The Rising Stars

The Next Decade

We Dug Deep, Checked With You, and Ventured
Some Guesses at Who Could Be on the Tips
of All Our Tongues in 2022.

Debra Barker: This English and American Indian studies professor at UWEC, and member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has been instrumental in ensuring the history and cultures of Wisconsin Indians are taught in our classrooms. 

Gabe Brummett: He’s a driving force of our skateboarding scene, and we’re hopeful those efforts will lead to the cropping up of physical public skate parks in the coming years.

Chippewa Valley Roller Girls: Now that we have a team and are consistently competing with other city’s skaters, the upcoming decade will hopefully allow CVRG to focus on ramping up the rest of the production. 

Commonweal Development: This company has been essential for the development of the south side of Eau Claire (namely the Oakwood Mall area), but it looks as though their impact will spread throughout the city (and into downtown) this next decade.

Community gardens: With the local food movements not showing any signs of slowing, the many new community gardens in the Valley will likely be the next big wave.

Dunn County SnowPark & Pinehurst Park: Short of a full-fledged skiing/snowboarding resort opening in the Valley, these two area parks and the ambitious plans for them have the most potential to shift our winter landscape.

Kristen Gundry & Blia Vang Schwahn: With Eau Claire Area School District’s increasing population of non-whites (it’s already 15%), Kristen’s work with English as a second language (ELL) and Blia’s as School/Community Liaison will be crucial to our community.

Jeff Halloin: He’s practically a community affairs superhero, between serving on boards for Sacred Heart, Charter Bank, Ayres Associates, Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire Community Foundation, Redevelopment Authority, Chamber of Commerce, and Chippewa Valley Museum.

James Hanke: Under the guidance of this new community-minded leader at Xcel Energy, we’re looking forward to Xcel becoming an even bigger stakeholder of culture and community in the Valley than it already is.

Jaime Hansen: If you’ve heard a recording of a regional musician, chances are good Jaime was involved. As the music attention around here continues to grow, look for the recording guru’s name to show up a lot.

Anna Johnson: This Chippewa Falls native is already a national recording artist out of Nashville, but we’re rooting for that success to continue, grow, and leave more local impact in her wake.

Cayla Kluver: As a teenager she was signed by a national publisher for a trilogy. What happens to her success by 2022, when her age has roughly doubled?

Lucette & Lazy Monk breweries: Could these local beer brewers be the next Leinenkugel’s or Walter’s? Only time will tell …

John Mann: This UWEC history professor has also served on the Landmarks Commission and Historic Preservation Foundation, but his work in training student preservationists out in our own community is what may make an even bigger impact.

Wayne Marek: His ever-expanding efforts with Eau Claire Children’s Theatre have changed the theater scene, and we don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon.

Meg Marshall: She’s made a big push with various boards and groups (all on a volunteer basis) in our region’s continued efforts toward sustainability and environmental conservationism. 

Mike & Connie Olson: With their empire of Valley theaters now set under the Micon umbrella, we’re looking forward to this Chippewa Falls couple’s ambitious plans for changing our cinematic landscape.

Ben Richgruber: In just a few years as executive director, he’s already diversified what Eau Claire Regional Arts Center offers to this community. Imagine what another 10 will do.

Mike Rindo: There are upcoming campus reconstruction projects at UWEC, a large event facility in talks, and efforts to better connect campus to the community. He’s heavily involved with all of them.

Sculpture Tour Eau Claire: Initiated by Sherry Mohr from South Dakota’s SculptureWalk, this large-scale art program in downtown Eau Claire is already making a huge impact. And in 10 years, we’ll have 11 permanent pieces of art in the city because of it.

John Stoneberg: LE Phillips Memorial Public Library’s executive director is leading the efforts to go digital and interactive, and will be involved in the community square discussion downtown. Both very progressive opportunities for the library. 

Sojourner House: The Valley’s new true homeless shelter was a cooperative effort by many volunteers and non-profits. Think of all the people it will have impacted in a decade.

Shawn Smets: Eau Claire Music School is his brain-child, and it’s already doing great things. But as they add recording and event space, think of the impact on future generations of music-lovers.

Charles Sorensen: As chancellor, he’s already made a huge difference at UW-Stout this decade, and we think the university’s biggest strides are yet to come.

Brent Stelzer: He runs a floral shop and an art gallery, and through them he’s setting a strong aesthetic example for entrepreneurs in downtown Eau Claire that hopefully will spread.

Tom Stolp: He heads the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters in Eau Claire, and is already helping shape the ongoing environmental discussion in our community.

Bruce Taylor: Eau Claire’s poet laureate is doing a fair share more than writing; he’s ramping up our literary scene through readings, open mics, setting up collaboration points, and more. And hopefully by 2022 it’ll have caught on in a big way.

Andrew Werthmann: This go-getter young councilman in Eau Claire is heavily involved in issues like sustainability, local food, and homelessness (just to name a few), and his impact is already starting to show.


This is just a start! Nominate the people and organizations YOU think will make their impact in the next ten years right here!

(add your nominations using the comments below)

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