UP FRONT – Regional Roundup – November

Posted on Nov 1, 2012 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer


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

Wells Vehicle plans new facility

Wells Vehicle Electronics in Fond du Lac is building a new corporate headquarters that will allow the company to expand its manufacturing space by 40 percent.

The new headquarters is a two-story, 64,000-square-foot facility that will be the home of new administrative offices, engineering labs, test labs, a state-of-the-art automotive tech garage and a tool room to support new product development.

The supplier of vehicle electronics is more than 100 years old and employs 214 workers. The expansion has the potential to add another 73 jobs over the next three years, company officials say.

Advance Microloan Program earns SBA certification

The Small Business Administration has certified the Advance Microloan Program as an intermediary microloan lender, which means the program will be available throughout 11 counties in Northeast Wisconsin.

The Advance Microloan Program also received $500,000 in funding from the SBA.

The program, which was previously known as the Advance Brown County Microloan Program, is now available in Brown, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano, Oconto, Kewaunee, Door, Florence, Forest, Marinette and Menominee counties.

“This geographic expansion of the Advance Microloan program provides an additional tool for the local economic development organizations located in each of these counties,” says Fred Monique, vice president of Advance, the economic development division of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. “This will help these organizations in assisting entrepreneurial and start-up businesses that are beginning their operations or expanding their scope of business.”

Since its inception, the microloan program has issued loans of $520,000 to 12 businesses in the Brown County area.

Area colleges team up to win $1.1 million federal grant

Lawrence University in Appleton, Ripon College and St. Norbert College in De Pere have collaborated to win a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO program to support the schools’ Ronald E. McNair post-baccalaureate achievement program.

The grant will support the McNair Achievement Program, which focuses on prepping first-generation, low-income and racially underrepresented students for graduate school and the completion of doctorate degrees, from next fall through the spring of 2018.

“The McNair program helps level the playing field for students from less privileged backgrounds by providing exposure to, experience with, and support for graduate school,” says Nancy Wall, associate professor of biology and Lawrence’s campus coordinator for the program. “I think this is incredibly important because these students bring important and valuable perspectives that would not occur to students from more privileged backgrounds to the table.”

Work begins on health technology center

Fox Valley Technical College has started construction on its 60,000-plus square-foot Health Simulation & Technology Center on its Appleton campus.

The project is the first new construction that was approved as part of last spring’s $66.5 million public referendum.

The three-story facility will serve as a virtual hospital setting for current students in FVTC’s health-related and emergency medical services programs, in addition to a continuous education resource for area health care organizations. The training environment will feature high-tech human patient simulators of all ages that provide best practice training for nurses, medical assistants, dental professionals, paramedics, occupational therapy assistants and other health care practitioners.

The new facility, which carries an estimated cost of $11.7 million, is expected to open in the fall of 2013.

Kimberly-Clark looks to build new hangar

The Kimberly-Clark Corp. is seeking to build a new aviation facility at the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

The consumer products giant signed a lease with the county to lease 1.7 acres for the next 20 years. Kimberly-Clark is seeking to build a new hangar and office for its flight department and will be located next to the county’s new general aviation hangar, which is currently under construction.

The county has invested heavily in infrastructure at the airport, including access roads, parking lots, utilities, taxiways and a self-serve fueling station for private pilots and businesses that own or lease planes.


Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Aurora breaks ground on clinic expansion

Aurora Health Care is doubling the size of its Shawano clinic to 20,000 square feet.

Construction recently began on the project, which includes the addition of Aurora’s diagnostic and outpatient services in the Shawano community.

When the project is complete next spring, Aurora’s clinic will offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, chemotherapy, digital mobile mammography, mobile MRI and a 16-slice CT scanner in addition to its family medicine practice.

Prevea building new Pulaski clinic

Prevea Health is building an 11,000-square-foot clinic in Pulaski, directly behind its current facility at 940 South St. Augustine St.

The project is expected to be complete by next June. Once the new clinic is built, the old clinic will be torn down and turned into parking space.


Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Bellin completes Oconto hospital expansion

Brokaw Development, a division of Niagara Worldwide, which is based in Marinette County, recently purchased a vacant paper mill in the Marathon County community of Brokaw from Wausau Paper.

The newly remodeled and expanded Bellin Health Oconto Hospital is now serving area residents.

An estimated 45,000 square feet of space was added to the former clinic. In addition, a Bellin Health primary clinic was also moved from another site in the city to the new hospital campus.

Hospital leaders say the expansion will allow people to receive their health care closer to home. Services offered at the site include behavioral health therapy services; colonoscopy and other gastrointestinal services; cardiac echograms and exercise stress testing; expanded infusion care, including chemotherapy; a six-bed inpatient unit; and specialist services and outpatient procedures. Services already offered at the hospital such as imaging, lab and therapy services are also expanding.


Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Orion Energy founder steps into new role

Neal Verfuerth, the founder of Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, is no longer the company’s chief executive officer.

The company announced it replaced Verfuerth with John H. Scribante, who has been with the company since 2004 and most recently served as president of one of the company’s divisions.

“Our board felt it was time for Neal, after some well-deserved time off, to have the opportunity to direct his full-time attention to his first love and passion – innovative product development – while John can direct his proven disciplined bottom-line orientation to improve our profitability and share price,” board chairman John Kackley said in a statement.

The company’s announcement termed the changing of the guard as a way to move Verfuerth back to the product development role that he had when he founded the company, before it went public several years ago.

Manitowoc Tool expanding for growth

Manitowoc Tool & Machining is building a 21,000-square-foot addition at one of its three Manitowoc facilities.

Company leaders say the expansion will help Manitowoc Tool & Machining keep up with its growing customer demand.

Once the project is completed, the company will have a total of 360,000 square feet of space in Manitowoc.


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