Focus on Calumet
A bi-weekly update on economic development opportunities in Calumet County
and the region for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities.

Monday, October 14, 2019
Manufacturing, the Backbone of Wisconsin – and Calumet County’s -- Economy
Wisconsin celebrates Manufacturing Month in October, and entities including the Governor’s office, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), WEDC, and the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance (NEWMA) will be promoting the state’s top industry throughout the month.
According to WMC, manufacturing is the number one contributor to Wisconsin’s booming economy, producing more than $63 billion in total output in 2018 – 19 percent of Wisconsin’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, the state’s more than 9,000 manufacturers employed nearly 475,000 people in 2018 – nearly 1 in 5 workers in Wisconsin.

“Our state’s rich manufacturing heritage is well-known throughout the world, but it is the industry’s future that is now sparking international attention,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “Thirty years ago, the industry was viewed as dumb, dirty, and dangerous. Today, it is high-tech, high-skill, and high-pay.”
According to JobsEQ™, 4,403 jobs in Calumet County are currently attributed to manufacturing, out of 15,537 jobs in the county. The average annual wages are $50,621. In the past 5 years, nearly 800 manufacturing jobs were added in the county at an annual growth rate of 4 percent. The largest manufacturing sectors in Calumet County, not surprisingly, are cheese manufacturing (842 employees); lawn and garden tractor/home lawn and garden equipment manufacturing (794 employees); and farm machinery and equipment manufacturing (762 employees).  
Photo credit: WEDC
Thank you, manufacturers, for your contributions to Calumet County’s economy and for all you do to support our local communities. We are honored to have you with us, and we look forward to working with you for many years to come. 
WEDC’s New Secretary Tours the State, Stops in New North Region
In her first two weeks on the job, WEDC’s new Secretary and CEO, Melissa Hughes, has logged considerable mileage travelling Wisconsin to learn about local economic development projects taking place in the state as she works to shape her vision for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 

On October 10, Secretary Hughes spent time in the New North region. She met with the New North Board of Directors, toured Titletown Tech and the Rail Yard/Urban Hub Development in Green Bay while meeting with local economic developers from the Green Bay area. She also toured the Farm Wisconsin Discover Center in Manitowoc. Calumet County’s Mary Kohrell joined with economic developers and partners from within Manitowoc, Marquette, and Sheboygan Counties during the Manitowoc tour to discuss project needs and opportunities in Calumet County.
Secretary Hughes is shown, fifth from the left, along with economic development and business practitioners in The New North Region at the Farm Wisconsin Discover Center in Manitowoc.
From the WEDC “Places” Blog: Small Business Support and Funding
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation works to support businesses of all sizes in Wisconsin. A new blog post specifically directed to supporting small businesses is excerpted in this article, and available in full length at their website

The presence of unique locally owned businesses is one of the key amenities offered by downtown districts.
Bijou Nails in Milwaukee was able to replace equipment and expand advertising to new markets thanks to Kiva funding.
These small businesses support local sports teams, shop at local businesses, and provide goods and services tailored to the local customer base. However, by virtue of being small, these businesses often face greater challenges getting started, getting the word out, and capitalizing on growth opportunities. Fortunately, there are several tools available to businesses and the communities that support them, which can provide support and capital to sustain a strong local business climate.

One such tool is Kiva, which offers 0% loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses with small and midsize funding needs ($1,000 to $10,000). The premise is simple: a business is verified through the platform, and then must demonstrate local support for the project by soliciting at least $25 from 10 to 20 friends and relatives. Once this occurs, the project is posted to the international platform, where it can be supported by the more than 1.5 million lenders already dedicated to funding small business initiatives. Funds are pledged and paid through the PayPal platform, and then are repaid by the borrower over a three-year period in the same manner. 

Of special note, woman-, veteran-, or minority-owned businesses in Main Street or Connect Communities downtown districts can receive matching funds from WEDC (subject to available funds). Under the match, for every dollar raised on the platform, WEDC will fund an additional dollar of the project, resulting in a shortened fundraising period and 80% greater chance of meeting funding goals. For motivated borrowers, the entire process from application to launch can be completed in a matter of days, and most fundraising periods last less than one month.

The full WEDC blogpost includes more details about using the Kiva tool, including case studies of successful WI Kiva businesses, and tips for having a successful Kiva campaign.
Wisconsin’s Workforce Challenges Intensify
By the WI Policy Forum , September 2019
Anyone who has paid even minimal attention to prior issues of this newsletter knows that workforce shortages are a problem. A new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum provides a closer look at trends from 2011-2017.

Demographic changes can have profound effects on the economic and fiscal health of a community. For many years, WI Policy Forum’s research on demographic trends in Wisconsin pointed to rapid growth in the state’s senior population coupled with almost no growth among those of working age (18-64), who are critical to the state’s productivity and ability to fill and create jobs.

After peaking in 2011 at 3.6 million, in terms of workforce declines, Wisconsin’s working-age population has receded by over 35,000 (or 1%) since the 2010 U.S. Census. Making matters worse, Wisconsin’s population of youth under the age of 18 —a key source of future workers—also has decreased in recent years. The youth population has declined by over 45,000 since 2011, a 3.4% drop. Dane County lead Wisconsin from 2011-2017 with a 4.7% rate of workforce age growth, while Wood County suffered the highest rate of working age population decline at 5.9%. Thanks to growth in Appleton, Outagamie County fared second in Wisconsin for growth in workers. Calumet County, projected to be one of the state’s fastest growing counties through 2040, had subdued workforce age growth from 2011-2017.

On the other end of the spectrum, since 2011, the state’s population ages 65 and over has increased by 163,970. Since 2005, this age group has grown by 42%. As Wisconsin’s demographic makeup skews older, it means fewer potential workers in a tight labor market. That could affect both the state’s ability to fill existing jobs and its efforts to attract new businesses and convince existing businesses to expand. In the long term, it also means fewer people working to help support a growing population of retirees.

According to the WI Policy Forum, Wisconsin is far from the only state facing this set of challenges. National research by the Economic Innovation Group shows half of U.S. states and 80% of U.S. counties lost “prime” working-age adults (ages 25-54) between 2007 and 2017.
SCORE’s Latest Infographic: Top Cyber Threats on Small Businesses
By SCORE/SBA, October 2019
Even for small businesses, the threat of cyberattacks is massive. Forty-three percent of cybersecurity attacks are aimed at small businesses, and this number is expected to increase. According to SCORE, and shown in their infographic below, in 2017, malware detections for small businesses included the following cyber threats:
  • Macro Malware: 113,000
  • Online Banking: 66,000
  • Ransomware: 54,000

Macro Malware is malware embedded within files, such as Microsoft documents. In 2017, 269 billion emails were sent and received. 39% of those were spam. SCORE suggests downloading attachments only from trusted emails, checking for discrepancies such as misspelled words in the email, and disabling macros in Microsoft.

Online Banking Malware is malicious software that steals banking credentials and/or credit card information. According to SCORE, thieves only need 9 minutes to use stolen data, and the majority of customers use online and mobile banking. SCORE recommends enabling additional authentication measure if available to protect against online banking malware.

Ransomware is malware downloaded from compromised sites or infected files that locks a device until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks cost an average $133,000 per attack, and can be prevented by regularly updating software patches against vulnerabilities.
Construction Worker Shortage Getting Acute
MADISON – The Wisconsin Builders Association (WBA) said October is Careers in Construction Month each year, but this year, the efforts to recruit people for careers in the construction trades is acute – with contractors hurting for skilled workers such as carpenters, framers and roofers.

The association said that when the bottom fell out of home building with the 2008 recession, many skilled construction trades employees left for new career fields, and never returned. The National Association of Home Builders estimates a nationwide shortfall of 138,000 construction sector employees. 
Community Updates
Business Park Approved in Harrison
At its September 24 Village Board meeting, Harrison trustees approved a rezoning request and a conditional use permit that will foster development of a 13 acre business park. The request came from Uecker Investments, which plans to construct eight multi-tenant business and light manufacturing buildings in two phases on the property, located on High Line Road at the intersection with Highway 55 in the village. Uecker Investments currently operates a construction business at the site. 
Chamber Acknowledges Community Leaders
The second annual Brillion Chamber of Commerce “Best and Brightest” awards ceremony was held on October 3. Awards presented include the Michael S. Ariens Community Leadership Award, Business of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Public Servant of the Year, and several school educator awards. 

Business of the Year
John School, School Home Improvements “Through the years Brillion has been amazingly blessed to have some very faith-filled families in this community that have really driven this community,” School said. School Home Improvements has been in Brillion since 1985, and specializes in vinyl replacement windows. School started the company with his brother, Dan. “Dan taught me great work ethic, as did our parents, but Dan was always attention to detail,” School said. School currently has six employees with him. “You’re only as good as your people, and I’m amazingly blessed to have six great people with me and a very supportive wife,” School said. Bob Endries presented School with the award.
Business of the Year Award recipient John School (center) stands with Brillion Chamber of Commerce President Amy Myers and Bob Endries.

Photo credit: Dave Nordby, Brillion News
Young Professional of the Year
Aaron Kabat “It truly is an honor for me to be standing here today,” Kabat said. Kabat joked he has sat through bad speeches at Cobblestone and he’s learned that no speech is too short. “None of this is possible without all of the people that work under our roof for us at Cobblestone Creek,” Kabat said. Kabat said his employees are why he’s been able to take on community projects and a second business. Kabat also thanked his family, including his parents for giving him the chance to take over Cobblestone. “I had four years of restaurant experience as a dishwasher at Mom’s Place,” Kabat said. “I had seen a burger made on the grill and Dad used to make awesome chicken on the grill on Sunday nights and that was the extent of our restaurant experience.” Aaron’s brother Seth presented him with the award.
Young Professional of the Year Award recipient Aaron Kabat (center) stands with Myers and Seth Kabat.

Photo credit: Dave Nordby, Brillion News
Local Business Updates
Fifty Years of Flowers at Schroth Brillion Floral & Gifts
By Dave Nordby, The Brillion News , October 3, 2019
Schroth Brillion Floral & Gifts has been serving the Brillion community for half of a century. The floral shop on 119 Main Street downtown opened in 1969, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Colette “Collie” Thurwachter has been a part of it for nearly its entire life. Thurwachter married Raymond “Bud” Schroth, Jr., the son of Marion and Raymond Sr., who moved from Little Chute to start the shop.

Marion worked for a floral shop in Little Chute that owned a small corner store in Brillion across from Wieting Funeral Home.
Colette “Collie” Thurwachter has kept Schroth Floral & Gifts in downtown Brillion thriving. Thurwachter has been working there since 1971, two years after her in-laws, Raymond and Marion Schroth opened the store .
(David Nordby/BN)
“They went out of business and she bought this from them and then they bought this (building),” Thurwachter said. The building the floral store is in was formerly Miller’s Hardware Store.  “They needed more room so they bought this,” Thurwachter said.
Ariens holds Dealer Summit in California
The Brillion News , 10/3/2019
Ariens Company recently held its Dealer Summit, an annual meeting that the company holds with several of its dealer partners. This year’s meeting was held on Huntington Beach off the Pacific Coast Highway in California. The company said, through a press clip on its website, that the summit is a culmination of a year’s hard work by Ariens and its dealer partners. Employees, sales personnel, and dealers from around the world meet at the summit and discuss the future. For many of the attendees, the company says that it’s the first time many workers meet in-person. Speakers during the summit included Ariens Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens and Ariens President and COO Larry Weyers. The company also introduced its new Pinnacle Program, which is the first new equipment dealer sales program since Ariens debuted Partner Plus more than 15 years ago. Other topics discussed at the summit were tips for dealers for growth and business development, and a preview of new Ariens and Gravely products.
Upcoming Events
Business Counseling
October 15, November 19, or when mutually convenient: Small Business Development Center business counseling services offered by Ray York, Sheboygan County EDC and Small Business Development Center Entrepreneurship Specialist. Available to all existing businesses and entrepreneurs monthly. To schedule an appointment or learn more, call 920-946-9379 or email Ray.
2019 Conference on Minority, Woman, Veteran, and LGBTQ Business Development is October 23-24
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is hosting the 38th annual MARKETPLACE conference for minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses October 23-24 at Potawatomi Hotel and Conference Center in Milwaukee. The conference is expected to draw more than 700 attendees and is sponsored by corporations, small businesses, and organizations, with U.S. Bank being this year’s Keystone Sponsor. The conference provides opportunities for businesses to meet with dozens of potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources, and network with other businesses. Click here to register or for more information about MARKETPLACE. 
First Steps to Starting a Business
Thinking About Starting a Business? Start Here!
The Small Business Development Center offers a free, interactive, online class to help entrepreneurs explore their business idea and assess their entrepreneurial readiness as well as identify strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. This interactive online class includes downloadable worksheets, hands-on exercises, local entrepreneur stories, and additional resources to determine next steps. The best part about the class is that it is available anywhere and anytime, and its free!

The “ First Steps” class helps entrepreneurs answers questions like these:
  • Do you have the right personality, skills, and life situation to start and manage a business?
  • Do you have a realistic business idea?
  • Is your business idea well thought out?
  • Are you financially ready to start a business?
  • What are your next steps?

For more information or to register for first steps, click here .
NEW International Trade Conference
October 25, 2019
FVTC Bordini Center, Appleton, WI

International trade continues to play an important role in the economy of Northeast Wisconsin. With a focus on Wisconsin’s two largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico, this year’s Conference offers practical training for businesses looking to expand into exporting, as well as insightful analysis for those businesses with significant international portfolios. More information about the conference here .
Manufacturing First Conference and Expo
KI Convention Center 
More information here.
With Northeast Wisconsin an epicenter of manufacturing, Manufacturing First has rapidly become known as one of the state’s premier industry events. Since it began in 2011, Manufacturing First routinely welcomes more than 1,200 attendants and 550+ high school students annually to the KI Center in Green Bay. With the NEW Manufacturing Alliance and First Business Bank, Insight is a co-sponsor and coordinator of the event.  Manufacturing First features a full-day of speakers, informative presentations focused on innovation and the latest industry trends, multiple networking opportunities, and an expo hall with more than 200 exhibitors highlighting their products and services.
Creating Cultural Transformation
What is the level of performance you want your company to achieve? How do you get there? A high-performance culture doesn’t automatically happen. To achieve superior results, your mission needs to be well-defined and executed. In this session, you’ll evaluate and discuss how to achieve a high-performance culture through collaboration, innovation and communication. Transforming your company to a performance focus and meritocracy — versus hierarchy — you will bring out the best in your teams and employees by:
  • Applying standards consistently.
  • Building commitment and ownership.
  • Fostering innovation by giving personnel roots and wings.
  • Developing and effectively communicating your long-term vision and mission. 

Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 8:30-3:30 pm
Location: Startup Hub, 2701 Larson Road, Green Bay
Cost: $200
Teamwork, Collaboration, and Conflict Resolution
Most business today is conducted in teams. Teams offer great advantages but can also be challenging. In this class, you will learn more about the dynamic of teams and teamwork in order to leverage the power of collaboration and minimize the dangers of conflict. More particularly, you will learn skills that will benefit you by:
  • Giving you practical information that you can use the very next day on the job to help build and foster a culture of openness and collaboration.
  • Gaining a better understanding of teams and how they change the way work gets done.
  • Insuring optimal performance with seven proven tips and techniques.
  • Building cooperation, performance and a higher level of employee engagement with more effective work teams.
  • Avoiding the pitfalls of ineffective conflict resolution.

Date: Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 8:30-3:30 pm
Location: Startup Hub, 2701 Larson Road, Green Bay
Cost: $200
Microsoft Excel Tables & Pivot Tables
Create Tables, PivotTables, and PivotCharts and learn how they can be an effective summary and visual communication tool as well.
Learn About:
  • Creating an Excel table
  • Sorting and filtering a table or list range
  • Creating a PivotTable and PivotChart

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | 9:00 am - 12:00 noon
Location: FVTC Chilton Regional Center, 1200 E. Chestnut Street, Chilton
Cost: $99 | Materials and refreshments provided
Microsoft Excel Functions & Formulas
Explore the functions available in Microsoft Excel 2016 and learn how to create formulas to enhance your worksheets.
Learn About:
  • Excel formulas and functions
  • Entering formulas and functions
  • Reference operators
  • Autosum
  • Cell references
  • Order of operations
  • Using names in formulas
  • Troubleshooting

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: FVTC Chilton Regional Center, 1200 E. Chestnut Street, Chilton
Cost: $99 | Materials and refreshments provided
New North Hosting Regional Entrepreneurial Pitch Contest, HATCH
Organization also working with local partners on four local events during Start-Up Week

New North, Inc., is working with the Foundation to BrightStar Wisconsin to bring an entrepreneurial pitch event called HATCH to the region on December 5, 2019. BrightStar, with the assistance of an entrepreneurship support grant from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), also is bringing events to Central Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley.

HATCH is a rotating, high-energy idea pitch program designed to facilitate connections between prospective entrepreneurs and those within a community who support them, such as industry experts, professional service firms, banks, non-profits, business leaders and investors.

In preparation of the regional event, New North is working with its local partners to host various qualifying local events. The deadline to upload your pitch idea is November 1; go to and select the one registration link that is closest to you.

Greater Green Bay Chamber – The Audible
Date: November 12, 2019 |Time: 4:30-6:30 pm
Location: Urban Hub, 340 N. Broadway St., Green Bay (2nd floor)
(Special event to announce the winners on Nov. 14 at The Shindig)
Contact: Ron Franklin,

Sheboygan – HATCH Pitch Sheboygan County
Date: November 14, 2019 | Time: 4:30-6:30 pm
Location: Mily Barn at Nourish, 100 Alfred Miley Ave., Sheboygan Falls
Contact: Ray York,

Appleton – Fast Pitch
Date: November 12, 2019 | Time: 5:00-8:00 pm
Location: Fox Club Room at Fox Cities Stadium, 2400 N. Casaloma Drive, Appleton
Contact: Amy Pietsch,

The top two winners from each of the local contests will receive prize money – $2,000 cash for first place, $1,000 for second place – and the opportunity to pitch at the regional event, where they will compete for additional funding for their business ideas and broad investor attention. Prize money at the regional event is $5,000 for first place and $3,000 for second place.

UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh also have been active in the planning of this event and separately will be hosting pitch contests for their students’ participation.
For more information about this contest please visit the New North website,
Explore Starting a Business
The complimentary “Explore Starting a Business” session provides a look inside at what it takes to launch a startup and small business. Explore key factors in starting and growing a business. Begin to determine if you have a feasible idea, learn about critical questions to consider, and additional entrepreneurship training opportunities. Whether you are looking to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig, grow your small business, or scale a startup, this session will help you understand your next steps. Get more details and register here. The next session will be held on November 13 at 5:30 pm at the Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center in Appleton.
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