St. Francis, Wis.
The journey of an entrepreneur requires persistence, creativity, and passion. It also involves developing the skills necessary to recognize and act on a business opportunity.
Kim Wall ‘79 gained these skills through her work as a CPA, consultant, and banker. This background combined with a passion for creating new food products has led to her ownership of two successful companies in the food industry.
Kim Wall graduated from Luther with a major in accounting and a strong background in economics. She passed the CPA exam and later worked at First Bank Milwaukee as a retail banker. With the encouragement of a bank colleague, Kim pursued her interest in developing a variety of seasoning products. Today, Wild Foods produces healthy and high-quality natural flavorings and seasonings. In 1999, Kim saw another opportunity and purchased the Baensch Food Products Company. As president, Kim has repositioned the Ma Baensch brand of premium herring products through improvements in production, distribution, marketing, and research.
There is more to the story of Baensch Food Products than its entrepreneurial success.
A large percentage of Baensch Food’s sales are in the last three months of the year.
Kim struggled to find temporary seasonal employees, and she was asked if she would hire a convicted felon.
The success of that first hire led Kim to call the Milwaukee probation office and eventually to connections with several community organizations that helped felons get employment.
Today, civic and business leaders view Baensch’s employment program as a model for how employers can meet their work needs while helping change the economic dynamics of the inner city.
Through her entrepreneurial journey, she has found a way to create an opportunity for those in need to gain a foothold in the job market.
--Charles Christianson, October 2, 2009