Zach Halmstad

At the Pablo Group, Zach Halmstad is trying to create opportunities for people to live, work and play downtown Eau Claire.

About Pablo Group

Pablo group is dedicated to building vitality in downtown Eau Claire through the implementation of healthy business practices and a bottom line defined by experiences.

CAN YOU TALK BRIEFLY ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO WISCONSIN? WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO OUR STATE? EAU CLAIRE?

I was born and raised in Eau Claire. I’ve moved away several times but have always come back to my hometown. It was rewarding when I started Jamf to have such a large presence in Wisconsin – all while growing the company worldwide. In my current role as co-founder of the Pablo Group, my entire focus is building vitality in Eau Claire for businesses and residents.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A WISCONSIN RESIDENT?

What I love most about Wisconsin is the people. I’ve been surrounded by amazing people in my personal and professional life. However, our access to nature and properly experiencing all four seasons are close seconds.

WHAT ABOUT WISCONSIN HAS ULTIMATELY KEPT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN THE STATE?

Even after traveling the world, Eau Claire is home to me. I spent 15 years traveling extensively for Jamf; however, I was always excited to return home and bring innovative ideas to help grow the community of Eau Claire.

BRIEFLY DESCRIBE WHAT PABLO DOES AS A LEADING REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FIRM IN EAU CLAIRE.

I think of Pablo much more as a hospitality company than a real estate company. We focus on creating great experiences for people in downtown Eau Claire. We are trying to create opportunities for people to live, work and play downtown. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, apartment buildings and coworking spaces all support that vision.

ARE THERE ANY TRENDS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY THAT YOU SEE PABLO/EAU CLAIRE CAPITALIZING ON GOING FORWARD?

The pandemic has really flipped the hospitality industry on its head. Creating an environment where employees are engaged and taken care of will be an extremely important part of how organizations will be successful in the hospitality industry moving forward. This has been our primary focus over the last 18 months. The businesses with the best employees will continue to deliver the experiences that customers want.

CAN YOU DISCUSS YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH WEDC?

We recently renovated a bank building built in 1930. It’s the most prominent Art Deco building in downtown Eau Claire. There are now four floors of apartments in the building and a coworking space. WEDC administered the historic tax credits we used to finance the project. This allowed us to stay true to the Art Deco design of the building, while keeping our rental rates as low as possible for our tenants.

WHAT WAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LIKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU PIVOT AND WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?

COVID has certainly been hard for our businesses. We had businesses close anywhere from a few weeks to over a year. Our primary focus was keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy. Our teams continue to meet regularly to keep on top of the current COVID-19 spread in our community and adjust inside our venues accordingly.

WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE GOING FORWARD?

Wisconsin is mostly undiscovered from a talent perspective. We have so many incredibly gifted people – and with the right opportunities, they can do amazing things. The affordable cost of living in Wisconsin provides for an amazing quality of life.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE IMPROVE UPON GOING FORWARD?

I’d love to see us identify a few industries that can define the next 20 years in Wisconsin. There are problems that urgently need solutions, and we have an amazing mix of research, development and manufacturing that can play a key role in the future of our planet.