Business Insights 

The Business Insights Video Series was designed to share ideas and lessons learned to help you succeed in business.

When you partner with Ixonia Bank, you can expect to have access to local decision-makers and connections with well-respected leaders and experts.  Are you interested in more information on how Ixonia Bank can help your business succeed? Or do you have something you want to learn more about?  Let us know!


Sheldon Lubar (Speaker Bio)

Sheldon discusses the key ingredients to buying and owning a business, which includes having the right mix of capital and debt, and a great team.


Margaretta Noonan (Speaker Bio)

Margaretta shares her thoughts on how careers have changed for women and the essentials an entrepreneur needs to succeed.


Will Ruch (Speaker Bio)

Utilizing social media for the success of your business is essential. Begin by engaging employees and customers, and invite them into the conversation, states Will.


Sheldon Lubar (Speaker Bio)

Every successful business owner needs a plan that includes reliable capital and a banker that is a "player." Sheldon shares his thoughts in this short video.


Beth Wnuk (Speaker Bio)

Beth shares a few insights on why you should develop your networks, and why identifying your strengths & weaknesses can help make you a confident leader.


Vince Shiely (Speaker Bio)

When was the last time you reviewed your business strategy? Vince explains the necessity of an up-to-date strategy, & why it shouldn't focus solely on competitors. 


Sheldon Lubar (Speaker Bio)

"Change is the only certainty there is," says Sheldon.  How your business copes with change is directly-correlated to the long-term success of the business.


Dave Bauer (Speaker Bio)

Dave draws on his extensive background in the acquisition process to offer valuable tips to businesses looking to purchase or sell a business.


Bill Read (Speaker Bio)

Companies of any size can evaluate their existing products and services, as well as their customers, to identify growth opportunities, states Bill.


Vince Shiely (Speaker Bio)

"Going LEAN" isn't just for manufacturing. Vince shares his thoughts on eliminating waste and inefficiencies in all areas of a business, no matter what size and industry.


Beth Wnuk (Speaker Bio)

Beth shares her insights on how the concept of Design Thinking is cost effective and can improve the R&D process in small-to-medium size businesses.


Will Ruch (Speaker Bio)

Companies need to ensure their employees are engaged and aligned to an organization’s internal brand, states Will.  If that happens, success will follow.


Bill Read (Speaker Bio)

Utilize financial modeling to quantify costs & benefits of your growth strategy to help your company achieve its objectives. Bill explains more in this short video.


Margaretta Noonan (Speaker Bio)

Margaretta shares her insights on what makes an engaged employee, and how they positively impact the top and bottom line of the business.


Dave Bauer (Speaker Bio)

Risk Management is vital for any business's success. In this video, Dave talks about what areas of risk companies should think about on a regular basis. 

A Few Words From Our Chairman & CEO

Dan Westrope

Dan Westrope

Chairman & CEO
of Ixonia Bank




The three latest videos in our Business Insight Series (above), featuring Bill Read, Margaretta Noonan, and David Bauer respectively, are designed to help you succeed in your business.  Both Bill and David discuss managing risk, including in Bill's case managing the risk of growth by analyzing the expected returns against the costs involved, especially financing costs. David devotes much of his time discussing the need to mitigate business risks.

The business of banking is very much a business of managing risk. In this industry, we face a variety of risk - Credit Risk, Compliance Risk, Economic Risk, Fiduciary Risk, Interest Rate Risk, Legal Risk, Liquidity Risk, Operations Risk, Reputation Risk - just to name a few.  Improper analysis and management of these risks would result in negative performance for any bank, including Ixonia Bank.  As a result, our Bank has assembled a team of bankers, executive management, and Directors who understand risk and risk mitigation.  We strongly believe this team can help your business succeed in analyzing the risks and successfully managing the risks it faces.

Whether or not you are a customer of Ixonia Bank, we would welcome sitting down with you and discussing any potential risks in your business.  Chances are we have encountered them in our many years of managing our own businesses and working closely with our customers. By the way, Bill Read and David Bauer are just two members of an extremely talented Board of Directors at Ixonia Bank.

The video featuring Margaretta Noonan focuses on a topic that, on its surface, would appear to be quite different from the themes covered in the other two videos. But is it really? Can you imagine a business succeeding, let along successfully growing, without engaged employees?  The absence of engaged employees; therefore, in my mind is a high-level risk that must be managed like other risks. Margaretta notes that studies indicate that less than 30% of employees are engaged to the extent that they feel a personal connection with the work they do and understand how that work contributes to the success of their employer. These studies also indicate that in instances where employees are engaged, it is clear that this engagement has a positive direct impact on the success of the company.  Failure to achieve employee engagement is indeed a risk. 

In our years of working with our business clients, we have been fortunate to work with many companies that have an engaged workforce.  When we visit the workplaces of these companies it is very evident and we have asked the owners/managers how they accomplished this.  Their answer?  A constant element of the engagement process has been clear communication of the company's goals, and a clear link between the employee's activities and the achievement of those goals.

We strongly believe this team can help your business succeed in analyzing the risks and successfully managing the risks it faces.

The team here at Ixonia Bank believes strongly that the elements of customer engagement are very similar to those of employee engagement. As a customer of our Bank, you can expect a high level of direct communication from our bankers and our management.  At all levels of our organization, we are open and available to business (and individual) customers.  All of our offices are local and we make our decisions locally. I can assure you, whether you are seeking advice, or need help solving a financial problem, or are making a loan request, you can come in and talk to me or any other member of our team anytime. We will handle it in a forthright and direct manner.  

We look forward to talking with you soon. 

Spotlights on Success 

Biz Insights - Lois W 

Lois Wiedenhoeft, PFMM

President & CEO of Forward Mutual Insurance Co.
Ixonia Bank Customer

Q: You've been successful in the insurance industry. How did you get your start?
A: My insurance career started with Ixonia Mutual Insurance Company in 1980. Although insurance was not my first career choice, it ended up being a perfect fit for me. It gave me the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally, while contributing something positive and necessary to the community I serve. Every day our customers depend on us; and with that, every day presents new opportunities to give them personal attention and peace of mind. 

Q: Beth Wnuk states in her "Women Seeking to Grow in Business" video the importance of growing a network.  How has your network helped your career?

A: My network has been, and continue to be, key to my professional and personal development. I believe that if we want to bring success into our lives we must cultivate ourselves just as you would cultivate your garden for the best yield. Networking provides a lot of benefits, but it most importantly provides a positive environment that each of us needs to become confident, contributing leaders in our communities. 

Q: What is an insight you would like to offer women in business?
A: Women need to actively pursue their passion. I suggest listing and defining both your personal and professional guiding principles. Defining your guiding principles, as it relates to leadership and character for example, will only aid you in your decision-making and steer you in a direction to achieve success.


 Biz Insights - Joe Kresl

Joe Kresl

Hawks Landscape, Inc.
Ixonia Bank Customer

Q: What inspired you to acquire Hawks Nursery Co. in 1993? 
A: After working for 16 years as a landscape architect, I began looking for new challenges. I had the desire to be in charge of my own destiny and to build a business that could better serve my customers. I often think of building a business as a creative process, similar to designing a landscape.

Q: How did you identify and prioritize the changes to your business model resulting in the success that you experience today?
A: I think it's critical that all business owners continually innovate and change their businesses to follow market demands. In our case, I felt that it was important for Hawks to stay in front of the competition, to look at all aspects of our business and analyze our product offering.

Three years ago we exited retail. It was a tough decision to make, but the smartest thing we did. Both our new and well-established customers' buying habits changed with the downturn in the economy. The combination of increased e-commerce, big box retailers carrying similar products, and pop-up garden centers forced us to rethink our market strategy. Superior quality and service were not enough to separate us from the competition. It became apparent that our future was not in retail.

Q: How has your involvement in Hawks’ day to day operations changed?
A: As much as I enjoyed having a garden center, I am now finding that I can devote more time to our core business: landscape design, construction and maintenance. It's really paying off – not only are we more profitable, we are developing a stronger company through improving our systems, educating our employees and building a better culture. As a result, we are able to provide our customers better services at a greater value. On a personal level, I'm having more fun designing and selling landscapes while staying involved in our community.


 Craig Plowman

Craig Plowman

President of HeatTek Inc.
Ixonia Bank Customer

Q: What are some of the steps HeatTek has taken to operate more LEAN?
A: We are in the beginning process of looking at all our departments and functions and gathering data to identify waste. We are recognizing waste and are becoming better at seeing it. Some of the areas that we have started to work on are:

  • Going paperless where it makes sense, which allows instant access to needed information
  • Eliminating overstocking of parts
  • Eliminating the duplication of tasks
  • Putting systems in place that help reduce movement
  • Posting of performance metrics for all employees to view 

Q: In what ways has HeatTek adapted to stay competitive in its marketplace?
A: We recently did an expansion at our facility which gives us a larger product and process testing area. This area will be used to test our customers' processes, along with demonstrate and prove our designs. This expansion will help in securing business in new markets, and as well as the ones that we currently service.

I do not think we would have expanded if I had not advocated as hard as I did. There was a lot of resistance to stay "as is," but everything I was reading and hearing from the experts said that the economy was coming back and now is the time. Once the decision was made to move ahead, there was a lot of input from every department at HeatTek. We acknowledge there is always risk. But if we do not expand, we cannot grow; and if we are not growing, we are dying. 

Q: Who or what has been the biggest factor in HeatTek’s continued success?
A: Diversification of the markets that we provide our services to has largely contributed to our long-term success. When one market or part of the economy is down, we have another market that can step in and fill in the void. 

The Last Word

Mark Wierman


Need direction on 
creating or reviewing 
your business plan?

Contact Mark for an
appointment today!

Partner with Ixonia Bank to Develop & Refine Your Business Plan

Mark Wierman

President & Chief Lending Officer at Ixonia Bank

Most business owners and managers have some conceptual ideas of what they want their company to look like 5 or 10 years from now; however, spending the time and effort to create a well-researched and thoughtful plan for your business can greatly improve your odds of turning these visions into reality.

Every day at Ixonia Bank, our Business Banking team is helping customers develop, review and refine their business plans. We take pride in being a partner for the local business community, and would love to connect you to our high-quality network of accountants, attorneys and business mentors. Their feedback could be invaluable in testing the reasonableness of the assumptions and projections you set forth in your business plan, and to the ongoing direction of your business. 

Once you have developed a viable model for your business, it is also critical to make sure you keep your Ixonia Bank Business Banker up to date with any important developments that take place within your business - both good and bad.  An informed banker is better equipped to be your partner and provide you with the resources for success; as well as advocate for your business since they are in a position to deliver for the bank on your behalf.

Want to learn more about Ixonia Bank and how we can partner with you on your business plan? Contact us today. We'd love the opportunity to meet with you.


 Wendy Sowinski


Are you considering expanding or acquiring a business?
Contact Wendy for
an appointment today!

The Value of Having a Business Plan

Read about the importance of a well thought out Business plan here.


Are You Considering a Business Acquisition?

Wendy Sowinski

Vice President - Commercial Lending at Ixonia Bank

With an increasing number of business owners looking to retire, acquisition opportunities are also increasingly more abundant. Whether an acquisition presents the ability for a company to grow through vertical integration or expansion, or simply represents an individual's opportunity to become self-employed, it’s important that a number of factors are considered.

As many of the videos featured in our Business Insights Series highlight, there are key elements that can help owners ensure that they are taking the steps necessary to achieve their goals. Key takeaways include having a plan – and the ability to react to change, leveraging financial models to verify profitability or potential loss, and the importance of working with decision makers that take the time to understand your business.

"Helping You Succeed" is more than a tag line at Ixonia Bank. This statement represents our passion for entrepreneuership which is vital to our local economy. Our team of Bankers and Board of Directors “get business,” and understand the vast array of complexities in running a closely held company. We also recognize that the needs of a company will change based on where the operation is in terms of its business cycle. For this reason, our team maintains relationships with a variety of professional service providers and are happy to help facilitate introductions to our network of accountants, attorneys and business advisors.

You’ll find that the reoccurring theme in many of our conversations is the importance of communication, and that change is the only true certainty in business. If you have questions related to any aspect of business, including acquisition financing, we’d love to start a conversation. 


 Tom Pasch


Want to learn more how
Ixonia Bank can help you?

Contact Tom for an
appointment today!

What is Your Company Doing to Stay Competitive & Ensure Long-Term Success?

Tom Pasch

Vice President - Commercial Lending at Ixonia Bank

Business owners of today will agree that to stay competitive they need to always be adapting to the various changes in their industry. Without embracing new ideas toward innovation, incorporating lean principles throughout the business, and even engaging employees, the company will quickly be faced with a competitive disadvantage. And by not continually implementing greater efficiencies, the business will likely suffer from untapped profit. It can all be overwhelming, so the first question to always ask yourself is, “Am I embracing all the business solutions my financial partner has to offer to help me adapt and stay competitive?”

To ensure you are getting the most from your financial partner, there needs to be a solid and trustworthy relationship with your banker. At Ixonia Bank, we connect with every one of our business clients on a regular basis. We discuss the highs and lows of the year, and we work together to strategize a game plan for what lies ahead. The Ixonia Bank Business Banking Team aims to also inform our clients on various products and services offered by the Bank and how they their business can benefit, whether it’s new cash management solutions or a commercial loan to take their business to the next level.

As Sheldon Lubar previously shared in the April Business Insights, “A banker needs to be decision-maker and not a messenger.” You can be confident you have a financial partner at Ixonia Bank that is a decision-maker; someone who will stand behind you though the good and bad, support your continued success and keep you advised about the changes in the financial world that can ultimately improve your bottom line.

Want to learn more about Ixonia Bank and how we can partner with you in the areas of generating ideas toward innovation or implementing a lean(er) philosophy? Contact us today. We'd love the opportunity to get to know you better. 

Back to Top