from the baby boomers for example
who were more apt to work hard in their positions so their Seeing opportunity
hard work would pay off and advance,” Peterson said.
Though the age-diverse workforce can challenge
Traits exhibited by different generations can also influence employers to adapt to traits seen in the different
what employees are interested in when it comes to their generations, local experts say that will be outweighed by
benefits packages. the advantages having workers of many different ages.

“The incoming workforce has a different value system,” “There are a lot of opportunities to learn,” Peterson said.
Lytle said. Older generations bring their years of experience, ability
to adapt to changes in their years and a well-developed
An extra week of vacation can be more valuable to a work ethic, Peterson said. Younger workers bring fresh
millennial than health insurance or even a raise, Lytle said, approaches to workplace tasks, as well as bringing
noting the generation’s desire for experiences like travel creativity and an aptitude of technology into workplaces.
when compared to buying material things. Despite challenges that can be posed by five distinct
generations in the workplace, Lytle also believes it creates
Not everyone believes that employees from different opportunity for employers.
generations prefer certain benefits over others. “It’s a challenge, but it’s going to yield great outcomes if
you give it a chance,” he said.
While she initially thought benefit preferences would vary
by generation, Marshfield Clinic Health system director of Contact: 715-833-9204, [email protected],
talent acquisition Terri Newmier said many are universal. @ADowd_LT on Twitter

“Employees of any generation appreciate PTO, work/life
balance and flexible schedules,” she said.

The same goes for retirement plans and health insurance,
Newmier added.

12 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020

Jeff West is the owner of Bear Down (, an executive
Control, predictability limits ability of employees and executive team coaching company based in Eau Claire. He was formerly
to adapt to situations a founder and CEO of Silicon Logic Engineering. He also chairs Business
Partners peer groups in northwestern Wisconsin. West can be reached at:
715-559-2195 or [email protected].

“In a system you can’t change just one thing.” LEE THAYER, LEADERSHIP COACH, AUTHOR

By Jeff West On the predictability end are businesses like McDonald’s.
A big reason you eat there is because you know exactly
In my previous article, “Arguing with Reality,” the idea what you’re going to get no matter which one you go to.
of linear thinking was pointed to as one of the problems Predictable.
we suffer from when dealing with the reality of a situation.
Linear thinking is thinking only of the cause-and-effect of At the other end of the spectrum think about the Apollo
a very small number of the potential variables involved. 13 rescue mission. Remember the scene in the movie where
Thinking and acting this way often unleashes consequences the carbon dioxide in the capsule was rising. The program
that were never intended. So what’s happening here? lead at NASA dumps a bunch of stuff on the table and says,
“This is what they have. Find a way to fix the problem.”
The world we live in is comprised of systems. Groups Adaptable.
of two or more people, people and machinery, people and
technology, etc. Simply put, everything is more or less Problems occur when we apply the wrong system for the
connected to everything else. When we begin to see the results we’re trying to get. To predict the output of a system,
“systems” operating around us our perspective to many of it has to be tightly controlled. In exchange for that control
the problems we face changes. you limit the amount of adaptability your employees have
in any specific situation. Hence, “I’m sorry, that’s not our
Leadership expert Lee Thayer defines something called company’s policy.” A chance to make a customer-for-life was
“dumb systems.” By this he means systems that produce just sacrificed.
dumb, inadequate or unintended outcomes. So if there are
dumb systems, that infers there must also be smart ones. •••
Smart systems produce outcomes that are close to what’s There are many examples of CEOs, vice presidents of
intended and required. sales, human resources directors, etc. coming into their new
position and wanting to “put their stamp on it” immediately.
••• Without them taking time to understand the systems
Have you ever tried to fix someone when it might actually they’re inheriting, the results are often disruptive at best
be the system they’re operating in that’s faulty? There may and tragic in the worst cases. However well-meaning their
be nothing wrong with the people. It may be the system intentions are – without first seeing the systems in place and
that’s dysfunctional. taking into account the ramifications of their new programs
Do you get mad and frustrated when someone in customer – the results are many times, and not surprisingly, far from
service tells you, “I’m sorry, that’s not our company’s what was expected.
policy”? The person may very well be a competent and nice Employee morale is often the first thing to take a hit. If the
individual who just happens to be stuck in a dumb system. leader digs in their heals without listening to the concerns,
I’ve witnessed many “A” player employees leave companies they can turn a company with a reasonably good culture
because they became so frustrated in the systems they’re into an us-vs.-them culture in no time at all. Not exactly the
stuck in. result they were expecting.
Have you ever hired someone that had a reputation for
a poor attitude at their former company only to have them •••
become a rock star for yours? Have you had a good person Dumb systems are those in which the ownership of
leave and then want to return to your company at a later problems are misallocated.
date? What changed? It’s unlikely the people changed Let’s say your customer service person is competent and
much, so what can we attribute it to? The system they’re has wide latitude to fix a customer’s problem. Do you think
working in changed. One business may be a very top-down they have a better chance to please a customer rather than
environment while the other gives their people both the turning them into someone who complains about you to
responsibility and authority to do their job. anyone that will listen?
Can you begin to see it’s often the system and not the
••• people?
Think of it as a spectrum. On one end is a very controlling And many times it’s the system that has to be fixed first.
environment. The goal here is predictability. At the other
end of the spectrum is adaptability.

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 13


Contributed photos
North High School marketing students in Eau Claire packaged several flavors of nuts into 12-ounce jars and 4-ounce bags for the Roasted & Ready project.

DECA project gives North High students practical business experience

By Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff

"There's Nuttin' Better!" may have been Aren Theisen. "It was fun to learn about all of
the slogan for the company created last fall the different processes of running a business."
by North High School marketing students,
but it also could be an apt description of the North marketing teacher Jim Maier said
experience the project gives participants. the DECA program tries to do a major sales
project every year to give students real-world
This year's project involved students ordering, experience in all different aspects of operating
roasting, flavoring, packaging, marketing and a company. More than 120 students were
selling nuts for Roasted & Ready Nut Co. involved in Roasted & Ready from October
through December.
"It was a great experience," said Austin Opatz,
a student co-manager of the project along with Typically, Maier said, students, who make all

14 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020

of the decisions, tend to be overly aggressive in their North marketing students ordered, roasted, flavored, packaged, marketed and sold
ideas about what their business can accomplish in nuts as part of their 2019-20 DECA project.
terms of sales and profits. Maier wants students
to learn from their mistakes and their successes bags before applying labels and decorative ribbons.
and tries not to intervene until they come close to They sold the nuts directly to students, online
making a disastrous play.
via the school website, through roughly 20 local
But this year's crew was surprisingly conservative. retailers they recruited to carry the nuts over
"This one took off like a rocket and they weren't the holidays and at booths during events such
really prepared for the numbers they got right out as hockey games and the Lazy Monk Christmas
of the gate," Maier said. "They didn't up production Market.
and ended up running out of some products. I
couldn't convince them to run with the wave." "I think it's a great way to learn about business,"
As a result, he said, the project didn't make as Opatz said. "There's not another program that does
much profit as it could have with a more aggressive that. We really created our own business, and it was
approach. totally hands-on." 
"But they learned from that, and that's what it's all
about," said Maier, the school's DECA adviser. Past DECA projects at North have involved selling
In the end, Roasted & Ready sold about 300 jars of products ranging from grape jelly and salsa to
roasted, flavored nuts, earned mostly rave reviews candles and homemade dog biscuits.
from customers and made a profit of about $1,500,
Opatz said. All proceeds will be used for student "I want to give students experience they can
DECA conferences and competitions. actually take and use when they get out of North,"
Students ordered bulk cashews, peanuts and Maier said. "I tell students all the time that you may
almonds from wholesalers, then roasted and not use some of this stuff this week, this month or
seasoned them in North's new culinary lab. They even this school year, but you'll have it when you
packaged several flavors of nuts — including salted, need it down the road."
cinnamon sugar, honey sriracha, buffalo wing and
honey roasted — into 12-ounce jars and 4-ounce Indeed, Maier said he takes pride in seeing former
North marketing students operating successful
businesses all over town.

"That's what keeps me going," he said.
Roasted & Ready participants will make a
presentation about the project this spring at the
state DECA conference, where the top finishers will
advance to national competition. 

North student Austin Opatz works a booth selling nuts late last year for Roasted & Contact: 715-833-9209, [email protected],
Ready Nut Co., a project created for the school's DECA program.  @ealscoop on Twitter

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 15

16 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


Making retirement money last

Withdrawal and reliance rates, multiple income sources Andrew Cooper is a financial
are key to strategy adviser at Edward Jones, 419
E. Clairemont Ave. He can be
By Andrew Cooper reached at 715-833-3986 or
Edward Jones Investments [email protected].

It’s probably safe to say that many of us are concerned may want to consider options such as annuities, which
about having enough money to cover our retirement can provide lifetime income benefits.
years. It will take careful planning to put these three factors
together in a way that can help you build enough
In fact, some surveys have shown that we are more consistent income to last throughout your retirement –
frightened of running out of money than we are of which could easily extend two or three decades.
dying. And there’s no single formula for everyone. For
example, while an annuity could offer lifetime cash flow
What can you do to help alleviate these fears? and help you reduce your reliance on your investment
Your first move is to create a retirement income portfolio, it also involves fees and expenses, plus lower
strategy, and you’ll want to develop it well before you liquidity than other sources of income, so it may not be
need to use it. right for everyone.
While there are many ways to develop such a strategy, Fortunately, you
you may want to consider these three key elements: don’t have to go it
• Withdrawal rate – Your withdrawal rate is the alone when taking all
percentage of your portfolio you use every year during your retirement income OHUOR TSUHITESRAE!R!!E
your retirement. So, for example, if you retire with factors into account. You
a portfolio worth $1 million and you choose a 4% may want to work with
withdrawal rate, you’ll be taking out $40,000 per year. a financial professional
Your withdrawal rate will depend on several factors – someone who can
– your age at retirement, the size of your portfolio, evaluate your individual
potential earned income, date at which you start taking situation and then
Social Security and so on. Clearly, when deciding on a recommend retirement
withdrawal rate, you’ll want to reach the “Goldilocks” income solutions based
solution – not too much, not too little, but just the right on your appropriate
amount. reliance rate, withdrawal
• Reliance rate – Your reliance rate is essentially the rate and potential
percentage of your overall retirement income that comes income sources.
from your investment portfolio – your IRA, 401(k) and By getting the help
other accounts. It’s called a reliance rate because you you need and by
rely on this portfolio for your income. The higher your following a suitable
reliance rate, the more you will rely on your portfolio to long-term strategy, you
provide income during your retirement, and the greater can ease some of the
your sensitivity to market fluctuations. stress that comes from
• Income sources – The more sources of lifetime wondering if your life
income you have – such as Social Security and a pension span might eventually
from your employer – the less you may be relying on exceed your financial
your investment portfolio to cover your retirement resources.
goals. However, many private employers have moved 1506 South Hastings Way,
away from pensions in favor of 401(k)-type plans. Eau Claire
Social Security will only provide about 40% of your This article was written 715-832-3502
preretirement income in retirement, assuming your by Edward Jones for use by
earned income is average for U.S. workers, according to Andrew Cooper.
the Social Security Administration. Consequently, you

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 17


What is your brand?

Values, reputation are beginnings of marketing strategy Justin Vajko owns Dialog Design
for businesses Co., an Eau Claire-based marketing,
branding and website firm. Contact
By Justin Vajko him via email at [email protected]
Dialog Design Co. or visit the firm's website at

There are two secrets I want to let you in on. their customers and turn them into a compelling outside-
First: I watched “The Princess Diaries” back in high facing look and message that get them attention and
school. Why is this relevant? Keep reading to find out. desire in the marketplace.
Second: Your brand is not your logo. So is your brand working for you or against you?
Your brand is your reputation. And branding is the act Here are five questions you can ask yourself about
of shaping that perception in the marketplace through what your brand is doing for you. Answer each question
your story, your visuals and your communications. You with either poor, fair, good or excellent:
can’t do branding well without first understanding what • H ow well-known or noticed is your brand in the
your brand is. marketplace?
Many business owners have a brand naturally emerge
from their personal value system and their passion — • H ow deeply and emotionally do people relate to your
this is perfectly fine at first. But that only gets a company • How well do people understand your value
so far. What happens when the owner moves on? What compared to your competitors?
happens when the sales team needs to communicate their
value and starts promising things that aren’t what the • H ow well do people believe and trust in you and
company can back up? your promises?

That’s where knowing your brand helps. • H ow likely is someone to be motivated to purchase
So what’s your brand? And how do you shape your your service or product simply because of your
brand? reputation?
Let’s get back to my Princess Diaries confession.
In “The Princess Diaries,” a regular high school girl is Once you have an idea of your brand, you’ll want to
perceived to be a nerd and an outcast in her school — determine if that’s where you want to be.
that is, until it’s revealed she’s actually next in line to the
throne of a European country. Her royal grandmother has Does your visual branding (logo, colors, etc.) look the
professionals swoop in and spruce up her frazzled hair, same as everyone else’s? That’s a clear opportunity to
overgrown eyebrows and frumpy clothes. Overnight, her change and emerge in the marketplace.
appearance changes from nerd to princess.
She’s suddenly transformed from a forgettable outcast Are you known as the cheapest option and a
to an unmistakably beautiful woman. commodity? You might need to rebrand in order to
Did she change on the inside? Nope, still the same. establish a more premium market position in your
Only now her incredible and quirky inner qualities were customer’s mind and eventually command higher profit
allowed to shine on the outside. margins.

Is your sales team struggling with long sales cycles
because your buyers just don’t know your value? Hire a
branding agency to create a plan that will raise awareness
of the trustworthiness of your brand for your ideal
A lot of businesses are flying under the radar when buyers. You’ll be amazed at how a consistent look and
they should be known as the best thing since sliced
bread. Their appearance in the marketplace is frazzled. message will help you build trust faster and speed up the
They’re completely forgettable as a company because sales cycle.
When you want to be the only company your customer
they look like everyone else, sound like everyone else considers in your market, work with a professional
and provide the same service or product as everyone
else. They’re a commodity when they should be a market branding agency. They’ll help you identify how you can
leader. stand out — not by giving you a simple makeover, but by
Branding agencies help businesses identify their pulling out the incredible value inside of your company
strengths and the unique ways they solve problems for that, when the crowds see it, makes them go “wow.”

18 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


Ending use of ‘reply all’ is among effective Title: “ Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online
communication advice from author Etiquette, from Social Media to Work to Love”

By Terri Schlichenmeyer Author: V ictoria Turk
The Bookworm Pages: 216
Publisher: Plume (c. 2020)

Hit “send.” thinking about creating a “work group” with a chat
That’s what you did when the boss dispatched app, think again. Says Turk, that’s not a good idea at
an email. You replied honestly, hit “send,” and all.
now the guy down the hall is mad, six people are
looking at you funny, and they’re gossiping about Technology moves fast enough. Now, so do rules.
you downstairs. You’re not sure what happened, but Make sure you follow what’s new with “Kill Reply
read “Kill Reply All” by Victoria Turk. Maybe your All” because Turk makes sense of new rules to heed
message sent the wrong message. and faux pas to avoid in mostly helpful, usable mini-
Coat off, computer on, coffee poured, and what’s chapters.
the next thing you do when you get to work? If
you’re like most, you check your email, deal with the Be aware, however, that some points may make
messages, check again, deal with the messages, check certain readers rear back in horror. She is, for instance,
again. In fact, studies show that the average person not a fan of old-fashioned phone calls.
checks work emails nearly 80 times a day. And as the
emails pile up, despite that we say we’re not bothered The good news is, nobody ever said you had to
by the glut of them, we really are. follow everything, right?
Email, says Turk, is not an optimal way to
communicate. It’s efficient, but stressful; better than Likewise, nobody ever said you had to read
some methods but lacking when compared to others. everything, either, so feel free to skip around in
Rather than grind your teeth over it, try Turk’s this book if you want; the info on dating may be
method of “Inbox Zero,” if you dare – it’s a method of irrelevant, but amusing. Do be sure to look over the
dealing with, sorting and eliminating all inbox emails chapter on friendship, though. There, Turk – who is
to avoid the stress of unread missives; also remember somewhat the Miss Manners of C-Suites – offers tips
that there are times when a reply to an email simply on communicating with pals, progeny and partners,
isn’t warranted. Learn to email like a CEO (unless and much of that instruction could easily extend to
you’re in sales); know your options (including old- the office.
school methods, such as picking up a phone and
actually speaking, or walking over to someone’s No more wrangling a bloated inbox. No more
desk); practice compassion for your co-workers by tangled message
using the “bcc”; don’t “reply all”; and never, ever threads. No more
leave a voicemail. angling for forgiveness
As for informal communication, know how to avoid on communication if
confusing your friends, how to use chat apps correctly you read “Kill Reply
and learn why the inventor of the MUTE button All.”
should be handed a Nobel Peace Prize. And if you’re
For every The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has
businessperson who been reading since she was 3 years old and never
wants to do right and goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill
do better, this book will in Wisconsin with two dogs and 15,000 books.
be a hit.

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 19

- Sponsored Content -

Call to aCtion: Review YouR estate Plan in light of the seCuRe aCt
authoRs: attoRneYs linda danielson and KaYla MuRPhY

The federal appropriations bill enacted into law on December exceptions; for example, a surviving spouse, minor children
20, 2019 changed federal law in ways that may affect your (but not grandchildren), and beneficiaries who are disabled
retirement assets, including 401(k) plans and IRAs. Those or chronically ill are still permitted to take distributions over their
changes, often referred to as the “SECURE Act,” may affect you expected lifetimes (though children who are minors at the time
during your lifetime and also the way those retirement assets may of inheritance must now take the full distribution within 10 years
be distributed to your beneficiaries after your death. Significantly, after reaching the legal age of adulthood). However, if the
the SECURE Act changes the timing and amount of tax to be retirement plan is left to those beneficiaries in trust, they may not
paid by those beneficiaries when they receive the retirement qualify for the lifetime distribution, depending on the terms and
assets, your ability to protect the retirement assets from the conditions of the trust.
beneficiaries’ creditors, and the value of those retirement assets The good news is that the SECURE Act does not change the
in the hands of the beneficiaries. method of designating a beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive
The SECURE Act contains many provisions; however, this e-alert inherited retirement assets. If you have existing beneficiary
summarizes only some of the key aspects of the SECURE Act designations in place, those designations are still valid. What
as they relate to estate planning. Given the significance of the SECURE Act does introduce, however, is a host of new
these changes, we urge you to contact your Ruder Ware estate considerations that you should consider in structuring your
planning attorney to arrange a time to discuss this new law estate plan to maximize the benefit of your retirement plan
in detail, so that you and your attorney may take action to, if assets and best protect your beneficiaries.
necessary, revise your estate plan to protect your beneficiaries Unfortunately, Congress gave us very little warning that these
and their inheritance of your retirement assets. changes were coming. Accordingly, estate plans that, through
Changes Affecting you During life the end of 2019, offered a sound approach to planning for
One component of the SECURE Act that will affect many people retirement assets, may suddenly no longer provide a good
during their lives is a change in the age at which a person must solution.For example,some of our clients may have current plans
begin taking distributions from a retirement plan. Under the prior in place that leave their retirement assets to a trust known as a
law, most people were required to begin taking distributions from “conduit trust” following the client’s death. Generally, distributions
their retirement plans or IRAs when they reached age 70 ½.Under of retirement plan assets to a conduit trust pass immediately from
the new law, the age is increased to 72. In addition, the SECURE the trust to the beneficiary. Conduit trust plans were frequently
Act removes the age cap for funding traditional (nonRoth) IRAs, utilized under the prior law because the distributions of the
meaning that individuals over age 70 ½ are now eligible to make retirement plan would be stretched over the expected lifetime
contributions to a traditional IRA. of the trust beneficiary but still retain the creditor protection
These changes may present an opportunity for people to provided by the trust arrangement. However, under the SECURE
take further advantage of the tax-deferred savings offered by Act, that same conduit trust may now result in distribution of all
retirement plans. In some instances, they may even present of the retirement plan assets to the beneficiary within 10 years
additional opportunities for funding a Roth IRA.Your accountant of the death of the original account owner, which may not be
or financial advisor is likely in the best position to advise you a desired outcome. Depending on the circumstances, other
as to whether and how you might benefit from these changes planning techniques may better serve the goals those plans are
in the law. We encourage you to reach out to them to discuss meant to achieve under the new rules.
your retirement strategy in light of the SECURE Act. Of course, take Action
you are welcome to contact any of us as well, and we will be If you have retirement plan assets, we recommend that you
glad to assist you in understanding how the SECURE Act applies review your estate plan as soon as possible, to ensure that
to your circumstances, in coordination with your other financial it disposes of those assets in the best manner for your family
professionals as appropriate. taking into account the SECURE Act changes. Any of our estate
After your Death planning attorneys would welcome the chance to discuss these
Perhaps the most significant changes brought about by the changes with you, answer any questions you may have, and
SECURE Act, at least in terms of estate planning, relate to how make recommendations specifically for you. Please contact
your retirement plan may be distributed and taxed after your one of us to arrange a meeting or phone conference at your
death. You may recall reading or hearing about the goal of convenience, so that we can help you find the best planning
“stretching out” your retirement plan after death. Under the prior solutions to meet your needs and those of your family.
law, it was possible to stretch the distribution of an inherited
retirement plan over the life expectancy of a beneficiary, if that Attorney Attorney
beneficiary was a “designated beneficiary.” This lifetime stretch- linDA DAnielson KAylA Murphy
out provided income tax free growth of the inherited retirement
plan assets during the beneficiary’s life, deferred the payment
of income taxes paid on distributions made to the beneficiary
from the retirement account, and protected the retirement plan
assets from most of the beneficiary’s creditors. The prior law
permitted these advantages even for retirement plan assets left
to beneficiaries in trust, as long as the trust contained certain
required terms and conditions.
However, the SECURE Act has changed these rules to require that
most designated beneficiaries will now be required to receive
the entire inherited retirement account within 10 years following
the death of the original account owner. There are several

20 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


Feb. 10: Business Plan Basics, course, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Realtors p.m., Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, 3460
Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, 3460 Mall Drive. Mall Drive. Cost: $29. Register:
Cost: $29. Register: March 12: Manufacturing Show, 3-7 p.m., Chippewa Valley
Feb. 11: Social Media Marketing Basics, class, 8-9:30 a.m., Technical College Manufacturing Education Center, 2320
Classroom 234, CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W. Alpine Road, Eau Claire. Info:
Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire. Cost: $39. Register: March 12-13: Critical Conversations, course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.,
Feb. 19: Success for Breakfast: Identity Theft — Be Aware and UW-Eau Claire — Barron County Campus, Student Center, 1800
Don’t Share!, presentation by community financial education College Drive, Rice Lake. Cost: $600. Register:
coordinator Melissa Janssen of Royal Credit Union, 9-10 a.m., March 18: Lunch & Learn: Edvest College Savings Program,
Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, 1 N. Bridge St., noon-1 p.m., Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, 101 N.
Chippewa Falls. Cost: $15. Register: Farwell St. Cost: $20, chamber members; $40, nonmembers.
Feb. 25: Chippewa Valley Rally, annual Chippewa Valley Register:
Chamber Alliance trip to Madison to meet with state officials, March 19: Chippewa Chamber Women’s Luncheon, 11:30
10 a.m.-6:15 p.m., Park Hotel Best Western Premier, 22 S. Carrol a.m.-1:30 p.m., Bye the Willow, 501 High St., Chippewa Falls.
St., Madison. Bus transportation available. Cost: $79, before Cost: $20, chamber members; $30, nonmembers. Register:
Jan. 31; $89, after Jan. 31. Register:
Feb. 26: Conflict Resolution for the Workplace, class, 9 a.m.- March 19-20: Learning to Lead, course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.,
noon, Room 100A, CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W. Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court, Eau Claire.
Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire. Cost: $89. Register: Cost: $600. Register:
March 5-6: Learning to Lead, course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Citizens March 25: Generations in the Workplace, seminar, 1-4 p.m.,
State Bank, 375 Stageline Road, Hudson. Cost: $600. Register: Classroom 117, CVTC Chippewa Falls Campus, 770 Scheidler Road. Cost: $89. Register:
March 9: Start a Small Business in Eight Steps, course, 5:30-8:30


February 21st - 23rd LEARNERS
Friday 1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. TO LEADERS
Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. CVTC offers various seminars on leadership helping
to advance area professionals. These seminars
NEW LOCATION are designed to build leadership skills, improve
Chippewa Valley Expo Center productivity, and develop top-performing teams.

(5150 Old Mill Plaza, Eau Claire) • Communication & Writing
• Hospitality & Human Services
Tickets: $6 through Feb 20th / $8 at the Door • Leadership & Management
Festival Foods • Menards • Green Oasis • Marketing & Social Media
• Project & HR Management
Children 12 & under are free • SHRM Certification

FEATURING: 715-874-4676 • [email protected]
FRIDAY Senior Day
FRIDAY Night - Live Music, Wine & Beer Tasting CVTC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment, admissions, programs,
SATURDAY Demonstration Day or activities. General inquiries regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Director of Human Resources
SUNDAY Family Day
• Chippewa Valley Technical College • 620 W. Clairemont Ave. • Eau Claire, WI 54701 • 715-852-1377 • WI Relay: 711
125+ Vendors
Dream Backyard Grand Giveaway January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 21
Scavenger Hunt with $250 Daily Cash Prize

Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery • iHeart Media • JM Builders, LLC
KristyThiess, Your Real Estate Guide • Morrie’s Chippewa Valley Mazda

WEAU 13 News

More Info: or 715-835-2526

Legacy StoneS

est. 2017

coming Order online at

Receive an american Flag and a commemorative

pin at the dedication ceremony as a special thank

you for ordering a Legacy Stone. Enclosed is my
Custom-engraved stones are a $500, tax- donation of $500
deductible donation to the Eau Claire County for a 12” x 12”
Veterans Tribute Foundation. The proceeds go square x 2” Legacy
directly to the construction of the Veterans Stone inscribed
Tribute Park and the mission to educate the with the following
public about the cost of freedom. letters. (No
punctuation may
Legacy Stones are solid gray granite, 12”x 12” be used.) maximum
square x 2”thick. 5 lines with 16
characters per line.
Please make checks payable to You can also choose from these five branch emblems at no extra cost. Please X out one line of choice above for emblem.
Eau Claire County Veterans Tribute Foundation
and mail to PO Box 1422 Eau Claire, WI 54702 ArmY NAVY mArINES AIr FOrCE COAST GuArD mErChANT mArINES




Our HistOry. Our COmmunity. Our Veterans.

22 | BUSINESS LEADER • January 27, 2020


82,080 SBA 504 Loans

Homes sold in Wisconsin last year, which Are you currently leasing space and ready to start building
was just 0.1% below 2018’s total. This equity in a building for your business? Is there machinery or large
continued a “seller’s market” that began in equipment that can help you be more efficient or productive?
2017, according to the Wisconsin Realtors In partnership with the US Small Business Administration using
Association. the 504 Loan Program, we are able to offer business members up
to a 25 year low fixed rate with as little as 10% cash down.
Increase in patents granted in the U.S. last
year when compared to 2018, according to IFI Purchase owner-occupied commercial
Claims Patent Services. There were 333,530 real estate and/or machinery/equipment
patents granted in 2019 with the top
recipients being large technology companies Refinance owner-occupied commercial real estate
including IBM, Samsung and Canon.
Renovate or construct owner-occupied
230 commercial real estate

Jobs that will be lost in Eau Claire this Projects in size from $350,000 to $20,000,000
year by the closure of Phillips-Medisize’s
production facility in the city’s Sky Park WESTconsin Credit Union’s experienced Business Loan Officers
Industrial Center. The Hudson-based are here to help you take advantage of this great loan program
medical device company stated in late available to small businesses. Call (800) 924-0022 or visit your
January that it has openings at its other local WESTconsin office.
Wisconsin plants and will help displaced
workers seek employment at those. *The terms and conditions are subject to final approval and may change at any time.

3.5% (800) 924-0022 | Federally insured by NCUA

Seasonally-adjusted U.S. unemployment
rate at the end of 2019. The jobless rate
started last year at 4%, but fell in following
months to reach 3.5%.

$19 million

Estimated value of Menard Inc.’s expansion
project in Eau Claire, which is receiving
$500,000 in tax credits, according to the
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
The project was the 14th largest in 2019 to
receive state tax credits, which are tied to
job creation and retention.

January 27, 2020 • BUSINESS LEADER | 23

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Want to learn more? • Easily understand the plan fees because they
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7 South Dewey Street • Reduce risk and liability - Trust Point operates
Eau Claire, WI 54701 at the highest fiduciary level
715-461-7018 • Maximize retirement dollars with unparalleled
and customized participant education

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