Building of the Year
“Nominees in this category will be the physical building that house successful businesses. The criteria in this category will be new construction as well as buildings which have undergone remodeling or refurbishment in 2016 to the extent that the building becomes an attribute to the community.”
The RiverGroup Financial Advisors (First Baptist Church of Osceola)
Accepting Jeanine Sandberg
The First Baptist Church of Osceola, Harry Wild Jones, architect, was built in 1910 and continued as the Baptists’ place of worship until 2006. At that time, Glyn and Cindy Thorman purchased the building and utilized the building as an event center and retail/small office space. Under their ownership, Thormans did extensive work to preserve the building, known then as Cornerstone Square.
The RiverGroup Financial Advisors purchased the building in 2016 and began extensive renovations. Work included architectural design work; demolition, support and renovation to the original structures; construction of six internal offices, conference room, bathroom, work room and kitchen prep space; restoration of the original woodwork, stucco repair, new ceilings and furnishings and exterior repair to the original stone and masonry work, repair of the bell tower and new paint, shingles and landscaping. Original stained glass windows were repurposed as decorative elements. The beautifully designed interior woodwork and attention to craftsmanship detail makes this building truly an Osceola showcase of renovation and pride in our architectural history.
Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year Award
"Individual who stays active in our community after reaching the age of 70 with volunteerism and outstanding commitment to community service."
Many of us know that Wendell owned Osceola Lumber for many years. But there are many things about Wendell that most of us do not know and his generosity is legendary.
Some of the other activities Wendell has been involved with over the years: providing jobs for teenagers and adults through his many businesses; he and his wife, Marcella were foster parents for eight children; he provided free trucking to local businesses; he transported picnic tables as needed; he cut grass at his church; he buys a county fair animal every year; he purchases Christmas gifts to families in need; and he donates large raffle prizes at benefits every year to help raise money for scholarships for Osceola kids.
And we can’t forget his major contribution with his support of the Open Cupboard. He provided a free building for the food shelf for 18 years when they needed a new location, he donated a portion of land where the new food shelf was built last year. Without his generosity, we may not have had a food shelf.
Wendell continues to be a huge asset and unsung hero in our community. Thank you, Wendell!
Educator of the Year Award
"Recognizing the contributions our schools make to our community; this honor goes to an educator who demonstrates outstanding contributions to education and the community."
Peg (aka Crafty) Medcraft and her husband and family moved to Osceola 25 years ago. Peg started teaching at Osceola High School 21 years ago. She is a favorite teacher to every one of her students.
Peg’s contributions to our community are exemplary. She launched the Osceola Empty Bowls in 2000. Students make all the bowls and accept donations and then serve a meal from those bowls. The students have raised over $120,000 for Osceola Open Cupboard and Heifer International (a program that helps families purchase their own livestock). For her efforts, Peg was honored by the CEO of Heifer International last year through a video.
Peg also won WI teacher of the year in 2005 from Phi Delta Kappa and was awarded $10,000 from Wal-Mart and has also received a Kohl Teacher Fellowship. True to her passion for her students, she spent that money the very next day on pottery equipment for the high school.
Peg is presently President of the St. Croix ArtBarn and has been on the programming board for over 10 years.
Peg says her family is the best family in the whole world. They support all her wild ideas and half-finished projects.
Thanks for adopting us as your town, Peg!
Volunteer of the Year
"Individual who has demonstrated outstanding participation and leadership in the Osceola Area Chamber and/or the Osceola Community with selfless contribution of time and effort."
We recognize and show our gratitude to Deb tonight for her work for the Osceola Area Chamber and Main Street on the Osceola Rivertown Trails Coalition members and a Grow Osceola volunteer. The Falls Bluff Loop Trailhead Project would not have gotten completed without Deb. She organized and coordinated over 1500 hours of volunteer time with Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts and the Trails Coalition Members. The Chamber understands how important our quality of life is in attracting people to our town and volunteers helping to develop these trails that are becoming an important asset for Osceola’s future.
However, Deb is also known for her work in other areas: working with special needs children with Crystal Ball Farms and River Valley Therapeutic Riding Center; serving on the Holiday Gala Committee for many years and teaching others as an infant massage instructor.
Under her leadership, Deb and the Osceola Rivertown Trails Coalition were honored with the Wisconsin State Main Street Award in Volunteer Engagement for 2015.
We sure are thankful you moved here from Baltimore, Deb. Thank you!
Ambassador of the Year Award
"An Osceola Area Chamber Ambassador who exemplifies the values of the Chamber- volunteerism, and is outstanding in promoting chamber functions such as member support, Ribbon Cuttings and Social Mixers."
As this year’s outstanding Osceola Chamber ambassador, we chose our Social Media Ambassador, Marcia Dressel, who does an excellent job of capturing other people’s happy moments around town during our Ribbon Cuttings, Customer Service Awards and Business After 5 events with video and photography. There were lots of those events this year!!! She is there recording and editing these fun moments and then posts them for everyone to enjoy.
A lifelong Osceola resident, former Miss Osceola, graduate of Osceola High School, Osceola School District Media Specialist and a supporter for all our five Osceola libraries (yes, we have five libraries!), Marcia knows our community well. Through her dedicated work, we get to know each other and our businesses better.
We truly thank you for time and dedication to the Osceola Chamber/Main Street.
One of the hardest things about running a business is finding the resources you need – be it human resources, financial resources, or educational resources. There's no question you know your product, service or industry but what do you know about running a business or social media, or marketing, or sales? And how has it changed since you last learned it all? Finding good quality (inexpensive) learning resources to keep you at the top of your industry can mean the difference between success and struggle.
A chamber membership is a great investment for your professional and business development as is some time spent absorbing the innovative ideas of others. TED talks are an amazing opportunity to learn (on your schedule) from a few of the brightest minds in our world. Best of all, the talks are free. Here is a list of some of the best TED talks for small business owners:
Got a Wicked Problem? First Let Me Tell You How to Make Toast
This 10-minute video from Tom Wujec presents a basic activity with interesting insights into business teams and processes, asking people to visually represent how they make toast. He discusses how different teams approach the activity from their own center – people, process or technology. The video provides some nice insight into people’s thinking and what they consider to be the most important part of the toast-making process.
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
If you’ve never watched this powerful 20-minute video by Simon Sinek, turn off your email, let your calls go to voicemail, and watch. Now. In it he talks about how people don’t buy your product, they buy the “why” behind what you do. Do you know your why? You’ll be thinking about it after watching this.
How to Make a Splash in Social Media
If you don’t have a lot of time, here’s a 4-minute gem from Alexis Ohanian (Reddit) on becoming a hit in social media. Even though it’s from 2009, it’s still a funny story.
What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
The 20-minute talk from Dan Ariely provides good insight into what satisfies us, and it’s not money. Knowing the secret to inspiring work is something most small business owners understand but if you need an encouraging boost, check this out.
3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Brand
If you think you own your company’s brand, think again. With social media and public access to broad audiences, it’s the customer who controls the brand now. This six and a half minute video by Tim Leberecht reminds us of this and shows us how to gracefully accept it.
Looking Past Limitations
This video isn’t about business, per se, but Caroline Casey’s ability to get past her own limitations are sure to inspire you. It’s worth a watch just to hear about her interesting childhood.
This is Broken Marketing
Genius Seth Godin talks about what works in business and what’s broken, in his unusual, funny way. His commentary will make you look at your business, and customer experience, from a different lens.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and Memberclicks. She’s just a bookishwriter on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere
By Jared Brox for Express Employment Professionals
At 80 million strong, the Millennial generation is the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers. And, with the oldest of the group in their early- to mid-30s, many are beginning to transition into significant leadership roles.
According to the 2014 Hartford Millennial Leadership Survey, 34% of Millennials identify themselves as business leaders, and 59% aspire to be business leaders within the next five years. And there are many factors that point toward this generation being successful in their endeavors.
Data from the Pew Research Center shows that one-third of Millennials have a four-year college degree, making them the most educated generation yet. A relentless drive to learn new skills and stay up to date with the latest developments across a wide range of interests are key characteristics of this generation—and they’re also key characteristics of great leaders.
They’re tech savvy.
The Millennial generation came of age side-by-side with the proliferation of the internet and many other world-uniting advances in technology. They’re social media savvy, vocal proponents of the latest smart tech, and expect their worlds to be “on demand.” In fact, a recent Nielsen study found that Millennials ranked “technology use” as the most defining feature of their generation. They’re innovative thinkers and early adopters, which is an important part of successful leadership.
Forty-three percent of adult Millennials are “non-white,” making them the most racially diverse generation ever (Pew). And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25% speak a language other than English at home. It’s that diversity that will drive many of their decisions, which can help create workplaces that are more inclusive and celebratory of the different points of view every player brings to the table.
They’re purpose driven.
According to the 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 75% of Millennials believe businesses are too focused on their own agendas rather than working to make a difference in society. In fact, the survey also showed that 60% say a sense of purpose is a major reason they chose their current employer. Millennials want to know the work they do is meaningful. As leaders, they will seek to champion purpose-driven initiatives and support more cause-driven policies and procedures.
But, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned
Although there are many encouraging signs the Millennial generation of leaders will be an influential driving force in the business world, making the most of their unique strengths will require learning a few important lessons along the way. Millennial leaders must:
• Be humble
Millennials are a confident generation. And although confidence is an important part of great leadership, the line between confidence and entitlement can be razor thin. There are going to be times when they won’t get what they want and will need to learn how to address it, accept it, and move forward. Additionally, it’s important for Millennials to not only remember that they will fail, but also that it’s okay to ask for help. They can’t be too proud to ask for feedback from older generations or embrace ideas from younger generations—and they must learn to do it earnestly.
• Learn how to listen
Legendary news journalist and interviewer Larry King said it best: “I remind myself every morning—nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” One of the most valuable skills a Millennial leader must master is the ability to listen, and that doesn’t mean simply waiting for their turn to talk. In order to build strong working relationships, it’s vital they learn how to listen with the intent to understand.
• Find a mentor
According to a study by the American Society of Training and Development, 75% of executives said mentoring was directly related to their success. Mentorship is a time-honored tradition and an important part of becoming a well-rounded leader. What better way to learn about the principles of great leadership than from a seasoned veteran who has already survived the journey Millennials are just beginning to take?
• Empower the next generation
Think about some of the clichés that get attached to the Millennial generation—entitled, materialistic, high-maintenance, narcissists … the list goes on and on. If you’re a Millennial, you’ve likely heard them all. But here’s some insight to put it in perspective: older generations have been characterizing subsequent generations the exact same way for decades—just check out this great article on the topic from TheWire.com. Instead of following the same trends, Millennial leaders must make it a point to empower the next generation. Just as they would look to a mentor for guidance, they should also be a mentor to younger rising stars.
Time will tell what the Millennial leaders’ most significant impact on the workforce will be, but there’s plenty of reasons to be positive about the future.
Founded in 1983, Express Employment Professionals is one of the top staffing agencies in North America, with nearly 700 franchises, and winner of the ‘Best of Staffing’ award in client satisfaction for six consecutive years. The Osceola Area Chamber is proud to call them members! They are available for training as well.
Please visit or call their St. Croix Falls office location at 125 North Washington
Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin 54024
(715) 483-2541 for additional information.
10. To top off your summer, head to Wheels and Wings and the Community Fair on Sept.11-13
The Osceola Community Fair offers entertainment for the whole family including rides, live entertainment, and exhibitions featuring everything from Agriculture to Quilts Wheels and Wings is gearing up to be a spectacular event again this year- Car Show, Air Show, and special Skydiving event,Kid Zone and Radar Run make this a big entertainment choice for a Saturday. The traditional Grand Parade is on Sunday.
And there is always Fawn Da Rosa, Franconia Sculpture park, Interstate Park or a Braves game.
And if none of these interest you, we highly recommend you try this: