Regional Roundup August

Posted on Aug 1, 2010 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Here’s a roundup of economic development news from throughout Northeast Wisconsin. For links to economic development groups in the New North, visit

Highway 41 Corridor: Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Wisconsin Wind Works gets $25,000 grant
Wisconsin Wind Works, a regional partnership through New North, Inc., has received a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to help train workers for the wind energy industry. Wisconsin Wind Works is a consortium of manufacturers representing the wind manufacturing supply chain within Wisconsin. The group has created a Supply Chain Directory for the industry, providing detailed information on 250 companies in the state that can provide a number of services to the wind energy industry. The Fox Valley Workforce Development Board was awarded the grant for the Wind Works initiative.

Advance changes name of business incubator
Advance, the economic development arm of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, recently changed the name of its nonprofit business incubator from the Advance Business Development Center to the Advance Business Center. Advance officials say the name change reflects the fact that the center serves not only start-ups, but also established businesses that use the center to conduct product pilots, prototyping or research.

Fond du Lac hopes to make impact with $437,899 grant
Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation and Center for Enterprise Development have received a $437,899 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant will fund three years of services that will expand and enhance FCEDC’s economic gardening program called Impact! – a program designed to help the FCEDC be responsive to changing economic climates. The aim of the Impact! program is to create jobs and improve the local economy through existing business expansion by leveraging technologically advanced decision support tools.

Fincantieri CEO joins Green Bay Chamber board
Robert Herre, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, has joined the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. In January, Fincantieri Marine Group was established in Wisconsin as a successor to Manitowoc Shipbuilding.

Bemis acquisition boosts company’s global presence
When Neenah-based Bemis Company acquired the Food Americas operations of Alcan Packaging last month, it ensured that Bemis’ international presence in the food packaging industry would remain dominant. The acquistion adds nearly 4,600 employees to Bemis’ global workforce for a total of over 20,000 employees at 84 manufacturing locations worldwide, according to the company. For more on the Bemis acquisition, see page 42.

Green Bay Chamber launches Rev Up the Rebound effort
The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, MarketingSavant and Cumulus Broadcasting have collaborated to launch Rev Up the Rebound – an effort to accelerate the area’s economic recovery. Rev Up the Rebound encourages purchasing from local businesses through a website directory and is designed to provide participating businesses with marketing advice.

Bayland Buildings to construct Plastics Conversion facility
Bayland Buildings of Green Bay will construct an 83,000-square-foot facility in Fond du Lac for Plastics Conversion Technologies, a Colorado-based plastics cleaning, separation and recycling company. The facility, expected to take eight months to complete, will be offered to the company on a build/lease-back basis. That key financing element will save Plastics Conversion nearly $4 million in “up-front” costs, allowing the company to utilize its capital for equipment purchases and start up of operations.

Harmann named to state business incubator board
Lisa Harmann, program manager for Green Bay’s Advance Business Center, has been appointed to the Wisconsin Business Incubator Association’s board of directors. The WBIA is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1998 to encourage small business start-ups in Wisconsin by providing incubation facilities and networking resources.

The Lakeshore: Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Egg Harbor still looking for marina solution
Egg Harbor village officials are hoping the latest referendum will give the go-ahead for a new marina. A May referendum failed by six votes, so the village board scaled back the proposal slightly – lowering the height of the proposed breakwater by three feet and reducing the cost of the project by about $100,000. The proposed $6.5 million project will cost the village a little more than $4 million in new borrowing. A Wisconsin Waterways Commission grant will provide $1.185 million toward the project and the village has already borrowed $1 million. Village voters were to vote on the latest proposal on July 28.

Door-Kewaunee student-built house will be in Algoma
Twelve high school students representing Algoma and Luxemburg Casco School Districts will have the opportunity to construct a student-built home during the 2009-2010 academic year in Kewaunee County. The two school districts have joined forces with the Door Kewaunee Business & Education Partnership, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation to grow the local skilled workforce and provide learning experiences for area youth.

For the past two years, the program has been implemented in Sturgeon Bay with homes constructed by high school students. Because of its success, the program will pack up its tool trailer and head south for the 2009-2010 academic year, to offer the opportunity to students in the neighboring county.

Breaking ground in September, the DKBEP High School Home Construction Program will give Kewaunee County students a hand in the construction of a home under the supervision of NWTC-contracted instructor Miles Zastrow.

Each student will earn 16 advanced credits for placement in the Wood Tech Certificate program at NWTC at the end of the school year.

Lasee Upholstering wins business plan award
Kathryn Krauss of Lasee Upholstering & Marine Canvas in Sturgeon Bay recently won a $1,000 cash award for the best business plan originating from the NxLevel Entrepreneurial Training course conducted earlier this year by the Door County Economic Development Corporation and the UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center.

West Central: Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Wautoma gets stimulus grant to help expand Stoneridge
The Village of Wautoma in Waushara County will get $160,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help build infrastructure to support an expansion by Stoneridge LLC,
a meat processor. Total project cost is $600,000.

Tri-County Regional Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Bill Wheeler says that’s welcome news, and adds that the TREDC’s recent three-county loan fund consolidation will also help the region support business expansion. Waushara, Marquette and Green Lake counties combined their revolving loan funds, bringing together approximately $1.1 million in managed assets. According to Wheeler the consolidation will provide single administration, better cash flow, and save the county staff time and money as the funds and administration are transferred to TREDC. The combined fund currently has 23 existing loans. In 2009 loan recipients include New Life Nutrition, Acorn Ridge Motel and Active Chiropractic in Green Lake County.

Wheeler says TREDC is also working with the state Department of Commerce on projects that could bring in an additional $500,000 in loans into the fund.

Centerline Machine starts $1.7 million expansion
Centerline Machine broke ground in July on a $1.7 million project in Waupaca’s industrial park. The company is building a new, 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Centerline Machine employs 31 people, and plans call for adding between 15 and 20 employees during the next five years. Plans include incorporating “green” ideas into the new building by using natural light on three sides of building.
Centerline Machine was established by Charles Leiby in 1996 in a garage just outside of Waupaca.

The Northwoods: Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Milk production grant aids Oconto County dairy
Finger Century Farm in Oconto County was recently awarded a Milk Volume Production loan/grant by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The program is designed to assist dairy producers who are planning capital investments to increase milk production. The Oconto County Economic Development Corp. is coordinating the program.