Thursday, September 30, 2010

Johnson Bank closes four offices in Arizona

Shortly after closing three Wisconsin branches, including one in Racine, Johnson Bank announced it was closing four branches in Arizona. Here's a short story.

Monday, September 27, 2010

CNH Capital Announces Initiative to Upgrade Point of Sale Technology

CNH Capital, the financial services business of CNH Global N.V., is in the process of implementing an upgrade to its dealer revolving account service offering.

The dealer service offering upgrade is enabled by FreeWay(TM) from FreedomPay, a Software as a Service (SaaS) payment and transaction gateway that joins all areas of payment and transaction processes into a single interface and reporting system. The POS technology enhances the servicing of existing investments in Dealer Management Systems (DMS). FreeWay integrates with Dealer Management Systems currently being used by many of CNH North America's family of dealers.

By implementing this technology, the CNH family of dealers will have real-time ability to access a variety of promotions for their customers, and insight into optional customized programs, also accessible at the point of purchase.

Trysha Stiffler, Division Manager from CNH Capital says, "This upgrade represents a significant advancement to the CNH Capital Commercial Revolving Account product line. We are now able to provide additional benefits to both dealers and customers through the use of a state-of-the-art sales tool accessible online or at the point of sale, all while bringing a high level of data security to our dealers. This initiative represents the implementation of an easy-to-deploy solution yielding benefits to both our dealers and their customers."

Sam Bellamy, Chief Operating Officer from FreedomPay adds, "The deployment of FreeWay across the CNH dealer network is expected to yield numerous benefits, including secure payment processing and enhanced ability for dealers to provide customers with additional insight into available promotional offerings. We look forward to working with CNH Capital and the CNH family of dealers in the coming months to launch FreeWay."

FreeWay is certified for use with CNH's most widely used Dealer Management Systems.

About CNH Capital

CNH Capital, the financial services business of CNH Global N.V.(CNH 39.52, -0.11, -0.27%), a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Group (fia:MI), provides a comprehensive range of services, including wholesale and retail financing, leasing, insurance, asset management, and revolving lines of credit, for the global marketplace. Building on more than 50 years' experience in the equipment finance industry, CNH Capital services a portfolio of more than $18 billion, helping customers through various wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia. More information about CNH Capital can be found

About FreedomPay

FreedomPay offers innovative payment and transaction solutions to companies. The Software as a Service (SAAS) FreeWay, the world's most flexible gateway, joins all areas of payment and transaction management into a single, easy-to-use interface and reporting system.

For over a decade, FreedomPay has offered end-to-end payment and transaction solutions ranging from POS hardware, service kiosks, virtual and remote terminals, payment processing, intelligent analysis, routing of promotions, incentives, and customer relationship management services.

FreedomPay provides customers in retailing, healthcare, manufacturing, higher education, government, and nonprofits with a PCI compliant and end-to-end-encrypted single solution for intelligent payment and transaction management.

Visit us online at

Maintaining ISO 9001 certification topic of American Society of Quality meeting in Racine

David Taylor of Taylor Enterprises, Inc., will show the easiest way to maintain ISO 9001 certification by focusing on the most important parts for your company at the American Society for Quality, Racine-Kenosha-Walworth Section Meeting 6:00 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Charcoal Grill, 8300 Washington Ave. in Racine.

Please make reservations to Jay Warner at There is no charge for the meeting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free program explores self-employment options

If you’ve ever thought about operating your own business or are just curious about taking the business ownership step, “Dream the Possible Dream:  Business Ownership” is a place to start. The free workshop is hosted by Financial Service Group from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 4812 Northwestern Ave.

The interactive workshop, led by Marty Barnes of The Entrepreneur’s Source, will discuss self-employment options and lead participants through a process to help determine if self-employment is a good career option and what type of business would be the best fit.

Reservations are required. Call Lori at 262-554-4500 or visit this website. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Johnson family moves up on list of richest Americans

Racine's billionaires are the 182nd richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Fisk Johnson, Curtis Johnson, Helen Johnson-Leipold, and Imogene Powers Johnson are each worth about $2 billion. That's $50 million over last year. The SC Johnson family moved up one place on the annual Forbes list of richest Americans.

Menard's owner John Menard is the richest person in Wisconsin. His fortune is valued at $5.2 billion.

See the full list here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Johnson Bank is closing three branches, including drive-up in Racine

Johnson Bank is closing three branches, including a drive-up location in Racine, to save money due to the down economy.

Here's the company press release:
Johnson Bank announced today they will consolidate their Lake Geneva office into their Burlington location. The bank will also consolidate their Sheboygan office into their Kohler location. The office located at 580 Broad Street in Lake Geneva and the office located at 701 N. 8th Street in Sheboygan will officially close on December 17, 2010, along with Johnson Bank’s drive up location located at 5417 Washington Avenue in Racine. This is part of the bank’s plan to manage business in light of the evolving economic environment.

“No one is immune to the impact caused by the current economic situation,” said Russ Weyers, Chief Operating Officer/incoming Chief Executive Officer. “We’re making decisions so we can be an even stronger financial partner in the future for our clients.”
The banks will remain open until close date. Weyers said he expects the impact on clients to be minimal.
“Our client relationships are important to us and we appreciate their business,” added Weyers. “Our clients can expect the same high level of service they’re accustomed to at Johnson Bank.”
Weyers said the bank will continue to review multiple aspects of the organization to manage the business and adapt to the changing economic environment. Approximately 12 associates will be affected.

Shurpac, Inc. set to Expand Facility, Workforce

The City of Racine put out the following press release today:
RACINE – Thanks to a partnership with the City of Racine resulting in an assessment grant from the DNR, Shurpac Inc. is preparing for a building and workforce expansion at its long-time Racine location – 1700 Phillips Avenue.

The City of Racine, in partnership with Shurpac applied for an environmental assessment grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and was awarded the grant to perform the assessment. The grant will facilitate the completion of phase I and phase II of the property.

As a result, Shurpac will be able to increase its building investment and eventually its workforce by 50 employees.

“From a city standpoint, our No.1 objective is to be able to partner with our local businesses and job opportunities,” said Mayor John Dickert. “Shurpac has committed to the City of Racine and the City of Racine has committed to Shurpac.

“We were able to cut through the red tape in Madison, partner with the DNR, and get the job done and because we were successful in doing so we have a local company able to expand its facility and that expansion will eventually create 50 more jobs. This is very exciting news.”

Shurpac is equally excited about the partnership and the results.

“Mayor Dickert has been very proactive and aggressive in helping us with any issues that have come up,” said Shurpac President Jeff Hoey. “The city has made us feel wanted. They’ve made great partners. We’ve been a part of this business community for 52 years.The city and the Mayor worked side-by-side with us to make sure this expansion happened and because they did we are very pleased to be able to create more jobs for the people in our area.”

Since Shurpac had outgrown its current location, the city was in danger of losing a valuable employer. Partnering together, the city and Shurpac determined the need to investigate the vacant parcel adjacent to the company and then successfully applied for the needed funding.

 “This project is a testament to Racine’s prime manufacturing location in the Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor,” Mayor Dickert added. “It also highlights the partnership among local and state governments and our economic development organization to create and retain critical jobs in our community. This is another win for the residents of Racine.”

For additional information on this project and the assistance that may be available to other employers in Racine County, contact the Racine County Economic Development Corporation at 262-898-7424.

SC Johnson named one of the nation's top companies for working moms

SC Johnson continues to be a best place for working moms. Recognized by Working Mother Magazine for being one of the nation's top companies for working moms, SC Johnson celebrates its 22nd year of being named to the list. This is the 25th year Working Mother Magazine has identified the best companies for working moms.

"SC Johnson is pleased to be recognized by Working Mother for our commitment to retaining and building upon programs and benefits that help working parents find the right worklife balance," said Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. "Sustaining a family-focused culture where people can be productive and well-balanced is fundamental to our success. SC Johnson applauds those companies that are moving forward with their business goals while also providing families the support they need. We are thrilled to be included in this list."

According to the Pew Research Center Study*, 40 percent of working moms say they always feel rushed but are no less happy than moms who don't work. Understanding the challenges that working moms face helps SC Johnson recruit and retain a strong workforce. As part of this year's recognition, Working Mother gave particular weight to benefits, flexibility and parental leave, all of which are available to working parents at SC Johnson.

While the Working Mother 100 Best Companies continue expanding their benefits, those at companies nationwide lag. Just 44 percent of American companies offer telecommuting (vs. 100 percent of the 100 Best), 17 percent offer formal mentoring (vs. 95 percent), and 37 percent offer health insurance for part-timers (vs. 100 percent). In contrast, SC Johnson, and all of the 100 Best Companies, offer paid maternity leave, lactation rooms, flextime, mental health consultations and elder-care resources; and 98 percent offer health screening and wellness programs--particularly significant in a stress-inducing, poor economy.

"Twenty-five years ago, we made a bold decision to launch our Best Companies initiative and challenge businesses to address the unique needs of working mothers," said Carol Evans, President, Working Mother Media. "The immense influx of women into the workforce demanded changes in workplace culture as companies strove to keep working moms' talent and loyalty. Today, we celebrate our winners' untiring commitment to their employees through an impressive array of programs."

"Families are important to us - SC Johnson's family history is part of the foundation that makes us a great place to work," said Gayle Kosterman, Executive Vice President - Worldwide Human Resources for SC Johnson. "The various programs we offer are in place to help people balance their lives, which in turn, contributes to the company's overall success."

Profiles of the 100 Best Companies, as well as national comparisons, are in the October issue ofWorking Mother and at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SC Johnson releases its 2009 Public Report

SC Johnson 2009 Public Report
SC Johnson released its 2010 public report documenting the company's investments in people, the planet and the company's sustainable progress.

The report features CEO and Chairman Fisk Johnson and his company's charitable and environmental efforts around the world, including several in the Racine area. Titled “Investing in People, Investing for the Planet,” the annual public report further details the company’s  legacy and commitment to family values, progress against its environmental objectives and social responsibility efforts around the world. The report is  the privately-held company’s 19th year of publicly sharing information about the company’s goals, efforts and progress.

“Today’s consumers want more information about companies and the products they make,” said Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson, the fifth-generation leader of SC Johnson. “We’re committed to doing what’s right and sharing these details with our consumers is just one way we’re working to build consumer trust.”

The 2010 public report is a flip-book, divided in half to show the two sides of the company’s sustainability strategy. One side focuses on how SC Johnson is investing in people all over the world, while the other focuses on its efforts to protect the environment and improve its products.

According to an SCJ press release, the company has set specific goals every five years for the last two decades and is currently working against firm objectives to be achieved by 2011. SC Johnson set goals to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and utilize alternative renewable energy sources. The 2010 public report details that 75 percent of these environmental objectives have been met:

• Water and emissions have been reduced by 54 percent
• GHG emissions in the U.S. have been reduced by 29.1 percent***
• GHG emissions worldwide have been reduced 31.6 percent

SC Johnson’s patented Greenlist process annually increases the proportion of our ingredients with the least impact on the environment and human health. Since 2001, the percent of “best” ingredients in the company’s products has increased 14 percent.

In addition, the company hopes to source 40 percent of total electricity usage worldwide from renewable energy by 2011. SC Johnson is close to meeting this goal early – currently, the company sources 39.7 percent of total worldwide electricity usage from renewable sources.

SCJ's charitable highlights from 2009 include:
  • SC Johnson ranks sixth among the top 10 companies for disabilities and in the top 50 companies for diversity, according to the ninth annual list published by
  • SC Johnson Mexico is honored with the Socially Responsible Enterprise Award from the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI). SC Johnson is one of only 10 companies in Mexico that have received the award for nine years in a row.
  • SC Johnson announces a 28-month partnership to benefit thousands of Rwanda pyrethrum farmers by helping them enhance the collection, drying and transportation of higher-quality pyrethrum flowers. The effort aims to enable farmers to increase their families’ income, as well as result in an increased supply of sustainable East African pyrethrum for key purchasers like SC Johnson. Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that is used in some of SC Johnson’s pest control products such as its Raid and Baygon brand insecticides.
  • SC Johnson is recognized as a top company for diversity by prestigious organizations including AARP (Best Employer for Workers Over 50), Working Mother magazine (100 Best Companies for Working Mothers), Hispanic Business Magazine (Top 60 Companies for Diversity), and the Human Rights Campaign (scoring 100 percent on the group’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on their fair treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors).
  • SC Johnson joins Kroger’s “Giving Hope a Hand” campaign to raise money to fight breast cancer. Working with Kroger, we pledge $280,000 to support non-profit organizations targeting this cause, and develop specially designed displays and packaging featuring Winnie Marquart, sister of Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson, sharing her breast cancer survivor story.
  • SC Johnson employees contribute more than $855,253 to the annual United Way campaign in the United States. The SC Johnson Fund, Inc. matches the pledges dollar-for-dollar, meaning United Way-supported agencies receive more than $1.7 million from SC Johnson and its people.
  • SC Johnson announces its first commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative. Focusing on malaria prevention, SC Johnson will roll out an information, education and communication program in partnership with the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. The program draws from SC Johnson’s experience combating malaria and will be designed to help NGOs, governments, businesses and community health groups support families at risk of contracting the disease.
  • And throughout the year, from January through December 2009, SC Johnson companies were named to local employer-of-choice lists compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute, Hewitt Associates and others. Among the SC Johnson operations honored in 2009 were our companies in Argentina, Canada, Central America, Chile, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.

SCJ's haritable efforts listed in the report include:

The Opportunities Industrialization Center is a worldwide organization of local affiliates that provide employment-related services to disadvantaged members of the community. The OIC of Racine County focuses on working with young adults to help them stay in school, graduate and learn job skills. The OIC’s Youthbuild Racine GreenTech Project provides hands-on, on-site training in green housing construction and rehabilitation. The program provides skills to participants while also increasing the supply of affordable, energy-efficient low-income housing. The program aims to transition at least half of participants into a construction trade apprenticeship and to graduate at least 75 percent in a GED or high school equivalency program. Since 1996, the SC Johnson Fund has provided $1,073,000 to the OIC of Racine County.

The mission of the Alliance for the Great Lakes is to “conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.” To accomplish this mission, the Alliance works with residents, scientists, teachers, policymakers and others to preserve the Great Lakes. The program has several focus areas, including water quality, water conservation, habitat recovery, and education and outreach. The SC Johnson Fund has provided $66,000 in funding to the Alliance for the Great Lakes to develop a local Adopt-a-Beach program and to educate area youth about the importance of the Lake Michigan coastline.

Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that help fight hunger in the United States. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin feeds 330,000 people each year, including 105,000 children and nearly 33,000 seniors. The food bank distributes more than 12 million pounds of food and grocery products annually through 1,100 partner hunger relief agencies that serve the hungry directly. Each year, SC Johnson makes large product donations to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, for example contributing more than 60,000 pounds of products such as Ziploc brand sandwich bags in 2009. In addition, since 1996 the SC Johnson Fund has provided $60,000 in financial contributions.

First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training provides low-income, unemployed and underemployed individuals in Racine with skills necessary for the construction and skilled trade industries. The goal is to improve employment opportunities by providing the skills needed to obtain familysupporting wages. Hundreds of workers have completed the program and secured area construction jobs, including employment on a major Milwaukee freeway interchange and on a new building at SC Johnson’s world headquarters. Since 2002, the SC Johnson Fund has provided $331,850 in funding to First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training, which is now managed by Human Capital Development Corp.

Habitat for Humanity works to provide housing that is decent, safe and affordable to low-income families around the world. Local Habitat affiliates work to select homeowners, organize volunteers and coordinate house building. Homeowners are selected based on need, ability to pay a mortgage and willingness to help participate in the homebuilding process. Homeowners and volunteers build under trained supervision. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing shelter for more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities. Since 1989, the SC Johnson Fund has provided $255,000 in funding to Racine Habitat for Humanity to support the construction of new homes.

Conservation International is an international organization that works in more than 40 countries to protect the earth’s resources. CI is committed to helping societies adopt a more sustainable approach to development — by considering and valuing nature. CI has many focus areas, including watershed and forest protection, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and ecotourism. CI’s mission includes empowering societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature. As part of this mission, over the next three years Conservation International plans to support the development of a green economy in Rwanda. CI hopes the economy will serve as a regional model for integrating ecosystem services into development and conservation. The SC Johnson Fund, in collaboration with SC Johnson corporate giving, provided $725,000 in support to Conservation International this past year, of which $100,000 will support their Rwandan green development program.

The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for innovative public and private solutions. It operates the Wingspread Conference Center and hosts leading thinkers, conferences, workshops and seminars in an effort to have a great impact on environmental, community and other public policy issues. An entirely separate institution from the SC Johnson Fund and SC Johnson, the Johnson Foundation seeks to provide solutions on a regional and global basis in the areas of healthy environments and healthy local communities. Most recently, the Johnson Foundation announced the 2010 Freshwater Summit, a new initiative to focus attention on the emerging freshwater crisis in the United States, including pollution, water shortages, water infrastructure and water quality. In 2009, the SC Johnson Fund provided $3,000,000 in funding to the Johnson Foundation.

The Racine Art Museum (RAM) opened in 2003 as an outgrowth of the 69 year-old Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts (Wustum). RAM operates both locations, using Wustum as an education center and RAM as home to internationally recognized exhibitions of contemporary crafts. The museums are a popular destination for the 11 million residents of the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor and across the United States. In addition to six exhibition galleries, RAM has a world-class museum store and an art library. Both campuses offer a myriad of free community outreach programs and Wustum offers one of the largest studio arts programs of any Wisconsin museum. In the past 10 years, the SC Johnson Fund provided more than $5,700,000 to RAM’s building fund, endowment, exhibitions and education programs.

Download a PDF of SC Johnson's public report here.