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MARC, Inc.



A short quote from the Executive Director of MARC, "David:  ... much of the fundraising stuff you were working on is going well.  Banquet, golf, MARC in the Park, etc.,"
Richard Berling 
David, in consort with the MARC Boards increased the presence of MARC in its target communities, reinvigorating the Boards, creating materials to entice new Board participants, Volunteers and Donors to this prestigious Dane County non-profit.

Created the first MARC Advisory Board of noted Madisonians and secured the first corporate sponsors for a new annual event MARC in the Park, a walkathon to recognize individuals with developmental disabilities and raise needed funds.

Created a Board recruitment package and recruitment package for Advisory Board members.

Provided the free consulting leading to new interactive web site components and entry port with donation capabilities. Link: http://www.marc-inc.org/

Take a moment and check out the the front page media placement highlighting one of  MARC's premiere Micro-enterprises, & Doug Moe's column below.

Front Page May 2009


The article is reprinted below or go to:


MON., MAY 18, 2009





 Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Martha Lyans dreams of the day when her business really takes off. She knows exactly what she’ll do with the money.

"Travel all over the world and outer space," she says, in the brisk, assured manner she’s known for.

Lyans, 57, who has autism, co-owns Mrs. Bow Wowz, a Madison company that makes all-natural dog biscuits. Her business partner, Courtney Clack, 25, was born with a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis

Three years ago, Madison Area Rehabilitation Centers, a nonprofit agency that helps people with developmental disabilities, tapped Lyans and Clack for its first foray into micro-enterprises. The effort, part of a national trend, tries to create mini-businesses for human services clients so that they can become financially self-sufficient.

Mrs. Bow Wowz isn’t there yet — Lyans draws a tiny stipend and Clack isn’t taking a salary — but the gourmet dog treats are making inroads into the marketplace.

"Most people tell us how much their dogs love them and that they’re glad they’re made by someone local," said Katie Doyle, a manager at Sow’s Ear in Verona, the first retail outlet to begin selling the dog biscuits two years ago.

Daily duties

Lyans, the higher-functioning of the two business partners, does all of the baking. Three mornings a week, she arrives by bus from her Downtown apartment to the nonprofit agency’s South Madison headquarters, where a staff lounge has been converted into a commercial kitchen.

Lyans thrives on routine, so the work suits her. For several hours, she mixes ingredients, kneads dough and stamps out dog biscuits with a cookie cutter. She says little and emits a strong vibe that nothing will shake her focus.

"Martha’s always been someone who, if expected to carry out a responsibility, is completely single-minded about it," said her sister, Mary Lyans, of Los Angeles.

Clack, who packages the biscuits, is cognitively at the level of someone still in early childhood, said her mother, Sue Clack, of Windsor.

With the help of a job coach, Courtney Clack lines up dog biscuits on a numbered place mat, then drops them into plastic bags when she gets to 15. She often has a carton of McDonald’s french fries nearby, and two days a week she does the work at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes during outings there.

Trial and error

The idea for the company grew out of research revealing the huge amounts of money people spend on pets, said Suzanne Hanson, director of the micro-enterprise effort. Both Lyans and Clack love animals, so dog biscuits seemed a good fit.

Agency staff, who routinely find jobs in the community for people with developmental disabilities, created the business plan and executed it along with input from Lyans and Clack’s family. Mrs. Bow Wowz was incorporated in 2006 as a for-profit business.

Lyans contributed $200 in start-up cash, Clack $4,500. State and local government programs pitched in with equipment purchases and staff expertise.

The research-and-development phase proved difficult for Lyans, who doesn’t like uncertainty. They found out that peanut butter mildewed, garlic powder thins the blood of some canines and many dogs are allergic to cornmeal.

It took 46 recipes and nearly a year for her and agency staff to hit upon the right mix of organic ingredients — like Colonel Sanders, the company won’t divulge its winning formula.

Four stores sell the biscuits, and Fair Indigo, a local fair-trade retailer, plans to feature Mrs. Bow Wowz in its holiday catalog, Hanson said. Company sales have been as high as $500 a month, but that’s not yet enough to turn a profit. If the company becomes profitable, Lyans and Clack will share the proceeds.


Lyans often accompanies agency staff on sales calls. She initially stayed in the background but lately is more apt to chat up store owners. This is a big turnaround, said her mother, Lois Lyans, of Los Angeles.

"She takes great pride in what she’s doing, and she could use some ego-boosting," Lyans said of her daughter. "She’s been put down so much in her life and bullied a lot because she was different."

Sue Clack said the business gives her daughter, who survived pancreatic cancer two years ago, a task she enjoys.

Sales of the dog biscuits coincides with a national debate over how to market products made by people with disabilities, Hanson said. No one wants to appear to be exploiting disabilities for sympathy, yet customers like to know the back-stories of the products they purchase, she said.

Initially, the dog biscuit packaging said nothing about Lyans or Clack. This month, a line in small type was added: "Proudly owned and operated by individuals with developmental disabilities."

Where to buy them 

 Mrs. Bow Wowz dog biscuits are available at the following Madison-area locations:

• Lakeview Veterinary Clinic, 3518 Monroe St., Madison

• Nutzy Mutz & Crazy Catz, 330 W. Lakeside St., Madison

• Sow’s Ear, 125 S. Main St., Verona

• Mad City Dog Training, 813 Post Road, Madison

A 12-ounce bag (about 15 standard-size dog biscuits) sells for $6.50.

For wholesale information, contact Madison Area Rehabilitation Centers at 608-223-9100

Comments on the paper’s online version…Monday morning



Doug Moe and David.  Thanks Doug!
Great Madison story.


On the web at:


‘Hammerin Hank’

Photo by David Wandel

Eric Weber received a new signed photo of his hero Hank Aaron this week.

Doug MoeMoe: 'Hammerin' Hank' to the rescue

Doug Moe


Kathy Jerdee left Madison a decade ago for Maryland, to be close to her grandchildren.

Actually, back then, there was just one. But now there are two, ages 6 and 10, and they are big baseball fans. The oldest, Matthew, is a student of baseball history and is intent on finding a Honus Wagner baseball card.

This past spring, talking baseball with the boys, Jerdee told a story about something that occurred in Madison back in the 1970s, when Kathy was working at the Madison Area Rehabilitation Center (MARC) on the East Side. MARC has been providing a variety of services for developmentally disabled people in Madison for more than 50 years.

In August 1972, a 20-year-old Madison man named Eric Weber became a client of MARC's East Side location. He was well-liked by the staff for his humor and compassion toward others, but his outstanding characteristic was his enthusiasm for sports in general, and the baseball slugger Hank Aaron in particular.

"He was a passionate fan of Hank Aaron," Jerdee was recalling this week, by phone from Maryland. "He had amazing recall of everything he did."

During the 1973 season, Aaron was chasing Babe Ruth's all-time home run record of 714. After every Atlanta Braves game, Weber would give Jerdee a report on Aaron's progress. He would show her news articles. On the days Aaron homered, Weber was thrilled.

After Aaron broke the record, early in the 1974 season, Jerdee asked Weber if he'd like to write to his hero.
"Eric composed and printed it himself," Jerdee said. "It took him a long time."

Weber had not asked for anything, but about six weeks after he mailed the letter to Aaron, back came an autographed photo. Weber was ecstatic.

"It went everywhere with him," Jerdee said.

When Jerdee related the story to her grandchildren, she didn't mention that some time after getting the photo, Eric had a bad day and at a particularly low moment, wound up tearing up his prized photograph. They managed to piece it back together, but he was distraught.

Hearing the first part of the story in May, Jerdee's grandchildren asked if they could write to Hank Aaron. Thirty-five years have passed since he broke the record, but he's still a hero to young baseball fans who know their history.

Jerdee sent the letter May 27. In it, she wrote about her grandsons and their love of the game, and she also included the story of Eric Weber, thanking Aaron for his kindness in sending the photo all those years ago. She mentioned the bad day when the photo got torn up.

Earlier this month, Jerdee received a package from Hank Aaron. It contained three signed photographs: one for each of her grandsons, and one -- well, Jerdee knew who the third photograph was for. But she had lost touch with Eric.

Jerdee made some calls back to Madison, and learned that Eric Weber is now a client of MARC West, on
Forward Drive. Last week she sent the photo and a note to Eric.

Wednesday morning, a small group gathered at MARC West. The center director, Randy Klein, talks sports with Eric nearly every day.

On this morning he said, "Eric, what happened to the Brewers last night?" (They had suffered a bad loss to the Washington Nationals.)

Eric shook his head. "Terrible," he said.

Then Klein handed Weber an envelope. "This came to you from Kathy Jerdee. Do you remember Kathy?"

Eric didn't answer but with Klein's help he got the envelope open. He pulled out the signed Aaron photo. "There's Hank!" he said. "How about that?"

The photo was put in a frame. Eric tucked it under his arm with a look that said he might set it down in maybe another 35 years. Someone walked in and asked who was in the photo.

Eric grinned. "Hammerin' Hank," he said.