Should I Stay or Should I Go

By: Mark Goldstein

Gallup has conducted a series of studies over the past few years that analyze employee job engagement. The results are not surprising, but they are alarming – only 30% of employees are engaged with their work and employer. Think of all that is lost with the other 70% of employees – production, customer relations, potential, and dollars – not to mention the caustic effect on other employees and their own level of engagement, and turnover (or the failure to turn over the unengaged). The ultimate question is what causes such widespread disengagement from work, and how to prevent, detect, and rectify it.

While employee disengagement may be attributable to a variety of factors, one factor seems most prominent: the relationship between the employee and his/her direct supervisor. In Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” study, Jim Clifton concludes that “the biggest single decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager.” So how do your managers come to that role within your company? Do they have any training in management? What leadership traits have they shown? And, perhaps most importantly, how certain are you that those traits are essential to management? Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman wrote extensively on this subject and, more specifically, on how his assessments of young soldiers as a young army psychologist were all wrong – evidence of a “cognitive bias” that shaped his later, prize-winning work. As Kahneman described it:

“What happened was remarkable. The global evidence of our previous failure should have shaken our confidence in our judgments of the candidates, but it did not. It should also have caused us to moderate our predictions, but it did not. We knew as a general fact that our predictions were little better than random guesses, but we continued to feel and act as if each of our specific predictions was valid. I was reminded of the Müller-Lyer illusion, in which we know the lines are of equal length yet still see them as being different. I was so struck by the analogy that I coined a term for our experience: the illusion of validity.”

– Thinking Fast & Slow

Another of the recent Gallup studies reveals a greater concern: half of those surveyed left a job to escape their manager. These findings not only reinforce previous studies, but point to a more significant trend: individual employees leave their direct supervisors— not the company. In other words, while certain businesses may consider poor employee retention rates an industry norm or a standard occurrence, the actual issue may be the opposite. Poor managers and/or management may actually be contributing to poor performance or high turnover – undermining your business.

So as you approach the new year, resolve yourself to think beyond year-end bonuses, holiday parties, and “seasonal sentiments.” With unemployment levels at historic lows, do you have an accurate read on your workforce and your managers and, if so, how do you know?

Mark Goldstein is President of Goldstein Law Group, S.C., a boutique law firm serving as outside general counsel to business, with a focus on labor and employment issues, business litigation, and corporate law. He is a frequent speaker and writer on labor and employment law and other topics. Mark is a member of TEC 31.

Precision Plus of Elkhorn takes high-schoolers to Chicago for manufacturing show

A group of Delavan-Darien High School students attended the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago last month thanks to Elkhorn manufacturer Precision Plus.

The students came from Delavan-Darien High’s engineering and design program, which technology education teachers Mike Fellin and Carl Grunewald co-founded to expose students to career paths in those fields.

Mike Reader, president of Precision Plus and a 1982 graduate of Delavan-Darien High School and also a member of TEC 50 in Lake Geneva, chartered three coach buses to take teachers, students and Precision Plus employees to Chicago for the tech show, which ran Sept. 14-16.

To read more click here.

2016 Deloitte Wisconsin 75 – Congrats to the 14 TEC Member Companies

The annual Deloitte Wisconsin 75 celebrates the contributions made by the state’s largest privately and closely held companies. Deloitte compiles the list in order of revenue. Participation is voluntary, so not every large private business is included. But the list always includes many of the most recognizable companies in the state, as well as others that may not be as widely known but whose importance to Wisconsin’s economy cannot be overstated.

15 of these 75 companies are TEC member companies. Congratulations to you all!

  • Quad Graphics
  • Sargento Foods Inc.
  • Robert W. Baird & Co.
  • Charter Manufacturing
  • Johnsonville Sausage LLC
  • Church Mutual Insurance Company
  • J.P. Cullen & Sons
  • Husco International
  • Lakeside Food Inc.
  • IEWC Global Solutions
  • Werner Electric Supply Company
  • Palermo Villa Inc.
  • Standard Process Inc.
  • Derse Inc.
  • Erdman

To read more click here.

Basic Management Concepts

Better CEOs, Better Human Beings – BizTimes Media

Over the course of my 21 years as a TEC chair, I participated in more than 6,000 member-to-chair sessions we refer to as “one-on-ones.”

I heard more than 300 presentations by nationally recognized TEC resource specialists. I facilitated more than 600 TEC meetings where we tackled countless senior leadership issues.

Now that my career has somewhat unexpectedly placed me back in a corporate leadership position, I have a few thoughts on the model and the process that was designed to help CEOs run their businesses more effectively and have better lives. My first thought is “it works.”

I was able to re-enter business with a toolbox stocked with best practices gleaned from members and resource specialists. I saw the problems people were having running their businesses, and the solutions suggested by their TEC groups. I saw ideas that worked and those that failed.

Link to read more on BizTimes Media.

Joint Sales Calls for Fun and Profit

Sales quote: “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.”

Recently, we have seen more and more sales organizations employ a practice formerly used only in training new sales reps. Joint sales calls have become more of an ongoing practice and not just part of training for the rookies.

Sometimes referred to as “call shadowing” making a joint call with another sale rep provides the opportunity for veterans to improve their own messaging and delivery. Furthermore, it allows them to share techniques, learn new strategies, and critique their peers.

We find reps become isolated in their practice. It is even more evident for remote salespeople. The weekly call in, or quarterly sales meeting is often consumed with product enhancement and corporate policy changes and less with effective sales training.

Many salespeople have become so accustomed to their presentation and sales process that they are using outdated information, terminology abandoned ten years ago, or using inappropriate or annoying language. Sales managers often allow joint calls to fall to bottom of their coaching priority list because they are time consuming and sometimes intimidating.

Here’s an idea 

Encourage experienced reps to make joint calls. If you have several reps working out of the same office it’s easy to plan a day of joint calls. Split up the day, or week with alternating calls on one another’s customers. It takes a bit more planning with far flung national sales organizations, but nonetheless worth the effort. A byproduct is increased team building and camaraderie.

Here’s how

The shadowing rep is strictly the observer. Physical positioning is important. Move yourself out of direct eye contact with the customer. Take copious notes. Not only listen to your colleague, but watch his body language, look for annoying habits, listen for overused phrases or jargon. After the sales call, don’t leave the customer’s parking lot without the critique. Make it constructive and have some fun with it. Be brutally honest, but remember, your objective is to improve one another’s process.

Remember your phone skills too

Leaving the same voicemail time after time is not only boring it sometimes becomes unintelligible. You leave your call back number so quickly no one will remember it. Pretty soon you sound like a “robo call” and don’t even know it. Ask a team member to listen in, ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

A tip for sales managers

Take a step back and acknowledge the beauty of your reps learning from one another! If joint sales calls are not already an existing practice within your organization; give it a try. It makes your job easier too.

Spend Time on the Right Stuff

Historically, we have considered two ways to increase sales: add more salespeople, or improve the effectiveness of those we have.

Equally important is spending time on the right stuff. We often hear “my sales team is not spending enough time pursuing new prospects.” Salespeople, like most of us, tend to take the path of least resistance. Let’s be sure we all know what’s important, provide necessary information and remain focused.

Look at these areas to help uncover problem areas in your sales organization. Address these and be well on your way to improving sales performance.

  • Do you have the right people on the bus? If you have always hired industry veterans, it may be time to move to experienced salespeople regardless of industry experience. Teaching product is often easier and more effective than teaching selling.
  • Are salespeople armed with proper information? Profile your ideal customer and make sure salespeople are pursuing prospects that match that profile. Understand the needs that your new product addresses and provide salespeople with supporting data.
  • Do salespeople have appropriate levels of knowledge to successfully sell?       Expecting someone who has never been on farm to successfully sell barn cleaners is just plain stupid.       Expecting someone accustomed to a one call close to successfully sell capital equipment is equally dumb. Invest in specific product and relative sales training.
  • How much time is available? If your salespeople have books of business that provide no time for finding and developing new customers consider a re-organization. Expecting new customer acquisition when your salespeople spend all day servicing existing accounts is a recipe for failure.       It may be time to divide your team into a new business development group and an account management group.
  • Are your priorities clear? Management needs to be abundantly clear on their objectives. Whether it be a new product introduction, or new customer acquisition, make sure you establish goals and track metrics that drive sales to meet that objective.
  • Does your compensation plan drive desired behavior? Uncover what motivates your salespeople. For some it’s money, for others it’s recognition. Maybe it isn’t the same for all. Tailor your plan to meet their desires.

While these seem simple and obvious, they are often completely missed. In other cases, they are acknowledged and just neglected. Revisiting these areas annually will help you remain focused on what’s important and help you adjust to a changing environment.

Embracing the New Perspective – Part 2

This blog is part 2 if you would like to read part 1 first click here.

I left you wondering what recommendations or answers I had for the dynamic shifts that are occurring within the field of leadership and executive development in my latest blog. My apologies but I didn’t want to burden you with a 500 – 600 word reading effort.

Which of the shifts have you seen greater progress within your business? Which shifts needs to move further faster, but seems stalled at the moment? Are there other important shifts you see happening in your organization? I’d appreciate hearing from you by leaving a response or sending an e-mail (TECChair@LoichingerAdvantage.com).

New Perspectives

Senior executives and business owners hold the keys for setting expectations, balancing requests for organizational investments, and holding leaders accountable for the leadership behaviors and results.

Let’s recap the emerging perspectives that your business or organization should be shifting to:

  • Leadership development needs to be seen as an investment in your organizations future and growth.
  • Leadership development has greater success when it is intentional, planned and integrated with the strategic priorities of the business.
  • Leadership development for the executive team is more important than ever, and should not be lightly dismissed.
  • Investments in leadership and executive coaching will pay higher returns than any other infrastructure investment you can make in the business; however, you need to do it well, and also look at the losses that occur when not making the investment.

Taking Action

I imagine you already have taken steps to grow the leadership pipeline of talent in your business and organization. If not, here are several action steps you may want to consider in your early stages of investment:

  • Budget: Begin by identifying and setting aside a percentage of payrolls for wise investments in your leadership and executive development. The average investment for overall training and talent budgets is just short of 5%.
  • Define: Bring in an outside resource to help define what leadership skills and competencies are key to your organizations success. You don’t have to start from scratch, but you do need to winnow the large list down to the critical few.
  • Assessment: Once you have defined and rolled out the leadership initiative to those affected, assess where leaders at each level are within your organization. That will help define the needs and strengths for each level: first level supervision, management, and executive level.
  • Plan: One action I highly encourage after leaders have gone through a 360-degree assessment is developing an individual leadership development plan. This will help them prioritize a few goals, align those goals to important company plans, and build an action plan that can be tracked. I believe you will gain better results from effective development planning, than worrying whether you have the right performance review system in place.
  • System: Nearly every company has a performance management system for the employee and managers, but the higher you travel up the leadership pipeline, the more it vanishes into obscurity. At the very least, define how your system will attract, orient, develop and help leaders at broad levels to perform.
  • Outcome: I encourage you to move beyond measuring training activity – how many people attended training, and whether the trainer entertained them. Measure leadership growth and impact. If you completed an assessment, you can re-assess in 18 months. If leadership plans were aligned with strategic initiatives, assess how well those initiatives met company objectives.

Closing Thoughts

Success begins with the plan, perspective and the goals that we set in motion. Remember the cycle of organizational improvement? The Shewart Cycle became one of the most prominent: Plan – Do – Check – Act. Begin your planning with what you hope to achieve and a strong business case for why. Start small. Begin with those who want to accept the role of leaders and are accepting of your leadership development efforts. Make sure leaders at each state of the leadership pipeline are engaged. Pilot and test each new aspect of your development system. They won’t be perfect. Adjust, improve and keep moving forward. Above all, be clear about your expectation, and offer leaders choices to achieve the end results. It’s a great journey. Enjoy the ride.

Dan Loichinger is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage LLC. The Madison, Wisconsin based firm delivers proprietary executive coaching, leadership assessments and TEC Executive Roundtables for owners and executives of growing organizations.

Clients value our ability to increase their leadership effectiveness, improve their strategic insight, accelerate change while sustaining results, and increase their competitive advantage. Together, we deliver proven leadership growth.

The Seven Basics of Negotiations

Sales quote: “Humility is virtue, timidity is an illness.”

First and foremost; negotiating is a necessity in life (not just business life; all life). Learn how to negotiate or think about becoming a hermit.

  1. Set an anchor. Adam D. Galinsky, in a Harvard Business Review article, talks about being first to set an anchor in a negotiation. Almost always both parties have an understanding of the worth of what is being negotiated. His study found that the final outcome of a negotiation is affected by whether the buyer or the seller makes the first offer. Specifically, when a seller makes the first offer, the final settlement price tends to be higher than when the buyer makes the first offer.

Do not set a price range. If you are the seller and give a range, the buyer will only hear the low end of your range. Yikes, you just set an anchor!

Simply put, if you are the buyer set a low anchor and if you are selling; set a high anchor. The important point is to be first.

  1. Give AND take. If your seller requests you raise your offer; get something in return. “If I raise my offer, what will you give in return?”

Bonus: you can ask for things you don’t need or want. Have a couple of things you can give away later that you didn’t need anyway.

  1. Never negotiate with yourself. Verify everything and assume nothing. Too often we see people with preconceived ideas leaving money on the table. Remember, ask open-ended questions. Your goal should be to learn as much as you can before final agreement.
  2. Silence can be golden. No doubt you have heard of the “poignant pause” sometimes nicknamed the “pregnant pause”. People tend to talk a lot when they are nervous. Whether it be selling or negotiating, listen twice as much as you talk.

Let’s say you are the buyer and you make the make first offer (as you should). Your seller responds negatively to your offer with something like “…way too low…” Here’s your chance to demonstrate some restraint and say nothing in response. She may get nervous and begin talking to fill the void.   She may tell you something significant and useful. You may not have learned it had you been talking rather than listening.

  1. Control the pace of the negotiation. Sometimes, it is helpful to take a “time out” from the negotiation. Step away, take a breath and clear your head. Particularly if you feel the conversation is not going where you want to go.

Ask for a drink of water, a bathroom break, say you need to call your boss/board member/spouse…any excuse allowing you to make some notes and gather your wits will do. Does that sound wimpy? It’s better to sound wimpy than come out on the short end of a negotiation.

  1. Be prepared to walk away. If you have run into the ultimate negotiator or someone totally unwilling to compromise; politely excuse yourself. This will occasionally happen and you MUST be prepared to walk away. More times than not, calling the other’s bluff brings them closer to the middle.
  2. It’s not over, until it’s over. Let’s say the negotiation has been going on for a while. There has been significant give and take on both sides. Your buyer asks for something you just can’t give up. It is absolutely acceptable to go back and ask for a previously agreed to concession to be returned.

The Seven Basics of Negotiations

By Mark Burrall

Sales quote: “Humility is virtue, timidity is an illness.”

First and foremost; negotiating is a necessity in life (not just business life; all life). Learn how to negotiate or think about becoming a hermit.

  1. Set an anchor. Adam D. Galinsky, in a Harvard Business Review article, talks about being first to set an anchor in a negotiation. Almost always both parties have an understanding of the worth of what is being negotiated. His study found that the final outcome of a negotiation is affected by whether the buyer or the seller makes the first offer. Specifically, when a seller makes the first offer, the final settlement price tends to be higher than when the buyer makes the first offer.

Do not set a price range. If you are the seller and give a range, the buyer will only hear the low end of your range. Yikes, you just set an anchor!

Simply put, if you are the buyer set a low anchor and if you are selling; set a high anchor. The important point is to be first.

  1. Give AND take. If your seller requests you raise your offer; get something in return. “If I raise my offer, what will you give in return?”

Bonus: you can ask for things you don’t need or want. Have a couple of things you can give away later that you didn’t need anyway.

  1. Never negotiate with yourself. Verify everything and assume nothing. Too often we see people with preconceived ideas leaving money on the table. Remember, ask open-ended questions. Your goal should be to learn as much as you can before final agreement.
  2. Silence can be golden. No doubt you have heard of the “poignant pause” sometimes nicknamed the “pregnant pause”. People tend to talk a lot when they are nervous. Whether it be selling or negotiating, listen twice as much as you talk.

Let’s say you are the buyer and you make the make first offer (as you should). Your seller responds negatively to your offer with something like “…way too low…” Here’s your chance to demonstrate some restraint and say nothing in response. She may get nervous and begin talking to fill the void.   She may tell you something significant and useful. You may not have learned it had you been talking rather than listening.

  1. Control the pace of the negotiation. Sometimes, it is helpful to take a “time out” from the negotiation. Step away, take a breath and clear your head. Particularly if you feel the conversation is not going where you want to go.

Ask for a drink of water, a bathroom break, say you need to call your boss/board member/spouse…any excuse allowing you to make some notes and gather your wits will do. Does that sound wimpy? It’s better to sound wimpy than come out on the short end of a negotiation.

  1. Be prepared to walk away. If you have run into the ultimate negotiator or someone totally unwilling to compromise; politely excuse yourself. This will occasionally happen and you MUST be prepared to walk away. More times than not, calling the other’s bluff brings them closer to the middle.
  2. It’s not over, until it’s over. Let’s say the negotiation has been going on for a while. There has been significant give and take on both sides. Your buyer asks for something you just can’t give up. It is absolutely acceptable to go back and ask for a previously agreed to concession to be returned.

White Knights Don’t Exist in Business, Either

Guest blog by Ane Ohm

“When we hire our new sales leader, then we’ll grow.”

“A headhunter will find the right operations leader, then we’ll be more efficient.”

“Let’s bring in that consultant to develop our brand identity.”

You know the White Knight Syndrome, right? It’s waiting for a white knight to ride in and save the day. “I don’t know how to accelerate sales, or run our operations smoothly, or develop our brand… let’s bring in the experts and they’ll make it happen.”

If this is how you’re thinking about your business, you’re probably going to spend a lot of money with poor results. Then you’ll blame the new sales leader, the recruiter, or the consultant, when in fact the problem was you all along.

You’re busy, I get it. I’m busy, too, and it’s so nice to think that an expert can solve my problems. Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that completely outsourcing my most important problems does not yield the results I want.

You can’t properly solve a problem without knowing what caused the problem in the first place.

If your sales are suffering, do you know why? Is it poor sales activity, your product, your competitors, or the market itself? Some great sales leaders will deliver a killer sales process, but can’t fix a sub-standard product or deal with an ailing market. How can you hire the right person if you don’t know what you need?

So please, hire a recruiter to help you – they can be a wonderful resource. But think: do you know what you really need (not just want) and does that person exist? Don’t expect recruiters to perform magic tricks. A great recruiter will ask many questions up front about skills, culture, and other top performers in your organization. Stay involved, and if you’re told you have unreasonable expectations, LISTEN.

As with so many things in life, the answer is simple, but not easy. If you don’t know what’s causing your problems, handing them to an outside expert is unlikely yield the results you want. The best experts want your active engagement, anyway.

Prioritize, engage, and be your own white knight.

Building Your Authenticity with Content Marketing

Guest blog by Bob Wendt 

Building Your Authenticity with Content Marketing

Let’s face it… Your customers are inundated with endless marketing claims in print, online, and in person. With nearly every company boasting that their product is “state of the art” or features “leading technology”…

How can customers distinguish you as the “real deal” compared to all the imposters out there?

The proven strategy I recommend is content marketing. It’s precisely what the name implies —Sharing quality content with your customers as an effective long-range marketing tool.

It looks like this…

In addition to your product/service offerings, your company website should also include relevant articles, tips, and how-to’s that your customers might find useful.  

“Why go through all that trouble?,” you ask. Your helpful tone and your generosity in sharing these extra resources make people much more likely to believe you’re someone they want to do business with. In fact, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content (Demand Metric, 2014).

What’s more… Not only does content marketing enhance your brand and authenticity, it also produces RESULTS:

Website conversion rates are nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters: 2.9% vs. 0.5%
(Source: Aberdeen Group, 2014)

Why? Content marketing keeps your business “top of mind” when customers are ready to make a purchase. It also makes people feel as though they’re buying from a trusted friend — one who has earned the right to their business.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, content marketing enhances your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), too! Learn how in Content Marketing: What Does Great Content DO for Your Business?

If you’re not regularly posting helpful information, tips, and ideas to engage the market and attract new customers, your competition will. Content marketing isn’t an extra these days — Content marketing is a MUST.

So ask yourself:

Does YOUR website portray trust and credibility — or does it simply make empty claims?  

Take a quick look to see what substantiates your marketing claims on your company’s site. Make sure you clearly show why you’re the industry authority that people should turn to for advice, guidance, and support — and they’ll be back when it’s time to BUY.

So get sharing your great content, and remember…

Trust is something you BUILD.

 

Engineer of the Year goes to Laurie Parsons

Congratulations to Laurie Parsons, President of Natural Resource Technology! STEM Forward recognizes an outstanding contributor to the engineering profession in the Milwaukee area. The winner helps raise awareness of the profession and the region, while serving as a role model to others who may select engineering as a career.

Laurie will accept her award at the 63rd Annual Engineers Week Banquet that will be held on February 11, 2016.  To learn more about STEM Forward click here.

Congratulations to Bassett Mechanical – Compassionate Employer Award

Bessett Mechanical rallies together, recognized for demonstrating compassion for employee in need.  The compassionate Employer Award program aims to encourage employers to have protocols in place for unplanned employee crises. Employees and their families were able to nominate companies from across the New North region for acts of remarkable compassion during the past few years.

Bassett Mechanical was nominated by  Jay Sauter’s wife, Kris and daughters Elizabeth and Kathryn for the many “kind, compassionate and caring” acts those at the mechanical contractors showed not just during Jay’s illness, but throughout his entire 30-year tenure there.

To read the entire article from the New North B2B click here.

Congratulations to Laura Henderson

Congratulations to Laura Henderson (TEC 20 member) and her Epiphany Learning Systems team for winning the People’s Choice Wisconsin Innovation Award, 2015. 

Epiphany Learning™, an edtech company dedicated to making personalized learning a reality in classrooms throughout the world, has won the inaugural People’s Choice Wisconsin Innovation Award. The Wisconsin Innovation Awards (WIA) highlight and honor the development of groundbreaking and innovative ideas in a variety of Wisconsin-based business sectors. Led by a steering committee of business, community and entrepreneurial leaders, the second annual WIA ceremony took place August 18, 2015 at the Discovery World in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Over 170 businesses were nominated for this year’s WIA’s, from which 33 finalists, including Epiphany Learning, were selected – in multiple rounds of judging – by a panel of 18 industry experts. The finalists were organized into nine categories, and, for the first time, WIA added a People’s Choice Award. Each finalist was eligible for the new People’s Choice honor, and the winner was determined by the highest number of total votes cast by the general public over social media.

“Being recognized with the inaugural People’s Choice Wisconsin Innovation Award is an absolute honor,” states Laura Henderson, founder and CEO of Epiphany Learning. “The Epiphany Learning Personalized Learning Application was launched less than one year ago and is now enabling widescale personalized learning implementation in school districts throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Receiving the People’s Choice Award is exciting because it speaks to the power of our application as well as the importance of the personalized learning movement. Our goal is to leverage technology to ensure all students are heard by putting the learner back in the center of their education; and this award shows how powerful and important this is for the future of education.”

Click here to read more on PRweb.

Congratulations to John Kissinger

Congratulations to TEC 33 member, John Kissinger, earned a mayoral proclamation and a day in his honor for his five years leading the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, the agency that coordinates job training programs in Milwaukee County.

The president and CEO of Graef-USA didn’t celebrate “John Kissinger Day” for long. He quickly returned to serve as vice chairman of the agency and continues to connect businesses with workers and training programs.

To read more from The Business Journal click here.

Congrats Dave Strand!!

TPS is pleased to announce the appointment of Dave Strand as President and Chief Executive Officer of TPS, LLC, effective April 8, 2015. Dave brings almost 30 years of experience in the industrial oven and furnace industry, spanning the areas of operations, service, and sales, all with Wisconsin Oven Corporation, recently acquired by TPS. Dave will also continue to serve as President and CEO of Wisconsin Oven, a subsidiary of TPS.

In addition to his considerable experience in the industrial oven and furnace industry, Dave has demonstrated great strategic skill and leadership in driving growth.  As President and CEO, Dave led the evolution and growth of Wisconsin Oven from a small standard oven 3rd party manufacturer, to a highly respected designer and manufacturer of custom and standard industrial ovens and achieved record sales regularly. Dave grew the Wisconsin Oven brand during his tenure despite all of the challenges of the Great Recession.  The TPS Board of Directors has the greatest confidence that Dave’s experience and skills will help TPS grow and take advantage of the fantastic opportunities provided by the Wisconsin Oven acquisition.


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Congratulations to Austin Ramirez!

HUSCO International was named one of the Top 10 Businesses by the Waukesha Business Alliance. Congratulations Austin Ramirez! These highly respected business awards are given to companies that exhibit exceptional growth, a history of outstanding employee relations and a commitment to the community. To read more click here.

HUSCO-logo

Congratulations to Jon Teraoka!

W.I.S. Logistics Inc. is named one of the Top 10 Businesses by the Waukesha County Business Alliance. Congratulations Jon Teraoka! These highly appreciated business awards and are given to companies that exhibit exceptional growth, a history of outstanding employee relations and a commitment to the community. To read more about this event click here.

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Congrats to JP Cullen!

Congratulations to JP Cullen on being named Alliant Build America Grand Award Winner!  

Epic Systems Corp.’s Deep Space auditorium was judged best new building over $200 million Thursday by the Associated General Contractors of America, while the contractor that built it, Madison-based JP Cullen, was named the Alliant Build America Grand Award winner.

Located 73 feet underground, the auditorium was designed to blend with the rural landscape via a rock-and-cave-style facade and six acres of green roofing. With 11,400 seats spread over 800,000 square feet, and a 70-by-40-foot screen, the structure took 1,400 employees to build and is bolstered by 33.3 million pounds of steel.
Read more in the Wisconsin State Journal click here

Congrats to Noel Kegel!

Congratulations to Noel Kegel of Wheel & Sprocket and NextGen TEC 2 member for being nominated as one of the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News 35 and under industry influencers.

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — The latest issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News features profiles of 41 influential members of the U.S. industry who are age 35 or under.

BRAIN’s first U35 edition focuses on the future of our industry — retailers, designers, engineers, editors and entrepreneurs who are blazing new paths. Those who want to share the U35 feature on social media (or with their Moms) can view the 15-page digital edition online. There are also some special video features on some of the recipients on BRAIN’s YouTube channel.

To read more on BRAIN website click here.

For a digital version click here.

5 Steps for Growing Business Online – Step 2

The first step to growing your business online is visibility. Your site must be seen, it must be found, before you will get any visitors to show up. If you haven’t read Step 1 – Visibility , please take a look at that here.

Now we move into Step 2 – Traffic.

It makes sense, your business must be visible before you get traffic, but visibility alone does very little to help your business. Visibility alone doesn’t create traffic.

There are links everywhere on the web. Even in the search results there are at least 10 primary links on the page plus potential advertising links, links to additional results, and links about the search provider.

Your links, regardless of where they are found, must entice your prospects to click. The relationship between your business and a searcher doesn’t start until they click.

Getting Traffic From Search Engines

Let’s take a look at how you get your search results listing to stand out from the crowd of links.

In most search results there are three critical pieces of information. The first is the title of the web page. This is the link that the searcher can click on. The second piece is the description of the web page that appears as two lines of text below the title. The final piece is the address of your web page.

Go to Google and search for your business by name and city so that you see what comes up. For example, I would search for up at dawn waukesha. When you search for your own business you will see the title, followed by your web address, and then two lines of description.

The good thing is that, in most cases, you can control both the title and description by adjusting the tags within the hidden code of your website.

To get more traffic, tweak your titles and descriptions.

Assuming someone already took the time to set up the titles and descriptions on your site, you probably show your business name as the title, and the descriptions tell what your business does. If you have gone that far at least you get a little branding going on.

But, since nearly everyone does that, your listing will look like most other listings in the results.

Stand Out From the Other Search Results

Instead of doing what everyone else does, what if you write the title to connect with the problem the searcher is looking to solve? And what if you write the description to tell the searcher what benefit they will receive when they click?

When you do this, your search results stand out because you are the one business in the search results that is intentionally seeking to build the relationship with the searcher. You win the click.

Changes to the title and description won’t show up in the search results instantly. It takes a while before the changes are indexed, and then longer before they show up. So it’s good to take action on this right away.

At the same time, there’s another thing you can do that is often the fastest way to show up on the first page of the Google search results. Since it gets technical, I created a video and cheat sheet to help you out. You can get it here: http://www.upatdawn.biz/fastest.

In the next installment, we will take a look at two steps to help you control what happens when visitors arrive at your site.

Bio:

Jeffrey Kirk, owner of Up At Dawn, LLC (http://www.upatdawn.biz) started his first ecommerce business in 1993. It wasn’t quite how we think of ecommerce now. To facilitate the movement of consumer goods from Southeast Asia and Europe into the Republic of Kazakhstan, he conducted business using dial-up computer networks and a fax machine.

Since 1995, Jeff has helped other businesses with their website development, to drive both traffic and conversion. These days, he is known for making internet marketing simple to understand and implement for traditional, offline businesses looking for online success.

Jeff provides video training and coaching for business people who prefer to have the skills within their business, and he offers “do it for you” service for those who prefer to hire the expertise. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a new book called, Dominate The Top – Simple Website Fixes to Rise in the Search Results and Crush Your Competition.

Image Credit – iStock

Best Place to Work Plastics Industry 2015 – CMD Corporation

APPLETON, WI; February 17, 2015 – Machinery manufacturer CMD Corporation was recently named one of the Best Places to work in the Plastics Industry by the international trade publication, Plastics News, and Best Companies Group.

The Best Places to Work program was designed to identify and honor the best employers in the plastics industry; those benefiting the economy, workforce, and businesses in the United States and Canada.  Ten companies were chosen; CMD ranked 7th on the list.

“We are extremely proud of this honor,” says Steve Sakai, CMD President.   “We have been working hard to advance a customer-focused, innovative culture at CMD for over 5 years, and this award shows that we have made meaningful progress. We are truly grateful for the hard work and dedication of our 165 talented employees.”

Click here to read more.

Executive of the Year! Congrats to Dan Hartung!

Raise a glass to this year’s winners! Join IB for an awards presentation and cocktail reception to honor the winners of the second annual Executive of the Year Awards.

The following people will be recognized:

Frank D. Byrne, M.D., President, St. Mary’s Hospital
Bryan Chan, President & Founder, SupraNet Communications Inc.
Kevin Conroy, Chairman and CEO, Exact Sciences
Dan Hartung, President, Hartung Brothers Inc.
Anna Stern, Vice President, Tri-North Builders

Date: Feb. 11, 2015
Location: Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison
Time: 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Click here for more information on InBusiness Magazine

Congratulations to the Bartolotta Restaurant Group!

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The Milwaukee-based company will only continue to feed more mouths. Earlier this year, the company announced that it will open three restaurants at the Mayfair Collection development in Wauwatosa by next fall. In addition, Bartolotta Restaurant Group opened two new restaurants this year: Miss Beverly’s Deluxe Barbecue in Greendale and Downtown Kitchen at the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee.

While Miss Beverly’s serves up a menu of Bartolotta’s own take on barbecue, Downtown Kitchen has what the company calls a “modern market” flair.

For its rapid growth, the restaurant group has been named the BizTimes Best in Business Small Business of the Year for 2014.

As the company continues to expand, in both venues and employees, it is evolving beyond a small business, Bartolotta said.

“As our company grows, we’re transitioning from a small business to a medium-sized business now,” he said. “For years we were a smaller business, and in the last four years we’ve seen a lot of growth. We’re in this really unique place where we’re too big of a company to be a small company anymore, and yet we’re too small of a company to be a big company.”

Bartolotta said the restaurant group has its sights set on continuing its growth and continuing to cultivate its team in the process. The company, which currently has 11 restaurants in addition to catering operations, has close to 1,000 employees – 1,100 in the summer – and anticipates swelling by another 250 staffers with the Mayfair Collection restaurants.

To read more on the BizTimes website click here.

Best Companies To Work For – Greater Madison InBusiness

There are a variety of ways to evaluate a Best Company, but we prefer to focus on attractive employee benefits packages. Well-run companies approach their benefits offerings with employee recruiting and retention in mind as they develop ways to take care of the people who take care of their customers.

Participating companies that address this in the most affirmative ways are featured in this, our third annual Best Companies presentation. Their generous benefits packages, which contribute mightily to employee-friendly company cultures and comparatively low turnover, advance both company and community alike.

To be certified as a “Best Company,” local employers were asked to share information about their medical benefits, their commitment to wellness and retirement programs, life and disability insurance, the Madison living wage, workforce training, and paid time off.

Each category was assigned a certain number of points to reflect its importance in the overall benefits package, and Best Companies are those that reached 70% of our maximum score. Special congratulations go to top scorers Meriter-UnityPoint Health and CUNA Mutual Group.

We will continue to revise our Best Company survey to reflect best practices and feedback, and we ask organizations interested in the 2015 presentation to wait until Jan. 2, 2015, to fill out the revised survey on IBMadison.com.

Best Companies to Work For
An alphabetical list of the organizations that reached at least 70% of our maximum Best Company score.
■ CUNA Mutual Group
■ Electronic Theatre Controls
■ Epic – TEC Member Company 
■ Exact Sciences Corp.
■ Fiskars
■ Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates
■ Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
■ M3 Insurance
■ Madison College
■ Mead & Hunt
■ Meriter-UnityPoint Health
■ National Guardian Life Insurance Co.
■ Perkins Coie LLP
■ QPS Employment Group
■ Research Products Corp. (Aprilaire) – TEC Member Company 
■ Roche NimbleGen
■ Royle Printing
■ Stafford Rosenbaum
■ Strategic Brand Marketing
■ Suttle-Straus
■ TDS Telecom
■ Terso Solutions – TEC Member Company 
■ Tri-North Builders
■ Turville Bay MRI & Radiation Oncology Center
■ Valicom Corp.
■ WEA Trust
■ Widen Enterprises

Click here to read more on InBusiness

Love of Sailing Steered Harken CEO to Port – Bill Goggins

When Bill Goggins thinks about his role as chief executive officer for Pewaukee-based yacht equipment manufacturer Harken Inc., he firmly believes that his position with the company has a lot to do with dumb luck.

But he also acknowledges that it was his concerted effort to tie together his passion around competitive sailing with his work that ultimately landed him the job.

“Harken was on every kind of boat that I was ever on when I was growing up,” Goggins said.

He received his bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications and his master’s degree in business from Marquette University in Milwaukee. When he started shopping for his dream job in 1999, he was working for an advertising agency.

“Being a very passionate sailor and tying in my marketing experience, I literally walked into my office and typed in Harken.com just to see if there were any openings and there was a vague, poorly written job description for a marketing position,” Goggins said.
Picking up the telephone, he called Harken, had an interview with company founders Peter Harken and Olaf Harken the next day and got the job, which tied in the sport that he loves with brand management.

Peter Harken hired Goggins to help his brother, Olaf Harken, in the marketing department because Goggins was full of energy. His advertising agency experience made him a perfect fit.

“He just kept proving himself,” Peter Harken said. “He knows the product and is a very good sailor.”
In 2008, Goggins became the company’s CEO. Then the recession hit and Harken Inc.’s order book was decimated. In three days, the company lost about 60 percent of its business.

Click here to read more from the Milwaukee Business Journal

Congratulations Wayne Wedell, CEO of WorkWise LLC

Congrats to Wayne Wedell, CEO of WorkWise LLC for being one of the winners in the Top 100 Workplaces!  Click here to read the full article on JSOnline.

Busch Precision Inc. in BizTimes

Milwaukee-based Busch Precision recently acquired certain assets, including two lines of business, from West Allis-based Maintenance Service Corp.

As a result, Busch has expanded its capabilities through a new Maintenance Service division, which offers machine tool service and repair and CNC retrofitting.

The transaction brought a new client base and 11 employees with new expertise to Busch, which now has 48 employees. They fit easily into Busch’s existing 140,000-square-foot facility at 8200 N. Faulkner Road in Milwaukee.

The new maintenance capabilities complement Busch’s existing machine repair, precision machining, metalworking machinery maintenance and contract manufacturing offerings, said Michael Mallwitz, president and chief executive officer. The company specializes in unique specifications, critical tolerance parts and large components.
Busch and MSC’s culture and talent also fit well together, he said.

BizTimes Coffee Break with Scott Gierhahn

BizTimes has a coffee break with TEC member Scott Gierhahn.

What was the smartest thing Schroeder Solutions did in the past year? 
“We hired Tyler Smith as our new vice president of operations this past year. His level of professionalism and enthusiasm make him a great addition to our team. His expertise and leadership will guide us toward operational excellence.”
What’s new at your company? 
“We are in the process of renovating our showroom, our Learning Center, in order to continue to service our clients by showing them the latest and greatest in design concepts and products for today’s workplace environments.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year? 
“Yes and yes. We are always looking for positive additions to our team and will be adding a key leadership position within our organization. As for significant capital improvements, we are investing in our showroom as well as upgrading software, servers and our operational system. We are also creating a portal for clients in order to better communicate project progress and details.”

Midwest Engineering Systems moving to larger space

Midwest Engineering Systems Inc., an automation systems manufacturer, is in the process of moving into a new 100,000-square-foot facility at W238 N1800 Rockwood Drive in Pewaukee. The company has outgrown its existing Pewaukee space as demand for automation systems increases. “Ten years or so ago, we probably did maybe five to 10 robots a year. Now, we’re probably doing 50 to 60 robots a year,” said Dean Stefanac, vice president-engineering and operations.

MWES’ growth over the past 10 years demonstrates the trend. In 2004, it was in an 8,000-square-foot facility in West Allis. Five years ago, it moved to an 18,000-square-foot facility in Pewaukee. And in 2011, it moved into its current 55,000-square-foot space at N26 W23445 Paul Road in Pewaukee.

At the same time, the company has been steadily hiring. It added 61 employees in 2012 and 20 employees in 2013. It has already hired 18 this year. MWES is leasing the new 100,000-square-foot facility, formerly occupied by Harley-Davidson apparel manufacturer Holoubek Studios Inc., and adding new equipment. The company also plans to hire another five to 10 new employees, Stefanac said. Operations at the old facility will wrap up by the end of the year. Continue reading on BizTimes click here. 
TWP_Milwaukee_2014_AW3

Milwaukee Top Workplaces 2014 – Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has recognized 150 Companies and Organizations in Milwaukee as Top Workplaces 2014. These companies have been recognized as Top Workplaces based solely on surveys about the workplace completed by their employees. Click here to continue reading on JSonline.

Congrats to the following TEC member companies for being recognized as the Top Workplaces 2014:

  • Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc.
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
  • Batzner Pet Management, Inc 
  • Charter Manufacturing Company, Inc.
  • Edgerton Contractors, Inc.
  • Environmental Systems Inc.
  • HUSCO International, Inc.
  • InPro Corporation 
  • J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
  • Marsh Electronics., Inc.
  • Metal-Era, Inc.
  • Miniature Precision Components, Inc. (MPC, Inc.)
  • Sendik’s Food Markets 
  • Total Mechanical 
  • United Heartland 
  • Von Briesen & Roper S. C.
  • Wipfli LLP
  • WorkWise, LLC

Congratulations to the following TEC members on the Future 50 Award!

The MMAC began the Future 50 program to recognize the outstanding achievements of local, fast-growing entrepreneurs.

The Future 50 Program recognizes privately owned companies in the seven-county region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth.

The winning companies are honored at the annual Future 50 Luncheon, are highlighted in the MMAC’s Membership Directory and are often featured in news articles published by the local media. Click here to read more.

 TEC would like to congratulate the following TEC members:

  •  Badger Magnetics Inc. – Jim Beckman, TEC 59
  • CC&N/Next Electric – Lisa Reardon, TEC 6
  • Cornerstone Plumbing LLC – Steve Adkins, TEC 48
  • Husco International – Austin Ramirez, TEC 14
  • KS Energy Services LLC – Dennis Klumb, Jr., TEC 51
  • Krueger Communications Inc. – Allen Krueger, Jr.,  TEC 16
  • Midwest Engineering Systems Inc. – Scott Woida,  TEC 31
  • Nassco Inc. – Kurt Melzer, TEC NextGen 2
  • Power Test Inc. – Alan Petelinsek, TEC 7 and Pat Koppa, TEC 22

Hydro-Thermal Receives National Export Award

Waukesha-based Hydro-Thermal Corp. recently received the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The “E” Awards represent the highest recognition available to a U.S. exporter, for contributing to the growth of U.S. exports. There were 65 other companies across the country recognized with the award this year. Penny Pritzker, U.S. secretary of commerce, presented the honor to Hydro-Thermal.

“The President’s ‘E’ Award winners are fantastic American businesses and organizations that have played a crucial role in strengthening and growing our economy through increased U.S. exports,” said Secretary Pritzker. “By selling made-in-America goods and services internationally, U.S. business can grow faster, hire more employees, pay higher wages, and help spread American ideas, innovation and values. Congratulations to Hydro-Thermal Corp. for its export achievement, which helps the local community, Wisconsin and the nation remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

To continue reading on BizTimes click here.

Odyne Systems Named a 2014 Eureka Innovation Award Winner by the Milwaukee Business Journal

Odyne Systems, LLC, a leader in hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, has been named a 2014 Eureka Innovation Award winner in the second annual Eureka Awards program sponsored by the Milwaukee Business Journal, one of 40 Business Journals throughout the U.S. operated by BizJournals, a Division of American City Business Journals. Odyne’s advanced plug-in hybrid electric truck systems can reduce fuel consumption by up to 50% or greater depending upon the duty cycle, lower emissions and allow large work vehicles to operate quietly at a work site, powering all attachments and tools and providing heat and air conditioning to the cab. The company holds 6 U.S. and 3 International patents and has 21 patents pending. Odyne’s proprietary hybrid technology combines reliable electric power conversion, power control and energy storage technology. The system interfaces with Allison Transmission’s industry leading fully-automatic transmissions, Remy advanced electric propulsion motors with industry leading power density and efficiency, Johnson Controls lithium-ion battery technology and other robust, automotive quality components. The company will be recognized at a luncheon event in Milwaukee on May 9 for its innovative design.

Click here to continue reading 

Bartolotta Restaurant to go in Greendale

It took 18 years, but John Wise is finally getting his barbecue restaurant at The Bartolotta Restaurants. Wise is owner Joe Bartolotta’s right-hand man in the restaurant group as director of operations, and he’s been lobbying for a barbecue place since he joined the company, Bartolotta said.

“I love barbecue, but had never really wanted to do that type of restaurant,” Bartolotta said. “So every time we go down to Chicago for the (National Restaurant Association convention) or any kind of research, John always sneaks in some kind of barbecue place. So he’s just been subtly hammering at me.”

Continue reading The Business Journal article here.

‘Be bold, be brave, be strong and move forward!’

When Harry S. Dennis III walked into the room, more times than not, he was the smartest guy in that room. So it is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that I inform BizTimes readers that Harry passed away on Sunday, April 27, 2014, from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.

One of Harry’s greatest loves and the legacy he leaves behind is TEC –The Executive Committee. Harry was hired as a TEC chairman in 1974 by TEC’s founder, Bob Nourse. It was then that Harry formed his first TEC Group – TEC IV – which remains in existence 40 years later.

“Harry was best known for his intellectual brilliance and superb business savvy. All of us…TEC staff and chairmen…loved Harry for his unwavering adherence to TEC’s values, his absolute fairness and his huge heart. He always treated us like family,” said Priscilla Kemp, who has succeeded Harry as president and CEO of TEC.

Harry began writing business insight columns for BizTimes and its predecessor, Small Business Times, long before I joined the company in 2002. Harry was a significant element of our company’s brand. I cannot count the times over the years that readers remarked to me about how much they learned from and respected Harry.

Once a year, Harry booked a prominent guest author or consultant to come to Milwaukee to share their wisdom and knowledge about business or leadership. However, I always learned more during the dinner with Harry on the night before than from any of the so-called hot-shot experts he brought to town.

To continue reading on BizTimes Click here.

In Memoriam

Harry S. Dennis III

Dr. Harry S. Dennis, III
November 9, 1943 – April 27, 2014

It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you that TEC’s owner, Dr. Harry S. Dennis III, passed away on Sunday, April 27, 2014 from complications of Pulmonary Fibrosis.

One of Harry’s greatest loves and the legacy he leaves behind is TEC – The Executive Committee. Harry was hired as a TEC Chairman in 1974 by TEC’s founder Bob Nourse. It was then that Harry formed his first TEC Group – TEC IV – which remains in existence today, 40 years later.

Harry was best known for his intellectual brilliance and superb business savvy. All of us…TEC Staff and Chairmen…loved Harry for his unwavering adherence to TEC’s values, his absolute fairness and his huge heart. He always treated us like Family.

Harry was TEC’s owner, leader and Keeper of the Flame for more than 35 years and his intention is that TEC will continue on in perpetuity. He will be sorely missed by all of us but his legacy will live on.

For those of you who want to honor Harry, we are reinstituting the Robert Nourse Scholarship Fund. More details will follow.

-Priscilla Kemp
TEC President & CEO

TEC 21 Business Event!

TEC 21 Business Event was held on April 10th in La Crosse to benefit Junior Achievement.  Herb Meyer presented on a great topic “What in the World is Going On? A Global Intelligence Briefing for Business Leaders”.  This event was well received in the La Crosse area and TEC was able to present a check to Junior Achievement for $2,000.

TEC Congratulates our Inspirational Leader of the Year Award Honorees!

TEC Midwest announced the winners of its 2014 Inspirational Leadership Awards.

The TEC Wisconsin Award will go to Dennis Konkol, president of Miniature Precision Components Inc. of Walworth. MPC is approaching annual sales of $300 million with 1,600 employees and is continuing to expand. MPC is a Tier One supplier of automotive products to the major automotive manufacturers.

The 2014 TEC Michigan Award will go to Kevin Dent, CEO of Dentco (Dent Enterprises), based in DeWitt, Mich. Dentco has grown to annual sales of more than $30 million.

The 2014 TEC for Small Companies Award will go to Donna Gehl, president of Image Studios Inc. of Appleton.

The 2014 TEC Rising Star Award will go to John W. Mellowes, CEO of Charter Manufacturing Company Inc. of Mequon. Mellowes is the fourth generation of his family to lead Charter Manufacturing.

The 2014 TEC Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Jim Wessing, president of Kondex Corp. of Lomira. Wessing is proponent of the concept of servant leadership.

Continue reading on BizTimes.com 

Congratulations Judie Taylor (TEC 38) and Marikris Coryell (NextGen 2) members: 2014 Trailblazer Award for Women in Business

DUECO, the oldest and largest final-stage manufacturer of Terex aerial buckets and digger derricks in the nation, has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 Wisconsin Governor’s Trailblazer Award for Women in Business.

The Governor’s Trailblazer Awards honor the rich legacy of women’s business ownership across Wisconsin.  DUECO earned recognition in the Torchbearer category as a business that is owned and operated by female relatives of the founder and in operation for three generations or more.  The awards recognize the substantial contributions women-owned businesses make to Wisconsin’s economy – businesses that have sustained families and anchored communities.  DUECO was commended for its leadership and the lasting economic benefits the company brings to the state of Wisconsin, as a third generation company creating jobs and promoting innovation.

A total of 13 awards will be presented in a ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison on April 9, 2014 followed by a luncheon at the Governor’s Residence.  In announcing the recipients, Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker noted, “Private sector businesses are key to our state’s job creation strategies.  We are fortunate to have many women who have started a business and now employ their fellow Wisconsinites.  I hope that these Trailblazers can serve as role models to other women who are considering opening a business and creating jobs.”

Judie Taylor, President of DUECO, commented, “Marikris Coryell, DUECO’s Executive Vice President and my sister, and I are excited to accept this award on behalf of our parents and grandparents and the many families who have served the DUECO organization over the past 59 years.  As we look forward to our seventh decade in business, we continue to focus on our customers, providing outstanding support to those in the utility and related industries who keep the power on for all.  We continue to focus on innovation to provide the best products and services in the industry while driving more efficient processes throughout our operations.  We are a company that truly makes a difference for our customers, our employees and our communities and are grateful for this recognition, earned by the hard work of so many over six decades.”

 To continue reading click here. 

TEC 1 member Ross Bjella’s Company in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10/2013

In the struggle for sales that is at the heart of every start-up, Alithias Inc. has been helped by a surprising number of much bigger companies.

At least seven established companies in Wisconsin have funded beta testing or become early customers of the Milwaukee maker of health care price and quality information software programs. As a result, Alithias has been able to develop its software more quickly, said Ross Bjella, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

“We got good input on product development, so we made fewer mistakes,” Bjella said.

After three years in business, Bjella said Alithias is on track to register more than $200,000 in sales this year from a growing list of customers that includes Bemis ManufacturingMenasha Corp.Sargento Food Inc. and Serigraph Inc.

To get the attention of big companies, Bjella has leveraged personal connections, made cold calls and told Alithias’ story to as many people as possible.

Read the whole article at jsonline.com

Congratulations TEC 1 member Kim Nichols: RAMAC Award Winner

Kim Nichols, Racine Metal-Fab chief executive officer and owner, was recently honored with the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) Business Person of the Year Award. The award was given to Nichols at the 31st annual RAMAC Business Awards. During the awards ceremony, the nonprofit association recognized local businesses and individuals for their contribution to making a positive impact in the community through successful business operations. Continue reading on Biztimes.com

Congratulations TEC 38 member Matt Burow: 40 Under 40

Matt Burow started his first business at age 10 by borrowing his dad’s lawn mower, walking across the street from his house and talking his way into a landscaping deal with Slinger’s postmaster.

Having secured the post office, he went next door to its neighbors: Dairy Queen, Subway and the telephone company. He got up before school every day to shovel snow and salt sidewalks. When the contracts lasted into college, his dad helped when he was away.

“I didn’t have a name, I just did it,” Burow said of his first company. “I always wanted to have another business.” …

Continue reading on bizjournals.com