I just received the May 2005 edition of Inc. Magazine which features their annual list of “Best Places for Business”. The list features Green Bay, Wisconsin (just 45 minutes up the road from our offices) as No. 4, and page 99 has a fabulous sidebar (titled “Everyone’s a Knowledge Worker”) about Wisconsin saying, “for some time Wisconsin has had the premier entrepreneurial economy in the Midwest”.

With Green Bay ranked 4, LaCrosse No. 15, Madison No. 38, Milwaukee No. 66 and our own Appleton-Neenah-Oshkosh area listed as 224 in the nation, the article emphasizes something we’ve known here for quite awhile – Wisconsin is a great place for business.

Want to know our secret?

It’s the people.

The article quotes Randy Rose, CEO and President of Enzymatic Therapy, a Green Bay manufacturer of dietary supplements who talks about the high caliber of folks here in the Upper Midwest. He mentions their worth ethic and the desire to learn and grow – and he’s right on the money.

The caricature many have for us Wisconsinites involves a hat made of cheese – hardly an image that screams, “world-class workforce” – but that cheesehead is part of the secret. People here have a sense of humor and humility. They can laugh at themselves and will go out of their way (often way out of the way) to make people feel comfortable (critical in any business, especially a service business like ours). They work hard – really hard – and take great pride in learning new things and doing the job right.

We also have quite a bit of fun with the perception that our part of the world is somewhere near the North Pole, and when it finally does warm up, is nothing but cows and pastures. Now, we do joke that there are two seasons here, Winter and Road Construction, but I firmly believe that there are few places in the world that are more pleasant than Summer in Wisconsin. But don’t let the sleepy persona fool you. There are great things happening here in the center of the United States.

And it’s due in large part to our cheeseheads and ‘frozen tundra’.

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Kevin Lyons-Tarr

Kevin Lyons-Tarr is Chief Executive Officer and has been with 4imprint for 23 years. Look to Kevin’s blog to see hints, tips, news, and tricks of the trade from across all of 4imprint’s blog channels.

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