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Ready for some mid-winter culinary inspiration, business education and personal motivation? Then don’t miss Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute’s (WSCI) upcoming annual meeting, which is open to members and non-members alike. The event takes place Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The program kicks off with “Cheese Café: What’s on the Menu?,” a culinary and cheese trends panel moderated by Lindsay Christians, food writer at The Capital Times and host of The Corner Table podcast. Panelists include Quinn Adkins, Menu Development Director at Culver’s Franchising System, the Prairie du Sac-based “ButterBurgers and Fresh Frozen Custard” chain with more than 650 units across 24 states; Justin Carlisle, chef-owner of Ardent, Red Light Ramen and Laughing Taco restaurants in Milwaukee and 2018 James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef Midwest; and Peter Testory, Director of Dining and Culinary Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Also on the morning’s agenda: Mary Felton, president and owner of Appleton-based HR Business Partners LLC. An expert in employment law, organizational development and employee relations, Felton’s presentation addresses important HR-related issues, including immigration status verification, attendance policies impacting unemployment compensation, sexual harassment, and workplace violence training.

Following a networking lunch, WSCI’s afternoon session features renowned motivational speaker and author Rudy Ruettiger, of Rudy International. Ruettiger’s early life and career as an against-the-odds football player at the University of Notre Dame was the inspiration for the 1993 film Rudy. Rudy International also operates the Rudy Foundation, which works to enrich the lives of young people and strengthen communities by offering scholarships in education, sports and the performing arts.

“We always try to offer an agenda that resonates with the needs and interests of our members at the annual February meeting,” says Beth Crave, President of the WSCI Board of Directors and Customer Service Manager at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wis. “We’re excited about this year’s lineup. For small-business owners and specialty cheesemakers, it offers a concentrated dose of what we all need to succeed – customer insights, continuing education and personal motivation. We hope everyone – WSCI members and non-members alike – will join us in February.”

Cost: Free for WSCI members, $75 per person for non-members.

Registration/RSVP Deadline: Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Contact Kathy Brown at (262) 740-2180 or

Lodging: Special WSCI room rates are available for February 14, 15 and 16. Call the Chula Vista at (866) 856-6789 before 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 and refer to "Booking ID G41875” to receive the special rates.

About WSCI: The Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute works to promote and support the development of a robust, profitable specialty cheese industry in Wisconsin. Founded in 1994 in cooperation with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (now Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin), the WSCI serves as a resource for both the cheesemaker and the cheese buyer, hosting educational and promotional activities for all things specialty cheese.