Baseball, Business and Technology



Renaissance Learning’s Sale

For the second time in the last month, Renaissance Learning made national & international headlines when it was announced last Thursday that the private investment firm Hellman & Friedman will buy the company for $1.1 billion.  This announcement comes just three weeks after the announced $40 million investment from Google Capital in the education and learning solutions provider.

Keeping in close contact with Renaissance CEO Jack Lynch and his team is a high priority and  I look forward to the ongoing conversations. My focus, to make Wisconsin Rapids their place of choice to continue to do business- whether it is understanding our role in attracting workers, training our local workforce to meet their needs, or being an attractive place to live, work and raise a family.

Renaissance Learning plays a significant role in education technology and analytics and is demonstrated in the recent announcements.  We are proud to have Renaissance Learning headquartered in our area, welcome the new ownership, Hellman & Friedman, and look forward to their continued investment in our community.  I am hopeful that this is only the beginning of further growth for the company locally!

Forbes; Wisconsin Rapids Tribune; Re/code

Information Technology Summit

Last week, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development  hosted a summit on the subject of Information Technology workforce. There, I joined employers, educators, and other workforce partners from the central wisconsin region to learn, plan and discuss future IT workforce initiatives.  Conversations took place around topics such as building better IT pathways in education, examining IT initiatives already taking place, and pursuing grant opportunities to fund future IT workforce initiatives. With all the buzz about tech firms throughout central Wisconsin recently, we must continue to understand their workforce challenges and develop solutions to meet them.

The afternoon event which brought a cross section of representatives, was a productive start to engaging in a strategy that not only meets our ‘local’ needs but also connected to a regional strategy. I was excited to be a part of the conversation; as a leader who recognizes the role and importance of embracing technology moving forward as a means to grow our local economy but also humbled to better understand that if we as a region do not meet the IT workforce needs of our local employers, they will be faced with an even greater challenge to fill their job openings and do business locally.

2014 Baseball Season!

Although the winter weather has been slow to go away, the break in extreme cold temperatures has made residents, myself included, excited for spring and summer weather again!  With the warmer temperatures comes outdoor recreation and activities, including catching a baseball game with our very own Northwoods League team- the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.

Last week, I met with John Fanta, new General Manager of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, to discuss the upcoming 2014 season.  I’m excited for the enhancements, planning and additions being made in the offseason, and for the season to kick off May 27! Ticket packages are still available.

Coffee with the Mayor

Last week, I held a discussion session at Perkins Family Restaurant.

On March 26, I invite you to join me at Four Star Family Restaurant, 2911 8th Street South, from 7:30-8:30 AM. All are welcome to join me for all or just part of the time, for breakfast or coffee, so spread the word to friends and neighbors.

I am glad residents are attending to ask questions and provide me feedback. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet and have conversation!

Own or operate a business?

WisconsinRapidsNext week is Get Your Business Online Week- so save the date for March 27th at 7 AM for Breakfast before Business. RSVP here:

More to come!

Mayor Zach Vruwink



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