The Ambassador Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Pat Durch, Wipfli, has been selected as Ambassador of the Month for September 2018.
Pat is being recognized for his participation in Chamber and Ambassador activities. Thank you, Pat, for your time and hard work.
Mayo Clinic Health System and UW-Eau Claire are launching a new program to encourage creative solutions to critical health care questions. The Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies (IMPACT) Program will invite teams of two to four undergraduate students to submit hypotheses to address a specific question. A prize of $1,000 per student will be awarded to the winning team at the 2019 IMPACT Symposium in Eau Claire in March 2019. Teams participating in the 2019 IMPACT Program will address the question: “What is the underlying cause of hypoplastic left heart syndrome?” Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare and complex congenital health defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. For more information about the IMPACT Program, visit uwec.edu/impact-program.
Nohre & Co. is pleased to announce that Michael Kelash, CPA has joined their team. Mike earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and finance from Saint John’s University in 2012. Mike spent the first two years of his career as a business analyst working with a regional retailer. He then spent four years providing tax services at Clifton Larson Allen LLP accounting firm with a focus on Manufacturing & Distribution. Mike will be part of the Manufacturing & Distribution and Medical Practices teams within the Nohre & Co. organization. As a trusted advisor Mike employs his business and tax experience to provide clients with personalized taxation, succession planning, and accounting services. He will be providing tax, A&A, and consulting services to those industries.
Visit Eau Claire's new space is officially complete!
From shadow box floor installations, to a performance space, to garage doors that open up to downtown - congratulations on creating such an inspiring & unique place to celebrate to city of Eau Claire!
While attending the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference in Austin, TX, chamber intern Emma Koehn was awarded the Betsy Plank/PRSSA scholarship. She was awarded third place nationally for her commitment to the ethical practice of public relations, demonstrated leadership, experience in the field and academic achievement.
This award has helped ensure the ability of a public relations education to students since 2001 at more than 40 colleges nationwide. Koehn is the first person from UW- Eau Claire to receive this award. She is a public relations major and political science minor at UW-Eau Claire and is originally from Kiel, WI. She is currently serving as president of the UW-Eau Claire chapter of PRSSA.
Pictured: Gary McCormick and Emma Koehn
What's at stake on November 6th?
The statewide general election is coming up on Tuesday, November 6th. This election will determine the representatives for the next legislative term. This year, there are both state and national seats up for grabs. Those seats include: Governor, Lt. Governor, WI Attorney General, WI Secretary of State, WI State Treasurer, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, odd-numbered State Senators, and all State Assembly members. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on November 6th.
Good Government Council Questionnaires: Scroll down to access candidates' answers to our questionnaires for local State Senate and State Assembly races.
You can register on election day at your polling place, which you can identify here. Once you are registered, you will need to present a valid form of identification to vote. You can find information about those valid forms here.
Election Day, November 6th
Polls will be open across the state from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can find your local polling place here.
Early Voting (ended Nov 2)
For City of Eau Claire residents: In-person absentee voting lasts until November 2. You can vote on week days from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, 203 S Farwell Street. You can visit the Wisconsin election page here. For more information about Eau Claire voting, visit the City's elections page.
For City of Altoona residents: In-person absentee voting lasts until November 2. You can vote on week days from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Altoona City Hall, 1303 Lynn Avenue. You can visit the Wisconsin election page here.
If you live elsewhere in Eau Claire County: Click here for contact information about early voting.
Races to Keep an Eye On
There are important races at both the state and the local levels. As always, the gubernatorial race is competitive, and likely close. In that election, Democrat Tony Evers, who is the current State Superintendent, hopes to unseat Republican Scott Walker, who is the incumbent. The latest polls show that they are virtually tied, so voting in this race will be crucial.
There are close races in the Chippewa Valley, too. For instance, State Senator Terry Moulton has decided not to seek reelection in the 23rd Senate District, prompting Republican State Representative Kathy Bernier and Democrat Chris Kapsner to vie for his seat. In the 31st Senate District, incumbent Democrat Kathleen Vinehout vacated the position, which is now being contested by Democrat and former State Representative Jeff Smith, Republican Mel Pittman, who ran a close race against Vinehout four years ago, and Green Party Candiate Aaron Elaine Camacho.
Nearby in the 67th Assembly District, Wren Keturi is challenging the first-term representative Rob Summerfield. And after a winning a crowded Democratic primary, Jodi Emerson is facing Republican Echo Reardon to fill the 91st district seat vacated by Dana Wachs. In Kathy Bernier's current 68th Assembly District, Republican Jesse James, Altoona's Police Chief, faces Democrat and former Eau Claire School Board member Wendy Sue Johnson, in the 92nd Assembly District, first-term Republican incumbent Trieg Pronschninske faces Democrat Rob Grover., and in the 93rd Assembly District, Democrat Charlene Charlie Warner is facing incumbent Republican Warren Petryk.
Local Legislative Seats and the Good Government Questionnaire
Below are maps of each legislative district as well as links to each candidate’s Good Government Questionnaire responses.
The Questionnaire was distributed by the Good Government Council (GGC)—a committee of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce dedicated to encouraging voter participation and providing members of the business community with non-biased information about candidates’ positions on important issues. Click the "Good Government Council Questionnaire" link for each race to read their responses.
23rd Senate District
Democrat: Chris Kapsner
Republican: Kathy Bernier
Good Government Questionnaire
31st Senate District
Democrat: Jeff Smith
Republican: Mel Pittman
Green: Aaron Elaine Camacho
Good Government Questionnaire
67th Assembly District
Democrat: Wren Keturi
Republican: Rob Summerfield (I)
Good Government Questionnaire
68th Assembly District
Democrat: Wendy Sue Johnson
Republican: Jesse James
Good Government Questionnaire
91st Assembly District
Democrat: Jodi Emerson
Republican: Echo Reardon
Good Government Questionnaire
92nd Assembly District
Democrat: Rob Grover
Republican: Treig Pronschinske (I)
Good Government Questionnaire
93rd Assembly District
Democrat: Charlene Charlie Warner
Republican: Warren Petryk (I)
Good Government Questionnaire
Kurt Bauer, the President/CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce (WMC), spoke to a full house of Chamber members on Friday at this month’s Eggs & Issues breakfast to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. With Election Day fast approaching, Bauer focused most of his remarks on polling numbers and economic statistics at both the state and federal levels. We’ve provided a few his main points below.
State and National Polling
The latest batch of polls looks unpromising for Congressional Republicans in Washington. Right now, RealClearPolitics is giving Democrats a 7.6% edge in the generic ballot, a key indicator in the battle to control the US House of Representatives, which means they are likely to pick up at least 31 seats across the nation, enough to take control. Bauer believes that Democrat voters have been spurred on by a single fact: that, in most cases, people vote not to reward incumbents of the current President's party, but to oppose them. In other words, members of the minority party often hold more electoral motivation, which, in turn, leads to higher minority-party turnouts. Expanding on this idea, Bauer expressed doubts about the Republicans’ momentum following the divisive Kavanaugh hearings. Sure, he conceded, they might currently be motivated to reward their legislators for staying the course, but that motivation, he added, is likely to fade in the weeks leading up to the election. Because of that, he believes Democrats, who are fueled by oppositional motivation, will have larger turnouts on Election Day.
According to Bauer, the results of the Wisconsin gubernatorial race will likely turn on motivation, too. The primary variable that will affect it, however, will be slightly different. Governor Walker is seeking a third term, and in recent decades, only one other governor has been elected three times. As a result, he concluded that “third terms are hard.” Put another way, he thinks that it’s tough for a long-time governor, however popular, to get energetic supporters to the polls. So instead, those governors must rely on past accomplishments to prove why they’re worthy of four more years, which can often prove challenging when faced with a strong and enthusiastic opponent. Paired with the fact that opposition voters are more motivated, he explained, energizing voters will be a difficult task for Walker to fulfill. Relying on those explanations, Bauer estimated that the polls showing Democrat Tony Evers within one point of Walker are accurate.
The Wisconsin Economy
Since Republicans are basing their campaign messages on economic success, Wisconsin residents have likely been told that the economy is booming. So Bauer spent some time answering a simple question: is the economy actually that great? He said yes, and he used statistics from WMC’s Return on Reform initiative as evidence. For instance, he cited the shrinking unemployment rate and the growing labor-force participation rate. The Wisconsin unemployment rate currently sits at 2.9%, which ranks 6th in the nation, and puts it below the rates of any year since Tommy Thompson’s tenure. Likewise, the labor-force participation rate is 66.8%--the 5th best in union and far higher than the national average. Because of those rates, Bauer explained that Wisconsin is in a unique position. Although many employers are looking for workers, they can’t fill all of their open positions. If Congress passes legal immigration reforms, he noted, those open jobs could lend to even more economic success. But if legislators fail to find a solution, he continued, the economy could become unbalanced and stagnate. Overall, he indicated that the Wisconsin economy is truly prospering, and that it’s a great time to invest in the Badger State.
Posted by Nathan Kane, Governmental Affairs Intern
Chippewa Valley Technical College students who earn an associate degree through the Accounting program will now be guaranteed admission, with all credits transferring, into the Accounting or Business Finance programs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The agreement is already in effect during the fall semester. CVTC Accounting students graduating in December would be the first to benefit from the new agreement. The 61 credits transferring to UW-Eau Claire would include the CVTC Accounting program courses, as well as the general education courses that are part of the associate degree. The CVTC students transferring would be guaranteed admission to the UW-Eau Claire programs, provided the student meets all admission requirements.
Roger Suchy recently relocated to Eau Claire and will continue his role as a financial advisor for Associated Investment Services, Inc. Roger brings more than 11 years of investment and wealth management experience to the Chippewa Valley at Associated Bank. Most recently, he held the position of financial advisor for AIS in the Chicago West market. As the AIS representative in the Chippewa Valley market, Roger will be responsible for building a practice that focuses on offering localized delivery of wealth management offerings and goal-based financial planning services. Roger will be not only be covering the Chippewa Valley Market but also, Rice Lake, Hayward and Spooner, which is part of the Northwoods Community Market.
Five Mayo Clinic sites have received the Vizient 2018 Bernard A. Birnbaum, M.D., Quality Leadership Award for high-quality patient care. This award honors superior performance among academic medical centers and community hospitals nationwide for delivering safe, timely, effective, efficient and equitable patient-centered care. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota ranked first among 99 academic medical centers. Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida ranked third. Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona ranked sixth. Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire ranked eighth among 100 teaching medical centers. And Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota, was second among 93 community hospitals. This is the first year Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire was recognized. The awards are based on the results of a quality and accountability study that help hospitals enhance patient care. The Institute of Medicine’s six areas of care – safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity and patient-centeredness – guided how the study criteria were structured.
It was a beautiful day to celebrate the ribbon cutting for Wipfli's new office building at 4890 Owen Ayres Court. Clara Sletner, Wipfli's longest-standing Eau Claire employee, had the honor of cutting the ribbon.
The Alliance offers network savings and access for self-funded employers
For employers who self-fund their health benefits, The Alliance represents network savings and access, solved.
The Alliance is a not-for profit cooperative of more than 240 organizations who self-fund their health plan through our extensive network of providers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa. Member organizations range in size from 60 to 8,700 employees, with an average of about 400 employees.
The Alliance was founded in 1990 by seven Madison-area employers looking for solutions to their rising health care costs. Together, they created a cooperative that continues to take aim at the health benefit issues dragging down the bottom line.
Today, members save an average of 39 percent and buy $780 million in health care in a 12-month period.
Expanding Network of Providers in Your Area
The Alliance network is a flexible platform that allows employers to innovate and customize based on their priorities and needs. Our approach varies by region because each community is unique.
Within the Chippewa Valley we have more than 75 health systems to offer organizations in that area for their health care benefit needs. The Alliance network includes:
Alliance Membership Benefits
The Alliance also offers employers:
Kyrah Klika at WESTconsin Credit Union has been recognized by CUNA’s Credit Union Magazine as one of its 2018 Credit Union Rock Stars. Klika is the vice president of the Chippewa Valley office for WESTconsin Credit Union. This year’s winners were all nominated by their colleagues and selected by the editorial staff of Credit Union Magazine. All told, 46 professionals representing 26 states are being honored as this year’s Credit Union Rock Stars. Klika and the other winners will each be profiled in the October issue of Credit Union Magazine, sponsored by Fiserv. For the full list of 2018 Credit Union Rock Stars, visit news.cuna.org/rockstar.
Paul Keprios recently joined Associated Bank. He is the second senior commercial relationship manager the bank has added to its team. He will office out of 1107 Regis Court on the second floor. Keprios has 13 years of commercial banking experience.
Nohre & Co. recently announced that Seyver Nohre has joined its team. Seyver earned his master’s degree in accounting from the University of St. Thomas and began his professional career in 2015 at a Big Four Firm in the Twin Cities with a focus on financial services including REITs, hedge funds and reinsurance companies. He also has experience in the areas of accounting, corporate and individual taxation, and attestation services. Seyver then continued his career with a high tech installation company as procurement that performed services in more than 10 states. Seyver will be part of the insurance and construction/real-estate teams within the Nohre & Co. organization. He will be providing tax, A&A, and consulting services to those industries.
Royal Credit Union (Royal) has named Melissa Wilson vice president of marketing and business development. She is responsible for overseeing branding and driving market strategy for Royal. Wilson will develop and lead the marketing and business development teams to create and implement programs, products, campaigns and initiatives to drive increased engagement with new and existing members. Wilson brings more than 10 years of experience in marketing and management roles. Most recently she served as marketing and communications manager at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC). Prior to that role she was a marketing specialist at CVTC. She has provided marketing and branding management freelance services for many organizations over the past several years and is also the owner and creator of Melnaturel, a natural handmade skincare line based out of Eau Claire.
Larry Lutwick, M.D., F.A.C.P, recently joined Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire in Infectious Diseases. Lutwick received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical School, State University of New York in Brooklyn. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious disease at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. He served on the faculty of SUNY Downstate Medical School and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo. He is a fellow and member of the American College of Physicians and Infectious Diseases Society of America. He also is a member of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. His professional research interests include the study of antimicrobials, emerging pathogens, hepatitis B virus and vaccines.
The Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital received the American Hospital Association’s Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) by the Association for Health Care Volunteer Resource Professionals. The Partners received this national award for the group’s work to ensure local people in need have fresh food on their tables via the community garden at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is run entirely by volunteers. Already in 2018, growers have donated more than 2,700 pounds of fresh food to local pantries. In total since the program began in 2013, more than 5,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated to food pantries.
The Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital also were awarded the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s statewide Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE) under the category of Community Service. The award is in recognition of the babysitting clinics the Partners have organized for the past 45 years to help pre-teens learn the skills needed to take care of an infant or child. Approximately 1,500 adolescents have been trained in the Chippewa Falls community in safe babysitting skills over those 45 years. This is the third WAVE award the Partners has earned.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin along with more than 270 Big Brother Big Sisters affiliates across the country, unveiled a new, modern look and brand repositioning with a goal of recruiting more diverse volunteers. The organization is intentionally pivoting from messages of the importance of mentoring, to messages of the urgent need for the adults in the community to step up to defend the potential of every child. The mission will remain the same, as will the core model of building bridges in communities by connecting one adult with one child and supporting that match at every stage, but the organization will focus on a child’s potential, and our role as adults in helping children achieve their best possible futures. In the coming year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin will transition to a new, modern, nationwide technology system, participate in new training, and use the new positioning to refocus efforts on recruiting local volunteers.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.