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August 23, 2005

Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Coulee Bank President and CEO Dirk Gasterland and Senior Vice President and COO Brad Sturm will open Viterbo University's 2005-06 Brown Bag lunchtime discussion series at noon Tuesday, Sept. 20 in room 107 of the D.B. and Marge Reinhart Center.

The four-part series, entitled “The Vision and Values of Successful Business Leadership,” will feature local leading entrepreneurs discussing the elements of successful business leadership. The series will address questions such as: How do you take an idea and develop it into a flourishing commercial enterprise? What are the connections between sound values and economic success? How can an organization sustain its vision and values through major transition?

“One of the big challenges many businesses face is how to maintain their values through major organizational change,” said Rick Kyte, director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. “For this year's series, we've asked four businesses who have faced significant expansion in the recent years to reflect on how they manage to keep their original focus and vision.”

The series continues:

  • Nov. 15 with Cooperative Coordinator Jerry McGeorge of Organic Valley of La Farge. Organic Valley was formed in 1988 as a cooperative of seven family farmers and today is the largest organic farming cooperative in North America and one of the largest organic brands in the nation.
  • Jan. 24 with Gerald Baldner, founder of KitchenSolvers, and Jason Baldner, President and CEO of KitchenSolvers. KitchenSolvers began as a retail operation in 1982. In 1984, the business began franchising and now has 140 franchises in 38 states and Canada.
  • March 15 with Dan Wettstein of Wettstein's. Wettstein's is a family-owned retail business specializing is appliances, electronics, and lighting. The business has earned a well-deserved reputation over the years for the generous support it provides to many non-profit organizations in the La Crosse area.

All events on the schedule will be held from noon-1 p.m. in the Reinhart Center and are free and open to the public. Audience members are invited to bring their own lunch or purchase a box lunch for $5. The Brown Bag Series is sponsored by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, the Dahl School of Business, and Viterbo University.

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