Software Scene

four Eau Claire software companies that aren’t Jamf, and what they’re up to

Josh Rizzo

WORKING HARD ON THE SOFT(WARE). Eau Claire software firm Clearwater Labs is entirely founded and operated by UW-Eau Claire students.
WORKING HARD ON THE SOFT(WARE). Eau Claire software firm Clearwater Labs is entirely founded and operated by UW-Eau Claire students.

If you live or work anywhere near Eau Claire, you know Jamf. You already know their success story. You already know how they’ve been instrumental, not only as an Apple management tool, but as a community collaborator, an economic development driver, a relentless supporter of the arts, and a key player in Eau Claire’s own growing-up story of the 2000s.

But what about the other Eau Claire software companies? Where there’s one success story, there are countless more. For a workforce to thrive, for a software community to thrive, and for our community as a whole to thrive, it takes a diverse field of leaders, entrepreneurs, and starters pushing, pulling, grinding, and overcoming all at the same time.

Here are four of the many Eau Claire software companies that aren’t Jamf, and what they’re up to:

1. Applied Data Consultants & Elite EXTRA

ADC turns 23 years old this year and is headquartered in Eau Claire with branch offices on both the East Coast and West Coast.

ADC’s team of 45 employees began as a geographic information systems consultant serving the government and private industries with GIS services. Their app called WebGUIDE Xtreme (WGX) is a land information application that is used by about half of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

Their premier product, called Elite EXTRA, was developed 11 years ago when a client asked for technology to track its routes and drivers. While there were other products on the market, most were cost prohibitive, used older technology, and were not suited for this client’s workflow. Elite EXTRA was born and is now in every state of the nation, Canada, Mexico, Asia and growing.

“We really value our culture first,” said Susan Marcott, the company’s chief projects officer. “We offer unlimited PTO, company lunches and breakfasts, trips for anniversary recognitions, flexible working hours, and scholarships for children of employees. We will be breaking ground on a new building in an area of minimal construction, rather than downtown. This allows team members to go running on lunch breaks, and to play kubb, volleyball, basketball, croquet, and badminton on the ADC Campus.”

Applied Data Consultants got its start in the automotive industry but has expanded into any industry that seeks optimized routes and real-time tracking of its service techs, drivers, and goods. With the Amazon effect being a big disruptor in the delivery business, they are now entering the last mile, the home delivery world arena, and things are taking off there. They continue to use technology to make Elite EXTRA faster and more feature-rich, which is why they changed their tagline this year to “Powering the Future.” Check them out online at adc4gis.com.

2. Clearwater Labs

Clearwater Labs is a 100% student-run software consulting firm with the goal to provide quality products and high impact experiences. The mission of the organization is “improving students’ lives through innovative technology.”
Founded in 2018, Clearwater Labs employs 10 UW-Eau Claire students who get hands-on tech experience and will graduate with in-depth experience around business processes and software development. Their unique model allows students to innovate and take risks in developing solutions and gaining connections to the software industry in a non-classroom setting.

“My purpose for this has been to create something that would empower students to be innovators, and for me to learn to manage a team of students effectively,” Clearwater Labs co-founder Alex Stout said in an article on the UWEC website.
Their first project was to develop a software called Parking Notifier which helps students be aware of alternate-side parking policies and when they are in effect. Their next project is an “energy dashboard” in collaboration with the student office of sustainability. As they grow, Clearwater Labs will be reaching out to regional businesses to develop partnerships that will be mutually beneficial to corporations and the students who would get opportunities to work on software projects provided by those companies.

Clearwater Labs operates out of the Ivy Creatives co-working space in downtown Eau Claire. Learn more at their LinkedIn page (www.linkedin.com/company/clearwater-labs) or meet their team at parkingnotifier.com/about.

3. Speakfully

A documentation platform co-founded by Jana Morrin and Zach Halmstad (formerly of Jamf) that empowers and supports users to confidently navigate harassment experiences in the workplace.

Founded less than one year ago, Speakfully is quietly building a team of technology leaders who are passionate about helping employees and employers navigate uncomfortable workplace culture issues. “Speakfully is uniquely designed to lend support to the employee that is being mistreated, and to guide the HR staff and CEO protecting their team to cultivate a safer culture and turn the tide on mistreatment in the workplace,” Morrin said.

The firm goes on to describe itself this way: “Everyone deserves to work, live, and speak fully. Although this belief may not be shocking or radical, the fact that American workplaces currently don’t provide a safe environment for employees certainly is. It’s time to change the status quo.”

Speakfully is headquartered in Eau Claire but has a team of seven software engineers, designers, and product specialists who are working remotely to launch the first version of their product for individuals, followed by a beta release for organizations. Find out more at speakfully.com.

4. Fresh Software

Andrew Niese, the owner/operator of Fresh, has been nerding out since 1998.
It all started out of his love for computer programming, which formed during the ’90s Internet boom. He was hanging around white-hat hacker communities at the time, which meant that most of his first programs were security-oriented. Fresh Software has always been about the creative process, experimenting with new ideas, and finding solutions to problems.

Fresh is probably best known for X-NetStat, a network monitor and system info application for Windows that has been in development since 1998. It is now on version 5.6, and has firmly established itself.

The big focus for the last two years has been Fixity, which is a software as a service (SaaS) application for citizens’ requests to their cities. Fixity is an app to report problems and suggestions to your city. It has a reporting interface for citizens and management tools for city staff and/or council members. The goal of Fixity is to report issues, improve neighborhoods, and help city staff maintain crowdsourced issues efficiently and cost effectively.

“Our primary drive in making new software is because we think it would be cool if it existed,” Niese said. “It’s a labor of love first, and a business second.”
In 2018 Fixity won the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation’s Idea Challenge, which included $5,000 to help build the business, and the company is now looking to beta test Fixity in multiple cities. They’ll evaluate how everything looks, determine how helpful it is, and see how the Fixity product could be improved. It was just added to the Apple store and is now being updated for Google Play. Learn more at www.facebook.com/fixityapp.


Josh Rizzo is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Satellite Six, a brand and digital marketing firm in Eau Claire. This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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