News Briefs
July 2000

Facilitator Training – August 24

Have you ever been in a meeting that never seemed to accomplish its stated purpose, or that went on and on without an end, or that became a soapbox for one member of the group?  I imagine you have been in each of these meetings and have recalled even more examples.

Facilitators have become a valuable organizational resource as team work, project teams, and multiple meetings have become the norm.  Facilitators are assigned the responsibility for managing the process of the meetings.   They don’t get embroiled in the content of the meeting.  However, their role ensures that the content of the meeting is handled effectively and efficiently.   Facilitators assist in the development of agendas, in the management of the decision making processes during meeting, and in the management of discussions.

The August 24 Forum training workshop, led by Dale Feinauer – UW Oshkosh faculty of human resource management, is designed to provide your personnel with an understanding of the role and experience with techniques and tools for effective facilitation.  The Forum provides this training to ensure that we have trained facilitators to manage our program and peer group discussions and that you, our members and sponsors, have trained facilitators for your needs.

This would be a good time to identify those individuals you would like to have trained.  Angie will provide you the agenda and request your registrations about two weeks before the session.  If you would like further information prior to that time, please contact Angie at 424-1541.

Successors Group

This group has been meeting on a monthly basis to discuss current interests and concerns, learn about topics of interest, tour host businesses, and build a strong networking group.  In June the group met at Marion Body Works in Marion, Wisconsin.  The meeting included a discussion of how each business handles communications with specific sample documents and a tour of the business.

The group is taking a break in July and will meet in August at Meyer Services, Inc. in Appleton.

The Successors group is composed of about 15 people who consider themselves to be the successor generation.  The group includes current presidents as well as next generation individuals who are either leaders “in training” or  “in the wings”.

If other successor generation members of Forum businesses are interested in joining this group, contact the Sue, 424-2257, for information about upcoming meetings.

Defining Corporate Culture for Competitive Advantage – September 27

On September 27, you will want to be in a front row seat to hear this highly relevant family business story and to learn how to modify their strategy for your business.

Barbara Gannon will lead this program focused on how Sargento Food Inc.’s family and business developed their corporate culture.

Barb is Vice President – Corporate & Marketing Communications for Sargento Foods, Inc., a $400 million international marketer of value-added cheese and related products.  She has 20 years experience in communication for the food industry and is currently responsible for corporate public relations, public policy, charitable contributions, consumer affairs and the company’s corporate culture, which they believe gives the company a competitive advantage.

The Forum will welcome family businesses that are interested in membership as guests at this program.

1st Annual Golf Outing

On June 16, we held our 1st Annual Golf Outing and Steak Fry at the Mascoutin Golf and Supper Club.  Twenty-five golfers played a scramble and five others joined them for the steak and fish fry that followed.

The Outing was declared a success by all who attended.  Not only did we have a beautiful window of sunshine during that very rainy week, but the golfers had a wonderful time getting better acquainted and discovering things they have in common.

Awards for achievements went to Joe Heitzmann for the longest putt, Lyle Reigel for the longest drive, and Group 5 – Dan Fox, Dan Meyer, Sandy Schaub, Jim Neumann, and Gary Gostas for best score for the nine holes, 3 under par.

Thanks to Lori Phillippi who proposed the golf outing to the Board and to Lori and Burk Tower for planning and coordinating the event.

Members in Print

During the months of May and June, our director, Sue Schierstedt, was contacted by three publications requesting family business contacts for articles.  After contacting members who fit the requested profile, we were able to provide contacts to 5 members and 2 sponsors.

If you haven’t already read the articles, you might want to pick up the June issue of Corporate Report Wisconsin that includes profiles of Badger Mining Corporation and Hayes Manufacturing.
During June, the Post-Crescent Inc. section included interviews with David Plank, Joe Verhagen, and Lyle Reigel.  The Fall issue of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Context magazine will include comments from Dan Thome of Grant Thornton and Mickey Noone of First National Bank -- Fox Valley.

We are always pleased to be the contact point for area press.  We are happy to provide them family business data and to give our Forum partners publicity.

Electronic Discussion Group

Have you ever had a family business question that you wanted to ask for an immediate response?  Or, did you ever want to find out how other family business owners handled a specific situation?  Have you ever wanted to find out whom to call for a problem that all family businesses experience?

The Forum’s Electronic Discussion Group could be the answer to all of these questions.

The Electronic Discussion Group was kicked off on June 9th with 20 Forum participants enrolled.  During the first few weeks, we have had some discussion about corporate debt levels, next generation leadership, conflict resolution, valuing minority shares, and family councils.  Questions have been posed and comments and answers have been posted.  To date, all the discussion has been posted anonymously by the participants.

This Forum service will continue to gain value as a reliable resource as more Forum members and sponsors become active participants.  If you are already a part of the group, please log on at least 4 times a week to check in on the discussions and leave your questions and comments.

If you are not yet part of the group, send an e-mail to and request to be added to the group.  You will receive acknowledgment of your request and initial instructions.  The system is easy to use for anyone who has used the Internet and e-mail.  You don’t have to be a computer expert.

On-line Database Resources

Need information on a particular topic?  Want some basic data?  Don’t want to leave your office to get it?

BadgerLink is a state program that provides Web access to most databases that have traditionally been restricted to the campus community including regional/national newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal) and general/business databases (with a large amount of full-text available).  To access BadgerLink, use the following URL:

The UW Oshkosh Polk Library has an on-line catalog that can be accessed from your offices via the Internet.  The library also has on-line databases that might be valuable to you.  Some of the databases are available to you via the Internet, while the majority must be accessed from on campus due to the nature of the license agreements.  As a Wisconsin resident over the age of 18, you are eligible to apply for a guest library card that provides basic circulation privileges.

If you would like the Forum to arrange a demonstration of this system and other campus library resources, contact Sue Schierstedt, 424-2257 or

Trade Associations

We have been talking to Wisconsin trade associations about allying with us to provide resources for their family business members and members for the Forum.   We have had some initial interest from the association contacts as several have identified family businesses as an area they must address.

If your trade association might be interested in developing such an alliance with us, contact Sue at 424-2257, with the name, address and phone number of the trade association and its director.
This is a potential win/win opportunity for your association and for the Forum.

Tips & More for Successful Family Businesses

1. Myths abound about family business because so little has been researched and written about it       until now.
2. Job security, personal satisfaction and personal growth are the three principal reasons family members enter the family business according to a recent study.
3. The average number of family members in the family business is three according to the same study.
4. More daughters are entering the family business.  They are doing well, but the beginnings are more difficult.  Male partiality still exists even in the family business.
5. The best changes in the family business are evolutionary.  Revolutionary changes rarely succeed.
6. The real test is not whether you can state the news clearly, but whether the employees can play the information back to you clearly -- do they hear and understand?
7. News, especially about succession of a family member, needs to be communicated to suppliers, customers and branch offices as well as the employees.
8. Working in the business with a non-family mentor can be a positive situation.
9. Provide new family business members with a good orientation.  Don’t expect them to absorb everything on their own.
10. It takes a while to see results.  The more pressure you put on family members for positive performance, the longer it will take.  Don’t expect wonders.

                                                                Excerpt from Mike Henning’s Family Firm Advisor,
                                                                                                                    Vol. 12, Issue 1

Reciprocity Program

The reciprocity agreement with UW-Madison’s Family Business Center and Marquette University’s Center for Family Business allows you, our members, to attend programs at the other centers for a minimal additional fee as part of your membership in the Wisconsin Family Business Forum.

If you are planning to be in Madison or Milwaukee on business, check out the program listing on our web site at Perhaps you will find a program to attend while you are there.  Contact Sue for registration information.

Program Calendar

The dates and speakers are now confirmed for the 2000-2001 program year.  Please be sure that everyone reserves these dates on his or her calendar.

Thanks to the members of the Program Committee for another fabulous job of identifying topics and speakers.  This year’s programs offer you topics to meet your indicated interests and the opportunity for learning and networking with other family business owners and managers.

Date/Time Topic/Event  Presenter(s)
July 27  Successors Group Meyer Services Inc.
Aug 24  Facilitation Training Dale Feinauer

UW Oshkosh

Sep 27  Defining Corporate Culture for Competitive Advantage  Barbara Gannon, VP – Corporate and Marketing Communications 

Sargento Foods Inc.

Oct 24 Sustaining the Family Business, an Insiders Guide to Managing Across Generations Marshall Paisner, Chairman, 

ScrubaDub Car Centers, Inc.

Dec 6 Conflict Resolution in the Family Business Bud Simpson,
Marion Body Works
Jan 25 Transitioning Out of the Company Sponsors
Mar 14 Practice Dying Until You Get It Right!, a successor’s survival kit Bonnie Brown, Transition Dynamics, Inc.
May TBA Annual Banquet: a Family Heritage Don Schneider,
Schneider International


Vol. 4 No. 1 New Briefs © 2000
Wisconsin Family Business Forum
Editor: Susan Schierstedt
Phone: (920) 424-2257
UW Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901

Proud sponsors of the Wisconsin Family Business Forum:

First National Bank – Fox Valley has a competitive advantage of developing strong, close customer relationships, especially in the niche of family owned businesses.  Thanks to a dedicated staff, FNB has completed its 113th year of providing financial services to the people and businesses of the Fox Valley.

Grant Thornton LLP is an international accounting and management consulting firm with offices throughout the United States and in over 97 countries worldwide.  Their mission is to be the leading global organization creating, enhancing, and preserving wealth for entrepreneurial companies and the people who own and run them.  Grant Thornton accomplishes this by providing business, tax and financial services that deliver measurable value to their clients.

McCarty, Curry, Wydeven, Peeters & Haak, LLP has been serving the legal needs of large and small family businesses in northeast Wisconsin since 1949. The firm’s services include all aspects of business and corporate law, real estate, complex estate planning, commercial and personal litigation, as well as general practice.

Retained Earnings Company/MassMutual–The Blue Chip Company has 144 years of service and recognized excellence in providing family owned businesses with the product tools that allow for the confident construction of estate and business succession plans.  The firm brings experience, education, empathy and motivation to clients’ quest for financial growth and security.  Acknowledged as the premier provider of pension and investment products, life and health insurance.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business Administration, Oshkosh provides undergraduate and graduate education with a wide array of outreach services to benefit economic development in northeast Wisconsin. The faculty and staff of the College of Business Administration are professionals dedicated to being quality teachers, accessible to students; furthering knowledge through research; and serving as valuable resources to the University and community. A key strength of the college is providing professional expertise through personal contact among students, faculty, and members of the community.