SHEBOYGAN — Last week the Sheboygan County Chamber hosted their Economic Outlook Breakfast at Pine Hills Country Club, where almost 100 people gathered to learn the results of the Chamber’s Economic Outlook survey.
Joining the Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deidre Martinez were industry leaders Dr. Ashok Rai, CEO of Prevea Health, and Tim Schneider, CEO of Investors Community Bank, who shared what they foresaw in their respective industries for 2018.
The Chamber’s wide-ranging survey polled county businesses and Chamber members, seeking their plans and goals for 2018. The top three concerns centered on manufacturing, health care and nonprofits. Martinez reported that local employers are very optimistic, with more than half expecting their workforce to grow this year.
She referenced the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, which stated that by 2024, almost 70% of Wisconsin’s workforce will need to be replaced due to expected retirement. Local employers are proactively addressing this with a blend of efforts to hire new employees and promote from within. Martinez noted that these employers are also successfully encouraging their young employees to seek membership in the Chamber’s Coastal YPN group, now numbering more than 750, which provides opportunities for them to develop into the next generation of leaders.
Dr. Rai’s talk, “Moving from Volume to Value: Healthcare in 2018” centered on the need for the industry to be sustainable by evolving their model of care. Currently, the healthcare’s focus is on curing the sick, but Prevea’s focus has shifted to investing in the health of its population.
“A value-based system focuses on the patient,” Rai said, noting that Prevea has established a model of care where each patient has an ongoing relationship with a physician team. This emphasizes enhanced care through open scheduling and communication between the patient and the team.
Their LeadWell program is a deliberate interaction with employers to start taking what Prevea has learned and build it into the work setting, creating actionable opportunities for people to improve their health.
From a banking perspective, Schneider’s talk centered on a national financial outlook, including recent tax reform and its impact on banks, businesses and consumers. He discussed the direction the Federal Reserve might take, interest rate hikes, a flattening yield curve, and unemployment. “Wisconsin is at full employment,” Schneider said.
He also noted that banking consolidations continue; of the 525 banks chartered nationally in 1990, 212 currently remain, a pattern he attributed to technological changes. Schneider and his partners started Investors Community Bank in 1997; the bank also sponsors the Executive Series events for the Chamber.