THU AM News: Trusted brokers seen as key to navigating international trade; Rising obesity among women highlighted in health ranking report

— Supply chain experts on a recent webinar spoke to the importance of working with a trusted broker while navigating international trade. 

During a discussion hosted yesterday by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s World Trade Association, MOTIS Brands Director of Global Sourcing Desiree Pasbrig said ensuring compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations often requires a collaborative approach. 

In her role at Germantown-based MOTIS Brands, Pasbrig works with over 30 suppliers throughout China, Taiwan and Mexico. The company sells transportation equipment including lifts, ramps and covers. 

“Use each others’ experience and knowledge, share information with each other as much as possible,” she said yesterday. “It can be the difference between your imports coming in smoothly, or things getting hung up during entry when not all the right information is there.” 

Margaret Lange, compliance director for M.E. Dey & Co., touched on the “delays and backups and backlogs” plaguing supply chains worldwide as well as the associated costs. M.E. Dey & Co. is a logistics firm based in Milwaukee that handles import and export services for a variety of businesses with partner offices in more than 70 countries. 

Lange said most experts watching the disfunction unfold expect these challenges to last “well into 2022, probably into 2023.” She said working closely with suppliers as well as customs brokers will help businesses avoid encountering roadblocks. 

“Your broker is going to need to have a lot of experience, they’re going to have connectivity to U.S. Customs through systems, and they’re going to be able to have a lot of knowledge to help you get through this process,” she said. 

Pasbrig said she typically seeks out brokers with an established reputation that understand how to work with government agencies. She recommended working with brokers that provide a “21st century experience” with digital tools for tracking shipments and backing up documents. 

“I would want a lot of experience and integrity. I don’t want my broker to just tell me what I want to hear,” she said. “I would like to be challenged if I need to be challenged.” 

Given the current logistical hurdles companies are facing, Lange said “it’s still critically important, if not more so than ever” that companies importing goods maintain a focus on trade compliance. 

She noted that last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials seized over 73,000 shipments coming in for trade-related issues. Delays in product shipments can result from various examinations including X-ray imaging as well as more in-depth vetting. 

“So it’s important for you to understand your product, your procedures, and develop good relationships with your customs officer as much as possible,” she said. 

See a recent story on supply chain challenges: 

See more trade policy coverage at 

— A recent report from the United Health Foundation points to rising obesity as one of the top health concerns for women in Wisconsin. 

The 2021 Health of Women and Children Report shows the rate of obesity among women in the state ages 18-44 increased from 27.1 percent to 34.7 percent between the study periods of 2015-2016 and 2018-2019. Wisconsin is ranked 40th among U.S. states for this metric. 

The report includes a number of rankings for various measures of health, broadly categorized into segments including clinical care, social and economic factors, physical environment, behaviors and health outcomes. 

Under the clinical care category, the state was ranked 4th for women and 23rd for children. Wisconsin was ranked in the top 10 states for measures of cervical cancer screenings, dental care and dedicated health care providers for women. 

While clinical care rankings for children in the state tended to be lower, the report highlights rising levels of HPV immunizations for adolescents as a positive factor. The rate increased from 45.5 percent of adolescents ages 13-17 in 2016 to 60.5 percent in 2019. Still, the report ranks Wisconsin 45th for measures of “adequate” insurance coverage for children, with a rate of 61.7 percent. That’s below the national rate of 66.7 percent, according to the report. 

In the section on health outcomes, Wisconsin was ranked 26th for women and 42nd for children. While the report shows relatively low rates of asthma for children and high blood pressure for women, the state is ranked poorly for measures of alcohol use both among youth and women and for anxiety and depression among children. 

See the full report including rankings for other states here: 

— The Department of Health Services has announced more than $550,000 in grants for education and training programs aimed at filling rural health jobs. 

That total includes nearly $250,000 in Advanced Practice Clinician Grants to help rural providers train physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses through clinical training sites. Recipients of these grants include Aspirus, Cumberland Memorial Hospital, Essentia, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Prairie Ridge Health.

A total of over $325,000 in Allied Health Professionals Education and Training Grants will be provided over the next two years to programs for medical assistants, mental health professionals and nursing assistants. Grant recipients include Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Upland Hills Health. 

Both of the grant programs were authorized in the 2017-2019 biennial budget, a DHS release shows. 

See a recent story on the rural health workforce shortage: 

See the release: 

— An assistant professor at Marquette University is getting a $1.9 million federal grant to study long-term health factors in amateur athletes. 

The funding is being provided through the National Institutes of Health “High-Risk, High-Reward Research” program. These grants support “innovative research proposals that, due to their inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional peer-review process,” according to a release from the university. 

Jacob Capin is an assistant professor of physical therapy in Marquette University’s College of Health Sciences. His research will focus on the impact of prior injury and levels of physical activity as they relate to certain health measures in amateur athletes. The five-year research effort aims to inform health care providers’ approach to rehabilitation and educating athletes. Ultimately, Capin wants to help reduce chronic disease later in life for these individuals. 

The program will include two cohorts including former athletes ages 45-64 and current college athletes, both with or without prior traumatic knee injuries, and non-athlete control groups. The study will entail physical testing and participants completing questionnaires. 

In the release, Capin explains that most research to date has focused on neurocognitive health and the “elite few” professional male athletes. He says research on the long-term health and wellness of former athletes has been limited. 

“This study will evaluate physical activity patterns, musculoskeletal function, cardiometabolic health, and dietary intake in both male and female amateur athletes — a much larger, ubiquitous group,” he said. 

See the release: 

— The nine winners of this year’s Wisconsin Innovation Awards were announced at a recent ceremony in Madison. 

Winners were selected from 331 nominees and 28 finalists by a panel of industry experts representing sectors including health care, agriculture, food, technology and more. 

“The Wisconsin Innovation Awards seek to celebrate and inspire innovation, and highlight the creative spirit from the state’s leading public, private and nonprofit sectors,” said Matt Younkle, co-founder of the Wisconsin Innovation Awards and Pythonic Corporation, a machine learning software company. 

Winners were presented with awards at a ceremony this week at the Wisconsin Union in Madison and included Madison-based companies including Understory, Curate, EnsoData and Black Oxygen. Other awarded companies include Ruby Coffee Roasters of Nelsonville, Milwaukee-based Novir, Nelson and Pade of Montello, Eau Claire-based SMARTCare Software, and Rapid Radicals Technology of Milwaukee. 

See more on this year’s awardees here: 

— The top four finalists in the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest include earthmoving equipment, donuts, an outboard boat engine and a large shipping crane. 

A release from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Johnson Financial Group shows over 135,000 votes have been cast so far in this year’s contest. The final round of voting starts today and will conclude on Oct. 14. 

The winner of the contest will be announced Oct. 14 at WMC’s Business Day event in Pewaukee. 

The top four products are: the Cat Electric Rope Shovel, from Caterpillar Global Mining in Milwaukee; Glazer Donuts, of La Crosse-based Kwik Trip; the V12 600hp Verado Outboard Engine, made by Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac; and the 140 Ton Navy Crane, from Broadwind Heavy Fabrications in Manitowoc. 

See the release: 

Listen to a podcast on the contest: 

— The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has announced the results of this year’s election for the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board. 

Elected members will serve a three-year term on the board, which is funded with assessment fees paid by soybean producers in the state. 

See the list of recently elected members: 


# Vehicle emissions in Wisconsin declined temporarily during COVID-19 shutdowns

# Following backlash, SSM Health opts to continue midwifery program — for now

# Downtown Milwaukee-area hotel operators received $11.3 million from state lodging grant program



– Postseason can play key role in building Milwaukee Brewers brand — and ultimately sponsorships


– Agropur to receive $4.5 million in tax credits for expansion


– Wisconsin Historical Society prepares to redevelop site across from state Capitol 

– Diane Hendricks is now second-richest Wisconsinite as Forbes 400’s wealth grows


– Most of Wisconsin’s billionaires increased their wealth during the past year


– PDPW Calf Care Connection Workshops slated

– UW study abroad programs ramp back up following year of COVID-19 cancellations

– Students with disabilities face disappearing accommodations in return to UW campus


– UW says complaint over counselors based on outdated info


– Conservative group raises issue with UW-Madison over counseling services for students of color


– Two Milwaukee companies reach $764.3 million medical office sale agreement

– Van Horn Development, town of Sheboygan pursuing 99-acre mixed-use project at I-43 and Highway 42


– Kohl’s donates $2 million to National Alliance of Mental Illness


– Milwaukee Brewers audience increased 22% this season on Bally Sports Wisconsin


– Conde Nast ranks three southeastern Wisconsin hotels in top 20 best Midwest hotels


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