Sachin Shivaram’s journey to becoming CEO of Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co. in Manitowoc reads like a piece of fiction. The would-be attorney ended up leading a foundry thanks in part to a book, “Atlas Shrugged.” Reading the novel about the steel industry and the book’s two protagonists “coming together and fighting against bureaucratic sloth,” as Shivaram puts it, changed the trajectory of his career.
Less than a year into his tenure at WAF, Shivaram and the company faced the pandemic and resulting economic slowdown. Putting employees and their health first along with maintaining open communication, Shivaram guided WAF through some tough times before business roared back in late summer. Please see Jessica Thiel’s cover story on WAF starting on page 22.
Heading into the holiday shopping season, there were a lot of questions about how small retailers, who were already hit hard by the pandemic recession, would do. Downtown organizations stepped up, developing creative incentives to attract shoppers and helping small business owners improve their online presence to capture additional revenue. Turn to page 46 to read my Insight Insider looking at the steps organizations have taken to help retailers through the downturn.
Tom Wiltzius saw a problem that needed to be solved — affordable housing for veterans — and pulled together a group to address the issue. That question led Wiltzius and others to research veterans’ housing needs before developing a solution: Wisconsin Veterans Village in Appleton. When the project is completed, veterans will have new housing options, plus access to a community center and an end-of-life facility. Turn to Sharon Verbeten’s For the Love article on page 20 to learn more about this important project.
Last year, we handed out Insight’s Women of Influence in the New North Region Awards for the first time. The awards were a big success, with more than 80 women being nominated and eight women selected to receive awards. I’m happy to say nominations are now open for the 2021 awards. Visit insightonbusiness.com/women to nominate a woman you know or nominate yourself. We will hand out awards in the following categories: Corporate Leader, Business Owner, Mentor, Difference Maker — Nonprofits, Difference Maker — Business Community and Young Influencer. We also may decide to give out special awards depending on the nominations we receive. Nominations close March 15. I can’t wait to read about all the great women in the New North.
An extra dose of Insight
Listen to Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry CEO Sachin Shivaram discuss how the Manitowoc company made it through the first few months of the pandemic.
Shivaram’s interview is just one of many you will find online at insightonbusiness.com/home/cover-story-videos.