UP FRONT: Regional roundup – December 2013

Posted on Dec 6, 2013 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Highway 41 Corridor

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

Oshkosh ranked 10th for small cities hiring veterans

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) ranked Oshkosh 10th in the nation for small metro areas hiring veterans, according to the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce.

Below is the complete list of the top 10 small metro areas:

1. Columbia, Mo.

2. Billings, Mont.

3. La Crosse

4. Waterloo, Iowa

5. Morgantown, W. V.

6. Winchester, Va.

7. Iowa City, Iowa

8. Blacksburg, Va.

9. Sioux City, Iowa

10. Oshkosh

A list of the top 10 cities and top 10 large metro cities is available at www.usaa.com.

USAA and Hiring Our Heroes authorized Sperling’s Best Places to create a list to help veterans as they transition from the armed forces to civilian life.


Quarry Quest raises $130,000 in its 15th year

More than 16,000 people attended the 15th annual Quarry Quest at Michels Materials Quarry in Neenah where $130,000 was raised to benefit various local children’s charities and the Quarry Quest Environmental Educational Fund.

Miron Construction was a sponsor of the 15th annual Quarry Quest, which raised $130,000 to benefit local children’s charities. The event brought out 16,000 participants. Photo courtesy Miron Construction

Miron Construction was a sponsor of the 15th annual Quarry Quest, which raised $130,000 to benefit local children’s charities. The event brought out 16,000 participants. Photo courtesy Miron Construction

“Each year Quarry Quest gets bigger and bigger, and this year we are so happy to be able to donate to some very special causes,” says Dan Voss, co-chair of Quarry Quest.

The Quarry Quest Environmental Educational Fund provides grant money for classroom supplies, activities and field trips related to earth science, geology and construction.

“Quarry Quest gives its participants an opportunity to learn about earth science, geology and construction once a year, but the donations give children the opportunity to learn year-round,” says Kristen Waas, co-chair of Quarry Quest.

The next Quarry Quest event will be held Sept. 13, 2014. For more information on the event, visit QuarryQuest.com.


Pound Fire Department received $10,000 grant

The Village of Pound Fire Department in Marinette County received a $10,000 grant from the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade’s Green Bay Operations to fund new personal protective equipment essential to help keep the firefighters safe.

“Thanks to this support, we’ll be able to properly outfit our firefighters so they can safely perform their duties,” says Pound Fire Chief Turner Gross. “Some of our current gear is 15 years old and no longer protects our members.”

Fifty-five fire departments in 21 states received $270,000 in grants from Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade this year. During the past five years, 10 Wisconsin fire departments received $80,000 in grants from the program.

The grants, generally ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, are based on need and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities.


Brown County Board approves feasibility study

The Brown County Board of Supervisors approved the Brown County Research and Business Park Feasibility Study in September as a first step toward developing 238 acres of Brown County-owned lands located south of highways 54 and 57 and UW-Green Bay, near the new Veterans Administration Clinic.

The study will determine if sufficient demand exists for a research-business park in Brown County and if it is feasible to offer these services at the Brown County Farm property. The effort aims to help existing businesses innovate and expand while starting new businesses.

One goal is to increase collaboration between Brown County, UW-Green Bay, the city of Green Bay and the business community.

“Moving forward allows us to continue toward our goal of attracting aspiring entrepreneurs to Brown County and meeting the needs of workforce development and job creation in our area,” says Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.


» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

NRTC expands into Michigan

Three Michigan counties recently passed resolutions to join the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission (NRTC) efforts. Iron, Ontonagon and Dickinson counties in Michigan now work with 12 Wisconsin counties, including Florence, Marinette and Oconto counties, to sustain and enhance reliable and efficient rail service critical to businesses, communities and economies in northern Wisconsin and Michigan.

“Additional Michigan and Wisconsin counties will be joining in the next few months as we continue promoting the importance of restoring and improving freight rail service so existing businesses can reduce transportation costs and new businesses will consider our region

for expansion or relocation,” says Wendy Gehlhoff, NRTC chair.

NRTC members worked with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WI-DOT) to create a business database and conduct a freight rail survey to calculate new potential freight volumes for light density rail lines. Upper Michigan is undergoing a similar survey of potential and existing freight volumes.

With the combined survey data and follow-up shipper quantifications in Wisconsin and Michigan, NRTC can identify new freight volumes sufficient to compel Canadian National to restore and upgrade rail lines in the region or lease them to interested short line operators.


» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Door County Coastal Byway kiosk unveiled

The Door County Coastal Byway Council unveiled the eight “experience hub” kiosks constructed along the byway route in Door County. The kiosks describe the cultural, historical and environmental highlights of the Door County Coastal Byway communities.

The Door County Coastal Byway Council is constructing 12 “experience hub” kiosks highlighting cultural, historical and environmental facts about Door County.

The Door County Coastal Byway Council is constructing 12 “experience hub” kiosks highlighting cultural, historical and environmental facts about Door County.Village of Pound

The first eight of 12 kiosks are located at the Door County Visitor Bureau and in the byway communities of Sevastopol, Egg Harbor, Jacksonport, Baileys Harbor and Liberty Grove. Four additional kiosks will be constructed in Gibraltar, Sister Bay, Egg Harbor and the Grand View Scenic Overlook near Ellison Bay for the Door County Land Trust.

In 2011 the Federal Highway Administration awarded participating Door County Coastal Byway member communities and partners a $138,200 grant to help coordinate and convey the scenic byway story. Schmeeckle Reserve Interpreters designed the kiosks.


Acuity’s growth creates 75 jobs in Sheboygan

Acuity created 75 new employment opportunities at its corporate headquarters in Sheboygan and throughout its 22-state operating region through the company’s sustained business growth.

“We are looking to fill 75 professional positions in the coming months, which is one of the largest groups we have recruited,” says Lynn Coady, Acuity vice president of human resources.

In 2012, the insurer reported a 17.1 percent increase in written premium revenue over the previous year. Acuity seeks to fill positions such as processors, underwriters, programmers, technical support staff and claims professionals.


A.C.E. completes project for City Centre LLC

A.C.E. Building Service has completed a new, 20,000-square-foot building project for the City Centre LLC in Manitowoc, located on the corner of 16th and Wollmer streets.

City Centre offers industrial and heavy industrial lease space and build/lease services to clients. The new building is leased to the Manitowoc Marina for heated boat storage to offer more options for their clients, retain additional boat storage for local customers and attract customers from other ports along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The building’s sliding hangar door is 29 feet high by 40 feet wide. It also has interior drains and water connections, day lighting design elements, an automatic sprinkler system and an 8-foot hard wall around the perimeter of the building. The building was designed to accommodate a 20-ton overhead bridge cane and is topped with a durable MR-24 standing seam metal roof.

The 50-year-old A.C.E. Building Service is located in Manitowoc and provides commercial and industrial construction services.


» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Waupaca Foundry earns Hire Power award

Waupaca Foundry Inc. is featured in Inc. Magazine Hire Power Awards for generating 414 jobs from January 2012 to June 2013, placing the business in first place among Wisconsin honorees and ranking 29th among job creators nationally. Waupaca Foundry operates four plants in Wisconsin and one each in Tennessee and Indiana, employing more than 3,700 people.

Foundry leaders attribute steady job growth to strong demand from customers.

“Manufacturers in markets we serve are realizing increased demand from their customers,” says Gary Gigante, president and CEO of Waupaca Foundry. “Their production increases have required us to expand our workforce in an industry that’s helping to lead the economic recovery.”

Waupaca Foundry is the largest iron foundry company in the world and produces gray iron castings and ductile iron castings with state-of-the-art technology.