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New North Summit: The power of place

By Kris Leonhardt

Pat Ness of CLA listens to a presentation during the June 8 event. CLA was one of the recipients of the 2023 New North Workplace Excellence Award. Kris Leonhardt photo

GREEN BAY – New North Summit — noted as northeast Wisconsin’s largest economic development event — welcomed 600 attendees to this year’s summit held June 8, at Lambeau Field.
The program featured a diverse line-up of presentations highlighting the area’s work in innovation, education, inclusion and commerce under the theme of “Power of Place.”
“New North has successfully launched many initiatives that are making a very positive impact on our region and around the state. But we don’t operate in a vacuum,” stated New North President/CEO Barb LaMue. “We are a very small team, but I am so incredibly proud of our new North family.
“You cannot have a strong region without strong local communities and this is the work that they do day in, day out. To quote an African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’”
In addition to working together, LaMue also spoke on the importance of investing in the community.
“So, I learned a lot of lessons from my grandmother, and she told me once she said, ‘You do good. You get good.’ And, as I was growing up, I really didn’t quite understand what that meant. But, I’ve been blessed in my life to be able to have so many blessings that have rebounded back to me, with our investors. We know every day you do good. You do good in your companies. You do good in the communities that you support. You do good in your churches, you do good supporting other nonprofits. You do that unconditionally, but we hope what you’ve witnessed today too, and working with partners, you’re seeing a return on that investment,” she said.
Speakers included Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary CEO Missy Hughes and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
Several presentations will be highlighted in upcoming editions of the Press Times.

New North Board Co-chair Michelle Schuler provides opening remarks at the New North Summit in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Kris Leonhardt photo

Workplace Excellence Awards
During the event, two companies were recognized with the 2023 New North Workplace Excellence Award — a collaboration between New North Inc. and Keystone Partners.
CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) LLP and Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry were selected from those nominated through a multi-phase evaluation process.
The award recognizes companies that are “improving their competitive advantage through people practices which lead to successful business outcomes.”
Award submissions were evaluated on two criteria: people practices and business practices.
“The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges to the workforce and reignited others, at both CLA and other companies. CLA took the opportunity to study its work environment over time, and it heard a sustained theme clearly from its people,” a New North release stated.
“That theme led to the establishment of the ‘Better Together’ philosophy, the fundamental belief of which is that ‘when we are together, we experience powerful moments that bring meaning and fulfillment to each person within the firm.’ The strategy includes flexibility and choice; rather than closing its offices or requiring employees to be in the office on set days, people were able to make choices based on their own level of comfort, safety and preferences. In doing so, CLA elected not to move to a completely remote workforce in a perceived effort of retention, as many companies did.
“In concert with its people-first mindset, CLA also is dedicated to a best-in-class wellness experience, offering employees a host of benefits, resources and referrals to address any personal or medical issues they or their family may be experiencing.
“As part of the company’s growth strategy, Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry developed a dedicated training center, paired with a bilingual curriculum, to ensure consistent orientation, assimilation and training. A trainer whose only focus was new employees removed this role from in-place production workers, allowing them to concentrate on their primary responsibilities, improving both output and morale. The trainer is able to observe trainees, providing direction and evaluation as they complete work tasks.
“The training center concept is forward-thinking within the foundry industry. WAF brought in leaders from multiple areas of the company – operations, safety and purchasing – to ensure buy-in. Similarly, it implemented modern technology to its hiring process, utilizing geofencing to recruit and target diverse populations.”
To view a copy of New North’s 2022 annual report, visit www.thenewnorth.com/new-north-annual-reports.
See next week’s edition for more summit coverage.

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