Stephanie Schon


Hoffman will speak about leading construction firm

The president of a family-owned construction company that has seen major growth through road construction, contract mining and now contracts for Foxconn Technology Group will give a leadership speech next month in Eau Claire.

Jim Hoffman of Black River Falls-based Hoffman Construction will talk about his leadership experiences with the fourth-generation heavy civil contracting company that works in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The fourth-generation company grew from $25 million in revenue in 1984 to $150 million in 2014, according to its website. More recently, the company has had a 40 percent growth spurt associated with work and bidding opportunities with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company building a $10 billion manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin.

Part of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Success Series, Hoffman’s speech will be 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Nov. 14 at Mayo Clinic Health System, 1221 Whipple St.

The cost to attend Hoffman’s speech is $25 for chamber members or $45 for nonmembers, which includes a breakfast buffet.

For more information or to register, go online to or call 715-834-1204.

Merchants’ net income goes $5M higher than 3Q in 2017

WINONA, Minn. — The parent company of Merchants Bank reported last week that net income is ahead of its forecasts and nearly $5 million higher than the same time last year.

Through the first three quarters of 2018, net income reached nearly $13.8 million — $3.1 million ahead of Merchants Financial Group’s plan for this year and $4.84 million more than last year’s third quarter report.

“Our core earnings continue to be strong, which in the end benefits all of our customers, the communities we serve and our shareholders,” president and CEO Gregory Evans said in a news release.

The company’s board of directors approved upping the 61-cent per share dividend to 70 cents during its October meeting.

Winona-based Merchants Bank has 21 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including an Eau Claire branch at 2728 Mall Drive.

Short Takes

• Eau Claire-based restaurant chain Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop named Stephanie Schon as its chief operating officer last week. Her experience includes years as a consultant who aided restaurants with strategy management and large technology projects, but her most recent position was as director of strategy execution and project management at Buffalo Wild Wings.

• Eau Claire-based Brooks Home Renovations recently received the Wisconsin Veteran Owned Business certification from the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

Owned by combat veteran Anthony Brooks and employing several other veterans, the renovation company is among five businesses in Eau Claire County that have the designation.

• A safety refresher course for mine workers will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at 29 Pines, 5872 33rd Ave., rural Eau Claire. The MSHA Part 48 class costs $125, which includes lunch. To register, call 715-944-9120 or email

From staff reports