Hard act to follow for United Way

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by of Insight Publications

United Way kicks off annual campaign with luncheon at Secura

John Bykowski casts a long shadow.

Tim Bergstrom, COO of Bergstrom Automotive, and Tom Riordan, CEO of Neenah Enterprises, kick off the annual Fox Cities United Way campaign during a luncheon at Secura Insurance.

Tim Bergstrom, COO of Bergstrom Automotive, and Tom Riordan, CEO of Neenah Enterprises, kick off the annual Fox Cities United Way campaign during a luncheon at Secura Insurance.

The former CEO of Secura Insurance was known to don outrageous costumes for the musical impersonations he did each year to kick-start the annual United Way campaign.

It may have been one of the most challenging aspects of the job so far for new  President and CEO Dave Gross.

“Every bone and muscle in my body does not want to be up here right now,” says Gross, just as he finished up his best impersonation of country singer Kenny Rogers. “I could not have done it without my beautiful bride.”

As uncomfortable as Gross might have been, the cause is what was important. And if helping United Way set a record of $8.1 million raised during this year’s campaign is the goal, he’s willing to take on a little discomfort.

Gross and his wife Kerry– a vibrant Dolly Parton – were the closing act to the annual United Way launch Tuesday afternoon on the grounds of Secura. Not content with the record amount raised by the 2013 effort, campaign co-chair Tim Bergstrom urged those attending to help set a new record this year.

“We know that one-in-three people in the Fox Cities are touched by the United Way in the Fox Cities,” says Bergstrom, chief operating officers of Bergstrom Automotive. “It is the key people in our companies that will make this a success.”

Bergstrom was joined as host by his co-chair Tim Riordan, CEO of Neenah Enterprises, more commonly known as Neenah Foundry, as well as others involved in the leadership of this year’s United Way campaign.

Perhaps the best pitch for giving came from Dr. Dean Gruner of ThedaCare, who says you should give because it will make you happy and you will live longer.

“There are documented studies that show an 88 percent correlation between giving and happiness,” Gruner says.

For information on United Way’s activities and the 2014 Campaign, go to: http://www.unitedwayfoxcities.org/