Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) received a major setback this week with the announcement that J.P. Cullen Construction was not only leaving the board of directors of WMC but the organization as well. Previously some WMC members withdrew from the board but kept their WMC membership.
I was involved in all of this since first discussing the matter with Dave Cullen, the companies CEO, last year on behalf of the Original WMC Watch, not Epic Systems. The news stories do correctly note that the Cullen withdrawl came at the request of my former employer, Epic Systems Incorporated.
What is critical to understand is that Epic did not force Cullen out of the organization, but rather persuaded the major construction company.
It is important to get this right for two reasons. First, the story should be accurately told. Secondly, understanding what happened plays a significant role in motivating other WMC companies to take similar action.
Cullen, like many of the WMC board members, did not buy into the savage attack ads that the business organization runs. Dave Cullen is concerned about Wisconsin's business climate but is not a true believer when it comes to the WMC right wing agenda.
Dave Cullen, like many of the WMC board members, is fully occupied in running his company, particulalry during these difficult economic times.
Consequently, when Epic expressed its displeasure about WMC and Cullen's role, the die was cast. Cullen was uncomfortable with WMC and its own role.
If Cullen was already motivated to leave the organization, it means that there are dozens of other WMC board member who need only a gentle push from others to break the bonds of camaraderie which is all that holds them to WMC.