UW-Green Bay, Cofrin School to extend reach with InitiativeOne partnership

A new public-private partnership aimed at encouraging businesses to leverage the expertise and energy of UW-Green Bay faculty, staff and students with the leadership transformation services of InitiativeOne was launched at a ceremony Friday (April 24) at the newly developed InitiativeOne headquarters at 110 S. Adams St., Green Bay

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The partnership — which has the additional benefit of giving the University a downtown presence — was formalized through a memorandum of understanding signed by Chancellor Gary L. Miller and InitiativeOne founder and CEO Fred Johnson.

The intent is for InitiativeOne’s team of professionals to work in conjunction with UW-Green Bay’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business faculty to explore and develop a series of projects and programs that will positively influence the greater Green Bay business community. The partnership could expand to include other academic units, as well.

Both organizations will seek synergistic opportunities to match UW-Green Bay faculty and the InitiativeOne staff with the specialized needs of companies and non-profits on the firm’s extensive national client list. Additionally, InitiativeOne will help place UW-Green Bay student interns on appropriate projects and provide office or meeting space to facilitate University office hours and interaction with clients.

Miller and Johnson addressed specifics and answered questions about the partnership at Friday’s gathering. Joining them to share brief remarks was local business leader Jim Wochinske, president of Pomp’s Tire Service, Inc. Wochinske is an alumnus and advocate for UW-Green Bay who has long been supportive of local economic development efforts.

Others in attendance included Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach, Downtown Green Bay Executive Director Jeff Mirkes, UW-Green Bay faculty and staff, and business and civic leaders who serve as members of the University’s Council of Trustees and various local business associations.

Signaling a growing presence in the area, InitiativeOne invested $2.5 million in the purchase and renovation of 10,500 square feet of space in the historic Adams Street Garage development. The building, originally a car dealership, was later remodeled into a restaurant and entertainment complex and, eventually, office and professional services space. InitiativeOne plans a public open house later this spring.

Last fall, InitiativeOne announced it was moving its headquarters to Green Bay from Scottsdale, Ariz., where it retains offices. The company’s roster of clients includes prominent names such as US Steel, McDonnell Douglas, Chase Bank, Honeywell Aerospace, the Seattle Seahawks, and Scottsdale Healthcare, as well as a long list of small, mid-size and family businesses.

Friday’s announcement comes within months after Chancellor Miller’s pledge, at his installation as UW-Green Bay chancellor in November, that the University was committed to “extending our physical presence in some way to a vibrant and growing downtown Green Bay.”