Welcome to the Eau Claire Chamber Blog
Mike Krach has joined The Alliance® as business development manager. The Alliance is an employer-owned not-for-profit cooperative of more than 240 self-funded employers and not-for-profit insurance trusts. In this role, Krach will be responsible for bringing new employer members into The Alliance by managing the distribution channel and through direct sales efforts. Krach comes to The Alliance from Valley Health Services in Davenport, Iowa where he was the chief operations officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing. In this role, he developed and led the execution of business development, sales and marketing strategies to support the growth of the areas health plans. Earlier he served as the vice president of business development for Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Krach holds his MBA from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa and a masters in counseling from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
Kurt Schauss has joined the Woita & Associates team as an independent financial advisor and serves clients from the Altoona office. He is a recent graduate of Chippewa Valley Technical College with an associate degree in business management. Schauss is licensed in life, health, property and casualty insurance and has passed the securities exams to become an independent financial advisor. During college, he started a small business, Silver Eagle Financial, that provided a blog and eBooks for young adults to provide education on personal finance.
Internationally known Mayo Clinic physician-scientist and UW-Eau Claire alumnus, Timothy J. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., has been named the director of Research and Innovation for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin. The newly created position will support collaboration between Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic Health System.
Nelson’s role of director of Research and Innovation will be multifaceted. He will be charged with developing a cutting-edge research program for the northwest Wisconsin region of Mayo Clinic Health System, focused on expanding clinical trials and research and fostering greater research opportunities for UW-Eau Claire students and faculty. Nelson, a native of Osseo, is renowned for his pioneering research involving cardiovascular regeneration using bioengineered stem cells. Nelson is board-certified in internal medicine. He serves as director of the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, is the medical director of the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service of the William J. von Liebig Transplant Center and is an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology for the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester. He also serves as a grant application reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine recently received the Center of Distinction award and the Robert A. Warriner III Center of Excellence award for 2017 from Healogics, the nation’s largest wound care management company. The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine in Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire received recognition for outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a wound healing rate of at least 91 percent within 30 median days to heal. The hospital’s centers offer highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds that have not healed in a reasonable amount of time. Advanced treatments include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.
Decisions local voters like you make on Tuesday, April 3, could have far-reaching impact on what happens at city hall, the county courthouse and in your school district. If you live in the City of Eau Claire, six of the eleven city council seats are on the ballot, and both the Altoona and Eau Claire School Districts feature contested races.
First thing, know what's on your ballot, which depends upon where you live. The easiest way to check is to go to myvote.wi.gov and click the "What's on my ballot?" icon. You can also check to see where your polling place is. All polls are open April 3, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Voter ID is required.
The Chamber doesn't endorse candidates, but we do strive to provide you with useful resources to learn where they stand on key issues so you can make up your own mind. Here are some quick links if you're still deciding:
Eau Claire City Council - Five of the six seats on the ballot are contested.
Altoona & Eau Claire School Boards - Contested at-large races in both districts.
Eau Claire County Board - See candidate answers to the Chamber's Good Government Council questionnaire.
Branch 5 Eau Claire County Circuit Judge
- Community Television interviews with candidates Shaughnessy Murphy and Sarah Harless
In Altoona, the races for Mayor and City Council are uncontested. Statewide, Wisconsin voters will also choose a State Supreme Court Justice for a 10-year term, and decide on a Constitutional Amendment whether to eliminate the office of State Treasurer.
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Fifty years can seem like a lifetime, yet it has gone by in a flash. M3's milestone anniversary provides the opportunity to celebrate five decades of doing business the best way we know how – with hard work, integrity, lots of fun, and a commitment to care for each other, our clients, partners, and communities.
M3 was founded by Loren Mortenson in 1968 as an independent life insurance agency in Madison, Wisconsin. Two years later, Rich Matzelle joined Mortenson, bringing expertise in employee benefits with him. The company’s name expanded to Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum in 1985 with the addition of Charlie Meldrum, who specialized in property and casualty insurance.
Regional expansion began in 1998, and by 2008, the company officially rebranded itself as M3 Insurance. Today, we are an independent, full-service insurance brokerage firm offering products, services, and specialized expertise in the major disciplines of insurance for business and business executives.
A key theme driving M3's success over the years has been our willingness to expand to meet an ever-growing range of clients' insurance needs. Each new venture has brought with it new partners and officers and key employees, all vital in their contributions, all of whom have shared in and shaped what has become another key driver of our company's success: a distinctive company culture.
The spirit of giving has also been an integral part of M3 since day one. The communities where we live and work give us a lot, so M3 wants to give back in ways that have real value. That's why we donate our time and money to local organizations that help make people's lives better.
More than 260 M3 employees in five offices throughout Wisconsin – including Eau Claire – partner with thousands of clients to manage risks and protect assets. As the largest independent, privately owned insurance agency in Wisconsin and one of the top 100 brokers in America, we are humbled and grateful to have become well-regarded in the industry.
Learn more about M3 Insurance and the impact it makes on businesses, employees, and community organizations through the M3 blog.
With contested School Board races in both Eau Claire and Altoona, the focus is heightened on the significant policy and fiscal responsibilities these bodies have in our community -- to ensure high-quality education for our children and manage large, multi-million-dollar public budgets (over $125 million for Eau Claire and nearly $25 million in Altoona).
If you live in either one of these districts, you will have a choice when you cast your ballot in the local election on Tuesday, April 3. In Eau Claire, there are seven candidates for four at-large positions, and in Altoona, two candidates for the one open board seat covering the entire district.
Want to know more about the candidates, their backgrounds, and how they stand on school-related issues? Here are a few resources you can check out:
Who's on your ballot: Go to MyVoteWi.gov and enter your voting address. You can also check for your polling place.
Eau Claire Area School District
School District of Altoona
Your one vote has even more impact in a Spring election, where the turnout is typically lower. Take a few minutes now to be sure you're informed, then make plans to vote on April 3. Polls are open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
WESTconsin Credit Union recently announced Erika Schorbahn Bronder as office vice president of the company’s Eau Claire and Altoona offices. Schorbahn Bronder has spent the past 15 years in a management capacity within the financial services industry advancing throughout this timeframe. Most recently, she was the vice president – regional retail banking manager for Bank Mutual. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree from UW-Stout in marketing education with a minor in business administration.
HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals welcome Sommer Miller to the role of vice president of strategy development and improvement for both hospitals. Miller will join the hospitals April 11. Miller has more than nine years of health care experience in areas of strategic planning, resource management, business development, public speaking, health care operations, data analytics among others. Miller most recently served as manager of advisory services for Erdman, a health care solutions company, in Madison. Prior to that, she served as executive consultant for Adams Management Services, and regional strategic planner for SSM Healthcare-Wisconsin, both in Madison; and project manager for Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, Ill.
Michele Paquette has been named marketing manager for HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals. She has been a colleague of HSHS for more than 18 years in the role of marketing specialist. She joined HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in 2000. Paquette received her bachelor’s degree in health education management from University of West Florida in Pensacola and has worked in public relations and physician marketing for hospitals in Florida, Idaho and Wisconsin. She is a member of Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society, and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.
Travis Schroeder, AIA, an architect at Ayres Associates in Eau Claire, recently was awarded the Owen Ayres Good Citizen Award, named after the engineering/architecture firm’s late founder. The award celebrates employees who give back to their community through volunteer work. Ayres donates $500 toward charities of the recipient’s choice. Schroeder, who enjoys the company of his family at many of the activities he’s involved in, decided to split Ayres Associates’ $500 donation between the Miracle League of the Chippewa Valley and Bolton Refuge House.
Jeff Suillivan, dean of skilled trades and engineering at Chippewa Valley Technical College, has been honored as an Outstanding Career and Technical Education Leader by the Wisconsin Association of Career and Technical Education (WACTE). Sullivan was presented with the award for a person other than a classroom instructor who has made significant contributions to career and technical education. Sullivan’s nomination for the award came as a result of major accomplishments by CVTC faculty and staff that advanced career and technical education initiatives, particularly in connecting the technical college with area high schools.
Optometrist Logan Kiekhafer, O.D., recently joined the Eye Care Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Dr. Kiekhafer grew up in the Chippewa Valley. He received an optometry degree from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and Wisconsin Optometric Association. Dr. Kiekhafer’s professional interests include fitting contact lenses and managing corneal disease and glaucoma.
Royal Credit Union was recently honored with a six Diamond Awards and one Category’s Best Award, which recognizes outstanding marketing and business development achievements in the credit union industry. The awards were presented by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council, a national network comprised of over 1,300 credit union marketing and business development professionals. Awards are given in each of 35 categories ranging from advertising to community events and beyond.
Royal won the following awards:
If you live in the City of Eau Claire, you're guaranteed to have at least one contested City Council race on your ballot, and probably two, on Tuesday, April 3. The five seats elected by district in the city are each up for a 3-year term -- four of them are contested -- plus At-Large Council member Terry Weld, who was appointed to a vacancy last year, must stand for election for the remaining one year of its term.
With so many contested seats up for grabs, how you vote in this election could have a far-reaching impact on the direction of the City of Eau Claire in the coming years.
Want to know more about the candidates, their backgrounds, and how they stand on important local issues? Here are a few resources you can check out:
Encourage your employees
and customers to vote!
Just click on the image to the left to download this mini-poster, then print it out and put it up in your break room, public areas, etc.
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Per Mar Security Services, a leading provider of total security solutions for residential and commercial clients based in Davenport, IA, announced the promotion of Justin McAuliffe to district operations manager for its Bemidji, Duluth and Eau Claire branches. As the district operations manager, McAuliffe will oversee branch operations and will be responsible for the productivity and efficiency of installation and service to ensure customer satisfaction. McAuliffe started working for Per Mar 18 years ago as a technician and throughout the years he has held various positions such as operations manager and senior operations manager.
EO Johnson Business Technologies and Office Enterprises, Inc. (OEI)/Cornerstone Technology announced the sale of OEI’s copier/printer division and Cornerstone Technology’s IT services business to EO Johnson (Cornerstone’s Digital Media is transitioning to OEI). The sale was completed March 9, 2018, and since that date both companies have focused on notifying customers and transitioning the business. EO Johnson welcomes OEI’s service and administrative employees and the Duluth sales employee to its Imaging division. Cornerstone Technologies support, engineering, and administrative employees join Locknet® Managed IT Services, EO Johnson’s IT division. Total new employees transitioning to EO Johnson/Locknet are 22.
Two registered nurses in the Women and Infants department at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital have recently earned advanced certifications. Katie Jelinek recently earned her certification in inpatient obstetrics nursing (RNC-OB). This certification recognizes the applied and theoretical knowledge these nurses possess in the obstetric specialty. To be eligible, a candidate must currently be a licensed registered nurse in the United States or Canada with two years of work experience in labor and delivery and at least 2,000 hours in the specialty. Amy Lokken recently earned her certification in electronic fetal monitoring (C-EFM). Electronic fetal heart monitoring is done during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. It keeps track of the heart rate of a baby. It also checks the duration of the contractions during labor. Having this certification promotes effective communication and collaboration amongst the different roles team members in a hospital’s obstetrics department may have.
The Women's Giving Circle, a fund of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, will once again be offering grants of up to $6000 to Eau Claire area nonprofits that work to enhance the well-being of local women and/or children. The window for submitting grant applications opens on April 1, and the deadline is July 1, 2018. Any nonprofits that are interested in applying can call the Eau Claire Community Foundation or visit the “Women’s Giving Circle Grant Cycle” page at www.eccommunityfoundation.org for more information.
LVC Companies of Minneapolis has received the honor of being named an ANSUL “Double Diamond” Distributor as part of the ANSUL Alliance Rewards Program. This level of distinction is a testament to the hard work put forth by the organization over the past year. Diamond Distributor distinction is based on achieving measurable goals established by Johnson Controls, Inc. At this time, less than 20 percent of ANSUL distributors have achieved Diamond status. Companies that meet this milestone must earn that partnership each year through sales performance.
Woods & Water Realty, Inc. recently moved into its new Regional Office at 2015 Commercial Boulevard in Lake Hallie. Woods & Water Realty has served the Chippewa Valley for more than 25 years. They have three other locations in Chippewa Falls, New Auburn and Bloomer. For more information on Woods & Water Realty please visit their website.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.