Regional roundup

Posted on Aug 31, 2016 :: Up Front
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

New North Summit returns to Green Bay Dec. 6

The 13th annual New North Summit will be held Dec. 6 at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay.

Themed “Talent Triathlon — Compete to win in the race for talent,” the 2016 summit is geared towards business executives, education leaders, nonprofit heads, manufacturers, IT professionals, elected officials, community members and other stakeholders from around the region and state.

Registration now is open for the full-day event, which brings back last year’s popular “ED Talks” format exploring economic development success stories from around the region. Of course, networking opportunities also play a key role at the summit.

Networking begins at 8 a.m., followed by the start of the 2016 summit program at 9 a.m. During the 2015 summit, 62 percent of attendees reported they met four or more new contacts, and 87 percent said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the event’s networking opportunities.

Online registration is open at www.newnorthsummit.com. Early registration is available for $75 until Sept. 16. The entry fee increases to $90 after that date and to $100 at the door on the day of the event. Student tickets are available for $15.

» Interstate 41 Corridor

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

Port tonnage up for June, but still trailing 2015

The Port of Green Bay saw tonnage numbers increase in July 2016 over July 2015, but overall tonnage for the year remains down compared to last year.

“In July of this year, we had a 10 percent increase in total port tonnage over July 2015,” says Dean Haen, Brown County Port and Resource Recovery director. “That was largely due to an increase in domestic inbound limestone, salt and petroleum products.”

The port handled nearly 250,000 metric tons of cargo in July, well above the pace of 227,000 from July 2015. For the year, just under 800,000 tons of cargo have passed through the port, a decline of about 15 percent from the July 2015 year-to-date total of 940,000 tons.

“That’s largely due to reduced demand for coal, resulting from low-cost natural gas,” Haen says. “We’re only halfway through the shipping season, and shipments vary month-to-month, so we’re hopeful there will be a rebound in the coming months.”

Sixty-six ships have come through the port so far this year, which is nine less than the same time last year. Higher water levels have allowed ships to carry larger loads.

NWTC opens first completed referendum project

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College opened its new Universal Driving Facility built to train public safety professionals.

The driving facility is the first completed project from the technical college’s successful 2015 referendum to upgrade facilities and technology at all of its affiliated campuses.

The UDF will enhance emergency vehicle training for NWTC’s Public Safety Department as well as law enforcement, EMS and fire departments around the district. The course can be used to replicate the challenges public safety personnel face when responding to emergency situations such as tight turns, two-lane roundabouts, cars hidden by hills, unpredictable motorists and more.

Police and sheriff’s departments also can use the course to meet state training requirements in pursuit intervention and other skills. Insurance agencies can potentially offer rate reductions when public safety departments can document completion of the training.

The track would allow NWTC to implement a new youth driver course to help young drivers with vehicle control skills such as braking and over-steering.

Amerequip launches third expansion in four years

Kiel-based Amerequip broke ground and began construction on its third major expansion in four years as the company continues its rapid growth.

The latest project is an 88,000-square-foot addition to its Kiel fabrication plant that will enable the company to expand its fabrication operation and integrate it with its other core competencies of weld, paint and assembly.

Amerequip designs and manufactures custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets. The firm’s products, produced in four Wisconsin locations by 260-plus employees, are sold worldwide.

“What makes this especially worthwhile is knowing it’s not just about a business expanding; it’s seeing the private-public sectors work together for the benefit of communities, the workforce and our customers,” says Mike VanderZanden, Amerequip CEO and president. “Our goal is to exceed $100 million in revenue with a workforce of 400 team members by 2020. We also have to thank our team members as well as our customers because, without them, we couldn’t continue our growth.”

The two previous expansions at Amerequip during the past four years totaled more than 100,000 square feet. Those expansions consolidated the firm’s welding operations into a state-of-the-art facility at Plant 3, enhanced Amerequip’s final assembly capacity and added a training center as well as an expansion of the company’s corporate headquarters.

Since 2011, Amerequip has invested more than $20 million in capital expenditures, including facility expansions. The phase three expansion is expected to be completed by May 2017.

Wisconsin aviation center of excellence takes flight

A coalition of aviation and aerospace companies, industry associations and state educational institutions used the final days of AirVenture 2016 to announce a partnership exploring an aviation center of excellence to bolster the state’s growing aerospace industry.

The proposed Center of Excellence for Integrated Aerospace and Defense Technologies would bring together industry and academic researchers, engineers and programmers to develop and test new aerospace and cybersecurity systems in one location, which would make it the first independent facility of its kind in the nation.

The coalition will work with the newly formed Wisconsin Aerospace Partners, which includes Oshkosh-based AeroInnovate and the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp., to reach out to regional and national industry partners and secure their participation as plans move forward for the center.

Plans call for the center to be located on the Milwaukee campus of Astronautics Corporation of America. A timetable for construction is still to be determined.

The center, which will be used by partner companies and universities, will include advanced open-source cockpit and navigational systems simulators, integration and verification stations, and security penetration testing for the collaborative development of life-critical controls and general systems controls.

The announcement was made on the AirVenture grounds during the annual meeting of the Aerospace States Association, a national policy organization comprised of lieutenant governors from states with an aerospace presence as well as federal agency aerospace representatives, defense industry contractors and others.

Wisconsin has more than 200 companies with ties to the aerospace sector, including more than 140 suppliers to Boeing. More than 24,000 people are employed in Wisconsin by companies that support the aerospace sector.

» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Marinette Marine production of LCS steams full ahead

Shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine have laid the keel of the future USS Indianapolis and now have seven Littoral Combat Ships in various stages of construction for the U.S. Navy.

Marinette Marine is part of the Lockheed Martin-led team building the Freedom variant of the LCS, which involves more than 500 suppliers in 37 states. Three ships have already been delivered to the Navy. In addition to the seven ships under construction, three additional ships are in long-lead production.

“We are incredibly proud to build these ships for the U.S. Navy,” says Jan Allman, MMC president and CEO. “We continue to streamline our processes and leverage the craftsmanship and skills of our employees in producing these high quality vessels for our warfighters.”

LCS 17 will be the fourth ship to bear the name USS Indianapolis. A previous Indianapolis, CA-35, is best known for its role in World War II, where it operated throughout the Pacific escorting convoys and attacking enemy submarines. Indianapolis’ service ended when it was sunk by a Japanese torpedo on July 30, 1945. Only 317 of the 1,196 sailors serving aboard the ship survived after five days afloat in the Pacific Ocean.

Richard Thelen, a USS Indianapolis survivor, attended the keel laying ceremony as a representative of all who sailed on CA-35.

» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Manitowoc’s Cher-Make Sausage to feature for Bucky

Cher-Make Sausage Company has been named a corporate partner of the University of Wisconsin and will serve up its products at Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center.

The multi-year relationship between UW and Cher-Make Sausage includes all of the university’s major sports venues. Throughout the partnership term, Cher-Make will receive other corporate partner benefits and increased exposure through the UW Badgers’ affinity.

“Creating an optimum game day experience for Badger fans is critical to us, and we’re excited to introduce Cher-Make as our premium hot dog offering,” says Chris McIntosh, UW Athletics’ associate athletic director for business development

Manitowoc Co. ships production to Penn. facility

The Manitowoc Company, Inc. announced plans to relocate its crawler crane manufacturing operations from Manitowoc to Shady Grove, Penn.

Company officials say the move will optimize its manufacturing footprint, reduce costs and expand margins. This initiative will increase operational efficiency and allow the company to reallocate resources to invest in profitable growth.

The transition will begin in the third quarter with completion anticipated by the middle of 2017 and is expected to generate annualized pre-tax cost savings of $25 million to $30 million.

“We recognize that this will have a personal impact on people who have been dedicated to Manitowoc,” says Barry Pennypacker, president and chief executive officer. “We thank them for their contributions to the achievements of our business, and are committed to treating them fairly and with respect throughout this process.”

The company says its corporate headquarters will remain in Manitowoc, as will the engineering and related support functions for the crawler business.

Door County trails now a virtual experience

Visitors to Door County can now get a virtual preview of the area’s miles of hiking and biking trails thanks to new mapping software.

The Door County Visitor Bureau has partnered with Trail Genius, a digital mapping company, to bring the trails to life on screens of all sizes. The DCVB is one of the first destination marketing organizations in the country to take advantage of this technology.

Using video and GPS, the DCVB and Trail Genius have created an interactive experience for trails in all five of Door County’s scenic state parks: Newport State Park, Peninsula State Park, Potawatomi State Park, Rock Island State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park. The mapping system allows visitors to virtually bike or hike their way through every trail at these parks and follow their progress on a map simultaneously.

Users can also experience 360 photography at scenic intersections along the trails.

“Trail Genius is an incredible tool that will change how locals and visitors can experience Door County,” says Jon Jarosh, the DCVB’s director of communications and public relations. “This virtual technology can be used for trip planning, educational and informational purposes, but we’re most excited to give people a chance to just explore our trails before they try them in person.”

Users will see a variety of trails from rugged, rolling hills to bluffs and winding roads that lead to the coast along the shoreline. To navigate through Door County with Trail Genius, head to doorcounty.com/experience/scenic-attractions/parks/.

» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Berlin, Wild Rose hospitals change names

Berlin Memorial Hospital and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital have become ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin and ThedaCare Medical Center-Wild Rose as part of a system-wide rebranding effort.

The Wild Rose name change took effect July 29, and Berlin converted Aug. 9. They were the final two hospitals to take on the new names.

Berlin Memorial Hospital, Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital and their clinics affiliated with ThedaCare in 2014. The clinics, CHN Medical Centers and Waushara Family Physicians, will also change to ThedaCare Physicians following the hospital updates.

The decision to rebrand ThedaCare’s hospitals and other facilities was made in 2014 after research with health system leadership, team members and the community, says Brian Burmeister, senior vice president, ThedaCare Medical Centers.

“These name changes help reinforce that ThedaCare is one system and we are all connected,’ he says. “We like to say we have one hospital — with seven locations.”