FRI AM News: Pandemic trends to last post-COVID include “remote everything”; “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Nick Novak, WMC

— The new or next normal for Wisconsin will include at least nine long-term trends all beginning with the letter “R” as told by economist and workforce strategist Ted Abernathy.

“Remote everything is the overwhelming first trend. People have learned a new behavior; they’ve learned to bank online, they’ve learned to buy their groceries online, they’ve learned to exercise online,” Abernathy said, noting that the Peloton bike allows the user to workout with friends virtually.

He said that pre-COVID, about 7 percent of people worked from home. During the pandemic, it has grown to 40 percent. Going forward, it’s predicted to level out to 30 percent working mostly from home. 

Abernathy, managing partner at Economic Leadership LLC, cited a Forbes survey saying 8 percent of all Americans are currently moving or considering relocation. However, the data suggest remote workers are going to new cities. Abernathy told a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce briefing that Milwaukee ranked second for remote workers in a survey done by FinanceBuzz. 

He predicts a movement from urban areas to less dense urban areas or suburbs — and a movement of robots into the workplace.

“We were behind the world in robot implementation before this started. We were catching up in our manufacturing and construction, but the new thing we’ll see is robots permeating our service industries and our retail industries.”

Read the full story at 

— From beer to boats, from Harleys to Havarti, it’s anybody’s guess who could win the latest “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” contest. 

The fifth annual competition hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Johnson Financial Group aims to highlight the state’s manufacturing industry. The industry employs one in six Wisconsinites, WMC’s Nick Novak said in this week’s “WisBusiness: The Podcast”

After receiving 150 product nominations, the first round of public voting will narrow it down to 16 that will enter a tournament style bracket. Head-to-head competitions until mid-October will determine the winner.

“There’s so many different products that we make whether it be small engines or metal fabrication or cheese processing or a brewery that makes beer here in Wisconsin, there are so many things in that list already,” Novak said. 

COVID-19 has impacted every industry in the state in some way including manufacturing. But Novak said he hopes that this contest is an opportunity for manufacturers to tell their “good news story.” He noted that many manufacturers stepped up to move production lines to make personal protective equipment or medical equipment.

“The contest is going to have a little bit different feel than it may have years past,” he said. “But just like we’ve done in years past, we’re going to highlight really cool products that are made here, the amazing companies that we have based here in Wisconsin and the really amazing careers that people have throughout the state making these cool products.” 

See the nominees and vote for a product beginning Monday, Sept. 14 at

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Younger generations have higher expectations of inclusion and diversity in the workforce, according to Manny Lara, human resources director of Progressive Community Health Centers, Inc.

Organizations who are hiring should expect and adapt to this mindset, Lara said during a virtual “Race Bridge” event hosted by professional connections organization FUEL Milwaukee.

“(Diversity) is a business imperative as much as it is a moral imperative,” said Beth Ridley, founder and CEO of The Brimful Life, an inclusivity consulting company.

Event moderator and FUEL Executive Director Corry Joe Biddle recalled a time when she was one of few Black people working for FUEL in a room of white colleagues who suggested food and entertainment options preferred by white people for a FUEL event.

“You know, Black people aren’t going to come to this event,” Biddle recalled saying during the meeting. According to Biddle, it was like a light bulb lit up in her colleagues’ minds and from that point forward, they strategically designed the event to be more inclusive for racial minorities.

Life coach Therese Heeg emphasized a need for widespread culture changes in workplaces rather than smaller, incremental diversity training sessions.

“If you don’t start with getting that vision out on the table, it can be more of a piecemeal approach,” Heeg, of LifeWorks Coaching and Training Inc., said. “Training is not the way to change culture.”

Lara said 60 percent of his company’s employees are people of color, but creating inclusivity in the workplace remains an ongoing battle.

“There’s more work to be done,” said of diversifying leadership in healthcare companies. “It’s a marathon; it’s not going to be a sprint.”

One roadblock to diversifying workplaces, the panel discussed, is higher-up leadership who are resistant to change.

“I won’t work with an organization that doesn’t have commitment at the top because I’ll be spinning my wheels,” Heeg said.

Ridley said getting people with privilege, especially white men, to think about times they’ve been “othered” can help them be empathetic and discuss inclusivity.

“Equipping people with inclusive communication skills” can raise awareness of implicit biases, she said. “To me, that is the starting point, the fundamental foundation.”

— Adams Electric Inc. out of Elkhorn partnered with the Delavan-Darien School District to donate and install air purifiers to the school to protect students and faculty from COVID-19.

“If this donation can provide one student, parent or teacher the peace of mind to forget about COVID for five minutes to focus on being present, it is worth the investment,” Adams Electric President Jesse Adams told 

The iWave ionization purifier will be installed in the high school’s fabrication lab, technology education and wood shop classrooms. It uses electric charges to kill mold, bacteria and even viruses in the air. The ions break down pollutants into water vapor, carbon dioxide or oxygen. 

Adams Electric Heating Manager Ryan Logterman is a Delavan-Darien High School alumnus, which is why Adams Electric reached out to that school first. Spokesman Casey Himebauch

said that a donation to another area high school is still in progress.

As a student who spent “hundreds of hours” in the tech-ed classrooms, Logterman “knew we wanted to do what we could to protect the next generation of tradesmen, and women, just like me.”

— Wisconsin notched a record number of daily new COVID-19 cases today at 1,547, bringing the seven-day average to over 1,000 for the first time. 

And 10 new COVID-19 deaths in the state brought the death toll to 1,193. 

The new cases bring the daily percent positive rate to 17.5 percent, just below the previous record of 17.6 percent on Sept. 8. The previous record for daily confirmed cases was Sept. 4, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services data.

The seven-day percent positive average rose to 13.4 percent from 11.7 percent — far above the ideal rate of under 5 percent.

The state received a total of 8,822 tests. The new cases bring the cumulative case count to 84,881, with 74,834 recovered. Meanwhile, 1.4 percent of patients have died.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (509), Racine (92), Waukesha (81), Kenosha (64), Brown (58), Dane (41), Walworth (32), Washington (31), Rock (29), Outagamie (24), Winnebago (22), Waupaca (19), Grant (19), Ozaukee (18), Marathon (14), Fond du Lac (12), Sheboygan (10), Clark (8), Dodge (7), Jefferson (7), Marinette (7), St. Croix (7), Eau Claire (6) and Pierce (6).

Barron, Forest, Oconto and Richland counties report four deaths each, while Adams, Door, Portage, Sauk, Taylor and Wood counties report three deaths each.

Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Green, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Monroe, Polk, Trempealeau and Waushara counties report two deaths each.

Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Oneida, Rusk and Sawyer counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— COVID Connect, the Department of Health Services COVID-19 test registration website, is now available in Spanish and soon will be available in Hmong and Somali. 

Hispanic and Latino communities make up 7 percent of the state’s population, but as of Sept. 1, Hispanics and Latinos made up nearly 23 percent of the state’s 76,584 confirmed cases. Additionally, Asians and Pacific Islanders make up almost 2,000 of the confirmed cases. 

According to the department, many factors exist that contribute to these higher rates of infection for Spanish- and Hmong-speaking populations, including language barriers.

“If we’re going to be successful in boxing in this virus, we need to reduce any obstacles that may prevent any individual from accessing a test,” said DHS Secretary Andrea Palm. “Making the site available in multiple languages is a big part of that effort.”

Since COVID Connect launched in July, more than 180,000 test registrations have been logged on the site. In order to increase access to COVID Connect, DHS will continue to translate the registration tool into more languages.


# Dairy checkoff finds ways to put farmers in front of consumers 

# Medical College, Greater Milwaukee Foundation unveil priority areas, branding for new collaboration 

# In a pandemic, Molson Coors to increase investments in second half of 2020



– Wisconsin’s Agriculture Education and Workforce Development Council gets reboot 

– Dr. Stephenson: Negative DDPs in Milk Pricing Going Down 

– Sheep & Wool Fest’s Virtual Country Store Now Open 


– Access to child care poses challenges for reopening Wisconsin economy 


– UW-Madison moves to all-online classes amid growing COVID-19 case count

– Cows return to UW campus classes 


– Research Identifies Wetlands Most Important For Marsh Bird Conservation Across The Great Lakes 

– Wisconsin, Minnesota Congressmen introduce wolf management bill 


– Nettesheim brothers launch new business ventures 


– Wisconsin sees record 1,547 more COVID-19 cases as 10-29 age group accounts for half of recent surge

– ‘I Feel Like My Head Is In A Vice’: Health Officials Describe Competing Concerns In Pandemic Response 


– Understory earns global recognition for weather-focused insurance tech 


– Founder of Marietta Investment Partners transitions firm’s ownership and leadership to six partners 


– Unemployed Workers Rally Outside Of Ron Johnson’s Milwaukee Office 

– Do jobless benefits deter workers? Some employers say yes. Studies don’t. 


– Wisconsin court sets up possible delay in absentee mailing

– Wisconsin absentee ballot mailings on hold as Supreme Court weighs lawsuit


– Milwaukee Tool to add service center in Indiana as company’s growth continues 


– See where Milwaukee ranks among most competitive markets for homebuyers in the U.S. 


– Racial equality shirts at Kohl’s designed by West Allis artist, entrepreneur 

– Kohl’s feels Covid-19 impact 

– Michaels will hire over 16,000 seasonal positions across U.S. and Canada 

– Southridge, Mayfair owners reach deal to buy JCPenney retail business in $1.75B deal 


– NFL’s opening week highlights financial plight of sports stadiums during pandemic 

– No ‘confirmed sports events’ this year at Fiserv Forum, Panther Arena, says venue owner 


– Ready to lead: Generac’s Dickson adds power to new IT role 


– Milwaukee hotel occupancy again drops below 40% 


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