Marquette partners with Bucks to build athletic and research facility on campus
January 29, 2015 02:58 PM
Marquette University, in partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks, will likely fill a seven-and-a-half-acre plot of land acquired by the school last fall with a new facility housing intercollegiate and professional athletics as well as initiatives related to academic research and campus health and wellness.

University president Michael Lovell, Ph.D. announced the partnership and project plans Thursday afternoon during his first presidential address.

Lovell’s presidential address mimicked the style of his September inauguration as he expanded on several research, entrepreneurial and growth ventures he has teed up for Marquette.

The university’s new multi-purpose building, which has yet to be christened a price tag, was among the highlights of his remarks. The land expected to support the new facility is located in the 800 block of Michigan Street, adjacent to the eastern edge of Marquette’s campus in downtown Milwaukee and south of the Straz Tower residence hall building at 915 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The facility will be outfitted with indoor playing fields for the school’s lacrosse and soccer programs, an indoor track and what Marquette officials call “a world-class athletic performance research facility.” While enhancing student access to recreation and fitness opportunities, the project will also provide faculty and students a setting to perform research in sports performance, medicine, nutrition and rehabilitation. That research will benefit both Marquette student-athletes and professional athletes, according to the university.

Together, Marquette and the Bucks aim to make Milwaukee a place where athletes from around the country and world want to come to improve their athletic performance, Lovell said.

Marquette spokesperson Chris Stolarski said the Bucks also have an interest in using the facility for their own athletic purposes. What that use looks like has not been specifically defined, but one option could involve including training courts in the center.

“I think we’ll have to continue to test the site capacity,” said Lora Strigens, recently named associate vice president for finance and university architect. “Obviously a lacrosse field and indoor track take up…a significant amount of land area as would an indoor practice facility, but I think we’re exploring options and are open to looking at how we can accommodate both should that materialize.”

Marquette’s varsity basketball teams as well as its volleyball team will continue to train at their campus home, the Al McGuire Center, according to Bill Scholl, vice president and director of athletics at Marquette.

He expressed uncertainty in the prospect of the Bucks calling the new center one of its training facilities.

“Whether or not basketball becomes part of the rec sports mission down there (at the center), I don’t know,” Scholl said. “I mean it could, I guess.”

The Bucks, however, will be instrumental in the planning, development and construction of the new facility, Stolarski said, citing this partnership as one that Lovell hopes is ongoing.

The team’s leadership has not yet made a financial commitment to the joint project as the project remains in its preliminary stages, but owner Wes Edens is confident that an array of corporate partners will be interested in supporting the facility, according to Lovell.

Along with corporate partnerships, a pool of philanthropic gifts and research grants will back site development.

And if the two entities build the center right, they will pull “significant research dollars into the region,” Lovell said.

While Lovell was vague in communicating a timeline for the project, he and other Marquette officials plan to complete an “accelerated design phase” over the next 60 days, followed by a few months of detail design and programming.

The construction phase will likely span 18 to 24 months.

“Our goal obviously is to move as quickly as we can with this, so we’ll do everything we can to accelerate the design and programming of the process,” Strigens said.

It is not yet clear what part of the seven-and-a-half parcel the new center will be situated on, though Lovell said that based on initial estimates it occupy most of the land. The site will also include room for parking.

Construction of the new site means that two buildings currently occupying the land will need to be torn down, according to Lovell.

The new strategic partnership also cues an expectation that Marquette’s men’s basketball team will play in the Bucks’ new arena, Lovell said, though that has not been made a done deal.

“I’m not sure,” Lovell said in regard to the prospect of Marquette playing in a new arena. “As far as I’m concerned, yes.”

He added that Marquette athletics represents the Bradley Center’s second largest tenant and would contribute significantly to community efforts to populate a new arena with as much activity as possible.

Throughout conception and design discussions of an arena, the Bucks have included Marquette in “just about every step of the way,” Lovell said, adding that it is an exciting initiative for the university.

“Playing in a pro sports arena – it’s just a competitive advantage in terms of recruiting student athletes and what we can do in terms of outreach to our community and having that facility for our fan base and our alumni,” Lovell said.

Marquette has not been part of any discussions related to what kind of financial contribution it would offer a new arena, Lovell said, particularly since other developments likely surrounding the structure need to be taken into consideration.

“Once I think we get further down the road, we will have that opportunity to discuss that, but we haven’t had that yet,” he said.

Additional campus progress

Lovell also used his presidential address to discuss both progress and plans in line with his goal to transform Marquette into a more innovation-driven and entrepreneurial-minded institution. Along with doubling the university’s research funding throughout the next five years, Lovell will allocate more attention to the quality of its graduate education and entrepreneurship. On this note, Lovell plans to break the vice provost for research position and dean of the Graduate School position into two distinct roles. Jeanne Hossenlopp, Ph.D., who previously filled both positions as one, will serve as vice president for research and innovation. Kevin Gibson, Ed.M., Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School and associate professor of philosophy, has been appointed interim dean of the Graduate School.

The university president also plans to relocate the school’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship to a larger, more central space on campus. The center will be equipped with additional support staff who can advance its startup initiatives.

Another innovation priority centers on activating Marquette’s Strategic Innovation Fund, which has ballooned to $6 million since September. A University Innovation Council led by Hossenlopp will soon begin vetting about 200 proposals from campus faculty, staff and students ready to flesh out their innovation projects.

Off campus, Marquette aims to have a presence on the sixth floor of the Global Water Center, located in Walker’s Point, by the end of the year. University leaders and faculty, including Hossenlopp and university architect Strigens, are spearheading the design of the space Marquette occupies.

Lovell also made news with the announcement of a $5 million personal gift from Dr. Michael and Mrs. Billie Kubly, founders of the Charles E. Kubly Foundation, which is dedicated to helping individuals impacted by depression. The couple’s gift will be used toward the creation of the Charles E. Kubly Mental Health Research Center in the College of Health Sciences. Included in the Kublys’ donation is funding for an endowed senior professorship, funding for more faculty, and funding to cover cutting-edge cellular and molecular research concentrations.

The new center will require the university to raise another $10 million, according to Lovell.

Additionally, Marquette is moving closer to establishing a university police department, Lovell said. The structure of such a department is in its early stages. The process follows legislation signed into law last year enabling Marquette to “enter into agreement with either the state or a local law enforcement agency to operate a university police department,” the university said.

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Meijer to open four southeastern Wisconsin area stores this year
January 29, 2015 11:42 AM
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer Inc. announced Wednesday that it will open four new stores in southeastern Wisconsin this year. Meijer will open stores in Grafton and Kenosha in June and it will open stores in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa in August.

The four stores will be Meijer’s first in southeastern Wisconsin. Meijer stores offer both grocery and general merchandise. The Kenosha and Oak Creek stores will also have a convenience store and gas station.

Meijer said it plans to begin hiring more than 1,000 employees in March to work at the stores that it plans to open in the region this year.

The Grafton store will be located along Port Washington Road.
The Kenosha store will be southest of 76th Street and Green Bay Road.

The Oak Creek store will be part of the mixed-use Drexel Town Square development southwest of Drexel and Howell avenues.

The Wauwatosa store will be southeast of Burleigh Street and 112th Street, near the Mayfair Collection development.

Meijer currently has 213 stores throughout the Midwest. In addition to the four stores that it will open this year in southeast Wisconsin, Meijer also plans to eventually open stores in Waukesha, Greenfield and Sussex. The company says it plans to open two to three new Wisconsin stores each year for the next four years.

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Harley targets new markets as North American motorcycle sales slump
January 29, 2015 11:45 AM
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. today reported fourth quarter net income of $74.5 million, or 35 cents per share, down from $75.4 million, or 34 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Operating income was $98.3 million, down from $122 million in the same period a year ago. Motorcycle segment operating income declined 41 percent, which the company attributed to flat revenue, lower gross margin percent, higher year-over-year selling, general and administrative expense and lower operating margin percent.

Harley sold 28,075 motorcycles in the North America region in the fourth quarter, down from 28,573 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Internationally, however, the company sold 20,192 motorcycles, up 9 percent from 18,488 in the same period a year ago.

Revenue was flat in the fourth quarter, at $1.03 billion.

For the full year, Harley reported net income of $844.6 million, up from $733.9 million in 2013.

Full-year operating income was $1.3 billion, up from $1.2 billion last year.

Revenue for 2014 was $5.6 billion, up from $5.3 billion in 2013.

“Harley-Davidson achieved a great year of financial performance in 2014, with double-digit earnings growth, revenue topping $6 billion and continued strong improvement in margins,” said Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson Inc.

“We also continued to broaden our customer base and expand the reach of our brand through unrivaled products and experiences. In international markets, our dealers in Asia Pacific, (Europe, Middle East and Africa Region) and Latin America posted their highest new motorcycle sales on record for each region, delivering on our expectation for international sales to grow at a faster rate than U.S. sales. And in the U.S., for the third straight year, sales to our outreach customers grew at more than twice the rate of sales to core customers.

“Our success is the result of a clear focus on managing the company for the long term, building on our well-established strategies and driving continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.”

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ACUITY to hire 150 employees in 2015
January 29, 2015 11:48 AM
Sheboygan-based property and casualty insurer ACUITY today announced it will hire 150 employees in 2015, driven by continuing business growth.

The company will add the new employees at its Sheboygan headquarters and across its 23-state footprint. The open positions include underwriters, software developers and technical support staff, business analysts, claims staff, customer service representatives and premium auditors.

ACUITY has more than 1,000 employees, manages more than $3 billion in assets and generates more than $1.2 billion in revenue through its 1,000 independent agencies. Last year, it reached $1.2 billion in written premium, up 11 percent over 2013.

The company is in the midst of a 240,000-square-foot addition to its corporate headquarters to hold its growing workforce.

“We are increasing our staff not only to respond to our strong growth, but as an investment in our future,” said Ben Salzmann, ACUITY president and chief executive officer. “We need to be certain to have the people and resources in place to maintain our level of world-class service to a growing number of families, individuals, and businesses.”

“Because of ACUITY’s continued expansion, we have been able to provide rewarding jobs for more and more people,” said Joan Ravanelli Miller, general counsel and vice president - human resources. “From new recruits and college graduates to professionals with years of experience, ACUITY offers rewarding career opportunities, interesting and meaningful responsibilities, and employment benefits that make us the employer of choice in the insurance industry.”

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CUW to offer free and reduced college courses to high school students
January 29, 2015 12:28 PM
Recognizing the financial burden of a college education, Concordia University Wisconsin has unveiled a new program that will give high school students early access to college classes at a significantly reduced tuition rate.

The Concordia Promise program, announced Thursday morning by CUW president Rev. Patrick Ferry, Ph.D., at BizTimes Media’s 2015 Economic Trends Breakfast, will even award some of its high school students college courses for free.

According to the dual credit program’s model, enrolled students will pay $50 per credit hour toward Concordia Promise classes – a cost much cheaper than traditional higher education tuition, Ferry said.

Students who then opt to attend CUW at its Mequon campus or Ann Arbor, Mich. campus will be fully reimbursed for the credits they have acquired through a scholarship. Program students who choose to take their college education elsewhere will likely be able to transfer the credits they have accumulated but will not be eligible for scholarship assistance from CUW.

The university will launch its “Promise” program this spring with a pilot group of about 500 students who are still being recruited, Ferry said. The program is open to students across the country attending a select group of Lutheran-affiliated high schools and other Christian schools or learning through homeschooling. Expanding the pool of high schools eligible to take part in the program is part of the university’s conversation moving forward.

Program studies will center on the liberal arts with students completing core curriculum courses. As the program launches, it will primarily be facilitated in an online format. CUW anticipates approving qualified instructors to teach “Promise” courses in high schools and is also considering offering some courses on its campuses in the future.

The creation of the “Promise” program was partially inspired by the rising costs of higher education, according to Ferry.

“We recognize that many students are graduating with a fairly heavy educational debt,” Ferry said, adding that families today are often questioning the value of students’ educational experiences relative to their attached cost.

CUW aims to alleviate some of the financial stress associated with higher education while also using the program as a campus recruitment tool.

“We’re hoping that this will give (students) the chance to see a viable way of a Concordia quality education that they might desire,” Ferry said.

Funding for the Concordia Promise program is backed by CUW’s institutional aid, according to Ferry.

Kathryn Baganz will oversee the new program as CUW’s dual credit coordinator.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Small business executives remain bullish
January 29, 2015 11:50 AM
At the height of the Great Recession, COSBE board members lamented having to lay off employees, curtail research and development, cut back on marketing and even close a plant or office. The conversations were accordingly bleak in tone.

That trend has reversed itself in 2015. Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by executive editor Steve Jagler.

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Health Care Weekly: Medical Society to introduce programs under new brand identity
January 29, 2015 11:51 AM
The Medical Society of Milwaukee County, an organization representing nearly 4,000 physicians across the Milwaukee community, introduced this week a new brand identity, including a new logo and the tagline of “Powered by Physicians. Compelled by Community.”

Read more in today’s Health Care Weekly.

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Morning Headlines: Sargento Foods to expand Kiel facility, add up to 180 jobs
January 29, 2015 11:52 AM
Plymouth-based Sargento Foods plans to expand its production facility in Kiel by 80,000 square feet next year and hire up to 180 more workers, the company announced this week.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Bubbler Weekly: Milwaukee County announces second traveling beer garden tour
January 29, 2015 11:53 AM
More beer will flow through Milwaukee County parks this summer with the addition of a second Traveling Beer Garden Tour, which will feature beer, authentic German food and other menu items from Sprecher Brewing and Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub.

Read more in today’s Bubbler Weekly.

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Abele names new airport director
January 28, 2015 09:49 AM
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has named Terry Slaybaugh to the position of airport director at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

Slaybaugh replaces Barry Bateman, who retired in April. Abele’s office conducted a thorough national search and interview process to fill the position.

Slaybaugh is currently the director at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio. While serving in that role, he has driven an “aggressive” airport modernization capital program to help the travel hub remain fiscally sound, according to the county executive’s office.

 “In the almost four years I've been in office, I have been directly involved with hiring decisions for leadership in many departments because I know the most important factor in any organization's success is its leadership,” Abele said.  “I've worked hard to bring to the county not just competence and experience, but the kind of drive and passion that consistently outperforms expectations.  Terry is no exception.  He's a leader who enthusiastically shares my vision of making Mitchell a model for efficiency, customer service, aggressive and proactive engagement with the business community, and a strong strategic partner in economic development and planning.

“I want to thank deputy airport director Terry Blue who has been helping run Mitchell during this search; he’s done a great job.”

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New Pabst CEO scouts Milwaukee for new brewery
January 28, 2015 11:27 AM
Pabst Brewing Co. may be coming home to Milwaukee.

Eugene Kashper, Pabst's new chairman and chief executive officer, plans to open a small brewery in Milwaukee, where the company was founded in 1844.

"It would be our test kitchen," said Kashper, who recently toured the city and scouted locations.

Kashper intends to experiment with Pabst recipes for brands that were made before Prohibition.

Kashper's trip to Milwaukee included a visit at the former Pabst Brewery mixed-use complex, now known as The Brewery, along West Juneau Avenue. The site also includes Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, which is operated by Jim and Karen Haertel.

"It would be awesome for Milwaukee's soul to have Pabst come home. We've been waiting for this for 15 years," Karen Haertel said.

The Pabst site also includes the Brew House Inn & Suites, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, other offices, apartments and taverns.

Kashper said the former Pabst Brewery is one of the sites under consideration for the new Milwaukee brewery.

Pabst Brewing was sold last November for an undisclosed price to Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings LLC, a partnership between Kashper and San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners LLC.

In 1985, Pabst was sold to California-based S&P Co., operated by Paul Kalmanovitz. S&P closed the Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee in 1996. The site sat dormant for years until the Haertels acquired it.

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Rockwell Automation reports higher earnings, lowers guidance
January 28, 2015 11:31 AM
Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc. today reported fiscal 2015 first quarter net income of $214.2 million, or $1.56 per share, up from $198.1 million, or $1.41 per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

Total segment operating earnings were $346.8 million, up 6 percent from $328 million in the same period a year ago.

Revenue was $1.57 billion, down slightly from $1.59 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

"Organic sales growth of 2 percent in the quarter was better than we expected, with particular strength in the Architecture & Software segment and the Latin America region,” said Keith Nosbusch, chairman and chief executive officer. “Although total sales were below last year due to the large currency headwind, Adjusted EPS growth of 12 percent provided a good start to the fiscal year."

However, Rockwell revised its full-year sales guidance to about $6.6 billion because of headwinds it expects to experience this year.

“While most GDP and industrial production forecasts continue to call for stable growth in 2015, we are incorporating into our revised outlook a more significant headwind from a stronger U.S. dollar and the anticipated impact of lower oil prices,” Nosbusch said.

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Hilton Garden Inn opens co-working space
January 28, 2015 10:22 AM
A new co-working space called Genius@Work has opened in the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Milwaukee.

The 1,200-square-foot space was created by Rosemont, Ill.-based First Hospitality Group, which owns the hotel, designed by Interior Investments and built by Venture Development.

Genius@Work is available to both hotel guests and the general public 365 days a year for a fee. The modern space includes high-speed Wi-Fi, AV equipment, a printing/scanning/fax/copy machine, and complimentary coffee, tea and snacks. It is divided into an open office environment, two private rooms and a conference room that can seat 10.

There are many other co-working spaces in Milwaukee, including Hudson Business Lounge, 96square and Bucketworks.

Genius@Work sets itself apart because it is connected to the hotel and its amenities and guests, said Elizabeth MacFarlane, development associate for First Hospitality Group. Guests don’t have to leave the hotel to use the co-working space, and they can network with travelers from around the world who are also staying at the hotel. In addition, catering, valet services, guest rooms and additional meeting spaces are available from the hotel for meetings held in the space.

FHG expects to sign up about 50 to 100 individuals for annual memberships, and offer up to 35 day passes each day. Corporate memberships are also available, MacFarlane said.

Membership options range from one day for $20 to a full year for $1,200. The conference room can also be rented by the hour.

“Genius@Work is coming to the Milwaukee marketplace at a pivotal time,” said Robert Habeeb, FHG president and chief operating officer. “With the surge in new business and startups in the city, Genius@Work provides an inspirational space and all the resources necessary for those individuals and groups to gather, share ideas and collaborate.”

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Customers expect flexible options for billings and payments
January 28, 2015 11:35 AM
The check may not be in the mail. Today's consumer uses an average of three different payment methods each month, from online to mobile to walk-in and yes, even the occasional check, according to the seventh annual Billing Household Survey from Fiserv. With today's abundance of options to pay and receive bills, consumers increasingly value choice – and choice leads to increased customer satisfaction.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Eric Leiserson of Fiserv.

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Morning Headlines: Menasha Corp. to build new global HQ
January 28, 2015 11:36 AM
Menasha Corp. will build a new global headquarters in place of its existing headquarters at 1645 Bergstrom Road in Neenah, the company announced Tuesday night.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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