tEhne tcurletpurreeonf eurism
in the Chippewa Valley
Eau Claire, WI
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2 | ♦ January 26, 2015
Culture of entrepreneurism growing in Eau Claire. Area architect designing animal habitats.
Lower costs lifting solar energy’s popularity. Business making mark with handmade signs.
➤ Guest Columns the editFroorm
������������ Pages 10, 13, 19, 30 Contact me at:
715-833-9215, 800-236-7077 or
➤ Book Review ������������Page 12 [email protected]
➤ Business Directory ���� Page 18
➤ Briefcase �������� Pages 22-25 The industry has more than 1,200 companies in Wisconsin, accounts for nearly 17 percent
➤ Crossword ������������� Page 26 of all manufacturing jobs and has an annual payroll in the state north of $3.2 billion.
➤ Calendar ���������� Pages 27-29
➤ By the Numbers ����� Page 31 Wisconsin’s forest products industry ranks first nationally in categories such as fine
papers, sanitary paper products and millwork, according to state agencies. The Wisconsin
Editor Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection took a step toward adding to that
[email protected]__e_c_p_c._c_o_m_ list — and the sector’s influence on the state economy — by recently releasing a promotional
video titled “Growing Wisconsin Forestry Products.”
____J_o_h_n__B_a_lg__a_a_rd_ “In some international markets, buyers don’t think of Wisconsin when they are looking
for wood products,” said Jennifer Lu, an economic development consultant with DATCP’s
Sales Director International Agribusiness Center, in a news release. “This video will help them see the
[email protected]__e_c_p_c._c_o_m_ quality, consistency and variety of wood products grown and made in Wisconsin.”
& Distribution Coordinator Demand for wood flooring, construction materials and other wood products is growing
[email protected] around the world, DATCP said. Produced in both English and Chinese, the video is available
online at youtube.com/widatcp.
Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram
advertising department. Copyright 2015 Eau Claire Wisconsin’s soils and climate help set its wood products apart from those grown in other
Press Co., 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI 54701. areas, Lu said. Wood grown in Wisconsin is known for its uniform color and graining.
All rights reserved. 800-236-7077. Online at Forestry products include timber, lumber, paper, wood pellets for fuel and finished products
www.leadertelegram.com such as window frames, flooring and baseball bats. Those products are made from a variety
of tree species including ash, maple and oak.
Nearly 17 million acres of Wisconsin, about half the state’s land base, are timberland. That
is 2 million more acres than in 1983.
Wisconsin exported wood products valued at more than $209 million in 2013. The top five
international markets that year were Canada, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Mexico.
The Wisconsin International Agribusiness Center can provide export education and
technical assistance to help Wisconsin companies connect with buyers in overseas markets.
Visit datcp.wi.gov/business/exports to learn more about an industry that’s expanding
quickly in the state.
COVER STORY cu ture
Startup activity on the rise in Chippewa Valley
IBy Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff
n the late 1800s, an entrepreneurial spirit drove lumber barons to create logging and
sawmill jobs that helped the fledgling city of Eau Claire grow and prosper.
A recent revival in the community’s culture of entrepreneurship has local business and
government leaders believing that history indeed is poised to repeat itself.
Exhibit A in such discussions is the rise of JAMF Software in downtown Eau Claire. Behind the
creativity of Eau Claire native and JAMF co-founder Zach Halmstad, the high-tech company has
grown to 155 employees in the city and built a major new building next to Phoenix Park since he
created the firm in 2002 as a student at UW-Eau Claire.
But local officials insist the entrepreneurial momentum is about much more than one successful
home-grown business. It’s based on a number of resources in the community coming together at the
same time to support people willing to take risks and pursue their dreams.
UW-Eau Claire is at the forefront of the effort. The university recently added an entrepreneurship and
economic development coordinator position, launched an entrepreneurship certificate for students from any
discipline (perhaps taking a lesson from star pupil Halmstad, a music major) and expanded its efforts to
The community already has several of the prerequisites necessary to develop a thriving culture of
entrepreneurship, including people willing to take risks, those with engineering and technical skills to get
things done, space for people to work, information technology infrastructure, strong educational institutions
and amenities that offer an attractive quality of life, said Diane Hoadley, dean of UW-Eau Claire’s College of
“But you’ve got to have some mechanism to bring all those things together, and that’s where I see the
university really stepping up in the role that it plays,” Hoadley said. “Eau Claire has been walking down this
path for a number of years now, and the university is now in a great spot to provide more of that broker role
to bring people together.”
UW-Eau Claire’s increasing commitment couldn’t come at a better time, said Ann Rupnow, who started in
June as the institution’s first entrepreneurship and economic development coordinator.
“I feel so excited to be in this role at this time,” Rupnow said. “It seems like entrepreneurship in this
community is really taking off.”
While no exact numbers are available to track the phenomenon, rising activity at the Wisconsin Small
Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire supports a general perception that increasing numbers of
area residents are interested in taking the risks necessary to start their own businesses.
and Volume One
Meyer share their
students this fall.
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COVER STORY Staff photo by
UW-Eau Claire recently
has broadened its
as part of a stepped-up
effort to promote economic
development in the
region. UW-Eau Claire
students, left to right,
Jack Heruth, Kyle Stern,
Stephen Sutherland and
Brady Anderson are shown
in December presenting
their final project about a
fictitious smoothie delivery
service to classmates
in an Introduction to
from Page 5 traditional go to work for somebody else and put in
your 30 or 40 years and then retire,” he said.
The SBDC worked with 164 clients in 2014, up
nearly 50 percent from 2012, and last year’s clients Leadership role
created more than twice as many jobs as their
counterparts in 2012. The center also doubled the Two of the city’s budding young entrepreneurs
number of 10-week entrepreneur training sessions it who have attracted a lot of attention are Halmstad
offered in 2014 and still filled both sessions. and Nick Meyer, founder and publisher of the local
entertainment magazine Volume One. In addition to
Youth movement their primary ventures, the pair is teaming up with
Grammy Award-winning musician and city native
In particular, SBDC director Luke Kempen said he Justin Vernon and other partners to refurbish the
has seen an increase in younger people looking to Green Tree Inn & Suites on Galloway Street into a
start a business, often while still working other jobs. boutique-style hotel.
Today’s technology and communication Halmstad also heads a group of investors that
capabilities reduce the obstacles for budding bought the troubled former Ramada Convention
entrepreneurs, who can start businesses using a so- Center on South Barstow Street last year and plans
called “lean startup” approach requiring little more a major renovation to give the city the marquee
than a laptop, some know-how and the drive to turn downtown hotel they believe it needs to thrive.
a dream into reality, he said.
“The barriers are lower today because technology is approach is symbolic of the can-do attitude
can help a person do research, identify and reach Halmstad, 36, and Meyer, 35, believe is essential
customers, test their idea and efficiently move their to the growth of both entrepreneurship and the
idea forward with limited resources invested,” community.
“We believe in doing things to make things happen
Mike Schatz, longtime economic development instead of just sitting around and complaining
administrator for the city of Eau Claire, also said about the way things are,” Meyer said. “I think that
he definitely has noticed a recent pattern of more entrepreneurial attitude is definitely starting to take
people, especially young adults, who view starting shape in Eau Claire more than it has in the past.
their own businesses as a viable career option and
tend to be less risk-averse than their parents. “There’s kind of a fresh outlook, a new energy, that
is starting to dawn here.”
The trend toward younger entrepreneurs is fueled
in part by that generation’s desire to set its own Halmstad said people want to see change for
hours and avoid the pitfalls possible when working the better, and signs of the community’s positive
for large companies, especially during tough evolution can snowball into more entrepreneurs
economic times, Schatz said. taking the leap.
“Many of them might have watched their parents “People are inspired by this change and want to be
lose jobs in downsizings or seen the treatment they part of it,” he said.
received from big corporations, and that in itself
sometimes sets people on a different course than the A boost in entrepreneurship can push Eau Claire
forward in many ways, Halmstad added.
“Entrepreneurs are always trying to find a new problem to will help give me an idea for how to improve existing
solve, or fill a gap that they see,” he said. “If somebody sees businesses or start a new branch or division.”
a gap in our community because we don’t have something
available to us in Eau Claire, they have an opportunity to Gunner DeFlorian, a UW-Eau Claire junior from
start something to fill this gap. It’s a risk that they take, but Chaseburg who serves as president of the university’s
the entire community can benefit from that.” chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, said
he definitely feels a more upbeat, positive vibe coming from
Halmstad and Meyer shared their philosophy with UW- the College of Business as it tries to promote innovation on
Eau Claire entrepreneurship students in a fall session titled campus and in the community.
After seeing his parents and a grandfather run their
“We tried to share stories about how it’s possible to start own businesses, DeFlorian is confident he will follow an
a business without all of the answers and without huge entrepreneurial path at some point in his career.
investments,” Halmstad said. “The message was really about
finding an idea that you believe in and excites you, and then “It offers a way to follow what you believe in and do
just going out and doing it.” what makes you happy, and that’s not always working for
someone else,” he said.
Meyer said the entrepreneurs also acknowledged to
students that their ability to turn a profit on new ventures is Such comments are music to the ears of Rupnow, who
often a secondary concern, at least initially. teaches entrepreneurship courses as part of her new
position and has been impressed by community members’
“We believe there’s kind of a social responsibility to going willingness to serve as mentors or guest speakers for
after your dreams,” Meyer said. “If it’s cool and good for the students.
community, we’ll figure out how to make money from it later.”
“I like to think of it as we’re sort of tilling the soil more so
Startup hopes than determining what is going to come out of it,” she said of
the university’s entrepreneurship programs.
The current generation of students appears to be a receptive
audience for that message. Ultimately, though, Rupnow is confident the efforts will
yield something that resonates with almost everyone: jobs.
Frank Snyder, a UW-Eau Claire junior entrepreneurship major
from Hudson, said he thinks of the culture of entrepreneurship “I think our local economy will be strengthened by having
as involving more than just people starting businesses, although a strong entrepreneurship program,” she said.
that’s something he hopes to do at some point.
‘Beacon of progress’
“It’s absolutely about creativity and risk-taking and
thinking of new ideas too,” Snyder said. “Even if I don’t go Anecdotal evidence abounds to support the idea of a rising
on to start my own business, the entrepreneurship program culture of entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley, with
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January 26, 2015 ♦ |7
Blair Foley, a marketing
COVER STORY data consultant based in
Eau Claire, tells UW-Eau
Claire students in the fall
that some of her best
have been with people
she’s met through co-
working spaces such as
the one at Volume One’s
from Page 7 groups — including the SBDC, Western Dairyland,
SCORE, Downtown Eau Claire Inc., the Chippewa Valley
several local leaders pointing to the proposed Confluence Innovation Center and county economic development
Project in the heart of downtown as a leading indicator. corporations — available to mentor and support new
Plans for the $77.2 million project include a private, businesses, Schatz said.
mixed-use building already under construction that will People with a wide range of business experience also
include commercial and residential space and an arts have made themselves available to answer questions at
center that would be shared by UW-Eau Claire and the meetings of a new regional group called Entrepreneur
community. After Hours, said Eric Turner, director of the Dunn County
“The prominence of the Confluence Project and the Economic Development Corp.
other new buildings in the Phoenix Park area has been Turner, who has noticed strong startup activity in
big,” Hoadley said. “You’ve got to have amenities to his first year on the job, said he believes supporting
attract creative people and make them want to stay in the entrepreneurs should be a much more important part of
community.” the Chippewa Valley’s economic development strategy
Meyer called a Confluence Project construction crane than trying to attract the elusive giant factory with
visible from his office window a “beacon of progress” thousands of jobs.
emblematic of the community’s increasing willingness to Schatz also stressed the importance of proactively
take a chance on something big and different. encouraging and supporting people interested in starting
Charlie Walker, president of the Chippewa County businesses because it’s difficult to predict the potential of
Economic Development Corp., agreed that the Confluence such ventures. He noted JAMF had four employees when
Project is the kind of entrepreneurial effort that has the he had his first contact with the firm.
potential to spawn significant spinoff development. When it comes to entrepreneurs, Schatz said, “My
“You pump the pipe with that attitude and philosophy has always been to treat everybody as if they
entrepreneurs flock to it,” Walker said. “Eau Claire is kind might be a big success someday. You never know when the
of leading the Chippewa Valley in next big thing might hit.”
that area.” Entrepreneurship taking off Another key to the recent rise
Others mentioned the co- These numbers for activity at the Small Business in startups is that entrepreneurs
Development Center at UW-Eau Claire show a steady are growing impatient with a slow
working space on the lower level increase in recent years. 2012 economic recovery in which many
of the Volume One building Clients worked with 2013 2014 companies are still hesitant to
on Galloway Street as an 110 124 164
innovative example of support for Jobs created by clients 25 42 64 create new jobs, Walker said.
entrepreneurs. The shared office Total capital Infusion $4.7 $4.2 $7.6 “Those entrepreneurial-type
space, a partnership between by clients million million million people don’t wait. They just dive
Volume One and UW-Eau Claire, Source: UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center Staff graphic in,” he said. “If they can’t find
gives entrepreneurs, freelancers, work, they make their own.”
remote workers, students and faculty a place to work Walker attributed that trend in part to the farmer work
alongside other like-minded people. ethic mentality that pervades the Chippewa Valley, saying
The College of Business is funding that co-working that area residents show a willingness to just roll up their
space as part of its mission of promoting economic sleeves and get things done.
development and also as a way to provide a place for Still, even that positive attitude can’t go very far
students and faculty to interact with entrepreneurs and without money to back up new business ideas, something
professionals, Hoadley said. economic development officials reported is getting easier
JAMF officials also are considering the creation of co- to come by.
working space in their Eau Claire building. “Banks are loaning money, angel investors are looking
for deals and venture capital is flowing,” Walker said, “and
Support available I think that’s all a good sign for the economy.”
In addition to the university’s stepped-up efforts, Lindquist can be reached at 715-833-9209, 800-236-7077 or
economic development specialists said other factors ■ For information about the Chippewa Valley’s new
are coming together that make it a good time for
entrepreneurship. Entrepreneur After Hours group, contact Patrick Rebman at
Part of that receptive climate involves the many local
Grants help businesses stay
sharp through worker training
Good worker training is critical for a Production workers like Vern Larson, who operates a plasma metal ȱ ȱ ȱ
ęȱ¢ǰȱȱȱȱȱ cutting machine, were an important part of the CCMS training at ǯȱȃ ¢ȱȱȱȱ
¡ȱ ǯȱ ȱǰȱȱ ȱȱǰȱȱ¢ȱ ȱȱ
leaders think it’s hard to have one Global Finishing Solutions in Osseo. ȱǯȄ
ȃ ȱ¢ȱ ȱ ȱȱȱ ȃ ȱȱǻȱ Ǽȱ ȱ
¢ǰȱ ȱ ¢ȱ a pace that we needed to invest in ¢ȱǰȄȱ ȱǯȱ
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ȱęȱ¢ǯȱ ȱȱ ȱ ȱȱ ȱ
ȱ ȱ ȱ ȱȱ ǯȱȃ ¢ȱȱȱ
ǻ Ǽȱ ȱȱȱȱȱ Faragher explained that one of the have said he has real-life experiences
ȱȱȱęȱȱ ȱ ȱȱȱěȱ ȱȱǰȱȱ¢ȱȱȱ¢Ȃȱ
for their existing workforce. The ȱȬȱ¢ȱ ȱȱ ȱȱ¢ȱȱ ȱȱȬ
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¢¢ȱȱȱǯ ǰȱȱ ȱȱȱȱ
The leadership sessions involved ¢ȱǯȱ
ȃ ȱ¢ȱ ȱȱ ȱ ¡ȱěǰȱȱǰȱ ȱȱȱ ǯȄ
ȱȱǰȄȱȱ ¡ȱ ǯȱ Ȃȱ Ȧ ¢ȱ ȱ ȱ ¢ȱȱȱ
¢ǰȱȱȱ ǭ ȱǯȱ ȱȱȱ£ȱ ȱ ǭ ȱȱȮȱ ȱ
¢ȱȱȱȱȱ ȱǰȱȱĚȱȱ ǰȱ ȱ ȱȱ ȱ ¢ǯȱ
ȱȱ ȱ ǯ ȱȱȱȱěȱ ¢ȱ ȱ¢ȱ ȱȱ
ǯȱȃ ȱȱȱȱȱ ȱȱȱȱȱȱ
ȱȱȱȱȱ ¢ȱȬǰȱȱ ȱ¢ȱȱ ȱȱȱǯȱ
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ǻ Ǽǰȱ ¢ȱ ǰȱ ȱ ǰȱ ȱȱȱǯ
ȱǭȱ ǰȱȱ ȱ ȱ ȱȱ ȱ
Ȧ ¢ȱ ǯ ȱ ȱȱ ¢ȱ CVTC’s B&I team includes, from left, Angela Stadler, Roxann
ǰȱ ǭ ȱ ȱ ȱ Vanderwyst, Dan Lytle, Pam Owen and Jessica Janssen.
ȃ ȱȱĴȱȱȱȱ ¢ȱ ȱȱ ǯ
ȱȱȱǰȄȱ For more information on grant
¢ȱǯȱȃ ȱȱ ȱȱ ȱȱȱȱ programs, contact CVTC’s B&I
feeling the pinch of needing good ǰȱǰȱǰȱ team at 800-547-CVTC, ext. 4676,
ȱ ǰȱȱ¢ȱȱȱ ǰȱȱȱȱǯȱȃ ȱ or send an email message to
ȱ¢ȱȱȱȱȱȱ ȱȱȱȱȱȱȱȱȱ [email protected]
ȱ ȱ ȱȱȱǯȄ ǰȄȱ ¢ȱǯȱȃ ȱȱ ȱ
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ȱ ȱ ȱȱ¢ȱ ȱ ȱ
ȱ ȱǻ Ǽȱȱ ǯ “I saw a lot of people after the
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ȱȱȱ ȱ ȱ
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ȱ ȱ ȱ ǯ
January 26, 2015 ♦ |9
Fcaocnifnligct Jeff West is the owner
and president of Bear
Resolution possible by taking on Down (beardowninc
life, work problems head on .com), an executive
coaching and strategy
“I have several times made a poor choice by avoiding a implementation
necessary confrontation.” company based in
Eau Claire. He was a
John Cleese, founder and president/
CEO of Silicon Logic
T actor and author Engineering. He is
the chair of the local
By Jeff West chapter of TEC (The
ake a second and reflect on what went through your mind Executive Committee), the
when you saw the title to this article. world’s largest business
Were the thoughts primarily positive or negative? owner and
How you answer will give you serious feedback on CEO organization. West
how successful you will be in business, relationships also is owner and chair
... life. of Business Partners, a local
If you see confrontation as a positive part of your life, something
that allows you to deal with issues head on, resolve them and grow, anyone tell me less than 8. So if most of us really want to know when
feel free to skip on to the next article. If your first feelings were of fear someone has a problem with us, why do we tend to think others don’t
and dread, read on. want to hear it?
Time and again while working with business leaders I hear about President Abraham Lincoln had a saying. He called it “Cultivating
“the employee” or “the customer.” When we dig deeper into the issue our Better Angels.” By that he meant it takes guts to candidly express
I invariably ask, “Have you talked to them about this?” At that point I our thoughts when every fiber of our being is telling us to be cautious.
get one of several answers that sound something like this:
On the other side of the scale, it takes great humbleness and
- They’ll react emotionally. modesty to admit we might have missed something or be wrong.
- They’re completely irrational. Be honest with yourself. Do you really think avoiding an issue will
- I could incur retaliation. magically make it go away with no consequences? If not, why do we
- I don’t want to hurt their feelings. continually tiptoe around people rather than face the problem head
- Confronting them could just make the problem worse. on and be able to check it off our list of concerns? The world can be
- I could be rejected. tough enough on its own. We don’t need to continually carry around
- Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. baggage of things we have the power to take care of.
The bottom line is, for every excuse for not confronting someone’s There’s a high price to be paid for being passive and silent. Often,
behavior the outcomes we fear are practically guaranteed to show issues only grow worse when we fail to address them quickly. Worse
up anyway. The difference? By facing a problem head on we have yet, how do you feel about passive people? Do you respect them?
a fighting chance at fixing the problem and growing as individuals. Passive people often appear not to respect themselves and therefore
Ignoring issues because of our fear just means waiting until the bomb just make matters worse. While not as refined as we’d like sometimes,
goes off. At that point many people get injured with little chance to how do you feel about people who always let you know where they
resolve the problem effectively like adults. stand? Personally I love being around people like that, even if I don’t
agree with them. I like never having to guess what they’re thinking.
How many people do you know — co-workers, family, friends
— who have an issue with someone else and have avoided doing So, how to make that courageous step? Think about how you’d like
anything constructive about it? What’s the state of their relationship? someone to address an issue they have with you. For example, you
Are they happier for not having the courage to tackle the problem? might walk into Joe’s office and say, “I’ve got something I need to talk
How many relationships have ended poorly, never to be repaired, to you about. This is difficult for me and will probably be difficult
because we continually evade the elephant in the room? for you to hear, but I value our relationship too much to let it slide.”
By speaking to our fears first, we set the tone for the conversation.
I often ask the following question at our workshops. On a scale We approach it in a mature manner with honest intent to make the
of one through 10, if someone has an issue with you, with 10 being situation better.
someone right in your face with the issue and 1 meaning I’d like them
to avoid it completely, where do you rate yourself? I’ve yet to have Who do you need to be having the essential conversation with?
With that feeling in the pit of your stomach, lump in your throat and
sweaty brow, go have it! Like any new skill it takes time and practice.
With practice though, you’ll find your anxiety will start to fade. These
types of conversations rarely end up being as bad as our imaginations
make them out to be. As you tackle issue after issue, you’ll find your
relationship with others will improve greatly.
The small-print side effect? You’ll quickly begin to realize
how much better you feel about yourself, how much richer your
relationships have become and how the stress from the fear of
confrontation no longer controls your life.
10 | ♦ January 26, 2015
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January 26, 2015 ♦ | 11
Author helps reader Title: "Dream Year:
make jump in Make the Leap from
entrepreneurism a Job You Hate to a
Life You Love."
By Terri Schlichenmeyer Author: Ben Arment.
AThe Bookworm s resolutions go, this is a big Publisher: Portfolio
one. Hardcover (c.2014).
It’s a New Year’s resolution check that your idea fits the four hallmarks of a “sweet
that you won’t break, for once. spot,” then ask yourself what you’d do if you didn’t
You’ve decided that you’re going need to have a conventional job. Be realistic, though;
to change a lot of things — love, not every dream leads to money.
finances and work, for starters.
And especially work because Next, take your idea and determine how it differs
you’re fed up and frustrated. from the ones others have already had. Does it solve
And there’s the biggest catalyst, says Ben Arment. a problem? Will it resonate with potential customers?
Frustration is the “fuel” that really lights an Can it make a profit — and if so, how? Will it set your
entrepreneurial fire, and in his new book, “Dream new business apart from similar competitors? Can you
Year,” he explains how you can nurture your spark. break industry rules to see that it does?
All year long you’ve
struggled to get up in the Learn the fine art of asking; not knowing how could
morning, grumbled all the keep your dream from becoming a reality. Name
way to work and grumped your business right by seeing how others do it wrong.
through your day, and you Know the difference between the dream and working
can’t do it anymore. You’ve the dream and don’t underestimate the importance of
decided to bring your getting started. Surround yourself with talent, lead but
dream to the world and delegate if you must, and don’t catch yourself slacking.
that’s good because, today, Remember that you can’t know everything, so always
“nothing is stopping you be open to learning. Know the reasons why others have
from constructing your quit … and then don’t.
own system to sustain
your livelihood.” I’ve surely read my ration of start-your-own-business
The Bookworm is Terri “You,” says Arment, “… books over the past dozen years, and each is a little
Schlichenmeyer. Terri has are the only gatekeeper for different. “Dream Year” is no exception.
been reading since she your dream.”
was 3 years old and never By sharing real-life stories and methods he uses in his
goes anywhere without a To determine what you’ll Dream Year program, entrepreneur and author Arment
book. She lives on a hill in do in your new endeavor, uses inspiration to guide readers through the process,
Wisconsin with two dogs remember that working from frustration to fruition, of being their own boss. That,
and 12,000 books. your dream doesn’t mean along with repeated reminders that starting is essential
to the journey, is absolutely helpful. What sets this book
starting anew. Consider apart from others of its ilk, conversely, lies in small,
things you’re already didn’t-think-of-that details that — fair warning! — could
pursuing (like a hobby or be overly hasty or even daunting for entrepreneurs-to-be.
interest in a certain field),
Still, this is a decent book so my advice would be to
read it a while and, when it becomes overwhelming,
put it aside while you work its lessons for a year.
You’ll be ready for the rest then because, for you, as
entrepreneurial guidebooks go, “Dream Year” could
be a big one.
12 | ♦ January 26, 2015
Taking flight Guest Column
Measured approach to investing can tame turbulence
If you’re like many travelers, you get a little Bill Hilgedick, CFP, is a idea of flying and head to the West Coast on foot.
nervous when your airplane goes through some financial adviser with When you invest, you will also encounter events,
turbulence. Edward Jones in Eau Claire. such as market downturns, that you feel may
He can be reached at 715- be slowing you down in your progress toward
And if you’re like a lot of investors, you may 834-5052 or [email protected] your long-term objectives, such as a comfortable
get somewhat jumpy when the financial markets edwardjones.com. retirement. But if your objectives haven’t changed,
are volatile. Yet flight turbulence probably isn’t neither should your “transportation method” of
as scary as it seems, and the same may be true for Hilgedick reaching them. In other words, don’t abandon your
market volatility — if you know how to respond. long-term strategy in favor of quick fixes, such as
achieve balance by owning a variety of vehicles, chasing after “hot” stocks that may not be suitable
Let’s look at some positive responses to market including stocks, bonds, government securities and for your needs.
movements: certificates of deposit. You’ll want your investment
mix to reflect your risk tolerance, goals and time ■ Maintain perspective on your “flight path.”
■ Don’t overreact to turbulence. Turbulence horizon. While this type of diversification can’t When you’ve flown, you’ve probably observed
happens on most flights, but passengers are well guarantee profits or protect against loss, it can (perhaps with some envy) some of your fellow
aware that they can’t “bail out” at 30,000 feet, so reduce the effects of “turbulence” — that is, market passengers sleeping through periods of turbulence.
they generally don’t panic. As an investor, you also volatility — on your portfolio. Over time, your In the investment world, these types of people are
need to avoid panicky behavior — by not taking “cargo” (your investments) may shift, becoming too the ideal long-term investors — they know that
a “time-out” from investing. Over a period of heavy in stocks or bonds relative to your objectives. turbulence, in the form of market fluctuations, is
decades, if you were to miss just a handful of the Consequently, you’ll need to periodically rebalance normal because they’ve experienced it many times
market’s best-performing days, your returns could your portfolio to ensure it’s meeting your needs. before. Their perspective isn’t on short-term events,
be dramatically reduced. And the best days often such as volatility, but rather on the voyage toward
follow some of the worst. So if you’re not invested ■ Match your “transportation method” with their “final destination” — i.e. the achievement of
in the market, you could miss out on the beginning your goals. If you are flying from New York to their long-term goals.
of a new rally, which is typically when the biggest Los Angeles, you may experience delays or some
gains occur. changes in the flight plan — but your goal is still So when you fly, fasten your seat belt and relax.
to reach Los Angeles as quickly and efficiently as And when you invest, don’t overreact to short-term
■ Balance your “cargo.” The ground crew possible. Consequently, you wouldn’t scrap the events. By following these basic guidelines, you
properly positions an airplane’s cargo to maintain will be a calmer traveler and a better investor.
the plane’s center of gravity and reduce the effects
of turbulence. When you invest, you also need to
Are you a small business ready to take the next growth step?
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center offers no cost
counseling to help you develop strategies to secure financing and
resources and help find new markets.
contact Luke Kempen, SBDC Director | call 715-836-5902 | email
[email protected] | visit our website wisconsinsbdc.org/eauclaire
763523 1-26-15 763831_1-26-15
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 13
Architect Bob Sworski
of CBS Squared is
designing the new
zoo building at Irvine
Park. The $3.25
million project will
begin in September
and is scheduled to
be completed around
Memorial Day 2016.
Area architectural firm planning zoo project
in Chippewa Falls at Irving Park
By Chris Vetter, Leader-Telegram staff
BS Squared architects and engineers will certainly develop bigger and more
complex projects, but perhaps the firm’s signature work will be its designs for
the new small animals building and welcome center for the Irvine Park Zoo.
“If I have my CBS Squared (lapel pin) on, people will see it and say, ‘Hey,
you’re designing the zoo project,’ ” said lead architect Bob Sworski. “There is a
connection — people recognize that.”
Sworski, 48, is one of four partners who own the firm CBS Squared, which was
formed in May 2011. The Chippewa Falls Park Board hired the firm in December,
at a cost of $91,000, to create the construction documents on the new $3.25 million zoo building.
Construction on the 13,500-square-foot building will begin in September, with a goal of having the
new building open around Memorial Day 2016.
Sworski designed the bear, bobcat and cougar displays that opened between 2005 and 2010 in the
park; tigers and hyenas have since replaced the bobcats and cougars. Sworski is thrilled that the final
design allowed the city to rotate different animals into those exhibit spaces.
“We designed them to be as flexible as possible, for the larger animals,” Sworski said.
The city’s parks director at the time, Bill Faherty, approached Sworski about the idea of creating
three new animal exhibits that would replace the outdated, small cages.
“We designed it, and it’s been met with overwhelmingly positive gift shop and more donation boxes will offset the cost of part-time,
results,” Sworski said. “It’s held up really well; animals can be seasonal workers in the building. He also anticipates many workers
rough on them. And people have added to it, with the brush- there will be volunteers.
work on the exterior really adding to it. It has really allowed us to
leapfrog into this project.” Sworski and his partners — civil engineer Sheryl Claflin and
transportation engineers John Beckfield and Brian Smits — formed
Sworski knew he wanted to work on the new zoo exhibit, which the firm after leaving Short Elliott Hendrickson. The firm has grown
will serve as not only a home for small animals and birds, but also quickly, now with 21 full-time workers and two part-timers. Last
a welcome center and artifact display area and storage. The new summer, they moved into a 7,000-square-foot space in the Riverside
building will be open all year, with larger, improved exhibit space Professional Building on the south side of Chippewa Falls.
for animals such as monkeys, lemurs, porcupines, birds, foxes and
coatimundi that live in the zoo. Sworski graduated from Kimball High School in Kimball, Minn.,
near St. Cloud, then majored in architecture at North Dakota State.
“The challenge is the site is long and narrow — it restricts some He said he developed an interest in architecture as a child by
of the opportunities you have,” he said. “But you use that to your playing with Legos and creating a variety of buildings with the toys.
“And I never looked back,” he said.
Sworski said the plan he came up with reconfigured the exhibits Vetter can be reached at 715-723-0303 or at [email protected]
for the small animals and birds, making it easier for the public to
view them year-round. NEED ART FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
“The exhibits will be shallower and much wider,” he explained. IT’S HANDLED
“You won’t have to look through multiple levels of galvanized,
chain-link fencing.” LET THE
Much like the exhibits for the tigers, bears and hyenas, the new
exhibits will be designed to be interchangeable for a variety of AT
“It will be flexible and accommodating to a whole variety of small
animals,” he said. “So different animals can come in at different HANDLE
times, and there’s always a reason to come to the zoo.” ALL YOUR
The public portion of the Irvine Park Capital Campaign kicked off & FRAMING
in early November, with organizers announcing they had already
secured $2.5 million. The capital campaign will last through May, NEEDS
although the goal of $3.25 million may be reached by the end of
January. The fact that donations came in so quickly made it an easier 765427_1-26-15
decision for the park board to move forward into the design phase.
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fascinating to watch, with the money donated to it from all these
The current small animals building was constructed in 1962.
Sightlines to the animals are poor, and they stay inside during the
winter months. The cages are aging, and it is considered a challenge
to safely move animals for veterinary care.
The Gerald O. Thorpe and Evelyn M. Thorpe Foundation left a
$3 million endowment to the park in October 2013, allowing zoo
officials to spend about $150,000 annually toward upgrades, and
that gift was the kickoff point to begin the project.
The capital campaign covers the cost of constructing the building
and paying for engineering costs and hiring a consulting firm. The
$3.25 million does not include the cost of any additional staffing.
Parks director Dick Hebert said he hopes increased revenue from a
Chippewa Falls 715-723-4461 Eau Claire 715-839-8642
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 15
FEATURE STORY Solar surge
Energy source growing in popularity as cost declines
By Leader-Telegram staff
Cost is a major factor in determining percent compared with 2012. Wal-Mart Stores remained
when a growing technology will No. 1 among the top 25 companies in solar capacity,
gain widespread acceptance. while Target moved from 16th to eighth with the
In the case of solar energy, a addition of 15 new solar systems.
decline in its price tag has boosted
its presence in the renewable energy Interest in the energy source is increasing at the
marketplace. regional level — and among small businesses — as well.
“If you’re a residential customer
or business interested in exploring solar energy, now “People are interested in both small personal systems
is the time,” said Tyler Huebner, executive director as well as ... large-scale projects that are now effectively
of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit competing with coal and natural gas plants at a cost
that aims to advance renewable level,” said Christopher Jarosch, president of Carr
energy policies in the state through Creek Electric Service in Hudson. “Most people are
advocacy, education and collaborative interested in only offsetting their own energy usage by
initiatives. “The price of solar has solar energy and energy efficiency practices.”
come down by about 50 percent in
the past six years, and with Wisconsin SolarWorld, an Oregon-based company that
Focus on Energy incentives and installs solar systems around the country, listed some
federal tax credits in place for just two commercial advantages of the technology:
more years, there has never been a Huebner
■ Solar systems have no moving parts and require
better time to look at solar power.” minimal operation and maintenance.
James Boulter, associate professor at UW-Eau Claire
and director of the Watershed Institute for Collaborative ■ Fifteen to 25 percent in after-tax returns, generating
Environmental Studies, echoed that sentiment. thousands of dollars in savings.
“The price of solar photovoltaic has dropped
substantially over the past five years, really changing ■ Government incentives can cut 30 percent or more
the manner in which the affordability, or return on of costs.
investment, is being assessed,” he said. “According
to a report of the Solar Energy Industries Association, ■ Lease options are available to avoid upfront costs.
national average photovoltaic prices fell to $3 per watt ■ Solar significantly reduces utility operating costs.
installed in 2013. ■ Solar protects companies from escalating energy
“I believe, and there are many who have been bills and peak demand rates.
similarly predicting, that will lead to an increase in ■ Helps meet government-mandated greenhouse gas
implementation across the nation and world.” emission targets.
And there’s plenty of room for growth. Wisconsin ■ Promotes companies as green businesses.
currently has enough solar electric systems to account Jarosch advised consumers and businesses interested
for about 18 megawatts of power capacity, Huebner in solar energy to seek out a professional who has an
said, which is enough to power around 2,200 homes. electrical contractors license and is certified through the
The state gets 0.02 percent of its electricity from solar North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
power, while Minnesota will get 1 percent of its as a solar photovoltaic professional.
electricity from solar by 2020. He warned that solar energy is not a quick fix for
According to the most recent “Solar Means Business higher energy costs but is a prudent long-term strategy.
Report” from the SEIA, released in October, the average “Solar pricing right now is such that most businesses
price of a completed commercial photovoltaic project and residences will see a 5 percent or more average
in the second quarter of 2014 dropped by 14 percent return on investment over its 30-year lifespan,” he said.
compared with the year-ago period and more than 45 “So in terms of investment, it makes sense.”
■ Focus on Energy: focusonenergy.com.
■ RENEW Wisconsin: renewwisconsin.org.
■ Midwest Renewable Energy Association:
■ American Solar Energy Society: ases.org.
■ Solar Energy Industries Association: seia.org.
16 | ♦ January 26, 2015
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♦ January 26, 2015
Buy • Sell • Trade • Appraisals
515 South Barstow St.
Eau Claire • WI • 54701
ASK SCORE WMhoavt es
Is your business You?
selling or building
By Joanne Palzkill
SCORE volunteer, restaurateur
Over the years the terminology in many Life moves us all forward, opening new
industries has changed. Job titles such as stewardess doors and providing new opportunities.
has changed to flight attendant, sales clerk to At times it may also present us, or those
sales associate and waitress or waiter to server, for we love, with challenges. When it does,
example. we are here to help in a new, convenient
location providing you with expanded,
I think this stems from the increasing awareness expert outpatient rehabilitation
by business owners and managers of how important it is to build services designed to get you
relationships that will eventually turn into sales. Of course this varies a back to what moves you.
bit if it’s a retail store versus a restaurant, but it’s part of the evolution
away from “standing behind a register and taking money” to being • Occupational, Speech
“merchandise specialists who understand the products and can impart and Physical Therapy
knowledge as part of the buying and selling experience.”
• Occupational Health and Medicine;
This is particularly true for small businesses where you can’t always Work Hardening Program
rely on volume, at least initially.
• Satellite clinic location for SPOTS
The merchandise or service specialist is someone who can explain (pediatric Speech, Physical and
and deliver the product to a customer and in turn create value and Occupational Therapy Services)
a memorable experience. How does this start? I believe it begins
with proper training and educating so the individual understands 1109 West Clairemont Avenue
everything about the business and the products, along with the Eau Claire, WI
company culture. (next to Westconsin Credit Union)
Appointments can be made at:
I have always said I’d rather hire an individual who is enthusiastic
and energetic and who genuinely enjoys engaging with people than 715.717.4338
someone who has a great deal of experience but doesn’t really care. You
can train anyone to learn the skills necessary to do a task or provide sacredhearteauclaire.org • stjoeschipfalls.com
a higher level of service but you can’t train someone to have the right
attitude. Likewise, a person with the right attitude will be receptive to 764498_1-26-15
training and embrace the knowledge that is provided to them.
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 19
Recognizing an employee’s skills will result in greater productivity
and decreased turnover. Always provide ongoing information and
feedback; keep the lines of communication open and, if and when it’s
appropriate, make the job fun.
I find that small contests are beneficial and generally when we do
them, the incentive does not revolve around pay. It’s usually a gift card
valid for gas or something like Chamber Bucks that they can use where
they’d like. It’s extremely important that the people you work with
know that they are valued.
Bottom line, hire the right people from the start and if you find they
aren’t a good fit, especially after you’ve tried to work with them, move
them along quickly.
It’s like the classic book by Jim Collins, “Good to Great.” In order
to build a successful organization and team you need to get the right
people on the bus and put them in the right seats. Spend time hiring
the right people and once they’re on the bus, make them feel like they
are part of the business and that you believe in them.
SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” is a nonprofit that
provides free, confidential counseling and
training workshops to small business owners.
For more information call 715-834-1573 or
owner of the Vintage
Sign Shop in rural
a handmade sign for
Leinenkugel’s that he
made out of old barn
Staff photo by
Menomonie-area man’s messages making an impact
By Pamela Powers, Menomonie News Bureau
WMENOMONIE ade Lambrigtsen loves the creative side of making signs, as well as the chance to
build them with his own hands.
Lambrigtsen owns the Vintage Sign Shop in rural Menomonie, a business
he started in 2003. The 2000 UW-Stout graduate in graphic design started out
making hand-painted barn wood signs and gradually moved into creating more
“I went to school for graphic design,” he said. “The thing I didn’t like was
sitting in front of a computer all day.”
He picked the name Vintage Sign Shop because he started out painting signs on barn wood. Now about a
quarter of his business is painting signs on barn wood and the rest has become vinyl cutouts or lighted signs.
He even works with high-density urethane, or HDU, sign foam that can be sandblasted to make it less likely
to warp or rot like wood. Many of his signs are on businesses in downtown Menomonie.
“My favorite signs are still the hand-painted ones because you get to be more creative,” the 43-year-old
father of two said.
Designing and making a sign takes many steps to ensure the sign is effective and able to be clearly read, he
“Something simple is better,” he said. “It has to catch your eye while you are driving by. Many times that is
the first thing people see of a business is its sign.”
20 | ♦ September 29, 2014
Outside the Office dimensional look to the letters. He is making our city look
Wade Lambrigtsen plays on the Blue Caps vintage baseball team.
“I had never played baseball in my life,” he said of joining the group Growing up in the Jackson County town of Northfield,
three seasons ago. “I like that I get a chance to catch the ball with my Lambrigtsen said he took to art at an early age. He graduated
bare hands. I like the history of it and the camaraderie with the other from Whitehall High School and then joined the Marines for
players.” four years.
The veteran was with the Marine Corps from 1990 to 1994,
achieving the rank of corporal. During his service as a mortar man, “I did well in art classes,” he said. “I just never considered
he had the opportunity to climb Mt. Fuji in Japan. art as an occupation.”
“It was very cool,” he said. “We were above the clouds. You took
three steps and you had to stop and take a breath. It is very beautiful.” One of his most challenging projects was creating the eatery
signs for the UW-Stout Memorial Student Center because he
People encounter many signs during a day and if they are had just started using the sandblasting and sign foam. He had
eye catching they will be remembered, Lambrigtsen noted. to finish the job in one month.
Lambrigtsen, who has no employees, is being recognized He has made more than 5,000 signs since 2005 on barn board
in February by the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of that he personally collects from old barns for Leinenkugel’s.
Commerce as the small business of year. Each sign is hand-painted by Lambrigtsen and many are
sold in the brewery’s gift shop. Each is unique in its own
Brenna Long, the Main Street of Menomonie executive way, he noted. Each sign carries a stamp with his website —
director, said Lambrigtsen created a “Welcome to Historic vintagesignshop.com.
“It is neat to be part of a historical brewery like that,” he said.
“His work is just beautiful,” Long said. “He has done many For the future, Lambrigtsen said he wants to improve,
signs in the downtown for businesses and they are all beautiful. bettering his sign craft. Sign artists learn from each other,
You can tell he puts a lot of time and effort into each one.” sharing information, he noted.
In June he will travel to Delavan with the Walldogs, a group
Joan Navarre, who owns Triangle Arts & Antiques in of sign and mural artists from around the globe. They paint
downtown Menomonie, is enthralled by the sign Lambrigtsen 14 or 15 murals in a town in remembrance of the tradition of
created for her business. painting wall advertisements where the name comes from. He
has been part of the group for three years.
“He truly is an artist,” she said. “At the very end he was on
a ladder painting the gold on it and was able to get a three- Powers can be reached at 715-556-9018 or [email protected]
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 21
Staff photo by Steve Kinderman sought by Wisconsin employers, was launched. The program
Hutchinson Technology Inc. operates out of more than 700,000 square feet at its plant in Eau Claire. is a free, Web-based resource that bridges students with work
Assembly shipments up for HTI
HUTCHINSON — Hutchinson Technology Inc., which houses “Work-based learning is beneficial because it allows students
much of its operations in Eau Claire, reported preliminary results to explore and experience a workplace firsthand,” said Kristan
for its fiscal 2015 first quarter that ended Dec. 28. Motszko, schools-to-careers coordinator for the Eau Claire school
district, in a news release.
The company shipped 121.7 million suspension assemblies
for disk drives in the period, up 4 percent from 117.1 million There were nearly 60 businesses and organizations initially
in the preceding quarter. Net sales for the quarter totaled signed up on the site. The goal is around 200.
approximately $72 million, compared with $70.3 million in the
prior quarter. Visit chippewavalley.yourfuturewisconsin.com for more
HTI estimated that gross margin for the fiscal 2015 first quarter
was 15 to 16 percent of net sales, up from 13 percent, due to Phillips-Medisize announces expansion
higher volume and improved operating performance. The HUDSON — Phillips-Medisize announced in November a
company also estimated its operating loss was reduced to about $30 million expansion at five facilities in Wisconsin — a move
$1 million. The company’s fiscal 2015 first-quarter results were expected to create up to 484 new jobs in four counties.
scheduled to be reported Jan. 28.
Phillips-Medisize already had around 1,400 employees at 12
In other earnings news: facilities in Wisconsin. The company, which provides design,
development and manufacturing services, started construction at
■ SEATTLE — Supercomputer maker Cray, which has most facilities in New Richmond and Menomonie, and planned future
of its operations in Chippewa Falls, announced in selected expansions at its facilities in Eau Claire, Hudson, Phillips and
preliminary 2014 financial results that total Medford.
revenue for last year is expected to be about $560
million. “We had a solid year and expect record The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. provided up to
revenue again in 2014 as we continue to deliver $5 million in state tax credits depending on the number of jobs
year over year growth,” said Peter Ungaro, created.
president and CEO, in a news release. “While we
did not complete all of the system acceptances EDC names Idea Challenge winner
necessary to achieve our 2014 guidance, we now The Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. announced
expect a strong 2015 to be even stronger, as that Ungaro that Jeff Dykes, a 16-year career veteran in fire service who also
revenue will carry over and add to 2015. With an is a Chippewa Valley Technical College instructor, as its Idea
incredible year of new contracts signed in 2014, we are building Challenge grand-prize winner.
momentum in the market today across all of our product lines
and we anticipate significant growth in revenue and profitability Dykes earned $5,000 for an idea called Northern Star. He
in 2015.” This year’s revenue is anticipated to be in the range of earned $500 and $1,000 in business services in earlier stages
$715 million. of the competition. Northern Star is a compass device for
firefighters’ facemasks that provides directional assistance
■ Eau Claire-based National Presto Industries, which operates during a blaze.
defense, housewares/small appliances and defense business
segments, earned $14 million, or $2.02 per share, in the nine The Idea Challenge is a contest open to any individual or
months ending Sept. 28. The result compared with earnings of company with an idea for a new product or service. The EDC
$24.2 million, or $3.50 per share, in the year-ago period. accepts applications for The Idea Challenge throughout the year.
Visit theideachallenge. com for details.
■ MONDOVI — Marten Transport reported net income of
$20.9 million, or 62 cents per share, for the nine months ending Fitness equipment maker expands
Sept. 30, compared with earnings of $22.8 million, or 68 cents Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing in late October ann ounced
per share, in the year-ago period. The company is a temperature- plans for a $15 million upgrade of its Eau Claire site, which was
sensitive truckload carrier. expected to create 75 new jobs, as well as $900,000 in job training
Website connnects students, employers
Your Future Chippewa Valley, a new resource aimed at The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. approved up to
aligning educational opportunities in the state with skills being $1.1 million in tax credits over the next three years. The amount
will be dependent on total jobs created and amount spent on job
Dynamic Fabrication is making the expansion to support its
new fitness equipment product line. The company was founded
in 2011, specializing in contract steel fabrication, primarily sheet
cutting and welding. The business has about 50 employees.
Third Kmart in region shuts down
Sears Holdings announced the Kmart at 2424 E. Clairemont Ave.
in Eau Claire would close in February.
The store had 93 employees, most of whom were part time.
Associates who were eligible received severance and had the
22 | ♦ January 26, 2015
opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores. DISCOVER the
The Eau Claire Kmart opened in October 1963 and was the 51st
Kmart to open. The building underwent several remodels during its 50
years, including one in 1999 that converted it to the retail chain’s Big 2XU FRPPXQLW\ RI FDUH LV ELJJHU WKDQ \RX WKLQN
Kmart format. +6+6 6W -RVHSK¶V 2FFXSDWLRQDO +HDOWK DQG
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in Chippewa Falls and Menomonie shut down in May. FRQYHQLHQW ORFDWLRQV
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Spectrum Industries moves into new space +6+6 6DFUHG +HDUW +RVSLWDO (DX &ODLUH
CHIPPEWA FALLS — Spectrum Industries bought the Pactiv plastics
plant, a move that will allow the company to expand its operations. :KHWKHU \RXU EXVLQHVV LV FORVHU WR (DX &ODLUH RU
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empty since that company, which produced plastics, closed in early FLQH VHUYLFHV LQFOXGLQJ SUH SODFHPHQW H[DPV DQG
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“It’s a big move for us,” said David Hancock, Spectrum Industries 26+$ VXUYHLOODQFH VHUYLFHV DQG VSHFLDOL]HG WUHDW
president and CEO. “It’s an opportunity for us to expand.” PHQW DQG UHKDELOLWDWLRQ WR UHWXUQ \RXU HPSOR\HHV WR
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equipment allowing for the use of modern technology. For instance, \RXU EXVLQHVV DQG ZRUNHUV IURP HLWKHU ORFDWLRQ FDOO
lecterns with USB ports, plug-ins and storage space for computer
equipment used in high schools and colleges across the country.
Documation names new president, COO Sacred Heart
Eau Claire-based Documation, a commercial printer, announced the
promotion of Martin Aalsma to president and chief operating officer. Occupational Health
Aalsma came to Documation in March 2013 with 20 years of
experience in the print industry. A UW-Whitewater graduate, he started AFFILIATES OF HOSPITAL SISTERS HEALTH SYSTEM
at QuadGraphics in prepress and spent 10 years at R.R. Donnelley. Since
then Martin has held multiple positions in the industry. [email protected]
“I’ve worked with many people in my 18 years at Documation and 764840_1-26-15
Martin is by far the most qualified to take on this responsibility,” said
Brad Stuckert, CEO, in a news release.
Documation also announced it had opened an office in the
Milwaukee area. Visit documation.com for more information.
Pair of Invisible Inc. divisions acquired
Duluth, Minn.-based Citon Computer acquired two divisions from
Invisible Inc. of Eau Claire.
Invisible Inc.’s Corporate Technologies and Business Internet
Services now operate under Citon. The move nearly doubled Invisible
Inc.’s local employee base to roughly 80. Citon also acquired NetTel
Communications and NetGuard Security Solutions, both former
divisions of Invisible Inc.
“We are excited and proud to merge talents with Citon Computer
Corp. and feel confident this move will only enhance the level of service
we can provide to our customers throughout the western Wisconsin
area,” said former Invisible Inc. owner Robert Krause in a news release.
Invisible Inc. and Citon both have been operating for about two
decades. Visit citon.com for more information about the latter.
Ayes Associates acquires Madison firm
Eau Claire-based Ayres Associates, an engineering and architecture
company, and planning and design firm SAA Design Group of Madison
entered into a letter of intent for Ayres to acquire SAA.
Ayres Associates is a multispecialty consulting firm that has served
public and private clients since 1959. SAA, formerly Schreiber Anderson
Associates, was founded in 1984 and has public and private clients in
Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. It offers professional services
in landscape architecture, urban design, park design, community
planning, ecological services restoration and civil engineering.
SAA’s office remains at its location in Madison and becomes Ayres
Associates’ 13th office nationwide and its sixth
See Page 24
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 23
From Page 23 Area Economic Development Corp., announced that Luke Hanson
was named the executive director on a permanent basis for the
Staff photo by Dan Reiland organization.
Site preparations are under way in September at a mixed-use building site
“The area is fortunate to have an individual with Luke’s abilities
within the Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire. and passion to lead us in our economic development
efforts,” Thompson said in a news release.
Confluence Project work under way
Work continued on a $77.2 million development with plans to create Hanson has been with the Eau Claire Area EDC
an arts center, student housing, restaurants and shops in downtown Eau since December 2012. He began as a project manager
Claire. and was named interim executive director on Oct. 15.
The Confluence Project gained financial contributions and political In his new role, Hanson will be responsible for
endorsements in 2014, but it also faced opposition from a local group and overseeing the EDC, promoting the Eau Claire
lawsuits filed against the city. Some of those challenges are still pending, area, facilitating development opportunities, and
and the project is yet to secure the majority of funding for the $51.2 encouraging partnerships and collaborations.
million arts center. But developers broke ground in November at the
future site of the $26 million housing and commercial building dubbed TIF districts to help CF projects Hanson
Haymarket Landing. CHIPPEWA FALLS — Projects at two Chippewa Falls malls
received financial assistance from the city in the form of tax increment
As work on the privately owned six-story building proceeded, financing districts.
volunteers continued working toward the $13.5 million fundraising goal
for the community arts center. The campaign had gotten donations or The Chippewa Falls City Council created a new TIF district for the
firm pledges for nearly $6.5 million by early January and is applying for Chippewa Commons mall, 303 E. Prairie View Road. Gordy’s grocery
$2.2 million in grants. chain purchased the 169,000-square-foot mall in December with plans
to re-open a store in the wing formerly used by Mega Foods.
The project also is seeking $25 million from state government.
Following a suggestion from Gov. Scott Walker, project backers applied The council also voted to amend the existing TIF district near the
for a grant in the 2015-17 state budget, which will be decided in mid-2015. Northridge Center, formerly named the Chippewa Mall, allowing for
a new frontage road to go south of the shopping center and connect
Walker voiced support for the project’s economic development with Chippewa Crossings.
potential and its mix of private and public funds during a stop in Eau
Claire before November’s gubernatorial election. But vocal opposition TIF districts use public financing to subsidize redevelopment,
has come from Voters With Facts, a group of Eau Claire residents who infrastructure and other community improvement projects. Once
challenged the project in April’s election, and ongoing lawsuits. If all goes those projects are completed, the resulting tax base increase is added
as Confluence supporters have planned, the mixed-use building will to property tax collections.
open in June 2016, followed by the arts center in late 2017 to early 2018.
Gordy’s Vice President Rick Schafer said the plan is to remodel
Former city leader passes away and downsize the grocery so it is between 25,000 and 30,000 square
Oakwood Mall and several Eau Claire public schools were built feet in size. The cost of opening the grocery store alone is projected
upon land secured by deals that George Kumferman handled as the to be about $3 million between remodeling and purchasing new
city expanded greatly in the mid-20th century. equipment.
Remembered as a knowledgeable, straighttalking supporter of Eau ■ Gordy’s County Market also purchased the Stanley IGA. Gordy’s
Claire, Kumferman worked for the city for 32 years, including multiple bought the store from the Frederickson and Radtke families.
stints as the acting or interim city manager.
Mining firm begins construction
“He was a passionate defender of the city,” said Ted Fischer, Eau Sioux Creek Silica started construction on a new 940-acre sand
Claire’s city attorney from 1970 to 2000. mine and processing facility in the southeast corner of Barron County
and expects to begin operations by spring and be fully operational by
Since infancy, Kumferman lived in Eau Claire, except for three years the summer.
in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II and when
he took classes at UW-Madison. He died at age 89 on Nov. 21 at Mayo The facility will include a 4.7-mile industrial conveyor that will
Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. move processed sand products from the mine site to a dry plant and
a 5-mile short track that will be connected to a Union Pacific Railroad
■ Milton Siker, who opened Siker’s Furniture and Carpeting in Eau spur for transport to customers. The conveyor line will cross property
Claire in 1954, died in May at age 88. The store recently celebrated its owned by a broad group of different individuals, all of whom will
60th anniversary. receive royalties based on the amount of sand shipped across their
Eau Claire Area EDC tabs permanent director
Lynn Thompson, board of directors president of the Eau Claire Global Proppant Supply is the parent company of Sioux Creek
Silica. Construction and operation of the facilities will be led by Turn
Key Processing Solutions, an Illinois-based company. Milwaukee-
based Joy Global will be responsible for the conveyor system.
Privately held GPS has offices in Chetek; Fort Collins, Colo.; and
■ U.S. Silica, a Maryland-based company with facilities in 13
states, Canada and China, applied to develop a frac sand mine near
Fairchild. The mine would be on 632 acres just west and north of
Fairchild. It would be partially bordered by U.S. 12 on the east and
South Center Road on the west. Of the 632 acres, 287 acres would be
mined, said Rod Eslinger, the county’s land use supervisor.
24 | ♦ January 26, 2015
Foreclosure filings decline in '14 commercial businesses granted the right by an airport to operate
Foreclosure filings declined in nine of 12 western Wisconsin and provide services such as fueling, aircraft maintenance and flight
counties in 2014 compared with the previous 12 months, according instruction.
to a year-end report from California-based housing data provider
RealtyTrac. ■ Eau Claire businessman John Torgerson, 64, was found guilty
in Eau Claire County Court in October of issuing financial notes
Filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank to a large number of investors without having proper information
repossessions — were reported on 421 properties in Eau Claire, filed with the state and misleading investors about those securities.
Chippewa and Dunn counties last year. That was 22 percent fewer Torgerson, president of Preferred Acceptance Co. and a former
than in 2013. official in Gov. Tommy Thompson’s administration, was found
guilty of 47 felony counts.
In the fourth quarter alone, filings declined compared with the
year-ago period 6.8 percent in Eau Claire County, 15 percent in ■ John Menard, 74, president and CEO of Eau Claire-based home-
Chippewa County and 9.1 percent in Dunn County. improvement chain Menards, ranked 59th on the Forbes list of the
400 richest Americans in the fall with a net worth of $7.9 billion. The
Nationally, filings in 2014 were down 18 percent from the list is continually updated, however, and Menard had moved to No.
previous year and down 61 percent from their peak in 2010. The 1.1 48 as of Jan. 7 with a net worth of $9.2 billion.
million properties with foreclosure filings last year was the lowest
annual total since 2006. ■ MENOMONIE — TC-TEKS Computers completed the
purchase of Cobra Byte Tech and officially opened its third store
Jobless rates rise slightly in region at 815 Sixth Ave. The business also has locations in Eau Claire and
Local unemployment rates rose slightly in November compared Chippewa Falls. Visit tcteks.com for more information.
with October but still were generally lower than in the previous
year, according to preliminary, seasonally unadjusted data provided ■ Somerstone, a Brookfield-based commercial real estate
by the state Department of Workforce Development. company, acquired Indianhead Plaza shopping center in Eau Claire
at 3015 E. Hamilton Ave. According to the Somerstone website, the
In the latest data available, the Eau Claire metropolitan area, 56,040-square-foot property was built in 1970. A new Planet Fitness
which is made up of Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, saw is opening at the site.
its rate move to 4.3 percent in November from 3.9 percent the
previous month and 5 percent a year ago. In the city of Eau Claire, ■ Bloomer Plastics, which supplies the industrial, medical and
November’s rate was 4 percent. That equaled October’s rate and packaging markets, acquired Delaware, Ohio-based Optimum
was a considerable improvement from 5 percent in November 2013. Plastics. The combination of Optimum’s engineered blown film
services to Bloomer Plastics’ existing portfolio of custom-designed
Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn counties all saw rates that rose cast film is aligned with its strategic initiatives and is core to its
compared with October but declined from the year-ago period. growth plans, according to a news release.
Study: Local events bring in $3.6M 763737 1-26-14 | 25
Commissioned by the Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and
Forestry Department, Visit Eau Claire surveyors interviewed January 26, 2015 ♦
residents and visitors at 31 Eau Claire parks, recreation facilities
and events from fall 2013 through summer 2014.
After obtaining information on lodging and anticipated
spending, surveyors were able to estimate participants spent an
accumulative $3.6 million on food, lodging, entertainment and
“We always knew our parks and facilities had a greater
economic impact to the city, beyond just what we collected from
registration fees,” said Phil Fieber, Eau Claire Parks, Recreation
and Forestry director, in a news release.
The full study, as well as an executive summary, is available
on the ‘Reports, Surveys and Park Plans’ page under the
‘Administration’ section of the department’s homepage at
In other news
■ AUGUSTA — Augusta Area Home broke ground in November
on a new $11.3 million, 50-bed skilled nursing facility and 12-bed
community based residential facility. Augusta Area Home had been
operating a skilled nursing facility that was built in the 1940s. The
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program
provided loans, and the state provided a community development
block grant toward the project.
■ South Carolina-based Hawthorne Global Aviation Services
acquired Heartland Aviation of Eau Claire. Heartland, which
is based at Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, became the fifth
fixed-based operation in Hawthorne’s national network. FBOs are
Crossword Puzzle 12 67 3 5
9 15 13 14
24 25 26
EclipseCrossword.com Answers on
1. New DT hotel investment group. 2. Newly minted local EDC head.
4. CF-based national networking organization. 3. Top Dunn County employer.
6. Financial CD. 4. Menomonie feed manufacturer.
9. Chair of CF chamber. 5. Augusta summer gala.
10. Chicago-area biz school. 7. Bon Iver breakthrough.
12. State Farm pitchman. 8. Confluence Project mixed-use building.
17. EC fundraiser supplier. 11. EC chamber event for students.
19. The Idea Challenge winner. 13. $5,000 a night cruise ship.
20. St. Croix EDC business of the year. 14. Inaugural Altoona celebration.
22. "Choose Yourself!" author. 15. RL food processing industry manufacturer.
23. Born between 1980 and 2000, according to NPR. 16. Annual visit with state legislators.
24. New local bluegrass event. 18. Menomonie Main St. leader.
26. Chippewa Falls library director. 21. Hammond Industrial Park tenant.
27. CF steel and aluminum specialist. 25. What FICO once stood for.
28. Food co-op that received $500,000 grant.
26 | 29. Black River Falls beer producer.
♦ January 26, 2015
Management certificate programs near FEB. 4: The Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce’s
76th Annual Banquet and Awards Night will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at
Three two-day seminars in the Supervisory Management UW-Stout in Menomonie. Visit menomoniechamber.org for details.
Certificate Program at UW-Eau Claire — “Supervisor Training:
Learning to Lead,” “Emotional Intelligence and Empowerment” FEB. 5: Junior Achievement’s 25th Anniversary Gala will be from
and “Surviving Difficult Conversations” — will be held in 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Wild Ridge Golf Course, 3905 Kane Road. For
February and March. more information visit eauclaire.ja.org or contact Heide Cooper at
715-835-5566 or [email protected]
The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Scheduled sessions are: FEB. 10: The program “Business Plan Basics” will be from 6
to 9 p.m. at Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418
■ “Supervisor Training: Learning to Lead,” Feb. 26-27 at Wisconsin St. The cost is $29 and scholarships are available for
Metropolis Resort and Conference Center, 5150 Fairview income-eligible individuals. For more information or to register,
Drive; March 12-13 at Citizens State Bank, 375 Stageline Road, visit successfulbusiness.org or call 715-836-7511, ext. 1171.
FEB. 11: The economic development corporations and chambers
■ “Emotional Intelligence and Empowerment,” March 5-6 at of commerce from St. Croix, Pierce, Polk and Dunn counties will
Metropolis Resort and Conference Center. travel to Madison to promote legislative priorities for the Greater
St. Croix Valley. The event is free and open to citizens, businesses
■ “Surviving Difficult Conversations,” April 30 and May 1 and organizations willing to travel to and from Madison for
at Metropolis Resort and Conference Center. meetings with legislators, committee chairs and policy advisers. A
preliminary agenda has the Great St. Croix Valley group arriving in
For more information or two register, visit uwec.edu/CE/ Madison by 11 a.m. for an orientation on legislative issues during
programs/business/smcp.htm, call 715-836-3636 or 866-893- a box luncheon. Appointments with legislators run throughout
2423, or email [email protected] the afternoon. The event ends at 4:30 p.m. and participants depart
for home. Vans have been reserved for the day to offset individual
CVTC training programs approach travel expenses. For more information contact the St. Croix
Economic Development Corp. at 715-381-4383 or [email protected]
Upcoming business training programs at Chippewa Valley com.
■ Also on Feb. 11, the Women of the Valley program will feature a
■ “Microsoft Excel: Basic Skills,” 8:30 a.m. Feb 4 at CVTC, 770 tour of Willow Creek Women’s Clinic.
Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls.
Women of the Valley, a project of the Western Dairyland Women’s
■ “Microsoft Outlook: Time Management with Calendars and Business Center, is a monthly business networking group focused on
Tasks,” 9 a.m. Feb. 5 at CVTC, 620 W. Clairemont Ave. providing female entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals
with access to professional development, volunteer and social
■ “Microsoft Outlook: Effective Email Management,” 9 a.m. Feb. 5 activities.
at CVTC, 620 W. Clairemont Ave.
Meetings take place on the second Wednesday of each month at
■ “Adobe PhotoShop: Basic,” 8:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at CVTC, 403 5:30 p.m. Email [email protected] for details.
Technology Drive E., Menomonie.
FEB. 13: The free Women’s Leadership Book Club will meet at 8
■ “Microsoft Publisher: Nuts & Bolts,” 8:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at CVTC, a.m. at The Goat Coffee House, 336 Water St. The topic of discussion
770 Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls. will be the book “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s
Greatest Managers Do Differently.” Karman Briggs of Western
■ “Adobe Illustrator: Basic,” 8:30 a.m. Feb. 24 at CVTC, 770 Dairyland will facilitate the discussion. Visit successfulbusiness.org
Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls. for more information.
■ “Microsoft Excel: Intermediate,” 8:30 a.m. Feb. 26 at CVTC, 403 FEB. 15: MADISON — The date is the deadline to apply for a two-
Technology Drive E., Menomonie. day career development program for dairy industry professionals
that will take place March 17-18 in conjunction with the Professional
■ “Adobe InDesign: Basic,” 8:30 a.m. March 11 at CVTC, 403
Technology Drive E., Menomonie. ZZZ ER[[VDQLWDWLRQ FRP
■ “Adobe Photoshop: Tips & Tricks,” 8 a.m. April 2 at CVTC, 620 <RXU ORFDO FKRLFH
W. Clairemont Ave. IRU UHVLGHQWLDO FRPPHUFLDO WUDVK UHF\FOLQJ VHUYLFH
■ “Microsoft Excel: Basic,” 8:30 a.m. April 8 at CVTC, 620 W.
0RQGRYL 5G (DX &ODLUH :, 765124 1-26-15
■ “Adobe Acrobat: Creating PDF Forms,” 8 a.m. April 9 at CVTC,
403 Technology Drive E., Menomonie.
■ “Microsoft OneNote,” 1 p.m. April 9 at CVTC, 403 Technology
Drive E., Menomonie.
■ “Microsoft Access: Nuts & Bolts,” 8:30 a.m. April 15 at CVTC,
770 Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls.
■ “Adobe InDesign: Tips & Tricks,” 8 a.m. April 16 at CVTC, 620
W. Clairemont Ave.
n “Using Microsoft Word & Adobe InDesign Together,” 1 p.m.
April 16 at CVTC, 620 W. Clairemont Ave.
■ “Microsoft Excel: Intermediate,” 8:30 a.m. April 30 at CVTC, 770
Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls.
For more information about any of the aforementioned programs,
email [email protected] or call 800-547-2882, ext. 4676.
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 27
CALENDAR February, March, April
Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s business conference at the Alliant MARCH 10: The program “Start a Small Business in 8 Steps”
Energy Center. Participants at the Cornerstone Dairy Academy can will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Western Dairyland Community Action
focus on developing leadership, teamwork and interactive skills Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Topics to be covered include honing an
and identifying their character strengths. Dairy producers and other idea, business feasibility and marketing. After the class, participants
dairy-industry professionals, as well as students pursuing dairy- may request free, one-on-one counseling from Western Dairyland’s
related careers in college and technical college programs, may apply business development specialists. The cost is $29 and scholarships
for the academy. Program details and an online application can be are available for income-eligible individuals. For more information
found at pdpw.org or by calling 800-947-7379. or to register, visit successfulbusiness.org or call 715-836-7511, ext.
FEB. 18: The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s “100 Year
Anniversary Luncheon” is noon to 1:30 p.m. at Wild Ridge & Mill MARCH 11: MENOMONIE — The UW-Stout Manufacturing
Run Golf Course, 3905 Kane Road. The event will celebrate chamber Outreach Center is presenting the first session in a four-part
members that have been in the Chippewa Valley for 100 years or “Innovations in Healthcare Series” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Future
more. The cost is $25. Visit eauclairechamber.org or call 715-834-1204 sessions are April 1, May 6 and June 3. Topics to be covered
for more information. include financing health care, on-site clinics, wellness and disease
management, and innovative technologies.The cost, which includes
■ Also on Feb. 18, a “Writing/Publishing Industry Roundtable breakfasts and lunches, is $500 for two company representatives.
Discussion” will be from noon to 1 p.m. at Western Dairyland Call 715-232-2793 or visit www.uwstout.edu/profed/ihc.cfm for
Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. The cost, which more information.
includes lunch, is $15. Visit successfulbusiness.org for more
information. ■ Also on March 11, the Women of the Valley program will feature
a tour of JAMF Software. Women of the Valley, a project of the
FEB. 20-22: The 37th annual Home and Garden Show will be at Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, is a monthly business
networking group focused on providing female entrepreneurs,
the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center, 3456 Craig Road. Advance business owners and professionals with access to professional
tickets are $6 for one day or $10 for a weekend pass. They’re $8 and development, volunteer and social activities. Meetings take place
$12 at the door. Visit cvhomebuilders.com, call 715-835-2526 or email on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Email [email protected]
[email protected] for more information. successfulbusiness.org for details.
FEB. 21: Rachel Funk-Johnson, co-owner of Excite! Wellness in MARCH 12: The Red Cedar Watershed Conference 2015 is
Chippewa Falls and founder of Happee School, an online wellness 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at UW-Stout’s Memorial Student Center in
program, is launching a national speaking tour with the program Menomonie. Visit www.uwstout.edu/profed/redcedar/index.cfm
“Find your Happee! Motivational Superstar Seminar” at 29 Pines, for details.
5872 33rd Ave. The former corporate buyer will use her work
experience to impact her audience. Visit rachelfunkjohnson.com for MARCH 13: The free Women’s Leadership Book Club will
more information. meet at 8 a.m. at The Goat Coffee House, 336 Water St. The topic
of discussion will be the book “Women in Clothes.” Karman
FEB. 25: Downtown Eau Claire Inc.’s Annual Awards Banquet Briggs of Western Dairyland will facilitate the discussion. Visit
begins at 5:30 p.m. at Houligan’s Steak & Seafood Pub, 415 S. successfulbusiness.org for more information.
Barstow St. The cost is $30 for the event, which will feature a guest
speaker and musical enterntainment. Call 715-839-4914 or email MARCH 17 and 19: The two-part program “Business
[email protected] for more information. QuickBooks” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. each day at Western Dairyland,
418 Wisconsin St. The cost is $99 and scholarships are available for
■ Also on Feb. 25, the Chippewa Valley Technical College Spring income-eligible individuals. Visit successfulbusiness.org for more
Career Fair is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the college’s Business information.
Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Employers may visit cvtc.
edu for more information. MARCH 18: A “Health/Wellness Industry Roundtable
Discussion” will be from noon to 1 p.m. at Western Dairyland
FEB. 26: The banquet to honor the St. Croix Economic Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. The cost, which
Development Corp.’s 2014 Business of the Year winners will be includes lunch, is $15. Visit successfulbusiness.org for more
at Ready Randy’s, 1490 131st St., New Richmond. Call the St. information.
Croix EDC at 715-381-4383 or email [email protected] for more
information. MARCH 24: The program “Marketing 360 Workshop: A
Comprehensive Examination of Your Small Business Marketing
MARCH 3: A six-part Lean Certification Series will be from 8 Plan” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Western Dairyland Community
a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each session in Menomonie. The first five meetings Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. The cost is $99. Visit
— March 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 — will be held at Chippewa Valley successfulbusiness.org for details.
Technical College’s Menomonie Campus, 403 Technology Drive E.
The final meeting on May 5 is at UW-Stout in the Glass Lounge of APRIL 7: The first session in the three-part ExporTech program
Price Commons, 302 10th Ave., Menomonie. The program is offered will be at UW-Stout. Future dates are May 12 and June 9. Each
by the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center and CVTC. For session is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ExporTech is designed for manufacturers
more information contact Anna McCabe at [email protected] or seeking innovative ways to grow and international sales possiblities.
715-232-5484. The program provides executive leaders with a systematic
approach for entering or expanding in global markets. It offers a
MARCH 5: The Chippewa Valley Technical College structured, yet customizable process that guides companies through
Manufacturing Show is 3 to 7 p.m. at the college’s Gateway Campus, every aspect of export growth. Visit www.uwstout.edu/profed/
2320 Alpine Road. The event will allow attendees to explore exportecVindex.cfmto register. For more information contact Joni
careers, learn about CVTC programs and participate in hands-on Geroux at 715-232-5270 or [email protected]
demonstrations, including a welding simulator. Visit cvtc.edu for
28 | ♦ January 26, 2015
■ Also on April 7, the program “Mechanics of Starting a Small APRIL 9-10: MENOMONIE — An “ISO Auditor Training”
Business” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Western Dairyland Community will be from each day at Chippewa Valley Technical College, 403
Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Topics to be covered include Technology Drive E. The presenter is Joel Ericson, a quality systems
choosing a name, deciding on a legal structure and identifying professional with more than 30 years of experience in a broad
insurance needs. After the class, participants may request free one- range of industries. He currently is an auditor for Underwriters
on-one counseling from Western Dairyland’s business development Laboratories. For more information contact UW-Stout’s Joni Geroux
specialists. The cost is $29 and scholarships are available for income- at 715-232-5270
eligible individuals. For more information or to register, visit
successfulbusiness.org or call 715-836-7511, ext. 1171. APRIL 10: The free Women’s Leadership Book Club will meet
at 8 a.m. at The Goat Coffee House, 336 Water St. The topic of
APRIL 8: The 52nd annual Excellence in Education Banquet is 6 discussion will be the book “The Well Spoken Woman.” Karman
to 9 p.m. at the Off Broadway Banquet & Conference Center, 1501 Briggs of Western Dairyland will facilitate the discussion. Visit
N. Broadway, Menomonie. Visit menomoniechamber.org or call 715- successfulbusiness.org for more information.
235-9087 for more information.
APRIL 15: A “Public Speaking Industry Roundtable Discussion”
■ Also on April 8, the Real Life Academy will be from 8 a.m. to will be from noon to 1 p.m. at Western Dairyland Community Action
2 p.m. at The Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1202 W. Clairemont Ave. The Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. The cost, which includes lunch, is $15.
interactive program addresses sound money management skills Visit successfulbusiness.org for more information.
for students from Altoona, Augusta, Fall Creek, Memorial, North
and Regis high schools. Contact local schools or chambers for more APRIL 24: Daymond John, founder and CEO of the global
information. lifestyle brand FUBU and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” will headline
the fourth annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner at UW-River Falls.
■ Also on April 8, the Women of the Valley program will feature The Scholarship Benefit Dinner raises funds to support student
Nancy Rothwell of Straighten-Up Organizing at Camille’s Sidewalk scholarships. Tickets are $60 each and include a buffet dinner and
Cafe, 1120 122nd St., Chippewa Falls. Women of the Valley, a a reserved seat at John’s presentation. Sponsorships begin at $5,000
project of the Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, is a and include a private dinner, followed by a question-and-answer
monthly business networking group focused on providing female session with John. For more information call 715-425-3505 or visit
entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals with access to uwrf. edu/risingtodistinction.
professional development, volunteer and social activities. Meetings
take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. APRIL 30: The 12th annual Women’s Business Conference
Email [email protected] for details. is at The Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1202 W. Clairemont Ave. Visit
womensbusinessconference.com for details.
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29 R January 26, 2015 ♦
RE EK BR EW
What keeps me up at night about the Affordable Care Act?
One would think that after a little more than 26 years of practicing COBRA, when generally the Marketplace
employee benefits law, I would have everything figured out. I should be coverage is cheaper (and offers the potential
answering client’s questions off the top of my head, my desk should be free of of premium assistance). Unless and until
volumes of IRS regulations, and every night I should be sleeping like a baby. COBRA is repealed, the obligation to provide
notices is still there.
But March 23, 2010 changed everything for me, and for the employers I
advise. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (lovingly referred Is the variable employee rule for
to as the “ACA”) was the latest and most significant attempt by the federal determining full-time status being
government to expand access to health care. overused?
While I was alive when Medicare and Medicaid came into being upon I encourage those of you with access to
President Johnson’s signing of the Social Security Act of 1965, I had yet to
begin working on my client roster. Fast forward to 1986 when a sweeping Attorney Mary Ellen Schill the regulations (you know who you are)
overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code brought us Code Section 89, Ruder Ware to review the guidance on variable hour
which for the first time imposed nondiscrimination and coverage rules
on employer-sponsored group health plans. My first standing ovation employees. The ability to put such employees
as a practicing attorney came when I told a room full of medical clinic
administrators that “This morning, Section 89 has been repealed!” on an initial measurement period only applies to NEW variable hour
The fifth anniversary of the enactment of the ACA is fast approaching. employees. It is not available when an ongoing employee switches to
What could possibly be keeping a seasoned employee benefits attorney up
at night? Well, any one of these things is enough. variable hours.
Are my clients throwing away their COBRA notices? I have been asked whether employees who switch from regular hours
No, the ACA did not make COBRA obsolete. Group health plan
(full-time or part-time) to a varied work schedule can be required to sit
sponsors still need to provide COBRA notices and election forms. But I’m
hearing rumblings of employers wondering why bother with offering through an initial measurement period to “requalify” for full-time status.
The answer is no.
Once an employee is an ongoing employee (has been employed for an
entire standard measurement period) then the only measurement period
that can be applied to that individual is the standard measurement period.
So, when the employee switches to a varied work schedule, their status is
determined by the hours paid for during the standard measurement period,
JOIN US just like everyone else.
SERIES TOPICS INCLUDE: Will I be swarmed with requests to help employers complete
March 11, April 1, Form 1094-Cs and 1095-Cs next January?
• Financing Healthcare, Unique Options & Strategies May 6 and June 3
• On-site Clinics, Telemedicine & RX Control 8:00AM TO 1:00PM For everyone’s benefit and sanity, I certainly hope not. Even though these
• Wellness & Disease Management forms (used by applicable large employers to report full-time employees
• Transparency, Direct Contracting & Consumer- Presented by: and the coverage — if any — offered to those employees) are not due until
January 2016, the information which must be included on those forms is not
Driven Healthcare always readily accessible, or in a format that lends itself to completing the
• Innovative & Disruptive Technology forms quickly.
Join the discussion... What has become quite evident as I speak to employers around the state
is that there is no one source for all of the information needed to complete
The four-part Innovations in Healthcare Series is designed to provide dynamic and these forms. And in no case can an employer rely on an insurance carrier or
actionable information to employers. It will educate and inform businesses on how to third party administrator for this information; those entities will not have
strategically manage healthcare costs while providing quality healthcare to employees. information on all of an employer’s employees.
Cost is $500 for the four-month series and includes two company Am I doing more harm than good?
representatives per registration with breakfast and lunch provided.
Sometimes I get looks from attendees at my presentations, like the look
For more information please contact 715-232-2793 my puppy gives me when I’m trying to explain something to her. She
or visit: http://www.uwstout.edu/profed/ihc.cfm. doesn’t understand much other than “good girl” and “wanna go outside?”
All discussions to be held at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Do the phrases “applicable large employer” and “minimum essential
coverage” mean anything to my audience? Am I just making them more
Sponsored by: confused? I sure hope not. I do know that every opportunity I have to talk
about the ACA, and answer questions, makes me understand it a little more.
And helps me sleep better.
765574 1-26-15 Schill has counseled public and private sector employers on the effect of health
care reform on their group health plans, including identification of applicable large
PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND SERVICES employer status and full-time employees. She frequently presents on the topic, in
221 10TH Avenue East, Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751 addition to blogging about it at blueinklaw.com, with the aim to uncomplicate a
715.232.2793 • [email protected] • www.uwstout.edu/profed complicated piece of legislation.
30 | ♦ January 26, 2015
By 1t8h67e Numb$e170r,s000YearthatChippewaFalls-basedLeinenkugel
Brewing Co. began operations. The Eau Claire AaEpvbxpeyprrOootahuxrgTeitemereUcpaahWatoc,er-rhatSgibctaCpuoineprmuoinaztgpttaeMritnairinagomannsbnusapdu.flraseeoicssntteheounesfrtisrtnehigdne
Area Chamber of Commerce is recognizing
Leinie’s and other members that have been
in the Chippewa Valley for at least 100 years
during an event on Feb. 18.
January 26, 2015 ♦ | 31
Keeping communities moving is one of the many specialties of our
client, Ayres Associates. While they’re busy making sure everyone
else stays in motion, we do the same for them. From OSHA matters to
buy-sell agreements and negotiation with municipalities to name a
few, we make sure Ayres gets what they need to get from here to there.
Where would you like to go today?
eau claire | wausau ruderware.com
visit our blogs at blueinklaw.com