Regional Roundup

Posted on Jun 29, 2018 :: Regional Roundup
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

interstate 41 Corridor

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

Appvion sale to lender group complete, new CEO named

Appvion’s sale to a group of lenders, led by Franklin Advisers Inc., has been completed. The company also named paper industry veteran George W. Wurtz III as its new president, chief executive officer and
board chairman.

The sale price was approximately $365 million, plus the assumption of substantial liabilities, including many of Appvion’s contractual obligations. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the deal in mid-May.

The transaction significantly reduces Appvion’s debt, provides additional liquidity and better positions the company to compete long-term in the evolving specialty paper market and further invest in the innovation that has made it a market leader.

Prior to the closing of the transaction, Appvion reached an agreement with the United Steelworkers Union on new collective bargaining agreements for Appvion’s manufacturing facilities in Appleton; West Carrollton, Ohio; and Roaring Spring, Penn. The new three-year agreements cover approximately 830 Appvion employees.

Pacon sold to Italy-based company for $340 million

Pacon Corp., manufacturer, converter and supplier of paper products, art and craft products and educational materials headquartered in Grand Chute, was sold to an international supplier of art materials and related products.

F.I.L.A. (Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini S.p.A) purchased Pacon for $340 million.   

Pacon was founded in 1951 by Jerry Van Hoof. Since 2011, it has been owned by Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells. The company employs 400 workers at its seven Grand Chute and Neenah facilities and another 100 at locations in Canada and the United Kingdom. F.I.L.A. indicated it plans to retain all employees.

Current Pacon President and CEO Jim Schmitz will lead all North American F.I.L.A. businesses. F.I.L.A. brands include Dixon Ticonderoga, Prang, Canson and Daler-Rowney, while Pacon’s brands are Pacon, Strathmore Artist Papers and Princeton Artist Brush Co.

FVTC to open financial literacy, career exploration center

A new career exploration and financial literacy center is in the works, thanks to a partnership between Junior Achievement and Fox Valley TechnicalCollege, and a generous gift from Community First Credit Union.

To better prepare area kids to make sound financial and career decisions, Junior Achievement Wisconsin Winnebago Region is expanding its programming through a new Career Exploration & Financial Literacy Education Center on the FVTC campus in Appleton.

Community First Credit Union provided the lead gift, pledging $500,000 to help establish the center. Building on the successful model of Junior Achievement BizTown and Finance Park in Milwaukee, the initiative will extend programming and access to Northeast Wisconsin middle and high school students, serving an estimated 15,000 students each year.

The center will allow Junior Achievement and FVTC to work together to provide financial literacy instruction and career awareness with an emphasis on local careers and STEM education. It is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. also pledged $200,000 toward the facility. Other donors include Galloway Co., Thrivent Financial, Festival Foods, the William A. Siekman Foundation and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

$150 million soybean-crushing facility proposed in Waupun

The City of Waupun and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board announced a joint effort to solicit development of Wisconsin’s first soybean-crushing facility. The proposed $150 million facility is being developed by WSBCP, LLC, and would be located on 66.5 acres of city-owned land in the Waupun Industrial Park, a site that was selected following a feasibility study.

Although Wisconsin is the nation’s 12th-largest soybean producer, it lacks an in-state crushing facility to process soybeans into soy oil, soy protein and soy meal used for animal feed. Soybeans grown in Wisconsin must be shipped out of state for processing and then trucked back into the state for distribution to farms. Once operational, the facility would employ approximately 39 full-time staff with an annual estimated payroll of $2.2 million.

WSBCP filed an air permit with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the DNR has published a draft permit on Following a final permit issuance from the DNR, final investment details, engineering work, plan reviews and the creation of a tax increment financing district would occur prior to construction beginning in 2019, with a projected opening in 2020.

Study reveals $744 million economic impact from Oneida

A St. Norbert College study revealed the Oneida Nation delivers an economic impact of $744 million in Brown and Outagamie counties. In addition, the study revealed the tribe is responsible for $214 million in compensation and 5,465 jobs annually.

The Oneida Nation is responsible for 2.7 percent of gross regional product, 1.4 percent of employee compensation and 1.7 percent of jobs in the two counties. The Oneida Nation generates an average of $89 million annually in government revenue with $33.4 million going to the local and state levels.

The largest contributions to the regional economy come directly from the tribe’s economic enterprises. Agriculture, construction companies, engineering companies, financial services, gaming, hotels, recreation and several retail establishments are the driving factors behind the Oneida Nation’s financial success, said Marc Schaffer, associate professor of economics at St. Norbert College, who worked with the tribe on formulating the impact study.

The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

City of Manitowoc purchases Canadian National peninsula

The City of Manitowoc has agreed to buy two parcels of land from the Canadian National Railway.

The purchase represents an important move in carrying out the city’s vision for riverfront and downtown development, Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels said in a statement.

The nearly 21-acre parcel of property lies west of the 10th Street bridge with the Manitowoc River surrounding its three remaining borders. Canadian National owned the property, used as a railway since the 1870s, for many years.

Another 3.7-acre parcel at Revere Drive and Spring Street also is included in the purchase. Nickels says this parcel is critical for future trails along the Manitowoc River up to Manitou Park.

“They don’t make new riverfront property anymore,” Nickels said in the statement. “They also don’t make 20-plus acres of undeveloped land directly adjacent to downtowns. To have this property in city control allows us to create our own destiny for that parcel. The plan for the city over the next few years will be to clean the property up and repair some sheet wall where necessary.”

Northern Sky breaks ground on new campus in Fish Creek

Northern Sky recently broke ground on new facilities at its arts campus in Fish Creek.

In 2017, Northern Sky embarked on the public phase of its “Constellation Campaign” with the hope of breaking ground on its new property this year.

The second building, the creative center, will house administrative offices and a 250-seat theater. The company plans to open the theater for the 2019 fall season.

While the creative campus will allow the company to consolidate many of its operations under one roof and provide for a year-round presence, Northern Sky plans to continue summer performances in Peninsula State Park.

The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Rep. Gallagher fights for full funding of littoral combat ships

District 8 U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher fought for full funding of three littoral combat ships during the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.

The annual bill authorizes the Department of Defense’s policy, budget and expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year — including funding for the Freedom-class variant of the LCS, built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

After the committee markup, Gallagher released the following statement:

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I’m proud to support the hardworking men and women at Marinette Marine and help secure funding for three more littoral combat ships. Not only will these ships help fulfill the Navy’s own call for a 355-ship fleet, but they translate into high-skill, high-pay jobs for Northeast Wisconsin workers. I look forward to showing the rest of the country the important role that Northeast Wisconsin has in strengthening the military through our impressive shipbuilding tradition.”

West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Waupaca, Shawano counties enjoy uptick in visitor spending

Waupaca and Shawano counties contributed to an uptick in tourism spending statewide. Tourism had a $20.6 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2017, up 3.2 percent, or $631 million from 2016.

Waupaca County saw a 5.28 percent jump, with a total of $93.9 million. Shawano County enjoyed a 3.03 percent increase, with a total of $67.1 million. All counties in the west central region saw gains, with Green Lake, Marquette and Waushara counties growing 2.28 percent, 2.94 percent and 1.67 percent, respectively.

The total seven-year growth of tourism activity is up more than $5.8 billion, a nearly 40 percent increase from $14.8 billion, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism reports. In addition, the number of visitors topped 110 million in 2017 for
a seven-year increase of 17.5 million.

The tourism economy generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue and $1.2 billion in federal taxes. Without tourism, each Wisconsin household would pay an additional $660 to maintain existing services, the department found. It also supports 195,255 jobs, a seven-year addition of more than 23,255 jobs to the state’s total employment, an increase of 13.5 percent.