Board of Directors
Every great business needs experienced and visionary leadership - the Innovation Foundation is no exception. With decades of combined experience and diverse skill sets, our board of directors has a critical role in advancing our strategic investments of time, talent and capital designed to drive the development of new business ventures in Western Wisconsin.
The Board of Directors is currently made up of professionals from the Minneapolis and Western Wisconsin markets. The current Board of Directors includes:
Gus Myran most recently was Vice President of Operations at Nolato Contour, a custom plastics injection molder. Gus started out his career in mechanical design and has held various management roles from Engineering Manager to General Manager, Vice President roles, and President in manufacturing companies from $25 to $40 million in sales. Gus is an experienced executive with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Minnesota State Mankato and served in the United States Air Force. He has commercialized many innovative technologies over the years in a number of markets and grown them into profitable businesses.
Originally recruited by Realityworks as a software engineer to develop cutting edge technology for new products, Timm Boettcher went on to lead both research & development and engineering on his way to his current position as President. His experience encompasses all phases of product development, sales, marketing, and strategic business management. His leadership has lead to dramatic top line growth with simultaneous improvement in profit and cash flow and has expanded international trade for the company to 39 countries. Timm currently sits on the boards of The Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation, Gateway Corporation, and Western Wisconsin Workforce Resource, Inc.
Maureen Carlson serves as Communications and Marketing Director for OEM Fabricators, Inc., and is owner of 3D Strategies, LLC, a marketing and economic development consulting company based in Eau Claire. Maureen founded 3D Strategies in 1998 and has been serving business and industry, communities, educational institutions, medical and non-profit organizations ever since.
Maureen has more than 20 years of professional marketing and economic development experience. She is a skilled marketing and project management professional. Maureen's previous jobs include serving as Director of Integrated Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; Director of the Stout Technology Park and Economic Development Specialist for the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation.
Jeff Cernohous left 3M's Dyneon organization in 2003 to found Interfacial Solutions, a materials development and transfer company. In his current role as President, he is engaged in developing and commercializing new technologies and products for solving problems related to interfacial phenomenon in plastics and plastic composites. He is also named co-author on more than 25 scientific publications and more than 50 US patents and patent applications.
Dan Draxler is President/CEO of Bremer Bank, a $650 million bank with 15 locations in Northwest Wisconsin. Dan has been with Bremer for 28 years, prior to his current role he was an Agricultural Banker for 20 years with Bremer Bank. He is a board member of the Region Business Fund, United Way St Croix Valley and president of the Amery Economic Development Corporation.
James Hanke is the Economic Development Manager with Xcel Energy. James' diverse background includes managing and developing Angel Investment and equity funds. He has also served as an Assistant to a City Planner in Wisconsin.
Janice Lemminger is the Executive Vice President of Manpower for the Chippewa Valley, Central Wisconsin and the Coulee Region, which includes ten offices and eleven client-site operations throughout Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota. Janice is a graduate and alumni from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. She started her career with Manpower in Eau Claire in 1984 with D Mark Group d/b/a Manpower as a Service Representative and left in 1991 as a Branch Manager. From there, she moved to the Chicago area and was a District Manager for Manpower of Chicago during that time. In August, 1994 she moved to her hometown to work for Manpower's International Headquarters in Milwaukee, WI. While at the headquarters from August 1994 through March 2000, her career included Corporate Account Director, Customer Invoicing Manager and Business and Product Development Manager for Manpower's e-business solutions for North America. In April 2000, Janice returned to the Chippewa Valley to run the Manpower franchise operation for the Chippewa Valley, Central Wisconsin and the Coulee Region.
Kara Linderholm is the Vice President of Finance for Precision Pipeline, a multi-union, multi-state pipeline contractor. Kara was hired by Precision in their start-up year of 2004. She has been involved in all aspects of creating and managing this industry leading company. Currently a corporate officer of the company, her current role is management, leadership and direction. Administrative, accounting, information technology, and human resources are the departments which are currently under her direct responsibility. Kara is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where she received her degree in Finance and her MBA. She is a detail orientated financial executive with extensive experience in construction, both in the private and public sector. She is an innovator and results driven decision maker with a strong understanding of financial reporting, costing and budgeting, and operations management.
Jim joined Bauman Associates and public accounting in 1995 after several years in the private sector working with area businesses. His experience with small business operation and the associated challenges have given him a broad spectrum of knowledge and ability. He focuses his efforts on developing understandable solutions and more efficient processes including financial statement preparation, payroll issues, accounting matters, and accounting software consulting.
Jim has taught various accounting software applications including QuickBooks, Peachtree, and others through the UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center. He also provides advisory services, on-site training, and technical support for clients to help ensure their comfort and satisfaction with the accounting systems he helps them implement. His combined knowledge of general practice accounting and business operations allows him to teach and guide clients simply and understandably.
Glenn Potts is Dean of the AACSB accredited College of Business and Economics at UWRF. He received his PhD in economics and statistics from Iowa State University and has been a professor of Economics at UWRF since 1976. Glenn has been actively involved in the economic development activities of West Central Wisconsin for many years. He currently serves as a board member of the River Falls Economic Development Corporation. In addition to his work at the University, Glenn is President and CEO of GEM International Inc. (inactive), a trading company. He has worked in countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia, Rwanda, Mexico, and Pakistan.
Thomas Raeuchle has served as President of Santerra Inc in Edina, MN since 2000. He is an experienced executive with a broad background in technology, strategy consulting, project management, and business/customer relations. He has a broad experience in bridging the gap between software and technology developers/entrepreneurs and the market.
Mike Richards is an experienced operations executive and natural leader who has a strong understanding of human nature and how individuals, teams and organizations function and work together to achieve outstanding performance. He specializes in team leadership, budget control and cost reduction and continuous improvement. He has extensive experience working with chemical and mechanical process using lean principles and process control and management. He was a plant manager at Hutchinson Technology Inc in Eau Claire for 15 years. During that time, he led the start-up efforts for three different operations. In the last three years, he reduced indirect costs and benefits by 27%, utility costs by 28% and overall part costs by 17%.
Agnes is a marketing leader with a background in community development. Her experience includes brand strategy, strategic business planning and strategic marketing. She recently served as Vice President of a professional services firm. Earlier in her consulting career she advised local units of government on grant funding strategies related to housing, public infrastructure and economic development. Agnes currently serves on the St. Croix County Board.
Lynn E. Thompson, currently President & CEO, of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, was initially employed there in 1991 as the Treasurer/Finance Manager. He is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration-Accounting from the University of North Dakota. He and his family live in Eau Claire County.
Prior to joining Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, Thompson was the audit manager at Clifton Gunderson & Company in Eau Claire. Active in the community, Thompson has served in a leadership capacity for the boards of the Senior Aides Employment and Training, Inc. and the West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. He currently serves as the President-elect for the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation.
With the headquarters located between Eau Claire and Fall Creek, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative provides reliable and affordable electricity and related energy services to over 10,000 residential, business and farm members in Eau Claire County and surrounding counties. As a Touchstone Energy Partner, employees at Eau Claire Energy Cooperative pride themselves in the high member satisfaction ratings.
Sam Zordich is CEO and founder of RAI Stone Group, a company that provides business leaders with a software service (RAI Stone Analytics®) to analyze critical information and make better decisions. This game-changing assessment exposes hidden opportunities and barriers that aren't uncovered using traditional 1-dimensional means. Our signature product is for small companies with up to 100 employees and was built by small business owners looking for a better way to navigate tricky challenges and make better decisions.
Sam has successfully led the development and commercialization of over 25 technology solutions in a variety of disciplines. She has applied her extensive leadership experience within 100's of small businesses as a growth consultant, turnaround consultant, and instructor at the University of St. Thomas in MN.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs and later earning her MBA, Sam has herself owned and operated six prior companies in multiple industries and has also held senior positions in various size companies-from startup to Fortune 100, local to international. She is a nationally published writer and speaker in the areas of leadership, partnership, organizational growth, and financial analytics.
Mike Finger is the Executive Director of the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin.
Mike knows what it means to start, grow, love (and occasionally hate) a business. After graduating with a Master's Degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration, Mike started a management, consulting and accounting business. After 15 years of leading and growing the business to 50 full-time employees, he successfully sold the business. After selling his business, and prior to becoming the IFWW's Executive Director, Mike worked with business owners in Western Wisconsin to help successfully sell their businesses. Mike brings his real life ownership and business growth experience to his work as Executive Director, helping IFWW clients pursue the design, creation and growth of their businesses.
Mike is a long-time resident of Western Wisconsin where he lives on a small farm, and is active as a father, husband and volunteer firefighter.