The Last Word: Community service


Scott Gierhahn


Schroeder Solutions Inc.

1920 South Calhoun Road, New Berlin

Industry: Office furnishing

Number of employees: 64

Scott Gierhahn, president of Schroeder Solutions Inc. in New Berlin, provides some food for thought this holiday season.

“‘Tis the season of office parties, year-end numbers crunching, family gatherings and strategic planning. It is a time of reflection and a time of projection. It is a special time when we consider how we fit into the bigger picture – both as individuals and as business leaders.

“As business leaders, I encourage you to think about your community as you do your business planning. As employers, you try and find the best employees, those who care, who will roll up their sleeves, go the extra mile and help contribute to the success of the business. The healthiest communities are places where social needs are being met, neighbors trust and respect each other, education is treasured and home values are strong. Strong communities don’t just happen. They are built by individuals like you.

“Encourage your employees to get involved within their communities. Teach them through example. Find the needs in your community and fill them. Start small and build from there. Here is just a taste of the good service that is happening in our neighborhoods: 

Consider Chris with Tosa Tonight who partnered with the local Rotary clubs to raise $1 million to build an outdoor amphitheater where the community comes together.

Then there’s Emily and Karen, two Wauwatosa school district social workers who formed the program SWIF (Student Welfare Initiative Fund) and helped run a pancake breakfast to raise thousands of dollars to provide school supplies to those who cannot afford them.

Lyle is a commercial real estate executive in town who spends his time playing basketball with and ministering to prisoners throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

In Shorewood, Keith, Kit and Lisa energized the entire North Shore and were able to open a community-owned bookstore that is helping to increase property values in the area.

How about Reggie, a Milwaukee artist, who developed an All-Ages Coloring Book as a mechanism for raising money to support an urban arts intiative in the city.

“As you plan for 2010, look around. What needs are there in your community? How can you help? How can your employees help? Looking forward to seeing you in community service in 2010.”

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