Regional Roundup August

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

Highway  41 Corridor

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

Green Bay incubator remodeling project finished

The Advance Business Center, 2701 Larsen Road, has completed a remodeling project to better accommodate future business growth.

Prior to the remodel, the Green Bay incubator housed 40 individual offices that were 98 percent occupied. On the light industrial side, the space was only 9 percent occupied. Since the demand for office space was so high, part of the industrial area was converted into office suites where growing businesses can have their own conference rooms. This then freed up the smaller individual offices for businesses just starting out.

The incubator’s industrial facilities were also remodeled to better meet the needs of businesses, says Lisa Harmann, incubator program manager.

“The light industrial wasn’t designed to meet the needs of true industrial businesses. There was not enough power and no exterior access,” she says, adding that the project equipped four of the largest work bays with overhead doors, exterior access through service doors, increased power to 440V-3 Phase power and a dust collection system. “We can only envision the incubator growing and helping more entrepreneurs.”

Children’s museum moves ahead in Green Bay

The new Children’s Museum of Green Bay will open next spring on the land where the old H.C. Prange building once stood.

Organizers expect the 15,000-square-foot children’s museum to attract more than 120,000 visitors annually.  The museum will feature several permanent galleries and exhibits, an imagination station featuring art activities and space for a travel exhibit area.

The museum is part of WaterMark, a redevelopment project planned for downtown Green Bay.

Foremost Farms receives $45 million in tax credits

Foremost Farms USA, which is expanding its facility in Appleton, has received $45 million in New Markets Tax Credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. The credits will help the company fund production upgrades as well as retain and create jobs.

Foremost Farms is building a $47.2 million expansion to its facility on Spencer Street in Appleton. The project will allow Foremost Farms to double its output and will also add about 30 workers. The tax credits will also support Foremost Foods’ plant in Richland Center.

Little Rapids Corp. buys Larsen Converting

Green Bay’s Little Rapids Corp., a manufacturer and marketer of products for the health care, beauty and specialty paper markets, has acquired Larsen Converting Industries Inc.

Larsen, a paper converting and flexographic printing company also based in Green Bay, is a good fit with Little Rapids Corp., says Kirk Ryan, Little Rapids’ president and chief executive officer. “This is a positive, strategic acquisition for Little Rapids. Larsen is an exceptional company and will make us stronger,” he says. “This acquisition is also good news for the area’s economy. We will continue to operate Larsen’s two manufacturing facilities, which will increase our total area employment to approximately 425.”

In addition to the Green Bay locations, Little Rapids also has production facilities in Ashwaubenon and Shawano.

Appleton Medical Center opens new pavilion

Appleton Medical Center’s new eight-story pavilion, which opened July 19, is designed to lower costs, shorten lengths of stays for patients, and offer greater efficiencies for staff. The project is part of a $90 million, three-year initiative launched in 2008 at Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah. The new building at AMC and renovated nursing units at Theda Clark are designed to support ThedaCare’s Collaborative Care model of inpatient care. Not only is the project significantly less expensive than building new hospitals, the efficiency and quality of the Collaborative Care model, once fully implemented, will help offset the cost of renovation and construction.

As part of Collaborative Care, a care team — made up of a physician, nurse and pharmacist and supported by care managers, therapists and  other clinicians — works side-by-side along with the patient and his or her family to create a single plan of care that is followed from admission through discharge from the hospital. Since implementing Collaborative Care in a 14-bed unit at AMC, ThedaCare has documented shorter length of stays for patients, fewer medication reconciliation errors, lower costs per stay and improved patient satisfaction ratings.

“An exciting part of the project has been that employees played a key role throughout the entire process,” says Kathryn Correia, president of AMC and Theda Clark and ThedaCare senior vice president.

Papermaker Appleton sells packaging operations

The company Appleton is selling some of its packaging operations to a new company for $58 million.

The operations include subsidiaries American Plastics Company in Rhinelander and New England Extrusion, which has facilities in Milton and Turners Falls, Mass.

Appleton CEO Mark Richards says the sale to Nex Performance Films allows the papermaker to focus on its core business — specialty paper and microencapsulation.

Restoration firm joins Green Bay incubator

The Rincon Group LLC, which provides residential and commercial restoration and remediation services, has joined The Advance Business Center’s business incubation program.

Restoration services offered by Rincon will include smoke and fire restoration, water and flood restoration and storm damage restoration. Services will include mold abatement, asbestos removal and encapsulation, lead paint mitigation and radon remediation. The firm is also in the process of being recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce as a Minority Business Enterprise and as a Women-Owned Enterprise.

The North Woods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Coast Guard extends contract with Marinette Marine

Marinette Marine Corp. has secured a $19.3 million contract from the

U.S. Coast Guard to build nine response boats. The new boats are part of a multi-year Coast Guard contract requiring the construction and delivery of up to 250 response boats at a total contract value of up to $600 million.

The delivery of the nine boats is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2011. The current number of boats under contract is now up to 106.

The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

LTC installs second wind turbine on campus

Lakeshore Technical College is now home to a second wind turbine. The 120-foot, 50-kilowatt Entegrity turbine is located just northwest of the LTC Flexible Training Arena in Cleveland.

Seventh Generation Energy Systems helped with the turbine’s installation.

The Entegrity is expected to produce between 75,000 and 91,900 kilowatt hours annually — slightly more than the Vestas V-15 turbine, which was erected on campus in 2004. A third turbine, a 50-kilowatt Endurance, will be installed at LTC later this year.

Regular maintenance on the Entegrity will be performed by second-year students in the Wind Energy Technology associate degree program.

New transportation service launches in Door County

Door County and Door-Tran have teamed up to provide a low-cost, accessible public transportation system called Door 2 Door Rides.

The program starts off with two new specialty vehicles. The vans will be wheelchair accessible and drivers will have experience and training to assist passengers with special needs – whether they are in wheelchairs or simply students needing a ride home from soccer practice.

Federal and state grant funds will allow Door 2 Door Rides to keep their rates at $3 per adult ride; with a half-price fare at $1.50 for seniors, persons with disabilities or children.

While the program begins centered on Sturgeon Bay, the goal is to eventually expand it to other communities. Those needing rides will need to call ahead to schedule their pick-up and drop-off.

Door-Tran (Door County Transportation Consortium) is a group of concerned agencies and citizens.

Enreco Inc. moving into former bank building

Enreco Inc., a manufacturer of ground flaxseed ingredients and retail nutritional supplements, is moving its offices to the former Bank First National building in Newton.

A.C.E. Building Service of Manitowoc is remodeling the 2,112-square-foot building into   seven private offices, meeting spaces, a kitchenette and storage areas. The former bank building is across the street from Enreco’s manufacturing facilities.

Enreco’s sales and marketing  offices are located in Sheboygan Falls, but the food processing facility is in Newton and the new office space will offer additional efficiencies for expanding the company, says Sean Moriarty, Enreco’s president and chief executive officer.

“As one of the largest producers of ground flaxseed in the U.S., we are a growing company. We are committed to delivering superior quality products in the best timeframe and will do whatever it takes to make that happen,” he says. “Moving all of our offices closer to the food processing facility is one way to support our goal; with our full team close together we can improve processes, communication, and ultimately serve our customers better for continued growth.”

West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Wolf River Lumber Co. exits receivership, stays open

Wolf River Lumber Co. in New London has a new owner – Wolf Investment Acquisition – and will stay open, saving 73 jobs.

In March, Wolf River entered Chapter 128 receivership and a search began for a new owner. The company operates a 328,000-square-foot facility that houses a combination of manufacturing and warehousing, state-of-the-art equipment and dry kilns. Customers include makers of fine furniture, high-quality cabinetry and other specialty hardwood lumber venues.

Shawano businesses secure loans to add jobs

Two Shawano businesses are receiving funds from the city’s revolving loan fund to maintain and create new jobs.

Mod Tech Industries received a $50,000 loan — along with another $50,000 loan from Shawano County’s revolving loan fund — as working capital in a package that could eventually restore 20 jobs at the production machining company.

Woodport Doors LLC received a $75,000 revolving loan fund from the city and another $75,000 from the county’s revolving loan fund. Those dollars will help Woodport add about a dozen workers, bringing the company’s total to 100. Woodport bought the assets of the former Owens Door plant earlier this year.

Grant expands broadband access in Marquette County

The Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, which covers the southern part of Marquette County, is receiving $20 million in federal funds to expand its broadband coverage. The grants will improve service to surrounding rural areas, affecting 11,000 local residents.

The funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Broadband Initiatives Program.

“Access to fast and reliable broadband service opens doors for rural communities,” says Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who helped secure the grant. “These projects will provide infrastructure needed to make broadband more widely available which will create job and business opportunities, improve education and provide greater access to quality health care in these rural communities.”

The Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative plans to extend fiber optic cables, which cost about $30,000 per mile to install, starting in 2011 and continuing into 2013.