Regional RoundUp – November

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


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

 Ariens dedicates expansion, plans to add 100 workers

Ariens Co., an outdoor power equipment manufacturer, completed a $3.8 million building expansion at its Brillion manufacturing facilities to accommodate company growth.

In the past year, sales for the maker of snowblowers and lawn mowers grew 28 percent. And this fall, the manufacturer will keep both lines going due to increased demand, which means 100 additional workers will be brought in on a temporary basis. The goal, says President Dan Ariens, is to eventually add them on full-time.

The building expansion includes new product development and testing labs, a new employee learning center, increased workstation capacity for engineering and a new food services area. The building also has a new geothermal HVAC system.

In the past five years, Ariens estimates it has invested $20 million in upgrades at its Brillion facilities. Ariens employs more than 1,300 workers in Brillion.


Former associate dean takes over top spot at UW-Fox

A familiar face is the new leader at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha.

Dr. Martin Rudd, an associate professor of chemistry at the school and the associate campus dean from 2006-10, was named UW- Fox’s new campus executive officer and dean.

In addition to his work at UW-Fox, Rudd was interim CEO/dean at UW-Manitowoc from 2010-11.

Rudd succeeds Jim Perry, who served as dean for 18 years before he retired last February.

Rudd received his doctorate in organic chemistry and bachelor’s degree from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England.


Appleton Yacht Club plans major renovation

The Appleton Yacht Club is launching a $600,000 renovation project to upgrade its clubhouse on S. Lutz Drive in Appleton.

The project’s first phase includes a 1,400 square-foot addition to the front of the building with a partial second floor for an office, storage and meeting room. The restrooms will be relocated to the new addition and the entire interior will be upgraded with new flooring, ceiling and windows. The exterior will also receive a new roof and siding, along with new bathhouse facilities. The first phase is being financed with an existing fund within the Yacht Club.

A capital campaign has been launched to help fund the remaining $300,000 of improvements, including bar, dining room and kitchen upgrades. The second phase also includes a decorative lighthouse that would serve as a landmark for boaters traveling through the locks in Appleton.


Employers help create new Moraine Park Tech programs

Moraine Park Technical College recently created three new programs designed to better meet the needs of local employers: Interactive Media Design and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in Fabrication Technologies and Automotive Technologies.

Moraine Park saw an evolution in media design and interactive technologies in the marketplace and in response, kicked off the Interactive Media Design program this fall, says Dan Ensalaco, vice president of academics and student affairs.

“This is a high growth area in which demand is on the rise for professionals who can use animation and video combined with web technologies,” he says.

The Fabrication Technologies program – a blend of welding, metal fabrication and general education courses – includes classes in manufacturing, planning, production, lean manufacturing, metallurgy, math, physics and programming. Graduates of the AAS degree will be skilled in automation and emerging technologies aimed at improving productivity, quality and efficiency.

Thanks to the new program, graduates of Welding or Metal Fabrication technical diplomas have the option of immediately entering the workforce or continuing their education in pursuit of an AAS degree in Fabrication Technology. Or, students can start their education by enrolling directly in the AAS degree program.

The new Automotive Technology AAS degree program shares the

same goal of generating multiple career pathways. Graduates holding the Automotive Technician technical diploma can now easily pursue the associate degree without repeating core program courses or credits. Other students may want to directly enter the AAS degree program and then possibly pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university or college.


Lawrence University ranked No. 60 in ‘Best Colleges’ report

Lawrence University in Appleton was ranked 60th among 236 national liberal arts colleges and universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 “America’s Best Colleges” report.

U.S. News’ annual guide combines subjective information such as peer assessment with a statistical analysis of various factors it considers indicative of academic excellence — graduation rates, student retention and acceptance rates, among others — to determine its rankings.

Lawrence had strong showings in several of the categories used in the ranking methodology, including number of incoming students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class (43 percent), freshman retention rate (88 percent), graduation rate (73 percent), full-time faculty (93 percent), alumni giving rate (40 percent) and classes with fewer than 20 students (78 percent).


Cellcom begins update to 4G network across area

Cellcom has begun preparations to deploy fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution technology across their network.

De Pere-based Cellcom has purchased cellular equipment for the advanced 4G wireless network from Ericsson, a world leader in mobile technologies, and will begin installing the equipment through the remainder of 2011. Extensive network testing will begin in early 2012 and the company plans to deploy 4G LTE across all of its Wisconsin markets by the end of 2012. As the 4G network is turned up, customers will simultaneously have access to a nationwide 4G network thanks to Cellcom partnerships.

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan counties

Report: Sheboygan firms optimistic about future

A new survey finds Sheboygan County business owners are optimistic about the future, with one-third of them planning to hire more workers within the next 12 months.

The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation recently completed retention visits with 72 businesses with area companies. Fifty-eight percent of respondents rated the overall business climate as good or excellent with 85 percent forecasting things will be even better five years from now.

Seventy-seven percent of employers ranked the local workforce as good or excellent and 33 percent plan on hiring more workers within the next year.

While companies want to hire more workers, “both large and small manufacturers agree that they are having difficulty finding skilled machinists, engineers and technicians. This is an issue not only in northeast Wisconsin, but throughout the state,” says Patrick Drinan, executive director of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp.


State grant gives boost to freight rail line

The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. received a $6.9 million grant from the State of Wisconsin to improve a section of freight rail line between Elkhart Lake and Saukville.

The grant will be used to refurbish road crossings, rebuild rail turnouts, add ballast and to replace about 50,000 cross ties along the nearly 33-mile section of track, which continues north to Kiel and connects to a nationwide rail system to the south.

The rail line currently sees heavy use by local companies, including Bemis in Sheboygan Falls and the Kettle-Lakes Cooperative in Random Lake. It’s also used to transport stone from Elkhart Lake that’s being used to prevent erosion on the Texas coastline.

The grant covers 80 percent of the project’s $8.7 million price tag. The state also will provide an

$867,181 loan to assist with the project, while the remainder will be paid for by the railroad and the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium.


Thermo Fisher Scientific closing Two Rivers plant

Thermo Fisher Scientific is shutting down a plant in Two Rivers that employs 120 people.

Thermo Fisher produces steel cabinetry and steel fume hoods at the facility. Another downtown plant that includes wood production and Fisher’s corporate offices is not affected.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is shifting its steel production from the Two Rivers plant to one in Mexico.

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake counties

Federal grant fuels Waupaca airport expansion

Waupaca Municipal Airport-Brunner Field received a $312,000 federal grant for expanding the taxiway on the airport property’s northwest corner.

The expansion means airplanes leaving hangars in that area will no longer have to back taxi or use a runway to reach the terminal. Construction is expected to be completed this month.


Walker Forge plans Clintonville plant expansion

Walker Forger Inc. is building a 9,100-square-foot shot-blast building in Clintonville.

Walker Forge is a full-service, closed-die forging company, expanding in many areas of their business to make room for new equipment and to meet rising space needs.

Keller, Planners, Architects and Builders of Kaukauna is building the facility, which should be complete by the end of the year.


Magnum Products sold, adding on to Berlin plant

Magnum Products LLC is adding 24,000-square-feet of manufacturing and warehouse space to its Berlin facility.

The additional space will meet the growing demand for the company’s products.

Magnum Products supplies powerful, high-quality light towers, mobile generators, trash pumps, water trailers and combination power units for the rental and construction industry. It employs 330 people.

In early October, Generac Holdings Inc. of Genesee purchased Magnum for $80 million. Magnum founder and chairman Tom Joseph retired as part of the acquisition.


Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto counties

Marinette manufacturer earns global certification

QAL Medical LLC of Marinette is now able to sell medical devices abroad and increase its presence in the global CPM market after completing a certification audit sanctioned by the International Organization for Standardization.

“At QAL Medical, we are constantly striving to uphold only the highest quality standards for our company and its products,” says Guy Meyerhofer, the president/owner of QAL Medical. QAL Medical recently purchased the Otto Bock line of Continuous Passive Motion devices and they are now a leading manufacturer of those CPMs. The devices are used to rehabilitate a joint by constantly moving that joint through a controlled range of motion.


Marinette Marine gets order for 11 Coast Guard vessels

Marinette Marine Corporation received a contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to build an additional 11 Response Boats – Medium.

The delivery of the boats is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Marinette Marine will build 50 percent of the boats at its ACE Marine facility in Green Bay with the other 50 percent built by the company’s partner, Kvichak Marine Industries of Seattle.

The boats have a value of about $23.9 million and are part of multi-year Coast Guard contract.

“It is a testament to our workforce and the high efficiency of ACE Marine’s purpose designed manufacturing facility that allows us to deliver on schedule and on budget,” says Marinette Marine President and CEO Chuck Goddard.

For more on Marinette Marine’s success, turn to “Riding Strong” on page 40.


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