On Jan. 31, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) board of directors elected Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens Company of Brillion, Wis., to serve as chairman of the 3,500-member state chamber of commerce.
Ariens pledged to focus on workforce development and continuing to improve the state’s business climate. He stressed that WMC will continue to advocate pro-growth policies and educate the public about issues important to businesses.
“The fact that jobs in Wisconsin go unfilled while we have an unemployed population is a very real structural skills mismatch that must be on the agenda,” Ariens said. “When you factor in the aging demographic in the state, this has the potential for long-term implications for the state’s economy.”
Ariens, who serves as the vice chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, said that Wisconsin’s business climate is improving, but WMC will work with elected officials and other stakeholders to improve the state’s business climate even more.
“I know that Governor Walker and pro-growth lawmakers are committed to improving our business climate, and WMC will play a leading role in developing and advocating polices that create jobs,” Ariens said. “WMC members can provide the day-to-day economic reality of what’s happening in the towns and cities and workplace across Wisconsin, one job at a time.”
Ariens is a fourth-generation manufacturer. His great-grandfather Henry Ariens founded the company as a rotary tiller innovator. For the past 80 years, the manufacturing company has flourished and now produces a wide array of products, including snow blowers, lawn mowers and other products. Ariens is well known as a Lean Manufacturing innovator who embraces Five Core Values and 15 Management Principles.
“It’s a tremendous honor to serve as the chairman of WMC,” Ariens said. “We each have our own agendas for our businesses, and Wisconsin businesses certainly span a wide range of interests. But that is exactly where the strength of an organization like WMC exists – bringing a consensus view to policy makers on our behalf.”
Ariens succeeds outgoing WMC Chairman Todd J. Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. Robert Kamphuis – chairman, president and CEO of Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. – was elected to serve as WMC vice chairman. He succeeds Ariens.
Ariens serves on the Executive Committee of the Green Bay Packers. He lives in Green Bay with his wife, Julie. They have five children.
The WMC board of directors elected Ariens and Kamphuis during the chamber’s annual meeting at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.