Tag Archives: Rotary Club of Madison Guest Speaker

The Forward Festival

–submitted by Mary Helen Becker; photo by Will Anzenberger

Younkle Matt 8 17 16.Matt Younkle, the inventor of Turbo Tap, a device which enables craft beers to be poured quicker and more efficiently, described this year’s Forward Fest, which will take place from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25 in various venues around Madison, including the Madison Children’s Museum, MMOCA, the Madison Central Library, and the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. In 2010 he co-founded the Forward Technology Conference. In a few short years it has grown to the 44 events available this year.

Open to the public, the Forward Fest emphasizes cross-connection, promotion, and opportunities to interact with others. The goal is to make Madison the best place possible to start a business. Several companies are sponsors, and the event is produced by many volunteers.

They support coworking, a way for a new business to have an address and a place to work. Young companies are the primary sources of new jobs. Rotarians were given a schedule of events which undoubtedly features something of interest to everyone!

Did you miss our meeting this week?  Watch it online HERE.

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go DOWNTOWN”

–submitted by Bob Dinndorf; photo by Mary O’Brien

Susaan Schmitz 7 20 16A musical introduction of the Rotary Club’s program was announced as guest presenter Susan Schmitz joined Bob Dinndorf as songleader for Petula Clark’s Downtown, accompanied by keyboard artist Lynn Phelps.

Downtown Madison Inc (DMI) started over forty years ago as urban sprawl to the east and west began to intensify. Three of DMI’s four founders were Rotarians and members of the Greater Madison Chamber board. As DMI grew it separated from the Chamber to become a self-sustaining entity. Two of its signature initiatives have successfully entered new generations: Frostiball is in the care of Overture and Paddle n’ Portage is carried on by Isthumus.

Today DMI boasts 500 members and administers assessed funds generated by the Central Business Improvement District which includes businesses around Capitol Square and along State Street. DMI continually advocates for a vital, healthy Downtown among city staff, alders, the mayor, county exec, UW Madison, Edgewood College, Madison College, Madison Police, Greater Madison Chamber and the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Madison Regional Economic Partnership, churches, neighborhood associations and many other individuals and organizations concerned about downtown Madison.

Bounded on the east by the Yahara River and on the west by Camp Randall, the originally platted in July 1836 for the City of Madison is used today as bounds for Downtown Madison, Inc. (DMI). The University of Wisconsin and the State Capitol Building, connected by State Street, (along of course, with the Rotary Club of Madison) were and continue to be anchors for Downtown.

Susan Schmitz, Executive Director of DMI, underscored the importance of downtown when she said there are more people living in urban areas than rural areas for the first time in history. She then painted by number a picture of the current “State of the Downtown.” A sampling:

  • Since 2000, downtown population has increased from 22,165 to more than 25,000
  • 3.56% apartment vacancy rate drives rental rates and construction
  • 93.9% of downtown residents are renters
  • 52.7% of Madison residents as a whole are renters
  • 40,000 meals were served to homeless people in 2014 by downtown churches
  • 560 places for day care are available downtown at Red Caboose and Creative Learning. More is needed
  • 44% of downtown employees work in public administration, 12% in hospitality, 8.2% in professional/technical occupations
  • 10.8% office vacancy is declining and needs to be in the 7-8% range
  • 40% of downtown businesses are classified as food and beverage businesses; a consistent number since 1998. Bars are not taking over!
  • 11.7% is the increase in Metro Bus ridership since 1010.
  • 149,385 bicyclists have been counted by the Eco-totem counters on Madison trails; an increase from 48,537

Much more can be added. Susan urged Rotarians to contact their alders to let them know our priorities and concerns so that they continue to make wise policy to govern the city.

Did you miss our meeting this week?  Watch the video here.

Literacy Network Reaches Out

–submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Karl Wellensiek

BurkhartAt our March 30 meeting, our very own Rotarian, Jeff Burkhart, described for us the scope of The Literacy Network of Dane County where he is the executive director.  With 900 volunteers providing over 30,000 hours of help each year to those with impaired literacy skills at 28 locations in Dane county, the literacy network reaches out to the 55,000 with impaired literacy in the county.

The network serves over 1000 learners each year by providing literacy learning services in the areas of employment, education and health care, the latter including locating health care services and communicating with health care providers.  Jeff used numerous anecdotal examples of the wide variety of learners needs from learning to read and complete job applications to acquiring computer and report writing skills needed to keep a job.

Sixty percent of the programs learners are mothers with children at home.  By helping these mothers to read English better, they are able to read with their children and to understand better the expectations of their teachers.  The level of literacy of mothers is highly correlated with the academic performance of their own children.

Jeff Burkhart described how the Literacy Network directly or indirectly helps in the areas of employment, achievement gaps, recidivism, health care and poverty.  It makes Dane County an even better place to live, not only for others with literacy issues but also for the rest of us who take reading for granted.

Watch the video on our club’s YouTube channel here.

The Athletic Training Students for Brain Safety

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photo by Stacy Nemeth


From left: Emily Campbell, Erin McQuillan, Bailey Lanser, Andrew Winterstein and Club President Ellsworth Brown

Dr. Andrew Winterstein, director of the UW Athletic Training Education program and clinical professor of Kinesiology at UW-Madison, brought three student leaders to speak to Rotary about their work to raise awareness about brain injuries.

The Athletic Training Program prepares students for careers in athletic training. According to Winterstein, these students go on to work not only for athletic teams, but also health providers, industrial workplaces, schools and other settings. He showed a video in which students and faculty of this well-rated program lauded its small class sizes, high quality of instructors, practical clinical learning opportunities, top notch professors and strong science foundation.

Winterstein called injury “the unwelcome houseguest of physical activity.” Injury is inevitable, and it is a public health issue. It is important to consider the true cost of injury, he said. For example, what are the consequences at age 50 of having sustained an ankle injury at age 20? Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injury, and they are linked with an increased risk of osteoarthritis, a decreased level of physical activity and a lower overall quality of life. Winterstein noted that one million adolescent athletes suffer ankle injuries annually in basketball alone, with an estimated $2 billion in total costs.

Winterstein stressed that ankle injuries are preventable with exercises and the use of braces, yet many Wisconsin high school coaches are not aware of how to apply these resources. It is critical to get information to high school coaches and others.

Sports-related concussions have been a hot topic in the news recently because of some high-profile NFL cases and a link with traumatic encephalopathy. Winterstein notes there are an estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions in high school boys and girls annually in the United States. The majority are in football, but they also occur in other sports. Winterstein called for more research to better understand the causes and impact of concussions.

Winterstein then introduced three students who are active in Athletic Training Students for Brain Safety (ATSBS), a campus group that educates the UW campus and Madison communities on the short-term and long-term consequences of brain injuries including concussions. Formed in 2012 the group focuses on prevention, recognition and management of brain injuries.   Emily Campbell, Bailey Lanser and Erin McQuillan described recent accomplishments of the ATSBS group:

  • Applied for and received a Baldwin Grant to promote a statewide network of campus-based chapters;
  • Created and installed Renny’s Corner, an informational station at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery;
  • Made presentations to high school anatomy and health science classes to inform students about brain injuries and promote Athletic Training as a career;
  • Held Children’s Safety Night at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to inform children and parents about the signs and symptoms of head injury and concussion, as well as how to prevent them.
  • Held a Brain Safety Symposium which featured distinguished speakers – some of them alumni of the program – from Madison and beyond.

The group is talking to campus groups interested in creating chapters at Concordia University, Marquette University and the UW campuses in Eau Claire, La Crosse and Stevens Point. They hope eventually to make ATSBS a regional presence at campuses around the Midwest.

Did you miss our meeting this week?  CLICK to watch the video.

Is Your Business Ready for the X’ers?

–submitted by Donna Hurd; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

Seeger Debbie

Debbie Seeger, (pictured here with club president Ellsworth Brown) in her presentation entitled “Shift Happens,” provided a futuristic view of the incoming workforce, the ensuing competition to attract and retain talent, and how to prepare for the inevitable.

By the numbers: Baby Boomers represent one of the largest generations in history (78 million) and we are aging.  The succeeding generation, Gen X, represents just over half of the baby boomer population.  Clearly, the laws of supply and demand indicate the supply of available workers will not sufficiently meet the potential demand of employers.  The repercussions of poor planning or absence of planning will prove detrimental to a business’s viability.  Defining the gaps in knowledge with the loss of boomers will be an integral part of assessing the needs of the business in its attempt to successfully move from one generation of workers to the next.

Technologically astute, this up and coming generation knows what they want and are not afraid to ask for it.  Unlike their predecessors, X’ers will continue to seek employment opportunities that align with the way they want to work and value their contributions.  Blind loyalty will not be afforded to businesses that have not done their homework.  Understanding what motivates this group is integral to drawing, engaging and retaining this talent.  Enticing this limited resource with money only will prove to be a losing strategy.  Emotional compensation (the feeling of being valued) has to be part of the package.  Determining the right blend of financial and emotional compensation will be a recipe for success for both employer and employee.

Aligning their mission, vision, and values with their recruitment, development and retention strategies businesses are sure to have an advantage over those that do not.  Trust is the foundation that will support the shifting paradigm in order to engender loyalty from the incoming talent pool.

CLICK to watch the video on our club’s YouTube channel.

All Ways Forward

–submitted by Ellie Schatz; photo by Will Anzenberger

Rebecca Blank 11 4 2015The tone was set for Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s talk about moving the UW Forward by talented UW alumni. Soprano Emily Birsen sang “Quendo m’en vo” from La Bohème, accompanied by pianist Scott Gendel. Do we want to keep supporting and encouraging this kind of talent development in Wisconsin? Their standing ovation plus the response to Chancellor Blank’s opening questions (who in the audience works at, has a family member work at, or graduated from UW) signaled strong passion and commitment to our favorite education and research institution.

Chancellor Blank proceeded to give Renee Moe a run for her money as the fastest speaker we know. Filled with statistics, she demonstrated that we could feel the energy resulting from the tremendous investments to both education and research at UW since its founding in 1848. We can look forward to and support new approaches that will be both exciting and challenging as we move forward.

Trends at UW include a declining number of students from within the state, an increase in the number of out-of-state students, and an increase in the number of international students. There is a clear shift of students moving into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, which is a good thing, but with a caution: students should also understand the importance of writing, critical thinking, learning languages, and other skills taught in a broad liberal arts program.

Statistics supporting the good things happening at UW in education and research include: the student retention rate is 95.8! Graduation rates are up, and UW ranks as one of the top 25 research universities in the world. Given a changing research landscape, this means that to offset declining state and federal dollars we need to work differently, building research partnerships with industry. Chancellor Blank gave several examples of such partnerships, showing how we are growing in spite of the 250 million dollar cut in state funding, ongoing budget debates, and negative press.

All Ways Forward is a comprehensive Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising 3.2 billion dollars by 2020. Recent gifts from John and Tasha Morgridge, Jerome and Simona Chazen, Albert and Nancy Nicolas, and the Grainger Foundation show how transformational gifts can help to move us forward. However, Blank warns, gift dollars are not substitutes for state dollars. $250 million in donor dollars does not equal that in state dollars for several reasons, i.e., gift dollars are tied to donor intent, gift dollars are in endowment, of which only 4 1/2% is accessible in a given year, and what we raise now in pledges may not be dollars in hand until many years out.

With continuing new programs and wonderful spaces, how can we not join the Chancellor in her enthusiasm and optimism. From the Villager Mall programs, a School of Education partnership with MMSD to build a pipeline of students of color and low income to help close the achievement gap, and excellent faculty, to awe-inspiring research, On Wisconsin.

 Did you miss  our meeting this week?  Our thanks to WisconsinEye for videotaping and providing this LINK.