Regional Roundup July

Posted on Jul 1, 2011 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Highway 41 Corridor
Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties

Fox Cities Chamber embarks on economic study
The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce is working with Garner Economics, an economic development and site strategy firm from Atlanta, Ga., to conduct an in-depth study of the local economy and what the area has to offer as a business location.
During the next few months, business owners will be involved in focus groups as consultants take a detailed look at the local economy, says Shannon Meyer, Fox Cities Chamber’s CEO and president.
“The process will include a deep dive into our local economy and a number of intensive assessments of local economic conditions from the viewpoint of a site location consultant,” she says. “They’ll also compare our local data to conditions and activities in other markets around the country. There will be a lot of opportunity for local input and engagement throughout this process.”
Garner will assess how the Fox Cities measures up to competing markets and identify the types of businesses best suited to succeed in the region. Meyer says Garner will then recommend short- and long-term strategies to sustain and grow a competitive advantage; business recruitment strategies; workforce development recommendations based on industry targets; and compile a Smart Leads by Applied Marketing, which is a list of qualified companies that may have an interest in the area.
“This is an exciting endeavor as we work to make our economy shine,” Meyer says.

Port of Green Bay added $83 million to local economy
The Port of Green Bay had an economic impact of more than $83 million in 2010, supporting 823 local jobs, according to a new report.
The results were taken from the newly updated version of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s MARAD Port Economic Impact Kit developed by Rutgers University. The MARAD Kit estimates the economic value of port activities in terms of jobs, income and taxes generated.
The report found that port activities produced an estimated $26 million in income, $802,000 in state taxes, $890,000 in local taxes and provided an estimated $40 million in gross state product.
“The shipping industry continues to be the most cost effective method of transportation for commodities, generates employment opportunities for the region and brings money into our communities,” says Dean Haen, manager for the port.
The port received more than 1.7 million metric tons of cargo in 2010. While this is a slight decrease from 2009, Haen is looking forward to the 2011 shipping season. “We saw our largest decrease in tonnage in 2008 as a result of the recession,” Haen says. “But each year we are closing the gap on the tonnage brought into the port so this is very positive news.”
Haen says that the economy has been a challenge for all types of businesses and the port is no exception. “However, we are confident that business will increase as the economy recovers, keeping the port a vital component of our area economy,” Haen says. “In addition, our strategic plan outlines new ideas and ways we can expand our reach beyond our existing markets to increase business in Northeast Wisconsin.”

Fond du Lac development leader takes state post
President Brenda Hicks-Sorensen left the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corp. (FCEDC) for a position with the newly formed Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC).
Hicks-Sorensen will serve as vice president of economic and community development for the new organization, which is a public-private partnership designed to boost economic development across Wisconsin.
Hicks-Sorensen was with FCEDC for nearly seven years, overseeing numerous retention and community projects in Fond du Lac County including the Mercury Marine retention project in 2009 and the financial response to the floods of 2008. She has served hundreds of clients, including existing businesses, start-up ventures and businesses interested in locating to the area.
Kristen Fish of Redevelopment Resources is the FCEDC’s interim president as the group looks for a new leader. Fish is managing partner of Redevelopment Resources LLC, which provides development and redevelopment solutions to business, organizations and municipalities.

Kimberly NewPage mill gets new owner, uncertain future
AIM Demolition USA LLC purchased the vacant NewPage paper mill in Kimberly in mid-June.
AIM Demolition, an affiliate of American Iron and Metal Co., is one of the largest metal recycling companies in North America. AIM Demolition officials have yet to say what their plans for the paper mill, which closed in 2008, putting 600 people out of work.

Schreiber Foods to transform vacant downtown mall
Schreiber Foods is giving life to a vacant downtown mall. Schreiber Foods announced plans in early June to construct its global technology center in downtown Green Bay on the site of the
former Washington Commons and J.C. Penney.
Schreiber has also secured a purchase option to acquire the adjacent property on the corner of Main and Washington streets, where it plans to relocate its home office to a new facility. An estimated 550 employees will be relocated to the site.
“Our global technology center will play an integral role in Schreiber’s mission to be the world’s leading customer-brand dairy company,” says Mike Haddad, Schreiber’s president and chief executive officer. “It will be a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance our ability to deliver value for our customers by creating innovative new products and winning business solutions.”
The facilities, which are still in the planning phase, will be designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. Schreiber will also ensure the city of Green Bay has the time it needs to salvage recyclable materials from the former Washington Commons facility.
“We’re also very excited to be part of the revitalization efforts in downtown Green Bay,” Haddad says. “Our company has been headquartered in Green Bay since 1945, and we’re proud to continue our multi-generational commitment to downtown.”
The buildings’ exterior will be designed to complement the architecture of downtown Green Bay. Construction could begin next spring with completion in the fall of 2014.

Plexus expanding presence in downtown Neenah
Plexus Corp. plans to build a $7 million, 20,000-square-foot development center on the former Glatfelter paper mill site in downtown Neenah.
The two-story center will be built along W. Wisconsin Avenue in front of Plexus’ $20 million global headquarters, which opened last year. (For more on Plexus’ global headquarters, please see the May 2010 issue of Insight.)
Construction will start this month and be completed within 12 months. The center will not require any parking other than what will be built on the site.
Plexus, a contract manufacturer of electronic products with $1.5 billion in annual sales, is one of Neenah’s top employers. Company officials say the development center will accommodate the company’s training and meeting needs.
Once the new building opens, the former Glatfelter site will have one remaining open parcel on the northwest corner of E. Wisconsin Avenue and Church Street.

The Lakeshore
Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties

Johnsonville Sausage earns prestigious partner award
Johnsonville Sausage of Sheboygan Falls received the prestigious Wisconsin Technical College System Board’s Futuremakers Partner Award.
The award recognizes organizations that partner with technical colleges in pursuit of strong futures through sustainable jobs.
System President Dan Clancy cited Johnsonville’s significant financial and workforce investment, which in turn, helps increase the economic vitality of the region. The award was made at the recommendation of Lakeshore Technical College, who has a close partnership with Johnsonville Sausage to improve student employability skills.

Lakeland Automotive eyes $5.6 million expansion
Lakeland Automotive is expanding its Sheboygan dealership by building a new 31,000-square-foot dealership on North Frontage Road. The project will cost an estimated $5.6 million and create up to 30 jobs within the next two years.
The City of Sheboygan Redevelopment Authority approved a $300,000 business development loan to assist the company with its expansion.
The new facility will sell Toyota and Subaru products while the current 27,000-square-foot dealership on Frontage Road will house Honda and Mazda products.

The Northwoods
Florence, Marinette, Menominee and Oconto counties

McCreary out, Goddard in at Marinette Marine Corp.
Marinette Marine Corp. has a new leader at the helm.
Fincantieri Marine Group, the owner of Marinette County’s largest employer, picked Charles Goddard to be president
and chief executive officer after Richard McCreary left the company in early June.
Marinette Marine’s new leader is very familiar with Navy vessels, which will be an asset to him as the company completes a contract to build up to 10 littoral combat ships for the U.S. Navy with an estimated value of $3.6 billion.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with 30 years of experience within ship systems engineering and program management,
Goddard comes to Marinette Marine from Lockheed Martin where he
was director of Aegis Program Integration and the lead for the Combat Systems Engineering Agent (CSEA) capture effort.
“Goddard’s broad experience in domestic and international program management, coupled with his demonstrated leadership, knowledge and experience, will serve us very well,” says Alberto Maestrini, executive vice president for Fincantieri’s Naval Vessels business unit.
In addition to graduating from Annapolis, Goddard also has a master’s degree in in naval architecture and marine engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the recipient of the Gold Medal for exceptional technical and program leadership from the American Society of Naval Engineers.

Oconto Falls, Green Bay hospitals partner up
Community Memorial Hospital-Oconto Falls and St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals-Green Bay have formed a new partnership to expand health care resources available to the residents of Oconto County and the surrounding area.
The affiliation provides St. Mary’s and St. Vincent a special minority interest in Community Memorial with two representatives on the CMH Board of Directors.
“Our commitment is to form partnerships with communities and to keep care local whenever possible, while providing access to other health care resources as needed,” says Therese Pandl, CEO of St. Vincent and St. Mary’s. “This affiliation is another example of how we fulfill that commitment.”
In addition, Prevea Health, in partnership with the hospitals, will assist Community Memorial Hospital in expanding the availability of physician specialists in the CMH service area.

Marinette manufacturer expands its operations
Quality Assembly & Logistics LLC (QAL) is expanding its Marinette operations.
QAL recently purchased Otto Bock’s CPM manufacturing and service division in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. The company created a new division called QAL Medical LLC that will manufacture CPMs and refurbish and repair existing CPMs.
CPMs are electro-mechanical medical devices, which moves a joint through a prescribed range of motion for an extended period of time. CPMs are especially used immediately after joint surgery.
QAL specializes in complex electro-mechanical assembly. The company manufactures, repairs and refurbishes portable x-ray machines, MRI patient tables and other health care equipment.
QAL president and owner Guy Meyerhofer says the purchase will add approximately 15 new positions at the Marinette facility.

West Central
Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette and Green Lake counties

Agnesian, Ripon hospital finalize merger
Ripon Medical Center became part of Agnesian HealthCare in early June.
Based in Fond du Lac, Agnesian says the agreement means improved medical care for Ripon, including the building of a replacement hospital for the current 75-year-old facility, the integration of electronic records and bringing more services to the community, such as a birthing center.
A local board of directors will remain in place to help make decisions for Ripon Medical Center and one member of the Ripon board will sit on Agnesian’s board.

New, larger grocery store debuts in Shawano
Shawano area residents now have more space when they head to the grocery store. Charlie’s Country Market is now open on S. Main Street, just down the road from the store it replaced, Country Store.
The 44,000-square-foot store is expected to draw customers from throughout the county. Store owner Charlie Harvey expects the new store to create an additional 40 jobs.
The old grocery store will be used as warehouse space.

Waupaca County tourism increases during 2010
Waupaca County tourism increased 1.8 percent in 2010, according to a new study by Davidson-Peterson Associates.
Travelers in Waupaca County spent $98 million in 2010, says Vicki Poeschl, tourism director at the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce.
During the worst of the recession, visitor spending in the county fell nearly 8 percent. In Waupaca County, the tourism industry supported 2,539 full-time equivalent jobs in 2010.

Waushara area business group taps new leader
Jim Trzinski is the new executive director for the Waushara Area Chamber of Commerce.
Trzinski comes to Waushara Chamber from Amherst although he and his family have had a summer residence in Wautoma for the past
five years.
The Waushara Area Chamber of Commerce has more than 200 members.
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