Loading
Search
TOP STORY

AirPro in Rhinelander transfers 100% ownership of company to employeesSubmitted: 09/29/2016
RHINELANDER - People know Rhinelander for producing things like specialty papers at the Expera mill, food wrappers at Printpack, and sausage at Trig's smokehouse. But AirPro, an industrial fan manufacturer, helps make up part of the business scene. Now that company is taking a new approach to its employees. 

"I've never been comfortable with the idea that I'm the owner, I'm in some separate category. To me, we're all in the same boat," said AirPro President Keith White. 

To White, his employees at AirPro in Rhinelander are the backbone of what the company does. 


"Every day that they're working, today, next year, next year, there's that clear tangible tie to that exit point," said White. "That what they did, had not only value for their immediate needs, but they were actually investing in their future."

The business started in 2002. It manufactures industrial-duty fans and blowers. Companies all over the world install equipment AirPro makes. 

"You name it. Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, India, China, Taiwan, but mostly it's North America," said White.
 
The business is always changing, which is what makes it the most interesting for White. But the most recent change came for AirPro's nearly 60 employees earlier in September when the company transferred 100 percent ownership to the people who help keep AirPro going. 

"My biggest concern is the health long-term of the company and of the employees," said White. "The essence of what this is is a retirement plan, so that when it does come time for them to exit themselves and transition to the next phase of their own life, they're going to have a nest egg that's pretty significant."

Through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), employees now have an ownership stake in the company. It's a change that employees at AirPro call at benefit to their futures. 

"This just gives us more of an impact. Everyone can just have a much greater sense that my contributions matter," said AirPro engineer and VP of Technology Marty Mathews. 

"It's been really good, we've only been going in one direction since I started and it's a pretty good sign," said 10-year employee Ed Finney. 

"We're in control of our future, really. It's up to us," said 12-year employee Todd Everson. 
 
White calls AirPro more than just a fan manufacturer, and sees a great future ahead for AirPro down the road. 

"So we're not in essence a welding shop and all of the things that you might see going on," said White. 

"The essence of what we are is we have technology that people around the world need." 


Story By: Mary O'Connell

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story



 LOCAL NEWS

ST. GERMAIN - The owner of a Northwoods yoga and massage studio believes her business offers more than just a place to stretch.

 It's a way to change the body image of the community.

St. Germain's Shanna Stein committed herself to yoga when she was 18. 

She lost more than 100 ponds and gained a new view of her body image. 

Now 14 years later, she is using that new view to help others. 

"You set these goals and they're so far away and you're like someday," said Stein.

 "And now it's here and it's happening so it's just kind of surreal."

Because of her past, Stein is committed to providing a space to uplift people.

 She created a monthly wondrous woman class, providing a place for women to encourage each other's body in a positive way. 

"When I look at people coming into my studio and when I see their struggles and what they're going through I know because I've been there," said Stein.

+ Read More

MERRILL - The debate in Merrill over what's junk and what's historic treasure may not end soon.

It appears Merrill City leaders won't punish two of its workers for taking items from a now demolished building on the Lincoln County Fair Grounds. 

After about a month-long investigation, Mayor Bill Bialecki sent out a statement Thursday morning on behalf of the common council with a decision.

It said, "The actions of City Administrator Dave Johnson and Fire Chief Dave Savone, although not in violation of city Ordinances or policies, were in poor judgment. They have been advised to follow City ordinances and policies to avoid improper conduct or the appearance of such conduct, as it reflects poorly on City Government."

Back in July, Savone got the okay from Johnson to help a friend take some shutters and tables from the 
Schultz building on the grounds before it was demolished.

But some people considered those items historic and expressed their concern on social media.

The Merrill City Common Council then hired an outside firm to investigate.

Now that that's done, Johnson still feels the same way he always did.

"I've stated from the beginning that there were no laws, ordinances or policies that were violated, and that is what the investigation showed," Johnson said. "So, I mean, how can I feel other than vindicated?"

Johnson and Savone did return the items.

Savone did not want to talk on camera but told Newswatch 12 he did not violate any ordinances.

Opponents of this decision believe the city leaders violated state open meetings laws.

According to documents obtained by Newswatch 12, those opponents filed a complaint Thursday afternoon with the Lincoln County District Attorney.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - 300 Vilas County sixth-graders joined together against drugs and alcohol in St. Germain Thursday.
The kids got to hang out with peers they will be going to high school with in a couple of years.

Though it all looked like fun and games, each exercise opened the floor to more serious topics like cyber-bullying, drug use, and underage drinking.

"There are little things that we are planting seeds and as those seeds are planted, later on others can help it grow as well," said UW Extension Youth Agent Nancy Ann Miller.

Throughout the day, the middle schoolers rotated through hands-on positive activities.
Kids were even able to talk to Nicolet College about future career plans.

At one station, the leaders showed off Native American traditions with drumming and dancing to get the middle schoolers to open up.

"They just have a riot. You ask them what's the best thing and they say everything!" said Miller.

This is the twelfth year the positivity conference joined at St. Germain Park.

Conference coordinators say the end goal is to leave the kids with a lifelong memory of the Northwoods.


+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - You can see the leaves just beginning to turn here, but soon the Northwoods will be a whirlwind of oranges, reds, and yellows. 

"Not only is the environment around us changing, but just kind of the pace of life in the Northwoods starts to change a little," said Northwoods Zip Line General Manager Andrew Warner.

Many people enjoy hiking or taking a scenic drive to view the fall colors, but Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua offers people a different perspective.

+ Read More
+ More Local News





 REGIONAL NEWS

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers have doubled down on their image of playing on the frozen tundra, unveiling more details for its Titletown District that include a winter tubing hill and a skating rink at its heart.

The team announced Thursday the district will also include a football-themed playground and full-sized football field with an artificial surface.

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE - A jury has convicted a Milwaukee man of first-degree reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of a 5-year-old girl.

The jury on Thursday also found Carl Barrett Jr. guilty of recklessly endangering Laylah's Peterson's grandmother, grandfather and sister who were present during the shooting in November 2014. Laylah was shot in the head as she sat on her grandfather's lap. Police say the shooters targeted the wrong house.

+ Read More

TOMAH - Wisconsin cranberry growers are expecting an above-average crop yield this year because of nearly ideal growing conditions.

Ed Grygleski is president of Valley Corp., a cranberry producer near Tomah in west central Wisconsin. He tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it has been a great year for growing because there has been plenty of sun without extreme heat.

+ Read More

MADISON - The state Assembly's Republican and Democrat leaders are quarreling over how to fund Wisconsin's roads.

Gov. Scott Walker has proposed delaying projects and borrowing rather than raise the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has balked at that, saying it's not a long-term solution.

+ Read More
+ More Regional News
Search: 







Click Here