Staying on the right path

Posted on Feb 27, 2019 :: Editor , Editor’s Insights
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

In a span of 48 hours in mid-February, two nationally recognized economists visited the Fox Valley, providing some contrasting predictions on the U.S. economy. Brian Beaulieu told guests at Oshkosh’s annual economic breakfast that a recession is coming within the next two to three years and it will be the biggest downturn since the Great Recession. Two days later, Elliot Eisenberg acknowledged to guests at a Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon that the economy is slowing, but a recession doesn’t need to be the necessary outcome. The economy could continue to grow at 1 to 2 percent.

If the recession Beaulieu predicts does come, he says Wisconsin, with its strong manufacturing base, will be able to weather the storm better than some other parts of the country. While we all know about Oshkosh Corp., Kohler Co., Mercury Marine and Sargento, the region is home to countless other manufacturers with strong histories that are poised for continued growth. Wigwam Mills of Sheboygan — the subject of this month’s cover story ­­— is one of those.

Founded in 1905, Wigwam Mills has taken the humble sock to new heights, manufacturing not only its popular wool socks, but also two patented products — one that helps keep the bottom of the foot dry while exercising and another that integrates a liner sock and outer sock knit together as a single garment. Turn to Jessica Thiel’s cover story on page 18 to learn more about how this family-owned business maintains its commitment to making socks right here in Wisconsin.

Retirement is a time when you step away from full-time work, but that’s not the case for David Black, president of Lakeland University in Plymouth. Black, who previously served as the university’s president before moving on to another job and retiring from that in 2012, returned to the school in 2017 as interim president before deciding to jump back into the job fully. In his second run as president, Black has led the university to adopt several innovative educational opportunities. Learn more in this month’s Personalities feature on page 12.

Insight’s 10th annual InDevelopment conference is slated for March 19 in Appleton and provides a place for professionals in commercial and economic development to connect and discuss opportunities. Check out the special insert on the upcoming event that includes information about economic development projects throughout the region. You’re also invited to attend the event in person — you can sign up online at Hope to
see you there.


coming up


The Pitch

TitletownTech in Green Bay is hosting The Pitch, an event where college students present their ideas for new businesses, from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 11. Students share their ideas to a panel of judges, who then choose one idea to win a cash prize and in-kind services. Go to for more information.



The Insight Innovation Award applications are in, and the judges are choosing this year’s winners. Join us at the THINC! event on May 9  at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Valley campus to hear who won. The event includes a speaker who will discuss the importance of innovation in business followed by a networking session. Go to to learn more.

An extra dose of Insight

Listen to Wigwam President and CEO Tom Wheeler talk about how the company has evolved over its 114-year history and its continuing dedication to innovation.

Wheeler’s interview is just one of many you will find online at