BACC is the leading organization in engaging community leaders in
understanding and shaping the future of the greater Green Bay area.
President's Message, Fr. Paul Demuth
I often tell myself, “Get out of your comfort zone!”

In a recent trip to Vienna and Prague, friends and I travelled all over these cities using public transportation: trains, subways, trams and buses. While I could have never have done this by myself, together we figured out where we wanted to go and what were the best means to get there.

We were all a bit nervous as we rushed from one station to another, or waited and waited for the “next” train, but once we arrived, we were proud of ourselves. We had done it!

That I believe is where we are as a community. For those of us who have been long time residents, it is easy to become complacent and nostalgic, but Green Bay and Brown County is changing. From business to education, from church to health care, from government to non profits: we all realize that it is time to “get out of our comfort zone” and look to the future.

The diverse nature of our population and the cultural issues that we face provide an excellent opportunity to become part of an exciting planning process of building up our community. There are plenty of people in our community who are excited about the future. There is little time for hand wringing.

BACC is doing its part in helping to create the future. With our volunteer board and the many people who join us, we are using our imaginations and “foresight analysis” to develop potential scenarios that can bring us to the next generation of life in Brown County. It will affect business, non-profits, education, religion, health, public institutions and government.

So we will all need to "get out of our comfort zone" and work with each other to achieve the most desirable future for our community. Hang on for the the ride!
Know your BACC Director: Randall Lawton

Please describe something about yourself—where you were born, past and current professions and careers, how long you have lived in Brown County, and some of your favorite pass times.

I was born and raised in De Pere. My wife Cathy and I were married just before graduation, 49 years ago. I was graduated from La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City with a BS and MBA in International Business, and returned to Greater Green Bay immediately after graduation and started work in the family business, The C. A. Lawton Co., as the fourth generation owner leader. 

Since its inception in 1879, the company has been an industrial machinery and components manufacturer producing bran dressing machines, power transmission machinery, mining and woodworking machines, gasoline engines, air compressors, wrapping machines, plastic molding machines, semi-conductor packaging machines, paper machine parts, and specialty components utilizing iron castings. Family businesses can be legacies that are quite consuming. 

My time is now spent working with some for profits and several not-for-profit organizations helping in any way I can. I have had an eventful and adventure filled life that has included water sports (kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, rafting, fishing) hunting, skiing, golf, travel, photography, international and US travel, and lately, grandfathering. My last two hunting dogs have added incredible depth and love to my outdoor experiences.  

Describe your relationship to the BACC—when did you start on the BACC, what are your hopes for the BACC, what personal gifts do you bring to the BACC mission?

I Joined the BACC board in 2006 as I was transitioning leadership of the family business to the fifth generation. I was awed at the talent and commitment of the board members. 

The board required a bit more diversity of societal views and my business background and expertise helped broaden perspective. Our best progress occurs when diverse views and thinking styles sectors perfom analysis and synthesis together. My strengths are helping deliver the search for in-depth understanding of root cause, expanding systems thinking, and utilizing process thinking and strategy, all knowledge derived from my business experience.

What do you like most about life in Brown County?

I care deeply about our Greater Green Bay community. I continue to work diligently to both improve this region's capabilities for better and fairer outcomes and create more sustainability in this challenging world. The rest of the world is working very hard toward progress and sustainability and the BACC gives the community a unique capacity to mindfully address those emerging issues that can make a difference.
Greater Green Bay has evolved tremendously in my lifetime. The arts, our culture, opportunities to participate in and enjoy nature, the myriad of entertainment options, children’s activities, educational opportunities, and lately our diversity, have delivered an increased richness of life that I do not take for granted.

Summary of July 12 BACC Board meeting
Directors discussed a document by its Nominating Committee to strengthen our board member selection process. At the moment, the BACC has five openings for its 24 member Board. Board members will also be surveyed on demographics in order to insure as much diversity in our Board as possible.

Members discussed a process to increase the pool of friends of the BACC who might provide further support for our organization. The futuring committee updated the Board on planning for its first futuring workshop; the committee invited Board members to suggest invitees.

President Brian Bruess, St. Norbert College, led the Board in a discussion on future trends in higher education and connected the mission of St. Norbert College to the mission of the BACC. After his first year at St. Norbert College, he cited the positive working relationship among higher education leaders and his belief that the leaders can continue to increase collaboration. He cited many challenges facing higher education, including the decreased perceived value of higher education.
BACC director Larry Rose opines on child advocacy and a brighter greater Green Bay

(Second in a series of BACC director responses to the BACC’s community summit report, Greater Green Bay: Envisioning the Future Report to the Community )

As a kid growing up in the 1950s, I had no idea if we were rich or poor. It really didn’t matter. I knew that I had two loving parents, two dogs (one didn’t like me - he was there first), a series of nice homes, a secure neighborhood and California sunshine. I could safely walk to school and come home and play outside seemingly unsupervised. Now I understand that in an era of stay-at-home moms, I was always being supervised. For many kids today, this is not the picture.

Over the past five years, my wife Deb and I have been actively involved in CASA of Brown County - Court Appointed Special Advocates. Deb’s role has been as a CASA volunteer working with children who are under a CHIPS order issued by the court. CHIPS means a Child in Need of Protection and/or Services. These are infants to teenagers who have been abused or neglected by their parents or other guardians. These are not bad kids; they are kids in bad situations. She has had multiple cases several of which involved multiple children. Most of these cases closed happily with a safe and permanent home for the children - sometimes with biological parents and more frequently with foster parents. 

I took a different path joining the Board of Directors in 2013 serving as President and Treasurer. This spring, I began my second term as President. My involvement with CASA has now expanded to be statewide. I am the current treasurer of the Wisconsin CASA Association, an organization formed to support local county programs and expand the volunteer network across the state. We have much work to do. Right now only 11 of our 72 counties have active programs. Thankfully, through the hard work of our state Executive Director, Susan Schwartz, and bi-partisan support of our legislature and governor, help is on the way. We now have 21 counties actively seeking to establish local programs.

What is the magnitude of the problem? Large and growing. According to Department of Justice statistics, Brown County saw an increase in CHIPS petitions from 193 in 2016 to 255 petitions in 2017 - a 32% increase. Marathon County at the center of our rural opioid epidemic as well as a main stop on the human trafficking trek to Minneapolis had 214 CHIPS petitions last year doubling their total from 2015.

You may not be aware of the large number of kids suffering from the problems of their parents but the signs are literally everywhere. As you drive through Green Bay, notice the multitude of yard signs seeking foster parents. We have billboards on highways 29 and 41 asking you to help a child – be a foster parent. Gena Schupp, Brown County’s foster care supervisor told WBAY in a January 8, 2018 interview that at any given time there are up to 200 children in the Brown County foster care program. This is up from 58 in 2015.

What is driving this explosion of need? Representative Pat Snyder says parents’ drug abuse is a major driving force. In his interview on April 26, 2018, Representative Snyder told Alexandra Burnley of WFRV television that “roughly 80% of the over 8000 kids in the foster care system in the state of Wisconsin are in foster care because their parents were involved with some sort of illegal drug activity.” Gena Schupp painted a slightly little broader picture citing homelessness, drug abuse and domestic violence. Broader but not prettier.

In a May 25, 2018 article in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, Drs. Mala Mathur and Dipesh Navsaria, said the “opioid epidemic is a massive public health crisis that does not discriminate by age, gender, race or socioeconomic status, affecting nearly all communities in Wisconsin and nationally.” Mathur and Navsaria reinforced what we know within our CASA network – “children dealing with traumatic experiences face social, emotional, physical and mental health challenges that reverberate into adulthood. Left unaddressed, this toxic stress and early childhood adversity can lead to school failure, higher-risk behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse, and an increased lifelong chance of health conditions like obesity and heart disease.” 

Any hope for these kids? Of course. Kids are remarkably resilient. Claudia Martin of Wrightstown has fostered more than a dozen children. She told WBAY that whether a child “stays with you a few months or a few years, you’re changing that child’s life forever. I’d like people to understand that you can make a positive difference in a child’s life. You can be that one adult in their life that can help them overcome their traumatic experience.”

How about you? Are you someone that can change the life of a child by becoming a CASA volunteer? It’s like lots of things – it takes Time, Talent and Treasury, but mostly it takes Care and Concern.

To learn more about CASA, go to https://www.casabc.org/ and https://www.wisconsin-casa.org/.  

For further study, see Clayson, Jane. " Surge in Foster Children Amid Opiod Crisis ," On Point , July 2, 2018.

News you can use
Recent news stories, articles, books, videos, Websites or venues of interest to BACC supporters and newsletter readers, recommend by BACC staff and directors. Also community events of interest to BACC supporters

" Board of Education vacancy," Green Bay Area Public School District, July 19, 2018.

Carlson, Brady. " Wisconsin's Declining Birth Rate May Pose Economic Challenges As Well As Demographic Ones," Wisconsin Public Radio, July 19, 2018.

Kaufman, Carrie (host) and Amy Kind (guest). "Better Understanding Neighborhoods And Health Outcomes," Wisconsin Public Radio, July 12, 2018.

Kaufman, Carrie (host) and Quint Studer (guest). " How to build vibrant and thriving communities," Wisconsin Public Radio, July 13, 2018.

Ryman, Richard. " Titletown District: Packers, Microsoft add UW support to TitletownTech business development," Green Bay Press Gazette, July 19, 2018.

Siers-Poisson, Judith (host) and Derek Jeffreys (guest). " What's it like in America's Jails," Wisconsin Public Radio, July 4, 2018.

Woetzel, Jonathan, et all. " Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future," McKinsey Global Institute. June 2018

BACC Director Patricia Finder-Stone is featured in the Neville Museum's exhibit celebrating Brown County's 200th anniversary. Visit the exhibit today!