Keith Uhlig would be my role model if I was younger and wanted to write for a living.

I grew up reading articles and poetry by Richard Bach. Oh yes, I know what you’re thinking. Richard Bach, that quirky new age aviator guy. Richard Bach was the aviator poet. He is the author of Jonathon Livingston Seagull, a story about a seagull who dares to live like an eagle. The story is a metaphor for saying “Why not.”

I spent time as a student at the University of Wisconsin -Eau Claire. The name Eau Claire means “clear water”. I am very proud of the University’s role in the economic revival of that beautiful city. It amazes me every time I read about it. The secret to Eau Claire’s economic revival lies in the role that the University has in bringing life back to a very dying downtown. I saw the conditions of Eau Claire’s downtown 40 years ago. It was on its way down hill as retail was fleeing to the outskirts and to malls.

The UW Eau Claire College of Business teaches people how to be smart entrepreneurs. Not that you need a degree to be one, but it helps.

Entrepreneurs are just that. They are everything like Jonathon Livingston Seagull. They are people who would rather go at it alone than run with the crowd. They are people who would rather not punch a clock for someone else while their dreams drift away, but to take the chance to create their own business and make dreams become a reality.

For the past few weeks I have been following the redevelopment of urban centers like Eau Claire’s downtown comparing it with that of my own Wausau and there are rough parallels as both cities had struggled with blighted former industrial areas.

It goes for larger cities like Milwaukee too. The big blue collar factories are no longer there. While manufacturing drove the economies of many cities in the early twentieth century, it faltered with every single recession that came along since 1960. We can no longer depend on the big tire plants and paper mills for those high paying blue collar jobs.

Now is the time to dream big dreams, and then be willing to put those dreams to work. Maybe our modern 21st century will take people, if but in high tech sort of way, back to being skilled crafts people raising unique products from nature like chinchillas for their fur, or being artists and writers or tinkerers.

Can we dream dreams again? Can we dream big by starting small and working hard to get the product out with the quality that customers demand? Can we wish for a better tomorrow? Can we hope for the future in all that we can be and not what we are? Can we soar like eagles and hold no fear?

Can we build a better vacuum cleaner or assemble better windows and doors? When the world says why, I say “why not.” The world changes and so must we. We must change as economies change. There are even places for women entrepreneurs. If you have an idea or a dream to pursue, then don’t get stuck in the corporate bind and don’t let anyone tell you can’t.

So you want to open a clothing store and sell a unique style of women’s clothing. Your Chamber of Commerce and your local downtown Mainstreet program can be a resource for you to tap into to help find that store front. In Wausau, WI, my city, you would find them at http://www.wausauriverdistrict.org/.

If you want to be a photographer for weddings and portraits, then study up on everything you can to not only build on your skills, but how to market your services. Remember weddings generate memories, and you are helping to preserve them in an artistic and meaningful manner.

Alumnus from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire