One of the reasons I love my job is that I learn something new every time I write an article. I know that may sound far-fetched, but it’s true. I learn about companies across the New North and what they do (I am completely blown away by just how many products are made right here!), meet interesting people along the way and get to know more about different industries.
When working on the cover story for the August issue of Insight on Cherney Microbiology, all three of those things came together. First, I got to meet Debra Cherney, an engaging microbiologist turned entrepreneur who freely shares the good and the bad about being an entrepreneur. (“It’s a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it.” When walking with Debra around the lab at Cherney in Green Bay, I was excited about biology for the first time since high school. I couldn’t wait to see what was growing in the different Petri dishes and learn about the different processes that led to the E.coli or salmonella growing.
Cherney Microbiology is the kind of company that economic development leaders rave about. While large manufacturers in the region – Kimberly-Clark, Bemis and Oshkosh Truck just to name a few – employ thousands, it’s little companies like Cherney that are actually adding jobs. Since forming her company more than 20 years ago in the Green Bay business incubator, Cherney now employs 45 and plans on adding many more once her expansion project is complete next year. It’s a cliché I know, but small businesses are the ones helping the economy grow.
Finally, the visit to Cherney opened my eyes to an entire industry I knew nothing about. While I pay attention every time a food recall is announced and check my kitchen to make sure I don’t have the product, I never really thought about the food testing industry. I thought companies all had their own testing departments or maybe there was some government agency somewhere that handled the testing. I was wrong – it’s companies like Cherney that play an integral role in keeping our food supply safe.
As for me, I look to hear more about Cherney Microbiology in the future as the company continues to grow.
–By MaryBeth Matzek