The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a biennial capital budget proposal that includes funding for a new UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences Building. The approved budget proposal includes enumeration of $109 million for the new building in the 2019-21 biennium and advance enumeration of $147.15 million in the 2021-23 biennium, for a total of $256.15 million to build the new facility that would replace UW-Eau Claire’s aged and inadequate Phillips Science Hall. A new science building to replace Phillips Hall has been identified as a UW-Eau Claire facilities priority since the 2011 publication of its Campus Master Plan, the university’s roadmap for future facilities development. Since 2013, official UW-Eau Claire project priority submissions to UW System’s Office of Capital Planning and Budget have consistently requested that a new science building be funded beginning in the 2019-21 budget biennium. The Campus Master Plan calls for the new science building to be constructed on the existing site of two lower-campus residence halls, Katherine Thomas and Putnam halls.
Wipfli LLP announced that a new partner has been named in the firm’s Eau Claire market. Marci Boyarski, CPA is among the group of 14 associates, half of whom are women, named to the partnership on June 1. Boyarski leads the firm’s employee benefits practice and is responsible for the development and delivery of benefit plan services. From one-person organizations to large companies, she works with clients to design and implement plans that meet their unique needs and goals. She specializes in administration and record keeping, consulting and auditing of employee benefit plans such as retirement plans, cafeteria plans and welfare plans. Boyarski is a member of the American Institute of the Certified Public Accountants, the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the National ESOP Association. She is also a member of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of Accounting and Finance Advisory Board, Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce (past board member) and the Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley (past member and past chair).
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative recently won four awards for presentation of local news in the Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, the voice of the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Mary Kay Brevig, communications & public relations manager at Eau Claire Energy Cooperative and editor of the co-op’s local pages, accepted the awards at the 2018 Electric Communicator’s Conference in Tomah August 23. Eau Claire Energy Cooperative’s magazine pages were judged to have been the best overall in the categories of Co-op News and Photography for the previous year. The co-op also received Honorable Mention certificates in the categories of Human Interest and Energy Education.
Per Mar Security Services, a leading provider of total security solutions for residential and commercial clients based in Davenport, IA, announced it was awarded Manitou Elite Certification from Bold Technologies for completing the elite certification program, and having an exceptional Alarm Monitoring Center. The Manitou Elite Certification is a program built around the principles of establishing processes and metrics, keeping employees positive and empowered, and being dedicated to meeting the customers’ needs. Monitoring centers that complete the program learn how to do more with their resources and enable their teams to be ready and available to meet any customer need.
Twenty-four students started classes Monday at the new Culinary Arts program at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Strong urging and support from the restaurant industry led to the CVTC board’s approval of the program in November 2016. Instructors Kevin Brown and Jonathan Fike were hired in September 2017 and have spent nearly a year in curriculum planning, community promotion, and designing and setting up the kitchen and classroom facilities. The new kitchen that features 24 cooking stations, an international cookery suite, and a professional baking space shines with never-been used stainless steel equipment. A separate demonstration area can be used for interactive lectures and community education, or space for a small restaurant. Completing the two-year program leads to an associate degree, with certificates and diplomas earned at earlier stages.
Cindy Ming recently began her new role as the operations administrator of Primary Care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. For the past nine years, Ming served as director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services in northwest Wisconsin. In this new role, Ming will oversee operations of Express Care, Express Care Online, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine and Urgent Care. Ming received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UW-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Photo from the U.S. Chamber.
Renewal of the Perkins Act
Thanks to strong bipartisan support, Congress recently renewed the Perkins Act with a voice vote. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act became law on July 31, 2018 to equip more Americans with the right skills to enter high-skilled and in-demand careers. Passage of the Perkins reauthorization was a major priority of the U.S. Chamber; the Eau Claire Chamber engaged in the efforts by signing a letter of support.
What the act does
With the local and national unemployment rates being so low, employers are having a difficult time finding skilled workers to fill in-demand jobs. Business associations and economic groups across the nation have supported the act’s amended renewal to ensure that secondary and postsecondary educational institutions can effectively offer career and technical education (CTE) curriculum to grow the amount of skilled workers. The law amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and reauthorizes it through the FY 2023 to address that need.
The law focuses on changing funding patterns in order to encourage best practices and innovation for CTE programming, make CTE programs more accessible to students, and give state and local communities more flexibility in managing program funding. “Highlights of the reauthorization include new opportunities for partnerships between employers and educators to improve student preparation for in-demand jobs, measures that improve alignment with other workforce development programs, and increased program accountability,” (U.S. Chamber)
Businesses are in support of the act
Over 450 businesses and economic associations in a letter to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions wrote in support of the act. The U.S. Chamber actively promoted it and issued a Key Vote Alert for members of Congress. Their main reasons for supporting the act are for its ability to:
Quick take: Your Primer on the Act (U.S. Chamber)
Statement on Reauthorizing the Act (U.S. Chamber)
Posted by: Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern
Pam Haller has joined Royal Credit Union (Royal) as executive vice president-chief digital experience and marketing officer. In this role Haller is responsible for the strategic oversight of Royal’s marketing, advertising, digital experience and business development initiatives. Haller also will collaborate in strategic planning and organizational decision making as a member of the executive team. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing. Haller comes to Royal from Chippewa Valley Technical College, where she served as director of marketing, communications and recruitment. She has also provided marketing consulting services to other organizations, including large corporate clients in the Twin Cities metro area. She has received a MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Cardinal Stritch University.
Joseph Wildenberg, M.D., Ph.D., recently joined the Radiology Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Wildenberg completed medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also earned a doctorate in neuroscience. He completed an internship at Legacy Health System in Portland, Oregon. He also completed a residency in diagnostic radiology, and fellowships in informatics and interventional radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Wildenberg is board-eligible in diagnostic and interventional radiology.
Mainor Antillon Galdamez, M.D., recently joined the Gastroenterology Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Antillon Galdamez completed medical school at Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in Guatemala City. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. He completed a fellowship in hepatology at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, University of Southern California in Downey and a fellowship in gastrointestinal oncology/endoscopic ultrasound advanced training at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, California. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic Health System, Antillon Galdamez worked as chairman of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Spectrum Health and clinical professor of medicine at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids. Antillon Galdamez is board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine by the American Board of Gastroenterology. He is a member of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the chair of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy — Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection special interest group.
Per Mar Security Services, a leading provider of total security solutions for residential and commercial clients based in Davenport, IA, announced it is named in the Security Letter’s “Top” Guard Watch & Patrol Companies List. Per Mar is recognized as the 17th largest company for security guard, patrol and watch services. Per Mar has been included in the Security Letter’s “Top” Guard Watch & Patrol Companies List for more than 30 years.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin held the state’s first-ever “Apprenticeship Signing Day,” celebrating the transition of Greenwood High School graduate Treyton Sloniker from youth apprenticeship to adult registered apprenticeship in carpentry. In the adult apprenticeship program, Sloniker will obtain his on-the-job training with Royal Construction while attending class at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC).
Trade war threatens economic progress
Speaking on tariffs, regulatory reform and other federal issues of importance to the business community, John Kirchner from the U.S. Chamber spoke at this month’s Eggs & Issues on August 17, 2018 at the Chamber. His message delivered from D.C.: the recently achieved economic growth and positive legislative action comes with the reality that progress is threatened by the trade war.
Kirchner is the U.S. Chamber’s Executive Director for the Midwest region of Congressional and Public Affairs. He’s responsible for organizing grassroots activities among regional chambers and communicating business needs to federal officials.
The U.S. economy is growing again
Over the past ten years, the U.S. economy has been growing at a slow rate of less than 3% per year. Over the last couple of quarters the economy has been showing positive signs of growth. Indicators such as a growth rate of over 4%, an unemployment rate of 3.7%, and a wage growth rate of 2.7%, are all signs of a healthier economy. John attributed the economic health to reformed regulatory processes and tax reform.
Reviewing the business regulatory process
According to John, members of Congress have been making less decisions partially due to polarization but also out of fear of losing political power. Federal agencies have then had to fill in the role of decision maker by passing an increasing amount of regulations. Since 1976, federal agencies have introduced over 180,000 regulations. The U.S. doesn’t remove old regulatory rules when new ones are created, so the high number of regulations can act as a weight on business (up until 2017, they were costing businesses $12 billion a year).
This Congress has used the Congressional Review Act more than any other in 2017 to remove 67 regulations from the previous administration. The Act gives Congress the power to do so only for regulations implemented in the last six months of the previous outgoing president’s term since this is when an excessive amount are often employed to accomplish a president’s final political goals. The 67 rolled back regulations will save industry $570.4 million. The U.S. Chamber hopes to have more preventative actions in place by passing the Regulatory Accountability Act which would require an administration to get Congressional approval on any $1 billion or more regulatory rules and for agencies to choose the lowest cost option.
Tax reform passed quickly in December of 2017 after only two and a half months of debate. The last time the U.S. had tax reform was in 1986 under the Reagan Administration. Benefits such as lower corporate tax rates and ending double taxation have worked to the benefit of the economy by increasing U.S. competitiveness. Other countries or regions like Germany and the EU have begun lowering theirs to remain competitive. Additionally, states are seeing the price of services like electricity decrease (e.g. the residents of Main saved $100 million in their electric bills).
For more information on tax reform, visit the U.S. Chamber’s website.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that a tariff isn’t a tax.”
As this administration has had a more business friendly view when it comes to fewer regulations and corporate taxes in comparison to the last, their stance on tariffs and trade has become a pressing issue facing businesses. Earlier this year, President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum under sections 232 and 301 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, claiming the action was necessary to protect national security. Steel prices have gone up about 50% and aluminum up anywhere from 10% - 130% since the tariffs were announced. Targeted countries responded with counter-tariffs which have further restricted trade and created a larger economic impact.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that a tariff isn’t a tax,” John said, arguing that even though they may have been implemented with the goal of protecting the U.S. steel industry and others, the tax dampens economic growth since increased prices in even not targeted industries gets passed down to consumers, and businesses have to lay-off workers to survive. “By our measurements, for every person benefited by these tariffs another 14 are hurt.” Kirchner said that the money businesses saved through fewer regulations and lower taxes will be going to pay for the tariffs. For example, Ford Motor Company saved $208.4 million from the tax cuts alone, but the projected cost of the tariffs will be $509 million in 2018 for the company.
Some have argued that the tariffs are part of a short-term negotiation strategy to make better trade deals. John noted that if you take into account the Administration’s discussion over adding $350 billion more in tariffs on the auto/auto parts industry and $200 billion more targeting China and the President’s history of praising tariffs, it’s likely that the tariffs are here to stay longer than most anyone would like.
How the tariffs are impacting the local economy
The tariffs do have a large impact on the national economy since one-half of manufacturing and one-third of farmland in the U.S. rely on trade, but the Wisconsin’s economy is also greatly impacted since its economy is so largely based on manufacturing and agriculture. 800,800 jobs in the state are supported by trade. Fluctuations in trade don’t just impact larger employers; 87% of the state’s exporters are small or medium sized. Local businesses have shared the tariffs’ impacts at home at a round table with Representative Kind at the Chamber on August 7. Read what they are up against and what is being done to advocate for business, here.
Other information: John Kirchner's PowerPoint from Eggs & Issues, State-by-state analysis of the tariffs' economic impact (U.S. Chamber), Mixed review for Trump policies from U.S. Chamber of Commerce official in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram), Eau Claire Chamber's Eggs and Issues discusses trade war and international tariffs (WEAU 13 News)
Posted by: Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern
Atmosphere Commercial Interiors partners with clients to design and furnish spaces that are easy to manage, affordable, provide places for communities to grow, and support individual needs. Our solutions can also help resolve common workplace issues such as employee engagement, technology changes, and workforce diversity.
Workplace issues provide a unique opportunity to learn more about our clients’ corporate cultures and organizational purpose. We use this information during the design and specification process to ensure that the workplace creates conditions for success.
Leading by Example
Our journey through this process recently resulted in a fully renovated headquarters WORKLAB in downtown Minneapolis and refreshed our showrooms in Madison and DePere. We redesigned the spaces using a Best Place strategy that accommodates our unique need to move throughout varied spaces several times per day.
Our business centers around teams and partnerships, and we need to transition fluidly between creative and collaborative work. “Our WORKLABs provide the ability to move between individual time and collaborative time, having that rhythm between coming together to think about a problem, and then taking time to allow those ideas to mature,” says Carlene Wilson, President and CEO.
As we were re-thinking our spaces, we applied the same tools and methods we use with our clients – meaning a focus that is first and foremost about the user’s experience. We analyzed our team members’ informal networks, gauged employee satisfaction with their current work environment using surveys and sought input on the workspaces needed now and in the future.
“We believe organizations can increase engagement and drive growth by providing thoughtfully curated destinations designed to fuel creativity and innovation. Our WORKLABs showcase how people and the physical environment are enriched by purpose, and how a culture of creativity can give organizations a competitive edge,” says Wilson.
We Blurred the Edges
Throughout our WORKLABs you’ll find art, ergonomic furniture and biophilia to stimulate employee wellness, and innovative technology that invites collaboration. The overall aesthetic of the spaces relies heavily on the resimercial trend, which ‘blurs the edges of the traditional office to create places people love to work,’ a concept championed by Steelcase.
The Only Constant is Change
Collaboration and creativity are critical to giving organizations the edge they need to stay competitive in today’s business environment. Disruptors such as technology and mobility, and issues such as a lack of employee engagement are challenging leaders to lead in new ways.
The new generation of workers places a premium on choice and control, mobility, and making connections online and offline. Our clients want their spaces to channel their brand and unique benefits to encourage engagement, and support recruiting efforts yet be resilient against the fluidity of the business landscape, headcount shifts and evolving generational differences.
Experiment and Flourish
Our new WORKLABs are designed to reflect Atmosphere’s culture and brand. The spaces feel truly shared by all inhabitants, creating a sense of access to leaders, and providing a feeling of community support, where co-workers are encouraged to interact regardless of discipline.
To accommodate diverse work modes, Atmosphere enacted a resilient real estate strategy, transitioning to a 50/50 split between Resident and Nomadic desking. People are encouraged to work wherever they feel most productive. This approach conveys the cultural support for experimentation, creativity, and innovation needed to drive the business forward.
Occupancy tools were added as a resource to help team members easily locate open workspaces. A real-time sensor system is connected to monitors that display maps of occupied and unoccupied areas, which are used to study usage patterns and analyze underutilized workspaces. “Putting data behind office occupancy ratios will allow us to increase operational efficiency,” says Jason Lund, Director, Information Technology.
“Using objective occupancy data to understand usage trends in a client’s workspace allows us to quickly identify opportunities and propose solutions that will make their space more cost-effective and their teams more efficient. The potential savings for our clients are huge, as our analysis of this data paired with our team’s insights into solving workplace issues helps us both identify and prioritize solutions with the greatest potential ROI in real estate costs and the engagement + productivity of their teams.”
Atmosphere also provided WiFi access throughout our facilities, dual monitors for high task-oriented work, and installed Microsoft Surface Hubs which allow employees to be creative and collaborate on the fly.
Connect the Dots
Atmosphere embraced the shift from conventional to creative to give our team members an inspiring work environment that fosters collaboration and innovative thinking, and connects the dots between our people, place, and purpose.
Contact our team in Eau Claire to learn how we can discover, plan, and deliver the right solution for your space and your organization.
About Atmosphere Commercial Interiors
For over 60 years, Atmosphere Commercial Interiors has partnered with leading organizations to create inspiring, high performing workspaces. We are proud to serve organizations around the globe of every size, from start-up to Fortune 500, and across corporate, healthcare, education, and hospitality industries. In addition, our focus on innovation and inspired solutions guides our partnerships with architecture and design, real estate and development, and technology industries.
With Steelcase, a global leader in workplace products and research, our comprehensive portfolio of products and services brings our clients’ spaces to life. In recognition of our ability to deliver the highest quality products, services and client experience, we are pleased to be a multi-year recipient of the distinguished Steelcase Platinum Partner Award.
Headquartered in Minneapolis, with offices in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arizona, we are embedded deeply in our communities and passionate about providing world-class workspaces.
Commute to Careers Grant Program Now Open
The State of Wisconsin has officially launched its $8 million Commute to Careers grant program, a multi-agency effort recently announced by Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate transportation barriers for low to moderate income workers looking enter the workforce or advance their careers.
According to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the goal of the grant program is to establish affordable, self-sustaining, and flexible transportation programs that can grow and adapt to meet the needs of the employees and employers which it serves. Potential projects that may be funded through the grant include:
The $8 million includes $5 million through DWD's Fast Forward Program and $3 million for Vehicle Grants through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). Details include:
Applicants can apply for one or both grants, provided they meet the application requirements. All grants require a 20 percent match.
Please CLICK HERE to review the Grant Program Guidelines.
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Races for Governor, US Senate, Local Legislative Districts
With several highly-competitive races at stake, Wisconsin Primary Election voters turned out in record numbers on August 14 and whittled down the field to one candidate for each party for offices ranging from Governor and US Senator to local legislative seats. An active campaign will now ensue heading towards the November 6 general election.
At the top of the ticket, State Senator Leah Vukmir won the GOP nomination over Kevin Nicholson for the right to face US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D), and State Supt. of Schools Tony Evers won an 8-way race to take on incumbent Governor Scott Walker. Also on the ballot this fall will be Secretary of State and State Treasurer.
Locally, Jodi Emerson emerged the winner in a competitive 4-way race for the Democratic nomination for Eau Claire's 91st Assembly District, former State Rep. Jeff Smith of Eau Claire took first in a 3-way contest for the 31st District Democratic Senate nomination, and Rob Grover of Galesville won a 3-way race for the Democratic nomination in the 92nd Assembly District. Emerson will face Republican Echo Reardon this fall in the seat given up by current Rep. Dana Wachs. Smith's Republican opponent is Mel Pittman of Plum City, who ran in 2014 against current Senator Kathleen Vinehout, who ran unsuccessfully for the Gubernatorial nomination. In the 92nd, Grover will face incumbent Republic State Rep. Trieg Pronschinske of Mondovi. There will also be contested races this fall in the 23rd Senate district, and 67th, 68th, and 93rd Assembly Districts.
Click here for the complete Primary Election Results.
To see who is on your ballot for the fall, go to: myvotewi.gov
Candidates Forum, Good Government Council Questionnaire planned
As the fall campaign gets underway, watch for communications from the Chamber with resources to help you make your voting decisions, including:
The Eau Claire Chamber does not endorse candidates for public office, but works to provide information to its members to help them make informed decisions.
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire was named the fifth best hospital in Wisconsin, (three-way tie) and recognized as a Best Regional Hospital in northwestern Wisconsin by U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of top hospitals published online today. Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire also was nationally ranked as “High Performing” in the specialties of gastroenterology & gastrointestinal surgery and pulmonology, and rated “High Performing” in the adult procedures and conditions of abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure and hip replacement. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was named the best hospital in the nation. This is the 29th year that U.S. News & World Report conducted a rankings list.
Abimbola Adenote, M.D., recently joined the Hospital Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Adenote completed medical school at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She completed an internal medicine residency at NYC Health + Hospitals in New York City. Adenote’s professional interests include gastroenterology, hepatology and quality improvement.
Hope St. Jean, a nurse practitioner, recently joined Gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Prior to joining Gastroenterology, St. Jean worked in Family Medicine at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in the departments of Primary Care and Internal Medicine, and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. St. Jean is a member of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Meg Chiodo has been named a board member to the RCU Foundation Board of Directors. In this role, Chiodo will help the foundation further its mission to support high impact projects for the betterment of the communities where the individuals served by Royal Credit Union live and work. Chiodo is currently the VP of business development & client experience at Edina Realty Home Services Title Division in Edina, MN. She was formerly a business development coordinator for the Twin Cities market at Royal Credit Union.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in ultrasound as the result of an extensive review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards, following a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed.
Vickie Stelzig, certified rehabilitation registered nurse in the inpatient rehabilitation department at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, was recently elected president of the Wisconsin Association of Rehabilitation Nursing (WARN). Stelzig has served as a registered nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital for 10 years. WARN’s purpose is to advance the quality of rehabilitation nursing services throughout Wisconsin by offering educational opportunities that promote awareness and interest in rehabilitation nursing and to improve the expertise of personnel on all levels.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.