One of my favorite sayings is, “Make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels.”
It’s hard to quantify the opportunity lost in the 30 years it has taken Appleton to finally approve plans for an exhibition center. Well, OK, someone has probably done the math on dollars lost to cities with existing large expo centers. But the plans unveiled mid-September for the Fox Cities Exhibition Center made such a splash at the public unveiling mid-September that it seems the place will create a ripple effect in economic impact that will soon make up for lost time (see page 42).
The 30,000-square-foot exhibition center, essentially a large open space for booths and displays related to major conferences, will be nestled in the lower elevation of Jones Park. Its green roof will become an outdoor meeting area and public gathering space. The entry, across Lawrence Street behind the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel — with a covered walkway connecting the two buildings — will be a smaller building, at street level. One of the best attributes of the new expo center? It will at last offer an inviting connection between the downtown and the Fox River, with elevators, escalators and staircases.
“It’s been a long time, but I think everyone will come away thinking this has been worth the wait,” Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna told the crowd of business and community members who gathered for the unveiling.
Ground was broken Sept. 29 for the new expo center. Plans are to complete the building by the end of next year. The City of Appleton has pledged to renovate the park and the entire project is sure to be a draw not only for people wearing conference nametags but also wristbands for concerts or sunglasses for catching rays.
As a business owner whose company is involved in events, it’s a breath of fresh air to know that the Fox Cities will soon have its own venue for large conferences. Here at Insight we’re in the throes of planning our Oct. 19-20 Manufacturing First Expo & Conference, which we coordinate with First Business Bank and the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance (see our special section in this issue). It was exciting to be among the first to host a conference in the newly-expanded KI Convention Center in Green Bay in 2015. But competition — and choice — is a good thing.
I had the pleasure of talking with our keynote for Manufacturing First, Mark King, to offer a glimpse as to what he might share the morning of Oct. 20. The president of Adidas North America happens to be a native of Green Bay and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Based in Portland, Ore., for the German-based global athletic brand, King was proud to say his company will soon begin manufacturing some of its apparel in the United States.
In his talk, “The Evolution of Leadership,” King will address what it takes for today’s leaders to inspire their teams to be productive, involved and successful.
“Today’s leader is much more about the environment that he or she creates for people who do the work,” King told me. Check out our story on page 36 for more.
A similar theme shines through in this month’s Face Time feature with retired president of Miller Electric and ITW North America Welding Mike Weller. He talks candidly about the challenges business leaders face before they call him for help through his business, Mike Weller & Associates, and how he coaches them to improve their company culture for greater productivity and profitability (see page 17).
We can always use more tips on how to improve our work and our business. This season’s St. Norbert CEO Breakfast & Strategy Series kicks off with Ashley Prange, president of Au Naturale Cosmetics, Green Bay, who will address, “Millennials in the Workplace” on Nov. 2. See our story on page 20 — and consider registering for all eight talks.
As a sponsor of the series, be sure to look for members of our Insight team. As always, I hope to see you there!