Photo by Richard Hurd
All Comfort Services Turns 50 This Year!
Help Us Celebrate Our 50th Anniversary
It’s 2023, All Comfort and the Davies are celebrating their 50th year of business in Madison with a very special gift to their employees, their customers, and our town. Larry Davies, owner of All Comfort Services, sold all of his 100% percent stock to his own employees on December 31, 2022, creating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In doing so, All Comfort Services joins a unique group of companies that are 100% employee-owned.
In 1973, Larry and Susan Davies started a company known today as All Comfort Services in their basement while raising their three children in Fitchburg and later McFarland.
Founded under the name Air Comfort, the Davies’ upstart focused on the repair of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment for residential and commercial customers. Life was good.
Like their children, the company grew quickly and the Davies’ soon relocated its headquarters from their basement to a building on Bjorksten Place in Fitchburg. Day after day, job upon job, the company earned a reputation for its focus on the customer and its growing fleet of bright yellow trucks.
In 2000, Air Comfort added electrical and plumbing divisions to complement its heating and cooling services. In 2004, the company changed its name to All Comfort Services to reflect its mission of taking care of a customer’s whole home to provide total comfort. With continued growth, All Comfort Services moved from Fitchburg to its current location on Voges Road in Madison.
In 2005 Kendall Richards was hired as president of the company. Under Kendall and Larry’s leadership, the company has grown to over 50 people.
Alan and Karyn Lord retired from Air Quality System in February 2022, Larry Davies, the owner of All Comfort Services, who had been 50% owner of Air Quality since the beginning and worked out an agreement to support and service Air Quality’s customers. Larry Davies and Alan have been working together for over 40 years.
In 2022, just one year from turning 50, the company rededicated itself to its customers, and revitalized the core values at the heart of its success: Community, Expertise, and Respect. To these they added a purpose statement to rally around: “create awesome experiences every day.”
Photo by Richard Hurd
New Promega Chemistry Will Enable Forensic DNA Labs to Solve More Challenging Cold Cases, Sexual Assault Cases
Eight-color STR multiplex system provides more information per casework sample
MADISON, Wis.–New chemistry for DNA analysis will empower forensic laboratories to overcome common challenges including degraded and contaminated samples. PowerPlex® 35GY System, launched today by Promega Corporation, is a first-of-its-kind eight-color DNA analysis kit that helps forensic laboratories get more information out of their most challenging samples. The kit works in tandem with Spectrum CE System, a capillary electrophoresis instrument launched by Promega in 2022.
“Together, PowerPlex® 35GY System used with Spectrum CE System provide the most advanced forensic analysis available,” says Rohaizah James, Senior Product Manager at Promega. “The eight-color chemistry used in PowerPlex® 35GY System gives more information per sample, even with degraded DNA.”
Next-generation eight-color STR kit
PowerPlex® 35GY System is the first of a series of next-generation eight-color STR kits that Promega is producing to take full advantage of the Spectrum CE System’s eight-color capability. The biotechnology manufacturer has been developing and providing products for DNA-based human identification for more than 25 years.
Short tandem repeat (STR) analysis is the most widely used tool in human identification efforts. Currently available kits rely on five or six colors of dyes to mark regions of DNA that can help identify a match. PowerPlex® 35GY System is the first STR multiplex to include eight dyes. This major improvement in chemistry is made possible by the Spectrum CE System, the first commercially available capillary electrophoresis instrument equipped for eight-color fragment analysis.
“Mini-STRs” for enhanced resolution
PowerPlex® 35GY System includes the amplicons of 15 loci that have been reduced in size to less than 250 base pairs in length. These “mini-STRs” are less likely to “drop out” or disappear during STR analysis, which helps ensure data is not lost. This is especially important in cold case samples where DNA may be degraded or where there may be a limited amount of sample to work with.
Y-STRs for sexual assault investigation and familial searching
PowerPlex® 35GY System is also ideal for working with sexual assault samples or for identifying unknown matches through familial searching. The kit includes 11 STR loci that are located on Y-chromosomes. These Y-STRs, along with the increased sensitivity of the kit, can help labs more easily determine how many individuals’ DNA are present in a sample.
Quality Indicators for Improved Efficiency
Finally, PowerPlex® 35GY System includes two Quality Indicators to help forensics labs work efficiently by quickly identifying sources of failure. These indicators let DNA analysts quickly determine if a sample is degraded or if there was a problem during their analysis. This information can help labs decide if they need to re-analyze samples or if they should move on to the next sample. By combining these Quality Indicators with the high-throughput capabilities of Spectrum CE System, PowerPlex® 35GY System can help forensics labs efficiently work through their sexual assault kit backlog, for example.
Learn more about PowerPlex® 35GY System at www.promega.com/Introducing35GY
About Promega Corporation
Promega Corporation is a global leader in providing high-quality solutions and technical support to the life science industry. Over its 44-year history, Promega has built a portfolio featuring more than 4,000 catalog and custom products supporting cellular and molecular biology. Today, bioluminescent and other technologies developed at Promega drive innovation in fields such as live cell analysis, drug discovery, molecular diagnostics and human identification and are used by scientists and technicians in labs for academic and government research, forensics, pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics and agricultural and environmental testing. Promega is headquartered in Madison, WI, USA with branches in 16 countries and over 50 global distributors. For more information, visit www.promega.com and connect with Promega on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the Promega Connections blog.
VP, Corporate Affairs
Phone: (608) 274-4330
Photo by Richard Hurd
All Comfort Services: Local HVAC Firm Becomes Madison’s Newest Employee-Owned Company
MADISON, WI: 01-18-2023– Larry Davies, owner of All Comfort Services, sold all of his 100% percent stock to his own employees on December 31, 2022, creating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In doing so, All Comfort Services joins a unique group of companies that are 100% employee owned.
“Only a few of the heating contractors that were in business when I started are still around,” says Davies. “We’ve stood the test of time, and I think doing this will help us to keep doing so.”
Transitioning the company to an ESOP allows employees to benefit directly from profits and get involved in the many decisions that guide a company. It also grants employees a very real “piece of the pie.”
According to employee-owners of other ESOP companies, a new ownership role fundamentally alters the way they think about and do their jobs. Over a 10-year period, ESOP companies have 25%* higher job growth than comparable companies without an ESOP.
“This area has given me, my family and this company so much over the years,” says Davies. “This doesn’t just create an ESOP company for the employees of All Comfort, but an ESOP for the community. And that’s usually a pretty good thing.”
Davies and his wife Susan established the company in March 1973. There are currently over fifty employees. The company marks its fifty years by revitalizing its core values — Community, Expertise, and Respect — and purpose statement to “create awesome experiences every day.”
In 2019 Davies was awarded as the first Madison Area Mechanical and Sheet Metal Contractors and Madison Association of Plumbing Contractors (MSC/MAPC) Legacy Award recipient. The MSC/MAPC created the award to honor and recognize those individuals in the heating, cooling, and plumbing industry who have made significant contributions to the Madison Association.
All Comfort Services serves the greater Madison area offering heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, and electrical services to residential and commercial customers. The company is committed to providing the best-in-town customer experience, products, team, and work environment.
*Statistics from the National Center for Employee Ownership
All Comfort Services
5245 Voges Road
Madison, WI 53718
Photo by Richard Hurd
Wisconsin Union: University Club Will Reopen on Jan. 23 With New, Casual Dining Service Called Union Commons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 10, 2023
Shauna Breneman, Communications Director
Phone: (608) 262-8862
READ RELEASE ONLINE: union.wisc.edu/about/news/university-club-reopening
UNIVERSITY CLUB WILL REOPEN ON JAN. 23 WITH NEW, CASUAL DINING SERVICE CALLED UNION COMMONS
MADISON – The historic campus dining venue the University Club will reopen Jan. 23 with a new, casual dining concept, called Union Commons, and seating under the management of the Wisconsin Union, the nonprofit organization that also manages Memorial Union, Union South, the Memorial Union Terrace, and markets and cafes throughout campus.
The University Club, a Madison destination that previously offered dining service and event spaces, closed temporarily beginning in March 2020 due to COVID-19. After the club experienced financial loss during the pandemic, the University Club board of directors voted to dissolve the club as an incorporated social organization, to integrate the club fully into the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and to have the Wisconsin Union assume management of the club.
Under Wisconsin Union management, the University Club gained the support of more than 400 full-time Wisconsin Union staff and many student team members in creating a dining experience and in providing operational support.
At the soon-to-open Union Commons at the University Club, the Wisconsin Union team will serve a variety of beverages, including Rooted Grounds coffee and espresso drinks, tea, and wine; bakery items; house-made soups; and toasted sandwiches, including a pesto chicken sandwich and a vegetarian Caprese sandwich.
The Union team welcomes patrons to study, socialize, and enjoy Union Commons menu items on the club’s porch seasonally and in seating on the first floor of the club throughout the year.
UW–Madison students with valid Wiscards are eligible for a 10% discount on most food and beverages at Union Commons as well as other Wisconsin Union-run dining locations when they make purchases using their Wiscard account.
While the club’s spaces are not currently available for event reservations, the Wisconsin Union team continues to work to determine future event space availability at the club. The Union team currently offers event space reservations in other buildings, such as Memorial Union and Union South, for UW–Madison registered student organizations, UW–Madison departments, government agencies, Wisconsin Union lifetime and annual members, and groups with a UW–Madison department sponsorship.
The University Club was founded in 1907 as a members-only social club to promote fellowship in the campus community. From the time it opened until its unanticipated closure in 2020, it had evolved into a place for the public to dine and for its members to host educational, cultural and social events that promote the social and intellectual life of campus and the community.
“We, at the Wisconsin Union, look forward to continuing the University Club’s more than 100-year tradition of serving as a hospitality destination that provides dining and promotes social and cultural diversity and intellectual exchange,” said Mark Guthier, Wisconsin Union director and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
While the club was closed, the Wisconsin Union team worked to prepare the building for patrons, including cleaning, painting, updating signage, purchasing new furniture, and creating café space. From September 2021 to May 2022, the University Club served as a temporary COVID-19 testing site. The Union team continues to plan how the facilities can best serve patrons moving forward.
Patrons can visit union.wisc.edu/unioncommons for more information about Union Commons at the University Club.
About the Wisconsin Union
Formed in 1907, the Wisconsin Union enhances the lives of members, University of Wisconsin–Madison students, and visitors through recreational, cultural, educational, leadership, campus involvement and social opportunities. Learn more about the Union: union.wisc.edu.
Photo by Richard Hurd
WPS Health Solutions: La Sage appointed to Navy and Marine Corps Retiree Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vice President of Communications
La Sage appointed to Navy and Marine Corps Retiree Council
MADISON, Wis.—Dec. 21, 2022—Tim La Sage, WPS Health Solutions Military Affairs Manager, was appointed to the Navy and Marine Corps Retiree Council for 2023. He is among 21 new appointees for the Navy’s council; 11 officers and 10 enlisted. All appointees are retired servicemembers from either the Navy or the Marine Corps. The council reports to the Secretary of the Navy and holds quarterly meetings.
“Tim’s experience transitioning from an active-duty Marine Corps career to WPS employee will be incredibly valuable to the Department of the Navy,” said Rob Palmer, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for WPS. “Additionally, the perspective he gains from serving on the Navy and Marine Corps Retiree Council will help WPS better serve veterans and military retirees through our government contracts, as well as our efforts to recruit and retain military veterans into our workforce.”
The Retiree Council was established to consider issues of significant importance to retired military personnel and their families. This council facilitates communication between the Departments of the Navy and Marine Corps and military retirees, reviews the effectiveness of current programs, and makes recommendations regarding privileges, benefits, assistance, and other matters. La Sage will serve on at least one subcommittee.
“I retired in October of 2015,” La Sage said. “When talking about my military career, I express that the scariest thing I did was get out. Retirees no longer have a unit and chain of command to assist them.” He adds that he looks forward to serving on this important committee to help veterans make a smooth transition to civilian life.
About WPS Health Solutions®
Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Solutions), founded in 1946, is a nationally regarded benefits administrator for a variety of U.S. government programs and a leading not-for-profit health insurer in Wisconsin. WPS Health Solutions serves active-duty and retired military personnel, seniors, individuals, and families in Wisconsin, across the U.S., and around the world. WPS Health Solutions, headquartered in Madison, Wis., has more than 2,700 employees. Within the enterprise, there are three divisions: WPS Government Health Administrators, WPS Military and Veterans Health, and WPS Health Insurance/WPS Health Plan/EPIC Specialty Benefits. For more information, please visit wpshealthsolutions.com.