Briefcase

Applied Data Consultants starting new building

A rural Eau Claire software company is about to start construction of a new three-story building.

Applied Data Consultants will break ground this week on the third building at its campus at 2985 58th St., according to a news advisory from the company.

In addition to the new offices, the company will be turning one of its existing buildings into a recreation center for its employees.

There are currently 51 employees who work for Applied Data Consultants, but the firm is growing, according to CEO Susan Marcott.

The company developed and owns Elite EXTRA — dispatch management software used to route and track people, goods and services. Applied Data Consultants also owns a land information software product and has contracts with numerous public and private entities.

Area cheesemakers earn medals in global contest

West-central Wisconsin cheesemakers took home prizes in last week’s World Championship Cheese contest, which was held in Madison.

Skilled judges examined cheeses during the event, which was Tuesday through Thursday, and awarded medals to the top three entries in 131 different categories.

Marieke Gouda of Thorp took home first and second prizes in the flavored gouda category for its cheeses with hints of caraway and cumin in them, respectively. The cheesemaker also took first in the smoked gouda category with its smoked cumin cheese.

The region’s cheesemakers brought home numerous medals for making spicy Monterey Jack cheeses with peppers in them.

In the mild heat category, LaGrander’s Hillside Dairy of Stanley took second place with its pepper jack longhorn cheese. Right behind that, AMPI’s Jim Falls team took third with its Monterey Jack with jalapeno peppers.

In the medium heat category, AMPI took second place with its Monterey Jack with jalapeno and habanero peppers.

And in the high heat category, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery took third with its Blaser’s habanero ghost pepper jack cheese.

Lake Country Dairy in Turtle Lake took home prizes in three different categories. It won third in the washed rind/smear-ripened soft cheese category for its yellow door creamy “redhead” cheese. Then in the open class for soft cheeses, the dairy won first for its cello rich and creamy mascarpone. The dairy took home two prizes in the open class for semi-soft cheeses — first for its yellow door creamery smoky pepper and third for its yellow door creamery creamy dill-rubbed fontal.

Local business plans advance in competition

Business plans from two west-central Wisconsin entrepreneurs have advanced to the semifinal round of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

More than 200 entries were originally submitted, but a panel of business experts have winnowed the field to 52 semifinalists, according to a news release sent Thursday by the contest.

That includes Jim McDougall of Eau Claire, who created UpStream AV with the goal of simplifying audiovisual technology for businesses and organizations.

Joshua Cleveland of River Falls became a semifinalist with his business startup, Impact Sports, which is focused on making a helmet that reduces head injuries among youth athletes.

McDougall, Cleveland and the other semifinalists will now write 1,000-word executive summaries about their business ideas, which will then be judged in early April.

The top dozen contestants ultimately will present at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference on June 4 in Milwaukee. A grand prize winner will be announced during that event, as well as winners from several categories.

In addition to prizes awarded by the contest, business plans from semifinalists also are made available to a network of investors.

Wisconsin banks report strong ‘19 performance

Most Wisconsin banks saw their earnings improve during 2019 when comparing them to the previous year’s profit.

The state Department of Financial Institutions released year-end figures for the 143 banks chartered in Wisconsin, showing that 2019 was a strong year.

“More than 98% of all Wisconsin state-chartered banks were profitable in 2019, and 78% realized earnings gains compared to 2018,” DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, who oversees state-chartered banks, said in a news release.

Net income among Wisconsin banks rose 3.6%, going from $641.6 million in 2018 to $664.7 million last year.

Blumenfeld attributed the profit growth to the stability of outstanding loans at Wisconsin banks.

“Overall, Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks are financially stable with a positive outlook,” she said.

At the end of 2019, there were $56.3 billion in total assets at those banks.

Short Takes

• After 3½ years with Security Financial Bank as a credit analyst, Matt Schley has been promoted to be the commercial portfolio manager at the bank’s Bloomer office.

• Architectural and engineering firm Ayres Associates has promoted two longtime employees in its Eau Claire headquarters. Dave Pantzlaff rose from the position of bridge operations manager to director of Midwest transportation services. Dan Sydow, who has worked nearly 20 years at Ayres handling project management and engineering on highway and pedestrian bridges, has been named manager of structural engineering, taking over Pantzlaff’s former duties.

From staff reports