Madison execs wish big for 2022

In lieu of New Year’s resolutions, our Executive of the Year award winners have some wishes they’d like to see come true for their businesses and the community in 2022.
Feature 2 Eoy Wish List For 2022 Panel

2021 was in many ways just 2020 Part 2, and like most sequels that meant it left a lot to be desired. But not everything about this year was bad. Most of the population became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, and at least in Madison and Dane County, people took advantage of both the vaccines and boosters in large numbers. Many venues also reopened their doors to customers and patrons as well, and things began to feel a little bit more normal again, or at least what passes for normal these days.

As we wind down the last few days of 2021 and look ahead at what 2022 has to offer, we surveyed our latest group of Executives of the Year to get their reflections on how the past year can provide a spark to continue moving Greater Madison forward.

So, what tops their wish lists for their businesses/organizations and the entire region in the new year? Read on to find out!

Jim Yehle, president & CEO, J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.

“There is a lot to look forward to in 2022! I am very excited for the future and have several wishes for Findorff, our employees, our clients and partners, and the Greater Madison community:

  1. Continue a culture of innovation. My wish for Findorff is to continue to be forward-looking and to serve our clients through the buildings we build and the support we bring as a valued partner. Whether using new technology, bringing new and productive ideas forward, or building on what was started in 2021, I am excited to see where innovation in the construction industry and our talented staff takes us in 2022.
  2. Develop and attract future talent. Madison continues to attract talent as a great place to work, live, and play. My wish is that companies continue to recruit top-tier employees who will add value to the community. At Findorff, we are committed to providing opportunities for our employees to grow themselves and our business.
  3. Take care of yourself, each other, and the greater community. My wish is that we continue to support and uplift each other. 2021 was a year of continued resilience. I saw firsthand how strong relationships helped carry many of us forward professionally and personally. The Greater Madison community is so generous, giving time, resources, and financial support to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations. My wish is that this investment and the strong culture of giving back continues in 2022.
  4. Have a positive attitude. My wish is that this simple mantra can help all of us. I believe it is important to have a positive attitude in the workplace, at home, and in the community. And I wish that we take care of our mental health, whether through exercise, meditation, or personal stress-relieving habits. This can lead to a healthier environment for all.

“Overall, in 2022 we are very excited to continue our partnerships with organizations whose strong commitment and investment in people and their field will truly change the landscape of our community. We are looking forward to working with our clients and industry partners to contribute to health care, education, science and technology, and other transformative industries through new state-of-the-art spaces.”

Jack Koziol, CEO & founder, Infosec

“Looking ahead to 2022, we’re excited to connect and grow alongside our Madison and cybersecurity community. Madison continues to grow rapidly and there is a huge opportunity for our community to learn how to protect their families and organizations’ data. Infosec is looking forward to collaborating with local businesses, universities, and government to raise awareness around cybersecurity and build Madison’s cybersecurity talent pipeline.

“Contributing to the community we work and live in is just as important as the work we do for cybersecurity education. We look forward to giving back to our community through free education opportunities at events like Forward Fest, UW–Madison’s Cybersecurity Forward and MadTech, and volunteering efforts alongside partners like United Way of Dane County, Second Harvest Foodbank, the Girl Scouts of Southern Wisconsin, and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce.

“Infosec will continue our focus on developing products that make cybersecurity education more accessible and engaging to keep pace with this quickly evolving industry. This will involve launching a new role-guided technical training program mapped to the 10 most in-demand security roles and new features in Infosec IQ that will provide additional gamified security awareness experiences to learners. Our goal for 2022 is to put Madison ‘on the map’ for cybersecurity talent and expertise.”

Mo Kharbat, regional VP of pharmacy services, SSM Health

“In 2022, it is my wish to see COVID-19 infection rates recede, transitioning us from a global pandemic into COVID-19 becoming a minor seasonal illness. For this to happen, we must work together across our communities to increase our vaccination rates among all groups. This will require businesses and community groups to find meaningful collaborations that make these lifesaving, illness preventing vaccines even more widely available.

“Beyond vaccination, I am hopeful about the new monoclonal antibody and antiviral treatments that are becoming available to our patients. I am wishing to see these medications and treatments become more widely available and accessible for all patients.

“I think we all recognize that creating healthy communities goes beyond preventing and treating COVID-19 and there is much work to be done when we are able to recover from the pandemic. It is my wish that we see additional vaccines and vital medications become more widely available to patients. I also wish to see a reduction — or end! — to critical drug shortages that disrupt patient care all too often.

“Above all else, I am wishing and praying for 2022 to be a year when our communities can become healthier and more prosperous!”

Mary Wright, president, Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp.

“As WHPC continues to grow and expand into new markets, I am hopeful for the following themes:

  1. Appreciation, development, and support of our workforce to lead our company into the future;
  2. Ensuring we build on positivity and maintain a strong culture of professionalism and respect; and
  3. Challenging ourselves to create new innovative solutions to provide stability and affordable housing for our residents.”

Michael Johnson, president & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County

“My wish for 2022 is to:

  1. Positively impact the lives of more youth in our community by providing different yet successful pathways to better futures. Specifically, expand and further support college and career-oriented underrepresented youth with our AVID/TOPS (Advancement via Individual Determination/Teens of Promise) program and further develop the programs and training to draw more youth of color and women into the skilled trades with the opening of the McKenzie Regional Workforce Center in late 2022. Both programs will positively impact the Madison business community with bringing forward a diverse group of tomorrow’s leaders and skilled trades workers to our area’s workforce.
  2. Show youth of all color that a widely respected woman of color with many firsts in achievements, Vel Phillips, will be the first woman of color to be represented at any state capitol right here in Madison. Work to build upon the Vel Phillips Education Endowment started to increase educational opportunities for more youth of color so that more “firsts” can be achieved.
  3. Engage more of the Madison business community to support the mission of Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring adults. This can be done in a variety of ways through sponsorship of our signature events, Hearts for Helping, Shamrock Shuffle, and MOVE4BGC; through donating to specific programs and other community events for youth; through investing to support summer interns; through joining one of our committees or the Associate Board; and through volunteering. We always welcome the opportunity to have a conversation to share these opportunities and all the great things we have going on in our clubs.
  4. Have Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County remain the leader in youth development programs.”

Jason Chance, owner, Chance Productions

“To the Greater Madison Business Community: 2021 has been a continued year of learning and pivoting. It has meant thriving for some and surviving for others. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall, my wish for you in 2022 is continued growth in business and leadership, an improved supply chain, a skilled labor surplus, and an abundance of clients who empower you to do your best work!

“For Chance Productions: Although we have faced a challenging couple of years in the event industry, my wish is that we can bring the lessons we have learned forward to provide opportunities for the community to come together and socialize. I wish for our businesses and families to be able to come together to celebrate life’s milestones in a happy, healthy, and engaging way.”

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