MACCI turns 75: Changing with time
By Kris Leonhardt
Editor’s Note: As the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) celebrates 75 years, we take a look at its formation and presence in the community. Continued from previous edition
A groundbreaking for the new 4,000 square-foot facility on the corner of South Central Avenue and West Seventh Street was held in 1993 and in March 1994, about 200 people crowded onto the front sidewalk of the new Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry office facility for its official opening.
Having assisted with a permanent home, and many other community projects, MACCI Executive Director Marilyn Hardacre stepped aside in 1997 to concentrate on volunteer work.
Hardacre was succeeded by Barb Fleisner LaMue, who filled the executive director position until 2006.
LaMue, who is now the president and CEO of New North, said that the organization worked to grow “membership, volunteers, and programs” during her tenure.
“I have very many great memories,” she said. “I think the most rewarding was working with a very talented team and how we didn’t need to even ask for volunteers. The community was always there to support our work.”
At her side was program director, Debbie Bauer, who had been working as administrative staff with the chamber when she was hired by Hardacre to replace Kim Baltus in April 1995. Bauer remains in that position today.
Upon Fleisner LaMue’s departure, Scott Larson came on as the organization’s executive director and is now marking his 15th year with MACCI.
Larson said that while the organization’s focus remains the same, their efforts continue to change over time.
“During my tenure with MACCI, the organizational focus has always been and remains focused upon economic development, business development and community promotion,” Larson explained. “This has been affirmed by a recent MACCI membership survey. Over the years, how those efforts have been undertaken have changed and will continue to change.
“Economic development focuses on doing business and growing opportunistically. It’s more than just having land and incentives available. It now encompasses technology, such as: broadband service, workforce availability, and educational opportunities. Business development now seems to focus more upon talent development, with a focus on creating sustainable workforce pipelines by interacting with K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions. Community promotion is now more about Quality of Place and the amenities, such as: housing, cultural, and recreational opportunities and community activities that are necessary to attract and retain talent to an area.”
As new programs and events develop, there are still the old mainstays.
Dairyfest has been a Marshfield tradition since 1981. The event began as an idea forged by former Marshfield Mayor Marilyn Hardacre, Elmer Frey, and Les Leonard. This year, the event will mark its 40th year anniversary, as the chamber itself celebrates 75.
“I am very proud of the MACCI staff and its workforce development initiatives such as the Crystal Apple awards program, the youth apprenticeship programs, and the Realty Store, and their work with the Marshfield Economic Development Board to grow jobs and investment in the greater Marshfield area,” LaMue added.
In addition to Larson and Bauer, today’s MACCI staff includes: Karen Olson, business development director; Karen Isaacson, talent & member relations director; and Jessica Roehl, administrative assistant.