Regional Roundup

Posted on Apr 29, 2019 :: Regional Roundup
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

interstate 41 Corridor

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

Study reveals Lawrence University delivers $70.3M economic impact

An economic and community impact study revealed that Lawrence University delivers Appleton and the greater Fox Cities an annual economic impact of nearly $70.3 million.

The study from Appleseed, an independent economic consulting firm, looked at employee earnings, goods and services, construction projects, off-campus spending and visitor spending. It also showed how the liberal arts college’s contributions to the community go beyond economics, highlighting ongoing cultural and charitable relationships.

“The Appleseed study is a testament to how ideally situated Lawrence is here in the Fox Cities,” Lawrence President Mark Burstein said. “It speaks to how tightly woven we are into the very fabric of this community. Lawrence is proud of that, proud of our deep roots in Appleton and the economic, cultural, charitable and intellectual contributions that come from our faculty, students and staff.”

The report estimates that in fiscal year 2017, Lawrence, its students and visitors directly and indirectly accounted for 1,059 jobs in the Fox Cities region, with earnings totaling $44.1 million, and nearly $70.3 million in regional economic output.

Among the notable numbers in the study:

• 886 Lawrence graduates live and work in the Fox Cities (5 percent of area residents with a bachelor’s degree are Lawrence graduates).

• $1.44 million in financial aid is provided to LU students from the Fox Cities.

• 605 faculty and staff are directly employed by Lawrence, with a payroll totaling nearly $29.9 million. The earnings of faculty and staff employed full time averaged $58,240 in 2017.

• $1.4 million was paid to contractors and vendors in the Fox Cities for various construction and renovation projects in 2017. Another $2.2 million went to contractors elsewhere in Wisconsin.

American Family buys De Pere’s Ameriprise Auto & Home for $1.05B

American Family Insurance is purchasing De Pere-based Ameriprise Auto & Home for $1.05 billion.

A division of Ameriprise Financial, Ameriprise Auto & Home has 1,800 employees and sells auto, homeowners, renters, umbrella and some specialty insurance lines in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

In 2018, AAH reported $789 million in surplus, $1.8 billion in assets and $1.1 billion of annual direct premium written. Approximately 70 percent of the company’s premium is from auto insurance sales. American Family said it will retain AAH’s workforce but plans on renaming the division.

American Family reported that a significant majority of AAH’s policies are sold through a partnership with Costco, which offers AAH policies to its members through its website. American Family
and Costco have entered into a letter of intent to continue that partnership. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

Ameriprise made the decision to pursue a sale following a previously disclosed strategic review of the AAH business. Company leaders say the sale is consistent with Ameriprise’s strategic focus on its core growth areas of advice and wealth management and asset management.


West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Waupaca Foundry opens new facility dedicated to machining

Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals company, opened the Waupaca Foundry Machine Center.

The company opened the center in the old Buyers Guide building at 600 Industrial Drive in Waupaca. It’s the first machining facility the foundry has opened in Waupaca — the other is in Effingham, Ill.

The Waupaca Foundry Machine Center turns finished castings into finished parts. The machining process adjusts cast parts to meet the tight tolerances from customers, in some cases adjusting a part to less than one-thousandth of an inch — smaller than a human hair. The facility will only machine parts from Waupaca Foundry and will initially focus on machining brake rotors for the commercial truck market.

At full operation, the foundry will employ 15, which will include a mix of current employees and new hires. The 50,000-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art technology.

“This is just another thing that helps us solidify our position in the market and helps us grow with existing and new customers,” said John Wiebrock, executive vice president of sales, marketing and supply chain management for the foundry.


The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding partners to build bulk carrier

A U.S.-flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier will be built for the first time in more than 35 years thanks to a historic agreement recently signed between The Interlake Steamship Co. and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.

The new River-class, self-unloading bulk carrier is believed to be the first ship for U.S. Great Lakes service built on the Great Lakes since 1983. The ship, which will transport raw materials to support manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes region, also represents hundreds of good-paying jobs for U.S. merchant mariners and Wisconsin shipyard workers.

Measuring 639 feet in length, the vessel will be constructed in Sturgeon Bay. The Interlake Steamship Co., headquartered in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, is the largest privately held U.S.-flag fleet on the Great Lakes, with nine vessels carrying bulk cargoes and a history dating more than 100 years.

“This new project and our past work are indicative of the quality and attention to detail that our customers have come to expect from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding,” said Todd Thayse, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. “It brings steady employment to the hundreds of women and men we employ from across the region, and the economic benefit to our suppliers and others is widespread.”

The Interlake Steamship Co., Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Bay Engineering are jointly designing the bulk carrier, complete with advanced vessel and unloading systems automation. Scheduled for completion in mid-2022, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s nearly 700 skilled trade workers will build the carrier, and the project will generate business for partnering contractors, vendors and suppliers.

Orion secures additional $35M LED lighting installation contract

Orion Energy Systems has expanded the retrofit of a major national customer’s lighting systems with the company’s LED lighting and wireless internet of things-enabled control solutions at additional locations nationwide.

Orion anticipates additional revenue of $35 million under the contract, which is dependent on the customer’s issuance of purchase orders. The contract builds upon an earlier letter of intent for Orion to provide approximately $11 million in turnkey LED lighting retrofit services, most of which were completed in Orion’s fiscal 2019 fourth quarter, which ended March 31.

The customer selected Orion for additional LED lighting retrofit business based on the company’s ability to design, develop and install customized, highly energy-efficient, U.S.-manufactured LED lighting solutions on a turnkey basis. Orion’s services will again include initial energy audits, custom design, fixture manufacturing, IoT-enabled control systems, IoT system commissioning and full project management through installation at several of the customer’s locations nationwide.


The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Fincantieri, Lockheed Martin begin construction of USS Marinette

In a ceremony that formally marks the beginning of a ship’s construction, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine laid the keel on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 25, the future USS Marinette.

LCS 25 will be the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Marinette and is named to recognize the city’s significant contributions to Navy shipbuilding. Fincantieri Marinette Marine began operations in 1942 to provide U.S. ships for World War II.

Marinette is the birthplace of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-variant LCS, which Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine have partnered to produce for more than 16 years. Each day, more than 1,500 residents of Marinette and Menominee, Mich., enter the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard to build ships.

“We are thrilled to build the future USS Marinette. As shipbuilders, we transform flat panels of steel into warships and feel so much pride in the craftsmanship required to do this important work. It is an honor to be able to do that for the ship named after our hometown,” said Jan Allman, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

LCS 25 will be the 13th Freedom-variant LCS and will join a class of more than 30 ships. The ship is one of seven in various stages of construction and testing at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.