Striving to be the place to be

Posted on Aug 1, 2017 :: Editor’s Insights
Margaret LeBrun
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

When you want to impress people, whether it’s to draw them in or keep them interested, you’ve got to do things differently.

In the case of Werner Electric Supply, the company recognized it needed to find a way to attract new employees and keep the ones it has. This became vividly clear with the new 200,000-square-foot facility Werner completed in the spring of 2016, nearly doubling its space. The facility grew to keep up with demand. Leadership knew that key to stepping up production — to justify the new space and be ready for growth — was hiring and keeping people.

“Right now, we’re running just below 8 percent voluntary attrition, which we think is at or better than the market, but our job is to minimize that,” says President Scott Teerlinck.

How is Werner going about this effort to motivate its workforce? Check out our cover story on page 24 to find out.

Drawing people into the New North region, especially millennials and others who might otherwise be drawn to the attractions of major metropolitan areas, has been an ever more urgent goal for employers here. This issue of Insight is full of information about cool new projects designed to do just that.

In “Green Bay rising,” page 39, Senior Associate Editor Sean Johnson writes about how a very different city is emerging as a hot spot for young professionals. 

“It seems like Green Bay is finally turning the corner and coming around,” On Broadway Executive Director Brian Johnson says. “If we are going to attract the talent we need, then we have to look at the amenities that talent is looking for.”

Rising from the earth around Lambeau Field is the Titletown District. At the ribbon-cutting event for Lodge Kohler, which opened mid-July, it was hard to imagine the region’s only four-star hotel, with its Kohler Waters Spa, terrace suites and balcony outside the bar facing Lambeau, did not exist across from the stadium before. Nearby Hinterland Brewery, which opened last spring, offers another authentic Wisconsin experience with brewery tours and its spacious pub.

In the works along south Broadway on the Fox River waterfront in Green Bay is The Shipyard, a $13.5 million development, which will feature an indoor sports and concert venue seating 3,500, plus an outdoor event center with the capacity for twice that number.

New meeting and convention spaces are also under development (see “The places we will meet,” page 35). The Oshkosh Arena, which will be home to the Milwaukee Bucks D-League team, the Wisconsin Herd, is expected to be a big draw not only for basketball but for concerts and other events in the 3,500-seat space.

Then there’s the Barrel Haus, a 6,500-square-foot venue at Badger State Brewing Co. in Green Bay. Recently completed is its outdoor green space, Garden Plaza at Badger State Brewing, which will be available for outdoor weddings, tent parties and tailgates.

The long-awaited Fox Cities Exhibition Center is slated to open late this fall, bringing much-needed convention space to Appleton.

On a much smaller scale is a new business in downtown Appleton that’s creating some buzz. A touch of whimsical activity, the type that turns heads and offers a touch of big-city excitement, is now cruising the streets of downtown Appleton. Social Station, a 15-seat party bicycle, is a pedal tour business run by Chris Burns (see “Chain reaction,” page 47).

“A big narrative to a lot of the conversations in leadership programs was cities like Appleton and Green Bay are losing millennials to more metropolitan areas like Milwaukee,” Burns says. “I had to bring that up because the city is very aware of the fact that we need more things to do.”

The pedal tour is turning heads. And when you’re striving to be the place to be, isn’t that the point?

Margaret LeBrun

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →