Thinkers, Makers, Doers


In mid-January, St. Croix EDC announced the selection of Ciro, LLC (City of Hudson), SKYCOAT LLC (Village of Baldwin), and Aladtec, Inc. (City of River Falls) as its 2017 Business of the Year winners. The EDC board of directors also named Dennis (Denny) Darnold, a/k/a Mr. Hudson, the recipient of its Directors Award.

2017 Business of the Year winnersThe honorees reflect all the attributes of last year’s roll-out of Wisconsin’s awareness-building brand called Think-Make-Happen, created by the state’s lead economic development organization, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). In developing Think-Make-Happen, WEDC found economic opportunity is increasingly being driven more by the availability of workforce talent than traditional economic development infrastructure — incentives, tax climate, and transportation networks, etc.

To outsiders, the perception of Wisconsin may still include beer, brats, cheese, Packers, Badgers, cold winters, and dairies. Community boosters add technology, innovation, advanced manufacturing, and entrepreneurial spirit to their lists.

In a business world filled with half-million dollar machining centers, a company’s most valuable asset is still its workforce, or “talent” as labor economists call them. Machines need programmers before an operator can run it; tooling is engineered for closer and closer tolerances; software as a service is commonplace – all done by real people. Innovators drive innovation. Both are alive and well in St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

Here’s to the EDC’s best in class for 2017: Aero Rudd of Ciro; Patrick Traynor of SKYCOAT; Leo Langlois and Dave Feyereisen of Aladtec; and Denny Darnold. Thinkers, Makers, Doers, one and all.