December 2015
Executive Director Update
When my first draft of this letter came in at 21,347 words, I was instructed to trim it to fit the available space and the reader's attention span. So out of respect for both the editorial process and your valuable time, I have chosen to condense my thoughts to bullets. You are welcome.

Crazy season is upon us, by that I mean holiday shopping and the various behaviors that accompany it. Given the tight employment statistics, we'll all need to be a bit more patient. Someone shared that they picture themselves in the refugee situation in the middle-east when they feel their patience waning, remember in those moments that there are larger issues in the world. Try a massage too - feel the stress melt away, don't allow it to consume you.

While we're on "consume"....there are big changes in store for the 64 th Annual Celebration, "Sip, Sample & Socialize"! This will be a great evening with twice as many sip and sample options as past years. In addition, the silent auction will go mobile--bid on those great packages from your phone while you are socializing. The planning committee continues to impress and improve every year, so register now and bring your friends and neighbors, there will be something for almost everyone!

As we look ahead to 2016, we have four new board members coming on. They will be appropriately hazed on 12/9 at our annual retreat, after which we hope for big things from them. Our heartfelt thanks for the outgoing members, Curt Fuszard, Jason Guttenberg, Regina McFarland and Michelle Schultz. You have served well, been a pleasure to work with and the Chamber is better because of your efforts!

Thanks are also in order for outgoing President Bob VandenBurgt, who has led a successful year one launch of our strategic plan and been a blast to work with. Incoming President Josh Marron will most likely continue the strong leadership we've seen over the last few years, thank you in advance!

A small, winged creature shared with me that the December 3 Get Moving Middleton will be one for the history books (or was it comic books?). Conspiracy theory aside, I'm looking forward to what Nolan Brown and the committee have cooked up to end what has been a strong 2015. Let's fill the room!

And finally, thank you for your commitment to this organization. When we have an opportunity to talk about the Middleton Chamber of Commerce, the conversation always gets around to how strong and involved our members are. On behalf of Brenda, Lisa and myself, it is a pleasure to work for you and we look forward to a memorable 2016!

As always, yours in commerce,
- Van 
Upcoming Chamber Events

December 3, 7:30am
Get Moving Middleton (Register)
Hilton Garden Inn

December 3, 5-7pm
Holiday Business Social Hour (Register)

Fairfield Inn & Suites
View their beautiful new lobby & guests rooms, enjoy food and beverage pairings & celebrate the holidays!

December 8, 12pm
Annual Celebration Committee
Chamber Office

December 9
Chamber Office Closed at 12pm - Board of Directors Retreat

December 11, 11:30am
Ribbon Cutting & Open House

Gates Collision Center - 7520 Century Avenue

December 14, 11:30am

Ambassador Committee
Globe University

December 24
Chamber Office Closed at 12pm

December 25
Chamber Office Closed

December 31
Chamber Office Closed at 12pm - Happy New Year

View the Full Calendar

New Members

Blue Jewel Coaching

(608) 225-3544   
6415 Shady Bend Rd, Verona

  Midwest Appraisal Group
(608) 279-1164
7601 University Ave, Suite 202

MP2 Structural Engineers

(608) 821-4771   
583 D'Onofrio Dr, Suite 201

Panache Academy of Beauty

(608) 253-7262
2275 Deming Way St., Ste 120

Strategic CFO Advisors

(608) 622-7690
420 W. Dayton, Unit 1030

 Welshire Capital, LLC

(608) 841-1043  
999 Fourier Drive, Suite 100

Your Life Compass Coaching  - Success Calibration

(715) 892-7087   
31 Hawks Landing Circle , Verona

Members on the Move
Announcements|Awards|Hires & Promotions
Wegner CPAs Offers International Staff Exchange Program, As Wegner CPAs grows beyond our boarders, our goal is to develop the skill-set of our staff to thrive in a global workplace.

Building a Community Energy Company for the Future, MGE's Energy 2030 Framework, a vision and direction for building tomorrow's community energy company.

Coldwell Announces October Real Estate Stats,  Coldwell Banker Success has released the real estate market statistics for the month of October.

Help Eliminate Hunger in Our Community,  Neckerman Insurance Services is teaming up with NBC 15's Share Your Holidays food/fund drive to benefit Second Harvest Foodbank.

ALTUS Annouces November Leases, ALTUS Commercial Real Estate is pleased to announce the completion of leases in the month of November.

Biaggi's Moves to Greenway Station, Greenway Station Shopping Center is pleased to announce that Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano is moving from their former location at 601 Junction Road.

Frank Joins Coldwell Banker Success, Coldwell Banker Success announces that Jill Frank has joined their team of real estate professionals. 

Starion Financial Hires Tcherneva, Iliana Tcherneva has joined Starion Financial as a private banking officer/AVP at the Middleton Branch.

New Hires in November at Wegner CPAs, Wegner recently hired three new individuals to join our departments and assist in areas where we need it most. 

Goodwill Industries Appoints New President and CEO,  The board of directors of Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin has appointed Vicki Holschuh to serve as the organization's president and CEO.

Park Bank Announces Hire of Plesek,  Park Bank is pleased to announce a new member of its Private Banking Team, Terry Plesek.

River Valley Hires Woerpel,  River Valley Bank is pleased to announce that Lisa Woerpel has joined the bank as Vice President Cash Management Solutions.

Madison Remodeling Professionals Win Awards in 2015, Fifteen companies in Madison were named local winners in the 2015 Contractor of the Year (CotY) Award Competition in several categories. 

Thiesen Wins Awards,  Joe Theisen of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation and a RASCW Member for 25 years, has received the 2015 Affiliate of Distinction Award.

DNR Selects Middleton Winner for Excellence in Recycling,  The DNR recognizes outstanding recycling efforts through its annual Recycling Excellence Awards program.

Member Events
Until 12/15

Giving Tree, River Valley Bank

Mat Pilates, Z. Bella Boutique
More Info

Open House, Dane Buy Local
More Info

Yoga, Z.Bella Boutique
More Info

Love Languages for Life, American Family Dream Bank
More Info

Holiday Open House, Studio 262
More Info

Million Dollar Diamond Event, Diny's Jewelers
More Info

Creating for a Cause, Middleton Outreach Ministry
More Info

Impact with Paul Dunn, ActionCOACH
More Info

Reflections on Art & Prayer
More Info

Apps & Taps for REACH A Child, Wisconsin Brewing Co.
More Info

Know it All Boyfriends Concert, Gio's Garden
More Info

Holiday Open House, Anchor Bank

Messiah at Blackhawk, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
More Info

Shop for a Cause - Gilda's Club, Gruno's Diamonds
More Info

Holiday Concert, Middleton Community Orchestra

How Did You Get From There to Here?
Profiles on the vocational journey

Interview by Linda Abbott
Linda, owner of Never Forget Legacies & Tributes, creates heirloom-quality legacy books for individuals and families to preserve cherished memories and life stories. An award-winning journalist, author and public relations professional, Linda lives in Middleton with her husband Paul.
Meet: Brian Ellison  
President/CEO, Death's Door Spirits
Where did you grow up? What was your first job?  
I was born in Bethesda, Maryland; my dad was a naval officer stationed in Washington, DC. After my dad moved from the service, I spent my formative years just "south of the border" in Woodstock, Illinois. My first jobs were working on our family farm and for neighboring farmers - bailing hay and cleaning barns, as well as mowing lawns and exterior painting. I would also work the holidays at a local farm market selling Christmas trees. In high school, together with a friend, we started a DJ business called Lightning DJs that played local school dances. We did quite well and were always in high demand.
Where did you work after college?
After my undergrad from University of Georgia in landscape architecture, I caught a ride with a friend to California and worked on a finish carpentry crew that travelled the entirety of the West Coast building Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores. Through an interesting set of circumstances, I ended up getting offered a position with the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Coyhaique, Chile branch, so I moved to South America for a year. From there I moved to Lander, Wyoming, where I bought a laundromat, worked on log homes, tried my hand at commercial fishing in Alaska, worked on an economic development consulting project in Sri Lanka, and taught kayaking, backpacking and rock climbing in Sweden and Norway. I eventually ended up in Boulder, Colorado, working as a landscape architect. It was in Boulder that I decided I wanted to get an international MBA.
What led to your decision to attend and receive your MBA from the IESE Business School, University of Navarra, in Spain?
I knew I wanted to live abroad for some time, as I had worked in Southern Chile, Sweden, Norway and Sri Lanka following my undergrad, but I knew getting visas to stay for extended periods is often difficult. By being a student, I could live in the country with no issues, so I applied to three of the top five international programs and was accepted to two of them. I chose Spain over Switzerland because it was a longer program (hence, I could stay abroad longer).
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
After my MBA at IESE in Barcelona, Spain, I was hired as the executive director of a non-profit in Barcelona, but after six months, they couldn't get my visa renewed, and my wife was pregnant with our first child. We quickly moved to Madison to get a job with insurance and have the baby. Our plan to be here for six months and then move back has become a 12-year tenure here in Wisconsin.

I don't know if I ever really decided to become an entrepreneur or I just always liked doing my own thing and earning my own money. I had multiple businesses in high school and college, and upon returning to the States, I knew it was only a matter of time until I found the opportunity to be my own boss.
What was the inspiration behind the launch of Death's Door Spirits in 2005? Where did the name come from?
I was asked by my boss at the time, Brian Vandewalle, to help develop a sustainable eco-tourism plan for his property, The Washington Hotel, on Washington Island. We both had the vision that the hotel could be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth for the Island, and agriculture was at the center of the efforts. We started with bread and baked goods made from wheat and flax grown on the Island, but we quickly realized that we needed to create higher value-added products. Working with Capital Brewery, we helped develop Island Wheat, and I pursued it further to creating a line of distilled spirits.

Our name, "Death's Door," comes from the passage of water that separates Washington Island from the Wisconsin mainland. It's a catchy name with an ominous overtone, but we aren't (totally) morbid people.
What led to the opening of your state-of-the-art distillery in Middleton in 2012? Tell me a little about your operation.
Until 2012, I would work with other regional distilleries to have them contract manufacture our spirits. By 2011, we realized that we truly wanted to control our destiny and be able to make, and control the making, of our spirits all under one roof. Working with the Small Business Administration, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Middleton Area Development Corporation, we were able to open our dream facility and have the necessary production control and excess capacity to grow our brand and operations.

Our facility is a true "grain to glass" operation that allows us to process our product in a controlled, consistent environment unlike any other facility our size. Industry and non-industry visitors alike are impressed with the forethought and system thinking that we utilized in developing our space to make exceptional products.
Death's Door Spirits is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. What are you most proud of? How has the company evolved over the years?
The two things I am probably most proud of is our continued connection to our farmers on Washington Island and our commitment to constantly improve our brand to achieve our ideals. While we have had our struggles with the farming on the Island, we remain committed to finding solutions for working with farmers throughout the region to grow and produce truly exceptional products.
What is the favorite part of your job? Least favorite?
The favorite part of my job is sharing the passion of our products with the rest of the world. We have been fortunate to grow from a "one guy with a station wagon" company to the No. 5 selling gin brand in the United States over $20, and one of the most globally recognized craft spirits brands. While I like sharing the pride and passion of our products, the glamor of travel - up to three weeks a month and moving through multiple cities and time zones - at times becomes difficult.
What do you like to do for fun?
I am a coach for my son's hockey team, so I enjoy having an hour three to five times a week where my focus is not on my business but on a group of fun and active kids. My daughter and I try to spend time in the kitchen cooking on the weekends as we both enjoy the culinary arts. I also am an avid runner and have competed in several ultra-marathons, and try to get out to mountain bike as much as I can in the summer and fall.

November Renewals
Alliance Benefit Group WI

Ameriprise Financial Services

AnchorBank -
Middleton Branch

Betty Lou Cruises

Bunbury & Associates Realtors

Capital Chaplains LLC

Craftsman Table & Tap

Drake & Company, Inc.

Edgewood College - Graduate & Professional Studies

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

First Weber - See Team

Floor Coverings International

Gary Brink & Associates, Inc.

Goben Cars

Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

Hallman Lindsay Quality Paints

Kiwanis Club of Middleton

Lerdahl Business Interiors Inc.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Madison Gas and
Electric Company

Midwest Dental Middleton

NovaONE Networks

Perkins Financial, Ltd

Pizza Hut

Premium Waters, Inc.

PULSE Kettlebells and Yoga
Restaino & Associates - Melissa LeGrand

RM Designs

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison

Sertoma Club

SERVPRO of Dane County West

Thill Design

Tornado Marketing, Inc.

Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC)

True Laser Ltd.

Vin Santo

Wayside Place

William Sonny Simon VFW Post 8216

Celebrating Middleton Chamber Anniversaries
5 Years
Perkins Financial
True Laser

10 Years
Capital Chaplains
NovoPrint USA
Sara Investment Real Estate
Starbucks - Middleton Hills

Thank You for your continued support!