President Jeff Wrobel called the annual meeting to order in the Radisson Hotel Ballroom, welcoming a crowd of more than 200 and thanked them for their continuing support.
President Wrobel summarized major LADCO projects and events taking place over the past year. He touched on topics such as the Industry Appreciation Breakfast, LADCO’s nomination of L.B. White for the Flowers Family Foundation Wisconsin Business Achievement (WBA) Award, a successful 60th Economic Forum, the WISE effort, work with TUMMA, and continued involvement with the Synergy Discussion. President Wrobel then turned it over to Executive Director Hill.
Executive Director Jim Hill continued with the recognition of this year’s “leaders of tomorrow,” top students who were invited to be a part of the day’s events, an idea conceived during an Executive Committee meeting by Bob Brown. Centurylink and Coulee Bank sponsored the students from the three local institutions of higher education to attend the event. The invited students were: McKayla Haldorson and Laurel Burns from Western Technical College, Jennifer Day and Alexander Shaker from Viterbo University, and Alexis Baldowin and Andy Schroeder from UW-L.
Jim Hill then gave his Executive Director’s report, revisiting the numerous economic strides taken in the La Crosse Area this past year. He mentioned a major initiative in our region, the WISE Project, and TUMMA’s involvement in WISE and its efforts in bringing attention to Community Ventures of Michigan, now being looked at by corresponding employment and state agencies here. Director Hill also touched on topics such as the Economic Forum, the Flowers Foundation Award garnered by L.B. White, and now three fully vetted Gold Shovel Industrial sites in Holmen, West Salem, and La Crosse. Overall, it was an interesting and dynamic year for LADCO and the La Crosse Area.
After Jim Hill’s report, LADCO’s top awards were conferred. President Wrobel presented the President’s Award to Clinton Torp, La Crosse Regional Airport Director. He thanked the community for their continued support, and looked forward to continuing the support of the local economy. Next, Dr. Rick Artman, and Dr. Lee Rasch, retiring from Viterbo University and Western Technical College, respectively, received the Distinguished Service Awards for their long term devotion and wide ranging contributions to the development of the area economy.
Finally, Mr. Mike McKinley. McKinley spoke on the topic of “Transforming Today’s Challenges into Tomorrow’s Business.” He shared stories about his mother and father, where he learned both about life and hard work. Mike emphasized important aspects of attracting and retaining employees, such as focusing on strengths, engaging leadership through the entire process, fixing the issues driving people away, and using evaluation practices effectively to teach responsibility, accountability, and discipline. Mike McKinley concluded with three lessons for life; to learn, help, and laugh.