Regional Roundup

Development in the New North - November 2017

Posted on Nov 1, 2017 :: Regional Roundup
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Talent Upload hosts fourth group in Fox Cities

The Fox Cities Regional Partnership kicked off the fourth installment of its Talent Upload program with a night of networking at ATW’s Platinum Flight Center. Around 130 students from around the Midwest spent a weekend meeting employers and getting to know the Fox Cities. Cindy Enli, a talent acquisition manager at J. J. Keller & Associates, says the company has participated in the event in the past and this year hoped to connect with some IT talent and to highlight to students its growth in technology. Sarangoo Chimedesuren, a finance and accounting student at St. Cloud University in Minnesota, says she liked what she saw, particularly the large manufacturing presence, as the sector interests her. “I was so amazed when I first came here,” she says. “There are so many manufacturing companies in Wisconsin compared to Minnesota.”

Appleton Coated sold, Appvion files Chapter 11

California-based Industrial Assets purchased Appleton Coated.

“Industrial Assets and its partner Maynards Industries are uniquely suited to find the perfect strategic buyer, most likely in the growing packaging grade sector, that will keep the paper mill running and employing members of this community for years to come,” Steven Mattes, CEO of Industrial Assets, said in a statement.

“This mill’s infrastructure is one of the most desirable that we have seen with a 50 (megawatt) cogeneration system which will provide low-cost energy, on-site rail service, landfill, water treatment and all permits in place for an immediate restart for a domestic or foreign buyer,” Mattes said.

Appvion Inc. announced that it filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to facilitate a balance sheet restructuring and better position the business for long-term growth and success.

The company expects to continue operations as usual and has obtained a commitment for $85 million in new debtor-in possession financing from a group of its first lien lenders.

Groups rally for Oshkosh Corp. to remain in Oshkosh

The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce and Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp. have joined forces to advocate for selling a part of Lakeshore Municipal Golf Course to Oshkosh Corp. for its future headquarters.

In a joint press release, the organizations cited their shared mission of advocating for business, industry and improved quality of life for the residents of Oshkosh. They emphasized the importance of Oshkosh Corp. to the city’s economic future and quality of life.

In an emailed statement, Katie Hoxtell, marketing manager for global branding and communication for Oshkosh Corp., said the company is exploring the opportunity for a new corporate headquarters campus that aligns with its people-first culture and allows it to operate more efficiently, continue to attract top talent to the area, and remain an important contributor in the community.

“In addition to evaluating locations in Oshkosh, we are also evaluating other locations and are reviewing the benefits of each potential location,” Hoxtell said. “We are doing geo-testing at multiple locations to determine if they are suitable for development. We are committed to doing what is best for the Oshkosh Corp. family, our customers, our shareholders and our community.”
AirVenture contributes $170 million impact

A University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh study concluded EAA AirVenture Oshkosh contributes $170 million. The UW-Oshkosh study, which was conducted during EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, showed direct spending by AirVenture visitors and exhibitors totaled $121 million in the five-county Fox Valley region (Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Calumet and Brown counties).

This created additional spending of nearly $50 million for area business, based on established and recognized regional economic models. In addition, AirVenture supported more than 2,000 jobs in the region. Additional AirVenture-based spending through the rest of Wisconsin contributed millions of dollars of added economic benefit statewide.

Ripon College opens new health facilities

Ripon College celebrated the grand opening of the Willmore Center, its newly expanded and renovated athletics, health, and wellness facility. The facility received $22 million in upgrades, including a new field house and an additional 100,000 square feet of new or renovated space.

The Willmore Center serves as the main health and wellness center on campus, houses the college’s athletic and exercise science departments, and is the home of several of the college’s athletic teams.

The 64,200-square-foot field house includes four multipurpose performance courts with netting for basketball, volleyball, and tennis, as well as a 200-meter NCAA-regulation indoor track and areas for jump and field events.

The fitness center more than doubled in size and includes two floors of cardiovascular and weight-training equipment and three fitness studios. Other enhancements include new classrooms, updated locker rooms, modernized offices for coaching and intramural staff, and a club space for athletic program boosters.

Children’s museum marks milestone

The Building for Kids Children’s Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Nov. 4 and will unveil its first expansion in 10 years.

The new area, the Innovation Lab, is a space for kids and their adults to explore STEM. The museum also announced development of six additional exhibits, including the Big Rig Garage with a semitrailer driving simulator as well as updates and renovations to existing exhibits. All are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

More than $2.5 million in updates, additions and renovations are planned.

Menominee Tribal Clinic debuts addition 

The Menominee Tribal Clinic opened a $6 million addition and celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The expansion includes space for a new optical department and community health nursing, bringing the clinic to 83,000 square feet. The accredited clinic serves more than 57,000 patients annually and has a staff of 140.

Marinette Marine awarded LCS contract. The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine a contract to build an additional littoral combat ship.

The contract value is under the 2017 congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship. LCS 27 will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine and is the 14th Freedom-variant LCS ordered by the U.S. Navy to date.

Since the LCS program’s inception, Freedom-variant LCS production has injected hundreds of millions of dollars into local economies throughout the Midwest. The program supports thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout the United States, including more than 7,500 in Michigan and Wisconsin alone.

The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date, including the future USS Little Rock, which was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 25. There are seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with two more in long-lead production.

Sheboygan Falls teacher named prize finalist

A Sheboygan Falls High School construction and technology education teacher was named one of 10 finalists for the 2017 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which will award more than $500,000 to outstanding skilled trades teachers and programs in American public high schools.

Sheboygan Falls High School’s Ed Hughes was recognized for his work teaching construction, computer-aided design, STEM and other trades. He guides his students through trades pathways, a robust internship program, and robotics competitions. Hughes helped spearhead the creation of his school’s Innovation Design Center, a modern learning space dedicated to the trades and technology.

As a finalist, the school and Hughes will receive at least $30,000 and up to $100,000 if they win the top prize.

Red Arrow breaks ground at former Foster site Red Arrow Products broke ground on its 100,000-square-foot Global Center of Excellence for Smoke and Grill Technology at the former Foster Needle Co. site.

The project includes renovations of the 40,000-square-foot building and a 60,000-square-foot addition. The facility, which will house corporate offices, culinary, a pilot plant, research and development, a complete analytical lab and manufacturing, is expected to be completed in summer 2018.
Waseda adds solar power to Baileys Harbor farm

Waseda Farms in Baileys Harbor has added a solar-power system.

The recent activation of the solar array is expected to generate considerable savings in use of and cost for electricity at Waseda Farms while augmenting its production of certified organic food through environmentally centered practices.

Jeff Lutsey, chief engineer and farm administrator at Waseda Farms, said he and his family who own and operate the farm with over 1,000 acres have been exploring the addition of solar energy for several years.

Lutsey says the new system, which features five rows of 29 solar panels that each measure 6 feet by 3 feet, will cover about 50 percent of the energy use on site. The estimated monthly energy savings are 3,500 to 7,000-kilowatt hours, which translates to a cost savings of $300 to $600 per month.

Acuity completes corporate headquarters expansion

Acuity has completed the expansion of its corporate headquarters in Sheboygan. The project created two additional wings of office space and doubled the amount of total building space to over 1.2 million square feet.

Acuity’s headquarters can accommodate 1,600 employees, and the infrastructure now in place could ultimately support 4,000. The company began the expansion in late 2013. Growth in Acuity’s customer base and the hiring of hundreds of new employees drove the project.

In addition to the southeast wing completed in July 2016 and the northwest wing finished in February 2017, Acuity added new galleria space, two 640-car parking structures, expanded training facilities, and upgraded infrastructure, utilities
and security.

White House Christmas tree to come from Shawano

A Shawano evergreen was selected as the official White House Christmas tree.

Silent Night Evergreens of Endeavor in Marquette County won the National Christmas Tree Contest in August. Its owners Jim, Diane and David Chapman worked with Hanauer’s Tree Farms in Shawano to provide the White House tree.

The tree will be harvested in late November, and the balsam fir will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House.