FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Wendy Pease of Rapport International; Talking Trade with Damian Felton of The Cohen Group

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Wendy Pease, owner and president of Rapport International, a Nebraska company providing translation and interpretation services for businesses. 

Pease discusses the importance of exporting to foreign markets for companies in Wisconsin, noting businesses that export products and services have higher revenues, profits and salary levels. Plus, she says they tend to be more stable and grow more consistently, she explained. 

“So if you think about your cheese from Wisconsin, you’ve got a huge market out there where you’re not competing with other people,” she said. 

While many U.S. exporters typically start with other English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom or Australia, Pease said these markets already see a lot of new products coming in from the United States. 

“So that’s where we come in with high-quality translation; we specialize in global marketing,” she said. “We help you figure out how to position yourself … so when somebody reads your marketing message, they understand how you’re different and they want it. So exporters, Wisconsin exporters, certainly think about it because it can make your business explode.” 

She also gives an overview on a $700,000 federal grant awarded to Wisconsin through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program. The state can award these funds to small and mid-size exporters, Pease explained. 

“You can get up to $15,000 to use in training, business ethics, cultural competency, export compliance, foreign language translation, market assessments, distributor searches, going on trade shows or conferences or one-on-one country business meetings — among some other stuff,” she said. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Cohen Group Associate Vice President Damian Felton explains the implications of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act on international commerce. 

The act aims to bolster U.S. prohibitions on importation of goods from the Xinjiang region of China, according to co-host Sandi Siegel of M.E. Dey & Co. Felton explains the law prohibits imports of any products coming from the region or any organization included on a UFLPA list of associated entities. 

“This really stems from the social programs that China is targeting Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang autonomous region that give rise to forced labor … items originating wholly or in part from Xinjiang will be denied entry unless there’s clear and convincing evidence that they were not made with forced labor,” he said. 

He noted information on which projects being stopped isn’t made public, aside from some anecdotal reports of solar panels, men’s apparel and shirts being detained. 

“I think the impacts of UFLPA will increase over time,” Felton said. 

Watch the latest episode here: 

“Talking Trade” is now available in audio form on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Subscribe and find more episodes here: 

— Wisconsin’s median home price in August was 8.4 percent higher than at the same time last year, according to the Wisconsin Realtor Association’s latest report. 

The WRA report shows the state’s median home price was $271,000 last month, compared to $249,950 in August 2021. Over the same period, the number of total statewide listings fell 20.5 percent from 25,310 in August 2021 to 20,131 last month. 

Meanwhile, monthly home sales dropped 10.4 percent, from 9,246 to 8,289, according to the report. Year-to-date home sales are also lower this August, dropping 8.7 percent from 58,645 to 53,527. 

Despite regional variations in price — with south central and southeastern Wisconsin seeing the highest median prices — every region in the state is “considered a strong seller’s market,” according to WRA. 

Brad Lois, chairman of the WRA Board of Directors, says despite “motivated buyers” and homes being sold at a “brisk pace,” limited supply and lower affordability have held back home sales this summer. 

“Unfortunately, we expect these tight supply conditions to continue through the remainder of the year,” he said in the report. 

And Michael Theo, the group’s president and CEO, says home prices will likely “continue to increase at or near the double-digit pace we’ve seen year to date” until the market becomes more balanced. 

See the full report: 

— Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still says a greater variety of investor groups in the state would help springboard startups in Wisconsin. 

Speaking yesterday during a webinar hosted by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Still also touched on the limiting factor of the state’s workforce shortage on technology and other sectors. 

“Demographically in Wisconsin, we’re probably not in the best spot … I think policymakers in particular need to bear in mind that we need to do some things to reach out and find talent elsewhere,” he said. “We can’t just do it all by folks who are right here in Wisconsin.” 

Also on the chamber’s webinar, Voximetry CEO Sue Wallace said she wasn’t as concerned as Still about the workforce constraints. Her company, which won the chamber’s Pressure Chamber recent pitch competition, has a platform for personalizing radiopharmaceutical cancer therapies. 

“If the talent isn’t there, you can get people to move there,” she said. “Especially now with global warming and the cost to live everywhere going up so high. I’m coming now from the West Coast perspective, people are leaving in droves because of the cost of living.” 

As a software company, Voximetry can also bring in remote workers from outside the state, Wallace added. But she raised the issue of limited fundraising opportunities in Wisconsin, noting the process of finding the right investor match can seem “inefficient” at times. 

“Who are the investors for these kinds of areas? Who are the investors for these others? And help those groups come together faster and maybe kind of invest more strategically within more narrow ecosystems, so that we move faster together,” she said. 

Still noted progress is being made in expanding angel and venture capital options in the state, but agreed there’s “always more work to be done” in that area. He explained many of the investors currently operating in the state got started in life sciences and continue to focus their efforts there. 

“They’re not going to focus in other areas where they don’t have the expertise they need … we need to do better there, especially with some of the things coming down the road around energy and resiliency,” he said. “Do we have enough investors in Wisconsin who are already well-vetted in that? Maybe not, but I think we can get there and I do think we can attract them from elsewhere as well.” 

See an earlier story on Voximetry’s Pressure Chamber win: 

— South central and southwestern Wisconsin are getting a second area code with the 608 area code expected to run out of assignable numbers in the first quarter of 2024.

The Public Service Commission announced yesterday the new 353 area code would be used for numbers provided to new customers. Those who now have a number with the 608 area code will retain it and see no changes.

The PSC approved a petition by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator to add the new 353 area code by late 2023.

See the release: 

— A new study from Epic Research found COVID-19 patients getting the antiviral treatment Paxlovid were two times less likely to be hospitalized from the disease and four times less likely to die. 

The research wing of the Verona-based electronic health records company analyzed data from 567,560 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were eligible for the treatment between March 1 and August 1. Of that number, 146,256 received Paxlovid and 421,304 did not. 

“Our study shows that Paxlovid helps to reduce COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations significantly,” said Jackie Gerhart, one of the study authors and the vice president of clinical informatics at Epic. “We’re sharing these findings to provide clinicians, policymakers, and patients timely access to actionable real-world data.” 

Along with the reduced likelihood of hospitalization and death, the study also found fully vaccinated patients over age 50 who received Paxlovid were three times less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who didn’t. And patients aged 40-49 were two times less likely to be hospitalized, according to Epic. 

This research draws data from Epic’s Cosmos database, which has information from more than 163 million patient records. 

The company says it will be working with the CDC to explore the influence of risk factors such as underlying conditions, race and ethnicity. 

Find the full study here: 

See the release: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has announced a $20 million grant going to Milwaukee County for the construction of the new Center for Forensic Science and Protective Medicine. 

The new facility will house the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, according to the guv’s office. Funding for the project also comes from about $100 million approved in early August by the State Building Commission for the Wisconsin Department of Justice Milwaukee Crime Lab. 

Evers said in a release the additional funding “will bolster local and regional efforts to improve public safety through the latest advances in research and technology.” The new center will be added to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center Campus in 2025, the release shows. 

See the release: 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i>

Sign up here:


# Estimates show continued enrollment declines at most UW System campuses

# Showdown brewing as proposed $50M Deer District venue heads to Plan Commission

# Milwaukee Rep plans to build new $75 million theater complex



– Wisconsin leaders to earn top World Dairy Expo honors

– State egg production still trailing 2021 levels

– U.S. agriculture secretary visits Organic Valley farm, touts new grant


– $10M Associated Bank sponsorship will help create new Milwaukee Rep theater

– Associated Bank makes $10 million naming deal for new Milwaukee Rep home


– Milwaukee theater has plans for $75M complex


– Covering child care costs could help employers find workers. A new state grant program looks to test it.


– Positive COVID cases trending upward in Madison schools

– UW System sees largest new student enrollment numbers since 2018, overall enrollment drop of 1%


– UW-Madison professors to study microplastics in Great Lakes, say research is ‘underexplored’


– The Buzz: New Seth’s Coffee location in Grand Chute open for business


– Milwaukee hospital ends religious exemption for COVID-19 vaccine

– Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin to receive $1.5M grant to help fight suicide


– Contractor under federal investigation after woman allegedly posed as Black owner to get Army contracts

– Suspect in Lyndon Station bar explosion charged


– Chicago-based Pilot Project will purchase MKE Brewing through $8 million in seed financing


– Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about abortion ban, meets with Latino leaders during Milwaukee visit


– Twin Disc to open Milwaukee office, in the Third Ward

– Chicago-based Pilot Project Brewing buys Milwaukee Brewing Co. production facility

– Chippewa Valley has slower busy season for home sales


– Activist investor calls for removal of Kohl’s chairman, CEO

– St. Vincent de Paul thrift store to reopen at new location in Racine nearly a decade after fire


– WisDOT plans to build EV stations along state interstates with federal grant


– Opinion: New Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin on her critics and key tasks


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Road America: Christina Laun Fugate appointed to the Board Of Directors for Road America

Kunes Auto & RV Group: Expands its roster