Business strategy workshop is Thursday

Entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, self-employed people and small business owners are invited to attend a morning workshop this week in Eau Claire.

“The Art of Strategy Implementation” will be 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday at The Florian Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave.

Tina Nazier, a leader in accounting and business consulting firm Wipfli’s health care practice division, will cover designing strategies, building engagement among employees, incorporating a deliberate change management approach and developing an implementation structure.

There is a $29 fee to attend the workshop, which includes materials and a continental breakfast.

Western Dairyland’s Economic Opportunity Council is hosting the workshop with sponsorship from Charter Bank. To register, go online to call 715-836-7511 or go in person to Western Dairyland’s downtown Eau Claire office, 418 Wisconsin St.

Ayres Associates names Ommen as new president

Longtime Ayres Associates employee Bruce Ommen recently took over as president the Eau Claire-based architectural and engineering firm.

Ommen joined Ayres in 1990 and spent much of his career designing highways and bridges, but also worked in projects involving multiple disciplines and with Ayres’ other offices in the U.S. He rose through the company’s ranks, serving as a manager, then vice president of its Midwest transportation division and getting promoted to executive vice president in 2015.

“Bruce will do extremely well as president,” said Thomas Pulse, who retired as the firm’s president at the end of 2018. “The leadership team will continue along our path of success and, I expect, bring new and fresh ideas to help our company excel going forward. Bruce’s staff development skills, coupled with his thorough understanding of our operations nationwide, will add to Ayres Associates’ success.”

SDBC services expand to Barron County campus

RICE LAKE — Small business development services offered by UW-Eau Claire are now also available at its two-year college campus in Barron County.

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center employees based in Eau Claire will now visit the Rice Lake college by appointment, according to a news release from UW-Eau Claire.

The expanded availability is in response to rising demand for services by clients in Barron, Washburn and other surrounding counties, according to the news release. Client service requests in those counties went from 47 in 2016 to 103 last year.

The SBDC will maintain an office at Meggers Hall at UW-Eau Claire — Barron County. To set up an appointment to get SBDC services in Rice Lake, call Luke Kempen at 715-836-5902 or email him at

SDBC experts work with business owners and entrepreneurs to help grow and improve their businesses through free consulting, inexpensive education and strategic facilitation. UW System schools host the state’s SBDC program, which is funded partially by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Tickets on sale for chamber’s sales conference

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual sales conference will be in late February on Eau Claire’s south side.

The conference will be 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, at The Florian Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave.

Starting with a keynote address from Kathy Wright, sales manager at local TV station WEAU, the daylong event will feature multiple sessions with tips and strategies designed to help boost sales.

Included in the event is a progressive power lunch where attendees will be encouraged to network and share business cards.

Tickets, which cost $79 for chamber members and $109 for nonmembers, are available at Register by Feb. 25.

Sleep’s importance on work to be explained

A free presentation on the role that a good night’s sleep plays in work performance will be next month in Eau Claire.

Dr. Donn Dexter will speak about sleep wellness at 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the auditorium at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, 1400 Bellinger St.

His speech will explain sleep’s impact on health and work performance, common sleep disorders and answer questions from audience members.

Dexter’s presentation is part of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s Workplace Wellness Program.

Admission is free, but attendees are asked to register online at

WEDC seeks more development-ready land

A state program that played a role in bringing a large distribution center to Chippewa Falls wants to know about large tracts of land that are ready for new businesses.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is again accepting applications for its Certified in Wisconsin Program, which designates industrial land of 20 acres or larger for being “development ready.”

“Certified Site designation is a fast track for your property to get the attention of site selectors and real estate developers,” Zanya Bugri, real estate and location specialist for WEDC, said in a news release.

The program uses independent experts to evaluate sites for environmental and geological factors, transportation access, utility and infrastructure capacity, zoning and property rights. Having the designation that a site is free of those concerns helps make them more attractive to industrial and commercial developers.

WEDC’s Certified In Wisconsin Program began in 2012 and has aided in development throughout the state, including the Mills Fleet Farm distribution center at the Lake Wissota Business Park in Chippewa Falls.

Applications for the program are due by Feb. 15. To learn more about it, go online to

OEM in running for manufacturer honor

One west-central Wisconsin company is in the running for an annual award that showcases manufacturing in the state.

Woodville-based OEM Fabricators is among 28 nominees for the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards, an honor sponsored by state business group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Nominees will be honored and winners announced on Feb. 21 at a ceremony in Milwaukee. For more on the awards, go to

OEM Fabricators does engineering and design, fabrication, machining, assembly, finishing, welding and quality testing services for companies in a variety of industries.

From staff reports