Here’s a roundup of economic development news from throughout Northeast Wisconsin. For links to economic development groups in the New North, visit www.thenewnorth.com/communitiesmap.
Highway 41 Corridor: Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties
Businesses explore exports to Mexico
Six Wisconsin small businesses headed to Mexico City in late February for an exports sales mission organized by the Northeast Wisconsin Regional Economic Partnership (NEWREP) in conjunction with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin International Business Development Program and the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center.
Mission Manager Greg Miller says businesses were prescreened before being selected for the trip to make sure their products or services would be of interest to Mexican companies. Participants took part in two days of one-on-one business appointments with potential sales partners and networking events with local VIPs, government officials and business partner organizations.
Brenner Tank awarded $15 million military order
Brenner Tank in Fond du Lac has received a $15 million order for 480 tanks to be used to transport fuel and water in Iraq. The company expects to begin producing the tanks immediately. Brenner Tank President and COO Bruce Yakley says it’s the largest order in the company’s more than 100-year history.
Fond du Lac chamber tackles employment issues
The Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce has announced plans to help the county weather the current economic storm. Last fall, the Association released the results of a Retirement & Departure Survey, which disclosed that an estimated 17,000 jobs will go unfilled by 2026 due to an aging workforce and slow population growth. To help fill the gap, the Association has formed five committees to focus on the following issues: retaining current skill sets; attracting future talent; locating needed workers; identifying alternatives to “college” careers; and educating future workers.
“We knew if we didn’t do the work now to prepare our community, it won’t matter how high the economy bounces back, we won’t be ready, and we will be left behind,” says outgoing board chair Gary Ott.
New incubator company caters to Hispanic market
The Advance Business Development Center in Green Bay has added Taboada & Associates to its business incubation program. Owned by Catalina Taboada, the business will have an office at the center and caters to the Hispanic family market in the areas of tax preparation, real estate representation for buyer or seller, notary services, interpretation and translation services in the Spanish language.
Electrical firm moves into former Banta site
Faith Technologies Inc., an electrical contractor, moved into its new headquarters – the former Banta Corp. headquarters in downtown Menasha. Sixty-two employees are now working at the building at 225 Main St., which has been vacant since RR Donnelley purchased the printing firm. Faith Technologies, which was founded in 1972 as Town & Country Electric, has 1,440 employees and generated $228 million in sales nationwide in 2008.
The Northwoods: Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties
Illinois firm buys part of NewPage
Northbrook Energy LLC of Illinois is buying the hydroelectric plant portion of the closed NewPage mill in Niagara. The plant is a part of the paper mill, which was closed last year. No new jobs are expected by the sale, which will need approval by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.
Navy awards contract to Marinette Marine
The U.S. Navy has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. that will allow Marinette Marine to begin acquiring materials for the construction of a new littoral combat ship. The award amount is not being released, but it’s enough to prevent layoffs that were originally scheduled to begin in mid-March, according to U.S. Reps. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, and Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, Mich., who announced the award.
“Congressman Stupak and I have urged the Navy at every opportunity to continue their relationship with Marinette Marine, allowing the workers there to build great ships just as they have been for generations,” Kagen says. “I am working hard to keep and create jobs in Marinette and throughout Northeast Wisconsin. This is good news for this community and hopefully the beginning of more good news to come.”
West Central: Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties
Komatsu to close Shawano plant
Komatsu Forest will close its manufacturing plant in Shawano by the end of the year. The closing means the loss of 95 jobs, although company officials said about 25 people will be offered jobs at another Komatsu plant.
The Shawano plant is being consolidated into a Komatsu American facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., said company spokeswoman Mari Aoyagi. Komatsu Forest ispart of Komatsu America Corp.,the U.S. arm of Komatsu Ltd. of Japan, the world’s second largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.
UWO, FVTC, UWFox expand Waupaca offerings
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical College and UW-Fox Valley have entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership that will allow Waupaca County residents to earn a bachelor’s of Applied Studies (B.A.S.) or a bachelor’s of Liberal Studies (B.L.S.) degree from UW-Oshkosh while taking courses at FVTC’s Waupaca Regional Center.
FVTC and UWFox students can now earn credits toward both their associate and bachelor’s degrees simultaneously by fulfilling their general education course requirements through FVTC and UWFox. With emphases in Leadership and Organizational Studies or Leadership Development, UW-Oshkosh’s B.A.S. and B.L.S. programs are designed specifically to serve adult nontraditional students.
The Lakeshore: Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties
Former Manitowoc mayor joins Orion
A familiar face is joining Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc. Kevin Crawford, who is completing his sixth term as Manitowoc’s mayor this month, is joining the provider of energy management solutions to the commercial and industrial sectors as vice president of business development. Crawford will work with local, state and national governments, regulatory agencies, utilities, industry associations, and other organizations to further the role of energy efficiency as a clean, low-cost and effective energy solution.
Sturgeon Bay bridge repairs to be delayed
The Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay will likely not reopen before October 2010, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The rehabilitation is taking longer than expected because the bridge’s girders need to be stripped and repainted. Business owners on either side of the bridge worry that having the bridge closed for two summers – 2009 and 2010 – will cut down on business because their locations will be difficult to reach.
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