Two Rivers, Wisconsin seems like an unlikely or unusual place for our first venture. It is a small community in Northeast Wisconsin that has both experienced a significant loss of primary employment and population over the past twenty years, most recently with the closure of the former-Hamilton Industries in 2013. The community was also profoundly impacted by the decommissioning of the Dominion Nuclear Generating Facility in Kewaunee County. Beyond this, the community’s manufacturing sector felt the effects of globalization in the late 1990’s, leaving a community filled with skilled labor but short of opportunities.
The perception that Two Rivers is a community well past its prime has been passed to many of its young adults as every passing spring brought another high school graduating class that would send its best and brightest off to colleges, universities, and the whole wide world. Many of us sought our fortunes elsewhere, leaving our marks on communities throughout the Midwest. We have fond memories of Two Rivers but little connection beyond those friends we link to on social media or the occasional note from parents and relatives.
We have selected Two Rivers for the first venture of this little consulting firm largely because it is home. Keith and I both have deep connections to Two Rivers and the surrounding region. We understand the rich history that has been written in the small towns of the Lake Michigan coast. There is a legacy of hard work, dedication, and ingenuity that still resonates today.
Two Rivers is also a community of boundless energy and great potential. Those of us who are connected to it or call it home still marvel at its natural beauty and sense of community. There are places that will remain familiar to those who may have passed through decades prior or those of us who have been away for too long. There are unique opportunities to bring new life into old spaces, to foster the next generation of business and community leaders, and to make your mark. It is a place that seems like most small towns until you find yourself either high enough to marvel at the brilliant blue expanse of Lake Michigan that surrounds the community in a big hug.
Two Rivers is a community to be embraced. It is a place to dream. It is a place to breathe deeply and relax. It is a place that we look forward to placing our bets. We will be sharing news and an invitation in the coming weeks as to how you might do the same.
Way to go Jeff and Keith.