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.
The New North
13 New North companies make ‘fastest-growing’ list
Thirteen companies based in the New North have been named to the Inc. 5,000 list of the nation’s fastest growing companies.
Making the list are JGear of Fond du Lac, Bayside Machine of De Pere, Cherry Optical of Green Bay, Huberty & Associates of Fond du Lac, Miron Construction of Neenah, All About Packaging of Appleton, Heartland Business Systems of Little Chute, Americollect of Manitowoc, Coating Excellence International of Wrightstown, Seaway Printing Company of Green Bay, Centerline Machining & Grinding of Green Bay, Nicolet Plastics of Lakewood, and Elipticon Wood Products of Little Chute. QPS Employment of Brookfield, which has an Appleton location, was also named.
“The New North is home to a diverse array of successful business, as the newest Inc. 5,000 list shows,” says Jerry Murphy, Executive Director of the New North, Inc. “With innovative companies and hard-working, highly-skilled employees, Northeast Wisconsin is an ideal place for new and established businesses to continue to grow and expand.”
Highway 41 Corridor: Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties
UWO renovation clears way for new academic center
A former Cubs Foods store on Witzel Avenue has been converted to provide a home for UW-Oshkosh’s new Campus Services Center, which will house the university’s facilities management operations. The $6.2 million renovation project also paves the way for the university to begin construction on its long-awaited $48-million, 175,000-square-foot academic center, which will be located on the site of the former facilities management building.
The renovation project was assisted by Chamco, a nonprofit industrial development organization that had bought and redeveloped the property. Chamco sold the property to the University for $800,000 less than independent appraisals indicated was a fair market value.
Chilton redevelopment project goes Uptown
A key phase in Chilton’s Uptown central business district redevelopment plans was completed in August when the 40-unit senior housing complex, named Uptown Commons, opened. City Development Director Shawn Reilly says redevelopment continues with several projects, including “the city acquiring a number of lots and the removal of buildings to create a parking area and green space, complete transformation of the building that houses 40 West, and the beginnings of a transformation of a building at 14 West Main St.” The building renovations make use of two $50,000 loans from the city’s revolving loan fund.
The city will also soon be home to a new Walgreens, which is being built on the corner of Hwy 151 and 57. The store is expected to open in February 2010.
Immigrant assimilation good for economy, says study
The Bay Area Community Council’s “Immigration in Brown County” study, released last month, suggests that more English language and assimilation training for immigrants will lead to increased economic development and entrepreneurship for the community. The study interviewed more than 20 service providers who work with the immigrant community in Green Bay.
“We need immigrants. Whether educated or not, they provide a workforce base and a business-creation base that we need,” according to BACC member Phil Hauck, who helped produce the study. “They are our economic development spark plug.”
The study notes that while immigrants initially consume more local resources, they do become net givers to the area’s economy as they increase their income.
For a report on the study’s findings, visit bayareacommunitycouncil.org.
The Lakeshore: Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties
SDC will morph into countywide organization
The Sheboygan Development Corp., an organization widely credited with spurring downtown and waterfront redevelopment in the city, will reorganize as the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. and will serve a countywide area.
The new organization was the result of three months of discussions among community leaders from the SDC, Sheboygan County, the cities of Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls and Plymouth, and the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce, according to SDC President Gary Dulmes. The SDC will oversee the transition to the Sheboygan Economic Development Corporation over the next four months, he adds.
Door County wins UWO Foundation award
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation gave its third annual Collaboration in Action Leadership Award to Door County government in September. The award recognized the county’s collaboration with the UWO Department of Biology and Microbiology on a project that created what university officials believe is the nation’s most extensive beach monitoring and research program.
The program began in 2002 when UWO partnered with the county’s Department of Soil and Water Conservation and its Public Health Department on E.coli source-identification projects to determine sources of beach pollution. The work resulted in the re-engineering of 10 beaches in the Door County.
In addition, associate professor of geology Maureen Muldoon and the county’s Department of Soil and Water Conservation conducted research on the geologic structure unique to Door County and Northeast Wisconsin.
West Central: Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties
Shawano-based company to aid China dairy operations
Shawano-based Cooperative Resources International has entered into a long-term agreement with Flying Crane Dairy, one of China’s largest producers and distributors of infant formula and milk powder, to help them build larger dairy operations in that country. As part of the deal, CRI will help advise the farm on the how to plan, construct and manage the facilities.
Flying Crane plans to build 10 additional dairy farms to house 10,000 dairy cows at each facility to increase its milk processing capacity to a goal of 5,000 tons per day. In exchange, the farm will purchase animal semen and dairy management tools from CRI. The announcement came during last month’s Wisconsin trade mission to China, led by Gov. Jim Doyle.
The North Woods: Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties
Niagara mill reuse study supports bio-mass potential
A New North, Inc., report suggests that the former NewPage mill in Niagara might be well-suited for cellulosic ethanol production (see “Seeing the forest,” page 10), and a recently completed reuse study for the mill site, commissioned by Marinette County and prepared by Ayres Associates, comes to a similar conclusion.
“Biomass workforce skill sets are similar to the work performed in pulp mill operations,” according to the report’s authors. “The biomass process would use chemical digesters like the pulp mills. Paper mill workers already know how to operate this machinery.”
Don Clewly, executive director of the Marinette County Association of Business and Industry, says cellulosic ethanol and other alternative energy sources are among many options being considered for the mill, which closed in late 2008, eliminating more than 300 jobs.