7 Rivers Alliance - November 2016 

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Dear Investors and Members,

During the past month, I have had the privilege or travelling to many of our counties and meeting with colleagues to learn about the needs of their communities.  I have come to understand that we have common needs and some are so great that working together is the best and only way to design and implement sustainable solutions.  Building partnerships is our purpose and will continue to be our focus in 2017.  See below for a preview of projects and activities that we have planned for 2017.

The WISE Plan is a great example of our regional partnerships in action.  I am excited about the momentum that we have built.  Now, we move towards the implementation. It will be a quick year ahead and we will keep you briefed on our progress.  See below for more details.

Last week,  we partnered with the River Valley Newspaper Group and held a reception for the 2016 Rising Stars.  While we face a workforce shortage, it is also important to recognize the rock stars in our community.  There is an amazing array of talent in our region.  Click on the link below to read the profiles of these amazing individuals.

What an exciting time in the 7 Rivers Region!  Read on and enjoy the good things that are happening!

Lisa Herr


The month is finally here with our 2016 State of the Region Event! ThImage result for Sold out pnge event will be held at The Court Above Main in Downtown La Crosse. Dane Deutsch will be giving an informative presentation on the rising issue on cyber security and information technology.  Along with this is a presentation by Ron Wirtz regarding the economic conditions of our region, an introduction of the 2016 Rising Stars in the 7 Rivers Region, and the results of our 2016 Executive Survey Results.  This event is sold out but if you would still like to attend please email Emily at to be put on a waiting list. 

After our successful Civic Forum with almost 100 in attendance, we are now moving on to analyzing the data we collected from this forum. There are many different members in the planning team for the SET program including government, education, nonprofit organizations, community foundation, elected officials, and economic community development. Examining the data from our Civic Forum will help us analyze industry clusters and employment trends and determine what industries warrant deeper exploration. We will give an update on the final analysis of this data in Spring of 2017. 

This last week The 7 Rivers Alliance and The River Valley Media group celebrated amazing young talent in our 7 Rivers Region.  Nineteen aspiring leaders in our region had the opportunity to converse with one another and discover what incredible things each are accomplishing in their field.  The talent varied from engineers and attorneys to company presidents and patient care supervisors to so many others.  To read about each individual Rising Star click on the button below!
Click Here To Read The Articles
 New Board Members 
The 7 Rivers Alliance Would like to extend a warm welcome to our new board members! 

Wendy Mihm-Herold has served as the Vice President Business and Community Solutions at Northeast Iowa Community College since 2010. She is accountable for supervision, leadership, coaching, budget, procedures, and policies of 90 direct and indirect staff in the division. Wendy assists with public relations and partnerships with city and county economic developers and businesses on local and state projects and the development of community college partnerships. 

Brian Rotty is the Executive Director of Health Tradition Health Plan at Mayo Clinic Health System and has been for that past 2 years. He is responsible for overall operations, distribution and financial performance of the Mayo-owned health plan.  Brian is also accountable for strategic planning and execution of all aspects of the plan including operations, sales and marketing, underwriting and actuarial, medical management activities and network development. 

Terry Pickett is the Senior Vice President of Quality and Advanced Manufacturing for Ingersoll Rand/ TRANE Commercial. Terry has worked at this organization for the past 35 years and has held a variety of jobs including the North America Chillers and Transport Operations Leader, Director of Operations, and Global AME LEader Climate Solutions Sector. He brings a broad business background from a corporate viewpoint to The 7 Rivers Alliance.  

Mark your calendars for our next ECO DEVO meeting on December 6 from 10:00-12:00 pm at the La Crosse Regional Airport! This meeting will be held at the La Crosse/ Winona Airport.  Clinton Torp, Director at the La Crosse/ Winona Airport, will be discussing his vision and long range plans for the airport along with the surrounding industrial park properties.  To RSVP click on the link below and fill out the short Google Doc.  

 La Crosse and Winona Regional Airport
 2850 Airport Dr, La Crosse, WI 54603
     December 6, 2016               From 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

We are pleased to announce the formation of the Steering Committee to guide the plan.  This group will be responsible for guiding the project and assisting with the selection of consultants.  The Steering Committee will be divided into three workgroups: 

Workforce Preparation, Workforce Recruitment and Workforce Retention.  Each workgroup will be identifying best practices in these areas and working with the consultant to analyze emerging data on gaps in the region.

Thank you to everyone for the nominations we received for the Steering Committee.  We are delighted by the positive response and look forward to working with all of you.

On February 28, 2017, we will be providing an update on our progress with the WISE Plan at the Western Technical College New Directions luncheon.  Save the date!

Meet the 2016 Host!

This event will be hosted at Empire Screen Printing in Onalaska, WI. They employ over 200 employees and have expanded their facilities to over 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Empire Screen Printing is an industry leader in screen printing, flexography, digital printing, doming, and more! Empire is recognized by the State of Wisconsin as a Green Tier Company for their commitment to superior environmental performance. 

To learn about the conference and sign up
Digital Readiness Affects Job Retaining

Job creation has been a central issue in this year’s presidential campaign, particularly how best to increase the number of available higher-paying jobs. This challenge is two-fold. First, federal policies must offer greater support for innovative technology-based sectors where the U.S. can compete effectively in global markets. econd, massive job retraining with significant federal funding will help workers without the necessary skills for employment in growing sectors remain part of an essential middle-class economy.

CLICK HERE to read the rest.  
Iowa STEM Career Videos

This year, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council created a series of Iowa STEM Career videos to educate students on some really cool, successful occupations right here in Iowa.

They are great resources that connect students to potential STEM careers in our state and we hope you share them as you see appropriate.

CLICK HERE to watch the videos. 

Webinar on proposed changes to RLF program

The Economic Development Administration invites you to join an informational webinar on the proposed revisions to regulations for Revolving Loan Funds (“RLF”). This webinar accompanies the Federal Register Notice and intends to generate additional public comment.  EDA will describe the proposed changes and explain both the rationale behind those changes and their potential impact. Existing RLF Recipients are especially encouraged to join.The Webinar will take place on Tuesday, November 15 at 2:00 PM EST. 

To join the webinar, follow this link(rsvp not required):

To join by audio conference:

      - Dial-in: 800-832-0736

      - Conference Room Number:            4130458

Cyber Safety in the Workplace 


As the manufacturing industry continues its transformation from an era of dirty, sweaty assembly lines to one of cutting-edge technology and precision control, it brings along a major new concern: IT security.

Unlike healthcare providers and financial institutions, whose data practices are subject to strict regulation, manufacturers’ data practices aren’t subject to an overarching compliance framework. Accordingly, many  have been slow to recognize the threat, let alone plan for it.
CLICK HERE to read the full story

Iowa Receives $1.8 million Grant to Expand Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities

Today, the United States Department of Labor announced that more than $50 million dollars is being distributed to states to increase access to Registered Apprenticeships. Iowa is one of 36 states to receive grant funding that will result in new registered apprenticeships created in diverse industries, including health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article!
Workplace culture needs to be front of mind when expanding a business

Image result for star tribune images

CEO Blom has had a strategy, that he has used when growing his own business, to keep that start-up culture alive. “You have to remember that everything you do touches everyone you know,” said Blom, whose company ranks No. 1 on the Top Workplaces list of midsize companies. “When the caregiver has this fantastic experience, they tell their clients about it, who then feel even more optimistic about using our services because the client knows we are taking good care of the caregiver.” 

To read the rest of the article CLICK HERE. 
Trends in Retail Space Design 

Here’s a brain teaser: When disruption is the status quo, is it really disruptive any longer?

American retailers have grappled with this question for the past two decades. Facing a litany of challenges, retailers are throwing out everything they thought they knew about their trade. And, because the United States has about 13 billion retail square feet (per Cushman & Wakefield), that has huge implications for the commercial real estate market’s overall health.

It’s no longer enough for retailers to know what their customers buy. They need to know how and where they buy, too — and, irrespective of the answer, what it’ll take for them to buy more.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article!

Invitation to Lunch Meeting With Regional Chamber Executives 
Image result for save the date

Thank you for joining us at our 7 Rivers Region Chamber Executives meeting earlier this year.  At our last meeting, we discussed getting together twice a year to share information. We would like to invite you to a complimentary lunch meeting to share economic development initiatives and discuss current workforce efforts. We will provide an update on the WISE Plan at this meeting.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us:

- Wednesday, December 7th

- 11:30 to 1:30 pm

- La Crosse Chamber of                   Commerce

              601 7th Street North

               La Crosse, Wisconsin

An RSVP to  by November 30th would be greatly appreciated so that we can plan for lunch.

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Copyright © 2015. 7 Rivers Alliance. All rights reserved.

Mailing address:
601 Seventh Street North
Suite 400
La Crosse, WI 54601

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Phone: 608-787-8777
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7 Rivers Alliance · 601 Seventh Street North · La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 · USA

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