INSIGHT ON: Economic Development – Putting down roots

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 :: Economic Development , Insight On
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

The new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano is slated to open in early 2015 and will be connected to the current ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano clinic. The new $50 million hospital was designed with input from local residents. Courtesy of ThedaCare

Come 2015, Shawano’s health care scene will have a new look.

That’s when the new $50 million ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano will open on

County B adjacent to the current ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano clinic. The new hospital replaces the 82-year-old Shawano Medical Center and will transform how health care in the community is delivered, says Dorothy Erdmann, CEO of Shawano Medical Center.

“The new medical center will allow us to improve the quality of care in Shawano and also bring a lot of efficiencies, which will help lower overall costs,” she says.

ThedaCare operates three facilities in Shawano: the hospital, the clinic and a separate rehabilitation building. Bringing all three locations under one roof will make it more convenient for area residents, Erdmann says.

“Having all of our services in one place takes away any confusion patients may have about where they need to go and it also allows all of our medical providers to be at one location, which improves patient care,” she says.

In addition, Erdmann says consolidating the facilities creates efficiencies. For example, there will only need to be one imaging department where patients can receive x-rays and CT scans. “It makes sense to be all together at one site and being right off of Highway 29 is very convenient,” she says. “We are also bringing in a lot more specialists now from Appleton and patients are able to receive a lot more care locally instead of traveling to the Valley.”

Crews from The Boldt Co. began working in August on the new building, which was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers of Milwaukee based on input from local residents, patients and staff.

With more than 600 workers, ThedaCare is one of Shawano’s largest employers. Erdmann says the new hospital is a big economic investment that will benefit the entire community.

“Education and health care are the twin building blocks of any community and having quality health care is an attraction not only to businesses looking to locate in a community, but for families looking for a place to live,” she says.

The consolidation will also cut ThedaCare’s operating expenses by just under $1 million annually and replacing the former hospital will help save millions of dollars in the years to come in maintenance and energy costs.

“We will be able to take those savings and put them back in to improve patient care,” Erdmann says.

The new hospital is expected to open in 2015 and ThedaCare and the City of Shawano are working together to develop a plan for the current hospital property.

ThedaCare isn’t the only Shawano business expanding. Cooperative Resources International (CRI) recently expanded its presence in the city with the opening of a new distribution center housed in the former Schmidt Lumber building. When it’s at capacity, CRI will store up to 8 million units of dairy and cattle semen in the facility, says Terri Dallas, CRI vice president of information and public relations.

CRI is a cooperative organization focused on improving the health of dairy herds using artificial insemination. The business employs 1,400 employees, including 170 in Shawano.

The company opted to open the new warehouse instead of expanding a distribution center in Tiffin, Ohio. Dallas says the new facility will add up to seven jobs.

Wisconsin Film & Bag also recently put the finishing touches on its Riopelle-Bush Recycling Center. The new facility will be used to recycle polyethylene film — the type of plastic wrapped around pallets of products to hold them together. The company spent the last few years developing a process to recycle the plastic. Wisconsin Film & Bag spent about $8.5 million developing the new recycling process and filed a patent for it. The new facility is housed in the former Kamatsu America building, about a half-mile from Wisconsin Film & Bag’s other facilities in Shawano.

 

Arty’s, an Old Fashioned Sweet-in-a-bottle company in Clintonville, is in full expansion mode because of assistance from the city and from a Waupaca County revolving loan fund. Waupaca County economic development officials hope to help more start-ups and small businesses succeed by using the funds. Courtesy of Arty's

Loan fund helps launch Arty’s Old Fashioneds

Economic development directors have several tools to help businesses. For David Thiel, director of the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation, the revolving loan fund is the unsung hero of his arsenal.

“While the economy has perked up quite a bit and many businesses are doing well, it is still very hard for start-up and small businesses to get financial help. It’s a lot harder than it used to be when it comes to securing funds from lenders,” he says.

That’s where the revolving loan fund comes in. In the revolving funds, money comes from a central fund and is given to multiple businesses.

“There have been several businesses that have really benefited from our revolving loan fund and it’s been gratifying to see them succeed,” Thiel says.

One of those businesses, Arty’s, is still in its infancy, but is in full expansion mode thanks to the revolving loan fund from Waupaca County and assistance from the City of Clintonville. In the summer of 2012, Arty’s hit the market bottling and selling the popular Wisconsin cocktail, the old-fashioned. The company started in an old restaurant in Embarrass before moving to a larger location in Clintonville; it put up $500,000 in sales during its first year.

“My nephew and I were sitting on a boat and thinking, ‘This would be a nice time for an old-fashioned. We should see if they are out there in bottle form,” says Tim Pappin, owner of Arty’s with his nephew, Ryan Mijal.

They looked and couldn’t find a bottled version of the quintessential Wisconsin drink so the duo decided to do it themselves. Pappin has a background in manufacturing and bar ownership and was a bartender, so he whipped up the recipe. “For a while, we were working our day jobs and doing this on the side” until they got the taste just right. From there, it was all about finding the equipment necessary to mass manufacture and bottle the beverage.

“Once we had it figured out how to successfully capture the taste, it took a while to get some distributors on board, but we were able to get two in the same week,” Pappin says. “We haven’t looked back since.”

Arty’s Old Fashioned Sweet drinks are now available at 700 locations and the owners continue to find ways to help the small manufacturer grow. Pappin is working on creating a mix the company can sell so people just have to add their own alcohol. “If we can do that, we can then sell it online and it can go anywhere,” Pappin says. “There are fans of how old-fashioneds are made all over Wisconsin. What we have here is very unique. If you order an old-fashioned somewhere else, it’s a different drink than it is in Wisconsin.”

Arty’s has three full-time employees, plus its two owners. Pappin is optimistic about future growth. Thiel feels the same way, too.

“This is the kind of project you get excited about as an economic development leader. This business really has the potential to grow and become a large business employing a lot of people,” he says. “And it was all started right here in Waupaca County. It’s been very exciting.”

 

New Shawano economic development leader

Shawano County Economic Progress Inc. (SCEPI) named a new chief economic development officer who will head up the office, as well as take charge of the Shawano Country Vision 2017 program, a five-year economic program designed to create 1,000 jobs in the Shawano area.

In mid-August, SCEPI hired Dennis Heling to the newly-created post. About a week after Heling’s hiring, executive director Steve Sengstock, who had led the organization, resigned.

Heling led the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium, an intergovernmental agency focused on economic and community development, for the past 10 years. He originally is from Shawano County.

 

ON THE WEB

ThedaCare:

www.thedacare.org

Shawano County Economic Progress Inc.:

www.shawanoecondev.org/

Arty’s:

www.drinkartys.com

Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation:

www.wcedc.org