With a workforce
■ Selling ice cream
in the winter
■ Feed processing
coming to Chippewa Falls
■ Tourism & lodging
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2 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
WINTER 2017 Pg 4 COVER STORY
➤ Guest Columns �������������������������� Pages 7, 19 Filling jobs will become harder as working-age population declines. FEATURE STORY
➤ Crossword ������������������������������������� Page 16
➤ Book Review ���������������������������������� Page 18 Pg 8
➤ Calendar ��������������������������������������� Page 20
➤ By The Numbers ������������������������������ Page 21 Ice cream businesses give tips for selling frozen treats year-round.
➤ Business Directory �������������������������� Page 21
Graphic Design & Layout:
Magazine Advertising &
Editor: Pg 12 Pg 14
[email protected] Feed processor chooses New Menomonie tourism
Chippewa Falls for new plant. director starts job.
Hearing about a labor shortage in high-demand trades in the businesses. Adding another production line or shift to fill new
Chippewa Valley had been a song I’d gotten used to for several orders isn’t possible without the workers to staff them.
If you want to really see how the demographic challenge
Careers in health care, advanced manufacturing and other facing Wisconsin is expected to impact the ability to fill jobs in
fields with frequent openings were touted in talks when the future, take a look at this issue’s cover story.
politicians, higher education officials and business experts in
Eau Claire. But if you’d rather start with something sweeter, consider
first reading another article that answers a question on my
But last year the tune changed. mind: “How does one succeed in the frozen treat industry in a
Instead of specific labor shortages, a need for more workers wintery place like Wisconsin?”
became a refrain among employers in multiple sectors.
Help wanted signs seemed to multiply locally in storefronts, Other stories explain how a new livestock feed operation is
eateries and other businesses. expected to aid the Chippewa Falls economy, and how a new
Frankly, after years of elevated unemployment, it was a relief tourism director in Menomonie plans to promote that city’s
seeing there are more jobs out there for people to choose from. growing leisure industry.
But the downside is empty positions can hamstring growth in
In addition to that, there’s the usual array of upcoming events,
business advice, a book review and a crossword puzzle to enjoy.
Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram advertising department. Copyright 2017 Eau Claire Press Co., 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire,JWaIn54u7a01r.yAl3l r0ig,h2ts0re1s7erve♦d. 8B00U-2S36I-N70E77S.SleaLdEerAteDlegEraRm.c|om3
We need more people
Scott Hodek, regional labor economist with the state Department of Workforce Development, explains the demographic challenge facing employers in Wisconsin
and nationwide. In a recent DWD survey of Chippewa Valley employers, 85 percent of respondents indicated they are having difficulty filling positions.
Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
Employers find it tougher to fill jobs as working population shrinks
By Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff
“Now hiring.” workers,” said Bob McCoy, president of the Eau
“Help wanted.” Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, adding that
“Join our team.” he isn’t aware of local companies that are in panic
The signs seeking workers that increasingly dot mode about it.
Chippewa Valley businesses today may become
downright ubiquitous in the coming decades as McCoy expects the issue to lead to salary
more baby boomers retire every year and not increases as employers compete for the dwindling
enough younger people are available to replace supply of workers. Businesses also will seek ways
them. to expand automation — such as self-checkout
“We saw this all coming, and now it’s here,” said lanes at grocery stores and self-ordering at
Scott Hodek, regional labor market economist for restaurants — to limit their demand for workers.
the state Department of Workforce Development.
“It’s a big issue for the whole nation going Ensuring an adequate supply of labor is
forward.” undoubtedly a top concern among area businesses,
A DWD survey last year showed that the said Patti Matthews, Eau Claire branch manager
impending labor shortage is weighing heavily on for the staffing and human resource consulting
the minds of employers in the Chippewa Valley. firm Manpower.
Of the 78 employers with 24,300 workers who
responded to the survey, 85 percent indicated their “We hear about companies that see the
organization is having difficulty finding people tightening labor market all the time, and we see
to fill positions and 77 percent said the retirement it as well,” Matthews said, adding that many
plans of existing employees represent a moderate employers have employment agencies screen job
to urgent concern, Hodek said. candidates to limit turnover by helping to identify
Obviously, it’s becoming a challenge to find workers likely to stay on the job once they are
4 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017 hired.
Already, she said, there are probably about
five jobs for every one person seeking industrial
positions, and she has heard of local companies turning Contraction concerns
down contracts because they can’t find enough people to Prominent state economic voices have shined a spotlight
fulfill orders. on the problem during recent visits to the the Chippewa
Even local staffing firms, which once kept a roster of
folks ready to fill positions whenever employers called, “The biggest problem we have in this state is not job
are constantly recruiting workers in the current climate. creation. It’s finding people for the jobs we have, with the
retiring baby boom generation,” Wisconsin Manufacturers
“Individuals who want to work usually find a job pretty & Commerce President Kurt Bauer told business leaders
quickly,” Matthews said, noting that candidates who meet attending an Eau Claire Chamber presentation in October.
pre-employment qualifications usually are placed in a
position the first day. With birth rates not at population replacement level,
Bauer said more state companies already are delaying
For those who can’t find a position they want in expansions and offering incentives such as higher salaries
Eau Claire and are open to working in Menomonie or and bonuses, flexible hours, telecommuting and even
Chippewa Falls, Manpower will refer them to its branches casual dress codes to attract workers.
in those cities, “where they often are offered a job within
an hour,” Matthews said. “If you don’t have people, you don’t have workers, you
don’t have consumers and you don’t have tax base, then
“It’s really an employees’ market right now, and bad, bad, bad things happen,” Bauer warned. “That’s
candidates can really pick what job they want,” she said. economic contraction.”
“It’s not nice for the companies, but it’s kind of nice for
the individuals.” A month later, Todd Berry, president of Wisconsin
Taxpayers Alliance, reiterated the message to a group of
A national survey by Manpower this year showed that regional business and government leaders in Eau Claire.
46 percent of employers are having difficulty filling jobs
and that, for the seventh consecutive year, skilled trades “We do need bodies. The labor force is fairly flat for the
vacancies are the hardest to fill in the U.S. next 20 to 30 years,” Berry said. “I think this is the key
fundamental economic issue facing the state.”
The demographic challenge is clear when looking at
Mixed resultsprojections for changes in the total population compared
with the working-age population, which economists One large Eau Claire employer, Silver Spring Foods,
reported mixed results dealing with the tightening labor
define as individuals market.
from age 20 through 64.
Wisconsin’s total “For the most part, it
population is expected Demographic challenge hasn’t been too bad for
to increase 14.1 percent us,” human resources
As total population rises, number of workers expected to shrink director Denise Escher
from the 2010 census said. “We just added
tally of 5.7 million to 6.5 50 new positions
million in 2040. During County Total population Working-age population
the same period, the Chippewa 2010 2040 2010 2040 and were able to
working-age population 62,415 70,600 37,380 36,910 successfully fill them.”
is projected to decrease
Escher credited the
by 0.2 percent to 3.4 Dunn 43,857 48,485 26,863 24,400 for treating employees
million, according to Eau Claire 98,736 111,610 60,736 59,000 well, along with
the state Department of
Administration. financial incentives,
In the Chippewa Valley, State 5,686,986 6,491,635 3,407,476 3,399,355 for its ability to find
the total population in Source: Wisconsin Department of Administration Staff graphic
Chippewa, Dunn and for the expansion.
Silver Spring has
Eau Claire counties is implemented referral bonuses of $500 for current staff
expected to rise 12.5 percent by 2040 while the working-
age population shrinks by 4,669 people, or 3.7 percent. members who refer a new employee who gets hired and
works at the company for at least six months. The new
The concern is even greater in some far northern employees also receive $500.
Wisconsin counties, where the 65-and-older crowd is
projected to reach more than 40 percent of the overall “We’ve also had to do some pay adjustments to make
sure we’re keeping up with the market and even ahead
population by 2040, Hodek said.
The flattening or shrinking labor force raises questions of it,” she said. “We’ve always offered good benefits, and
about how it will affect potential expansion plans for now we’ve had to highlight that even more.”
Escher acknowledged the labor market is a concern
existing employers or the attraction of new businesses to for the future and pointed to a job fair Silver Spring
the state, he added.
See page 6
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 5
from Page 5 they think beer, cheese, cold weather and Packers,
conducted in July as evidence of the changing conditions. and that can make it difficult to attract people to the
About 80 people showed up last summer, compared with workforce.”
several hundred when the company held a job fair in 2010.
Still, he said, it’s possible for the Chippewa Valley to
Eau Claire-based Silver Spring, which bills itself as the change perceptions by highlighting the area’s cutting-
world’s largest grower and processor of horseradish, felt edge employers and quality of life.
the squeeze to a greater extent when trying to fill positions
for its seasonal farming operations last summer. Initial efforts to build the workforce already are
underway, Hodek said, noting that UW-Eau Claire
The population the company traditionally drew upon is reaching out to alumni living in the Twin Cities to
for those temporary positions was less available because make them aware of positive changes in the area, more
it was easier for them to find full-time, year-round work, companies are offering internships that can help students
Escher said. feel stronger ties to the community and organizations are
promoting other opportunities for students and young
“We were able to get the harvest done, but some people people to get involved in the community.
probably had to work more hours than they wanted,” she
said. “That way they can help shape the community into one
they’d like to live in,” he said. “When you feel ownership,
Reaching out you’re more likely to stay.”
Looking ahead, Hodek said the main ways for the
Chippewa Valley and the state to tackle the labor shortage Contact: 715-833-9209, [email protected],
issue are to slow the brain drain by getting more college @ealscoop on Twitter
and university students to stay after graduation and to
attract more new workers to the state. Featured
in this article
The latter, in particular, can be a challenge, Hodek said,
although the Chippewa Valley has a natural advantage Bauer Berry
over many areas in weathering the demographic storm
because of its large student population.
“As a state we have an attraction problem,” Hodek said.
“When people around the country think of Wisconsin,
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6 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
HOnealpaspt ipnreesesnst: Jeff West is the owner of
Bear Down (beardowninc.com),
Positive mindset is crucial for success in life, business an executive and executive
team coaching company based
in Eau Claire. He was a founder
and CEO of Silicon Logic
Engineering. He also currently
chairs the local chapter of
TEC (The Executive Committee)
and Business Partners, a
forum for small business
leaders. West can be reached
at: 715-559-2195 or
“Being successful doesn’t automatically make you happier. But being happier, being more positive makes you more successful.”
SHAWN ACHOR, essayist, poet
By Jeff West powerful predictor of performance at work, researchers have found.
Since we’ve just gone through the holiday season I’d like to share one last •••
present with you. We have the ability, in any situation, to react in three ways.
Today’s beginning quote may seem like a paradox. However, mountains of One, we can stay in the state of mind we’re in – whether good or bad.
Two, we can head in a more negative direction and make a tough situation
research support the fact that just being successful won’t guarantee your being even worse than it actually is.
happy. Focusing on being happier and more positive turns out to be a huge The third choice is usually the most challenging. It’s the reaction that we
predictor of whether you will be a success at whatever you put your mind to. can look at a setback or failure from the perspective that it’s going to make us
stronger and more capable than we were before.
Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we’re positive, It’s often difficult to see the positive side in a crisis. A tough economy, an
our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and aggressive competitor, onerous regulations, etc. In these situations we often have
productive. trouble seeing the most positive, productive path.
We fall back on our incomplete mental maps with a feeling of helplessness.
Research has repeatedly shown that positive brains have a biological Our hopelessness can get so bad that we stop believing that a positive path exists,
advantage over neutral or negative brains. This isn’t “touchy-feely” thinking. so we don’t even bother to look for it.
We’re physically wired this way. But the positive path is the one we need to set off on. It’s the path that is the
difference between those who are crippled by failure and those who rise above it.
Students who were told to think about the happiest day of their lives right Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” tells us; “We are not imprisoned by our
before taking a standardized math test outperformed their peers. People who circumstances, our setbacks, our history, our mistakes or even staggering defeats
expressed more positive emotions while negotiating business deals did so more along the way. We are freed by our choices.”
efficiently and successfully than those who were more neutral or negative. Shawn Achor puts it this way in his great book, “The Happiness Advantage,”
“By scanning our mental map for positive opportunities, and by rejecting the
Research shows even the smallest shots of positivity can give someone a belief that every down in life leads us only further downward, we give ourselves
serious competitive advantage. the greatest power possible: the ability to move up not despite the setbacks, but
because of them.”
So you’re thinking, it’s easy for me to say, “Just be happy! Happy! Happy! •••
Happy!” If I only knew all the tough, difficult, negative things you’re going Here’s one last thing to consider. If you want to be a positive, happy person,
through I’d understand all this “Kum Ba Yah” stuff is nonsense. surround yourself with positive, happy people.
Well then think about this: Our brain has only a finite amount of resources to Emotions are contagious. Researchers put individuals into a room with four
work with. We can use those limited resources to worry about things going on in other people who were told ahead of time to project either a positive or negative
our life, raising our stress levels and seeing the negative in the things around us if mood. Within two minutes the mood of the research subject began to mirror the
we choose to. mood of the group.
But ask yourself this, when is the last time you had a creative thought, felt We love to think about ourselves as individuals but we’re social creatures. It’s
energized, fired up and excited when you were in the above state of mind? amazing how much clout the people we’re around have on us and our moods.
Can you begin to see why even a little positivity can make a big difference? Researcher Daniel Goldman compared it to secondhand smoke, saying that the
If we look at things through a lens of gratitude, hope and optimism we begin leakage of emotions can make a bystander an innocent casualty of someone else’s
to change how we react to every situation we’re facing, thus changing our world. toxic state. The people you surround yourself with couldn’t be more important.
The mental construction we create of our daily activities, more than the activity One of the longest-running psychological studies of all time – the Harvard
itself, defines our reality. men study – followed 268 men from their entrance into college in the late 1930s to
the present day. The findings point to one thing that distinguished the happiest,
••• fullest lives from the least successful ones: Love.
It’s so easy to get stuck in negative behavior. For example, we’re bombarded Researcher George Vaillant, the director of the project for the past 40 years
daily with breaking news stories that are typically anything but positive. wrote, “70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and
When we begin to filter everything through a negative lens we set ourselves matter more than anything else in the world.”
up for outcomes we’re usually less than satisfied with. By focusing on the positive
aspects of situations, multiple favorable things begin to happen. More Inspiration
First, our overall happiness increases. The happier we are the better we feel right?
Next, when we’re more positive in our outlook we also become more grateful. Check out Shawn Achor’s book, “The Happiness Advantage,” and his popular
Psychologist Robert Emmons’ research has found that few things in life are as TED talk for more ideas to see what you can do to become a more positive, happy
integral to our well-being as being grateful. Researchers have picked random and successful person.
people and trained them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks.
What did they find? They became happier, more optimistic, feel more socially
connected, sleep better and have fewer headaches than the control groups.
The last positive outcome is our optimism rises. Optimism feeds on itself.
The more optimistic we become, the more we see things in a positive light,
which makes us more optimistic, and so forth. And optimism is a tremendously
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 7
FEATURE STORY Ice cream
on the tundra
New parlor owner seeks sage advice
for selling cold treats in Wisconsin
WBy Lauren French, Leader-Telegram staff
hen Blayne Midthun started plans to open
Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor in an up-and-
coming neighborhood of downtown Eau
Claire, he had more to consider for his business
than flavors, venue and targeted demographic.
“Inevitably the ice cream cone sales will take a large drop in
the wintertime,” Midthun said of his financial forecast. “We’re
not expecting long lines in the winter for people coming in to get
Midthun’s business — winner of the 2016 Jump-Start
Downtown Eau Claire Business Competition — is set to open
in April on Galloway Street in the North Barstow Street area. Its
destination theme centers on the 1920s.
In a state that boasts hot summers and cold winters, local ice cream
parlors inevitably have to alter their business model with the seasons.
The whole ice cream industry slows down when the weather gets as
cold as its product, but then spikes in the summer as demand rises.
Companies made about a third less ice cream at the onset of last
winter when compared to the start of summer. According to U.S.
Department of Agriculture statistics, the U.S. made 118.4 million gallons
of regular and low-fat ice cream combined in June 2016, compared to 79.3
million gallons in December 2015.
So how do ice cream parlors stay afloat in sub-freezing weather?
Midthun said he took some cues from longtime parlors around the area
to help shape a plan for his business. Among those was Olson’s Ice Cream
Parlor & Deli based in Chippewa Falls.
8 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
Tried and true “Patience and
Olson’s Ice Cream you’re going to have
Parlor & Deli’s legacy strong seasons and
began in 1923, when the weaker seasons,” Hunt
original Olson brothers said, “and you have to
started making their make hay while the sun
now locally-famous ice is shining.”
cream at Knapp Dairy.
The business moved to No problem
its current location on with heat
North Bridge Street in Some ice cream
1944. business owners decided
Ownership changed to skip the winter months
over the years, but the altogether and operate
business’ website boasts a summer-only setup.
the base ice cream recipe Among those is Paul
remains the same. Dan Braun, co-owner of Eau
Hunt, current co-owner Claire mobile ice cream
with his wife, said the shop 9 Degrees.
key to longtime success “We always were
with an ice cream thinking ‘ice cream on
business in a four-season wheels’ and ‘outside,’”
environment comes Braun said of the
down to good sales in business he started with
his wife, Pam, in 2003.
the summer and pushing Wayne Emberson, manager of Olson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Deli in Chippewa Falls,
other products besides serves up a few scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone. “That pretty much meant
scooped ice cream in the Staff photos by Steve Kinderman
winter. that having a winter
As the name indicates, Olson’s provides some solid business was not possible.”
food options to accompany its ice cream. Hunt said hot Braun and his wife both work their own day jobs
foods, such as soups and chili, are popular in the winter, outside of the business, but enjoy carting local Olson’s
ice cream to various events around Eau Claire over the
whereas wraps and salads fare well in the summer.
summer. Their bread-and-butter events are Tuesday
And while customers aren’t usually in the mood for
an ice cream cone from the store in the middle of winter, Night Blues at Owen Park, the Thursday night Sounds
Like Summer Concert Series at Phoenix Park and
Hunt said many enjoy a bowl of the frozen treat next
to the fireplace in their own living room. The business
takes advantage of that by packaging its product into
quarts and half gallons to sell in local grocery stores,
such as Festival Foods and Gordy’s Market.
“That part of the business stays pretty steady
throughout the winter,” Hunt said of Olson’s packaged
Olson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Deli also mixes up
seasonal ice cream flavors that correspond to the
holiday season, a decision management said sells
well in the colder months. Some of those flavors
include peppermint stick, cinnamon, pumpkin pie and
However, when it comes down to it, Hunt said the
biggest solution to low sales in the winter is knowing Ginger Winget, right, of Chippewa Falls, takes her grandchildren (clockwise from
what to expect from the winter months. Plan on a year- bottom) Ranen Patrow, six months; Abbey Liddell, 12; Samantha Liddell, 5; and Sydnee
round basis, he said, and take advantage of the good Patrow, 6, all from Eau Claire; for a winter ice cream outing to Olson’s.
sales seasons. See page 10
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 9
from Page 9 2495 Commercial Blvd. Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Saturdays at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market 715-738-1897
in the Phoenix Park pavilion.
E401 Menomonie St. Elk Mound, WI 54739
On any Thursday night at the Sounds Like Summer
Concert Series, Braun said 9 Degrees serves around 300 715-879-4888
people. They carry three core flavors — mint chocolate
chip, strawberry and Mackinac Island fudge — and 23942 Senty Dr. Independence, WI 54747
cycle in a fourth flavor weekly.
While Braun said he greatly enjoys the summer ice
cream season, he doesn’t regret centering his business independencestatebank.com
on a seasonal model.
Member Serving Independence, WI &
“Every year when September rolls around,” Braun FDIC
said, “we are very happy with our decision because we 823162 1-30-16 surrounding communities since 1897
like hanging it up for the year at that point.”
Summer is the key RECOGNIZED
Based on his research and interactions with other
parlors like Olson’s, Midthun has a game plan for Network
Ramone’s after-dinner market. wwt.net
The parlor set to open in spring will sell take-
home ice cream to combat low ice cream cone sales
in the winter. Instead of making their own ice cream,
planning to sell
ice cream from 823632
such as Olson’s
and Nelson YOUR ART NEEDS,
COMMERCIAL • HEALTHCARE
Midthun HOSPITALITY • RESIDENTIAL
said Ramone’s COMPLETE ART ADVISORY
SERVICES FROM ART DESIGN
will also serve
other food, & INSTALLATION
Bake Shop on
Birch Street, and
Previously an insurance agency office, this building and research on
at 503 Galloway St. in downtown Eau Claire will starting an ice
reopen this spring as Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor. cream parlor,
he thinks great summer sales is the most important
element to success.
“If you’re going to survive,” Midthun said, “you
need to make enough money over the summer
months.” 823140 • 1-30-17
Contact: 715-830-5828, [email protected], [email protected] • www.bframed.com
@LaurenKFrench on Twitter
10 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
- Guest Article -
WORK-LIFE POLICIESIn a Tight Job Market, Companies Should Consider
to Improve Talent Attraction and Retention
By Bryan T. Symes – Ruder Ware, LLSC
In recent years, pundits have spilled much ink tackling the so-called“talent gap.” To that end, numerous local,
regional and national studies have been commissioned for the purpose of solving the talent-gap conundrum—
offering solutions ranging from more targeted skills-development to improved placemaking. No question,
these considerations are potential pieces to the talent-gap puzzle that are worthy of continued exploration.
However, one piece of the talent-gap puzzle that does not, in my opinion, receive enough attention, is how
employers can address the talent-gap problem through the implementation of more employee-friendly [and,
more specifically, Millennial-congruent] workplace policies to attract, engage and retain high-level talent.
According to a recent study by Ernst & Young, 86% of family and medical leave laws, or when employees alleged inconsistent application of the policy based on
Millennials would be more likely to stay in a job if it have not logged enough hours to become eligible for impermissible biases].
offered paid parental leave. Perhaps in response to benefits. Although mandatory paid parental leave for
the EY study or others like it, 3M recently announced smaller employers [those under 50 employees] has not TELECOMMUTING
that as of January 1, 2017, the company has expanded come to fruition in the Chippewa Valley, the concept is
parental-leave benefits available to both biological and gaining momentum—for example, President Trump Recent disability-discrimination cases have taught
adoptive parents, increasing the amount of company- championed the concept of enhanced mandatory family that in connection with many types of jobs, an
provided annual parental leave to 20 weeks, 10 of which leave during several of his campaign stump speeches. employee’s physical presence at his or her employer’s
are paid. According to 3M,“[t]he expanded benefits are worksite—“facetime”—is not really essential to the
part of 3M’s continuing commitment to support greater LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAMS employee’s ability to successfully perform the duties of
work-life balance across the company.” This move is, the job. Against this backdrop, an increasing number
no doubt, designed to bridge what researchers for the It is no secret that an alarming percentage of our newest of companies have taken a hard look at whether
Council on Contemporary Families call the employee entrants into the current job market are saddled with telecommuting—an employee’s right to perform
“happiness gap.” 3M is not alone, as publicly-traded significant student-loan debt. It has been reported that productive work from a remote location—is possible
companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and many of these new job-market participants generally while continuing to promote optimum productivity. In
Netflix, to name a few, have implemented similar feel like their employers do not care about their long- crafting such a policy, an employer must be mindful of
work-life workplace policies. Although these leviathan term financial well-being. For this reason, companies legal distinctions between“exempt”and“non-exempt”
organizations are certainly the outliers—“Main Street” are beginning to offer student-loan debt forgiveness employees, as well as guarding against“off-the-clock”
is beginning to experiment with work-life policies too. programs for employees interested in longer-term work and data security breaches.
In my position as the management-side employment employment commitments [in my experience, five
and labor-relations attorney for many companies within or more years of continuous employment, assuming RESIST THE “PENGUIN EFFECT”
our region, I regularly review and craft workplace other key benchmarks are achieved as well—e.g., the
policies and employee handbooks. Through my law employee must remain in good standing]. Although Economists have a theory called the“Penguin
practice, I have observed that companies within the there are, from a legal perspective, several important Effect,”which is often cited to illustrate the common
Chippewa Valley are beginning to recognize the benefits drafting considerations, these policies can, in my phenomenon of general industrial reluctance to adopt
of enhanced work-life workplace policies as a method of experience, be an important tool to attract and retain emerging, not fully proven technological advances—
improving their respective employee value propositions. talent long enough to increase the likelihood of a long- based on the observed,“herd mentality”behavior of
These policies are not for everyone, to be sure. However, term employment relationship. penguins who, although hungry, are reluctant to be the
for businesses within the Chippewa Valley that are first bird to dive into the sea for fear of becoming lunch.
interested in exploring work-life workplace policies JOB-SHARING Companies that are genuinely interested in attracting
as a means to attract, engage and retain talent in an and retaining top-level talent must resist the
increasingly tight job market, several types of policies Job sharing is generally thought of as two or more Penguin Effect, and are encouraged to consider the
are emerging on a national level including, but not people who divide the duties of a single job to provide implementation of one or more work-life workplace
limited to: (1) company-provided, paid parental leave the equivalent of full-time coverage. Flexibility policies. In an increasingly tight job market, growth-
policies; (2) loan-forgiveness programs; (3) job-sharing underlies the concept of job sharing, and is gaining minded businesses can ill afford to be the last to
policies; and (4) telecommuting policies. steam regionally. To that end, the United Way of St. embrace these in-demand workplace advances.
Croix Valley coordinates a“Family Friendly Workplace”
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE. certification program that promotes job-sharing Bryan T. Symes,
policies, among other family-friendly initiatives. Many Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
Perhaps in response to several mandatory paid family businesses have already seized upon this opportunity
leave laws sweeping the nation, and to follow the to set their respective workplaces apart. As with 823204 01-30-17
lead of companies like 3M, employers large and other types of work-life workplace policies, care must
small are increasingly considering enhanced, paid be given to certain conceptual aspects of the policy
family leave policies. Study after study suggests that including, but not limited to, whether opportunities
workers within the Millennial demographic find this are temporary or permanent, and whether there are
type of work-life policy particularly attractive. These restrictions on eligibility. Failure to carefully consider
policies allow companies to supplement the family these elements of a job-sharing program could make the
and medical leave gap when employers are either too program [and/or the employer’s implementation of the
small to fall within the purview of state and federal program] unnecessarily vulnerable to legal challenge
based on discrimination [e.g., failure to reasonably
accommodate under disability-discrimination laws;
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 11
COMMUNITY PROFILE The need
Sparta-based Star Blends expands in Chippewa Falls
A By Chris Vetter, Leader-Telegram staff The company describes the plant as a “closed-loop system,”
CHIPPEWA FALLS which vacuums up any dust.
new feed processing company coming to Chippewa Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development
Falls will employ 30 workers, help diversify the local
economy and benefit dairy farmers, area officials Corp. executive director, is excited about the new industry
Construction recently started on the Star Blends facility, coming to the city. He added that the company is using local
which is expected to cost between $5 million and $7 million. contractors to construct the multi-million-dollar plant.
The plant is being built at a 10-acre parcel the company “It’s a great step in our diversification efforts,” Walker
bought at Highway S and Commerce Parkway in the said. “And it’s great for our dairy industry.”
northeast corner of the city.
Paul Hanson, manager with Star Blends, said the concrete Dairy boost
foundation went in the ground on Dec. 27, and the steel
Jerry Clark, Chippewa County UW-Extension agriculture
beams were installed beginning Dec. 29. He said the structure agent, said having another feed company in the area will
should quickly come together. only help dairy farmers, who have been struggling with low
Star Blends has only one other facility, in Sparta. Hanson
said that when they looked at expanding, Chippewa Falls milk prices.
“It provides another access point for feed, feed additives
was the right fit. and nutrition ingredients,” Clark said. “It can provide
“It’s all the dairy cows
up there and all the competition to other
area feed distributors.
agribusiness,” Hanson said. Competition hopefully
Tom Lohr is general
manager of the Sparta plant, helps keep the prices
which was founded in 2002 Clark explained that most
and now has 42 employees.
Lohr agreed that Chippewa area dairy farmers give their
cows a mix of alfalfa, corn
Falls was the right place to and corn silage, comprising
“It has a high population perhaps 80 to 90 percent of
their food intake. The feed
of livestock,” Lohr said. “It from a place like Star Blends
has good infrastructure to
move feed to all parts of the will be protein-heavy, with
a mix of minerals and
state.” vitamins, often coming from
Lohr said the goal is for
the plant to open in late soybeans and cottonseed.
“It helps with milk
September or early October. production,” Clark
Chippewa Falls Mayor
Greg Hoffman is pleased explained.
The company also has
to see construction is The Star Blends plant in Sparta opened in 2002 and now has 42 employees. promised to buy locally-
underway. Contributed photo grown corn, which also will
“They are going to put up
a state-of-the-art building help area farmers looking
for more markets to sell
that is an excellent addition to the community,” he said. their crops, he added.
Hoffman liked that the company plans to dig a deep Lohr is proud of the feed the company manufactures,
hole — 23 feet into the ground — to put the feed processor noting a lot of it is recycled.
below ground level, which will keep down noise and dust. “It’s all byproducts of the human food industry,” Lohr
12 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
explained. “We put that Star Blends are looking to build there.
into an ideal supplement The business park already is home to General Beer Northwest
to feed back to the cattle.
They are all custom distributors and Chippewa River Industries.
recipes that nutritionists To 53 To “They were looking at several locations,” Walker said of Star
formulate.” Lake Wissota
Blends. “The fact that the Lake Wissota Business Park is shovel-
S ready and has the infrastructure, were factors they chose us.”
At a Chippewa County Because the Star Blends’ plant is farther north than other
Economic Development buildings in the business park, the company is installing its own
committee meeting septic system and well. At some point in the future when the
in July, Star Blends city’s infrastructure extends to that location, Star Blends will be
officials said they will be Commerce Pkwy 178 required to hook up to the city’s systems.
providing feed to dairy Hoffman added that Star Blends did not approach the city for
farms in a 70-mile radius any tax increment financing dollars, and the company is paying
of Chippewa Falls. The for the entire project. Hoffman said the company is offering good-
building is expected to paying jobs and has been good to work with.
be about 28,000 square
feet with room to expand Lake View Dr “I’m impressed with them — they seem like excellent people,”
and add another 35,000
square feet. About 40 Contact: 715-723-0303, [email protected]
truckloads a day would 1Asvte I STAR BLENDS
leave the plant. » To learn more about the company, visit starblendsllc.com.
Featured in this article
“They are working Staff graphic
with the larger dairies,” Hoffman said. “This is all hauled out in
semi-loads — it’s all automated. I’d compare it to operating an
ethanol plant, because everything is computerized.”
Business park interest Clark Hoffman Walker
The 200-acre Lake Wissota Business Park has seen renewed
interest this year.
Not only has Star Blends started construction, supercomputer
manufacturer Cray is looking at the park for a new facility. The
city also has been working with at least two other companies who
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COMMUNITY PROFILE New attractions
Tourism director starts job as Menomonie lodging grows
By Pamela Powers, Leader-Telegram staff
GMENOMONIE Growing market
rowing up near Wisconsin Dells, Leah Hauck
experienced living in an area known for its tourism Visitors spent $46.7 million in 2015 on lodging, restaurants,
attractions. recreation, attractions and tourism expenses in Dunn County,
After attending UW-Stout and earning a degree in hotel,
restaurant and tourism management in 2012, Hauck worked according to Wisconsin Department of Tourism statistics. That
at the Whistling Swan, a farm-to-table restaurant in Door was up slightly from $46.4 million the year before.
County, and then as an assistant front desk manager at With two new hotels planned to open this year, including a
an upscale motel before deciding she wanted to work in Hampton Inn in north Menomonie and a Cobblestone Inn on
tourism. Main Street, Hauck believes that will poise the city to attract
“I wanted to be in the tourism planning process and more visitors.
determine what attracts people to a certain destination,” the “Travelers who might have passed us before on I-94 may be
26-year-old said. more inclined to stop
Hauck returned in Menomonie,” she
to UW-Stout and noted.
earned her master’s A new hotel on
degree in technical Main Street could
and professional well drive travelers
communications in downtown to
May. experience the Mabel
In September she Tainter Center for
started working the Arts and visit
at the Greater downtown shops,
Menomonie Hauck said.
Area Chamber of Hotel stays also
Commerce as the generate a 7.5 percent
tourism director, room tax, she noted,
replacing interim which helps fund her
director Maggie position and efforts to
Foote. promote the city.
“I like that my “Ideally the more
focus isn’t so narrow hotel tax we can
on one business or collect the more I can
one hotel,” Hauck do to run a campaign
said. “I get to work and promote
with all tourism Menomonie in other
partners.” cities,” she said.
Menomonie’s Dingwall said
chamber seemed like having more hotels
a perfect fit because gives visitors options
she had gone to and more reasons
school at UW-Stout to stop and stay in
and knew the area. Greater Menomonie Chamber of Commerce tourism director Leah Hauck, who started in Menomonie.
September, believes Menomonie is a great destination site for its historical buildings such
Michelle Dingwall, as the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. Located one hour’s
the Menomonie drive from the Twin
chamber’s CEO, Cities, Menomonie
said Hauck brings a fresh, new point of view to the tourism offers a small-town getaway from the big city, Hauck said.
director position with her education in hospitality, tourism With the Red Cedar State Trail the city has biking and skiing
and communications. for visitors. Menomonie also has bike trails within the city,
“The combination gives her a unique perspective to which helps visitors explore the area. In 2018 a new trail over
explore more areas in tourism,” Dingwall said. Interstate 94 across a former railroad track is scheduled to open.
14 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
Live performances by the update the last one done in
Menomonie Theater Guild at 2015.
the Mabel Tainter and UW- “I want it to showcase this is
Stout theater program are who we are and this is what we
another plus for the city as a can offer,” she said.
destination. A contest called on local
Otter Creek Farm in northern photographers to provide
Dunn County hosts dressage the pictures for the updated
and jumping shows that draw publication.
people to the area, Hauck said. Dingwall said this is part of a
Other attractions include plan of the chamber to engage
disc golf courses, snowmobile the broader community in
trails and history sites such tourism.
as Wilson Place Mansion, the “Not just hotels and
Rassbach Heritage Museum restaurants benefit from
and the Louis Smith Tainter tourism,” she said. “Everyone
House at UW-Stout. benefits from tourism.”
UW-Stout also draws On Feb. 11 Dunn County and
students, conference attendees Menomonie will be featured
and alumni back to the Barn quilts are becoming an attraction throughout Dunn County to encourage on Discover Wisconsin, to help
community. visitors to travel around the county. One such barn quilt is located at The showcase the area throughout
Yellow Barn, a special events and performance venue in the town of Hay River. the upper Midwest.
Small town getaway Staff photos by Pamela Powers Hauck also wants to use
The recent addition of barn social media more to promote
quilts on area barns also is attracting tourists to Dunn County. the area.
“Destination visitors want to feel like they are part of the
“I took some people around to see the barn quilts and they are a community and belong,” she said. “The Twin Cities is a huge
big deal now,” county Supervisor Jim Anderson said. “I just think market. We are an easy destination for Twin Cities people to
we’ve got to promote rural Dunn County tourism more.” visit. We have a more of a small-town experience if they need a
weekend away from the city.”
Anderson, who serves on the county’s Community Resources
and Tourism Committee, said Hauck has the educational Contact: 715-556-9018, [email protected],
background to help promote Dunn County.
Hauck is working on a new Menomonie destination guide to @MenomonieBureau on Twitter
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CROSSWORD 2 1
7 4 9 3
10 15 8
on Page 22
22 24 25
Across 1. Best-seller on NYT business book list.
3. Local organization for young business leaders.
2. Curbside organics recycler in EC. 5. Key service to bridge rural-urban business gap.
4. Top business travel tip. 7. Gov. Scott Walker’s wager on Cotton Bowl.
6. No. 1 franchise, Entrepreneur.com says. 8. Company’s name starts with Latin word for truth.
9. Wisconsin’s top mortgage lender for eight straight years. 10. Top drink to order with your boss, according to Inc.com.
12. New CEO for Dodgeville-based Lands’ End. 11. Showtime program about management consultants.
13. America’s most influential business leader, Forbes says. 15. Bloomberg’s top two business schools of 2016.
14. Emily Anderson’s local graphics business. 17. Chippewa Falls-based job shop.
16. Menomonie-based electrical contractor. 22. MSNBC eye-opening television show.
18. Menomonie’s soon-to-be-crowned small business of year. 24. Recently sold Presto business segment.
19. It has a speculative credit rating of BB or lower. 25. “The New Celebrity Apprentice” host.
20. Mondovi photographer.
21. Tony Liedl role at Menomonie chamber.
23. New Mike’s Smokehouse tenant.
26. Metal machining provider in Rice Lake.
27. Demand for additional funds due to adverse price movement.
28. “I find that the harder I work _ _ _ I seem to have.” Thomas Jefferson.
29. Maker of relit, historic sign in Chippewa Falls.
30. Osseo-based design/build company.
16 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ JSaenputaermy b30e,r22061, 72016
- Guest Article -
Is Your It might seem like common sense, but it’s actually a If you want to be able to generate stellar results from
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January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 17
Lessons in laughter
Lighthearted leadership wisdom Title: “You’re a Leader,
can be found in ‘Peanuts’ comics Charlie Brown.”
Authors: Charles Schulz
By Terri Schlichenmeyer and Carla Curtsinger,
The Bookworm foreword by Brian Tracy.
Sometimes, you just have to laugh. pretty darn fluffy and filled with cartoons.
That’s how it is with business: You have to laugh because if And yet, there’s no doubt that new MBAs will get a kick
you didn’t, you’d cry. It’s been that way for the past few years: out of this warm-fuzzy reminder of the get-ahead ideas we all
up and down, good and bad, and there’s always room for learned early on. CEOs will find good, useful advice wrapped in
improvement. So why not find that help and laugh a little more happy childhood memories and lightheartedness.
by reading “You’re a Leader, Charlie Brown” by Charles Schulz
and Carla Curtsinger. And so, because you know that a little levity is what you need
at this time of year, read “You’re a Leader, Charlie Brown.”
For most, if not all, of your life, you’ve chuckled at the antics
of the Peanuts gang: the perseverance of Charlie Brown, the You may never work for Peanuts again.
assertiveness of Lucy, the Zen of Linus. You’ve grown up with
the comic strip — but did you ever think about the lessons you The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since
learned from it? she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives
on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.
Take Charlie Brown, for instance. He’s had a lot of failures
with footballs, Halloween, a Little Red-Haired Girl, baseball H39tOh AnMnuaEl &GARDENSHOW
and other issues of life. He might have gotten a bit discouraged
now and then, but he always showed courage and tenacity February 17-19th, 2017
with his goals, and he was willing to try again.
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Huh. I guess I never thought of a comic strip as
motivational, but when you think about it … well, maybe
“You’re a Leader, Charlie Brown” makes sense.
Then again, there’s a lot of cutesy in this book. The late
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advising them on business, even though there are parallels
that have been sitting in plain sight for decades.
Still, there’s no mistaking the fact that this book is soft,
18 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
Before leaving the working world,
check off your retirement to-do list
By Andrew Cooper Andrew Cooper is a financial adviser with Edward
Edward Jones Investments Jones Investments in Eau Claire. He can be reached at
715-833-3986 or [email protected]
At this time of year, your life is probably more hectic than • Think about long-term care.
usual — so you may have assembled an impressive to-do list. One service that Medicare doesn’t cover — or, at best, covers
only minimally — is long-term care. If you faced an extended
This can be a helpful tool for organizing your activities in the stay in a nursing home, the costs could be catastrophic. A
near future — but have you ever thought of developing a to-do financial professional may be able to help you find a way to
list for long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement? reduce this risk.
• Develop your estate plans. Estate planning can be
If not, you may want to think about it. Here are a few list- complex, involving many different documents — such as a
worthy items to consider: will, a living trust, power of attorney, etc. — so you’ll want to
work with a legal professional to ensure you’re making the
• Examine — and re-examine — your planned retirement right choices for yourself and your family.
age. By checking off these items, one by one, your retirement to-
do list will eventually get done. And when that happens, you
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January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 19
CALENDAR February - March
Feb 6: “Growing a Business Faster: Success Tips!” a panel discussion March 2: Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Manufacturing Show
on hiring local business consultants or strategists, 4:30-8 p.m., Hangar 54 featuring hands-on demonstrations, 3 p.m., CVTC Gateway Campus, 2320
restaurant, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, 3800 Starr Ave. Cost: $15, Alpine Road.
includes refreshments. RSVP: 715-723-7150, [email protected]
March 2 & 3: “Supervisory Management: Learning to Lead” two-day course
Feb 8: “The Right Mix: Diversity + Inclusion at Work,” UW-Eau Claire in the Supervisory Management Certificate Program offered through UW-
management professors host workshop on topics ranging from recruiting, Eau Claire Continuing Education, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Citizens State Bank, 375
dress codes, affirmative action and other diversity in the workplace issues, Stageline Road, Hudson. Same class will be taught in Eau Claire on March
7:30-9 a.m., Ojibwe Ballroom, Davies Center, UW-EC campus. Cost: Free, 16 & 17 at Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $600, includes
includes coffee, refreshments. Register by Feb. 1 at tinyurl.com/zt9dkl9. meals, course materials. Register: tinyurl.com/zh9sve2, 715-836-3636.
Feb. 8: “Microsoft Excel Intermediate” class on medium-level skills for March 7 & 14: “Microsoft Excel Basic” introductory class to using the
using the popular spreadsheet software, 8 a.m.-noon, Room 103, CVTC spreadsheet software commonly used in workplaces, 6-9 p.m., Room 222,
Chippewa Falls Campus, 770 Scheidler Road, Chippewa Falls. Cost: $89. CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Cost: $119. Info:
Info: cvtc.edu. cvtc.edu.
Feb 15: “Top 10 Social Media Trends,” local social media expert Shelly March 10: “Consider Youth Apprenticeship” informational meeting on the
Cedarblade leads this small business training session, noon-1 p.m., Western state program that lets businesses provide credit and work experience to high
Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: $15, lunch school juniors and seniors, 9-10:30 a.m., Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of
included. Register: SuccessfulBusiness.org, 715-836-7511, ext. 1171. Commerce, 1 N. Bridge St. RSVP: 715-723-0331, [email protected]
Feb. 22: “Microsoft Excel Advanced” class that teaches some of the higher- March 28-31: “Leadership Academy Phase I: Spring 2017” four-day
end functions of the spreadsheet software, 8 a.m.-noon, Room 222, CVTC workshop for executives, managers, supervisors and personnel leaders, Price
Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Cost: $89. Info: cvtc.edu. Commons, UW-Stout, 1110 S. Broadway St., Menomonie. Cost: $975 by March
10, $1,175 after. Register: www.uwstout.edu/profed/leadership.cfm.
Feb. 23: Ron Wirtz, director of regional outreach for the Federal Reserve
Bank of Minneapolis, will give a presentation on the status of the regional March 30: Tourism roundtable sponsored by Western Dairyland Business
economy followed by small-group discussion with Menomonie businesses, Center, noon-1 p.m., Visit Eau Claire, 4319 Jeffers Road. Cost: $15, lunch
8-10 a.m., Off Broadway Banquet Center, 1501 N. Broadway St., Menomonie. included. Register: SuccessfulBusiness.org, 715-836-7511, ext. 1171.
Cost: Free. Register: menomoniechamber.org/pages/federal-reserve.
March 30 & 31: “Supervisory Management: Leading Intentional Customer
Feb. 23: Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce 2017 Sales Conference, Service” two-day course in the Supervisory Management Certificate Program
8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., The Florian Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave. Cost: $69 chamber offered through UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.,
members, $99 for nonmembers. Register by Feb. 20 at EauClaireChamber.org Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $600. Register: tinyurl.
or call 715-834-1204. com/ze23mn5, 715-836-3636.
FIERCELY FOCUSED >
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FOCUS ON MY BUSINESS. Talk to Wipﬂi. We can offer you the industry 715.832.3407
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20 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017
By the DIRECT RY PRESSURE WASHING
^4,537 points www.sparklewash.com/eauclaire
The Dow Jones industrial average Sidewalks
grew that much between its low Dumpster Areas
and high points in 2016. The Awnings Graffiti
stock index tumbled to 15,451 in Complete Exteriors
February but hit new heights late Fleets
in the year, reaching up to 19,988 Free Estimates
in December. Fully Insured
1.2 million 823239 • 1-30-17
Xcel Energy’s 19 hydroelectric INC. 4410 Golf Terrace, Eau Claire, WI
plants in Wisconsin produced that
much energy last year, enough CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI Top 3% Real Estate
for 137,000 homes. It bested Agents in the Nation
the previous record of 1.1 million Sonny Johnston
Mwhs set in 1996. 715-456-6759 Stated by:
Expert Network - 2017
100 www.seal-ritesealcoatinginc.com Helping People Is What Real Estate Is All About
Eau Claire-based Erbert & [email protected] Mary F. Rufledt
Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop opened 715-828-9347
its 100th store in January in • Driveways
Minneapolis. Since then, an • Parking Lots WI / MN Licensed
additional one has opened in • Crack Sealing SRES, ABR, CRS, RRS, GRI, REALTOR ®
Indianapolis, a new market for the • Infrared Patching
company. • Line Striping [email protected]
• Group Rates www.EliteRealty-Wisconsin.com
4% • Snow Plowing
• Snow Removal 823679 1-30-17
Wisconsin ended 2016 with
its lowest seasonally adjusted Free Estimates • Fully Insured
unemployment rate since
January 2001, according to the 823892 1-30-17
state Department of Workforce
Development. PRECIOUS COINS
-232 rooms SIGNAGE
Closed last year and demolished Buy • Sell • Trade • Appraisals 823804 1-30-17
this month, The Plaza Hotel & 515 South Barstow St.
Suites, 1202 W. Clairemont Ave., 823803 01-30-17
had been one of Eau Claire’s Eau Claire • WI • 54701
longtime providers of lodging and (715) 834-7697
conference space. In its place
will be a new hospital and cancer Open M•T•TH•F
center planned by Marshfield
Clinic Health System. 823240 1-30-17
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 21
1430 Rivers Edge Trail | Altoona
822066 • 1-30-16
2E A R T H B O U E
ANSWERS ND EN V I RO NM EN T A L S OL UT I O NS 3
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22 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ January 30, 2017 R
January 30, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 23
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