New North: Meeting focuses on healthcare for small business owners

Contact: David Yeghiaian

Phone: 920.434.1062

Email: [email protected]

OSHKOSH, September 9, 2008 – The New North Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council will hold its quarterly networking panel discussion on Tuesday, September 23 from 9 – 11 a.m. at UW-Oshkosh’s Reeve Memorial Union Ballroom (748 Algoma Blvd.). The topic, “Healthcare for Small Business Owners: Hope is not a Strategy,” features several New North healthcare experts. Attendance is free and limited to the first 50 people.

The cost of health insurance has been the No. 1 small business problem for more than 20 years. The principal reason that health insurance costs continue to reign as the top problem is because for small businesses, those costs have risen 129 percent since 2000. These huge increases have forced some small business owners to drop employee health plans, while preventing others from offering one in the first place. Only about 59 percent of small firms (3–199 employees) now offer a health plan, down from 68 percent in 2000. So it’s little wonder that 56 percent of small business owners consider the cost of health insurance to be a critical problem.

The panel includes Randy Connour, Mark Duwe, and Dan Simons, and will be facilitated by David Yeghiaian. Connour is Executive Director of Healthy Lifestyles Cooperative, Green Bay. He has an extensive background in multiple healthcare disciplines. The Healthy Lifestyles Cooperative (HLC) is an insurance purchasing cooperative of 172 companies that was formed in 2007 under the Wisconsin Cooperative Care Law. Covering all of the New North, in less than 2 years, the HLC has enjoyed dramatic results: more than 90% participation in wellness activities, reduction in nearly all biometric risk measures, a 5% increase in healthy risk assessment scores where 1% is considered a success, and an average 8% premium rate cap upon renewal.

Mark Duwe is President and owner of Waldan Paper Services, Oshkosh. He has been with the company since its inception as the general manager, and purchased the firm from its owners in 1989. After implementing a wellness initiative a few years ago, the small manufacturer has already experienced a dramatic positive shift in the increasing price trends of its group health care insurance premiums. The company has changed the culture of its workforce since introducing its wellness plan, and employees have vigorously participated. Waldan Paper Services is a 27-year-old flexographic printing and converting plant, making a variety of products for the medical, home improvement and consumer-retail industries.

Dan Simons joined Independent Printing as Controller in 1990 and is currently Vice President of Administration, responsible for IT, HR and Fulfillment Services. Independent was an early adopter of health risk assessments, health savings accounts and high deductable plans with a long history of being self funded. In 2007, Independent joined the Healthy Lifestyles Cooperative and is now part of a fully insured health insurance plan with rate caps tied to wellness levels. Since 1935 Independent Printing has grown from a two-person print shop in a De Pere basement to a print and communication firm of nearly 300 employees. With industry specialization in the insurance, paper manufacturing and greeting card industries; Independent produces quality full-color marketing, promotional and packaging materials, annual reports, brochures, art reprints and more.  

David Yeghiaian is President and owner of Unique Business Solutions, Green Bay. With more than 16 years experience, David has advised large, medium and small organizations in more than 10 industries. He has demonstrated results on a global scale in a breadth of services related to strategy, people and customers. Formed in 2004, Unique Business Solutions is a management consulting firm that provides strategic planning, marketing and acquisition integration assistance to organizations. Yeghiaian is also author of the business strategy book Pieces for Profit, describing how high-performing organizations maximize profitability to achieve greater success.

Please confirm your attendance by Thursday, September 18 by e-mailing David Yeghiaian, New North Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council chair, at [email protected].

New North, Inc. is a regional collaboration effort focused on promoting regional cooperation and economic development in an 18-county region in Northeast Wisconsin. The 18 counties included in the New North are Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee, and Waushara. To find out more information about New North, Inc., please visit our website at