New director of Mitchell International resigns
April 20, 2015 04:34 PM
Terry Slaybaugh, who recently became the new director of General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, has resigned less than three months after getting the job.

Slaybaugh came to Milwaukee after working as the director of Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio.

“(Slaybaugh) stated that the transition for his family has been a very difficult one, and he will be returning to Dayton, Ohio, where his family is located,” said Nate Holton, spokesman for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “Spencer Stuart, the recruitment firm that Milwaukee County worked with in the last hiring process, will be assisting in finding a replacement for Slaybaugh.”

In late January, Slaybaugh was named the new director of Mitchell International to replace Barry Bateman, who retired last year.
In the interim period, Milwaukee County Director of Transportation Brian Dranzik will be physically located at the airport working directly with staff to provide ongoing administrative oversight until a permanent airport director can be found, Holton said. James Martin, the Transportation Department’s director of administration, will handle day-to-day oversight of other transportation divisions during this period.
“While the county executive is disappointed in Terry’s decision, he is committed to working aggressively to hire a new airport director who will provide exceptional leadership and performance at the high standard that has been set by Milwaukee County and GMIA staff,” Holton said. “The search for a new airport director will begin immediately.”

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Cover story: Exporting Wisconsin
April 20, 2015 11:43 AM
Medical device manufacturing is emerging as one of Wisconsin's most dynamic industry sectors and is projected to become a key driver for exports from the state.

Wisconsin boasts a significant concentration of medical device companies, with leaders such as Wauwatosa-based GE Healthcare and Milwaukee-based Mortara Instrument Inc., and a variety of smaller companies cropping up, all riding what is considered the sector's second surge.

Read more in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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2015 WisconsinBiz: 'People Make The Difference'
April 20, 2015 10:51 AM
BizTimes Media LLC today published the 2015 edition of WisconsinBiz, the annual publication that promotes Wisconsin as a place to grow or move a business.

"People Make The Difference" is the theme of this year's supplement, which chronicles the human, financial and organizational resources that make Wisconsin a special place to do business.

To view a digital edition of the annual magazine, click here.

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Associated Bank buys mortgages from Habitat for Humanity
April 20, 2015 12:09 PM
Associated Bank has purchased about $2 million in residential mortgages from Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in one of the largest one-time mortgage sales in the chapter’s history.

Through the purchase of the mortgages, Green Bay-based Associated Bank has provided funding for Habitat’s five-year renovation of about 25 homes in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.

Habitat will target the neighborhood’s vacant, city-owned foreclosures, and through renovation or complete rebuild, transform them into livable single family homes.

“The success of our neighborhood revitalization efforts relies on partnerships with businesses and organizations that have a strong commitment to building our community,” said Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat. “We are deeply grateful to Associated Bank for this opportunity to further our mission to build homes and hope in Milwaukee and to truly transform Washington Park into a safe, sustainable community of choice.”

Using funding from charitable donations, profits from its Habitat ReStores and mortgage payments from partner family homeowners, Milwaukee Habitat is able to fund its revitalization projects. Partner families must go through a screening process, participate in financial education and contribute up to 500 hours of sweat equity to their homes and neighbors’ homes before they become Habitat homeowners.

“It’s a common misconception that we give houses away,” Sonderman said. “That’s not how Habitat works. We provide an affordable, interest-free mortgage and the payments we receive from these mortgages help us to fund more homes.”

Habitat eventually sells the mortgages, like in this Associated Bank deal, and uses those funds to start new projects.

Associated will also offer its employees as volunteers on the Habitat worksites over the next five years. And the bank’s director of finance, Craig Hahn, will join the Habitat Milwaukee board of directors in December.

“Associated has a strong commitment to the communities we serve through both financial support and volunteerism,” said Dave Bauer, director of mortgage sales, Associated Bank. “We are happy the funds will be put to great use, helping to make our communities a better place to live and work.”

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Quad awarded $500 million, 20-title contract from Hearst Magazines
April 20, 2015 11:13 AM
Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. announced today that it will continue to be the primary printer for Hearst Magazines' through 2020 under a new agreement valued at more than $500 million. Quad produces 20 of Hearst's 21 U.S. magazine titles, including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics and Car and Driver, as well as inserts and custom print products.

Quad/Graphics has been Hearst Magazines’ largest print supplier since 2011, when it began printing Good Housekeeping, Harper’s BAZAAR, House Beautiful, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, ELLE, ELLEDECOR, Car and Driver and Road & Track in addition to Veranda, which the company has printed since 2007. With the acquisition of Brown Printing Company in 2014, Quad/Graphics began printing 10 additional Hearst titles: Country Living, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Marie Claire, Redbook, Seventeen, Town & Country and Popular Mechanics.

“With its exceptional portfolio of magazine titles, Hearst has mastered the art of content creation, demonstrating the power of print in a multichannel world and reaching more than 80 million readers every month,” said Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Quad/Graphics. “As America’s leading magazine printer, we are proud to renew and extend our partnership with Hearst, and to work together to grow through innovation and performance.”

“Magazines have the power to inspire and transport readers through beautiful images, expert curation and unique points-of-view,” said David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines. “Working with Quad/Graphics, we are able to constantly push the boundaries of what magazines can be, to create memorable, impactful experiences for readers and marketers with every issue.”

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MU buys Herzing University building downtown
April 20, 2015 11:41 AM
Marquette University continues to acquire real estate on the west side of downtown Milwaukee. The university recently purchased the Herzing University building, located at 525 N. 6th St., for $1.465 million, according to state records.

The two-story, 19,779-square-foot building was built in 1967 and has an assessed value of $1.282 million, according to city records.

The property was sold to Marquette by Menomonee Falls-based S&R Property LLC. The agent for S&R is Henry Herzing.

This is just the latest real estate acquisition by MU on the west side of downtown Milwaukee.

Last fall, MU purchased a 7.5-acre site southeast of West Michigan Street and I-43. The site includes two buildings, a 132,334-square-foot office building and a 7,200-square-foot building, sold by Zilber Property Group for $5.25 million. MU also announced plans to acquire a 4.6-acre site from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

MU recently purchased the 5,046-square-foot Butch’s Old Casino Steak House building at 555 N. James Lovell St. for $690,000.

Marquette plans to build a sports medicine/health and wellness facility, which will be a collaborative partnership between the Milwaukee Bucks and the university, on the sites acquired from Zilber, WisDOT and Butch’s.

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Pet businesses taking precautions against dog flu
April 20, 2015 12:20 PM
The dog flu virus has infected more than a thousand dogs in the last month and is responsible for six dog deaths in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, according to reports.

Although no incidents have been reported in the Milwaukee area so far, area pet sitting services are being impacted either through loss of business or by taking extra precautions.

Bay View-based While You Were Out Pet Sitting Services LLC, for instance, has had a couple day care dogs take the month off, according to owner/operator Tiffany Weber.

“Right now vets are asking people to not take their dogs to day care,” Weber said.

Meanwhile, Weber said staff is keeping a close eye on any symptoms like sneezing and coughing, and will not allow any dogs who may be infected.

Her pet sitters are also changing their clothing in between pet home visits and washing bed sheets more frequently. Dogs staying at While You Were Out’s facility do not stay in kennels, but rather sleep in bed with staff overnight.

Milwaukee-based Brew City Pet Services LLC has not temporarily lost any clients due to the dog flu, but it is also taking extra precautions, according to owner Stephanie Lefever.

For instance, employees are avoiding dog parks, sanitizing shared leashes, and washing their hands more regularly as they would with any other flu.

Delavan-based Lollipups Pet Resort said business is also operating as usual, but it is exercising more caution when accepting new dogs.

“So far we’ve been immune to any of that (cases of the dog flu) so far, and we will be very, very selective with our dogs coming and going and very sensitive to it to make sure it doesn’t ever happen in or around this facility,” said owner Dana Montana.

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Common Council to consider vehicle vendor ban for major streets in 11th district
April 20, 2015 11:53 AM
The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to ban vendor sales from parked vehicles, such as food trucks, on most of the major streets in the city's 11th aldermanic district, which is represented by Ald. Joe Dudzik.

Food trucks have become increasingly common in Milwaukee in recent years, particularly in the downtown area.

Dudzik wants to ban food trucks and other vehicle sales on major thoroughfares in his district. The proposal, which he has sponsored, states that food trucks: “attract the congregation of people, which results in illegal parking and littering…my create loud noise…my create a public nuisance.”

"It's a series of issues," he said.

The ordinance is a response to complaints from residents about the impact of food truck and other vendor sales from vehicles, Dudzik said.

Currently the only location in the 11th district where food trucks are banned is West Oklahoma Avenue from South 16th Street to the western city limits. The proposed ordinance would add several additional streets where food trucks are banned in the district. Dudzik said the ban would impact only about 10 percent of the streets in his district.

"I like (food trucks)," Dudzik said. "But they've got to be in the right place."

The proposal has already been approved by the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee. Dudzik said he expects the measure to fail when it is voted on by the full Common Council.

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Garage to open store at Mayfair Mall
April 20, 2015 11:48 AM
Garage, a clothing and accessories store for teen girls and “the young at heart,” will open a store in Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa.

Garage is one of two brands owned by Groupe Dynamite Inc., a Montreal-based company with over 300 stores in Canada, the United States and abroad.

“Garage expands Mayfair’s already extensive selection of apparel for men and women and compliments the extraordinary shopping experience for our guests,” said Stephen Smith, senior general manager of Mayfair Mall.

The new store is scheduled to open this summer and will be located on the upper level in the Boston Store wing.

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Milwaukee Biz Poll: Which company should purchase the naming rights to a new arena?
April 20, 2015 10:37 AM
If a new arena is to be built in downtown Milwaukee, some company will need to step forward and purchase the naming rights?

Which company do you think should be that company? Vote now by answering today's Milwaukee Biz Poll question.

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Morning Headlines: Company plans major broadband expansion
April 20, 2015 11:45 AM
A Wisconsin firm plans to invest $3 million in infrastructure that would bring wireless broadband Internet access to under-served areas of Sauk County.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Manufacturing Weekly: Johnson Controls begins start-stop vehicle battery production in China
April 20, 2015 11:47 AM
Johnson Controls is expanding its manufacturing operations in China by beginning production of advanced lead-acid batteries for Start-Stop vehicles. The technology is said to help automakers meet increasingly strict fuel economy and emission regulations.

Read more in today’s Manufacturing Weekly.

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Wisconsin unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent
April 17, 2015 10:20 AM
The Wisconsin unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in March, down from 4.8 percent in February, according to preliminary estimates released by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

The rate is the state’s lowest since June 2008, and remains below the national unemployment rate, which was at 5.5 percent in March.

However, Wisconsin lost 5,000 private sector jobs from February to March.

The labor force participation rate was at 68.4 percent statewide in March, down from 68.6 percent in February, but surpassing the 62.7 percent participation rate nationwide.

In the 12 months ending in March, Wisconsin added 48,200 private sector jobs. Among the leading industries for job creation were construction, manufacturing and financial activities.

"Wisconsin's preliminary March unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is the lowest rate since June 2008 (and) remains well below the national unemployment rate," said DWD secretary Reggie Newson. "In addition, the statistically significant year-over-year job increases across multiple sectors are positive economic indicators that we are on a long-term path to advance a Wisconsin that supports greater freedom and prosperity."

The DWD based its statistics on data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics report, which is obtained through a monthly survey of about 3.5 percent of Wisconsin employers. The CES is often subject to revision.

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Modine plans to close Iowa manufacturing facility
April 17, 2015 09:58 AM
Racine-based thermal management product manufacturer Modine Manufacturing Co. announced conditional plans to close its manufacturing plant in Washington, Iowa. The company said the decision is dependent upon the conclusion of bargaining with the union at the Washington facility. The closure would impact approximately 245 full-time employees.

The Washington plant makes liquid charge air coolers, plate oil coolers and fuel coolers for the automotive, commercial vehicle and off-highway markets. Modine plans to transfer the Washington production to other facilities in North America, including those in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Joplin, Mo.; and Jefferson City, Mo.  Plans call for the plant to close over an approximate 24-month period.

"Closing operations is never easy," said Scott Wollenberg, regional vice president – Americas. "However, our analysis of Modine's global product lines and North American manufacturing strategy led us to conclude that the best long-term solution for Modine and its shareholders is to consolidate all the Washington products into other North American facilities. Closing the Washington plant will help us rationalize production, maintain the scale we need in our manufacturing operations and improve our overall competitiveness and profitability.  We are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible for our customers and to assisting our affected employees during the transition."

In connection with the upcoming closure, Modine expects to incur a charge of approximately $2 million in the first quarter of its 2016 fiscal year, primarily related to anticipated severance payments.  In addition to temporary inefficiencies, the company anticipates to incur total closure costs of approximately $3 million over the entire closure period.  

Modine forecasts it will generate annual savings of at least $9 million once the closure is completed in fiscal 2018. In addition to achieving savings, it predicts the consolidation will result in additional revenue opportunities and growth in vehicular markets due to the more competitive cost structure.

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U-Haul buys former Harley plant in Wauwatosa for $5.25 million
April 17, 2015 10:33 AM
An affiliate of Phoenix, Ariz.-based U-Haul International Inc. purchased the 395,000-square-foot former Harley-Davidson plant in Wauwatosa, which the company shut down in 2011, for $5.25 million, according to state records.

The building sits on a 21.6-acre site northwest of U.S. Highway 45 and Capitol Drive. The property, which has an address of 11700 W. Capitol Dr., sold for less than its assessed value of $6.7 million, according to Milwaukee County records.

The building was built in 1946 and has been vacant since Harley consolidated local manufacturing operations at its Menomonee Falls plant.

The property was listed for sale by James T. Barry III, Kevin Barry and David Buckley of Milwaukee-based DTZ Barry. James T. Barry III declined to comment on the deal.

A representative for U-Haul could not be reached for comment.

The deal is one of the largest recent industrial real estate deals to occur in the region, and it eliminates one of the few large industrial spaces that were available in the market.

Southeastern Wisconsin had a 4.86 percent industrial space vacancy rate in the first quarter, according to Xceligent data, and Milwaukee County had a first quarter industrial space vacancy rate of 7.56 percent.

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