University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Marilyn Kanne Receives Top
State Honors

 MAILED:  July 15, 2004

EAU CLAIRE - Scores of small business owners and managers in western Wisconsin have learned small business fundamentals and other professional development subjects, thanks to the efforts of Marilyn Kanne of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Kanne recently was selected by her peers as the 2004 Outstanding Wisconsin SBDC staff member. She will receive the State Star Award along with award winners from other states during the ASBDC Annual Conference in New Orleans in September.

The award is given annually to an SBDC employee who makes a significant contribution to the Wisconsin SBDC, shows a commitment to small business and is an exemplary performer, says Erica Kauten, director of the Business and Manufacturing Division of UW-Extension.

"Marilyn Kanne was a pioneer in developing the broad mix of course offerings needed by small businesses throughout west central Wisconsin," Kauten said. "She taught us all to listen and learn from our customers."

Kanne joined UW-Extension in 1976, providing program support for non-credit seminars for small business, business and industry and the national technical instructor institutes. When the SBDC was established, she assumed the role of business education coordinator, developing, marketing and coordinating non-credit seminars for business and industry.

In 1985 she re-packaged seminars designed for small business owners and managers into the Supervisory Management Certificate Program. She estimates more than 10,000 people have attended the seminars.

"In many small businesses, long-term, loyal staffers are promoted into supervisory roles," Kanne said. "This shift to managing people is a major transition. The new group leader or manager is no longer evaluated on their own work, but rather upon the quantity and quality of work generated by the whole group. Our seminars provide an opportunity to learn critical management skills and to discuss practices with peers from business and industry throughout the region. As a result the new supervisor is not only more confident, but also more effective. That helps our small businesses succeed."

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash said the SBDC and Kanne's work with small business owners are prime examples of how UW-Eau Claire serves the region through business development.

"When we talk about being an interactive public regional university, one of the primary things we're referring to is our commitment to serving the region," Mash said. "The SBDC has an excellent record of supporting economic development in the region."

UW-Eau Claire SBDC director Kevin Jones said the center helps entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers in Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Rusk and Taylor counties. It is funded jointly by the federal government through the Small Business Administration and the university, and the staff works closely with other economic development providers in the region.

"Marilyn's reputation for down-to-earth, practical management techniques taught with a coaching mindset by facilitators who are familiar with regional small businesses keeps the series alive and well," said Jones, who received the State Star award last year.

Kanne said she is honored to be selected as this year's top SBDC staffer.

"There are many talented, dedicated professionals in our Wisconsin Small Business Development Center network," Kanne said. "To be honored by one's peers, especially peers of this caliber, is truly the highest honor I can envision."



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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: July 15, 2004