A Word from the CEO

Benjamin Franklin is credited with first coining the phrase “Time is money.”

Old Ben was a pretty wise sage who understood the value of time, which is without a doubt the most valuable asset entrepreneurs — and all of us — have.

But there is a difference between the clock ticking and dollars. There is really no cap on how much money you can have or make. The unlimited potential exists for everyone.

Time, however, is the same for everyone, whether you’re an unemployed person living on the streets or Bill Gates. You can’t create any more of it, and the constraints are equal. Probably the biggest difference between those with lots of money and those without is how to get the greatest return on their time.

I’ve often heard that few people at the end of their life — if given the gift of more time — would want to spend it working. The priceless moments of our life are those spent with family and loved ones or doing something that enriches us as a person. Yet entrepreneurs, executives and almost everyone I know struggles with the expectation and the reality that we are all working longer hours and trying to do more with less.

If you’re a numbers-driven person, you can actually compute the value of your time. We all have 8,766 hours in a year. The easy math is to subtract eight hours a day or 2,922 hours a year for sleeping, 2,922 hours a year for other activities and 2,922 hours a year for working.

Of course many of us work far more than eight hours a day and don’t get nearly eight hours of sleep. You also need to subtract vacation, sick time, etc. So accounting for these variables, figure out how many hours you actually work per year. Take your annual earnings and divide it by the work hours. That’s the value of your time per hour.

Now look at some of the tasks that you do. Are they all worth the value of your time? You can make more money by either getting rid of the task or having someone else who makes less than you do it. Figure out a few of these and you’ll be rolling in the money, right?

But of course life is not just about money. I know there are tasks that I do at the 7 Rivers Alliance or at my winery/bed and breakfast/farm that would be considered menial. But I also enjoy those tasks, which helps provide some personal balance. We can be as efficient and productive as we want to, but we’re not robots.

I am going to set at least one attainable goal that will provide me with more time. A little less time spent on social media reading strangers’ thoughts on politics would be more productive time for something else. It will also have a positive impact it will have on my blood pressure will make me healthier and wiser for 2019.

Wealthier would be icing on the cake.


Chris Hardie, CEO

2019 Membership 
Haven't renewed your membership with the 7 Rivers Alliance yet?
What are you waiting for!

The 7 Rivers Alliance is excited to start planning another year full of events, research, and collaboration with local businesses and leaders. We will continue to collect 2019 membership forms through January!

There are several different levels of membership for you or your business to chose from, depending on the benefits you wish to receive from our organization. Membership allows for increased promotional efforts, sponsorship opportunities, and networking with other businesses in the 7 rivers region. 

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, or if you wish to learn more about how to join the 7 Rivers Alliance, please reach out to us at or visit our website at 
We look forward to having you on our team!
Certified Sites Program
The application period of the 2019 iteration of the certified sites program is set from January 14th to February 15th 2019. Click below to learn more about the program!
Click here for requirements
Community Partnership Meeting
Chris Hardie, 7 Rivers Alliance CEO, joined teachers, administrators, parents and other business partners who attended a a Community Partnership meeting at Independence High School on December 7th.

 The meeting was a discussion about what the district is doing to prepare students for the workforce and featured input from local business partners and the 7 Rivers Alliance. 

Among those attending were Ashley Furniture, Riverland Energy Cooperative, Whitehall Specialties, Independence State Bank, Western Technical College and other local businesses.
Upcoming Events for 2019
There are many new and exciting events coming up this year with the 7 Rivers Alliance! In March, we will be presenting a Childcare Summit that looks to address the current challenge of accessible and affordable childcare in our region. Look out for more information on that soon!

Later in the year, we look to have both a Housing and Transportation Summit as well. Both of these events will also address current issues we see having an effect on our region. 
Inspire Update

The Inspire 7 Rivers team has taken initiative to grow its network of employers and students. Inspire is a way to link together education and industry to help students and job seekers achieve their goals and address communities’ workforce development needs. Inspire 7 Rivers is launched in school districts within Black River Falls, Holmen, Tomah, Hillsboro and Blair-Taylor, and over the next three years, the program will expand to include school districts throughout the entire 7 Rivers Region.

The Inspire program is now up to over 100 employers and 80 coaches that collaborate with over 1,000 active students in the area.

 Our team continues to communicate about the benefits of the program to local organizations. We are currently working on creating a more effective, user friendly registration process for employers to join. If you or any employer is interested in learning more please email Jeff at
Regional News
Nine state businesses win 2018 MARKETPLACE Governor's Awards

Top minority, woman and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses were recognized for their success at 37th annual MARKETPLACE conference

Nine Wisconsin businesses received top honors in the 2018 MARKETPLACE Governor’s Awards competition, which recognizes outstanding businesses owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

More than 600 people attended MARKETPLACE 2018 and the Wisconsin Small Business Academy, a companion event for new businesses and entrepreneurs. The 5th annual Small Business Academy featured opening remarks by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch followed by workshops and roundtables covering business financing, marketing and operations.

Read More

New Privacy and Data Security Guide Published for 2019 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has partnered with Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty to publish “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security 2019.”

This privacy guide is intended to inform businesses of legal issues related to privacy and data security. Written for non-lawyers, this is the fourth time Gray Plant Mooty and DEED have collaborated to publish and distribute the privacy guide.

“Privacy and data security continue to be evolving issues for businesses both here in Minnesota and across the country,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “DEED’s partnership with Gray Plant Mooty allows us to develop guidance that business owners can use to ensure they are following best practices.”

Learn More


The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board awarded tax benefits to three companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 218 jobs and will result in more than $76 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding for two startups. The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Ankeny, Cedar Rapids, Pella and West Des Moines. 

Read More
Made in America: An Outlook for Manufacturing in the U.S.

As changing U.S. trade policies continue to dominate headlines and discussion, many have examined how policy shifts will impact manufacturing, both at home and for our partners overseas. However, it’s also critical to look at the reverse — how U.S. manufacturing has impacted the policies our leaders put forward. When we do, it’s clear that the production, distribution, and consumption of goods within the U.S. have directly affected trade policy.

Trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. It is governed by a complex framework of obligations embodied in 14 free-trade agreements with 20 countries, the World Trade Organization, and other aspects of international law.

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Western Receives $95,000 Grant From Wisconsin DWD

Western Technical College was recently named the recipient of a $95,571 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Fast Forward Funds.

The grant, which runs until June of 2020, helps establish a three-credit Certified Nurse Aid (CNA) certification course for high school students in five area school districts. Six cohorts of 13 students each will be provided 126 hours of instruction, including 42 hours of hands-on clinical training and learning skills necessary to pass the Nursing Assistant Registry Exam. In total, the grant hopes to train 78 students.

“Given our area’s struggle to find and retain workers in the CNA field, this grant is highly important,” said Joan Miksis, associate dean for Health and Public Safety at Western. “Getting these high school students interested in healthcare earlier will help offset the shortage we are seeing in our region.”  

Read More
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7 Rivers Alliance · 601 7th Street N #400 · La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 · USA

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