Regional Roundup June

Posted on Jul 1, 2011 :: 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

Mixed news on tourism spending in the New North
When it comes to attracting tourism revenue in the New North, the rich just seem to get richer. When the state Department of Tourism released its 2008 Economic Impact of Traveler Expenditures last month, the biggest winners in this region were the three counties that already top the revenue list: Brown, Door and Outagamie. The statewide economic impact study was conducted by Davidson-Peterson Associates.

Door County, which ranks No. 2 in annual New North tourism dollars at nearly $484 million, had the biggest increase, with 2008 revenue growing by 19.71 percent over 2007.

Brown and Outagamie counties saw tourism revenue grow by 5.22 percent and 4.55 percent, respectively, to $557.7 million and $372 million. Fond du Lac County also saw its revenue increase by 3.72 percent to nearly $150 million. Sheboygan County, another revenue leader in the region, saw its tourism dollars decline by 2.24 percent to $344.6 million. Winnebago County gained 2 percent to $202 million and Manitowoc County posted a modest gain of less than 1 percent to $132 million. Calumet and Kewaunee counties gained 1.09 and 1.29 percent, respectively.

Many of the western and northern counties that have not traditionally generated as much tourism revenue as their lakeshore and Hwy. 41 corridor neighbors either lost ground or posted minimal gains. Waupaca, Shawano, Green Lake, Marquette, Oconto and Florence counties all saw their tourism revenue decline in 2008. Among northern counties, only Marinette saw a significant increase of 2.6 percent to $116.6 million. Waushara and Menominee counties basically held steady at .03 and .72 percent, respectively.

The Fox Cities, straddling three counties, gained 4.4 percent in visitor revenue to $403 million. The Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates tourism created 6,203 jobs and provided $112.77 million in local income.

Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Wendy Hielsberg attributes much of Winnebago County’s increase to the Senior State Bowling Tournament and the Women’s State Bowling Tournament, as well as to the filming of Universal Picture’s Public Enemies in Oshkosh, which left behind an economic impact of $3.5 million.

Statewide, spending by travelers posted a gain of 2.7 percent in 2008, exceeding $13 billion. That translates into $7.3 billion in resident income and $2.13 billion in taxes and other fees to state and local governments, according to the Department of Tourism.

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

Right Management and New North, Inc. co-sponsor Workplace Excellence Award
The 2009 New North Workplace Excellence Award, co-sponsored by New North, Inc. and Right Management will recognize organizations that are improving their competitive advantage through people practices that lead to successful business outcomes.

Any organization within the 18-county New North Region is eligible to apply, including companies that have a division or location within the New North but are not necessarily headquartered in the New North. The 18 counties include: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago.

Winners will be honored at the 2009 New North Annual Summit and will participate in a public panel discussion moderated by Alan Hartman, interim provost and former dean of the UW-Oshkosh School of Business

To be considered, all applications must be received by 5 p.m. July 24. Applications are available online at or by e-mailing [email protected]

Three New North firms win state export awards
Schreiber Foods and Paradocs Embryo Transfer of Green Bay and Alliance Laundry Systems of Ripon were honored last month with Gov. Jim Doyle’s annual Export Achievement Awards. Schreiber, one of the world’s largest dairy companies with annual sales of more than $4 billion, received the award in the Agricultural Exporter Plus category.

Paradocs Embryo Transfer, which won the award in the Service Exporter category, provides bovine embryo recovery and transfer services. Paradocs exports to numerous countries with the largest markets in Germany, Japan, and China. Paradocs grew by 150 percent while the value of the shipments increased by 215 percent.

Alliance Laundry, which won the Large Manufacturing Exporter award, employs more than 1,300 people in Wisconsin and distributes products to more than 90 countries. Over the last decade, Alliance Laundry has expanded its team of export managers from four to 15 and has doubled its international service staff. International sales have more than doubled since 2004 and totaled more than $87 million last year.

Wisconsin firms set an export record last year by exporting $20.6 billion worth of products, an overall increase of over 9 percent, in spite of a global economic crisis that led to a slight 1.6 percent decline in exports during the final quarter of 2008.

Four Northeast Wisconsin firms named to Fortune 1000
Oshkosh Corp., Manitowoc Company, Bemis Company and Plexus Corp. have been named to the Fortune 1000 list of America’s largest corporations.

Compiled annually by Fortune magazine, the list ranks the largest and most successful companies in America. Each of the New North companies on the list improved on rankings from last year. Oshkosh moved up from 383 to 349, Manitowoc moved from 551 to 480, Bemis moved from 586 to 575, and Plexus joined the list at number 950.

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

Waupaca airport gets $75,000 facelift
Waupaca Municipal Airport will receive $60,000 in state funds to rehabilitate airport pavements, and the City of Waupaca is contributing $15,000.

The project will help prevent water infiltration and minimize oxidation effects, which cause pavement deterioration. The project is scheduled to begin in mid-summer and should be completed by fall. Currently, 35 aircraft are based at the airport, and approximately 20,000 take-offs and landings occur each year on the airport’s two runways.

The Lakeshore: Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Eclipse moves jobs from Tennessee to Sheboygan
After announcing in February that it would close its Pikesville, Tenn., plant, idling 50 workers, Eclipse Manufacturing said in April that it would create 57 jobs at its Sheboygan plant. Eclipse decided to move more of its operations to Sheboygan after an incentive package was developed by state and local officials. That was one of the few pieces of good economic news in Sheboygan in recent months. Layoffs at Kohler and Thomas Products have pushed the unemployent rate in the county to more than 12 percent.

The Northwoods: Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Florence flourishing
Tourism may not be thriving in Florence County (see page 12), but the lightly populated northern county is making strides. Florence County Economic Director Wendy Gelhoff notes that Florence will host the Upper Peninsula Volunteer Firefighters tournament in July, attracting an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 visitors. “We also have a number of new retail projects in various stages of opening and we have a new small machine shop in the works for our industrial park,” says Gelhoff.

Send news and updates to [email protected]