UP FRONT: Regional Roundup – December 2014

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 :: Up Front
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Highway 41 Corridor

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

Photo courtesy FVTC

Photo courtesy FVTC

FVTC Criminal Justice Training Center previewed

Public safety officials explore Fox Valley Technical College’s six-story burn tower prop during a preview of the new
$35 million, 75-acre Public Safety Training Center near Outagamie Regional Airport.

Grande Cheese announces new HQ  

Grande Cheese Co., a national leader in cheeses and other ingredients for restaurants and food production, will build a new home office and research center on a 40-acre campus in Fond du Lac, replacing its current home in Lomira.

Grande purchased the property on Camelot Drive three years ago. A new home office and research center make up the first phase of construction and should be complete in early 2016. Future construction will include a manufacturing research facility and a landscaping plan that includes orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens and a greenhouse.

“This will be more than an ordinary office building campus,” says Wayne Matzke, president and CEO of Grande. “It will be an inviting place for our associates, producers and customers alike.”

The buildings will be integrated into the surrounding landscape and when completed, all three phases of the new construction will be connected by a central courtyard. Grande is also seeking LEED Gold certification for the new facilities.

Once completed, Grande expects nearly all of the 175 employees from its Lomira location to relocate to the new facilities.

Piping Systems to expand

Hortonville-based Piping Systems Inc. expects to complete a $5.5 million expansion of its manufacturing facilities by the end of this year, a move that will allow the company to pursue larger contracts and add more than 100 new employees.

Founded in 1990, the company has a worldwide customer base for the piping spools, modular equipment and piling skids it fabricates. More than 80 percent of the company’s products go to clients in the oil, gas and energy industries — sectors that have grown tremendously during the past decade.

“Fueled by the award of a major contract, we are now able to complete the second phase of our three-phase expansion plan,” says Jeff Bunker, PSI president. “The expansion will enable PSI to hire both skilled trades labor and support staff.”

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has authorized up to $350,000 in tax credits for three years to support the project. PSI has agreed to create 119 full-time jobs during that time. The actual tax credits distributed will depend on the number of new positions created.

In addition to assistance from WEDC, the Village of Hortonville will also provide up to $550,000 in incentives. Once completed, the project and the new hires will make PSI the largest employer in the village.


» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Crowds gather at the Marinette Marine shipyards to watch the launch of LCS Detroit. The ship, which still needs outfitting and extensive testing, was floated into the Menominee River. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Crowds gather at the Marinette Marine shipyards to watch the launch of LCS Detroit. The ship, which still needs outfitting and extensive testing, was floated into the Menominee River. Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Splash of success

Somehow it doesn’t get old.

There were plenty of folks on hand this fall when the team at Marinette Marine launched the LCS Detroit into the Menominee River, the fourth such launch since Lockheed Martin won the contract to build littoral combat ships for the U.S. Navy.

Wisconsin’s north coast shipyard previously built and launched the USS Freedom, USS Fort Worth and USS Milwaukee.

“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 two processes and leverage the craftsmanship and skills of our employees in producing these high quality vessels for our warfighters.”

The Detroit will continue to undergo outfitting and testing before delivery to the Navy in 2015. Once accepted by the Navy and commissioned, it will then carry the “USS” designation.
Overall, it is the seventh LCS launched since 2008. Ships with an odd-number designation are built at Marinette Marine, which is contracted to build 10 of the 20 ships in the contract. In addition to the Detroit, four other LCS ships are under construction at the shipyard.

Status of LCS built by Marinette Marine: USS Freedom (LCS 1), in service; USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), in service; USS Milwaukee (LCS 5): in sea trials; USS Detroit (LCS 7): launched Oct. 18; LCS 9 (USS Little Rock), under construction; LCS 11 (USS Sioux City), under construction; LCS 13 (USS Wichita), under construction; LCS 15 (USS Billings), under construction; LCS 17 (USS Indianapolis), in planning stages; LCS 19, in planning stages.


» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Winds of success

Manufacturers in Northeast Wisconsin continue to see payoffs from investments in renewable energy technologies.

Cicero, Ill.-based Broadwind Energy Inc. has secured an $11 million wind turbine tower order for delivery in 2015. The towers will be constructed at the company’s Manitowoc-based Broadwind Towers, Inc. facility.

Broadwind Energy announced a $34 million wind tower order in August. At the time that deal was announced, the company had reached two-thirds of its construction capacity for 2015.
That 2015 work schedule will be managed by Eric Blashford, who was appointed the newest president of Broadwind Towers in October. Blashford, 50, previously served as president of Pettibone, LLC Heavy Equipment Group, which produces equipment and parts for the forestry, oil and gas, railroad and construction industries.

“His deep manufacturing experience with large industrial products in multi-faceted, multi-plant environments will be a great addition to our organization,” says Peter C. Duprey, president and CEO of Broadwind Energy.


» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

More feta cheese, please!

Agropur, Inc. will embark on a $55 million expansion of its Weyauwega cheese manufacturing facilities to meet a growing demand for feta cheese.

The expansion is scheduled to be complete in in 2016 and expected to add 22 new jobs at the plant. The operation currently employs 146 at that location.

The Weyauwega plant is one of four dairy processing plants that Canada-based Agropur operates in Wisconsin. The company, which had sales topping $3.8 billion in 2013, has eight additional plants in the United States and 36 total in North America, processing nearly 11.2 billion pounds of milk per year.

Among the company’s portfolio of brands are Natrel, Québon, OKA and Sealtest.

“There is a lot of tradition, skill and work ethic among our employees, and we are recognized in the market for having high-quality products,” says Doug Simon, president of the USA Cheese business unit at Agropur. “We are a leader in feta cheese production and this will allow us to maintain that leadership position.”

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