In connection with Alumni Days, the University and alumni volunteers will staff a booth at the Downtown Farmers Market, from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday the 17th, dispensing gifts to anyone in UW-Green Bay apparel. A special Habitat for Humanity alumni build on Crooks Street is planned for later in the day. Meanwhile, back at UWGB, the “Spawning Run” 5k organized by the eco-minded student chapter of the American Fisheries Society invites campus and community to explore the trails of the Cofrin Arboretum. Learn more about the run/walk.
Assistant Professor Michael Rector will perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the Green Bay Civic Symphony as part of their season-opening concert at the Meyer Theater on Saturday (Oct. 3) at 7:30 pm. The program also includes Brahms’s Symphony No. 3. For ticket information and more.
Top University of Wisconsin System officials including President Ray Cross and Regent President Regina Millner were on the UW-Green Bay campus Tuesday to host community members, business and health care leaders, school administrators and others as they work to create a long-term strategic plan. Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Patti Zarling noted that among those attending the afternoon session were state School Superintendent Tony Evers, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College President Jeff Rafn, and a number of Brown County school district officials. Her story quotes Cross, Miller and the president of the Green Bay Education Association.
Fox 11 News interviewed session participants and quoted UW System President Cross, who said, “Our job (here) is to listen, not lecture.”
WBAY-TV 2 interviewed Cross and others including Mike Blecha of the Green Bay Area School Board, who said, “We need to serve students who come from non-traditional families and backgrounds where a college education is not in the family… then, once those students graduate, to make sure our best and brightest stay here in Wisconsin instead of leaving for other states.”
Ask small business owners and you will quickly learn that what drives them to succeed goes far beyond the products or services they provide. For most, factors such as community pride, relationships and social and cultural considerations help paint a clearer picture of who they serve and why they’re in business.
Nowhere is this more true than at Universal Designs Salon, LLC at 1173 Velp Ave., Green Bay. The salon has proudly served Green Bay residents seeking trendy and affordable hair products and services since 2011. Founder and owner Kimyatta Ratliff says that Universal Designs Salon serves women and men from all walks of life. However, the salon truly specializes in meeting the needs of ethnically diverse customers.
“Universal Designs Salon is the first salon in the Green Bay and Fox Valley area to primarily serve the area’s ethnically diverse population,” says Ratliff. “People often don’t understand that one’s hair is not only a statement of themselves and their idea of fashion, but is also an expression of their culture.”
And while the majority of the services provided by the salon are for people seeking to enhance their appearance, Ratliff also works with customers who need attention for health-related issues such as cancer, alopecia, diabetes, or any number of other medical conditions that contribute to hair loss.
Ultimately, Ratliff’s philosophy about people and about her work is one and the same — the love of community.
“Clients are relaxed here,” she says. “This place is meant to be fun and relaxing. And when people come here from other countries or cultures, I try to introduce them to others and help them to connect with the community.”
The face behind the success
Ratliff lived in other parts of the country before choosing Green Bay. Born in Mississippi, she grew up in Los Angeles and earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Paine College in Augusta, Ga. While visiting family in Green Bay during college she identified a need for salons that would serve Green Bay’s growing ethnically diverse population. So she moved to Green Bay in 2007. Having experience in hair care and styling since she was 16, she immediately started working at King’s Barber Shop. She had studied cosmetology while still in high school and cut her teeth in the craft by watching her mother who regularly styled her and her siblings’ hair.
Only four years after arriving in Green Bay, she followed the example set by her father, a small business owner himself, and opened Universal Designs Salon in 2011.
“Even as a child I knew that I wanted to work with hair and I knew I wanted to own my own place,” says Ratliff with a broad smile. “I remember at 13 years old drawing a picture of my own mall – it was all about hair!”
Twenty years later that ambition has not slowed down. In addition to building great friendships and relationships with clients, Ratliff has found community in Green Bay. She has become active and involved in her church and in the community, serving organizations whose missions are close to her heart and to her personal and professional philosophies. She serves as president of the Northeast Wisconsin African American Association, an organization that focuses on uplift of the black community throughout the region. She also sits on the board of directors for the Green Bay Multicultural Center and serves as vice-chairperson of Transformation House, Inc., an organization that provides men with affordable shelter while nurturing their spiritual, educational and social development.
UW-Green Bay, Urban Hope / E-Hub and others lend a hand
Like most new businesses, Universal Designs Salon did not come about by itself. Building on Ratliff’s determined entrepreneurial spirit, several community organizations provided counsel and support services that helped the start-up to find its footing.
Ratliff first approached Urban Hope/E-Hub of Green Bay for assistance in turning her dreams and ideas into a business plan. A year later she received business loan funding through Nicolet Bank in Green Bay. Then, in 2010, Ratliff was introduced to Chuck Brys, business counselor with UW-Green Bay’s Small Business Development Center.
“When Kimyata came in to discuss her business it quickly became clear that she had done her homework and had truly identified her core target markets,” said Brys. “She knew what their unique needs were, and clearly understood how her core skill sets addressed those needs. She also demonstrated a strong sense of values and could clearly communicate what she was delivering to her clients today as well as her longer-range vision for her company. Entrepreneurs who take the time to think that deeply about their businesses dramatically increase their probability of success. That, combined with Kim’s strong work ethic, convinced me that Universal Designs Salon would succeed and prosper.”
As one of the community agencies supporting her efforts, the SBDC guided Ratliff through the financially technical aspects of the process.
“Chuck’s insight was valuable in helping me to organize my financials. It can be difficult to get detailed information on starting a business beyond the basics and Chuck helped me understand what I needed to know,” Ratliff said. “He also introduced me to people in legal services and has continued to work with me as I consider expansion. Chuck was very knowledgeable and direct and it was just what I needed. Even now, after four years in business, Chuck remains a mentor and a friend.”
Moving the vision forward
As Ratliff looks to the future, she is hoping to expand her products and services offered and wants to continue educating customers and stylists about ethnic hair care. This expansion would have a geograph component, as well, moving into new markets and establishing salons, schools and mini-malls in other cities. She also wants to continue working with local colleges and businesses, educating them on cultural awareness and multiculturalism, and hopes to establish her own cosmetology school one day.
“I want people graduating from my school to be ready to work in the real world,” she says. “The Green Bay area is rapidly becoming more ethnically diverse. A stylist should be equipped to serve any customer who walks through their door.”
Asked what she would say to someone in this area hoping to start a business, Ratliff grows quiet. “First, I would tell them to pray about it. Then I would ask if they really can do this and if they should do it. Finally, I would tell them to take advantage of the resources and people out there who help entrepreneurs succeed — like Chuck at UW-Green Bay’s Small Business Development Center. Once these questions are answered, the information needed is out there. If you look hard enough you will find it… But you do have to look for it.”
For more information, visit Universal Designs Salon at www.universaldesignssalon.com.
Feature by Eric Craver, Director of External Relations, UW-Green Bay Outreach and Adult Access
Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and Data Specialist, UWGB Outreach and Adult Access
They came back to the UW-Green Bay campus green from head-to-toe, but the UWGB chalk team members said it was well worth it. They had a ball helping turn the city of Green Bay green following the renaming of Broadway (and Hubbard) to Phoenix Way on Monday, August 31. The activities were part of UW-Green Bay’s 50th Anniversary kick-off. Acknowledging it would take a team of 50 to canvas a town, the group managed to spread Phoenix spirit at about two dozen high traffic locations downtown, and in front of businesses owned or led by UWGB alumni in Brown County. The 50th committee extends thanks to the chalk team, and special thanks to the many businesses that support UW-Green Bay, both with bright green storefront visibility and behind-the-scenes acknowledgement and support.
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A busy day of public events celebrating the 50th anniversary of UWGB’s founding opened with a Wednesday morning breakfast program in the University Union’s Phoenix Room.
The University’s first Student Government Association president, Scott Knapp, was the keynote speaker. Now the CEO of Central Maine Community College, Knapp shared memories of his relationship with Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner, the earliest days of the new campus, and being asked to speak at the official groundbreaking for UWGB in November 1967.
Also offering remarks were UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt (who presented Miller and the University a key to the city), and proud Class of 1971 alumnus Sen. Dave Hansen (who presented a flag that had flown over the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison). Ron Pfeifer was emcee.
The invitation-only breakfast was also attended by other early 1970s graduates, current students and student government leaders, longtime community supporters (including Dr. Herb and Crystal Sandmire, friends of UWGB since 1969), emeriti faculty, University officials, the senior member of UW-Green Bay’s faculty (Prof. Kumar Kangayappan), Marge and Ellen Weidner, UW System officials including the deans of nearby UW Colleges, System President Ray Cross and Regent President Regina Millner, Regent Tim Higgins, Council of Trustees and Alumni leadership, and others. First graduate Nancy Ably Deprey ’70 and “most recent graduate” Victoria Zacarias ‘15 were acknowledged for their participation in the campus 50th anniversary video.
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Photos by UW-Green Bay staff members Dan Moore and Kelly Selner
GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is sharing more details about a series of celebrations marking five decades of history that began Sept. 2 1965 when Governor Warren Knowles signed legislation creating a new four-year university for Northeastern Wisconsin.
Fifty years later, UW-Green Bay is embarking on a year-long celebration designed to broaden its engagement with alumni, students and the community. The 50th anniversary date happens to coincide with the University’s opening day of the fall semester, Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Activities planned for the academic year include alumni and student events, opportunities to share memories and campus history, a special lecture series and, later in the year, a focus on the next 50 years and the ways tomorrow’s UW-Green Bay can take a greater lead in innovation, transformation and service to the region.
Festivities begin Monday, August 31. Members of the media and friends of UW-Green Bay are invited to commemorate the occasion at 10:30 a.m. when UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt will temporarily rename a one-block stretch of the Broadway District ‘s Hubbard Street “Phoenix Way,” at its hub intersection with Broadway. Chancellor Miller will also create the first chalk stencil that will appear throughout the city in support of UW-Green Bay’s long and continued relationship with the City of Green Bay.
UW-Green Bay will celebrate with several activities on Sept 2:
- “Turning the Market Green” — celebrating with the Phoenix at the Farmers Market on Broadway from 3 to 8 p.m. The public is encouraged to wear green in support of UW-Green Bay. The evening includes activities and giveaways at the UW-Green Bay tent, corner of Broadway and Hubbard, and music by the campus-affiliated band Brass Differential.The tapping of a new Phoenix Brew and special-edition root beer, compliments of Titletown Brewing Co. takes place at 6 p.m. at the beverage tent, Beerntsen’s Candies parking lot, 200 North Broadway. (Proceeds of beverage sales and merchandise sold return to UWGB for student scholarships.)
- Anniversary Campus Kickoff and Backyard Bash, 4 to 6 p.m., Mauthe Center, adjacent to the Kress Events Center, with faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends invited to join in on the 50th celebration. A brief program includes a welcome, remarks followed by a cookout and live music, in partnership with the private, independently operated Mauthe Center and sponsored by the UW Credit Union.
- Leaders to Leaders Breakfast (private event, limited seating), 7:30 to 9 a.m., Phoenix Room, University Union, UW-Green Bay. The invitation-only breakfast brings together a cross-section of current University and community leaders with past student leaders to celebrate UW-Green Bay. Guest Speaker: Scott Knapp, 1974 graduate and first Student Government Association President of UWGB, now the President of Central Maine Community College.
Events throughout the year include a Last Lecture Series by UW-Green Bay faculty; volunteer efforts in conjunction with national Make a Difference Day this fall; Alumni Days in October and a wrap-up community event May 6, 2016.
“We are going to offer ways for 33,000 alumni to reconnect and for 6,700 current students to embrace the future,” says UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller. He also specifically wants to use the opportunity to engage the community.
“This community wanted a great university in Green Bay back in 1965. Our goal is to meet the needs and expectations of this region through increasing levels of engagement, partnership building, innovative education and service,” he said. “The opportunity to celebrate our first 50 years is also an opportunity to commit ourselves to being a key partner in this great place.”
The final results are in from last months’s big Green Bay Running Club Summer Solstice Challenge, held on the longest day of the year a couple of Saturdays ago. Participants ran the 4.75-mile course for a set period of time — in this case, 6 hours or 8 hours — or for as long as they wanted, to see how much distance they could cover.
The 2015 winners were Ryan Norton with an amazing 81.67 miles over 14 hours and 38 minutes (and 17 loops over the trail course!), and Cassie Kottke with 73.85 miles over 15 and a quarter hours. The top 8-hour runners were Brady Sturm (53.15 miles) and Paula Walker (40.6), and the best 6-hour finishers were Curt Brey (38.9) and Lori Folk (31.1). Among the UW-Green Bay employees taking part was Bob Blihar of CIT, who did a very impressive 34 miles (seven laps) during the eight-hour event. (Our informant says it happened to be Bob’s 28th wedding anniversary on race day, and since his wife was an event volunteer she got to see him at least seven times during the day.)
Phoenix cross-country coach Mike Kline and vice chancellor Kelly Franz were among the University running enthusiasts who chipped in — not by competing, but by helping to organize the event and assisting with course layout, logistics, food and water stations and more. Lee Reinke and the Shorewood crew also helped with arrangements. About 75 runners took part in the various categories.
A collaborative effort by UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members has resulted in a $10,000 grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. The grant will fund “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History,” a series of public events, presentations, discussions and showings of a PBS series on the Latino American experience in North America. The local event is part of a larger, national NEH and ALA initiative called The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. The UW-Green Bay organizing committee — consisting of faculty members Marcelo Cruz (project director), Aurora Cortez and Gabriel Saxton Ruiz and staff members Paula Ganyard, Mai Lo Lee and Lidia Nonn — has proposed a series of communitywide events at various local venues. The group will work with Neville Museum, Brown County Library, Casa Alba and other community organizations to bring the series and discussion to the greater Green Bay community. Details on the showings and the events will be forthcoming for the fall semester.
Wisconsin Public Service Foundation has donated $5,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to help underwrite special events and activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding in 1965. Karmen Lemke, manager of community relations for WPS, and Ron Antonneau, director of governmental affairs, visited campus earlier this week to make the presentation. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Integrys Energy have a longstanding history of support for UW-Green Bay. See a photo and more.