November 2016

Where Economic Vitality Meets Quality of Life

Where Economic Vitality Meets Quality of Life

Portage County, WI

Portage County is centrally located in Wisconsin and offers a unique value proposition to those who live in, work in, and visit the county. As a midsized community with the advantage of infrastructure, connectivity, service and amenities, Portage County is a place where economic vitality meets quality of life.
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Growth, development and wellbeing in Portage County are driven by forward-thinking leadership and a commitment to finding balance between development and sustainability. Unlike many communities and economies across the country, Portage County wasn’t particularly hard hit by the economic recession in 2008, due in large part to the county’s diverse economy.

A Pro-Business Community

A Pro-Business Community

Chippewa County, Wisconsin

Chippewa County, Wisconsin is known for its positive business climate. “We have a stable history of growth and pro-business environment,” says Charlie Walker, President/CEO of The Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation. The EDC is committed to continuing this legacy of business success. “The economic development organization leads the state and we have won many awards in recognition of our innovative programs. We are proud of that.”
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The county also benefits from its location within the pro-business state of Wisconsin. “The manufacturing tax rates continue to drop with the goal to eliminate manufacturing tax rates in Wisconsin. So the business climate continues to improve.” The state has the funds that workers need, even as taxes continue to drop. “Wisconsin’s public pension program is 100 percent funded,” Mr. Walker points out. “That is important – unlike states like Illinois and California that have such a huge deficit. When their employees retire, that could be an automatic tax increase to cover the cost. Wisconsin is totally 100 percent funded.”

The Intersection of Livability and Opportunity

The Intersection of Livability and Opportunity

Oconto County, WI

In the November 2015 issue of Business in Focus, we spoke with Paul Ehrfurth, Oconto County Economic Development Corporation’s executive director. He talked of the area’s tourist and recreational opportunities, its proximity to Green Bay, Wisconsin and of the multiple economic efforts underway. Now, we are back with Mr. Ehrfurth to concentrate more on economic development and to follow up on some of the initiatives that were in place last November.
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In the last article, Paul spoke of a venture with a Canadian company that distributes high-end wood flooring and had a desire to build a plant in Oconto County. Chinese buyers were interested at that point, and Paul was to meet with a state representative to talk about how that project might take advantage of the EB-5 immigrant investor program, which entitles investors to obtain a U.S. visa.

A Culture of Cooperatives and Entrepreneurial Spirit

A Culture of Cooperatives and Entrepreneurial Spirit

Vernon Economic Development Association

Vernon County, Wisconsin is known for its culture of cooperation. Home to a wealth of cooperatives, this can-do community embraces innovation and opportunity while holding on to rural values and neighborly support.
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“It is a very entrepreneurial region,” says Vernon Economic Development Association Executive Director Sue Noble. “People are used to collaborating to get things done. We have a deep history of innovation and cooperation.”

Rural Opportunity

Rural Opportunity

Monroe County Economic Development

Monroe County, Wisconsin serves up an idyllic, rural lifestyle as well as business opportunity. Home to a long list of leading manufacturers, the county has perfected the knack of maintaining a laidback lifestyle while welcoming industry.
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“The quality of life is there just because we are in a rural setting,” says Economic Development Coordinator Steve Peterson. “It is a simpler life. It is safe; it is friendly. There is a real attraction when people come here, whether they are visiting or [moving here]. We are seeing people now who have moved away and are moving back because they missed the area.”

Sharing Marquette County with the World

Sharing Marquette County with the World

Lake Superior Community Partnership

The largest county in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Marquette County serves as a retail and health care hub for the region. As such, Marquette County has all of the services and amenities to support economic growth and a good quality of life.
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“We call it God’s country up here,” noted Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP) Chief Executive Officer Amy Clickner. Clickner acknowledges that the quality of life may not be a perfect fit for everyone, but for those who enjoy the outdoors and nature, Marquette County is the place to be. “With our incredible trail systems, lakes and four seasons, you can do anything from ski, snowmobile or fat tire bike in the winter, to kayak, fish and paddleboard in the summer.”

Northern Treasure

Northern Treasure

Otsego County, MI

Nestled among the lakes and forests of northern Michigan, Otsego County is a rapidly growing community known for its tourism as well as its thriving business opportunities. This northern treasure may be off the beaten track, but it has as much to offer as better-known metropolitan destinations…
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“Often when people think of Michigan they think of Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids,” says Lisa McComb, Executive Director of the Otsego County Economic Alliance. “I think it is important that people recognize that there are thriving, active, beautiful communities where you can really make a great living and have a lower cost of living and an active life without having to be in a larger city.”

Wisconsin, a Pro-Business State

Wisconsin EDC

Since Business in Focus profiled Wisconsin last year, the state has continued to progress along a pro-business path. Chief Executive Magazine ranks Wisconsin 11th on its 2016 Best States for Business list, and 80 percent of business leaders are optimistic about the direction that Wisconsin is headed, according to a WMC annual survey…
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Tax cuts are just one of the recent initiatives that have the business community cheering. Since 2011, state taxes have been slashed by $4.7 billion. The corporate income tax rate is 7.9 percent, but manufacturing and agricultural revenues generated in-state earn a 7.5 percent credit against that 7.9 percent. “So in essence, they are paying virtually nothing on the income they are generating from their operations in the state,” says Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). “That has been a big, big part of what we are doing in the state. It is something that reaches a lot of the companies.”

Connected to the World

Connected to the World

Juneau County, WI

Juneau County is located in the state of Wisconsin, just thirty minutes north of the famous Wisconsin Dells area with its scenic glacier-created gorge. Situated three hours from Minneapolis and three and a half hours from Chicago, this well-positioned piece of paradise has the most beautiful landscape filled with bluffs, forests, prairies and lakes.
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With lots of small town appeal and a population of 26,000, Juneau County’s rural setting is the perfect place for reconnecting with nature while remaining connected to the rest of the world.

Cutting-Edge Medicine, Advanced Manufacturing and Dairyfest

Cutting-Edge Medicine, Advanced Manufacturing and Dairyfest

Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Like many communities in the rural parts of the Midwest, Marshfield, Wisconsin is well-known for agriculture, particularly dairy. Marshfield boosters, however, make it clear that their region has a lot more to offer than just agricultural products.
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“We would like to make people aware of the opportunities that are available here in the Marshfield area. This is not just a small rural community only involved in natural resources and farming. There is so much more going on in this area,” says Scott Larson, Executive Director of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Rich in Potential and Primed for Opportunity

Rich in Potential and Primed for Opportunity

Simpson County, MS

Located in south-central Mississippi, Simpson County is full of potential and is primed for development. With the advantages of location, spectacular assets and a great quality of life, Simpson County, through the efforts of entities like the Simpson County Development Foundation (SCDF), is marketing, promoting and capitalizing on its untapped potential.
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Simpson County’s great standard of life and wellbeing makes it a great place to be for residents and businesses alike, and the SCDF is working hard to help people make dreams a reality. Residents and visitors can hunt, fish, boat, canoe, hike and enjoy the area’s scenic nature, bountiful trails and meandering rivers and lakes of the county’s quaint and inviting charm.

Find Yourself in Bruce County

Find Yourself in Bruce County

Bruce County, Ontario

Ontario’s Bruce County is a little bit of heaven on earth and is home to numerous conservation areas and national and provincial parks including Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park, Sauble Fall Provincial Park and many others. The area is perhaps most famous for the Bruce Peninsula and the Bruce Trail that follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment for approximately 900 kilometres and is one of the thirteen United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Biosphere Reserves in Canada.
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With its countless streams, rivers, forests, rock formations, hiking trails and beaches encompassing almost four thousand square kilometres, Bruce County is a must-see, four-season destination for visitors from across Canada and the world.

Healthcare Close to Home

Healthcare Close to Home

Paris Regional Medical Center

Ninety miles from the urban density of Dallas, Texas lies Paris, a midsize town of some 25,000 souls at the nexus of the old railroad and the Red River that divides the lone-star state from neighboring Oklahoma. At the heart of this down-home community immortalized in Wim Wender’s film of the same name is the Paris Regional Medical Center.
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The Center’s CEO Patti Monczewski was quick to ‘humble brag’ about her town’s illustrious past. “Paris has a very interesting history. Back at the early 1900s, Paris would have been the Dallas of the time. Then fire destroyed the community over a hundred years ago.”

A Better Consumer Health Experience Begins with a Good Total Business Model

A Better Consumer Health Experience Begins with a Good Total Business Model

Concentrix Corporation

The healthcare industry continues to grow and face new challenges, creating an ongoing need for innovative, up-to-date solutions that drive down administrative costs while improving medical loss ratios. Global healthcare spend already makes up 10.6 percent of the gross domestic product and this spend is forecast to grow more than 5 percent annually as the number of people aged 60 and above rises from 12 percent of the population in 2013 to 21 percent in 2050. To meet the increasing demands, the industry must integrate new technology solutions to improve efficiency and develop new delivery models…
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Concentrix Health Practice’s team of 5000 healthcare specialists and subject matter experts are ready to support the industry as it makes these adjustments. This team of healthcare experts offers end-to-end health plan services and consulting throughout the member lifecycle for all plan types, both commercial and government. By working closely with clients, the team is able to enhance member experiences and earn brand loyalty from customers while slashing administrative and medical costs.

Innovative Healthcare Solutions

Innovative Healthcare Solutions

Canadian Hospital Specialties

Hailing from Oakville, Ontario, Canadian Hospital Specialties (CHS) is a premier supplier of medical and surgical products including patient care trays, specialty IV extension sets and other tubing products as well as neonatal, intravenous, anaesthesia, critical care and operating room supplies. We spoke with Director-Brand Development MedRx Vince Morelli, Executive Vice President-Sales Gary Enns and Chief Executive Officer Mike Canzoneri to learn more…
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Henry Enns was a Winnipeg farm boy who moved from Winnipeg to Toronto back in the early fifties with hopes of a job in sales. He wound up in the medical device industry.

Pioneering the Future of Hemp

Pioneering the Future of Hemp

CV Sciences

For decades, the health benefits of hemp products have been known. Hemp has long been recognized for its nutritional value, but in recent years, the plant has taken on an estimated 25,000 new uses. Today, hemp has been developed into food, textiles, fuels and more. With the emergence of new research and technology, the potential of hemp has evolved tremendously, and CV Sciences has been at the forefront of this hemp revolution.
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San Diego-based CV Sciences is trailblazing a new era for hemp with CBD products. CBD is a dietary supplement made with cannabinoid oil derived from agricultural hemp. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid, one of over one hundred cannabinoids that is found in agricultural hemp. CBD is distinctly different to marijuana and even medical cannabis, in that it is required to contain no more than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which means it is non-psychotoxic and will not induce any type of euphoria. For decades, many have sought out CBD for its benefits to both human and animal health, but the demand for CBD has expanded greatly in recent years.

Growing a Positive Culture

Growing a Positive Culture

Euflora Cannabis Dispensary

When we last spoke with Jamie Perino, owner of Euflora Cannabis Dispensary, she talked about the ins and outs of the newly legalized marijuana and the state of the industry. A lot has changed since then, and we are pleased to report that Euflora now possesses its own greenhouse. The cynics of legalizing the recreational drug have largely become a thing of the past, and the industry is evolving into new holistic directions.
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“We now have a greenhouse, which is running at full capacity. We can supply all of our stores with our own product, which is pretty exciting because we are able to go through our own quality control and grow strains that all of our customers are clamoring for,” says Jamie. Despite this, Euflora still buys wholesale because it sells so much product. Business is not just good; it is great.

Working Together for a Stronger Community

Working Together for a Stronger Community

Franklin County, MA

With its population of 72,000, Franklin County is the most rural county in Massachusetts. Located within a two-hour drive from Boston and three and a half from New York City, it consists of twenty-six small towns, many of which have fewer than one thousand residents. However, what it lacks in population, it certainly makes up for in innovative entrepreneurial spirit and the support and strength of a community that continues to grow and reinvent itself.
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Franklin County is a scenic mix of hills, valleys, forests and fields. Most of its population lives in the beautiful agriculturally-fertile Connecticut River Valley area, where New England’s largest river – the Connecticut – flows. Its commercial centre and county seat is in the town of Greenfield (population: 18,000).

The New Face of Organized Labour

The New Face of Organized Labour

LiUNA

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!) is the fastest growing union of construction workers, waste management workers, show service workers and healthcare workers in Canada. The organization boasts more than half a million members across North America, united through collective bargaining agreements to help secure better pay, better benefits, better pensions, and better opportunities.
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LiUNA prides itself on being a progressive union that is forging new ground for a new era of organized labour. “The reputation of [unions in] the past has been only as advocates for their members’ wages,” says Joseph S. Mancinelli, LiUNA’s International Vice President and Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Canada. “Unions are viewed in general as advocates for increasing wages for their membership and achieving this through egregious methods, maybe strikes and conflicts. But the world has changed. It has changed dramatically. Unions are no longer advocates only for our members’ wages. Certainly we do make sure they continue to make a good standard of living—that has not changed. But we are far more than that.”

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