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
Veterans Job Fair draws 27 employers
In at least one sign that the employment economy is not as bad as it often seems, some local companies are looking for a few good men and women. The Northeast Wisconsin Veteran Job Fair in De Pere June 17 attracted 27 companies, each of which paid $200 for the right to interview job prospects. In previous years, the event drew 13 to 15 companies. Of course, in a sign that the employment economy might be as bad as it often seems, the event also attracted about 200 veterans looking for jobs. That’s more than double the number from previous years.
Green Bay Chamber honors individual and businesses
The 2009 Business Recognition Awards presented at the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 3 at the KI Convention Center featured five firms and one individual. Pat Hopkins of Imaginasium was named Business Person of the Year, Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery won the Entrepreneurial Award and MEGTEC Systems took home the Green Award. The Growth Award went to Heartland Business Systems, the Cornerstone Award was presented to DeLeers Construction and DeLeers Millwork, and ASPIRO won the Special Accomplishment Award.
DeLeers Millwork also wins Olympic recognition
Green Bay-based DeLeers Millwork, which received the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Cornerstone Award in June, also received some international notice when it was asked to custom build the official International Olympic Committee conference table, support desks and other necessary meeting room furniture for the IOC’s recent meeting in Chicago. DeLeers was also involved in the multi-million dollar renovation of the Fairmont Hotel where the IOC stayed and held its meeting. The custom-made IOC conference table is 35 feet in length with a wild cherry laminate. The table comfortably seated 14 members of the IOC, while three other similar tables were built to seat 26 Olympic bid delegates and other team members.
Four firms win Fox Cities awards
HuHot Mongolian Grill won the 2009 Rising Star Award at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce 2009 Small Business of the Year Awards luncheon June 10 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. Other award recipients were R. Sabee Company in the manufacturing category, Turek’s Plumbing in the service category and Building Service, Inc. (BSI North) in the wholesale/retail category.
Advance incubator welcomes two firms
The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Advance incubator welcomed three new tenants recently with the addition of NorthWrite Energy Group and Yang Insurance Agency. NEG develops proprietary wireless technology that reduces the complexity for big box retailers wishing to participate in electric utility real-time demand response programs. Advance now houses 17 physical tenants and six virtual tenants with offices at 81 percent occupancy.
The Lakeshore: Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties
Student-built house has a new owner
The 1,783-square-foot ranch home in Sturgeon Bay’s Spring Oaks subdivision, built by the nine students who participated in the second Door/Kewaunee Business & Education Partnership High School Home Construction, already has a buyer. The house sold in June. The home includes donations and upgrades from sponsors and subcontractors, including granite counter-tops, solid six-panel wood doors, maintenance-free deck, travertine tile and wood flooring. “This was a wonderfully collaborative project, and I am so proud of our students and partners for working together to build such a superb house,” says DKBEP Manager Tara LeClair. “The students have learned a great deal since September and they will carry their newly acquired skills and knowledge into the next phases of their lives.”
Door County Annual Report is online
The Door County Economic Development Corporation’s 2008 Annual Report is now available online at the organization’s website: www.doorcountybusiness.com/pdfs/2008AnnualReport.pdf.
Biodiesel operation fires up in Manitowoc
Dan and Traci Kadarabek, who launched Manitowoc-based Bio Blend Fuels in 2005 to produce biodiesel fuel, have installed their first free-standing biodiesel station in Manitowoc.
The Kadarabeks started a second company – American Fuel Blending Systems – to market Bio-Diesel Blending Stations, which are portable, above-ground and self-contained dispensing systems that blend biodiesel and regular diesel into B20, B50, and B99 products.
The current Bio Blend Fuels plant on Basswood Road in Manitowoc can produce up to 2.6 million gallons of ASTM-quality fuel. The Kadarabeks says they plan to increase production to 5.2 million gallons per year, running three shifts.
Fuel is primarily produced from waste streams such as bacon grease, choice white grease or tallow.
West Central: Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties
Pre-AirVenture fly-in provides boost for Waupaca
EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh provides more than $100 million of economic impact to the region, according to a UW-Oshkosh study, and that extends to places like Waupaca, where Brunner Field attracts a major pre-AirVenture gathering of Piper and Cessna owners, who spend three days leading up to AirVenture in the Waupaca area, filling hotel rooms and restaurant tables.
This year’s Cessna Flyer Association and Piper Flyer Association Annual Gathering takes place July 24-26. The national groups have a headquarters at the Waupaca airport, better known as “The Blue Hangar.”
“This will be the fifth year we’ve held a fly-in for our members in Waupaca,” says Trevor Janz, the vice president and co-founder of the Cessna Flyers Association and the Piper Flyers Association. “It’s a casual weekend, but we also want to make it informative and educational. Giving our members information they can use to get more enjoyment out of their airplanes is our associations’ primary goal. Landing at Waupaca also gives our members the opportunity to park their airplanes here and take our motor coach into Oshkosh Monday through Wednesday,” Janz adds. The social highlight of the weekend is a Wisconsin brat fry and corn roast, says Janz.
The Northwoods: Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties
More Navy orders keeping Marinette Marine busy
There’s more good news on the ship-building front in Marinette. After announcing in March that it had won part of a $1 billion contract to build more Littoral Combat Ships for the U.S. Navy, Marinette Marine received news that the Navy was placing a $6.3 million order for lighterage systems components. Lighterage systems are barges used to unload cargo from ships. Marinette Marine will build 41 lighterage system modules by October.
Now a subsidiary of the Italian-owned company Fincantieri Marine Group, Marinette Marine recently announced a partnership with Boeing to bid on a $4 billion program to build hovercraft for the Navy. Marinette Marine will be the prime contractor and hull shipbuilder; Boeing will design, supply and integrate the platform’s advanced rotorcraft systems.