Building Pride in Northeastern Wisconsin
Written by Rick Hearden, President – Northeast Wisconsin Market
When I was hired at First Business Bank, plans for expanding our Northeast Wisconsin office in Appleton were already in the works and coincided with the addition of new full-service banking capabilities. I have to say, it was pretty cool to be welcomed to the bank with the added bonus of getting a brand new space for my team! And, because I was coming into the project very early on, I would get a say in how the final product would look, which was exciting.
From the very first day of demo, I knew this was going to be an exhilarating time for our team here in Appleton. I won’t sugarcoat it — some days were challenging as we worked through the disruption of loud drilling. Other days we were asked to choose between paint colors. Sometimes, coming to the office was downright dreadful from the disruption of construction. However, well over a year later, after countless hours of hard work put in by our contractor and other skilled workers, the project was complete. And man, was it worth the wait!
Open House Celebration
We decided we needed to celebrate our new space and the transition from a loan production office to a full-service banking office, and settled on a date for an Open House event. A group was put into place to plan the event – there were a lot of details to figure out – invitations, food and beverage, entertainment, gifts, remarks, and so much more. We sought out local vendors for our event needs, and were extremely happy with the products and services provided. I always prefer to work with local businesses — there’s a camaraderie in the business community and a dedication to stellar service that you can’t get from behind a computer screen from a national company. They really go above and beyond because they’re our neighbors.
We invited clients, prospects, partners, board members, and leadership from other locations across the company. As the day drew closer, everyone’s nerves were heightened. Would anyone show up? Would others be as impressed with our space as we were? Another local organization ended up scheduling a big event the same night, so now we had competition!
Our worries were for naught. We had a GREAT turnout for our open house…better than expected, in fact. First Business Founder Jerry Smith was quite impressed with how the space was branded and designed. We may have caused some envy among the employees who were attending from other locations! This space really is great, and special, with small touches like the graphic designs created for our conference rooms which promote our Industry Practice Groups and the large bodies of water within our market area.
The Open House, along with a great new office space, has allowed our team to get to know each other better. Everyone has the ability to work more collaboratively and to be more efficient, a cornerstone of the First Business mantra. As a full-service bank, we can now offer businesses and individuals a lot of financial options that we couldn’t before, like money markets, CDs, and savings accounts. The activity in the lobby has picked up and the energy of the entire team is elevated. I’d even venture to say they’re as proud of our physical location as they are now of our service. I think we will have an advantage when attracting new employees because of not only this beautiful space, but our excellent team. Just another way we’re Banking Beyond Expectations in Northeastern Wisconsin.
We couldn’t have pulled this off without Tammy Sullivan guiding us through the planning and construction of the space, and a special thank you to Nancy Johnshoy, Wendy Steward, Maria Peot, and Michelle Pullara for all their hard work planning and executing such a great Open House event…well done!