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Around the Campfire

Stories from Northwoods


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Our Roots

The Northwoods story begins all the way back in 1997, when the web was still in its infancy and digital transformation wasn’t even a twinkle in Google’s eye. The “dot-com bubble” was expanding and would soon spiral toward an historic market crash that would shut down many dot-com and tech companies for good. 

The Internet and firms like, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, and AOL had become part of our collective conscious. Google became a verb. Websites, chat rooms and “you’ve got mail” were all exciting and new. Surfing the web was a far more popular past time than actual surfing and purchasing anything online was truly novel (2-week delivery to your front door = magic!).

It was the dawn of a brand new world – one in which the internet, digital technology and digital communications would revolutionize our lives. But none of us had any idea just how much so in the years ahead.

It was during this extraordinary time that 12 visionary colleagues saw opportunity in the digital technology revolution and came together to start a company specializing in web development and software engineering. 

Leading the start-up was Patrick Bieser, an accomplished entrepreneur, software executive, programmer and web usability expert. (Patrick still serves as Northwoods' president today.) Managing Partners Rick Fessenbecker, an accomplished business development executive, and data and analytics expert Fred Pike joined Patrick to form Northwoods’ leadership team. 

Starting a new technology company during the tech bubble was not just opportunistic, it was downright risky. But with measured and practical leadership, a solid vision and one heck of a great product (Titan CMS), Northwoods flourished at a time when many other technology firms simply perished.

Since then, Northwoods has grown into a digital powerhouse, offering website design and development, digital strategy, digital marketing and software development services - working with more than 900 clients worldwide across a wide variety of industries, and successfully completing more than 5,000 digital projects … and counting.

We’re also known for sharing our knowledge openly and often so that others can grow and flourish, as well. We offer dozens of free classes on the latest topics and trends in digital strategy, digital marketing, website design and software development. Thousands of professionals have attended our workshops and webinars over the years – even other digital agencies rely on us to get the latest information! We’re proud to share our value of lifelong learning with others and invite you to attend one or more of our upcoming programs and follow our blog.

As for our name, you might be wondering how we landed on “Northwoods.” Well, we like to say that we’re located in the northwoods of beautiful southeastern Wisconsin. Wisconsinites will get the joke, but for anyone who lives south of the Wisconsin-Illinois border, pretty much anywhere as far north as Wisconsin is considered the northwoods! In all seriousness, given our adventurous spirit and entrepreneurial roots, the images and emotions the name evokes seemed fitting. And the rest is history, as they say.

Thanks for stopping by!


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