Regional roundup

Posted on Aug 30, 2018 :: Regional Roundup
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

interstate 41 Corridor

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

Area companies begin work on new Green Bay Packaging mill

Miron Construction Co. Inc., Voith and KSH Solutions Inc. have begun design, engineering and construction work on a new paper mill for Green Bay Packaging.

The facility, the largest-ever economic development investment in Brown County, will replace the current, 71-year-old mill at its existing location in Green Bay. It will be the first new paper mill constructed in Wisconsin in more than 30 years. This $500 million investment will create 1,000 construction jobs and require approximately 1.5 million labor hours. The mill is expected to be operational in early 2021.

In addition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced it would support the project with $60 million in tax credits. The actual amount of state income tax credits the company receives is contingent upon the number of jobs created and retained, and the amount of capital investment the company makes through 2029. As is the case for all WEDC tax credit awards, Green Bay Packaging must first create the jobs and make the capital investments before receiving any credits.

Once operational, Green Bay Packaging will produce significantly more paper. In addition, the new facility will include an OCC plant, a biodigester and automated dense roll storage distribution facility. Coal burners will be replaced with modern gas boilers, reclaimed water will be used in lieu of fresh water, and there will be no discharge into natural waterways. Ultimately, the new facility will produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than the original.

Expera Specialty Solutions sold to Finnish company

A Finnish company is purchasing Expera Specialty Solutions LLC for $615 million. Ahlstrom‐Munksjö signed a definitive agreement to purchase all shares of Expera, a North American manufacturer of specialty paper products for the industrial and technical, food packaging and processing and pressure‐sensitive release liner sectors.

Headquartered in Kaukauna, Expera has mills in De Pere, Rhinelander and Mosinee and employs approximately 1,800. No significant changes are expected for workers. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

“We are very excited about this next strategic and important step for the Expera business,” Expera CEO Russ Wanke said in a statement. “As we transition to joining Ahlstrom‐Munksjö, we remain committed to our core strategic imperatives related to our people and our customers. Ahlstrom‐Munksjö will provide additional capital and resources in order to promote continued revenue growth and customer, end‐application and geographic diversification.”

Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson said the purchase provides long-term stability for the paper and pulp industry not only in Kaukauna, but in the other communities as well.

“Ahlstrom-Munksjö has a well-respected worldwide and industry-wide reputation. They are considered an industry strategic-buyer, and that should mean long-term investment, translating into good-paying, family-supporting jobs for generations right here in the Fox Valley,” he said in a statement.

Honoring its centennial, Miron donates Jones Park Amphitheater

Miron Construction Co. Inc. is donating the new Jones Park Amphitheater to the City of Appleton in honor of the company’s 100th year in business.

Chief Operating Officer and Vice President Tim Kippenhan said that instead of hosting a special event to honor its centennial, Miron looked for an opportunity to leave a lasting gift within the Fox Cities, specifically Appleton, where the company started.

“The Fox Cities has granted us the opportunity to construct numerous facilities that shape the landscape of our region,” Kippenhan said in a news release. “We are grateful to continue experiencing success 100 years after our inception and as such, desired the chance to give back to a community that has played such a vital role in our growth
and accomplishments.”

The amphitheater will include a 2,600-square-foot stage and two backstage rooms. Construction on the facility began in August and will be complete in October concurrent with completion of the warming house and the remainder of the Jones Park renovations.


The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Multi-Mission Surface Combatants to be constructed in Marinette

Lockheed Martin was awarded a U.S. government contract totaling $450 million to begin the detailed design and planning for construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants and chose Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette
as the building site of the vessels.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will acquire the Multi-Mission Surface Combatants as part of a larger agreement between the United States and KSA to enhance global security and stimulate economic progress in the two regions.

“Fincantieri Marinette Marine has been in this community for more than 75 years and has produced over 1,500 vessels,” Jan Allman, president and
CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine, said in a statement. “We are proud to have one of the most technologically advanced shipyards, employing nearly 2,000 of the best shipbuilders, technicians and engineers.”

Over the past 10 years, the Littoral Combat Ship Freedom-variant industry team, a Navy shipbuilding program, has invested more than $120 million to modernize the Marinette shipyard, hire more than 1,000 people and train a new workforce. 


The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Lakeside Foods packaging facility expansion moves forward

Lakeside Foods Inc. broke ground on a 100,000-square-foot addition to its Manitowoc packaging facility.

The $40 million project will expand the facility’s frozen warehouse and refrigerated packaging space to meet the custom packaging needs of customers and increase capacity to foster growth and product innovation in the frozen foods category. The project includes redesigning processing operations to meet the highest food safety industry standards and installing automated packaging equipment.

“The existing facility packages more than 100 million pounds of canned and frozen vegetables per year for more than 100 private-label customers and operates seven days a week to keep up with current demand,” Joe Yanda, senior vice president of operations for Lakeside Foods, said in a statement. “The expanded space and upgraded equipment will allow us to increase frozen food offerings and leverage new business opportunities.”

The project is expected to be complete in early 2019, and Lakeside Foods plans to hire about 40 skilled employees.

Lakeside Foods’ packaging expansion comes on the heels of two recent acquisitions that allowed the company to broaden its product offerings, better meet customer needs as a full-line supplier and innovate into new food categories.


West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Ho-Chunk Gaming debuts renovated Wittenberg facility

Ho-Chunk Gaming held a grand opening celebration, including a ribbon cutting ceremony, at its expanded location along Highway 45 in Wittenberg.

The $33 million renovation of the facility includes a new 86-room, five-story hotel, The River’s Edge restaurant, an updated snack bar, two full-service bars, non-smoking and high-stakes game rooms and an expanded gaming floor. Eighty jobs were created through the expansion.

Waupaca Foundry receives Fiat Chrysler quality award

For the second consecutive year, Waupaca Foundry received the Outstanding Quality award from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Waupaca Foundry was one of 73 global suppliers to receive the award out of more than 2,500 suppliers and was the only foundry recognized. The company has supplied iron castings to Fiat-Chrysler since 1999, including crankshafts used in automotive powertrains.

“Our continued commitment to process improvement is driving direct results for our customers,” Cody Rhodes-Dawson, plant manager for Waupaca Foundry, said in a statement. “We are ranked according to exacting standards of quality, reliability and consistency to guarantee performance in our customers’ products.”

In the last 18 months, Waupaca Foundry has received top supplier status from several customers. Company leaders credit their production management system, called “Waupaca Way,” which engages all employees in continual improvement of casting quality, production efficiency, customer service and on-time delivery.