From “Sisters focus on quality butchery, wines” — You don’t think of a butcher shop as a place to sit down for a glass of wine and a sandwich, but then, there aren’t too many places like Bavette La Boucherie.

This shop, which seems on track to become a foodie destination, opened in May in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

It’s primarily a neighborhood butcher shop, where you can buy locally and sustainably produced beef, pork and lamb, as well as a selection of sausages.

But it’s also a café with several tables and eight counter seats that look over the area where the meat is cut.

On the wall to the right as you walk in, there’s a small collection of gourmet food items — honey from Spain, for example — and about a dozen astutely chosen wines for sale.

No matter what brings you to this shop at 330 E. Menomonee St., you’ll find you’re in expert hands.

The owner is chef Karen Bell, who has a culinary degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Over the years she’s cooked up a resumé that reaches from Vong and Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago to Madrid, where she operated her own restaurant. Most recently she was at Café at the Plaza in Milwaukee.

She also has the good fortune of having a wine expert in the family.

So when the time came to select the libations for her new venture, she turned to her sister Jessica Bell, a wine consultant and founder of My Wine School.

“Jessica has a much more sophisticated palate for wine than I do,” said Karen, who at 36 is a year-and-a-half older than her sister.

“And Karen has a much more sophisticated palate for food than I do,” said the younger sister. “Bavette is Karen’s — I simply helped with the wines. We sat down and tasted them all together. I want her vision to shine through.”

The sisters grew up in Whitefish Bay, as part of a food-loving family with four girls. Today, Jessica and Karen live next door to each other on Milwaukee’s east side.

Karen says the inspiration for Bavette came from two Chicago locales — Publican Quality Meats, which combines butcher shop, market and café, and the Butcher & Larder, a whole-animal butcher shop.

She volunteered at both places to begin learning the business of butchering.

Bavette, with its “main focus on the butcher shop,” is a departure from what she had been doing as a chef.

“But I thought — why can’t I do this? I already know a lot of the cuts of meat,” she said.

How did she come up with the name Bavette, which means flank steak in French?

As Karen tells it: “I did not specifically seek out a French word, but when I was trying to think of names and thought of this one, I did like the fact that it is French, easy to pronounce and has a butchering or meat meaning. I was also drawn to it because it is feminine sounding and being a woman butcher, I liked that.”

She says she’s always been “enamored” of French butcher shops, although she’s not trying to emulate one.

As she has become more interested in the politics of food, the idea of a butcher shop that sells meat from responsibly raised animals appealed to her.

And because Bavette is also a café, she can continue her cooking.

Asked if female butchers are a rarity, she said, “I think so — it’s traditionally a male occupation maybe because it’s physical work.”

She sees butchering as “a dying craft, with very few people getting in the whole animals directly from the farm.”

But that’s what they do at Bavette. The carcasses come in weekly, and then are cut up, often by Bill Kreitmeir, a veteran butcher whom Karen hired — and from whom she is learning.

On a recent Friday he was cutting up a Red Wattle hog that had just arrived. It’s a breed included in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, which catalogs distinctive foods in order to preserve biodiversity and culinary heritage.

The shop’s meat is all from grass-fed animals and sourced locally, mostly from farms in the Madison area.

“We love knowing where our food comes from,” Karen said.

And, yes, you might want to beef about the relatively high cost of the meat here.

Spareribs, for instance, will run you about $6 a pound; at a regular butcher shop, they would cost less than $5 a pound.

But Karen believes the uptick in cost is worth it because the meat “tastes better and is responsibly raised.”

“People are willing to spend a little more money for quality.”

She points to the popularity of Whole Foods as an indication that this is true.

When asked to select wines for her sister’s store, Jessica knew she had to be “very choosy” because they wanted to start with only about a dozen wines in the retail area, priced between $15 and $30.

In addition, there are five wines sold by the glass on the café’s beverage list — all $8 a glass — along with a dozen bottled beers.

“I teach classes on how to judge quality in wines,” she said. “So my goal here is to find the best quality at the best price point.”

The choices reflect the food-friendly wines she and her sister prefer.

Jessica describes the wines, which are from around the world, as having good acidity and an elegance that goes beyond simple fruit taste.

“I guess you can say these wines are more austere, made more in the Old World style,” she explained. “And there are plenty of New World producers making this style of wine, too.”

So, for example, she’s apt to recommend the more restrained wines from Oregon or Washington over California’s big-bodied, high-alcohol wines.

Bell sticks to simplicity with food pairings

For Milwaukee-based wine guru Jessica Bell, pairing wine and food is part of the fun. “It’s a puzzle I love to solve.”

Her basic strategy is to consider three things: sweetness, acid and body.

That’s sweetness, acid and body in both the wine and the food. And the idea is to match them up.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s not an exact science.

In her sister Karen Bell’s recipe for Red Pepper Miso and Sesame Glazed Spare Ribs, for instance, there’s “some sweetness in the glaze,” so that is echoed in the touch of sweetness in the New Zealand Riesling that Jessica chose.

The orange juice and zest in the recipe is a tip-off to look for a wine with good acidity — and that’s a characteristic that top-quality Riesling is known for, according to Jessica.

Pork is one of those meats that can go with either red or white wine. And in this instance, a white with some heft — more body than, say, a Pinot Grigio — matches well with the ribs.

Jessica emphasizes that the method of preparation in a recipe and the secondary ingredients are often more important than the main ingredient.

Looking at the “facts” of the food you’re considering “helps to reduce the chance of a disaster,” she said. “I could think of some really bad match-ups with those ribs. A big, heavy Barolo would be horrible — it’s too tannic for those ribs.”

Of course, there are some always-happy marriages when it comes to wine and meat.

Jessica loves simply prepared lamb with Rioja, a Spanish red made from Tempranillo grape. And with steak, Cabernet is a great pairing. For game, she’ll reach for a richly flavored Syrah-based wine.

“Why mess with something that works?” she said.

From “Milwaukee Mayor Barrett visits Culinary Arts Program showcase” — This summer marks the 12th year of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board’s (MAWIB) Culinary Arts Program at Wisconsin State Fair Park, introducing young people to food service careers by providing training, certification and connections to area employers. For six weeks, 37 young people employed through Mayor Barrett’s Earn & Learn Summer Youth Employment program are training with Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) Chef Paul Carrier. They will prepare 22,000 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the 4-H youth housed at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center beginning on Wednesday, July 31. The 4-H youth are at the Wisconsin State Fair to showcase their livestock and other skills for the duration of the Fair. The program gives young people the opportunity to have a real life work experience, earn the industry-recognized ServSafe certificate and prepare for a career in the food service industry.

Over 35 young people on the Culinary Arts Career Path will talk about this unique training opportunity. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will speak to the importance of helping young people explore career paths, including through the Culinary Arts Program. Wylbur Holloway, MAWIB Youth Services Manager will provide an overview of this highly successful longstanding program. MATC Chef Paul Carrier will provide details about training youth in Culinary Arts.


From “Challenges ahead for victims of child sex trafficking bust” — After a nationwide sex trafficking sting rescues 10 teenagers in Wisconsin the questions is, what’s next? Today a local expert is talking about what needs to be done for the victims and how law enforcement is stepping up to combat the issue.

Human trafficking doesn’t always look so obvious, it’s actually most common in the most innocent of places.

“They go to Malls and when they go to malls nobody’s children are safe,” said Phil Keith.  Keith is an expert on human trafficking at Fox Valley Technical College.

According to him child prostitution is growing to younger and younger age groups, with the most vulnerable being runaways.

“These pimps are negotiators, they’re masters at persuasion,” said Keith.

Once a pimp has a victim, it’s hard to get free.

“They steal their identity, they don’t allow them to work,” said Keith.

When teens are rescued, getting back to normal life is a challenge and police are trying to help.

“Our goal is to bring them in to talk to them about their experiences and then to offer them the services that are available,” said Chad Elgersma, who works in the Human Trafficking Division of the FBI.

Victim’s need multiple services for drug addictions, emotional and sexual abuse and much more.

“The questions is tolerance.  How much will we tolerate these kinds of perpetrators, who take innocence away from children,” said Keith.

As those 10 children, rescued from Wisconsin are now trying to overcome a life of sexual slavery.

A training session is held once a year at Fox Valley Technical College on Amber Alerts and Missing Persons, it also touches on spotting the signs of human trafficking and how to stop it.


From “Agriculture continues high-tech emphasis” — By Greg Booher, LTC farm business instructor – The term “precision agriculture” has recently entered the American vernacular. The term can be used in regards to many of the new developments in agriculture. Global positioning is literally allowing crop producers to drive their equipment within less than an inch of where planting is desired.

Although the technology is very expensive, the equipment has been able to increase production while at the same time reducing input costs. When the investment in this high-tech equipment is spread over enough acres, the cost per unit of production can drop dramatically. As old equipment reaches the end of its useful life, producers can weigh the decision either to replace the planter or hire a custom operator who has the high-tech equipment and reap the benefits of the newest technology.

The processes of managing herd health and the milking of cows is coming under a metamorphosis. Some early adaptors are already using cloud-based computer technology to find when cows are ready to be bred, when they have a change in rumen health or a spike in their body temperature. In fact, these herd management tools have the ability to catch something wrong with a cow before a human can detect something is wrong or, in some instances, before the cow herself knows she is getting sick.

Robotic milking

Robotic milking has been used by a very few U.S dairymen for almost 15 years. Although only a handful of Wisconsin producers have successfully used robotic milking, European producers have made great strides adopting robotic milking. A major reason why American dairymen have been slow to adopt this technology is due to the cost of the technology in comparison to the cost to manually milking cows. Labor in the U.S. is a lot lower than other countries.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a 1,200-cow Australian dairyman about their labor costs. The Australian government has strict wage and labor controls. The government mandates dairy farm labor will be paid the equivalent of $25 per hour US and their dairy milk price is lower than the average in the United States. Therefore, it is not hard to understand that high-tech labor saving tools will be more quickly adopted where a more rapid payback is possible.

I am currently working on some feasibility studies, but have not found much real-time data to help make a definitive decision comparing conventional parlor milking with employees to robotic milking. Each robot has a price tag of approximately $250,000 and can milk up to only 60 cows per robot. Some initial results have indicated improvement in detecting sick cows, improved reproductive performance, some flexibility in how the herd is managed and in some cases it appears production may improve.

Certainly the labor paid to milk cows is way less but the investment is substantial. Time will tell how bottom line indicators like return on investment will shake out. If you have some interest in studying precision dairy management, give me a call and we can discuss this over a long cup of coffee.

From “‘Active shooter’ training underway at UWL” — The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College are teaming up this week to help first responders prepare for possible emergencies.

The “active shooter” training began Monday and runs through Thursday.

Kellie McElroy, Western’s law enforcement academy director, said UWL holds yearly, active shooter exercises. But she said this is the first year Western, which holds various tactical training classes of its own, is participating in UWL’s drills.

“Getting training for all the different public safety entities… that’s not something we get to do very often,” she said.

Law enforcement and emergency response officials from as far as Dane County are taking part in this week’s drills at UWL. Although McElroy said the bulk of the departments are from the Western Technical College area — covering La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, Trempealeau and Vernon Counties.

Muddy Boots Tactical Training, a Florida security company specializing in emergency response, has been brought in to oversee the classes.

Mike Kilian, of Muddy Boots, said the active shooter training focuses not just on tracking down and disarming any potential shooters, but also on treating victims.

“If somebody is injured or shot, we don’t have time to let law enforcement clear the entire building before we can go in to help,” Kilian said. “So what we’re doing in this class is practicing escorting EMS personnel to the victims and extracting them while other teams are looking for the suspects inside the building.”

Kilian said it’s important to make the training as realistic as possible.

“You will react how you train,” he said. “If you have no formal training and don’t practice things, you’re not going to react very well.”

The training exercises are also expected to foster cooperation and collaboration between the various departments responding to various emergencies.

“You should all be training together,” Kilian said. “We get better results if we all train together because we all have the same goal: public safety.”


From “Business and technology conference to be held in Ashland” — Are you interested in growing businesses and creating jobs in northwest Wisconsin? If so, join the other entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and economic developers who will be attending the upcoming 2013 Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference – Growing Superior Ideas in the North on Friday, August 9 at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Ashland. Onsite registration and networking starts at 8:30 a.m., the program begins at 9 a.m. and the conference concludes at 3:30 p.m. The registration fee for the conference is $30, which includes lunch. You can register online by going to

Keynote speaker Rob West, current Chief Executive Officer of GPM, Inc., an $18.8 million privately held heavy-duty pump manufacturing firm, and past President & CEO for the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX) headquartered in Duluth, Minn., will kick things off with a presentation on “How to Grow and Nurture Entrepreneurs.” Rob is a very dynamic speaker with a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, business executive and economic developer. He’s been a company executive at marketing/advertising, home improvement product and manufacturing firms.

Rob has also taught at the University of St. Thomas and University of Minnesota-Duluth. He has an MBA from Western Michigan University and was an Officer in the United States Army.

Rob’s presentation will be followed by two back-to-back panels, the first featuring speakers who will describe how area producers are using technology to grow their agriculture business in northwest Wisconsin. The second panel will include presentations from representatives of three area firms, TACMoto, LLC, Soft Lines Inc. and Ancientwood, Ltd., who will describe how they’ve been able to make their business thrive using the Internet.

Following lunch, Molly Lahr, Director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network of the Wisconsin Technology Council, will moderate a Business Idea Contest, finalist’s presentations and critiques session. Conference attendees will have a chance to hear the top 11 Business Idea Contest finalists pitch their business ideas and compete for over $5,000 in prize money before a panel of expert judges who will rate and critique their business ideas. A range of innovative and creative business ideas will be presented. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three-rated business idea presenters, as well as to the presenter with the “greenest” business idea and also to the presenter who receives the most votes from the conference audience.

The conference is sponsored by: the Lake Superior Region Wisconsin Innovation Network, Wisconsin Technology Council, City of Ashland, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, C.G. Bretting Manufacturing Company, Inc., Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Memorial Medical Center, Associated Bank, Superior Light & Power Company/Allette Energy, UW-Superior Small Business Development Center, Ashland Area Development Corporation, Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation, The Development Association, Twin Ports I & E Club, Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX), Alliance for Sustainability, Bayfield County, UW-Extension and Northland College.

From “Pickle producer hopes to progress from farmers markets to food stores” — Chances are, if you frequent South Milwaukee’s or Greenfield’s farmers market, you’ve had the opportunity to taste some of Dave Shanklin’s pickle creations.

Although his food is a hit at farmers markets, Shanklin, owner of Dave’s Famous Pickles, Peppers and Jams LLC, wants to sell his products in grocery stores.

Because the farmers markets end the last week of October, Shanklin wants to get his products on the shelves of Piggly Wiggly and Sendik’s stores by the first week of November.

Shanklin recently received a $15,000 loan from the West Allis Economic Development Partnership Committee to turn his dream into a reality. Once his business takes off, he wants to open a pickle factory.

“I asked them if they wanted a pickle factory in West Allis, and they said yes,” Shanklin said. “That’s what I’m going to do.”

In addition to having his own pickle factory, Shanklin wants to teach people how to make pickled products.

Lori Zingsheim of South Milwaukee has purchased Shanklin’s raspberry jam at the South Milwaukee Downtown Market.

“The jam was superb and delicious on ice cream,” Zingsheim said.

Shanklin didn’t have raspberry jam available Thursday, but Zingsheim decided to try his strawberry pineapple jam, which she ultimately purchased.

Numerous customers stopped by Shanklin’s booth that day as he lured potential customers in with samples of his dilly beans (pickled green beans), sweet pickles, strawberry pineapple jam and dill pickles. A 32-ounce jar of dilly beans sells for $8 and a 16-ounce jar for $4. His 16-ounce jams and 32-ounce sweet and dill pickles are $5.

Shanklin is able to sell his homemade products under “the pickle bill,” which was signed into law by former Gov. Jim Doyle in February 2010. The bill allows limited sales of acidic home-canned foods without a license. Shanklin’s line of products includes sweet pickles, dill pickles, asparagus, dilly beans, brussels sprouts and olives. Shanklin also makes strawberry, strawberry pineapple, raspberry, raspberry pineapple, blackberry and blackberry pineapple jam.

Shanklin buys all his produce from Milwaukee stores, such as El Rey and Pete’s Fruit Market.

After going through a divorce and getting laid off from a teaching job in the Brown Deer School District, Shanklin, who has a master’s degree in technical education, decided to devote his time to developing his pickle business. He used to give friends his pickled products and wanted to turn it into a career.

Shanklin knows that running a small business single-handedly isn’t easy. He was required to take a canning course through the University of Wisconsin-Madison and took small-business courses at Waukesha County Technical College. He is also involved with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., which provides business and financial education to those who want to start small businesses.

To get his line of goods into Piggly Wiggly and Sendik’s, his products need to have nutritional labels and bar codes. This can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. He is also working toward getting processing licenses.

“I’ve spent most of my own money, and the loan is going to help me have money in the bank,” Shanklin said. “Most small businesses fail because they don’t have any working capital to keep it going.”

Shanklin sold his boat for $6,000 and was able to pay the health department to inspect the kitchen that he uses to make his products. Shanklin wants to use the loan to help separate the business’ funds from his personal funds. He plans to allot himself a salary of $500 a week while the rest will go directly to his business.

Shanklin plans to substitute teach to help pay off the loan. He also has a snack wagon where he plans to sell baked jalapeños with cheddar cheese, cream cheese and bacon.

“I’m happier than happy. They think that I can do it, and I know I can,” Shanklin said.

From “MPS, GPS Education Partners receive Wisconsin youth apprenticeship grants” — Gov. Scott Walker on Friday announced $1.86 million in Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship grant awards to train high school juniors and seniors in the upcoming school year, including students across the Milwaukee area.

The North Central WI School-to-Career Partnership received the largest grant: $225,599. Grants also include $139,871 for Waukesha County STW Partnership, $132,351 for GPS Education Partners and $40,608 for Milwaukee Public Schools.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development administered $1.6 million in grants last year for the skills training program, which trained about 1,900 students at more than 1,300 employers. More than 75 percent of those who finished a two-year youth apprenticeship scored a job with the employer that provided their training, Walker’s office said.

“Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship helps students train for in-demand careers,” Walker said. “The program is a key part of our goal to equip workers with the skills employers need and to help workers succeed in those jobs. I am pleased that we will build on the success of this program by serving hundreds of additional students this year through strengthened collaborations and innovation among local partners.”

This year’s grants will go to 31 regional consortia across Wisconsin. The number of student participants is still being finalized.

Those groups include school districts and alternative education programs, such as GPS Education Partners, formerly known as Second Chance Partners for Education, which has been rapidly expanding.

Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program began in 1991 and includes 40 occupations. Students complete on-the-job training with the employer and receive technical college-level instruction at their local high schools. At the end, they have earned a program completion certificate, potential technical college credit and the skills necessary to be hired into an entry-level job.


From “Chippewa Falls mom reinvents herself for new career” — EAU CLAIRE — In her early 30s, Mandi Leos found her life in crisis. With four children under age 10 at the time, she was going through a divorce and facing the prospect of living on her own and raising her children without a good enough job to bring in the income and benefits she would need. She had long-term concerns about her health, too.

Five years later and weighing 70 pounds less, Leos crossed the stage to receive her associate degree in radiography from Chippewa Valley Technical College. She’s ready to launch a new career, has high hopes for a job interview coming up next week, and has her eyes on a bachelor’s degree and saving some money for her children for college. Her oldest is now 14.

A great example of how to take control of one’s own life, Leos was the student speaker at the CVTC summer commencement ceremony, held at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Leos, though, says she didn’t take control on her own, but let a higher power take the lead.

“My faith is what made me strong,” she said. I couldn’t have done it without faith.“

A 1993 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate, Leos took some training to be a hair stylist and worked in that field in Texas, where she and her husband lived for a time, and in Wisconsin. When her marriage ended, she realized the hair care business wasn’t going to cut it.

“You really can’t support four kids on that and help them with college or anything,” she said. “I thought to myself that I should look into the medical field. My mother is a nurse.“

She also thought she needed to be strong physically to meet the challenges of her changing life. There’s a history of diabetes in her family.

“I thought, if I am going to do this, I have to take better care of myself. I started running and changed my diet,” she said.

Leos explored the radiography program at CVTC and found some decisions she made in high school came back to haunt her. She was pretty light on the math and science credits. She then started attending CVTC to get the prerequisites she needed to attend CVTC’s radiography program.

“When I started I was terrified. I could hardly send an email,” she said.

Now, five years later, she’s one of the top graduates in the program and was selected as the student speaker for the ceremony.

“Whatever your field, this journey has not been an easy one,” she told her fellow graduates. “As a single mother of four, I can attest that this path has been perilous. I have had to expand my focus to include not just my family and current employment, but also my program requirements and future career path.

“When I chose to continue my education, it wasn’t just my decision, but a decision that required the support and patience of the people around me.“

The faculty speaker also came from the radiography program. Instructor Deb Kjelstad noted that all of the graduates were more self-assured and confident after two years in the program, and she predicted that Leos two years ago never would have dreamt that she would be the speaker.

“Knowledge gives us the inner strength and power to do things we never thought we were capable of,” Kjelstad said. “I have had the privilege of watching the graduates grow and develop into the future workforce and leaders of our community. Confidence is the companion of success.“

CVTC President Bruce Barker in his remarks to the graduates referenced a quote from Albert Einstein in urging the graduates not to settle for success.

“Don’t be satisfied with success,” Barker said. “Strive to be a person of value.“


From “LTC advanced manufacturing expansion begins” — The Lakeshore Technical College building expansion and renovation project officially began when ground was broken on Thursday.

By expanding the college Flexible Training Arena and renovating the Trade and Industry building on the Cleveland campus, LTC will help fill local manufacturers’ pressing need for welders, machine tool and industrial maintenance workers while alleviating waiting lists, officials say.

The project will be completed in two phases, with Sheboygan contractor Jos. Schmitt and Sons managing the first phase. The current 18,000-square-foot Flexible Training Arena will be expanded to 32,400 square feet.

By January of 2014, the remodeling of the Trade and Industry building will begin.

Not only will the project allow for more graduates but updated equipment will train workers with the machining, welding and robotic skills that manufacturers need.

“Thanks to the support of local business and individuals, we’ve been successful in raising enough private funds to break ground,” said LTC President Michael Lanser in a news release. “Our first additional class will graduate and be employment ready by August 2014.”

Nearly $900,000 has been raised thus far as part of the first capital campaign in the college’s 100 year history. LTC hopes to raise $2.1 million in private funds to help offset the $6.1 million project and will now broaden its reach to local communities for support.

LTC announced the project in April.

“By collaborating with local business and philanthropic organizations to help fund the project, we are able to reduce public funding to the point of not requiring a referendum,” Lanser said. “It allows us to address our local manufacturers’ employment needs more quickly.”

From “Business, education set session” — By Shaun Zinck – The connection between businesses and education is vitally important.

That will be the main theme for the annual Business Education Partnership Summit next month at the Eclipse Center.

The summit is sponsored by the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation (GBEDC), the School District of Beloit, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and Beloit College.

The event will be presented from 7:30 a.m. – noon on Aug. 22 at the Eclipse Center in Beloit.

Rebekah Kowalski, director of Global Solutions for Right Management, will be the keynote speaker and will talk about the “Be Bold 2” initiative.

The “Be Bold” Initiative is a Wisconsin Economic Development Association program designed to study the competitiveness of Wisconsin on the business level. It includes looking at different industries and recommending improvements to the economic development strategies.

The summit’s theme is “Workforce Development – Are You Ready?” Attendees will learn how “collaboration between business and education can build a sustainable, skilled workforce,” a release on the summit said.

Andrew Janke, executive director of the GBEDC, said each year the summit draws 150 to 200 educators and business owners.

“It’s an opportunity to gather the business owners and educators in the area to listen to a topic or topics of mutual interest,” Janke said. “And through interacting they will be able to talk things through and identify issues both sides are having and may develop some solutions.”

In addition to Kowalski presentations will be given on Inspire Wisconsin by James Otterstein. The program is designed to connect employers with students and vice versa.

Susan Dantuma, from Blackhawk Technical College, will talk about the college’s youth apprenticeship programs and Bob Borremans, from the Southern Wisconsin Workforce Development, will talk about the Work Today Program.

Roundtable discussions will return this year after not being on the agenda last year. The topics for the roundtables are still being working out, Janke said.

Janke said attendees in last year’s survey indicated they would like to see the discussion make a come back this year.

“We try to intermix educators and business owners at the tables so there is actual interaction between the two,” he said.

At the end of the summit gift baskets with items donated by local businesses and the School District of Beloit will be raffled off.

The cost is $20 per person or $15 for a group of three or more. For more information or to purchase tickets

From “FVTC students learn tools of trade” — By Larry Avila – GRAND CHUTE — Mark Gedamke left his mark on Fox Valley Technical College.

When he was enrolled in the college’s apprenticeship program, he and some of his classmates assembled a working cascading timer circuit, which is used as a hands-on learning tool and resembles a device used for controlling industrial machinery.

“It was an opportunity to make something that other people could use and get some hands-on learning,” said Gedamke of Waupun, an industrial electrician at International Paper in Fond du Lac. He and his classmates were inspired to make the device when other students suggested it would be helpful to learn how to use and troubleshoot problems on real-world equipment if they had a functioning learning tool.

Apprenticeship programs in Wisconsin received $1.8 million in funds after the Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2013-15 budget into law. The programs have been used by people through the years to learn an assortment of skilled trades from construction to manufacturing, an effort the state wants to continue, said Reggie Newson, secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development, who visited FVTC on Thursday and toured the college’s apprenticeship training areas.

“When we looked at options and policies to train workers in Wisconsin, apprenticeships were one of those tools we wanted to focus on,” Newson said. “It’s a tried and true training program to get on-the-job practical experience and help employers get the workers with the skills they need.”

Newson said the state’s apprenticeship programs had received federal funding, but those dollars were dwindling, which is why the state devoted funds to it.

There are more than 7,000 active apprentices in the state now, including 3,545 in construction and 1,286 in manufacturing. Newson said partnerships between businesses and technical colleges make those programs effective.

“It’s a great way to earn while you learn,” he said. “Apprentices are learning in the classroom but getting real-world experience at the same time.”

Gedamke said his apprenticeship lasted four years but it was time well spent.

“The time was well worth it because I learned so many things through it that I use in my daily work,” he said.

Mike Cattelino, associate dean of FVTC’s manufacturing division, said apprentices spend about 10 percent of their time in the classroom and 90 percent in the field.

That relationship is helpful so the college can adjust training programs based on input from students and employers to ensure skills needed are taught.

“We just play a part in this cycle,” Cattelino said. “As apprentices spend time in the field, it helps us (shape) our education here.”


From “New online option for radiography students” — WAUSAU — Northcentral Technical College, or NTC, in Wausau and Marian University in Fond du Lac have announced a new articulation agreement for radiography graduates. Students graduating from the Radiography Associate Degree program at NTC will be able to seamlessly enter the Radiologic Technology Bachelor Degree program at Marian University with junior status.

“Marian University is thrilled to have formed this relationship with NTC. Giving students options to continue their education is what this is all about,” said Tracy Qualmann, director of enrollment partnerships at Marian University. “This articulation takes into account all the work students completed through their associate degree, coupling that with additional coursework to equate to a bachelor’s degree. We’re all in this together to help craft an educated workforce.”

All of the classes necessary to complete the Radiologic Technology program at Marian can be taken online.

For more information regarding transfer opportunities and to view the transfer guides, visit

From “Findind success after college rooted in the practical” — By Kyle Jones – We understand that college degrees are a necessity when venturing into today’s job market. Though, all degrees are not made equal. The phrase, “a college degree shows employers that you have the ability and capacity to learn,” may be obsolete in the trying times of our troubled economy. It may not be about what you can learn, but what you already know and what you can do.

The Ashland area is surrounded by institutions of higher learning such as Northland College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, The University of Wisconsin-Superior and Michigan Tech University. The question is, when planning for your educational future, what schools and what fields of study are going to be the most prosperous?

Annual placement and graduate follow up reports are in for students who graduated between 2011-2012.

At Michigan Tech, of 1,220 graduates contacted, 896 responded, 662 of them have full-time employment, with students who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree accounting for 564 of those who have full-time jobs. Now, take into account others, a total of 126 people, went on to pursue higher education and are attending a graduate school full-time.

By industry, graduates are reporting that they are finding work in manufacturing and energy/utilities/minerals, with automotive and consulting being tied for third. The lowest being the entertainment industry and contracting.

This type of focus in primary areas of work and industry is to be expected from a technological university, but how are others fairing at different institutes of higher learning?

Over at UW-Superior a total of 500 2011-2012 graduates were contacted, with 370 of them responding. UW-Superior’s numbers show that 75-percent of those contacted are employed and 20-percent are continuing their education. Some of the highest average salaries based on department come from business and economics ($42,401), Math and Computer Science ($40,654) and Natural Sciences ($34,000). Other career paths that fall into the category of arts make a considerably lower average salary – just over $20,000 in some cases.

This theme is not unique to large traditional four-year colleges. What does an associate or technical degree get you?

The Ashland campus of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) surveyed 187 graduates, with 164 responding, 116 are employed and 85 of them are working in fields relative to their training.

On average, graduates from the Ashland campus make $33,408, note that those with an associate degree make considerably more than those with a one-year degree or short-term training. The highest paid fields are those who work in trade and technical professions, allied health and business, with these fields all making at least the campus annual salary average.

At this moment Northland College could not submit their placement reports.

What we’re finding is that it seems, to no surprise, those students studying hard sciences or practical fields of study are graduating and going on to find financially rewarding careers compared to their colleagues who studied disciplines in liberal arts or fine arts.

UW-Superior’s data also shows that 61.3-percent of students are finding jobs in Minnesota, 54-percent in the Duluth/Superior area and 34-percent throughout Wisconsin.

Collectively, this data leads us to believe that students looking for work in the Great Lakes area should focus in areas such as manufacturing, industry, business and healthcare.

From “Employers are picking off skilled students before they graduate” — One of the issues for Pete Rettler and the West Bend campus of Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) is keeping students through the end of their education programs.

The market is so hot for the skills offered that the students are picked off by employers before they graduate. That’s true for the electricity program, and it’s also true for the CNC/Tool and Die Technologies program.

“Demand is so high (for CNC) that we have a hard time keeping them in the program,” Rettler said.

The CNC (computer numerical control) trainees are often hired at the end of the first year of a two-year program, so Rettler, administrator of the campus, has to try to convince the employers that it’s worthwhile to have the students complete the second year, even if they are working at the same time.

There has been a ton of debate and analysis about the “skills gap” in Wisconsin. The major conclusion of the most recent high-level analysis was that a shortage of high-skill jobs in the state’s most dynamic economic clusters is a major strategic concern. Skill shortages in those sectors, like advanced manufacturing, can hold back the growth the state’s economy.

The Be Bold 2 study conducted last year by Competitive Wisconsin and The Manpower Group showed that one in ten jobs in key economic sectors cannot currently be filled. The projection was based on previous trends for retirements and training. These sectors include critical skill areas such as accounting and finance, IT, mechanical engineering, nursing and related fields, and metal manufacturing. Within a decade, their report said, key industries that now account for over 50 percent of Wisconsin’s GDP will be looking for 60,000 more skilled workers than will be available.

By 2016, for example, metal manufacturing will be short 7,100 jobs and nursing 5,200. By 2021, the shortages grow to about 13,000 each.

Conversely, though, if those jobs, call them the tip of the economic spear, can be filled, Wisconsin should be able to move out of the stagnation of the last decade. Rettler would say that is exactly what the MPTC campuses are doing. For instance:

  • Its CNC classes are full, with the students coming right out of high school or being sent there by employers. Wages for graduates range from about $29,000 to $65,000 or more. Not bad for getting started. Not bad compared with what a lot of four-year graduates make out of college. More than 60 students are now enrolled.
  • It offers welding at three of its campuses and also runs a series of 15-week boot camps that include advanced welding and fabrication. Classes are eight hours daily. That should quiet critics who complain about the short supply of welders.
  • It offers a high-tech simulation room where the plastic patients give nursing students a chance to do hands-on work. One of the dummies simulates giving birth. The two-year West Bend nursing graduates have been scoring the highest in the state on licensing exams.
  • Beyond electricity, an addition on the West Bend facility is now home to a broad program in building trades and HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration). Equipment is up to date. Again, the college can’t keep up with the demand as the construction industry picks up steam in the recovery.

Rettler loves showing off the high-end technology at the West Bend campus, which now rivals the headquarters Fond du Lac campus for numbers of students. He knows that if he can get students to just take a tour and learn about the wages available in the market – right now – he has a good chance of landing them for his programs.

He is working on parents and guidance counselors to visit, too, because they often don’t understand the high level of demand and wages for the kinds of skills MPTC offers.

From “Tribune Profile — Taryn Meinholz: She photographs special moments” — Taryn Meinholz has two passions: her 5-year-old daughter, Tenlee, and her photography. Graduating from Middleton High School, Meinholz didn’t have any idea of what she wanted to do from then on. She attended Madison Area Technical College for general computer classes before she decided to move to Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. She became an office manager at a construction and roofing company.

“It was awesome waking up on a lake. It was like being on vacation,” Meinholz said.

But reality set in and she returned home. In 2008, Meinholz welcomed her daughter, Tenlee, to the world. After her daughter’s birth, Meinholz began snapping photos.

“I wanted to capture every moment,” Meinholz said.

When she developed the pictures, Meinholz noticed she had a knack for taking pictures that she wasn’t aware of before. She went ahead and purchased her first Digital Single Lens Reflex (or DSL) camera, a move up from her point and shoot device. She also accepted a job at Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Company in policy services. She enjoyed the job but found it not to be as satisfying as when she first started. If she was going to make any changes and give up time with her daughter, she knew it would have to be for something she really loved doing.

Meinholz was enjoying her new camera so much she decided to enroll in MATC’s photography program. After being on the waiting list for one and half years, Meinholz received her acceptance letter and then hesitated, questioning her willingness to commit to this major endeavor.

With a “if I don’t do it now, I never will” attitude, Meinholz went full speed ahead becoming a full-time student with a part-time job.

“My family and work were very supportive,” Meinholz said. “I committed myself to get through in two years.”

Classes included lighting, Photoshop and editing, as well as video classes among others. Students were required to shadow a professional photographer to execute all the processes that were learned in the classroom, observe the work flow and body language of a professional studio.

Meinholz started taking extended family photos and used friends for school projects. She graduated in 2012 staying true to her two-year timeframe.

“We were the first class to graduate all-digital,” Meinholz said.

Meinholz has learned her camera inside and out, but it is can still be a challenge to be quick in full manual mode.

Blending together all she learned, Meinholz dove head first into the real world of photography and started accepting wedding assignments. An acquaintance trusted her enough to give her the opportunity. With only a mock wedding experience during school, Meinholz’s first actual wedding was very nerve racking. Meinholz brought a fellow student for moral support and picture backup.

“Weddings can be a one-shot opportunity. I can’t tell the bride I missed the first kiss or that my hard drive crashed,” Meinholz said.

All turned out well and with that trust came the confidence to keep going. This year, Meinholz has 13 weddings booked for summer and fall. And she enjoys every minute of it.

“I tell the brides. ‘Don’t be offended, but I’m the boss,’ ” Meinholz said. “Bride’s don’t realize how fast the day goes.”

There is a timeline for the day and expectations of the bride and groom of certain pictures. Family pictures are done right away before everyone goes in different directions. Meinholz recognizes the important parts of the wedding and then she likes to fill in with small unexpected details, and everyone is pleasantly surprised. As time goes on, Meinholz feels more laidback and prepared.

“I don’t stress out. I want it to be fun for the bride and me,” Meinholz said.

Weddings can end up being a 14-hour day taking three hours to upload pictures with six to 10 hours of editing.

“I love to present the end result,” Meinholz said.

Meinholz works out of her home where she rents a farmhouse with her sister. Most of her work is done in natural lighting. Portraits are her favorite whether they are senior pictures or family events.

“I love being able to capture personalities,” Meinholz said.

But she has to remind herself that clients aren’t models.

“Clients don’t know what makes a good picture,” Meinholz said.

As the professional, Meinholz needs to convey what does. Meinholz gets her own picture taken once in a while just to remember what it’s like to be the client.

Meinholz loves taking pictures of children.

“I love having a 2-year-old in a field, and the parents and I are doing all kinds of things for that one smile. It’s very entertaining,” Meinholz said.

Friends are beginning their families and taking photos of newborns also thrills Meinholz. Meinholz continues working part time for Wisconsin Insurance. Acquiring different professional equipment, such as extra lenses, can be a major investment.

“It’s very rewarding. It is so unexpected for me to have this passion and be recognized for it. I would not be here without the support of my family. They take up a lot of my slack, but they love every minute of it. It keeps us close,” Meinholz said.

Most of Meinholz’s free time is spent with her first and favorite photographic subject, her daughter.

From “There’s more than one college plan” — By Dave Saucerman – When I started college, I was repeatedly lied to. Advisers said it was OK not to have a major, asserting that all their programs were created equal and would provide the same opportunities. There was nothing malicious about what they told me — just a friendly reassurance to an anxious freshman.

The truth is that many college degrees don’t carry the weight they used to for employers, a fact that’s too often ignored.

High school graduates continue to flock to four-year universities with the notion that it’s a formula for automatic success, a belief that the University of Wisconsin System is happy to perpetuate. However, since the revelation that UW raised tuition for years despite a huge surplus, it’s become clear that it doesn’t always have the best interest of students in mind.

It’s a growing trend that college programs are set up with the philosophy that students will need to obtain an advanced degree to have any shot at being marketable. This “come for the bachelor’s, stay for the master’s” approach to education only makes sense from the perspective of a university balance sheet. The reality is you end up with a 24-year-old with no real-world experience and crippling student loan debt.

When I finished high school and followed the masses off to college, my former classmate and Appleton resident Ryan Randerson continued working his job at Tom’s Drive-in. It was a questionable decision by traditional standards, but Ryan worked his way into management and, at 20, was able to buy his first home. He’s now enrolled in classes part-time, pursuing a business management degree at Fox Valley Technical College. His employer offers tuition reimbursement based on his academic performance, so Ryan will likely get his college education on the company’s dime.

I’m not suggesting high school grads in general are better off forgoing college for jobs in the food-service industry. College has always and will always have the intangible benefit of introducing students to new ideas, people and experiences. More than anything, college is a place for young adults to discover what it is they’re passionate about. But if your passion is to get a job that will allow you to buy a house and start a family, there are easier ways to do it than dropping $80,000 over four years.


From “New effort to make local daycare centers better” — Northcentral Technical College is offering a new class in the fall called Infant and Toddler Credential and The United Way of Marathon County is giving child care providers a chance to take the class for a discount.

There is scholarship help available with tuition, books, a stipend for tutoring services and even a food stipend.

To take advantage of these scholarship opportunities you can contact Child Care Connection by calling 715-539-9779 or by emailing


From “Medical College of Wisconsin to open summer 2016” — By Katie Hoffman – The Medical College of Wisconsin will open its central Wisconsin campus in 2016, one year after the Green Bay campus opens, the college announced today, and Wausau-area residents could see students working in clinics as soon as 2015.

Officials from the college said the bigger area in central Wisconsin lends itself to more planning time before opening.

The medical school will make its home at Aspirus Wausau Hospital and Northcentral Technical College for administrative and classroom use.

Students from the Milwaukee and Green Bay campuses could complete clinical rotations at the facilities in Green Bay and central Wisconsin before the 2016 central Wisconsin start date. Student clinical work will take place at a variety of facilities in the area, including Ministry Health Care, Marshfield Clinic, Riverview Hospital and Aspirus.

John Raymond Sr., president and CEO of the medical college, said it’s important for local residents to see students in a clinical setting before the Wausau site opens.

“It shows a presence and a commitment to the community,” he said.

Raymond said he expects the first central Wisconsin graduating class to be about 15 to 25 students; they will then go on to complete their residency at a local clinic or hospital. Students will graduate from the three-year program with a general medical degree and are then free to choose a specialty during residency.

“We are trying to create in central Wisconsin destination residencies,” Raymond said. “We would like to have more family residencies, emergency residencies so when students graduate, they will have options to continue right in central Wisconsin.”

The education program addresses the need for providers in underserved communities across Wisconsin and uses a teaching model in which students receive core basic science and clinical experience in the community, teaching with other practitioners and encouraging students to practice in the communities where they train.

Faculty members from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin Marathon County and Northcentral Technical College also will be involved in the college.

Lori Weyers, president of NTC, said the school is excited to partner with the medical college.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to have unique learning experiences with medical college students,” she said.

Medical College officials plan to select a dean for each campus this fall, and advisory boards have been established to guide the programs. Student recruitment will begin in spring 2014.

From “SWTC + Nicolet = UWP” — By Robert Callahan – Proving the hundreds of miles between them is no obstacle, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, UW–Platteville and Nicolet College will join forces per an articulation agreement signed last week.

The three institutions of higher learning will award an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, otherwise known as a University Transfer Liberal Arts degree, to qualifying students.

UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, Southwest Tech President Dr. Duane M. Ford and Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster signed the agreement on the UW–Platteville campus Wednesday morning.

“We are thrilled at this prospect and all the opportunities it provides us,” said UW–Platteville Provost Mittie Nimocks Den Herder as she welcomed those in attendance.

Students earning the University Transfer Liberal Arts degree at Nicolet College will be eligible to have all credits transfer and meet the UW–Platteville general education requirements, with the exception of ethnic and gender studies.

Southwest Tech students will complete a year of coursework through the Fennimore campus and a subsequent year through Nicolet College classes taught online, enabling the student to remain in southwest Wisconsin instead of attending the Nicolet College campus in Rhinelander.

After the completion of the “1+1” program, students are awarded the Transfer Liberal Arts Associates degree. Students who maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in the program will be guaranteed admission to UW–Platteville.

“One of the things that all three of our institutions have in common is we are points of access to higher education in Wisconsin,” said Shields. “Many of our students that come are first-generation college students. Working together with institutions like Nicolet and Southwest Tech is part of our DNA at Platteville.

“This articulation agreement I think expands on the opportunity for us to serve those populations. The ability to get a bachelor’s degree working through our three institutions, staying close to home, gaining access to higher education, is what we are all about.”

In recent years, Ford discovered 125 students, residents of the Southwest Tech district, were pursuing a university Transfer Associates of Arts or Associates of Science degree at a different Wisconsin Technical College or adjoining states’ community college.

“We thought it would be a good idea to arrange for these students to have a local opportunity to complete that degree, and frankly, also serve to serve students who would probably love to follow that same pathway, but simply cannot move,” said Ford.

A discussion between Ford and Burmaster at a higher education conference was the impetus of the freshly signed articulation agreement.

“We are all about creating career pathways, which is really nothing more than pathways for students to follow throughout their life and their career to advance their learning, to get better and better, and to learn more and more competencies, to get more credentials to succeed in their life and their work,” said Ford. “By signing this agreement we are stacking one more path, one more opportunity, on top of the associates degree that we will be doing. Those students will now be able to come directly to UW–Platteville and work toward a bachelor’s degree.

“It works out extremely well for all involved. I think by partnering, by leveraging our resources and our unique missions, we can do much for our citizens without adding costs to the people who support us.”

The goal of the new agreement is to retain qualified southwest Wisconsin candidates who depart the district for other, approved transfer opportunities, such as the 125 students Ford has identified.

“This is all about student success, isn’t it? All three of us, as education leaders, but more importantly, all of the wonderful faculty, staff and administration that put this together,” said Burmaster. “This is very, very good for students. Students of all ages, students with all different educational experiences.”

UW–Platteville has 16 articulation agreements in place in Wisconsin, 15 in Iowa and 48 in Illinois. UW–Platteville recognizes associate degrees from all 13 UW two-year colleges plus Nicolet and the Madison and Milwaukee technical colleges. The Nicolet agreement is now in its 10th year.

More than 500 students on the UW–Platteville campus began their secondary education somewhere else before coming to UW–Platteville. Of those 500, 137 earned associate degrees from one of those 76 two-year colleges of which we have articulation agreements.

Might this most recent collaboration open the door for future partnerships between UW–Platteville, Southwest Tech and Nicolet College?

“It is an interesting thing,” said Shields. “We sometimes get criticized because we don’t have these things going on. When people take a closer look, there is a lot more effort to provide the opportunity to coordinate than is immediately obvious.

“We don’t see ourselves competing, but working together, so there will always be an opportunity.”


From “Chopping it up” — An innovative project in Manitowoc County aims to rev up an interest in manufacturing among young people — helping to propel them toward the technical careers that need skilled people.

The Mini-Chopper program currently operates in four Manitowoc County schools with help from the local Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) and local company sponsors.

Read more in Insight on Manufacturing


From “A Technical Education Champion in our midst” — By Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical CollegeLast Friday evening I attended a very special awards program in Rice Lake, WI.  It was the summer meeting of the trustees from all 16 technical colleges in the state, the District Boards Association.  This association presented its annual TECh Award (technical education champion) to one of our outstanding local partners and good friend of FVTC, Mr. Mike Weller.

It was a pleasure to nominate Mike for this prestigious award.  Mike serves as the President of Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. and ITW North America.  I shared with the audience that evening that I’ve known Mike for 30 years, having first crossed paths with him when he was teaching an evening course for FVTC as an adjunct instructor and I was managing our evening school operations.  So, 30 years ago he was already heavily involved with the College and giving back to his community by sharing his knowledge and experience with students.

Mike’s contributions to technical education and our college have only grown over the years and we greatly value the wonderful working relationship between our organizations.  He is without question a champion for technical education, the career opportunities it offers young people, and the essential role that high-quality post-secondary education and training plays in growing our economy.

Let me share one other really wonderful glimpse into who Mike Weller is.  Mike wasn’t able to attend this awards presentation as he had made a commitment to attend his 3-year old grandson’s birthday party.  Now here’s a leader who has his priorities straight and I’m delighted that he kept his commitment to his grandson.  We were pleased to have Mike’s colleague, Tim Swanson, attend and accept this award on Mike’s behalf.  It was a great opportunity to share this occasion with Tim as he serves on the FVTC Foundation Board of Directors.

On a final note, the TECh Award can be made to an individual or an organization.  In 1997 Miller Electric Mfg. Co. was the recipient of this award.  Now, its leader Mike Weller has been honored by our System’s district boards with this award in 2013.  Both have clearly been technical education champions, our champions, for many years.

From “Apache partners with Moraine College to develop skilled trades” — Moraine Park Technical College in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, is helping to develop skilled worker assets in the area by offering Welding Boot Camps. These Boot Camps are entry-level welding courses with on-site welding practice and supervision at Apache. The Boot Camps are part of the manufacturing skills academies funded by the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation and the Department of Labor TAA CCCT Grant. The program helps build a skilled welder pool for area manufacturers, including Apache.

During the program, students are required to complete eight hours per week of welding practice which is conducted at Apache under supervision of Apache’s welding mentors and floor supervisor as well as the instructor. Apache was proud to host several students last month in the Boot Camp Welding Program.

The on-site hands-on welding at Apache helps the students experience a real manufacturing environment with access to different types of equipment, different shapes and thicknesses of stainless steel and TIG welding processes.

A large part of the tuition is funded by the grant, with a small investment from the student. The student investment is refunded if they are selected for an internship.

With an ASME rated welding team, Apache continually promotes training and education in welding, fabrication and over-all manufacturing.

Founded in 1975, Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation consists of five groups: Large Tanks, Portable Vessels, Contract Manufacturing, Carbon Steel and Mepaco. The Mepaco group manufactures food processing equipment. Apache is an employee-owned company and a subsidiary of Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc.

From “CVTC plans info session on equipment access program” — Area businesses can gain firsthand information about how they can access equipment and development space at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s NanoRite Innovation Center through an upcoming information session.

The session will be held Wednesday, Aug. 14, from 4-5 p.m. at the NanoRite Innovation Center, 2322 Alpine Road in Eau Claire. Participants are asked to RSVP by Aug. 13 at or by calling 715-874-4672.

Businesses can access machining equipment and space at the center for business development or proof-of-concept analysis without displacing their current production equipment. A wide variety of specialized equipment is available, including manufacturing technologies, microscopy and class 100 cleanroom equipment. A complete list of equipment available is at

The information session will include a tour of the center and equipment areas, and the opportunity to learn how the NanoRite Innovation Center can benefit businesses or individual entrepreneurs with their development plans.

Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the larger community. Campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west central Wisconsin. CVTC is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.

From “Donations spur CVTC building project” — by Andrew Dowd – A spurt of donations is pushing forward Chippewa Valley Technical College’s plans for $8 million in renovations and additions to create an Energy Education Center on Eau Claire’s northwest side.

The college was about $1 million away from its private donation goal in spring, but that has been cut in half in recent months.

“We’ve had some significant interest recently,” said Doug Olson, CVTC’s executive director of community relations and facilities.

As gifts to the college’s foundation have helped CVTC get closer to the $2.5 million goal for private investment, Olson gave a general timeline for the project.

Following the Eau Claire City Council’s unanimous support for building plans on Tuesday, Olson said he’s planning to propose the project to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board in November.

Construction would begin in spring 2014 and classes would begin in January 2015, Olson said.

The project consists of a 31,000-square-foot addition and renovations to CVTC’s current 24,000-square-foot Transportation Center, 4000 Campus Road. The council voted 8-0 in favor of the plans with members Kerry Kincaid, Dave Duax and David Strobel absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

It will house current and future classes that have a heavy emphasis on energy-efficient technology including electrical power distribution, heating and cooling systems, civil engineering and even agricultural classes that work with biofuels.

While the classes will teach about “green technology,” the building itself also will abide by those principles.

City Council members Andrew Werthmann and Catherine Emmanuelle both said they are impressed that solar panels on the roof and a geothermal system will help provide energy to the building.

The council inquired if the Energy Education Center means students will have to make more trips to and from CVTC’s main campus at 620 W. Clairemont Ave.

Olson replied that he’s expecting the opposite as students in energy-focused programs will have one building with most of their classes, instead of splitting time between two campuses.

“We’ll probably reduce the number of trips that go back and forth to the Clairemont campus,” he said.

Olson also was pleased to hear Tuesday that the city’s also looking to expand public transit, including to the Energy Education Center.

Proposed modifications to an Eau Claire bus route that will link up with Dunn County’s new intercity service also could pass by CVTC’s West Campus.

In addition to the McDonald’s where the Dunn County and Greyhound buses will stop, the bus route also could include Menards and other businesses on Eau Claire’s northwest side.

A hearing on the bus route will be held in August.

In other business during Tuesday’s council meeting:

  • The final phase of developer Jim Rooney’s Prairie Park project on Eau Claire’s far southeast corner won unanimous approval.

However, a 6-2 vote decided that Rooney must install sidewalks throughout the development, instead of his plan that included a small gap in sidewalks near U.S. 53.

This last phase consists of six eightplex units. Since beginning in 2010, Rooney has already built 11 duplexes, six threeplexes, nine fourplexes and 13 eightplexes. The 33-acre development is along U.S. 53, a half mile south of Interstate 94.

n Eau Claire will again host the U.S. Chainsaw Sculpture Championship on Aug. 8 through 11 in Carson Park.

Since attracting 1,600 spectators in it’s inaugural year, 2011, the event grew to 6,800 last year, according to Larry Doyle, one of the organizers. A crowd of 9,000 is projected for this year’s event.

The council did debate allowing a beer garden during all four days of the event — previously there had just been alcohol allowed on one evening.

A 7-1 vote of the council approved plans to have a small beer garden, which would be fenced off from the rest of the event and attendees cannot bring their drinks outside of it.

And competitors are forbidden to drink any alcohol between midnight and 6 p.m. on days when they’d compete, Doyle said, or they’ll be disqualified.

Werthmann cast the lone dissenting vote, noting that he’s attended the event and likes it, but doesn’t approve of serving alcohol when children are around.


%d bloggers like this: