UP FRONT: Regional roundup – September 2013

Posted on Sep 5, 2013 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Highway 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Advance seeks manufacturing nominees

Advance, the economic development division of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, is now accepting nominations for the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Awards of Distinction event planned Nov. 12 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay.

For 14 years, Advance has hosted the Manufacturing Awards of Distinction event to recognize thriving manufacturers. The awards will honor manufacturers in categories of Workforce Development, Small Company, Medium Company and Large Company.

Nomination forms can be found at www.titletown.org/maod. Self-nominations are strongly encouraged. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 1. For more information, contact Lisa Harmann at (920) 496-2113, [email protected]

Neenah Enterprises, Inc. secures $250M credit facility

Neenah Enterprises has obtained a $250 million senior secured credit facility, a type of loan that will be used to refinance existing debt and to support ongoing working capital needs. GE Capital, Corporate Financing is serving as the administrative agent, while GE Capital Markets served as lead arranger. Wells Fargo Capital Finance, part of Wells Fargo & Company, served as joint lead arranger.

“The new credit facility provides a significant interest rate reduction and expands the credit facility available to the company,” says Tom Riordan, president and CEO for Neenah Enterprises. “This is reflective of the improved financial performance and financial position the company has generated over recent years.”

Boldt opens Southern California office

The Boldt Company opened an office in Glendale, Calif. The Glendale location is Boldt’s third in the state, joining offices in Sacramento and San Francisco.

“Our new Southern California office will be important to our ongoing growth in not only the state, but nationwide,” says Dave Kievet, group president of Boldt’s western operations business unit. “Most importantly though, this office will benefit our customers as it will give us another location within our national network from which to serve clients on a local level.”

Headquartered in Appleton, Boldt has 15 offices nationwide, from which it has completed projects in all 50 states and several foreign countries.

UWFox has lowest tuition in the UW System

The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley remained the university with the lowest tuition in the UW System. The total cost for residents to attend, including tuition and fees for both semesters, is $5,025. UW-Madison is the most expensive, costing $24,204 to attend for the 2013-14 school year.

“Affordable tuition and modest student fees are a hallmark of UWFox’s position as a premier provider of an exceptional liberal arts education that offers students of all ages a highly regarded local University of Wisconsin experience that our community values,” says Dr. Martin Rudd, campus executive officer and dean of UWFox.

The CAF B-29 FIFI arrives at Oshkosh in 2011. The EAA AirVenture event draws about $110 million in economic impact for the region annually. Photo courtesy of EAA by Cindy Luft

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents set the 2013-14 tuition for all 26 UW campuses, leaving each campus with its 2012-13 tuition rates.

EAA brings $110M economic impact

This year’s EAA AirVenture Convention in Oshkosh was an economic boon throughout the region, an annual bonus that has consistently benefited the state in its 60-year history.

“UW-Oshkosh did a study a couple of years ago – it was an independent study and found that it was a $110 million economic impact for Wisconsin for that week,” says Dick Knapinski, senior communications advisor for the EAA. Knapinski says that this year’s earnings have roughly matched that number.

Running from July 29 through Aug. 4, the event attracted more than half a million people.

Breakthrough Fuel reaches natural gas milestone

Breakthrough Fuel of Green Bay has managed more than 3.5 million miles of its customers’ compressed natural gas (CNG) trucking fleets.

CNG is a fossil fuel substitute. The 3.5 million miles of managed CNG means Breakthrough clients have reduced their emissions output by 776 metric tons. That’s the equivalent of the energy output of 53 homes over a year.

The companies also have saved nearly $1 million.

“It is a significant accomplishment,” says Craig Dickman, Breakthrough Fuel CEO and chief innovation officer. “It proves that you can manage energy costs and be environmentally conscious at the same time.”

UW-Green Bay receives $126K preservation grant

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay received a $126,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the university’s Point au Sable Nature Reserve preservation project.

The university will preserve and restore Green Bay’s Wequiock Creek Estuary’s aquatic habitat. With the grant, the project’s leaders, UW-Green Bay faculty members Bob Howe and Amy Wolf, will focus on controlling invasive species and sedimentation of the estuary’s shorelines.

“This is a really good opportunity for us to engage students in hands-on ecology, so it’s already been a success,” says Howe, founding director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. “This is going to give us additional opportunities to do work out there. It’s such a nice place – only four miles from campus, but you get out there and you feel like you’re in a wilderness.”

Point au Sable is owned by the university and includes 181.6 acres of wetland, woodland and shoreline habitats.


» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Teachers study Great Lakes shipping

Fourteen teachers from schools throughout the Great Lakes spent a week during the summer in Green Bay and Marinette learning about shipbuilding and shipping.

“There’s a big need coming up for the future employment and the future of the marine industry within the Great Lakes, which is huge,” says David Geitner, marine technologies instructor for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. “We’re looking at a lot of attrition from baby boomers. Some shipyards are looking at 40 percent attrition within the next 10 years.”

The four-day teacher institute is sponsored by North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance, NWTC, Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with funding from the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education. The aim is providing information about the various skills needed within the shipbuilding industry and contributing industries to help get students interested in those manufacturing careers, Geitner says.

“If teachers know about this, at least they’re encouraging students that are hands-on-type students to look into those trades and use their talents to the best of their ability,” he says.

The teachers explored the shipbuilding yards that design and construct multi-million-dollar yachts, U.S. Coast Guard vessels and Great Lakes freighters in Green Bay, Marinette, Sturgeon Bay and Manitowoc. Participants visited ACE Marine, Marquis Yachts, Marinette Marine, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, the Port of Green Bay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station, Lake Michigan’s Badger ferry and several maritime museums.

Teachers who completed the course earned two graduate credits from Michigan Tech and developed lessons to share with their students.


» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Workers comp event speakers announced

The Chamber Safety Council of Manitowoc County has speakers planned for the 2013 Lakeshore Workers Compensation Symposium set for Thursday, Sept. 19 at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland.

Presenters include Dave Anderson of Anderson 360 Solutions, speaking on safety audits; Rhonda Taylor-Parris of Aurora Health Care, on treatment modalities among Hmong and Hispanic cultures; Mike Geldreich of R&R Insurance, on employee engagement in the workers comp process; and Bill Sachse Jr. of Peterson Johnson Murray on what supervisors should know.

The cost is $20 per person. To register, call (920) 684-5575.

Door County hosts water levels community workshop

Door County hosted the Great Lakes Water Levels Community Workshop on Aug. 8 to discuss possible

solutions to low lake levels in the region. The low levels have been adversely affecting recreational and commercial harbors, threatening economic and environmental damage.

Door County’s economy thrives on tourism, predominantly recreational boating. The workshop developed after the county brought the issue to Madison and addressed it with state officials.

“We are very pleased that the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program was able to hold this meeting in Door County, where the low lake water levels have such a significant impact on our communities and our economy,” says Bill Schuster, director of the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department. “This was an opportunity for the local community to let representatives from Madison understand how critical this issue is for us and for the public to provide recommendations to Madison for the future.”


» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Shawano County Tourism Council receives grant

The Shawano County Tourism Council received an $8,000 grant from the Department of Tourism. The grant is part of the department’s Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant program. The county received this grant due to the continued success of its Miles of Art fall festival. Last year, the event generated an economic impact of $185,224.

“We appreciate this support from the Department of Tourism,” says Patti Peterson, tourism manager of the Shawano Country Tourism Council. “JEM funding allows us to promote Shawano Country Miles of Art to a much wider audience, which will increase the number of visitors who will experience our unique visual and performing arts, Native American culture, and beautiful fall colors.”

This year’s festival runs from Oct. 5 to 6.


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