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Published by APG Media of Wisconsin, LLC, 2019-12-04 11:33:22

Business Leader | Spring 2017

Business Leader | Spring 2017

Keywords: businesses


All aboard!
Eau Claire – Twin Cities train
effort gets reinvigorated with Plus
private–sector participation

■ American Phoenix
■ Chippewa Falls riverfront
■ Chamber leader’s legacy


US Postage

Permit #203
Eau Claire, WI

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doesn’t qualify as “fun”. There are reasons you need to take action at visit our blogs at

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2 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017


➤ Guest Column ��������������������������������� Page 11 New push for rail service focuses on private sector.
➤ Business Directory ������������������������� Page 19
➤ Book Review ���������������������������������� Page 20 Pg 6 Pg X Pg 8 COMMUNITY PROFILES
➤ Calendar ���������������������������������������� Page 21
➤ By The Numbers ����������������������������� Page 23 UW-Stout gains global Three companies, donors
businesswoman. aid park project.
Graphic Design & Layout:
_Jo_h_n_Ba_l_ga_a_rd_ FEATURE STORIES
Magazine Advertising &
Distribution Coordinator:

[email protected]

Editor: Pg 12 Pg XPg 16

[email protected] American Phoenix keeps Eau Claire business group’s
715-833-9204, @ADowd_LT rubber history going. leader nears retirement.

In the waning days of the local Macy’s I took a look at the scant Our local Sears and JC Penney outlets were spared a similar fate —
selection of remaining merchandise and store displays priced apparently doing better than other locations those brands will close
to move. this year.
About five days after that visit, the department store closed
permanently and its anchor spot in Oakwood Mall awaits a new tenant. Commonweal Development is preparing land for a new retail
development expected to bring sales in the neighborhood of $42
Shortly after Macy’s, the Gander Mountain store less than a decade million annually.
old on the far southeast reach of Eau Claire will go through the same
liquidation. In Chippewa Falls, construction of a major Mills Fleet Farm
distribution center is slated to begin this spring, which I’ll take as a
It’s troubling to see these retailers vanish from the city. fair indicator that our region plays a significant role in the company’s
Our local economy relies in part on Eau Claire’s status as a major well-being.
shopping destination for western Wisconsin residents. And sales
tax reports indicated that sales slowed down a bit during 2016 in So there are reasons to be positive about the local retail environment.
Eau Claire County after years of solid growth that followed the last After scavenging through the sparse racks of clothing at Macy’s for
recession. a deal, I left empty-handed.
There are glimmers of hope that the recent store closings were As I left the store, I thought of the jobs lost and regular customers
exceptions to our retail landscape. who won’t have a local Macy’s to shop at anymore.
But I did hope and wonder about what will come next.

Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram advertising department. Copyright 2017 Eau Claire Press Co., 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI 547A01p. Arillr3ig,h2ts0re1s7erve♦d. 8B00U-2S36I-N70E77S.SleaLdEerAteDlegEraRm.c|om3

COVER STORY Changing tracks
Union Hudson HammonBdaldWwoinodville Union Paci c tracks Altoona
Depot Elk Mound Eau
Minneapolis WISCONSIN Claire
St. Paul

Staff graphic

Latest effort to get passenger rail to Twin Cities focuses on private sector

CBy Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff headquarters in downtown Eau Claire to one of the
onversations about a potential passenger four branch offices in the Twin Cities metro area —
train between Eau Claire and the Twin Cities sometimes during the workday.
have taken a more business-like tone in recent
months. “That drive time is totally non-productive time,”
In its newest pitch to the public, government and Johnson said.
industry, a local rail advocacy group is pushing the
concept of creating rail service through a public-private Instead of watching the road, she said employees
partnership. could be using laptops to work or even participate in
meetings via streaming video with the train’s internet
Scott Rogers, chairman of the West Central Wisconsin Wi-Fi system.
Rail Coalition, noted that approach has worked
elsewhere in the U.S. where there is some government A train connection to the Twin Cities also could help
funding to start rail service, but then a private company RCU recruit and retain talented employees, including
takes over operations and runs it like a business. those who get a degree at one of the Chippewa Valley’s
universities, but then leave for the big cities.
“There has been some move toward public-private
partnerships and innovation in the way projects are “Sometimes when people graduate, people think they
structured,” he said. need to leave this area to get good jobs and an exciting
city-exposure kind of life,” Johnson said. “Many people
Rogers points to the Association of Independent would like to stay here if they could get easier access to
Passenger Rail Operators, a group representing private the metro area.”
companies that run trains in New Jersey, California,
Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Louisiana and Florida. Rogers, who works as the Eau Claire Area Chamber
of Commerce’s governmental affairs and workforce
To see if that kind of arrangement would work in director, noted that other area businesses also have
the Chippewa Valley, a group affiliated with the rail found it has taken longer to fill jobs.
coalition will study the capacity of existing Union
Pacific tracks this year and continue its research into the “We have a workforce shortage and one of the
feasibility of a private-sector driven train here. ways we need to be competitive with others is
transportation,” he said. “It can be a selling point in
Getting organized recruiting or keeping people in our region as well.”
Known as the Organizing Council, the group
began meeting last year and its membership includes There is increasing demand for rail service, Rogers
representatives from credit union RCU and software said, as one generation gains prominence in the
company Jamf — two Eau Claire-born businesses that workforce and another retires from it.
have grown to include offices in the Twin Cities area.
“We have seen the demographic trends accelerate
Jan Johnson, RCU’s executive vice president of that favor passenger rail,” he said.
organizational agility, said the credit union is interested
in train service for its potential benefits to the business, Millennials are less interested in driving than their
and what it could do for Eau Claire. predecessors, he added, and baby boomers want to
travel in their retirement, but also want alternatives to
“There’s a lot of things that could be a draw to long car rides.
people, if it’s easier to get here,” she said of the city’s
arts, entertainment, cultural and recreation amenities. The latest pitch for bringing rail service to the
Chippewa Valley also mentions potential economic
For the business, RCU has employees that regularly development that can spring up around stops. Rogers
have to make the 1½-hour drive from its corporate said that happened around a newer station at Normal,
Ill., and along a route between Boston and Portland,

4 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

Travel plans Expanding passenger rail was one of the initiatives of the
federal stimulus package that was intended to help get the U.S.
About 100,000 vehicles cross the St. Croix River every day on out of the Great Recession, but conservatives who won election
Interstate 94, Rogers noted. after that had less favorable views of new trains funded by
government money.
He’s got no illusions that a train would cut deep into that, but
some would see it as an alternative to driving. One of Gov. Scott Walker’s first acts after winning election in
2010 was to put the kibosh on a Madison-to-Milwaukee rail line
For those making the 90-mile journey from Eau Claire to the that would’ve been built with $810 million in federal stimulus
Twin Cities, Rogers points out the upsides of riding in a train money. That didn’t give much hope to rail projects elsewhere in
versus behind the wheel of a car. the state.

Sure, the trip will take about the same time — about 1½ hours But the political climates in both Washington and Madison have
— but instead of spending that time looking at bumpers and tail shown interest in projects based on public-private partnerships.
lights, Rogers said you could be reading, watching a movie on As a local example, Rogers cited the Confluence Arts Center,
Netflix, taking a nap or even working while en route. which is under construction this year in downtown Eau Claire
with the help of $15 million in state money to go with corporate
Based on the group’s projections, there would be about 1,000 to and private donations, and local government contributions.
1,200 riders using the train daily.
And in addition to the research being done by the coalition’s
As it’s currently envisioned, the train would run four round Organizing Council, some of the track has already been laid in
trips daily between Eau Claire and Union Depot in downtown St. state documents showing the potential for passenger rail in the
Paul. Using existing Union Pacific railroad tracks, stops along the Chippewa Valley.
way would include Menomonie, Hudson, River Falls, Baldwin
and just south of Stillwater. Plans drawn up by state transportation officials in Wisconsin
and Minnesota still include a route with Eau Claire, but Rogers
Full fare would be $32 from Eau Claire to St. Paul, but discounts said it will take more than that to actually make it happen.
would be available for regular, reserved and family trips,
according to a fact sheet presented to local politicians. “You can be in a plan, but then it’s something else to bring a
train to fruition,” he said.
The Eau Claire and Chippewa county boards gave their support
this winter to the idea of a self-sustaining passenger rail service Contact: 715-833-9204, [email protected],
and were not asked to provide financial assistance. @ADowd_LT on Twitter

Going to the government • The West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition got its start in
Emphasizing how private industry can run a rail service and
be an asset to the regional economy is also a recognition of the 1999 by three men with business backgrounds: architectural
political climate when it comes to transportation projects. firm founder Owen Ayres, brewery operator Bill Leinenkugel
and Ray Willoughby of Alliance Bank.
Asking the state and federal government for Amtrak money is
not the way to go these days, Rogers said.



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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 5


Staff photo by Pamela Powers
UW-Stout’s new assistant professor of international business and entrepreneurship Mary Spaeth founded a trio of companies before arriving to teach at the university in
Menomonie. Among her goals for the university is additional work with local startups.

The long road to UW-Stout
Well-traveled businesswoman brings experiences founding companies to teach entrepreneurism

By Pamela Powers, Leader-Telegram staff

Small businesses make a community. Entrepreneurs “That caught my attention, as did the polytechnic
run the gamut from the owner of a small corner distinction and the applied learning,” Spaeth said,
café to someone honing a craft to create a product. noting she wanted to be at a university with that
“Small businesses are the bread and butter of strategy.
communities,” said UW-Stout assistant professor of
international business and entrepreneurship Mary She also sees the campus Discovery Center and
Spaeth. “I think people are beginning to realize that’s an fabrication lab along with the Stout Technology and
important concept after the dot-com bubble burst.” Business Park as assets that can help entrepreneurs
in the area. Spaeth previously brought the public and
Entrepreneurs aren’t always seeking to make large private sectors together while working in the late 1990s
amounts of money, Spaeth said, but to make a living. as director of business development and marketing at
the Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park.
“I like mom-and-pop shops, and that’s the fabric of the
community,” she noted. Speaking from experience

Spaeth, who has started three companies, began UW-Stout professor of business management Anne
teaching at UW-Stout in January after being a lecturer at Kelly Hoel said Spaeth is a talented addition to UW-
Texas State University in San Marcos for 2½ years. Stout.

One of the things that attracted her to the campus in “She’s got such a global perspective and connections
Menomonie was how it dealt with budget cuts in the around the world,” Hoel said. “I am so glad we have her
last couple years. When facing less state money, UW- here.”
Stout combined the traditional science, technology,
engineering and mathematics with management Prior to working in Texas, Spaeth spent 13 years
programs to create its STEMM College. living in Sweden, where she now has dual citizenship.
UW-Stout also interested Spaeth because she hopes to

6 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

continue to do research in Sweden during the summer when World travels
she is not teaching classes.
Paul Lokken, UW-Stout associate professor of business and
Having a woman teaching entrepreneurship is also a chairman of the Department of Business, said Spaeth is a terrific
benefit for female students, who make up about half of the addition to the university staff.
business majors at UW-Stout, Hoel noted. Spaeth's resume
shows that women can start businesses and grow them. “She brings so much to UW-Stout,” he said. “She has
tremendous wealth of experience and the different countries she
Spaeth created a Swedish translation company, has visited and the cultures she has experienced.”
Wetterhall's Ord, which is now run by her husband, Peter
Wetterhall. Growing up in an Air Force family, Spaeth traveled as a child.
She appeared in her first school play — William Shakespeare’s
She co-founded a Chicago advertising agency named “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — while living in Libya.
Communication Resource Group, which did some work for
McDonald's and the Federal Reserve Bank. Her education became even more diverse and globe-spanning
as an adult.
Spaeth remains president of Transmera International,
a firm she founded to provide market analysis, business She originally set her sights on becoming a physician, but
intelligence and international strategy to small and medium then decided to study creative writing at Southern Methodist
enterprises. University in Dallas. She also earned her master’s degree in
literature from there.
Since she started at UW-Stout earlier this year, Spaeth
already is making her mark on the university's business She has a master’s degree in international child studies
offerings. from Linköping University in Sweden. Spaeth got her Master
in Philosophy in Business from the University of the West of
Spaeth was instrumental in bringing a 3 Day Startup Scotland, as was her Ph.D. in socioeconomics. She also is fluent
program that encourages students to start their own in Swedish and has the ability for conversational French.
businesses by attending a long weekend seminar on campus,
Hoel said. The first one was in March. “I think the real thread is communication and persuasion and
any areas that helped me to understand people and society,”
3 Day Startup is a national program. More than 300 such Spaeth said of her educational background. “I was the kind of
programs have been held in the U.S. and internationally, person who wanted to know how the world worked. It is kind
resulting in more than 90 startup companies. of a philosophical journey that is connected. I’m still writing
and enjoy writing and poetry and theater and art.”
The program is open to students regardless of major field
of study. Participants develop business ideas and models and Contact: 715-556-9018, [email protected],
receive feedback from professionals and potential investors. @MenomonieBureau on Twitter

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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 7


Leading the way

Staff photos by Steve Kinderman
An amphitheater, a large canopy, electrical work and other improvements funded through donations will be added this year at the park.

Riverfront park work gets a boost from three businesses, other donors

By Chris Vetter, Leader-Telegram staff constructed. About $1.9 million of the $2 million goal has
been collected in cash-on-hand or pledges, which includes a
WCHIPPEWA FALLS $500,000 anonymous gift given to the city in October.
hen Chippewa Falls city leaders announced
plans for a capital campaign to raise $2 The city doesn’t have the capacity to borrow more money
million to pay for the next phase of Chippewa at this time, so that is why city leaders turned to the public to
Riverfront park, three area companies — request assistance.
Northwestern Bank, Gordy’s Market and Mason Companies
Inc. — pooled their resources and created a “challenge Schafer said he understands the reasons for wanting to
grant.” finish the park immediately and not wait for a couple years
when the city will have money.
The idea was that the three companies were willing to
match — dollar-for-dollar — what the public gave, up to Work on Chippewa Riverfront park began last year with landscaping, trails, benches
$350,000. and an area for fishing and gathering along the waterfront.

Dave Schafer, Gordy’s Market chief financial officer, said
he was approached by several area business owners who
were trying to raise money toward the project. Schafer said
he didn’t hesitate to pitch in.

His father, Gordy Schafer, grew up playing on the rocks
by the dam on the Chippewa River, and the company has its
corporate headquarters in Chippewa Falls.

“We see a ton of value in Chippewa Falls, and the
whole Chippewa Valley,” Schafer said. “And we’ve seen
what Phoenix Park has done for Eau Claire. It was a great
opportunity for us to be part of a phenomenal project.”

The Chippewa Riverfront park is located on the north
shore of the Chippewa River by downtown Chippewa Falls.

The next phase of the park includes finishing the 3,000-
seat amphitheater — erecting the canopy and putting in the
electrical infrastructure. Also, a bathroom building will be

8 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

“We’re a city that doesn’t like to wait around; we want to keep Because the campaign is nearly complete, Smith is already

it moving,” Schafer said. “And it’s going to be here for years and moving forward with plans for construction.

years to come.” “We already have the plans out on the street,” Smith said. “We’ll
Northwestern Bank president Jerry Jacobson echoed Schafer’s
be opening bids in early April. It’s going to be a construction zone
comments, saying the park is a
again, most of the summer.”
benefit to the city.
Most of the park is in
“I think the bank feels
the flood plain, where
that having a good look
construction of new buildings
coming into downtown is
is banned. The bathroom
very important,” Jacobson
building will be close to Bay
said. “And it brings all sorts
Street, by the old lift station,
of walks of life into the park,
Smith said.
where it’s a free thing. We felt
“It will be high enough it
we wanted to be part of that.
won’t be an issue,” Smith said.
Our board members were
Over the past decade, the
extremely enthused by it and This conceptual rendering from architectural and engineering firm SEH shows the river city has bought buildings in
access area in the park. Contributed image
wanted it done by fall. And that corridor and razed them,

it’s nice with so many new making way for the park. Last

businesses downtown.” year, the city had the site landscaped, removing older trees and

Jacobson said it made sense to pool the money that the three improving the view down to the river. Bike paths and benches have

companies were offering and turn it into a matching grant. been installed.
Future phases of the park include adding fountains and picnic areas.
“They thought it might be the final boost of the campaign,”

Jacobson said. “It’s always a nice incentive, to make that a challenge Contact: 715-723-0303, [email protected]
grant. It gets people who were procrastinating into getting them off
the chair and writing a check.” To Donate
Chippewa Falls city planner Jayson Smith said the entire $350,000 Contributions to the park project can be made by signing a pledge
form at the Chippewa Falls city planner’s office or downloading a
challenge grant was met and exceeded.
form from the city’s website.
“People are more willing to give if they know their money
To learn more, visit or
is being multiplied,” Smith said. “It’s unbelievable, with the call 715-726-2729.

generosity of the community.”

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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 9

- Guest Article -

Eight “Take It to the Bank”
Reasons a Document
Management System
Can Boost Your ROI

For one manufacturing business, document growth doubled almost every year, creating what they referred to as,
“folder sprawl” — resulting in huge amounts of paper crowded into floor space and in digital files stored on desktops
not easily accessible to most employees. The inefficiency took a toll on workers, customers and their bottom line until
they took steps to streamline their document management.

If this sounds familiar, it may be time to get out based environments and workflows. Authoring, review document management can prevent loss from natural
the magnifying glass to spot the ROI content drag and approval processes offer huge improvements, too. disasters and save deterioration from improper storage
inside your organization. Running efficiently in this issues caused by humidity or other room environment
technology driven time requires a robust document 3. Ending use of emails. problems. Document management can also reduce
management system (DMS). Besides the easy usability, paper purchase and disposal expense.
content properly stored can be mined for many reasons Emails waste time, are hard to manage, complicate
including prospecting for new business and providing version control and open business to potential security 7. Saving audit costs.
background for future decision making. breaches — all big issues that impact the bottom line.
DMS allows you to break free of sending content by Internal audit fees can cost small businesses between
While pain points in business can seem never email, eliminating both security and storage issues. $5,000 - $20,000 — and up to $75,000 for mid-market
ending — folder sprawl is one stressor that has size companies. Capturing documents transformed into
headache relief. As the manufacturing business 4. Enhanced security and control. searchable PDFs allows for faster audit preparation,
learned, the benefits were worth the investment. saving both employee time and auditor expenses.
Here are a few of the most important“stress relievers” IT security experts will tell you, relying on simple cloud
you’ll discover by employing a strong document storage to safeguard sensitive documents is as useful 8. Allowing more cost-effective tracking
management system. as a screen door on a submarine. Converting to a DMS of your business indicators.
with encryption, audit trails, and retention settings
1. Reduction of labor costs associated help plug the security holes and offer greater assurance According to the Federal Reserve Board’s National
with document retrieval. that you’re meeting HIPAA, FINRA, and SEC standards. Survey of Small Business Finances, there are fewer
than“one quarter of businesses with up to 500
Lost or hard to find documents can add up to big losses 5. More reliable backups. employees who keep financial statements of any
in productivity. A Harris Interactive survey shows 83% kind.”Document management systems offer robust
of knowledge workers say they are losing or wasting If content isn’t properly backed up, do you really know search options and storage in one central location —
time daily on document collaboration issues that what’s missing? Knowing“what’s missing”often turns giving a clearer picture of where to save expenses and
include: not being able to find files, working on the up when there’s a regulatory request and the document adjust for future growth.
correct version of the document, or having to manually can’t be found. A DMS trades exhausting paper chases
merge changes. Seamless digital teamwork saves for quicker access audit trails and the reliability of While paper documents still fill an important role for
business costs by connecting every department and traceable and granular security controls. business, use of paper documents alone is no longer
simplifying how employees edit, share, review, sign or sufficient in today’s business environment where
track documents. 6. Reduction of floor storage space costs. immediate collaboration, quick retrieval and security
are critical to helping stay competitive. Document
2. Easier external collaboration. Most businesses could use more room to grow. management technology is more intuitive and user
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the second largest friendly than ever, offering real opportunities to
Many businesses outsource. Collaboration can often professional services firm in the world, research shows pick up your ROI. Now may be your time to consider
get complicated or even stall because of a file snag. that one three drawer file cabinet can cost about $300, making the switch.
DMS improves external collaborations by using web hold 9,000 pages of documents and require 20 sq. ft.
of office space. Even a small storage area can cost $150 by: Dan Rickert, Director of Solution Sales at
a month, plus utilities. Besides floor space savings, EO Johnson Business Technologies

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10 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017


Are you easy? Jeff West is the Owner of
Bear Down (,
Improving simplicity for customers leads an executive and executive
to a positive impression team coaching company based
in Eau Claire. He was a founder
“Being good is making it look easy, but getting good is never easy.” and CEO of Silicon Logic
Engineering. He also currently
JEFFREY FRY, entrepreneur chairs the local chapter of
The Executive Committee and
Business Partners, a forum
for small business leaders.
West can be reached at
715-559-2195 or
[email protected].

By Jeff West implement some new idea to make it easier for your customers to do
When I begin working with a company for the first time, I ask them business with you, you should have the next two or three ideas ready
to go.
if they’re looking for a competitive advantage over their competition.
Of course the answer is always, “Yes!” Who isn’t? •••
Then I ask them to name for me companies they LOVE doing Look at companies such as Amazon. Their entire focus is the
constant push to make it easier and easier to do business with them.
business with, companies where they’re treated like royalty, Do I buy from Amazon even though I know I could probably find
companies where they don’t even pay attention to how much they’re the same product cheaper elsewhere online? Yep. Why? Because with
paying, companies they tell all their family and friends about. limited typing for the product I’m looking for and about three clicks
of my mouse I’m done and the product arrives two days later. Or
While I will sometimes get a name or two, the typical response now with Alexa I can just speak it.
unfortunately is often silence. Simple! I’m willing to pay a little more for the convenience they
provide. They make it so easy for me to buy from them. They build on
I then flip the question around and ask them to name companies that by making it so easy to send something back if you don’t like it.
they hate doing business with, companies where they’d never go One estimate says that out of every dollar spent on the internet,
back even if their product or service was free, or companies they only 51 cents now goes to Amazon and that percentage is growing. Think
do business with because their competition isn’t any better. about that for a moment. Impressive growth for a website that started
out being just another online bookstore 20 years ago.
What do you think the response is to that question? Think about the champion sport teams you watch. The best make
Unfortunately this time the room becomes very animated with any it look so easy, don’t they? Yet I think we all know how much time,
number of companies names being shouted out. It often gets to the effort and hard work went into making it look so simple.
point where I have to quell the response as everyone wants to tell you
about their latest terrible experience. •••
Did you notice a competitive advantage there anywhere? Great businesses understand their success depends upon truly
caring about and serving their customers.
••• Being respectful of customers’ time is a great place to start. We all
It’s rare to find a company that doesn’t use some form of, “Our lead busy lives today. Anyone who shows us they understand and
Customer is King!” or “Putting Our Customers First in Everything then does everything possible to not add to our frenzied frustration
We Do” mantra. Many even have a plastic banner hanging in their gets our attention, our appreciation and most often our hard-earned
lobby or lunchroom and print that creed across their stationary to dollars.
prove it. One company I personally use is so good at it that I actually get an,
Yet the treatment you often receive is not only deprived of that “ahhhhh” feeling whenever I need to call them for something. Why
kind of sentiment, but many times seems to be intentionally the exact the good feeling? Because I know no matter how bizarre my request
opposite. might be, the answer is always going to be, “No problem Mr. West.
How many times have you been told by a company representative, We’ll take care of it by the end of the day.” And they do it with a
“I’m sorry but that’s not company policy.” How many times have you sincere, friendly tone.
been treated rudely as if you should be the one happy to have the Does their competition try to get my business from time-to-time?
good fortune to be doing business with them? Of course. Am I interested in listening to them? Not a chance.
Many years ago when my partners and I had just started Silicon Does your company deliver that kind of feeling for your customer?
Logic Engineering, a wise man asked me how we were going to Do you make them feel so welcome, make it so easy to do business
innovate in our business. My heavily pompous response was that we with you they would never dream of going somewhere else?
were a tech company, so we would need to be innovating all the time. If you do, good for you!
When he told me he wasn’t asking about the technology aspect Now what’s the next thing you should be doing for them?
but instead the business as a whole, it was my turn to respond with If you’re not thinking this way, what happens when one of your
silence. When I finally asked him what that meant to him, he had a competitors figures it out?
wonderful one word answer: Simplicity.
He asked me how was I going to make it simpler (easier) for our
employees to work there. How were we going to make it simpler for
our vendors to work with us? And how we were going to continually
make it simpler for our customers to do business with us?
Turns out there’s never an end to that question. By the time you

April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 11

FEATURE STORY Rubber history
rolls on

Staff photos by Dan Reiland
Eugene Webster loads raw rubber onto a conveyor. American Phoenix mixes natural or synthetic rubber with chemicals,

carbon black and some oil to meet customers’ specifications.

American Phoenix continues Eau Claire’s place in industry for 25 years and counting

By Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff long made Uniroyal tires.
A quarter-century after Eau Claire’s tire factory closed, Alex Nazarenko, an entrepreneurial founder of a Twin

the unmistakable smell of rubber still wafts out of a Cities brokerage firm, had been mulling over a business
few windows in the gargantuan brick complex along pitch for recycling old tires into new rubber products
Galloway Street. when he heard about the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co.
plant closing on the radio.
Although Uniroyal passenger tires no longer roll out
of the buildings, they’ve been home to another company “It kind of piqued my interest,” he recalled, “and I
that has kept the city’s long tradition of producing rubber started wondering if the equipment in the plant would be
products alive for the past 25 years. useful for what this other fella wanted to do.”

And there still is a chance that the tires on your car Nazarenko and fellow businessman Clem Nelson
contain rubber mixed in Eau Claire. founded American Phoenix Tirecycle and settled into the
former factory, which was being revamped into a multi-
“That Eau Claire facility is the largest custom mixing tenant building now known as Banbury Place.
facility in North America,” said Greg Lewis, American
Phoenix’s chief operating officer. But finding manufacturers interested in the recycled tire
material proved challenging. Some of the material did go
When tire companies need more rubber because of to China to be made into shoe soles, but the outlook for
rising demand or a breakdown along their manufacturing the shredded rubber was not promising.
line, they call up the Eau Claire factory and order up
batches of rubber made to their specifications. After struggling for a couple years in tire recycling,
American Phoenix dropped Tirecycle from its name
Beyond regular vehicle tires, the company also has and decided to use its facility for what it was originally
become a regular supplier to companies that make intended for — custom mixing rubber.
conveyor belts, treads for semitrailer and agricultural
tires, doormats and other rubber products.

The beginning Change and growth
American Phoenix rose out of the machinery and American Phoenix began doing business with an Ohio
buildings left behind by Michelin’s 1992 exodus from Eau tire company, selling the mixed rubber at a low price,
Claire, which shuttered the productive factory that had buying time for the business to build its cash flow and

12 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

grow. And it came at the right time as the vehicle tire industry need more rubber than their own factories can supply. But
saw a swell in business. the Eau Claire factory also gets business from companies that
“As it typically happens in these stories, we became lucky depend on American Phoenix rubber as part of their regular
and fortunate there was a lot supply chain.
of demand for custom rubber “Today I think we’re a
mixing and we were one of pretty balanced company
the few guys doing that,” between what we do for the
Nazarenko recalls. tire companies and the other
In its early years as a industrials,” Lewis said.
custom rubber mixer, American Phoenix
American Phoenix depended added its pre-measured
on tire companies and were chemical division in 2004,
subject to their ups and providing packages of the
downs. dry chemical recipes used in
“You had some really great the rubber-making process
years and some really tough to other manufacturers. The
years,” said Lewis, who company’s pre-weighed
joined American Phoenix 19 chemical packages division is
years ago. spread across five buildings
When the economy slowed in Kansas, Alabama,
in 2001, Nazarenko sought to Jerry Caroll, a former Uniroyal employee, guides rubber that’s been mixed once as it Oklahoma, North Carolina
comes out of a wig-wag machine as it stacks up on a pallet. Rubber gets mixed multiple
times at the factory before it is done.
expand American Phoenix’s and Virginia.
customer base beyond tire-
makers by seeking out large industrial companies that also use Uniroyal alums
rubber. When asked about how the company reached its silver
“Alex put the pressure on us to find other uses for our anniversary, American Phoenix leaders give credit to a local
equipment,” Lewis said. workforce experienced in the rubber-making industry.
Tire manufacturers still go to American Phoenix when they
See page 14



We are dedicated to improving the communities we
serve through helping the businesses, farms and families

that call the Chippewa Valley home.

2728 Mall Drive • Eau Claire, WI 54701 • (715) 838-2404
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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 13

from Page 13 She found other work after that, but a friend then

“When Uniroyal closed down we were able to hire some mentioned American Phoenix was hiring and Candell saw
an opportunity to put her rubber experience to use again.
key people from there,” Lewis said.
“I’m in the biz; I know what I’m looking for,” she said.
American Phoenix still has 11 workers that had been

employed by Uniroyal in Eau Claire, including Jerry Carroll. Shipping quick
“I’ve been doing this for 47 years,” he said of making After Candell signs off on them, rows of pallets with

rubber products.
He spent 32 years of that career making Uniroyal tires — finished rubber piled on them sit in the loading dock,
in Eau Claire until the plant closed under Michelin and then awaiting semi trucks to haul them away.
They won’t have to wait long.
following the job down to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The turnaround time on the loading dock is about a day,
But about 15 years ago, he decided to return to Wisconsin,
Eau Claire plant manager Mike Richards said, which is
his birthplace, to work for American Phoenix.
“I work with a lot of good people,” Carroll said during a intentional because processed rubber does have a shelf life
and it starts to chemically change if it sits too long.
shift in winter, adding that the pay is good too.
Shipping quickly is imperative for the Eau Claire factory
He now works at a wig-wag machine, which dispenses
mixed rubber in a wide strip and piles it onto a pallet. Using as it competes with others located closer to American
Phoenix customers in the
gloved hands, Carroll
south and eastern U.S.
makes sure the rubber
“The fact that we have a
evenly stacks up, then cuts
reputation for delivering
it off when the right amount
on time, that’s a huge part
is piled onto the pallet.
to how we’re in business
Then he whisks it away on
today,” Nazarenko said.
a forklift so it can be mixed
The company’s ability to
one final time before it’s
produce in large volumes
prepped for shipping.
also keeps contracts coming
For the past 18 years,
from tire manufacturers.
Pat Candell, the factory’s
“When they have a
lead-wig wagger, has been
problem with a mixer,
inspecting rubber before it’s
they’re not looking for 5,000
ready to be picked up and
pounds, they’re looking for
shipped out. She, too, is a
truckloads,” Lewis said.
Uniroyal alum. By midday, the loading dock at American Phoenix starts to fill up with rubber mixed In a slow month, about
Candell proudly multiple times and prepared for shipping. Pat Candell, a former Uniroyal employee,
inspects pallets of the finished rubber before it’s sent out. 200 semi trucks will
remembers the day she first leave Banbury Place with
walked into the Eau Claire
their trailers loaded with
tire factory — Feb. 11, 1970.
She’d been at Uniroyal for 19 years — bearing the occasional American Phoenix rubber products, Nazarenko said. Busy
layoffs that happen in factory work — until the plant closed. months have 350 departing.

The Banbury name Why American Phoenix?

In addition to American Phoenix turning 25 in spring, Banbury When asked about the origin of the American Phoenix name,
Place itself will have its silver anniversary this summer. co-founder Alex Nazarenko has a few nostalgic laughs before
launching into that story.
Whereas many saw a massive, sprawling complex of empty
brick buildings, businessmen Bill Cigan and Jack Kaiser saw The Eau Claire factory was originally supposed to be tied in
potential in the old tire plant. with a group of businesses centered in Phoenix, Ariz., and it was
supposed to be called Phoenix American.
“Well, we always envisioned it would turn out the way it is —
a multi-use, multi-tenant facility,” Kaiser said. “That’s what we “It got converted in the translation and became American
envisioned and fortunately that’s what it turned out to be.” Phoenix,” Nazarenko said from the company’s Golden Valley,
Minn., corporate offices.
Banbury Place has 155 business tenants including shops, artist
studios, professional offices, food companies, woodworkers While the company doesn’t have ties now to the Southwest
and a child care center. The biggest tenant has consistently been U.S., chief operating officer Greg Lewis said the phoenix — a
American Phoenix, which also keeps a link to the building’s past. legendary bird with the power to rise from its own ashes —
reminds him of the company’s history. Not only did it start in a
“Our name, Banbury, is part of the rubber-making industry, so shuttered factory, American Phoenix also had to remake its own
we like to keep the history active,” Kaiser said. Rubber-mixing business numerous times.
machines bearing the name “Banbury” have long been used in
the factory. “It was very apropos in a lot of ways,” Lewis said of the name.

14 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

Bill Pratt watches an automated line that precisely measures dry chemicals used in CENTURY OF RUBBER
rubber mixing for the Eau Claire plant. American Phoenix has several other facilities that
sell bags of chemical mixes to other rubber manufacturers in the U.S. • This year marks the 100th anniversary of production starting
at Eau Claire’s tire factory. On May 23, 1917, the first tire rolled
Early in its first incarnation as a tire recycling startup, the off the production line at Gillette Safety Tire Co.
company employed 20 with hopes to grow to 40 workers,
according to a November 1993 Leader-Telegram article. BIG AT BANBURY

American Phoenix now employs 180 workers at the • American Phoenix is the largest tenant of Banbury Place,
Eau Claire factory – about half the company’s workforce occupying 630,000 square feet in buildings 3, 3X, 5 and 7.
with the rest spread across the five pre-packaged chemical
facilities. “We have half of the usable space,” plant manager Mike
Richards said.
Contact: 715-833-9204, [email protected],
@ADowd_LT on Twitter The entire Banbury Place complex has about 1.9 million total
square feet, but some areas are only used for storage and one
building is luxury apartments.


• When Michelin announced in January 1991 that it would
close the Uniroyal tire factory in Eau Claire, there were 1,358
employed there at the time. The final day of operation was June
26, 1992.

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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 15

FEATURE STORY Filling his shoes

Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
After 23 years on the job, Bob McCoy will soon step down as president and CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce. McCoy stands in front of the Haymarket

Landing building, one of the downtown revitalization projects that happened during his tenure as leader of the local business organization..

Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce looks back on Bob McCoy’s tenure

FBy Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff committee, headed by former chamber chairman Mark
or 23 years, Bob McCoy has been sporting size Faanes of Wipfli, is tasked with doing.
8 dress shoes as he pounded the pavement on
behalf of the Eau Claire business community. “The committee looks at it like we have one of the
While that may not seem particularly large, local best chambers in the country, so it’s a good situation
business leaders insist his successor as president and for whoever comes in,” Faanes said. “We’re hoping to
CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce find someone who can keep the momentum going.”
will indeed have very big shoes to fill.
The quality of the 40 candidates from across the
McCoy, 69, announced last August his intention to country who applied for the chamber president
retire June 2. position suggests the chances of that happening are
pretty good, Faanes said.
“Bob’s going to be a tough act to follow,” said Tim
Benedict, owner of Benedict Refrigeration Service, “It’s kind of unbelievable the people who applied for
who took over as chairman of the chamber’s board of this job,” Faanes said, noting that the committee and a
directors on April 1. “After 23 years of running our Twin Cities consultant are in the process of winnowing
organization, he’s turned it into a well-oiled machine.” down the slate of candidates to a few finalists.

That attitude seems to be widespread among those The goal is to select a new leader by early April and
who have worked with McCoy. have that person start June 1.

A measurable sign of the success of his leadership Growth agenda
is that chamber membership grew from about 600 Benedict, also a member of the search committee,
businesses and organizations to almost 1,250 on his said the chamber attracted some “awesome
watch, said Dave Johnson of E.O. Johnson Business candidates” and expressed confidence the 103-year-old
Technologies, who just finished his term as chamber organization’s new leader, with the help of its excellent
chairman. staff, will be able to continue the momentum generated
under McCoy.
“Bob has just done a tremendous job,” Johnson said.
“You can’t replace a guy like Bob.” “We don’t expect them to be Bob McCoy,” Benedict
said. “We hope they have their own new visions. We’re
And yet that’s exactly what a chamber search

16 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

looking for someone to step in and take us to the next That has meant
everything from
One new point of emphasis may be expanding the
chamber’s social media presence, in part to help the group successfully fighting a
further connect with millennials, Benedict said, noting
that McCoy had his own success luring young business proposed city ordinance
people into the chamber’s fold through starting a Young
Professionals group. banning electronic signs

The chamber subgroup, launched in the early 2000s, has to promoting quality of
grown to about 420 people and offers an outlet for young
business people to work on professional development, life amenities such as the
community service and networking.
Confluence Project that
The chamber also took ownership of the Chippewa
Valley Rally during McCoy’s tenure. The annual event he believes will make
brings nearly 100 people from the Chippewa Valley to
Madison to generate awareness of the region and bring its the community a more
concerns among state legislators.
desirable place to live.
“Our intent was to go to Madison and get the Chippewa
Valley as well known as the Fox Valley, and we obviously In pursuit of that
did that,” McCoy said. “We’re not there to beg for money,
but we want them to know our priorities.” simple goal, McCoy

McCoy also steered the local chamber through three five- hasn’t been above
star accreditations — an accomplishment designated by the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce for meeting specific quality making sacrifices or
measures. Only about 100 of the roughly 7,000 chambers in
the country have achieved that status. getting a little silly

Staff photo on behalf of local
Among those cutting the ribbon for the U.S. 53 bypass in June 2005 was McCoy and
then-Gov. James Doyle. businesses.

Man of a mission “Bob has always
McCoy had been leading the chamber in Albert Lea,
Minn. – his third such post in 14 years – when a board been a team player
member from the Eau Claire business group approached
him about a job. in every aspect,”

Prior to applying for the job to lead Eau Claire’s chamber, said Cheri Weinke,
he didn’t even know where the city was.
the organization’s
He’s gotten to know it much better in the more than two
decades since, but one thing that didn’t change was his communications and
mission for the chamber.
operations director. “He
“Our whole objective is to have a community where
businesses have the opportunity to be successful,” he said. asks for input from staff, Suits in all price ranges

listens to wild and crazy Hart Schaffner Marx Suits
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McCoy approaches his Muldoon’s Men’s Wear
role. 1506 S. Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54701
“He has been
known to dress up as 715-832-3502

a cheerleader, have his

face on posters as a

leprechaun or 007, and

shaved off his mustache — all for the sake of promoting the

chamber,” Weinke said.

Respected voice
Beyond his ability to lighten the mood, McCoy has
earned a serious reputation as the voice of business in the
Eau Claire area, Weinke said.

“When Bob speaks about an issue involving a local
business issue, people listen,” she said. “His knowledge
about local issues and the impact on business is extremely

Faanes agreed, adding that the strides made by
the chamber and the community on McCoy’s watch

See page 18

April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 17

from Page 17

undoubtedly played a role in helping the chamber attract As for McCoy personally, although he knows he will miss
such a strong slate of candidates seeking to lead the group. his day-to-day involvement with local businesses, he plans
The candidates viewed Eau Claire as a city on the rise. to stay involved in the community.

Perhaps nothing symbolizes the community’s recent And he is looking forward to more opportunities to slip
progress better than the venue where he will hold his on his golf spikes instead of those dress shoes.
retirement party on June 1.
Contact: 715-833-9209, [email protected],
It’s the same downtown hotel where he stayed the night @ealscoop on Twitter
he was hired more than two decades ago, but “about $20
million later,” he said. Eau Claire chamber leaders

Formerly the dilapidated Ramada Convention Center, 1994-present: Bob McCoy, president and CEO.
the eight-story building has recently been completely
renovated and turned into The Lismore, a sparkling 1987-93: Brenda Blanchard,
centerpiece of downtown’s revitalization. executive vice president/​president.

Other prominent examples of downtown’s renaissance 1981-87: Stephan Vegoe,
that McCoy mentioned were the creation of Phoenix Park executive vice president.
on an old industrial site, the building of a new chamber
headquarters and the development of Haymarket Landing 1973-80: W ayne Gossman,
and the adjacent Confluence Arts Center on a spot at executive vice president.
the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers
previously occupied by a few ramshackle old buildings and 1967-73: Vern Enwald, executive vice president.
a run-down parking lot.
1950s-1967: Kenneth Eslinger, executive secretary.
Downtown’s revitalization is a legacy in which he’s
proud to have played a role. 1940s: Paul Jensen, executive secretary.
Before the 1940s, the chamber had no paid staff and
“It’s kind of exciting to step back and watch that all was led only by its board of directors.
happen and know that you have been a part of it,” McCoy
said. “But it’s certainly not just me; it takes thousands of — Source: Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
people to make that kind of thing happen.”


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April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 19


Bailing out clutter

Organization advice emphasizes Title: “Organized Enough.”
attainable, sustainable order, not an Author: Amanda Sullivan.
immaculate ship-shape undertaking Pages: 229.
Publisher: DaCapo Lifelong
By Terri Schlichenmeyer (c.2017)
The Bookworm

You know exactly where Monday’s report is. run out? Will it go up in price?) and your paper pile, it’s time to
That, of course, doesn’t mean anybody else could find it. set good habits – starting with inventory. What’s in your supply
You put that report in a safe place in your office, which is room? You’ll never overbuy, if you know.
organized to work for you. But is it really organized, or is it just a
mess? Make time to organize, even if it’s just a minute; and always
Admit it: It’s probably the latter, and nobody’s perfect. But make “a last sweep” before lights-out so you don’t start the day
with “Organized Enough” by Amanda Sullivan, you might find a with a mess.
perfect solution.
You promised yourself on Jan. 1 that you’d keep your office Limit new purchases, “buy less but better,” and remember that
clean and your desk clear. Same with your home: Who needs ten nobody’s ever perfect.
blue sweaters or eight pairs of black shoes, anyhow? First of the
year, you were going to become a neatnik. “What we want,” Sullivan said, “is joy… and to know where
But of course, that’s “not sustainable,” Sullivan said. You set we put the car keys – and those things, my friends, are within
yourself up for perfection (and therefore, failure) when you your grasp.”
should strive instead for “organized enough.”
The first step, she said, is to “Go with the FLOW.” So you say you don’t remember what color the top of your
Forgive yourself for the things you impulsively bought or desk is. The corners of your workspace are piled with boxes. Get
wasted money on. Understand that you can “Let stuff go,” a pen – there’s one somewhere in that mess – and write down
starting with one small corner and 10 minutes’ time. Throw “Organized Enough.”
things into the trash, donate other items, pay attention to
unnecessary duplicates within a given category and keep Chances are, you’ve been down this very unkempt road before
working; it might actually feel good! Then Organize what’s left and might ask what makes this book different from several
and set up a time to keep Weeding on a regular basis. thousand others on the subject. Unlike many others, author
Working on FLOW may inspire you, but don’t “move too fast.” Amanda Sullivan isn’t proposing that you keep everything 100
You want to make good decisions, not hasty ones, which could percent ship-shape. She only aims to help the ship stay afloat with
backfire. Remember that storage containers are not your friends fewer items in the cargo hold and an unobstructed captain’s chair.
but someone with fresh eyes is, so invite a trusted pal over to help
you see things anew. That means no guilt, no pressure, use the advice that’s
Once you’ve let go of your fears (Will I have enough? Will I applicable, discard what’s not, no problems. And if that’s what
it takes, then this book is what you need. “Organized Enough”
might just work for you.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since
she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives
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20 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

April - June CALENDAR

April 12: “Do you need a board of directors?” presentation sponsored by May 10: Annual Working Mothers Luncheon, noon, Eau Claire Golf
Musky Tank, 6:30-8 p.m., K Point Brewery, 4212 Southtowne Drive. Cost: & Country Club, 828 Club View Lane, Altoona. Cost: $25 for chamber
Free. Info/register: members, $45 nonmembers. Register at or call 715-
April 13: “Lead true, live your values, build your people, inspire your 834-1204.
community” presentation by retired Gundersen Health System CEO Dr. Jeff
Thompson, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Eagles Club, 2588 Business 53, Lake Hallie. May 11: “Lessons in Leadership” presentation by John McHugh of Kwik
Cost: Free. Info/register: Trip, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Eagles Club, 2588 Business 53, Lake Hallie. Cost:
April 19: “Microsoft Outlook: Integrated Time Management” course, 8 Free. Info/register:
a.m.-noon, Room 103, CVTC Chippewa Falls Campus, 770 Scheidler Road,
Chippewa Falls. Cost: $89. Info/register: May 11: “LinkedIn 101” class, 8 a.m.-noon, Room 222, CVTC Business
April 19: “Business Words at Work” course on writing in the workplace, Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Cost: $89. Info/register: tinyurl.
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Room 144B, CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W. com/j56vcoa.
Clairemont Ave. Cost: $99. Info/register:
April 20: Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Energy Open House, 4-7 May 11: “Strengths Based Leadership” hands-on class and assessment,
p.m., Energy Education Center, 4000 Campus Road. Info/register: 8 a.m.-noon, Room 103A, CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W.
events/energy-open-house. Clairemont Ave. Cost: $189. Info/register:
April 20: “Small Business Budgeting Basics,” 6-8 p.m., Western Dairyland
Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: $29 regular, $10 with May 18: “Speaking the Language: Preparing to Talk to a Commercial
scholarship. Info/register: Lender” presentation, 6-8 p.m., Western Dairyland Community Action
April 25: “Connecting to Customers through Social Media” seminar, Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: $29 regular, $10 with scholarship. Info/
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Room 54, Community Service Building, 3001 U.S. 12 East, register:
Menomoine. Cost: Free. Info/register: Call Cathy VanDong at 715-386-9050
or email [email protected]. June 1-2: “Employee Evaluation and Performance Management” course
April 25: “Lunch & Learn: Mobile Apps for Productivity,” noon, Eau taught through UW-Eau Claire, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, 4751
Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, 101 N. Farwell St. Cost: $20 for chamber Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $600. Info/register:
members, $40 nonmembers. Info/register: or call
715-834-1204. June 15: “Understanding Fundamental Business Financial Statements”
April 25: “Start a Small Business in Eight Steps” class, 9 a.m.-noon, class, 6-8 p.m., Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418
Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: $29 Wisconsin St. Cost: $29 regular, $10 with scholarship. Info/register:
regular, $10 with scholarship. Info/register:
April 26: “Office Personnel
Seminar,” 8 a.m.-4 p.m., CVTC June 20: “Business Plan Basics” class, 6-9 p.m., Western Dairyland
Business Education Center, 620 W. Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: $29 regular, $10 with
Clairemont Ave. Cost: $80 public, scholarship. Info/register:
$25 CVTC students, $40 CVTC
faculty/staff. Cost includes meals. June 22-23: “Recruiting and Retaining Top Performers” course taught
Info/register: through UW-Eau Claire, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen
April 27: “Microsoft Word Ayres Court. Cost: $600. Info/register:


Chris Becker

Intermediate (Productivity 9+..19
Features)” class, 8 a.m.-noon,
Room 222, CVTC Business
Education Center, 620 W. %4''-
Clairemont Ave. Cost: $89. Info/
April 27: Government
contracting for women-owned
businesses class, noon-3 p.m.,
Western Dairyland Community
Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St.
Cost: Free. Info/register: Call Kim
Garber at 608-444-0047 or email
[email protected].
May 3: “ISO 9001 — 2015
Transition Strategies for Your Fully-Equipped Kitchen • Complimentary Buffet Style Breakfast and
Organization” seminar, 8 a.m.-4:30 Welcome home to historic Self-Service Laundry Room • Pet Friendly • “The Social” Evening
p.m., UW-Stout, Menomoine. Cost: Chippewa Falls. Enjoy miles of Reception • The Pantry • Fitness Center • Pool and Whirlpool •
$219-$269, depending on number walking and biking trails, Courtyard with Backyard Seating Area, Fireplace and Fire Pit
of attendees from an organization. ponds, fountains, acres of
Register/info: parks, sport court and more,
profed/iso/Transition.cfm. with the advantage of choice
May 4-5: “HR Management for convenience and preferred

Non-HR Mangers” course taught serenity. 1515 Bluestem Blvd, Altoona, WI 54720
through UW-Eau Claire, 8:30 a.m.-
4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, 4751 Call Chris Becker at (715) 830-0800
715.308.4722 to learn more.

Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $600. 827183 04-03-17
w w w.C a n d MRe a l E s t a t e . c o m
827290 4-3-17

April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 21

- Guest Article -


Why is it important to you?

By Emilu Starck – Ruder Ware, LLSC

Are you a woman entrepreneur looking to launch a new business or maybe an established women
business owner eager to grow your business? If so, you may want to consider obtaining certification

as a Wisconsin Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (“WBE”). Unlike some certifications where the
return may not be worth the investment of taking the time to fill out the application, obtaining WBE

certification may create exciting new business opportunities that can really boost your company’s
bottom line and give your company an advantage in the marketplace.

WHAT IS IT? • Proof of ethnicity and citizenship for each owner, incomplete when submitted or if there are questions or
such as birth certificates, green cards, passports, requests for additional information, this timeframe can
The state of Wisconsin has created a program that tribal memberships, etc. be delayed. Sometimes, an on-site visit is even required.
provides woman-owned businesses with a credible
certification process that validates their business • Current bank signature cards for business WHY SHOULD I OBTAIN
ownership. In 2006, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted account(s) including depository and borrowing CERTIFICATION?
a bill that required the Wisconsin Department of resolutions.
Administration“to develop, maintain, and keep a Although compiling the necessary documentation
computer database of businesses in the state that are • Business tax returns for the past three years. and submitting the application may be lengthy and
owned by women, containing demographic statistics • List of major capital assets, such as property, frustrating, obtaining WBE certification can be worth the
and information on the types of industries represented, challenging process. Many public corporations as well
sales volume and growth rates, generation of jobs office/facilities, equipment, vehicles, etc. as local, state, and federal government purchasing or
by both new and existing businesses, and any other • Current business financial statements (profit and procurement agencies are incentivized or have programs
relevant characteristics.” Businesses that wish to for allotting a certain percentage of business to women-
participate in the program must be certified by the loss statement and balance sheet). owned companies. Therefore, getting certified as a WBE
Wisconsin Department of Administration through an • Leases and other third-party agreement(s), may present opportunities to land a project that were
application process. Wisconsin Administrative Code not previously available or make the difference between
Chapter 83 sets forth the criteria and procedures for such as working arrangements with other firms, landing a project or not. Certification on its own does
certification, certification renewal, recertification, and supplier/distributorship agreements, rental leases, not guarantee additional business, but when combined
decertification of woman-owned businesses. etc. with strategic marketing it can help grow your business.
• Three samples of evidence of revenue for firm, In addition to Wisconsin certification, there are also
HOW DO I OBTAIN CERTIFICATION? such as completed-signed contracts, receipts, processes to obtain women-owned certification in
invoices, etc. other states and some certifications are more nationally
In order to obtain WBE certification, a business must • Evidence of certification with a MBE, WBE, or DVB recognized. If you believe that obtaining WBE
meet the following minimum core requirements: certifying entity. certification could give your business the advantage
• Relevant license and permits. that you are looking for, please contact us for additional
• Be at least 51% owned, controlled, and actively • Resumes/biographies of owners and potentially information.
managed by women group members (this could key employees outlining business experiences.
be just one woman). • Assumed name documents (d/b/a or a/k/a). Emilu Starck,
Depending on what type of business entity you are Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
• Currently performing a“useful business function” (e.g., a corporation or a limited liability company), there
in the state of Wisconsin. are additional documents that must be submitted. 827180 04-03-17
Fortunately, the Department of Administration has
• The woman owner(s) must have owned the a secure application website that makes submitting
business as a 51% owner for at least one year. applications and uploading supporting documentation
a smoother process. Certification generally takes
• Pay a $150.00 application fee made payable to the between four to six weeks. However, if an application is
Department of Administration.

However, the process is not this simple. In addition to
these four absolutes, a successful applicant must also
register and complete a lengthy application, including
providing detailed business information and submitting
various supporting documents. All businesses must
submit the following documents, as applicable:

22 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ April 3, 2017

$76.1 billion BY THE NUMBERS

in spending proposed by Gov. Scott
Walker’s budget proposal for 2017-19.

$203.5 million 32

state income tax cuts in the next Gander Mountain stores,
biennium under Walker’s budget proposal. including one on Eau

1.12 million Claire’s south side, are
closing as the outdoor
square–foot building planned in Chippewa Falls for new Mills goods retailer files for
Fleet Farm distribution center in Lake Wissota Business Park. bankruptcy and plans to
put the privately owned

company up for sale.


unemployment rate reached in Wisconsin in February based on U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics figures — the lowest it’s been since November 2000.


FOCUS ON MY BUSINESS. Talk to Wipfli. We can offer you the industry 715.832.3407

expertise and breadth and depth of resources of a national firm, but the focus you expect
from a local firm. From audit and tax services to a wide range of information technology and
business consulting services, Wipfli will provide customized solutions that align with your
goals and needs. As a firm that has served businesses in the Chippewa Valley since 1921,
we are committed to your success and the success of our business community. Contact Wipfli
today to see how we can put the power of our focus to work for you.

827457 4-3-17

April 3, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 23

Your Business. Better.

At EO Johnson we’re powered by relationships. Partnerships with customers, vendors,
and each other that drive business solutions to help you achieve your vision.

844.365.4968 |

Kevin Nolan
Human Resources
Cardinal FG

“ We had too much paper, and it was time to take a serious look at Document Management.
EO Johnson made this easy. We added a high volume scanner to our lease and purchased the
document management software. Everything is on one invoice including all supplies. One vendor,
”one invoice — that saves time on our part.
— Kevin Nolan, Human Resources Manager – Cardinal FG Cardinal Glass develops residential glass for windows and doors. They
have 32 manufacturing locations throughout the U.S. and over 5,000 employees. Locally, they have a glass manufacturing facility in Menomonie, WI.
827174 4-2-17

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