Schuh Column: It’s about the money
By Jim Schuh
Is there something in the water in Southern Wisconsin? Or, might it be business savvy and a bit of luck? The answer is likely the second one – ability and a little good fortune. How improbable is it that Forbes Magazine’s new list of the top 75 most successful women entrepreneurs in the country has two of the top four from Southern Wisconsin?
Heading it is Diane Hendricks, who owns ABC Supply, a roofing company with 750 locations. Forbes says she’s worth $7 billion. Since her husband died 12 years ago, she’s run the company, and for the second time in the past two years, she’s added more than $2 billion to her net worth.
Hendricks lives in Afton, southwest of Janesville.
The fourth most successful woman is Judy Faulkner. Forbes says she’s worth $3.6 billion. The computer programmer started a medical records software firm, Epic, in her basement 40 years ago. She lives in Mount Horeb.
Now – another eye-opener.
Future Marketing Insights reports a startling number of Americans waste food while many go hungry.
The publication says the wasted food business in this country is worth $46.7 billion dollars annually and is expected to grow by five percent by 2030. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports we waste 133-billion pounds of food each year. That amounts to just over 400 pounds per person – more than a pound per day. We throw out nearly $1 billion worth of food per week.
Who’s to blame? We, as individuals, are the major culprits, but we try to blame others. Four in 10 put the guilt on restaurants, and about one-sixth of us point the finger at grocery stores, slightly more than blame manufacturers.
Some of these figures should be astonishing and confounding to us, but I’ve heard of people who never eat leftovers; they just toss out what remains after a meal. And, if you’ve ever watched restaurant employees clear dishes from tables, you know how much food patrons leave on their plates.
I hope you do what we do at our house – have a night for leftovers every so often. Our parents, who lived through the Great Depression, instilled in us never to waste food. The good sisters in grade school taught it was sinful to waste it, so we don’t.
I even remember my grandfather teaching us not to squander food; he loved to tell us that if he failed to finish his plate at one meal, whatever food remained on his plate appeared before him at the next meal. He had to finish it before starting on the new meal. It may have been a bit of hyperbole, but there likely was some truth to his tale.
In any event, there’s some hope as food waste has moved to top-of-mind awareness in many quarters, with more efforts taking place to attack the problem. New technologies may help lessen the amount of food we waste, as firms reprocess wasted food into consumer products and ingredients.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Food Recovery Challenge” has drawn support from more than 1,100 businesses who’ve pledged to do their part to cut down on wasted food by 50 percent in the next decade. So, all is not lost.
But since individuals are the biggest food wasters, we all still share an obligation to reduce what we toss into the garbage. A big benefit can be the money we save.